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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Great American Smokeout today

     Today is the 37th annual "Great American Smokeout" sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  The cost of health care costs related to smoking is an estimated $96 billion dollars.  This past year I have seen this reality in the premature deaths of 3 of my high school classmates from smoking related health problems.  I remember each of them as being smokers in high school.
     The good news on the smoking front is that over the past 50 years the percentage of smokers has declined from 45% of the adult population in 1965 to just over 20% today.  Most of us can remember a time where offices and restaurants had the haze of smoke hanging in the air that we all were breathing.  Fortunately those days are gone.  Now even outdoor venues such as Howard County Parks and Rec fields are entirely smoke free.  Designated smoking areas are now common in airports and even Camden Yards.
    Of course even with the decline in the smoking among adults 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes.  Young people are still drawn to smoking as being "cool."  Hollywood movies are still too often portraying smoking in this light.  It still is too often the venue that cigarette manufacturers are using to reach the young.  Additionally the promotion and use of smokeless tobacco products has been an area of growth for tobacco.  This is an area that major league baseball has recently recognized that it has to control and finally decided to ban players from using chewing tobacco when they are in contact with fans.
    No one should think that tobacco manufacturers are going to be content to see their product decline in use.  They are simply shifting their marketing strategy to the Third World where the annual rate of growth of smoking has reached 3%.   Just like drug dealers being pushed from one street corner tobacco manufacturers simply move to a new corner.  Of course this new "corner" happens to be around the globe.

The local chapter of the Cancer Society and Howard County General will celebrate this day with local resources to quit smoking at  its Wellness Center today from 11 am to 2pm.  The Wellness Center is at 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100,Columbia, MD 21044

P.S. 1
From the picture above land has been cleared for the next phase of the South portion of the Blandair Park in Oakland Mills.  This year the soccer fields opened and this new area will include 2 softball/baseball fields.
Looks like the possibility of those fields opening next year sometime.

Tonight at the Central Library:
The Life And Mysterious Death Of John Wilkes Booth
America remains fascinated with the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Join SLRC Manager Jeff Korman for an examination of the Maryland native's life, his fateful plot, and the mysteries and conspiracies surrounding the death of John Wilkes Booth.

*Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.7800.

P.S. 3

The Columbia tradition of the Poinsetta Tree at the Columbia Mall continues this year with the tree being built  today.

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