The Ramble covers interesting stories from the past week, new federal smoking cessation guidelines featuring Chantix, how smoking bans in restaurants keep kids from the nasty habit, a study of Olympians with asthma and Dove soap proves – once again – that you can’t believe anything you see when it comes to the female form.

This criticism is meaningless when you consider that this panel should include those who are well versed on the issue of drugs in general and Chantix in particular if the panel were to craft a meaningful, legit and educated conclusion dealing with the use of this drug.  If the panel were made up of 3 people or if 21 of 24 panelists had ties to the industry then the claim of conflict could be raised.

There is a criticism that cold turkey works just as well, if not better, than Chantrix.  And for some people this very well may be true, but the more options there are to help people get away from the coffin nails, the better.  And if there are concerns regarding how people use the drug, but if when used properly the drug is effective, than people should have this option.

Hundreds of misguided people die from misusing Tylenol, Advil and a host of other over-the-counter meds each year, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t be able to benefit from them. The bottom line is, don’t start smoking so that you have to figure out a way to stop.

Smoking Bans in Restaurants.  A study done out of Massachusetts indicates that in towns where there is a ban on smoking in restaurants and other places of public accommodation, teens are less likely to pick up the habit.  Researchers found the smoking rates of teens in towns with smoking bans were lower than the rate for teens in towns without such legislation.

Researchers point to this as evidence that smoking bans do have a direct affect on the decision to smoke.  I think this study proves my point that if tobacco were banned/regulated/made illegal that even fewer people would smoke.  Down with half measures, support an all-out tobacco ban.  I’m not a zealot, I am just pointing out that our “health officials” would never do such a thing because they – and others – are addicted to the revenue generated by tobacco taxes.

Too Little Sleep is Bad, as is Too Much.  A new study done by the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who sleep less than 6 hours a night have higher rate of smoking, get less exercise and drink more booze than those folks who get 7-8 hours of sleep.  People who sleep more than 9 hour a night are more likely to be obese and have a higher rate of variety of other problems than the 7-8 hour sleepers.

However, it is VERY important to realize that this study DOES NOT show a cause and effect, in that researchers admit there’s no way to know if smoking causes sleeplessness or visa versa.  The study – that collected data door-to-door from 87,000 people – serves as a great illustration of the problem with trying to find one single cause for one single effect, or in trying to blame one single effect on a single cause.

The likely scenario is that obese people engage in a variety of unhealthy habits that are responsible for putting them in poor health, and consequently there isn’t any one single thing these people can do to right their ship.  It makes sense that a person who smokes is less likely to be concerned with keeping up other healthy habits like regular exercise and eating a healthful diet.

Study of Asthma and Allergies in Olympic Athletes.  Hundreds of asthmatic athletes from Europe are taking part in a study during this year’s summer Olympics to see how they will respond in the polluted atmosphere of Beijing during times of peak exertion.  Here’s a little tidbit of info I’ll bet you weren’t aware of; there’s a higher rate of asthma among athletes than in the general population.

Researchers say that the more air a person takes in the more chances there are for a problem as a result of contaminants in the air.  And when an Olympic athlete is doing his or her thing, the yare taking in plenty of air, baby. Since many Olympic events will take place out doors, most notably track and field, it will be interesting to see what this study finds.

Despite the hype surrounding the pollution that exists in Beijing, the researchers don’t feel that pollution will serve as a problem during the Olympics.  We’ll see soon enough if they are correct.

Deceptive Dove Soap Ad.  The good folks over at – and some other sites as well -are reporting that the Dove soap ad in which full figured natural women are featured – and celebrated – has been Photoshopped to make them appear to be regular and buxom, but more attractive.

Apparently, Photoshop expert Pascal Dangin, known as the Michaelangelo of his trade and the premier retoucher of fashion photographs, has admitted to performing digital alchemy on the women who appear in the Dove soap ad. According to Dangin, “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”

This just goes to prove my point that you cannot believe anything that you see or read in the media when it comes to the representation of the (especially) female form.  Chalk another one up to the deceptive forces of our society’s “image makers.”


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