What you should know about the sweeping smoking laws in California.

'We're going to reduce health care costs and save lives.'

Hey, people smoke. And quitting is hard.

I am not about to shame anyone who lights up. As most smokers know all too well, it's a ridiculously hard habit to kick — and even just cutting back a bit can be a major headache (literally).

That's why expansive new measures in California to stop would-be young smokers from ever lighting up in the first place is an incredibly welcome change.


Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.

In large part to keep its young people healthier, California has passed sweeping new regulations on tobacco.

The state's decision to up the legal smoking age is probably the most game-changing of the new measures, which were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on May 4, 2016.

With an exception for active duty military members, people in the state of California must now be at least 21 years old to buy tobacco products.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"What this means for California is now we can know that our youth are less likely to be addicted to this horrible drug of tobacco," State Sen. Ed Hernandez said of the new age requirements. "There's going to be less addiction to tobacco, [and] we're going to reduce health care costs and save lives."

Another big change these regulations have introduced is in regards to e-cigarettes — which are now banned in all the same spots as traditional cigarettes, including schools, restaurants, and hospitals, NPR reported.

Why the stricter regulations on e-cigs? According to Stanton Glant, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California, San Francisco, e-cigarettes still pose a threat to public health — even if they're not as harmful as their traditional cigarette counterparts.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"Exposing the developing brain to nicotine, which is in both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, physically changes the brain," he said. "That's why the younger someone starts to smoke, the more addicted they tend to get ... and the harder time they have stopping."

The safety of e-cigarettes has caught the attention of the federal government too. Just today, the FDA announced a ban on sales to those under 18 years old, citing the health of young Americans as reason for the change.

Although the new measures in California are being applauded by major health organizations, not everyone's on board. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, for instance, claimed the big move on e-cigarettes is "a step backward" for California, seeing as some vapor products are tobacco-free and, thus, shouldn't be a health concern.

The new measures in California coincide with a growing consensus across the U.S.: Cigarettes are, slowly but surely, on their way out.

In the 1960s, more than 40% of American adults were cigarette smokers, according to the CDC. That figure has fallen substantially throughout the last several decades, standing at about 17% in 2014. (Heck, more college students smoked marijuana than cigarettes for the first time ever last year.)

Photo by Chris Roussakis/AFP/Getty Images.

As research has continued to point to cigarettes as a major cause of death in the U.S., state and local laws have cracked down on their use.

Although Hawaii beat California to increasing its legal smoking age (the Aloha State did so this past January), more than 100 cities — including New York, Boston, and San Francisco — have passed laws requiring tobacco users be at least 21 years old.

So, yes, people smoke. And, yes, quitting is hard. But smoking kills. And the more young people these laws prevent from getting hooked, the better.

This week marked a major victory in keeping young people healthier, Hernandez said. Hopefully, the rest of the country will follow California and Hawaii's leads.

"Today was an enormous victory for not only this generation, but also for many generations to come who will not suffer the deadly impacts of tobacco."

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture