Health Buzz: Progress Shown in Reducing Underage Tobacco Sales

The upside of long-distance relationships; 7 protein-packed school lunch ideas

A U.S. Surgeon General's report issued last year found that more needs to be done to prevent young Americans from using tobacco, including stricter smoking bans and higher taxes on tobacco products.
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Report: States Continue Meeting Standards Set to Curb Tobacco Sales to Minors

Once again, the rate of retailers selling tobacco to minors is lower than the 20 percent national standard set by a federal and state partnership, according to a news release from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released today. The SAMHSA report is a progress update on the Synar Amendment, which requires states to have and effectively enforce laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to people under age 18. The program had set a target rate of 20 percent or less for retailers selling tobacco to minors, and for the seventh year in a row, every state and the District of Columbia met that goal. In fact, the 2012 rate was down to 9.1 percent nationally – the second lowest (next to 2011) in the history of the Synar program. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia achieved a violation rate below 10 percent, according to the news release, and nine states reported a rate below 5 percent. By contrast, when states first reported data for the Synar program in 1997, the national weighted average for retailer violation weight was 40.1 percent, according to the report. (See the full SAMHSA PDF report here.)

"Over its 16 year history the Synar program has made remarkable strides in lowering the levels of illegal tobacco sales to minors across the nation, but far more needs to be done to prevent kids and young adults from using tobacco, which is still the nation's leading cause of preventable death." states Frances Harding, director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, in the press release.

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  • The Upside of Long-Distance Relationships

    Say you're flying across the country and settle into first class (go with it). Maybe you doze off and awake some time later to the clinking of beverage service when you notice the kind smile and warm eyes of the person beside you. You spend the next five hours engrossed in a conversation as comfortable as you've ever had. On landing, he confesses this was the best upgrade of his life and asks for your number. You dispense it the old-fashioned way – on a cocktail napkin, first name only.

    But, wait, this isn't a movie, you say to yourself. This is the real world, the one where you're in L.A., and he's in New York. Why waste your time – and your heart – on something so impractical? Everyone knows long-distance relationships don't work ... Or do they?

    A recent study published in the Journal of Communication found that long-distance lovers felt as much or more trust and satisfaction in their unions as "geographically close" partners. Researchers at City University of Hong Kong and Cornell University drew that conclusion based on a set of American college students in local and long-distance relationships, who reported their communication patterns. Those in long-distance relationships disclosed more personal details to their partner and also idealized each other more, researchers found. [Read more: The Upside of Long-Distance Relationships]

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    • 7 Protein-Packed School Lunch Ideas

      Send your kids back to school with protein-packed school lunches, writes U.S. News blogger Mitzi Dulan. This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids why protein is important for them and explain which foods in their lunch are the best sources.

      Protein intake is very important for kids to help keep their immune system strong and healthy. It also plays a key role for building and repairing muscles and helps them grow – kids really like this one! In addition, protein acts a structural component of cells and tissues including hair, nails and skin. Without protein, these cells and tissues are not able to function properly. Protein also provides energy in the form of calories. In other words, it will help them optimize their energy levels to play their favorite sports.