CategorySafety & Information

A Flurry of States Have Raised Their Smoking Ages…but Big Tobacco’s Involvement Has Some Health Groups Uneasy

If you look around you, you will see that vaping and e-cigarette smoking is on the rise. However, momentum is increasing for a nationwide movement to raise the legal age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21. Experts say the widespread and worrisome teen vaping epidemic is a big catalyst. But so is support from e-cigarette and tobacco companies, which has some health groups feeling uneasy.

Some states are raising the legal smoking age.

Recently, Texas joined other states in enacting the so-called Tobacco 21 policies. Even more cities and counties have raised their legal buying ages and a host of national retailers have instituted corporate policies that resonate with these legislative efforts.

In Texas, the law will raise the buying age for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just proposed similar legislation at the federal level, and particularly cited high levels of teen e-cigarette use as the main motivator for his bill.

McConnell’s reasoning is familiar. The nationwide rising prevalence of vaping has led policymakers and legislators across the US to really sharpen their focus on tobacco and to look more closely at vaping according to many cancer specialists across the US.

On the surface, it looks like a silver lining to a public-health disaster. Though, several health groups are not sure of the fact that tobacco and vaping businesses like Altria and Juul have thrown their weight behind these policies.

Lobbying from Big Tobacco and Big Vape has aided the Tobacco 21 legislation pass in nine states recently. But, as detailed in a May 23 report from investigative journalism nonprofit the Center for Public Integrity, health groups are against some of these proposed laws since they would preempt stricter policies or include such weak enforcement mechanisms or so many exceptions as to make them mainly ineffective. Texas’ law, for instance, includes an exception for military members.



Leash Your Dog! It’s the Law for Many Very Good Reasons

Let me be blunt with you, my dear. We have a huge issue in the canine community, and it’s harming dogs.

We mandate leashes for good reasons. No. 1: being safe for all concerned: safety not only for you and your dog but for every dog and human being on earth.

There are leash laws in many cities. You can be fined for not using one in places that mandate it. Yet, some of you dog owners have determined that this critical law doesn’t apply to your dog.

Be considerate, obey the law, and leash your dog.

I read the sad consequences created by a dog being off-leash every single day. Many responsible owners are walking their dog on leash mainly to keep their dog from having to come face to face with YOUR off-leash dog.

This might be new news to some, but not every dog desires to say hello to each dog it sees every day. Do you, as a human, always want to say hi to everyone you see? I didn’t think so.

Here are some things that can happen to your roving off-leash Rover:

  • Your dog can be hit by a car.
  • Your dog can jump on a senior and knock them over.
  • Your dog can harass wildlife.
  • Your dog can mow down little ones.
  • Your dog can get in the face of other dogs, some of whom will respond with aggression.
  • Your dog can get in a dog fight that will scare both dogs and result in a costly vet bill. After you pay that vet bill, you may now be the owner of one of those dogs who can’t stand to have off-leash dogs in his face.
  • Your dog can be shot, even in a city park (it’s happening in Colorado and other states).
  • Your dog can eat something that may kill him.

Staying Safe at the Beach

Few things shout “summer” more than soaking up some rays with the scent of saltwater in the air and sand between your toes. According to the EPA, Americans take over two billion trips to the beach every year.

The beach can be a fun and exciting getaway but it’s important to remain safe while you’re there.

Sorry, but it’s not all about fun in the sun. A relaxing beach weekend can turn bad with just one rogue wave or one angry sea creature. While many bad beach days end with little more than a sunburn in need of a good soak in some aloe vera gel, serious injuries are more common than you’d want to believe. Here are some tips to help you keep your beach trips as safe as possible.

Have an Action Plan

Before hitting the waves, there are some things to keep in mind. Even if you’re heading to the lake or a pool instead of the ocean, many of the tips below apply to hanging out near any body of water. Regardless of where you’re going, these tips will help you stay safe at the shore.

  • Watch for warning flags and learn what they mean
  • Different beaches and states have different colored flags and assigned meanings; be sure to ask the lifeguard if you’re unsure what the flags mean.
  • Generally, red flags suggest strong surf and currents (i.e., “Be Cautious”). At some beaches, red means the beach is closed. Therefore, be sure to check before going into the water. Yellow flags signify moderate surf and currents. The water might be rough but not dangerous.
  • Exercise caution and stay close to the lifeguards. Green flags mean the ocean is calm or clear.  Blue or purple flags usually indicate that potentially dangerous marine life (sharks or jellyfish) are in the area or have been spotted nearby. Use extreme caution. Also remember: Not all beaches are right for swimming, so know the rules before you set foot on the sand.

Car Seat Laws (Part II)

Infants & Toddlers—Rear-Facing Seats

Car seats like this one can be used both front-facing and rear-facing.

The AAP advises that all infants ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers must ride in a rear-facing seat, as long as possible, until they get to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Many convertible seats have limits that will let children ride rear-facing for two years or more. When infants outgrow their rear-facing–only seat, a convertible seat installed rear-facing is required.

Rear-Facing Seats Types:

Three types of rear-facing seats are available: 3-in-1, rear-facing–only, and convertible. When children get to the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their rear-facing–only seat, they have to continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible or 3-in-1 seat.

Rear-facing–only seats:

  • Used for infants up to 22 to 35 pounds, based on the model.
  • They are little and have carrying handles.
  • Usually, have a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install it every time you use it. Parents can purchase more than one base for additional vehicles.
  • It should be used only for travel (not feeding, sleeping, or any other use outside the vehicle).

Convertible seats (used rear-facing)

  • It can be used rear-facing and, later, “converted” to forward-facing for bigger children when they outgrow either the weight limit or the length limit, for rear-facing. This means your child can get more usage out of the seat.
  • They are bulkier than infant seats, though, they don’t come with carrying handles or separate bases and are designed to stay in the car.
  • Many have higher limits in rear-facing weight (up to 40–50 pounds) and height than rear-facing–only seats, which make them perfect for bigger babies and toddlers.
  • Have a 5-point harness that connects at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs.
  • It should be used only for travel (not feeding, sleeping or any other use outside the vehicle).


Car Seat Laws (Part I)

In the U.S., the federal government has allowed every state to create its own laws regarding child car seats. The result is different regulations, which puts the onus on anyone driving with a child as a passenger to understand car seat laws in the states in which they reside or will be traveling in.

Car seat laws are important to make sure your child is safe at all times.

This can be complex, particularly for folks who live in one state and always travel into a bordering state. Also, it adds extra research for those taking a vacation that necessitates traveling through numerous U.S. states.

To help take the guesswork out of car seat laws in every state, here is the info you must know when traveling with children throughout the U.S.

It should be noted that car seat laws in some states are not as harsh as recommendations issued by safety experts and pediatricians.

Every year, hundreds of young children are killed or injured in car accidents. Correct use of car seats helps keep children alive and safe. But with numerous seats on the market, many parents find this overwhelming. If you are expectant parents, give yourselves enough time to learn how to accurately install the car seat in your vehicle before your baby is born to guarantee a safe ride home from the hospital.

Installation Information: Seat Belts & Latch

LATCH is an attachment system for car seats. Lower anchors can be used in place of the seat belt to install the seat, and many parents find them easier to use in some cars.

The top tether enhances safety offered by the seat and is critical to use for all forward-facing seats, even those installed using the vehicle seat belt. Although the seat belt and LATCH systems are both safe, some might prefer one system instead of the other.

Tire Defects and Auto Accidents: What You Need to Know

Auto accidents from tire defects are more common than most people realize. Every year, more than 15,000 vehicle accidents are due to blowouts of defective tires. Sometimes, it is the car owner’s fault for not taking care of the tires. Hitting the curb, not putting air in them when needed, or getting new a set of new ones are just a few of the reasons. However, there are times when the tire or vehicle manufacturer didn’t construct them properly or used cheap material.

Tread damage on a tire

Typically when tires blowout, it is due to the shredding of the tread layers. When investigations are done on car accidents that are believed to be due to tire defects, the main thing that is looked for is if the metal bond banded with the rubber. If it did not, the tread bonding process failed. It is the responsibility of the tire and vehicle manufacturer to make sure that the processing is done accurately.

Another issue that can cause tires to be defective is if the material use to create them is contaminated with objects like sawdust, candy wrappers, and cigarette butts. If the size of the material does not match the size of the tire or if air is found between the layers of the tire, a blowout will result as well.

Businesses are under the gun to put up big numbers when it comes to profit. What usually happens is that the need to make quality merchandise becomes less important. In recent years, there have been several lawsuits in which tire manufacturers have been found guilty of producing defective tires. As a result, tires will blowout causing rollovers, accidents, and even fatalities.

Along with tire manufacturers, car makers are liable as well. It is their duty to make sure that every part of the car works well and effectively. This is even if they claim that the car has been inspected and is in good condition. When proving an auto accident case due to defective tires, the negligence of manufacturer needs to be established as well along with the defective tire evidence.

New Auto Safety Features Designed to Reduce Auto Accidents

Recent studies have shown that the number of car accidents across the U.S. have dramatically reduced in over the last 40 years. This is surprising since the number of vehicles on the roads have increased as well as the size of most cars and SUVs. The reason for the change is believed to be due to the increase in safety features on most

Side airbag in a car door

cars designed to reduce motor vehicle accidents.

Side Airbags

Since the law required that car manufacturers put air bags on the driver and passenger side, most have taken it a step further and put in side airbags. This helps to protect the driver and passenger from head injury due to a side impact car accident or rollover. In addition, there are side airbags that are attached to the roof that will deploy downward and cover the windows.

Anti-Lock Braking Systems

This feature is important because even the most experienced driver can panic when they are about to become a victim of an accident. Anti-Lock helps the brakes from locking up when they are pumped over and over again. Even so, the driver can still hit the brakes quickly and control the steering wheel to prevent their car from hitting another car or pedestrian if necessary.

Sleep Detection Systems

While most safety features are designed for the car, there are some new ones that are geared for the driver. These features emit a sound, voice, or alarm when the driver’s vitals change and the driver is becoming drowsy or sleepy. Also known as “anti-yawn technology,” it can reduce the number of accidents since it lets the driver know before they fall asleep behind the wheel; to either stop, take a nap, or get a cup of coffee.

Lane Departure Warning System

In correlation with the sleep detection system, this feature warns the driver when their vehicle is drifting into another lane.

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