E-cigarettes would be banned in public places under California bill

admin   •   January 27, 2015   •   2579

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this illustration picture taken in Paris, March 5, 2013.
CREDIT: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN

(Reuters) – California would ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and ramp up enforcement against selling them to minors under a bill introduced in the legislature on Monday.

There is growing concern about the health risks from e-cigarettes, also known as vapor cigarettes or vapes, which are not lit or smoked like their old-fashioned counterparts, but do generally release nicotine in a heated liquid.

“Whether you get people hooked on e-cigarettes or regular cigarettes, it’s nicotine addiction and it kills,” Democratic state Senator Mark Leno, who introduced the bill, said in a telephone interview. “We’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarette use just like we did from traditional tobacco use.”

The bill would add e-cigarettes to the list of tobacco products regulated in the state, which already forbids smoking in workplaces, restaurants, bars and other places. It would also ramp up penalties for selling e-cigarettes, which come in such flavors as bubble gum and chocolate, to minors.

California would be the fourth U.S. state to treat them like regular cigarettes, and the 23rd to regulate e-cigarettes in some way. In California, the most populous U.S. state, 122 cities and counties have banned the use of e-cigarettes in certain public places.

Second-hand e-cigarette emissions contain cancer-causing chemicals, and could put children and others at risk if they are in proximity to users, said Kimberly Amazeen, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association in California.

The bill was criticized Monday by a group calling itself the American Vaping Association, which said it would harm smokers who are trying to quit by switching to e-cigarettes, which are marketed as a safer alternative to the combustible kind because they do not flood the lungs with smoke.

“California smokers deserve truthful information about smoke-free alternatives, not hype and conjecture designed to scare them away from attempting to quit with these innovative technology products,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said in a press release.

But Leno, whose bill is backed by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, said the vapor released by the e-cigarettes contains carcinogens, and the nicotine in them is addictive.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Grant McCool)

France to reopen on Monday, Paris region to unwind lockdown more slowly

UNTV News   •   May 8, 2020

France is ready to start unwinding its coronavirus lockdown from next Monday as planned, the prime minister said on Thursday (May 7), although some regions including the Paris area where the disease is still circulating would keep some restrictions.

The country has made enough progress in slowing down the spread of the virus and reducing strain in hospitals to gradually return to normal, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told a news conference. Schools, cafes and most shops have been shut for nearly two months.

Beyond the Paris area, administrative regions around Calais, Strasbourg and Dijon will also remain classified as “red zones”, where some restrictions will remain – such as keeping parks, gardens and secondary schools shut.

In other parts of France, secondary schools, cafes and restaurants may open from early June if the infection rate remains low, Philippe said.

In Paris, commuters will need permission forms from their employers to use the metro or buses at peak hours and across France the wearing of masks on public transport will be compulsory and enforced by a fine of 135 euros.

Next week, about 1 million children and 130,000 teachers will return to school, the education minister said.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that following the lifting of the lockdown the country’s borders would remain closed until further notice.

Philippe said on Thursday that the government would reinforce restrictions if the spread of the new coronavirus accelerated again.

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in France was up 178 or 0.7% to 25,987 on Thursday, the lowest rate of increase in four days. (Reuters)

(Production: Johnny Cotton)

Kobe Bryant helicopter involved in ‘high energy impact’ crash, says NTSB

UNTV News   •   January 29, 2020

Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Investigators said on Tuesday (January 28) that the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant was involved in a “high energy impact crash” when it slammed into a hillside in foggy weather on Sunday, killing the basketball star and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter.

“We know that the helicopter was at 2300 ft (700 meters) when it lost communication with air traffic control. The descent rate for the helicopter was over 2,000 ft (600 meters) a minute, so, we know that this was a high energy impact crash,” Jennifer Homendy, of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

As the helicopter crash probe entered its second full day in the foothills just outside Calabasas, about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the NTSB investigators combed through the wreckage and used drones as they sought uncover the cause of the accident.

“We were able to recover an iPad and a cell phone. We do not know if that’s the pilot’s iPad so we are going to take those personal electronic devices, we are going to send them back to our lab at headquarters for further analysis,” said Homendy.

“We also worked with drones today, to document the scene and then we duplicated part of the flight path. So, we flew part of the end part of the flight path with our drones using ADSB data,” she added.

Low clouds, fog and limited visibility over the region at the time of the crash have emerged as a prominent focus of the investigation. (Reuters)

(Production: Omar Younis)

NTSB says Kobe Bryant helicopter crash left ‘devastating accident scene’

UNTV News   •   January 28, 2020

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called on Monday (January 27) for the public to give it any photographs or video that might have been taken of the weather in the area of the helicopter wreck that killed basketball star Kobe Bryant.

The crash on Sunday (January 28) left a “devastating accident scene,” NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said.

“We have a request for the public. We’re looking for photos of the weather in the area of the crash. If you have photos that can help us, again, in the area of the crash, if you could send those photos to witness-at-ntsb-dot-gov,” she said.

Air traffic controller recordings showed the pilot was flying too low to be monitored in fog.

“The pilot advised they were climbing to avoid a cloud layer,” Homendy said. “Radar data indicates the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet and then began a left descending turn. Last radar contact was around 9:45 a.m. and is consistent with the accident location.”

Coroner’s investigators said on Monday they had recovered three bodies from the crash site and were searching for more remains.

The Sikorsky S-76 chopper slammed into a steep hillside on outside Calabasas, California, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, killing all nine people on board, igniting a brush fire and spreading debris over hundreds of feet of grassy terrain.

The NTSB offered no update on the search for victims but said investigators were expected to be on the scene for as many as five days.

Bryant, who won five NBA championships in his 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was known since his playing days to travel frequently by helicopter to avoid the Los Angeles area’s glacial traffic. (Reuters)

(Production: Jane Ross, Krystian Orlinski)

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