HealthWise at 5 From 6.5 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/5/02

HealthWise at 5 From 6.5

  • New Legal Smoking Age May Hit California

In Texas you have to be 18 to buy cigarettes. In California, that number may be bumped to 21 if the California Medical Association has its way. California would become the first state in the nation to raise the age limit for smoking from age 18 to 21. There is already a bill underway. Backers say it would be an important tool in their efforts to prevent teen smoking, but the measure faces a pitched battle at the capitol where groups that would normally be allies are skeptical. "I think it has good intentions. I don't know whether it's by the time you're 21, you've pretty much made up your mind. The kids are buying cigarettes and getting cigarettes when they're much younger than that," says Ann Goure of the American Cancer Society.

"A lot of the statistics we have show that the students, teens, really get most of their cigarettes through social sources rather than getting them at the stores. Either by bumming them off friends, boring them, buying them off friends or even getting them from parents," says John Lagomarsino of Sacramento I.S.D.

Backers of the bill including the California Medical Association say the change is needed to crack down on the tobacco abuse. But groups like the Cancer Society are neutral and are pushing higher cigarette taxes instead, thinking that's an effort that is more likely to pass.

  • More Deadly Cocaine Effects

It's estimated that nearly 25 million Americans have tried Cocaine, which is a major cause of life-threatening heart attacks and other deadly heart conditions. Now, new research out of Dallas finds another deadly health risk linked to Cocaine. Research out of UT Southwestern Medical Center shows Cocaine raises body temperature by slowing the body's ability to cool itself. And that the drug also lowers a person's ability to sense when they've become overheated so they are less likely to drink water or get into cooler conditions.

In fact, the Dallas study shows even small amounts of Cocaine can lead to heat-related illnesses, even death, when taken in a warm environment, like hot weather or a crowded nightclub.

The research appears in the recent issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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