Low Nicotine may help smokers quit
A new study might help the push for regulations to limit nicotine in cigarettes. Researchers found that smokers who switched to special low-nicotine ones wound up smoking less and were more likely to try to quit. The study only lasted six weeks, but is the first large test to show that slashing nicotine, perhaps below an addiction threshold, is safe and leads to less smoking. Some researchers say this gives support for the Food and Drug Administration to use the power it was given in 2009 to mandate lower nicotine levels. In the study, about 800 people were assigned to smoke their regular brand or one of several experimental types the government made with low nicotine. The New England Journal of Medicine published the results Wednesday.
Author gives $1M to organization
Daniel Handler, the author of children's books under the pen name Lemony Snicket, announced with his wife, Lisa Brown, an author and illustrator, that they are donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood. The couple made their announcement on Twitter. Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of health services, including abortions, through clinics and affiliates, has been embroiled in a fierce fight with congressional Republicans who want to cut off federal funding to the organization. Some lawmakers threatened to shut down the federal government to do so. Some legislators have also accused Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetuses for profit, an allegation that arose in July when abortion opponents released clandestine videos that the organization said were manipulated.
EPA SEts limits for toxic pollutants
The Environmental Protection Agency has imposed new standards for mercury, lead and other toxic pollutants that are discharged into the nation's rivers and streams from steam electric power plants. The pollutants can cause neurological damage in children, lead to cancer and damage the circulatory system, kidneys and livers. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the rules, the first national limits on pollutants from steam electricity plants, will provide significant protections from exposure to pollutants.