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News at Noon: Surgeon general labels youth 'vaping' a public health threat; major improvements at Port Tampa Bay; City Council going after developer over Chinese drywall; how to rent a reindeer

U.S. Surgeon General appointee Vivek Murthy  is calling e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat to the nation's youth. In a report, Murthy acknowledges a need for more research into the health effects of "vaping," but says e-cigarettes aren't harmless and too many teens are using them. [Associated Press]

U.S. Surgeon General appointee Vivek Murthy is calling e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat to the nation's youth. In a report, Murthy acknowledges a need for more research into the health effects of "vaping," but says e-cigarettes aren't harmless and too many teens are using them. [Associated Press]

In a report being released Thursday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged a need for more research into the health effects of "vaping," but said e-cigarettes aren't harmless and too many teens are using them. Federal figures show that last year, 16 percent of high school students reported at least some use of e-cigarettes — even some who say they've never smoked a conventional cigarette. While not all contain nicotine, Murthy's report says e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco-related product among youth.

MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR PORT TAMPA BAY

Port Tampa Bay will spend $1.4 billion over the next 15-20 years on expansion and improvements, CEO Paul Anderson said today. Among the planned capital improvements: A new petroleum complex, expanded container terminal and gateway rail at the Interstate 4 corridor. Stay with tampabay.com for a complete story later today.

COUNCIL LOOKS INTO LEGAL CLAIM AGAINST DEVELOPER OF HOMES WITH CHINESE DRYWALL

While a Hillsborough County rescue plan to rehab four government-subsidized homes marred by Chinese drywall is already under way, Tampa City Council still wants to go after Michaels Development Co., the firm that built Belmont Heights Estates. City council members recently voted for staff to look into whether the city has any legal action it can take against the New Jersey firm. It also plans to write letters to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson urging that Michaels, an affordable-housing developer, get no other federal contracts because of their refusal to help the families who were stuck living in toxic homes for roughly nine years.

HOW DO YOU RENT A REINDEER IN FLORIDA? IT'S COMPLICATED

[CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]

Reindeer are in demand around the holidays. They're also extremely rare, very expensive, subject to regulations that can make them illegal and moved around by a secretive handful of people. On top of that, they command a stars' pampered treatment on arrival. And if you find yourself in need of a reindeer in Florida, there's literally one guy you can call: Dargan Watts.

THE LATEST FROM ST. PETERSBURG CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The St. Petersburg City Council is set to meet at 3 p.m. Follow Charlie Frago at @CharlieFrago for updates.

DAVIS, LEWIS JOIN CELEBRATION OF HARRY POTTER AT UNIVERSAL

Universal Orlando has announced its first wave of Harry Potter film stars set to attend its fourth Celebration of Harry Potter in January. Fans will have to perfect their "swish and flick" for Warwick Davis, who played Professor Flitwick and Griphook. Also announced was Matthew Lewis, who played the argyle-sweater-wearing Neville Longbottom. More film stars are expected to be announced later.

RAYS ADD TO BULLPEN OPTIONS WITH RULE 5 PICK

The Rays added a candidate for a spot in their bullpen, selecting right-hander Kevin Gadea from the Mariners in today's Rule 5 draft. Gadea, 22, has only pitched as high as Class A, but the Rays believe the converted infielder has a chance to make the jump to the big leagues, as he has to stay on the roster.

SALUTING 'GREENERY,' A COLOR OF BOLD CHANGE

Amid social, political and environmental tumult around the world, the Pantone Color Institute has plucked fresh and zesty "greenery" as the color of the year for 2017. The vibrant green with yellow undertones is an answer, of sorts, to bruising 2016, signaling a yearning to rejuvenate, and to reconnect to both nature and something larger than oneself, said Laurie Pressman, the institute's vice president.

News at noon is a weekday feature from tampabay.com. Check in Monday through Friday for updates and information on the biggest stories of the day.

News at Noon: Surgeon general labels youth 'vaping' a public health threat; major improvements at Port Tampa Bay; City Council going after developer over Chinese drywall; how to rent a reindeer 12/08/16 [Last modified: Thursday, December 8, 2016 11:57am]
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