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Number of smokers soars to 1.1 billion worldwide, study says

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Number of smokers soars to 1.1 billion worldwide, study says

A new study suggests there were a record 1.1 billion smokers worldwide in 2019 and nearly 8 million related deaths. Researchers warn progress against the prevalence of smoking tobacco use has slowed in the last 10 years in many countries and population growth is resulting in an increasing number of smokers.

“Countries have a clear and urgent opportunity to pass strong, evidence-based policies to accelerate reductions in the prevalence of smoking and reap massive health benefits for their citizens,” study authors wrote.

Findings published in The Lancet stem from data on 204 countries and territories as part of the Global Burden of Diseases2019 study. While the World Health Organization ignited positive change in the decade following 2005 through its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – recommending tools like dropping affordability through taxation and greenlighting smoke-free laws — study authors say, 15 years later, “a large implementation gap remains.”

Authors highlighted three notable patterns of concern, including little progress won in countries like China and Indonesia with large populations and a heavy smoking prevalence, an uptick in smokers over time due to population growth and slowing progress. 

Researchers found that 10 countries alone account for almost two-thirds of global smokers: “China, India, Indonesia, the USA, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines.”What’s more, 30% of all smokers worldwide lived in China in 2019, according to the study.

Results suggested most smokers take up the harmful habit between the ages of 14-25, underscoring the need to prevent smoking in younger populations.

Unlike other risk factors, such as obesity, diet and hypertension, if an individual does not become a regular smoker by age 25 years, then they are unlikely to become a smoker,” authors wrote.

“Smoking is a major risk factor that threatens the health of people worldwide, but tobacco control is woefully insufficient in many countries around the world,” Professor Emmanuela Gakidou, senior author, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington, said in a news release. “Persistently high smoking prevalence among young people in many countries, along with the expansion of new tobacco and nicotine products, highlight an urgent need to double down on tobacco control.”

The most common health issues tied to smoking among both sexes included ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer and stroke, altogether comprising some 72% of all deaths connected to smoking tobacco in 2019.

“Our findings are an urgent call to action for countries to implement and enforce stronger tobacco control policies than are currently in place and serve as a blueprint for targeting interventions, monitoring progress, allocating resources and planning for future health system strain,” study authors wrote.

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Can someone have a word with my co-worker about her plunging necklines?

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Can someone have a word with my co-worker about her plunging necklines?

My co-worker has a Jayne Mansfield figure and continually wears plunging necklines, resulting in stares from staff. Can human resources legally advise her to dress more appropriately?

The answer is generally yes. HR can legally have a conversation with an employee about their manner of dress, provided someone isn’t being singled out because of gender, race or religious observance. However, one needs to tread very carefully because unless there is a specific dress code, this conversation is fraught with negative outcomes. Since this is an observation of a coworker and you aren’t this person’s boss, do you really want to engage in this matter or refer it to HR? Do you have the kind of relationship where you can speak to them privately about how their manner of dress is impacting other colleagues? You’d better be damn close colleagues in order to have that conversation, though, otherwise, this is best left to the boss and HR.

I work on a contract basis and there are times when I’m working overtime, but the company will not approve my time sheet past 40 hours. My agency said I should put in for the OT, but I don’t want to rock the boat. Is this legal? Full disclosure: The department I work in is HR so it would be ironic if they are bending the rules.

Well, the fact that you work in the HR department gives me some confidence that they are following the rules, although it’s not like HR hasn’t failed to protect employee rights now and then. A person’s eligibility for OT depends on the work they are doing, whether they are paid a flat fee, or if they are OT eligible, meaning the company approves the extra hours before they are worked. If you are eligible then by law they have to pay you for those hours. You can and should ask for clarification of your situation. If you are eligible and they won’t authorize the extra pay then you shouldn’t work the extra hours. Keep a detailed log of your hours and who was aware that you worked them. If this is a temporary job, you can also consider raising the issue at the end of the assignment. If they don’t comply with back pay, you will have the facts and law on your side.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com

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Woolly mammoth tusk found during roadwork in Oregon

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Woolly mammoth tusk found during roadwork in Oregon

It was a mammoth discovery!

Crews rerouting a gas line in the city of Corvallis, Ore., uncovered the 12,000-year-old tusk of a woolly mammoth beneath the roadway.

“Whenever doing this type of work, our crews are very careful to keep any eye out for any type of materials they may find while working that could be fragile or historic,” a spokeswoman for NW Natural, the gas company doing the work, told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “As is our protocol, we stopped work immediately.”

The excavation work was being done for the city government, part of a project on water lines and storm drains in the area. The company contacted Corvallis officials, who brought in Oregon State University’s Loren Davis, an anthropology professor who researches archaeological sites from western North America that date from the Pleistocene era, more than 12,000 years ago.

Davis said that the mammoth, which co-existed with early humans, probably was buried in the great Missoula floods of the Pleistocene era. The tusk is about 6 feet below ground level, and extends into the construction trench wall, meaning more of the animal’s body might be hidden underground.

The exact reason it ended up there is “a bit of a mystery,” Davis said. “The world was changing structure to a post-glacial one. People also were present. There might have been environmental factors as well as hunting pressure. It could be lots of things.”

Early humans not only hunted mammoths for food, but used their bones and tusks to make tools, dwellings and art.

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McDonald’s worker rage-quits with sign at drive-thru

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McDonald's worker rage-quits with sign at drive-thru

McDonald’s may want to reconsider its “I’m lovin’ it” slogan.

A Louisville, Kentucky, employee apparently despised working at the fast-food chain so much that they hung up a sign on the drive-thru speaker that read: “We are closed because I am quitting and I hate this job.”

After Twitter user Great Ape Dad snapped and posted a picture of the straight-to-the-point sign on Monday morning, it quickly went viral. He later elaborated that the sign supposedly was put up by a night shift manager who had “suddenly quit” the previous night.

Great Ape Dad told Today that he was on his way to pick up the new BTS meal for his wife when he saw the note. “I took a picture, uploaded it to Twitter, not thinking much of anything about it,” he said. “And much to my surprise, it’s had quite a success.” Apparently, none of the employees had seen the sign until he pointed it out.

“I used to work in the service industry myself,” he said. “I think that people are just frustrated, especially the working-class people who are there in the front line … things that are in a boiling point where I can definitely see where someone on a Saturday night that doesn’t want to be working the drive-thru — wants to just call it quits.”

This isn’t an isolated incident. Minimum wage workers have been rage-quitting their low-level jobs in mass quantities as businesses begin to open up again in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Combined with a need for new hires and a push for working wages, companies have begun to take action. 

McDonald’s reported in May that it plans to raise employee wages by 10% in the next few months. Based on location, all entry-level employees can look forward to making anywhere $11 to $17 per hour, and all shift managers will make $15 to $20 an hour.
According to a National Federation of Independent Business survey, 40% of small businesses have job openings that have yet to be filled, while a poll found that 39% of workers would consider quitting if they weren’t offered more flexibility about continuing to work remotely.

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