Connect with us

Lifestyle & Culture

WHO report reveals number of men smoking falling for first time in 20 years

The global smoking epidemic is mainly a male issue — data from the WHO suggests that there were 1.34 billion smokers across the globe in 2019. Eight in 10 smokers are male, making up 1.093 billion of the total figure.

Published

on

While rates of smoking among men have fallen fast in developed countries like the UK, the USA, France, and Germany, the same is not true of the rest of the world. The rate of uptake in developing countries continued unabated over the last twenty years, due to rising incomes, growing populations, and increased city migration. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY.COM

That state of affairs, however, could be changing, at least according to a massive data collection effort from the World Health Organization. The international agency set up to promote global health and wellbeing found that 2019 was the first year since the millennium in which the number of men smoking fell

The global smoking epidemic is mainly a male issue — data from the WHO suggests that there were 1.34 billion smokers across the globe in 2019. Eight in 10 smokers are male, making up 1.093 billion of the total figure. 

The number of male tobacco smokers worldwide, however, has risen much more slowly than the total population. In 2000, 1.05 billion men smoked; 43 million lower than it is today. The world’s population, however, rose by nearly 1,500 million people over the same period. The fact that the number is now falling, therefore, suggest that we’ve turned a corner. Despite the growing number of people living today, the proportion of smokers is going down. 

For many, these changes don’t come soon enough. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco usage leads to around eight million premature deaths per year. Most of those are among the people who smoke, but some result from second-hand exposure. 

Smoking releases dozens of toxic compounds into the atmosphere, like arsenic, formaldehyde, and lead believed to result in a range of diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and COPD. The burden of these diseases is felt most strongly by the world’s poorest people who don’t have as much access to healthcare. 

Smoking Facts

The facts about smoking can sometimes be a little hazy. Here are some things that you should know: 

  • WHO analysis suggests that around half of all smokers will die for reasons related to their habit
  • The majority of smoking protection laws apply mainly in the developed world – only 20 percent of the global population. In other countries, tobacco companies are free to advertise their products how they like. 
  • Around 5.6 million children alive today in the US will die because of smoking-related causes
  • The cost of tobacco to the US economy alone is estimated at more than $300 billion. Around half of this figure is the effect due to lost productivity, and the rest is the direct cost of medical care. 
  • You can find all manner of harmful chemicals in tobacco products, including radioactive heavy metals, such as polonium.
  • The benzene in tobacco is one of the leading causes of cancer called myeloid leukemia. In countries with high levels of environmental protections, like the US, 90 percent of benzene exposure comes from tobacco products.
  • Data suggest that there are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. Researchers believe that more than 250 of them are harmful to health, and eleven are classified as class 1 carcinogens, putting them in the same category as processed meat. 
  • China is home to the world’s largest population of smokers, with more than 300 million people lighting up regularly. The country consumes a staggering 1.7 trillion cigarettes per year. 
  • Medical research suggests that just five cigarettes contain enough nicotine to kill an adult if eaten whole. The amount of nicotine that a smoker actually ingests is usually about 0.03 milligrams per cigarette.
  • While smoking is famous for causing lung cancer, it is not the only malignancy that researchers have linked to the habit. Smoking can also raise your risk of liver, mouth, throat, pancreatic, and rectal cancers. 
  • Smoking hits the world’s poorest people the hardest. Eighty percent of smokers worldwide live in developing or emerging market countries. 
  • Smoking cuts life expectancy by an average of around 13 years. If you smoke and also have HIV, then it reduces your life short by a staggering 16 years. 
  • The CDC estimates that there are around 37.8 million people who smoke in the United States.
  • Data indicate that one person dies from smoking-related diseases every five seconds globally.

While the costs of smoking are startling on a global scale, we’re seeing a dramatic decline in the proportion of people engaging in the habit. As information flows out about the health risks of taking up smoking, increasing numbers of people are looking for alternatives or quitting altogether. 

The latest trend is towards non-tobacco products that do not contain the hundreds of carcinogenic compounds found in regular cigarettes. The rising popularity of vape shop outlets is a testament to these changing habits. A combination of public health action and private innovation, therefore, may be what eventually leads to the demise of the tobacco industry.

Is the writing on the wall that smoking will cease to play a significant role in human health in the future? The answer is “probably.” As economies like China and India become wealthier, the demand for health will increase. These countries will experience a transition in attitudes, away from the notion that life is nasty, brutish, and short and more towards a western conception. People will likely actively invest in their health, looking for opportunities to stay younger and live longer. Wellness may become a dominant trend in these countries as they industrialize, just like it has in the developed world. 

While the number of people smoking globally has fallen, the WHO is still skeptical of whether it will meet its reduction targets. The agency wants to see the number of people smoking worldwide fall by 30 percent in those aged fifteen and over by the end of the 2020 reporting year. The agency knows, though, that unless countries with large populations begin robust national programs, it won’t achieve its goals. 

The tide, however, turned long ago in developed countries, and the same is now happening on the global stage. Tobacco’s days could be numbered. 

NEWSMAKERS

LGB online daters report positive experiences… plus harassment

LGB online daters are more likely than their straight counterparts to experience a range of negative behaviors on dating platforms, varying from name-calling to physical threats. Among those who have ever used an online dating site or app, they reported experiencing at least one of the forms of harassment measured in this survey on those sites and apps (69%, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts).

Published

on

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults who use online dating sites and apps generally report that their experiences with online dating have been positive – even more than straight online daters (65% said their experience was very or somewhat positive, versus 56% of straight online daters).

This is according to a Pew Research Center survey, which found that a majority of LGB adults (55%) report that they have used an online dating site or app at some point, roughly twice the share of straight adults (28%) who say the same.

Among LGB adults who are married, living with a partner, or in a committed relationship, 28% say they met their current partner online. This is more than double when compared with 11% of partnered straight adults.

Also, among LGB people who are now single and looking for a relationship or dates, 37% are currently online dating (versus 24% of straight people who are single and looking).

However – and this is worth highlighting – LGB online daters are also more likely than their straight counterparts to experience a range of negative behaviors on dating platforms, varying from name-calling to physical threats. Among those who have ever used an online dating site or app, they reported experiencing at least one of the forms of harassment measured in this survey on those sites and apps (69%, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts).

More than half of LGB online daters (56%) say they have received a sexually explicit message or image they did not ask for, compared with 32% of straight online daters who say the same.

Stalking was also raised as an issue, with roughly half of LGB online daters (48%) saying that someone continued to contact them after they said they weren’t interested, compared with 35% of their straight counterparts.

About four in 10 LGB online daters (41%) say someone called them an offensive name on one of these sites or apps – 16 percentage points higher than the share of straight online daters (25%) who say the same.

Lastly, 17% of LGB online daters said that someone on a dating site or app threatened to physically harm them. This is more than twice the share of straight online daters (7%).

Perhaps not surprisingly, according to the Pew Research Center survey, LGB adults who have ever online dated are more likely than straight online daters to think harassment and bullying is a “common problem” on dating sites and apps (70%, compared to 61% of non-LGBs).

No matter the drawbacks, don’t expect online daters – LGBT or straight – to just dump it.

As per the Pew Research Center survey, even among those who experienced at least one of the asked-about forms of harassment on dating sites and apps, they still said that online dating is safe for the most part. Three-quarters of LGB people who have experienced at least one of the harassing behaviors saying it’s a very or somewhat safe way to meet someone, with 64% of straight online daters who have been harassed agreeing.

And with 78% of LGBT online daters (and 69% of their straight counterparts) still believing that dating sites and apps are a very or somewhat safe way to meet people, this trend isn’t going anywhere soon…

Continue Reading

Travel

Anti-LGBTQIA ‘conversion therapy’ now prohibited by Albanian psychologists

In a move that effectively bans “conversion therapy” in Albania, the country’s Order of Psychologists announced that it will prohibit registered members from offering attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Published

on

Photo by Polina Rytova from Unsplash.com

In a move that effectively bans “conversion therapy” in Albania, the country’s Order of Psychologists announced that it will prohibit registered members from offering attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Conversion therapy” is the most widely-used term used to describe practices attempting to change, suppress or divert one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It is also called reorientation therapy, reparative therapy, reintegrative therapy, or, more recently, support for unwanted same-sex attraction or transgender identities.

Medical associations are critical of this practice – e.g. the World Psychiatric Association criticized these as “wholly unethical,” and the Pan American Health Organization warned that they pose “a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”

Other countries deal this this, including Malta, Ecuador, Germany, Brazil and Taiwan. Still other countries are in the process of banning the practice, including Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the US.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Study finds more severe eating disorders among LGBT individuals

Delays in accessing treatment are especially widespread for transgender and nonbinary individuals with eating disorders. Some of the causes include delayed diagnosis by providers who fail to assess non-cisgender female patients for disordered eating, as well as limited access to trans-affirming treatment options.

Published

on

Photo from @thoughtcatalog via Unsplash.com

A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders finds that eating disorder patients who identify as LGBT have more severe eating disorder symptoms, higher rates of trauma history, and longer delays between diagnosis and treatment than heterosexual, cisgender patients.

“While we know there is a higher prevalence of eating disorders among LGBTQ folks, particularly trans and non-binary folks (with rates estimated to be anywhere from 40% to 70%), our field is in its infancy with researching this health disparity, so I believe research like ours is especially important” said clinical psychologist Jennifer Henretty PhD, CEDS, one of the study’s co-authors who serves as the Executive Director of Clinical Outcomes for Discovery Behavioral Health, Center For Discovery.

Eating disorders are a serious mental health concern: At least 30 million people—of all ages, sexual orientations, and gender-identities—experience an eating disorder in the US alone, and every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

The most common eating disorders are binge eating disorder, where people regularly eat a large amount in a short period of time; bulimia nervosa, where people regularly eat a large amount in a short period of time and then try to offset the food using harmful behaviors (like vomiting); and anorexia nervosa, where people regularly eat too little due to a fear of gaining weight and thus are malnourished.

The causes of eating disorders are not clear but both biological and environmental factors are thought to play a role. Eating disorders typically begin in adolescence but it appears that the rate of the disorder may be on the rise in middle-aged and even older adults.

The peer-reviewed academic study analyzed data from 2,818 individuals treated in residential (RTC), partial hospitalization (PHP), and/or intensive outpatient (IOP) levels-of-care at a large eating disorder treatment organization; 471 (17%) of the participants identified as LGBT. The facilities were operated by Center for Discovery, a US healthcare provider specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

Research shows that individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or other non-heterosexual/non-cisgender identities have significantly higher rates of mental and physical health conditions compared to their heterosexual, cisgender peers.

“LGBT individuals are more likely to experience housing and employment discrimination, and to struggle with multiple mental health challenges related to minority stress; this perfect storm of barriers means eating behaviors are often overlooked,” said Vaughn Darst, RD, who serves as Operations Advisor for Discovery Behavioral Health, Center For Discovery and who also discussed in a TedX talk the complex issue at the intersection of gender, body image, food and identity.

The study found a full 12-month delay in treatment for LGBT patients compared to non-LGBT patients.

“Delays in accessing treatment are especially widespread for transgender and nonbinary individuals with eating disorders. Some of the causes include delayed diagnosis by providers who fail to assess non-cisgender female patients for disordered eating, as well as limited access to trans-affirming treatment options, particularly at the residential level of care” said Darst.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Greater availability of non-alcoholic drinks may reduce alcohol consumption

The findings suggest that interventions to encourage healthier food and drink choices may be most effective when changing the relative availability of healthier and less-healthy options.

Published

on

Photo by Joyce McCown from Unsplash.com

People are more likely to opt for non-alcoholic drinks if there are more of them available than alcoholic drinks, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

A team of researchers at the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, and the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge, UK found that when presented with eight drink options, participants were 48% more likely to choose a non-alcoholic drink when the proportion of non-alcoholic drink options increased from four (50%) to six (75%). When the proportion of non-alcoholic drink options decreased from four to two (25%), participants were 46% less likely to choose a non-alcoholic drink.

Dr Anna Blackwell, the corresponding author said: “Alcohol consumption is among the top five risk factors for disease globally. Previous research has shown that increasing the availability of healthier food options can increase their selection and consumption relative to less healthy food. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that increasing the availability of non-alcoholic drinks, relative to alcoholic drinks in an online scenario, can increase their selection.”

Participants in the study completed an online task in which they were presented with a selection of alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic beer and soft-drinks. The drink selections included four alcoholic and four non-alcoholic drinks, six alcoholic and two non-alcoholic drinks or two alcoholic and six non-alcoholic drinks. 808 UK residents with an average age of 38 years who regularly consumed alcohol participated in the study.

When presented with mostly non-alcoholic drinks, 49% of participants selected a non-alcoholic drink, compared to 26% of participants who selected a non-alcoholic drink when presented with mostly alcoholic drinks. These results were consistent regardless of the time participants had to make their decision, indicating that the findings were not dependent on the amount of time and attention participants were able to devote to their drink choice. The findings suggest that interventions to encourage healthier food and drink choices may be most effective when changing the relative availability of healthier and less-healthy options.

Anna Blackwell said: “Many licensed venues already offer several non-alcoholic options but these are often stored out of direct sight, for example in low-level fridges behind the bar. Our results indicate that making these non-alcoholic products more visible to customers may influence them to make healthier choices. The market for alcohol-free beer, wine and spirit alternatives is small but growing and improving the selection and promotion of non-alcoholic drinks in this way could provide an opportunity for licensed venues to reduce alcohol consumption without losing revenue.”

The authors caution that as the study measured hypothetical drink selection online, results may differ in real-world settings. Further studies are needed to determine how the relative availability of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks impacts the purchasing and consumption of alcohol in real life.

Alcoholism is a big issue in the LGBTQIA community.

In 2017, a study found that bisexual people had higher odds of engaging in alcohol use behaviors when compared with people from the sexual majority. This study also found that bullying mediated sexual minority status and alcohol use more particularly among bisexual females.

Still in 2017, another study noted higher levels of alcohol use among men who have sex with men (MSM), which is closely associated with intimate partner violence (IPV). The same study found that over half of MSM experienced IPV, and just under half of MSM perpetrating IPV themselves, including physical, sexual, emotional or HIV-related IPV.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Culture

Slot game guide for Rainbrew

Looking at the masses of very good online slot games out there today.

Published

on

Among the masses of very good online slot games out there today, there is a rather large number of games at 666 Casino that adhere to the same theme.

One of these such themes is that of Luck o’ the Irish, with the old Irish charm clearly being an attractive trait for both developers and online gamblers. The amount of games made with this aesthetic and narrative in mind, makes it a little harder to stand out from the rest of the rainbows and leprechauns at times, but Rainbrew does just that with a unique twist of the format.

This 3, 5, 5, 5, 3 reel slot game with 243 ways to win, turns rainbows into a brew, enjoyed by leprechauns, themselves. The unique layout and this slightly humorous narrative combine to make a fine addition to the many Irish themed slot games out there already. 

About the developer 

Rainbrew was developed by Just For The Win in collaboration with Microgaming.

The latter is a name that regular players of online slot games will know well, as Microgaming have a huge collection of online slot games and slot machines to their name, with many of them using interesting and original themes.

Microgaming have done well to add a different dynamic to the Irish themed slot game here, adding some of their smart, trademark animations to make a very playable slot game. 

About the game 

As already mentioned, Rainbrew has a different narrative to most Irish themed slot games. We aren’t just chasing rainbows and pots of gold here, as the leprechauns featured are crafting their own brew which, judging by the colour of it, looks as if it is made of rainbows.

Bubbles in pipes provide the border for the reels, with a blue tube and a green tube at the top and bottom of the screen respectively. The symbols of the reels look woody, with smoking pipes, mugs full of this special rainbow brew, barrels and the game’s 2 leprechaun characters appearing on them.

The game has quite an interesting layout but one that many gamers will have seen before, as 243 ways to win are made of the 3, 5, 5, 5, 3 reels on display. On them you will see wild symbols that are able to substitute for almost all other symbols to create a winning combination. The only symbol that a wild cannot be swapped for is the scatter, which is crucial to the bonus features.

Bonus Features 

The bonus features in Rainbrew come in the form of a classic free spins round and the more custom-made feature, which is the Sidewinder Feature.

The former is triggered when the scatter lands on reels 2, 4 and the horizontal reels, with up to 10 free spins being the result. 

Verdict 

All in all, this is a fine addition to the slot game collection that Microgaming has and a fine addition to all of the popular Irish-themed slot games out there, too. The free spins feature is key to big wins, so let’s hope you land those scatters.

Continue Reading

Love Affairs

Unique gifts for the man in your life that you can both enjoy

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember when shopping for a gift for your partner is to be thoughtful. Try to find a gift that is personal and unique, so that they feel supported and valued.

Published

on

Finding the perfect gift can be hard, particularly when you’re buying for a man who already has a lot of gadgetry and an independent income.

Often, they tend to buy themselves the gadgets and garments they want, leaving you with limited options when it comes to finding them a present they’ll love. 

Don’t despair, because there are still loads of ways to surprise them and give them an unforgettable treat. If you’re trying to find a gift, be it for a birthday, holiday or special occasion, then read on to find a selection of ideas that you can share with them. 

An Experience Voucher

One of the best ways to give a unique, unforgettable gift to the man in your life is to buy him an experience voucher. There are many options to choose from, ranging from supercar track days and hot air balloon rides through to cooking lessons and cocktail masterclasses, meaning there’s something for everyone. You can choose an experience that you will both love and book it for them so that they have something to look forward to in the future. 

You can choose an experience that you will both love and book it for them.

A Sex Toy

If the love of your life is a fan of spicing things up in the bedroom, then there are these options here for sex toys that will entice and engage them. You can use them on your partner, or allow them to use them on you, to create intimate experiences that neither of you will forget. A sex toy is also a great way to start experimenting in the bedroom, so buying one as a gift way to start your journey towards a fulfilling and exciting sex life. Just make sure he doesn’t open it in front of his family! 

A sex toy is a great way to start experimenting in the bedroom.

Designer Underwear

Many men wear the same old underwear for years, but this can be uncomfortable for them, as well as unappealing for you. Try to find them some new underwear made by a designer brand, so that they can look good and you can feel even better. Try to buy them in a style that suits their body and a color that will set off their skin tone, so that their underwear will look good and well as keeping your partner snug and comfortable. 

Try to find them some new underwear made by a designer brand, so that they can look good and you can feel even better.

A High-End Electric Guitar 

If your partner is an avid guitar player, but you want to enjoy some respite from the sound of their favorite songs coming through the walls during their late-night jam sessions, then consider buying them a luxury electric guitar. When played without an amp, they are almost entirely silent, meaning that they can practice to their heart’s content while you sleep soundly in another room. Check out the high-end electric guitars on offer from some of the world’s most respected instrument makers to find one that your man will love. 

When played without an amp, they are almost entirely silent, meaning that they can practice to their heart’s content while you sleep soundly in another room.

A Couple’s Massage

Massages are a relaxing spa treatment that almost everyone enjoys, so if your partner is a fan of being pampered, then consider getting them a voucher for a couple’s massage or spa day. You can both indulge in a relaxing massage and spend a relaxing day together. Many spas also offer you the chance to try out other treatments with your partner, so check out the menu and see if there’s anything that you will both enjoy. Afterwards, you can cool off in the pool or the hot tub, bringing your relaxing, rejuvenating day to a close and leaving you both refreshed and ready to face whatever the future brings.

You can both indulge in a relaxing massage and spend a relaxing day together.

A Pet

Buying a pet as a surprise gift is not advisable, but if you and your partner have been considering taking the leap and becoming a pet parent for some time, then paying for it could be a great gift. Make sure that you both choose the animal together so that you find one that fits perfectly into your little family. You might not be able to surprise them, but you will be able to buy a gift that you will both love and which will be a major part of your lives for many years to come. 

If you and your partner have been considering taking the leap and becoming a pet parent for some time, then paying for it could be a great gift.

A Trendy Kitchen Accessory 

Gourmet cooking has become fashionable over recent years, thanks to celebrity chefs. As a result, many men love to spend their time in the kitchen, whipping up their favorite dishes. Search for a quality kitchen accessory that will enhance their cooking experience and help them to create even more tasty treats, which you, of course, will be more than happy to sample to check that they taste as good as they look.

Gourmet cooking has become fashionable over recent years, thanks to celebrity chefs.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember when shopping for a gift for your partner is to be thoughtful. Try to find a gift that is personal and unique, so that they feel supported and valued. Use this list to find inspiration and share the joy with your loved one. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

Most Popular