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Saturday, Dec 20th

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Smoking levels reach all-time low in the United States

Smoking at all time low in USAmericans are kicking the habit in record numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes is at an all-time low in the United States. From 2005 to 2008, the number of smokers in the U.S. dropped from from 45.1 million to 42.1 million. Today, just 17.8 percent of Americans over the age of 18 smoke cigarettes -- a record low.

The annual report, released Wednesday by the CDC, found the percentage of admitted smokers who smoke cigarettes daily is also falling. Additionally, smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes per day. Health experts greeted such details with lukewarm enthusiasm.

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Coca-Cola's new venture: Expensive milk

coca cola milkWith soda sales sagging, Coca-Cola is moving into the dairy business. It plans to offer milk with some big differences to the stuff now on supermarket shelves: For starters, it will cost twice as much.

A Coke exec told a conference last week that the company's Fairlife will be "a milk that's premiumized and tastes better and we'll charge twice as much for it as the milk we're used to buying," the Guardian reports. Chief Customer Officer Sandy Douglas said the milk, which is being produced in venture involving 92 family-owned farms and will launch next month, will contain 50% more protein and 30% less sugar than regular milk.

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Vancouver Experiments With Prescription Heroin

Prescription heroinVancouver, one of North America's most progressive cities in respect to drug policy, will conduct a groundbreaking experiment: prescription heroin.

Following a clinical trial involving 26 subjects, doctors at the city's Providence Medical Clinic have earned permission to provide doses of the drug to a group of 120 severe addicts. The decision followed a lengthy back and forth with Rona Ambrose, Canada's federal Health Secretary, who opposes the policy.

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Federal court allows Mississippi's only abortion clinic to remain open

abortion clinic mississippiA federal appeals court said Thursday that it won’t reconsider its earlier ruling that a 2012 Mississippi abortion law is unconstitutional.

The decision means the law remains blocked and Mississippi’s only abortion clinic remains open.  The law required abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, sued the state to try to block the law as it was taking effect. A federal district judge in Jackson blocked the state from enforcing the law while the clinic tried, unsuccessfully, to get admitting doctors’ privileges.

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Dear New York City's Uninsured: Screw You, Love Governor Cuomo

Andrew CuomoBridging the gap between policy debate and real, appreciable government support, Remote Area Medical has hosted over 700 clinics and served hundreds of thousands of patients, all on a shoestring budget consisting of small dollar donations and volunteer labor. The New York City event would have been RAM's largest clinic ever, the jewel in the crown of their miraculous work.

The operative phrase here is now "would have been." The clinic was cavalierly canceled a mere two weeks before its scheduled date. The doors won't open at 5 a.m. or any other hour. The 500 dentists and 2,500 non-medical volunteers lined up months in advance can take their good will elsewhere.

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Canadian couple ends up with $1M hospital bill for birth in Hawaii

Blue CrossA Canadian couple got stuck with an enormous hospital bill after their baby came nine weeks early while they were on vacation in Hawaii.

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel was almost six months pregnant when her water broke two days into her Hawaii trip in October 2013. She ended up staying in the hospital for two months -- six weeks of bed rest before her daughter was born by emergency C-section -- and got slapped with a $950,000 hospital bill.

Huculak-Kimmel and her husband had purchased Blue Cross insurance before the trip and said they got approval from her doctor to travel.

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Eating trans fat may damage memory

transfatYet another reason to cut back on cookies: A new study shows that eating trans fat – used for decades in margarine and to increase the shelf life of packaged cookies and crackers – may damage memory.

Of 690 young and middle-aged men tested, those who reported eating the most trans fat, also called partially hydrogenated oil, remembered 11 fewer words out of 104 than those who ate the least, according to the study presented today at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago.

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