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March 4, 2014 | By David Zahniser and Marisa Gerber
E-cigarettes have been promoted as a safer alternative to cancer-causing tobacco products that can wean heavy smokers off their habit. But on Tuesday, Los Angeles officials joined a growing list of cities that treat e-cigarettes just the same as regular cigarettes, banning their use in parks, restaurants and most workplaces. The decision came after an impassioned and at times highly personal debate at the City Council that highlighted the backlash the smokeless cigarettes have generated as their popularity grows.
February 25, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- Smog seems to have helped Smaug at the Chinese box office this last weekend. "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug," raked in about $33.7 million from Friday to Sunday, consulting firm Artisan Gateway said Tuesday, putting it in first place. Intense air pollution covering much of northern China may have helped drive patrons to theaters, as the government advised people to limit outdoor activities. "Smaug" far outperformed the opening weekend of director Peter Jackson's first installment in the Warner Bros.
February 25, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
What would happen if the Energizer Bunny mated with Chucky? The result would probably look something like Toronto's crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford. He has become the political horror show that just keeps going, and going, and going. After the Toronto City Council stripped him of all his non-statutory powers in November, reducing him to nothing more than a bobblehead , I mean figurehead, Ford was supposed to go away, get sober and engage in some meaningful introspection. Not that anyone would have noticed his absence from City Hall.
February 22, 2014 | By Catherine Saillant
Francisco Hernandez was a fiercely independent man, refusing help from family and neighbors -- even firing Meals on Wheels -- as he moved into old age at his Mt. Washington home. So it's not surprising that the 89-year-old World War II Purple Heart recipient was home alone with his bulldog, Nero, when a fire late Friday tore through the tiny cottage he's lived in for the last 40 years. Hernandez's body was found Saturday among the charred remains of the structure that sits on a winding, narrow street in the 500 block of West Avenue 44. His dog survived the fire.
February 4, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants teenagers to know the “real cost” of smoking - and it's not measured in dollars. Teens who pick up a cigarette habit will wind up paying with their skin, their teeth and even their freedom, a new ad campaign warns. Other government agencies and public health groups have produced commercials about the dangers of smoking. The $54-million “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prompted about 100,000 smokers to quit after airing for just 12 weeks, according to a 2013 study in the journal Lancet.
January 31, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Dave is a landlord, but he's not a dope smoker. So when he lists a room for rent on Craigslist, he specifies that marijuana isn't welcome. However, Dave says that Craigslist users routinely flag his postings for being discriminatory, and he's received warnings from the site. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions He asks: Can't a landlord just say no to drugs? The short answer is yes. But in the age of medical marijuana, things are a little trickier.
January 28, 2014 | By Ruben Vives and Ari Bloomekatz
A 36-year-old man who died Tuesday after a fire broke out in his Mid-City bedroom is the seventh person to be killed in a home fire so far this year in Los Angeles, officials said, and the latest to occur where no smoke detectors had been installed. The fire Tuesday was first reported at 5:36 a.m. at 2305 South Orange Drive, said Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department. It took 55 firefighters about 14 minutes to knock it down, she said. Fire officials said the 36-year-old man, whose name has not been released, lived with his mother and aunt.
January 24, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
E-cigarettes, those battery-powered nicotine vapor delivery systems that are infiltrating the airwaves, schoolyards, and public spaces, are threatening to undo a decades-long campaign to stigmatize smoking. That's according to an article in the latest New England Journal of Medicine . Anti-smoking activists, the article reports, fear that e-cigs will lead to the "renormalization" of smoking. Their concern is that the rise of e-cigs will interfere with the tobacco "endgame" -- the global elimination of all tobacco use -- by returning the habit of smoking from the social margins to which it has been relegated.
January 17, 2014 | Ruben Vives, Christine Mai-Duc and Joe Mozingo and Christine Mai-Duc
A fast-moving wildfire in the hills above Glendora burned at least 1,700 acres of withered brush and five homes Thursday, and sent a smoky pall over much of the Los Angeles Basin -- the likely harbinger of a rare winter fire season sparked by the driest conditions on record. Weather officials had been warning about the fire danger for months, capped by a January that has had the windy, nosebleed feel of October. The native chaparral that burns so easily in normal circumstances was parched and ready to combust.
January 16, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
A rapidly growing fire in the foothills of Glendora showered a wide area of Los Angeles County with smoke and ash Thursday, prompting air quality alerts across the region. As hundreds of firefighters raced to the Angeles National Forest to battle the Colby fire, the South Coast Air Quality Management District warned that air quality was forecast to quickly plummet to unhealthy levels across the region. They urged residents from the San Gabriel Valley to the Pomona Valley to stay indoors, with the towering plume visible to residents from West Los Angeles to Orange County.
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