» That brings the grand total to $600 million: Michael Bloomberg’s spent hundreds of millions to fight smoking globally through his charitable foundation. The NYC mayor, who calls tobacco ”a scourge all over the world,” plans to use the money to fund legal challenges against smoking in low-and-moderate-income countries where smoking is widespread, including Russia, China and India. Bloomberg’s anti-smoking efforts in NYC (which included increasing cigarette taxes and encouraging directors not to film actors smoking in films) have met with success; the smoking rate has dropped in the city. Bloomberg might face trouble in China, however: Smoking is a very common part of socializing in the region and cigarettes cost less than a dollar a pack, and China relies heavily on tax revenues raised through packs of cigarettes.
» Won’t someone please think of the CHILD-REN?! Some groups are coming out against the Johnny Depp film as a result, saying that there are so many scenes of characters smoking in “Rango,” they need a DVD to get a firm number. ”A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie,” said Stanton Glantz, an anti-tobacco activist and official at the University of California-San Francisco. While they have a point, is it really worth all this hand-wringing?
» Yes, it’s illegal: Bhutan banned the practice of smoking in the country way back in 2005, and last year tightened the grip further by working to prevent smuggling. For his part, Tshering, who was in tears after the ruling, says that he should have been punished, but “but the penalty could have been lighter. I wasn’t aware about the act.”