Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 1, 2013 12:28 PM
Condoms already come in plenty of forms. You’ve got your ribbed, you glow-in-the-dark, your cola-flavored, your French ticklers and your textured and studded ones. But Bill and Melinda Gates would like to see one that hasn’t been invented yet—and they are willing to fork over more than $1 million for it.
That's why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering up the cash to anyone who can design such a thing in the hopes of stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS, CNN reports.
The contraceptive they’d like to see is a "next generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure" and promotes "regular use" as part of the foundation's commitment to addressing the global HIV and AIDS crisis.
"Male condoms are cheap, easy to manufacture, easy to distribute, and available globally, including in resource-poor settings, through numerous well-developed distribution channels," the Foundation says, according to CNN. So what’s the problem? Well, people complain that condoms get in the way of intimacy and pleasure, which are generally the goal of most people having intercourse.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 28, 2013 04:37 PM
Some countries have hidden cigarette brand names from consumers with plain packaging. Some countries demand retailers hide the cigarettes away. Some countries have put nasty images on the packaging so consumers can see what could happen to them someday if they continue to smoke, and some are just starting over. But one country is just planning to get rid of the darn things altogether.
It’ll take a few years, of course, for Scotland to get all tobacco products out of its country, but the plan is to have them gone by 2034, according to the UK's thecourier.co, so smokers might want to get their trips to Scotland over with sooner rather than later. The country has already banned smoking from public places and raised the age of purchase from 16 to 18; it now plans to ban smoking from the grounds of all hospitals and force retailers to sell smokes in plain packaging.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 13, 2013 05:16 PM
The U.S. government has been in a long-running battle with Big Tobacco to try and get nasty images placed onto cigarette packaging, a fight that seems destined to end up in the Supreme Court someday.
Singapore is the latest country that appears ready to step into that same boxing ring. With 5.3 million people, Singapore may not be the largest country in the world, but it has the world’s fourth-leading financial center and one of the top five busiest ports in the world, and soon, it may be difficult to see any packs of cigarettes. The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Singapore government is proposing to ban shops from displaying tobacco-related products."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 8, 2013 04:13 PM
With retailers on all sides of the aisle attempting to become one-stop-shopping and lifestyle platforms, traditional supermarket retailers are moving in that direction as well. Safeway—the megachain with a footprint stretching across much of the United States—has just offered a glimpse at its own attempt to become more things to more people, providing a peek at its new wellness platform slated to launch in the second quarter.
"Today, we're a supermarket company ... selling wellness services and wellness products," CEO Steve Burd told analysts, according to Drug Store News. But within 10 years, he said, Safeway would become a wellness company that happens to sell food.
The impulse for supermarket chains to expand the meaning and capabilities of their brands is understandable, in an environment where mass merchandisers such as Walmart and Target have impinged greatly on their CPG business, and even drug-store chains and dollar stores are selling more groceries. Now Walmart, for example, also is expanding its purview in healthcare and "wellness" as well, beyond the traditional in-store pharmacies long offered by mass discounters and supermarkets alike.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2013 06:07 PM
Makers of energy drinks may face mounting scrutiny after federal data revealed more American youths are landing in the emergency room due to complications doctors tie to overuse of the beverages.
From 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency hospital visits involving the highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled — from 10,068 to 20,783, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Marketers have succeeded wildly in recent years at selling the drinks to teenagers as physical and mental boosters. Red Bull claims to "give you wings," while Monster Energy boasts of a "killer energy brew." All told, the drinks — which comprise the fastest-growing sector in the beverage industry — brought $10 billion in sales in 2012.
While the number of young patients increased the most, the highest percentage of increase in emergency room visits attributed to the beverages was found in patients age 40 and over. The older patients went from 1,382 related visits in 2007 to 5,233 visits in 2011 — a 279 percent increase, the study said.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 19, 2012 05:52 PM
In case it's not marked on your calendar, today is World Toilet Day — and it's no joking matter.
An estimated 2.5 billion people, 37% of the world's population, do not have access to a clean and safe toilet. One in three women worldwide risk shame, disease, harassment and even attack because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. Sanitation would make 1.25 billion women's lives safer and healthier, which is why people are being asked to petition governments to provide safe toilets and clean water for the world's poorest people.
As the Gates Foundation tweeted today, "The annual gain in economic productivity if everyone had a toilet is $225B." Putting things in perspective, Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org, wants it to be known that more people have a mobile phone today than a toilet: “Six billion people have cell phones, but only 4.5 billion have access to improved sanitation.” Bill and Melinda Gates, in case you missed it, are putting serious funds toward reinventing the toilet as part of the foundation's water, sanitation and hygiene platform.
GE sponsored (as part of its Focus Forward three-minute short film series on world-changing ideas) the "Meet Mr. Toilet" documentary by Oscar-winning director Jessica Wu, which debuted this past January at the Sundance Festival earlier this year. It features the late Jim Sim (aka "Mr. Toilet"), who founded the World Toilet Organization and the annual World Toilet Day.
Named a TIME Hero of the Environment in 2008, Sim — who died in 2009 — was frank and enertaining about extolling the need for better sanitation and breaking the taboos about talking, well, shit. In fact, the former mayor of Suwon, South Korea, inspired a toilet museum in his former hometown, which opened earlier this year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 13, 2012 04:17 PM
Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act no longer faces any obstacles to becoming the law of the land, now that last week's elections solidified Democrats' hold on the U.S. Senate. But private companies will continue to react to the realities of health-care costs in the interests of their own businesses, to the extent they can and for as long as they can.
Take Walmart: Just after the elections, the nation's largest retailer has announced hikes in the cost of workers' health-care coverage of 8 percent to 36 percent because of the rising prices of medical services and health insurance. And some of Walmart's 1.4 million U.S. employees already have reacted by considering dropping their own coverage, according to CNBC.
The cost of Walmart's most popular health-insurance plan, for example, will go up by $2 per paycheck, or 13 percent. Still, overall, Walmart said that average costs its employees will bear for the coverage should only rise by about 4 percent in 2013 because the company has eliminated some high-premium plans and trimmed some services.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 2, 2012 11:31 AM
More than 80% of adult smokers in the U.S. tried smoking by age 18, up to 90% by age 20, so the truth, the largest American youth smoking prevention campaign (and the only national campaign not directed by the tobacco industry) is launching truthlive this week, kicking off a series of five free concerts featuring musicians Cobra Starship and Outasight at East Coast and southern universities in a bid to stop the next generation of tobacco addicts.
“truth’s success stems from offering facts and information about tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing practices in channels and through media that are relevant with teens and young people – then allowing them to spread the message themselves with their peers and friend groups,” stated Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, president and CEO of Legacy, the national public health foundation that directs and funds the truth campaign.
Using music as a ‘passion point’ to connect with students, on-campus activities feature the iconic orange truth truck and truth tour riders, young adults armed with games, interactive activities, dancing, contests and mucho swag, educating their peers on the truth about smoking.Continue reading...