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What you should know about the sweeping smoking laws in California.

'We're going to reduce health care costs and save lives.'

What you should know about the sweeping smoking laws in California.

Hey, people smoke. And quitting is hard.

I am not about to shame anyone who lights up. As most smokers know all too well, it's a ridiculously hard habit to kick — and even just cutting back a bit can be a major headache (literally).

That's why expansive new measures in California to stop would-be young smokers from ever lighting up in the first place is an incredibly welcome change.


Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.

In large part to keep its young people healthier, California has passed sweeping new regulations on tobacco.

The state's decision to up the legal smoking age is probably the most game-changing of the new measures, which were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on May 4, 2016.

With an exception for active duty military members, people in the state of California must now be at least 21 years old to buy tobacco products.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"What this means for California is now we can know that our youth are less likely to be addicted to this horrible drug of tobacco," State Sen. Ed Hernandez said of the new age requirements. "There's going to be less addiction to tobacco, [and] we're going to reduce health care costs and save lives."

Another big change these regulations have introduced is in regards to e-cigarettes — which are now banned in all the same spots as traditional cigarettes, including schools, restaurants, and hospitals, NPR reported.

Why the stricter regulations on e-cigs? According to Stanton Glant, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California, San Francisco, e-cigarettes still pose a threat to public health — even if they're not as harmful as their traditional cigarette counterparts.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"Exposing the developing brain to nicotine, which is in both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, physically changes the brain," he said. "That's why the younger someone starts to smoke, the more addicted they tend to get ... and the harder time they have stopping."

The safety of e-cigarettes has caught the attention of the federal government too. Just today, the FDA announced a ban on sales to those under 18 years old, citing the health of young Americans as reason for the change.

Although the new measures in California are being applauded by major health organizations, not everyone's on board. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, for instance, claimed the big move on e-cigarettes is "a step backward" for California, seeing as some vapor products are tobacco-free and, thus, shouldn't be a health concern.

The new measures in California coincide with a growing consensus across the U.S.: Cigarettes are, slowly but surely, on their way out.

In the 1960s, more than 40% of American adults were cigarette smokers, according to the CDC. That figure has fallen substantially throughout the last several decades, standing at about 17% in 2014. (Heck, more college students smoked marijuana than cigarettes for the first time ever last year.)

Photo by Chris Roussakis/AFP/Getty Images.

As research has continued to point to cigarettes as a major cause of death in the U.S., state and local laws have cracked down on their use.

Although Hawaii beat California to increasing its legal smoking age (the Aloha State did so this past January), more than 100 cities — including New York, Boston, and San Francisco — have passed laws requiring tobacco users be at least 21 years old.

So, yes, people smoke. And, yes, quitting is hard. But smoking kills. And the more young people these laws prevent from getting hooked, the better.

This week marked a major victory in keeping young people healthier, Hernandez said. Hopefully, the rest of the country will follow California and Hawaii's leads.

"Today was an enormous victory for not only this generation, but also for many generations to come who will not suffer the deadly impacts of tobacco."

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Usually when we share a story of a couple having been married for nearly five decades, it's a sweet story of lasting love. Usually when we share a story of a long-time married couple dying within minutes of each other, it's a touching story of not wanting to part from one another at the end of their lives.

The story of Patricia and Leslie "LD" McWaters dying together might have both of those elements, but it is also tragic because they died of a preventable disease in a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. The Michigan couple, who had been married for 47 years, both died of COVID-19 complications on November 24th. Since they died less than a minute apart, their deaths were recorded with the exact same time—4:23pm.

Patricia, who was 78 at her passing, had made her career as a nurse. LD, who would have turned 76 next month, had been a truck driver. Patricia was "no nonsense" while LD was "fun-loving," and the couple did almost everything together, according to their joint obituary.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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via Elliot Page / Instagram

Elliot Page, once publicly known as Ellen Page, has announced he is transgender. The announcement makes the Oscar-nominated actor one of the most high-profile celebrities to come out as transgender.

The actor currently stars in Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy" and has acted in films such as "Juno," "Inception," and the "X-Men" franchise.

Page made the announcement on social media where he celebrated the joy of coming out while taking the opportunity to discuss the issues faced by the transgender community.

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