Russian Protests and Dangerous Vape Juice

Grind for August 2nd
“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” – E. B. White

Civil Unrest

The Headline

Russian police teach protestors a lesson

The Grind

Russian authorities are cracking down on dissenters in Moscow following an unauthorized protest over municipal elections scheduled for September.

Graphic images confirm accusations that police used excessive force to disperse the crowd.

More than 1,300 civilians were detained last Saturday during a protest against the exclusion of opposition candidates from local elections.

State investigators are pursuing three criminal cases of “mass unrest,” including violence against police officers and blocking traffic. Those found guilty could wind up in jail for up to 15 years.

“The investigation has established that ahead of an unsanctioned rally a group of people repeatedly posted on the Internet calls to take part in it, knowing full well that these actions could provoke mass unrest,” said one official.

The Details

Local elections don’t usually attract this much attention in Russia, but residents of Moscow are frustrated by the government’s blatant attempts to block independent politicians from running.

At least 30 candidates have been blocked from participating in the election.

Opposition candidate Dmitry Gudkov was jailed for participating in a public rally earlier this month and national opposition leader Alexei Navalny was thrown in jail last week after urging people to participate in Saturday’s protest.

Navalny was transferred to a hospital on Sunday after exhibiting signs of poisoning. When he recovers, he will serve the remainder of his 30-day prison sentence.

Habit Forming

The Headline

Scientists find harmful chemicals in Juul e-cigarettes

The Grind

A report published Tuesday suggests Juul’s “vape liquid” may develop harmful compounds while it sits on shelves. These compounds, called “acetals,” are formed from alcohol and flavoring chemicals.

Previous research suggests acetals can irritate the respiratory system.

“We didn’t imagine people would be inhaling flavor compounds at the level they are now,” says lead researcher Hanno Erythropel. “We have very little information.”

The study focused on Juul’s “creme brulee” flavor, which was found to contain high levels of acetals.

The Details

E-cigarettes like Juul were originally introduced as a safer alternative for adult smokers, but the fruity flavors and sleek products soon attracted children and young adults.

Today, more than 3 million middle and high school students use e-cigarettes.

“Teens acquiring the habit of daily use of e-cigarettes, driven by nicotine addiction, may well suffer adverse health consequences over time,” says Erythropel. “This means we will not know the full impact of the teen e-cigarette epidemic for decades.”

Dr. Robert Jackler, a Stanford professor studying the effects of e-cigarettes on the ear, nose, and throat, said the report “contributes to the increasing body of evidence documenting toxicological effects of e-cig vapor by specifically testing Juul’s sweet and fruity flavors, which are so popular among teens.”

The notion that e-cigarettes are “just water vapor and nicotine and flavorings is very untrue,” adds Dr. Christina Sadreameli, a pediatric pulmonologist. “E-cigarette vapor contains a lot of harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and ultra-fine particles.”

Did you know… In 1956, 80% of all U.S. households had a refrigerator, but only 8% of British households had one!