Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Marlboro E-Cigarette Is Here

It was only a matter of time. The owner of the world-famous cigarette brand Marlboro has decided to launch its own electronic cigarette product. Altria Group Inc hopes to take advantage of a recent consumer trend -- "smokeless" cigarettes -- in order to try to offset the sales slump of regular cigarettes.

More smoking bans, health worries, and increasing taxes on tobacco products have moved millions of Americans to try e-cigarettes, which provide the nicotine boost of regular tobacco products without the burning smoke. Basically they vaporize liquid nicotine from disposable cartridges and, at least in theory, greatly reduce the health risks (although some doctors disagree) and inconvenience of regular old smoking. Some of the products are promoted as ways to quit smoking gradually, or at least limit the damage it does.

The new e-cigs will be sold under the "MarkTen" brand and priced around $10 each, with new nicotine cartridges sold in packs. Many industry experts expect all the other major tobacco companies to follow Altria's lead and come out with their own electronic cigarettes within the next couple of years.

We say: This is kinda cool but we're still worried about the toxic nano-sized metal particles found in some e-cigarette products.

Learn some mo': Marlboro maker Altria to sell e-cigarettes

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More Carbon Dioxide in Air = Greener Deserts

Apparently all the carbon dioxide gas building up in Earth's atmosphere is helping to make its deserts greener, according to a new report from the Geophysical Research Letters scientific journal. Researchers found that "leaf cover" in arid areas (dry deserts in the US, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa) have increased by 11 percent in just the past 30 years, most likely due to increased photosynthesis from rising CO2 levels.

The research confirms the theories held by many global climate experts: more carbon "plant food" equals more plants all over the planet Earth. Other studies have shown that vegetation has increased everywhere, not just in the deserts and that warming temperatures and increased rainfall may also be having a strong effect.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide, which has increased nearly 15% in the past 30 years, seems to be especially fueling tree growth. According to Australian researcher Randall Donohue:
"Trees are reinvading grasslands, and this could quite possibly be related to the carbon dioxide effect... Long lived woody plants are deep rooted and are likely to benefit more than grasses from an increase in carbon dioxide... The effect of higher carbon dioxide levels on plant function is an important process that needs greater consideration"

We say: Good news! Who cares if rising CO2 levels are raising sea levels... the Las Vegas desert needs more palm trees!

Learn some mo': Carbon Dioxide Greening Deserts