Livin' on the MDedge

Money buys life, and a cigarette maker wants to ‘unsmoke the world’


With COVID, the fun never ends

Welcome to America’s favorite pandemic-themed game show! Let’s play Covidiot Proof! And now, here’s your host, the lovely and talented Anthony Grouchy!

Quiz show winner sabelskaya/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Tony: Hello everyone! Our first category today is America or [blank], and the first clue is for you, Don. This country requires “individuals to use a health pass to patronize indoor establishments such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cinemas.”

Don: Freedom-loving Americans would never stand for that, Tony, so I’m going to say Greece.

Tony: That’s correct, Don. One hundred points for you. Okay Joe, here’s your clue: In this country, some people wear disguises to get a COVID vaccination so their friends and families won’t find out.

Joe: Sounds like communism to me, Tony. I’ll say Cuba.

Tony: Sorry Joe, that’s incorrect. Don?

Don: The friends and families sound like freedom-loving Americans, so it must be America.

Tony: It is America. Missouri, to be exact. And now, one last question for both of you to win the game. True or false? Did the pastor of a church in Tennessee say that mask-wearers would be kicked out of the building because “I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church”?

Joe: That’s fake news, Tony. It’s gotta be false.

Tony: Incorrect! It’s absolutely true. That means today’s winner is … Joe? Yes, I’m being told that Tennessee goes to Joe.

Don: That’s bulls#&@! I won this thing! I’ll see you in court!

More money, more life

Does it seem to you that the wealthy live forever, while the less financially comfortable live shorter lives? If you answered, yes, it turns out that you’re right.

Paper money spread out under a stethoscope utah778/Thinkstock

Researchers analyzed the effect of net worth at midlife with mortality. To take out genetic differences among the sample of 5,400 adults aged 46 years, the investigators also studied a subset of 2,490 twin and sibling pairs.

“The within-family association provides strong evidence that an association between wealth accumulation and life expectancy exists, because comparing siblings within the same family to each other controls for all of the life experience and biology that they share,” said coauthor Eric Finegood of Northwestern University, Chicago.

But what if one sibling has a history of cancer, heart disease, or other health conditions? The cost of treatment and employment limitations could affect someone’s ability to stack their wealth, right? Absolutely. The researchers took that into account and looked at only healthy individuals and found the same results. More money, longer life.

We have the policies and programs in place for heart health, diabetes prevention, and smoking cessation, as they are seen as major threats to public health. So why not do the same for financial security? A low bank account may just be more harmful.

Holding the ‘health care and wellness’ gun

Cigarettes are not good for us. We know this.

A fist smashing a pack of cigarettes is shown. seanika/ThinkStock

It’s, therefore, not surprising to learn that a business has requested for a U.K. ban on the sale of cigarettes by 2030. However, when that someone turns out to be the CEO of Philip Morris International, tobacco company and maker of Marlboro cigarettes, things get a little confusing.

Banning cigarettes, according to Jacek Olczak, would reduce confusion among consumers, many of whom feel that the alternatives are worse for their health. His company can “see the world without cigarettes ... and actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone.” A truly noble sentiment from the CEO of a large tobacco company. Nothing nefarious going on here.

Philip Morris International is actually leaning hard into nonsmoking means of tobacco consumption, even going so far as to brand itself a “health care and wellness company” on a mission to “unsmoke the world.” And if those aren’t egregious business euphemisms, we don’t know what is.

Of course, for all the completely believable and sincere rhetoric, the fact is that Marlboros are still on the shelves. Philip Morris is still making and advertising them. If their concern was genuine, why wouldn’t they just stop manufacturing them now?

So, we ask ourselves if this a selfless act of kindness or is it an unscrupulous corporate act to get a leg up on their competitors? We’ll leave it up to the readers to decide.

Okay, we lied, it’s the second one.

Autopsy of the living dead

Imagine the absolute terror you’d feel if you opened your eyes to bright, blinding white lights only to see a bone saw 3 inches from your forehead and getting closer by the second. Horrifying for you, certainly, but think about the poor pathologist behind the saw who probably thought a zombie apocalypse was coming. This was close to being a reality for a 29-year-old prisoner at the Asturias Central Penitentiary in Spain.

Harold Wood Hospital mortuary

Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez was discovered in his cell unresponsive. Three physicians examined him and found he was showing signs of death, such as cyanosis and rigor mortis. Mr. Jiménez was processed like any other body and was sent, in a body bag, to a hospital mortuary, where he spent time in a freezer for body preservation. Just before he was due for his autopsy, he began showing signs of life.

It’s not completely clear why this happened to poor Mr. Jiménez, but it was reported that he wasn’t feeling well the day before and that he has epilepsy. Hospital officials suggested he may have been cataleptic, possibly because he had trouble adhering to his medication schedule.

Mr. Jiménez was moved to another hospital under armed guard after coming back to life and regained consciousness after a day or so. Talk about cheating death.

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