A smoking ban came into force in England on Sunday, making Britain’s public places smoke-free. Some other countries have banned smoking since 2006.
January: Spain banned smoking in offices, hospitals, schools and enclosed spaces. Belgium banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces.
March: Uruguay banned smoking in public spaces, the stiffest restrictions on smoking in Latin America; Scotland, too, joined the ban.
June: Nepal announced plans to ban smoking in public places and tobacco advertisements in newspapers.
October: The smoky bars and cafes of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, started enforcing a smoking ban. The new ban prohibits lighting up in public spaces smaller than 1,080sq. ft.
January: Hong Kong banned smoking in all indoor workplaces as well as restaurants, parks and beaches. However bars, nightclubs and mahjong parlours are exempted until 2009.
February: France banned smoking in most public places. A wider ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and hotels starts from 2008.
April: Wales became the second country in the UK to ban smoking in public enclosed spaces. Smokers in Northern Ireland face fines if they light up in pubs, offices and other indoor public places.
May: Dubai banned smoking in government buildings, schools and colleges, the first step in a plan to disallow smoking by the end of 2009.
June: Finland and Iceland banned smoking in restaurants, cafes, bars.
1 July: Smoking ban in public places in England came into effect. A smoking ban took effect at pubs and clubs in Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria.
Stress makes us fat
Scientists say they have found a link between stress and obesity. According to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the brain under stress releases a hormone that activates a gene in fat cells, causing them to grow in size and number.
Scientists found stressed mice gained twice as much fat as those fed the same high-calorie diet. The stressed mice didn’t gain weight when the gene was removed or blocked.
“It’s a major breakthrough in understanding how energy can be diverted into fat cells,” said Herbert Herzog, neuroscience programme director at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, which participated in the research.
The hormone, called neuropeptide Y, works like a key that unlocks so-called Y2 receptors in the body’s fat cells, Herzog said, then pumps energy into them. Blocking the receptors stopped fat cells from growing and multiplying, a technique that should work in humans as it does in mice, he said. (Bloomberg)