September 10, 2010   1 comment

 Public Health:  Today I finally get my classes going.  My first class meets on Friday evenings from 7:30-10:00 pm. All faculty and students at U of L should be so lucky as to have a class at that time!!  The course will focus on Indoor Air Quality and Health, but I will be starting the class with a broader discussion of housing and health then transitioning into indoor air quality and health as one component of healthy homes.  One of the interesting challenges I will encounter is to relate healthy housing practices to housing in China.  Hopefully this is where I will be able to generate some discussion and comments from the students.  I will give you an update on Monday.  By the way, Friday September 10th is teachers day in China. 

 From the China Daily:  There was an interesting article from the China Daily dated Moscow.  “Smoke and drink more, Russia’s finance minister Alexei Kudrin urged citizens on Wednesday, explaining that higher consumption would help lift tax revenues for spending on social services”.  “People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state,” he said, offering unconventional advice as the Russian government announced plans to raise excise duty on alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarette consumption are already extremely high in Russia, where 65 percent of men smoke and the average Russian consumes 18 litres of alcoholic beverages per year, mainly vodka, according to official statistics.  Russian duties on cigarettes are among the lowest in Europe, with most brands priced at around 40 rubles ($1.30) per pack and unfiltered cigarettes selling for much less. The finance ministry in June announced plans to more than double excise duty on cigarettes over the next three years from 250 rubles per 1,000 filtered cigarettes to 590 rubles in 2013. The move is likely to be unpopular in the nicotine-addicted nation where a cigarette shortage in the late 1980s and early 1990s incited protests and led then-president Mikhail Gorbachev to appeal for emergency outside shipments. The state recently imposed a new minimum legal price for vodka, implemented a zero tolerance ban on drink-driving and banned night-time sales of alcohol to curb abuse blamed for the deaths of thousands of Russians every year. Alcohol abuse kills around 500,000 Russians annually and greatly impacts male life expectancy, which is lower than in such developing countries as Bangladesh and Honduras, according to official figures.

This sounds a bit like Kentucky with a historical reliance on the tobacco industry and more recently on strategies to raise revenue by increasing taxes on tobacco and alcohol.  I’ll be posting more on cigarette smoking in China as there almost daily references to the issue in the press.

 From my day:  Another interesting person I have met this past week is the in-country peace corps director.   Bonnie, has been in Chengdu for approximately 8 years.  Prior to becoming the peace corps director she was an attorney with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C.  She has an office on the campus of Sichuan University and there are a number of peace core volunteers in Sichuan Provence.  The evironment remains one of her common interest and we have had preliminary discussions about setting up an ‘Environmental Management’ course as a pilot this coming spring.  She had worked on  such a course previously but had not made much headway through government channels, so we are going to pursue the course through the Department of Environmental Health in the School of Public Health.  More later….



Posted September 10, 2010 by uolrrj in Uncategorized

One response to “September 10, 2010

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  1. Good luck with your class! I’m sure the faculty and students do not envy having a class from 7-10pm on a Friday night.

    The article on Russia was interesting. I can’t imagine promoting drinking and smoking MORE to help the economy!

    Have a good weekend.

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