Marijuana, Fast Food and Other Tasty Items

by DavalosMcCormack on January 28, 2008

If you thought giving up regular cigarettes was tough, just try giving up the “other” kind. Apparently that leaves you just as cranky, just as angry, just as miserable.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that withdrawal from heavy use of marijuana is just as difficult as withdrawal from tobacco. They say, just like cigarette smokers, heavy marijuana users suffer from irritability, anger and trouble sleeping when they try to quit.

Now, they only looked at 12 heavy users of marijuana, and ordinarily I wouldn’t consider that enough to count as a serious study. But given that the government makes it so difficult to do any research on marijuana at all, a study of 12 people is a pretty good start.

Either way. It does indicate that like anything else in life, moderation is cool, but the more you indulge, the more dependent you become and the harder it it to stop. Not that I would ever encourage anyone to smoke marijuana. Ever. After all, it’s illegal. That would be wrong.

The Marketing of Fast Foods

Here’s a shocker, marketing works. A new study found that the more parents of small children are exposed to ads and promotions for fast food, the more likely they and their kids are to eat them. Gosh, you mean McDonalds doesn’t make all those ads just to offer employment to bad actors!

But here’s the twist on this study, they broke it down by ethnicity, to show how the marketing and promotion is used to woo different communities.

The study, in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, found that Latinos and African Americans reported being exposed to more marketing and promotions, and having greater access to fast food (more fast food restaurants in their neighborhoods) than whites did.

The greater the exposure to the ads, the more likely the people were to have positive attitudes towards fast food. And of course the more positive their attitudes, the more likely they were to bring their kids there. Latinos reported much more positive attitudes about the stuff than did whites. Asian Americans reported the least positive attitudes.

Why is that a big deal? Well, because the more positively something is viewed by the group, the more likely the individual families are to see it as something that’s ok, and in the case of fast foods the more likely they are to eat there on a regular basis, with all the health implications that has.

As a society, if we are going to be able to tackle the growing epidemic of obesity, we need to understand what forces shape people’s decisions about what they eat and how often they eat it. This shows us that external forces, such as ads, can have an unwitting influence.

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