Population's impact on the animal world

On July 11, people around the world took part in World Population Day to raise awareness about population issues. But here in the United States, we don't talk enough about the specific effects our exploding numbers have on wildlife, the planet and our own future.

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and we're adding 227,000 more each day. Every eight seconds, another person is born in the United States.

As we face unprecedented drought, extreme weather driven by climate change, ocean acidification and wildlife extinctions, we need to be frank about our role in it all and shift course before it's too late.

Future generations ought to know what it's like to live in a world with wild grizzly bears, wolves and all the other magnificent creatures, big and small, in the web of life. But at the rate we're growing and using up our world's limited resources, we'll be passing on a diminished future.

Richard and Chihoko Solomon

Oakland

E-cigarettes harm no-smoking effort

Electronic cigarettes undo the hard-won efforts by public health professionals and advocates to control tobacco products and educate the public about the dangers of smoking. E-cigarettes reverse the norm that smoking is hazardous and uncool. E-cigarette packages often contain false advertising that the vapor emitted is harmless, although it has similar toxins to cigarette smoke such as formaldehyde and carcinogens.


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While cigarette use is declining, e-cigarette use is on the rise. E-cigarette use doubled among adolescents between 2011 and 2012. In Alameda County, 54.4 percent of stores that sell tobacco also sell E-cigarettes.

In a recent study, those who saw an advertisement for e-cigarettes reported more interest in trying them and the interest was highest when the ad contained someone smoking the e-cigarette. E-cigarette use models smoking behavior, which can have dire consequences for our health if people, particularly youth, see this behavior normalized.

Regulating e-cigarettes like other tobacco products is a necessary step to show that they are harmful to users and those who inhale secondhand vapor.

Jaime Adler

Intern Paul Cummings Tobacco program director Alameda County Public Health Department Oakland

Just what is proper response to attack?

Here we go again with missiles and rockets landing in Israel and Israel responding with air power. Soon we will hear the world demanding that Israel stop defending herself and claiming that she is using disproportionate force.

What is proportionate force to hundreds of rockets fired at civilians? Israel's response now is limited to taking out targets such as rocket-launch sites and factories where rockets are made. Some may be in civilian areas and, therefore, some civilians will be killed or wounded. That is the fault of those who place military targets in civilian areas, not those who seek to destroy these weapons that are designed only to kill civilians.

Proportionate response would be for Israel to target civilians as her people have been targeted. Thankfully, she has not sunk to the level of her enemy.

Gilbert Stein

Aptos

Revealing records will solve problem

Your July 8 editorial, "Big surprise! Reform plans go nowhere," complains California's Legislature has failed to pass any legislation to deal with the epidemic of bribe-taking and similar crimes in Sacramento. This, in the aftermath of a number of sitting legislators charged with or convicted of various crimes.

Rather than make even more rules to control politicians' behavior, I suggest we elect a more ethical, high-minded brand of politician -- along the lines of our Founding Fathers. I refuse to believe there aren't such persons in California.

Rule one: Vote for candidates based on their record, not their campaign promises. If they don't have a record or don't wish to highlight it, maybe they're not the best choice.

This paper can provide an invaluable service to voters if it would keep track of voting records and activity records of legislators in districts served by your newspaper and then summarize and print those records before Election Day.

With that information, voters can rid Sacramento of the would-be career politicians and begin to replace them with a better breed.

Patrick Tuohy

San Ramon