Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 12, 2008

Do we need government 'baby-sitters' for health?

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Find news and tips about health, fitness, nutrition or another wellness topic anywhere in the paper. Discuss whether the article is useful and clear.
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Journalists often include different views in coverage, especially when people disagree. Look for this kind of balance in a report on smoking, diet or another medical subject.
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Citizens are encouraged to participate in public policy debates. Suggest that students share opinions on tobacco use bans in an online forum, article or blog comments section, or as a letter to the editor.

Crusades against smoking are getting tougher, as shown by several new crackdowns on this continent and overseas. Officials in Michigan, Ontario and China are among those who want to go beyond warnings by banning tobacco use in more situations.

Michigan's effort consists of two bills passed by legislators to forbid smoking in bars, restaurants and other indoor public workplaces. The state Senate version approved last week covers casinos and bingo halls, which aren't in a House proposal passed earlier. More than 30 other states have such laws to protect nonsmoking workers from secondhand smoke health risks.

Across the border in the Canadian province of Ontario, a new proposal would allow $250 fines for anyone smoking in a vehicle when someone under 16 is present. It doesn't matter if the car is stopped, if all the windows are down and the sunroof open, or whether a driver or rider is smoking. Two other provinces and four American states (Arkansas, California, Maine, Louisiana) already ban smoking in vehicles carrying youngsters.
And in China, the world's largest producer and consumer of cigarettes, officials pledge to host a "smoke-free" Olympics in August. As of this month, regulations in Beijing require nonsmoking areas in bars, restaurants, hotels, parks, Internet cafes and airport lounges. There's an outright ban in offices, hospitals, sports stadiums, museums and universities.

Supporter says: "We place a high priority on the health of our citizens. [A workplace smoking ban] will go a long way toward influencing the action of our young people, too." -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan

Critic says: "I love my country, but God, some days I fear my government. This is another case of it sticking its nose where it doesn't belong." - Michigan Sen. Alan Sanborn, who voted against his state's proposed law

Restaurant owner says: "There are so many government mandates, this is just one more. And what about sports bars, where people go to smoke and drink and watch TV?" - Mary Brady, board member of Michigan Restaurant Association

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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