Ohio State Professor Studies Local Level Anti-Tobacco Policy Effectiveness

A first-of-its-kind national study found that bans worked best at limiting smoking among more casual users: Those who smoked less than a pack a day. Heavy taxes worked best with those who smoked more than a pack a day. Another key finding of the study was that combining smoking bans with high taxes didn’t reduce overall smoking rates in a city more than either of the policies by itself.

Michael Vuolo is the lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at The Ohio State University. The study was published online Dec. 21, 2015 in the American Journal of Public Health. Vuolo conducted the study with Brian Kelly and Joy Kadowaki of Purdue University.

The researchers found big changes in both bans and taxes from 2004 to 2011. The percentage living in a city with a comprehensive ban increased from 14.9 percent to 58.7 percent during that time, while average taxes increased from 81 cents to $1.65 per pack.

The cities with the highest rates of smoking were those that had no smoking bans and low or no taxes on cigarettes.

Results showed that those residing in cities with bans were 21 percent less likely to currently smoke at all when compared to those who lived in cities without bans. But taxes did not have a significant effect on casual smokers.

By contrast, those who smoked more than a pack a day were primarily deterred, not by the bans, but by the economic costs – in other words, higher taxes.

Fall Commencement 2015

This past Sunday, December 20th 2015 the Ohio State University awarded special honors to some distinguished members of the OSU family.

Thomas D. Brock, who earned three degrees from the Ohio State University including his PhD in Botany, is credited with the discovery of microorganisms that not only survive but grow at very high temperatures in the geothermally heated waters in Yellowstone Park hot springs. The discovery is considered one of the fundamental milestones of microbiology. Brock is retired and is the E.B. Fred Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On Sunday Brock was awarded the Joseph Sullivant Medal.

Ohio State will also present the Distinguished Service Award to Mabel Freeman, former assistant vice president for Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience, who played a pivotal role in the lives of a generation of Ohio State graduates.

Most importantly though, the Ohio State University awarded 3,000 some degrees to current student body members. Each graduate received his or her own diploma at the ceremony, a practice rarely attempted by a university the size of Ohio State.

Jody Victor crew

Science From Above

About 5,000 meters high in the Peruvian Andes, scientists are mapping glaciers and wetlands in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range with 10-centimeter precision to gauge how climate change will affect the half-million local residents who rely in part on those glaciers for their water supply.

Their strategy provides a template for research teams that are investigating water security in other areas of the world with much larger populations, including China and India.

The groundwater system would have been very hard to obtain without special high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that Wigmore designed and built, and time-lapse thermal camera systems that colleague Jeffrey McKenzie at McGill University developed.

In the Cordillera Blanca, clouds block satellite views for all but a few weeks a year, and the terrain is too irregular to take reliable ice surface measurements by hand. Traditionally, scientists’ only other option would be to fly remote sensing equipment over the ice in an airplane – an endeavor that is not only expensive, but dangerous given the mountains’ sharp changes in elevation.

The Ohio State UAVs have a 10-centimeter resolution, work despite frequently cloudy conditions in the mountains of Peru and cost a few thousand dollars each. In contrast, satellites provide a half-meter resolution at best, work only during the two months a year when the region is relatively cloud-free and cost millions of dollars.

Whereas airplane surveys cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and satellites cost millions, he can build a UAV for around $4,000.

Wigmore described the Llaca Glacier’s ice loss and collapse of the calving front as more dramatic than he would have expected.

Wigmore also presented measurements that suggest a key glacier in the region’s Llaca Valley is changing rapidly. He recorded an average of 0.7 meters of thinning in one year, with a maximum of 18 meters of loss in some locations. For example, an ice cliff at the leading edge of the glacier collapsed over a two-week period early in 2015.

Buckeye Alumni and University Remain Firm Friends

In two polls Gallup and Purdue University discovered that out of 30,000 graduates from 108 universities that Ohio State University alumni are more likely to agree attending OSU changed their lives. In categories such as “workplace engagement”, “well-being” and “attachment” OSU graduates gave higher favorable ratings than any other graduates surveyed.

Ohio State alumni were also more likely than graduates of other schools to strongly agree that the university was the perfect college for them.

University President Michael V. Drake said the results bear out the genuineness of the Carmen Ohio phrase, “how firm thy friendship, Ohio.”

The full report is available here.

This study is the first of a four-year survey planned for Ohio State alumni. Findings will be used to enhance the short- and long-term well-being of current students, and to provide data for university outreach efforts.

Ohio State alumni are a large and loyal group. Andy Gurd, interim president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, recently presented results of an alumni profile to university trustees: There are 526,306 living university alumni, their average age is 49, they live in all 88 Ohio counties, 50 states and 170 countries, and there are more than 38,000 married alumni couples.

Jody Victor

OSU Announces Make-A-Wish Foundation Founder as Fall 2015 Commencement Speaker

Shankwitz, a retired 41-year veteran of law enforcement, founded the Make-A-Wish Foundation while working as part of an Arizona Highway Patrol motorcycle unit. In that role, during slack time from normal patrol duty, he visited local grade schools around the state, talking about bicycle safety and letting the children sit on his motorcycle.

In 1980, he was among the Arizona Highway Patrol officers responsible for granting the “wish” of a 7-year-old boy with leukemia who wanted to be a Highway Patrol motorcycle officer like his heroes, Ponch and Jon from the television show “CHiPS.” The boy was made the first and only honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the history of the patrol, complete with a custom made uniform, badge and Motor Officer Wings.

The boy succumbed to his illness shortly after receiving his “wish” and was the inspiration for Shankwitz to start the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which would let children with life-threatening illnesses “make a wish” and have it come true. He was a co-founder and also the first president/CEO of the foundation.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted over 350,000 wishes to children all over the world since its inception in 1980. Shankwitz says he plans to talk about pride, honor and respect and remind graduates that “Everyone can be a hero” in his address.

The Ohio State University today announced that Frank Shankwitz, co-founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, will address graduates as speaker for the autumn 2015 commencement. Approximately 3,000 degrees will be awarded at the ceremony.