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Anti-smoking events set for communities nationwide on March 20

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is organizing more than 1,200 events across the country to promote smoking abstinence and cessation.

The group announced Friday the 18th annual Kick Butts Day, on March 20, in which young people will encourage peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about the health effects of smoking. While youth smoking rates have gone down, 18.1% of high school students still smoke, the group said.

Meanwhile, according to the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion per year marketing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products and have introduced new products that the group said appeal to young people, such as cheap, sweet, colorfully packaged small cigars that look like cigarettes.

 

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Report: Publix pilots paid consultations with a registered dietitian

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix is piloting a paid consultation with a registered dietitian here, according to a Herald Tribune report published Friday. 

The program will include interactive tours, one-on-one shopping assistance and nutrition counseling, among other features, according to the report. Service fees will range from $15 to $150. 

Leading the program is University of Florida alumnus Jamie Stolarz, a licensed registered dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Florida Dietetic Association and Tampa Dietetic Association. 

According to Publix’ information page on the program, prior to joining Publix Stolarz was the program coordinator for Vet HEALTH: Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Tips for Heroes, a veteran nutrition program she developed after coordinating the Still Serving: Vet to Vet Meals at Home pilot program for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Gainesville, Fla.

 

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Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone first to allow scanning by standard POS systems

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO — A new technology will allow standard point-of-sale laser scanners to scan coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards on the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone without any changes to existing technology.

Mobeam, which presented at a recent Samsung event in New York, said the Galaxy S4 would be the first smartphone to integrate its light-based communications technology to beam traditional 1-D barcodes. The company said the vast majority of existing point-of-sale systems are unable to communicate with smartphones. Mobeam converts barcodes, coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards into a beam of light than can be read by standard laser scanners.

"Mobeam’s vision is simple: to make mobile commerce work with existing point of sale technology," Mobeam CEO Chris Sellers said. "Making cutting-edge smartphones work with barcodes might not sound sexy, but it means consumers now have the ability to beam items such as coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards and event tickets at millions of locations — something that was previously impossible. Barcodes are universal and won’t be replaced any time soon, meaning retailers don’t need to upgrade their existing POS systems."

Mobeam has also partnered with Procter & Gamble to create a mobile coupon system that the companies said would make shopping with coupons easier and faster for consumers and retailers at the same time.

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