• CAMEL MAKER REYNOLDS SNUFFS OUT WORKPLACE SMOKING: RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is snuffing out smoking in its offices and buildings.
The nation’s second-biggest tobacco company informed employees Wednesday that beginning next year, the use of traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes will no longer be permitted at employee desks or offices, conference rooms, hallways and elevators. Lighting up already is prohibited on factory floors and in cafeterias and fitness centers.
The no-smoking policy will go into effect once Reynolds builds indoor smoking areas for those still wanting to light up indoors, spokesman David Howard said.
“We believe it’s the right thing to do and the right time to do it because updating our tobacco use policies will better accommodate both non-smokers and smokers who work in and visit our facilities,” Howard said. “We’re just better aligning our tobacco use policies with the realities of what you’re seeing in society today.”
While Reynolds will no longer allow smoking, it will allow the use of smokeless tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, moist snuff and pouches of finely milled tobacco called snus (pronounced “snoose”).
The percentage of Reynolds’ 5,200 employees that smoke is in line with the smoking rate in the U.S. That is about 18 percent of adults, according to the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
• SURVEY: HARASSMENT A COMMON PART OF ONLINE LIFE: NEW YORK (AP) — A new study confirms what many Internet users know all too well: Harassment is a common part of online life.
The first-of-its-kind report by the Pew Research Center found that nearly three-quarters of American adults who use the Internet have witnessed online harassment. Forty percent have experienced it themselves.
The types of harassment Pew asked about range from name-calling to physical threats, sexual harassment and stalking. Half of those who were harassed said they didn’t know the person who had most recently attacked them.
Young adults — people 18 to 29 — were the most likely age group to see and undergo online harassment. Women ages 18 to 24 were disproportionately the victims of stalking and sexual harassment, according to the survey. And people who have more information available about themselves online, work in the tech industry or promote themselves on the Internet, were also more likely to be harassed.
It can be difficult for police to go after online bullies in part because “our legal system hasn’t quite caught up with technology,” said Elizabeth Dowdell, a nursing professor at Villanova University who studies online aggression. On top of that, adults are generally hesitant to report harassment because they might view it as a “child or teenage problem.”
• COMPANY FINED $25M FOR WORK-AT-HOME SCHEME: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California company that promised lucrative returns for a few hours of work at home was fined $25 million on Wednesday for misleading 110,000 people to buy into the scheme that almost never paid off.
The Zaken Corp. sold “wealth building” kits for $148 that offered “insider secret techniques” and “powerful proven strategies” to earn $3,000 to $6,000 in a few hours of work a week, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson said.
Buyers received instructions to locate excess inventory that Zaken was supposed to sell and split the profits. But 99.8 percent of customers never earned a dime.
Undisputed facts showed the company made false and misleading statements and failed to provide proper disclosures to consumers, the judge said.
After consumers made initial investments, the company aggressively sold additional business tools.
One such come-on encouraged spending $2,300 for what was little more than an outdated telephone directory of defunct businesses, the judge wrote.