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August 18, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

E-Cigarette Smoking Bans

  |   Video
  • In 2006, Arizona voters passed a ban on smoking in public places. As electronic cigarettes grow more popular, questions are being raised as to whether those smoking devices are included in the ban. Attorney Pavneet Singh Uppal of Fisher and Phillips will discuss the gray areas when it comes to banning e-cigarette use in public places.
  • Pavneet Singh Uppal - Attorney, Fisher and Phillips
Category: Law   |   Keywords: law, e-cigarette, smoking, bans, public, places, arizona,

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Ted Simons: In Arizona voters passed a ban on smoking in public places. Questions are being raised as to that ban, and other aspects of smoking and if they apply to e-cigarettes, which are becoming more popular. Pavneet Singh Uppal is here with Fisher Phillips. Let's start with the definition, what is an e-cigarette?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: Well, it's essentially a vaporized nicotine delivery device. People familiar with cigarettes which involves the burning of tobacco. There is no tobacco burned in an E-cigarette. It involve as cartridge that delivers nicotine in a vapor form.

Ted Simons: There's no smoke but how much vapor?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: The visual tends to mimic the act of smoking. You will not see as much smoke as you would with a cigarette or a cigar. But you will see a puff which looks like smoke but it is not.

Ted Simons: So is that vapor harmful? Does it smell?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: It tends not to smell. And the jury is out on the harms. One of the thoughts is that e-cigarettes are essentially marketed as being healthier but for the users as well as people who may not be smokers but are not subject to the effects of secondhand smoking. That's the way it's marketed. It's a healthier alternative for the user, and it may allow the user to quit, they could for example watch out for charges to substitute cartridges with ever-smaller amounts of nicotine. It's such a new product and such a new concept the science is not complete on whether this is really healthier for the user and other people that may be exposed to it.

Ted Simons: As we mentioned. The voter approved ban on smoking. Obviously that was because of second happened smoke and the air around smokers?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: Arizona was ahead of the curve in passing a smoking ban in most public places including the concept was that this isn't just an issue that affects the smoker himself or herself, but the smoke itself, because of the effects of secondhand smoking. As of 2006 in Arizona smoking is essentially banned in enclosed places including the workplace, as well as for example in company vehicles. However, that act is limited to the smoking of tobacco. The smoke free workplace act talks about burning tobacco. When you go to e-cigarettes there is no tobacco being burned. The statute itself does not apply to e-cigarettes. The legislature may decide to do so. As of right now that act did not apply.

Ted Simons: I want to smoke some tea leaves or something I found out in the desert. It's not tobacco does that mean it does not apply? Burning an item is the key?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: That's right, that's right.

Ted Simons: You don't burn anything.

Pavneet Singh Uppal: That's right, it's vaporized, the -- it's you're not burning tobacco or tobacco-like plant based products.

Ted Simons: Bars and eateries and employers, how are they handling this? Are you seeing any of that out there so far?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: The reality is that most employers have not implemented as of yet formalized policies with respect to e-cigarettes. Employers in Arizona do have formalized policies under which employers have said you cannot spoke in the workplace or in -- It doesn't only apply to employees. There's no law that says you have to permit people to smoke e-cigarettes in the workplace. In terms of the trucks, our prediction is people we'll bell smoke e-cigarettes.

Ted Simons: I'm seeing some distant irony and get all that secondhand smoke. That's a little wrong, isn't it?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: My company, Fisher and Phillips, we're advising our clients that if you are a company that does allow designated smoking areas for your employees that smoke tobacco products, you should set up a segregated area for those who are using e-cigarettes. Many people using them are actually current tobacco users trying to quit. Their theory is they have tried the patch or to go cold turkey and that hasn't worked? I think with progressively smaller amounts of nicotine delivery, we think a best practice is that if you are going to allow people to smoke you should have a designated smoking area for users.

Ted Simons: If you're not telling them to quit, you're banishing them out there to a place where it's unhealthy. That doesn't make sense.

Pavneet Singh Uppal: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: Increasing numbers of insurance policies are looking at whether or not you are a cigarette smoker. Whether or not you are an E-cigarette smoker, is that now on the horizon?

Pavneet Singh Uppal: To my knowledge it's not already being asked. I can see insure goes that route. Most people realize if you're a cigarette smoker you might have to pay increased premiums for your policy. Is it really going to turn out that people who take up the habit of smoking e-cigarettes will be able to then wean themselves off of tobacco products? Or is it going to be something you do by yourself. It's a very new product. You can see E-cigarette commercials on television.

Ted Simons: Good information, thanks for joining us.

Pavneet Singh Uppal: Thank you for having me.

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

  |   Video
  • A traveling exhibit at the Arizona Science Center showcases human and animal mummies to help explain how archaeologists use modern science and technology to uncover and understand the ancient civilization of Egypt. We’ll take a video tour of the exhibit.
Category: Science   |   Keywords: science, technology, exhibit, lost, egypt, tour, human, animal, modern, showcase,

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Ted Simons: The Arizona Science Center is home to a traveling exhibit that examines the secrets of ancient Egypt. The star attraction? A mummy. Produce are Shana Fischer takes us on a tour.

Shana Fischer: An entire civilization is on display.

Jessica Edwards: It's all about the life of the ancient Egyptians, what the commoners' life was like, and the science behind studying that and finding out there stories. The interactive exhibit, "Lost Egypt Ancient Secrets, Modern Science," offers a comprehensive look at a country rich in history. There's a lot of items including mirrors that you can walk into an actual recreation of a tomb with tomb art. You can look at what early archeologists would have done to see inside. There's a replica of the Rosetta Stone. A mummy is a preserved body. That can happen naturally through environmental processes and it can also be intentional. In the case of the ancient Egyptians, they intentionally preserved these bodies so the body and the soul could move on to the afterlife.

Shana Fischer: Not much is known about Any, for anonymous. They know Annie drowned in the Nile, a sacred river.

Jessica Edwards: It was their job to preserve the body. They would begin by washing it with water from the Nile. That was their sacred river and they would purify it with water from the Nile. Then you remove the organs, the heart was left in because that was, to the Egyptian, the center of knowledge and emotions. They needed that in the afterlife. It was washed again and oils put on it so it smelled nice, then sometimes to layers of linens. They would stuff amulets which were religious symbols to protect them in their journey through the afterlife.

Shana Fischer: Equal care was given to the sarcophagus.

Jessica Edwards: The ancient Egyptians were very religious. Everything on her, the colors, the symbols, all have a significant meaning about taking her safely into the afterlife.

Shana Fischer: The exhibit shows articulate facts including vessels, amulets and there are lots of activities for children geared toward unlocking mysteries of this ancient land.

Jessica Edwards: I think people can take away the fact that even though these people were a lot like us. Things don't really change just with technology. You're still a human. There's a lot we can learn from the past that may help us in the future.

Ted Simons: "Lost Egypt Ancient Secrets, Modern Science" runs until September 1st at the Arizona Science Center. For more information you can visit their website at

Streamlining the Adoption Process

  |   Video
  • The Maricopa County Juvenile Court System is streamlining the adoption process to make it quicker and more efficient. To do that, the court has created the Maricopa County Juvenile Court Adoption Unit. Judge Bradley Astrowsky of Maricopa County Juvenile Court will discuss the changes.
  • Bradley Astrowsky - Judge, Maricopa County Juvenile Court
Category: Government   |   Keywords: government, streamlining, adoption, process, maricopa county, arizona, court, changes,

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Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. The Maricopa County Juvenile Court System is streamlining the adoption process, the goal is to make adoptions quicker and more efficient. Here to tell us more is Judge Bradley Astrowsky of the Maricopa County Juvenile Court. Thank you so much for being here. This is now a juvenile court adoption unit, correct?

Bradley Astrowsky: That is correct. The unit became live August st of this year.

Ted Simons: And why was this needed? Why was it created?

Bradley Astrowsky: Quite frankly, volume. We have so many kids in care, we have close to , kids in care in the state of Arizona. With the increased volume of kids in care you're going to have an increase in adoptions.

Ted Simons: The increased volume, is that just because we have more people in the state? What are the numbers telling us?

Bradley Astrowsky: It's a bit disproportionately more. In there's about , kids in care, now we're up to ,. Part is population driven, part of it is perhaps we're doing a better job from the social service perspective. Part of it also has to do with methamphetamine use, as well.

Ted Simons: We know the problems are out there, but are there specific problems? Why are there so many kids being removed from their families and waiting for new ones?

Bradley Astrowsky: I don't know if there are studies to back this up. Just anecdotally, methamphetamine use is significant in terms of that, as well as mental health issues.

Ted Simons: And as far as adoptive families, not as many as in the past?

Bradley Astrowsky: No. The first person we'd like to adopt the child obviously, if we can't have reunification with biological parents, are grandparents or family members. We have to go to licensed homes or friends or families if that's not possible.

Ted Simons: Has that, the process, changed over the years?

Bradley Astrowsky: That process has not changed over the years.

Ted Simons: What about other processes involved?

Bradley Astrowsky: Well, what we look for is a social study of the prospective adoptive home. The person goes in, they are licensed and see, is it a good home, can I financially meet the needs of a child or children being adopted. You have to do fingerprint clearances, as well, to make sure there are no background or felony or misdemeanor issues with regards to the people. Not just the people doing the adoption, but all people living in the home. Extended family, friends, adult children for example, and that hasn't changed.

Ted Simons: So let's say a family is watching right now and they are interested, curious, they want to know a little more. Give us more of an indication what the process involves, A. And B, what this new adoption unit might streamline or make quicker.

Bradley Astrowsky: First we have to make sure the child is free to be adopted. Sometimes that's through consent. And unfortunately, most of the time through the termination of parental rights done in front of a trial, in front of a judge. After the child is free for adoption, then what happens is DCS, formerly CPS, they will help the family go through that process. That is scheduling the adoptive home study. That is filling out adoption subsidy papers because there are moneys that an adopting home can get to help raise the child. Then there is getting fingerprinted, fingerprint clearances, as well. There is the paperwork process, identifying an attorney to handle the adoption. Sometimes the attorney and the Maricopa County attorney provides access free of charge for adopting.

Ted Simons: Now, in the past was that just extended, the same kind of situation but extended? What changes with the new unit?

Bradley Astrowsky: Sure. It really has to do with volume driven. In the past it was the same process. However, we didn't have the same volume. You had a fewer number of people dedicated to helping handle and process the paperwork. Now we have an increase in volume and you can't have the same number of people handling that increase in volume. Now we have a dedicated unit within the court administration, no additional moneys were spent to create the unit. In other words, it's rededicated resources to make sure that the increased volume is handled appropriately.

Ted Simons: I was going to ask about funding it. It's all right there?

Bradley Astrowsky: That's correct. We just had to rededicate resources.

Ted Simons: We just kind of went through a process here. How long in general does that take?

Bradley Astrowsky: It depends on who the adoptive parent is. For example, if it is a relative like a grandparent or aunt or sibling, that process is a bit shorter, because they don't necessarily have to go through the adoptive home study, then that process can take just a few months. If it is someone who is not a relative, a licensed foster home or a family friend, they have to go through the home study. That's a few months of process.

Ted Simons: Now with the new unit, things supposed to be quicker or more efficient. Some folks would be saying, is this expediency at the cost of safety or caution?

Bradley Astrowsky: It's not for expediency's sake. We still need to do what's in the best interests of the kid in the system. To give you an example, last year close families had to be certified to go through this process. If you have limited resources, it should take longer to vet all that paperwork.

Ted Simons: Who's involved, where are the folks coming from?

Bradley Astrowsky: Court administration or we donated services to this unit, as well.

Ted Simons: Unit has been up and operational since August 1st?

Bradley Astrowsky: That is correct.

Ted Simons: What are you seeing so far.

Bradley Astrowsky: So far no about good, we're not seeing the adoptions yet. On November nd of this year it's National Adoption Day. I'd like to talking a little about that, if that's okay. It's always the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so people don't have their first thing together. We have one of the largest days in the country where we adopted out or so children just on the one day.

Ted Simons: I'm a little confused. Does that mean the process starts or it's been completed.

Bradley Astrowsky: On National Adoption Day they go before a judge, the judge reviews all the papers and makes sure it's in order. You ask some questions and if the requirements have been met you grant the adoption. You pronounce them a whole family on that day.

Ted Simons: In order to get that completion date you've got to get started relatively soon.

Bradley Astrowsky: Exactly. That's why this is in place, so they can process those papers so people can have their adoptions finalized. A lot of people choose to have their adoption happen on National Adoption Day.

Ted Simons: It's hard to get reaction and responses so far. But are you hearing feedback from folks involved in the process from all angles? Are you hearing and are there ways to tinker with this and make it even more efficient?

Bradley Astrowsky: We'll get feedback from everyone involved, DCS, Department of Child Safety, everyone involved, whether it's the families themselves, to tinker with it. We are one of the leaders in the country in terms of being proactive. That's what this was about, being proactive. There was the need and having the hardship for -- they saw an issue and said, let's be proactive. Let's head this off before it becomes a problem?

Ted Simons: This is a little far afield from the concept of an adoption unit being created. There are so many kids and adoptive families looking. Yet it seems like the twain aren't meeting. Can that be improved?

Bradley Astrowsky: I'm not sure that needs to be improved. Say that we have a baby. It involves children under the age of three. When you have kids under the age of three, typically they need or demand from a post perspective is I want for a young kid. They have the potential month daub the child. They are not cuddly like an infant is. This is a little different, there's not that same demand for those children, and that's unfortunate.

Ted Simons: Yes. Congratulations on this new unit, I hope that goes well. Congratulations on the national adoption day.

Bradley Astrowsky: Thank you, thank you.