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  • The Know Daily - Thursday 21 March 2024

The Know Daily - Thursday 21 March 2024

☺️ The 2024 World Happiness Report, the govt's plan to outlaw smoking explained + a mass nap in Mexico City.

Read in 5m 18s Listening to Cleo Sol 

🚬 A landmark plan to outlaw smoking

☺️ The 2024 World Happiness Report

🌸 Poems for spring  

A 200-year-old common beech in the Polish city of Wrocław has been named European Tree of the Year 2024, in a contest that celebrates our relationship with nature. We’ll leaf you to scroll through the runners-up 👇 

🚬 Stub it out

The UK government's plan to outlaw the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2009 started its journey into law yesterday.

Go on…
The Tobacco and Vapes Bill was formally introduced in parliament on Wednesday, with the date that MPs will begin debating the proposed legislation yet to be announced.

If the bill passes, it will prevent children turning 15 this year, or anyone younger, from ever being sold tobacco legally, said Reuters. Smoking itself wouldn’t be criminalised, so anyone who can legally buy tobacco now will still be able to do so in the future, said the government.
And what does this mean for vaping?
In response to a “huge rise” in the number of children using vapes, the legislation would also bring in new powers to restrict vape flavours and packaging “intentionally marketed at children”.

Shops that fail to clamp down on underage sales of vapes and tobacco would be given “on-the-spot fines” of £100 - and under separate environmental legislation, the government has committed to ban the sale of disposable vapes from April 2025.

Is the bill likely to pass?
While a number of senior Conservatives have said they will vote against the plan - with former PM Liz Truss describing it as a “nanny state” policy - The Guardian notes that the bill is “very likely” to pass thanks to cross-party support, with Labour indicating it would support the measure.

What’s the bigger picture?
In 2022, New Zealand pioneered legislation to introduce a steadily rising smoking age - but last November, it said it was scrapping the policy to help fund tax cuts. The New Zealand government announced yesterday that it would be banning the sale of disposable e-cigarettes and vapes.

Experts have largely welcomed the plan, having long advocated for measures that would prevent people from taking up smoking. If the bill does pass, it would make the UK the first country in the world to aim for a “smoke-free generation” - defined as 5% or less of the population using cigarettes - by phasing out the sale of tobacco.


Why has a JD Sports advert recently come under fire?

A) For not disclosing the use of AI-generated content
B) For depicting motorcyclists wearing unsuitable footwear
C) For using controversial background music

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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☺️ The 2024 World Happiness Report

Experts have ranked the world’s “happiest” countries for 2024 - and for the first time, the report offers up data based on age. 

First things first - which places are the happiest?
The report - published annually by Gallup, the United Nations and the University of Oxford - looks at data from over 140 countries. For 2024, the top 10 countries remain broadly the same as in previous years: Finland takes first place for the seventh year in a row, while Denmark and Iceland hold onto 2nd and 3rd place.

In comparison, the UK dropped one spot from last year to come in 20th, while the US fell 8 spots to rank 23rd.

How do you even measure happiness?
Good question. The rankings are largely based on “subjective life evaluations”, explained Euronews - essentially, respondents are asked to rate their life on a scale of 0 to 10. Experts are then called in to explain the variations across countries and over time, looking at factors including GDP, social support and life expectancy.

Got it. Tell me about the age factor.
The 2024 report is the first to offer up data based on age - and it reveals that when comparing generations, people born before 1965 were, on average, happier than those born after 1980. The findings also suggest that the wellbeing of 15-24-year-olds has significantly fallen in North America and much of Western Europe in recent years.

What’s the reason?
The report doesn’t say - but as The Guardian pointed out, experts are increasingly concerned about the impact of social media use, income inequalities and the housing crisis on the wellbeing of children and young people. One of the report’s authors said the findings show that more effort is needed to support the “education, training and mental health” of younger generations.

You can read the full report here.

🌸 World Poetry Day: Poet laureate Simon Armitage has released a new collection celebrating Britain’s blossom in spring - and you can read his poem “Profusion” for free here.

🔬 AI in medicine: In a recent NHS trial, an AI tool successfully identified “tiny signs of breast cancer” in 11 women which had been missed by doctors.

🇮🇪 Leo Varadkar: Ireland’s taoiseach (prime minister) announced his resignation on Wednesday in a “surprise move”.

🚇 Rail walkout: Train drivers in England will strike again next month as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions - here are the key dates.

😴 Mass siesta: Hundreds of people in Mexico City took part in a mass nap last week to push for sleep to be considered an essential part of wellbeing - and some even took eye masks.

We want to know: which season is your favourite?!

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🎶 Soul Music on BBC Radio 4 (the podcast, not the music genre 😉)

Come for: A feel-good listen that’s about the power of music in our lives.

Stay for: Deep-dives into songs told through moving stories and funny anecdotes - Effie thinks this episode is definitely worth a listen.


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Trivia answer: B) The Advertising Standards Authority has received more than 40 complaints about the ad, which shows motorcyclists wearing Nike trainers - footwear that motorcycle groups said was “unsuitable” and “inappropriate”.

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