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Skimm'd at the intersection of data and desire

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Quote of the Day

"Could be just as valuable as other beloved insects like bees, if only we gave them more of a chance" – A professor, on wasps. She's talking wasp, wasp, wasp.

Things Talking Health


The Story

The FDA is working to ban menthol cigarettes.

Go on.

Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death in the US, killing more than 480,000 people per year. While Congress passed a bill banning most flavored cigarettes in 2009, it punted the issue of menthol cigarettes to the FDA. Now, more than 11 years later, the FDA's proposing regulations to ban menthol cigarettes (as well as flavored cigars) from the market. The process could take a year or more to finalize – and tobacco companies will likely challenge it. But the FDA says it's critical to take action because of health equity reasons.


Menthol cigarettes can mask the harshness of smoking with its cooling effects. And tobacco companies market these cigarettes heavily to communities of color: about 85% of Black smokers use them compared to 30% of white smokers. And Black people are more likely to die from tobacco-related illnesses than white people. One study found that removing menthol cigarettes from the market could lead 230,000 Black Americans to quit.


This is an issue the NAACP and medical experts have been ringing the alarm about for years. Now, the FDA is finally taking action that could help save countless lives.

This Survey

The Story

There could be a link between getting tear gassed and having irregular periods.

I'm listening.

Last summer, health experts surveyed over 2,200 people who'd been exposed to tear gas at racial justice protests in Portland, Oregon. It came after protesters there and in other cities reported irregular menstrual cycles. Now, the peer-reviewed study – believed to be the first of its kind – is saying that tear gas exposure may have had something to do with it.


The survey found that hundreds of people experienced intense cramping or more bleeding. And that many reportedly required medical attention. The survey suggests tear gas could have lasting health effects. But health experts say other factors like stress and dehydration could play a role too, adding that more research is needed.


While we know some of the short- and long-term health effects of tear gas (like blurred vision, runny nose, and respiratory issues), there isn't much info on how it can impact people's reproductive systems. This study highlights the additional toll tear gas may have on many people. And could be considered in policy decisions involving a chemical weapon that's been banned in warfare for years.

And Also...This

Where things are getting worse…

India. The State Dept is telling all Americans to leave the country and avoid traveling there. The announcement comes as India's COVID-19 rates are climbing exponentially, recording more than 300,000 daily cases for at least nine consecutive days. Hospitals and crematoriums are overwhelmed, and oxygen is in short supply. Now, gov officials in India are warning that access to medical care is "becoming severely limited." It comes as governments around the world are stepping in to offer help.

PS: Here are some ideas for how you can help.

What's making a comeback…

The US economy. Yesterday, the Commerce Dept said that GDP grew by a 6.4% annual rate between January and March – bringing the economy closer to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic started. (For comparison, the economy contracted by an annual pace of 31% between last April and June.) Economists believe the hike is in part because of vaccinations and stimulus checks from the federal gov. But they're warning that vaccine hesitancy could derail economic growth, and that shots in arms are key to the country's recovery.

Psst...Want more money news? Sign up to get our Skimm Money newsletter in your inbox.

What people are watching...

Israel. Last night, at least 44 people were killed and over 100 injured in a stampede at a religious festival in the northern part of the country. Tens of thousands of people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gathered to honor second-century sage Rabbi Shim Bar Yochai despite warnings to maintain social distancing. It's unclear how exactly the stampede started. But the annual event which includes bonfires, praying, and dancing is believed to be one of the largest in Israel since the start of the pandemic. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident a "heavy disaster." This is a developing story.

What's welcoming new players...

The NFL. Yesterday, the Jacksonville Jaguars chose Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence as the no. 1 pick in this year's draft. But the party's not over yet: draft picks continue through tomorrow.

Who really Can't Believe It…


Weird Flex

Vinyasa. Hatha. Bikram. There are lots of ways to get your ommm on. Including some ~unique~ practices with fun twists. Like stand-up paddleboard yoga (yes, you might get wet), goat yoga (aka cuddles and chaos), and aerial yoga (which is basically flying). So there's bound to be a yoga for you. And Athleta can get you suited up for all of it. Stretch into summer with their...

Salutation Intention Capri. These fan-fave, buttery soft leggings have perfectly-placed pockets, just-right compression, and a waistband that stays put. And now there's no inner seam, so they fit even more smoothly.

Salutation Textured Capri. See above, but add cozy ribbing and tie-dye.

Conscious Textured Crop. A breathable, quick-drying bra top with removable padding to complete your lewk.

Skimm Reads

"Yolk" by Mary H.K. Choi

Sister, sister. This charming book follows two estranged siblings in NYC. There's Jayne, a self-obsessed college student who's also struggling with an eating disorder. And June, her older, perfect-on-paper sister. When one of them gets a cancer diagnosis and the other is the only one who can help, their complicated relationship takes on some sweet new layers. Family book club pick, coming right up.


Here are today's recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. The return of a must-watch show. This season of the STARZ acclaimed anthology series "The Girlfriend Experience" is set in the London tech scene. It focuses on Iris, who's trying to decode desire, intimacy, and human relationships. Don't miss it.*

2. Lawn games, grills, groceries, bathing suits, and more (srsly) delivered free. This store has just about everything you need for summer at budget-friendly prices. And with a membership, you can get it right to your door as soon as today. Start your 15-day trial.*

3. Invisible braces that work fast. This brand can help you get straighter teeth in three to four months. Psst...a lot of their customers see results even sooner than that. Like, in just 30 days. And Skimm'rs can save over $300. Get your smile summer-ready.*

4. Cards for people who have a tough time on Mother's Day. This time of year can be hard for many. So we rounded up some cards for the people in your life that'll show 'em how much you care. Pop them in the mail and say 'love you, mean it' to your nearest and dearest.

5. Our fave wellness products from Black-owned brands. Like a petal face mist, a soothing bath salt mix, and a vitamin C serum for acne scars. You-time starts now.

PS: Like what you see here? Make sure you're signed up to get more picks like these in your inbox every Thursday. We've got exclusive shopping recs, streaming ideas, life hacks, and more.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.

†$35 minimum. Restrictions apply.


In honor of National Nurses Week (psst...that starts May 6), we've teamed up with our friends at Fidelity to honor Skimm'r healthcare workers. Because, ICYMI, they've had a busy year. So nominate the nurses, doctors, physician assistants, EMTs, pharmacists, and other frontliners in your life (yes, even if that's you) here. And watch this space for a special week of shoutouts.

Talking the talk...Lori R (MI). She started the Puberty Prof podcast and created the TALK Puberty app which helps families and educators talk to youth about puberty. Learn here.

Ain't no mountain high enough...Vicky A (AL). She and her husband have committed to the 2021 Alabama Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge to hike 26.3 miles and raise $5,000 toward Make-A-Wish. She recently got hurt and can't run this year but her team is still going strong. Help them reach their goal.

(Some) Birthdays...Susan Lyne (NY), Josh Greebel (NY), Brendan Butler (IL), Chryssy Alba (IL), Brittany Elias (NY), Anthony Finizio (PA), Lucy Fancourt (NC), Nina Diamond (FL), Fathima Khan (VA), Faezeh Ashtiani (IL), Jeannie Daniel (CT), Kari Krause (CA), Caroline Samp (MA), Cynthia Jones (SC), Patti Higgins (NJ)

Skimm More

This week on "Skimm This": Health and human psychology researcher Dr. Fuschia Sirois breaks down pandemic sleeping habits. Plus, how "revenge bedtime procrastination" could be part of the problem.

And if you're looking for other smart ways to spend your time…

  • Listen to our news podcast "Skimm This" for clarity on the biggest stories of the week.

  • Tune in to our career podcast "Skimm'd from the Couch" for tips to build your resume.

  • Subscribe to our "Skimm Money" newsletter to keep up to date with your wallet.

  • Sign up for our "Skimm Your Life" newsletter (formerly known as "Press Pause") for curated shopping, reads, and entertainment recs.

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Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Maria Martinolich and Julie Shain