April 2009 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: April 2009

HMRC responsibilities

• Over the period from 2008/09 – 2011/12 HMRC will ensure that tobacco activity will make one
of the largest single contributions to its overall objective of reducing revenue losses from criminal
attacks. HMRC recognises that the UKBA seizure target is critical to this commitment, and that
UKBA cannot achieve that target without strong support from HMRC, especially from Investigation,
Intelligence and the development of technological profiling, such as the Freight Targeting
System (FTS).
• Tobacco (cigarettes and HRT) is therefore among the top operational priorities for Criminal
Investigation (CI) and Risk & Intelligence Services (RIS). Tasking and co-ordination activity in both
CI and RIS will clearly reflect this.
• HMRC RIS will continue to provide intelligence products to inform and enhance UKBA’s border
activities in respect of excise duty controls. These intelligence products will be derived from HMRC’s
ongoing responsibility for tackling excise fraud within the UK and overseas and will complement
those delivered by UKBA’s own intelligence capacity in respect of goods threats presented by different
modes of international transport following the transfer of border-related intelligence staff from
HMRC to UKBA management structures in April 2008.
• HMRC’s Criminal Investigation (CI) and Risk & Intelligence Service (RIS) are strongly committed
to supporting UKBA in the delivery of its frontier excise targets. Working in collaboration with
UKBA representatives CI and RIS will continuously evaluate the effectiveness of their contribution to
the delivery of those frontier excise targets with the aim of achieving the necessary impact on UKBA’s
frontier excise delivery commitments.
• In particular, HMRC RIS and UKBA Intelligence will engage regularly to agree specific risk and
intelligence requirements, and will produce quantitative and qualitative measurements of the impact
of HMRC and UKBA intelligence products to inform further joint planning for frontier
operational activities.
• RIS will also apply its full range of intelligence collection assets, including covert sources and the
Overseas Liaison Officer network, in support of its priorities which will include excise fraud.
• Criminal Investigation will aim to adopt at least 95% of frontier referrals that meet the agreed
adoption criteria.
• HMRC alcohol and tobacco policy leads will meet regularly with UKBA colleagues to discuss
possible legislative or policy options that arise out of border activity and will actively consider any
proposals from the UKBA for policy or legislative changes that would enhance border activity on
alcohol and tobacco.
• HMRC will extend FTS to container traffic by October 2008.

Call to discourage rising tobacco use

Health experts on Tuesday urged to take sincere steps to ensure 100% smoke-free environment to protect the health of non-smokers and reducing use of tobacco in the country.
They expressed these views while addressing the opening session of a three-day training workshop on “100% smoke-free environment” jointly organized by World Health Organization (WHO) and Tobacco Control Cell Ministry of Health.
Dr. Luminita Sanda from WHO Geneva said that there is a need to enhance capacity of national and sub national policy makers to protect people from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
She asked to develop specific strategic action plan to improve ability of concerned stakeholders of tobacco control programmes to respond to opposition through skilled debate.
She said it is high time to enhance collaboration between the individuals and organizations to form plans and policies to control smoking besides effective implementation and enforcement of such policies. She apprised the participants about the effects of second hand smoking on human health and economic costs of medical complications caused due to tobacco use.
Director General Health Dr. Rashid Jooma said promulgation of prohibition of smoking and protection of non-smokers health ordinance 2002 and ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are real milestones.
He said no one has right to harm the health of others by using tobacco in open places, adding, steps are being taken in this regard to control this.

Country Representative WHO Dr. Khalif Bile Mohamad said the epidemic of tobacco has been one of the major causes of the non-communicable diseases including cancers and cardiovascular diseases in Pakistan.
He said 90% deaths from lungs disease and 25% from cardiovascular disease attributed to tobacco and added such diseases are affecting all groups of people particularly the youth.
He said use of sheesha smoking is on rise in Pakistan and young boys and girls are using it as fashion in open places and urged to take steps to control it.
He said sincere efforts are needed to protect public from the enchanting offers of tobacco industry causing harm to the health of country people.
He said Pakistan has made significant achievements towards tobacco control however, a lot more needs to be accomplished particularly the implementation of Ordinance and the FCTC, he added.
He expressed the hope that workshop will give skill and knowledge to making 100% smoke free environment and will help the participants to prepare effective advocacy plans.
DG Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of Health, Shaheen Masud said the objective of the training workshop was to make an orientation of the participants on the concept of smoke-free environments.
She said during training the participants will explore ways and means for effective implementation of plans to provide 100% smoke-free environment to the people within enclosed places and public transport in the country.

Source: Nation

Fired for making a fuss over smoke

Zak Gunter took on a smoker at Health Canada for lighting up where she wasn’t supposed to, and the smoker won.

Gunter, 24, was stunned when he lost his job with a fire-alarm testing company as a result of a confrontation with a public servant who had been smoking near the main entrance of Health Canada’s Jeanne Mance Building at Tunney’s Pasture.

Gunter says he should have been given a warning by Siemens Building Technologies instead of being dismissed outright. He was working for Siemens through a temporary placement agency, Spherion Staffing Solutions. He is still available for work through Spherion.

Gunter’s troubles began near the end of his second day at Jeanne Mance, on April 7, when he noticed yet another smoker, a couple of metres outside the lobby’s main doors, puffing away beside a No Smoking sign. He says that, as he was working in the lobby area and the main doors were in constant use, he had to put up with continuous bursts of cigarette smoke and odour from groups of smokers who were huddled near the entrance. The weather was pretty crummy both days that he worked there, with snow, rain, wind and cool temperatures.

Gunter, a former smoker, insists the mere smell of cigarette smoke “makes me sick to my stomach.”

Smoking within nine metres of federal government buildings is prohibited, though I couldn’t find out from Public Works Tuesday how or when the rule is enforced. When I visited the building on Monday, smokers were well away from the lobby entrance, but the weather was summer-like. There are more than a half-dozen signs outside the main doors of Jeanne Mance, some of them fairly large, all indicating that you shouldn’t be smoking in that area.

As he had done on eight or nine other occasions with other smokers over the two days at Jeanne Mance, Gunter rapped on the window, got the attention of the woman, and pointed to the No Smoking sign near where she was standing.

But unlike the other smokers, who he says sheepishly took the hint and finished their cigarettes away from the main entrance, the middle-aged woman gestured at Gunter to leave her alone. When she came inside, she confronted Gunter and gave him a piece of her mind.

She told him that his rapping on the window frightened her and that he had no business telling her what to do.

Gunter says he explained that the smoke made him ill and that it was affecting his job, but the woman didn’t seem to care. After a security guard at the front desk called out “Madame” in a stern voice, Gunter says the woman stopped berating him and walked off.

When he arrived for work the next morning, Gunter was told by Siemens to leave the premises because the company was investigating his “altercation” with the woman. The next day, Gunter was told that he had been relieved of his job. When Gunter defended his rights as a non-smoker, he says a Siemens supervisor told him, “I don’t care about your rights.”

Spherion spokesman Richard Jurewicz described Gunter as an “exemplary” and “conscientious” worker, who received two raises in the 11 months he has been with the placement company. He was placed with Siemens immediately after he signed up with Spherion. Siemens wouldn’t comment on Gunter’s dismissal.

Jurewicz says Gunter overreacted in dealing with the smokers, but added it was the first time that he had ever had a complaint from Siemens about the young man.

Gunter says he can’t understand why he ended up the victim, while scores of federal government workers were flagrantly disobeying a smoking rule that is supposed to protect the public.

He does have a point and it’s too bad he had to take it on himself, an outsider in a government building at that, to try to get public servants to obey the rules. He says he was always polite when he rapped on the window and pointed to the sign, although you might think that is a bit arrogant, especially from a 24-year-old who was once a smoker, too. And even a bit mean, given the bad weather those two days.

Non-smokers and even former smokers who have little or no tolerance for people who light up in public might see Gunter as their hero. Those who smoke and feel persecuted for their habit probably think Gunter is a jerk.

But like most of the smokers who moved away from the main doors after he caught their attention, Gunter, too, realizes that he crossed the line.

In a letter to Siemens supervisor Ryan Smith following his dismissal, Gunter admits to being “overzealous” in his actions and that “I deeply regret” them.

He promised to deal with similar problems differently, if given the chance to work for Siemens again. Unfortunately for Gunter, it doesn’t appear as if Siemens is interested.

Source: Ottawacitizen

With time growing short, debate over Texas smoking ban heats up

Supporters and opponents of a statewide smoking ban squared off Tuesday over whether the proposed law is a vital public-health safeguard or an affront to the rights of business and property owners.

Both sides packed a hearing Tuesday evening before the Texas House Committee on State Affairs to debate the bill, which would ban smoking in nearly all indoor public places.

“It is about more government control in our businesses and our personal lives,” said Scott Camarata, owner of Cafe Marizon in Amarillo, who spoke strongly against the measure. “We need to wake up and see what’s happening in our state and our country.”

But college student Krista Knight, 22, of College Station countered that she went to work last year at a sports bar where people smoked and soon noticed an unusual shortness of breath when she jogged.

She said that although smoking was a personal choice for others, she was forced to face the health risks. Like many students, she said, she had class during the day and had to work at night, when few jobs are available besides bar and restaurant work.

“Unfortunately, I did not have any other options,” she said.

College Station enacted a smoking ordinance this year, and her breathing has returned to normal, she said.

‘The clock is ticking’

Earlier Tuesday, supporters of the ban ratcheted up pressure on lawmakers to vote on the legislation by delivering almost 10,000 petition signatures to the Capitol.

“The clock is ticking,” said Cass Wheeler, a retired CEO of the American Heart Association who represents the group Smoke-Free Texas. “We are here to remind Texas lawmakers that Texans want a smoke-free state.”

Two bills — Senate Bill 544 and House Bill 5 — propose the ban. Both remain in committee.

Some cities, including Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas, already have ordinances that ban smoking in some or most public places.

However, some business owners complain that local bans create an unfair patchwork of laws, infringe on civil liberties and drive smoking customers elsewhere.

The Texas Restaurant Association’s board of directors has supported the statewide ban, saying it would level the playing field.

Before the committee hearing, Flower Mound Mayor Jody Smith stood with Wheeler outside the Senate chamber at a news conference calling on the House and Senate committees to send the bills to the floor for votes.

Flower Mound adopted a local smoking ban that took effect Jan. 1, and she said the outcome should give lawmakers the “strength to pass these bills” even though they have detractors.

Many Flower Mound businesses that initially resisted the ban have changed their minds and “now are calling our office to say, ‘Thank you, my business is thriving,’ ” Smith said.

Twenty-five other states have already enacted statewide smoking bans, Wheeler said.

Smoke-Free America said it took a poll in January that found that 68 percent of Texans support a statewide ban.

Property-rights concern

Some lawmakers expressed reservation about the legislation. During Tuesday’s hearing, Wheeler called suggestions that the ban would destroy businesses a myth.

Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth and owner of the Railhead Smokehouse, abruptly asked whether Wheeler would be surprised to know that his business fell 15 percent after Fort Worth enacted its smoking ordinance.

“Yes, I would,” Wheeler said.

“Well, it did,” Geren responded.

Afterward, Geren said he would not vote for the measure.

“It’s a property-rights issue for me,” he said.

EFSA to assess the risks to human health from nicotine in wild mushrooms

EFSA receives requests for opinions mainly from the European Commission and occasionally from the European Parliament. Member States can also request opinions. The request outlines what is being asked of EFSA: the issue, the terms of reference, the timeframe etc.

Upon receipt of a request, EFSA considers its contents, discusses it with the Commission and addresses any issues that need clarifying, such as the feasibility of the deadline. Following these discussions, EFSA and the Commission agree on a mandate, which includes the final terms of reference and a mutually agreed deadline.

A request normally results in the delivery of an opinion by one of EFSA’s Scientific Panels or its Scientific Committee.

Information about each request, including supporting documents and the current status, is available in the Register of Questions database.

EFSA to assess the risks to human health from nicotine in wild mushrooms
EFSA has received an urgent request from the European Commission for a scientific opinion in relation to the risks for human health from nicotine in wild mushrooms. EFSA has been asked to provide this advice because food business operators have found dried wild mushrooms to be contaminated with nicotine. It is not known what caused the presence of the nicotine, but it could be the result of factors including its use in pesticides. EFSA aims to answer this request by 7 May 2009 and its response will then be published.

Source: Efsa.europa

Smoking, hypertension cause most premature deaths

Hundreds of thousands of deaths every year in the US could be prevented by tackling just a few risk factors, according to a new study out today in the journal PLoS Medicine.

Dr. Majid Ezzati of Harvard University and colleagues estimated the toll of poor diet, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle and other factors by determining how 2005 mortality data would change if each were eliminated.

For example, they found, if no one in the US smoked, there would have been 467,000 fewer deaths from smoking-related causes, and if everyone had their blood pressure controlled at optimal levels, 395,000 fewer people would have died.

“Targeting a handful of risk factors has a large potential to reduce mortality in the US, substantially more than the currently estimated 18,000 deaths averted annually by providing universal health insurance,” Ezzati and his team say. However, they add, even though there are proven ways to help people quit smoking and reduce their blood pressure, “blood pressure and tobacco smoking declines in the US have stagnated or even reversed.”

The researchers gauged the number of preventable deaths by looking at 12 different modifiable risk factors, including overweight and obesity, high salt diets, high blood glucose, high LDL cholesterol, physical inactivity, and low fruit and vegetable intake.

A total of 2.4 million people died in the US in 2005. Smoking and uncontrolled hypertension each accounted for nearly one in five deaths. Cigarettes were the leading killer for men, accounting for 21% of deaths in men. For women, high blood pressure was the leading cause of death, representing 19% of female mortality.

Overweight and obesity accounted for 216,000 deaths and inactivity contributed to 191,000. Among the dietary risk factors, the most lethal were high salt intake (102,000 deaths), low intake of omega-3 fatty acids (84,000 deaths) and high trans fatty acid consumption (82,000).

Alcohol use was a double edged sword; if everyone in the US drank moderately, the researchers say, 26,000 fewer people would die from heart disease or diabetes, but 90,000 more would die from alcohol-related diseases like cirrhosis and pancreatitis or alcohol-related accidents and violence.

Strategies targeting individuals and entire populations could be helpful in reducing the mortality risk factors identified in the study, the researchers say. “Combinations of food industry regulation, pricing and better information can also be effective in reducing exposure to dietary salt and trans fatty acids, especially in packaged foods and prepared meals,” they add.

In a press release accompanying the study, Ezzati stated: “The findings should be a reminder that although we have been effective in partially reducing smoking and high blood pressure, we have not completed the task and have a great deal more to do on these major preventable risk factors.”

SOURCE: PLoS Medicine, online April 28, 2009.

Agencies tackling tobacco smuggling

Criminal Intelligence Group

Tackling tobacco smuggling is one of the top priorities for HMRC’s new Criminal Intelligence Group (CIG). Its tasking and coordination function
provides tobacco intelligence to support interventions against criminal activity and frontier threats. CIG includes:
• National Humint Centre (NHC), which records all intelligence from human
sources: this captures information on all aspects of tobacco smuggling for
assessment – strategically, tactically and for operational purposes.
• National Co-ordination Unit (NCU), which provides 24/7 support,
disseminating tobacco-specific intelligence to operational teams within
both HMRC and UKBA.

Intelligence Management Unit

From October 2008, a new HMRC Intelligence Management Unit is being set up which will manage intelligence from a number of sources including the Customs Hotline and Tax Evasion Hotline. This will allow us to build a critical mass of tobacco intelligence and improve our handling and dissemination of material.

Tobacco Tobacco Expertise

The Tobacco CoE is the largest of all HMRC’s commodity CoEs. Its Centre of responsibilities include liaison with the tobacco manufacturers, including in relation to the Supply Chain Control legislation.The Tobacco CoE is the largest of all HMRC’s commodity CoEs. Its Centre of responsibilities include liaison with the tobacco manufacturers, including in Expertise (CoE) relation to the Supply Chain Control legislation.

Intelligence Analysis

The consolidation of HMRC’s intelligence analysis capability into a national, flexible, multi-functional resource has seen the addition of a ‘Futures’ analysis capability, using analytical methods and approaches recognised across industry, Government and academia.

Customs Hotline Online

Our intelligence gathering capability has recently been extended through the introduction of a new secure online webpage which is available to members of the public both at home and abroad to report suspicious activity in relation to tobacco smuggling. Online reporting can be found at: www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs-hotline/ .

Maker of Chantix sponsors UW course on smoking cessation

A Pfizer promotional campaign for the controversial drug Chantix – which includes financing a course for doctors through the University of Wisconsin-Madison – has helped the drug dominate the prescription smoking-treatment market while burying mention of its serious side effects.

Chantix now accounts for 90% of smoking cessation prescriptions, even though the Food and Drug Administration has been investigating the drug for a rash of serious side effects, such as suicidal behavior and blackouts.

None of the side effects are mentioned in the UW continuing education online course, which is paid for by Pfizer. The course directly mentions only Chantix as a first-line treatment, even though the drug is one of seven first-line treatments, according to national guidelines.

Further, organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, say Chantix should not be considered as a first-line treatment.

Last May, the VA’s pharmacy benefits management services raised concerns about the drug’s side effects. That followed the Federal Aviation Administration’s ban on the drug for pilots and air traffic controllers.

And unlike most drugs that are advertised to consumers and that list side effects, Pfizer’s “My Time to Quit” ads do not mention any of those problems. One recent ad doesn’t even mention Chantix by name.

“I suspect that it is a way to avoid having to address head-on that this product has some potentially very serious side effects,” said Dominick Frosch, an assistant professor of medicine in the UCLA Department of Medicine.

Earlier ads run by Pfizer have mentioned the drug’s side effects.

Frosch noted that there are several alternative treatments for quitting smoking, including five nicotine-based products – like the patch or gum.

Would smokers rather use one of those products “or a drug that might make me suicidal?” he asked. “I think it’s a no-brainer.”

Pfizer defends product

Sally Beatty, a spokeswoman for Pfizer, said Chantix is a highly effective treatment, resulting in 22% of smokers abstaining one year after treatment, compared with 9% of those who got a placebo. She noted that smoking is responsible for 438,000 deaths a year in the U.S.

Beatty said the goal of the “My Time to Quit” campaign is to help people quit smoking.

She said the idea is to provide information about nicotine addiction and reinforce the value of talking to a doctor about setting up a plan to quit smoking.

Pfizer’s grant to UW is unrestricted and it has no role in the course content, she said.

She said Pfizer communicates all relevant information about the safe use of the drug to doctors and patients in numerous ways, including on the drug’s package label.

“When considering the use of Chantix (varenicline) for their patients, health care providers should discuss the risks of smoking, the health benefits of quitting and the product’s efficacy and safety profile,” Beatty said. “Pfizer believes the benefits of Chantix outweigh its risks.”

UW officials said doctors do not take the class expecting that it is the equivalent of “Smoking Cessation 101.” They use such courses to fill in gaps, not to learn a subject comprehensively for the first time, according to a statement from the communications office of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

And there are links that can be clicked on that will take doctors to the national guidelines that address all the first-line treatments and issues such as side effects.

“Learners understand how the course is designed,” the statement says.

Linking to the guidelines is not required to obtain credit for the course.

Public targeted directly

The UW course and the Pfizer’s “My Time to Quit” ads are examples of two emerging trends in medicine: Dramatic growth in spending by drug companies to advertise directly to consumers, as well as drug company funding of doctor education courses that promote drugs made by those companies.

The typical American consumer now sees about 16 hours of prescription drug television ads each year.

In 2005, $4.2 billion was spent on such ads, compared with $1.1 billion in 1997.

At the same time, drug company funding of continuing medical education courses for doctors increased from $302 million in 1998 to $1.2 billion in 2006.

Pfizer pays for UW course

UW’s smoking cessation course is being paid for as part of a $3.5 million grant from Pfizer. So far, about 140 learners, including about 100 doctors, have taken the course.

At UW, drug companies spend about $13 million a year to fund its doctor education courses, and the university receives about 27%, or nearly $3 million of that money. The rest goes to other entities such as the private firms that put together the course materials.

Steven Teplinsky, a 45-year-old Milwaukee native now living in Baltimore, said he took Chantix two years ago. Teplinsky, who has schizophrenia, said he stopped smoking for about five weeks and then got uncomfortable and anxious. He said he thought he might have to go into the hospital.

But after going off the drug and starting to smoke again, he stabilized, he said.

He said he would never go on the drug again. “My mental health is so important.”

On the other hand, Crystal Goodwill, 30, and her husband, Anthony, 30, went on the drug about a year ago and had no significant problems, she said.

Goodwill, who works as a financial assistant at the Medical College of Wisconsin, was prescribed the drug by Ileen Gilbert, who directs the smoking cessation program at Froedtert Hospital.

She said she had night terrors on one occasion, but she and her husband have continued to abstain from smoking, even after going off the drug. They took it for three months.

“I had a great experience with it,” said Goodwill, who tried other methods to quit but was unsuccessful.

It should not be a surprise that Pfizer has been able to maintain a strong market share for Chantix despite all its problems, said Michael Oldani, a former Pfizer drug representative who now works as an assistant professor of medical anthropology sociology at UW-Whitewater.

From doctor education courses and television ads that don’t discuss the drug’s side effects, to an army of drug reps and medical experts who are able to spin information about the drug, it’s classic drug marketing, said Oldani, who writes about pharmaceuticals and culture.

“You need experts to be selling the drug, reps doing damage control and medical consumers requesting it by name,” he said. “They have mastered the way to maintain market share.”

Both the consumer ads and the doctor education courses often start within two years of when the FDA approves a new drug.

Effects often unforeseen

That’s also when problems with unforeseen side effects often occur.

Clinical trials of a drug often exclude large numbers of people with various conditions. The clinical trials of Chantix excluded people with mental disorders along with many other conditions.

Just last month, a new FDA analysis of Chantix published in JAMA showed there were 153 cases of suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior among users of the drug between May 2006, when it was approved, and November 2007.

And those cases likely represent only a fraction of the actual number, the FDA says.

No link was found between suicide and several nicotine skin patch products.

The JAMA report noted that in the first quarter of 2008, Chantix accounted for more serious injuries (1,001) than the top 10 best-selling drugs combined (837).

Nevertheless, in 2008, its sales were $525 million, which amounted to about 90% of both dispensed prescriptions and total dollars, according to data supplied by IMS Health.

Source: Jsonline

Smoking ban set to move forward

Commissioners forgo opportunity to repeal ban that takes effect Saturday

Salina city commissioners Monday discussed, but let pass, the opportunity to repeal or delay a comprehensive citywide ban on smoking in public places scheduled to take effect Saturday.

They took no action after commissioner Aaron Peck chastised the leading advocate for repeal for insinuating that voters would be too stupid to figure out their ballots if opponents petitioned for a public vote.

“Let’s face it, some voters are more or less likely to be confused, and or less sophisticated than others at the ballot,” Gary Swartzendruber, of Salina, told commissioners.

“I am asking for one of you to initiate the motion to repeal the ban. And I’m asking that at least three of you vote for a repeal,” he said.

If the ordinance were repealed, Swartzendruber argued, supporters of the ban would have to petition to keep the ordinance in force, “creating a clear choice for the voters — yes ban, or no ban. That’s all I’m asking.”

A group of Salinans against the stricter smoking ban already have collected signatures on a petition calling for a public vote on its repeal.

Anti-smoking advocates favor the ordinance set to take effect at the end of this week. It bans smoking in nearly all public places, including bars, bingo parlors, bowling alleys, hotels, motels and restaurants. It would replace the current ordinance, which bans smoking in restaurants except between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

One man’s opinion?

Peck said Swartzendruber’s argument that the new ordinance represented too much government intrusion and restriction on small businesses was not justification but an opinion. And Peck had stronger words for Swartzendruber’s comment about “less sophisticated” voters.

“It assumes those against the ordinance or those who happen to have an addiction to nicotine are somehow, in your own words, ‘less sophisticated,’ or as I read it, less intelligent than the rest of the community,” Peck said.

“That assumption is where the rest of your case is made. And I simply don’t buy it,” Peck said. “I don’t think we need to generalize that a particular segment of the community is somehow less sophisticated or not smart enough to figure out how the ballot reads.”

Swartzendruber was the leading opponent of the current restaurant smoking ordinance, passed by city commissioners seven years ago.

The opponents, who successfully petitioned for a public vote, also challenged at that time that the wording would be confusing for some voters.

Voters at that time were asked to vote “yes” to repeal the ordinance or “no” to retain the ordinance. The vote was 6,157 “yes” to 8,849 “no” — meaning the vote to repeal failed 41 percent to 59 percent and the ordinance remained in effect.

If opponents of the new ordinance submit their petitions calling for a vote, wording of the ballot would be similar.

Wording not confusing

A member of the public who spoke at Monday’s city commission meeting, Morea Charvat, 2606 Plantation, said she didn’t think there was much confusion about the ballot question seven years ago.

“There was a lot of public education prior to that. And I think people understood what they were voting on,” she said. “I am for protecting the health of our whole community.”

Commissioners let pass a suggestion from commissioner Tom Arpke, who wasn’t present but was participating by conference call, to delay implementation of the ordinance until the next general election, when it could be voted upon.

City Manager Jason Gage said it was possible to delay the ordinance that long, but in the meantime, the chances were good that either those for or against the ordinance would submit the necessary petitions to call for a special election.

“This may very well move on its own, regardless of what you, as a commission, choose to do at this time,” Gage said.

Source: Saljournal

Smuggling cigarettes methods

Whilst the overall volume of cigarettes seized in 2007/08 is comparable to that of the previous
year, the following table indicates notable changes in the points of interception.

Given the scale of the smuggling threat and the huge profits to be made,
it is crucial that we continue to refine and adapt our enforcement activity in order to maintain
downward pressure on the illicit market.

As a result of our response and success in intercepting large volumes of smuggled product from
China, Table 7 shows how seizures have subsequently started to drop off. There are indications
that the threat is diversifying, with other countries emerging as sources, or transit points, for
posted tobacco products, and we are assessing the displacement of this risk into other areas.
However, we have seen no major changes in smuggling in sea containers and Roll-on/Roll-off
(RORO) freight, though smugglers continue to refine their methods to minimise the risk of being
intercepted, and to reduce the impact of disruption when it does occur. For example, smugglers
are loading smaller amounts of cigarettes into sea containers and certain transhipment hubs are
growing in importance.
As this Chapter demonstrates, faced with a constantly changing picture of risk and the regular
emergence of new threats, standing still is not an option for the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling
strategy. Chapters 4 and 5 set out how the new partnership between the UKBA and HMRC will
rise to the challenges that we now face.

Results and statistics

Outputs and outcomes
2.1 Since the start of the strategy we have:
• either met or exceeded every target we have been set for reducing the cigarettes illicit market;
• seized over 14 billion cigarettes and over 1000 tonnes of HRT both in the UK at airports,
seaports and inland, and en route to the UK;
• broken up over 370 criminal gangs involved in the large-scale smuggling and supply of illicit
tobacco products;
• successfully prosecuted over 2,000 people; and
• issued over £35 million worth of Confiscation Orders.
Cigarettes
2.2 In 2000, the illicit market share for cigarettes stood at around 21% and was predicted to rise
to around 33% within a few years without Government action. When the Tackling Tobacco
Smuggling strategy was published in 2000, the original target was a reduction in the illicit market
to 17 per cent by 2005/06. However, the strategy was highly successful, cutting the illicit cigarette
market to 16 per cent by 2003/04. The Government therefore set a new, more challenging target
in 2004 to reduce the illicit share to 13 per cent by 2007/08.
2.3 In recent years, the Government has published revised illicit market share estimates alongside the
Pre-Budget Report. The following table tracks our progress in tackling the illicit market, and the
associated revenue losses. It indicates that, assuming progress has been maintained in the most
recent years (and using the mid-point of the range of estimates) we are on course to achieve or
exceed our PSA target to reduce the cigarettes illicit market share to 13% by 2007/08.

tobacco study
Hand rolling tobacco
2.4 Hand rolling tobacco only represents around 5% of the total tobacco duty revenue in the UK.
However, in 2006, the HRT illicit market share stood at 56%. At this point, the Government
set a target to reduce this by 1,200 tonnes – equivalent to around 20% – by 2007/08. Using the
mid point of the ranges detailed in Table 2 below, we estimate that there has been a reduction of
approximately 450 tonnes, or 8%, from 2005/06 to 2006/07. While this is an encouraging start,
there is still a long way to go to achieve our HRT target.

Future outcome objectives
2.5 For the future, the Government has decided that, rather than setting very specific targets in
respect of individual tax losses, work to reduce the tobacco illicit market share will contribute
towards a wider HMRC Departmental Strategic Objective (DSO) to improve the extent to which
individuals and businesses pay the tax due and receive the credits and payments to which they
are entitled.
2.6 We expect that over the DSO period, from 2008/09 to 2010/11, action to tackle tobacco
smuggling will be a key contributor to the successful delivery of the DSO. HMRC expect
that tobacco activity will make one of the largest single contributions to its overall objective
of reducing revenue losses from criminal attacks. UKBA seizures at the frontier will play an
important part in that. Objectives for tobacco seizures for 2008/09 are set out in the UKBA
partnership agreement, the relevant sections of which are annexed to this document.
2.7 In later years, as part of their annual planning cycles, HMRC and UKBA will determine the
contributions that seizures at the frontier will be expected to contribute to the key tobacco
outcomes set out in the UKBA partnership agreement. The agreement envisages that performance
through the period from 2008 – 2012 will at least maintain the progress made during the period
from 2004 – 2008. This means: (1) restricting the UK illicit cigarette market to no more than a
13% share; and (2) a reduction of around 20% in the size of the illicit HRT market.
2.8 The Government will continue to monitor and publish in HMRC’s Autumn Performance Report
estimates of the illicit market share for tobacco products. We will also publish other more detailed
measures of the performance of HMRC and UKBA, including seizure and prosecution statistics,
so that our performance can be scrutinised.

Working with tobacco manufacturers to tighten our grip on smuggling

1.10 Prior to the launch of the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy, the illicit market was
predominantly made up of genuine cigarettes that were manufactured in the UK, exported, then
smuggled back to the UK. Consequently, working with the tobacco manufacturers to restrict
the availability of cigarettes to smugglers was identified as one of the key elements when the
strategy was originally launched. This co-operation was initially formalised in Memoranda of
Understanding (MoUs) between HMRC and the leading UK tobacco manufacturers in 2002.
The MoUs set out a framework which has resulted in the incidence of UK-manufactured
cigarettes being smuggled into the UK falling markedly. Building on the success of the original
MoUs, they were strengthened in 2006 as part of the strategy refresh to improve the targeting
of counterfeit product and expand their scope to include HRT.
1.11 The MoUs continue to be a key component of the strategy and UKBA and HMRC will work
with the tobacco manufacturers to further strengthen and extend the MoUs.
Anti-counterfeit security marks
1.12 To address the rapid growth in the illicit trade in counterfeit tobacco products, the four leading
UK tobacco manufacturers, representing over 97% of the UK cigarette market, voluntarily
agreed to incorporate a covert security mark on cigarettes and HRT destined for the UK market.
The mark was introduced for cigarettes in October 2007 and extended to HRT in October 2008.
Packs are easily scanned with portable hand-held scanners provided by the industry, which enable
enforcement officials quickly to distinguish genuine products from fakes.
1.13 The anti-counterfeit marking scheme is intended to deter and detect counterfeit tobacco product
infiltrating the UK duty-paid supply chain, and ensure legitimate retailers are not unfairly
disadvantaged. In order to allow for the throughput of unmarked cigarette packs already in
the retail supply chain, enforcement activity has so far been limited. However, verification and
enforcement of anti-counterfeit marks will be a key aspect of the work of the network of inland
excise enforcement teams that HMRC is establishing.

Matt Bars, a Global Expert in Smoking Cessation, Joins Next Safety as Chairman

Next Safety, Inc. has developed the most effective pulmonary nicotine delivery device to help people quit smoking

Matthew P. Bars, MS, CTTS, has joined Next Safety, Inc. (NSI) as chairman. In his smoking cessation work, he has appeared on the NBC Today Show several times, as well as the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, ABC World News Tonight, CNBC and CNN.

Mr. Bars has a B.S. in Psychology, an M.S. in Clinical Psychology and is a member of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. He is a consultant and key opinion-maker for many pharmaceutical, healthcare, and medical diagnostic companies and has been engaged in the treatment, management, and administration of nicotine addiction services since 1980.

Mr. Bars is a contributing editor to the National Cancer Institute’s “Clearing the Air” stop-smoking publication. He is also the expert consultant and director for smoking cessation for the Fire Department of New York City and the co-developer of the “Tobacco Free with the New York FD” program. He is the current clinical director of the Palisades Medical Center’s IQuit Smoking Program (an affiliate of the Columbia University New York Presbyterian Healthcare System and a director of the IQuit Smoking Consultation Service).

“I have worked against nicotine addiction for almost 30 years and I am excited to be working with a company that is poised to save lives with what I have named ‘the Next Step’ in nicotine replacement therapy,” said Mr. Bars.

In human trials, utilizing the Next Safety Platform, the device was highly effective in the pulmonary delivery of nicotine and other drugs. The phase I trials included blood results that were independently measured by a leading laboratory at a major academic research institution. Participants reported significant psychoactive effects.

NSI’s proprietary platform is a powerful new method for the pulmonary delivery of drugs; the small handheld device will allow the user to inhale nicotine vapor and other drugs from an air stream with a high degree of control and safety. The company’s manufacturing partners for the production of its nicotine delivery device are large global companies with more than 150 combined international sites, including a number of FDA-approved manufacturing facilities in the US.

NSI has an agreement with a major US-based pharmaceutical company to supply pharmaceutical-grade nicotine. NSI expects the price of an equivalent amount of nicotine delivered by its device, as compared to the amount of nicotine delivered by a carton of cigarettes, to be less than 10% of the current average market price in the US.

In addition, NSI is testing other drugs that use its new pulmonary drug delivery platform for a number of leading pharmaceutical companies. These drugs include treatments for asthma, pulmonary infections, and the delivery of proteins to treat certain types of cancer as well as insulin and proteins for treating other conditions.
Source: News.prnewswire

Tribune Co. Lightens Up and Lets L.A. Times Employees Light Up

Everyone is breathing a little easier in the new Zell era. Well, everyone who smokes that is. The Trib has decided to stop charging smokers a fee for lighting up:

From: Tribune Communications Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 1:32 PM Subject: Message from Gerry Spector/Tobacco Use Fee Rescinded

Since the closing of the going-private transaction last December, we’ve been reviewing policies and practices across the company, including Tribune’s healthcare benefits. While well-intentioned, we think the tobacco-use fee implemented by the previous management team is inconsistent with the new culture we’re developing—we’d rather you use your own judgment when it comes to tobacco use, not impose ours upon you.

This policy was a part of open enrollment last fall and took effect January 1, 2008. I’m pleased to tell you that we’re eliminating this fee effective April 28th.

If you successfully participated in the smoking cessation program, have quit and been reimbursed for all fees, then congratulations are in order. Quitting is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.

If you’re still being charged the fee, it will stop and Tribune will reimburse you 100 percent for the fees you have paid. This reimbursement will occur in late May.

Tribune will continue to offer the smoking cessation program free of charge to all employees and their covered dependents age 18 and older.

The spousal medical fee, implemented at the same time, will remain in place. We believe that if an employee’s spouse has access to coverage through his/her employer, that employer has the primary responsibility to bear the cost of coverage. Our obligation is to take care of our own employees, first and foremost.

Source: Mediabistro

FOES FUMING OVER CITY CIG INVESTMENT

Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s crusade against cigarettes, city pension funds remain heavily invested in Big Tobacco — with more than 6 million shares, worth $103 million.

The $82.5 billion pension system owns 6,024,823 shares of Altria, formerly known as Philip Morris, according to an agenda for the company’s stockholders meeting next month.

Critics fumed when told that mountains of taxpayer money are being invested in cigarettes, described as “accessories to murder” by the city’s own health commissioner in 2006.

“I think it is absurd,” City Councilman Tony Avella said. “Given the anti-smoking effort New York has launched, to invest in a company whose primary product is cigarettes is counterproductive.”

Councilman Eric Gioia agreed. “We’ve already taken big steps, like banning smoking in bars, so it’s hypocritical and foolish for our tax and pension dollars to be invested with the exact people we’re trying to stop,” he said.

Four of the city’s five pension funds list Altria or Philip Morris among their largest equity holdings in their 2008 annual reports.

The funds have debated tobacco holdings. About 10 years ago, NYCERS decided to stop pouring new money into the companies, but it never divested.

“The city can pull these funds out if they want to,” a former pension-fund official said. “Even if invested through an index fund, there are ways to do it, especially when you’re such a large investor. Back when there was a ban on South African businesses, the city pulled out those funds.”

NYCERS, the city’s largest pension fund, is overseen by city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who is also one of 11 board members.

With him are the mayor’s voting representative, Finance Commissioner Martha Stark, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the five borough presidents and the heads of three municipal unions.

The mayor recuses himself from pension issues.

“They are . . . lecturing people that smoking is a bad bet, then putting their money down on it themselves,” said Audrey Silk of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment.

State Weighs Ban on Casino Smoking

WITH winks and whistles, whirling lights and raucous song, slot machines beckon gamblers here at the Mohegan Sun casino, generating billions of dollars for the sovereign Mohegan Tribal Nation and its silent partner, the State of Connecticut.

Last year, patrons fed nearly $10 billion into 6,600 slot machines at the Mohegan Sun, a sprawling casino-and-entertainment complex overlooking the Thames River. The state’s portion was $221 million here and another $190 million from the other tribal gambling place, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard.

Since 1993, after Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. signed a gambling compact with the Mashantucket Pequots, allowing slot machines at Foxwoods in return for 25 percent of the gross, Connecticut has made $4.9 billion off casino gambling.

Now, the state legislature is trying to decide if it is willing to risk seeing that cash flow diminish, or even stop, in the name of public health by requiring the two tribal casinos to ban smoking by Oct. 1, 2011.

The tribes say that a smoking ban would drive away gamblers from a business already hurt by the recession. For the first time since the Sun opened in 1997, slot revenue to the state dipped by $19 million last year after a decade of steady growth.

Moreover, the Mohegans and Pequots assert that a legislative mandate on smoking would violate their tribal sovereignty, allowing them to withhold all slot revenue while they contested the issue in federal court.

“This is the first state to try to do something like this,” said Bruce Bozsum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. “So it’s my job right now to try to protect my tribe and to even reach further to protect all tribes across the country. Everybody is watching.”

Jackson King, general counsel to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said the proposed smoking ban is the biggest threat to tribal sovereignty since the Pequots and Connecticut signed the compact in 1993. The Mohegans became a signatory after their federal recognition in 1994.

Backing the smoking ban is Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the United Automobile Workers, a union with many friends among the Democratic majority in the General Assembly. The U.A.W. is now trying to negotiate its first contract with the Pequots on behalf of 2,500 dealers at Foxwoods.

Jack Edwards, a dealer of table games at Foxwoods for a dozen years, attributes his asthma to second-hand smoke, and asked legislators at a public hearing for the same protections afforded most other workers in Connecticut.

By law, the rest of Connecticut’s public spaces and major work places have been smoke free since 2003.

“The public health side of this is very simple,” said Representative Elizabeth B. Ritter, a Democrat of Waterford and co-chairwoman of the public health committee. The tribes do not contest the dangers of second-hand smoke.

But most political odds-makers are betting against the ban. Too much money is at stake at a time when Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the General Assembly are scratching for every dollar. With tax revenues falling, the Rell administration estimates the state is facing a shortfall of nearly $8 billion over the next two fiscal years.

The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated that the revenue loss from a smoking ban was “potentially significant,” though it warned that the data from other gambling jurisdictions with smoking limits was inconclusive.

The governor’s eagerness to maximize casino revenues was evident in February, when she proposed permitting the casinos to sell alcohol 24 hours a day. Her office estimated that more alcohol sold would equate to more gambling, bringing the state another $5 million in annual revenue.

The idea was abandoned after a car leaving the Mohegan Sun at 3 a.m. collided with a van taking college students to the airport for an overseas aid mission. One student was killed. The State Police said the casino patron was drunk and driving the wrong way on Interstate 395 without headlights.

Ms. Ritter, who represents a southeast Connecticut district that sits between the two tribal casinos, said she was distressed to see legislators having to weigh public health issues against the risk of losing slot revenue in a bad economy.

“I think it’s horrible and sad — very, very sad,” she said.

So far, few legislators have been willing to go on record against the ban. The Public Health Committee approved the bill, 28 to 2. On Monday, the Government Administration and Elections Committee endorsed the measure, 8 to 3. The same committee plans an informational hearing on tribal sovereignty next month.

The bill has a long road ahead. Backers expect it to be referred to other committees, often a tactic legislative leaders employ to buy time or to keep a troublesome bill from consideration by the full legislature.

Mr. Blumenthal said the smoking measure is defensible under the compact, which requires the tribes to abide by public health laws that the state imposes on itself. He said the tribes would have the right to challenge the law in federal court, but not withhold slot revenue.

“There is no legally justifiable reason to withhold that money, except, of course, to put a gun to the state’s head,” he said.

The Mohegans said they were not averse to limiting or, perhaps, eventually banning smoking, but only under the terms of their compact with the state — through negotiation with the governor.

The tribe has already presented the governor with its smoking-mitigation plan, including a new ventilation system. Smoking is now banned from 90 percent of the Mohegan Sun, though from only 25 percent of the gaming floor.

“We have the right to write our own laws and deal with the governor of Connecticut,” Mr. Bozsum said. “The governor has my plan, and that’s who I deal directly with.”

Sovereignty is no small matter to the Mohegans and Pequots, two tribes driven to the brink of extinction, he said. Thirteen tribes in Connecticut went out of existence.

They are memorialized in a section of the Mohegan Sun, the “Hall of Lost Tribes.”

It is smoke free.

Source: Nytimes

Sweeping Smoking Bans Set for Year`s End

Smoking will be banned as early as this year in all public areas and inside buildings.

The Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry said yesterday that it will designate 16 types of public facilities as non-smoking areas under a government roadmap on anti-smoking policy.

The facilities where smoking will be banned are large buildings; performance halls; private academic institutes; large sales outlets; lodging facilities; schools; indoor sports facilities; medical institutions; social welfare centers; public transportation venues; public bathhouses; game arcades; large restaurants; comic book stores; government buildings; and childcare facilities.

The wide range of non-smoking facilities will mean a virtual smoking ban in all public areas.

Only three types of public facilities are designated smoke-free: school buildings excluding universities, medical institutions and childcare facilities. Other facilities have designated smoking areas, while smoking banned in offices, conference rooms, halls and lobbies.

Game arcades, comic book stores and restaurants allow smoking as long as over half their floor sizes are designated as smoke-free zones, but the plan is to ban smoking at those places completely.

The ministry plans to revise the Public Health Promotion Law to make public facilities smoke-free. Public facilities can separate smoking areas from non-smoking areas, but will be required go to smoke-free completely.

“Most lawmakers sympathize with the intention of the law revision so the bill will likely pass the National Assembly in the June session,” a ministry official said. “If passed, the law will take effect in December after a six-month grace period.”

Source: English.donga

Province gets tough on smoking

The P.E.I. government is eliminating designated smoking rooms in public places and work
places; eliminating designated smoking areas on hospital grounds, with the exception of Hillsborough Hospital; prohibiting smoking in vehicles with minors under the ages of 19 present; prohibiting smoking on patios/decks of eating establishments and
licensed establishments during certain hours of operation (Exempted
between the hours of 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.).

There will be exemptions that permit designated smoking rooms for residents in long-term care facilities (public and private) as well as shelters for victims of domestic violence.

Health Minister Doug Currie announced the changes Friday.

“We would like to thank the individuals and groups who made presentations to the standing committee,” said Currie.  “The proposed amendments reflect many of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, following public consultations.  I am
confident that these changes will help to protect Islanders from the
harmful effects of second hand smoke.”

The proposed amendments include changes to the existing legislation that will prohibit smoking in motor vehicles when minors are present. Government is also proposing amendments to the Act that will prohibit smoking on hospital grounds, with the exception of Hillsborough Hospital. The amendments proposed to the General Regulations made under the Act will also limit outdoor smoking areas in certain public places, including patios and decks of eating establishments and licensed premises.


Smoke Free Places Act

What is the purpose of the Smoke Free Places Act?
The primary purpose of the province’s Smoke Free Places Act is to
protect Islanders from the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke.
A secondary purpose of the Act is to reduce the overall consumption of
tobacco products by those who smoke.

What are the amendments to the Act?
The amendments proposed to the Smoke Free Places Act (or to the General
Regulations made under the Act) include:
–    Eliminating designated smoking rooms in public places and work
places;
–    Eliminating designated smoking areas on hospital grounds, with
the exception of Hillsborough Hospital;
–   Prohibiting smoking in vehicles with minors under the ages of 19
present;
–   Prohibiting smoking on patios/decks of eating establishments and
licensed establishments during certain hours of operation (Exemption
between the hours of 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.);
–    Provide exemptions that permit designated smoking rooms for
residents in long-term care facilities (public and private) as well as
shelters for victims of domestic violence.

What changes have occurred since the original amendments were brought
forward in the spring of 2008?

Amendments to the Act proposed one year ago were sent to the Standing
Committee on Social Development who held public consultation on the
proposed changes. The current amendments support most of the
recommendations of the Standing Committee. Proposed amendments which
have been removed from the new Bill include prohibition of designated
smoking areas in long-term care facilities, prohibition of smoking in
provincial parks as well as relaxing the prohibition of smoking on
outdoor patios and decks to permit smoking during certain hours of
operation.

Why are these amendments necessary?
When PEI implemented the Smoke Free Places Act in 2003, it led the
country in developing smoke free public places and workplaces.  Now, the
Act is six years old and needs to be modernized. PEI is currently the
only province to allow Designated Smoking Rooms in public places, like
bars and restaurants.

How will these changes affect Islanders?
The proposed amendments would eliminate some of the existing exceptions
to the Act that currently allow smoking in public places and workplaces,
reducing Islanders’ exposure to second-hand smoke.

How do the proposed changes compare to other provinces?

Designated Smoking Rooms
–    PEI is the only province that still permits Designated Smoking
Rooms.

Smoking on Hospital Grounds
–    Smoking has already been prohibited by individual hospitals or
health entities within Canada, such as the Capitol Health in Halifax,
(which includes QE2 and IWK), the Calgary Health Region and the
Provincial Health Services Authority in British Columbia.  PEI would be
the first province to ban smoking provincially on all hospital grounds.
This proposed amendment was supported by the Standing Committee report.

Smoking on Patios and Decks
–    A majority of the provinces have legislation restricting smoking
on patios and decks of eating establishments.

Smoking in Vehicles
–    Nova Scotia, Ontario, Yukon and British Columbia have all passed
legislation that prohibits smoking in vehicles when children are
present. The city of Summerside recently adopted a motion to ban smoking
in cars with minors present. This was also supported by the Standing
Committee Report.

What is the penalty for non-compliance with amendments to the Act?
Currently, fines for breaking the act range from $500 to a maximum of
$2,000. A proposed amendment to the Act reduces the minimum fine for a
contravention of the Act from $500 to $100 to reflect that fines may now
be levied against the individual for smoking in a vehicle when minors
are present.

If the amendments are passed, when will the changes to the Smoke Free
Places Act be enforced?

The changes will become law on the date of proclamation (September 15).
The changes will not come into full effect immediately, in order to allow business owners who may be affected by the amendments to make any
required changes to their operation.

Source: Journalpioneer

Throwing the micro switch: MicroRNA may link smoking risk gene to neurobiology of addiction

During the past several years, significant progress has been made in identifying susceptibility genes for nicotine dependence through genetic linkage and association analyses. Although a large number of genes have been associated with tobacco smoking, only a very limited number of genetic variants are considered to be causative. How to find these functional variants and then characterize them remains challenging in the field of human genetics.

In the traditional genetic dogma, DNA codes for RNA and RNA codes for protein. But what about the leftover bits of RNA that do not seem to code for proteins? One type of RNA ‘leftovers’ is the microRNAs. These small pieces of RNA do not code for proteins. Instead, they influence the extent to which other genes are expressed, i.e., the rate or extent of conversion of DNA to RNA. To date, there have been relatively few examples of the direct involvement of microRNAs in psychiatric disorders.

However, a study scheduled for publication in the April 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, has now provided new insights into how variation in the dopamine D1 receptor gene (DRD1) may be linked to the risk for nicotine dependence through microRNA action.

Huang and Li, researchers at the University of Virginia, previously showed that the DRD1 gene, one of the major receptors in the brain that mediate the actions of the neurotransmitter dopamine, is associated with tobacco dependence, and that two alleles of a variant within this gene are differentially expressed. “In the current study, we demonstrated that such differential expression of DRD1 is regulated by microRNA miR-504,” explains Dr. Li.

In other words, this microRNA seems to directly influence how these genetic variations are expressed within the DRD1 gene, thereby influencing ones risk to developing nicotine dependence. John Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry, comments: “This study provides an interesting example of how variation in a gene that contributes to the risk of smoking may do so by throwing a ‘micro switch’ and thereby increasing the expression of the dopamine 1 receptor gene.”

Source: Eurekalert

Pretrial of suit vs cigarette firm called off

The pretrial of a landmark damage suit against Philip Morris Phils. Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) was suspended yesterday after the firm’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the case.

In a supplemental motion for reconsideration ad cautelam, lawyer E.M. Lombos argued that the case against PMPMI lost its legal personality when the plaintiff, Vincent Reyes, died on Dec. 1, 2004, barely six months after he filed the P500,000 damage suit.

In filing the motion, Lombos asked Judge Winlove Dumayas of the Makati regional trial court Branch 59 to overturn his ruling which allowed Reyes’ kin to take his place as plaintiff.

“If the plaintiff’s demise is proved, his alleged personal causes of action have not survived him and there is no basis for the parties claiming to be his heirs to be substituted in his stead,” he said in a five-page motion.

A confessed heavy smoker, Reyes, the younger brother of “running priest” Fr. Robert Reyes, was only 47 when he died of lung cancer.

Lombos then asked the court to reset the pretrial hearing to a later date, saying he would be attending an important meeting abroad.

Father Reyes, meanwhile, said Lombos was “obviously delaying” the hearing of the case.

The priest, who is now based in Hong Kong, was accompanied by his parents. He earlier said he was determined to attend the hearings even though it meant flying in from Hong Kong every time.

The complainant’s lawyer, Carlo Ybañez, said they were confident that Dumayas would deny PMPMI’s motion.

“There’s already jurisprudence that the heirs are valid substitutes for plaintiffs who die [while the case is being tried by the court],” he said.

After hearing the arguments of both parties, Dumayas gave Ybañez 10 days to file an answer to PMPMI’s motion.

The judge also gave Lombos 15 days to submit his reply to Ybañez’s answer.

The formal trial of the case was postponed several times after the tobacco firm asked the Court of Appeals to stop the lower court from hearing the lawsuit. Last month, the appellate court junked PMPMI’s motion.

Source: Newsinfo.inquirer

House Majority Leader Al Carlson, Bismarck, letter: Flawed Measure 3 demands legislative action

If you’ve paid attention over the past week, you’ve seen that the level of hyperbolic rhetoric in regard to Senate Bill 2063 (Initiated Measure 3 — smoking cessation) is rising faster than the rivers of North Dakota of late.

Citizens must remember that every dollar a state spends on another layer of government or committee, when the job could be done by one that already exists, is a dollar that does not get to someone truly in need.

To be clear, we have never been against SB 2063, the implementation of Centers for Disease Control standards or the level of funding. We’ve opposed only the wasteful provisions of the bill, namely spending money on an executive committee to oversee a control advisory committee that would work with the State Health Department.

When we tried to amend out these clauses, we ran up against a wall of uncompromising legislators who seemed more concerned about installing another layer of management than protecting the health of the citizens of North Dakota.

It’s easier to pass bad legislation which may be popular but poorly thought out than to stand up for what is right. We could simply pass SB 2063, hold a press conference and point to a pile of money we blindly gave a new government office (with little oversight), applauding ourselves while ignoring the fact a great deal of money was being tossed away on office space and unneeded employees.

The right thing to do in the case of SB 2063 was to stop a good but flawed bill and fix the problem.

The amendments as proposed would have spent the same amount as stated in SB 2063 but in a more responsible manner. By removing the executive committee and putting the money in the hands of our fully functioning State Health Department, we shift $500,000 from administration to people with real smoking problems, while leaving the Control Advisory Committee in place for direction and oversight.

Beyond the waste of SB 2063, there are a few other important issues. The bill would have let the executive committee transfer money from the Water Development Trust Fund. This places funding for the Red River Water Supply and Northwest Area Water Supply projects in jeopardy, along with the completion of the Southwest Pipeline Authority and many other water projects at a time when water issues clearly are crucial for the state.

It also could leave gaping holes in the budgets of the Community Health Trust Fund. This is a money stream for great health-related programs such as Women’s Way, heart disease and stroke programs, the colorectal cancer pilot project, EMS training grants and others.

The amendments we support will protect these important projects and programs while maintaining the integrity of SB 2063.

As sworn officeholders, we are charged with reviewing, debating and amending proposed legislation so it best serves the people of this state. North Dakota’s initiated measure system is an important one, but so is the legislative process. The legislature is a check on executive power, a check on judicial power and also a check on the power of initiated measure.

North Dakotans have elected representatives to make sure that bad legislation is not slipped passed the voter. We understand that we have to deal with the health costs of smoking. What we object to is the “all or nothing” mentality our opponents maintain and the smoke screen tactics used to cloud the issue and push a poorly conceived, wasteful, bureaucratic solution to a problem which can be handled by our well-qualified health department.

The authors are Republican representatives in the North Dakota House. Pollert, of Carrington, represents District 9. Nelson, of Rugby, represents District 7. Kreidt, of New Salem, represents District 33. House Majority Leader Carlson, of Fargo, represents District 41.

Source: Grandforksherald

Landlords lead push to ban smoking at home

When apartment dwellers in Belmont, Calif., complained about cigarette fumes from down the hall, the City Council sprang into action on their behalf, outlawing smoking in apartments and condos and threatening to ticket violators.

When tobacco-control activists in Massachusetts embraced the same cause, they made a tactical decision that seemed surprisingly meek in a state long recognized for its prohibitions against harmful habits: They rejected the idea of governmental regulation.

It was one thing, they figured, for lawmakers to banish smoking from restaurants and bars. It was something else entirely to deploy city or state laws to prevent apartment tenants and condo owners from smoking in their own homes.

So, instead, they are leaving it to market forces, convinced that the supply side – landlords – will listen to the demand side – nonsmoking tenants – and adopt smoke-free rules.

It appears to be working.

“Now renting! Smoke-free apartment living” trumpets a banner billowing from a blocklong apartment house rising in the shadow of TD Banknorth Garden. And a soon-to-be-released survey from Northeastern University shows broad support for smoke-free living among tenants, a finding that activists plan to share in coming months with landlords, tenants, and condo boards.

“This isn’t government shoving it down the tenants’ throat,” said Jim Bergman, who directs the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project, which tracks the movement nationally. “When you start putting restrictions on where people can smoke in their home, even if it’s a rental home, they might feel that’s an infringement of their rights in a greater way than having smoke-free workplaces.”

Still, even this more gentle strategy is sure to rankle some smokers, who complain of being branded as pariahs.

Stephen Helfer, who has fought on behalf of smokers’ rights for years, said there is nothing subtle about efforts that he argues will further marginalize the poor and the mentally ill, who smoke at rates higher than the state average.

“I think they’re trying to almost blackmail landlords into doing this,” said Helfer, who lives in a Cambridge condo where smoking is allowed. “The reason they are not trying to regulate it is because they feel they don’t have the political will right now. But make no mistake: They’re going after us in our homes.”

In many respects, the home represents the final frontier of tobacco control.

Two decades ago, airlines and hospitals stood at the vanguard of campaigns to reduce smoking. Eventually, cigarettes, cigars, and pipes vanished from most offices, too. And, then, lawmakers on the West Coast, in the Northeast, and even in some tobacco-growing states, prohibited tobacco use in bars and restaurants.

That left the home as the last indoor refuge for tobacco users in states such as Massachusetts and California. It also made the home the next logical target for tobacco-control advocates.

And the reasons for wanting to bar smoking in apartments and condos are strikingly similar to those advanced in earlier campaigns for tobacco bans.

“People say, ‘I’m not being exposed to smoke at work anymore,’ and then they come home and they’re exposed all night from someone else at the opposite end of the building, and they have no way to escape it,” said Christopher Banthin, an attorney working with Northeastern’s Public Health Advocacy Institute.

In the California city, apartment tenants complained of smoke drifting under doors and cascading from air vents, triggering asthma attacks. An octogenarian who led the drive in the San Francisco suburb said there was no escape from his neighbors’ habit.

And those claims were bolstered by a 2006 report from the US surgeon general that concluded that even passing exposure to someone else’s cigarette smoke can prove perilous.

“People have criticized us and said this is a nanny state issue,” said former Belmont City Council member David Warden, who championed the regulation, which can result in a $100 fine for scofflaw smokers. “A nanny state to me is when you have laws that try to protect you from yourself.

“The intent here is to protect people from other people’s behavior.”

Last summer, Banthin’s institute conducted a telephone survey of more than 1,300 apartment and condo residents in 11 Massachusetts cities and towns, including Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, and the Jamaica Plain section of Boston.

The survey, underwritten by the state Department of Public Health, found that three-fourths of residents whose buildings were not smoke-free either supported immediate implementation of a ban or were neutral. And 43 percent were willing to pay more to live in such a building.

Landlords, in a less scientifically reliable mail-in survey, also demonstrated enthusiasm for smoking bans – in no small part because landlords insist it can cost thousands of dollars to restore carpets and paint in units occupied by smokers. And condo boards that go smoke-free cite a lower fire risk and, potentially, reduced insurance costs.

The Mount Vernon Co., which owns apartment buildings on such tony corridors as Commonwealth Avenue and Newbury Street, was among the first to ban smoking. The policy, said Bruce A. Percelay, company chairman, reflects his own distaste for smoking and the economic benefits of going smoke-free.

“The question you may raise then is, why don’t more landlords do this?” Percelay said. “I believe that a lot of people think it’s illegal, but smokers are not a protected class. You cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, or national origin, but they didn’t include smokers in that.”

In fact, Banthin said courts have repeatedly affirmed the right of landlords and condo boards to prevent smoking anywhere in their buildings.

In Chelsea, the owners of Parkside Commons Apartment Homes tout the virtues of smoke-free living right next to other amenities listed on a website. In Boston, Archstone Avenir’s 241 smoke-free apartments won’t be ready for occupancy until the summer, but already, the sprawling building across from TD Banknorth Garden is generating unusually strong demand.

“This far out from occupancy, it’s rare to have any leases, and we have 20,” said Sally Matheu, an Archstone group vice president.

Bruce Winterton has lived in one of Mount Vernon’s buildings for three years. He moved from New York, where the smoke of downstairs neighbors wafted up during the summer.

Winterton said the smoke-free status of his Back Bay apartment – along with other amenities – made him more amenable to paying a loftier rent than he had expected. Still, he said, it’s one thing for a landlord to impose a ban. But a government prohibition?

“It seems odd to me to have some significant, formal regulation that prevents you from doing something in your house,” Winterton said. “I think it becomes a slippery slope.”

Source: Boston

Smoke Free Campus in Washington Soon.

A lot of Universities have adopted a strict campus smoking ban that covers both indoor and outdoor areas. But Washington University just announced that it will go smoke free by July 2010. In 2007, the School of Medicine from Washington banned tobacco use on its property too.
In this way smoking and tobacco use will be prohibited everywhere on campus, including on all university-owned and -managed properties.
Chancellor Mark Wrighton said that the new legislation will be difficult for some students, but he believe that this is the right and best policy for the health of all who live, work and study at Washington University.
The school will begin offering free smoking-cessation programs to students, faculty and staff members, for to help aid in the transition. Smoking-cessation medicine will also be given for free to students who want it and who are covered by the university’s student health insurance.

Smoking cessation help offered through the university’s health services may lead those who hate walking across the street to a smoke-free lifestyle, and that, is one of the best outcomes possible. Maybe this new legislation will be a good time for people to quit their bad habit, reported researchers.
President Judith Ramaley said: “In accordance with our mission, we are devoted to improving the health and well-being of our campus community by setting an example of healthy practice.

Washington University is not the first university where smoking will be banned. For example, St. Charles Community College became a tobacco-free campus in 2007. And the University of Missouri-Columbia banned smoking inside all of its buildings in January. The school also has prohibited smoking within 20 feet of building entrances, exits, windows and fresh-air intake systems. By 2011, even Mizzou plans to have smoking in designated areas only. Chancellor Brady Deaton has said that the ultimate goal is to have the campus smoke-free by 2014.

Whatever the strategy used to devise and implement a policy, whether by administrative fiat, campus-wide debate and consensus, or religious doctrine, smoke-free campuses can be a powerful tool in the ongoing effort to encourage healthy lifestyles. Despite the obstacles and occasional resistance, universities and colleges can develop smoke-free policies and set an example for the broader community.

How Nicotine can be raised?

Nicotine is the drug in tobacco leaves. But when in cigarettes composition is added ammonia then the nicotine is up to 100 times, according to a recent study.
Ammonia is a compound with the formula NH3. It is normally encountered as a gas with a characteristic pungent odor. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to foodstuffs and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or indirectly, is also a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceuticals. Although in wide use, ammonia is both caustic and hazardous.
Many Tobacco Industries denied the claim that ammonia enhances the effect of nicotine.
The process of increasing the impact of nicotine by adding ammonia is called “free-basing,” which is similar to the chemical process used to heighten the effects of cocaine.
Like cocaine, nicotine exists in two forms – acid and base. When ammonia is added, the nicotine converts from acid to base form. The base form can vaporize more easily from the smoke particles into the gas phase, enabling it to deposit directly on the lung tissue and immediately extend throughout the body.
Although the research has shown that ammonia makes nicotine more available from cigarette smoke, scientists continue to warn that more research needs to be done to determine whether “the increased chemical availability translates into a more rapid uptake of nicotine by the smoker.”
In fact, the documents show that R. J. Reynolds officials seized on a decision by Philip Morris, which in the mid-1960 began to use ammonia in its production process. By 1973, Marlboro sales were steadily rising, and officials of R. J. Reynolds, which was then losing its grip as the nation’s leading cigarette maker, believed that the addition of ammonia was a key to the success of Marlboro, as well as a Brown & Williamson product, Kool.

They suspected that the use of ammonia yielded more free nicotine and increased the cigarette’s punch, internal company documents show.

Source: Best-tobacco.com

Graphic Health Warnings can’t reduce Tobacco Danger

The graphic warnings which were placed on cigarettes packs are working but not in all countries, said anti-smoking researchers. They explained that packs which have shocking pictures are deterring youngsters from taking up the smoking habit.
But unfortunately in other states even graphic warnings can’t make smokers to quit. For example in Malaysia smoking epidemic cannot be decreased so easy.
In Malaysia more than 50% of adult males smoke cigarettes. About 50 Malaysian children below the age of 18 take up smoking every day. And also kill 10,000 Malaysians every year.
It is needed for more stringent measures for to make smokers to quit and the Government must come out definitely on its stand against the tobacco danger.
Health Minister from Malaysia started to work very hard for to make it harder for youngsters to buy cigarettes.
Health Minister said that graphic health warnings need to cover almost the entire surface of cigarette packages if they are to become more effective in convincing smokers to kick the deadly habit, new Health Canada research found.

“Findings suggest that increasing the current size of warnings of cigarette packages is not very effective to negatively affect image of smokers or perception of cigarette product attributes, unless health warning messages occupy the entire front panel,” the study showed.
The ban on packs smaller than 20 sticks was already targeted for July 2005. It was then deferred till mid-2006. The stay on the ban of 14-stick packs was then extended till 2010.

Source: Cigs4us.com

Tobacco Use in Rhode Island

· High school students who smoke: 15.1% [Girls: 13.8% Boys: 16.4%]
· High school males who use smokeless tobacco: 10.6%
· Kids (under 18) who try cigarettes for the first time each year: 4,700
· Additional Kids (under 18) who become new regular, daily smokers each year: 1,400
· Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by kids in Rhode Island each year: 2.2 million
· Kids exposed to second hand smoke at home: 53,000
· Adults in Rhode Island who smoke: 17.0% [Men: 17.8% Women: 16.3% Pregnant Females: 12.1%]
Nationwide, youth smoking has declined significantly since the mid-1990s, but that decline appears to have slowed. The
2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that the percentage of high school students reporting that they have smoked
cigarettes in the past month decreased to 20 percent in 2007 from 23 percent in 2005. 19.8 percent of U.S. adults
(about 43.4 million) currently smoke, which is a significant decline from the 2006 rate of 20.8 percent.
Deaths in Rhode Island From Smoking
· Adults who die each year in Rhode Island from their own smoking: 1,600
· Adult nonsmokers who die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke: 150
· Rhode Island kids who have lost at least one parent to a smoking-caused death: 800
· Kids alive in state today who will ultimately die from smoking: 23,000 (given current smoking levels)
Smoking, alone, kills more people each year than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides
combined. For every person in Rhode Island who dies from smoking approximately 20 more state residents are suffering
from serious smoking-caused disease and disability, or other tobacco-caused health problems.
Tobacco-Related Monetary Costs in Rhode Island
· Annual health care expenditures in the State directly caused by tobacco use: $506 million
· Annual health care expenditures in Rhode Island from secondhand smoke exposure: $15.3 million
 State Medicaid program’s total health expenditures caused by tobacco use: $179.0 million
· Citizens’ state/federal taxes to cover smoking-caused gov’t costs: $293.1 million ($728/household)
· Smoking-caused productivity losses in Rhode Island: $379 million
· Smoking-caused health costs and productivity losses per pack sold in Rhode Island: $13.24
The productivity loss amount, above, is from smoking-death-shortened work lives, alone. Additional work productivity
losses totaling in the tens of billions nationwide come from smoking-caused work absences, on-the-job performance
declines, and disability during otherwise productive work lives Other non-health costs caused by tobacco use include
direct residential and commercial property losses from smoking-caused fires (about $400 million nationwide); and the
costs of extra cleaning and maintenance made necessary by tobacco smoke and tobacco-related litter (about $4+ billion
per year for commercial establishments alone).
Tobacco Industry Advertising and Other Product Promotion
· Annual tobacco industry marketing expenditures nationwide: $13.4 billion ($36+ million per day)
· Estimated portion spent in Rhode Island each year: $38.0 million
Published research studies have found that kids are three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and
are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure, and that one-third of underage
experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company marketing.
Rhode Island Government Policies Affecting The Toll of Tobacco in Rhode Island
· Annual State tobacco prevention spending from tobacco settlement and tax revenues: $1.9 million
[National rank: 38 (with 1 the best), based on percent of CDC recommendation]
· State cigarette tax per pack: $3.46 [National rank: 1st (average state tax is $1.23 per pack)]

Tobacco Use in New Hampshire

· High school students who smoke: 19.0% [Girls: 17.2% Boys: 20.6%]
· High school males who use smokeless tobacco: 12.2%
· Kids (under 18) who try cigarettes for the first time each year: 6,300
· Additional Kids (under 18) who become new regular, daily smokers each year: 1,800
· Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by kids in New Hampshire each year: 3.3 million
· Kids exposed to second hand smoke at home: 70,000
· Adults in New Hampshire who smoke: 19.3% [Men: 20.1% Women: 18.6% Pregnant Females: 14.0%]
Nationwide, youth smoking has declined significantly since the mid-1990s, but that decline appears to have slowed. The
2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that the percentage of high school students reporting that they have smoked
cigarettes in the past month decreased to 20 percent in 2007 from 23 percent in 2005. 19.8 percent of U.S. adults
(about 43.4 million) currently smoke, which is a significant decline from the 2006 rate of 20.8 percent.
Deaths in New Hampshire From Smoking
· Adults who die each year in New Hampshire from their own smoking: 1,700
· Adult nonsmokers who die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke: 210
· New Hampshire kids who have lost at least one parent to a smoking-caused death: 1,000
· Kids alive in state today who will ultimately die from smoking: 31,000 (given current smoking levels)
Smoking, alone, kills more people each year than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides
combined. For every person in New Hampshire who dies from smoking approximately 20 more state residents are
suffering from serious smoking-caused disease and disability, or other tobacco-caused health problems.
Tobacco-Related Monetary Costs in New Hampshire
· Annual health care expenditures in the State directly caused by tobacco use: $564 million
· Annual health care expenditures in New Hampshire from secondhand smoke exposure: $21.4 million
 State Medicaid program’s total health expenditures caused by tobacco use: $115.0 million
· Citizens’ state/federal taxes to cover smoking-caused gov’t costs: $315.0 million ($628/household)
· Smoking-caused productivity losses in New Hampshire: $419 million
· Smoking-caused health costs and productivity losses per pack sold in New Hampshire: $5.07
The productivity loss amount, above, is from smoking-death-shortened work lives, alone. Additional work productivity
losses totaling in the tens of billions nationwide come from smoking-caused work absences, on-the-job performance
declines, and disability during otherwise productive work lives Other non-health costs caused by tobacco use include
direct residential and commercial property losses from smoking-caused fires (about $400 million nationwide); and the
costs of extra cleaning and maintenance made necessary by tobacco smoke and tobacco-related litter (about $4+ billion
per year for commercial establishments alone).
Tobacco Industry Advertising and Other Product Promotion
· Annual tobacco industry marketing expenditures nationwide: $13.4 billion ($36+ million per day)
· Estimated portion spent in New Hampshire each year: $128.0 million
Published research studies have found that kids are three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and
are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure, and that one-third of underage
experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company marketing.
New Hampshire Government Policies Affecting The Toll of Tobacco in New Hampshire
· Annual State tobacco prevention spending from tobacco settlement and tax revenues: $1.1 million
[National rank: 44 (with 1 the best), based on percent of CDC recommendation]
· State cigarette tax per pack: $1.33 [National rank: 22nd (average state tax is $1.23 per pack)]

Tobacco Use in Massachusetts

· High school students who smoke: 17.7% [Girls: 17.9% Boys: 17.6%]
· High school males who use smokeless tobacco: 11.2%
· Kids (under 18) who try cigarettes for the first time each year: 24,000
· Additional Kids (under 18) who become new regular, daily smokers each year: 7,200
· Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by kids in Massachusetts each year: 14.7 million
· Kids exposed to second hand smoke at home: 297,000
· Adults in Massachusetts who smoke: 16.4% [Men: 17.3% Women: 15.5% Pregnant Females: 8.1%]
Nationwide, youth smoking has declined significantly since the mid-1990s, but that decline appears to have slowed. The
2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that the percentage of high school students reporting that they have smoked
cigarettes in the past month decreased to 20 percent in 2007 from 23 percent in 2005. 19.8 percent of U.S. adults
(about 43.4 million) currently smoke, which is a significant decline from the 2006 rate of 20.8 percent.
Deaths in Massachusetts From Smoking
· Adults who die each year in Massachusetts from their own smoking: 9,000
· Adult nonsmokers who die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke: 880
· Massachusetts kids who have lost at least one parent to a smoking-caused death: 5,100
· Kids alive in state today who will ultimately die from smoking: 117,000 (given current smoking levels)
Smoking, alone, kills more people each year than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides
combined. For every person in Massachusetts who dies from smoking approximately 20 more state residents are
suffering from serious smoking-caused disease and disability, or other tobacco-caused health problems.
Tobacco-Related Monetary Costs in Massachusetts
· Annual health care expenditures in the State directly caused by tobacco use: $3.54 billion
· Annual health care expenditures in Massachusetts from secondhand smoke exposure: $89.7 million
 State Medicaid program’s total health expenditures caused by tobacco use: $1.0 billion
· Citizens’ state/federal taxes to cover smoking-caused gov’t costs: $1.8 billion ($737/household)
· Smoking-caused productivity losses in Massachusetts: $1.98 billion
· Smoking-caused health costs and productivity losses per pack sold in Massachusetts: $19.49
The productivity loss amount, above, is from smoking-death-shortened work lives, alone. Additional work productivity
losses totaling in the tens of billions nationwide come from smoking-caused work absences, on-the-job performance
declines, and disability during otherwise productive work lives Other non-health costs caused by tobacco use include
direct residential and commercial property losses from smoking-caused fires (about $400 million nationwide); and the
costs of extra cleaning and maintenance made necessary by tobacco smoke and tobacco-related litter (about $4+ billion
per year for commercial establishments alone).
Tobacco Industry Advertising and Other Product Promotion
· Annual tobacco industry marketing expenditures nationwide: $13.4 billion ($36+ million per day)
· Estimated portion spent in Massachusetts each year: $194.7 million
Published research studies have found that kids are three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and
are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure, and that one-third of underage
experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company marketing.
Massachusetts Government Policies Affecting The Toll of Tobacco in Massachusetts
· Annual State tobacco prevention spending from tobacco settlement and tax revenues: $13.5 million
[National rank: 35 (with 1 the best), based on percent of CDC recommendation]
· State cigarette tax per pack: $2.51 [National rank: 4th (average state tax is $1.23 per pack)]

Support Grows For A Statewide Smoking Ban

Support for a statewide smoking ban is growing among an unlikely group: tavern owners.

A group representing 100 taverns across the state has formed a new group known as Taverns Clearing the Air.The owners of restaurants, golf courses and bowling alleys are also part of the coalition. They said a statewide ban is the only way to create a level playing field among businesses, WISC-TV reported.”It’s been proven over and over again in many states and many cities,” said Hawk Schenkel, owner of Hawk’s Bar and Grill in Madison. “You can have a smoke-free environment, and it actually helps business.”Taverns Clearing the Air is working with the group Smoke Free Wisconsin but not the Tavern League of Wisconsin.However, the tavern league said this coalition could bring about a solution to the smoking ban debate.Currently, 38 Wisconsin communities have smoke-free ordinances.

Source: Channel3000

ACTIVE SMOKING AND SECOND-HAND SMOKE LINKED TO BREAST CANCER

There is now enough scientific evidence to link both active smoking
and second-hand smoke to breast cancer, according to an international panel convened by
the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, an affiliate of the Dalla Lana School of Public
Health, University of Toronto, with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“Until recently, evidence about the link between breast cancer and tobacco smoke,
although voluminous, was inconclusive. But the Panel’s careful analysis of all available
evidence, particularly recent evidence, led us to conclude that there is persuasive
evidence of risk,” said Neil Collishaw, Chair of the Panel. “An estimated 80 to 90 per
cent of women have been exposed to tobacco smoke in adolescence and adulthood. Those
women face an increased risk of breast cancer because of that exposure.”
There have been many studies over the years on the relationship between cigarette smoke
and breast cancer in women. The Panel comprehensively reviewed all available evidence,
including important recent evidence, and concluded there was a risk even non-smoking
young women face through passive exposure to cigarette smoke. The Panel also
concluded that the relationship of active smoking to both pre- and post-menopausal breast
cancer is consistent with causality, but there is not yet enough evidence to draw a
conclusion about the nature of the relationship between exposure to second-hand smoke
and breast cancer for older, post-menopausal women.
“It is important from a public health perspective to get the message out to the public, and
young women in particular, that available evidence shows that both active smoking and
exposure to passive smoke increase the risk of breast cancer,” said panelist, Professor
Anthony Miller.
Prior to collaborating on the report released today, the Expert Panel met on November 10
and 11, 2008 in Toronto as part of the conference Tobacco Control for the 21st Century:
Challenges in Research and Evaluation, organized by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit
(OTRU).