June 2009 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: June 2009

Smokers are blamed for their children’s illnesses

One of the best hospitals in the UK states 30 percent of treated minors got ill because of exposure to secondhand smoke by their parents.

Dr Ronald Clark, head of Cardiac Surgery Department at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital admits such diseases as asthma, tonsillitis, and otitis could be reduced in case parents gave up smoking habit.

Dr. Clark stated that he often had cases when parents even hidden the fact that they had been smoking in presence of children.

According to The British Department of Health more than 16,000 children under five years old are treated annually from the smoking related illnesses.

In an interview with Sunday Times, Dr Ronald Clark said that the hospital treats almost 140,000 annually. From this number, 10,000 minors got there because of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Dr. Clark said among those children treated from asthma and various ear and throat infection up to 30 percent were those who suffered from passive smoking.

Parents are often negligent with their children, particularly in such issues as smoking, since having a child and taking care of him is fun, but when it turns to renouncing from such habits like smoking it becomes rather stressful and difficult.

However, the doctor says he does not believe the stricter anti-smoking policies would contribute to reducing the issue, but thinks it is up to parents to protect their children from the hazards of secondhand smoke.

The highest level of health risk for children presents exposure to secondhand smoke in cars, what is like a gas chamber with no way out for them.

Children are also exposed to a high level of risk when mothers are smoking especially during breastfeeding and yearly years of their lives.

Other things that expose children to cigarette smoke are the clothes of smokers.

Dr. Clark even stated that the Birmingham Children’s Hospital forces its personnel to put on special clothes when going outside for a smoke in order to prevent children from smelling and breathing in the cigarette smoke from their clothes.

Dr Anna Gilmore from anti-smoking group ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said that more than a half of all children whose parents are regular smokers have been exposed to the dangerous smoke from their birth.

She said that passive smoking is even more hazardous than active, however many smokers simply do not realize that they expose their own children to probable severe health complications, while smoking in their presence.

Dr Gilmore also stressed that after smoking has been prohibited in all indoor public places, parent-smokers should consider their homes as a public place and light up outside.

A study made public several years ago showed that minors whose parents smoked were five times more likely to start smoking themselves and two times more likely to suffer from various respiratory infections than their peers born to non-smoking parents.

The Health Department also issued a statement, admitting that passive smoking has been proven to be deadly, and therefore, they would apply every possible effort to make people aware of the hazards of cigarette smoke and prevent children from being exposed to it.

The Health Department spokesman said they have spent £50 million on Smoking Cessation Programs and Campaigns, and their efforts did not go in vain since they managed to reduce smoking rates by 1.5 percent and they plan to reduce it even more to the historical low 21 percent next year.

Cigarette fee receives approval by supervisors

The cost of purchasing a pack of cigarettes is expected to increase by 33 cents on Oct. 1.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee unanimously supported on Monday Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed per pack cigarette fee.

The fee, if ultimately approved by the full board next Tuesday, would go into effect Oct. 1 and generate $4.5 million for The City’s coffers.

Newsom proposed to fee to help out the city’s finances during one of its worst deficit years and to offset the cost incurred to clean up butts from sidewalks and streets.

The City spends more than $44 million each year picking up litter throughout San Francisco, and $10.7 million of that is for discarded cigarettes, according to the Mayor’s Office.

Copyright © 2009 Sfexaminer

Locals React to State Cigarette Tax Hike

State taxes on cigarettes will go up a dollar a pack on July 1. That will put even the generic brand cigarettes at more than $5 a pack. Health officials believe it will encourage people to quit smoking, and prevent others from starting. But, the primary factor in passing the tax was to raise revenue for the state budget. The extra tax will generate an estimated $900,000,000.

Some smokers say they don’t think the higher cost will help people quit smoking, but don’t mind paying more. Others say they’d like to see more of an effort to help people kick the habit.

Amberly Rogers says, “I think it would be good and beneficial for the community for them to do that, and I say that as a smoker. I wouldn’t mind paying that if it goes towards something that the kids can use in the future or now.”

Robin McGuire says, “Addiction is addiction and I think it’s just an awful thing, and it’s a shame that the medicine to get away from smoking costs more than the smoking itself.”

The state tax hike come on the heels of a 62-cents per pack federal tax increase and a price hike by the tobacco companies in April.

Copyright © 2009 Wjhg

Additional cigarette tax passes Mississippi Senate

Mississippi senators late Monday approved the state’s second cigarette tax increase of the year, and the proposal was being debated in the House.

The plan would add an excise tax of 25 cents a pack on cheaper cigarettes made by companies that did NOT participate in the state’s 1997 settlement of a massive lawsuit against big tobacco firms.

The large companies have lobbied for the additional tax on their competitors, saying the makers of cheap cigarettes have a financial advantage by NOT paying millions of dollars a year for the lawsuit settlement.

On May 15, Mississippi enacted its first cigarette excise tax increase since 1985, adding 50 cents a pack on all types of cigarettes. The rate went from 18 cents a pack to 68.

Top lawmakers said the tax of 25 cents on cheaper cigarettes would generate about $8.8 million a year. That’s a small portion of the overall $6 billion lawmakers are scrambling to approve before the state’s new fiscal year begins Wednesday.

But the threat of having to find $8.8 million of budget cuts pressured some lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Willie Simmons of Cleveland, into accepting the additional cigarette tax.

Copyright 2009 Wxvt

Military advised to ban tobacco gradually

The U.S. Department of Defense should phase in a tobacco ban in the military, beginning at military academies, an Institute of Medicine report said.

The report was requested by the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The government departments asked the Institute of Medicine to identify policies and practices that could lower rates of smoking and help soldiers and veterans quit.

Tobacco use reduces soldiers’ physical fitness and endurance and is linked to higher rates of absenteeism and lost productivity, the report said.

In 2005, 32 percent of active-duty personnel and 22 percent of veterans were smokers. Rates among active-duty personnel have recently increased — possibly because of growing tobacco use by deployed troops — the report said.

“We found that the adverse effects of tobacco use on military readiness, the health of both smokers and non-smokers and the financial cost of the medical care of smoking-related illness in military and veteran populations are a sound basis for moving systematically toward a tobacco-free military,” Stuart Bondurant, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and chairman of the committee that wrote the report, said in a statement.

All DOD and VA healthcare providers should be able to provide brief counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy to patients, the report said. The VA and DOD should develop toll-free “quitlines” to provide military personnel and veterans with counseling on quitting tobacco, the report said.

Copyright © 2009 Timesoftheinternet

Texas tobacco users and others will see fee increases

Texas lawmakers managed to avoid tax increases in the regular session, but they did raise fees for certain everyday items.

Smokeless or “chewing” tobacco prices will go up starting this fall. The tax per can will be calculated by weight instead of base price. It could mean about $1 more per can of chewing tobacco.

The money from the new fee will go toward giving small businesses a tax break, and to a physician loan repayment program. It’s aim is to draw doctors to underserved areas.

Those who park near the Texas Capitol could also get hit in the pocketbook. The fine for parking at an expired meter will jump from $10 to $25 in September. The late fees will also more than double.

And in June 2010, those who use prepaid wireless service will see a two percent fee on the purchase price of cell phone cards and disposable cell phone with minutes already loaded.

“They gotta get the money somehow, and I guess taxes aren’t any fun either,” said Kimberly Cyphert.

Less smoke but still some fire

Record levels of compliance with the workplace smoking ban were much trumpeted last week, following the publication of the Office of Tobacco Control’s (OTC) annual report for 2008. However, not everyone is complying, reports Brian Kavanagh

THE NUMBER of workplaces that complied with smoke-free inspections was lowest on licensed premises, an analysis of the latest figures published by the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) has shown.

Indeed, at 89 per cent, the proportion of publicans found to be complying with the smoking ban was substantially lower than the average proportion of compliant working environments across the State, which stands at 97 per cent.

There were also more convictions among publicans for violating smoke-free workplace legislation, with 17 of the 24 prosecutions brought by environmental health officers directed against licensed premises.

A spokesman for the Vintners Federation of Ireland, however, says that it isn’t true that publicans are more susceptible to breaching smoke-free workplace legislation.

“The small number of convictions secured in the context of over 9,000 pubs operating throughout the country, for 363 days of the year, is not material, even though we would prefer it if there were no convictions.

“It must also be recognised that some of these convictions may have been handed out for violations committed in hallways or doorways when inclement weather conditions prevented the patron from going outside.

“What these figures prove is that pubs are extremely compliant and we do not see this as being an issue for our members,” he adds.

There was less welcome news from an independent audit of 1,526 Irish retail and licensed premises, which was carried out by TNS mrbi in 2007.

This audit found that just 36 per cent of underaged people who attempted to buy tobacco on licensed premises were refused.

This was a far lower rate than in other retail outlets, where the percentage refused was as high as 61 per cent.

But overall, retailers shouldered the greater proportion of blame, with 22 out of 23 prosecutions in relation to giving tobacco to minors taken against retail premises.

But OTC spokesman Nigel Fox believes the legislation still acts as a considerable deterrent, and says the OTC is making progress with retailers.

“The fact that there were 23 prosecutions is important in sending a clear message to retailers that where violations take place, prosecutions will be enforced.

“The OTC has initiated a number of information campaigns, chief among them being an information guide for retailers published in four languages, which advises workers to ask for ID when selling tobacco and advises them on how to deal with refusal of sale.

“You’ll notice that there aren’t prosecutions for the entire 3 per cent of workplaces which do not adhere to the smoking ban.

“When breaches are encountered, environmental health officers work with the publican or the retailer and ask for changes to be made.

“Prosecutions are initiated only where this is significant or [where there is] sustained infringement of the legislation,” he adds.

While welcoming the report, Dr Angie Brown, chairwoman of anti-tobacco lobbying group ASH Ireland, says the organisation has serious concerns about the number of prosecutions for selling tobacco to minors.

“We welcome the publication of the report, which indicates that there is such massive support of the workplace smoking ban.

“It is now important that every effort is made to ensure that this level of compliance becomes the accepted norm,” says Brown.

“However, rigorous action must be taken against retailers who continue to sell a dangerous and addictive product to young people,” she adds.

A total of 25,350 inspections were carried out in workplaces around the State by environmental health officers in 2008.

Some 24 cases were brought under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts resulting in 19 convictions.

In addition, a total of 23 cases were taken over a failure to comply with the sales-to-minors legislation, resulting in 19 convictions.

The report found that last year, 97 per cent of workplaces were compliant with the ban, the highest level of annual compliance since the introduction of relevant legislation under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts in 2004.

According to Norma Cronin, health promotion manager with the Irish Cancer Society, the report shows the true effectiveness of anti-tobacco legislation, and says one of its greatest achievements has been the protection of workers.

“The annual report really couldn’t be any better,” says Cronin.

“The real success story of the smoke-free workplace legislation is that there is now a 97 per cent compliance rate,” she adds.

Independent testing of working environments also corroborated the OTC’s assessment of nationwide compliance rates.

In an effort to ensure objectivity, the OTC employed the TNS mrbi to conduct a national survey of the public’s perception of the smoking ban in December 2008.

A representative sample of 1,000 people were asked to rate the quality of the atmosphere in their indoor working environment and the last bar or pub they visited.

Impressively, the study reflected the findings of the OTC report with little variance, as 96 per cent of those surveyed replied that on both accounts, the atmosphere was “not smoky”.

Yet the OTC has reiterated that more could still be done.

“Although the rate of 97 per cent has been billed as record compliance, if you look back, the rate of compliance has always been high and has grown incrementally by 1 per cent since the inception of the smoking ban,” according to Nigel Fox, OTC spokesman.

Such a resounding confirmation of the pervasiveness of smoke-free workplaces may be a cause for celebration, Fox says, but the OTC can ill afford to become complacent: “Compliance is moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot to do.”
Copyright © 2009 Irishtimes

Life Insurers Hold Billions In Tobacco Stocks

More than a decade after Harvard researchers first revealed that life and health insurance companies were major investors in tobacco stocks – prompting calls upon them to divest – the insurance industry has yet to kick the habit, they say.

A new article on insurance company holdings, published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, shows that U.S., Canadian and U.K.-based insurance firms hold at least $4.4 billion of investments in companies whose subsidiaries manufacture cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and related products.

Tobacco products currently contribute to the deaths of 5.4 million people worldwide annually, according to the World Health Organization. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, lung disease and cancer.

“Despite calls upon the insurance industry to get out of the tobacco business by physicians and others, insurers continue to put their profits above people’s health,” said Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, the lead author of the article. “It’s clear their top priority is making money, not safeguarding people’s well-being.”

To illustrate their point, Boyd and his colleagues point to Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial Inc., which sells life insurance and long-term disability coverage. With total tobacco holdings of $264.3 million, Prudential Financial is a major investor in three tobacco firms, including Reynolds American, whose subsidiary R.J. Reynolds manufactures Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes, and Philip Morris, maker of the popular Marlboro brand.

Sun Life Financial Inc., based in Toronto, sells life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. It also owns slightly over $1 billion in stock in two tobacco companies, including $890 million in Philip Morris.

London-based Prudential Plc, which offers health, disability, and long-term care insurance, has holdings of $1.38 billion in two tobacco companies, including British American Tobacco, which markets Kent and Lucky Strike cigarettes.

The researchers also itemize the substantial tobacco holdings of Northwestern Mutual of Milwaukee and Massachusetts Mutual Life of Springfield, Mass., along with those of Standard Life Plc, a health and life insurer based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Boyd and his co-authors, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, culled their data from Osiris, a proprietary database of industrial, banking and insurance companies. Osiris draws upon Securities and Exchange Commission filings and news reports from providers like Dow Jones and Reuters.

“Although investing in tobacco while selling life or health insurance may seem self-defeating,” the authors write, “insurance firms have figured out ways to profit from both. Insurers exclude smokers from coverage or, more commonly, charge them higher premiums. Insurers profit – and smokers lose – twice over.”

The same researchers, all of whom are affiliated with Physicians for a National Health Program, first published data about the “tobacco-insurance company connection” in 1995 in the medical journal Lancet. They say that because private, for-profit insurers have repeatedly put their own financial gain over the public’s health, readers in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom should be wary about insurance firms’ participation in care.

They add, “These data raise a red flag about the prospects of opening up vast new markets for private insurers at public expense, as has happened in our state of Massachusetts, whose recent health care reform is often cited as a model for national reform.”
Copyright © 2009 Insurancenewsnet

Hong Kong workers fume over smoking ban

Chris Cheung?s Hong Kong mahjong parlour is notable for two things: the incessant clatter of playing tiles and the thick fog of cigarette smoke shrouding the stony-faced gamblers.

“People come here to play and to smoke,” said Cheung. “It?s always been the tradition to do both together.”

For everyone involved here — from the staff ferrying free drinks and cigarettes to the players themselves — the marriage between the Chinese gambling game and smoking is one that shouldn’t be broken.

Nevertheless, it is about to be.

Hong Kong?s government is set to enforce a blanket smoking ban in public places from July 1, aimed at protecting workers in the city?s bars, nightclubs, bathhouses, massage establishments and mahjong parlours from second-hand smoke.

Yet many workers regard the legislation as a death-knell amid a recession that has pushed the city’s unemployment rate up to 5.3 percent. Bars have reported a drop in business as the slowdown bites.

“With the financial crisis, swine flu and now the smoking ban, it?s a perfect storm of trouble for the entertainment sector in Hong Kong,” said Lawrence Ho, who has run a bar here for 18 years.

“People are more worried about short-term job security than long-term health, because a ban is likely to make thousands unemployed.”

The Entertainment Business Rights Concern group, a lobbying organisation, says 95 percent of the nearly 100,000 owners and workers it represents fear they will lose their jobs if the ban is enforced.

The organisation points to studies conducted in Britain that say bar and pub business declined by around 15 percent in the two years after smoking bans.

Suzanne Wu, from the Secretary, Catering and Hotels Industries Employees General Union, said workers were divided.

“It is very difficult to unify the opinion as different employees have different concern. But for long-term benefit, we (the union) support the implementation of the smoking ban,” she told AFP.

For Cheung, business at his mahjong parlour is already down 30 percent from the previous year and he says a smoking ban will compound his losses.

“If you are playing mahjong with three strangers with money at stake, you can?t ask them to wait five minutes while you go out for a smoke,” he said.

Hong Kong banned smoking in public places such as schools, beaches, restaurants and karaoke bars in 2007, but the legislation was deferred for two-and-a-half years for certain establishments.

Now that the ban is about to be enforced, some are asking for more time and have even organised demonstrations.

“The current economic situation in Hong Kong is very bad and these people think they won’t survive a smoking ban on top of it,” said legislator Paul Tse, who supports a two-year deferment.

The government points to Census and Statistics Department figures that show restaurant business is up 30 percent since the ban was enforced two years ago.

“A number of establishments have attracted guests who are non-smokers or dislike second-hand smoke after the implementation of the ban,” it said in a statement.

While cities such as New York and London have adapted to smoking bans, business owners here say Hong Kong?s high-rise living makes the issue more problematic.

Anita To owns two bars on the 20th floor of a building in the city?s nightlife district of Causeway Bay and says she fears customers won?t come back after they have dropped down to street level for a cigarette.

“A large percentage of my customers are smokers and I don?t think on July 1 they will quit smoking,” she said. “Business is already down 50 percent and I think the ban will just kill me off.”

Critics say the government?s watered-down introduction two years ago has caused the problems.

“It has brought confusion and challenges to the law, great expense and effort for the health and legal authorities, and bar workers continuing to be exposed to dangerous smoke,” said Judith Mackay, a Hong Kong-based advisor for the World Lung Foundation.

And crucially it has delayed the tough new legislation until the fear of unemployment takes priority over the health of workers.

“Some of my staff have been breathing second-hand smoke for 30 years,” said Cheung. “Right now they?d rather keep their jobs.”

Big tobacco pays Dutch opposition to smoking ban

Bar owners resisting the smoking ban in the Netherlands have received financial, strategical and legal support from tobacco companies, research by NRC Handelsblad shows.

Ton Wurtz, treasurer of the foundation ‘Red de kleine horecaondernemer’ (Save the small hospitality entrepreneur), has admitted to receiving “about 50,000 euros per year” from the tobacco companies. Wurtz also holds biweekly strategy talks with Willem Jan Roelofs, the chairman of the cigarette industry foundation SSI, he said.

Smoking was banned in cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants in The Netherlands a year ago. Just before the ban went into effect on July 1, 2008, Wurtz, who has been the spokesperson for a foundation that stands up for smokers since 1993, and other seasoned tobacco lobbyists established the foundation to represent the interests of small cafe owners.

The smoking ban was primarily adopted to guarantee the right of employees to work in a smoke-free environment. But critics say small bars, with no employees except the owners, should be exempt from the ban. Several court cases are underway against cafes that defied the ban.

The law firm representing the small cafe owners has been negotiating with the tobacco industry about the possibility of it bankrolling future lawsuits challenging the smoking ban.

Tobacco companies can count on even less sympathy than smokers, so they often pay others to do their lobbying for them, said professor of political science Rinus van Schendelen.

“We are talking to several parties about financing a procedure, SSI amongst them,” Marco Gerritsen of the Van Diepen Van der Kroef law firm confirmed. “They haven’t promised anything yet.”

SSI’s is a collaboration between British American Tobacco (Pall Mall), Imperial Tobacco (Gauloises) and Japan Tobacco International (Camel); Philip Morris (Marlboro) left the group in 2005. Tobacco companies fear a decline of 5 percent of sales because of the smoking ban in bars. Roelofs: “That is a substantial loss in an already contracting market.” He denied the SSI has any intention to finance future court cases.

Next Friday is the court date for the appeals case against one cafe in Groningen, De Kachel. That bar was fined 1,200 euros for violating the ban in February. In a similar case against a bar in Breda, the appeals court in May ruled in favour of the owners, saying the national ban lacks the legal basis to impose it on small establishments without hired staff.

Van Diepen Van der Kroef represents both bars. The legal fees are being paid with contributions by the members of Wurz’ foundation. Bars and cafes each pay an annual fee of 250 euros. The foundation has so far received 250.000 in fees, but with legal expenses estimated at 350.000 euros, he said he is already 100.000 short.
Copyright © 2009 Nrc

Extension of smoking ban in Hong Kong

A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said today (June 29) that smoking ban at six types of listed establishments (LE) will take effect on July 1 in accordance with the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371).

These establishments are bars, clubs, night-clubs, bathhouses, massage establishments and mahjong-tin kau premises.

Studies have shown that second hand smoke affects the health of staff and customers at indoor public areas.

“The arrangement can further protect the public from exposure to second hand smoke,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman also called for the co-operation of venue management in providing a smoke-free environment for their staff and customers.

The spokesman said venue managers of designated no-smoking areas were empowered to implement the smoking ban in the no-smoking areas under their management.

“Venue managers are authorised to require any smoker to stop smoking in the no-smoking areas. They can request those refuse to produce proof of identity and address for follow up; or ask them to leave the no-smoking area,” he said.

Members of the public should be considerate and cooperate with venue managers for the smooth implementation of the legislative requirements, he said.

The spokesman said smoking ban had already been implemented in all indoor areas of workplaces, public places, restaurants, bars for all ages, karaoke lounges since January 1, 2007.

Up to May 31 this year, DH’s Tobacco Control Office (TCO) had issued some 13,800 summonses to people smoking in no smoking areas.

Anyone who committed a smoking offence is subject to a maximum penalty of $5,000.

TCO has launched a series of publicity and education activities to promote smoke-free environment in LEs.

A number of workshops have been organised to facilitate them to understand the legislative requirements as well as to implement smoke-free measures.

Staff wishing to quit smoking are also provided with smoking cessation seminars.

Smoke free ambassadors of TCO have been visiting LEs to promulgate smoke-free message and disseminate leaflets, posters, stickers and implementation guidelines.

“We will continue to liaise with the operators of LEs and to ensure the legislative requirements would be observed by the parties concerned” the spokesman said.
Copyright © 2009 Webnewswire

Higher cigarette prices do reduce consumption

Contentions that cigarette prices have no effect on tobacco consumption are wrong, says Louis Gauvin, co-director of the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac.

Léger Marketing conducted a study last month for the Canadian Convenience Stores Association. In its report, which was made public this month, association vice-president Michel Gadbois says cheaper cigarettes won’t influence the number of people who get hooked on tobacco.

For months, dépanneur owners have complained that cigarette prices, and the taxes on tobacco products, are too high and are hurting their bottom line.

Calling the study, conducted in 25 Quebec cities, biased, Gauvin this week questioned who Gadbois’s employer really is.

“We believe that Gadbois is doing more work for the tobacco industry by suggesting lower taxes,” Gauvin said. “If a convenience store is having financial difficulties, it’s not solely because taxes on tobacco are too high.” Gadbois says he stands by the study’s findings.

“(The coalition) is just complaining that we’re using arguments that they may or may not like,” he said.

Gadbois also said younger smokers are more likely to buy contraband cigarettes, because they are cheaper.

Smoker Tatiana Boroday, 20, sitting outside Dawson College’s downtown campus yesterday, said she doesn’t think cigarette prices make a difference to younger smokers.

“People are still going to end up buying them whether they’re $7 or $12, because they need it,” she said. ” It’s all psychological.” Boroday makes sure to put aside at least $120 a month to support her addiction. She wouldn’t consider getting contraband cigarettes, which are generally cheaper, because “they’re gross.” Ari Simon, 19, walking near Cabot Square yesterday, said he has been smoking for three years and he’s not overly concerned about splurging on cigarettes.

If you’re going to do it, he said, you might as well buy the classier brands.

Although these younger smokers weren’t as interested in saving money, some older smokers were.

Jerry, a 47-year-old Montrealer who spoke on condition that his last name not be published, said he doesn’t even bother setting foot in convenience stores for his fix.

He buys his smokes for $22 a carton in Kahnawake – compared with the cost of about $70 in a dépanneur – “because our Canadian ones are bloody expensive, more expensive than in Europe.” Khalil Assaf, owner of Pro-Soir dépanneur at Lincoln and Guy Sts., says he doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

He agrees with the Convenience Stores Association’s report, saying cigarette sales are still booming.

© Copyright Montreal Gazette

Tobacco growers to fire up

MYRTLEFORD farmers have the whiff of tobacco in their nostrils again.

The prospect of a return to tobacco growing prompted 100 ex-growers to attend a recent public meeting in the town.

Buffalo River ex-tobacco grower Carlo Mancuso called for interest in fulfilling a potential Asian contract of four million kilograms of Virginia flue-cured tobacco.

A survey at the meeting revealed farmers were prepared to grow more than two million kg.

Mr Mancuso said Asian importers had offered Australian growers $2/kg at yields of 2.4-3.7t/ha.

With a farm-gate value of $24 million, the tobacco industry ceased in October 2006 when growers accepted a buy-out package from tobacco manufacturers and the Federal Government.

Under the terms of the exit package, growers were unable to grow the crop again for five years.

Mr Mancuso believes the industry could be easily resurrected.

A second-generation tobacco grower, Mr Mancuso operates a wholesale importing and exporting business to South East Asia. After running a small business in Melbourne, he returned to tobacco growing at Buffalo River, near Myrtleford, in 2005.

Once the last tobacco seedling was removed in 2006, Mr Mancuso formed a grower network to explore viable markets for an Australian crop. He and his brother Norman visited manufacturers in Dubai, Jordan, Rome and Singapore.

Mr Mancuso said Asian buyers were keen to secure Virginia flue-cured and burley (air-cured) tobacco from Australia.

Copyright © 2009 Weeklytimesnow

From Promoting Tobacco to Tobacco Prevention

Tobacco has a deep, rich, and strong core in West Virginia culture. West Virginia ranks #1 in the nation for spit tobacco use among males, #2 in the nation for smoking during pregnancy, and #3 in the nation for adult smoking prevalence. Southern West Virginia spends over $200,000 a day on tobacco products.

The paradigm example of tobacco culture in West Virginia is the “Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn”. In the 1920s the Bloch Brothers from Wheeling, West Virginia created the West Virginia Mail Pouch Tobacco Company. The company then commissioned painters to create the famous “Mail Pouch Barns” which have dotted the landscape of rural communities in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The most famous barn painter was Harley Warrick. Warrick painted over 2,000 Mail Pouch Barns. This was an ingenious cost efficient marketing strategy.

While these barns are a part of West Virginia’s landscape and heritage – they are also a deadly reminder of the cost of tobacco use. One in five West Virginia’s die from a tobacco related illness.

The Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention Coalition Network in conjunction with the Monroe & Summers County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, the Monroe County Cancer Coalition, the Monroe County Coalition for Children and Families, WVU School of Dentistry, the John Allen Family, and the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention will be unveiling the nation’s first “Tobacco Prevention Barn” in Lindside (Monroe County), West Virginia (on US 219) on July 26, 2009 at 3 p.m. This innovative strategy is part of CADCA’s National Coalition Institute’s Seven Strategies for Community Change: changing the physical design of the environment to reduce risk or enhance protection.

Smoker decides to grow his own tobacco

Standing on brown earth on a flat field hundreds of yards from the nearest road, Don Carey is surrounded by tiny plants.

He walks along a three-quarter-acre plot in a desolate spot in this rural township in northeastern Portage County and looks at the thousands of tobacco plants he is growing.

Carey, 49, decided in April, when federal taxes on tobacco skyrocketed, to grow his own.

”I thought it was an April Fools’ joke,” he said of the tax increase that sent taxes on roll-your-own tobacco up 2,153 percent.

There is something ”fundamentally wrong about picking on the smokers all the time,” said Carey, whose experiment with growing tobacco comes as President Barack Obama last week signed the strongest anti-smoking bill in history. The measure gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco for the first time.

A general contractor who lives in Peninsula, Carey has been a cigarette and cigar smoker most of his adult life.

But when April 1 came and he read that taxes on tobacco products increased, he took action.

Carey went on the Internet and found places where he could purchase tobacco seeds.

Within about a week, he had received 40 types of seeds and his life as a tobacco farmer was planted.

”This project is something of an experiment to identify varieties of tobacco suitable for growing in our climate,” Carey said.

7,000 plants in ground

The tiny seeds, so small they can hardly be seen, grew into plants by mid-June. And when the ground had warmed up, a group of friends helped him put the plants into the ground — 7,000 in all.

The land where his tobacco plants are growing is leased by his sister, who allowed him to put in the tobacco crop.

Since April, Carey has been reading all he can find on tobacco farming.

Under the new tobacco law, Carey is allowed to grow tobacco for his own use, said Siobhan DeLancey, a spokeswoman for the FDA.

It seems that Carey is probably not alone in deciding to experiment with tobacco growing.

David Dugan, Ohio State University extension educator for a 10-county area in southern Ohio, said he began receiving inquiries about planting tobacco around the time the taxes were increased.

”I had several calls back in March and April when that was going on,” Dugan said. ”People calling me were looking for where they could buy tobacco plants and seeds.”

Dugan said it is no easy task to grow tobacco.

”He has a real adventure in front of him,” Dugan said of Carey.

Three-quarters of an acre of tobacco, he said, could ultimately yield up to 2,000 pounds of tobacco.

”If the crop grows well, he is going to need a lot of space to hang this stuff to get it to cure and then a lot of space to store it once it is stripped,” he said.

Curing tobacco is a process that depends on the weather, he said. ”You don’t want it to dry too fast,” he said.

There has to be just the right amount of humidity in the curing process that results in a leaf that has the right color and quality. Plus, he said, you have to watch out for insects and rodents when storing it.

Tobacco production in Ohio has fallen off as demand for the product has dropped, Dugan said.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture reports that in 2006, there were 3,500 acres of tobacco grown in the state and about 7 million pounds produced.

The top tobacco county is Brown in southern Ohio, where Dugan is headquartered. It had 1,450 acres and 2,886,000 pounds of tobacco in 2006, the department reported.

No numbers for area

Tobacco production in Summit, Portage, Medina, Stark and Wayne counties is so small that production numbers are not even collected, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department said.

Carey said a smoker, who goes through a pack a day needs about 17 pounds of tobacco a year.

”So if I get a thousand pounds, it will be good for 50 something years.”

But first, he must harvest the tobacco this summer and then cure it.

Carey said he will use an old corn crib for curing the crop.

Because tobacco growing has such a long history in the United States, he said, it will be fun to experience that tradition.

”Tobacco is more American than apple pie and baseball,” Carey said.

He said he will be able to determine from this year’s growth, which type of plants do best in Northeast Ohio’s climate.

As a teenager, Carey worked on a farm in Boston Heights and said he feels confident that he has the skills to pull off his tobacco experiment.

”I’m not trying to start a revolution or anything,” said Carey, who has time to work on his crop because of the downturn in the economy and its impact on the building trades.

”I’m trying to end up with a finished product I can use for cigarettes and cigars.”

Ready late next year

Once the tobacco leaves are ripe, he said, he will cut the stalks down and cure the plants. He figures he may be able to smoke the first cigarettes from his field late next year.

Carey said that so far, the crop looks good.

”The plants are doing very well other, than a small bout with slugs that cost about 50 plants,” he said.
Copyright © 2009 Ohio

Low-income tenants face smoking ban

In 1988, they banned it in airplanes. In 1994, in offices. In 2006, the bars.

And this month, they finally banned smoking in Teri Richard’s apartment building.

“When I grew up, there was a big ashtray on everybody’s table,” said Richard, 53, sitting under a small corner of awning that stretches 25 feet from the nearest door.

Though Richard and a handful of her neighbors are only the latest of millions of tenants across the country to choose such indignities for the sake of an addiction, these tenants have an unusual landlord: the Vancouver Housing Authority.

The new decision by Clark County’s subsidized housing agency to ban smoking in some of its properties reflects Washington’s successful crusade to drive down cigarette use.

But the heated disputes between smokers and nonsmokers in Richard’s building, inflamed by the VHA’s action, also reflect an awkward fact about Washington’s anti-smoking campaign: it’s been relatively unsuccessful among the poor.

Heavy smokers who live in Richard’s building, Esther Short Commons on the west side of downtown Vancouver’s Esther Short Park, said they’ll do as smokers whose buildings go smoke-free have done for decades: move to another place as soon as they can.

But the continuing spread of no-smoking apartments is leaving smokers with a new worry.

Where can you smoke, if not in the projects?

‘A right to be mean’

Pinching one of the 60 cigarettes she smokes each day in a cupped hand, hidden behind her wheelchair to avoid the grimaces of pedestrians, Richard said she’s the object of scorn from nine out of ten people who walk past.

“Nonsmokers feel they have a right to be mean,” she said.

Richard, who worked as a nurse’s aide before her legs were suddenly paralyzed by myelomalacia, said she draws $875 a month from Social Security and a part-time job soliciting donations for the Arc of Clark County.

As one of a few thousand VHA tenants who’ve waded through the agency’s overflowing wait lists to receive an indefinite housing subsidy, Richard pays $377 for her downtown apartment.

“Obviously, with my income, I can’t afford a regular rent,” she said. “I’m trying to pinch every penny I can so I can have a nice life, and they’re going to take it away.”

After years of debate, the VHA banned smoking indoors and on the balconies of Richard’s building at the start of June. The company that manages the property has left notes on apartments but is still working out how the new rules would be enforced.

On Wednesday, Columbia House in the Hough neighborhood will become the VHA’s second smoke-free property. The agency might roll the ban out to others of its dozens of buildings across the county, VHA deputy director LaVon Holden said in May.

Most public housing agencies are doing the same, she said.

“It is just a standard of the business,” said Holden, a former smoker. “We are becoming a culture that is less tolerant of secondhand smoke, because we now know the downside.”

The decision will save the agency about $1,900 for every two-bedroom apartment that doesn’t have to be scrubbed and repainted every time a smoker moves out, Holden said.

A smoking subsidy?

Smokers’ habits had been making life less nice for some of the Esther Short building’s nonsmokers, who are a majority of the tenants.

“When I toured, I was told that the only place they could smoke was on the balcony, (so) it wasn’t a big deal,” said Mark Jander, 75. “But it was a big deal. … Every half hour or so, there was smoke coming into your apartment.”

Sometimes smoke even woke him up at night, said Jander, who is asthmatic.

When the county health department circulated a survey in the building that asked about a possible smoking ban, Jander was thrilled to back it.

So did the “overwhelming” majority of Esther Short residents who responded, Holden said.

Jander, a retired engineer who pays $945 a month for one of the building’s unsubsidized apartments, said he doesn’t like it that his taxes support people who spend so much on tobacco.

“I’m an egalitarian, a liberal,” Jander said. “But they’re putting out a month’s rent … to pay for their annual smoking habit at a pack a day. And I resent that, dammit. If we’re giving you a break, you should really be struggling.”

In fact, at $4 a pack, a pack-a-day habit costs $1,460 a year — almost four months’ rent on Richard’s apartment.

Poor are ‘left behind’

The proportion of tobacco users among Washingtonians who earn $25,000 to $35,000 a year is down 9 percentage points since 1997, to 19 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among residents earning less than $15,000, use is down just 3 points, to 30 percent.

That’s partly because Washington’s anti-smoking campaigns have focused on middle-class issues such as health insurance savings, said Roger Valdez, who studies housing for the left-leaning Sightline Institute in Seattle.

“People who make $15,000 or less — they don’t have insurance. So increasingly, (smoking) is becoming concentrated among the poor,” Valdez said. “That lower demographic is getting left behind.”

Even so, a growing majority of poor people are nonsmokers. And with governments at all levels passing anti-smoking laws, Valdez said, nonsmokers are increasingly quick to complain about any smoke they encounter.

Kevin Keay, an Esther Short resident who said he lives on $123 a month in disability payments, is one of those newly empowered nonsmokers.

Keay, 47, said he had wanted a smoking ban in the VHA building for months. But now that the ban is in place, he said, some smokers are simply concealing their habit by smoking indoors instead of on balconies.

“They’re smoking in the bathrooms,” Keay said. “They’re smoking in the hallways. You can tell.”

He’s had enough.

“As soon as I get funding coming in, I’m moving out,” he said. “I don’t want to come down with lung cancer on account of them.”

Richard, the three-pack-a-day smoker, said she’s hoping to move out, too.

Unless, that is, she can save $80 for an electric steam cigarette kit that might help her kick her 20-year smoke habit.

“I put $5 in an envelope for electronic cigarettes,” Richard said last week. “I did that today.”

ETRC issues rallying cry against proposed tobacco ban

The duty-free group has urged the industry to contact governments in the final days before talks begin on the World Health Organization illicit trade protocol.

The European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) has issued a final rallying call for the duty-free industry to contact governments in the days leading up to the third round of negotiations on the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) protocol on illicit trade that threatens a ban on the sale and import of duty-free tobacco products. ETRC secretary general Keith Spinks asked companies “to make a final round of intensive contacts”, particularly in countries “where political engagement has been difficult or where there is still no clear indication from governments on their policy on duty-free sales”.

Proposals for the prohibition of duty-free tobacco sales were initially tabled at the second negotiating session in October 2008, but ETRC and other global industry stakeholders have since lobbied the relevant authorities to refute allegations that duty-free sales at airports, on board airlines and in border shops contribute to illicit trade, succeeding in changing the draft text of the protocol to remove an outright ban on tobacco sales to travellers.

Tobacco control activists including the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) have now published their positions in advance of the third round of negotiations calling for the inclusion of a new article specifically to ban duty-free tobacco sales to international travellers, as well as condemning the duty-free trade association’s efforts to prevent such a prohibition from being implemented.

Spinks said that “ETRC makes no apology for defending our business and will continue to vigorously support the rights of legitimate duty-free operators”, adding that FCA used misleading arguments about “growing government and international action on the [duty-free] issue” as justification for a ban.

“The purpose of this protocol is to combat illicit trade, nothing else. The duty-free industry is not involved in illicit trade so therefore should not be subject to any ban from this protocol”, Spinks added. “A worldwide ban on duty-free tobacco sales to international passengers will have no impact whatsoever on illicit trade and the criminal elements that control the illegal tobacco market.”
Copyright © 2009 Dfnionline

Developing world faces black market cigarette plague

A growing global trade in black market cigarettes is killing tens of thousands of people a year, causing massive health problems and costing governments billions of pounds, a hard-hitting report warns today.

A staggering 657 billion cigarettes a year are sold illicitly by organised crime gangs, half of all tobacco sold in some countries is contraband, and £24.6bn in taxes are never paid, it says.

The report makes plain that, contrary to the tobacco industry’s claims, cigarette smuggling is much more common and damaging in poorer countries. Inefficient law enforcement, lax border controls and corruption among police and government officials mean smugglers find it easier to move large consignments of stolen or counterfeit cigarettes into countries in the developing world.

More than five million people a year die worldwide from tobacco use, and about 80% of all smokers live in developing countries. The World Health Organisation classifies tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death.

In countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico and Egypt, very poor households spend up to 15% of their incomes on tobacco products, according to the WHO. That exacerbates social and health inequalities and can push families even deeper into poverty, because they are more likely to develop smoking-related illnesses and die than wealthier compatriots.

About 1.2 million of the five million tobacco-related deaths annually are in south-east Asia, where almost half the world’s poor live. Some of them spend more on tobacco than on food, shelter, healthcare and education.

The report comes as representatives of governments gather in Geneva to negotiate the first worldwide protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products. Heavily backed by many EU countries, the treaty is expected to lead to co-ordinated global action to try to tackle the problem. Some African administrations are sceptical because they believe it will cost them money to implement, but campaigners say that they will actually make money by ultimately being able to increase the tax on legally sold cigarettes once the black market has been tackled.

The study, part-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been written by Martin Raw of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at Nottingham University, David Merriman of Illinois University in Chicago, Hana Ross of the American Cancer Society and Luk Joossens of the Brussels-based Framework Convention Alliance pro-treaty organisation. It is called “How eliminating the global illict cigarette trade would increase tax revenue and save lives”.

“The burden of illicit trade falls mainly on lower-income countries”, the study found. While the black market accounts for 11.6% of all cigarettes consumed worldwide, its market share is 9.8% in well-off countries but 16.8% on average in poorer ones. In Georgia 50% of all cigarettes sold are contraband, while 40% of those in Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Bolivia share that source. The figure stands at more than 20% in 15 other, mainly poor, countries. Buyers are tempted by low prices, which prompt them to buy more and smoke more often, leading to illness, says the study.

Eradication of the illicit trade could save 132,000 lives annually in middle-income and poor families, the authors estimate.

Anna Gilmore, an expert in the tobacco industry’s global tactics at both Bath University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said China, India and Indonesia were the three countries cigarette firms were most keen to exploit. “They have big populations, are experiencing rapid population growth and contain a lot of women, whom tobacco transnationals see as an untapped market,” she said.
Copyright © 2009 Guardian

Fighting big tobacco

In a rare challenge to one of the mainland’s most powerful institutions, a scholar has proposed the scrapping of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and allowing private companies to compete on an equal basis in this lucrative sector. Zou Fangbin, an economics professor at the Guangdong University of Business Studies, says the monopoly discriminates against smokers and tobacco farmers, gives excessive wages and benefits to STMA officials, and encourages corruption and smuggling.

Established in January 1984, the STMA is one of the two biggest cigarette producers in the world, with Altria – the parent company of Philip Morris – in terms of sales revenue. . . .

One of the best-known anti-tobacco campaigners in the mainland is Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the Ministry of Health.

“The issue is not the monopoly but the separation of the government from the tobacco producers, as demanded by the World Health Organisation,” she said.

“How can someone supervise an industry in which he has a financial stake?”

She referred to article five, section three of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Beijing has signed: it took effect on January 1. . . .

In its latest report on tobacco, published on May 31, Dr Yang’s centre said the STMA was not implementing regulations set out by WHO convention.

Sales of cigarettes soar in Ontario

Canada’s illegal cigarette trade is soaring out of control — and governments at all levels are reluctant to do anything about it.

Imperial Tobacco says the problem is exploding.

Last year, one-third of all cigarettes in Canada were sold illegally. In Ontario, it skyrocketed to almost half — 48%.

The year before, the figure was roughly 22% across Canada, with just over 30% in this province.

“A lot of people’s livelihoods are at stake here,” says Imperial Tobacco President Benjamin Kemball.

It’s not just tobacco manufacturers who are hurting. Most convenience stores rely on tobacco sales for 30% of their profits.

“The sharp spike in illegal sales is eating into those profit margins and putting independent stores out of business,” Kemball noted.

Despite the massive loss of tax revenues due to illegal smokes, he noted, governments are “in denial.”

Kemball estimates governments across Canada are losing roughly $2.4 billion a year in uncollected tobacco taxes and that Ontario’s share of that is about $1.1 billion.

Last year, Ontario’s auditor general reported that in 2006/07 fiscal year, the loss to the province was $500 million.

“We believe it has doubled in that time and most of the figures would confirm that,” Kemball said.

While governments publicly pat themselves on the back for reducing the sale of legal tobacco, data shows those people are still smoking — they’re just buying more smokes illegally.

“All the government has done is create the largest illegal tobacco market in this hemisphere, including Latin America,” Kemball said.

While the problem originates on native reserves and in smoke shacks, not all reserves are to blame, he said.

Places like Six Nations and Akwesasne continue to be a problem, but many other reserves obey the law and demand ID for their on-reserve sales. On most reserves, only buyers with first nation status are allowed to purchase cigarettes without paying tax. Everyone else pays and those revenues are shared between the government and the reserve.

Kembell says the market has been taken over by organized crime with the criminals also selling guns, cocaine and marijuana.

“You now have Ontario’s youth buying tobacco products without any restrictions or controls from dealers who are also trafficking (in) alcohol, drugs and firearms,” he said.


Sgt. Mike Harvey of the Cornwall RCMP confirms that. He says 25 criminal groups are involved in the illicit tobacco trade in the local area alone.

With cigarettes selling illegally for as little as $10 a carton, it’s mostly kids who are buying.

“They’re recruiting youth to transport the cigarettes from the Akwesasne Mohawk territory to smoke shacks in other aboriginal communities,” Harvey said.

In one case, a 17 year-old girl was making $6,000 a week doing that and used the money to finance her drug addiction.

“The general public sees this as sticking it to the tax man and that it’s their right to buy cigarettes at low prices (because) the government is over-taxing them,” he said. “They are really financing organized crime groups, who are using this money to produce drugs such as Ectasy and meth labs across Canada.”

I don’t smoke. I don’t like people to smoke around me. But if people are going to buy a legal product, they should do so legally. This week, the UN said Canada is a “primary source” of Ecstasy and methamphetamines.

As long as governments refuse to deal with the illicit tobacco trade, we’ll continue to be the party drug dealer of choice to the world.
Copyright © 2009 Torontosun

Cuepacs told to remember non-smokers

Cuepacs is ignoring the rights of non-smokers when it opposed the Public Service Department’s stand on no-smoking at government departments and agencies.

Prof Dr Rahmat Awang of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s National Poison Centre and Malaysian Trades Union Congress adviser on indoor air quality Dr T. Jayabalan said Cuepacs must be seen to serve the rights of non-smokers as much as it wanted to protect the rights of smokers.

They said it had been proven that ventilation systems could not filter the particles and gases in tobacco smoke to safe levels.

They said tobacco smoke contained more than 4,000 chemicals, including more than 200 that were poisonous, and at least 69 that were carcinogenic.

They were responding Cuepacs’ call to PSD not to impose a blanket ban on smoking in government premises but to provide smokers with designated smoking areas.
It was reported in a local daily recently that the PSD would monitor the no-smoking rule at government premises. The PSD had also said government servants were prohibited from smoking in government premises.

Dr Rahmat said the notion that designated smoking areas was a responsible alternative to a smoking ban was flawed.

Dr Rahmat and Dr Jayabalan said it was not advisable to have designated smoking areas because:

– smoking sections without floor-to-ceiling partitions between the non-smoking section and smoking section do not prevent exposure to second-hand smoke;

– designated rooms pose a threat to those who have to clean and work in them; and

– smoke escapes through the open door when people enter or leave the smoking room.

International Labour Organisation estimates showed that 200,000 workers were killed each year by exposure to second-hand smoke at work.

In a survey carried out in Malaysia, they said, it was found that 61.3 per cent of adult smokers had wanted to quit but found it difficult.

They said enforcing eight hours of non-smoking would be a step in the right direction to kick the habit.

“It must be remembered that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke and scientists have concluded that the only effective protection is 100 per cent smoke-free places.”

Scottish teenagers smoke and drink less

Contrary to their reputation, fewer Scottish teenagers are smoking, drinking and – amongst boys at least – taking cannabis than they were two years ago, official figures released yesterday show.

However, the 2008 Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey does show changes in habits which may worry health experts. While the use of drink and drugs continues to decline, those who do partake are highly likely to truant or be excluded from school.

There is also disappointment that despite the rise in the minimum purchase age for cigarettes from 16 to 18 in 2007, rates of smoking among 15-year-old boys have increased.

Where alcohol is concerned, more than half of teenage drinkers reported that they drank at home and 11 per cent of 13-year-olds and 31 per cent of 15-year-olds said that they had had a drink in the past week.

However, these figures are five percentage points down on the previous survey in 2006. Overall, there has been a steady decline in teenage drinking since 2002, with consumption almost back to 1990 levels.

The number of children reporting they had never had alcohol also went up (48 per cent of 13-year-olds in 2008, up from 42 per cent in 2006). Amongst 15-year-olds, 18 per cent cent reported they had never had a drink in 2008, a rise from 16 per cent in 2006.

Compared to two years ago, fewer 15-year-old girls (78 per cent compared to 74 per cent) reported that they had ever been “really drunk”.

But those who do drink are increasingly bingeing at home on alcohol which has bought for them by friends and relatives. While supermarkets and shops overtook off-licences as a favourite source to buy alcohol, the amount teenagers obtained from people who bought it on their behalf more than doubled from 15 per cent in 1998 to 32 per cent in 2008 and is now by far the most common source.

Those who did drink got into trouble. Nearly 40 per cent of 13-year-olds and 55 per cent of 15-year-olds reported being involved in at least one of the following: arguments, fights, visits to Accident and Emergency, being seen by a doctor for an injury, being taken home by police, staying off school, vomiting, taking any drugs, or being in trouble with the police.

These events were slightly more common for girls. A quarter of 13-year-olds admitted having an argument and vomiting, compared to 40 per cent of 15-year-olds. Between 3 and 5 per cent of young people reported being having to attend hospital as a result of alcohol misuse.

More than half of all the teenagers surveyed said they were most likely to drink at home. A third of 13-year-olds and more than 40 per cent of 15-year-olds drank in the street or a park.

Children who drank were four times more likely to show abnormal conduct and be excluded from school. Boys who drank were 15 times more likely to truant frequently.

Where cigarettes were concerned, the numbers of 13 and 15-year-old girls who are regular smokers continues to decline. The proportion of pupils who reported they never smoked has gone up from 69 to 75 per cent of 13-year-olds and 47 to 51 per cent of 15-year-olds.

However, although it is illegal to sell cigarettes to children under the age of 18, 42 per cent of 13-year-old regular smokers and 57 per cent of 15-year-old regular smokers reported buying cigarettes from a shop. A significant number also bought from vending machines.

Family and peer group pressure was evident: the majority of children who smoked had parents who did, and more than a third said all or almost all their friends smoked.

The prevalence of teenagers using drugs in the month before the survey has remained stable since 2006, with the only decline amongst 13-year-old boys (down from 4 per cent to 3 per cent).

Up to 20 per cent of 15-year-olds and 5 per cent of 13-year-olds reported they had used drugs in the last year. By far the most common drug was cannabis. Only 1 per cent reported using anything else.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Health Secretary, commented: “We know that too many people continue to smoke and drink too much alcohol and this survey shows that young people are no exception. That’s why the government has taken swift action to help tackle these issues.

“The continued decrease in the number of teenagers who are smoking is welcome news, as is the significant rise in the number of young people who have never smoked. However, the fact that teenagers are still smoking shows the need for action.

“We have raised the age for tobacco sales to 18 and introduced proposals to remove cigarettes from open display in shops. I believe these measures will help to further reduce smoking amongst young people.

“In terms of alcohol, I am encouraged by the fact that fewer young people say they are drinking. However we will continue to promote a zero tolerance approach to underage sales and tough action against those who buy alcohol on behalf of under age young people.”

Dr Peter Terry, Chairman of BMA Scotland called foir minimum pricing on alcohol. He said: “When alcohol is cheaper than bottled water, we have to worry about what message we are sending our children.”

Ross Finnie MSP, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, said: “This report shows that we must not assume every child spends their evenings smoking, drinking and taking drugs. But this is no time for complacency as the report throws up some serious issues.

“It shows the influence that parental behaviour has on children; 80 per cent of 13 year olds who are regular smokers have at least one parent that smokes.

“The study also revealed worrying gaps in children’s understanding of the consequences of illegal drugs. For instance 24 per cent didn’t realise that injecting drugs could lead to HIV.”
Copyright © 2009 Timesonline

When Tobacco Products were Cheap and Legal

Cigarette smoking in 1950s, especially in America, was considered cool and glamour.
Even, Hollywood icons such as James Dean and Humphrey Bogart were seen always with a cigarette in their hand. Screen beauties such as Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich made smoking look sensual and sophisticated.
Even a future president, Ronald Reagan held in his hand packs of Chesterfield during his B-movie days. By the late 1950s around half of the population of industrialized nations smoked in the UK. The product was cheap, legal and socially acceptable.
Cigarettes were originally sold as expensive handmade luxury goods for the urban elite. In United States in those years, smokers frequently used traditional pipe-smoking and tobacco-chewing habits.
American tobacco firm Philip Morris was particular expert at marketing its cigarettes. This Tobacco Industry gave people the chiseled looking of Marlboro Man who declared: “For man’s flavor come to Marlboro Country.”
Other brands also sought to lessen fears of smoking. For example Camel cigarettes had such an advert saying: “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” But, as early as 1951, UK scientists found a link between lung cancer and smoking.
For years, the Tobacco Industry appeared to be unconquerable. Then, in 1994, Diane Castano, whose husband died of lung cancer, pleaded the tobacco industry.
Soon attempts to protect non-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoking were defended by politicians in California. This led to the 1995 ban on smoking in most enclosed places of employment. And by 2005 less than a quarter of the US population smoked cigarettes, and that is now falling.

Night Club Posting No Smoking Signs

A club in Broad Ripple is going smoke-free–breaking with other bars and taverns who fear a negative impact from a full ban on smoking.

Jazz Kitchen owner David Allee started by accomodating an occasional national act requesting a smoke-free environment. Now, the club has a permanent ban on smoking. Allee says, “I think it is very much a prevailing trend that’s happening.”

A researcher at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, Dr. Andrew Hyland, says areas that have tried it usually see a small increase in business activity. Dr. Hyland says some smokers stay away but non-smokers come more often and stay longer.

The organizations “Smoke Free Indy” and “Take Note” are kicking off a “Smoke Free Summer Club Series” Friday night with a Cynthia Lane concert at the club at 5337 North College Avenue.

Copyright © 2009 Wibc

Reno hospitals going tobacco free

Three Reno-area hospitals have announced a collaborative campaign to make their facilities and campuses completely smoke and tobacco free by the first of the year.

At a joint news conference Thursday, executives of Renown Health and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno and Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks said the move is a commitment to public health.

While smoking has been prohibited in hospitals for years, the facilities have had designated smoking areas outdoors. In the coming months, those areas will be phased out and tobacco use will be banned on all the facilities’ properties.

Officials add all the hospitals offer smoking cessation programs from patients and employees to help them kick the habit.

Obama, Tobacco And Marijuana

Derek Thompson follows the logic of regulating and taxing tobacco rather than banning it:

The government’s effort to manage tobacco rather than make it illegal is exactly what belongs in the debate over pot and other illegal substances that could, at the very least, provide significant boons to medical pharmacology. The FDA has rejected the possibility of making cigarettes illegal by saying the underground product would be “even more dangerous than those currently marketed.” So when you make popular products illegal, it has the potential to make those products more dangerous. Gee, ya think?

I know that Gee, ya think is about as far as you can get from a comprehensive plan for the controlled legalization of marijuana and other substances. But let’s be adults here. Obama understands the limits of cigarette law because he understands the market for cigarettes. Maybe what the drug debate really needs is a joint in the West Wing.


Copyright © Theatlantic

Tobacco companies can help reignite your portfolio

Occasionally, the market gives investors the chance to buy great cash-flow-generating companies at prices significantly below their intrinsic value. We think one of those opportunities now exists for investors who do not mind holding firms that manufacture a harmful product. Facing challenges on multiple fronts, tobacco stocks have been dragged down with the market decline, despite the stability of their cash flows even during the recession. We believe there is now a compelling case for buying Altria, which we think has the most to gain from regulation under the Food and Drug Administration, and Philip Morris International, whose strong product portfolio and pricing power should position it well for long-term growth.

Favourable operating environment

The tobacco industry is conducive to wide economic moats. The market is fairly concentrated, with a small number of large players benefiting from significant economies of scale and generating high returns on invested capital. The addictive nature of tobacco products and strong brand loyalty have led to relatively stable market shares and have made it very difficult for smaller players and new entrants to replicate those scale advantages. New entrants would need to build manufacturing and distribution capabilities, and in the United States they are required to set cash aside for product liability damages, either by signing up to the Master Settlement Agreement or by putting aside cash in an escrow account. This has acted as a deterrent to new entrants in recent years.

Furthermore, manufacturers are the big winners in the tobacco industry. With few substitutes to tobacco products, a fragmented farming industry, and an oligopolistic structure, manufacturers claim the lion’s share of the aftertax retail dollar.

Stern challenges

Despite operating in a favourable industry structure, selling an addictive product, and having the ability to generate strong free cash flows, tobacco companies have seen their stocks dragged down by the market in recent months. There are several reasons for this. The federal excise tax on cigarettes was increased April 1 from $0.39 to $1.01 per pack. Manufacturers have passed on the entire increase to customers by raising prices, and this could accelerate the decline in cigarette consumption this year. Given the industry’s experience following the implementation of the MSA in 1998, and our estimate of demand elasticity, we forecast that cigarette consumption will decline 6%-7% over the next year.

Another head wind is regulation, as Congress has passed a bill giving the FDA regulatory control over the tobacco industry. In the short term, we do not expect this to have much of an effect, because the FDA will need time to build its new tobacco unit. In the long term, we think the bill may stabilize market shares through marketing controls, which should be a net positive for Altria but damaging to its competitors; this should solidify Altria’s market dominance. Lorillard has the most to lose from FDA regulation, in our opinion. A panel will be set up to investigate claims that menthol cigarettes are more harmful than nonmenthol cigarettes. We think a menthol ban is highly unlikely, but with more than 90% of Lorillard’s revenue generated in the menthol category, such a measure would be catastrophic for the firm.

We think the worst-case scenario for the industry under FDA regulation would be a reduction in the amount of nicotine, the addictive component of cigarettes, being forced upon manufacturers. However, it is likely that industry stakeholders would pressure the FDA not to implement such a measure. Just as smokers are addicted to tobacco companies’ products, governments are addicted to the tax revenue the products generate. We estimate that total excise tax and MSA payments will be well in excess of $40 billion in 2009, or around 1% of all local, state, and federal taxes collected, and around two thirds of all excise tax receipts. In the case of the MSA payments to states, the states have in many cases already securitized that revenue and therefore are heavily reliant on the payments being made.

The risk of litigation still lingers over the domestic tobacco industry, although it has subsided significantly in the past few years. We expect financial penalties to arise periodically, but we think damages will be manageable.

How to play the tobacco industry

We think the downward pressure on tobacco stocks over the past 18 months has presented investors with an opportunity to buy the industry leaders. We think Altria has the widest moat in the industry, with a vast distribution network and collection of strong brands. In addition to Marlboro, Altria has the leading discount brand, Basic, so it should be well positioned to benefit from both short-term trading down and long-term trading up. Altria owns the two leading smokeless brands, Skoal and Copenhagen, which is helping it to migrate quitting smokers onto other tobacco products. At 11 times the firm’s trailing-12-month earnings and a dividend yield of almost 8%, the stock is trading at levels not seen since the height of litigation risk earlier this decade. We expect the dividend to be maintained and to grow in the low-single-digit range over the next five years.

Although we think Lorillard’s Newport is a very strong brand, the firm’s exposure to the menthol category is a concern to us, given the threat hanging over that sector. We expect Reynolds American to underperform the industry because it has an older core customer demographic and we expect it to discontinue some of its peripheral brands.

Emerging economies such as Eastern Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia still offer growth opportunities. Smoking in those regions is rising, driven by growing populations and weak restrictions on smoking. The World Health Organization estimates that even if the proportion of the global population that are smokers declines 1% a year, there will still be 1.5 billion smokers by 2050, up from 1.3 billion today. Furthermore, some of the least penetrated international markets are those where populations are growing fastest, smoking restrictions are weakest, and the infrastructure has significant room for improvement. Litigation risk is lower in many overseas markets than it is in the United States because class-action lawsuits are less popular, and the process of bringing cases to court is often more expensive and cumbersome. In addition, there has been a long-term trend of trading up in emerging markets. This has created a positive mix effect for those companies with the strongest premium brands.

We think the best way to exploit the growth opportunities in international tobacco markets is with an investment in the industry leader, Philip Morris. The firm owns Marlboro in international markets, the only true global brand, and its product portfolio is skewed toward the premium category. While that may cause some short-term headaches as smokers trade down during the recession, it should position the firm for solid long-term growth. Philip Morris has a strong presence in emerging economies, and it is the price leader in most of its core markets. The company has joint ventures with Swedish Match in Europe and China National Tobacco in China, putting it in the pole position to exploit any lifting of government regulations in either of those regions, although we think it may take some time for those opportunities to emerge. We recommend investing at or below our $37.10 Consider Buying price.

We rate British American Tobacco similarly to Philip Morris: Both have wide economic moats, both have only a medium uncertainty rating, and their dividend yields are also closely matched, BAT at 4.5% and Philip Morris at 4.9%.
Copyright © 2009 Hemscott

First ticket to man smoking in car with a child

Langley RCMP handed out their first ticket recently to a driver caught smoking with a child in the car.

The man was pulled over while he was smoking with a 13-year-old in the car. The driver was handed a ticket with a $109 fine and also was given a 24-hour suspension for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The man’s name was not released by police.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks believes it was one of the first tickets of its kind handed out in B.C.

“The wife was in the car and she was not upset that he got a ticket,” she explained Wednesday. “She told the officer she had been trying to get her husband to stop smoking in the car.”

The law making it illegal to light up while a child under 16 years of age is in the vehicle came into effect April 1. The offence is listed as Section 231.1(3) of B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, second-hand smoke contains thousands of chemicals, many of which cause cancer. Infants and children are especially at risk because their lungs are still developing.

The cancer society says cigarettes produce about 12 minutes of smoke, yet the smoker may inhale only 30 seconds of smoke from their cigarette. The rest of the smoke lingers in the air for everyone to breathe.

Each year, more than 1,000 non-smoking Canadians die from second-hand smoke, the society estimates.
Copyright © 2009 Vancouversun

Big John’s restraining order against smoking ban denied

Bar owners and smokers alike can continue to huff and puff about the indoor smoking ban, but they’ll have to do so outside.

Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson on Wednesday denied a pool hall’s request for a restraining order against the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act, which went into effect June 1.

Attorney Theodore Boecker Jr., who represents Big John Billiards Inc., claimed in a lawsuit filed in May against the state of Nebraska that the law was unconstitutional.

5.22.09: Pool hall sues state over smoking ban

The act bans smoking inside all public buildings and private businesses, save for certain hotel/motel rooms and suites, laboratories, tobacco retail outlets and cigar bars.

Boecker argued in the lawsuit that the cigar bar exemption favored certain businesses with longtime tobacco ties while harming others like, for instance, the traditionally “smoke-filled pool hall.” He said the court should strike down the entire ban and let Big John’s operate as it normally did prior to June 1.

Big John’s Billiards in Omaha was exempt from the city’s smoking ban until 2011 because it is also a Keno outlet.

Nelson has not ruled on the request to strike down the entire ban, but wrote in her order filed June 22 that Big John’s Billiards failed to meet the burden of proof to temporarily suspend the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act.

Big John’s has two locations — one in Lincoln and one in Omaha.
Copyright © 2009 Journalstar

Price Increases and Taxation Measures are known to Influence Smokers

From all harmful products, tobacco products are cheaper and therefore it became more accessible in Pakistan today than they were 15 years ago. That’s why the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health reflect the government’s intention to control tobacco use in the country by using price and taxation policies as a tool.

This is the fifth specious measure taken by the government in quick sequence over the past three weeks. The previous focus of government was to increase state income generated from tobacco sales, but the present aim is to decrease the smokers’ number and to protect their health.

Previous tobacco control ban included the following measures: removal of the disputable established regulatory order on specific smoking areas; tax of restrictions on promotion of tobacco products; introduction of pictorial health warnings covering no less than 50% of the cigarette packs with effect from January 2010; and more recently, the president’s decision to stop the purchase of custom-made cigarette packets and outers for the chairmanship from Pakistan Tobacco Company.

Price increases and taxation measures are known to influence smokers, particularly in low-income countries like Pakistan.

Moreover, no practical measures in this direction were taken in the past, firstly, because of the government’s failure to challenge the might of the tobacco industry and the influence of retired senior bureaucrats controlling the business of leading tobacco companies in the country; and secondly, due to the past governments’ lack of engagement to failure of the tobacco epidemic, which is one of the greatest public health charges facing humanity.

Even the Federal Board of Revenue, which has traditionally been seen as a big supporter of the Tobacco Industry, has decisively realized that the tobacco industry is not the biggest tax payer, but the biggest tax-collector, in Pakistan.

Researchers have calculated that if there were a sustained and real 10 percent rise in the prices of cigarettes over the average estimated price in each region of the world, then 40 million people worldwide would quit smoking and many more that would otherwise have taken up smoking, would be discouraged from doing so.

Anti-tobacco researchers said: “Since a majority of the tobacco consumers in Pakistan represents the low-income group, this measure is expected to influence smokers to kick the habit.”

As it is known, Tobacco Company is a very powerful company, that’s why is very hard to defeat it. For example one of the many other Tobacco Companies are situated in Pakistan, it is the 18th largest in the world. There are 57 tobacco manufacturers currently operating and around 78% of the market share belongs to two corporate giants: Pakistan Tobacco Company, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, and Phillip Morris International (PMI), which got Lakson Tobacco Pakistan, in February 2007.

Further, the tobacco industry is spending its multi-billion tobacco budgets to capture markets in the most populous countries, which includes Pakistan. Statistics show that high-income countries collect about 340 times more money in tobacco taxes than they spend on tobacco control.