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Monthly Archives: July 2009

All Tobacco Products May Be Banned in US Army

CNN and the Army official blog reported this month that the Pentagon has commissioned a new study recommending a complete ban on all tobacco products for U.S. soldiers. Smoking tobacco would be prohibited by anyone in uniform. In addition, the ban would end tobacco sales on military bases. Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith stated, “The Pentagon supports the goal of a tobacco-free military. However, achieving that goal will depend on coincident reductions of tobacco use in the civilian population.”

The study has received mixed reactions from military personnel. Many soldiers feel that an occasional cigarette should be their right. Retired Army Gen. Russel Honore said, “When you’re tired and you’ve been going days on end with minimal sleep, and you are not getting the proper meals on time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference.” Honore is well known for leading the military relief efforts in support of Hurricane Katrina and having a permanent stogie dangling from his mouth.

While a complete tobacco ban may seem harsh, the U.S. military’s general order number one, an order produced by the Commanding General of Central Command, has banned the consumption of alcohol within the Middle East combat theater since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. Soldiers did get a reprieve this past December when some troops in Iraq were allowed a maximum of two beers during the Super Bowl. Still, if no alcohol is OK, shouldn’t no tobacco be OK?

Part of the problem is that smoking has a long history in the US Army and military as a whole. Beginning towards the end of World War II and continuing through the Vietnam War up to 1972, Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s), know as C-rations or C-rats given to soldiers as meal replacements, all contained cigarette packs. During the Vietnam War, C-rations contained four sample packs of cigarettes to include brands such as Pall Mall, Luckies, and Winston. Athough MRE’s no longer contain cigarettes, the phrase, “Smoke em’ if you got ’em” is still commonly heard in Army formations today.

Media role critical in tobacco control

The role of media is essential in tobacco control and internationally media has paid a critical role in the passage and implementation of tobacco control laws.

The media served as a bridge between the public and policy-makers allowing the public to bring forward their concerns.

This access has been critical in tobacco control where a chance of profits for the few mean the infliction of disease and death on the many Debra Efroymson, Tobacco Control Advisor, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease said at a press conference held by the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol in Colombo yesterday.

In the David and Goliath power imbalance between health advocates and the tobacco industry the media serves as the equalising weapon that allows David the upper hand she said.

Those campaigning for strong tobacco control laws and policies in country after country including higher taxes and advertising bans, smoke free public places and graphic health warnings rely on the media to bring their concern to the attention of policy makers. The active role of the media has been critical in changing the balance of power so that pro-people rather than pro-industry policies could result, she noted. Despite all these efforts the industry still used the media to trumpet their cause by using corporate social responsibility as an eyewash.

The media therefore must be responsible to ask whether the taxes paid by the industry were more important than the lives taken away by the cigarettes. If it was genuinely interested in people does it grow more trees than the number of trees farmers burn down to grow and cure tobacco.

With the support of media the industry could be curbed and health and wellbeing of the people promoted, she said.


Copyright © 2009 Dailynews

JAPAN TOBACCO SAYS CIGARETTE SALES ABROAD FELL IN 1ST HALF

Japan Tobacco Inc. (TSE:2914) on Thursday reported that overseas sales volumes for the first six months of 2009 dropped 0.9 per cent from the same period a year earlier to 216.1 billion cigarettes.

In contrast, sales volumes for its eight global flagship brands, including Winston and Camel, rose 1.8 per cent on the year to 121.3 billion cigarettes.

Net sales excluding taxes during the six months ended June 30 slid 10.7 per cent from the previous year to US$4.55 billion. The results were heavily impacted by fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. Net sales excluding taxes would have risen 9.1 per cent given constant rates of exchange.

Sales under the LD and Glamour global flagship brand names were strong in Russia, which Japan Tobacco has positioned as a growth market. Its share of the Russian market rose 1.1 points on the year to 36.3 per cent.

Japan Tobacco says it has increased market share in most major markets where it sells products. Its international tobacco business is handled by wholly owned subsidiary JT International SA.


Copyright © 2009 Tradingmarkets

British American Tobacco H1 profit up 16 pct

LONDON — British American Tobacco PLC reported Thursday that its first half profit rose 16 percent from a year earlier to 1.45 billion pounds ($2.38 billion) as top brands such as Lucky Strike showed better sales.

Revenue was up 24 percent to 6.78 billion pounds, a 14 percent gain on a constant currency basis, boosted by last year’s acquisitions of Skandinavisk Tobakscompagni of Denmark and Tekel of Turkey.

Group volumes rose 5 per cent; however, excluding acquisitions volumes declined 2 percent, mainly due to falling sales in Russia, Ukraine, Japan and Mexico.

The company reported good volume growth in Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Nigeria and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Volume of premium brands was down 1 percent excluding acquisitions.

The company raised its interim dividend by 26 percent to 27.9 pence.

BAT’s four “global drive brands” grew by 5 percent, with Dunhill up 8 percent, Lucky Strike up 7 percent and Pall Mall up 10 percent. Kent was 2 percent lower.

BAT has continued to grow, acquiring Tbk (Bentoel), Indonesia’s fourth-largest cigarette maker, in June for 303 million pounds.

Shares in the company closed up 1.3 percent at 1,863 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

Russian army rations to swap cigarettes for candy

Russia will no longer include free cigarettes in its food rations for servicemen but will compensate by providing them with candy, a top general said Thursday.

“We are no longer buying cigarettes for the armed forces and are replacing them with caramel and sugar,” Lieutenant-General Dmitry Bulgakov was quoted by news agencies as saying.

He specified however that Russia was not banning smoking in the military.

“Naturally, if a soldier wants to smoke we can’t forbid this. But now he’ll have to buy cigarettes in stores,” Bulgakov said. “If you want to smoke, then smoke. If you don’t want to smoke, eat candy.”

Bulgakov also announced defence ministry plans to provide military officers who work mainly indoors or in hot climates with new uniforms, including socks that let feet “breathe” and shoes “of high-quality leather.”

However, after being issued a complete uniform kit at the start of service officers will afterwards have to purchase new uniform components themselves, albeit from special military stores open only to officers and their families.

The decision to introduce updated, higher-quality uniforms to Russian military personnel was made in 2007, which were scheduled to be issued this year.

However, while a few units have received new uniforms — notably those that marched on the May 9 Victory Day parade on Red Square — the project has been delayed due to defence ministry budget cuts.

Defence chiefs now planned to phase in the new uniforms over the next two to three years, Bulgakov said.


Copyright © 2009 France24

FDA Warns About Electronic Cigarettes

FDA and Public Health Experts Warn About Electronic Cigarettes


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that a laboratory analysis of electronic cigarette samples has found that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze.

Electronic cigarettes, also called “e-cigarettes,” are battery-operated devices that generally contain cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. The electronic cigarette turns nicotine, which is highly addictive, and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

These products are marketed and sold to young people and are readily available online and in shopping malls. In addition, these products do not contain any health warnings comparable to FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or conventional cigarettes. They are also available in different flavors, such as chocolate and mint, which may appeal to young people.

Public health experts expressed concern that electronic cigarettes could increase nicotine addiction and tobacco use in young people. Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium and Jonathan Samet, M.D., director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California, joined Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., principal deputy commissioner of the FDA, and Matthew McKenna, M.D., director of the Office of Smoking and Health for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to discuss the potential risks associated with the use of electronic cigarettes.

“The FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of food and drugs.

Because these products have not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval, at this time the agency has no way of knowing, except for the limited testing it has performed, the levels of nicotine or the amounts or kinds of other chemicals that the various brands of these products deliver to the user.

The FDA’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis analyzed the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from two leading brands of electronic cigarettes. In one sample, the FDA’s analyses detected diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans, and in several other samples, the FDA analyses detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines. These tests indicate that these products contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed.

The FDA has been examining and detaining shipments of e-cigarettes at the border and the products it has examined thus far meet the definition of a combination drug-device product under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA has been challenged regarding its jurisdiction over certain e-cigarettes in a case currently pending in federal district court. The agency is also planning additional activities to address its concerns about these products.

Health care professionals and consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems with the use of e-cigarettes to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax or phone.
Copyright © 2009 Toledoonthemove

Japan Tobacco 1Q Grp Net Pft Y42.87B Vs Y16.91B Yr Earlier


TOKYO (Dow Jones)–Japan Tobacco Inc. (2914.TO) Thursday reported a sharp rise in net profit for the first quarter ended June, boosted by robust sales domestically and in key international tobacco markets such as Russia, the United Kingdom and Europe.

The world’s third-largest tobacco company by sales volume after Altria Group Inc. and British American Tobacco PLC posted a net profit of Y42.87 billion, more than 1.5 times the Y16.91 billion earned the same period a year earlier.

Its revenue fell 14.9% to Y1.463 trillion from Y1.720 trillion, mainly due to a strong yen eroding earnings from overseas. Operating profit took a 23.7% slide to Y84.2 billion from Y110.45 billion.

For the current business year ending March 2010, Japan Tobacco left unchanged its net profit forecast of Y100 billion, operating income profit of Y244 billion and revenue of Y6.0 trillion in view of solid fundamentals across all areas of business.

The firm compiles its earnings based on Japanese accounting standards.

British American Tobacco H1 profit up 16 pct to 1.45 bln pounds

LONDON (AP) — British American Tobacco PLC reported Thursday that its first half profit rose 16 percent from a year earlier to 1.45 billion pounds ($2.38 billion) as top brands such as Lucky Strike showed better sales.

Revenue was up 24 percent to 6.78 billion pounds, a 14 percent gain on a constant currency basis, boosted by last year’s acquisitions of Skandinavisk Tobakscompagni of Denmark and Tekel of Turkey.

Group volumes rose 5 per cent; however, excluding acquisitions volumes declined 2 percent, mainly due to falling sales in Russia, Ukraine, Japan and Mexico.

The company reported good volume growth in Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Nigeria and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Volume of premium brands was down 1 percent excluding acquisitions.

The company raised its interim dividend by 26 percent to 27.9 pence.

BAT’s four “global drive brands” grew by 5 percent, with Dunhill up 8 percent, Lucky Strike up 7 percent and Pall Mall up 10 percent. Kent was 2 percent lower.

BAT has continued to grow, acquiring Tbk (Bentoel), Indonesia’s fourth-largest cigarette maker, in June for 303 million pounds.

Shares in the company were up 1.1 percent at 1,860 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

Health Ministry Bans Electronic Cigarettes

The Health Ministry has banned electronic cigarettes, both the import and use of those previously brought into the country. The product is marketed as an aid to help smokers stop smoking.

The move comes in the wake of a health warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the product. The FDA did not ban their sale or use, however.

The Israeli Health Ministry decision, which came out Tuesday, covers both the import and sale of the product, including those that are marketed as nicotine-free.

E-cigarettes were previously approved the by ministry as medical devices to help people stop smoking. However, the ministry told importers to submit documentation proving the devices were safe for public use. The documentation required was to include an expert opinion from an Israeli toxicologist stating that all components of the product were safe to inhale and smoke.

U.S. research has found that the products are not safe at all.

The FDA issued its own warning after a research study examining 19 cigarettes found that half contained nitrosamines — cancer-causing agents found in conventional cigarettes.

In addition, many also contained diethylene glycol, a poison found in the antifreeze liquid used in vehicles.

Some of the cigarettes that claimed not to contain any nicotine actually contained low levels of the addictive substance as well.

Most of the e-cigarettes, which came out on the market in 2004, are produced in China. They are sold all over the world, in various flavors, with and allegedly without nicotine.

The electronic cigarettes are battery-operated. Like regular cigarettes, smokers must inhale to enjoy their contents, and many include a burning chamber which resembles the taste of tobacco. In contrast to conventional cigarettes, the electronic cigarettes smoke without the odor that often disturbs non-smokers.
Copyright © 2009 Israelnationalnews

The Myth of the Green Cigarette

Cigarettes are the most-polluted item in the world, so needless to say, smoking is not very green. Considering that only 10 percent of cigarettes are disposed of properly, any effort to reduce the amount of waste caused by smokers is a good thing, right? That’s the thinking behind makers of several brands of e-cigarettes – a trendy new smoking alternative that dispenses nicotine through vapor, rather than smoke, in a reusable, odorless cigarette-like device. E-cigarette users can “smoke” indoors without affecting others. They never need a lighter, and prevent hundreds of butts from being stubbed out on the pavement, since the device uses rechargeable batteries and refillable cartridges.

Totally green smoking is too good to be true. Turns out, the electronic smokes – which are marketed on several websites as healthier than real cigarettes – can be as harmful as traditional kind. According to an FDA press release:

Because these products have not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval, at this time the agency has no way of knowing, except for the limited testing it has performed, the levels of nicotine or the amounts or kinds of other chemicals that the various brands of these products deliver to the user.

The FDA’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis analyzed the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from two leading brands of electronic cigarettes. In one sample, the FDA’s analyses detected diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans, and in several other samples, the FDA analyses detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines. These tests indicate that these products contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed.

The harmful chemicals aren’t the only reason for the warning. “The FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of food and drugs. The e-cigarettes are sold in malls, and the flavored nicotine may entice kids. They’re also touted as “healthy,” “green,” and “environmental.” But with the wallop of chemicals inside and the battery that will find its way to a landfill, environmentally-aware smokers are trading one bad habit for another.

Traditional cigarettes, too, will tout their green credentials. American Spirit brand uses USDA-certified organic tobacco, avoiding the pesticides that other growers use (tobacco farmers use 27 million pounds of pesticides each year). American Spirit is owned by Reynolds American, though, which diminishes its green cred.

So is there an eco-friendly way to smoke? In addition to the litter, Slate’s Green Lantern urges you to consider the air pollution:

The global tobacco industry manufactures roughly 5.5 trillion cigarettes annually. Assuming that all those cancer sticks get consumed, smokers around the world spew out about 84,878 tons of fine particulate matter annually, or a little less than half of a year’s worth of emissions from American on-road vehicles.

So to answer that question: no. Whether or not the well-being of the planet provides any additional motivation, it’s time to quit for the sake of your own health.


Copyright © 2009 Usnews

Britons divided on smoking issue

Fewer Britons support the ban on smoking in pubs than in other public places, a survey has revealed.

While 93% agreed lighting up should not be allowed in restaurants, a smaller proportion of 75% believed it was right for cigarettes to be illegal in pubs.

Smoke-free legislation was enforced across the UK by July 2007.

A survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics since the ban showed the majority supported no smoking in the workplace (85%), indoor sports centres (94%), indoor shopping centres (91%) and railway and bus stations (85%).

Meanwhile, the proportion of smokers who said they would like to give up dropped to 67% in 2008-09 from 74% in 2007, although this was not significantly different to previous years, according to the ONS.

Half of smokers intended to quit within the next year, the study found.

Health was the most common reason for people wanting to stop smoking, cited by 71%, while almost a third (31%) gave financial reasons.

The survey into smoking-related behaviour and attitudes, which covered the period September 2008 to March 2009, also revealed an awareness among smokers of the dangers of tobacco to children.

A total of 77% claimed they did not smoke at all when they were in a room with a child – a figure that has increased from the 54% recorded in 1997.

In terms of taxation, there was a clear divide between smokers and non-smokers, with 17% of smokers saying tax should be increased by more than the rate of inflation compared with 64% of those who had never smoked who supported inflation-plus rises on tobacco taxation.

Smoking, a Leading Habit in Istanbul

Istanbul is a country where smoking cigarettes is a leading habit among its inhabitants. In this country a ban on lighting up indoors will take effect on July 19, a change that will certainly delight smoke-averse travelers.
With one of the highest smoking rates in the world, Turkey isn’t exactly a haven for antismoking activists. The dense smoke of cigarettes often seems like a natural part of the country’s landscape. And the expression “smoke like a Turk” has even introduced the lexicon of several European languages as a way to describe an excessive smoker.
But clients and business proprietors are uncertain of how or even whether, the no-smoking rules will be in use. Turkey remains a main manufacturer of tobacco, cigarettes are relatively acceptable, and towns like Istanbul are dotted with smoked-filled water-pipe cafes where young and old gather for to puff aromatic smoke, play backgammon and catch up with friends.
Umit Unal, manager of the Parma Café, explained: “Nothing is clear. I really don’t know what to do, or what to expect when the law goes into effect. I’m supposing that we’ll have to stop people from smoking inside, but for now, nobody has a plan.”
Now at Parma, one of several hookah cafes in a block-long stretch of them, people sit under stripy awnings or in the open air, sipping tea and inhaling.
But when the weather will turn cold, then nobody knows what would happen with smoking and smokers.
Unal, which is a non-smoker too, added: “I guess we’ll have to ban smoking indoors for sure. It’s harmful to your health, but this is a tradition from Ottoman times. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Turkey is attaching more than a dozen countries, the most recent being its neighbor, Greece, in trying to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
An incipient phase of the Turkish law took hold on May 19, 2008, making it a crime to smoke on public transportation or in most public places. Phase two takes effect this month and covers restaurants, bars, night clubs and even kirathanes, old-fashioned, male-only coffee houses. The anti-smoking legislations also call for designated smoking sections at places like sports arenas and in prisons.
Turkish officials say cigarettes represent a serious health concern for the country of 71 million, where some 60 percent of men, 20 percent of women, and 11.7 percent of schoolchildren smoke. On the European continent, the average smoking rate hovers around 30 percent, though Greece’s rate is 45 percent.

Firm stands by ‘e-cigarettes’ despite FDA warning


NJOY, the electronic cigarette brand based in Scottsdale, will continue to market the tobacco-less devices despite a warning from the Food and Drug Administration that it could pose health risks.

Public health officials said last week that electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” may not be such a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The FDA tested NJOY and another brand. Results showed some of the samples in both brands contained human carcinogens and tobacco impurities suspected of being harmful to humans.

NJOY, manufactured and distributed by Sottera, Inc., in the Scottsdale Airpark, has argued that e-cigarettes contain impurities at much lower levels than traditional cigarettes. In a statement, the company said the FDA’s study does “not confirm a risk to health from using NJOY’s products.”

The devices have been marketed since April 2007 with “no reports of adverse health consequences,” the company said. The FDA has not asked NJOY to re-label or remove the product from shelves.

E-cigarettes, which are battery-operated and contain cartridges of nicotine, are made to look and taste like normal cigarettes. When inhaled, they produce a nicotine-laced vapor that is absorbed into the lungs and marketed as safer than traditional tobacco.

NJOY recently hired an independent third-party to analyze the results of the FDA study. The results will likely be released this week, said Amy Linert, a representative who spoke on behalf of NJOY.

“We’re looking at quality control,” Linert said. “We’re looking at levels of the elements.”

Health experts expressed concerns that e-cigarettes, which have addictive nicotine, could get smokers hooked at a younger age. The products do not contain any health warnings, unlike nicotine replacement products or conventional cigarettes.

Companies sell them in different flavors, which health officials said could appeal to young people. NJOY’s cartridges come in flavors such as apple, strawberry and vanilla.

The Electronic Cigarette Association, of which NJOY is a member, said that the FDA’s analysis is “too narrow.” Matt Salmon, president of the association and a former U.S. representative from Arizona, said he was shocked that the FDA would release the study, especially when there are other nicotine products on the market.

“Are they saying that those products and cigarettes themselves are safer to use?” Salmon said in a statement. “Our member companies have taken a responsible approach by ensuring that those who use their products are well-informed.”
Copyright © 2009 Azcentral

Farmers demand more pay for tobacco harvest


NABATIEH: Southern farmers have begun flocking to the fields to secure their primary source of income with the advent of the tobacco harvesting season. The tobacco plant, or the “bitter plant soaked in sweat and blood” as farmers like to call it, is predominantly grown in south Lebanon where it represents the main source of in­come for around 16,500 families.

The history of the tobacco plant in Lebanon remains obscure, with some saying that Italians first introduced the plant to the country in 1598, while others suggest that it arrived during the reign of Emir Fakhr al-Din II in 1625.

Yet whatever its origins, today almost 25,000 Lebanese families earn their living from the plant, working over 10 million square meters of land for an annual income for each family of about $2,400.

However, southern farmers are now demanding an increase in the allowed annual production rate from 5 million kilograms per year to 7 million kilograms, as well as a hike in tobacco prices. They are also asking to benefit from the National Social Security Fund and to have their farming licenses renewed.

Farming licenses are necessary in Lebanon for harvesting tobacco and they are issued by the country’s Tobacco authority, Régie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs, for up to LL2 million per license. Some farmers resort to renting licenses but are then obliged to pay the license holder half their profits only to use the other half to cover agricultural needs.

The government hasn’t issued any new licenses since 1996, saying that it will only do so alongside an increase in the permitted production rate, which has remained unchanged for years.

Farmer Hassan Nasser complained that tobacco growing was the job of “poor unemployed people,” adding that at the end of the day, all the hard work “doesn’t pay off.”

Depending on quality, the price for each kilogram of tobac­co produced ranges bet­ween LL1,000 and LL14,000.

President of the Trade Union of Agriculture and Tobacco, Hassan Fakih is optimistic and predicts a bright future for the southern farmers.

“The Lebanese tobacco au­thority is expected to purchase 16 new electric machines that will help the farmers and limit child labor,” he said.

The farmers in the south do not seem to be as optimistic about their future as Fakih.

“All of our crops burned during the summer 2006 war [with Israel] and we still haven’t received any compensation from the government,” said Abdel-Amir Murani.

Members of the same family usually work together to cultivate the tobacco plants and help with the harvest.

Families find it difficult to cultivate any other type of crop considering the peculiar nature of the soil required for the tobacco plant.
Copyright © 2009 Dailystar

New FDA regulation of tobacco products has problems



New US legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction over tobacco products represents a serious compromise on the part of tobacco control advocates, argues a new essay in this week’s open access journal PLoS Medicine.

Stanton Glantz and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco say that the new policy is another example of legislative compromise with the tobacco industry that can lead to short-term public health gains at the expense of long-term progress. The new policy repeals federal pre-emption of state and local regulation of tobacco advertising, which is a positive move, but it also allows the tobacco industry an opportunity to rehabilitate its image and products because they are now “FDA regulated,” say the authors. That tobacco interests are represented on the Scientific Advisory Committee that plays a central role in the development of FDA regulations—violating the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control— will make it difficult to develop and implement effective regulation in the United States and beyond, say the authors.

The challenge moving forward, say the authors, will be for the compromise law’s advocates “to accept responsibility for these problems and to see that their negative consequences do not materialize.”
Copyright © 2009 Eurekalert

Canadian bill threatens future of Kentucky burley tobacco farmers



Kentucky tobacco growers are ratcheting up the fight against a bill pending in the Canadian Parliament.

The Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association says the legislation could lead to the devastation of “an entire segment of the American tobacco growing community.”
Watch this story

While the original C-32 bill would have prohibited candy-flavored little cigars, it would now ban American blend cigarettes.

“The American blend cigarette that is under discussion here would be a target because it’s 25% burley. And burley being the dominant kind of tobacco raised in Kentucky,” said Scott Travis. “It would affect our 8100 growers to whereas if they did cut it out there with this C-32 legislation that they’re considering, if they did eliminate it there, and possibly it could spread to other countries.”

Tobacco and agriculture groups are now lobbying Congress and the Obama Administration to intervene.

They are placing print advertisements in three Capitol Hill newspapers warning that the bill could lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and worsen trade relations between the United States and Canada.

“In KY it keeps farmers on the farm being able to work and make a profit. We’re just looking out for the tobacco growers and this could have ramifications later if other countries followed the same suit and the same direction,” said tobacco farmer, Scott Travis.

C-32 has already passed the House of Commons. The senate is expected to vote on the measure in September after its summer recess.

Tobacco Lights Up on Premium Blend


With most of the world in recession, expensive habits are fading fast. But international tobacco companies are still making smokers pay up for a hit.

While many consumer-products companies have capped prices, the likes of Philip Morris International and London-listed British American Tobacco are raising them. With cigarette sales likely in permanent decline in some markets, producers have focused on price.

Heard on the Street columnist John Jannarone explains to Simon Constable how premium cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris is actually getting a boost from foreign governments. Plus how industry consolidation is giving profits an extra lift.

That has helped some tobacco companies smoke market expectations. PMI’s shares have risen 8% since Thursday morning, when it said higher prices had boosted second-quarter profits. In the European Union prices rose about 5%, the fastest pace in over a year, according to Thilo Wrede of Credit Suisse.

And tax laws can actually work in favor of premium tobacco companies. Many countries tax cigarettes by the pack rather than as a proportion of the retail price.

That has caused low-end cigarette prices to rise more quickly than premium cigarettes. In France, for instance, premium cigarettes only cost 15% more than the cheapest option, according to Morgan Stanley’s David Adelman.

The threat of price competition has also eased after large mergers such as Imperial Tobacco’s purchase of Altadis and Japan Tobacco’s acquisition of Gallaher. A consolidated industry is less likely to start a price war.

Granted, the recession means some consumers are trading down. PMI has been hurt by the trend in Russia, for instance, where premium brands still cost a multiple of the cheapest. But even in Russia, PMI gained share last quarter with Parliament, an ultra-premium brand.

When consumers eventually feel richer again, companies with the most expensive brands will benefit most. PMI, spun off from Altria last year, generates more than half its profit from premium brands, according to Mr Wrede. Such brands account for about a third of BAT’s profit.

PMI trades at 13.2 times consensus 2010 earnings, while BAT commands a multiple of 11.6 times. Investors may be tempted by the cheaper option, but in the long run they should find the top drawer more rewarding.
Copyright © 2009 Wsj

State illegally took funds from anti-tobacco program

PHOENIX — State legislators and the governor acted illegally in taking $7 million from a 2006 tobacco-tax initiative to balance the state budget, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The justices rejected arguments that lawmakers are free to reallocate investment and interest income from the money raised by the tax as long as they do not touch the tax revenues themselves.
Justice Michael Ryan, writing for the unanimous court, said the legislators, and the governor who signed the measure taking the money, are wrong.
He said voters, in approving the 80-cent-a-pack hike in tobacco taxes for the First Things First program, specifically wanted all the proceeds earmarked to improve early childhood development. Ryan said the measure specifically gives the board charged with handing out the cash authority over any interest on funds received but not yet allocated.
Ryan said a 1998 constitutional amendment bars legislators from altering what voters have approved. He said the only exception is when a new law “furthers the purpose” of the original measure, and then only if approved by three-fourths of both the House and Senate.
He said the raid on the funds to balance the budget did not further the underlying purpose of the initiative, which is to establish new programs for early childhood health and education. And even if it did, the justice continued, the Arizona Constitution allows such changes only on a three-fourths vote of both the House and Senate; this measure passed the House on a 34-22 margin with a 16-12 Senate vote.
House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, said he was disappointed by the ruling, saying it complicates efforts by lawmakers to fund basic services as other sources of revenues are declining.
“Now $7 million isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “But when you look at what we are having to cobble together, $5 million here, $7 million there, $4 million there, all of it adds up. And all of it matters at this point.”
Adams said this legal fight highlights the flaws in the 1998 constitutional amendment making voter-approved spending mandates off-limits, an amendment he said needs to be repealed or altered.
Adams said the new tobacco tax has raised about $400 million since being implemented. At the same time, lawmakers are trying to bridge what currently is a $3 billion gap between revenues and expenses.
“We have an overall concern with how this $400 million is being spent at a time when Arizona is facing the worst fiscal crisis in our history, and we’re struggling to meet the financial requirements for basic state services,” he said. In times of need, lawmakers should be able to divert the dollars which now go for special new programs for youngsters to instead fund essential health care and education, he said.
But Liz Barker Alvarez, spokeswoman for First Things First, rejected Adams’ premise.
“We consider investment in programs and services that ensure that Arizona’s children get to school healthy and ready to succeed to be a necessity, not a nicety,” she said.
Alvarez said her organization recognizes the state’s “unprecedented fiscal crisis resulting in significant budget cuts across services that affect children and families.” But she said the money raised by the tobacco tax is being used to deal with the needs of individual communities.
The dispute stems from a discovery by lawmakers in late January that there wasn’t enough money to support the $9.9 billion spending plan
Legislative budget adjustments did not touch the actual revenues from the new tobacco tax, which raises about $150 million a year. Instead they took the estimated $7 million in interest the fund accumulated while the newly formed Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board decided how to spend the money.
Ryan said the move ignores the language of the initiative, which specifically promised to fund early childhood health and education programs, language he said that sought to shield the money raised from being reallocated by the Legislature.
That broad language, he continued, clearly gives the board control of not just the taxes themselves but any interest.
Gov. Jan Brewer was more accepting of Friday’s ruling than Adams.
“The governor has been very open about her distaste of fund sweeps,” said Paul Senseman, her press aide, even though she signed the legislation authorizing the sweep.
Friday’s ruling is the latest in a series of legal defeats for lawmakers in their efforts to tap other funds to balance the budget.
Earlier this month a Maricopa County Superior Court judge said it was wrong for lawmakers last year to seize assessments that farmers had imposed on themselves for specific research and marketing programs.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in February that it was illegal to demand cities and counties give up more than $29.7 million.
And last month another Maricopa County judge issued a restraining order blocking the state from taking $4.7 million from accounts of the Industrial Commission, at least temporarily. But there has been no final ruling on whether the raid was illegal.

Smoking banned in Mansfield? Not really

MANSFIELD — Altoids tins have become the ashtrays of choice at local watering holes.

They’ve replaced all those old, cheap glass ashtrays that departed more than two years ago after Ohio voters passed a referendum to ban smoking in public places.

While you no longer have to worry about getting lung cancer over breakfast at Denny’s, at most veterans clubs and plenty of bars in Richland County, the burn goes on as beery, smoky nights are pretty much the same beery, smoky nights they’ve always been.

“Right after they passed this, I called the health commissioner and said, ‘What do I have to do to comply?’ ” said Joe Sinnett, owner of Joez Lounge.

“And he said, ‘I have no idea.’ So I said, ‘Okay, you make damn sure you let me know what my obligations are on this law. I have got obligations in the liquor laws. I have got obligations with the food license. You let me know. But I’m not doing anything that goes against the Constitution of the United States.’ ”

Sinnett’s bar, off U.S. 30 east of Mansfield, has received 23 complaints under the smoking law, the last shortly before Christmas 2008. He’s been fined at least five times but only paid $200 pending appeals. His last inspection by Sue Osborne, the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department’s primary inspector, was earlier this month.

“I don’t know what it was,” Sinnett, 60, said about the latest check, “But I’ve had it. I’ve absolutely had it. I ripped down all the signs.”

He’s owned the place since 2004 and, like most area bar owners, doesn’t have a beef with the smoking ban itself. It’s the onus it puts on bar owners to self-police their establishments that troubles Sinnett and his peers.

“I don’t want to be a cop,” said Paul Hauke, 61, a Sandusky-area bar owner who earned attention less than two months ago for smoking in the halls of the Erie County Health Department.

For that stunt, Hauke became the first person in Ohio charged with violating the ban as an individual.

“We’ve had no leadership at all from the state, county, anybody,” Hauke said. “We’ve been given no direction at all on how to handle anything. I didn’t go into business to police people. If they light up, they know the law.”

Betty Frazier, co-owner of Finish Line Bar & Grill since 2006, says her patrons are like family, and it’s not her place to tell a customer to snub out a smoke.

“We have no smoking signs. We don’t have ashtrays. This bar has been here since 1953. There’s no kids. It’s just friends and family,” Frazier, 45, said. “If you light up, I’m not going to kick you out.”

Sinnett takes his anti-ban fervor to more spiritual levels. The licensed minister goes by “Reverend Joe” and calls his lounge a tabernacle.

“If you get out a thesaurus and break down the meaning of worship, religion and ceremony,’ then I have the right, in worship, to allow people to use tobacco in observance of freedoms denied or people who’ve died and come back,” Sinnett said.

He’s smoked multiple packs a day for more than four decades, mostly Marlboros, and has voluntarily seen a doctor three times — ever — mostly at the behest of a spouse.

Sinnett, of course, isn’t the area’s only scofflaw. The now defunct Clover’s Bar & Grill, Belcher’s House of Rock, The Den and most veterans clubs are serial violators. But they slide because of weak enforcement and a resilient bar culture that says that for many bar-goers, stumbling home smelling of booze and smokes is part of the cost of admission.

“Drinking and whiskey and cigarettes and everything has gone together for centuries,” Gary Craft Jr. said over beers at Finish Line.

Craft, 37, doesn’t smoke.

“I’ve owned two bars in this town and lost one because of the ban,” he said.

Craft now owns Pappy’s, a garbage business. Like fellow bar patrons, he thinks the ban at best is a mixed message.

“I think, golly, haven’t they made enough off cigarettes?” Craft said. “They’ve created a monster, and now they want it to stop.”

The health department, of course, doesn’t agree. Though for environmental health director Matt Work, charged with ban enforcement, the requirements for busting bars and other businesses are such that, most of the time, his hands are tied.

“The only way we can actually enforce this is through a complaint,” he said. “If I walk into a bar and see someone smoking, I have to call the complaint in to the state and hear back from them first. The rules are different than anything else we do.”

Thirty-seven of Ohio’s 88 counties have shed the investigation units at their local health departments and referred enforcement to the state, which has two full-time investigators who follow complaints and scour Ohio’s bars and offices for ashtrays and cigarette butts. Richland County has kept its unit, but health commissioner Stan Saalman admitted to being tempted, like others, to nix it.

“I certainly have those thoughts, especially with the economy turning the way it has. It may be a program that we may consider cutting,” Saalman said. “But I think it’s a very important program for the health of our community.”

The county says it had collected $7,346 in revenues — collected fines and state assistance for enforcement offered when the law was newly enacted — by mid-March on 306 cases. The program has cost some $43,800 in wages. Each case brings in an average of $143 to pursue and brings back an average fine of $23.

“Smoking is not a moneymaker for us,” said Work, who added the department believes in its basic purpose.

Recently, Work met with a reporter at the now closed Clover’s Bar & Grill to observe a typical smoking ban inspection. Before inspector Sue Osborne came in, seven or eight twenty-somethings sat around the bar drinking steadily. A slow night, but still early, one or two patrons smoked casually, using mint tins as ash receptacles. The bartender periodically emptied their contents.

Osborne went about her work with little ado. And before most patrons knew it, ashtrays had been removed, whispered warnings heeded and Osborne was gone. The place slowly emptied.

For those in the fight with long memories, the pivotal moment in the smoking ban came not when Ohio voters, at 58 percent, passed the ban in November 2006, but in the months afterward before the state began enforcing it.

“I would remind everyone that the ballot language people voted for specifically exempted private clubs and family-owned businesses,” said state Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati.

The actual ballot language didn’t say as much, but what many ban opponents now say is they never thought some of their favorite haunts would be affected.

“A lot of my friends voted for the ban because they thought it exempted places like (Finish Line),” Craft said.

The American Cancer Society’s Ohio chapter, which was the primary funding force behind the original referendum, disputes the claim. The organization released a survey in May 2008 showing not only did 97 percent of Ohioans know what they were voting for, 63 percent said the ban should remain.

That doesn’t satisfy bar patrons. Mike Weiss, a 43-year-old fabricator and 25-year smoker, said that a restaurant smoking ban and local tavern prohibitions were substantively different.

“If you can’t wait until after you finish eating to have a cigarette,” the Mansfield resident said, “then ease up.”

Seitz argues along many of the same lines. In the spring of 2007, as the Ohio Department of Health had public hearings to refine the smoking ban after its passage, the department became stingy with exceptions. Truckers who drive alone won back their right to puff, but private clubs, despite a late court injunction, never did.

Seitz, along with state Sen. Gary Cates, R-Hamilton, and Sen. Timothy Grendell, R-Geauga County, co-sponsored Senate Bill 120, which would exempt private clubs who have paid employees and family-owned businesses. Still, he recognizes an uphill battle. The bill’s original co-sponsor and fiercest supporter, Sen. Robert Schuler, a Hamilton County Republican, died June 19 after a long battle with an undisclosed form of cancer.

“Obviously, my dear friend Senator Schuler has just been in the ground,” Seitz said on June 26. “The earliest (we do it) will be the fall, practically speaking.”

Dick Allen, owner of Zeno’s, a Columbus bar the state health department says has been cited with five $2,500 smoking-ban fines — second most in Ohio — said legislative action was absolutely necessary.

“We’re hoping that it will pass,” Allen said. “We’re mounting a program with them to fight it on a constitutional level.”

On a recent Thursday at Finish Line, a group of men sat on the patio, in the sunshine, enjoying smokes and beers. Empty, crumpled cans of Busch Light and Bud Light crowded the bar. A band set up. Twenty or so customers sat around circular tables. Frazier, the co-owner, told a visitor about the six different benefit shows she’s hosted for bar regulars and friends. The next, Aug. 1, is for her brother, recently diagnosed with cancer.

Soon, shots of Dr. Mc- Gillicuddy’s Cherry Bomb were poured into hard plastic cups, each with a splash of Squirt. The jukebox blared country music. Partiers grabbed their 4-ounce shots, clinked and cheered.

“To beer and cigarettes!” one celebrant toasted.

As they drank, Frazier recalled what she liked about the place, whose only staff is her two daughters, her husband and herself.

“At 9 o’clock, you’ll be lucky if you have a sitting place,” she said. “This is family.”

Council OKs smoking ban

GALVESTON — The Galveston City Council adopted a comprehensive smoking ban Thursday, forbidding people from lighting up in bars, restaurants, private clubs and tobacco stores.

Council members Karen Mahoney, Elizabeth Beeton and Tarris Woods joined Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, who championed the ban, in voting for the ordinance. Council members Danny Weber and Susan Fennewald voted against it. Councilwoman Linda Colbert was absent.

The ban will take effect Jan. 1.

The adopted ordinance is more restrictive than the regulations the council previously discussed, a compromise that guaranteed its passage.

Mahoney, Beeton and Thomas agreed to approve the ban with an exception for tobacco stores, but Woods said he could only give his support if the measure was universally applied.

To make sure the ban passed, the other three agreed.

Several prominent restaurateurs and business groups who opposed a similar smoking ban proposed in 2006 said they would support it this time as long as it put all businesses on a level playing field. They lobbied against giving an exception to private clubs, saying it would provide a loophole for unfair competition from anyone who opted to run what was really a for-profit business as a members-only establishment.

Although the proposed ban received little attention when it was discussed at previous meetings, the council chambers were packed Thursday with people anxious to hear the outcome of the debate.

The 16 people who spoke in favor of the ban cited the health risks of second hand smoke and beneficial effect on bars and restaurants. The 13 people who spoke against the ban accused the city of unnecessary interference and claimed the regulations would put small bars out of business. They both claimed data from other cities with similar bans to back up their positions.

Completely banning smoking while the city was trying to recover from Hurricane Ike was bad timing, Edward Stanza, who owns Club Groove in the 2400 block of Market Street, said.

“Give us a year or two years to recoup our losses,” he said. “It’s not time to enforce a law that we can’t survive with. If I lose my business, I’ll lose my home.”

But no business should have a right to put its employees at risk for getting cancer, Lisa Velasquez, a former smoker and chair of the island’s Relay for Life event, said.

“I never wanted my secondhand smoking to kill someone else,” she said. “That’s why I support the ban.”

Both Weber and Fennewald said they thought the city was overstepping its bounds and unnecessarily harassing businesses.

Thomas and Mahoney said it was time to acknowledge second hand smoke as a public health problem.


Copyright © 2009 Galvnews

Smoking ban clears big hurdle

A drive to put the smoking ban to a statewide vote suffered a major setback Thursday when the secretary of state’s office rejected the petitions because not enough valid signatures were submitted.

But the question of when cigarettes will be permanently banned in bars and casinos still is up in the air. In fact, smoking might continue for weeks or months if the case goes to court.

Secretary of State Chris Nelson said the petitions designed to put the smoking ban to a vote in 2010 fell 221 valid signatures short of the required number.
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Nelson said he will give formal notification of the petition failure to its sponsors early next week.

Attorney General Larry Long, meanwhile, is researching whether the law becomes effective immediately, takes force at a later date, or remains inactive pending the outcome of a possible court challenge.

“The statutes are not particularly illuminating about when it will go into effect now that there has been a late determination of an insufficiency of signatures,” Long said.

He added that he thinks opponents of the ban will file a lawsuit challenging Nelson’s decision.

“A judge will very likely enter a stay until that challenge is heard,” Long said. That will keep the smoking ban from being enforced for weeks or longer, until the issue is decided in court.
Deciding the next step

Don Rose, owner of Shenanigan’s Pub in Sioux Falls, said the worst thing the state could do is put a smoking ban in force temporarily.

“Either go one way or the other,” he said.

Since opponents of the ban have the option of challenging Nelson’s decision in circuit court, they could still get a judge’s order to overrule the secretary of state and put the measure on the ballot.

Larry Mann, who represents a coalition of bars and gambling businesses that filed the petitions, said Thursday that the group has not decided whether to file suit. That decision could be made as early as today, he said.

“I expect we will have that discussion very soon,” Mann said.

Rose insisted that court action is a next step.

“We are going to pursue it. No question about it,” he said.
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8,845 bad names

The Legislature passed a law earlier this year to ban smoking in bars, Deadwood casinos and video lottery establishments.

A coalition representing bars and gambling businesses needed 16,776 valid signatures to put the issue to a vote. They filed petitions with 25,400 signatures June 22.

But on July 2, a group of health advocates filed documents challenging the validity of 9,891 signatures.

“We upheld 8,845 of those challenges,” Nelson said Thursday. “We found those to be legitimate. Subtracting that from the 25,400 signatures left us 221 signatures short of what was needed to be filed.”

Jennifer Stalley, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society and project director for South Dakota Tobacco Free Kids, said the confidence of initiative opponents ebbed and flowed as they plowed through signatures over five days.

“But we always thought we had a valid challenge,” she said. “We did not ask the secretary to undertake this as an exercise in futility.”

Stalley said she is comfortable with a timetable that has the attorney general scrutinizing when the smoking ban goes into effect.

“This is a process. When the people (seeking signatures to get a repeal on the ballot) used their part of the process, they asked for patience. We asked for patience as we used our part. It is only fair to be patient now as the secretary of state and attorney general determine when it goes into effect.”

However, she added: “I assume they are talking a matter of days, not months.”
First-time challenge

This is the first time the nonjudicial challenge method has been used in a statewide petition, Nelson said, and foes of the initiative heavily scrutinized the signatures.

“For some lines they would raise three or four or five different reasons (that the signature was invalid),” he said. “We had to make a judgment on each reason. A huge number of signers simply were not registered voters in South Dakota.”

Other signatures omitted data that people circulating petitions could have readily asked signers to include, Nelson said. And finally, “Notaries made a lot of mistakes.”

Mann said Nelson’s decision is ripe for a legal challenge.

“It is interesting to me this issue has become the most scrutinized petition ever submitted to the state of South Dakota.”
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Confidence in review

Both Stalley, talking about initiative opponents “working 24-7 for five days” challenging signatures, and Nelson, ruefully announcing that after reviewing those challenges “we are not looking forward to this on a regular basis,” suggest how painstaking the process was.

But Nelson added that he is confident his office can present a clear record of what was done if the issue lands in court.

He also said the detailed review of signatures in the smoking ban appeal appears to uphold the methodology the secretary of state commonly uses in assessing petition drives by looking at only a 5 percent sample of those.

“I was always comfortable that 5 percent was accurate. But I never had a way of verifying it. This gave me a method to verify 5 percent was good.”

Stalley said that as the smoking ban goes into effect, the next step for proponents such as the American Cancer Society is to help businesses put it in place.

“There is a role for us to play in understanding the law and smoothing implementation,” she said.

The American Heart Association has worked in conjunction with the South Dakota Tobacco Free Kids Network for almost a decade to promote smoke-free air in the state.

“This was the right decision by the secretary of state,” said Darrin Smith, senior advocacy director for the American Heart Association in South Dakota. “We are very pleased that he and his staff took a very serious look at the signatures we challenged. They went through a lot of work, and we appreciate it.

“Hopefully the people of South Dakota can breathe smoke-free air very soon.”

House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff noted the unusual depth of support for the smoking ban as Republican and Democratic caucus leaders in both the House and Senate signed on to sponsor the bill.

Hunhoff also hailed the news that the initiative challenging the ban failed.

“It’s good news for everyone in South Dakota who breathes air,” he said.

Sen. Majority Leader Dave Knudson said he thinks the effort expended by opponents and proponents of the smoking ban, and by the secretary of state, “kind of indicates the process is working.”

Opponents of the smoking ban had every right to challenge it, Hunhoff said. “But gathering that number of signatures is always difficult.”

Now opponents “need to realize the time has come. … Embrace the law and move into the 21st century,” Hunhoff said.

Reach reporter Peter Harriman at 575-3615.

File class action in Beaumont over light cigarettes



Provost Umphrey attorneys Bryan Blevins and John Cowan have recently filed a class action in federal court over light cigarettes.

Earlier this month, the Southeast Texas Record reported on a lawsuit filed in Arkansas alleging that the country’s largest tobacco companies have been misleading consumers on the actual nicotine and tar content of their light cigarettes.

Blevins’ suit, which was filed July 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, mirrors the Arkansas suit and accuses Philip Morris, Altria Group and Reynolds American of deceiving consumers.

The Provost Umphrey law firm was also involved in the filing of the Arkansas suit.

The proposed class is represented by Jefferson County resident David Charles V. Hanson III, who claims the defendants misled him into believing light cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes.

According to the suit, Hanson started purchasing various brands of cigarettes in the 1950s.

He claims he first smoked regular cigarettes, but then switched to light brands “believing that Defendants’ light cigarettes delivered less tar and nicotine and were less harmful,” the complaint states.

The consumer class action will include all Texas residents who from July 20, 2005 until the end of the litigation purchased cigarettes labeled as “light” or “ultra-lights.” So far, the class includes at least 100 members seeking more than $5 million in damages.

“This consumer class action concerns Defendants’ … advertising of light cigarettes as delivering less nicotine … and being less harmful … despite Defendants knowledge that these representations were false,” the suit states.

The suit accuses the defendants of designing their light cigarettes to register lower levels of tar and nicotine during testing than the levels actually delivered to consumers.

The plaintiff argues the tobacco companies intentionally manipulated the design and content “by modifying the tobacco blend, weight, rod length, and circumference, using reconstituted tobacco sheets and expanded tobacco; and by increasing the smoke PH levels of the cigarettes through chemical processing and the use of additive such as ammonia, resulting in the delivery of great amounts of tar and nicotine.”

The suit alleges that the defendants knew that their representations that light cigarettes delivered less nicotine and were less harmful were false, deceptive, misleading and unfair.

The defendants are accused of breaching express and implied warranties, violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, unjust enrichment and fraudulent concealment.

The lawsuit requests a restitution of money paid at retail for light cigarettes, disgorgement of profits, the establishment of a constructive trust to reimburse the class for economic damages and establishment of a smoker cessation program.

Plaintiffs are seeking actual, compensatory and consequential damages, but not damages for personal injury or health care claims.

Blevins is lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

Case No: 1:09cv00704-TH
Copyright © 2009 Setexasrecord

Cigarette Smoking in Schizophrenic Patients

A recent study showed that cigarette smoking has a positive effect on sensor motor gating in patients with schizophrenia, improving the repulse inhibition (PPI) deficit of the startle response to levels comparable to those seen in healthy individuals.
Schizophrenics are three to four times more likely to smoke cigarettes than the general population, added researchers.
“These findings have significant implications for understanding vulnerability to tobacco dependence in schizophrenia, which may lead to the development of more effective treatments for PPI deficits and tobacco dependence in this population,” write Tony George and co-authors in the journal Schizophrenia Research.
The researchers studied PPI of the fright reply as a function of smoking status and schizophrenia diagnosis in smokers with schizophrenia, non-smokers with schizophrenia, control smokers, and control non-smokers.
At the end of the investigation researchers found that the smokers with schizophrenia had comparable levels of PPI to control smokers and non-smokers. Significantly higher levels of PPI were seen in smokers with schizophrenia than schizophrenia nonsmokers.
Researchers concluded that acute smoking to produce smoking satiation is associated with apparent normalization of PPI deficits in patients with schizophrenia.
However, a previous study demonstrated that acute smoking deprivation was associated with a reduction in PPI in schizophrenia patients, and that acute smoking improved PPI.
But according to both studies cigarette smoking has a positive effect on PPI deficits in patients with schizophrenia, and that there is selectivity to this effect since PPI was not altered in smoking versus non-smoking control patients.
The German researchers concluded: “There is firm evidence that nicotine could be used by patients with schizophrenia as a ‘self-medication’ to improve deficits in attention, cognition, and information processing and to reduce side effects of antipsychotic medication”.

However research has shown that the relationship between smoking and schizophrenia is complex – it appears that there are both positive and negative effects of nicotine on a person who has schizophrenia and on the development of schizophrenia.

The research is not entirely conclusive on this topic, but generally the research supports the idea that seem to be some psychological benefits that people with schizophrenia sometimes gain by smoking, and that is why the smoking rate is much higher than in normal populations.

Tobacco-Free Coalition Offers Landlord Incentives

The Erie Niagara Tobacco Free Coalition is leading an effort to see that landlords create 100% smoke-free coalition for their tenants.

They are giving a $500 incentive to landlords who advertise smoke-free apartments.

ENTFC member Anthony Billoni says, “we feel there are lots of benefits to clean a non-smoker’s apartment. Value of the property retains – also, zero-percent risk of damage from a lit cigarette.”

He says interest is growing. They currently have 40 buildings in Erie and Niagara counties that have smoke-free policies. That’s close to 2,000 apartments.

Ban on tobacco urged in military

WASHINGTON — Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking.

Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon’s office of clinical and program policy, says he will recommend that Gates adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban.

The study by the Institute of Medicine, requested by the VA and Pentagon, calls for a phased-in ban over a period of years, perhaps up to 20. “We’ll certainly be taking that recommendation forward,” Smith says.

A tobacco ban would confront a military culture, the report says, in which “the image of the battle-weary soldier in fatigues and helmet, fighting for his country, has frequently included his lit cigarette.”

Also, the report said, troops worn out by repeated deployments often rely on cigarettes as a “stress reliever.” The study found that tobacco use in the military increased after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the department supports a smoke-free military “and believes it is achievable.” She declined to elaborate on any possible ban.

One in three servicemembers use tobacco, the report says, compared with one in five adult Americans. The heaviest smokers are soldiers and Marines, who have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the study says. About 37% of soldiers use tobacco and 36% of Marines. Combat veterans are 50% more likely to use tobacco than troops who haven’t seen combat.

Tobacco use costs the Pentagon $846 million a year in medical care and lost productivity, says the report, which used older data. The Department of Veterans Affairs spends up to $6 billion in treatments for tobacco-related illnesses, says the study, which was released late last month.

Along with a phased-in ban, the report recommends requiring new officers and enlisted personnel to be tobacco-free, eliminating tobacco use on military installations, ships and aircraft, expanding treatment programs and eliminating the sale of tobacco on military property. “Any tobacco use while in uniform should be prohibited,” the study says.

The military complicates attempts to curb tobacco use by subsidizing tobacco products for troops who buy them at base exchanges and commissaries, says Kenneth Kizer, a committee member and architect of California’s anti-tobacco program.

Seventy percent of profits from tobacco sales — $88 million in 2005 — pays for recreation and family support programs, the study stays.

Strong leadership could make the military tobacco-free in five to 10 years, Kizer says. President Obama, he says, could set an example for the military by ending his own smoking habit once and for all. Last month, Obama said he is “95% cured” but “there are times when I mess up” and smoke.


Copyright © 2009 Usatoday

Danville tobacco company announces joint venture

DANVILLE — J.E.B. International Co., a tobacco supplier in Danville, has entered into an agreement with Japan Tobacco Inc. and Hail & Cotton in Tennessee to form a joint venture company for procuring and processing U.S. leaf tobacco.

The joint company, JTI Leaf Services LLC, will supply contracted U.S. tobacco exclusively for Japan Tobacco Inc.’s needs. U.S. leaf tobacco is renowned for globally for its high quality and rich flavor.

Sharp increases in various crops in the past few years have caused leaf tobacco costs to remain high and induced volatility in supply sources, according to a press release from the JT Group.
The joint venture, in addition to JT Group’s acquisition of Tribac Leaf Limited, will offer the JT Group enhanced stability and capability in procuring high-quality leaf tobacco and allow it to grow its tobacco business in a sustainable manner.


Copyright © 2009 Godanriver

Expo turns down tobacco donation



SHANGHAI: Organizers of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo said yesterday that they would not accept a 200 million yuan ($29 million) donation from a local tobacco company in order to observe the promise of a “healthy and smoke-free Expo.”

Sources from the Shanghai World Expo Coordination Bureau said organizers have annulled the sponsorship contract with Shanghai Tobacco in deference to China’s anti-smoking efforts and to maintain a healthy image at the world event.

The announcement has come in response to a week-long heated debate around China on the legitimacy of allowing tobacco promotion and sponsorship in a public event like the World Expo.

The debate was partly triggered by an earlier suggestion from a group of Chinese health experts that Expo organizers should reject the donation, which would have been a “public showcase of tobacco advertising” and a “violation of international treaties.”

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), under which parties are obliged to undertake a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, at both domestic and international levels.

In 2003, China, the world’s largest tobacco producer and consumer, signed the FCTC, and committed to banning all types of tobacco advertising and promotion by 2011.

Shanghai Tobacco, which produces China’s major cigarette brands including Panda and Chung Hua, donated 200 million yuan on May 7 to help build the China Pavilion, which is expected to cost 1.5 billion yuan.

The donation had been the largest amount so far since the donation drive for the China Pavilion kicked off in December 2007.

A spokesman from Shanghai Tobacco reached by China Daily yesterday refused to comment on the rejection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday praised the decision.

Expo turns down tobacco donation
A woman wears a gas mask to protest second-hand smoke during a performance art show in front of a Shanghai subway station in this file photo. [China Daily/Wu Kai]Expo turns down tobacco donation

“WHO congratulates the Expo authorities on their decision to return the donation from Shanghai Tobacco,” said WHO in a written statement to China Daily.

“This decision heralds a new healthier era in China as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control comes into force and is fully implemented and respected. It is also wonderful news for the Shanghai Expo and is in keeping with its slogan, ‘Better City, Better Life.'”

Some netizens, however, voiced differing opinions.

On Sina.com, one of the most popular news portals in China, a netizen from western Gansu province said that organizers might have used the donation for anti-smoking campaigns.

“They (tobacco companies) have made so much money. Why don’t we use it for public good?” he said.

Others indicated the State-owned Shanghai Tobacco has long been a major contributor to the government, so it should come as no surprise that authorities first accepted the donation.

But Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the standing committee of ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, an anti-tobacco organization, said she is glad to see rising awareness of tobacco control both within the government and among the public.

“The Chinese government has made great improvementfrom last year’s cancellation of charity titles awarded to tobacco companies to the recent return of the donation to the Expo It shows the awareness is growing.”

Six domestic tobacco companies were removed from the annual China Charity Awards list at the end of last year as a result of complaints from health departments and civil organizations. The six companies donated 963 million yuan in all.

But more needs to be done for China to strictly observe the FCTC and extend tobacco control to areas that used to be neglected, Wu said.

Some Hope Project schools in western China still sport names of the tobacco companies that donated money to them, which is obviously not good for the healthy development of children, she said.

Smoking ban in Shanghai

Following Beijing’s move to ban smoking in public places before the Olympics last year, health authorities in Shanghai have been trying to extend smoking bans from public venues to all indoor workplaces as measures to clear the city’s air of cigarette smoke ahead of the Expo.

A local anti-smoking law is currently under deliberation and likely to come into force by the end of this year, according to Ding Yuan, director of the tobacco control office under the municipal health bureau.

“All places with ceilings and at least three walls will be defined as indoor areas where smoking will be strictly prohibited,” a spokesman from the office had said previously.

But Ding conceded that authorities would have a “very difficult” time actually prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas as defined, so the final version of the law might be more lenient.

“But our message is clear: We encourage people to take action against indoor smoking and to promote a healthy lifestyle in the city.”

According to government statistics, China is home to some 350 million smokers, 1 million of whom die of smoking-related diseases each year.

About 54 million Chinese suffered from “passive smoking” and 100,000 Chinese die every year from exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke.

In Shanghai, one in four people is a smoker.
Copyright © 2009 Chinadaily

Government tightens rules on tobacco companies



President Obama recently signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which grants the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, as well as putting restrictions on tobacco marketing and advertising.

The FDA will now be able to reduce the nicotine content and regulate the chemicals in cigarettes. Tobacco companies will no longer be allowed to target children by adding flavors, other than menthol, to cigarettes in order to improve taste and make them seem more appealing.

Tobacco advertising will be limited to black-and-white-only text, and outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools will be prohibited. Within the next three years, tobacco companies will no longer be able to use words like “light” or “low tar” on cigarette packaging, as these terms create the illusion that certain cigarettes are safer. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette. Period.

The goal of Big Tobacco is to get people hooked on their products so they gain a “client-for-life.” Currently, there are over 1,000 new daily smokers under the age of 18 every day in the United States. The objective of the tobacco control act is to protect America’s youth from ever starting smoking. It should also benefit current smokers by moderating the kind of chemicals that are added to tobacco to manipulate the chemistry and make it more addictive.

What are your thoughts about the government creating the tobacco control act and imposing such regulations on the tobacco industry?
Copyright © 2009 Mayoclinic

N.B. scores early legal victory against Big Tobacco


The New Brunswick government has won a preliminary battle in its lawsuit against several big tobacco companies, which were fighting to block a team of outside lawyers from working on the court case.

The province is seeking millions of dollars in damages for health-care costs resulting from people smoking, and is suing companies including Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Imperial Tobacco.

New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench Judge Thomas Cyr rejected a preliminary motion filed by 15 tobacco companies named in the lawsuit that sought to remove the team of lawyers representing the province.

The province’s legal team consists of private practitioners Philippe J. Eddie and Chris Correia from New Brunswick, as well as the firms Siskinds LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin and Bennett Jones from Ontario, Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman of South Carolina and Martin & Jones of North Carolina.

The lawyers are seeking unspecified millions in damages. If they’re successful, the legal team will divide up to 25 per cent of any financial award or settlement.

That contingency-fee arrangement was the problem, according to the tobacco companies. The tobacco industry lawyers argued there was a conflict of interest between the government lawyers’ potential private financial gain and their duty to act impartially in the public interest when the province hired them.

But Cyr ruled that a civil lawsuit is not the same as a criminal prosecution, which requires Crown attorneys on the public payroll to be impartial.

“The assertion advanced by the defendants that all government lawyers have a duty distinct from any owed by non-government lawyers to act ‘impartially’ is, in my view, incorrect,” Cyr’s decision stated.

“The public interest duties applicable to government lawyers in civil litigation matters are distinct from those applicable to Crown prosecutors in that government lawyers acting in civil litigation matters are not subject to a duty of impartiality.”

The tobacco companies also said the agreement to give the legal team a cut of any financial windfall was against the law and the Constitution.

Cyr rejected those arguments, too, but he wrote that there appeared to be no precedents for this kind of situation anywhere in Canada, which could make the case ripe for appeal.
Copyright © 2009 Cbc

Counties Can Pass Smoking Rules

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that counties can put more stringent anti-smoking rules in place than state lawmakers.


Courts have said only the Legislature can ban smoking in restaurants and bars.

But local governments are prohibiting smoking inside other businesses because of secondhand smoke risks.

All seven justices on the high court said Tuesday that local officials can adopt stricter smoking regulations than the state to safeguard public health.

But the court split 4-3 on another issue, voting to uphold a northern Michigan health department’s rules letting workers sue if they’re fired for asserting the right to a smoke-free environment.

Dissenting justices said at-will employees can be fired for any reason in Michigan with some exceptions.
Copyright © 2009 Clickondetroit