August 2009 - |

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Cost To Drink and Smoke in North Carolina Going Up

North Carolina’s “sin tax” goes into effect September 1, increasing the cost of cigarettes by 45 cents a pack.

“My packs run about $6 and a carton will run about $40,” said smoker Tim Monday.

Under the “sin tax”, other tobacco products will increase by 12.8%. Alcohol taxes will go up depending on the type, which will have a big impact on restaurant owners like Chris Alves.

“Alcohol tax has already been pretty high per bottle so I’m not really excited to see it go any higher,” Alves said. “We’ve got to try to figure out how we’re going to absorb the costs without passing it on to the guests.”

Supporters of the “sin tax” said the money will help close the state’s massive budget gap.

Governor Bev Perdue has called both tobacco and alcohol products luxury items. In the past, the Governor has also mentioned the burden cigarette smoking has been on the state’s health care system.

But Monday said even with a tax increase he won’t change a thing.

“Well it’s causing me to pay out more but it’s not going to make me stop,” he said.

Economists said the tax hike will cost an average taxpayer between $150 and $200 dollars a year. The increase will pay for teachers across the state.

Mecklenburg County’s tax is the highest in N.C. Right now it’s 7.25%. Come September 1, it will be 8.25%.

Copyright 2009 Wsoctv

Wisconsin cigarette taxes to increase 75-cents per pack

MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin smokers will begin paying the fifth highest tax on cigarettes in the nation beginning Tuesday.

That’s the day the tax per pack will choot up 75-cents. No other neighboring state will have a tax rate as high, leading many to believe smokers here will hop the borders or looks for deals on the Internet to find cheaper options.

Representatives of Wisconsin’s grocery and convenience stores said they fear those businesses could see a dropoff of 25- to 40-percent in sales.

The increase in cigarette taxes takes place less than a year before a statewide smoking ban takes effect July 5, 2010.

Those who fought for the ban and the tax increase say it provides those looking to quit with more motivation to do so.

MALAWI: Child tobacco pickers suffer nicotine poisoning

AN INVESTIGATION has found that children in Malawi who are forced to work as tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day.

Child workers, some as young as five, are suffering severe health problems from a daily skin absorption of up to 54 milligrams of dissolved nicotine, according to international children’s organisation Plan.

Plan claims that an estimated 78,000 children work on tobacco estates for as little as 1p an hour for up to 12 hours a day.

Forty-four children from tobacco farms in three different districts were asked by the organisation to take part in a series of workshops.

They found that the children suffered from common symptoms of green tobacco sickness (GTS), or nicotine poisoning, including severe headaches, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, coughing and breathlessness.

GTS is a common side affect of workers who come into contact with tobacco leaves and absorb nicotine through their skin, particularly when harvesting.

The long-term effects are not known but some experts believe that it could seriously impair children’s development.

Neal Benowitz, professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences at California University in San Francisco told the Guardian:

“The brain of a child or adolescent is particularly vulnerable to adverse neurobehavioral effects of nicotine exposure.”

Plan has called on the Malawian government to enforce tougher child labour and protection laws to provide safer, working conditions for those children who have to work.

“This research shows that tobacco estates are exploiting and abusing children who have a right to a safe working environment. Plan is calling for better enforcement of child labour laws and harsher punishments for employers who break them,” said Plan Malawi’s child rights adviser, Macdonald Mumba.

“These children are risking their health for 11p a day.”

Source: Voice-online

RefillMyNjoy Announces New Clove-Flavored Smokeless Cigarette, a subsidiary of Apollo Distributions Inc., which has full licensing rights to sell the popular NJOY smokeless cigarette products and accessories, has announced the launch of a new clove-flavored NPRO cartridge to its lineup of smokeless cigarette products, further expanding the options for smokers who make the switch from traditional cigarettes to the smoke-free sensation taking the world by storm.

“Our new clove-flavored NPRO cartridge completes our efforts to appeal to smokers who prefer the taste of clove cigarettes but are compromised by criticism they receive when they smoke them,” says President Al Guastello. “We are committed to providing our customers the best NJOY products available for online purchase, and as always, outstanding personal service, and we think our new clove-flavored cartridge enhances our already stellar collection of NJOY NPRO products and makes it possible for clove cigarette smokers to now enjoy the clove taste anywhere they like.”

With the new electronic cigarette by NJOY, smokers across the globe now have the opportunity to continue smoking everywhere with greater freedom, lower cost and more social acceptance. The centerpiece of the NJOY family of products is a rechargeable, battery-powered microelectronic device that, when used in conjunction with NJOY’s replaceable cartridges, mimics the process of smoking. The mini electronic cigarette or e-cig and micro electronic cigarette provide smokers with the most reliable electronic cigarette option available, are much cheaper than traditional tobacco cigarettes, and make it possible to smoke virtually anywhere. offers a fast and convenient way to purchase all e-cig product refills for the NJOY electronic cigarette and e-cigarette cartridges at the lowest prices online, along with free shipping costs. All of the NJOY products, including the smokeless electric cigarette, NJOY refills and NJOY cartridges are available through, including other flavors: “regular-tobacco,” “menthol,” “apple,” “vanilla” and “strawberry.”

Also, through Labor Day, all customers will receive a 15% discount on all orders over $100. This includes discounts on the new clove-flavored NPRO cartridges, atomizers, all color-tipped LED batteries and the entire line of NPRO and NJOY products and accessories. Customers who shop for their NPRO and NJOY products at may simply enter the discount code “aug09” upon checkout to receive the Labor Day sale discount rate.

The special Labor Day discounts include: NPRO starter kits from $59.99 and all NPRO cartridges for $16.99.

About RefillMyNJoy and Apollo Distributions Inc: ( Apollo Distributions Inc.’s online division,, has full rights to distribute groundbreaking NJOY products and technology for the popular smokeless cigarette, including the NGAR and NCIG, the smokeless electronic cigarette from NJOY and all of the NJOY e-cig products. NJOY is currently available across the United States and in 25 foreign countries through the online convenience offered by For more information visit the web site at or call (480) 970-1676.

Laws, taxes worry cigar shops

NEW ORLEANS — With the world becoming ever less welcoming for tobacco smoke of all kinds, the owners of specialty shops that sell premium cigars have converged on New Orleans with the same concerns as mass-market cigarette manufacturers — higher taxes and anti-smoking laws.

The cigars at the annual trade show of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association are not the packaged stogies found in an isolated corner of a convenience store. These are hand-rolled smokes — sometimes with Cuban seed tobacco grown in a non-embargoed country — that can go from a couple of bucks to $30 each.

“It’s tough,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director for Columbus, Ga.-based IPCRA, which represents about 1,500 tobacco stores. “People view us in the same category of cigarettes. With a cigar, it’s different. It’s a pleasurable experience. It’s socialization of sorts.”

Mark Twain once said he always tried not to smoke two cigars at once. Winston Churchill smoked cigars in peacetime and wartime. A cigar was more than just a prop for Groucho Marx. John F. Kennedy enjoyed puffing — although he barred the import of Cuban cigars during his showdowns with another cigar aficionado, Fidel Castro, who later claimed to have quit smoking. And, in modern times, Rush Limbaugh often associates himself with a premium cigar.

“The cigar continues to have a unique place in the hearts of a lot of men,” said Norm Sharp,
president of the Cigar Association of America, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group of distributors and manufacturers. “There are a lot of aficionados out there.”

And many detractors, including the American Cancer Society, which has said that cigars — as well as pipes — are not a safe substitute for cigarettes and carry much of the same cancer risk.

IPCRA estimates there are 12 to 13 million cigar smokers in the United States, who puff an average of two a week, ranging from several a day to the special-event-only smoker, McCalla said.

When Congress hiked cigarette taxes earlier this year, cigars did not escape the attention of lawmakers, who imposed a tax increase between about 5 cents and 40 cents per cigar. The industry now fears that state legislatures, many of which are trying to close big budget gaps, will follow suit.

“Tobacco is considered low-hanging fruit for taxation,” Sharp said.

And cigars are among the active targets for anti-smoking groups.

Although only Delaware, Washington state and Utah ban puffing in tobacco establishments, the city of Galveston, Texas, recently passed a clean air ordinance that forbids smoking in a planned cigar lounge — a store that provides a room for cigar-lovers to visit and enjoy their tobacco.

Owner Charlie Head, who plans to open Sept. 1 after his previous store was wiped out by Hurricane Ike, said it’s ridiculous to think people who don’t smoke would even come inside his business, which includes lockers for smokers to store their cigars and liquor they bring in.

“We’re going ahead with it,” Head said. “But a big part of our business is locker rental.”

Head said he hoped to win an exemption for his shop before the ban takes effect on Jan. 1.

Even before the spread of cigarette smoking bans, cigars and pipes received a chilly reception in many places. Airliners that used to permit cigarettes wouldn’t allow cigars and pipes. And many smoking bars today are actually cigarette-only bars — don’t light up that cigar or pipe, a sign often says.

As a result, cigar smoking has become largely a private activity, McCalla said, with the cigar lounge or cigar bar a popular gathering place.

“Most cigar smokers would like to sit down comfortably and smoke with others,” he said.

The recession has cut into business, said Doug Winston, manager of the New Orleans Cigar Co., a 700-square-foot store in the downtown district. To start with, go-outside-to-smoke rules are making shorter cigars more popular.

“With the tax and the economy, people also seem to be going to the lesser-expensive cigars,” Winston said.

As for the convention itself, which is hosting about 4,000 people through Wednesday, smoking will be allowed in the exhibit hall between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. But members of the public aren’t invited to the meeting — and no one under 18 will be let in, McCalla said.

Copyright: Contracostatimes

Smoking in the military – a look

Highlights of a study commissioned by the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department to combat tobacco use in the military.


— Tobacco is used by fewer than 20 percent of Americans compared with more than 30 percent of active-duty military personnel and about 22 percent of veterans.

— Tobacco use in the military has risen since 1998, threatening to reverse steady declines for several decades.

— The rate of smoking among military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may be 50 percent higher than the rate of those who didn’t go there.

— The Defense Department spends more than $1.6 billion a year on tobacco-related medical care, increased hospitalizations and lost days of work.

— In 2008, the Veterans Affairs Department spent more than $5 billion treating veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is linked to tobacco use.


—Establish a timeline to ban all tobacco use on military installations, starting with military academies and officer training programs in both universities and the military, followed by new recruits and then active-duty personnel.

—Stop discounting tobacco products in military commissaries and exchanges and eventually stop selling them altogether.

—Prohibit tobacco use anywhere on military installations.

—Remove federal legislation that requires VA facilities to set up designated smoking areas, allowing them to become smoke-free.

—Engage top officials at the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to implement and enforce comprehensive tobacco-control programs.


Source: June 2009 report, “Combating Tobacco In Military and Veteran Populations,” by the Institute of Medicine in Washington. The institute was chartered in 1970 as part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2009 Newsday

Cayuga Indians seek return of seized cigarettes

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — A state judge for a second time refused Thursday to order the return of 176,000 cartons of cigarettes seized last November during raids on the Cayuga Indian Nation’s two upstate New York convenience stores.

Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Fisher ruled in December that the tribe could not sell untaxed cigarettes but his decision was overturned by a state appellate court, which said the Cayugas could resume selling tax-free cigarettes.

“The landscape has changed a little bit, but it’s the same holding that it was evidence seized as part of a criminal action and does not have to be returned at this point,” said Phillip Spellane, the attorney for Cayuga and Seneca counties.

Meanwhile, the two counties have challenged the appellate court decision. If accepted, their appeal would be heard by the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

“The judge believed since there was a pending appeal … it would not be appropriate for him to return the cigarettes,” said attorney Lee Alcott, who represented the tribe.

Fisher ruled without prejudice, which means the Cayugas could come before him again to ask for return of the cigarettes once all the appeals are exhausted, Alcott said.

Fisher also denied the tribe’s request that the counties put up a bond to cover the value of the cigarettes, which was estimated at more than $500,000.

Alcott also argued the cigarettes are a perishable commodity with a limited shelf-life.

County authorities seized the cigarettes and business computers Nov. 25 from the tribe’s LakeSide Trading stores in Union Springs and Seneca Falls. County officials said the stores were violating state law by selling cigarettes without charging the required tax and owed $485,000 in state excise taxes.

The Cayugas claim they are exempt from collecting the taxes because their businesses are protected by their sovereign nation status.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a ruling barring a group of smoke shops on Long Island’s Poospatuck reservation from selling tax-free cigarettes to the general public, saying their location on tribal lands didn’t exempt them from state and federal tax law.

U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon ruled that only members of the Unkechaug tribe, which controls the reservation, had a right to buy cigarettes there without paying taxes, not non-Indian customers.

The judge stayed the ruling for 30 days to give the shops time to appeal, which they said they would.

Spellane and Alcott differed over whether the federal court ruling would have any bearing on the Cayuga’s case in state courts.

Indian smoke shops have enjoyed a huge business in cigarettes since the mid-1990s, in part thanks to a string of governors who have refused to enforce state laws that were supposed to set up a system for taxing sales to the general public.

© Copyright: Newsday

Smoking shouldn’t be ‘a woman thing’

As we celebrate the anniversary of women’s right to vote on Aug. 26, Women’s Equality Day, we need to draw attention to the effect of tobacco-related diseases on women.

Lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as a leading killer of women.

Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease, which kills one of three women in the United States.

Babies born to women who smoke and babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are at greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma and other chronic lung diseases. It is not by accident that tobacco use has increased to the point of creating an epidemic among American women. Since the 1960s, tobacco advertising has linked women’s liberation with smoking, beginning with “You’ve come a long way, baby,” and now proclaiming that “It’s a woman thing.”

The tobacco companies also have developed slick advertising campaigns that glamorize smoking and that connect cigarettes with thinness. The Federal Trade Commission’s annual report on tobacco advertising revealed that the tobacco industry spent $13.11 billion on advertising and promotion in 2005. This represents an increase of more than $6 billion since 1998.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of publications that explain the risks of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke and the benefits of quitting. These include the 2006 surgeon general’s report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke,” the 2004 surgeon general’s report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking,” and a number of products based on these reports. CDC also has a community toolkit to help combat the problem of tobacco use among young girls and women, “Dispelling the Myths About Smoking.”

We may not have the money that the tobacco companies have, but we have hearts that react to the pain and suffering caused by tobacco use. All of us must work together to keep children safe from tobacco use and to help those who want to quit their deadly addiction.

Copyright © 2009 Deltacountyindependent

Gruesome cigarette warning labels are coming to the U.S.

Gruesome pictorial cigarette-package warnings will be coming to the U.S. relatively soon, according to a recent article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The startlingly graphic labels — which are already required in many countries around the world – typically feature photos of people ravaged by diseases caused from smoking, in an effort to discourage tobacco use.

How gruesome are the warnings? Rotting teeth. Huge tumors. Festering sores.

Dramatic indeed, but are they enough to make people quit smoking? Apparently the Obama Administration is willing to try, as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed into law on June 22.

The debate is likely to be fierce as the FDA and tobacco companies grapple with exactly how to implement the directive. But there is evidence that graphic warnings do make a difference in smoking rates. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that smoking rates have dropped five percent since graphic cigarette-pack warnings became mandatory in 2000.

The new U.S. law directs the FDA to come up with specifics on the required graphic warnings within two years. From that point, tobacco companies will then have 18 months to comply.

For examples of what the new warnings may look like, the Tobacco Labeling Resource Center has a photo gallery of graphic cigarette warnings from around the world

Hutchinson moving toward restricting tobacco in parks

Here’s a preview of what’s in the print edition of the Thursday, Aug. 27 Leader:

• The statue of one of Hutchinson’s most historic figures could soon resume its longtime perch overlooking the Crow River. Les Kouba’s bronze likeness of Dakota Indian Chief Little Crow will be moved to it former location after spending two years in a museum, Parks and Recreation Director Dolf Moon told the City Council Tuesday night.

• Hutchinson took its first step Tuesday night toward joining a growing list of cities that prohibit tobacco use in city parks and recreation areas. By a 5-0 vote, the council directed City Administrator Gary Plotz and city staff to develop a policy that would prohibit tobacco use in city parks. In addition, the council set a public hearing on the idea for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.

• As part of the parish’s 125th anniversary celebration, St. Anastasia Catholic Church will host its first cemetery tour at 1 p.m. Sunday. Read about the band in Extra!

• McLeod For Tomorrow is accepting applications through Aug. 31. Current and emerging leaders who live or work in McLeod County are welcome to join. Trainees last year toured area businesses, including Impressions Inc.

• In Sports, Zak Neubarth and Mackenzie Trettin have had to adjust to new surroundings this season at a new school, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop.

• On the Opinion page, the leader’s editorialists explains how McLeod County continues to be a leader in recycling, but better cooperation from more townships could make recycling even easier for residents.

Tobacco Tax Should Go To Prevention

HARTFORD, Conn. – A proposed increase in the tobacco tax in the state budget could have smokers in Connecticut paying more for their packs.

Both the governor and Democrats favor a cigarette tax of $3, which would make the state’s cigarette tax the second highest in the country.

Gov. Jodi Rell’s office estimated raising the cigarette tax by $1 will bring in an extra $230 million over the next two years. Right now the money is slated to go to the General Fund.

Tobacco activist Pat Checko said the money should go where it matters.

“We are one of only five states that has no Medicaid cessation,” Checko said.

Checko chairs the group Mobilizing Against Tobacco For Connecticut’s Health, also known as MATCH.

She said Connecticut ranks at the bottom when it comes to states spending money on tobacco prevention. She said 21 percent of Connecticut high school students smoke – more than double the number of high school smokers in NY City.

Checko said New York pours money into tobacco prevention programs and a state-funded hotline to help people quit.

She said if the revenue from this higher tax is spent on prevention, it could cut smoking in our state by 11 percent.

Copyright © August 27, 2009 Wfsb

Campaign to improve dental health, eliminate tobacco

Chewing tobacco at sporting events, particularly baseball, is one habit that has been around for decades, and some kids today still engage in this practice. In order to try and prevent anyone from taking it up, a new campaign aims to discourage this behavior and promote dental health.

Oral Health America launched a slogan competition in conjunction with its National Spit Campaign, and the winner was a 12-year-old girl who came up with the phrase “chew on this. . .tobacco steals your health.”

The organization aims to discourage the habit by reminding kids, teens and even adults of the dangers of chewing tobacco. The American Dental Association (ADA) agrees, advising that this practice can lead to oral cancer and periodontal disease.

In addition, chewing tobacco is addictive and a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that 8 percent of high school students had done this in the past 20 days.

If adults begin to notice red or white sores in the mouth, it is a good idea to head in for a dental checkup to rule out oral cancer.

For more information on discount dental plans call 1-888-632-5353

© 2009 Brafton Inc.

Family vows to rebuild after fire ravages tobacco barns

Roseboro, N.C. — A fire that ripped through a Sampson County tobacco operation Wednesday afternoon caused an estimated $250,000 in damage.

The fire destroyed four tobacco barns, a warehouse and an office on the farm in the Herring community that the West family has owned for generations. About 8,500 pounds of tobacco in the barns also burned up, as did some equipment and children’s bicycles stored in the buildings, family members said.

“The tobacco was dry, and all of it was just like if you put gasoline on it, you know. It was just fast. You couldn’t do anything with it,” said Ted West, 66, the patriarch of the family farm.

Thirty-seven firefighters from seven departments responded to the fire and fought to bring it under control.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but West said something electrical or the gas-powered heat exchangers used in curing tobacco likely sparked the blaze.

“Seeing the building that you’ve grown up with since you were a little girl just going up in smoke in no time, it was hard,” said West’s daughter, Tracy Honeycutt. “It brings tears to my eyes now.”

The family has insurance to cover the damage, and members said they plan to begin cleaning up and rebuilding on Friday.

“If there’s a good sign, we saved these two barns,” said West’s son-in-law, Chad Honeycutt. “It’s hard to comprehend, but we’ll get it off and going again.”

The farm still has plenty of tobacco in the fields that will need to be harvested and cured in the coming weeks.

“Tobacco is my heritage. That’s what I’ve been raised in,” Tracy Honeycutt said.

Copyright © Aug, 27 2009 Wral

Fight Against Indian Tobacco Vendors

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that a group of tobacco vendors on an Indian reservation on Long Island cannot sell tax-free cigarettes to the general public until a court rules in a closely watched legal battle between the reservation and New York City.

A temporary injunction issued by Judge Carol B. Amon of Federal District Court in Brooklyn gave the city at least a temporary victory in its efforts to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

“The city will go after every dollar that is owed to city taxpayers,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement on Wednesday. Under Judge Amon’s ruling, a group of cigarette businesses on the Poospatuck Indian Reservation near Mastic can sell tax-free cigarettes only to tribe members, for personal use, until a verdict is reached in a federal lawsuit the city filed in September.

The judge stayed the ruling for 30 days to give the vendors time to appeal.

“The judge’s ruling is completely wrong,” said Harry Wallace, a lawyer and the chief of the Unkechaug Indian Nation, which is on the Poospatuck reservation, adding that it ignored the Indian nation’s sovereignty.

The city says the reservation businesses are illegally selling large amounts of cheap cigarettes to people outside of the tribes, including bootleggers who bring cartons upon cartons into the city for resale. City officials estimated that the sales deprived the city of $420 million from 2004 to 2008.

The loss of tax income to tribal tobacco businesses has taken on greater urgency for many officials amid state and municipal budget cuts. A state court ruled in July that the Cayuga Indian Nation could not be prosecuted for failing to collect cigarette taxes, and the application of that decision is at issue in Mr. Bloomberg’s federal suit, which could have nationwide implications.

Copyright © August 26, 2009 Nytimes

Smokes, booze to be taxed for health

THE price of alcohol and cigarettes would rise and marketing campaigns aimed at teenagers curbed under a radical blueprint to make Australians healthier.

Poor communities would receive cash incentives or vouchers to buy fresh and nutritious meals under the plan, to be unveiled by the Federal Government.

Damaging levels of salt, sugar and fats in everyday foods would be cut as part of a “health compact” to tackle an obesity epidemic, which it’s estimated costs Australia $58 billion a year.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s hand-picked Preventative Health Taskforce wants an overhaul of booze taxes, including a minimum “floor” tax for alcohol. This would force up the price of many cheaper, popular drinks favoured by teenagers, but could reduce the cost of premium wine.

HOW WOULD YOU CURE OUR HEALTH WOES? Have your say in the comment box below.

It wants a big rise in tobacco excise, saying the average price of a 30-cigarette pack should rise by about $5, to $20.

With alcohol-fuelled street violence a rising concern in the nation’s major cities, the taskforce is pushing a series of tough reforms.

It wants far stricter controls on licensing hours and on the marketing of alcohol.

This includes an effective ban on “inappropriate” alcohol promotion – a move that could hit magazines aimed at teenagers, such as Dolly.

The taskforce mainly consists of public health academics and professionals.

Among other recommendations, it wants retailers to effectively push cigarette promotions “under the counter” in a bid to reduce their attractiveness to teenagers.

Having established the taskforce early last year, the Government will be under pressure to respond positively to the reform blueprint.

But it will also face pressure to avoid tax changes on alcohol and tobacco that disproportionately hit the working poor, which is Labor’s traditional constituency.

The expert group also recommends a “health compact” between the government and the $70 billion food sector, which is aimed at improving the nutritional value of everyday supermarket items.

The new deal would aim to reduce the levels of salt, sugar and fat in popular foods and to build on work already being done to reduce the amount of salt in bread and breakfast cereals.

This would result in everyday items – ranging from cornflakes to the potato chip – become healthier, although the taskforce avoids setting precise targets and time frames.

And in a bid to improve the diets of poor and remote communities, the Government is being urged to make fresh and healthy foods more accessible.

The taskforce is understood to be pushing a range of options, including fresh food “vouchers” and other cash incentives.

It is understood the taskforce’s massive report also canvasses a so-called “fat tax” as a way of reducing Australia’s girth and tackling the obesity epidemic.

The expert panel has outlined a raft of measures that aim to cut the number of people smoking daily, which presently stands at 2.9 million. And it wants to reduce levels of alcohol abuse by 30 per cent within a decade.

Among other reforms, the taskforce supports a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport.

It’s a controversial recommendation that could cost major football and other sporting codes up to $300 million a year in lost revenue.

Shoppers will also be given access to easy-to-read labelling, helping consumers choose foods that are better for them and low in saturated fats and other nasties.

But the taskforce stops shy of urging the introduction of “traffic light” labelling, which is used overseas and involves using a simple “red, amber and green” code to show the food’s health rating.

Russian lawmakers preparing for landmark tobacco regulation

Last year, Duma, the lower chamber of Russian Parliament adopted the WHO Convention on Tobacco Control. Therefore, in conformity with the convention, the lawmakers should implement a comprehensive ban on advertising and promotion of tobacco products. In addition, they will have to prohibit sales of tobacco products to adolescents, increase excise taxes and implement other anti-smoking ordinances.

So, Russian legislators introduced a draft for the legislation to comply with the Convention. It would become valid within a year after the approval and provides regulations necessary for gradual transition to rigorous WHO requirements. The legislation contains provisions regarding the size of health warnings on cigarette packs and the amount of nicotine in tobacco products.

Approximately 60 percent of male population and 35 percent of female Russians light up regularly. It puts the country in the list of the nations with the highest tobacco use per capita. Only three countries are dealing with higher smoking rates: Serbia, Bulgaria and Bulgaria, but the latter two nations already implemented drastic anti-smoking measures.

Thus, Duma Public Health Committee already started drafting a law to restrict tobacco use in the country.

According to the draft, the sales of tobacco products would be limited only to stores, puffing in public areas would be prohibited and cigarette advertising would be banned.

“Such drastic measures make up the only effective way to prevent young generations from picking up the hazardous habit,” said Sergey Novoselov, Public Health Committee spokesman.

He added that it would be much more efficient to increase cigarette taxes gradually but continuously to avoid smuggling and growth of black-market.

Cigarettes cost much cheaper in Russia than in other developed nations, with some brands can be bought by as little as 20 cents per pack, making easily available to minors, who can buy cigarettes everywhere from small kiosks to stores and even from street distributors.

Legislators plan rising cigarette tax by up to 70 percent of their price within the nearest future.

Experts admit that in case taxes are increased above the rate of inflation, many smokers could not afford them, which must make them give up smoking. The tax increase would also help generating more than 125 billion roubles ($35 billion) annually, which is especially important for the cash-strapped country.

Pavel Gerasimenko, Chairman of Public Health Ministry mentioned that the lawmakers would also modify existing law «On Tobacco Smoking” to force tobacco companies to place larger health warnings, which should cover 50 percent of the pack instead of current 30 percent.

And finally, the authority to decide what public places should become smoke-free would be passed to municipalities.

Bar owners protest proposed changes to smoking ban

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. — Bar owners in Berkeley County opposed to proposed changes to the county’s clean indoor air regulation because it no longer exempts their establishments from a smoking ban say they are planning to picket county administration offices in Martinsburg for the next three weeks.

Standing outside the Dunn Building along West Stephen Street with a sign with the words “Stop the Smoking Ban” written on it, Robert Kern, president of Four Corners Club in Inwood, W.Va., said Tuesday afternoon a group of concerned club owners and patrons has scheduled morning, afternoon and evening rallies two days a week through Sept. 17.

A larger rally is planned at the town square at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 and Kern said the group also plans to attend a public hearing on the Berkeley County Board of Health’s proposed regulations at 6 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Hedgesville High School.

“There have been no complaints (with the existing regulation) and we have got along fine,” Kern said.

Smoking in bars and most hotel and motel rooms would no longer be allowed in Berkeley County if changes to clean air rules are adopted by the county’s Board of Health.

Rallying with Kern and about seven or eight other people on Tuesday afternoon, Bret Ruppenthal, president of Sky Room Lounge in Martinsburg, said 85 percent of his patrons at the club he operates off Rock Cliff Drive club are smokers. While questioning the impact on his business, Ruppenthal suggested the smoking ban would hurt the amount of revenue the county receives from the club’s video lottery machines.

Ruppenthal said he collected about 175 signatures for a petition that has been circulating among opponents of the clean indoor regulation.

Michael Keller, president of Duffey’s Tavern, wondered how clean indoor air proponents can suggest a smoking ban is needed to protect employees and patrons who are adults that are free to make their own choices.

Proponents of the smoking ban in places of employment have said the tougher regulation would protect employees in the hospitality industry, such as young people in their first job, who have little choice but to accept the unhealthy air conditions.

Copyright © 2009 Herald-mail

UK Electronic Cigarette Company announces new Gamucci Partnership

Electronic Cigarettes are gaining popularity on a daily basis and when announced their free worldwide delivery it catapulted them to the forefront of all their competition.

Today they are announcing a new paprtnership with Gamucci which will allow them to help even more customers with their electronic cigarette needs.

“We look after our customers and a recent survey showed that whilst our customers enjoyed buying from us and praised our customer service they wanted a wider selection of products and this is why we have teamed up with Gamucci.”

Gamucci is the original and the World’s leading premier brand of Electronic Cigarettes and Cigars. Gamucci is all about quality and luxury. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations.

Owner Michael Kitt said “Gamucci products are a class all of their own. We are looking towards stocking every Gamucci product and have already received stock of the Gamucci Micro Starter kit. We are selling it at an introductory price of £39.49 and with free delivery this is a short term opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to Gamucci users.”

He added “We look after our customers and a recent survey showed that whilst our customers enjoyed buying from us and praised our customer service they wanted a wider selection of products and this is why we have teamed up with Gamucci.”

Copyright © 25 August 2009 Onlineprnews

Violations of pictorial warnings on tobacco products in India

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MOHFW, GOI) had mandated that all tobacco products manufactured/ packaged/ imported in India on or after 31 May 2009 have to display pictorial health warnings, as specified in the notification dated 15 March 2008.

However, a civil society led monitoring exercise has revealed blatant violations that are taking place across India, in the enforcement of this crucial public health and corporate accountability provision of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. A total of 60 tobacco product packages (from 9 states of India), manufactured on or after 31 May 2009 were analyzed (17 smoking forms and 43 smokeless forms). These products were purchased from retail sale outlets from 15 July 2009 onwards, considering that the already existing old stock of products available in the market would need a period of 4-6 weeks to be exhausted.

On close scrutiny, it has been revealed that a majority of the tobacco packs analyzed either do not display any pictorial warnings at all or the warnings displayed are not in conformity with the rules notified by the Government.

“The intent with which this provision was notified is not being fulfilled. The coming into force of the warnings was already delayed by two years and now this provision is ineffectively enforced. The notification 30 dated July 2009 which notified the officers responsible for implementing the packaging and labelling rules came two months after the enforcement date of this provision of the law. By then most tobacco product manufacturers had violated this law” said Monika Arora, Director, HRIDAY.

Some of the key deficiencies reported in this study include:

* Size of the pictorial warning: Pictorial warnings are occupying less than the stipulated 40% of the principal display area of the pack. Of the 60 products analyzed, 25 brands of gutka, 10 brands of khaini and 2 brands of bidi carry smaller warnings.

* Misleading descriptors on the pack: These are prohibited but still appear on some of the tobacco products analyzed. Five cigarette brands and 4 chewing tobacco brands contain such descriptors.

* Promotional messages on the pack: Messages promoting tobacco use appear on the packs of 10

* No pictorial warnings: Several tobacco products do not display any pictorial warnings at all. Eight brands of chewing tobacco and 9 brands of smoking forms of tobacco do not have any warnings. These include international brands as well.

* Incorrect warnings: Three brands were found carrying incorrect warnings

* Language: In some of the products, the warnings are not displayed in the regional language in which the brand name is mentioned, as mandated by the law.

“Some gutka companies are again circumventing pictorial warnings by covering 40% area of the pack with white colour and devoting much less space to the warning. The Government should hold them accountable in interest of public health and social justice” said Bobby Ramakant, Indian Society Against Smoking, Asha parivar.

“Enforcement of pack warnings is very weak in Kerala especially on bidi and chewing tobacco product packs. Today also lakhs of packets of Dinesh Bidi come to the market without pack warnings. The reason told by the company is the bulk stock of non-warning wrappers. The Government’s inaction on the violation reflects its attitude towards the health of the people” said Saju Itty, Executive Officer, Kerala Voluntary Health Services (KVHS).

“It is almost scandalous that even after such a long time many tobacco products do not carry stipulated warnings and those who carry it, try to circumvent the rules in every possible way. This situation has developed because word ’sold’ used in the gazette notification was changed to the word ‘manufactured/ imported’ in the public notices issued by the ministry. This has clearly sent wrong signals to the industry about the seriousness of the implementation” said Dr PC Gupta, Director, Healis- Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, Mumbai.

These violations have been documented and the report has been submitted to MOHFW, GOI, with a request to take cognizance of these violations and ensure that continuance and reoccurrence are prevented.

A set of recommendations have also been submitted to the Government to upscale the enforcement of pictorial warnings. These include:
– Introduction of a complaint mechanism
– Constitution of Inspection and Compliance Cells (ICCs)
– Issuing compliance guidelines for manufacturers, distributors and retailers of tobacco products
– Uniform placement of pictorial health warnings on all tobacco packs, preferably on the top edge of the pack
– Mandatory depiction of the warnings in at least one regional/local language specific to the region of sale

Civil society organizations are keen to work in partnership with the Central and State Governments to take stock of violations, improve enforcement and increase compliance at all levels. This includes the development of a thorough nationwide enforcement mechanism based on the recommendations submitted for the Government’s perusal.

This study was collaboratively undertaken by Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control (AFTC) member organizations: Cancer Foundation of India, West Bengal; Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, Maharashtra; Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth (HRIDAY), Delhi; Indian Society against Smoking ,Uttar Pradesh; Institute of Public Health, Karnataka; Dr Mira Aghi, Delhi; National Organisation For Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), Goa; Rajasthan Cancer Foundation, Rajasthan; Taleem Research Foundation, Gujarat; Voluntary Health Association of India, Delhi and Kerala Voluntary Health Services, Kerala.
Source: Citizen News Service (CNS) –

Pro-tobacco burns through a million dollars

Pro-tobacco groups spent a record $1.25 million dollars lobbying in the first half of 2009, according to David Ahrens, UW Carbone Cancer Center researcher. Ahrens says this was the first time the “million dollar threshold” has been crossed. The money was used to fight the statewide public smoking ban and cigarette tax proposals, both of which became law, but he says pro-tobacco groups did score a victory.

“At the end of the session, the funding for the tobacco control programs was slashed by 55 percent,” says Ahrens.

These control programs help maintain the state’s free tobacco quit line, as well as tobacco prevention for youth and adults.

Drawing from Government Accountability Board records, Ahrens says pro-tobacco lobbyists outspent the total of opposing groups like Smoke Free Wisconsin and the American Cancer Society by 7-to-1.

Copyright © 2009 Wrn

India’s April-July tobacco exports surge by 39%

India’s exports surged by 39 per cent in value terms to Rs 1,366 crore during the first four months of this fiscal on better price realisation and higher demand, the Tobacco Board said.

The country had shipped tobacco worth Rs 982.87 crore in the same period last year, it said.

“A spurt in global demand owing to a production shortfall in major growing countries like Europe, has made Indian tobacco competitive on the price front,” a senior board official said.

Indian tobacco is quoting on an average $3.15 per kg now as compared to $2 per kg in the last year, he said.

Besides, Europe is also buying more tobacco from India as its farmers have reduced the cultivation due to high cost of production owing to the phase-out of farm subsidies, the official said.

India exports tobacco leaf as well as ready products such as cigarette, cigars, bidi and hookah. The volume of exports rose marginally to 81,696 tonnes during April-July, 2009-10, compared with 80,571 tonnes in the same period last year,the Board data showed.

In value terms, the export of unmanufactured tobacco rose to Rs 1,161 crore from 780.51 crore in the last year. The shipment of tobacco products also increased to Rs 204.96 crore from 56.77 crore during the review period, it said.

India, which produced about 310 million kilograms of tobacco in 2008-09 crop year, exports to major markets such as Europe, Vietnam, Belgium, Russia and Germany.

Copyright © 2009 Business-standard

Tobacco Tax Gaining Legislative Support

The appetite to raise taxes seems to be growing as the Utah Legislature prepares for an anticipated $700 million budget shortfall. This is especially true for the tobacco tax proposed by Davis County Republican Representative Paul Ray.

“I do not support any type of tax increase normally, but again, this is a tax where the tobacco companies are making billions of dollars off of people — they’re killing people. You know, they’re using blood money, basically,” Ray says. “But yet, the state, this is the only way we have to recoup the money that we’re paying for health care for smokers and so to me it’s a legitimate way to do that.”

Ray’s proposal would nearly double the sales tax on a pack of cigarettes from 69.5 cents to $1.31. Then it would automatically re-set the tax at one cent above the national average, which Ray believes is fitting because Utah doesn’t have many smokers.

Ray says there was enough support to pass his tax increase earlier this year, but legislative leadership wanted to save it as an option for next year. There’s also talk of raising other taxes, including the gas tax and the income tax. But Senate President Michael Waddoups says the tobacco tax increase is the most likely to pass.

“I think there’s a number of revenue sources that need to be looked at,” Waddoups says. “The easy one is the tobacco tax that was discussed last year in my body. I wouldn’t say it was unanimous, but I think it is going to be the easiest one to pass.”

State leaders cut a billion dollars from the budget last year, but about 40 percent of that was restored by federal stimulus money. Without that federal assistance coming in next year, lawmakers might tap up to half of the state’s $420 million Rainy Day Fund.

Copyright © 25 Aug, 2009 Kcpw

Smokers cost Swedish councils billions

Smokers are costing Swedish municipalities 2.6 billion kronor ($367 million) per annum in the form of breaks and sickness absences, a new report from the Swedish Public Health Institute (Statens Folkhälsoinstitut) shows.

The amount is equivalent to 6,000 full time positions.

“We know that three out of four smokers want to quit and most municipalities that introduce bans during working hours also offer help. In that way the workplace supports those wanting to stop. We can now see that a smoke-free work environment provides financial benefits to councils,” Cecilia Birgersson at the institute said in a press release on Tuesday.

A smoke-free workplace means in practice that smoking is banned during paid working hours, including breaks. Lunch hour is not considered to be part of regular working hours.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), along with union groups, supports the introduction of smoking bans. A survey conducted by SKL earlier in 2009 showed that 64 of Sweden’s 290 local municipalities had decided to introduce work time smoking bans.

The institute has calculated the cost of smoking in terms of “smoking hours” at an average 282 kronor, based on a national average hourly wage.

The total cost is a multiple of the time taken to smoke a cigarette by the number of cigarettes per day (for the normal smoker) and the time to go to and from a designated smoking area – a total of 30 minutes per day per smoker. The cost per smoker is thus 31,300 kronor per annum.

Smokers typically claim an additional eight sick days in comparison with a non-smoker and this costs an additional 13,700 kronor per annum per smoker, bringing the total cost per smoker to 45,000 kronor, according to the institute’s calculations.

Copyright © Thelocal

Wisconsin Cigarette Tax Increase Days Away

MADISON, Wis. — In a move that will make Wisconsin home to the fifth highest cigarette tax in the nation, the state is set to increase its tax by 75 cents as of Sept. 1, to $2.52 per pack, according to a report by the Baraboo News Republic.

Convenience stores in the Baraboo area might have to brace for customers switching to Indian reservations or Internet sales—smokers can still get tax-free cigarettes at Whitetail Crossing & Smokeshop, located on Ho-Chunk Nation land near the casino, according to the report.

“I expect that we are going to be very busy,” said Eddie Larrea, a worker at the smoke shop, who said an average pack of cigarettes at Whitetail costs between $2 and $4.

“We have unwittingly created a large and growing black market for smuggled tobacco products,” said U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat of New York, the chief sponsor of a bill passed by the House in May that allows tougher enforcement measures against contraband cigarette sales.

The bill, which passed 397-11, is especially aimed at Internet sales, with sellers on the Internet and others shipping to remote locations, which would have to verify the purchaser’s age and identity through accessible databases. However, the measure has not yet been considered by the Senate.

Copyright © 2009 Csnews

Malawi Child Pickers ‘Exposed’ to 50 Cigarettes a Day

Child tobacco pickers in Malawi, Africa’s biggest producer of the burley variety of the crop, are being exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to 50 cigarettes a day, a children’s rights organization said.

At least 78,000 children, some as young as five, work on tobacco estates in the southern African country, Plan International, a Woking, England-based agency said in a report on its Web site today. They work for up to 12 hours a day and are paid as little as 1 penny (2 cents) an hour, it said.

“As well as long hours and little pay, children revealed that they suffer physical and sexual abuse from their supervisors, regularly have their pay withheld and are unknowingly blighted by the effects of Green Tobacco Sickness,” the agency said. Symptoms of Green Tobacco Sickness include nausea, vomiting, headaches, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and breathing difficulties, it said.

The results of the study were drawn from a participatory survey in which 44 children aged between 12 and 18 from three districts in Malawi took part in a series of workshops, the agency said. All of the children had worked full-time on tobacco farms during the 2007-08 season, it said.

Felix Mkumba, chief executive officer of the Tobacco Association of Malawi, said he couldn’t comment on the report as he hadn’t seen it. Henderson Chimoyo, general manager of the country’s Tobacco Control Commission, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Lilongwe, that his organization doesn’t have a policy on child labor.

Malawi relies on sales of the leaf for 60 percent of its export earnings.

Copyright © August 24, 2009 Bloomberg

Tobacco: Albany pessimist

Assemblyman Lou Tobacco (R-South Shore) expects to get called back to Albany for a special session in the early fall, and expects more of the state Senate gridlock that marred the end of the last session.

And he doesn’t think things will improve once 2010 begins and everybody in the Legislature is up for re-election.

“I don’t believe it will be smooth sailing,” said Tobacco. “The new [Democratic] leadership, and I use that term loosely, hasn’t been tested. I don’t think there are strong coalitions there. I think we’ll see more of the same.”

With the state deficit expected to rise, Tobacco also fears that ordinary New Yorkers are going to get hit in the pocketbook through higher taxes again.

“The culture that controls Albany is philosophically different from me,” he said. “Now is not the time to kick people when they’re down by raising taxes.”

It’s a pivotal year in more ways than one. Whoever has control of the Senate after next year’s races will be in charge of drawing legislative district lines following the 2010 census. Democrats will be looking to hold on to what they’ve got, while the GOP will be hoping to get back in the majority.

Copyright © August 24, 2009 Silive

Hospitals Expand Their No-Smoking Zones

Most American hospitals banned smoking almost two decades ago, but now many are extending the ban, prohibiting smoking on all hospital property and making their entire campuses smoke-free, a new survey reports.

Forty-five percent of accredited hospitals had smoke-free campuses by February 2008, according to the survey, although some facilities did not have control over remote areas like satellite parking lots. By the end of this year, well over half of the hospitals will have put such bans in place.

The survey was conducted by the Joint Commission, which accredits 80 percent of American hospitals.

The findings appear in the online version of the journal Tobacco Control.

The study’s author, Dr. Scott Williams, associate director of health service research with the Joint Commission, said he and his colleagues were surprised to find no clear geographic patterns or regional differences.

“You didn’t see tobacco states lagging way behind, or California leading the way,” Dr. Williams said. “In fact, all hospitals in North Carolina have smoke-free campuses.”

Dr. Williams added that hospitals had long considered hospitalizations “teachable moments” for some patients, and many offer smoking cessation after heart attacks or pneumonia.

Copyright © August 24, 2009 Nytimes

Malawi Tobacco Traded 18% Below State Price

The price of tobacco in Malawi, Africa’s second-largest producer of the burley variety, traded 18 percent below the government-mandated price of $2.15 last week, said Auction Holdings Ltd., which manages the country’s auction floors.

The leaf sold at an average $1.77 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) during the week ended Aug. 21, Auction Holdings said in a weekly sales report published in the Daily Times newspaper today. Since the market opened on March 16, tobacco has sold for an average of $1.72, it said.

Malawi earned $16.7 million during the week, selling 8.5 million kilograms of the leaf, Auction Holdings added. The southern African nation started setting minimum prices for the various grades of tobacco two years ago after it accused merchants of putting farmers out of business. Dealers denied that they underpaid farmers.

Malawi relies on sales of the leaf for 60 percent of its export earnings. President Bingu wa Mutharika on April 6 threatened to deport buyers of the leaf if prices don’t improve.

Copyright © Bloomberg

Vietnam Raise Tobacco Tax to Curb Smoking

HANOI – Vietnam will ban smoking in all indoor public places next year and raise tariffs on tobacco products to reduce consumption, the government said.

Starting from January 1, smoking in schools, hospitals, libraries, cinemas, factories, offices and on public transport will be prohibited, a government statement seen on Tuesday said.

The ban will extend to all indoor public spaces by the end of 2010, the statement said, adding the government also plans to apply “high tariff levels” on tobacco products next year to cut consumption.

Tobacco products are subject to a tax rate of 45 percent at present. The government statement did not provide details of the planned tax hike.

Annual consumption of tobacco products in the Southeast Asian country was estimated at about $500 million in 2007, state media reported.

Copyright 2009 Reuters News Service.

MK considers bill to bar smoking in vehicles with kids

After Johns Hopkins University researchers have proven that the amount of harmful nicotine in air-conditioned cars with smokers is much higher than in pubs and restaurants that allow smoking, an MK is considering initiating a bill to bar smoking in vehicles with children as passengers.smiking in cars

Israel Beiteinu MK Robert Ilatov, whose colleague MK Yuri Shtern proposed such legislation three weeks before his death from brain cancer in 2007, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday after learning of the Baltimore study that such a bill would be a fitting memorial to Shtern. He asked to read the study, which was published on Tuesday in the journal Tobacco Control.

Health Ministry associate director-general Dr. Boaz Lev said he personally was very much opposed to smoking in cars containing minors, but that he had not discussed the proposal with Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), who decides policy.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem tobacco control lawyer Amos Hausner, who is chairman of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, said that smoking in vehicles should not be allowed altogether, since it risks the lives of the driver and his passengers, both due to the increased chance of road accidents and the damage to health from the toxic substances released in cigarette smoking in such a small space.

Hausner noted that there is a law – too seldom enforced – barring the holding of cellular phones while driving, because this greatly increases the risk of crashes. Two years ago, he recalled, the transport authorities sponsored a month of radio public service ads calling on the public not to smoke in cars for this reason.

The US study on secondhand tobacco smoke concentrations in motor vehicles – by Dr. Patrick Breysse, Dr. Ana Navas-Acien and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – focused on 17 smokers and five nonsmokers who commuted to and from work by car for 30 minutes or longer.

Two passive airborne nicotine samplers were placed in the cars – one at the front passenger seat headrest and one in the back seat behind the driver – for 24-hour periods. Using gas chromatography, the researchers analyzed the 44 samplers gathered and found there was a twofold (1.96) increase in air nicotine concentrations per cigarette smoked, 40 percent to 50% higher than in restaurants and bars that allow smoking.

While laws around the world bar smoking in public indoor places, only a few countries and several American states have barred smoking in cars occupied by children. But in the US alone, involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke accounts for thousands of respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer deaths every year, the authors note. Vehicles are increasingly being shared for car pools, thus more people are being exposed to smoke.

The researchers estimated that nicotine concentrations were twice as strong in smokers’ than in nonsmokers’ cars, and 40% to 50% higher than those in restaurants/bars that permit smoking. Research has shown that children aged between five and 12 who had been passengers in cars with smokers were nearly twice as likely as children who were not exposed to secondhand smoke in vehicles to suffer from persistent asthmatic wheeze. Factors such as vehicle size made a difference in the Baltimore study results, but opening the windows did not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

Of the smokers in the study, 53% said that being unable to smoke in the car would help them to quit smoking altogether, and 93% of smokers agreed that motor vehicles should be smoke-free on a voluntary basis. The researchers conclude that the high nicotine concentrations measured in the air of vehicles in this study “support the urgent need for smoke-free education campaigns and legislative measures banning smoking in motor vehicles when passengers, especially children, are present.”

Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper reported on Monday that children – as young as five years old – in Malawi who are forced to work as tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. They suffer from severe health problems from absorbing daily up to 54 milligrams of nicotine through their skin.

Low-grade, high-nicotine Malawian tobacco is found in the blend of almost every cigarette in the West and is often used as a filler by manufacturers, according to the newspaper. As the number of US tobacco farms declined by 89% between 1954 and 2002, three-quarters of production has migrated to developing countries, with Malawi the world’s fifth biggest producer. It is estimated that more than 78,000 children work on tobacco estates – some up to 12 hours a day.

The children reported common symptoms of green tobacco sickness (GTS) – nicotine poisoning – including severe headaches, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, coughing and breathlessness. GTS is a common hazard of workers coming into contact with tobacco leaves and absorbing nicotine through their skin, especially when harvesting. It is made worse by the humid and wet conditions prevalent in Malawi, as residual moisture on the leaves helps nicotine to be absorbed quicker.

GTS symptoms are worse in children than adults as they have not built up a tolerance to nicotine through smoking and because of their physical size. Animal studies have shown that mice given nicotine during infancy and adolescents suffer from long-lasting changes in brain structure and function.

Copyright © 2009 Jpost