September 2009 - |

Monthly Archives: September 2009

Political Leadership

Strong political leadership in Mexico, with encouragement and support from key tobacco control advocates from NGOs, was fundamental in triggering and sustaining the law. The smoke-free agenda and the final legislation relied on political support at different levels and at all stages of the political and legislative process – from the drafting of the bill through to its introduction, approval and publication, and the drafting of regulations.

Political leadership and support came not only from members of the Legislative Assembly of DF, but from the DF Health Ministry. The DF Secretary for Health, Manuel Mondragón, was a strong advocate and supporter of the law. The DF Ministry and Secretary for Health, working with the DF Administration, quickly published the law, supported the rapid production of the regulations, and provided clear and visible public support for the law, to build compliance with it.

Sr Mondragon’s key actions included ordering all departmental buildings in the city to be smoke-free in advance of the legislation, deploying Ministry budgets to fund promotional materials for campaigns supporting the smoke-free law and leading press conferences to promote the law the day before it came into effect. The Ministry of Health has also played a central role in building compliance with the law.

Many champions for the law in the Legislative Assembly worked to ensure its passage. The Head of the Health Commission presented the law to the Assembly and worked to protect the final bill from modifications that could reduce its effectiveness. Other key members of the Legislative Assembly also adopted a high profile and played an integral role in developing and advancing the law. They led in drafting the legislation, in campaigns, press conferences and media debates, and in generating a political consensus across parties and 12 members. Xiuh Tenorio, in particular, established a high media profile as a “champion” of the law and he worked closely with tobacco advocates in crafting arguments and participating in publicity campaigns.

Ontario files suit against tobacco

TORONTO — The Canadian province of Ontario has become the latest jurisdiction to launch a lawsuit to recover smoking-related health costs from the tobacco industry.

The suit seeks $50 billion Canadian (US$46 billion) from a dozen Canadian firms and their parent companies.

Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley said Tuesday the figure represents their view of the costs of health care related illnesses directly tied to tobacco from 1955 until now.

The claim follows similar actions in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and New Brunswick, as well as in the U.S. and abroad.

Among those named in the suit is Canada’s largest tobacco manufacturer, Imperial Tobacco Co., a wholly owned unit of British American Tobacco of London that sells cigarettes under such well-known brands as du Maurier and Player’s.

Imperial spokesman Eric Gagnon suggested the Ontario government was being hypocritical.

“They’re collecting billions of dollars in taxes, and right now they are turning and suing the tobacco companies,” Gagnon said. “This is a legal product and we do it in the way the government dictates us to do it.”

The lawsuit alleges the companies have long known that cigarettes were addictive, and that active and passive smoking can cause diseases such as lung cancer. It also accuses the companies of conspiring to mislead the public about the dangers, suppressing evidence of the risks, and failing to take proper care to stop adolescents from smoking.

Canada’s most populous province said tobacco-related illnesses cost the health care system more than $1.6 billion Canadian (US$1.48 billion) per year. Tobacco use accounts for the deaths of about 13,000 Ontario residents each year, or 36 deaths per day, and almost 500,000 hospital days annually.

In the U.S., all 50 states have launched legal action to recover the costs of smoking-related illnesses. In 1998, the states agreed to a US$25 billion out-of-court settlement.

Last month, a Los Angeles jury recommended that Philip Morris USA pay US$13.8 million in punitive damages to the daughter of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer.

Atlantic City set to renew battle over casino smoking ban

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – A year after the nation’s second-largest gambling resort scrapped a plan to go totally smoke-free in its 11 casinos, the issue remains as hazy as the cigarette smoke over the blackjack tables.

Atlantic City was set to ban all smoking last October, but backed off when the recession hit, promising to reconsider in a year.

But there’s still no consensus on whether to stick with the current arrangement, which permits smoking on 25 percent of the casino floor, or to try again for a total ban.

“Right now, I don’t see where many minds have changed on council,” said City Council President William “Speedy” Marsh, who plans to poll council members soon on the issue.

Marsh, who has battled health problems over the past year, said he personally favors trying again for a total ban on smoking.

“Every dollar you have in life doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have good health,” he said. “This is a health issue.”

But the casinos continue to oppose a total ban. Already battered by the poor economy and fierce competition from Pennsylvania and New York slots parlors, the gambling halls fear even further revenue declines they say would happen when their smoking customers take their business elsewhere.

“A 100 percent smoking ban would be catastrophic,” said Mark Juliano, CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, whose three Atlantic City casinos are operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. “Right now, we just can’t face another negative.”

So far this year, Atlantic City’s casino revenue is down 15.1 percent, and there are about 400 fewer casino jobs than there were at the start of the year. Since the first of eight slots parlors opened in Pennsylvania, touching off Atlantic City’s downward spiral, the city has lost nearly 8,900 casino jobs.

Atlantic City actually did ban smoking for two weeks last year , but by accident. It approved a ban months in advance, then acted too late to legally prevent it from taking effect.

During the two weeks that all smoking was banned in Atlantic City casinos, several of the gambling halls said their revenue losses doubled.

Councilman G. Bruce Ward said marketing Atlantic City as a smoke-free destination could bring in new customers who now shun the gambling halls.

But Councilman Dennis Mason said Atlantic City would be placing itself at an even greater disadvantage by banning smoking; the Pennsylvania slots parlors allow it on 50 percent of the gambling floor.

“We should go to a 100 percent smoking ban when all the other casinos in neighboring states do it,” he said. “It’s got to be a fair and equal footing in this recession. There’s no other way to go right now.”

The Associated Press

Smoking fee burns businesses

Smokers will have a new incentive to quit starting Thursday, when the cost of a pack of cigarettes in San Francisco increases 20 cents.

Money generated from the new city fee will pay for cleaning up cigarette butts that are illegally discarded on streets and in gutters, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

Smokers already pay an 87-cent state tax for cigarettes. A federal tax increased 62 cents April 1, bringing the total to $1.01. Some packs cost as much as $7 in The City.

Newsom originally proposed a 33-cent fee, but reduced it to 20 cents after a final study found that the cost to clean up butts was lower than expected. The City spends $7.5 million annually on cleanup, a Health Economics Consulting Group study said.

Businesses and residents aren’t pleased with the price increase. Some smokers say the market, not the government, should dictate cigarette prices. Business owners fear that folks will travel outside The City for their packs — or, at least, will stop shopping at their store — due to the added fee.

“It’s no good. We’re going to lose business,” said Ali Mohammed, 26, the manager of New York Tobacco on Grove Street near the Civic Center.

Not only will sales decrease, Mohammed said unwitting customers will blame shopkeepers for the price hike.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously embraced the new fee in July as a way to help The City close one of its largest deficits in history.

Newsom said Tuesday that California is 32nd in the nation in tobacco taxes. The last state tax increase was in 1998, he said.

“The fact is, taxpayers shouldn’t be burdened with the cost of [cleaning up cigarette butts],” Newsom said, adding that the butts account for the most litter on streets and beaches nationwide.

Under state law, San Francisco cannot tax cigarettes, but it can charge a fee to recoup costs incurred by trash cleanup.

Newsom is also considering a new fee on large retailers who sell calorically sweetened beverages such as soda, saying studies show that they cause obesity-related diseases that weigh on city health care costs.
By: Mike Aldax
September 30, 2009

Ryanair Selling Smokeless Cigarettes

Travelers in Europe are allowed to smoke on planes again .. sort of.

That’s because Irish airline Ryanair has started selling smokeless cigarettes on all of its flights throughout Europe and North Africa, according to the New York Daily News . The company said the cigarettes can’t be lit; they deliver the nicotine directly through inhalation.

Packs of 10 cigarettes are being sold to those over 18 years of age for 6 euros (about $8.72). Ryanair said a survey found that 24,000 passengers would still like the option of smoking onboard planes.

Company spokesman Stephen McNamara said in a press release that everybody wins “as these cigarettes are smokeless, they cause no discomfort to other passengers and can ensure a more enjoyable and stress-free flight for all passengers as non-smokers will no longer have to cope with moody smokers in need of nicotine.”

Ryanair has had a number of innovative promotions recently. Last November the airline announced it was selling tickets from Europe to the U.S. for 10 euros, or around $13 . writes that Ryanair often gives tickets away for free, but makes all of its money off of charging fees for the tickets and selling products during its in-flight service.

Smoker Friendly, Daily’s Team Up to Sell Tobacco Products

BOULDER, Colo. – Smoker Friendly International, the chain of more than 600 independently operated tobacco stores based here, signed Daily’s convenience stores chain, based in Nashville, Tenn., as an authorized dealer. Daily’s, operator of 104 c-stores, will co-brand with Smoker Friendly in the tobacco category and be the exclusive retailer for SF/Smoker Friendly private label tobacco products.

Daily’s is the first c-store chain to become a Smoker Friendly authorized dealer. “Daily’s approached us because the tobacco category is so important to them, but with 104 stores, they weren’t really in the position to have their own private-label brand,” Mary Szarmach, vice president of trade marketing, for Smoker Friendly, told CSNews Online. “We created a convenience-driven program for them with all of our private label products.”

The stores will use Smoker Friendly signage inside and on the stores. The chain will have zip code-protected exclusivity to the Smoker Friendly brand.

“We believe this is a great opportunity for both companies to serve tobacco customers in the Nashville and outlying areas with outstanding tobacco and tobacco accessory offerings,” Szarmach said, and added the company is talking to other midsize c-store chains for co-branding similar programs.

By Barbara Grondin Francella
September 29, 2009 Csnews

Will the federal ban on flavored tobacco products do any good?

YES: The Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of candy-, fruit- and clove-flavored cigarettes. The move was through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which President Barack Obama signed in June.

“These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers,” FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg told The New York Times. There has been confusion among distributors about what constitutes a cigarette, and whether flavored cigars or cigarillos were affected by the ban.

The Wall Street Journal reports that although the FDA warned against trying to circumvent the bans by introducing similar products, some flavored cigarette-like cigars are expected to stay on the market while the confusion persists.

The Washington Post said FDA officials hope the ban will “cut down on the number of children and young adults who pick up the smoking habit.” Lawrence Deyton, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco, said, “Children are three times as likely as adults to smoke a flavored cigarette.” An assistant secretary for health, Howard Koh, called tobacco addiction a “public health catastrophe,” and Koh put the cigarette industry on notice that this is just the beginning of a “new chapter in public health efforts at tobacco control.”

| Wayne Parsons,

NO: The Food and Drug Administration’s ban on flavored cigarettes went into effect, criminalizing the sale of smokes with flavors like strawberry and vanilla and banning the sale of clove cigarettes … in an attempt to keep youngsters from smoking.

But nicotine addiction has proven enormously lucrative for state and federal budgets: Smokers, a quarter of whom fall below the poverty line, pay tens of billions of dollars in federal taxes each year. Now, federal and state taxes on cigarettes account for nearly half the cost of a pack of Marlboro reds, $2.50 out of the $5.22 Robbinsdale’s Smoke Shop charges. So why ban flavored cigarettes if it means fewer federal revenues?

Because it doesn’t. In fact, the ban is likely to increase revenues, and not just for the government. Tobacco monolith Philip Morris, the only tobacco corporation to support granting the FDA regulatory authority over the U.S. cigarette market this summer, shrewdly anticipated using the regulations to consolidate its market share and crowd out burgeoning competition … which must now get preliminary approval from the FDA before manufacturing.

Smoke Shop’s Moe Salaymeh explained of the FDA ban, “It will make people switch to more expensive cigarettes because a lot of the flavored cigarettes are cheaper.”

| The Minnesota Daily, editorial

Wayne Parsons,

Tobacco companies sued for $50 billion

TORONTO – The provincial government launched a lawsuit today to recover $50 billion in health care costs from tobacco manufacturers.

“Ontario is taking the next step towards recovering taxpayer dollars spent fighting tobacco-related illnesses,” Attorney General Chris Bentley said in a press release.

“We are joining British Columbia and New Brunswick in initiating a lawsuit to recover health care costs from tobacco companies.”

The lawsuit is based on legislation passed unanimously at Queen’s Park in March that enabled the Ontario government to sue tobacco manufacturers for alleged wrongdoing, recover health care costs and allocate liability among the manufacturers according to market share.

The companies, depending on where they are incorporated, have between 20 and 60 days to file a defence.

The government’s press release notes, though, that while the law clarifies the process, Ontario will still need to prove its claim in court.

Ontario previously tried to sue the tobacco firms in the United States under the RICO anti-racketeering statutes, but the case was dismissed in August 2000.

As recently as 2006, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the province would not try again, saying “it does not serve our purposes.”

That view has changed now and the province says it wants to get back some of the $1.6 billion it spends on tobacco-related health costs.

Smoking is blamed for about 13,000 deaths a year in Ontario.


Council looking at more smoking restrictions

The Baltimore City Council is set to hold hearings today on three pieces of legislation that would further restrict smoking in the city, causing some in the council to predict some heated debates in the coming months.

Council members will hear the pros and cons of a proposed bill to ban the sale of single cigars, one that prohibits flavored cigar and cigarette wrappers and legislation to ban smoking near hospitals.

“Generally, anything we do is focused on reducing cardiovascular disease,” said Interim Health Commissioner Olivia Farrow, whose department supports all three measures.

The bill she is most focused on attempts to put single cigars out of the financial reach of children by requiring manufactures to sell their products in packets of five or more. Some Baltimore stores now sell these cheap cigars for as little as 50 cents a piece, she said. A larger packet will drive up the cost, she said.

The health department already issued regulations requiring sales in packets of five or more. Those rules were set to go into effect on Thursday but the health department agreed to put off enforcing the rules until December to give the tobacco industry more time to comply.

The City Council legislation, introduced by Councilman Robert Curran, adds heft to those rules by providing the health commissioner added powers to temporarily shut down businesses that sell individual cigars and creating a $500 fine for offenders.

“That is the hammer,” Curran said.

Curran previously had introduced a similar bill, but he said that the legislation was “languishing” in the Public Safety and Health Committee chaired by Councilman Bernard “Jack” Young. So Curran made some slight changes and reintroduced it. This time it was sent to the judiciary committee chaired by Councilman James B. Kraft, which he views as a friendlier venue.

Young bristled at any suggestion that he was holding up the anti-smoking legislation, saying he was waiting for a compromise on the issue. He complained that his colleague did an “end run” by orchestrating a move to a friendlier committee. “I didn’t like it,” Young said. “There was nothing I could do about it.”

Also on the docket is a work session for another bill Curran introduced. This one prohibits smoking near hospitals and was introduced at the behest of city hospital directors, Curran said. That bill is still before Young’s Health and Public Safety Committee.

Young opposes the bill, saying that “smokers have rights, too.”

“What is the government going to stop next,” Young asked. “Drinking water?”

Also on the schedule is a hearing for Councilwoman Belinda Conaway’s proposed ban of flavored wrappers for cigars and cigarettes at most stores. The Food and Drug Administration recently banned such wrappers on cigarettes.

Copyright © 2009, Baltimore Sun

Rym cigarettes blaze the market

Algiers- According to distributors of cigarettes, prices of these latter will soon rise and this after the tax increase, which will oblige Rym cigarettesthe national society of tobacco and matches (Snta) to review its calculations.

The Director General of Snta said that the provisions of the Finance Act will have no impact on the revenue of the company, but this will not prevent the latter to revise upward the price of cigarettes, such as “Rym” and “Afras” brands which will be more expensive on the market.

The Director General of the National Society of tobacco and matches (SNTA), the main supplier of the Algerian market, said that his department will begin a full study of this market and in anticipation of higher prices. The latter denied the increased in the price of cigarettes produced by the company indicating the long period during which prices of cigarettes have not changed.

Moreover, according to the DG of Snta, the company took over all the changes that took place on the market and has decided no official increase in prices of cigarettes and other products since 2004. He said the increases that occurred were the result of speculation between different distributors. The company services will decide increases if necessary.

Regarding marketing, the head of Snta said that the law requires from customers to diversify their purchases and this, in order to meet the needs of customers on the market. He believes that the selection of distributors for a specific brand of cigarette causes the stagnation of other brands.

The distributors, according to him do think only about easy and quick gain and the scarcity of a cigarette brand on the market opens the door to illegal traders who take advantage of the opportunity to resort to smuggling.

The company’s production is growing and continues and the state should support production to meet the demand that far exceeds production, he added.

In the same context, the DG of Snta said that the company is making significant profits and contributes to the national economy. The tax increase, according to him does not mean an increase in prices without revision of other conditions. The latter denies that there was a decline in production and profits since the founding of the company and that the increases in the prices of cigarettes have never had any impact on the company, considering the addicted Smoker as special clients.

Ennahar / Moussa Bouna

Cigarette maker Reynolds spun new South Carolina tax to advantage

About a year ago, Reynolds American chief executive Susan Ivey figured federal cigarette taxes would take a big jump just as the economy was shriveling.

The higher cost would mean fewer sales, a squeeze on profits.

In advance of the 62 cent per-pack April 1 tax hike, the largest in history, Ivey led a stepped-up marketing campaign to promote Pall Mall cigarettes, one of Reynolds’ mid-priced offerings. Sales soared for the 110-year-old brand, and Pall Mall’s market share jumped an unprecedented 82 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter. Workers added overtime shifts to keep up with demand.

“That involves, from a leadership perspective, turning challenges into competitive opportunities,” Ivey said. “That requires an organization that isn’t deer-in-headlights freaked out by the changes.”

Tobacco has long faced bigger challenges than most industries because its products are responsible for a lot of illness and death. On top of the recession, it faces more smoking bans, advertising restrictions, growing regulation, higher taxes and fewer smokers.

Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, announced 570 job cuts late last year, about 10 percent of its work force. No factory workers were among those laid off.

Ivey, with 28 years in the industry, has focused on building trust, encouraging flexibility and communication as she guides the company she joined after a merger five years ago. Last year, she began meeting more often with managers so they’d better understand what the company faces and its strategy and can share that with workers. Ivey said she has been very impressed by how receptive employees have been.

“Change is fear,” she said. But, “employees can deal with anything around which there is clarity. Whether you like it … doesn’t matter. If you know what it is, you can deal with it.”

Rewards are key to success, she said. All employees remain eligible for bonuses, and Ivey has not cut pay, as many companies have.

Reynolds has continued work on new products, such as its smokeless, no-spit Camel Snus, little tobacco pouches a user tucks inside the lip. Ivey smokes the company’s Eclipse cigarette, which heats tobacco rather than burning it.

To help keep herself on track, she exercises four times a week. She also derives satisfaction from seeing employees achieve their goals and grow.

“As a leader, your job is to leave the business better off than when you started, to leave people better than you are to run the business,” she said.

Tobacco regulations to be changed

Belmont, Mass. – The Board of Health will hold a public hearing from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5, in Conference Room 4 of the Town Hall, corner of Concord Avenue and Pleasant Street.

Residents are invited to attend the meeting to make comments or to send written comments to the Belmont Health Department, 19 Moore St., Belmont, MA 02478, no later than Friday, October 16. Copies of the draft regulations may be obtained by calling the Health Department at 617-993-2720 and a copy can be mailed to you. They will also be posted on the Health Department’s portion of the town Web site,; click on “Regulations and Draft Regulations” on the left hand side of the home page.

These changes were proposed by Belmont’s tobacco consortium director in response to changes being made in communities around Belmont. Only two small changes were accepted by the Board of Health in regard to the “Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors.” One is that a tobacco sales permit will not be renewed if the permit holder has failed to pay all fines issued. The other is that revocation of a tobacco sales permit will result if a permit holder sells tobacco products while the permit is under suspension.

The Board of Health has been enforcing the State’s smoke-free workplace law since its enactment in July, 2004. In order to make local changes, a new Belmont “Regulation Prohibiting Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places” is now being proposed by the Board of Health. This regulation will prohibit smoking bars and hookah bars in Belmont and will prohibit smoking in “all outdoor seating areas adjacent to food service establishments where food is consumed.” The popularity of outdoor dining in recent years has brought the smoking issue in these areas to the attention of Boards of Health as well as all of the tobacco consortiums around the State.

Residents are encouraged to attend the Board of Health Hearing on Oct. 5 or send comments. If there are any questions, residents can call 617-993-2720, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sep 28, 2009

Blaze at Gallaher’s tobacco factory started accidentally

A blaze that destroyed a three-storey warehouse at the Gallaher cigarette factory in Ballymena is believed to have been started accidentally.

The building held thousands of pounds worth of tobacco and was destroyed by the huge blaze, which broke out at the plant on Sunday evening.

More than 50 firefighters and 10 appliances battled for six hours to bring the fire under control.

Nobody was injured, but the building was gutted and a large amount of tobacco destroyed.

Gallaher, employing about 1,100 people in Ballymena, was founded in 1857 and has been owned by Japan Tobacco since 2007.

A company spokesman confirmed an investigation had been launched.

“The fire service did an excellent job in containing and extinguishing the blaze, and ensuring that the main production facility was not affected,” he said.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley visited the scene yesterday and praised the firefighters.

“This operation on this site is the heart of Ballymena,” Mr Paisley said.

“If you took this employment and the money that comes into the town, you would be bankrupt here. So it’s important the heart of the town was preserved — and it has been.”

Ballymena mayor James Currie said Gallaher’s had been one of the area’s flagship companies.

He said: “It has been one of the area’s main employers and has made a great contribution to the Ballymena economy.”

Appliances were called to the site shortly after 9pm on Sunday with crews working until 3am yesterday.

The area commander of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Peter O’ Reilly, said crews had worked hard to stop the fire spreading to the main factory.

He said: “To contain a fire in a building of this size and age was particularly challenging. The building is old and there was a risk that it could have collapsed.”

29 September 2009

Not enough offensive tobacco images

Tobacco companies are undermining laws for graphic warnings on cigarette packets suggests.

Researchers at Otago University have found the most offensive images for smokers featured less often than those judged less disturbing.

Of more than 1300 cigarette packets, the image of a “corpse with toe-tag” was the most prevalent.

Last year it became mandatory for cigarette packets to be covered with one of the seven graphic health warnings.

This included pictures of rotting teeth, diseased lungs and a cancerous mouth to raise awareness of the health effects of smoking.

But the study found tobacco companies were not following regulations to evenly distribute the seven graphic health warnings.

Manufacturers who breach the regulations can be fined up to $10,000, while retailers can be fined up to $4000.

Researchers bought 168 cigarette packets from Wellington and Wairapapa supermarkets and collected 1208 discarded packets from streets around the country.

Of that total, 25.6 per cent of the purchased packets and 17.8 per cent of the street packets had the “toe-tag” image, considered the least disturbing.

“This image also appears more often on packs sold by all three of the largest tobacco companies in New Zealand,” Professor Janet Hoek said.

The most offensive image – the diseased mouth – was found on 7.1 and 13.8 per cent respectively.

Professor Hoek said that, by reducing the impact of graphic health warnings, tobacco companies were undermining the law and public health policy, which aimed to reduce the serious health impact of smoking.

Karen Evison, the Health Ministry’s national programme manager for tobacco policy and implementation, said there was not enough evidence yet to support a prosecution, but the ministry was monitoring the situation.

Cancer Society spokeswoman Belinda Keenan said graphic health warnings were important as they “de-glamourised” smoking.

British American Tobacco, the biggest player in the tobacco industry with about 76 per cent market share, rejected the claims.

A spokeswoman said the Health Ministry had not raised any concerns with the company.

“British American Tobacco’s graphic health warnings meet all legal requirements,” she said.

Copyright © 29/09/2009 Stuff

Tobacco Tax Proposed to Fund Medicaid

SALT LAKE CITY – More people are turning towards Utah’s Medicaid program at a time when there’s fewer dollars to go around. Since the recession began, the program has seen a 20 percent enrollment increase. The program went from 160,000 participants to 200,000 participants. “What Medicaid does in times like this is it catches those people who can’t get health care coverage on their own anymore,” said Lincoln Nehring, Utah’s Medicaid Policy Director.

A new report by the Utah Health Policy Project made several recommendations as to how the state can not only save money but raise revenue for Medicaid. The report suggests the state work harder at preventing Medicaid fraud, revise the program’s preferred drug list, and increase tobacco taxes from 70 cents per cigarette pack to two dollars per pack.

“If you look long term for the state of Medicaid, a tobacco tax increase will probably serve the program and the health of Utahns well.” says Nehring.

Last year, a similar tax increase failed, but Medicaid advocates believe the state’s current budget deficit will force lawmakers to act.

Top senate leadership responded to the tobacco tax idea. Senator Wayne Neiderhouser says he doesn’t think it will solve Medicaid’s problem in the long term. He would only support a tobacco tax increase if the money went towards Utah’s tobacco trust fund.

Senator Michael Waddoups says the plan would likely have enough votes to pass the senate, but only if the governor approves.

September 28, 2009

Croydon Council criticised for investing money in tobacco firm

The council has been accused of dealing with “traders in death” by investing in tobacco companies.

The attack came from Cllr Maggie Mansell, Labour’s shadow cabinet member for health at Monday’s meeting of the council’s cabinet which backed a new anti-smoking strategy to reduce tobacco consumption across the borough.

The council has around £20m of its pension fund for employees tied up in shares in Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco.

Cllr Mansell said while she supported the strategy itself, she wondered how many people would be puzzled by the investments in the industry.

She said: “The tobacco companies are drug traders, they are traders in death.”

But Cllr Dudley Mead, who chairs the council’s pensions committee, made it plain at the meeting that investments would go on.

He pointed out that in 1995 the then Labour council had refused to invest in tobacco companies and he believed that until the investments were restored by the Conservatives the policy had cost the pension fund £35m.

Cllr Mead said later: “The investments in the tobacco companies have been some of our best performers over the years.

“We have to have sufficient resources in the pension fund to ensure we can pay former employees so the burden does not fall on council taxpayers.”

Cllr Mead added: “What some people don’t realise is that buying shares does not mean the money goes to the companies.

“All we are doing is having a share in the success of the businesses.”

by Ian Austen, September 27, 2009

Connecticut cigarette tax grows this week

MERIDEN, Conn.—On a recent afternoon, Lynn Lombardi stepped out of the Day Spa in Southington for a sidewalk smoke. A Prospect resident, Lombardi was there with her daughter, Jessica, who was to be married the following day. Lombardi was taking a break from getting “gussied up for the big day” to smoke a Newport.

Lombardi’s been a cigarette smoker for 33 years, starting when she was 13. She smokes about a pack a day, usually taking two or three puffs before tossing the cigarette away.

Her habit is about to get even more expensive.

On Thursday, the state tax on cigarettes will increase by a dollar, from $2 to $3 for a pack of 20, or from 10 cents to 15 cents for each cigarette. The increase makes Connecticut second only to Rhode Island, where the state tax is $3.46 per pack.

Connecticut increased the per-pack cigarette tax from 50 cents to $1.11 in 2002, added another 40 cents in 2003 and raised the tax again, to $2 a pack, in 2007.

None of this has kept Lombardi from smoking, and she doesn’t expect the $3-per-pack tax to stop her now.

“It’s not going to affect me,” she said. “I’ll still buy the cigarettes.”

Lombardi tried to quit smoking not too long ago during a hospital stay, with the help of a nicotine patch, but “when I got out, I decided that I did not want to quit smoking.

“I don’t know if I could quit just yet,” she continued. “I’ve been smoking for so long, I don’t know if I could think of myself without a

Across Center Street from the Day Spa, Paul E. Raczynski runs “Fire N Smoke,” a shop that specializes in cigars, other tobacco products and, somewhat incongruously, hot sauce. Cigar sales make up about 95 percent of his business, he said.

On Thursday, the state tax on those tobacco products will increase from 20 percent to 27 percent. The price of the only cigarettes Raczynski sells, American Spirit, will rise from $8 to $9 a pack.

Many cigar enthusiasts smoke just one or two a week, but there are others who puff anywhere from six to a dozen a day, said Raczynski, who was preparing for his second annual party, an all-you-can eat, all-the-beer-you-can-drink Cigar B-Que for an anticipated 70 participants. The entertainer George Burns enjoyed 12 to 15 cigars a day, Raczynski pointed out, “and he lived to be over 100.”

“Probably,” said Raczynski, when he was asked if the tax increase would hurt his sales. “It’s going to hurt the manufacturers, I think, more than it’s going to hurt me.”

The tax increase on tobacco products was part of the overall state budget, the resolution to a standoff between Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Democrat-controlled legislature over closing a projected multibillion-dollar deficit, and there are lawmakers who say they would not have voted to approve it as a standalone bill.

“I think at this point it’s too punitive,” said state Rep. Emil “Buddy” Altobello, D-Meriden.

Though he voted to approve the budget, state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, a Berlin Democrat whose district includes part of Southington, considers the tax regressive because it targets those low on the income scale. “We keep going back to the same area,” he said.

“I think the smokers will tell you that enough is enough,” Aresimowicz said.

He kicked the nicotine habit a few months ago, he said, after 15 years of on-and-off smoking that never reached more than five cigarettes a day. He quit with the help of the medication Chantix. Among the motivations was his work with youth groups and his desire to set an example.

“It always worried me that if they saw me, it wouldn’t be sending the right message,” he said.

Advocates say the tax increase will help deter youngsters from picking up the habit and discourage young smokers because it’s become so expensive.

But there are those who feel it’s not right to tax cigarettes without spending at least some of the money raised on smoking-cessation initiatives.

The hope was that some of the money would go toward programs like nicotine replacement therapy for Medicaid patients, “and that just hasn’t happened,” said Margaret R. LaCroix, a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association of New England.

“I go further and call it immoral and unjust,” said Dr. Patricia Checko, an epidemiologist who is chairwoman of the coalition MATCH, which stands for Mobilize Against Tobacco for Connecticut Health. The coalition includes the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association.

Studies indicate that for every 10 percent tax increase on cigarettes, there’s an overall decrease in consumption of 3 percent to 5 percent, and 6.5 percent among young-adult smokers.

“The group we have the biggest effect on when we raise taxes is youth,” said Checko.

Those heavily addicted, however, will “give up other things just to feed the habit,” she said. “That’s a very serious issue for those on the low-income level.”

The smoking level among those on Medicaid is 45 percent, said Checko.

“The other reason to look at Medicaid clients is that these are the people who will have the greatest health costs down the road,” she said.

Smoking is more prevalent among those on lower education and income levels, “so the people who need it the most have no access,” Checko said.

The coalition is calling for $9 million of the money raised by the tax increase each year – by some estimates, that will be as high as nearly $100 million the first year – to go toward cessation efforts, including $5 million for a statewide telephone quit line.

“We’re very concerned that they might not be funded at all, and this is something that has been shown to work very well,” said Checko, adding that “given the economic times, it’s going to be difficult.”

Difficult economic times called for difficult decisions.

“Did we want to tax cigarette smokers particularly? No,” said House Majority Leader Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden. “Are we happy about that? No.

“We have a budget that funds a lot of things that smokers use, too,” he continued. “The state General Fund does things that smokers use. We fund Medicaid, so to say it doesn’t go to smokers – it does, but not to all smokers.”

The smoking rate among adults in Connecticut is 18 percent, or about 450,000 people, with the rate among high school students at 21 percent, Checko said.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids applauded the state tax increase because it will help keep an estimated 24,000 state youth from turning into addicted smokers. But the state is missing an opportunity by not directing the funds toward Medicaid cessation programs, said Kevin O’Flaherty, director of advocacy for the organization’s northeast region. Funding for Medicaid would be matched by federal dollars, he said.

“They’re leaving something on the table,” he said. “They could get so much more out of it.”

Connecticut, now with the second highest cigarette tax, remains one of just a few states that do not provide Medicaid smoking-cessation coverage, and it ranks low in prevention funding in general. The other states that provide no tobacco prevention services at all under Medicaid are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.

Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, called the tax increase “egregiously regressive.”

“I supported a cigarette tax increase only if some of the revenue would be used for smoking cessation programs, because I believe that forcing people who are addicted to nicotine to pay higher taxes is blatantly unfair and ineffective if we fail to provide help to those in breaking that addiction,” he said.

Connecticut continues to use little of the more than $100 million a year it receives from the settlement with tobacco companies, which Blumenthal signed in 1998, on smoking cessation or prevention.

Connecticut’s tax increase will put the average state tax on cigarettes at $1.34 a pack, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. South Carolina has the lowest state cigarette tax rate, at seven cents a pack.

South Carolina funds smoking-cessation therapies under Medicaid, including the patch and Chantix, though coverage does not include individual or group counseling. Rhode Island, the highest taxing state, provides Medicaid funding for all cessation therapies, including counseling.

South Carolina is also one of just four states not to have raised the tax on cigarettes since 2000. The others are California, Missouri and North Dakota.

Cigarette taxes are discriminatory: Kurush Grant

Discriminatory taxes on cigarettes have not helped reduce the tobacco consumption in the country, says ITC divisional chief executive (tobacco
division) Kurush Grant. In an exclusive chat with ET, he says that the move has only led some consumers moving to smuggled and tax evaded cigarettes:

What are your views on discriminatory taxes on cigarettes vis-a-vis other tobacco products?

Though cigarettes account for less than 15% of the total tobacco consumed in India, it contributes more than 90% of the total tax revenue collected from the tobacco industry. While the intent of the government has been to reduce the aggregate consumption of tobacco, extremely high tax rate on cigarettes has only served to squeezed demand for the cigarette form of tobacco, even as total consumption of tobacco in the country continues to grow.

In fact, it is only tax which makes cigarettes more expensive than bidis and chewing tobacco. Even Ministry of Health, in their publications, has said that increase in taxation on cigarettes leads a section of consumers to move to revenue-inefficient tobacco products, including smuggled and tax evaded cigarettes.

Conversely, when cigarette tax rates are stable and the economy is growing, people upgrade to cigarettes from other revenue inefficient forms of tobacco. This, in turn, helps tax collections as well. Though the tax rates on other forms of tobacco are much lower (compared to cigarettes), tax avoidance is high in that sector.

Apart from disparity in taxation on tobacco products, is the cigarette industry beset with other problems?
While disparity in taxation on tobacco products has always been a cause for concern, it has now led to other alarming consequences. The high arbitrage opportunity in tax avoidance, given the extremely high rates, have led to the trade moving into unscrupulous hands. The markets are today flooded with contraband and tax avoiding illegal cigarettes.

On the one hand, you have cigarettes getting smuggled into India from neighbouring as well as western countries. I am told that these contraband cigarettes have a market share of higher than 20% in some markets like Indore. This apart, the vacuum created by exit of the popular low priced non-filter cigarettes has been occupied by duty-evading regular size filter cigarettes which are sold to consumers at Rs 10 per packet of 10 cigarettes (a rate lower than the tax payable on these cigarettes).

These low-priced illegal cigarettes are a growing threat to the legitimate industry, government revenue, market stability and the social objective of regulating tobacco consumption.

Will imposition of graphic health warnings adversely impact cigarette manufacturers?

Imposition of graphic health warnings on tobacco products has impacted cigarettes more than other tobacco products. But it has given a fillip to the growth of smuggled contraband trade as these cigarette packs do not carry the specified graphic warnings. Legitimate cigarette industry strictly following the graphic health warnings are impacted by such blatant avoidance by the illegal industry.

Q. The severe taxation and regulatory milieu for cigarettes in India remains a cause for concern. Coming close on the heels of the smoking ban
in public places, the cigarette industry was subjected to imposition of pictorial graphic warnings during the quarter. In this backdrop and keeping in mind that the cigarettes business still accounts for nearly 50% of the total earnings, how challenging has marketing of cigarettes become for a company like ITC?

KG: The marketing of cigarettes to existing tobacco consumers has always been a competitively challenging task. Due to the taxation regime and large scale illegal trade taking advantage of it, it becomes even more challenging since the level playing field is an uneven one. However, our robust strategies and attention to quality have seen us in good stead. This has resulted in our strong brands such as Goldflake, Navy Cut, Bristol, Flake, Classic and others receiving constant consumer preference.

Q. What, according to ITC, should be the structure of the proposed goods & service tax (GST) which would benefit both government as well as cigarette manufacturers?

KG: Historically, highly taxed products have a specific rate rather than ad-valorem rates and are ideally taxed at a single point at the factory gates itself. Cigarettes, given the high rates of taxation, merit only a single point central excise duty as it has been proved to be the most efficient way of collecting tax for such a product.

The goods and services tax (GST) is meant to be a tax on value. In cigarettes, more than 90% of the value is created at the manufacturing point itself and should be taxed at a specific rate at that single point, since it is impractical to collect levies from millions of small retailers and convenience shops. For a highly taxed product like cigarettes, where taxes are almost 190% of the ex-factory price, it is best to keep it outside the ambit of the proposed GST.

Cigarettes should continue with single-point, specific central excise levy with a revenue neutral additional excise duty which can be passed on to the states. In fact, a single point specific duty has been recommended by most of the expert tax panels set up to look into the structure of taxation and centre-state share of taxes. The Tobacco Institute of India has made several representations in this regard.

Q. Will implementation of GST impact the movement of smuggled contraband cigarettes which already enjoys an illegal advantage of tax arbitrage? Please elaborate.

KG: It will depend entirely on the manner in which GST is implemented on tobacco. A single point, first point specific excise duty subsuming all other taxes would certainly be the more revenue efficient methodology.

Q. ITC’s marketing and distribution network services some 2 million outlets a day. How is the company planning to expand its distribution reach, especially since the company has been launching a spate of products in the personal care and branded packaged food segment?

KG: The reach of ITC’s distribution network is well known. Any expansion in this reach will always be based on a combination of growth in new channels and requirements of existing and new products.

Higher excise duty on cigarettes mulled by Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry plans to raise excise duty on cigarettes to 76 euro for 1000 cigarettes from January 2010, Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily quoted its own sources on September 28 2009.

If this plan goes ahead, cigarette prices in Bulgaria would increase by an average 30 per cent. Currently, the rate is 52.3 euro for 1000 cigarettes.

One of the most popular brands, Victory, which is currently sold at 3.40 leva a packet, could reach 4.50 leva while Marlboro, currently sold at 3.90 leva, could cost five leva.

The Finance Ministry plans to include the new rates of the cigarette excise duties in the draft bill on the 2010 state budget that will have to be tabled in Parliament by the end of October.

Bulgaria has an agreement with the European Commission to raise the current cigarette excise duty to 64 euro for 1000 cigarettes in 2010, from the current 52.3 euro, which would have been one of the lowest rates in the EU. Now, however, the Finance Ministry is apparently revising its intentions.

“The idea for a higher excise duty comes as a surprise because until a few days ago we were discussing an excise duty of 64 euro,” the state-owned Bulgartabak tabacco company, which holds half the cigarette market in Bulgaria, told Dnevnik.

Dnevnik quoted producers and importers who said that the increased excise duty would stimulate contraband and illegal cigarette production.

Copyright © Sep 28 2009 Sofiaecho

Scotland pushes to ban cigarette displays

Moves to end cigarette displays in shops took a step forward today following a vote in the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs voted in favour of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill today as it completed stage one of the parliamentary process. The bill now returns to the Health and Sport Committee for further scrutiny before a final vote in the Parliament.

The bill’s key proposals include:

* Banning tobacco displays in shops
* Banning cigarette vending machines
* Introducing a registration scheme for retailers
* Fixed penalty notices for retailers who sell cigarettes to under 18s
* Banning orders to prevent retailers selling cigarettes if they continually flout the law

In today’s debate, Public Health Minister Shona Robison told MSPs that ending the display of cigarettes in shops would help reduce child smoking in future generations.

Ms Robison said:

“The toll of smoking on our nation’s health cannot be underestimated. For decades, too many Scots have suffered and died prematurely from smoking-related diseases.

“That’s why, as part of our drive to end this misery, we are doing all we can to stop children from starting to smoke at all.

“Our decisive action will make cigarettes less attractive and less easily available to children and I am pleased that MSPs have given the bill their backing.

“Cigarettes are dangerous – they’re not the type of product to be given pride of place in shops or available from self-service vending machines.

“Stopping future generations from smoking will help us make a huge leap forward in improving Scotland’s health and I believe these proposals help us do just that.”

Dr Laurence Gruer, NHS Health Scotland’s Director of Public Health Science and chairman of the Smoking Prevention Working Group, said:

“The ban on displays of cigarettes behind the counter has my full support. It will close a loophole which has allowed the tobacco industry to continue to advertise its dangerous and addictive products.

“It will play an important part in helping to discourage young people from ever starting to smoke and is another step towards creating a healthier Scotland.”

The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill was published in February.

The bill is expected to complete its passage through the parliament by the beginning of next year. Large retailers will then have until 2011 to implement the display ban while small retailers will have until 2013.

Smoking in public places in Scotland was banned on March 26, 2006. On October 1, 2007, the minimum age for buying cigarettes was raised to 18.

A survey of over 2,000 11-14 year olds in California found that exposure to tobacco marketing in convenience stores increased the chances of a child smoking by up to 50 per cent.

56 million kgs of tobacco sold

CONTRACT sales ended last week bringing the total of tobacco sold this year to above 56 million kilogrammes after 94 selling days.

Contractor’s purchases during the final week were slightly above 700 000 kg which saw the seasonal volumes rise to 56,5 million kg at an average price of US$3,00 per kg.

A total of 44,6 million kg were sold in 2008 after 94 selling days at an average price of US$3,24/kg.

Contract sales accounted for 72 percent of the 2009 crop and the other 28 percent were shared among the three auction floors.

The contract system’s offered better average prices at US$3,05 per kg compared to auction floors average price of US$2,87 per kg.

Clean up sales, which ended on Friday and put a final cap on sales, are likely to increase the seasonal volume close to 57 million kg. Generally the prices were fairly good for the closing week.

In comparison with the previous week significant losses were recorded across all grades mainly those that traded very firmly in week 19 ending the week with an average price of US265 c/kg. Majority grades traded at prices weaker than in the previous week.

Some groups, notably Leaf and Cutters ‘C’ despite the losses still managed to trade above the seasonal average price. The seasonal average price was US$3,00/kg compared to US$3,24/kg during a similar period last year.

The wastage rate for the week decreased to 2,2 percent from around 3 percent in the previous week mainly due to the reduction in bales withdrawn for price considerations that accounted for 1 percent.

Mixed and mouldy bales were the major reasons for rejection each constituting 1 percent.

The seasonal wastage rate was at 6,04 percent compared to 11,55 percent in a corresponding period in 2008.

Defective bales constituted the 4,28 percent with two percent of this being poorly graded tobaccos.

Weekly throughput had 51 tonnes above the previous week at 716 tonnes. However despite higher volumes, the value went down due to lower prices.

Typical of the final sales the quality of offerings declined and majority grades traded weaker, posting an overall loss of US19 cents per kg to close the week at US265 cents per kg.

Haze lingers over 2008 tobacco ban

PEORIA – Almost two years since the state’s ban on indoor smoking in public places took effect, the haze surrounding the enforcement of the law appears to still be lingering.

Some aspects of the Smoke Free Illinois Act are now much more clear than at its inception. Enforcing agencies such as police departments and local public health departments now have citations specific to the ban that can be handed to violators.

And smokers or business owners who want to contest those allegations now know with certainty that they will do so in front of an administrative judge for the Illinois

Department of Public Health, rather than a criminal judge at a county courthouse.

Those much-needed clarifications came thanks to an amendment to the state ban signed into law in early February during Gov. Pat Quinn’s first bill signing after Rod Blagojevich’s impeachment.

“It’s an evolution, and over the last two years we’ve seen quite a lot of progress,” said Greg Chance, administrator of the Peoria City/County Health Department.

But nearly eight months since the amendment became law, it appears very few smoking cases throughout the state have gone before an administrative judge under the new process.

The process itself is difficult to track. Every county health department in the state as well as police have the authority to issue citations, but the Illinois Department of Public Health would know only about contested hearings, which are hosted at the state’s regional health centers.

Only seven hearings have been requested in total, according to the state health department. Two of those requests eventually were withdrawn, and two cases are still pending. Two of the remaining cases resulted in violations being upheld, while the final case was overturned.

The state’s official count, however, does not include at least one other known request for a hearing. That case came out of Mason County, where Rod Atterberry, owner of Happy Our Liquor in Havana, was cited for an alleged violation and requested a hearing. The Mason County Health Department declined to continue with the hearing, saying the person who performed the inspection and issued the citation no longer worked in the state.

No hearings have been held at the state’s regional health department office in Peoria, which covers a 24-county region. The first potential round of hearings for that office were scheduled for early September, and another date has been set aside in mid-November.

Chance said the Peoria City/County Health Department, which is separate from the state’s regional office in Peoria, has not issued a smoking citation since receiving state-supplied forms for the violations at the end of June. The department has, however, fielded complaints and issued warnings to some business owners. The department also has performed some on-site investigations since the ban initially took effect in January 2008.

Obstacles remain

Health departments still face a significant obstacle when it comes to enforcing the law themselves. While they have the right to cite people for smoking violations, health department personnel don’t have the authority to demand a suspected violator’s identification to properly fill out a citation form.

Chance said when the Peoria Health Department has performed on-site investigations in the past, it has been in conjunction with city police.

But many city police departments have adopted an alternative approach to regulate smoking instead of relying on what many in the profession have concluded is a flawed state law.

Police in Peoria, East Peoria and Pekin, prior to the change in the state law, resorted to regulating smoking in bars through their cities’ liquor ordinances.

The departments have relied on back-door, “catch-all” provisions that generally require bar owners and bartenders to report or stop criminal behavior in their establishments.

East Peoria police attempted to use the strategy last year but eventually had a case against a bartender thrown out of court. Pekin police announced their intention to pursue the same strategy this year but have yet to issue a violation. And Peoria police at the beginning of this year cited several bars for allegedly allowing smoking, but the cases have been challenged in court and before the liquor commission and are still pending.

Even that approach to smoking enforcement faces a threat.

The 3rd District Appellate Court in Ottawa earlier this month heard arguments in the appeal of a case out of Joliet that could have bearing on whether local liquor ordinances apply to smoking.

The case under consideration began when police checked two bars for smoking in March 2008 and cited smokers, two of whom eventually were convicted in Will County court.

Peoria attorney Dan O’Day, who has fought the ban on constitutional and technical grounds since its inception, represents the defendants and initially argued in those cases that the Smoke Free Illinois Act contradicted a 1914 Illinois Supreme Court decision that barred a municipality from prohibiting smoking and tobacco possession.

Will County Associate Judge Marzell Richardson in June 2008 upheld the constitutionality of the act and denied O’Day’s other assertions that the ban belonged in administrative hearings rather than before a criminal court. Other judges have since disagreed with that view, and the amendment to the state law made it official.

The Will County decisions, as well as the conviction, are currently under appellate review. Even if the panel of appellate judges doesn’t render a decision on the ban’s constitutionality, decisions in favor of the defendant on the other appeals could more clearly define the violations as noncriminal acts.

“I think that if the appellate court rules (smoking ban violations) are not crimes, then we have a good argument that these are not the type of violations that the (local liquor code) ordinances would apply to,” O’Day said.

There is no deadline for a decision from the 3rd District Appellate Court, although decisions usually are rendered within a few months of arguments.

Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or

Savanna Tobacco Sponsors

PREMIERSHIP side Dynamos are set to lose close to US$1 million from their official sponsors — Savanna Tobacco — if they play in an Oya Challenge, which is bankrolled by a rival tobacco company Blend Value on October 4. DeMbare, who are are sponsored by Savanna Tobacco through their Pacific Storm brand have been hand picked to play against CAPS United in the Oya Challenge.

The new kid on the block is using the derby to promote their brand — Oya.

Savanna Tobacco have threatened to pull the rug on Dynamos if they go aheadand play as the contract forbids them from associating with rival tobacco companies.

DeMbare are set to lose US$370 000 which is expected to go towards the purchase of a luxurious team bus. In addition to this, the Glamour Boys will lose their branded kit and the payment of salaries for the players.

Savanna Tobacco dropped the bombshell on DeMbare, in a letter to Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya on Friday.

Part of the letter reads: “Savanna Tobacco has been sponsoring local football for the past three years and we are at various stages of investing over USD 750 000 into local football. We are sure you are aware of our sponsorship of the following premier league teams this season — Dynamos FC, Highlanders FC, Black Rhinos FC, Eagles FC. This shows our total commitment to football sponsorship for the benefit of our country’s citizens.

“Savanna Tobacco expects a certain minimum level of professionalism from the custodians of football in Zimbabwe. Our sponsorship agreement with Dynamos Football Club precludes their participation in the proposed Oya! Challenge Match.

“As a result, by way of this letter, we would like to inform you that should the report in the press be correct, Savanna Tobacco will have no option but to immediately withdraw all football sponsorship in Zimbabwe.”

Savanna said they were not entirely against the idea after having initially expressing its willingness to play a role after being approached by Zifa.

“We have nothing against the grudge match as communicated by Savanna to the Zifa CEO on the 19th of September and we are fully behind the government efforts to support the Warriors’ cause. However what we do find deplorable is the unprofessional expectation for a sponsored team to participate in an event that would jeopardise its agreement.”

Onias Gweru, the Savanna marketing manager said the participation of Dynamos in the Oya Challenge contravenes their agreement.

Dynamos secretary Stan Kasukuwere last night said the executive would meet in an emergency meeting this morning to digest the letter from the sponsors.

“There has been correspondence between our sponsors Savanna, Zifa and Dynamos. We have called for an emergency meeting tomorrow (today). We are also going to look into the contract with Savanna.

Remember Murerekwa (Tawanda) was part of the executive, who entered into the contract,” Kasukuwere said.

Murerekwa is a former DeMbare secretary.

Geneva’s smoking ban returns after one-year break

GENEVA — A ban on smoking in public places will return to Switzerland’s Geneva canton after being approved in a referendum Sunday, a year after a court ended a first bid to prohibit lighting up.

Geneva’s residents voted 81.77 percent in favour of bringing back the ban, with only 18.3 percent voting against.

A canton-wide smoking ban in public places was originally introduced on July 1, 2008, after the state government used a first referendum as grounds for pushing through the move.

But the Federal Tribunal ruled three months later that the ban should not have been passed by the canton’s lawmakers before the state’s government enacted legislation.

The law therefore had no legal basis, the tribunal found.

Geneva’s smokers were allowed to light up again at the end of September last year in bars and restaurants following the ruling.

A year on, the smoking ban will once again come into force after the canton’s lawmakers passed legislation and had it overwhelmingly approved in Sunday’s referendum.

The new rules allow bar, hotel and restaurant owners to fit out special smoking rooms in their establishments, which the original ban did not.

Supporters of the ban are opposed to this compromise, however, and said Sunday they would appeal to the Federal Tribunal.

A Tory cakewalk goes up in smoke

There can scarcely be an easier pitch to voters than promising to pass laws that could discourage kids from smoking. That’s probably what the Conservatives thought when they promised during last fall’s election to ban the sale of candy-and fruit-flavoured tobacco products. At a news conference, Stephen Harper wagged before the cameras rainbow-coloured packages of cigarillos, infused with flavours like banana split, bubble gum and cherry. “These products are packaged as a candy, and this is totally unacceptable,” the Prime Minister said. “This can’t continue.” A nation of alarmed parents nodded its head in agreement.

But somewhere along the way, the Conservatives’ attempt to make good on their populist promise set off controversies over NAFTA, unemployment and crime so serious that several Tory MPs who initially voted for the law have now withdrawn their unconditional support. Under scrutiny now by a Senate committee, Bill C-32 appears to have turned from a presumed legislative cakewalk — it sailed through all three readings in the House — into a political morass. Ironically, some critics think it is the bureaucrats of Health Canada who are to blame for the delay, and possibly the imperilment of the law.

“In addition to violating a fundamental principle, this legislation could have important negative repercussions,” wrote Quebec MP Maxime Bernier on his blog yesterday, explaining why he now opposes the bill in its current form. “Among which [are] an increase in contraband sales, a violation of our international commercial obligations, and the closing of the Rothmans plant in Quebec City which employs 330 workers.”

Though Mr. Harper had talked only of eliminating tobacco with flavours appealing to children — the bill is called the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act — the language Health Canada’s policy writers used in defining those flavours will also ban, along with sugary-tasting cheroots, many top American and European cigarette brands, including Marlboro, Camel and Gitanes. Those products use American Blend, or burley tobacco, which, due to its coarser taste, is often moderated with small amounts of sweetener. It may be undetectable to the smoker, but under C-32 it’s enough to get a pack of Marlboro Reds lumped in with an Aloha Coco-Banana cigarillo.

The bill has raised much ire in Washington, where several congressmen and senators from tobacco-growing regions have complained that banning U. S. tobacco, while permitting the Canadian variety, is an “unfair assault” on their industry, and may violate international trade agreements, including NAFTA.

“There is no justification to single out American blend cigarettes in the Canadian legislation, as the ban of this product would not achieve a meaningful public health benefit or discourage youth smoking,” North Carolina Congressman G. K. Butterfield wrote in a letter to Canada’s ambassador, Michael Wilson, this week.

Bill C-32 has also become a political embarrassment for the Conservatives in Quebec, and in its primary base there, the Quebec City region. American parent firm Philip Morris had planned to equip its Rothmans Benson and Hedges plant in the city to produce American blend cigarettes for the export market. Company executives warn the new law could lead to the plant’s closure.

“We are at risk, no doubt,” said Daniel Rondou, international

representative for the Baker, Confectioners, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, representing the factory workers. “Philip Morris is not a small company. They have plants all over the world. They will have to do this [manufacturing] somewhere else if they are not authorized to do it here.” His union’s protests over the risk of losing hundreds of jobs prompted the Conservatives’ Quebec caucus this month to recommend to the Senate amendments to spare American cigarettes from Health Canada’s net.

Indeed, if the Conservatives had initially hoped to get the youth-marketed tobacco ban in place in a hurry, Canadian senators are giving C-32 a serious dose of their sober second thought. And at a committee hearing last Thursday, senators heard representatives of retail groups complain that Health Canada neglected to consult them about the bill’s collateral impacts.

“As Canadian citizens and businesses we expect that the Government of Canada will follow a transparent and democratic process in creating legislation,” testified Laurie Karson, executive director of the Frontier Duty Free Association. “Not only was our industry not consulted by Health Canada as the current wording was being developed, but Health Canada has refused our subsequent requests to meet so that we might present and discuss our concerns.” Kenneth Kim, general manager of the Ontario Korean Business Association, warned that a ban on U. S. smokes would “guarantee” retailers would lose “even more money to the illegal cigarette trade, and more of my membership will close their doors permanently.”

This left even the Conservatives’ own senators at a loss. Michel Rivard compared bill C-32 to crushing a fly with a bulldozer. Hugh Segal implored witnesses to try and explain what “Health Canada is up to here,” wondering if some staffer thought the Prime Minister’s plan might present an opportunity to outlaw American cigarettes while they were at it.

Health Canada officials say it wasn’t as covert as anything like that. Rather, it was an insistence to not make exceptions — even while they admitted they did make one for menthol cigarettes, which remain legal under C-32. “The goal of Bill C-32 is to make tobacco products less affordable, less accessible and less appealing to the most vulnerable segment of our population — young people,” wrote Josee Bellemare, press secretary to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq in an email to the National Post yesterday.

Assistant deputy minister Paul Glover conceded before the Senate committee that he realizes additives to American blend cigarettes “are not meant to be a distinguishing flavour.” But, they make bitter tobacco smoother. And “a product that is easier to smoke and less harsh is easier for youth to start.” Any attempt to exempt American cigarettes would create a “loophole,” he argued, through which child-luring tobacco peddlers might slink.

Not everyone’s so sure: The U. S. Congress this summer passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act, C-32’s critics point out. Effective this week, it bans tobacco products marketed explicitly on their added flavour, leaving standard, grown-up cigarettes legal. By all accounts, it’s a widely popular move, probably the sort of easy win Conservatives had hoped to have accomplished by now. Instead, thanks to the broadly worded bill, their reputation as free traders, their support in Quebec and their popularity among some retailers is suddenly at risk. And those fun-flavoured smokes? Still available at a store near you.
Kevin Libin, National Post, September 24, 2009

Tobacco Festival opens with entertainment, food

The Carroll County Tobacco Festival which opened Thursday in downtown Carrollton will continue through tonight.

This year’s theme is “Keep Farm Stories Alive in September 2009.”

The three-day event features carnival rides, food booths, a flea market, entertainment, a 5K run/walk, fireworks, an agritourism tent, firefighters’ bucket brigade, contests and a silent auction.

The featured event is the outhouse race. Various organizations and businesses create outhouses on wheels to race down the streets of Carrollton. The team with the best time and that crosses the finish line first is the winner. The Carrollton Police Department has been a top winner throughout the years of the race and is predicted to be top competitor this year.

For entertainment, festival goers can watch the Splendors of Heaven Band, Wild Horse Band, Elvis Presley impersonator, Indiana Boots & Jeans, No Excuses Band, Dynamite, Whiskey and Wood Band, square dancers, gold cloggers and Young Country.

For the children, the parade will begin at the Cartmell Elementary this afternoon.

The parade travels through the city, so many people can watch and enjoy the floats and antique tractors entered. Inflatables will also be available for children and various carnival rides will keep children’s spirits soaring.

In addition to all the activities, the Tobacco Festival organizers will raffle an Arctic Cat from Paul’s Tire and a Golden Boy .44-caliber rifle.

The all-terrain vehicle was donated by the sponsor of the event. Tickets are $1 each or six tickets for $5.

For more information, visit or call Daisy at (502) 732-8568, Charlotte at (502) 347-5398 or Hazel at (502) 525-0607.

Tobacco policy starting Thursday

Starting Thursday, city employees in Ocean Springs will have to go

tobacco-free while they’re on the clock, under a rule enacted to save on insurance costs.

Ocean Springs was facing a 3 percent increase on its health insurance policy without such a rule, according to Mindy McDowell, human resources manager. That would have amounted to $30,000 per year.

Public buildings in the city are already smoke-free, but the new rule extends that provision to include all forms tobacco and will be in effect wherever an employee is working, inside or out.

McDowell said the city would offer a free tobacco-cessation program to employees that includes doctors visits and a 90-day prescription for appropriate medication. Spouses and children can also qualify for the program, if the employee’s health plan covers them.

“That will save us money in the long run if we can get people to quit,” McDowell said.

Fire Chief Jeff Ponson said that out of 38 employees, he has two or three who smoke and about 15 who chew or dip tobacco.

Firefighters work 24-hour shifts. “They’re just going to have to overcome and wait until they’re off work to do it,” Ponson said.

André L. Kaufman, director of Public Works, estimated that about half of his 48 employees use tobacco. He said that there may be some “adjustment issues” for them in the beginning.

“Well, they realize in some cases that it’s going to be a difficult thing,” Kaufman said. “It’s something that we discussed as a department. It will help hold down the cost of insurance.”

McDowell said that once news of the tobacco ban spread, the city received some “nasty” e-mails from the public accusing it of infringing on people’s rights. But the e-mails were not necessarily from locals.

“The employees have not really griped at all,” McDowell said.

Taxes go up in smoke with latest FDA ban

The Food and Drug Administration has announced a ban on the sale of flavored cigarettes. “These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the FDA.

Well, sure. That’s the whole idea. Let the kids ease into the habit. You can’t expect them to jump right in with unfiltered Pall Malls. Maybe the Greatest Generation did, but kids have more options today. With that in mind, R.J. Reynolds has introduced such flavors as Twista Lime, Kauai Kolada and Warm Winter Toffee.

As regular readers know, I have certain libertarian leanings, and among those leanings is a belief that if a person wants to ingest something harmful, he or she should have the right to do so. That goes for a double cheeseburger, a joint, a chocolate malt, a gin and tonic or a plain old cigarette.

I understand that secondhand smoke is a legitimate health concern, and I believe that a health-conscious consumer should have the right to not patronize an establishment that permits smoking. But I also believe that the decision to permit or not permit smoking should be left to the owner of the establishment.

But you don’t have to have libertarian leanings to wonder about the wisdom of the federal government’s decision to discourage people from smoking.

In the first place, we tax tobacco. That is a tax that nonsmokers do not have to pay. So you would think that nonsmokers would encourage smoking. “Have another one, why don’t you? It looks very cool.” Personally, I like all sin taxes that are levied on sins in which I do not indulge. Thank you, smokers. Thank you, gamblers.

There is something else, too, something more difficult to discuss.

In a strictly economic sense, longevity is not exactly a good thing. Consider Social Security. We’ve all heard the scare stories. The system is headed toward insolvency. Most often, people blame politicians. “What happened to the lockbox? Those scoundrels have spent the money!”

Truth is, Social Security was always meant to be a pay-as-you-go sort of thing. Today’s workers pay today’s retirees with the promise that tomorrow’s workers will step up for them. What went wrong was not any treachery by politicians, but the bugaboo of longevity.

People didn’t used to live much past 65. They’d collect Social Security for a couple of years, and that was it. In 1945, there were 41.9 workers for each beneficiary. Today, the ratio is a little more than 3-to-1.

Not long ago, I got a call from the wife of a man who had retired at 55. He had retired from a union job under the so-called Rule of 80, which states that a person can retire with full benefits when his years of service and age add up to 80. The wife had called in response to something I had written, and she wanted to point out that her husband had played by the rules and it wasn’t fair for me to suggest that the rules now be changed.

She had a point, of course, but still, her husband had worked for 25 years and now expects to continue a middle-class lifestyle for another 25 years without working.

As a society, we can’t afford that.

Yet all sorts of research goes into increasing longevity. Well, fine. That’s human nature. Cure cancer? That’s a great idea. Like knocking out malaria in the Third World. But then what? Let’s not pretend these things won’t have economic repercussions.

Can we afford to be a nation of centenarians who spend 35 years on Social Security and Medicare?

Perhaps some of us can be centenarians, but certainly not all of us. So if you have a group of people who say, “We’ll give up a few years, and we’ll pay extra taxes along the way,” I’d think you’d say, “Let me light that for you.”

But no. We’d rather be scolds. We act disrespectful, rather than grateful, to people who voluntarily shave a few years off their lives by smoking. We treat them like lepers. We’re mean to people who pack on a few extra pounds. We criticize people who like sugared drinks. We try to shame people who like tasty, fatty foods.

You know that will be the next target. Tasty, fatty foods. We won’t stop at smoking.

Don’t kid yourself about health care costs. Sure, people who smoke and eat fatty foods have health problems, but everybody eventually has health problems. You think people who live “right” don’t eventually get sick and die? Maybe it happens at 90 instead of 65, but it still happens.

Now we’re going to do what we can to prevent the next generation of smokers. So more and more people will live into their 90s. And how are we going to replace the tobacco taxes?

We’re intent on getting older, not wiser.
Bill McClellan

Ominous Messages on Cigarette Packs

For some smokers, death-related warnings actually increase cigarettes’ appeal.

In June, President Obama signed a law requiring tobacco companies to post large, graphic warnings on cigarette packs. Current cigarettes packcautionary statements such as “Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema” and “Smoking is dangerous to your health” will gradually be replaced with more ominous assertions, including “Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease,” “Cigarettes cause cancer” and the refreshingly blunt “Smoking can kill you.”

But regulators may want to rethink this ashes-to-ashes theme. New research suggests that, for a certain set of smokers, those allusions to death may actually increase the likelihood they’ll light up.

That’s the conclusion of a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, which questions the effectiveness of anti-smoking campaigns that emphasize mortality threats. The researchers, led by psychologist Jochim Hansen of New York University and the University of Basel, suggest a campaign that dispels the belief smoking makes one cool or attractive could be more effective in getting at least some smokers to quit.

Hansen and his colleagues looked at cigarette pack warnings from the perspective of Terror Management Theory, which was developed in the mid-1980s by psychologists Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon. It contends that our awareness of our own deaths creates the potential for extreme anxiety, which we keep at bay by reaffirming faith in our belief systems (which give our lives a sense of meaning) and maintaining a high level of self-esteem.

Reasonably enough, the researchers assert that for some people, smoking is a facet of their positive self-image. They consider the habit sexy or attractive, or perhaps a proud example of their rebellious spirit.

For those individuals, terror management theory suggests mortality-laced warning labels could be counterproductive. The threat to one’s life would presumably result in an urge to pump up one’s self-esteem — which, for those individuals, could easily mean a renewed commitment to smoking.

To test this concept, the researchers conducted a study of 39 smokers, ranging in age from 17 to 41. Participants filled out a questionnaire designed to measure the degree to which they base their self-esteem on smoking. They then were presented illustrations of a cigarette pack containing a warning message.

Half of them read warnings that spoke of the life-threatening consequences of smoking, such as “Smoking leads to deadly lung cancer.” The other half read warnings that did not involve mortality, such as “Smoking makes you unattractive.”

Following a 15-minute delay in which participants answered questions unrelated to smoking (so that the warning messages would leave their conscious minds), they answered a final set of questions including “Do you enjoy smoking?” “How important is smoking to you?” and “Are you going to smoke a cigarette directly after this study?”

The researchers found that, among those who associated smoking with self-esteem, the death-related warnings actually led to more positive attitudes toward cigarette use. They concluded the smokers clung more tightly to their habit as “a strategy to buffer against existential fears provoked by death-related warning messages.”

On the other hand, for these same people, the non-death-related warnings had a dampening effect on attitudes toward smoking. Warnings that smoking makes one less attractive “may be particularly threatening to people who believe the opposite,” they report.

The researchers admit it is impossible to know what percentage of smokers tie their self-esteem to the health-impairing habit. Thus, for the population at large, “it is difficult to predict whether a death-related or a death-unrelated warning message would be more effective,” they write.

“Yet one could speculate that certain populations base their self-esteem on smoking to a higher degree than others — for instance, young smokers who want to impress their peers,” they add. “If this turns out to be true, a consequence of our findings would be that such populations should be warned against noxious consequences of smoking with death-neutral messages.”

So those unfiltered warnings that are on the way may be counterproductive with the group the government is trying hardest to target: young smokers. Like previous research on the Montana Meth Project, the study is a reminder that death threats will capture people’s attention, but how they impact behavior is a much more complicated question.


Electronic cigarettes make their way to the U.S.

UTICA, New York – A strong majority of Americans want to see electronic cigarettes regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (59%), but nearly half (47%) say the smokeless devices should be an option available to people trying to quit smoking, similar to patches, gum and lozenges currently on the market, and that number increases to 57% among those who have heard about ecigarettes prior to taking the poll.

The Zogby Interactive poll of 4,611adults was conducted August 28-31 and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub groups.

In the hunt for a safer cigarette, electronic cigarettes, often referred to as ecigarettes, are becoming a popular option among those either trying to quit or who are looking to replace standard tobacco smokes with an alternative that manufacturers claim to be safer. Ecigarettes vaporize a solution often containing nicotine, but there is no smoke, just odorless water vapor, and produce almost no dangerous carcinogens.

Almost half of all respondents (48%) say they have heard of electronic cigarettes. About a third of those polled (35%) say that because electronic cigarettes produce no smoke, they should be allowed in places where smoking is currently prohibited, while about half (46%) say they should not.

Men who have heard of ecigarettes are far more likely than women who have heard about them to say they should be an option available to people trying to quit smoking (65% vs. 49%), and only one percent of those polled say they have used an ecigarette, but 16% overall say they would try one if they were given a chance, and 81% say they would not. First GlobalsTM those age 18-29, are the most likely age group to say they would try an ecigarette if given the chance (25%) compared to just 8% of those 65 and older who say the same. Respondents who are single (23%) are almost twice as likely as those who are married (12%) to say they would try it.

Methodology: Zogby International conducted an online survey of 4,611 adults from 8/28/09 thru 8/31/09. A sampling of Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the US, was invited to participate. Slight weights were added region, party, age, race, religion, gender, education to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 1.5 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.