December 2009 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: December 2009

Restaurant Smoking Ban Begins Saturday

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Although it remains to be seen if the smoking ban that goes into effect Saturday will have impact on patrons of restaurants and bars, the Forsyth County Health Department has begun a campaign to encourage more people to eat out.

“Tasty Tuesdays is an opportunity for people to go out and support our local restaurants in the change to the smoke-free law,” said the health department’s Yolanda Miller.

Beginning midnight Jan. 2, smoking will be prohibited in all enclosed areas of all North Carolina restaurants and most bars.

“We’re riding it out to the end,” said Betty Ashby, the owner of Big Shotz Tavern in Clemmons.

Although Ashby doesn’t believe she’ll lose many customers to the new law, the idea of putting up no-smoking signs and removing ashtrays is not something she totally agrees with.

“I still have a little bit of an issue with that, even though I’m a nonsmoker and think people should be able to go to restaurants that don’t allow smoking. I also am not sure I think the legislature should be making these decisions for us,” she said.

North Carolina lawmakers passed the smoking ban earlier this year in large part because the U.S. Surgeon General said there’s scientific evidence that proves any level of second-hand smoke is dangerous.

And Miller points out that is the main issue.

“Being able to eat without my eyes burning, hair smelling like smoke, clothes smelling like smoke. I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

While smoking will be prohibited indoors, patrons can still smoke on outdoor sections of restaurants as long as the area is not enclosed.

The new law also protects specialty industries, like cigar bars, private clubs and country clubs that are nonprofit. Yet all other businesses will need to make the switch.

“I think the flip side of it is, I think we will gain a lot of new guests … those that didn’t like to go somewhere that allows smoke,” said Ashby.

Which is exactly what the Forsyth health department’s promotion is aiming for.

New Push To Ban Smoking In Bars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A local group is pushing to pass laws that will end smoking in bars and dictate where people can smoke outside.

Shelley Courington is with a group called CHART. They’re about to start lobbying state lawmakers to ban smoking in bars. They’re also pushing to keep smokers from lighting up within 25 feet of a building.

“We have to have a healthy safe workforce in Tennessee. We have to make it safe for our workers, no matter what,” said Courington.

There’s obvious resistance to the idea, but CHART claims they have new data from the Institute of Medicine. It shows when you reduce exposure to second hand smoke, you directly reduce your heart attack and stroke rates.

The study also found in states where smoking bans are in effect, heart attack rates dropped 40 percent.

CHART said they are looking to new laws to keep people healthy, especially at a time when state funding for smoking cessation programs has dramatically dropped.

“The fact is we are dead last when it comes to how much we put aside for cessation funding,” said Courtington.

Tennessee used to spend $5 million on stop smoking programs, but because of budget cuts that number is down to $200,000.

The health department said since smoking was banned in Tennessee restaurants a few years ago, the number of smokers in Tennessee has dropped 1 percent.

State lawmakers will start debating the smoking ban issue when they head back into session in January.
By Scott Arnold

Cigarettes required to self-douse by Friday

As of Friday, all cigarettes sold in Texas must be certified Fire Standard Compliant, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, but the New Year’s Day deadline shouldn’t be a surprise for customers or vendors.

The law mandating the new smokes, designed to reduce the amount of time a cigarette continues to burn when it is not being smoked, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry in June 2007.

The law required all cigarettes sold in Texas to be compliant with the new standards by Jan. 1, 2009, but enforcement wasn’t scheduled until Jan. 1, 2010.

The yearlong period was to allow retailers to dispose of or sell existing inventory of noncompliant cigarettes.

Any manufacturer, wholesaler/distributor or retailer who knowingly sells or offers for sale noncompliant cigarettes may be subject to a fine of up to $100 per pack.

Gerald Middleton, owner of Jerry’s Smoke Shop in Abilene, said he still sees people looking for pre-FSC cigarettes from time to time, but stocks vanished long ago.

Middleton said numerous customers have complained about the difference between the old smokes and the new.

“They taste awful — that’s the biggest complaint I get,” he said, adding that the fire safety properties of the new cigarettes formed another common complaint.

“If you want to have a cigarette, the last thing you want it to do is go out four times when you’re smoking it,” he said.

By contrast, Duane Hufstedler, an employee at The Leaf, an Abilene tobacconist, said it is rare for people to complain about the changes made to their favorite brands.

“It’s only been a couple of people who have commented in general about government intrusion or something like that,” he said. “Maybe one has mentioned that they don’t taste as good. But most people have gone on and haven’t really noticed.”

The predominant method of making cigarettes fire safe is to wrap them in two or three thin bands of paper that are less porous than the outer paper tube, according to the Texas Department of Insurance Web site.

The bands act as “speed bumps,” slowing down the burning of a cigarette and causing it to self-extinguish.

Gary Hamner of the Abilene Fire Department said it is difficult to know how much of a difference the new cigarettes have made locally.

“I have no statistics whatsoever to lay claim to the fact that we have had less fires,” he said. “We have had one fatality this year due to smoking, and then we had a pretty bad apartment fire just last week that was attributed to improperly discarded cigarettes.”

But in theory, at least, the changes should help, he said, when it comes to preventing cigarette fires.

Suzanne Starr, education services manager with Hendrick Cancer Center’s learning center, said that if the difference in taste is sufficient, it might serve as an encouragement to some to quit.

“Anything to help people quit,” she said.

Texas is among 49 states where FSC legislation is either in effect or has passed, according to the TDI.

Wyoming filed FSC legislation in 2009, but it has not been passed.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office, which is a part of the Texas Department of Insurance, is responsible for all FSC cigarettes certifications, inspections and enforcement in Texas.

Turkish Cigarette Makers Seek a Legal Ban on Enlarged Graphic Warnings

In July, Turkey banned smoking in public places, becoming just the 7th country throughout Europe to approve anti-smoking policy.
The legislation was highly opposed by both smokers and bar owners, and even led to one death, when a bar owner was killed after he had asked one of the customers to put out his cig.

However, Turkish authorities attempting to consolidate their regulatory authority over tobacco industry obliged local cigarette producers to place graphic and written health warnings on cigarette packs covering more than 60 percent of the area of packs. The ordinance has been expected to become valid on January 1, 2010. However, the local cigarette makers had no intention to give up and comply with the upcoming law.
Mahmud Kadaglu, Chairman of the National Health Committee has declared that major tobacco companies, Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco have agreed to submit a collective suit to the Council of State (the Supreme Court in Turkey) to reduce the obligatory size of the graphic health warnings.

The plaintiffs suggest that the obligation of placing that the requirement of putting graphic images on cigarette packs in an effort to lower smoking rates by showing the severe health complications related to smoking will hurt competitive landscape in the industry. The mandatory size of new warnings is at least 65 percent of the packs, according to the cigarette-makers, what would oblige them to remove the logos of their products from the packages as there would be no space for those logos. The plaintiffs also claim that the latest regulation violates their commercial free speech rights, established by World Trade Organization and ratified by Turkey.

The NHS Chairman said that have invited doctors from all spheres of medicine, to take part in the lawsuit as witnesses. He said that tobacco giants have required a delay in execution of the law as long as the case is pending in the Council of State, and added that the latest legislation is not an infringement of international trade laws, mentioning that they are confident that the Council of State will reject the law suit or rule in favor of National Health Committee.

Mahmud Kadaglu as well declared that the health warnings covering at least 65 percent of the packs do not violate WTO standards, according to which it is permitted to cover at least 50 percent of the packs area.
He said it is inadmissible that the plaintiffs are willing to bereave Turkey of its right to protect the health of its residents whereas other nations successfully implement such policies without any difficulties and obstacles from tobacco companies.
According to numerous studies, placing graphic warnings of health consequences of smoking is an effective strategy and helps reduce smoking rates by approximately 5 percent.
The first hearing regarding the lawsuit would be held next week in Istanbul.

The French Are Lighting Up in Public Again

When France outlawed smoking in public places three years ago, residents took the news remarkably — almost shockingly smoking in public— well. Almost overnight, cigarettes vanished from offices, restaurants, cafés and train stations as the French dutifully took their glowing butts outside — the only place where smoking was still permitted. But this being France, a backlash was almost certainly inevitable. According to a report released on Dec. 17 by an anti-smoking group, the initial obeisance of French smokers has now given way to people increasingly flaunting the law by lighting up indoors.

The Non-Smokers’ Rights (NSR) association says it has collected data and evidence showing that the ban on smoking in the workplace is currently being violated far more than it was when the law came into effect in 2007. Studies show that complaints by people of exposure to second-hand smoke at work, which dropped from nearly 43% in 2006 to just 9% the following year, has now gone back up to 21%, according to NSR. The reason? Widespread government enforcement of the law never materialized as expected, leaving employers and workers less worried about being fined nearly $200 per infraction. Some employees now light up at their desks or by the coffee machine instead of joining their shivering colleagues outside, and many bosses turn a blind eye to it.

“The clear lack of inspection or punishment has inspired a small minority of smokers to ignore the ban — a lead that a growing number of their co-workers are deciding to follow,” says Rémi Parola, a NSR official. “The law was effective in getting people to accept non-smoking as the legal and social norm, and that’s now being slowly eroded.”

And it’s not just happening at work. NSR says non-enforcement is giving defiant smokers the courage to light up in other public areas. Some smokers now routinely puff away in bars or cafés and self-policing owners and managers are often hesitant to tell them to stop out of fear they’ll anger paying clients. Worse still, NSR says, are the enclosed terraces proliferating outside cafes and restaurants across France. The temporary glass or plastic structures were initially set up to keep customers warm so they can enjoy an “outside” café experience in chilly weather. But when smokers were forced outside, these terraces became de facto smoking zones that other patrons now have to cross to get indoors. NSR contends that the smoke also drifts inside — it says it has conducted tests showing that the air in establishments with covered smoking terraces is three times as toxic as in restaurants and cafés without them.

Anecdotal evidence also abounds that French smokers are pushing back in ways that they previously didn’t dare. On some French train lines — all of which are officially non-smoking — smokers frequently take over certain cars, thus far escaping punishment. Butts are also turning up in greater numbers in Paris’ Metro. “I’m not bothering anyone, and if I am, they can go to another part of the platform,” says a man who identified himself only as Adel as he smoked in the Etienne Marcel station recently. “If I see a Metro official, cop or someone who looks like they’ll be a real pain, I won’t light up. But otherwise, why shouldn’t I smoke in the Metro when I want to and can get away with it? Especially because there are far worse smells in here than smoke!”

Down the street from the station, the manager of a plastic-enclosed caféterrace similarly rationalized bending the rules. “This is outside, and it’s the only place where smokers are allowed, so it’s all legal,” says the man, who, perhaps aware that his enclosed smoking terrace is not actually kosher, requested that neither his name nor the name of his establishment be identified. “We have to live together, and this is one compromise to make that happen. Do you see anyone complaining?”

Not yet, perhaps. But one look at the countless smokers bundled up outside offices in Paris suggests that the transgressors are still a relatively rare exception to the rule. If smokers become bolder about lighting up indoors, however, non-smokers may begin demanding greater action from authorities. Even Parola acknowledges that second-hand smoke levels have vastly improved since the ban went into effect, saying his group’s current campaign is only aimed at improving enforcement enough to prevent a gradual return to 2006 habits.

To ensure that the pro-smoking movement doesn’t gain any more ground, authorities may have to do just that. Even though there are costs associated with enforcement, the government will probably still come out ahead —officials estimate that the state spends about $15 billion a year treating smoking-related illnesses. Stamping out a few butts could amount to very little in comparison.

By Bruce Crumley
Paris , Dec. 26, 2009

Bulgarians face cigarette price increases

Cigarette sellers in Bulgaria – legal and illegal – were bracing for increased demand for cigarettes as New Year price increases loom. Already, some foreign brands produced under licence are being sold at higher prices.

A report by bTV said that from the beginning of next year, prices of cigarettes would go up by an average of 40 per cent.

Smokers were not yet stocking up, sales people said.

Following up claims that the increases in excises would stimulate the illicit economy, bTV sent a team with a hidden camera to Sofia’s Zhenski Pazar (Women’s Market) where “literally every step” cigarettes without excise labels were offered to the team.

On December 25, Bulgarian news agency Focus said that some foreign cigarette brands were already being sold at higher prices in some Sofia shops.

Packets of 20 Marlboro were being sold at 4.20 leva, up from 3.90 leva, for example.

Some shops had the same brands with different prices. New stocks had been sent marked at higher prices, retailers said.

Focus quoted the Philip Morris Company as saying that the new prices had been registered with the Finance Ministry, and were “intermediate” prices aimed at a smoother transition to the new prices that would take effect from January 1 2010.

Earlier in December, Dnevnik calculated that popular domestic brands now costing 3.40 leva for a packet of 20 would increase to 4.50 leva.

According to Dnevnik, someone smoking a packet of Victory a day, who under the old prices would have spent 1241 leva a year on the habit, would with the new prices pay 1620, about 30 per cent more.

Alternatively, Dnevnik said, to spend the same sum as in 2009, that smoker should smoke about five fewer cigarettes a day.

The cheapest Bulgarian brands will see the highest price increases. Arda, currently sold for 2.30 leva, will cost 3.76 leva.

Kansas gov to propose tobacco tax increase in 2010

TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Mark Parkinson will propose increasing Kansas’ tobacco taxes next year, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor’s plan is likely to face strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Legislature, although the Senate’s top leader said he’d support the idea.

Parkinson spokeswoman Beth Martino said the governor hasn’t settled on how much of an increase he’ll propose. But she hinted that he’s considering asking legislators to bring Kansas’ cigarette tax up to the national average.

Kansas’ cigarette tax is 79 cents a pack. The national average for states and the District of Columbia is $1.34 a pack, according to the Washington-based group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“He is going to pursue a tobacco tax of some sort,” Martino said. “He is still looking at the options.”

Martino said Parkinson has not decided whether to ask legislators to dedicate the new revenues to health programs, or use it to help the state balance its budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1.

Legislative researchers estimate that increasing the cigarette tax by 55 cents, to $1.34 a pack, would raise about $88 million during the next fiscal year. The state also imposes a 10 percent tax on other tobacco products, but doubling it would raise only $5 million during the next fiscal year.

Parkinson said last week that he’s not planning to propose deeper cuts in spending to avoid a budget deficit for fiscal 2011. The state has had five rounds of cuts and other adjustments to keep the budget balanced for the current fiscal year.

He said he’s considering proposals to eliminate exemptions to the state’s sales tax and eliminate tax breaks granted in previous years. And he didn’t rule out raising some tax rates.

Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, said a cigarette tax increase would have the best chance of any proposal to raise tax rates.

“I would support it,” Morris said. “I think it’s probably the only tax increase that would have the possibility of getting through the Legislature.”

But many GOP legislators, particularly House conservatives, worry any revenue-raising measures will slow the state’s economic recovery and hurt struggling families.

House Taxation Committee Chairman Richard Carlson, a St. Marys Republican, said states typically raise taxes near the end of recessions — only to see revenues boom upon recovery.

“I’m going to be very cautious about looking at tax increases,” Carlson said. “I think Kansas will grow out of this recession. We just need to look at it in the long-term.”

Merchants also worry about losing business to other states. While Colorado and Oklahoma have higher cigarette taxes, Nebraska’s is lower, and Missouri’s, at 17 cents a pack, is second-lowest in the nation, behind only South Carolina.

Public health advocates have long argued that Kansans will support higher tobacco taxes if the money is used for health care programs.

But in 2002, when legislators boosted the cigarette tax from 24 cents, they did it to help close a budget shortfall. When then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius outlined a plan in 2004 to raise tobacco taxes for health care, legislators ignored the proposal for several years.

Japan to Raise Tobacco Tax by 4 Cents a Cigarette

TOKYO – Starting next October, the Japanese will pay 4 cents (3.5 yen) more per cigarette, Bloomberg reports. That’s in addition to the 1.5 yen per cigarette tobacco companies will add. Japan is the world’s fourth-largest cigarette market.

The tax increase is the first in four years and is part of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s plan to decrease smoking in an effort to lower health insurance costs. Japan also faces a tax revenue deficit. The 3.5 yen per cigarette raises a 20-pack of cigarettes 33 percent.

Japan Tobacco could increase prices by more than the tax gain to counter an anticipated fall in smoking rates, said President Hiroshi Kimura. “The government will probably keep increasing the tax and more people will stop smoking,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, a market analyst at Cosmo Securities Co.

The fifth in more than 20 years, the tax increase is the biggest, since the previous tax hikes stayed below 1 yen per cigarette. Cigarettes are fairly inexpensive in Japan, with the price of about a third of the cost in the United Kingdom.

Currently, the smoking rate for Japanese men is just over 36 percent last year, with the health ministry predicting that number to drop to around 27 percent with the tax increase.

Electronic cigarette promoted as ‘safer alternative’

When can a cigarette be legally smoked in a place of business, restaurant, bar or even on a commercial airplane?cigaretes electronic

Anytime would be the answer if the “cigarette” is one of the electronic products now on the market.

The “healthier alternative” by Smart Smoker is similar to a patch or chewing gum, as it provides an alternative nicotine delivery system, that is available in pharmacies to help a person in his quest to stop smoking.

Smart Smoker recently arrived on the Franklin County scene in two locations, including Family Pharmacy and Raven’s Country Store.

While the product contains degrees of nicotine, ranging from high to none, there is no odor or tobacco-related danger from the liquid-based vapor smoke that is emitted when the cigarette is “puffed” or inhaled.

The electronic cigarette kit comes in a menthol or regular tobacco-like taste. It emits a red glow on the end when it is being “puffed.” The end is also gray and resembles ashes, and the filter is brown in color. The only visible difference is that the plastic cigarette has a shiny appearance.

Not only is Smart Smoker an alternative to regular cigarettes, it is also cheaper to use, according to Howard Schapiro, who smoked two to three packs of cigarettes a day before he saw the product on the “Doctor” television program early this year.

“I’ve had two heart attacks, but I just couldn’t not stop smoking. My doctor told me he couldn’t help me anymore me unless I stopped smoking,” he said.

“So I went online and checked it out. When I got to the comments section and asked about it being available in the United States, it (the product) hadn’t reached here yet,” he said.

“So I got in touch with the company in England, and the next thing I knew, I was on an airplane going over to the U.K.,” Schapiro added. “Now, I supply the product to Layman’s Candy and Tobacco Co. in Roanoke. They liked what they saw and took a chance on it.”

“I have stopped smoking cigarettes and now use Smart Smoker,” he said. “But I an still able to use that hand-to-mouth habit developed in smoking.”

The back of the box notes that the product is 100 percent legal to smoke any place, there is no pollution, no tar, 80 percent cheaper than cigarettes with no passive smoke.

“While it’s perfectly legal to use, the final word is up to the business, restaurant or store owner. If he says you can’t use it, then you have to do what he says,” Schapiro explained.

“The liquid smoke I inhale is not harmful, and I get the taste of tobacco. Of course, there was a difference in the taste of what I was smoking and what I got using this product,” he explained. “Like switching brands of cigarettes — it takes a little getting use to.”

The deluxe model contains two batteries (body of cigarette), the atomizer, a wall-model recharger and five cartridges of nicotine — two high, two medium, one low and one none. The deluxe sells for between $55-$60.

One cartridge of nicotine equals about a pack of cigarettes, “once a person gets use to smoking it,” Schapiro said.

Using the various degrees of nicotine from high to low allows the user, if they desire, to wean themselves from their nicotine dependence.

“The smoke is a liquid vapor containing nicotine mixed with either propylene glycol or common glycerin. Both are common food additives,” he said.

Once the five cartridges of the starter kit are used, a five-pack of cartridges can be purchased for about $8, according to Jessica Beckett, manager of Raven’s.

The number of cartridges equals about five packs of cigarettes, equal to paying $2 for a pack of tobacco cigarettes, she added.

Schapiro also noted that if a person takes too many “puffs” of nicotine close together, the light at the end of the cigarette will turn green and shut off for five minutes as a safety measure.

The batteries, like a cell phone, need to be charged after being purchased, Schapiro said. It should be recharged for a full eight hours the first time. Afterwards, the charging time varies from one to three hours. Two batteries are included, so one can be in use while the other is in the charger.

Schapiro said the electronic cigarettes are mostly made in China, but The Smart Smoker Co. Ltd. has the product shipped to the U.K., where changes are made and the product is improved. It has a 60-day guarantee on the electronic parts, and the product is only a 1-percent defect rate once it passes the stringent standards in the U.K, Schapiro added.

Although deemed safe, the company does not sell the produce to anyone under the age of 18.

“We don’t want to attract young people to the product, we want to provide adults with an alternative to tobacco,” Schapiro said.

“It’s very simple to operate,” he explained. “The atomizer screws into the body of the cigarette. Then the cartridge is inserted into the atomizer, and the filter top is placed over the body and covers the cartridge.”

There are only two chemicals used in the Smart Smoker, while there are 4,000 plus in cigarettes, Schapiro continued.

“Smart Smoker is just beginning to break onto the scene in this area. Every time someone sees me ‘smoking’ it, they have nothing but questions. They seem to like what they hear,” he added.

Noting that a carton of cigarettes has reached $40 to $50 a carton, “the Smart Smoker is much, much cheaper and has not been found to be harmful, that alone was enough for me,” Schapiro said. “But I am now off tobacco cigarettes.”

“Smart Smoker is not only the answer for someone who wants to quit, but it is also the answer for owners of restaurants and bars in the state worried about the news laws pertaining to second-hand smoke. The safe, odorless, water vapor isn’t offensive to anyone, and I can smoke after a meal,” Schapiro said.
December 21, 2009
By MORRIS STEPHENSON

SF Officials Back Initiative of Dramatic Cut in the Number of Tobacco Shops

Smokers are sick and tired while business owners are simply devastated hearing the news about shocking offer to reduce tobacco storethe number of authorized tobacco stores throughout San Francisco..

Beginning from 2004, convenience stores seeking to sell tobacco products had to apply for a special license. The procedure of certification was established so that fiscal agencies could track those stores and fine those of them where adolescents were found to purchase tobacco products.

Nevertheless, as anti-smoking organizations state, currently there are too many licensed tobacco vendors in the City, and particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Therefore, they have drafted an ordinance to reduce the number of certified tobacco sellers.

According to the introduced ordinance, there will be a limit of 35 certified retailers in every district, what accounts for 385 stores permitted to sell tobacco in San Francisco. In conformity with the Department of Small Business report, 1,097 shops currently have valid tobacco license, so reducing this number to 385 would hurt 60 percent of current businesses.

The authors of the ordinance suggest that current licenses would not be terminated, but just not renewed after they are expired. Thus, the number of licensed shops would reach the desired limit of 35. Moreover, according to the proposal, the license will be annulled automatically if the shop is sold to other individual.

Many public health groups have already expressed they support to the ordinance, stating that though it could affect businesses and adult smokers, it would be beneficial for children, protecting them from the appeals of tobacco industry.

The bill is currently pending in the local Health Committee, and has not received any support from the Board of Supervisors.

The opponents of the ordinance, mainly business owners argue that it would destroy their businesses and deprive them from their honest livelihood.

For the major part of small stores, tobacco products account for nearly 30 percent of all profits, says Jim Kadagly, chairman of Arab-American Association of store owners. The association has introduced the amended ordinance, which bans new licenses but allows license transfer to new store owners.

Kadagly claimed that in case Board of Supervisors adopted the initial ordinance, it would ruin small stores.

Meantime, Head of the Department of Small Business Angela Brown said that even if the bill is adopted, and there will be no tobacco licenses any more, the Department would elaborate subsidiary programs for the shops to compensate lost profits.

Limiting the number of licenses is the latest step in the war with smoking initiated by San Francisco in the last couple of years.

This summer, San Francisco became the first City across the U.S. to impose a 20-cent tax collected on each cigarette pack in order to clean the city from cigarette-related litter.

Under another ordinance, now pending in one of the Committees, smoking on outside patios and near restaurants, parks and athletic events will also be banned.

Business owner reacts to cigarette smoking ban

CLIO — Its official the governor signs a new bill into law that makes Michigan 1 of 38 states to have a cigarette smoking ban. With some businesses trying to stay afloat in tough economic times many wonder how this will affect their profits.

Friday night’s for many bars rely on good music good drinks and for some good smokes.But the new state smoking ban blows a cloud of smoke on lighting up in public restaurants, bars and workplaces.

Clover Leaf bar owner Richard Smith said although many of his customers smoke, he’s not worried that the ban will hurt business but plans to makes some changes to keep business booming. “I will submit a permit in the next few days. I will have a 20 by 30 patio outside,” said Smith.

Clover Leaf regular and smoker Brad McGinnis says he plans to still frequent the bar despite the ban but he will make some other changes. “Well it’s a bought time to quit anyways, they’re almost $7.00 a pack so you know it will probably just help motivate me to stop smoking actually,” McGinnis said.

While many others may be concerned about their business profits, Mr. Smith says he’s been preparing for weeks towards a smoke free environment. “I talked to some of my patrons about it and they said they would quit smoking if they had to,” said Smith.

And across the state other business prepare for the May 1st deadline. That’s when all ashtrays in restaurants and bars will be banned.

Richard Smith is looking on the bright side on things and actually hoping he’ll have more business because he’ll bring in none smokers.

The ban applies to all public places but exceptions to the law apply to some Detroit casinos, cigar bars, tobacco stores and motor vehicles.

South Dakota inmate group wants tobacco ban lifted

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A group of Native American inmates has filed a federal lawsuit against the South Dakota Department of Corrections, saying a new prison policy that bans the use of tobacco during religious ceremonies is discriminatory.

The Native American Council of Tribes, an organization based at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls, asked the U.S. District Court to prevent the policy from being enforced. Inmate Blaine Brings Plenty, the group’s chairman, said in the complaint that for Native American prayer to be effective, “it must be embodied in ‘tobacco’ and offered within a ceremonial framework.”

The suit filed Dec. 9 lists Warden Doug Weber, Corrections Secretary Timothy Reisch and Attorney General Marty Jackley as defendants.

Corrections spokesman Michael Winder said Dec. 14 that the department does not comment on pending litigation.

The state prison system went tobacco free in 2000 but made an exception for tobacco used in Native American ceremonies. In an Oct. 19 letter announcing the policy change to tribal liaisons, spiritual leaders, pipe carriers and sundancers, Weber said tobacco used during ceremonies was becomingly increasingly abused and inmates have been caught separating it from their pipe and tie mixtures.

“The tobacco is then sold or bartered to other inmates,” Weber wrote. “Sometimes the prison gangs are pressuring the inmates to sell their tobacco instead of using it for spiritual reasons.”

Weber said the change was requested by Native American spiritual leaders who come to state facilities to conduct ceremonies. He said they told prison officials that tobacco is too addictive and is not traditional to Lakota and Dakota ceremonies.

The Council of Tribes said in the lawsuit that the change violates U.S. Constitutional rights ensuring that no prisoner be penalized or discriminated against solely on the basis of Native American religious beliefs or practices.

The council said in its lawsuit that prisons have been reluctant to give Indian inmates the same rights that non-Indians have enjoyed under state law, and “these attitudes still linger.”

In his letter, Weber said prisons will continue to allow the use of other botanicals such as cansas, sage, bitter root, bearberry, lovage, flat cedar and sweet grass.

Other states, including Nevada and New Mexico, have prison smoking bans but allow American Indians to use tobacco during religious ceremonies. In Nevada, state officials have said the inmates could smoke pipes as long as there were no abuses.

Tobacco Firms Await Japan Tax

NEW YORK – In a move that will undoubtedly present significant ramifications for Japan Tobacco Inc., Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco PLC, Japan is preparing to announce its biggest-ever tax increase on cigarettes, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In the $38 billion tobacco market where 40 percent of the male population smokes and a pack of cigarettes costs less than $3.50, the tobacco companies can expect a “shrinking market and falling demand” if prices are raised, according to the WSJ. As a result, any growth is expected to come from seizing market share from rivals.

“We have to grow our share in this country through innovation,” said Naresh Sethi, president of BAT Japan. “We need an iPod of cigarettes.”

Japan’s Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, is expected to triple taxes on cigarettes from one yen to three yen per cigarette. This amounts to a “monumental” increase, as the country has seen workers’ salaries decreasing.

A government official said that an announcement could be made as early as next week and would then have to be passed by Japan’s parliament next year, a move that was described as a “formality.”

“For health reasons, the idea was to raise the tax rate by a greater level, but we had to raise it more gradually,” said a finance-ministry official. “The new administration wants to raise health consciousness.”

Michigan smoking ban challenges free market

As many Michigan residents celebrate the state’s likely new smoking ban in public places, others are wondering why, if it’s such a popular sentiment, it needed to be legislated at all. In a free market — the platform on which the opposition to the smoking ban stood — if consumers demand nonsmoking establishments, that’s what proprietors would provide.

It’s surprising that, in 2009, we’re even still debating issues around smoking cigarettes. This is truly a civilization that treasures its vices.

And certainly those supporting the smoking ban raised most loudly the issue of public health — those unfortunate bystanders inhaling secondhand smoke.

Legislating against personal freedoms in the name of public health, said the fattest state in the union.

Many establishments in Michigan already have gone smoke free, at their personal choice and possibly reflecting the wishes of their patrons. Others have stood their ground as a haven for smokers. Both have a place in a free market, and thank goodness we are all free to make our choices of which establishments we patronize. There was no need to legislate against public smoking — it simply eradicates a nuisance.

But there is a need, a significant need in Michigan right now, not to lose jobs, and that is what many warned a smoking ban would do. John Nothdurft of the Heartland Institute argued last year against a smoking ban in this state, saying, “Many studies have shown that smoking bans have hurt small businesses, especially in the hospitality and gaming industries. In Ohio, for example, the Department of Job and Family Services predicted a 10,000-job gain for the state’s hospitality and leisure industry prior to the ban’s implementation. In reality, during the first 12 months of the smoking ban, the industry lost 5,400 jobs.”

There’s always rhetoric on either side of any debate, but in this case, arguing to ban the use of a legal product in a business that should have the freedom to choose the clientele it caters to is not a strong enough argument to limit a free market and risk job loss.

And aren’t there so many better things our state government should be working on right now?

On the bright side, the businesses excluded from the smoking ban, such as smoking specialty shops, may have an opportunity to expand their businesses and net some of the individuals who want to smoke and socialize.

We don’t advocate smoking or other behaviors that endanger personal health. After all, it’s in these pages that we argue for personal responsibility and wellness to help mitigate exorbitant health care costs.

But a free market reigns supreme and should always be our consistent baseline for any new legislation. After all, if we’re basing the smoking ban on any semblance of public health, guard your soda closely.

And we must point out the irony of further limiting cigarette smoking when Michigan has consistently looked to cigarette taxes to increase state revenues. This radical move likely will help many smokers kick the habit — good for them — but who will be left to tax when all the smokers are gone?

Again, enjoy that soda pop.

All businesses pass tobacco compliance test

For the first time since the city of Savage adopted its tobacco ordinance, all of the 17 licensed tobacco retailers passed compliance checks that were conducted Dec. 9.

“This is nice to see,” said Colleen Johnson, code enforcement officer. “I’m pleased that all the licensed businesses complied (with the tobacco ordinance).”

Police conduct unannounced compliance checks on retailers that sell tobacco at least once a year, per state law. Two stores failed the last tobacco sting conducted by police in February.

When they conduct compliance checks, police send a teenager into the store with valid identification stating that they are under 18 years old, explained Capt. Dave Muelken. If the teen is carded and the sale is refused, the store passes the check. If the teen is sold tobacco, the business is cited for failure to comply with tobacco laws.

This year, for the first time ever, the city sponsored a training seminar in an attempt to educate the employees of retailers that sell tobacco and alcohol products, Muelken said. The training is done in the hope of educating clerks about checking identification, which in turn will lead to zero violations when compliance checks are done.

“There’s no trickery involved in the compliance checks,” Muelken added. “We are looking for compliance, and that’s why we offer training in advance of the checks.”

The new training sessions seemed to work in this case, Muelken said. The employees were observed by an officer scanning the IDs when scanners were available. In all 17 cases the employees looked at the IDs and denied the sale.

Retailers in Savage that are licensed to sell tobacco include: Both BP gas stations, Cub Foods, Rainbow Foods, Neisen’s Sports Bar, Valley Oil, both Walgreens stores, Dan Patch Liquor, Marketplace Liquor, Savage Super USA, all three SuperAmerica stores, Kwik Trip and both Holiday Station stores.

The city has been conducting tobacco compliance checks since 1995. Since then, 35 tobacco ordinance violations have been handed out to licensed tobacco retailers in Savage, Johnson said.

Earlier this year, alcohol compliance checks were done for the first time at the licensed liquor retailers, of which three businesses failed.

Police plan on conducting at least one round of both alcohol and tobacco compliance checks in 2010, Muelken said.
By Shawn Hogendorf
December 17, 2009

Holiday Health Media Manipulation

New Year’s is by far the biggest stop smoking day of the year. Although we expect pharmaceutical industry holiday season creativity in marketing quitting products, this year the University of Wisconsin (UW) is leading the charge. Recipient of millions of dollars in industry funding, it’s payback time and media manipulation is the order of the day.

The opening line of a December 14 press release by the UW’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) reads in part, “smokers trying to quit smoking for the holidays have the best chance for success if they take the nicotine lozenge in combination with either bupropion (a pill) or the nicotine patch.”

It’s the one line GlaxoSmithKline — maker of the Commit nicotine lozenge, Nicoderm nicotine patch, and Zyban (bupropion) — hopes health journalists will seize upon in writing this year’s batch of “how to quit smoking” articles.

The press release briefly reviews a UW-CTRI study published in the December 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine entitled, “Comparative Effectiveness of 5 Smoking Cessation Pharmacotherapies in Primary Care Clinics.” Primary care patients motivated to quit smoking were randomized to one of five quitting product groups while also receiving counseling via a telephone quit line.

The study and press release boast six-month quitting rates of 29.9% in a group that combined use of both the nicotine lozenge and bupropion, 26.9% in a group using both the nicotine lozenge and patch, 19.9% in a group using the nicotine lozenge alone, 17.7% in a group using the patch alone, and 16.8% among those using bupropion alone.

Both UW-CTRI and GlaxoSmithKline also hope health journalists include the press release zinger that, “the clear message here is that combining the lozenge with the nicotine patch or bupropion gives smokers the best chance to quit.” But is it true?

What the UW-CTRI press release does not tell journalists is that neither this study nor its November 2009 clinical companion presents any evidence that any study participant actually broke nicotine’s grip upon their mind and life. None. Imagine pronouncing those using multiple avenues to stimulate brain dopamine pathways as having been most successful, when blood, saliva and urine were not examined to determine if stimulation by quitting products actually ended.

What percentage of this study’s successful quitters remain hooked on nicotine lozenges today? Doesn’t informed consent scream that smokers be told?

What we do know is that a 2003 study found that up to 7% of nicotine gum quitters and 37% of all current gum users remain persistent long-term users for at least 6 months, twice as long as the use period approved by the FDA.

Combination treatment clearly has potential to generate the highest blood serum nicotine levels ever documented in quitting studies. It is highly irresponsible for the University of Wisconsin to strongly advocate combination quitting product use while ignoring evaluation of chronic long-term chemical dependency upon NRT and/or Zyban.

“The clear message here is that combining the lozenge with the nicotine patch or bupropion gives smokers the best chance to quit.” Again, is it true? Were any smokers actually able to arrest their chemical dependency upon nicotine? Additionally, is this “clear message” honest when counseling, and not combination therapy, may account for nearly all of the differences seen?

There is consensus among experts that counseling and support are highly effective at helping smokers quit. Common sense suggests that the more we stimulate the quitter’s dopamine reward pathways, and the more comfortable we make them, the longer and more benefit they are able to receive from ongoing counseling. Obviously, participants have no need for counseling once they relapse to smoking.

The study arranged telephone counseling through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (WTQL). Although told that the percentage of each quitting product group actually speaking with WTQL counselors was similar (a low of 35% for bupropion group, to a high of 46% for the bupropion plus nicotine lozenge group), the study fails to disclose the total amount of counseling time received by each group.

Instead, readers are told that:

“These results showed that there was not a linear increase in abstinence rates with more minutes of counseling but, instead, users with fewer than 90 minutes of counseling (n=316 had an abstinence rate of 19.6% that was nearly the same as the rate for nonusers of the WTQL (n=801; abstinence rate, 19.5%. In contrast, WTQL users who had more than 90 minutes of counseling had a 6-month abstinence rate of 35.8%.”

Shouldn’t the “clear message” from this study have been the value of more than 90 minutes of counseling? In that the UW-CTRI press release does tell readers the actual value of receiving more than 90 minutes of counseling, it appears to be more interested in helping GlaxoSmithKline make money than it is in being honest with smokers.

UW-CTRI wants this study to be known as a “real-world” effectiveness evaluation. Frankly, it has very little to do with how smokers quit under “real-world” conditions. How many “real-world” smokers are randomly assigned to one of five quitting groups, are given free quitting products, are able to afford the purchase of combination quitting products, and receive a telephone call from a telephone quit line? Here in the real world the vast majority of all successful quitters do not engage in weeks or months of nicotine weaning but quit cold turkey.

In stark contrast to UW-CTRI’s artificial manipulation and control, a true “real-world” study was published in the April 2006 edition of Addictive Behaviors. It simply followed Australian primary care smoking patients and reported on their quitting attempts, methods used and outcomes.

quit smoking study

It found that the success rate for cold turkey quitters was twice as high as the rates for those using the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler or Zyban (bupropion). Even more impressive, it found that cold turkey quitters accounted for 1,942 of 2,207 former smokers, a whopping 88% of all success stories.

UW-CTRI refuses to document real patient quitting outcomes of Wisconsin primary care physicians. Why? Because even in Wisconsin cold turkey is king and there would be nothing to sell.

UW-CTRI has already played a key role in redefining “quitting.” By its definition we should totally ignore chemical dependency upon nicotine and instead focus only upon success in ending use of just one form of nicotine delivery, the cigarette.

Now it seeks to redefine “real-world” quitting, in asking us to ignore and hide how real-world quitters actually succeed, and how quitting rates among those using quitting products are almost always lower than rates achieved by those quitting without them.

Amazingly, the University of Wisconsin press release does not alert media to the authors’ pharmaceutical industry financial ties. It should. The study’s financial disclosure states:

“Dr Smith has received research support from Elan Corporation plc. Dr Jorenby has received research support from Pfizer Inc, Sanofi-Synthelabo, and Nabi Biopharmaceuticals and has received consulting fees from Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. Dr Fiore has received honoraria from Pfizer Inc and has served as an investigator on research studies at the University of Wisconsin that were funded by Pfizer Inc, Sanofi- Synthelabo, and Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. In 1998, the University of Wisconsin (UW) appointed Dr Fiore to a named Chair funded by an unrestricted gift to UW from Glaxo Wellcome. Dr Baker has served as an investigator on research projects sponsored by pharmaceutical companies including Sanofi-Synthelabo, Pfizer Inc, and Nabi Biopharmaceuticals.”

Will health reporters eventually awaken to researcher study games and industry marketing tactics? Maybe not. It’s much easier to simply regurgitate a study press release than to look behind its words to the truth beyond.

Bill seeks to prevent tobacco sales to kids

The Iowa Wholesale Distributors Association is part of the Coalition to Stop Contraband Tobacco. The goal of the coalition is to urge Congress to pass the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 (S.1147). The House passed the PACT Act by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. All five of Iowa’s representatives voted for the act.

As distributors of tobacco products, this legislation is important to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors and to ensure a level playing field with respect to tobacco retail sales. Remote sellers – those who most commonly sell tobacco products over the Internet – routinely circumvent tax and age verification laws.

A 2001 study by Forrester Research predicted states could lose as much as $1.4 billion in tobacco revenue in 2005. Industry analysts and the federal government estimate states are now losing as much as $5 billion a year. Further, a 2004 Journal of American Medicine study found that more than 96 percent of minors ages 15 to 16 were able to place an Internet cigarette order in less than 25 minutes, with most being able to complete those orders in seven minutes.

Michigan’s smoking ban set to be enacted in May; what will be the impact?

For quite some time, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in a bar or restaurant have been complementary activities for many people. Bars often have a near-constant haze and aroma of cigarette smoke due to many patrons’ preference for smoking, and everyone in the bar is exposed, whether they like it or not. But this smoking-and-drinking relationship will come to an end on May 1, when a statewide smoking ban takes effect.

Smoking will be prohibited in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, according to legislation passed by the House and Senate on Dec. 10. The “workplace” is defined as any place that serves food or drink and has at least one employee, according to the Detroit Free Press. Other places that will not allow smoking include the following:

• Hookah bars: They can continue to operate if they do not serve food or drink.

• Restaurant patios

• Hotels: All rooms will now be non-smoking.

• Construction sites: Smoking is only allowed if workers are outside.

The Free Press reports people are still allowed to smoke in vehicles, home offices, the gaming floors of the three Detroit casinos, cigar bars and specialty tobacco shops. Michigan is the 38th state to pass some type of smoking ban.

Michigan’s lawmakers have tried to pass a smoking ban in the past, but have always hit some kind of obstacle. A major stumbling block has been negotiating a compromise about smoking in the casinos — a legitimate concern, seeing as how the casinos are a prominent draw for visitors and bring business and traffic into the city. Although smoking will be permitted on the gaming floors, it will not be allowed in casino hotels, restaurants or bars.

Both supporters and opponents of the ban have poignant arguments. Supporters say a smoking ban will encourage more patrons to come to bars and restaurants, if they know they will not be breathing smoke or take its odor on their clothes on the way out. There’s the health factor as well. Smoke can irritate the lungs, throat and eyes, especially if people have breathing ailments or other medical conditions, or simply aren’t used to the environment.

Opponents’ major points of contention are that the ban can hurt businesses and also that it tramples on individual freedoms. If smokers aren’t allowed to light up in bars like they always have been, they’ll stop going, opponents say. Revenues of many bars and similar establishments will fall, further damaging the economy. And while the act of smoking is not illegal, any restrictions on where people can do it are infringements on smokers’ rights, opponents say.

It is very likely that some workplaces will choose to ignore the smoking ban, and if owners are caught, they will face tickets and fines. However, some establishments in other states with smoking bans choose to have smoking “tip jars” or other devices so smokers can continue lighting up and contribute financially to any possible future fines.

The roots of this action come from fears of losing revenue if people are not allowed to smoke in workplaces. There are certainly some places that have an ambiance because of heavy smoking, and have a higher proportion of smokers versus non-smokers in the regular customer base. However, the rates of adults who smoke in the country has been falling, and according to a 2006 CDC report, about 23.7 percent of adults — less than a quarter — in Michigan were smokers.

In addition, I have been to bars and restaurants in other states with smoking bans, including Illinois, and these places definitely do not seem to be lacking business. In Chicago, for example, many bars have a space right outside the door for smokers to step out for a cigarette break and come back in when they’re done. If anything, the smoking ban will make these areas more appealing to non-smokers, and bring in business in that way. Many people avoid bars strictly because they will come out smelling like a cigarette.

What do you think? Will the smoking ban be detrimental to the state’s economic health, or will it create a clean atmosphere that everyone will enjoy?

By Jessica Sipperley, Mlive
December 15, 2009,

Legislators Still Pushing for Tobacco Tax Hike

The year has not come to an end, yet lawmakers are already planning on how to take more of your money during 2010. Legislators in both Utah and Kansas are both looking for ways to fix their overspending problems and mistakenly think the way to do so is through a heavier tax burden. The target is a familiar one: tobacco taxes.

Last year in Kansas a $0.75 per pack increase failed to pass, but the idea still resonates with some legislators as well as Democrat Governor Mark Parkinson. The state already has some of the highest cigarette taxes in the region, currently $0.67 per pack. One study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy estimates 19% of all cigarettes consumed in Kansas are bought from cheaper neighboring states, such as next door Missouri whose rates are $0.17 a pack. Any tax increases will lower the quantity bought in Kansas even further.

The same situation exists in Utah, where a massive $2.30 per pack increase was defeated year. House Speaker Dave Clark was recently quoted stating that of tax increases “all of that is still on the table…for me personally, tobacco is first on the list.” Thankfully, Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s preliminary budget recommendations wisely leave out any tax increases whatsoever.

What tobacco hike backers fail to consider is that a higher tobacco tax falls predominately on lower income individuals. The average smoker has an income just over $36,000, roughly 30 percent less than non-smokers. Any tax hikes in either state would only compound the harm done by the 156% increase at the federal level that was imposed earlier this year. Furthermore, excise tax increases never generate expected revenue, as people simply buy less of the product once it becomes more expensive. Tax hikes are not the solution to these states’ overspending problems; more responsible fiscal policy is.

Entrepreneurs against Tobacco Control Draft Bill

Pamekasan:Cigarette entrepreneurs have refused ratification of the Tobacco Control bill. They said that the bill could kill small cigarette factories and cause the dismissal of workers.
“Currently, with 35 percent duty, many factories are closing. A 65 percent duty will make it worse,” said Secretary of Handmade Cigarette Entrepreneurs Association in Pamekasan, East Java, Heru Budi Paryitno, yesterday.

Nowadays, 150 handmade cigarette factories in Pamekasan employ thousands of workers, most of them female.
If the bill is ratified, the number of those unemployed will increase.

“I consider that this is a made to order bill, created in the name of health,” said Heru.

In the Tobacco Control draft bill, factories are not allowed to promote and advertise their products in the media and have to pay a 65 percent duty. “This amount could only be paid by big factories,” he said.

Limitation on tobacco production could also harm farmers, because tobacco revenuse are greater than other commodities such as rice, corn and ground nuts.
“In Madura, tobacco harvests are considered money harvests,” he said.

Tobacco production in Pamekasan has so far amounted to 20,000 tons in 2009, from 32,000 hectares of land with duty dividends of Rp18 billion per year.

Mohammad Iksan, the owner of cigarette factory Mitra Lima, Malang , said that the bill will cause thousands of people to become unemployed and harm the regional government.

The Malang municipal government, for example, receive Rp17.6 billion. This is a 400 percent increase compared to the 2008 revenue which amounted to Rp4 billion.

The Head of Legal and Organization Bureau of the Health Department Budi Sampurna said that although it is too late for the government to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), it will control tobacco with this bill.“Even though it (the FCTC) is still not ratified, we still have the Tobacco Control bill which is already included in the national legislation program,” said Budi in Bandung yesterday.
The Tobacco Control bill adopts important articles in FCTC.

The Deputy Head of Commission IX of the House of Representatives Irgan Chairul Mahfiz said that they await the decision of the Legislative Bureau (Baleg) concerning the Tobacco Control bill ratification. “We already proposed to Baleg that we wait for 2010,” Irgan told Tempo

Irgan assured that the bill would not hurt tobacco farmers. “We will invite tobacco farmers and others related to this business to come to the House of Representatives to discuss the bill,” he said.

Climate change influences quality, productivity of tobacco

Tobacco farmers in East Java province have complained about the change in climate, saying they want to increase the productivity and quality of their harvest.

Association of Indonesian Tobacco Farmers’ (APTI) East Java branch chairman Amin Subarkah said in Probolinggo last week that the unpredictable change in weather over the last few years confused farmers.

“Tobacco plants are sensitive to climate change, especially rainfall,” Amin said.

Global warming, he added, had shortened the cycle of the drought to between two and three years, making it difficult for farmers to predict the beginning of the dry and rainy season. This often led them to plant tobacco at the wrong time.

“Normally by the end of April to the end of May, farmers finish planting tobacco. Because of the unpredictable weather, however, even up to July farmers have not finished planting,” Amin said.

Tobacco farmers in Jember have also experienced the same thing. Deputy chairman of the Jember Commission for Tobacco Affairs (KUTJ), Abdul Kahar Muzakkir, said unpredictable weather had often caused bad harvest and poor-quality seedlings for the next planting season.

“What occurred in April is an example,” he said. “Farmers predicted the dry season, but then it rained later that month and about 50 percent of their tobacco plantations were damaged.”

He said that many farmers suffered financial loss as a result.

Abdul also said that climate change had caused the emergence of new plant diseases and pests, adding more burden.

Amin further said that unpredictable temperatures decreased the quality of tobacco produced by farmers in the region.

In terms of productivity, he said, the condition was concerning. This year, for example, a hectare of plantation yielded an average of 1.2 tons of tobacco and only 900 kilograms in October, compared to 1.5 tons per hectare in 2008.

APTI has over 2,000 member farmers across the province. They are spread over 20 regencies.

However, only a few in many regions have reportedly succeeded in maintaining productivity.

Among them are farmers in Sumenep and Pamekasan regencies on Madura Island, two of East Java’s biggest tobacco production centers. Other production centers include Jember, Probolinggo and Bondowoso regencies. The total tobacco plantation area in the province is 110,000 hectares.

Tobacco researcher Josi Ali Arifandi from Jember State University’s School of Agriculture confirmed the negative impacts of climate change on tobacco productivity, saying that the temperature increased to a 37 degrees Celsius average this year from 31 degrees last year.

“This affects the quality of tobacco leaves, making them narrower, thicker and less smooth due to disease or pests,” Josi said.

He added that the market presently preferred thin tobacco leaves, especially due to the small-sized cigarette product trend.

Pa. cuts funding for tobacco prevention programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pennsylvania has cut state funding for tobacco prevention programs by 45 percent in the past year, dropping from 26th to 34th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released Dec. 9 by a coalition of public health organizations.

Pennsylvania spends $19.0 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including $17.7 million in state funds and the rest from a federal grant. This total is just 12.2 percent of the $155.5 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Last year, Pennsylvania ranked 26th, spending $33.2 million on tobacco prevention.

Other key findings for Pennsylvania include:

• In the past year, Pennsylvania has cut state funding for its tobacco prevention program by 45 percent, from $32.1 million to $17.7 million. This is one of the largest cuts of any state.

• Pennsylvania this year will collect $1.43 billion from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.3 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.

• The tobacco companies spend $533.9 million a year to market their products in Pennsylvania. This is 28 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs, “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Pennsylvania has taken a big step backward this year and is one of the most disappointing states when it comes to funding programs to protect kids from tobacco,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Pennsylvania’s leaders need to step up the fight against tobacco by increasing the tobacco tax and restoring funding for tobacco prevention. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that reduces smoking, saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs.”

In Pennsylvania, 17.5 percent of high school students smoke, and 16,100 more kids become regular smokers every year. Each year, tobacco claims 20,000 lives and costs the state $5.2 billion in health care bills.

Eleven years after the 1998 state tobacco settlement, the new report finds that the states this year are collecting record amounts of revenue from the tobacco industry, but are spending less of it on tobacco prevention.

Key national findings of the report include:

• The states this year will collect $25.1 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 2.3 percent of it — $567.5 million — on tobacco prevention programs. It would take less than 15 percent of their tobacco revenue to fund tobacco prevention programs in every state at CDC-recommended levels.

• In the past year, states have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent, or $103.4 million.

• Only one state — North Dakota — currently funds a tobacco prevention program at the CDC-recommended level.

• Only nine other states fund prevention programs at even half the CDC-recommended amount, while 31 states and DC are providing less than a quarter of the recommended funding.

The report warns that the nation’s progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

The United States has significantly reduced smoking among both youth and adults, but the CDC’s most recent survey showed that smoking declines among adults have stalled.

Currently 20 percent of high school students and 20.6 percent of adults smoke. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. Every day, another 1,000 kids become regular smokers — one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.

Smoking decline among U.S. teens, smokeless tobacco threatens a comeback

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Teen smoking reached its recent peak levels around 1996 and 1997, followed by a sharp decline for about six years and a continued more gradual decline ever since, according to the latest Monitoring the Future study of the nation’s young people.

“Over the past two years we have seen the smoking rates among young people continue to decline only very gradually, at rates much slower than were occurring previously,” said University of Michigan researcher Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future study. “The proportions of students seeing a great risk associated with being a smoker has leveled off in the past several years, as has the proportion of teens who say they disapprove of smoking.”

Monitoring the Future has been conducting annual, nationwide surveys of U.S. teens in school for the past 35 years. The 2009 survey included a total of 46,097 students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades in 389 secondary schools.

The research is conducted by a team of research professors at the U-M Institute for Social Research, which in addition to Johnston includes Patrick O’Malley, Jerald Bachman and John Schulenberg. The National Institute on Drug Abuse supports this investigator-initiated study through a series of competitive research grants.

“While great strides have been made in reducing youth smoking in this country, there is still plenty of room for improvement,” Johnston said. “Among high school seniors in the Class of 2009, 20 percent have smoked in the most recent month and one in nine (11 percent) is a current daily smoker. Further, our follow-up studies have shown that a number of the lighter smokers in high school will convert to heavy smoking after leaving high school. Given what we know about the consequences of smoking, this is still an unacceptable level of involvement.”

To illustrate the progress that has occurred, among 8th-graders (13- and 14-year-olds), the proportion saying that they smoked any cigarettes in the month prior to the survey has dropped by two-thirds (from 21 percent in 1996, the peak year, to 7 percent by 2009). Among 10th- graders, the decline over the same 13-year interval was more than one-half (down from 30 percent to 13 percent); among 12th-graders, whose smoking rate reached a recent peak in 1997, there has been a decline of almost one-half (down from 37 percent in 1997 to 20 percent by 2009). Daily smoking has declined by even larger proportions.

One reason smoking has declined so sharply is that the proportion of students ever trying smoking has fallen dramatically. While 49 percent of 8th-graders in 1996 had tried cigarettes, “only” 20 percent of the 8th-graders in 2009 indicated having ever done so, a 60 percent-decline in smoking initiation over the past 13 years.

“These are very substantial improvements in the situation and they have enormous implications for the health and longevity of this newest generation of young Americans,” Johnston said.

But the improvement has been continuing at a much slower rate. Over the past two years , the prevalence of smoking in the 30 days prior to the survey has fallen by just 0.6, 0.9 and 1.5 percentage points among 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders, respectively.

This reduced rate of improvement, plus the fact that the rises in perceived risk and disapproval of smoking have leveled off, leaves Johnston less optimistic about future gains.

“Future progress, if it occurs, is likely to be due to changes in the external environment—policy changes such as increasing cigarette taxes, further limiting where smoking is permitted, broad-based prevention campaigns, and making quit-smoking programs more available,” Johnston said.

The perceived availability of cigarettes to under-age buyers, as measured by the percent of students who say they could buy cigarettes “fairly easily” or “very easily” if they wanted some, has declined substantially since 1996 among 8th- and 10th-graders (12th-graders are not asked the question).

The 8th-graders showed the sharpest decline—from 77 percent in 1996 to 56 percent in 2007—about where it remained in 2009. Perceived availability leveled among 10th-graders in 2009, having fallen from 91 percent in 1996 to 76 percent by 2009. Although availability has decreased, the investigators note that the majority of these students in their early to mid-teens still report that they could easily get cigarettes.

A number of attitudes toward smoking and smokers changed in important ways during the period of decline in cigarette use. These changes included increases in preferring to date nonsmokers, strongly disliking being around people who are smoking, thinking that becoming a smoker reflects poor judgment, and believing that smoking is a dirty habit. All of these negative attitudes about smoking and smokers rose to high levels by 2007, but have shown little change since then.

One attitude widely held by young people today may be of particular salience to those considering smoking. In 2009, 81 percent of 8th-graders, 80 percent of 10th-graders, and 75 percent of 12th-graders said that they “would prefer to date people who don’t smoke.”

It is clear that any young person today who becomes a smoker will pay an important social price for that choice by becoming less attractive to the great majority of the opposite sex.

“This fact provides what we believe could be a very strong prevention message,” Johnston said.

Smokeless Tobacco

The use of smokeless tobacco (which includes snuff, plug, dipping tobacco, chewing tobacco and more recently “snus”) is assessed in all three grades. From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, there was a substantial decline in use, with monthly prevalence falling by one-third to one-half, but the declines have not continued.

In fact, there have been significant increases occurring over the past three-to-four years in 10th and 12th grades (with still little change in 8th grade). While so far modest in size, these changes suggest an upward trajectory in use. Thirty-day prevalence of smokeless tobacco use in 2009 is 3.7 percent, 6.5 percent and 8.4 percent among 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders, respectively.

Perceived risk of regular use appears to have played an important role in the decline phase in smokeless tobacco use, as was true for cigarettes. In all three grades, perceived risk rose fairly steadily from 1995 through 2004 before leveling. In 2009, all three grades showed some decline in perceived risk (significant in 10th grade), consistent with the increase in use.

Kreteks and Bidis

Kreteks are clove-flavored cigarettes from Indonesia, and at the beginning of this decade there was concern that they could become popular among American youth. However, the annual prevalence of kretek use was not very high in the first year of measurement (2001). After that, use declined by roughly half in 8th and 10th grades by 2005, before the question was dropped from the 8th- and 10th-grade questionnaires.

Among 12th-graders, annual prevalence declined steadily from 2001 to 2004, before leveling at around 6-7 percent. In 2009 there was a further drop, bringing annual prevalence for kreteks down to 5.5 percent—reflecting a decline of almost half from the level of use as first measured in 2001. The investigators conclude that kretek use was a short-term fad that simply did not catch on with mainstream youth.

Bidis are small, flavored cigarettes imported from India, and again there was early concern that they might find favor among youth. A question on their use was added in 2000, and again their annual prevalence was fairly low, at 3.9 percent, 6.4 percent and 9.2 percent for 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders, respectively. The rates of use fell fairly sharply thereafter, with the result that the annual prevalence rates in 2005 were less than 2 percent among 8th- and 10th-graders, at which point the question was dropped for them. Among 12th-graders, a further decline of more than one-half has been observed since 2005. Use was 1.5 percent in 2009—down by 84 percent from the peak level in 2000. Here again, a threat seems to have been contained and is diminishing steadily.

Using new regulatory authority granted under federal legislation, the Food and Drug Administration in September 2009 banned the sale of flavored cigarettes (with the exception of menthol-flavored cigarettes). Thus, the already low-use of kreteks and bidis is likely to decline even further, the investigators say.

“One of the purposes of the Monitoring the Future study is to assess potential new threats to our youth population and fortunately in these two cases the threats never really materialized,” Johnston said. “Two of the latest developments to raise concern in this sphere, however, are the smoking of tobacco in the form of small cigars and also by using hookah water pipes. Questions about these behaviors will be included in the 2010 survey.”

Monitoring the Future has been funded under a series of competing, investigator-initiated research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to Johnston, the lead investigators are Patrick O’Malley, Jerald Bachman and John Schulenberg—all research professors at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Surveys of nationally representative samples of American high school seniors were begun in 1975, making the class of 2009 the 35th such class surveyed. Surveys of 8th- and 10th-graders were added to the design in 1991, making the 2009 nationally representative samples the 19th such classes surveyed. The sample sizes in 2009 are 15,509 8th-graders in 145 schools; 16,320 10th-graders in 119 schools; and 14,268 12th-graders in 125 schools, for a total of 46,097 students in 389 secondary schools. The samples are drawn separately at each grade level to be representative of students in that grade in public and private secondary schools across the coterminous United States. Schools are selected with probability proportionate to their estimated class size.

The findings summarized here will be published in the forthcoming volume: Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2010). Monitoring the Future national results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2009 (NIH Publication No. [yet to be assigned]). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The content presented here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.

By Joe Serwach
Phone: (734) 647-1844

State regulation helped private clubs increase membership among smokers

State lawmakers did some midstate private clubs a favor by passing an indoor smoking ban 16 months ago.

Managers and officers of several clubs said membership climbed or held steady as a result of their exemption from the ban that affects restaurants and other public places.

Fox-Eichelberger VFW Post in New Cumberland has seen a membership increase in the past year, “and we think it could be related to that,” manager Harry Young said.

“Several other clubs in the area have gone nonsmoking, and people have transferred out to come to a smoking facility,” Young said.

Jonas Hair, president of der Harrisburg Maennerchor in Harrisburg, said, “There are definitely those who enjoy the club because they can smoke there still.”

The Lawnton American Legion figures its membership grew about 10 percent because of the ban, manager Terry Barkley said. Although the Legion benefited financially, Barkley said, he considers the law unfair because he said it treats restaurants, bars and clubs unequally.

“It’s unfair to the people out there in moms-and-pops with big mortgages on their bars if they can’t have smoking. It should be across the board. But I think it will come to that eventually,” Barkley said.

Some clubs, including the Elks BPO West Shore Lodge in Hampden Twp., reported no effect on their membership.
December 14, 2009
BY JAN MURPHY, Pennlive

NJ Senate Okays Restrictions for E-Cigarettes

TRENTON, N.J. – Late last week, the New Jersey Senate voted unanimously to apply a portion of the New Jersey Free Air Act to regulate electronic smoking devices, NJ Today reports.

The measure would enlarge its smoking definition to encompass e-cigarettes. Under the bill, smoking would be classified as burning or inhaling tobacco or any other matter that could be inhaled or smoked, or the inhaling of smoke or vapor from an e-cigarette. Also, the smoking ban for minors would extend to use of electronic smoking devices.

“When a user puffs on an e-cigarette, which is a stainless steel tube designed to look like a real cigarette, they inhale a vaporized solution that usually contains nicotine,” said state Sen. Bob Gordon. “The liquid often contains flavoring, such as chocolate or cherry. It seems obvious the people who make these devices are trying to make them attractive to younger people.”

The act already outlaws smoking of cigars, cigarettes, pipes or other matter or substance with tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked in any indoor public place and workplace. “Our bill would update the current law to define an electronic smoking device to mean an electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, or pipe,” said Gordon.

Across the country, the battle to regulate e-cigarettes continues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have found electronic smoking devices to have carcinogens. A recent lawsuit by electronic cigarette distributors challenges the agency’s authority to regulate the products.

Grace period for tobacco sellers

Sellers of cigarettes and other tobacco products are likely to be given a 10–month grace period to stock up on packaging with required health warnings and display signage, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

The new Tobacco Law comes into force on 31 December, banning smoking in public places, bars and offices.

Under the new law, cigarettes must carry large graphic health warnings and signage outlining the dangers of smoking must be erected at points of sale in stores and outlet.

Minister Mark Scotland said the ministry had initially envisioned a timeframe of 1 May next year for tobacco dealers to fully comply with display and packaging requirements and for cigar bars to install required ventilation systems, but was aware that they may have difficulty meeting this deadline.

“Accordingly, the ministry is proposing to allow the registered tobacco dealers a period up to the end of October 2010 to take the necessary steps to become fully compliant with the display and packaging provisions, and similarly for the cigar bars to be fully compliant with the ventilation requirements,” Mr. Scotland said.

He stressed that there was no plan to postpone the ban on smoking in public places.

The proposal is for the tobacco dealers and cigar bars to comply with the initial registration deadline of 1 May, 2010, but they would not be expected to be fully compliant with the display and packaging requirements at the time of initial registration, the minister added.

Under the new law passed by the Legislative Assembly in October, anyone selling tobacco products needs to apply for a Certificate of Registration. Submission for renewal of applications must be made by 1 November each year.

Mr. Scotland said once dealers register, they can use the first 10 months of next year to sell off their existing non–compliant packages, and to make the necessary changes to their display areas, prior to their registration renewal submission at the end of October 2010.

Michigan cigarette law fires up critics

A new state law aimed at making cigarettes less of a fire hazard is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many Metro Detroit smokers.

The law, effective Jan. 1, requires all cigarettes sold in Michigan to be engineered to automatically extinguish when left unattended. Most cigarette companies are using a method that involves adding two or three bands of special paper in cigarettes’ paper wrap.

As the lit end crosses over the bands, they lower the flow of oxygen through the paper to the tobacco and slow down the cigarette’s rate of burn. If left unattended, the cigarettes will put themselves out.

The law is intended to reduce the number of cigarette-ignited fires. Gov. Jennifer Granholm approved it in June, making Michigan the 49th state in the country to pass fire-safe cigarette legislation.

But some local smokers are going out of their way to avoid the new safer cigarettes, even scouting from store to store for the old version.

It’s meant daily earfuls of grousing for retailers like Joe Odisho.

“I’ve had people come in ask if I have a brand without (the fire-safe cigarettes) and then turn around and walk out when I tell them ‘no,'” said Odisho, who owns Smokers’ Planet, a cigarette, cigar and tobacco store on Gratiot Avenue at 13 Mile in Roseville.

Smoker Ashley May isn’t impressed by the fire-safe smokes.

“I don’t like them,” the 22-year-old from Roseville said after a drag from a Kool. “You have to constantly puff on them every 30 seconds or else they’re going out. And then when you try to re-light them, they taste horrible.”

Her husband, Ed May, 29, also of Roseville, is of the same mind. “I hate them,” he said as smoked his Marlboro Medium.

Fires started by smoking products are the second leading cause of home fire-related deaths and injuries in the country.

Fires ignited by cigarettes claimed 780 lives in the United States in 2006, according to the Massachussetts-based National Fire Protection Association. Smoking-material fires also injured 1,600 and destroyed $606 million in property, the association estimates.

Closer to home, fires caused by smoking-related materials in Michigan killed four people last year, but they injured 33 — including seven firefighters, according to the state’s Bureau of Fire Services. The state recorded a total of 319 fires started by cigarettes, which resulted in more than $8.4 million in destroyed property.

The new cigarettes aren’t a silver bullet for fires started by smoking materials, but they will go a long way towards lowering the numbers of deaths and injuries caused by them, said Ronald Farr, Michigan’s Fire Marshal and an early proponent of the law.

“It’s a life-safety issue,” he said. “That’s the single biggest point for them.”

Under the new law, cigarette manufacturers that want to sell their products in Michigan have to register them with the state’s Bureau of Fire Services. They also must certify their cigarettes were made with the self-extinguishing technology.

The law focuses on cigarettes instead of other tobacco products because they are the most common smoking material behind fires, Farr said.

The state will charge cigarette makers a $1,250 fee to register each family brand of their products they want sold in Michigan. The companies will also have to recertify their products every three years.

The packaging for cigarettes must carry a special mark on them — FSC for Fire Standard Complaint — as well.

Any manufacturer, distributor or retailer who continues to sell unsafe cigarettes after Jan. 1 faces fines of $100 per pack and seizure of the product, according to the law.

The nation’s largest American tobacco companies, including Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds, are already complying with the state’s new law and similar legislation elsewhere. R.J. Reynolds plans to make and sell only fire-safe cigarettes by the end of this year .

In other states with FSC laws, smokers weren’t keen on the safer cigarettes at the beginning, either. But over time, they become accustomed to them and the same thing will happen in Michigan, experts say.

Despite having to constantly fight to keep their cigarettes lit when they smoke, Ashley and Ed May said they thinks fire-safe cigarettes are a good idea.

“I’m all for preventing house fires,” said Ashley May, who has been a smoker since she was 12. “There are neglectful people who fall asleep with their cigarettes.”

They also said their cigarettes’ new fire-safety feature isn’t enough to make them kick the habit.

“We’re still going to smoke,” she said. “Maybe we’ll switch to rolling our own. We have friends who do it. It’s not too bad and it’s a little cheaper than buying backs now.”

NJ Senate passes bill to restrict e-cigarettes

TRENTON, N.J. —

The New Jersey Senate has approved a bill that restricts the sale and use of electronic cigarettes.

The bill expands the definition of “smoking” to include e-cigarettes and extends the ban on smoking by minors to include them.

Electronic cigarettes look like the real thing but don’t contain tobacco. Instead, they employ a metal tube with a battery that heats up a liquid nicotine solution. Users inhale and exhale the resulting water vapor.

The Senate bill, approved Thursday by a 38-0 vote, prohibits their use in public places and workplaces. It was approved Monday by the state Assembly and now goes to Gov. Jon Corzine.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has called on the federal Food and Drug Administration to remove e-cigarettes from the market.

Inmates target ban on tobacco

A group of inmates at the South Dakota State Penitentiary wants the Department of Corrections to reinstate their right to use tobacco during religious ceremonies after it was taken away because of concerns about addiction and abuse.

A federally recognized inmate group called the Native American Council of Tribes says the way the change was made constitutes a violation of their right to religious freedom, but it is unclear whether the group’s federal complaint will be allowed to proceed.

“They would normally need to exhaust all the administrative remedies before a lawsuit can be heard,” said Robert Doody, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Director for South Dakota. “I’m not sure if they’ve done that.”

In October, the DOC rescinded an exception to its system-wide tobacco ban, instituted in 2000, that had allowed Native Americans to include it in a blend of herbs smoked during the ceremonies.

“Medicine Men and Spiritual leaders, who lead ceremonies at our facilities, have brought to our attention that it is too addictive to be used for ceremonies,” Director of Prison Operations Doug Weber wrote in a letter announcing the change.

The letter also noted that inmates had been caught separating the tobacco from the rest of the herbs and selling it to other inmates.

The Native American Council of Tribes’ complaint alleges that the change was made without any hearings or input from the inmates using the tobacco.

The complaint names Weber, Attorney General Marty Jackley and Department of Corrections Secretary Timothy Reisch as defendants.

The inmates contacted the ACLU in October, Doody said, but the group is not representing them. While the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 requires inmates to try to handle their grievances through administrative channels before taking them to a judge, he said, the inmates are working on an issue that has grown in stature.

Some religions historically have been misunderstood and oppressed within the prison system, he said, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 opened the door for practitioners of minority religions to address their concerns by taking legal action.

“Especially those minority religions and minority faiths have suffered from a lack of understanding and awareness,” Doody said.

Michael Winder, spokesman for the Department of Corrections, declined to say whether the inmates had asked for an administrative appeal. The DOC does not comment on pending litigation, he said.

Reach John Hult at 331-2301.

NJ Senate passes bill to restrict e-cigarettes

TRENTON — The New Jersey Senate has approved a bill that restricts the sale and use of electronic cigarettes.

The bill expands the definition of “smoking” to include e-cigarettes and extends the ban on smoking by minors to include them.

Electronic cigarettes look like the real thing but don’t contain tobacco. Instead, they employ a metal tube with a battery that heats up a liquid nicotine solution. Users inhale and exhale the resulting water vapor.

The Senate bill, approved Thursday by a 38-0 vote, prohibits their use in public places and workplaces. It was approved Monday by the state Assembly and now goes to Gov. Jon Corzine.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has called on the federal Food and Drug Administration to remove e-cigarettes from the market.