January 2010 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: January 2010

Bills move to hit E-cigarettes, smokeless nicotine

A House panel voted unanimously Friday in favor of a bill meant to create new regulations for electronic cigarettes, while placing on hold a second bill that would regulate, and in many cases ban, smokeless nicotine products.

Under HB88, it would be illegal for those under 19 to purchase or possess e-cigarettes, battery-powered substitutes into which the user inserts a cartridge and, when it’s puffed, a nicotine vapor is emitted. These devices are supposed to cut the ingestion of tar and second-hand smoke.

The bill also calls on school districts and the State Board of Education to regulate their use in schools, as HB88 would not make e-cigarettes subject to Utah’s Clean Air Act, until the FDA determines whether or not the trace nicotine emitted from them can affect those around them.

Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, called the bill she sponsored “legislation that reflects a changing world.” HB88 received support from the Utah PTA and the Utah School Board, as well as representatives for White Cloud Cigarettes, a major producer of the e-cigarettes, who said they already sought to limit use of e-cigarettes by minors and non-smokers.

The second bill, HB71, was created to target nicotine products packaged to appear like mints, cinnamon sticks and other candies, currently being analyzed by the FDA.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, HB71’s sponsor, claimed these were specific efforts by tobacco companies to target children.

However, committee members postponed voting on the bill after realizing that if left unchanged, the bill would make products including moist snuff and e-cigarettes illegal as well.

Ray said he would return to the committee with two amendments, one to exempt smokeless nicotine products currently sold in Utah, and another to address whether or not e-cigarettes should be allowed to continue to be sold.

Leeann Duncan, White Cloud’s west coast distributor, opposed HB71. “I’m actually proud to help sell electronic cigarettes,” she said. “It’s helping lots of people, and that’s what the whole thing is about.”

Rep. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, asked that both those in favor of e-cigarettes and those, like Michael Siler of the American Cancer Society, return to the committee with additional objective evidence to support their claims.

Rep. Phil Riesen, D-Holladay, asked for bills that go further than the original two. “Setting aside children, we need to figure out a way to get nicotine products out of the hands of adults, because it’s going to kill you.”

Prohibit sale of electronic cigarettes to minors

Frustrated by a lack of federal regulations governing electronic cigarettes, Arizona policy makers are taking the initiative to ban sales of the tobaccoless devices to minors.

Senate Bill 1053, sponsored by Sen. Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale, makes it a petty offense to sell, give or furnish the cigarettes to underage teens.

E-cigarettes, as they are called, resemble traditional cigarettes and emit a puff of nicotine vapor when inhaled. A major distributor, NJOY, is based in north Scottsdale.

The bill glided through the Senate’s Committee of the Whole on Thursday. It must get final approval in the Senatebefore advancing to the House.

According to a Senate bill fact sheet, there are no federal regulations regarding e-cigarettes and they are not required to display health warnings like conventional cigarettes.

Jennifer Boucek of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said the danger lies in the cigarettes’ ability to attract young people with flavors such as strawberry and chocolate.

“We believe children are at risk now,” Boucek told The Arizona Republic.

Boucek said the Attorney General’s Office proposed the idea to Allen, who could not be reached for comment. The law also prohibits minors from accepting or possessing the cigarettes, with fines of up to $300.

Despite efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detain imports into the United States, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that distributors are free to import them. Electronic cigarettes are largely manufactured in China.

NJOY CEO Jack Leadbeater said the devices are for committed adult smokers only. The company has taken “numerous steps” to ban access of the products to young people, he said.

“We applaud taking steps to protect our youth, while maintaining appropriate access to the adult committed smokers,” Leadbeater said.

An opponent of the bill, Rick Galeener, said he is tired of government regulations invading personal freedoms. Galeener, who smokes regular cigarettes, said he believes political correctness has gone too far.

The FDA has denounced the cigarettes as “highly addictive” due to their nicotine content. Public-health experts said that more should be done to regulate marketing of the products, which are mostly sold online and in shopping malls.

An analysis released by the FDA last year showed some samples of the cigarettes contained carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient found in antifreeze. The analysis has been disputed by distributors and users of the cigarettes.

The EU attacks smokers with new recommendations

The EU has declared war against smokers! Brussels wants to eliminate cigarettes with a ‘smoking police’, ashtray bans and high-publicity legal processes against celebrities who enjoy a puff.

A dossier with recommendations for the 27 member states has been released by the EU. The objective – a “100 per cent smoke free environment”.

Health ministers proposed the paper and the EU parliament has approved it.

Member countries now have three years to bring the recommendations into their own legal systems, and in Germany it is set to spark a new debate over the controversial smoking ban.

The new 31-page document makes recommendations for drastic measures to ban smoking in all workplaces, public buildings and facilities:

• Fines: Anyone who breaks the ban will receive a fine. The penalties are intended to be high enough to act as a deterrent. Companies will be threatened with higher fines than individuals and if necessary may even be threatened with the temporary withdrawal of their business permit.

• ‘Smoking police’: The EU states are being asked to set up a system for enforcing the smoking ban, including a system of prosecution. The use of inspectors and enforcement officials is recommended. They will also carry out random spot checks.

• Ashtray ban: It will be the responsibility of all companies and public services to ensure that there are no ashtrays in the building.

• Shock trials: The EU states will be encouraged to carry out sensationalist prosecutions designed to shock the public.

Celebrities who smoke will also be targeted and exposed publicly as smoking offenders.

The document states that if individuals in the public eye have deliberately disregarded the law and this is publicly known, the authorities will demonstrate their commitment to and the seriousness of the legislation by reacting with rigorous and speedy measures, attracting the widest possible public attention.

With these measures, the EU is trying to attack and eliminate smoking as much as possible. The aim is for all enclosed workplaces and public areas to become smoke free, including those which are partly open or enclosed.

The smoking ban will also include all hallways, staircases, toilets, staffrooms, store rooms and lifts that are used at work.

In the future tobacco smoke should not be seen or smelled in the air – it will probably be illegal to light a cigarette!

The dossier even defines smoking as including the ownership or handling of a lit cigarette, regardless of whether or not the smoke is actively being inhaled.

Russian ministry opposes proposed hike in cigarette taxes

The Russian parliament’s plans to sharply increase taxes on tobacco would create a boom in illegal trade in cigarettes and ultimately harm public health, according to the Finance Ministry.

The State Duma is considering a bill to raise excise duties on tobacco threefold in 2011 as part of government efforts to improve public health in Russia, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the world.

The ministry fears the bill would trigger a rise in illegal cigarettes sales, after similar laws have seen illegal tobacco markets thriving in the Baltics.

“High excise duties would prompt people to buy cheap and illicit tobacco products. This would hardly be to the benefit of public health,” the ministry said in a report.

Cigarettes in Russia are the cheapest in the developed world, with smokers paying around a dollar for pack a that costs $8 in the United States. Russian filterless cigarettes – including the notorious “papirosy” – cost less than 30 cents a pack.

The World Health Organization says more than 60% of Russian men are smokers, and about 400,000 Russians die from smoking-related diseases annually.

With smoking and alcoholism cited as two of Russia’s most widespread public health problems, Russian men have a life expectancy of only 60 years. President Dmitry Medvedev has begun to try to cut alcohol consumption, with a new law coming into effect on January 1 that set the minimum price of a standard half-liter bottle of vodka at 89 rubles (about $3).

MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti)

R.J. Reynolds settles with Gansler

BALTIMORE – R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company will end its use of cartoons and brand name merchandise and restrict its marketing practice for its tobacco product brands in Maryland following a settlement with state Attorney General Douglas Gansler.

Gansler alleged that R.J. Reynolds’ cigarette-store.biz/online/camel Farm marketing campaign’s alleged use of cartoons and brand name merchandise was in violation of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree. In addition to ending its campaign, R.J. Reynolds will pay the state of Maryland $150,000.

“In its Camel Farm campaign, Reynolds turned a blind eye to its obligations under the MSA to never again use cartoons or to give away branded trinkets to promote its deadly products in Maryland,” Gansler said.

“These dangerous tobacco industry tactics sabotage efforts by public health professionals, doctors, parents and educators to prevent smoking among youth and young adults.

“This settlement holds Reynolds accountable for bringing the Camel Farm campaign to Maryland in the first place and, by specifying and clarifying the MSA’s restrictions on cartoons and giveaways, prevents Reynolds from evading these important protections in the future.”

Reynolds is prohibited by the 1998 MSA from using cartoons or distributing brand name merchandise to promote its cigarettes. In Dec. 2007, Maryland and eight other states filed actions against Reynolds that challenged the company’s marketing tactic. That action arose from a marketing campaign that promoted Camel cigarettes to young adults by supporting indie rock and independent record label bands and their music.

“Maryland’s settlement with Reynolds is one of several efforts by many States, including parallel litigation brought by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, to monitor and enforce the life-saving concessions we won in the 1998 MSA,” Gansler said. “Big Tobacco requires big enforcement by the States.”

Maryland is the only state to date to have reached a settlement resulting in the termination of Reynolds’ Camel Farm marketing campaign.

R.J. Reynolds will, under terms of the settlement, terminate the Camel Farm program and refrain from ever distributing any of the marketing materials created in connection with the campaign again.

Smoking ban bill goes up in smoke

MUNCIE — Local health advocates are pleased to see a watered down version of a bill banning smoking in public places statewide go up in a puff of smoke.

Three amendments added to House Bill 1131 diluted the proposed ban so much that sponsor Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, pulled it on Monday. Originally, the only exemption to the ban was casinos. Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, offered an amendment that added an exemption for bars, fraternal organizations, private clubs and taverns.

“I applaud Rep. Charlie Brown’s decision because the bill was too weakened, too many amendments to make it an effective piece of legislation,” said Cecilia Williams, program coordinator for the Tobacco Free Coalition of Delaware County.

Williams and others, including Delaware County Health Department Administrator Bob Jones, want a comprehensive ban that prohibits smoking in all public places. Indiana is one of 12 states, known as the Dirty Dozen, without such legislation.

The reasoning is that employees, as well as customers, have the right to breathe smoke-free air.

“From a public health perspective we would encourage regulations that would ban smoking in the workplace and any place that the public does visit,” Jones said.

Red Dog Saloon owner and Indiana Licensed Beverage Association President Lewis Coulter doesn’t buy the argument that the ban protects his employees. Most of them, he said, are already smokers, and those who don’t want to work in a smoke-filled environment are free to work elsewhere.

Making bars and taverns smoke-free would be their death knell, said Coulter, who agrees with the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association that there should be exemptions for such establishments.

“People have the right to go in if they want to,” Coulter said. “I don’t like smoking. I wish everybody would quit, but that’s not my choice. I don’t think government has a right (to dictate). It’s my choice whether I have smoking or not.”

Tyler listened. According to campaign finance reports, Tyler received a combined $1,200 from the Beer Industry, Indiana Licensed Beverage Association and Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, but says those donations didn’t sway his opinion.

“I just thought that was too much of an intrusion,” Tyler said of the original bill. “It’s just tough times and talking to those small business people all over the state of Indiana that type of hit would put a number of them out of employment.”

Tyler is hopeful Brown brings the bill back before the legislative session ends. If he does, Williams wants a strong bill, or her organization will push for stronger smoking bans at the local level.

“We’re here to protect all workers,” Williams said.

What’s in cigarettes

THE more government knows about the ingredients in cigarettes, besides tobacco, the better it can assess the potential harm of those ingredients. In a progressive move to gain more information about tobacco product formulas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring tobacco companies to tell the agency exactly what goes into their products.

Companies have acknowledged using cocoa, coffee, menthol, and other additives to make tobacco taste better. But the FDA also wants to determine what ingredients they use that might make tobacco more harmful or addictive. Some tobacco firms, such as Altria Group, parent company of the nation’s largest Marlboro tobacco maker, Philip Morris, voluntarily post their general ingredients online. But all companies will have to be more specific in what they tell the government.

Although the FDA will have to keep much of the data confidential because of trade-secret laws, it will publish a list of harmful or potentially harmful ingredients by June, 2011. By law, those must be listed by quantity in each brand.

Cigarette makers confirm that in addition to tobacco, water, sugar, and flavorings, their products include chemicals, such as diammonium phosphate, added to improve burn rate and taste, and ammonium hydroxide, also used to improve taste.

Scientific studies suggest those chemicals help the body more easily absorb nicotine, which is the active and addictive component of tobacco. In all, there are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and their smoke. More than 60 of them are known carcinogens, the American Cancer Society says.

It’s not clear what else scientists will learn from the new information to be submitted, but collecting the data is an important start.

General Tobacco pulls brands amid dispute

General Tobacco said Wednesday it will comply with recent notices regarding the removal of its cigarette brands from certain state directories of approved brands for sale.

Some states have pursued additional payments from Mayodan-based General Tobacco related to the Master Settlement Agreement, a deal reached in 1998 when tobacco companies agreed to pay states for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. In a statement Wednesday, General Tobacco said it continues to dispute the validity of the agreement and maintains its claims that it is owed more than $95 million in overpayment to states.

“Consumers should not have to lose the choice of GT’s brands over what the company considers to be a bona fide dispute over the interpretation of the MSA and its validity under federal and state law,” said Ronald Denman, GT’s executive vice president and general counsel.

“Big Tobacco got away with billions in sales with no payments to the states before the MSA and is now squeezing its competitors out of business under the auspices of the MSA so that it can make many more billions.”

The de-listing does not pertain to the filtered cigars or pipe tobacco products sold by GT.

New tobacco laws in Scotland in 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND – A ban on the display of tobacco in stores across Scotland is expected to pass this week, a move that is part of a wide-ranging campaign aimed at reducing smoking, the BBC and The Scotsman report.

The ban, part of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill, would also prohibit cigarette vending machines while introducing a registration plan for retailers.

The Tobacco Retailers Alliance opposes the legislation, warning that a vending machine ban will lead to job losses. The National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators has proposed digitally operated machines that require an ID check prior to use rather than an outright ban.

If passed, the move to ban cigarette displays will affect supermarkets starting in 2011 and small stores in 2013.

In Canada, the marketing of tobacco products is “dark” at retail, forcing convenience stores to essentially hide product behind curtains or in drawers out of sight to customers. For more on tobacco issues, see the November 2008 NACS Magazine feature, “Tobacco Road.”

Chef John Burton Race Quits Smoking in “Celebrities Quitters”

John Burton Race is a Michelin starred chef, made famous by the Channel 4 series French Leave and its sequel Return of the Chef. In 1995 Burton Race joined an elite group of chefs as the winner of a coveted Catey Award – the Oscar of the UK hospitality industry. There is no man in the UK who doesn’t know this famous name.

A mentor on BBC cooking show Kitchen Criminals and a judge of ITV cooking show Britain’s Best Dish decided to attempt quitting smoking by means of participating in a TV show “Celebrities Quitters” broadcasting on Channel Five. In this show, which starts tonight, are participating five stars, inclusively the South Devon foodie. “Celebrities Quitters” will follow these volunteers during 10 days and will show strength of will of each participant not to try killing weed.

Together with valiant celebrities as former Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson, Chloe Madeley, daughter of Richard Madeley, Julie Finnigan, actor Paul Danan and TV psychic Derek Acorah, Mr. Burton Race determined to change his life and to kick this obsessive habit.

During an interview with Mr. Burton Race, we have found out that he wants to quit smoking and spend the money he saves towards his family holiday.

“I want to use the money I wasted killing myself on other things. At the moment, personally, I am not loaded, to put it mildly. It has been two years since we have had a family holiday and I want to go away for a week,” says he. He realized that smoking made a kind of distance between him and his family. Great sums of money he handed out in vain, only purchasing this smoking drug and didn’t pay attention at his beloved persons’ wishes and desires. The cookery specialist is convinced that with the assistance of this show he will change himself and will achieve his goal without fail.

The outstanding expert of culinary art also added that he had problems based on smoking not only in his family but at his job as well. “My partner Susie was absolutely adamant that I smell terrible and that she was completely repulsed by me smoking the amount I was smoking,” asserted Mr. Burton Race.

”Another motivating reason that has impelled me to take part in this grandiose show is my health. When you have children and dependents and when your chest hurts, when you walk up a very steep hill or ride a horse furiously across a field and you can’t breathe, it is already evident sign that it is something wrong and something has to be done,” sighed he.

Mr. Burton Race stressed that there are several things he wants to gain from quitting tobacco.
“I want to feel fitter, be fitter. I want to live longer,” said chef. And it is reasonable.

The first series will demonstrate the meeting of our risky smokers each other and the support team who reveals results of their medical tests. Then celebrities will have possibility to smoke their last cigarette before their first smoke-free evening.

The series will be live broadcasted every week night for the next 10 days on Channel Five at 7.30pm.

KT&G Rises on Goldman Upgrade After Davidoff Contract

KT&G Corp., South Korea’s biggest tobacco company, climbed the most in more than seven months after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the stock to “buy” on its contract to sell Davidoff cigarettes in the nation.

KT&G advanced 4.5 percent to 67,200 won at the close on the Korea Exchange, the most since June 9. The benchmark Kospi stock index fell 0.7 percent. Goldman Sachs raised the stock’s rating from “neutral” and lifted its price estimate to 76,000 won from 75,000 won in a report today.

The licensing agreement to make and sell Imperial Tobacco Group Plc’s Davidoff cigarettes will help KT&G stem the drop in its market share and maintain its lead in the South Korean industry. Production will start in the first half, the Daejeon, South Korea-based company said yesterday.

“Given KT&G’s continued domestic market share loss over the past several years which mainly resulted from its weak presence in the faster-growing premium segment, we believe the launch of Davidoff will help KT&G to defend its domestic market share at 60.9 percent in 2011,” wrote Goldman Sachs analysts including Paul Hwang. KT&G had 62.3 percent of the market as of 2009, Goldman Sachs said.

The tobacco maker said last week fourth-quarter profit declined 38 percent as domestic sales fell amid intensifying competition from imported brands. Net income was 137.9 billion won ($118 million) in the three months ended December, compared with 223.3 billion won a year earlier, it said.

“Given the fast changing trend in tobacco market, it’s difficult to predict the sales volume of Davidoff and targeted market share,” KT&G said in an e-mailed statement in response to a query.

The stock has lost 20 percent over the past year, compared with a 49 percent gain in the Kospi index for the same period.
By Saeromi Shin

Altria tobacco report on 4Q; analysts eye cigarette volumes, market share

Altria Group Inc. reports its fourth-quarter results on Thursday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: The Richmond, Va.-based owner of the biggest U.S. cigarette maker — Philip Morris USA, which sells Marlboro cigarettes, Black & Mild cigars, and Copenhagen and Skoal smokeless tobacco products —— still holds a majority of U.S. market share despite a decline in the demand for smokes.

Altria reported in October that its cost-cutting and its cigar business had helped boost its third-quarter profit 1.7 percent. Marlboro was the only leading brand to increase market share during the third quarter as many consumers switched to cheaper brands or bought fewer cigarettes to save money. The brand lost market share the previous quarter.

Altria reported sales declines among all its brands, including Matlboro online, cigarette-store.biz/online/parliament, Virginia Slims and Basic. It estimated a total industry decline of about 10 percent.

As tax increases, health concerns, smoking bans and social stigma continue cutting demand for cigarettes, Altria and other tobacco companies are seeking growth in cigarette alternatives — such as cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco.

For the fiscal year that ended Dec. 31, Altria forecast annual profit of $1.74 to $1.77 per share, from $1.72 to $1.77 per share. Analysts on average predict earnings of $1.77 per share on $16.84 billion in revenue.

BY THE NUMBERS: For the fourth quarter, analysts expect Altria to post a profit of 40 cents per share on revenue of $4.14 billion. A year earlier, Altria earned $679 million on revenue of $4.65 billion.

ANALYST TAKE: Credit Suisse analyst Thilo Wrede wrote in a Jan. 19 that he expects Altria to post market share losses during the quarter, including Marlboro, due to promotions by No. 2 Reynolds American Inc. on its Pall Mall brand.

Wrede also questioned whether Altria would be able to balance overall income and Marlboro’s retail share growth, but still expects the company’s earnings to rise by about 5 percent compared with same period last year.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Wall Street will be looking to see how the growing scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration, new marketing restrictions and the need to spend more on promotions to prop up branded cigarettes may weigh on profits for the tobacco industry.

Companies are also looking to see what the FDA decides to do on the issue of menthol, a growing segment of the declining cigarette market. A scientific committee being organized by the FDA must study and issue a report on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes.

Altria offers menthol versions of its market-leading Marlboro brand, including a new extension called Marlboro Blend 54. Despite the possible restrictions on menthol, the nation’s top cigarette companies are ramping up efforts to grab some of the menthol market.

Analysts also expect softer cigarette volumes to continue from the 62-cents-per-pack federal tax increase that took effect April 1.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: During the quarter, shares of Altria rose 11.9 percent to end the period at $19.63. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $14.50 and $20.64. It closed Monday at $19.91.

By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM
RICHMOND, Va. January 26, 2010

Court blocks FDA from regulating electronic cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration can no longer regulate electronic cigarettes, according to a court ruling last week.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are battery-powered machines that deliver a hit of nicotine vapor, according to the FDA. The FDA had previously tried to seize imports of them, but it no longer can as a result of this ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon.

Dillon Summers, an employee at Plantations Inc., a tobacco store in Sooner Mall, said he has seen an increased demand for the product from Norman residents and OU students.

Plantations Inc. does not carry e-cigs but “we do have a lot of people coming in looking for them,” Summers said.

Although Summers agreed with the ruling, he said, the store continues not to sell them because of prior bad experiences with manufacturers.

“We used to sell them, but we stopped because [the manufacturers] changed the nicotine levels on us without telling us,” Summers said.

The Internet seems to be the only place to find them in Oklahoma, Summers said.

USACIG Inc., a company that sells e-cigs, said it was excited by the ruling.

“This opens up the door for our company so that no bureaucracy will slow down our progress of launching our products in the U.S.,” stated Peter Michaels, USACIG Inc president.

Not everyone is on board with the recent ruling.

Doug Matheny, chief of Tobacco Use Prevention Service for the Oklahoma State Health Department, said e-cigs should still be regulated, just like similar products.

“I admit that they are not as dangerous without the smoke,” Matheny said. “But the makers of the product are walking a fine line. They are careful not to claim them as cessation products because then they would have to be regulated … but they do tend to promote them as something to get a nicotine fix when smoking is not allowed.”

Matheny said he had concerns people may think the products are safe to use, even though he does not think they are.

“It is an addictive product,” Matheny said. “It has not been tested to show its relative safety. You would think it would be safer, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s safe, if that makes sense.”

The FDA stated in a press release they consider the devices to be like nicotine gum or patches, which currently are regulated. Because of the similarity, the FDA said it should be allowed to regulate e-cigs as well.

The FDA’s biggest concern is the unregulated devices might actually increase addiction or the number of young people smoking, according to a press release.

Biochemical engineering senior Yi Yang said he had not heard of electronic cigarettes but is against smoking, especially because of the negative health side effects, such as secondhand smoke.

Kathleen Evans/The Daily
January 26, 2010

Germany loses billions as cigarette smokers dodge taxes

Germany lost out on at least four billion euros worth of cigarette revenue in 2008 as smokers looked for ways to avoid hefty taxes, a study from the Hamburg World Economy Institute (HWWI) has found.

The number of cigarettes smoked in Germany without being taxed in the country has gone up from 16 percent three years ago to 20 percent, it said.

Smokers consumed a total of 23 billion such cigarettes, according to the figures, and the majority were purchased legitimately in other countries. But about seven billion cigarettes were obtained illegally, fueling fears that the trade may be boosting organized crime.

Signs of smuggling

The institute said price differences caused by high taxation allowed organized crime to thrive from trading in contraband. Signs of sophisticated smuggling operations similar to those in the United States, where different states have different tax rates, were now “recognizable” in Europe, according to the institute.

Cigarettes on the shelves in a shopBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The price of cigarettes has gone up in recent years

The trend comes as smokers try to dodge higher cigarette taxes introduced as a public health measure. Since the latest tax increase in February last year, a packet of cigarettes has cost about 4.50 euros – of which around 3.75 euros is tax.

“The new EU member countries have much lower taxes on cigarettes than we have in Germany and there is always the possibility to smoke smuggled cigarettes. These are, of course, much cheaper,” said HWWI Director Michael Braeuninger.

The majority of illegal cigarettes come from Ukraine (3.2 billion) and Russia (2.4 billion), according to the market research organization Ipsos.

Regional differences

The study showed large variations by region of the average proportion of untaxed cigarettes smoked. In some western parts of Germany it was as low as 10 percent while in some eastern areas half of the cigarettes bought had no German duty paid on them. Most of those cigarettes originated in Poland.

The study was carried out on behalf of Germany’s cigarette industry association, the DZV, which is calling for increased activity against smuggling and counterfeit products.

The change in smoking habits is estimated to have cost the cigarette industry about 1.2 billion euros in 2008.

FDA on track with tobacco additive law

Smokers have plenty to worry about: cancer and other health risks, societal disapproval, the costs of feeding their addiction. Many worry about trying to quit.

But how many of the 46 million smokers in the U.S. ever think about what’s been added to tobacco?

Companies have acknowledged using cocoa, coffee, menthol and other additives to make tobacco taste better. Some of those additives might be making cigarettes more addictive.

“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s new Center for Tobacco Products, said recently.

That veil of secrecy will soon be lifting. A new law will require cigarette makers to disclose to the FDA what’s in their products. It’s no secret that tobacco and its smoke contain more than 60 carcinogens.

The information on other ingredients should help the FDA determine which ingredients might also make tobacco more harmful or addictive.

The agency is being asked to use the data to develop standards for tobacco products or to ban some ingredients or combinations.

The FDA should make sure it uses this new information to protect smokers who can’t or won’t stop smoking to protect themselves.

The Daily Record
1/25/2010

New York City Tobacco Tax Suits Limited by Top Court

New York City can’t use a federal racketeering law to accuse discount cigarette retailers of evading hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes on Internet sales, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

The nation’s highest court, voting 5-3, today threw out the city’s claims under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in lawsuits filed in 2003 and 2004.

More than 400 Web sites sell cigarettes over the Internet with many falsely advertising their sales as “tax free,” according to one of the complaints. The city accuses the retailers of not complying with a federal law requiring them to turn over information about their customers to state officials for tax-collection purposes.

Writing the court’s lead opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said there wasn’t a close enough connection between the alleged failure to supply that information and the city’s inability to collect the taxes. The city contended it could have used the state information to pursue unpaid taxes.

“We have never before stretched the causal chain of a RICO violation so far and we decline to do so today,” Roberts wrote.

The decision reversed a 2008 ruling by a federal appeals court. Two of the defendants, Hemi Group LLC and Kai Gachupin, appealed to the Supreme Court.

Other City Claims

The appeals court decision left open the possibility that the city might be able to press claims against the retailers under New York state law. The Supreme Court didn’t review that part of the ruling.

The city is also invoking a different federal law, known as the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act, against other cigarette retailers and wholesalers. That law was amended in 2006 to authorize lawsuits by local governments.

“The city currently has available to it stronger, new legal ammunition that we have used successfully – and will continue to use in the future – in our fight against cigarette bootlegging and tax evasion,” said Leonard Koerner, the chief of the appeals division in the New York City Law Department.

At $4.25, the tax on cigarettes sold in New York City is the highest in the nation. The state collects $2.75 and the city $1.50.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined Roberts’s opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with the result, though she accepted only some of the chief justice’s reasoning.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens dissented. Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn’t take part in the case.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

The case is Hemi Group v. City of New York, 08-969.

By Greg Stohr
January 25, 2010

Smoking Banned With Kids In Car

ELM SPRINGS, Ark. — Smoking with young children in the car can be dangerous to their health, and in Arkansas it’s also against the law.

The law was passed in 2008, one reason why some smokers 40/29 talked with had no idea it even exists.

Fayetteville resident R.L. Jackson said, “I’ve never heard of the law before.”

Jackson has been a smoker for a long time, and was raised in a smoking environment himself.

“I grew up with a father smoking and I had no problems,” Jackson said.

Still, he was happy to hear about the law that bans drivers from smoking if children under the age of 6, or those that weigh less than 60 pounds are in the car.

Sgt. Kurt Eichel from the Elm Springs Police Department said, “If the officer walks up to the vehicle and sees a child that meets those requirements and you’re smoking, that’s illegal.”

Eichel said it’s a fairly rare citation, though he did issue one just the other day.

“The ticket we wrote the other day was one of the first ones we’ve seen in quite a while,” Eichel said.

Though not everyone 40/29 talked with thought police should be cracking down on smokers that hard.

Smoker Joseph Rodriguez said, “I do think it’s kind of unfair if someone is ticketed. I think a warning would be in order.”

Joseph Rodriguez says police should give smokers like him a little leeway when it comes to the law, just because it is still so new and relatively unknown.

This law is a secondary offense, meaning you can only be cited for it if you are pulled over for something else, like running a red light or speeding.

Drivers caught breaking the law face a $25 fine.
January 24, 2010

Finnish-style crackdown long way off in Czech smokers paradise

Finland made international headlines recently with news that its government plans to completely eradicate smoking – not just a ban on smoking in public places, that already exists, but the total and final eradication of smoking amongst the Finnish population. It’s a lofty goal to be sure, and has reignited the smoking debate in other European countries, many of which have banned smoking in cafes, pubs and restaurants. The Czech Republic, however, like most former communist states, seems to be trailing behind.

round a quarter of all Czechs – 2.5 million people – are smokers, addicted to a drug that will eventually kill one in five of them at huge expense to the state. Many, of course, want to give up. Those that do often find themselves at the Tobacco Dependence Treatment Centre in Prague.

The director of the centre is Dr Eva Králíková, one of the country’s most vocal anti-smoking campaigners. She’s particularly concerned about the effects of passive smoking, and is disappointed that new legislation due to enter into force in July falls short of a total ban on smoking in pubs, cafes and restaurants. She says even the law’s provision that non-smoking areas must be separated with a wall does not go far enough.

“Unfortunately you have to open a door to go there, and of course the air will be mixed. It’s similar to a swimming pool where you can piss in one corner and then suggest the rest of the water is clean. Only a 100% smoke-free environment is safe.”

Smoking is already banned on trains, trams and buses, and is increasingly rare in the workplace. But pubs, restaurants and cafes are still overwhelmingly smoker-friendly. From July 1st they’ll be obliged to put a sticker on the door to say whether the establishment is smoking, non-smoking or mixed with a separate smoke-free room. Analysts predict that most will choose the first option, in a bid not to lose customers.

But for many Czechs attempts to eradicate smoking is part of a crusade by interfering busy-bodies, egged on by health fascists in Brussels. Senator Jaroslav Kubera, a heavy smoker with a deep belief in personal freedom, told Czech Radio recently he didn’t like the way things were going.

“The fact of the matter is that non-smokers aren’t looking after themselves, they’re just aggressively attacking those who smoke. All these regulations are ridiculous. They’ll be banning certain kinds of food next. States are interfering in people’s lives in more and more ways. George Orwell was spot on when he described the future in 1984 – believe me, it’s getting closer.”

Jaroslav KuberaJaroslav Kubera Anti-smoking campaigners suspect the powerful tobacco industry is behind the failed attempts to introduce a total smoking ban. A leading Czech newspaper claimed recently that representatives of three international cigarette companies actually work as assistants to MPs. As long as the tobacco industry enjoys unfettered access to lawmakers, say the anti-smoking campaigners, a Finnish-style crackdown on smoking is simply out of the question.

By Rob Cameron
21 Jan. 2010

Firms, trade group held fund GOP legislators retreat

Sacramento – When Republican state legislators decided last month that they needed to escape Sacramento and kick back in a more relaxed environment to hash out issues, they headed for a luxury beach resort in Santa Barbara.

Such sojourns don’t come cheap, so oil and tobacco firms and other companies that are pressing an agenda in the Capitol funneled $120,000 to a group that picked up much of the tab. About 25 Republican senators and Assembly members and a dozen aides attended the retreat at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort.

The three-day event featured a budget briefing and included a tour of the nearby Ronald Reagan ranch, gift bags worth up to $299 each, gourmet meals and a cocktail reception where lawmakers mingled with a dozen lobbyists.

Senate Republican leader Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta solicited the $120,000 from 11 trade groups and businesses including Anthem Blue Cross, tobacco company Altria and oil firms Chevron and Plains Exploration & Production. Another contributor was the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, which operates a casino in Temecula under a compact with the state.

The donations were made through a nonprofit called the Council for Legislative Excellence, which is headed by the wife of a legislative aide, according to the organization’s most recent tax filing.

Legislators said the financial arrangement allowed the retreat to be held without cost to the state. But it drew objections from Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, who likened it to “money laundering.” The contributions amounted to “buying access by interested parties through a third-party conduit,” Feng said.

Hollingsworth did not return calls from The Times, and his representatives declined to say what the retreat cost. But his spokesman Hector Barajas said he believes some money was left over and would be applied toward future events. Barajas also noted that leaders from both parties, including the governor, do similar fundraising.

“There is a firewall between legislation and money raised for various events,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers solicited $14,000 in 2008 to cover gourmet meals, rooms and cocktails for a retreat at a wine country hotel that 24 of them attended. The event included a reception that also drew eight Senate Republicans. The money came from the California Professional Firefighters, the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council.

Barajas said most of the Republican lawmakers paid for their own hotel rooms in Santa Barbara, many from accounts made up of political contributions. The Council for Legislative Excellence helped rent meeting rooms and pay for meals and receptions, he said.

The council also gave those who attended the retreat a gift bag that included a $150 briefcase, cuff links for the men and charm bracelets for the women, one lawmaker said.

Some legislators said they did not know who footed the bill for the retreat and did not feel pressured by lobbyists who attended.

“I didn’t know who paid for it,” said state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks). The important thing, he said, is that all financial details be disclosed publicly, “and let the people decide what they think about it.”

Lawmakers said they expect a written account of the gifts so they can properly report the information.

Lobbyists who attended the reception included a representative of Chevron, according to company spokesman Sean Comey. Chevron and Altria were the biggest donors, giving $25,000 each to the council. Both actively lobby lawmakers on bills before the Legislature.

Altria has for years fought proposals to raise the state’s tobacco tax. The latest such proposal died last year in a legislative committee after Republicans voted against it.

Chevron and other oil companies have long battled a proposed oil-extraction tax. One such proposal was vetoed last year by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Asked why Chevron donated the money for the retreat, Comey said, “We wanted to attend the event and we made the contribution.” He added that the firm supports such conferences for legislators of both parties “to facilitate their ability to reinvigorate the economy.”

Plains Exploration would have been the major benefactor of a bill last year to open the door to more oil drilling in the Tranquillon Ridge field off the coast of Santa Barbara County. Fourteen of the 15 Republicans in the state Senate voted for the legislation. The bill failed, but the proposal is back in Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

The company sent a representative to the retreat “to get the message out on the Tranquillon Ridge project,” Plains Exploration spokesman Steve Rusch said.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times
By Patrick McGreevy
January 24, 2010

Davidoff Slims Cigarettes Limited Edition Packs designed by Luisa Beccaria

Davidoff Cigarettes pays tribute to femininity with a new design, elegant and refined, produced in collaboration with fashion designer Luisa Beccaria.

Gold and blue are the colours that have restyled the famous long and narrow pack. Ruches, pleated tulle and embroidery now grace the pack, which has thus been transformed into a style accessory in its own right.

Davidoff Slims Cigarettes, the ultimate in smoking luxury, were created for a demanding and selective female public that love quality and style in all its manifestations. It was for women like this, who wish to stand out from the crowd in every way that the Slims Limited Edition styled by Luisa Beccaria was designed.

Luisa Beccaria’s maison stands for “Made in Italy” excellence, the magic and elegance of sartorial fashion, the glamour of Hollywood stars. “We’re really excited about this collaboration with Luisa Beccaria. With these packs she’s captured and enhanced the sophisticated style of Davidoff Slims,” said Muhannad Jabi the General Manager of Imperial Tobacco M.E. – the owners of Davidoff Cigarettes.

While Luisa Beccaria said she was “honoured that Davidoff Cigarettes came to me for this collaboration. It was great fun rethinking design patterns for these packs instead of for fabric”.

The Davidoff Slims Cigarettes styled by Luisa Beccaria are available as an international limited edition.

The Davidoff Slims Cigarettes Limited Edition styled by Luisa Beccaria will be available to view and purchase in Kuwait in January 2010.

© 2010 Al Bawaba

Cigarette litter hotline gets a makeover

An anti-littering campaign that nearly flickered out two years ago has been revived with a makeover that allows for better tracking of motorists who toss cigarettes out of their cars.

The Cigarette Litter Hotline also has expanded from San Diego County to Orange, Riverside and Imperial counties.

“Once established, this really is a model that can be rolled out regionally, statewide and even in other states,” said Ken David, a spokesman for the local chapter of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, which operates the program with volunteers.

The group took over the hotline in July 2008 after county officials discontinued it, said local Surfrider chairman Manase Mansur.

Cigarette butts are regarded as the most-littered item in the world and are found on beaches by the hundreds of thousands nationwide. During rainstorms like those that battered the region this week, they are swept by storm drains to the ocean, where they harm sea life. They also can cause fires if they are tossed into dry brush.

Surfrider announced its upgrades yesterday. The improvements allow the California Highway Patrol to more easily send warning letters to people who have been anonymously reported to a toll-free number. The system relies on residents spotting “litterbutts” and calling in a license plate number along with the time and place of the incident.

The new electronic reporting program developed by Surfrider replaces the time-consuming process of tracking calls with paper records and handing them to the CHP, which then issued the warnings.

“We’ll be able to have more accurate information and send out more letters than we were able to before,” said CHP officer Mary Bailey in San Diego.

CHP doesn’t issue citations to people who are reported on the hotline, but officers do hand out tickets if they see people flicking butts from cars or trucks. Penalties can include a fine up to $1,000 and eight hours of community service picking up litter. Tossed cigarettes that cause fires may lead to felony charges.

“We need the eyes of the public to identify smokers that are endangering public safety by tossing lit cigarettes from vehicles,” said Chief Gary Dominguez of CHP’s Southern California division.

The hotline started in 2004 as a cooperative effort between county health officials, the local chapter of the American Lung Association and others. It averaged about 1,100 calls a month for at least three years, in part because concerned motorists programmed the old phone number into their cell phones to make reporting easier.

“People are very passionate about this,” said Debra Kelley, a top official at the lung association office in San Diego. “I think it’s the whole concept of careless, irresponsible smokers … who think the world is their ashtray. It’s just an affront.”

The hot line closed in mid-2008. Surfrider adopted the program and quickly opened up a new line.

“Once it became apparent that there were no more government funds, our Surfrider executive committee said this is just too important of an issue and too important of a tool to let it drop,” Mansur said.

He said the county had been spending about $50,000 a year on the program but he expects Surfrider can run it for about half that cost using volunteers and the new reporting system.

The number of calls dwindled to about 700 recently while Surfrider slowed its advertising and upgraded the system. Mansur expects calls will increase now that the program is back in the public eye, and he’s looking at installing a voice transcription system that will speed processing.

Kelley thanked Surfrider for taking over the program. “We were one of the parents of the baby and we gave it up for adoption,” she said. “It’s in a happy home now.”

Governor to get tough on cigarette tax

A body of Non Governmental Organization under the aegis of Africa Tobacco Control Regional Initiative (ATCRI) is making a strong demand on the government of Africa to seek ways of controlling tobacco use in the continent. This cautionary warning is a result of increase in deaths resulting from smoking complications.

No fewer than 5.5 million deaths, resulting from complications from smoking occur in 2009 alone, a World Health Organizations´ statistics reveals. A large chunk of the death was recorded in Africa. This has prompted action from civil society groups concerned with Tobacco Control issues in Africa to try and reverse the trend.

Ethiopian Oncologist, Dr. Bogale Solomon offered a simple but practically hard option. “If everybody agrees to stop smoking at once,” he said, “we can reverse the effect in a day.” However, he was equally cognizant of the fact that such a quick solution was easier said than done.

Bogale stated that tobacco has about 50 chemicals that are known carcinogens. “In more than 90 percent of the time,” he said, “lung cancer is induced by tobacco.” He also recalled that several forms of cancer are induced by tobacco. The oncologist underlined the fact that even if the more people are exposed to tobacco chemicals, the more likely that they will be affected by cancer; there is no as such a safe level of exposure to tobacco.

This growing challenge will put pressure on already overstretched public health burden on Africa, which makes it sensible to implore information provision as a persuasive tactics for smokers to quit and for government to take serious actions “Smoking tobacco is not a matter of personal choice, as it affects not only first hand smokers but also others around them.” Says Bogale.

ATCRI´s acting director Mr. Bode Oluwafemi believes that one way to control the use of tobacco and cut smoking related death is a systematic behavioral change approach. “We need to adopt a strategy for dealing with the Tobacco companies. We need to task African government to place a strong regulatory demand on Tobacco importation or production in their various countries….The Tobacco companies must be made to abide by the provision of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which provides for pictorial warning on the packs of cigarette, such warning signals are deliberately omitted in Africa and it is unacceptable” he said.

This strategy seems to be working out with a few success cases. For instance, two States in Nigeria has placed a ban on public smoking. Few weeks ago America´s State of North Carolina joined the league of states´ that have made smoking illegal in public arenas. This is one step forward; another step is to ensure that these legislations are well implemented.

Another strategy proffered by ATCRI is a provision of reliable information on the situation of Tobacco Control in Africa “If we know what the true situation is in each country, it will give us a guide to new approach and strategies” says Mr. Adeola Akinremi, Africa Regional Coordinator for Framework Convention Alliance, an organization that is ensuring that the contents of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is implemented.

At the moment ATCRI with the support of International Development Research Centre, IDRC is gathering useful information that will help develop country-specific intervention for the control of tobacco use African.

Indian cigarette tax issue revisted

Gov. David Paterson is again positioning New York state to begin collecting taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations, revisiting a budget issue perennially overshadowed by emotion.

The governor said Tuesday he would order his tax department to draft regulations to enforce a 2008 law intended to stop wholesalers from selling untaxed cigarettes to tribes.

That would force Indian retailers who currently don’t charge the state’s $2.75-per-pack excise tax and 4 percent sales tax to pay more to suppliers up front and ultimately raise their prices.

Paterson said it is a matter of fairness to non-Indian stores who do charge the taxes, especially now that he has proposed raising the excise tax to $3.75 per pack in the fiscal year beginning April 1.

A pack of Marlboros was selling at a Buffalo gas station for $7.91 Wednesday, compared with $5.09 at a Western New York smoke shop.

“This is no disrespect to the Indian nations,” Paterson said in his budget address to lawmakers in Albany. Non-Indian stores, he said, “need an opportunity to survive.”

Paterson’s budget proposal does not yet anticipate any revenue from reservation sales to non-Indians because the regulations are not in place, but supporters of the tax collection plan, including the New York Association of Convenience Stores, estimate the state would raise hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

NYACS President James Calvin said research shows that about half of all cigarettes smoked in New York are bought tax-free.

“There’s been this enormous drain of business and customers away from our stores,” Calvin said Wednesday.

Paterson’s plan to set regulations for enforcing the 2008 law, to be followed by a six-month public comment period, would allow New York to ask a state Supreme Court judge to lift a 2009 order blocking enforcement of the law. The order was granted after an Indian retailer and northern New York distributor argued the state had not established a system to tax non-Indians while exempting Indian customers.

In the meantime, Paterson said he would continue to negotiate with the state’s tribal leaders toward a peaceful tax-collection plan.

Two previous efforts to tax reservation sales, in 1992 and 1997, resulted in members of the Seneca tribe of Western New York blockading state highways, setting fires and clashing with troopers.

Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. has said future violence would not be condoned.

USDA to Provide $950 Million in Tobacco Transition Program Payments in 2010

The “Tobacco buy-out,” helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market.

Washington, D.C. – infoZine – USDA announced that it will issuing more than $950 million in Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP) payments to quota holders and producers in 2010. Quota holders and producers can enter into successor-in-interest contracts beginning Jan. 19, 2010, which will enable them to receive lump-sum payments by selling their remaining four TTPP payments.

Approximately $5.3 billion has been paid to tobacco quota holders and producers with this sixth round of payments. Since 2005, third parties bought more than 170,000 TTPP contracts worth approximately $2.9 billion.

TTPP, also called the “tobacco buy-out,” helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market. The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 ended the Depression-era tobacco quota program and established the TTPP. The program provides annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. Payments began in 2005 and continue through 2014.

Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers.

For more information on TTPP and other FSA programs, visit your local FSA county office or http://www.fsa.usda.gov .

Tobacco tax hike up for vote

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote this week on a bill that could increase the price of cigarettes by $2 a pack.

The American Red Cross

Senators decided to vote on Bill 150 last night after discussing the bill for several hours. Sen. Benjamin Cruz, an author of the bill, said it will be voted on by Friday.

If Bill 150 becomes a law, new taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products will take effect 60 days later. The current $1 tax on cigarettes will climb to $3 and the current $3.50 tax on a pound of snuff will climb to $14.

Cruz said he hoped a higher price on cigarettes would persuade some smokers to quit and prevent children from starting. According to the bill, Guam has the highest rate of adult tobacco use of all U.S. states and territories. “It’s embarrassing to discover that on Guam we are number one, but not in education. We are number one in smoking,” he said. Adding later: “We are number one for the wrong reason.”

If Bill 150 is passed, the money raised by the new taxes will go into the Healthy Futures Fund, a new pool for money that can be appropriated by the Legislature for health agencies, substance abuse awareness programs and public safety programs.

About a third of the money will go to Guam Memorial Hospital, the Guam Cancer Trust Fund and the Guam Cancer Registry. Speaker Judith Won Pat called the bill the single most effective policy to lower tobacco rates and to build programs that prevent smoking habits.

Most of the debate on the bill was about how high the new taxes should be.

Sen. Adolpho Palacios felt $2 tax increase per pack was not enough. Palacios said senators should shape the taxes added by the bill by considering how much smoking costs the government in health care.

Tobacco products are a leading cause of lung cancer and lung cancer is the most common cause of death on Guam, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Even if these taxes are enacted, some people will continue to smoke, Palacios said. If they chose to do so, they should pay for the costs of their future health care, he said. “Even if we double this or triple this, there will be smokers and they will still not pay for all the harms and ills they create,” Palacios said.

Not all senators supported the increase. Sens. Frank Blas Jr. and Telo Taitague worried the new taxes could push smokers to a black market. Blas worried smokers might be driven to crime to support their addiction.

Taitague said the increase was too much too soon. “At the rate we are going right now we might as well just ban cigarette smoking on Guam, period,” she said.
Snuff

Cruz initially proposed a larger increase to the taxes on other kinds of tobacco, including snuff, because he wanted it to be equal to the new tax on cigarettes. Cruz didn’t want the new taxes to force smokers to switch to snuff, which “is even more disgusting.” The current tax on snuff is $3.50 per pound, but senators have considered raising the price to as much as $21 per pound.
January 21, 2010

Tobacco companies must reveal ingredients, formulas to FDA

U.S. regulators are working to lift the smokescreen clouding the ingredients used in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

In June, tobacco companies must tell the Food and Drug Administration their formulas for the first time, just as drugmakers have for decades. Manufacturers also will have to turn over any studies they’ve done on the effects of the ingredients.

It’s an early step for an agency just starting to flex muscles granted by a law that took effect last June that gives it broad power to regulate tobacco far beyond the warnings now on packs, short of banning it outright.

Companies have long acknowledged using cocoa, coffee, menthol and other additives to make tobacco taste better. The new information will help the FDA determine which ingredients might also make tobacco more harmful or addictive. It will also use the data to develop standards for tobacco products and could ban some ingredients or combinations.

“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” said Lawrence R. Deyton, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s new Center for Tobacco Products and a physician.

While the FDA must keep much of the data confidential under trade-secret laws, it will publish a list of harmful and potentially harmful ingredients by June 2011. Under the law, it must be listed by quantity in each brand.

Some tobacco companies have voluntarily listed product ingredients online in recent years but never with the specificity they must give the FDA, said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

For example, Altria Group Inc., based in Richmond and the parent company of the nation’s largest tobacco maker, Philip Morris USA, has posted general ingredients on its Web site since at least 1999.

Cigarette makers say their products include contain tobacco, water, sugar and flavorings, along with chemicals like diammonium phosphate, a chemical used to improve burn rate and taste, and ammonium hydroxide, used to improve the taste.

Scientific studies suggest those chemicals also could make the body more easily absorb nicotine, the active and addictive component of tobacco.

“Until now, the tobacco companies were free to manipulate their product in ways to maximize sales, no matter the impact on the number of people who died or became addicted,” Myers said. “The manner of disclosure previously made it impossible for the government to make any meaningful assessments.”

About 46 million people in the U.S., or 20.6 percent of the country’s adults smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, down from about 24 percent 10 years ago. It also estimates that about 443,000 people in the U.S. die each year from diseases linked to smoking.

Altria has supported what it has called “tough but fair regulation.” But its chief rivals — No. 2 Reynolds American Inc., parent company of R.J. Reynolds, and No. 3 Lorillard — opposed the law.

They said it would lock in Altria’s share of the market because its size gives it more resources to comply with regulations and future limits on marketing under the law. Altria’s brands include Marlboro, which held a 41.9 percent share of the U.S. cigarette market in the third quarter, according to Information Resources Inc.

Proof lacking on e-cigarettes’ safety, experts warn


There is a worrying lack of safety data on electronic cigarettes, despite their growing popularity with the public, two leading Greek researchers have warned.

In the British Medical Journal, they say that without more evidence it is impossible to know if such products actually do more harm than good.

Some studies have raised safety fears, but retailers argue e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to the real thing.

Users can inhale nicotine without tar, tobacco or carbon monoxide.

The Department of Health suggested consumers “exercise caution”.

The report authors said consumers should stop using the devices until ongoing safety studies reported back within the next year.

The World Health Organisation is among those to raise concerns about the safety of these new types of cigarette substitute, which deliver a nicotine hit in a fine vapour.

And in the past year, US regulators have detained and blocked numerous shipments of e-cigarettes at borders because the devices are not approved.

In the UK, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes as a “quit smoking” aid.

But they are widely available to buy as a “cigarette alternative” over the internet and are sold in a number of places, including some bars and clubs, the department store Harrods and even on board Ryanair flights.

Andreas Flouris and Dimitris Oikonomou, from the Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation in Greece, say there have been three main reports on e-cigarette safety – one by US regulators, one by a publicly-funded Greek research institute, and another by a private company in New Zealand.

Scant data

The US Food and Drug Administration report expressed concern after finding different brands of the battery operated device delivered markedly different amounts of nicotine vapour with each puff.

The FDA also detected traces of powerful cancer-causing chemicals.

The Greek institute Demokritos took a neutral stance on the products and did not find any evidence of chemical contamination.

Private enterprise Health New Zealand did find cancer-causing chemicals in products, but concluded that overall e-cigarettes should be recommended on the basis of the health risks associated with smoking normal cigarettes.

The researchers told the BMJ: “The scarce evidence indicates the existence of various toxic and carcinogenic compounds in e-cigarettes, albeit in possibly much smaller concentrations than in traditional cigarettes.”

Callum Reckless, director at Smart Smoker, a company that sells e-cigarettes, said: “I believe that electronic cigarettes are indeed a safer alternative to smoking real cigarettes.”

He welcomed more research into the safety of the products.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said it had been working with regulators to test the products and that none of those tested so far complied with product safety regulations.

She said the government was working to ensure e-cigarettes were labelled and sold appropriately.

“The Department of Health is not aware of any evidence about the long-term safety of e-cigarettes and, as such, would suggest that consumers exercise caution.

“E-cigarettes are not promoted by, or available on, the NHS,” she said.

Deborah Arnott, of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: “We do need better data on safety and appropriate regulation for e-cigarettes, although these products are certain to be significantly less hazardous than cigarettes, which lead to premature death in half all long-term users.”

She said there was demand for the products from smokers – UK estimates suggest around one in ten has already tried them.

National Tobacco Adds Two

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — National Tobacco Co. LP has announced the recent additions of two long-term industry professionals to its sales management team in 2010. Steve Towle will be assuming the role of key accounts manager in the eight-state South Central region of the country. And Tom Meyer has also joined National Tobacco and will be assuming the role of regional sales manager for the nine-state Midwest region of the country.

Towle will be charged with building business with the Louisville, Ky.-based company’s most strategic chain and wholesale customers in this geography. He will be headquartered in the Kansas City area, where he remains active and very involved in the area’s charity and community programs.

Prior to joining National Tobacco, he spent three years as the regional sales manager for the eastern United States with Prime Time International. Before joining Prime Time, Towle spent the majority of his business career with U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. During his 23 years with USST, he held positions of increasing responsibility in sales, promotion and brand management.

Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, Towle “spent eight years making a living and terrorizing opponents as a linebacker with the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions of the NFL.”

Meyer will be managing a region of nine territory sales managers and will be charged with the overall business development of the company’s brands in this geography. Prior to joining National Tobacco, he spent the past 24 years with USST. His professional background includes positions in sales and account management with increasing responsibility for USST. Meyer’s knowledge and long-term relationships with the key strategic business partners in the Midwest will be of value to the company immediately, it said.

Meyer will be headquartered in the Chicago area.

Also, National Tobacco has announced that Ron Tully has been elected to the board of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) as a manufacturer’s representative. Tully has been with National Tobacco for eight years and serves as the company’s vice president of public affairs. He will be working with the NATO board to assist retail partners in their efforts to deal with local, state and federal legislation that impacts their business and to ensure that adult consumers can continue to purchase their preferred tobacco products.
January 20, 2010

Japanese Stocks Decline for Third Day as Brokerages Lead Drop

Jan. 20 – Japanese stocks fell for a third day, led by brokerages after Credit Suisse Group AG lowered its investment rating on the industry.

Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest brokerage, sank 3.8 percent and Daiwa Securities Group Inc. lost 2.4 percent after Credit Suisse cut its rating to “market weight.” Securities companies had the biggest decline among the Topix index’s 33 industry groups. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of Japan’s largest fleet of iron-ore ships, dropped 2.1 percent on concern China’s government will rein in stimulus to prevent a bubble.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.3 percent to close at 10,737.52 in Tokyo. The broader Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 944.72, erasing a 0.7 percent advance. Stocks on the Topix trade at 37 times estimated earnings this year, more than twice as expensive as their U.S. and European counterparts.

“Current share prices have fully reflected an expected surge in earnings,” said Yoshihiro Ito, senior strategist at Okasan Asset Management Co., which oversees the equivalent of $8.2 billion. “There remains uncertainty, and the market climate will likely be turbulent into March.”

The Topix, which had the lowest return among benchmark indexes in the world’s 20 largest stock markets in 2009, has risen the most this year as investors bet a weaker yen will boost earnings.

Companies in the gauge are projected to turn profitable in 2010 after posting an average loss of 40 yen per share in the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings per share are estimated to gain 64 percent for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the U.S. and 353 percent for those in Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index.

By Masaki Kondo and Toshiro Hasegawa

Germans cut back on smoking, but spend more as prices increase

The increase in spending is despite what appears to be a move away from expensive cigars and cigarillos during the financial crisis.

Tobacco products worth €22.8 billion retail were sold in Germany in 2009, a total sum of 1.4 percent more than in the previous year, the new Destatis figures showed.

Yet the number of taxed cigarettes dropped by 1.6 percent to €1.4 billion. The financial crisis seems to have hit the luxury tobacco market in Germany particularly hard, with the taxed sales of cigars and cigarillos down by 24.6 percent.

Meanwhile the sale of fine-cut tobacco suitable for making roll-up cigarettes rose by 11.7 percent, the figures showed.

Sales of pipe tobacco were down by 57.2 percent, but this initially startling figure seems to have been largely generated by a change in the tax rules which put so-called pseudo pipe tobacco into the same category as fine-cut, as it is not suitable for pipe use.