August 2010 - |

Monthly Archives: August 2010

Canadian tax subsidies help Hollywood recruit young smokers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – A new study on the effect on children of watching smoking in movies found that federal and provincial subsidies to Hollywood studios undermine public health efforts to reduce smoking.

“Studies worldwide show smoking in movies is one of the most powerful recruiters of young people into lifelong tobacco addiction,” said Neil Collishaw, research director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, which commissioned the study “Tobacco Vector”. “Now we have estimates that 130,000 teenage Canadians who currently smoke were recruited by their exposure to smoking on screen, of whom 43,000 will die prematurely from smoking.”

The compelling evidence that exposure to smoking in films causes young people to become smokers has led the World Health Organization, the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and now today the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, among many others, to call for steps to permanently and substantially reduce young people’s exposure. The U.S. film industry has so far refused appeals to change its self-administered rating system to apply an adult rating to new films with tobacco content.

“Canada’s provincial movie ratings don’t protect children as well as U.S. ratings,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, whose organization has coordinated campaigns for smoke-free movies in central-west Ontario. “Because so many R-rated films are re-rated ’14A’ or ‘PG’ when they cross our borders, Canadian youth can watch more than two-thirds of these smoking movies. American youth see fewer than half.”

“Canadian provincial and federal governments are unintentionally contributing to the problem,” said Jonathan Polansky, author of the study and a consultant to tobacco prevention agencies and policy research projects in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and other nations. “First, the provincial rating systems allow many of the U.S. studio films with the most smoking, R-rated in the U.S., to be dumped into the Canadian youth market, spiking youth tobacco exposure. Second, scores of U.S. studio films with smoking, accessible to young people, are actually being paid for by Canada’s taxpayers through generous production tax credits.”

The study estimated that, over the past five years, Canada’s provinces and the federal government granted a quarter of a billion dollars to fund Hollywood productions intended for young audiences and that featured smoking. Every dollar in film subsidies may in the end cost Canada $1.70 in societal tobacco losses.

“Our concerns are not with film artists, small producers, or documentary film-makers,” said Neil Collishaw. “The problem is with big Hollywood studios wittingly or unwittingly promoting smoking around the world, and with Canadian tax dollars being used to harm the health of young people world-wide.”

The report identifies several steps governments should take, including changing rating systems to ensure youth-rated films do not depict smoking (unless the smoker is an actual historical figure known to have smoked or the film unambiguously portrays the dire health consequences of tobacco use), ending display of tobacco brands in films, requiring film producers to attest that their production was not influenced to show tobacco, and making future youth-accessible films that depict smoking ineligible for public subsidies.

New York tribe relocates cigarette factory

The Oneida Indian Nation is relocating a cigarette factory to its reservation in central New York as part of a broad effort to keep the state from collecting taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian tribes.

Oneida officials say the Sovereign Tobacco business near Buffalo that the tribe bought for $6.6 million in 2008 will begin manufacturing cigarettes next month at its new location on Oneida territory midway between Syracuse and Utica, about 170 miles east. The move was announced a week before Sept. 1, the date the state plans to begin taxing cigarettes sold by Native American retailers to non-Indian customers.

The tribe contends that federal law pre-empts state efforts to tax products that are manufactured and sold on Indian territories.

“Since the Oneida Nation will be manufacturing its own products and selling its own products on its own reservation, it would not be covered by the statute even if the state wished to extend its reach to the Oneida Nation, which it does not appear the state is looking to do,” said Peter Carmen, chief operating officer of Oneida Nation Enterprises in Oneida.

Separately, the Seneca Indian Nation in western New York is seeking a federal order in Buffalo to stop the state from taxing cigarettes sold by Native American retailers to non-Indian customers.

Hit with financial woes, Gov. David Paterson positioned the state in January to revisit a budget issue perennially overshadowed by emotion. Previous efforts to tax reservation sales in 1992 and 1997 resulted in members of the Seneca tribe blockading state highways, setting fires and clashing with troopers.

Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said Wednesday the governor “will continue with his stated policy of negotiation, litigation and implementation of the laws of New York when it comes to all dealings with New York’s sovereign Indian nations.”

Sovereign Tobacco produces Niagara and Bishop discount cigarette brands, which sell for around $39 a carton, a bit more than half the cost of taxed, name-brand cigarettes sold in non-Indian outlets.

The factory, at an off-reservation site in Angola, near Lake Erie, sells upward of 1.4 million cartons of cigarettes a year, distributing mostly to about 60 Native American outlets in upstate New York. It will employ at least 15 people in Oneida, the same number as in Angola.

“Some equipment already has been moved and is being put in place,” Carmen said. “There will be testing of equipment and training of employees, and we expect it to be manufacturing cigarettes by middle to late September.”

The nation already runs the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, including its five golf courses, and a dozen SavOn gas station-convenience stores and employs 4,800 people.

Tribes in New York have long claimed sovereignty from state and local laws and have refused to collect sales and excise taxes for the state on cigarettes they sell, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1994 that states have the right to collect those taxes. Successive governors in New York have declined to enforce the tax laws.

New test allows individualized profiles of cigarette smoking

BOSTON, — A test for one of the thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke has the potential for more accurately estimating smokers’ mouth level exposure and may have applications for developing custom-tailored quitting approaches for the more than 43 million people in the United States who still smoke, and hundreds of millions elsewhere, scientists said here today.

In a report at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they described development of a way to measure mainstream smoke deliveries of select chemicals that an individual smoker consumes on a per cigarette basis. It provides a much more accurate estimate of exposure than using automated cigarette smoking machines to estimate mainstream smoke deliveries, which traditionally have been used.

An inexpensive test on cigarette filters may
provide profiles of individual smoking patterns
useful for smoking cessation efforts. Credit: iStock

“Historically, our knowledge about the amounts of carcinogens, nicotine, and tar produced by cigarettes is based on data from smoking machines,” Clifford Watson, Ph.D., explained. “Those machines do not smoke cigarettes in the same way as people. Smokers may inhale large puff volumes or take more puffs per cigarette than the fixed regimen a smoking machine uses. Our method avoids those pitfalls and provides an actual ‘mouth level‘― rather than a ‘machine-level’ ― profile of smokers’ exposure to the harmful substances in tobacco smoke.”

Potential future applications include examining a smoker’s daily cigarette-to-cigarette consumption pattern and developing an optimized smoking cessation program based on an individual’s pattern. According to Watson, it may be possible to develop individualized plans for quitting that are custom-tailored to each individual’s smoking pattern to improve cessation rates. Watson added, “Cessation rates for smoking are generally poor so that any improvement may substantially increase quit rates.” Dr. Watson is a chemist with the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

The new method also could be valuable in better understanding health risks of cigarettes with different levels of smoke constituents, Watson added. Machine-smoked “light” and “ultra-light” cigarettes do produce smoke with less tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes. However, smokers that use such products may compensate and inhale deeper, take more puffs, or smoke more cigarettes. In doing so, their dose of tar, nicotine, and other chemicals may approach the dose from a regular cigarette.

Watson and colleagues based the method on previous research involving a substance naturally present in tobacco called solanesol. During smoking, a fraction of the solanesol deposits in the cigarette filters and serves as a good surrogate “marker” for other compounds in the mainstream smoke that smokers draw in their mouths. Watson reasoned that measurements of this one compound could be used to gauge a smoker’s exposure to numerous other chemicals in the more than 7,000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke.

The scientists removed filters from cigarette butts and measured the solanesol content. The cigarette butts were from a variety of brands machine smoked under different conditions, including variations in the amount of smoke per cigarette puff, differences in the number of puffs, and effectiveness of the filter. Their findings indicate that measuring solanesol does provide a quick, inexpensive way to estimate a smoker’s total exposure, in a way that more closely reflects their natural smoking habits.

Even cigarettes that are labelled as “low tar” or “light” are unsafe, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recently ban tobacco companies from using these terms on cigarette packaging.

“There’s no such thing as a safe cigarette,” Watson cautioned. “The only proven means to reduce your health risk from tobacco use is to quit.”

Tax hike leads to smoke sales plunge

A hefty state tobacco tax hike appears to have led to a huge drop in demand for cigarettes.

But those who waged the war over the tobacco tax say it may be too early to draw conclusions about the long-term effects of the new tax.

There is no way to track actual cigarette sales, but orders for the tax stamps that have to be attached to every pack sold in the state fell dramatically in July.

Since July 1, when the state cigarette tax jumped from 69.5 cents per pack to $1.70, the Utah Tax Commission sold stamps for about 2.8 million packs of cigarettes.

That is about half as many as it sold on average for the first five months of 2010 and a huge drop from the more than 9 million stamps it sold in June, the month before the tax took effect.

“The magnitude of the drop surprises me,” said David Davis, president of the Utah Retail Merchants Association. “I think that folks were filling their cabinets or filling their pantries. They knew the tax increase was coming so they went out and bought ahead.”

Jim Gibbs, owner of The Tobacco Store in South Salt Lake, said his sales are down sharply since the tax took effect.

“Sales are down, I would guesstimate, somewhere between 25 and 30 percent,” Gibbs said. “I haven’t seen many people quitting. They’re just cutting back because they simply can’t afford it. They’ve taxed the lowest income people there is and that’s the smokers.”

The dip in demand is not too surprising, said Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, who along with Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, led the fight for the tobacco tax hike. Ray said state budget analysts forecast a drop in sales for the first few months.

Indeed, analysts projected that retail tobacco sales would fall by more than $50 million in the first year the tax was in place, but because of the higher rate, the state would receive $43 million in additional tax revenue.

It will likely take several months for the market to find its new equilibrium, Ray said.

Michael Siler, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said he hopes some of the reduction is due to people quitting the habit and suspects some is probably due to people who stocked up in June and some who have gone out of state, although he suspects that is a short-term phenomenon.

“I think it’s probably a fact that people are going to cross borders for a while, but after a brief period of time, they’re going to get tired of that and we’ll see revenue increase significantly,” he said.

The big drop in demand for cigarettes has been offset by the spike in the tax, and overall the revenue the state has collected rose to $4.8 million in July, up from an average of $4.2 million per month for the prior year.

Gibbs said when a 70-cent-per-pack federal tax kicked in last year he saw sales slip, but only by about 10 percent and some of them came back. This time he said he doesn’t anticipate a return to the same volume as before because the government has simply made it too expensive.

Flavored Tobacco Proposal Likely Leading to Lawsuit

A proposed Utah bill banning the sale of flavored tobacco products and novelty nicotine candies could lead to a lawsuit. A similar ban passed in New York City is being contested by several subsidiaries of Altria. Spokesman David Sutton says the lawsuit against the ban passed in the Big Apple argues regulating tobacco flavors is the purview of the federal government.

“The Food and Drug Administration has overall authority for tobacco product regulation in the United States,” Sutton says. “And we think very distinctly that any additional regulation of tobacco product flavor varieties should occur only at the federal level.”

The FDA banned the sale of flavored cigarettes last fall, but exempted menthols. Sutton says states and cities can’t weigh in on flavored tobacco, since the federal government already has.

Sutton says bans on flavors are unfair to adults. And he says bans aren’t as effective as responsible marketing and retailing, such as displaying these products behind the counter and ensuring stores aren’t selling to minors.

“The bottom line with this,” Sutton says, “is that the prohibition of all tobacco products with characterizing flavors other than tobacco is simply not the most effective method of addressing underage tobacco use.”

Sutton says a judge rejected a request to halt the New York City ban, and a hearing for the case is expected shortly. Maine and New Jersey have also passed similar bans.

Smoking in Chinese TV, Film

Smoking scenes are still common in Chinese movies and television dramas, according to the “2009 Report on Smoking in Chinese smoking in filmMovies and TV Dramas” released by the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control on Aug. 22.

Two hit movies – “The Message” and “The Founding of a Republic” – have both been put on the warning list. The association also sent an open letter to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television appealing for a ban on smoking in movies and on television.

The association started compiling the annual statistics on smoking scenes in popular Chinese movies and TV dramas in 2007. According to analyses of 40 movies and 30 dramas shown in 2009, 31 movies have smoking scenes, accounting for nearly 78 percent of the total, and 28 dramas have smoking scenes, 93 percent of the total. Only nine movies and two dramas do not depict smoking at all.

Over 54 percent of the 11,000 middle school students surveyed said that they often see smoking in movies and dramas, and nearly 39 percent think that actors have shown their maturity and charm through smoking.

In addition, nearly 60 percent approve of or have no negative opinions on smoking scenes, according to a survey report released by the School Health Research Institute under the Beijing Center for Disease Control on Aug. 22.

The proportion of students who have imitated smoking by characters in movies increases from junior high schools to senior high schools to vocational high schools. Nearly 33 percent of middle school students said that they have imitated actors’ smoking behaviors, and nearly 58 percent of students in their last year of vocational high schools have imitated smoking. In addition, a certain portion of students took up smoking simply because they have seen their idols smoke.

Finland adopts new tobacco act to completely ban smoking

HELSINKI, – Finnish President Tarja Halonen approved Friday a new tobacco act proposed by the Finnish government on Aug. 18, aiming to totally end smoking in Finland, the first country to write the aim of completely banning smoking in a law.

The purpose of a new tobacco act is to prevent in particular children and youngsters from smoking. The new act restricts selling and supplying tobacco especially to children and youngsters under 18 years old. Neither shops nor private persons are allowed to sell or provide tobacco products to persons under 18. According to the act, person who sell single cigarette or buy a packet of cigarette from a shop to a minor person should be fined or sentenced to prison for a maximum of 6 months. It is also forbidden to supply tobacco to minor persons for free.

According to the new act, persons under 18 years old are banned to import and possess tobacco products, importing tobacco products can be fined. In addition, sellers of tobacco products must be aged at least 18 years in the future. The new act also prohibits tobacco products and their trademarks being displayed in retail stores in the future. In addition, the sale of tobacco products from vending machines will be banned.

The total ban on the sale of snuff in Finland will continue. Ordering snuff through the Internet will also be forbidden.

The bans on smoking will be extended also in places used by children and youngsters, the public venues of residential areas, outdoor public places and hotel rooms.

The new act comes into effect from Oct. 1 this year. The ban on display of tobacco products and their trademarks, as well as the restrictions on smoking in hotel rooms become effective at the beginning of 2012. Sale of tobacco products in vending machines will be prohibited from the beginning of 2015.

Electronic cigarettes banned in campus buildings

Electronic cigarettes are banned from use anywhere indoors on Central Michigan University’s campus this fall.

Shaun Holtgreive, associate director of Residence Life, said e-cigarettes “will be treated as regular cigarettes.”

After studying e-cigarettes, which use a reservoir of nicotine laced water and a vaporizer to administer the substance, he said the university decided to ban their use within campus buildings because research has shown they give off noxious chemicals in the vapor expelled when smoked.

Because they are being treated the same as tobacco cigarettes, they too cannot be smoked within 25 feet of all campus buildings.

“Until the issue of e-cigarettes is resolved by the FDA,” Holtgreive said, “we will not be allowing them in the residence halls.”

He said these regulations are to keep a safe environment for students and those around them.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health website, electronic cigarettes are “battery-powered devices that provide inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporized solution.”

Throughout the state there are no formal laws regulating the use of e-cigarettes in public places, but the MDCH strongly recommends business owners should limit their use because they are “not a proven safe alternative” to real cigarettes.

Importation of e-cigarettes into the U.S. is currently banned as a result of an ongoing FDA investigation, according to the MDCH website.

Iron Mountain senior Andrew Casanova agrees with the new regulations put in place.

The Calkins Hall resident assistant said the Office of Residence Life made the right decision because not only are they still harmful to those around them, but also to the smoker himself.

“I feel that they were created to be a safe alternative,” Casanova said. “But they are not safe, the only safe alternative is to not smoke at all.”

Nicotine detected in 11 brands of e-cigarettes in Japan

TOKYO – Eleven out of 25 electronic cigarettes sold in Japan have been found to contain small amounts of nicotine, which is banned in such devices, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan said Wednesday.

Test results show there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the safety of the 11 varieties of e-cigarettes so consumers are advised not to use them readily, the center said.

The health ministry subsequently called on prefectural authorities to instruct marketers of the e-cigarettes in question to recall or refrain from selling them because such devices can be categorized as pharmaceuticals or medical equipment by law if they contain nicotine.

An e-cigarette is shaped like a cigarette and lets a user inhale steam generated with electricity from liquid inside it.

In 2008, the World Health Organization released a statement saying, “Contrary to what some marketers of the electronic cigarette imply in their advertisements, the WHO does not consider it to be a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit.”

Canadians, Americans, Britons support tobacco crackdowns

Canadians, Americans and Britons widely support the notion of their governments enacting regulations that curb smoking, cigarette sales and tobacco advertising, according to a new poll.

The Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that most respondents supported the laws that ban smoking indoors, in a vehicle that has a child present and in bars, restaurants and casinos.

The poll, which was released on Wednesday, questioned 1,000 Canadians, 1,013 Americans and 2,023 Britons.

Canadians led the other two countries in supporting the crackdown on sales.

About 75% of Canadians supported banning cigarette sales at stores that contained a pharmacy while 63% of Brits and 43% of Americans did.

Meanwhile, 86% of the Canadians polled supported banning the sales at post-secondary institutions compared to 66% of the American respondents and 79% of the British respondents.

The majority of respondents also supported printing hazard warnings on tobacco packaging with Americans at 91% and Canadians and Britons at 88%.

But only about 50% of respondents from each country thought that images of people smoking should be kept off TV and film.

The majority also opposed making smoking illegal in their respective countries. About 57% of Canadians were against the idea while 61% of Americans were opposed to the move and 54% of Britons.

The survey has an error margin of plus or minus 3.1% in Canada and the U.S. and 2.2% in the UK.

Saving cigarette shipments?

A meeting today in Henrietta was historic. The six nations making up the Iroquois Confederacy say it was the first time they’ve all met together in more than 200 years.

At stake are options in the wake of New York State taxing Native American cigarette shipments.

The Seneca Nation of Indians and the others say New York State does not have the authority to impose its laws on them. That they are sovereign nations — just as the United States of America is and they said that message is meant for Gov. Paterson and Andrew Cuomo.

The Six Nations said they are considering what their options are in the wake of New York State enforcing the new law that taxes most cigarettes headed for the Indian reservations. And they say this meeting is all because of Gov. Paterson and the state legislature.

“It has brought unity. It has brought us together in historic fashion. And we’re supporting one another, and it’s very significant and very important.” Ray Halbritter speaks for the Oneida Nation. “And we look and hope for peace and the Treaty of Canandaigua we signed with George Washington, the father of this country, the President who could not tell a lie. And we’re holding this country to its word.”

Two of the speakers talked about resolving this peacefully. But Senecas disrupted travel on the Thruway through their reservations in the summer of 1992 to protest the state’s plans to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on the reservations to non-Indians. They also staged protests in 1997 — upset with a state tax aimed at gambling revenue.

News 10NBC asked the Seneca Nation president if they really want peace and to sit down at the bargaining table. Barry Snyder said, “You’re exactly right. But you’ve got to remember, there are 7,800 Senecas and they have 7,800 different ideas about what the state should be doing to us. Again, I don’t have control over everybody. But I will do my damnest to make sure there is peace in our Nation and in our territories in western New York. I only speak for the Senecas.”

Under the new state law that takes effect September 1, the six nations get an allotment of tax exempt cigarettes for their people from a formula based on census counts.

For example, the state says there are nearly 8,000 Senecas and they are allowed 168,000 packs of tax free cigarettes every three months.

The state says the six nations sell millions of cartons of cigarettes and is counting on that new tax revenue.

How does this new law work?
All packs of cigarettes must have a tax stamp and wholesalers are ordered to collect the tax. The state Department of Taxation today said their agents are committed to collecting the tax. And Governor Paterson’s office issued a brief statement on the meeting today, “We have no comment on this.”

Laws hit smokers hard

Stringent smoking laws, combined with the increasing cost of cigarettes, are discouraging South Africans from smoking, with a significant number of smokers considering quitting, a nationwide smoking survey has found.

The survey, carried out in March and April, found that smokers’ habits, trends and behaviours were changing, with 66 percent of smokers saying the legislation restricting smoking in public places was making smokers consider quitting.

Smokers, non-smokers and former smokers were surveyed. Amendments to the Tobacco Control Act came into force in September, barring smoking in partially enclosed areas and in cars in which there were small children.

The amendments banned smoking in entertainment areas, including pubs, clubs, restaurant patios, and balconies, as well on pavements and in parkades.

Vanessa Sew Chung Hong, brand manager for Nicorette, which commissioned the survey, said it was encouraging that more people were thinking of quitting.

Of the 16 645 participants, 56 percent of the former smokers agreed with the stricter legislation, as did 44 percent of smokers and 48 percent of non-smokers.

Gauteng and the Western Cape had the most participants in the survey, accounting for 45 percent and 28 percent of the respondents.

About 63 percent of the smokers said they had tried to quit smoking between two and five times, while 6 percent had tried to quit more than six times. Another 6 percent said they had lost count.

Participants cited stress as their reason for smoking, while those who had quit said willpower had been the most effective way to stop.

Petrol firms burnt by cigarette sales

PETROL giants trying to make up lost revenue from falling cigarette sales are to turn the weekly price cycle on its head.

Cheap Tuesday, once known for its long queues at petrol stations across Sydney, is about to become the most expensive day to buy petrol.

NRMA data collected since June 1 showed the most expensive time of the week to buy unleaded petrol had moved from Sunday morning, to Sunday afternoon, to Monday morning and now Monday afternoon.

Industry sources said petrol companies were shifting the weekly price cycle after losing millions as a result of the Federal Government’s 25 per cent tax rise on cigarettes in April.

“So much of the retail side of our business was cigarettes but we just can’t compete with the big supermarkets. They are undercutting our prices by $3 or $4 for a packet,” the source said

“The only way we can make more money is to sell more petrol at a higher price.”

The rise added another $2.16 on a pack of 30 cigarettes.

The NRMA said it was clear the retailers had again shifted the weekly price cycle.

“Saturday morning is still the cheapest point of the weekly price cycle,” NRMA economic adviser Wal Setkiewicz.

But the most expensive time to buy petrol was moving dramatically. During June it was on Sunday, and it moved to Monday morning in July.

“What has changed over the past weekly cycle is that Monday afternoon is the now dearest point,” he said.

NRMA data last year found more than half of all motorists still believed Tuesday was the cheapest day to buy petrol.

The motoring body said motorists were likely to be confused about when to buy petrol with the cheapest day of the week changing seven times over the past year.

The cost of a packet of Winfield Blue 25 cigarettes yesterday ranged between $16.50 and $18 at service stations, compared to $14 if bought in a carton at Coles or Woolworths.

From 2012, cigarette companies will only be allowed to print their brand name in a standard style and graphic health warnings will remain on the packets.

The tax rise and the plain packaging were recommendations of the Preventative Health Taskforce, which handed down its findings last September.

Chinese grassroots battle for smoking-control

BEIJING, – Wu Yiqun, 64, deputy director of Thinktank, a Beijing-based NGO mainly dealing with public health issues in China, was requesting that two sturdy men show their reporter IDs at Thursday’s seminar.

“They cannot show any kind of certificate, not even a business card. But they insist that they were sent by Beijing TV and would film our symposium. They didn’t like to reveal their names. So, I couldn’t check with Beijing TV.” Wu said to a colleague.

“Please come next time with your invitation letters or ID. We welcome different voices to join in, and I am ready to argue against any tobacco-promotion forces.” Wu said to the two men.

At last, both men were unwillingly “invited” to leave by the security men.

This is the real situation the Chinese NGOs working on smoking control are facing.

Wu is a former deputy director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in China. After her retirement from CDC, she has devoted herself to smoking-control for almost ten years. Smart as a Shanghainee, Wu shows it in her work.

“I spotted them once they came into the hall. You can see from their face and their unprofessional behaviour. I cannot say they are sent by tobacco industries, but we have been harassed by unidentified men several times,” said Wu.

Thursday, the organization held a seminar to plan their opposition to tobacco- sponsored advertisements, which is spreading in China.

One of the world’s largest tobacco producing and consuming nations, China manufactures about 100 billion packs of cigarettes each year. The country now has a smoking population of 350 million, about one-third of the world’s total.

Each year, about one million Chinese die from lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases directly linked to their tobacco use, according to statistics from the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC).

Under the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which China ratified in 2005, the country will ban all types of tobacco advertising and promotion by 2011.

However, the tobacco industries use other forms, such as outdoor activities, to promote their products. The Beijing Tobacco factory put its brand, Zhongnanhai, a geographic name known as the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party, as images on cigarette packets, and words like “lights” on outdoor participants’ clothing and posters.

“This practice is the tobacco company’s way to get around the conventional guidelines.” said Shen Weixing, a professor of law from Tsinghua University.

“Top priority here is to adopt an anti-smoking law that bans smoking in public areas, and make sure it is fully implemented, ” said Shen.

However, such an anti-smoking law would inevitably affect the tobacco industry, which has long been considered a major source of government tax revenues.

But Wu Yiqun said tax gains from the tobacco industry are far less than what China has lost in medical expenses and deaths related to smoking.

“There are many smoking pictures in Chinese movies and TV series, which are very misleading to young people,” said Wu Yiqun.

“Shanghai turned down a 200-million-yuan sponsorship deal for the 2010 World Expo from a tobacco company in July 2009. This has set a very good example for us,” Wu added.

“Actors smoking in movies and TV programs are a kind of tobacco advertisement. Tobacco companies link cigarette use to charm, energy and sexiness. This attracted a lot of young targeted groups,” said Sarah England, Technical Officer of the World Health Organization in China.

“Further bans are needed on billboards, the Internet, cigarette giveaways and discounts,” added England.

Medical professors, lawyers, journalists and social activists attended Thursday’s seminar, many of them being volunteers.

“We are very delighted to see so many people devoting themselves to smoking-control activities. It arouses public awareness to tobacco risks, especially second-hand smoking, and we are strongly encouraged to continue our work,” said Wang Kean, director of Thinktank Research Center for Health Development.

Michigan veterans fight for right to smoke

BARAGA — The veterans at the American Legion Post 444 see it as pretty straightforward.


Smoking tobacco is legal. They own, run and risk failure at their post’s tavern in tiny Baraga at the base of the Keweenaw Bay in the Upper Peninsula.

So they get to decide whether patrons get to smoke.

That wasn’t an issue before May 1, when a statewide ban on smoking in places of employment took effect (with a few, minor exceptions and one major one: Detroit’s three casinos).

Now Foucault-Funke Post 444, where the ashtrays never came off the tables and smokers line the bar each afternoon and evening, is at the center of what could be a decisive showdown for the new state law and — as the vets see it — for the individual liberty and self-government they fought to defend.

Earlier this month, the post sued the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department to strike down as unconstitutional the department’s order to end indoor smoking.

“It’s not about the smoking,” said post spokesman Joseph O’Leary. “It’s about the right to choose to allow the use of a legal substance on our property.”

Smoke looks like freedom on a Baraga afternoon

At least for the time being, smoking is good for business at the Baraga American Legion post.

On a recent perfect August afternoon, nearly two dozen patrons took shelter from the sun at its U-shaped bar to toss back brew, banter and (for about half the group) brazenly blow smoke into the indoor air.

The way one of those smokers, Baraga resident and auxiliary post member Anita Shepard, sees it, that smoke is what freedom looks like.

“People walk in, stop and see the ashtrays and they’re blown away,” she said. “They say, ‘Awright,’ turn around and go back to their cars to get their cigs.”

The new state smoking ban, Shepard said, is just one more encroachment on personal freedom, a decision handed down by out-of-touch politicians 500 miles away. She likens it to restrictions on gun rights and creeping government intrusion generally.

“We’re not a communist country yet, but we’re only one step away from it,” she said.

The leaders of the Baraga post said they didn’t go looking for a confrontation with the state or local health authorities. But when the new law was signed, they decided it was time to take a stand.

“These are guys who put their lives on the line for their country,” said O’Leary, an honorary member of Post 444.

“They said, ‘Wait a minute. This is our property. This is not heroin. Nobody in the world who doesn’t like smoke has to walk through that door.’

“They just decided, enough is enough.”

When May 1 came, Post Commander Rick Geroux issued a notice to members and employees that, until ordered by a court, the new restrictions would not be observed on its premises.

During the next two months, several citizen complaints were filed about the post’s noncompliance, and local health department officials sent notices of violation. Geroux responded with a news release July 16 that described the new law as unconstitutional and un-American.

Further, the exemption for Detroit’s casinos (which was based on their need to compete with American Indian casinos not covered by the state law) is “wildly unfair” to the Baraga post, which lies within a mile, and competes for customers, with two alcohol-serving, smoking-acceptable tribal facilities, Geroux said.

After getting a cease-and-desist order from the health department July 20, the post decided to sue.

Guy St. Germain, director of the western Upper Peninsula health department, said the post’s take on the law is “strictly speaking, irrelevant to how we do our job.

“We’re obligated to enforce public health statutes the Legislature passes. This is a valid law until a court says otherwise.”

St. Germain said the Baraga post is alone among establishments in the five-county region that have chosen to ignore the law. He said a “small handful” of complaints about other violations were mostly technical in nature and easily resolved. A spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office said she was unaware of any other lawsuits over the smoking ban.

Post spokesman O’Leary, also the Baraga County prosecuting attorney, believes noncompliance with the law, especially in the libertarian-leaning Upper Peninsula, is more widespread than health officials acknowledge. The legion post has been targeted, at least in part, because it is openly defiant, he said.

That high profile has helped in some ways, as well, generating donations to a legal defense fund and drawing support from all over the state.

St. Germain and the health department have asked Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to defend the smoking ban in court. A response to the post’s lawsuit is due soon.

For now, however, Post 444 keeps serving and its patrons keep smoking.

The front door is decorated with a bumper sticker, notifying customers: “We believe in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Those Who Threaten It!”

Inside, the barkeeper distributes another to visitors, “Say yah to da U.S. eh!,” a patriotic variation on the green stickers that became ubiquitous in northern Michigan in the 1980s — “Say yah to da U.P. eh!”

The vets at Post 444 said they don’t think of smoking as an act of patriotism (although several of the elder statesmen point out the government provided the smokes and hooked them on the habit when they were in the service).

But there isn’t any question they view a government order to stop as an affront to liberty.

“No foreign enemy has ever taken away any of our liberties or our property,” O’Leary said. “Now those guys in Lansing are doing it.”

Lucky Strike: packages “white”? “Stupid and demagoguery!”

Joe Camel is dead. The cowboy Marlboro died. Now the tobacco companies could lose up to their logo! The UMP deputy Yves Bur announced Tuesday he will introduce in the fall of a bill to impose a package of cigarettes “neutral”. Gone are the pretty colored packages Marlboro or : each mark could no longer put his name on a plain background. Yves Trévilly, spokesman for British American Tobacco (owner of brands Lucky Strike, Dunhill,, Rothmans…), protested against this measure and returns to the TF1 news on price cuts announced last month.

Lucky strike white

TF1 News: Yves Bur wants to impose a package of cigarettes “neutral”. As industrial tobacco, What Do You Think?

Yves Trévilly, spokesman for British American Tobacco: It’s been a long time that anti-smoking associations require that. Each year they take advantage of empty media in August to revive the idea. The truth is that, under pressure, only three countries have studied the package “neutral”. Canada and the United Kingdom have abandoned as to impose a mark to renounce everything that makes its DNA, it is against all rules of international trade law and intellectual property. In Australia, the Minister of Health has just announced its intention in principle to do in 2011-2012. But we do not start from the beginning of an implementation … On the merits, I find this proposal stupid because it will mean that boost counterfeiting.

TF1 News: How?

YT: The tobacco product is already the most counterfeited in the world with 660 billion of “fake” cigarettes sold each year. So far, 98% of them come from China: they are made the night on state machines and cargo arriving by integers in other countries. If tomorrow you go to the packages ‘white’, it will be much easier to counterfeit, factories wildlife appear everywhere and flood the market. Make a cigarette counterfeiting, it is easy, but it is much harder to imitate a perfect package. We also work with customs to put small traps traceability. If you do not let the name brands, you remove all the complexity of the logo, graphics. There are mafias that are waiting for it. With 22% of smuggling in France (12 billion cigarettes cons 55000000000 “law), we are fortunate to be relatively free of infringement unless the product most sold (Note: the competitor Marlboro) which is victim of its success. A 4% market share, my Lucky Strike is less threatened. But tomorrow, nobody will be safe!
exergue We were among the first to demand the prohibition of “cigarette-candy”

TF1 News: Maybe the state priority is public health ….

YT: But these cigarettes are contraband just a public health problem because they are provided at competitive prices and seduce especially young people who have little purchasing power. It’s paradoxical: MP Yves Bur passed a law prohibiting the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 years and he has another three months later, which will provide them with the cigarettes at deflated prices. Yet we are responsible people. We were among the first to demand the banning of “cigarette-candy” chocolate or sweet to taste. Even in countries where we have the right, we ban marketing to younger people.

TF1 News: Have you not yourself revived hostilities in lowering the price of your packages Rothmans and Lucky Strike 20 cents last month? This encourages young people to smoke …

YT: Wait … The cigarette is the most regulated product in France. Every four months, manufacturers of cigarettes sent to the customs of their quotations. There are those who rise, others fall … That’s life in a normal brand! This would be true if we had gone on prices below the market but it stayed on the minimum price charged in France. We could fall further and we did not do it deliberately. Moreover, the budget minister has confirmed. We will not be more royalist than the king!
exergue Roselyne Bachelot wanted to get out of the case Domenech

TF1 News: Minister of Health was still known as “outraged” …

YT: Roselyne Bachelot has made a statement because she had to get out of the case Domenech and it suited him. Since you have heard more … Otherwise she explains why she goes against the minister of the budget! That said, the Minister of Health is, it seems, not favorable to neutral packages *. Taxes on cigarettes account for 13 billion euros, is the fourth tax return. By making the fiction, if the measurement of white packages were implemented it would affect only purchases within the official network of tobacconists. In Canada, where the law is very strict, people have left the traditional channels and buy their cigarettes on the streets of ancient Indian tribes that sell them in plastic bags. There are 50% of pirates!

TF1 News: As Coca-Cola, cigarettes are a product whose brand has an attractive side. Prohibit side “sexy” and “identifying” packages, do not you fight against smoking?

YT: I do not know and nobody knows anything.

TF1 News: You have many studies on it …

YT: No, if it were that simple, if someone knew the answer, the Camel would be at the level of Marlboros in France. Some want to smoke as their neighbors, others contrary to differ.

TF1 News: You could always shine on you “taste” of cigarettes …

YT: That is not the issue. As a manufacturer, I do not want to engage in this debate.

TF1 News: What will you do to defend yourself? Lobby?

YT: Nothing at all! I sincerely believe that the debate will not be granted, the bill will be filed, but it probably will not be included on the agenda of Parliament as it poses daunting challenges. It is totally demagogic! If a red car overturns a group of people at night, Yves Bur Will he seek to ban red cars or travel at night? It makes no sense. Now, if we are called to participate in consultations, we will speak. Smoking is an area where the rules are stacked without measuring their effects. That’s why I asked for a “Grenelle of tobacco”since 2009, to the point on taxes, for example. When anti-smoking associations require a price increase of 10% each year for a decline in consumption, this is stupid. That would make sense if France was an island in the middle of the Atlantic but in a commercial space open is ridiculous. People will source elsewhere. Or on the internet …

Tobacco shipments to resume to soldiers overseas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Postal Service said Thursday that it plans to resume shipping care packages with cigarettes and other tobacco to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A law aimed at preventing smuggling had unintentionally banned families from sending tobacco to military members serving overseas. Spokesman Greg Frey said the postal service is planning to issue new instructions that could allow shipments to resume possibly as soon as Aug. 27.

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 quietly took effect June 29 and was created to prevent minors from ordering cigarettes through the mail. It allowed for small shipments of tobacco but required a way to verify the recipient was old enough – meaning the only way to ship the packages through the postal service was by Express Mail, which requires a signature.

However, Express Mail doesn’t deliver to most overseas military addresses.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act to remain in compliance with the law and serve the needs of our customers and in this particular case those brave men and women overseas,” Frey said.

The new instructions would allow tobacco shipments to military addresses through Priority Mail, which does ship to deployed troops, with delivery confirmation instead.

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement that he was notified Thursday of the new instructions.

“I’m pleased that the Postal Service responded so quickly to the concerns of our military families and found a way to honor the original intent of the bill: to keep cigarettes out of the hands of children and prevent tobacco smugglers from profiting on the black market,” he said.

Kohl recently sent a letter to the Postmaster General asking him to change the regulations, because the bill also expressly permits the shipping of tobacco from adult to adult, including to military addresses.

Following the law’s enactment, family members of soldiers were turned away when they tried to send care packages containing tobacco products to combat troops. The law only affects the U.S. Postal Service because UPS and FedEx do not allow consumer-to-consumer shipping of tobacco.

Rep. Anthony Weiner was the primary house member on the act and said the law was intended to stop the black market sales of cigarettes, not stop soldiers from getting smokes.

“We have made it clear that our troops overseas may still get care packages with cigarettes,” he said.

State seizes truckload of Seneca cigarettes

The state has seized a Seneca tobacco retailer’s truck containing thousands of cartons of cigarettes, a move some see as a test by the government as Albany looks to start collecting taxes on Indian cigarette sales in the months ahead.

The truck was seized Monday by at least one state tax and finance agent as it made its way between the tribe’s Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations.

Brad Maione, a tax department spokesman, said the state confiscated “thousands of cartons of cigarettes that did not have a New York State tax stamp as required by law.”

He said the cigarettes were “allegedly possessed illegally by an individual not on reservation property.” He declined to answer any questions about the case.

Senecas said the truck was owned by Aaron J. Pierce, a Seneca businessman who has been among those challenging in court the legality of a new federal law that targets mail-order cigarette trade.

Pierce declined to comment and referred calls to his lawyer. Lisa Coppola, a lawyer with the firm representing Pierce, released a statement from Pierce’s company, AJ’s Wholesale, calling the warrantless seizure “illegal.”

The seizure came just one day before Seneca Nation businesses asked a federal judge in Buffalo to delay the federal government’s ban on mailing cigarettes until their appeal can be heard by a higher court.

The government, during a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, countered by asking him to put on ice his temporary prohibition against the collection of taxes on cigarettes mailed by Seneca businesses.

The dueling requests are part of the fallout from Arcara’s order last month upholding the crux of a new federal law that Seneca business owners say will cripple their mail-order tobacco operations.

“Right now, they’re all shutting down,” William Parry, the owner of Wolf’s Run in Irving, said after the two-hour court session. “There are a lot of people out of work.”

Arcara is expected to rule later this week, maybe as early as today, on the two motions that he heard Tuesday.

Outside the courtroom, Seneca businesses found themselves dealing with a state government eager to crack down on untaxed cigarettes.

AJ’s Wholesale cited a bid last year in Central New York by local officials to seize Indian cigarettes, a move later rejected by the courts.

AJ’s said the state tax agents Monday “abandoned” the truck driver “and boxes of melting candy” along a stretch of Route 353A outside the Town of Dayton. It said the seizure was unconstitutional.

“This outrageous seizure is clear retaliation for my company’s litigation in federal court,” Pierce said.

Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. called the stopping and seizing of the truck “unprecedented” for goods traveling between the Seneca reservations. He said the cigarettes were legally flowing between Seneca-licensed businesses.

“The nation does not take lightly this overt act of state aggression against the nation and its people,” he said. He said the nation will weigh its options “to protect and preserve” its sovereign rights.

The seizure has caused a stir on Seneca land, with officials concerned that cigarettes with a tribal tax stamp will be confiscated by state officials.

“Stopping vehicles going from one territory to another is something new. We’re all one entity: the Seneca Nation,” said Richard Nephew, chairman of the Seneca Tribal Council.

Tensions are already high on the reservations. Between the new federal PACT Act targeting mail-order tobacco shipments and a looming state effort to halt tax-free cigarette sales by Indian tribes in New York, Seneca business owners see their thriving tobacco trade in jeopardy. For years state officials have expressed concern about violence erupting, as was seen in the late 1990s the last time the state tried to collect the cigarette tax.

While the state’s effort to collect taxes on Indian cigarette sales to non-Indian consumers is not due to start until Sept. 1 at the earliest, Maione said it is already illegal to transport cigarettes without a New York State tax stamp on “New York property.”

Fueling the volatile environment is the federal court case before Arcara.

In his previous order, the judge upheld the federal government’s ban on the mailing of tobacco products but allowed for other forms of interstate sales of tax-free cigarettes.

Under other federal and state laws, buyers still would be required to pay taxes on those cigarettes.

At the core of the court case is the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, or PACT Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law in March by President Obama.

The new law is viewed by both critics and supporters as sweeping legislation with billions of dollars in tax revenue and thousands of jobs at stake, many of them in Western New York.

During Tuesday’s court session, Arcara heard from government lawyers who argued that a stay of his injunction against the taxing portion of the law is warranted because of the public health risks associated with untaxed cigarettes.

“In a nutshell, what’s gotten lost is that preventing the sale of cigarettes that are untaxed dramatically decreases the number of kids who start smoking,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington, D.C.

Arcara, in rejecting the taxing aspect of the new law, said, “The court is aware of no other federal statute requiring out-of-state retailers to be subject to taxing schemes for state and local governments into which they ship goods.”

Arcara, in that same decision, rejected a request by Seneca businesses for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the government from enforcing the overall ban on mailing tobacco products.

During the hearing, a lawyer for the Seneca Free Trade Association argued that the harm caused by the ban on cigarette mailing is sufficient to warrant an injunction until the case can decided by an appeals court.

Cigarette ads lose big backers

LEADING supermarket chain Coles has pulled out of a $5 million pro-smoking election ad campaign with links to former Liberal party strategists and funded by the tobacco industry.

An alliance of retail groups, which had been funded by the multi-national tobacco giants, yesterday collapsed with one of the key groups, the Australian Association of Convenience Stores, being forced by Coles, through its subsidiary Coles Express, to withdraw.

The anti-Labor advertisements against the Federal Government’s proposed plain packaging for tobacco products are scheduled to begin running today in newspapers after initially being pulled.

Sources in the retail industry confirmed that Coles, which chairs the board of the AACS, forced the board to withdraw the retail group and its members, including Caltex, Shell and BP, from the campaign, after being misled on the nature of the ads.

It also can be revealed that an alliance of health and medical bodies is launching legal action against the tobacco industry to force the ads to be withdrawn.

Neither the Alliance nor the tobacco companies returned calls.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has denied involvement from Liberal Party members after it was revealed that Liberal strategist Crosby Textor was on a retainer with British American Tobacco.

The two men employed by the tobacco industry, believed to be the campaign masterminds, were also former Howard Government advisers and one was a former employee of Crosby Textor.

Public Health Association of Australia president Mike Daube yesterday said they had obtained legal advice to try to stop the campaign going ahead.

“I would say it reflects well on Wesfarmers and Coles, having a major company acting very responsibly,” he said.

“We have legal advice that health groups have sought, with preliminary advice from Julian Burnside SC, there is an arguable case that the advertisements are misleading and deceptive.”

One alliance member said he was appalled at the way the campaign had been run, and that the tobacco industry was hiding behind the retailers: “We have become the middle man in this, it has been run so badly.”

Chesnee passes tobacco ban in city’s businesses

Chesnee City Council unanimously voted Monday to adopt a no-smoking ordinance, banning the use of tobacco products in restaurants, bars or any workplace within the city limits.

The ordinance originally included only restaurants, but council added bars and other businesses to it before its final reading.

It is the first ban of its kind in Spartanburg County.

Council members said they drafted the ordinance at the request of residents concerned with the health hazards of secondhand smoke. It makes it illegal for people to use any tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco dip or snuff in city businesses.

“We had a lot of people asking for it,” Chesnee Mayor Max Cash said. “The effects of secondhand smoke have proven to be very harmful. We’re happy to be able to give people what they want. We’re citizens too, and it will be nice for us to be able to go into a place and not have to deal with the smoke.”

Cash said the city chose to include bars in the ordinance even though it doesn’t have any.

“It’s just in case we get any in the future,” he said.

The Chesnee police department will enforce the new ordinance. A police officer or code enforcement officer will inspect businesses randomly to make sure they are in compliance.

Any person violating the provisions of the ordinance will be subject to a civil fine of not less than $10 or more than $25.

Chesnee’s John and Carrie Rhymer were eating dinner with their two children Monday night at the Bantam Chef. The restaurant was one of only two in the city limits that has a smoking section, including Turner’s Family Restaurant.

The Rhymers said it will be nice to bring their daughters out to eat without having to worry about them breathing in smoke.

“I don’t like to smell (smoke) when I eat, but it’s different when you’re a parent because you worry about what it’s doing to your kids,” Carrie Rhymer said.

“I’m glad to hear that (council) passed the ordinance,” John Rhymer said. “I think it’s good for our city.”

Chesnee resident Linda Jennings is a smoker. She said she doesn’t mind the ban, but that’s only because she doesn’t smoke indoors.

“I just don’t do it … not even in my house,” Jennings said. “It’s probably going to affect some people, but I think it’s a good thing. I’ve tried to quit (smoking) but I can’t. I just decided that I’m not going to do it around my grandbabies.”

In South Carolina, five counties and 25 towns or cities have passed smoke-free ordinances, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Concerned residents in Spartanburg have tried to convince local leaders to enact a comprehensive countywide or citywide ban on smoking, particularly after the city of Greenville passed its own ordinance in 2007.

About 30 percent of the state’s population is covered by a smoking ban, according to DHEC. The agency said a smoke-free ordinance in Spartanburg would bump that number up to 50 percent.

Riding with smoker may be hazardous to your health

NEW YORK – Riding shotgun with a smoker is just as bad as hanging out in a smoky bar when it comes to being exposed to second-hand smoke, Johns Hopkins researchers report.

In fact, they found, it’s probably worse-and for back-seat passengers, too.

“No matter how much you had your windows down or the air conditioner on or any other driving conditions, you could always measure tobacco smoke and in most cases you could measure very high concentrations,” Dr. Ana Navas-Acien of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, one of the researchers on the study, told Reuters Health.

While scientists have tested secondhand smoke exposure in automobiles before, Navas-Acien noted in an interview, they had only done so in the lab. “We wanted to evaluate what those levels could be under … normal, real-world driving conditions,” she said.

To do so, she and her colleagues recruited 17 smokers and five non-smokers, all of whom drove their own car to and from work every day. The researchers planted nicotine samplers in the front passenger seat headrest and in the back seat of each car for 24 hours. They measured nicotine because it is a highly accurate, easy-to-measure gauge of second-hand smoke levels, Navas-Acien said, although cigarette smoke contains many other harmful substances.

Nicotine levels were undetectable in the non-smokers’ cars. But for smokers’ cars, concentrations averaged 9.6 micrograms of nicotine per cubic meter, much higher than concentrations typically measured in places-public or private-where smoking is allowed. And for every cigarette a person smoked, the air nicotine concentration doubled.

“This is because the car is a very small place,” Navas-Acien noted. The results, she and her colleagues conclude in the journal Tobacco Control, “support the need for education measures and legislation that regulate smoking in motor vehicles when passengers, especially children, are present.”

Risks for kids can include worsening of asthma, ear infections, and more, the researcher said. In addition to legislation, she noted, education is important, because many parents who smoke may not be aware of the risk of second-hand smoke exposure to their young passengers.

Plus, other research has shown that smokers have a higher rate of accidents, and smokers get less for their cars when they sell them, the authors note.

Thailand Tobacco Monopoly

Thailand Tobacco Monopoly officials have been accused of accepting bribes of over US$1.93 million (62 million baht) from US-based companies to ensure Brazilian-grown tobacco was sold locally, says the US Justice Department.

The accusations came after two American tobacco companies agreed on Friday to pay nearly US$30 million to settle charges that they bribed foreign officials to get lucrative overseas tobacco sales contracts.

Local officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Universal Corp of Richmond, Virginia, and Alliance One International of Morrisville, North Carolina, face civil and criminal charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.

Universal was accused of bribing officials in Thailand, Malawi and Mozambique, while Alliance One was accused of bribing officials in Thailand, China, Greece, Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan.

Alliance One pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiring to violate the US’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

“The charges relate to bribes paid to Thai government officials to secure contracts with the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, a Thai government agency, for the sale of tobacco leaf,” the Justice Department said.

Alliance One was formed in 2005 from the merger of Dimon Incorporated and Standard Commercial Corporation, two tobacco wholesalers.

It buys, processes and sells tobacco to manufacturers worldwide.

The guilty pleas relate to the conduct of employees and agents of foreign subsidiaries of both Dimon and Standard prior to the 2005 merger, the US Justice Department said.

The department said that it had also filed two counts against Universal Brazil for conspiring to violate the FCPA by paying bribes to Thailand Tobacco Monopoly employees for the sale of Brazilian tobacco.

It didn’t say how many Thai officials were involved.

The Justice Department said that from 2000 to 2004, Dimon, Standard and Universal Brazil sold Brazilian tobacco to the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly.

No Thai officials were named by the department.

“Each of the three companies retained sales agents in Thailand, and collaborated through those agents to apportion tobacco sales to the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly among themselves, co-ordinate their sales prices, and pay kickbacks to officials of the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly in order to ensure that each company would share in the Thai tobacco market.

“To secure the sales contracts, each company admitted it paid kickbacks to certain Thailand Tobacco Monopoly representatives based on the number of kilogrammes of tobacco sold to the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly.

“To obtain these contracts, Dimon paid bribes totalling $542,590 and Standard paid bribes totalling $696,160, for a total of $1,238,750 in bribes paid to the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly officials during the course of four years.”

Universal admitted paying $697,000 in kickbacks to the monopoly officials, the Justice Department said.

It had agreed to pay a $4.4 million fine and retain an anti-corruption monitor for three years.

Universal Corp said the company voluntarily reported the problems to authorities and that it has cooperated with the investigation.

“We have absolutely no tolerance for this type of activity,” chief executive officer George C Freeman III said.

No smoking in public soon

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados– A ban on smoking in public in Barbados takes effect on October 1st, with fines and imprisonment chosen as punishment for illegal smokers. Proprietors of buildings who allow people to smoke won’t be getting off the hook, either, because they too will be prosecuted.

The announcement came yesterday from the country’s Health Minister, Donville Inniss, who said that the anti-smoking legislation that will give teeth to the ban has been approved by Cabinet and will be taken to parliament soon, as the government seeks to protect citizens from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

“This new legislation is the most significant piece of public health legislation to be completed over the last ten years and will positively impact on individuals, families, employers and employees,” he said during his ministry’s breakfast meeting on the Prohibition of Tobacco Smoking in Public Places. “This legislation is also showing our commitment as a government to the workers of Barbados, particularly in the service and tourism sectors.”

Under the proposed law, smokers found guilty of breaking the law face a maximum BDS$500 (US$250) fine or a 12-month prison term, or both.

Proprietors and operators of bars, restaurants, shops, hotels, government buildings and other public buildings will also be expected to comply with no smoking legislation and will face stiffer penalties if they don’t.

In addition to generally not allowing people to smoke in their establishments, they can forget about creating any special areas for smoking.

“If you wish to go and build an air-conditioned smoker room, understand that that too is against the law because the place is substantially enclosed,” Inniss explained.

Senior Medical Officer with responsibility for Chronic Diseases, Dr Kenneth George, added that neither the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control nor the anti-smoking legislation makes provisions for any designated areas for smokers.

Those found guilty of allowing people to smoke in a public place could be fined as much as BDS$5,000 (US$2,500), be sent to prison for 12 months, or both. If they fail to display no-smoking signs in at least two prominent places, as specified in the law, or stop inspectors assigned to ensure laws are being enforced from doing their job, they face similar punishment

The ban will no doubt raise questions about a person’s constitutional right to smoke.

But the Health Minister has made it clear that the rights of others must also be respected.

“It is a fundamental right of our citizens to live, work and play in clean and wholesome environments. While the legislation does not prevent the smoker from lighting up, it provides for a smoke-free environment for Barbadians and, indeed, visitors alike,” he said.

Responding to concerns about the effect of the no-smoking ban on the tourism sector, Inniss said he did not believe smoking in public places was a consideration for visitors.

He predicts there won’t be any fallout. In fact, he said, there may even be an increase in business if it is promoted that Barbados is moving towards becoming a smoke-free environment.

“Evidence has shown from other jurisdictions that such action as prohibition of smoking in public places has actually resulted in increased business for many of these establishments,” Minister Inniss said.

Before the smoking ban takes effect, the Ministry of Health will be engaging in a comprehensive public education programme.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Joy St John said the educational campaign will include training, public service announcements and community outreach. Additionally, she said, officials from the Ministry, along with environmental health officers, will be visiting businesses to ensure the pending regulations are clearly understood.

Next target for tobacco ban

Two years ago, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to ban the sale of tobacco products in drugstores like Walgreens. Now, The City will consider expanding the ban to include grocery stores with on-site pharmacies.

The restriction is the latest in a number of proposals that has San Francisco moving toward being a smoke-free city. The City recently adopted legislation expanding the no-smoking areas throughout San Francisco, an effort to reduce the number of tobacco-selling permits has been debated, and an adjustable litter fee of 20 cents was tacked onto the purchase price of every pack of cigarettes.

The ban in 2008 prompted Philip Morris USA Inc. and drugstore chain Walgreen Co. to file separate lawsuits against The City to strike down the law. The legal efforts were not successful.

“Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are a tiny fraction of the products sold, and pharmacies should be selling medicine and helpful items, not items like cigarettes that kill you,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who introduced legislation Tuesday that broadens the tobacco ban. “It sends the strong message that we are a city that promotes healthy living and stores should sell products with some accountability to the public.”

It’s unclear how many existing businesses would be impacted. Safeway, for example, has 10 locations in San Francisco with pharmacies, according to the company’s website.

Legislation enacting the ban in 2008 was introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom and approved by the Board of Supervisors in an 8-3 vote. Opponents said the law would have little effect since within a short walk of these targeted businesses there are liquor shops selling tobacco.

The 2008 law drew criticism for being unfair in only going after one type of business while there are grocery stores with pharmacies that would continue to sell tobacco products.

Department of Public Health Director Mitchell Katz said at the time that the law focuses on pharmacies where “the case was the strongest” for the ban since they are “health-promoting businesses.”

The legislation would require approval by the Board of Supervisors to become law.

Rethink smoking ban

ust over half of Ohio residents want to let tobacco back in the state’s bars, a new statewide poll finds, though support remains strong for continuing a smoking ban in restaurants and workplaces.

Voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that banned smoking in indoor public spaces, including workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Since then, there’s been discussion of revising the law.

The Ohio Health Issues Poll, conducted on behalf of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, found that 53 percent of adults surveyed favored repealing the ban in bars.

But while most Ohioans want to have a smoke with their beer, they’d like to keep their jobs and meals out smoke-free, said Jennifer Chubinski, director of health data improvement for the Health Foundation.

The survey found 77 percent of respondents favored continuing the smoking ban in workplaces, and 78 percent favored continuing it in restaurants.

Support for the ban in those locations remained strong even among current smokers, results showed: 60 percent of smokers favored continuing smoke-free workplaces, while 62 percent favored smoke-free restaurants.

There’s also been talk around the state about increasing the state’s cigarette tax. Supporters say a 40-cent hike per pack will generate more revenue for the cash-strapped state and reduce smoking rates, especially among teens.

The Health Foundation’s poll found 48 percent of Ohio adults support the tax increase.

Not surprisingly, support is highest among adults who’ve never smoked – 65 percent – and lowest among current smokers – 14 percent.

Chubinski was surprised to see anyone in favor of increase.

“It’s a tough time to ask people to increase taxes on anything,” she said.

Ohio’s cigarette tax is $1.25 per pack, compared to 60 cents a pack in Kentucky and 99.5 cents in Indiana. Nationally, cigarette taxes range from 17 cents a pack in Missouri to $4.35 in New York.

Mental services smoking ban fails

Moves to ban all smoking on hospital premises faltered yesterday when the Southern District Health Board voted against smoke-free mental health services.

The board had been asked to endorse implementing its smoke-free policy for mental health services and facilities, following a lengthy discussion at its hospitals advisory committee meeting, but yesterday the board vote was lost on voices.

Member Richard Thomson, who has spoken out repeatedly about the move to have mental health patients not permitted to leave hospital premises banned from smoking, indicated at the start of the debate he did not expect to win the argument. He said he could not vote for forced treatment for a group of people who had not asked for it. “That is a very significant step to take.”

His research had showed it was not an effective way of getting patients to stop smoking and could put patients off seeking the treatment they needed He referred to an email he had received from a person with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia who said he refused to access health care because of the ” totalitarian anti-choice regime in psychiatric hospitals”.

Patients at Wakari Hospital’s 9A and 9B wards can light up in a grassed courtyard.

Chief executive Brian Rousseau said he had sympathy for both sides of the argument but the board ran the risk of ” becoming too ideological” at times in its policy implementation.

Nobody could convince him that a terminal lung cancer patient who had been a chain smoker for 50 years should be stopped from smoking in the last weeks of their life.

That would not be ” humane or sensible”.

The board should be saying, “This is our policy. However, there are some valid exceptions. My view is this would be one.”

Balclutha GP Dr Branko Sijnja, who asked that his vote in favour of implementing the policy be recorded, said there was plenty of evidence about the harm of smoking and the board needed to be consistent about the message it was giving.

He said he appreciated the fact some patients were confined, but the board still needed to make a stand as the provider of health services.

Chairman Errol Millar noted that prisons were to be made smoke-free.

Mr Thomson said he did not particularly agree with that either, but there was more justification because those who had committed a crime had sanctions imposed on them by society.

Members Katie O’Connor, Peter Barron, Helen Algar, Kaye Crowther and Louise Carr all spoke in support of a policy with flexibility.

Tobacco-funded lobby group begins attack ads

A tobacco industry-funded group claiming to represent small businesses today launched an advertising campaign targeting Labor’s policy of plain packaging for cigarettes.

The Alliance of Australian Retailers – whose website is registered to Melbourne-based PR company The Civic Group – today began running full page newspaper ads.

The new organisation describes the government’s policy on plain packaging as “the last straw” for small business owners with the ad claiming: “The government should support hard-working Australians instead of pursuing an untested and unproven policy.”

The ad discloses that the group is “supported” by British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco.

According to their LinkedIn profiles, Jason Aldworth and Andres Puig, who both previously worked in senior roles at PR company CPR – are the two directors of The Civic Group.

The tactic of lobby groups attacking Government policies ostensibly for the good of ordinary Australians was recently successfully used by mining companies to overturn tax plans. After the ads began to run, prime minister Kevin Rudd’s popularity fell and he was ousted by Julia Gillard who changed the policy.

Russian tobacco producer pushes for licensing versus sales bans

British American Tobacco Russia (BATR), the largest cigarette producer in Russia, has suggested introducing licensing to sell tobacco products, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Alexander Lyuty said BATR works closely with the legislative and executive branches of the Russian government, and said the company could work more effectively in curbing violations in tobacco sales, namely illegal sales to minors.

The Russian government has been pushing to remove tobacco sales from kiosks and street vendors as a means of restricting the sale of tobacco and tobacco products to minors. Tobacco would only be sold in large supermarkets.

Lyuty said if licensing would be in effect, then those kiosks and street vendors would have to register with the Tabakprom Association, of which BATR is a member.

He said that in order for small businesses to sell tobacco, the distributors of tobacco products, for example BATR, would see to it that companies complied with the legal sales of tobacco. If the business sells cigarettes to minors, then BATR would receive a heavy fine and then revoke the business’s license to sell cigarettes in the future.

Small businesses, in particular kiosks, sell some 40% of tobacco in Russia.

Lyuty said if the government removes the right for kiosks to sell tobacco, “part of the market would fall into uncontrollable hands” with people selling tobacco on the streets and on the black market.

New cigarette law snags cartons for troops too

A new federal law intended to make sure mail-order cigarette sellers don’t avoid taxes is frustrating well-meaning people who want to mail smokes, including a Louisville man who can no longer send Marlboro Menthols to his grandson, a Marine serving in Afghanistan.

“Why punish a serviceman with this act when he can’t even have a cigarette over there,” Jack Gray said. “That’s not believable.”

It’s an unintended consequence of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, or PACT Act as it’s known for short, said a spokeswoman for the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Herbert Kohl, D-Wisc.

Besides foiling mail-order sellers that avoid taxes, the law also seeks to prevent minors from circumventing age limits by buying cigarettes through the mail.

In response to the law, which was passed and signed by President Obama in March, the U.S. Postal Service adopted a new policy at the end of June that nearly bans mailing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Most exceptions require they be sent via Express Mail, which allows the post office to confirm the package is delivered to an adult.

But Express Mail isn’t available in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Gray found out about the new law recently when he went to mail a package to his grandson, which he does occasionally.

“It was a bolt out of the blue,” Gray said.

“We are working to fix it as soon as possible,” Kohl spokeswoman Dawn Schueller said Tuesday. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, filed a bill July 30 to create an exemption for mailing tobacco to members of the Armed Forces in combat zones. The bill has been referred to a committee.

UPS hasn’t delivered cigarettes to consumers since 2005, spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said, adding that the decision came as various states passed restrictions. She said the postal service was the last major commercial carrier delivering cigarettes to consumers.

A FedEx spokeswoman said the company only ships tobacco products between licensed distributors.

Several national groups such as the American heart and lung associations supported the PACT Act for its restrictions on minors buying cigarettes over the Internet and the crack down on sales that avoid taxes.

But the new law has prompted frustrated discussion on a Website for parents of Marines and led to the creation of a Facebook page calling for the law to be changed.

Gray said his grandson, Lance Cpl. Thomas H. Gray, 20, a 2008 Valley High graduate, has been in Afghanistan since April. Gray said he mailed him cigarettes at least four times before the new policy.

“He can’t get the kind of cigarettes he likes over there,” Gray said, adding that he hasn’t talked to his grandson in a couple weeks, so they haven’t discussed the policy change.

Native Americans in New York, who sell cigarettes by mail-order and otherwise didn’t have to enforce state taxes, are challenging it in federal court.

“But this is not a case of trying to sell cigarettes,” Gray said of his situation. “This is a case of trying to get a cigarette to a guy that’s over there in a combat zone. He’s gonna smoke ‘em. He ain’t gonna sell ‘em.”

The bill included a provision that allows cigarettes to be mailed to individuals “who are not minors for noncommercial purposes.”

“We included that provision specifically to allow care packages to service members,” Kohl spokeswoman Schueller said, acknowledging that the Postal Service used Express Mail to verify the age of the recipient.

“We’re just following the law, said David Walton, a USPS spokesman in Louisville. “The ban is not something that we initiated. It’s a law that’s very exacting.”

As for sending the package without declaring what’s inside, Walton said packages being mailed overseas require a customs form and anyone caught lying about the contents could be prosecuted.

Denra Riley, president of the Fort Campbell Enlisted Spouses’ Club, said she’s aware of complaints about the new law, including from her husband, Sgt. First Class Christopher Riley of the 184th EOD Battalion out of Fort Campbell.

“I can’t help him out any more and it kind of does stink to be a spouse and not be able to send your husband things he” wants, she said.

“We do have a lot of soldiers complaining about it and I have heard a few spouses, myself included, that kind of don’t agree with it,” she said.

Riley said she thinks it would be a bigger issue, but “people are still going to do it. They’re just not going to put it on the forms any longer.”

But Gray said he doesn’t want to do that.

“I don’t advocate breaking the law,” he said. “But it’s just wrong, plain flat out wrong, to punish a Marine over there because of a tax law over here.”

By Gregory A. Hall

Lorillard to Launch Newport Non-Menthol

Lorillard, Inc. today announced its plan to launch a non-menthol variety of its flagship Newport(R) brand in November 2010. will be a premium product with broad competitive consumer appeal that delivers the high quality tobacco taste that adult smokers have grown to expect from Newport.

Newport, Lorillard’s menthol-flavored premium cigarette, is the second-largest brand in the industry and is the top selling menthol brand. Lorillard believes it will further strengthen its competitive position and its Newport brand family with the national introduction of Newport Non-Menthol to adult non-menthol smokers on November 1, 2010.

“We are excited to leverage Newport, one of the most recognized names in the cigarette industry,” stated Martin Orlowsky, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “With the introduction of Newport Non-Menthol, Lorillard will be afforded greater opportunity to compete in the largest segment of the U.S. cigarette market, as the non-menthol category represents approximately 70 percent of total industry volume.”

About Lorillard, Inc.

Lorillard, Inc. (NYSE: LO) is the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States. Founded in 1760, Lorillard is the oldest continuously operating tobacco company in the U.S. Newport, Lorillard’s flagship menthol-flavored premium cigarette brand, is the top selling menthol and second largest selling cigarette in the U.S. In addition to Newport, the Lorillard product line has five additional brand families marketed under the Kent, True, Maverick, Old Gold and Max brand names. These six brands include 41 different product offerings which vary in price, taste, flavor, length and packaging. Lorillard maintains its headquarters and manufactures all of its products in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Reform Act”). Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, any statement that may project, indicate or imply future results, events, performance or achievements, and may contain the words “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “may,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result” and similar expressions. In addition, any statement that may be provided by management concerning future financial performance (including future revenues, earnings or growth rates), ongoing business strategies or prospects and possible actions by Lorillard, Inc. are also forward-looking statements as defined by the Reform Act.

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and projections about future events and are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or projected. Information describing factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements is available in Lorillard, Inc.’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including but not limited to, our Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These filings are available from the SEC over the Internet or in hard copy, and are available on our website at Forward-looking statements speak only as of the time they are made, and we expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to update these statements to reflect any change in expectations or beliefs or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any forward-looking statement is based.

SOURCE Lorillard, Inc.