November 2010 - |

Monthly Archives: November 2010

Bill would let Illinois casinos set up smoking rooms

An Illinois House committee has approved a measure that would allow gamblers to smoke for the first time in nearly three years on Smoking in Casinoriverboat casinos.

The legislation sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. Andre Thapedi would permit the state’s nine casinos to set up segregated, enclosed smoking areas.

Proponents say the 2008 statewide smoking ban has hurt gambling because money has gone to other states that still allow smoking on riverboats. Opponents say the legislation is a step backward for public health and that revenue is governed by how nice the facility is — not whether you can smoke in it.

Thapedi says a study has shown that Illinois is losing $200 million a year in gambling revenue by banning smoking.

Kim Zolciak Under Fire For Smoking While Pregnant

KIM ZOLCIAK, the star of Bravo’s hit reality show ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’, has come under fire after being photographed smoking a cigarette while three months pregnant, reports Zolciak was snapped with a cigarette on November 7th 2010, and she and the baby’s father KROY BIERMANN announced that they were expecting just two weeks later.

The reality television star was photographed smoking outside of the ‘Georgia Dome’, home to her boyfriend’s team the ‘Atlanta Falcons’. Although early reports suggested that Zolciak may not have known she was pregnant at the time, TMZ report that she initially denied pregnancy rumours in October because she ‘wasn’t through her first trimester’. Zolciak has been integral to the success of ‘Real Housewives’, which has since become one of Bravo’s most successful television shows ever. The program has also been key in promoting Zolciak’s music. After beginning work on her debut country album in 2009, she released her first single ‘Tardy for the Party’ and performed the track on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’.

The third season of the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ premiered on 4th October 2010, and episode three documented Zolciak preparations for a musical performance at the ‘White Party’, one of the US’s biggest gay circuit events.

Cigarette tax hikes hurt small businesses more than smokers

There is always a cause an effect for every action the government does outside the invisible hand of the free markets. Before there was a green movement, there were the stop smoking advocates which led to the largest lawsuit payoff in US history, and a rash of taxes at both the state and federal levels on cigarettes.

Years later, both the states and the federal government have used cigarettes as a cash cow, and the reason for instituting taxes on them is long gone. What was originally a means to induce less smoking, now has become the knee-jerk tax hike for states that can’t control their own spending.

Now however, these cigarette taxes may be doing more harm than good.

In a article by the, many small businesses and convenience stores are closing up shop, or letting go of employees all because the price of cigarettes have cut into their bottom lines.

Wilson Farms is cutting jobs and scaling back store investment, blaming economic fallout from a sharp increase in cigarette taxes imposed over the summer.

The convenience store chain, with corporate offices in Amherst, is eliminating 20 administrative jobs, reducing store labor hours by 10 percent, and curbing capital spending it had planned for 2011, said Paul Nanula, the president and chief executive officer.

The $1.60-per-pack state tax hike that took effect July 1 has ignited a furor among convenience store operators, who claim the increase is onerous and driving customers to sales outlets that do not generate revenues for the state. Meanwhile, the state’s efforts to collect taxes on tobacco products sold by Native Americans to non-Indians are tied up in court.

Nanula said the tax hike is not only hurting Wilson Farms’ cigarette sales, but prompting some customers to bypass its stores altogether, cutting into sales of other items they might usually buy, like sandwiches and coffee.

Businesses around the country have experienced this same decline in revenue when smoking ordinances were imposed on bars, restaurants, and other public places. It is hard to estimate the total loss of revenue over the past decade, but assuredly it is in the hundreds of billions across the nation.

Smoking is a topic in which most people have an opinion. Yet, the repercussions of the smoking tax will in the end affect everyone because it isn’t about smoking any longer, it’s about money.

What will happen in states that have made their budgets on smoking tax revenue, only to see it drop sharply as people cease, or find alternatives to buying a pack? They won’t cut spending, but instead will put a tax on something else that is perhaps more deal to the non-smokers heart.

The maginot line has been crossed, and the governments manipulation of the free markets are now bringing dire consequences far beyond smoking. The next time you go to get a soda or gasoline at your convenient corner market, and suddenly realize that they closed up shop and you now have to drive 5 miles to the next nearest one, remember it was all about smoking wasn’t it?

By Kenneth Schortgen Jr

Gruesome Cigarette Warnings Likely to Work

Graphic pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging may be effective in getting smokers to quit, HealthDay reported Nov. 22.

The web-based study, led by Villanova University marketing professor Jeremy Kees, was performed on 511 smokers between the ages of 19 and 79, 80 percent of whom had smoked every day of the previous month. Half lived in Canada, and half lived in the United States.

Participants were surveyed after reviewing one of four sample cigarette packages. One showed only a text warning and no image; another a mouth with clean white teeth; still another a smoker’s mouth with moderate damage; and the last showed a mouth disfigured by cancer. The more gruesome the image that participants were shown, the more likely they were to say they intended to quit.

The study did not measure whether smokers actually quit, but deciding to quit is a key step in kicking the habit. “The more graphic, the more gruesome the image, the more fear-evoking those pictures were,” said Kees. “As you increase the level of fear, intentions to quit for smokers increase.”

The milder, less graphic pictures had no impact on increasing smokers’ desire to quit when compared with the text-only image. Kees and his colleagues concluded that warning images, to be effective, had to be gruesome. Simply including a “pictorial warning on a package is not necessarily beneficial,” they wrote.

The study coincides with an initiative by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to decide on graphic warning labels for cigarette packages sold in the U.S., as required by the Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed in 2009. The new images will be finalized in July 2011 and required on all cigarette packaging in the United States after October 22, 2012.

Kees stated that the images the FDA is considering are not as graphic as those used in other countries and therefore may not be effective at encouraging smokers to quit. “Other countries have had success in using graphic visual warnings on cigarette packages,” he said. “It’s important that we don’t get it wrong. If we have even one warning that is cartoonish, that leaves the door open to smokers discounting all warnings as not realistic.”

Not everyone may be swayed by appeals to fear, said Michael Mackert, who teaches advertising at University of Texas at Austin. He reported that students in his college classroom found the images being considered by the FDA amusing.

“Teens and younger people, if they have this air of invincibility, are they going to react to the fear appeal?” Mackert asked. “A 15-year-old might think, ‘Oh, that’s so far away.’ A lot of college students consider themselves social smokers, who smoke a few cigarettes when they’re at a bar. They think, ‘I don’t smoke enough for that to happen to me,’ or ‘I’ll quit before that happens to me.'”

In the new study, Kees and his colleagues acknowledged that the effects of gruesome warnings may differ among subgroups of smokers.

FDA slaps new warnings on cigarette packs

Cancer, lung disease, stroke, emphysema. Typically, any person would be able to connect these words to one culprit: Cigarettes. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration believes Americans are too uninformed to understand smoking cigarettes is a harmful habit. To further assist citizens in making the healthy choice not to smoke, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act has prompted a new law to include large graphic images and macabre writing on cigarette packages. Effective on June 22 next year, the images will cover 50 percent of the cigarette pack and portray a series of nine graphic photos illustrating the correlation of cigarette smoking and health related problems, according to

I must admit, I was originally quite fond of this educational promotion and proud of the FDA for stepping up against the big bad art cigarettes warningcigarette companies. However, my opinion soon took a turn after I perused the FDA site to get a better look at what these images actually entail. Some of my favorites include a photo of a toe-tagged man in a morgue, a gentleman smoking out of his tracheotomy tube and a pale-faced, emaciated woman dying from cancer in her hospital bed.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that smoking is harmful, but ultimately, the choice to engage in the habit is the decision of the individual. For the past several decades, cigarettes and their loyal users have been the focus of public scorn. Generally speaking, people who smoke them are socially ostracized. This shouldn’t give the FDA reason to depict such horrific and repulsive images on packages of cigarettes. With this logic, perhaps we should apply the tactic to everything unhealthy and dangerous. Imagine a picture of a gastric bypass surgery or the belly of an obese man on the cover of a McDonald’s hamburger wrapper. I wonder how the public would react if it saw a photo of a rotten liver or fatal car accident covering 50 percent of a wine bottle.

This shock-and-awe system we’ve developed doesn’t work. Where outrage is expected, we only find further desensitization. As slasher films, hip-hop songs and video games have demonstrated, we are no longer alarmed by graphic depictions. In fact, we have become numb to them. I believe the simplest measures are often the most effective. The small black and white lettering on the side of cigarette boxes is enough to inform the public it should steer clear.

Understandably, these provocative and downright disturbing advertisements are aimed to deter teenagers from succumbing to their smoking curiosities. And I’m not a bit surprised: “Every day, 4,000 young people try cigarettes for the first time and 1,000 continue to smoke,” according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sticking a photograph of a dead smoker on the front of a cigarette pack is not the route the FDA should explore. Applying this ideology to other risky activities teenagers are prone to illuminates the obscenity of it all. For instance, teenagers are likely well aware of the dangers of artificial tanning; however, the FDA released studies stating 40 to 60 percent of young girls used a tanning bed within the last year, according to an article by The Associated Press. Regardless, photos of young women dying from melanoma aren’t posted outside of tanning salons, and for good reason.

Risky lifestyle decisions are inevitable; we don’t need the wet blankets at the FDA using grotesque images to get a point across. If it really wanted to hit smokers where it hurts, go for the wallet. I suggest including a small pamphlet illustrating the amount of money that could be saved if one didn’t buy cigarettes daily. Or perhaps enclose the estimated health costs for those who undergo cancer treatments. This advertisement campaign will surely fail; people will find ways around it. Tossing those idiotic cigarette packs in the trash can and throwing the smokes into a fashionable tin might be one way to combat the ridiculous ploy.

By Paige Nordeen

Lindsay Lohan craves coffee and cigarettes

Lest we forget that recovering in a Betty Ford treatment program is not a jail sentence, it appears to include certain privileges: Free time off the premises for a holiday break.

Lindsay Lohan, 24, was spotted looking healthy and working out at a Los Angeles gym on Thanksgiving Day, according to RadarOnline. Meanwhile, TMZ reports that she went shopping yesterday for Gucci and Michael Kors at a retail center about 30 miles from Betty Ford.

Yet another LiLo sighting placed her at a Starbucks with friends, relaxing with some caffeine and smokes on Saturday.

She reportedly spent part of Thanksgiving Day with her father, eating a turkey dinner he prepared for her and a group of friends. And she told a photographer last week that she has been working out five days a week while in rehab.

The company of friends and family (not to mention retail therapy) may be a comfort as Lohan’s once-hot career languishes while her legal troubles and substance-abuse treatment dominate her time. On a weekend pass away from rehab earlier this month, the actress reportedly went to a business meeting and parted ways with the ‘Inferno’ director who, earlier this year, had cast her in his much-hyped biopic about porn star Linda Lovelace; he then admitted it was getting “impossible” to move forward with her attached to the project, and offered the lead role to Malin Akerman.

The actress has been ordered by the court to remain in rehab until Jan.3, after violating her probation earlier this year by failing a drug test. No word on whether Lohan’s Thanksgiving break from rehab was negotiated by her attorney or whether it was an earned respite decided upon by the Betty Ford staff.

By Christine Fenno

Seneca Nation Launches Ad Campaign

BUFFALO, NY – The Seneca Nation of Indians are launching a new on air and online advertising campaign to protest plans by the state seneca cigarettes adsto collect taxes on the sale of cigarettes sold on Indian reservations to non-native customers.

The commercials will be running in the New York City and Buffalo markets beginning Sunday. The ad will debut during the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants games during locally televised commercial breaks.

Coinciding with new Seneca Nation leadership elected in November, the Seneca Nation say they are renewing their call for the people of New York to recognize and honor their sovereign status as a free and independent nation.

News will look to get reaction on these commercials, and will continue to follow the ongoing legal effort on taxation.

By WKBW News

UK force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets

Plans to ban cheap alcohol and end tobacco branding will be unveiled by ministers this week.article late pubsface crackdown

Andrew Lansley said yesterday that supermarkets would no longer be allowed to sell drink at below cost prices.

The Health Secretary also confirmed the Coalition may follow Australia in forcing tobacco firms to use plain packets instead of branded ones.

In another initiative, children who walk to school could get ‘reward points’ that can be converted into shopping vouchers or cinema tickets.

Ministers are worried by the links between cut-price alcohol and illness, violence and anti-social behaviour.

‘We are going to ban the below cost sales of alcohol because we do have to have a combination here,’ Mr Lansley said.

‘We have to have action by Government to ensure that things that are impacting damagingly on people’s health are prevented.’

He said the Government did not want to ‘over-regulate’ but had ‘occasionally to intervene’.
It is expected that the minimum price for a bottle of wine will be around £2, a litre of spirits £10.50 and a pack of 20 beers £9.20. Lager can be found for as little as 29 pence a pint.

The Government also plans tax rises on super-strength products including alcopops and cider.

Health campaigners warned that if the minimum price was set too low, only the very cheapest products would be banned.

Mr Lansley, who is issuing a White Paper this week, said he would examine whether there was a case for the plain packaging of cigarettes.

‘We have a level of smoking that leads to about 80,000 deaths a year. We have to treat smoking as a major health issue,’ he said.
Late pubs face crackdown

‘We have to reduce the extent to which young people start smoking, and one of the issues is the extent to which display of cigarettes and brands draws young people into smoking in the first place.

‘Essentially yes, they would be packets that all looked the same. They would have clearly the name of a brand on it, but no other brand identification.’

Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association chief Chris Ogden said such a move would breach intellectual property, international trade and EU laws.

He added: ‘Plain packs are also likely to lead to further increases in smuggling and plain packs would make it much easier for a counterfeiter.’

Ministers want to move away from the nanny state to a ‘nudge’ system, where incentives and peer pressure are used to deter bad habits.

The reward points pilot scheme in Wimbledon, South London, sees teenagers receive a £5 Topshop voucher if – within a short period – they walk to school eight times.

By James Chapman

Smokers treated like criminals

A group called for the repeal of a gubernatorial decree banning smoking inside buildings, saying the regulation treated smokers as criminals.Smokers treated like criminals

The National Clove Cigarette Community said in a press conference Thursday that the decree lowered the status of law-abiding cigarette smokers to that of criminals who had to be socially exiled. “For us, the city administration has completely discriminated against smokers, who are clearly consumers of legal products and who deserve the same legal protection,” community coordinator Abhisam said.

The decree, a revision of a 2005 bylaw, was issued in May this year. The new regulation rules out the establishment of smoking areas in buildings, which was tolerated under the older regulation, and completely prohibits smoking inside buildings.

Pro-smoking advocates had previously alleged that anti-tobacco groups, and the issuance of the decree, were backed by multi-national pharmaceutical companies through the Bloomberg Initiative, and that their main goal was to bring down Indonesia’s clove cigarette industry.

“Clove cigarettes are an Indonesian trademark. There is no other place in the world that can produce high quality clove cigarettes,” Abhisam said.

Pro-smoking groups argued that to quit smoking, people needed nicotine replacement therapy drugs produced by pharmaceutical firms, and given its large smoking population, Indonesia was a lucrative market for the companies.

Tobacco Control Support Center activist Alex Papilaya said accusations that there was a conspiracy afoot against the country’s clove cigarette industry were outrageous.

“The decree has nothing to do with prohibiting clove cigarette production. It only stipulates where people are allowed to smoke because smoking affects other people who do not smoke,” Alex told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

He also rejected statements saying that anti-tobacco groups received funds from foreign organizations to back their activities. “We do not receive a single cent from any multi-national pharmaceutical company.”

“[Clove cigarette groups’] claims that pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in selling nicotine patches is also nothing but a myth. The production of such products is minute compared to the companies’ total operations,” he added.

Alex, instead, claimed that pro-smoking groups were backed by cigarette companies to raise issues and concerns.

The National Commission for Tobacco Control claims 65 million people consume cigarettes in Indonesia, with the largest segment of smokers between the ages of 15 and 19.

Of the total number of smokers, 65 percent are men, while 80 percent of smokers use clove-flavored cigarettes, or kretek. The commission also said that 70 percent of smokers in Indonesia were from low – to middle-income families.

Hans David Tampubolon
The Jakarta Post

Best Cigarette Brands in USA

It is common for you to see people who smoke every day. They say it’s a habit and others say that they smoke to kill time. But others think of smoking as a bad habit. They say that smoking needs to be stopped and it will only kill lives. It causes different kind of diseases and health impairments. From skin disease like psoriases, early tooth decay, emphysema, lung cancer and even heart diseases. That is what they say.

But statistically speaking, smoking can give a lot of advantages compared to those who do not smoke. Different health organization, even the best cigarettes brandsWorld Health Organization, conducted separate studies but failed to justify that smoking has a lot of disadvantages to the users. Only to find out that smoking can help prevent different diseases and generate a larger health threat if smoking is ceased. It helps better information transfer from the brain to the body; it also helps motor response creating a better performance and even protects you from gingival inflammation. Studies conducted that those who quit smoking, a large percentage have acquired different diseases compared to those who continue smoking as their habit. It can prevent Ulcerative colitis, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension and more. So while you are at it, what are the best quality of cigarettes there is in USA.

Marlboro – (from the name of Marlborough) Marlboro is the largest selling cigarette brand in the world. A brand created by Philip Morris USA and is transferred and scattered throughout different countries. There are different flavors you can choose. Marlboro red for the original flavor, Mediums for a lesser concentration, Lights for an even lighter one, Ultra lights for the lightest one, Smooth for a different blend and Menthol for a cigarette that has a cool taste.

Nat Sherman– A luxurious brand of cigarette. It was one of the most famous cigarettes in the United States. Nat Sherman is also selling pipe tobaccos and cigars. Available in Classics, Naturals, New York cut, Black, Gold, Menthol and Lights.

Natural American Spirit– A brand of cigarette manufactured by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company located in the United States. American Spirit is available in different types according to its color. Black, Blue, Celadon, Cyan, Gray, Gold, Maroon, Orange, Yellow, Tan and dark Tan are the colors of cigarette you may choose and its blend and taste may vary from color to color.

Winston – Winston once to be the number one selling cigarette. It is manufactured by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. Winston is But Winston still has its old great taste. Winston Classics, Blue, Silver, White and Slim versions are the available types of Winston.

Camel – Another brand that was created by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was Camel Cigarette. They were created and blended with a milder taste than the other Brands created by the company. The Camel cigarette contains Turkish and Virginia tobacco.
There are a lot more cigarettes in the USA. The taste would depend on the user and may have to try each if they really want to choose what is/are the best cigarette for them. It is up to them to decide.

About the author:

Are you a chain smoker and don’t know how to stop smoking pot? Or would you like to know more details about gluten allergy? Just check the other articles written by the above author by visiting the websites.

Rani seen smoking in No One Killed Jessica

Mumbai: Rani seen smoking for ‘No One Killed Jessica’ is creating controversies- A smoking Rani has started creating fumes after a Rani smoking womensmoking Ash did some time ago.

Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) has come up with a new prey at its gun point. This time it is the smoking scenes and use of abusive languages in the film, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ by the actress Rani Mukherjee. Rani plays the role of a reporter investigating on the murder of Jessica Lal.

The filmmaker Rajkumar Gupta emphasized on his ploy of using smoking scenes and abusive language is to amplify the boldness, reality and gravity of the character.

Rani however defended her smoking act, as she felt that they were essential part of the script. Also she commented that getting inspired by lady journalists whom she has seen smoking, being a non-smoker she has agreed to do the part.

The filmmaker however is hopeful about his movie and feels that the censor should not have problem, as the scenes were contextual.

The film, ‘No One Killed Jessica’, is based on the murder of model Jessica Lall by Manu Sharma, son of a Haryana politician, and real life ordeal of her sister Sabrina and father in order to get justice.

Products That Cost Way More In Canada than in United States

With the Canadian dollar flirting with parity with the U.S. dollar yet again, Canadians can’t help but consider shopping stateside to score some great discounts.

Keep in mind that there are limits you have to adhere to when crossing back over into Canada. Always declare what you’ve purchased, and the rule of thumb is: the longer you stay in the U.S., the more you are allowed to bring back without having any duties or taxes levied.

Time Spent in the U.S. Amount You Can Bring Back
Week or more $750 CAD
48 hours or more $400 CAD
More than 24 hours, less than 48 $50 CAD
Less than 24 hours $0 CAD

If anything you buy is made in Canada, the U.S. or Mexico, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) exempts you from paying duties, but you’ll have to pay taxes when you cross back over if you go over your allowed limits or are only in the U.S. for less than 24 hours.

Finally, let’s not forget to also factor those deep sales that happen in the States, especially on Black Friday and those low sales taxes charged in some American states, with the average sales tax hovering around 5.5%.

With the above in mind, there are certain categories of goods and services that are usually cheaper in the U.S. than in Canada, even without equal currency values, sales tax savings or major sales:

5. Books

The printed word tends to be cheaper in the U.S. by around 25%, partly because suggested retail prices are usually printed on the book itself, and retailers are not likely to want to reprice their books based on currency fluctuations. If you don’t want to head over to the States every time you want to buy a book, buying your books online will probably score you a better deal than going to your local bookstore.

4. Cigarettes

A vice to be sure, but many Canadians might find more of a financial incentive to quit or cut back on this habit than their American counterparts. Why? Because cigarettes are almost double the price in Canada than in the States. A 25-pack of cigarettes costs around $12 in Canada, but a 20-pack of cigarettes in the United States is only around $5. To be fair, cigarettes are taxed heavily in Canada, with the cost of cigarettes boasting taxes of 63 to 79% compared to New Yorkers, for example, who only pay 38%. That means around $7.50 to $9.50 of that $12 cost of a 25-pack of cigarettes in Canada is going just to taxes. If you live in Ontario, don’t forget that added tax of $5 per carton that was enacted to deter smoking.


Retailers are raking in the profits up north. The duty to ship tires across the border is only around 4 to 7%, but tires in Canada cost over 40% more than the price of their American counterparts. What gives? Even tires made in Canada can be found for less in the U.S., even if you can see the factory right outside of your door. The solution? Buy your locally made tires online and have them shipped from the States right back across the border. (Shopping from the comfort of your couch has major benefits – and some unpleasant side effects. Read Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)

2. Food

There are rules and regulations of what you can and cannot bring over the border, and you will have to declare any foodstuff purchased in the U.S. With that in mind, even grocery shopping in the States can be cheaper than in Canadian supermarkets.
Meat is a one-third less expensive
Dairy is around 50% less expensive
Fresh fruits and vegetables can be up to 20% less expensive
Junk and convenience foods are one-third less expensive


Unsurprisingly, gas is also cheaper in the United States by about 25 to 40%. Don’t be fooled by that gallon-to-liter conversion, just multiply what Canadians pay per liter by 3.78, to get the American equivalent. So if gas is $1.10 per liter in Canada, it should be $4.16 per gallon in the United States. But are Americans paying those prices?

Average gas prices hover around the $2.53 to $3.11 per gallon range, which translates into 67 to 82 cents per liter, prices that haven’t been seen across the Great White North for quite some time. (Gas prices are influenced by more than supply and demand. Find out what determines the price you pay at the pump. See What Determines Gas Prices?)

This is just a comparison between Canada and the United States. For many people visiting Canada, the prices in their home country tends to be a lot more expensive, and they consider Canada to be a haven of great deals. As a Canadian, you can save a lot by spending stateside, but don’t forget to factor in the extra costs of lodging, travel, food and taxes/duties.

UK Govt. may force Tobacco Companies to Sell Cigarettes in Plain Packs

Plain packs cigarettes

While most of brands are adopting vibrant and catching designs to stand out on the shelf, cigarettes manufacturers should turn to plain brown and grey packaging if they want to continue selling their products on the British market. These measures will be taken in order to make cigarettes ‘less appealing’ to youngsters. UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced that the government is planning to ban colorful ‘healthy looking’ packs and make tobacco companies release their products in far less appealing packs, featuring only basic information and warnings. They also want to ask the retailers to cover the displays of cigarettes so that they wouldn’t attract teens, reports. The ministers hope that these measures will help reduce children smoking rates.

“We have to try new approaches and take decisions to benefit the population. That’s why I want to look at the idea of plain packaging. The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It’s wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets. We would prefer it if people did not smoke and adults will still be able to buy cigarettes, but children should be protected from the start,” stated Andrew Lansley.

As for now, there’s no set date when the proposition will be taken to parliament for consideration as well as when the potential law will be adopted, but representatives of the tobacco industry want to know when exactly it will happen to get ready for the changes.

“We’re glad the Secretary of State recognises the harm done by brightly coloured tobacco packaging in helping hook children and young people on tobacco. If he is serious about putting tobacco in plain, standardised packs then he should set a date now for when the law will come before Parliament and when it will come into force,” commented Deborah Arnott, chief executive at Action on Smoking and Health, ASH, a campaigning public health charity.

Other countries are also going to change multicolored cigarettes packs for plain ones. For example, Australia will have only plain-packaged cigarettes by July 2012. According to, 337,000 people in the UK quitted smoking last year with the help of free support from the NHS.

Argentina drags feet on tobacco control

As the third-largest population among the 20-odd countries still resisting ratification of the World Health Organization’s 2003 Convention on Tobacco Control (after the United States — notoriously allergic to joining international conventions of any kind — and Indonesia), Argentina is very much in the sights of the global anti-smoking campaign — it thus might or might not be a coincidence that this city was chosen for the sessions of the WHO study group on regulating tobacco products from Monday until yesterday.

Around a quarter of all Argentine adults or some 6.5 million people smoke, reported Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of the Global Programme for Tobacco Free Initiative, and half of them will eventually die of tobacco-related disease — at the rate of 40,000 a year plus 6,000 victims of passive smoking (the worldwide figures are five million deaths and 600,000 respectively). Underpopulated Argentina needs its people, Bettcher pleaded.

So why the hesitation in joining the mainstream of 169 countries ratifying the convention? Mainly the lobbying of northwestern tobacco provinces (which include Tucumán — curiously the first of four Argentine provinces to enforce smoke-free public spaces thanks to current national Health Minister Juan Luis Manzur) in defence of jobs. But Brazil has a much larger tobacco industry, pointed out Brazil’s Vera Costa e Silva, and has ratified the convention without any jobs being lost — the smoking universe of around a billion people globally does not shrink amid rising world population. Jobs are being transformed by a fast-changing economy anyway. What job losses there have been result from mechanization by a greedy tobacco industry, adds Bettcher, who points out that the earnings of tobacco-growers in Indonesia are less than half other farmers.

Just how far would the anti-smoking campaign like to go in restricting tobacco products, the Herald asked at yesterday’s press conference, pointing out that prohibition of alcohol had given birth to Al Capone while Mexico today is being torn apart by drug cartels. Prohibition is neither feasible nor practical and is not sought, Bettcher replied — it would create the biggest crime syndicate ever with fearsome money-laundering and terrorist links. The study group’s aim would be the strict regulations of convention perhaps carried a few steps further — for example, Australia’s recent plain packaging legislation.

The strategy is to kill the tobacco business by taking away the demand, not banning the product.

The WHO campaign against tobacco continues to be based on the health hazards, as it has been for decades, but there are a few new twists — for example, emphasis on the toxic waste caused by cigarette butts and the attraction of sharply increasing cigarette taxation in these times of exploding fiscal deficits, one of the few areas where taxation is not only safe from being counterproductive but is downright useful in public health terms (Japan, Australia, France and the US have all gone down this road).

In general, the WHO experts feel that Argentina could do much better and would like to see the anti-smoking legislation now in force in Santa Fe (also Neuquén, San Luis and Tucumán) nationwide.
By Michael Soltys

New Marlboro Skyline cigarettes in spite of FDA’s desire to ban menthol cigaretes

RICHMOND, Va. — As talk of what the U.S. Food & Drug Administration will do with menthol cigarettes swirls about, Philip Morris USAMarlboro Skyline cigarettes has shown that it hasn’t given up on the category with the introduction in October of new Marlboro Skyline cigarettes.

Steve Callahan, spokesperson for PM USA, describes the cigarette as a “premium menthol cigarette made from an all-bright blend of tobacco.”

The product is available nationally, except in Michigan, where the company is testing yet another menthol, in a version of its Marlboro Special Blend cigarettes. “It’s a test market, and we’ll take our learnings from the test market and make decisions from that,” Callahan told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview.

As for sales thus far, “These just went into the market last month, so it’s too early to tell,” he said.

Meanwhile, Philip Morris USA continues to see an opportunity in menthol, he said, as it accounts for about 25% of the cigarette market. As for the FDA discussions, Callahan said PM USA has actively participated in the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) process, sharing its understanding of the science and evidence tied to menthol, and that it will continue to do so.

“Phillip Morris USA believes that the collective science and evidence-based information doesn’t support a recommendation to ban menthol,” he said.

In June, Altria Client Services–parent of Philip Morris–provided a 166-page document to TPSAC on behalf of PM USA backing that belief. It included information on the design, fabrication and testing of menthol cigarettes; marketing menthol cigarettes; health effect of menthol cigarettes compared with non-menthol cigarettes; a Total Exposure Study from PM USA; mechanistic studies on the sensory, desensitization and reported local anesthetic effects of menthol cigarettes; menthol cigarettes and smoking initiation; menthol smoking prevalence and dependence; and menthol smoking and cessation.

A report and recommendation from TPSAC is expected in March 2011. Until that time, PM USA will continue business as usual while participating in the TPSAC process. And Callahan encourages retailers to also take a part in the process by offering the public comment that is sought after on the FDA’s website.

“At the core, we believe menthol should remain a viable choice for the millions of adult smokers who currently prefer them,” he said.

By Linda Abu-Shalback Zid

Tax evasion in cigarette industry reaches shocking levels

ISLAMABAD: Government has faced a revenue loss of Rs 45 billion during the last six years on account of tax evasion, smuggling and counterfeiting in cigarette industry due to failure of government’s authorities in taking concrete steps.

According to industrial data, government had to face a revenue loss of Rs 7.5 billion in the current year, Rs 6.5 billion in 2009, Rs 6 billion in 2008, Rs 5.59 billion in 2007, Rs 5.48 billion in 2006 and Rs 4.1 billion in 2005 on account of tax evasion.

On the other hand, due to counterfeiting in cigarette industry, the government had to bear a revenue loss of Rs 0.5 billion in the current fiscal year, Rs 1 billion in 2009, Rs 0.25 billion in 2008, Rs 0.24 billion in 2007, Rs 0.10 billion in 2006 and Rs 0.48 billion in 2005.

Due to smuggling, government had to swallow a bitter pill of revenue loss amounting to Rs 1.5 Billion in the current year, Rs 1.5 billion in 2009, Rs 1.22 billion in 2008, Rs 1.34 billion in 2007, Rs 1.22 billion in 2006 and Rs 1.4 billion in 2005.

Industry sources said that government has failed to take practical measures to halt tax evasion, counterfeiting and smuggling in cigarette industry, which is resulting in loss of billion of rupees to exchequer.

A large number of factories are engaged in manufacturing fake cigarettes in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including tribal areas, Azad Kashmir, Sargodha, Okara and Bahawalangar but government authorities seem reluctant to take action against them.

Government had planned to set up raid teams to initiate action against tax evasion, counterfeiting and smuggling in cigarette industry. “But plan is yet to be implemented due to which tax evaders and smugglers are busy in minting money,” sources lamented.

“On the other hand, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is facing immense pressure to reduce the Federal Excise Duty (FED) from Rs 1 to 30 paisa per filter rod on cigarettes,” sources maintained.

Earlier, the FBR had imposed Federal Excise Duty of Rs 1 per filter rod on cigarettes, which is adjustable, with a view to realising revenue on sale of filter rods from unregistered and illicit manufacturers of cigarettes and to document the economy.

Not only this, the board had also made it binding on the cigarette manufacturers to compile comprehensive production and sales data of filter rods to eliminate federal excise duty evasion.

Sources said the move had been widely hailed by the business community and cigarette manufacturers registered in the tax net given the fact that it had placed a permanent check on whether the filter rod manufacturers were accurately maintaining the data of their sales.

The tax leakages in the cigarette manufacturing industry had been particularly plugged considerably after the cigarette manufacturers were also called upon to provide data, including raw material imported/purchased, number of filter rods manufactured, total number of filter rods available for consumption in cigarette manufacturing, filter rods sold in market, FED on filter rods sold and other information specified in the concerned registers.

By Zeeshan Javaid

Tobacco corruption in Virginia

cigarettes coruptionJohn W. Forbes II, state secretary of finance under former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal wire fraud charges. It is by far the biggest scandal involving a state cabinet-level official in years.

The case also raises questions about a state entity that is supposed to use money obtained in a massive 1998 lawsuit settlement against four major tobacco companies for the public good.

That entity with the long-winded title of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has so far distributed $728.7 million for do-good projects in the tobacco belt stretching from the economically hard-hit counties in Southside and Southwest Virginia. It also has paid out $288.3 million to state tobacco growers on the theory that they need help to weather the decrease in tobacco sales following a slew of health-related lawsuits and the end of a 1938 federal program that artificially propped up tobacco prices.

Forbes, who was the state’s top financial official from May 2001 until January 2002, also served on the tobacco commission’s board. In June 2001, he won a $5 million grant from the commission to set up the Literary Foundation of Virginia. Designed to promote adult literacy, the program apparently did little other than provide $1 million in salaries for Forbes and his spouse and help them buy a million-dollar house.

“You not only betrayed the citizens of the commonwealth, but also the governor that appointed you,” U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson told Forbes as he passed down the 10-year sentence in Richmond on Nov. 23.

But one has to ask what the real purpose of the tobacco commission is. It has done some useful work in helping small businesses grow and narrowing the digital divide in poor counties dealing with declines in the tobacco, textile and furniture sectors.

But why do tobacco farmers need nearly $300 million in aid? They had been living off federal largess for decades, namely, from a Depression-era program that kept tobacco prices artificially high by having the federal government restrict tobacco growing and sales.

After years of protection by a Congress controlled in part by Southern Democrats, the program created “allotments” allowing tobacco growing in areas of only about four acres. These units could be bequeathed to survivors and kept tobacco prices at levels perhaps several times higher than that of far more useful crops such as corn and soybeans. The program has since come to an end.

Yet Virginia officials thought that tobacco farmers, who grow a deadly product, deserved more. So, one of the tobacco commission’s first activities was sending allotment holders checks for simply having an allotment. Some got up to $12,000.

A check of the allotment holders’ addresses showed that in some counties many holders didn’t even live in Virginia. In Brunswick County, about 28 percent didn’t live in Virginia, but in cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Las Vegas. On Halifax County’s list, one holder lived on the Gold Coast of downtown Chicago.

All got checks from the commission’s $2.1 billion war chest. Another $1.7 billion went to the state’s general fund to be spent as the state saw fit. Although the tobacco settlement — Virginia’s share was $4.2 billion — was intended to be used to convince people not to smoke, only a tiny portion of Virginia’s payout has been used for this purpose.

This shows, once again, how much tobacco reigns as King of Virginia, despite the corruption it seems to generate.

By Peter Galuszka

South Africans Smoking AIDS Drugs To Get High

South Africans have discovered that some drugs used to treat the AIDS virus can get them high and are now stealing the medicines to use for recreational use, prompting concerns that victims of the deadly disease will not get proper treatment.Africans drugs

The AIDS medicines are crushed and mixed with marijuana to make “whoonga,” reports MSNBC. The concoction is popular with South Africans living in the Black townships, who describe the addictive high as “being in a quiet place” and unable to talk.

While one drug used in the complex cocktail that is used to combat HIV and AIDS does cause hallucinations in some patients, health officials say there is no proof that they have any effect on addicts. Many whoonga dealers mix their supply with chemicals such as rat poison, soap, or heroin to “enhance” their product and increase profit.

That has not stopped South Africans from mugging AIDS victims of their live-saving retrovirals. Police noticed patients being mugged of their drugs while leaving hospital three years ago.

So far, whoonga is limited to the eastern part of KwaZulu-Natal province, which has the highest number of AIDS cases in the country, but police are noticing a spread of related criminal activity elsewhere.

South Africa has the largest number of AIDS cases in Africa, with an estimated 5.7 million infected with HIV.

Is Miley Cyrus celebrating birthday by smoking?

Miley Cyrus
“Hannah Montana” star Miley Cyrus may be getting in some even more trouble — this time related to some activities she took part in over the weekend. A source claims to E! Online that not only was the singer spotted at the lush Soho House in Los Angeles over the weekend, but she was also reportedly lighting up and smoking a cigarette.

There are a number of problems with this idea if it actually turns out to be true. First of all, Miley was not 18 when this report came out, and nightclubs aren’t exactly the best destinations, either, for folks under the age of 21.

So what is going on here? It’s possible that we could be seeing a case here of a girl who is struggling with her parents’ divorce, and choosing to act out for attention. If that’s the case, she is certainly getting it thanks to all these reports.

San Francisco officials object to cigarette ads

San Francisco officials are objecting to cigarette ads featuring the city’s iconic Haight neighborhood.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Public Health Director Mitch Katz sent a letter this week to R.J. Reynolds calling on the company to cancel thecamel cigarettes ads “Break Free Adventure” marketing campaign for Camel cigarettes.

They say the ads are illegally targeting children by including cities such as San Francisco that are associated with “independent music, trendiness, rebellion and freedom.”

The Haight district is featured in one ad. Las Vegas and Austin, Texas are among the other cities in the campaign.

David Howard, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds, told the San Francisco Chronicle he could not comment on Herrera and Katz’s letter. But he said the campaign is focused on adults.

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

The next “big thing” in marketing of Camel tobacco

In the past, the cartoon Joe Camel’s participation in advertising and packaging for Camel tobacco products was thought to influence Camel orbs tobaccokids and teens to take up smoking.

While RJ Reynolds stopped using Joe Camel in their advertisements in 1997, one of their newest products could appeal to younger users because of a newer, flashier packaging.

But this time, it’s not for cigarettes.

The fairly new dissolvable tobacco line is marketed in small colorful packages comparable to Altoids or other mint containers, which could make the product appealing to younger children or teens, AHEAD Coalition Executive Director Jennifer Shook said.

The dissolvable line contains three different products: Orbs, Sticks and Strips. The Orbs are similar in size to breath mints, while the Strips are comparable to Listerine breath strips, according to a press release from the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (TPC). The Sticks are around the size of a toothpick. All three products are brown, which is one of the only visible differences the products have from a breath freshener product.

While they are supposed to only be available in the three test markets, Columbus, Ohio, Portland, Ore. and Indianapolis, they have migrated much further. They apparently are not being sold in Crawfordsville, but they can be bought at gas stations in Putnam County and other surrounding areas for $3 and they are not subject to the tobacco tax.

AHEAD Outreach Coordinator Tim Bristol said that during the Coalition’s work with local students on probation that the product names have popped up, and that the three products are being used locally.

“It’s still too early to tell, but my educated guess is that this will be the next big thing,” Bristol said

By Candice Rohrman

Cost of smoking higher than revenue

Tobacco is deeply entwined in Chinese culture, from the compulsory cigarettes given to male guests at almost every wedding, to the glossy images of national icons that adorn cigarette packets.

It is estimated that tobacco kills a million Chinese each year, says Yang Gonghuan, deputy head of China’s National Tobacco Control Office. China’s smokers puff their way through a bounty of cigarettes given as gifts on special occasions and holidays.

The government must weigh up conflicting interests: As it extends healthcare insurance across the population, at what point do the economic and medical costs of smoking-related illnesses outweigh the financial benefits of the tobacco industry?

If China fails to reduce tobacco consumption the number of deaths is expected to double by 2025 and triple by 2050, says Yang, also deputy head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A total of 301 million Chinese, 28 percent of the population, inhales a steady diet of cigarettes, according to a survey released by China CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US CDC in August.

The reduction in the number of smokers in China has been negligible, even in the five years since China ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, says Yang. The number of smokers declined by 0.45 percent annually from 2003 to 2010, less than the 0.9 percent from 1996 to 2002, said Yang, citing a report to be published on Jan 9 next year.

China’s tobacco consumption has been steadily growing, from 589.9 billion cigarettes in 1978 to about 2.3 trillion last year, according to the China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC) website.

New studies are challenging the prevailing belief – even entertained by non-smokers – that the tobacco industry is too important to the economy to discourage its development.

Tobacco generated 513.1 billion yuan ($77.3 billion) in taxes and profits last year, more than 7.5 percent of the total central government revenues, and employed 520,000 workers in 183 factories, according to official statistics. The absolute production value of the industry rose from 100 billion yuan in 1978 to 513.1 billion yuan last year.

However, citing the report to be released in January 2011, Yang argues the net contribution of tobacco to China’s economy is around minus 20 percent.

Cases of lung cancer in China have soared by 465 percent since 1980, and account for nearly a quarter of cancer deaths, says Zhi Xiuyi, head of the Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Center of the Capital Medical University in Beijing.

Diseases and fatalities caused by tobacco use have a time lag of 20 to 25 years, says Zhi, who is also head of the department of tobacco control and lung cancer prevention at the Cancer Foundation of China.

In the past, when individuals, work units and companies covered health insurance and medical care, the nominal cost to the government was negligible, says Zhi.

However, the government is rolling out its own health insurance program across the country, so it will become more liable for the costs of smoking-related illnesses, he says.

“At the end of the day, all Chinese, including non-smokers, will be burdened with the medical costs of smokers,” says Zhi.

Raising taxes and prices have proved to be the most effective means to reduce smoking, says Teh-wei Hu, professor of health economics in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

However, cigarettes have become more than twice as affordable in China since 1990, and smoking is much cheaper than in other countries, says Hu, also a senior policy advisor to China’s Ministry of Health.

The overall effective tax rate of 40 percent on a packet of cigarettes in China is much lower than the international average, which ranges from 65 percent to 70 percent.

The tobacco industry has long argued that tax increases risk cutting government revenues, but Hu says a tax rise would actually raise revenues while reducing tobacco demand.

However, the decision to raise the consumption tax on cigarettes by between 6 to 11 percent in May 2009 brought increased revenues, but no reduction in tobacco use.

If China’s tobacco tax rose to 51 percent, from the current 40 percent, of the retail price, the price of cigarettes would be such that the number of smokers would decrease, according to Hu’s study.

As more than half of Chinese smokers pay less than 5 yuan per pack, a big enough tax hike would persuade many poorer smokers to quit if almost 11 percent of their household expenditure went on cigarettes, says Hu.

Smoking Ban Battle Rages On: Electric Cigarettes Sales Soar

As more cities and states pass tougher legislation targeting a smoking ban, many tobacco consumers are turning to electric cigarettes as a legal alternative.

Gone are the days of glamorizing cigarette smoking on television and in print ads. With the passing of the Marlboro Man and fading away of Joe Camel, cigarette smoking has become demonized throughout the United States. Good or bad, anti-smoking sentiment seems to be here to stay.

In a defensive move, many tobacco smokers have started smoking electric cigarettes. As a result, fewer complaints of public smoking and second hand smoke have been filed nationwide.

“At first I’d practically get into fist fights whenever someone complained about my smoking. I admit I was reluctant to try electronic cigarettes because I thought they looked stupid but after receiving a free trial when my wife ordered some for me, I really don’t even miss smoking at all now,” said Nick Coler of New York City.

Twenty two year veteran smoker Jimmy Perkins of Dallas, TX stated,” I tried several brands of electric cigarettes but found that the EmeraldLux tastes the best. It’s weird to hear myself say that but it’s true. I can actually taste the difference when using a smokeless cigarette.”

In spite of all of the anti-smoking campaigns raging lately, premier distributor of electronic cigarettes, EmeraldLux, has vowed to let every smoker willing to stick up for their rights to receive a free trial of their top selling electric cigarette so that smokers everywhere can decide for themselves if smokeless cigarettes are right for them.

Camel Campaign Has Anti-Smoking Advocates Fuming

LAS VEGAS – Limited edition boxes of Camel cigarettes will soon arrive in stores across the country. The boxes feature nine popular Camel cigarettes adsdestinations and the famous Route 66. It is part of Camel’s “Break Free Adventure” marketing campaign. Las Vegas made the cut.

The campaign is sparking controversy.

“The fact that they’re designing a cigarette pack around our wonderful city just really shows what lengths the tobacco industry will go to to market their product and hook more people,” said Southern Nevada Health District Tobacco Control Coordinator Maria Azzarelli.

Others disagree with the health district and welcome the publicity. “I want that pack,” one Las Vegas resident said. “Cigarette smoking is bad. I smoke. It’s bad, but if it’s going to help the different cities’ economy, why not?”

The special-edition pack that features Las Vegas reads, “Vegas baby, the keeper of oh so many good times. Camel honors the oasis in the desert–built entirely for people of all walks to break free.”

Critics say R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company markets Camel cigarettes as cool, fun, and rebellious in an effort to appeal to kids.

“What they’re trying to do is associate Camel cigarettes with some of the most trendy and popular U.S. cities, places like Las Vegas, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco,” said Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Vice President of Communications Vince Willmore. “We think it is really appalling that R.J. Reynolds is using the good name and images of these cities to market a deadly and addictive product.”

“We certainly agree that youth should not use tobacco products, and that’s a guiding principle and belief at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company,” said R.J. Reynolds Spokesman David Howard. “We market our products only to adults who are aware of the risks of tobacco use and have made the informed decision to use tobacco.”

Officials in San Francisco and New York have already called on R.J. Reynolds to pull the campaign. The packs are scheduled to hit stores next month and are scheduled for sale through January.

Scared smokeless on new warnings on cigarette packs

It’s easy to guess what would happen if a pharmaceutical company asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve a new product with the following characteristics: no proven health benefits. Major known side effects: greatly increased risk of emphysema, heart attacks, stroke and cancer, including lung, cervical, mouth, stomach and bladder. The product also lowers bone density in older women and causes higher rates of serious health problems among newborns. It significantly harms the health even of those who merely spend time near the drug while it’s in use. And it’s addictive.

If cigarettes were a new invention, they’d never pass muster with even the most lax of regulatory agencies. Unhappily for our collective health, not only does tobacco’s legacy date back thousands of years, but it is inextricably tied to the birth of the United States. None other than John Rolfe, best known as Pocahontas’ husband, is credited with the first commercial cultivation of tobacco in Jamestown, in 1612.

Four hundred years later, we’ve learned a thing or two about tobacco, especially in its inhaled form. Now we wrestle with how to act on that information. Cigarettes are a terrible health scourge, but this is also a country that respects the right of adults, in most cases, to ruin their own health as long as they are not endangering others. So driving drunk is forbidden, as is smoking in many indoor public spaces, but cigarettes themselves remain legal.

Yet as a society, we don’t want to sit idly by and watch tobacco take its toll. So we tried public service messages to counter the lure of cigarette advertising. Then we banned TV commercials and placed small warnings from the surgeon general on cigarette packs. We raised excise taxes and restricted the settings where smoking is legal.

It worked. Smoking rates are half what they were 40 years ago, with only one in five Americans lighting up. (In California, which has led the nation in anti-smoking laws and public service messages, the rate is lower than 13%.)

For the past six years, though, progress against cigarettes has stalled, which led to congressional action last year in the form of a law empowering the FDA to regulate tobacco and requiring large, visually arresting anti-smoking warnings on every cigarette pack. The recently unveiled images, which will cover half of the front and back of each pack, show tar-blackened lungs and toe-tagged corpses, along with many tamer pictures. The depictions must also be shown in cigarette advertisements, and must take up a fifth of the ad’s space.

In the past decade, 38 countries started requiring cigarette packs to carry images designed to discourage the habit. Early research offers encouraging signs that they work, and do so without requiring a major investment of taxpayer money. Short of banning cigarettes altogether, it will take this sort of bold action to prod the nation into further reducing tobacco use. If anything, the FDA’s new warning labels err on the side of being too tepid.

We don’t say that lightly. The images will in effect force tobacco companies to advertise against themselves on the packages of their own products. The possible analogies are endless: Should wineries be required to include color photos of cirrhotic livers on their labels, or should KFC buckets of chicken have to feature a cross-section of the fat deposits on an obese individual? Concerns about a slippery slope are valid — it would be distasteful and ultimately unhelpful to litter the landscape with repulsive pictorial warnings — but those concerns shouldn’t stop the FDA from taking this potentially life-saving course of action.

That’s because when it comes to health-destroying products, cigarettes are in a class of their own. They have no real benefits and are addictive as well. Though many people might treat themselves to an occasional plate of fries or a bottle of beer, rare is the person who enjoys a cigarette every couple of weeks. Many smokers were lured into addiction by an industry that purposely withheld information about its product’s horrific effects on health. Smoking remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States.

In 2001, Canada became the first country to adopt the big, colorful, graphic warnings. Smoking rates among Canadian youth ages 15 to 19 have dropped from 26% to 15%. Adult rates dropped less dramatically. But it’s impossible to know how much of the reduction was prompted by the warning labels, because several other anti-smoking initiatives started in the country around the same time.

Still, the results from surveys in 15 countries offer persuasive evidence of the labels’ effectiveness. Smokers noticed and remembered the images better than text warnings and said the new labels had given them important health information. Teenagers were more likely to say the graphic warnings had discouraged them from smoking altogether, and adults were more likely to have at least tried to quit or to have refrained from taking the next cigarette they had planned on smoking.

As helpful as it is to adopt more prominent warnings, equally important is making sure they have the maximum impact. The FDA is considering 36 possible images, and will narrow those to nine. But David Hammond, an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada and one of the leading researchers on the topic, says many of the images are too tame to grab consumer attention. One of the most effective Canadian images shows a grinning, cancer-riddled mouth; opening the package also opens the mouth, the teeth parting to reveal the neatly packaged cigarettes. There’s a less repulsive version of the cancerous mouth among the FDA’s contenders, along with one of a smoker exhaling through a hole in his throat. But many of the FDA’s images are more symbolic than graphic; it should use the most dramatic ones.

Research shows that the warning labels work better when they’re coupled with an increase in smoking-cessation programs, and when they include a phone number or website where smokers can get quick information on how to quit. The change in cigarette labeling is welcome, but the FDA could do more. If the idea is to startle people into quitting, this is no time for timidity.

Los Angeles Times

Tobacco companies face menthol regulation risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on caffeinated alcoholic drinks presents a risk for the tobacco sector, and menthol

menthol in cigarettes

cigarettes in particular.

While the drinks targeted by the FDA have faced a barrage of negative publicity linked to underage abuse and harm, the primary focus of the regulator’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) hearings on menthol is underage and minority smoking.

Tobacco is also regulated by the FDA, which is currently conducting a study of the health impact of menthol cigarettes, which account for 30% of U.S. cigarette volume and gaining.

“A caffeinated alcohol ban indicates a more aggressive FDA, willing to intervene against consumer products it views as harmful to public health, particularly when it involves underage users,” Deutsche Bank analyst Marc Greenberg said in a note to clients.

With all other flavours banned in 2009, menthol is the only remaining legal flavored cigarette. However, Mr. Greenberg noted that the menthol review is intended to be science-based, so it is unlikely to expect a quick decision as seen with the caffeinated alcohol bank. Menthol is also a bigger target that is more established with consumers and with more industry supporters.

The analyst noted that a menthol cigarettes ban poses a significant black market risk, which the FDA needs to keep in mind and companies will argue aggressively over in the coming months.

Nonetheless, the tobacco industry faces an important regulatory risk, particularly Lorillard Inc. since 90% of its sales (and nearly 100% of EBITDA) come from menthol leader Newport. Mr. Greenberg thinks the FDA review is a major driver of the company’s decision to start test-marketing a non-menthol version of Newport this month.

Reynolds American Inc. has the second biggest exposure, with an estimated 30% of its cigarette volume in menthol, while Altria Group Inc. has the lowest relative exposure with an estimated 15% to 20% of cigarette volume.

By Jonathan Ratner

Handing out cigarettes like candy

THE LAWYERS of Lorillard have come to Boston to insult the intelligence of a Suffolk County jury. The company is defending itself Newport Lorillardagainst the family of Marie Evans, who died from lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 54. Evans’ son Willie says that in the late 1950s, when his mother was 9 years old, a detail man for Lorillard’s Newport cigarettes cruised the streets of her then-segregated Orchard Park projects handing out free samples to its African-American residents, including children — and her.

Evans, who gave a deposition before her death, at first traded the samples for candy. By the age of 13, she began smoking them and began the slow march to a premature death. When the trial began last week, Evans’s younger sister, Leslie Adamson, said a man in what looked like a Frosty truck handed her free cigarettes when she was only 7 or 8. Though smoking itself was much more common back then, even to the point where candy cigarettes were considered normal, Massachusetts had a law in place forbidding the distribution of free samples to children.

“There were always kids playing in the area and they couldn’t miss a white man, in a white truck, handing out cigarettes,’’ Adamson told jurors. “They came running whenever the truck came.’’ Lorillard’s defense essentially was: show us the grainy 1950s black and white newsreel of the white man in the white truck in the black community. It also blamed the victim for not quitting her addiction after the government put warning labels on cigarettes in the 1960s. This defense is standard procedure for a tobacco company, but this is not a standard case.

For all of the tobacco lawsuits filed across the nation in the last three decades, this may be the first of its kind that directly challenges one of the few pillars of rectitude in the tobacco industry, the claim that it never markets directly to children. Lorillard’s hope is that it can win this particular battle either by proving this particular white man in the white truck never existed, or that all this case is about is another weak, dumb consumer whose family is trying to cash in on her death.

But the evidence is quite clear that in the battle of hooking young African-Americans on Newport, Lorillard won the war. It is without dispute that tobacco companies profiled and preyed on the most vulnerable sectors of society, with a key target being low-income African-Americans. Lorillard has been so successful with this group that, according to federal statistics, 80 percent of black teens that smoke choose to smoke Newport. It by far remains the most popular cigarette among African-American adults, favored by more than a 3-to-1 margin over the next-favorite product, Kool.

In a 1978 document, Lorillard boasted, “The success of Newport has been fantastic during the past few years. Our profile taken locally shows this brand being purchased by black people (all ages), young adults (usually college age), but the base of our business is the high school student. It is the ‘in’ brand to smoke if you want to be one of the group.’’

Whether that gets down to practices that reach back to free samples to kids in Orchard Park is for the jury to decide, but what is clear is that success for Lorillard is a tragedy elsewhere. Despite smoking rates falling in general, low-income citizens smoke at much higher rates and those ranks disproportionately include African-Americans, who have the highest incidence of lung cancer.

It is no secret why Lorillard is attempting to fudge and obfuscate history. Just last month, CEO Murray Kessler crowed to investors, “Newport sells today almost the same number of sticks it did 10 years ago, while during the same time the industry has declined 27 percent. Newport volume this year is growing. It is my opinion that this growth stems from a superior product, consistent message and a carefully crafted regional promotional strategy.’’ We know where those sticks are sold and who smokes them. The death of Marie Evans, whether or not it began with a white man in a white truck, was due to a carefully crafted ghetto strategy.

By Derrick Z. Jackson

Tobacco companies may be forced in UK to use plain brown packs

children being attracted to smoking

The government is considering forcing tobacco companies to package their cigarettes in plain brown wrappers in a bid to de-glamorise smoking and stop young people taking up the habit.

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, is investigating the viability of introducing what would be one of the most radical public health measures ever implemented in the UK.

Senior doctors welcomed the potential ban on colours and logos on packets and said it could prove as effective as the 2007 public smoking ban. However, ministers are likely to face a legal challenge if they go ahead.

“We have to try new approaches and take decisions to benefit the population. That’s why I want to look at the idea of plain packaging,” said Lansley. “The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It’s wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets.”

Lansley stressed that the need to prevent children from starting to smoke in the first place was his main motivation for taking seriously a policy which the tobacco industry fears would be hugely damaging. “We would prefer it if people did not smoke, and adults will still be able to buy cigarettes [even if plain packs come in], but children should be protected from the start,” he said.

The health secretary indicated that some further restrictions on smoking are likely. They could be unveiled in his white paper on public health, which is due within days. “The levels of poor health and deaths from smoking are still far too high, and the cost to the NHS and the economy is vast. That money could be used to educate our children and treat cancer,” said Lansley.

His readiness to countenance such draconian action against cigarette manufacturers drew praise and delight from leading medical organisations. “We are very pleased that the health secretary supports the plain packaging of cigarettes. There is clear evidence that young people find packaging appealing,” said a spokesman for the British Medical Association. “And we know that the tobacco industry spends huge amounts on this clever marketing to enhance their brands and increase sales.”

Professor John Britton, chairman of the tobacco advisory group at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which represents hospital doctors, said: “The RCP is glad that the government is considering the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.”

“Putting tobacco in plain packs would be a historic step for public health and an amazing centrepiece for Andrew Lansley’s promised public health strategy,” said Martin Dockrell, spokesman for Action on Smoking and Health (Ash). “Marketing men have become increasingly pushy with pack design, making it a 21st-century billboard, identifying this brand as ‘cool’ and that brand as ‘feminine’.” According to Ash, two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 and in England one in seven 15-year-olds is a regular smoker.

Australia is set to become the first country in the world to introduce plain packs in 2012, although tobacco manufacturers have mounted legal action to try to stop the measure. The European Union is considering a ban.

Lansley’s move is a surprise. The Conservatives opposed plain packets when Gordon Brown’s Labour administration undertook a consultation on the idea. But this fresh examination may help to allay fears among medical chiefs at the direction of the coalition’s public health policies after, for example, Lansley criticised Jamie Oliver’s campaign to improve school lunches in England.

The BMA, RCP and Ash all called on the government to press ahead with implementing the planned ban on shops selling cigarettes openly, irrespective of whether it introduces plain packets. Under legislation passed under Labour, the point of sale ban is due to be phased in from next year, but the coalition has still not decided whether to honour their predecessors’ commitment.

“We need to protect children from any kind of tobacco advertising, and as the legislation to ban point-of-sale display has already been passed, it should be implemented as soon as possible, not postponed or repealed,” said Britton.The tobacco industry tonight said it rejected the whole idea of plain packets. It said there was no evidence to back the policy and claimed that it would lead to increased tobacco smuggling. “Whilst there are currently no specific government proposals for plain tobacco packaging, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association is strongly opposed to the principle and would expect a genuine consultation and regulatory impact assessment if the government decides to pursue this further,” said the TMA’s chief executive, Christopher Ogden.

“The TMA does not believe any plans for plain packaging are based on sound public policy, nor any compelling evidence. Moves to prevent tobacco companies from exercising their intellectual property rights would place the government in breach of legal obligations relating to intellectual property, international trade and European law,” Ogden added.

“Plain packs are also likely to lead to yet further increases in the smuggling of tobacco products, and plain packs would make it so much easier for a counterfeiter to copy than existing branded packs, making it even more difficult for a consumer to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit products.”

By Denis Campbell

Smoking Movie Characters

The American Cancer Society has promoted the Great American Smokeout every third Thursday of November since 1977. As always, today’s challenge is simple: Stop smoking for 24 hours. Their hope is that setting such an easily attainable goal will inspire at least some smokers to quit permanently.

We don’t know how many Americans have stopped smoking as a result of the event. In fact, we don’t know much about health in general — after all, we eat a lot of movie theater popcorn and Goobers. However, we do know that the medical backlash against tobacco use has forced studios to diminish smoking in films. Ten years ago, viewers hardly noticed if a character smoked. Now it stands out like a sore thumb.

Not all directors and actors have gotten the message yet. The following recent movie characters — all smokers — should have taken a hint and butted out.

Sigourney Weaver, ‘Avatar’

James Cameron has defended his choice to make Grace Augustine a chain smoker because “she’s rude” and only cares about her avatar body, not her real one.

That may be true, but she’s also supposed to be a futuristic scientific genius. Wouldn’t she have realized that keeping her true self healthy longer would allow her avatar to live longer as well?

Robert Pattinson, ‘Remember Me’ Robert Pattinson smoking
Summit Entertainment was able to keep photos of Pattinson holding a cigarette out of the media until this film, despite the actor who plays Edward Cullen being a smoker in real life. Maybe they promised to let him light up in a movie if he agreed to keep his bad habit on the down-low during the first two ‘Twilight’ films?

In ‘Remember Me,’ his character, Tyler, is a moody 21-year-old New Yorker working at a bookstore. Why pile on another cliched stereotype by making him be a smoker?

Sylvester Stallone and Mickey Rourke, ‘The Expendables’
The concept for this movie was cool: old mercenaries who keep being mercenaries because they only know that line of work.

However, where did Stallone get his mercenary character archetype? Sergeant Slaughter? How many old mercenaries are chomping on cigars like Stallone does and are still able to run around? Rourke’s character, meanwhile, smokes a pipe. Aren’t his urban cowboy hat and metal teeth eccentric enough? Smoking tobacco from an old-timey opium pipe seems like overkill.

James Gandolfini, ‘Welcome to the Rileys’
Doug Riley is depressed after losing his daughter in a car crash. Sure, depressed characters have a tendency to smoke. But he’s also overweight. Nine years of that lifestyle (his daughter died in 2001), and you can’t help but be distracted from the story by wondering when the heart attack is coming.

Kim Cattrall, ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Sex and the City 2’
We understand Samantha is supposed to be the risqué one, but she’s also supposed to be hip and fashionable. She smokes a cigar in the first film, a trend that is passé for women since Demi Moore did it 15 years ago on the cover of ‘Cigar Aficionado.’ In the second film, she fellates a hookah pipe. Hookahs and miming blowjobs stop being edgy the second you graduate from college.

Danny Trejo, ‘Machete’ Danny Trejo smoking
It’s already a huge leap to believe a 66-year-old guy can run around killing everyone and bedding 20-somethings as hot as Michele Rodriguez, Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan (wait, the last one is totally believable). It’s another thing to believe he still has the lung power to do all that while being a chain smoker.

Tehilla Blad, ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest’
Two quick disclaimers come with this entry. First, we understand smoking is viewed differently in Europe than in the United States, although many countries are banning it in closed public areas. Second, we’re not sure there is a word in Swedish for “overkill.”

Even so, does she really need the cigarette? The mohawk, nose-piercing, all-black attire and multiple tribal earrings already lets us know Lisbeth Salander is a disturbed protagonist. What does the cigarette really add? Why not just have a crack pipe or bottle of Jack Daniels in her lips? Of course that wouldn’t exactly fit with the character’s profile from the book, and isn’t exactly healthy either, but you get the point. The cigarette is overkill and a distraction from an otherwise compelling movie poster.

Lorillard Says Menthol Ban Will Create Black Market

Lorillard Inc., trying to stop the U.S. government from outlawing its Newport cigarettes, will tell a Food and Drug Administration panel tomorrow that banning the mint flavor will create a black market for menthol brands.

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based producer has joined other U.S. cigarette companies this year in telling an FDA advisory panel that most scientific evidence shows menthol cigarettes to be no more dangerous than regular ones. Lorillard now plans to argue that banning menthol cigarettes would push smokers to regular varieties and create a black market for menthol ones.

Newport generates about 92 percent of Lorillard’s sales. Revenue from the top-selling menthol cigarette totaled about $4.8 billion in 2009. Lorillard introduced a non-menthol version of Newport earlier this month as “we prepare for all outcomes,” Chief Executive Officer Murray Kessler told a Morgan Stanley conference in New York yesterday. He said he doesn’t expect the FDA to ban menthol.

“The black market is likely to be large and the reduction in smoking is likely to be small,” said Rick Flyer, a Chicago- based senior vice president for Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm hired by Lorillard to assess the effect of banning menthol. Menthol cigarettes yielded U.S. retail sales of $26.2 billion last year, or 30 percent of total cigarette revenue, according to Lorillard.

FDA Advisory Panel

The FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee convenes in Silver Spring, Maryland, tomorrow.

Lorillard provided Bloomberg News with the presentation that Flyer is scheduled to deliver to the panel. The findings are based on smoking patterns in 20 U.S. cities including New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

The company fell 9 cents to $86.75 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. It has gained 8.1 percent this year.

Many consumers of menthol cigarettes prefer that flavor, raising the possibility that some of them would quit smoking if menthol were banned or restricted, said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-smoking group in Washington.

“Lorillard is concerned about this issue precisely because of its fear that it will dramatically reduce the number of tobacco users,” Myers said. Raising the threat of a black market is “a self-serving mechanism to prevent progress in reducing tobacco use,” he said.

Jeffrey Ventura, an FDA spokesman, declined to comment on Lorillard’s presentation. The panel has until March 2011 to advise the agency on the public-health implications of menthol.
By Chris Burritt