March 2011 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: March 2011

Rihanna Says Colin Farrell Is Smoking hot

Rihanna claims she’s not seeing sexy actor Colin Farell. But what’s to stop a girl from dreaming!Rihanna and Colin Farrell

During an interview with Rolling Stone at Giorgio Baldi, an intimate Italian restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., RiRi spotted Colin across the room. ”He probably thinks I’m starting all these crazy rumors,” she says. “We don’t even have each other’s numbers. I wish. He’s smoking.”

Colin came over to her table and gestured to the photogs staking out the restaurant. “Our friends outside are gonna get some good mileage out of this. We’re going to be texting each other all f**king night!”

The pair was first linked when they appeared on a British TV show late last year — and soon afterward reports started surfacing about Rihanna sending Colin some racy texts.

She says it hasn’t happened — yet!

“I’m not dating,” Rihanna tells RS. “I’m not sexing, I’m not even sexting. It’s on complete nil.”

At the time of the interview earlier this month, Rihanna says she hadn’t had sex for at least four months!

“I haven’t gotten a d**k picture in a long time. I think people are a little afraid. It can turn out bad.”

Rihanna knows what she’s talking about. She was embarrassed when graphic pictures of her hit the web two years ago. But she can laugh about it now.

When a fan sent her a link to a few of the shots recently, she replied: ‘That would be…ME, when I was skinny!”

As the Rolling Stone cover shows, she’s still looking good.

WHAT IS A MENTHOL CIGARETTE?

Under the Act, menthol is an additive. Menthol is reported to be present in most cigarettes in the United States. However, TPSAC didmenthol not identify any systematic and recent data on menthol content in cigarettes. Those cigarettes marketed as menthol have sufficient menthol content for menthol to become a “characterizing flavor.” A submission to TPSAC from the Lorillard Tobacco Company identified menthol levels of around 1000 ppm (wt/wt) of cigarette tobacco or higher as providing a characterizing flavor (Lorillard 2010). R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company “…typically characterizes a cigarette as a menthol cigarette when the cigarette’s menthol level is 0.3 percent or greater” by weight. Heck (2010) in a literature review noted that the menthol content of some cigarette tobaccos reaches two percent by weight. Celebucki et al. (2005) analyzed 48 menthol brands, finding an average value of 2.64 mg per cigarette. For the purpose of this report, TPSAC has not adopted a quantitative definition for a menthol cigarette, but instead relies on the brand designation.

In the brands not marketed as menthol cigarettes, the amount of menthol is much lower—about 0.03 percent of the tobacco weight. In response to questions from TPSAC, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company submitted written comments, which included the statements below).

“When menthol is found in non‐menthol cigarettes, the levels are extremely low —usually at a level of 50 ppm (0.005 percent) or less.”

“Menthol might be detected at trace levels in a non‐menthol cigarette as an incidental byproduct of various tobacco processes, such as the manufacture of reconstituted tobacco.”

“Non‐menthol cigarettes sometimes use small amounts of commercial flavorings, and these flavorings as prepared by the suppliers may use incidental amounts of menthol as a flavor component.”

“Some non‐menthol cigarettes are made with extremely small quantities of menthol added to provide a fresh taste without imparting a characterizing menthol taste, or to brighten the tobacco flavor.”

In response to the same questions from TPSAC, Altria Client Services commented in its June 30, 2010 submission for Philip Morris USA Inc. that: “PM USA does not include menthol as part of the flavor recipes used in non‐menthol cigarettes,”. While TPSAC has been given the charge of addressing menthol in cigarettes generally, it has focused this report on menthol cigarettes. This focus is consistent with the language of the Act which refers to menthol in Section 907 (a)(1)(A) in discussing constituents or additives that are “…a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke.”

Electronic Cigarette Ban For Minors Looming

SPOKANE, Wash. — A ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors goes into effect Thursday. eCigarette vendors will be fined if they’re caught selling to those 17 and under and minors will be fined if they’re caught smoking one.

The ban will be effective in the City of Spokane, Spokane Valley and unincorporated Spokane County. It came from the efforts of the Spokane Regional Heath District and local jurisdictions to protect youth from the harmful effects of nicotine.

Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) Health Specialist Julie Scholer says from what they’ve observed the eCigarettes are very popular among both adults and minors.
“Currently there’s no legislation restricting an age, so a 4-year-old could have gone in and bought one, not that they’d necessarily be sold one,” Scholer said. “There’s no law protecting minors from the nicotine in these.”

The eCigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes and deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor that is inhaled. Flavors like cherry, mango and Marlboro are also sold alongside the liquid nicotine, which Scholer says could be attractive to minors but aren’t necessarily marketed to them.

“We don’t know exactly what’s in them, they can put labels on them, but there’s no agency overseeing what goes into them,” Scholer said.

Though vendors tout the electronic cigarettes as a way to help consumers quit smoking regular cigarettes, which can contain chemicals and other harmful additives, the eCigarette devices and the liquid nicotine and flavors are not FDA approved as a smoking cessation device.

Before the ban was approved, the SRHD’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program conducted a special emphasis project to find out if distributors were selling electronic cigarettes to minors, which was legal at the time.

Teen operatives were successful in buying the devices over 90 percent of the time. The SRHD’s project showed them that there was a significant problem with teens having access to nicotine and devices that deliver them.

The ban, approved in February, takes effect at midnight on March 31st and includes the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and the use of them by minors.

“The punishment is that they could receive a $50 fine, distributors that sell them could face a $250 fine,” Scholer said.

Questions about the ban or eCigarettes can be answered through the SRHD at 509-324-1553.
© 2011 KXLY.com.

Illegal trade of tobacco products in Australia

Illegal trade of tobacco products in Australia has jumped 25 percent after the federal government adopted a sharp tax hike last year and pledged to approve plain packaging, according to the chairman of the largest private tobacco company in the world.

Louis Camilleri, chairman and CEO of Philip Morris International, the largest cigarette maker in the world, said during a conference of mainly U.S. analysts in February that the black market of contraband cigarettes in Australia was growing rapidly.

”Our major concern is illegal trade,” stated Mr. Camilleri. ”After the tax rise last April, illegal trade has grown by 25 percent in Australia.”

The alleged increase in tobacco contraband has been a serious threat to the federal government’s revenue expectations, as the Australian Taxation Office generating around $6 billion annually in paid taxes on tobacco products.

According to government’s forecast, the approval of immediate tax increase that hit Australian smokers last April and raised the excise tax by 25 percent would generate an additional $5 billion in tax revenue during the next five years, which will be directed to the National Health and Hospitals Network Fund.

Some news reports say that major tobacco companies that sell their products in Australia will reveal a joint independent report, which will demonstrate a direct relation between the latest tobacco tax increase and a growth in contraband trade by criminal gangs.

Cigarette makers as well state that plain packaging help the counterfeiters to pass their products as legal ones. Plain packaging law is scheduled to be considered by the Parliament later this year and to be implemented on January 1, 2012.

”The plain packaging and similar measures lack logic, since I don’t believe that they will have an impact on consumption rates in any way,” PMI Chairman declared to American analysts.

Report disclosed by the Customs and Border Protection Service of Australia does demonstrate a rise in tobacco contraband in 2009-10, a year, which comprises two months of the sharp increase in tobacco taxes. Confiscations of illegal tobacco reached 310,707 kilograms previous fiscal year, almost doubling the 175,405 kilograms seized in 2008-09. Almost 70 million cigarettes were seized, up from 50.177 million in the previous year.

Tim Wilson, head of the free trade department at the Institute of Public Affairs admitted that higher taxes lead to rise in criminal activities.

”The higher taxes means the higher temptation for organized crime to provide smokers with contraband tax-free cigarettes,” he said.

”Even Intellectual Property Australia, the federal government’s adviser, has opposed plain packaging bill, as it could result in more contraband products coming to Australia,” Wilson added.

”The federal government loves to state they are leading the world by approving plain packaging legislation, but they don’t take into consideration the significant legal threat from banning trademarks like the United Kingdom, Canada, Lithuania and mid-1990s Australia government has turned plain packaging law due to intellectual property grounds.”

E-cigarettes’ smoke screen

MOUNTING public dialogue about the safety of electronic cigarettes appropriately spurs school districts to broaden bans on tobacco e-cigaretteproducts to prohibit them.

The battery-operated devices the size of pens use nicotine-soaked replaceable cartridges to simulate smoking. Nicotine is delivered into the body with water vapor rather than smoke. Young people may find this safer than regular cigarettes. But e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive substance.

The product may be a gateway for teens to move onto other tobacco products including cigarettes. That’s the last thing needed as the popularity of smokeless nicotine products stalls progress on reducing smoking in high school.

Smoking is a critical battleground. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one-third of high-school smokers will die prematurely of tobacco-related disease.

The Washington State School Directors Association, which coordinates policy for public districts, revised its tobacco and nicotine substances policy last fall. The absence of tobacco in e-cigarettes put them outside the reach of current anti-tobacco bans.

Proponents laud e-cigarettes as a way to help wean smokers from tobacco cigarettes. But there is scant evidence, leading the federal Food and Drug Administration to warn manufacturers of e-cigarettes that such claims may violate federal drug laws.

Most adults favor restrictions on electronic cigarettes and more testing on their safety, a poll last year found. Bans on e-cigarette sales to minors, limiting ads and restricting indoor smoking of e-cigarettes are policy ideas sparking future efforts.

A smart beginning is a ban on e-cigarettes in public schools.

Philip Morris International says Japan profits intact

NEW YORK — The earthquake and tsunami in Japan are not expected to affect Philip Morris International Inc.’s sales and profit in the country, the cigarette maker said today.

Philip Morris International, which sells Matlboro online, said during a presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe Conference in London that all of the cigarettes for sale in Japan are produced outside the country and shipments at ports are “being unloaded normally.”

The company said four of 28 third-party distribution centers in Japan are closed because of damage. Two are expected to open this week, and other distribution arrangements are being made for the other two centers.

The company, headquartered in New York and Lausanne, Switzerland, said it reopened its Tokyo office March 24 after a temporary closing. All of its employees are accounted for and safe.

Philip Morris International is the world’s second-biggest cigarette company after the state-controlled China National Tobacco Corp. Altria Group Inc. in Richmond, Va., owner of Philip Morris USA, spun off Philip Morris International in 2008. Altria is the largest U.S. cigarette seller.

China Issues Nationwide Restrictions on Smoking

BEIJING — China, the world’s largest tobacco producer and home to a third of all smokers, has issued a national ban on lighting up in china smokershotels, restaurants and other indoor public spaces, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

The rules, which take effect on May 1 and spell out education provisions about the dangers of tobacco, include restrictions on cigarette vending machines and on outdoor smoking that affects pedestrians.

But there are considerable loopholes. The rules do not cover factories, offices or government workplaces, and, more important, they lack specific penalty guidelines. That detail has prompted shrugs among devoted smokers, many of whom have long since learned to ignore the no-smoking signs in hospital waiting areas, gymnasium locker rooms and elevators.

“Chinese people, including most government officials, are just too in love with their cigarettes to pay attention to such a law,” said Liu Bailing, 28, a bank employee dining beneath a cumulus cloud of smoke at a restaurant here on Thursday evening.

Ms. Liu’s complaint was not without reason. In the nearly three years since Beijing required restaurants and bars to provide nonsmoking sections, most smokers have continued to puff away with abandon.

While acknowledging the challenges of enforcing the new ban, antismoking advocates hailed the measure as a first step to weaning the nation off tobacco, which health officials say kills more than 1.2 million Chinese a year. China has among the world’s highest smoking rates, with nearly one-third of all adults lighting up. (In the United States, about 21 percent of adults were smokers as of 2008.)

“Even if it’s not stringently enforced in the beginning, having a law is an important place to start,” said Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, a nongovernmental group in Beijing.

Two years ago, the authorities raised taxes on cigarettes, and last month the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued guidelines that seek to reduce the number of scenes that feature smoking in movies and television shows.

Still, it remains to be seen how effective the newest ban will be, and skeptics might be forgiven their doubts. The Communist Party, after all, has a monopoly on tobacco production, which provides roughly 7 percent of the government’s tax revenue.

By ANDREW JACOBS

Secondhand smoke raises the stakes in America’s casinos

Millions of Americans visit casinos to unwind and test their luck against the hands of fate, but lurking in the shadows is a gamble few casinowould contemplate before they stepped inside a casino’s doors. The threat is not addiction. It’s not the specter of losing a small fortune. The hidden danger is secondhand smoke.

According to a new study by scientists from Stanford and Tufts universities published in the journal Environmental Research, each year 50 million nonsmoking casino patrons and 400,000 nonsmoking casino workers gamble with their lives inside casinos that allow smoking. Less than 2 hours of exposure to secondhand smoke in half of the casinos surveyed is enough to impair the heart’s ability to pump blood, placing susceptible casino patrons and workers at acute risk of heart disease.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability, costing the country an estimated $151.6 billion in 2007. Approximately 8 percent of the population 45 to 64 years of age, and 20 percent of those aged over 65, suffers from coronary heart disease. These older people are at greater risk from exposure to secondhand smoke. Compounding the concern, the two age groups have higher gambling rates than those under 45.

The team of experts from Stanford and Tufts examined pollution levels in 66 smoky casinos in five states, and three casinos that are smoke-free, comparing them with the pollution levels outdoors. The study is a continuation of earlier research conducted at 36 casinos in California. An additional 30 casinos were tested in four other states.

To make their measurements, the researchers operated covertly. Two to three researchers at a time entered casinos carrying small monitoring devices tucked inside purses or jackets. Combining the Stanford/Tufts data with previously published measurements from three other states, the team developed nationwide averages and ranges for pollution levels inside casinos.

The study focused on two types of air pollutants blamed for tobacco-related cancers: fine particulate matter, which deposits deep in the lungs, and a group of chemicals called particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PPAHs, which include at least 10 different carcinogenic compounds. Results show that gamblers and casino workers in casinos that permit smoking are subject to levels of particulate air pollution 10 times higher than those who visit smoke-free casinos.

The researchers also found that ventilation and air cleaning do not control indoor smoke levels. “The only effective control for secondhand smoke was reducing the number of smokers,” said Lynn Hildemann, a professor of environmental engineering and science at Stanford and the principal investigator for the study.

“The fewer smokers, the less polluted the air. If you switch to a nonsmoking casino, your exposure to harmful fine particulate matter levels indoors will be reduced by 90 percent, and your exposure to carcinogenic PPAH levels will decrease by 80 percent.”

Unfortunately, smoke-free casinos are rare. In the United States, 88 percent of commercial casinos and nearly 100 percent of tribal casinos allow smoking.

Those patrons who seek refuge in nonsmoking areas attached to the smoking casinos – such as restaurants, where children are found – find scant protection. Unless these areas are completely sealed off from the casino, with closed doors and a separate ventilation system, the researchers found that secondhand smoke seeps in, resulting in pollution levels seven times as high as outdoors.

In contrast, the three smoke-free casinos surveyed had pollution levels as low as the outdoors. In more than nine-of-ten smoking casinos in the survey, the indoor pollution levels exceeded the World Health Organization standard for fine particulate matter.

“Casino patrons are gambling not only with their money, but with their health, and the odds are stacked against them,” said Hildemann. “Casinos have always been huge draws, but in recent years we’ve seen an increase of family activities tied to casinos. So in addition to seniors, the health risks are starting to reach new, more vulnerable populations, particularly children.”

The pervasive secondhand smoke indoors poses an even graver health threat to casino workers. In the new study, using published data measuring the levels of cotinine, a biomarker of tobacco that shows up in human tissue, Hildemann and colleagues added to earlier results and found amounts of cotinine in casino dealers who are nonsmokers were higher than in 95 percent of the nonsmoking U.S. population. Nevada casino dealers have triple the asthma rates of the general state population.

“Cotinine levels in these nonsmoking workers – who were exposed only while at work – significantly increased between the beginning and the end of their work shift. Similar results have been found in casino patrons with shorter exposures. This is clearly due to secondhand smoke in the casino,” said James Repace, a biophysicist and visiting assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

The study was funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute.

By Andrew Myers

Big tobacco splutters over plain package law

TOBACCO giant Philip Morris has launched a website calling on smokers to unite and flex their political muscle over tough federal cigarettes salegovernment regulations.

The online campaign comes as the tobacco industry ramps up opposition to a government plan for cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging from next year.

Philip Morris’s new website – ideservetobeheard.com.au – claims smokers are under constant attack from a ”nanny state” determined to raise taxes and ban smoking in public spaces, such as beaches and city malls.
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”If you’re tired of being singled out as a smoker, it’s time to speak up because the more that smokers like you have a say, the more the government will have to listen,” the website, authorised by Philip Morris, says.

The site encourages disaffected smokers to contact their local member of Parliament and provides a forum to share grievances.

The web address is on cards inserted inside tobacco products manufactured by Philip Morris.

The new strategy follows a recent media blitz by the Alliance of Australian Retailers, which is extensively funded by Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco.

The campaign claimed there was no evidence to support the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes, which would harm newsagents, service stations and convenience stores.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie accused the tobacco industry of hiding behind websites and third-party organisations that purport to be independent.

By Cameron Houston

Tobacco industry furious at tax rises

From 6pm Wednesday night, duty on tobacco rose by 2pc above inflation. On top of this, a wider restructuring of duty added 50p tocigarettes sale the price of a packet of “economy” cigarettes and 33p to “premium” cigarettes, meaning that poorer smokers will be disproportionately affected.

So-called economy cigarettes include brands such as Windsor. After Wednesday’s duty increase their price rose from £5.13 to £5.63, while premium brands increased from £6.62 to £6.95. In addition, the cost of a packet of hand-rolling tobacco rose by 67p, a pack of five small cigars rose 10p and a pack of pipe tobacco rose 17p.

Simon Clark, a director at Forest, the smokers’ lobby group, said: “The policy discriminates against those who can least afford it, especially the elderly and the low paid.”

JTI, the international arm of Camel and Silk Cut-maker Japan Tobacco, hit out at what it called “the single largest increase in tobacco duty by any UK Government”. It said cigarettes in the UK are up to three and half times more expensive than in many other European countries.

Martin Southgate, managing director of JTI UK, said that the increase will simply fuel the black market: “This price rise – if combined with proposals for out-of-sight plain packs – will only provide crooks, criminal gangs and counterfeiters with the opportunity to set up shop across the UK.”

Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association said the tax rise “clearly demonstrates a complete lack of joined-up-thinking as taxation is the driver of the illicit tobacco trade”.

The measures should raise an extra £355m for the Government by 2015.

FDA Wrong About Menthol Cigarettes

Menthol cigarettes are no harder to quit than cigarette-store.biz/info/non-menthol-newport-bestseller-lorillard-says, and they may actually be less likely to cause lung cancer, according to a new study.

The findings stand in sharp contrast to the FDA advisory committee report released last week that called menthol cigarettes a publicment cigarettes health threat.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that menthol cigarettes are no more harmful to the health of smokers than regular cigarettes and comes as the FDA is mulling what to do about menthol cigarettes. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act barred tobacco manufacturers from adding candy-like flavors to their products — such as cloves and vanilla — but the law left a determination on menthol to the FDA.

“These findings should inform any decision-making process by the Food and Drug Administration to single out menthol cigarettes as uniquely more harmful than nonmenthol cigarettes,” wrote the authors of the new study, led by William Blot, PhD, of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, MD.

More Addictive or Not?

Last week, the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) concluded that it is “biologically plausible” that adding menthol to cigarettes makes them more addictive and harder to quit.

Menthol is an alcohol that stimulates cold receptors. Found naturally in peppermint and corn oil, it masks the harshness of tobacco smoke and provides a cooling effect.

The TPSAC report is currently being reviewed by experts at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, which is expected to provide a progress report on its review in 90 days.

In this week’s study, Blot and his team of researchers used data from the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), an ongoing prospective cohort study implemented to examine racial disparities in cancer and other chronic diseases. The study involved nearly 80,000 residents of 12 southern states from 2002 to 2009; participants, who were between the ages of 40 and 79, were administered a computer-assisted personal interview by researchers.

Two-thirds of participants were African American and the rest were mostly white. The study participants were recruited through mailings to samples of the general population and at a community health center.

Smoking rates were very high in the cohort: 33% for black women; 36% for white women, 57% for black men; and 41% for white men.

Menthol Popular Among Blacks

Consistent with previous data, the SCCS data showed that 86% of blacks smoked menthol cigarettes, compared with only 23% of whites.

Opponents of menthol cigarettes have accused tobacco companies of targeting African Americans with their advertising, a claim that was supported by the TPSAC report.

Of those who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lives, 35% had already quit smoking by the time they enrolled in the study.

The prevalence of quitting among blacks who smoked menthols was the same as for blacks who smoked nonmenthols after adjusting for age, income, education, recruitment source, pack-years smoked, and body mass index. That contradicts what the TPSAC report concluded: that nonwhite smokers who smoke menthol cigarettes have more difficulty quitting than those who smoke nonmenthol cigarettes.

Among whites in the study, people who smoked menthols were actually more likely — 55% more likely — to quit smoking than whites who smoked nonmenthols (95% CI=1.41 to 1.70).

Follow-Up on Quit Rates, Lung Cancer

In 2008, researchers attempted to follow up with everyone in the SCCS database who had reported being a smoker when they were first surveyed. The survey also asked whether each participant smoked menthols or nonmenthols. To date, about 60% of the smokers have been contacted.

Among smokers who were followed for an average of 4.3 years, the odds of quitting smoking were the same for menthol smokers and nonmenthol smokers (OR 1.02, 95% CI=0.89 to 1.16).

Researchers then looked at lung cancer rates in the follow-up cohort, and found, not surprisingly, that lung cancer rates were higher for all smokers, regardless of menthol or nonmenthol status: The mortality rates were increased 10- to 16-fold among nonmenthol smokers and 5- to 14-fold among menthol smokers compared with those who reported never smoking.

When comparing menthol smokers to nonmenthol smokers, the overall risk of lung cancer among smokers of menthol cigarettes was actually 45% lower than for smokers of nonmenthol cigarettes (95% CI=0.47 to 0.90) across all races and genders.

Some have theorized that because menthol masks the harshness of tobacco smoke, it allows smokers to take longer drags, which could be worse for the lungs.

When comparing lung cancer death rates between smokers of the two types of cigarettes, researchers found that the pack-years-adjusted risk of lung cancer mortality was statistically significantly lower for smokers of menthol cigarettes compared with smokers of nonmenthol cigarettes (hazard ratio of mortality=0.69, 95% CI=0.49 to 0.95).

“The findings provide important new evidence that does not support claims that menthol cigarettes impart a greater lung cancer burden than nonmenthol cigarettes,” the study authors wrote. “Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of premature death in the U.S., but undue emphasis on reduction of menthol relative to other cigarettes may distract from the ultimate health prevention message that smoking of any cigarettes is injurious to health.”

TPSAC Panel: Insufficient Evidence

In its report, the TPSAC panel said there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether smokers of menthol cigarettes have an increased risk of disease caused by smoking compared with smokers on nonmenthol cigarettes.

A spokesman for the FDA said the agency’s tobacco division is not granting interviews at this time.

The TPSAC report looked at more factors than just quit rates and lung cancer. It also determined that cigarette companies that sell menthol cigarettes target minorities and kids with their advertising; and that because menthol reduces the harshness of tobacco smoke, it might be more appealing to kids and get them hooked at an early age.

In the TPSAC report, the SCCS study was mentioned briefly, but TPSAC members said one of its weaknesses is its older study population “which may limit the generalizability of results.”

The authors of the SCCS study said some weaknesses of their study include the inability to tease out smokers who may have switched from one cigarette type to another; the possible misclassification of cigarette type; and the reliance on self-reporting of smoking status.

By By Emily P. Walker, MedPage Today

Smoke-free public places in China

The Ministry of Health’s determination to ban smoking in public places is clear.China no smoking sign

The department issued rules and regulations for enforcing the health management ordinance for public places on Tuesday. They will go into effect on May 1.

All indoor public places are required to ban smoking and non-smoking logos are mandated to remind people not to light up. Also, outdoor passageways where pedestrians walk should not be set aside for smoking areas.

The government has included the smoking ban in all indoor public places in its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), which means that for the first time China has put smoking control into its national economic and social development program.

We regard this as a milestone in the nation’s efforts to ban smoking in public.

A complete ban on smoking in all indoor public places will protect the health of non-smokers. According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 740 million people in the nation are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places and at home.

Smokers can choose cigarettes, but they should show their respect for non-smokers by staying outside when smoking.

The center expects that the smoking ban will not only reduce the consumption of cigarettes but also the impact of passive smoking on people’s health.

The nation’s 12th Five-Year Plan has a vision of raising our average life expectancy from 73.5 to 74.5. The smoking ban in all indoor public places will help make this goal possible.

Today some 1.2 million Chinese die of tobacco-related diseases every year – two deaths every minute on average.

There is a clear roadmap for smoking control within five years and the government is required to come up with national regulations to enforce it.

Smoking control means no smoking in all indoor public places and zero ads, promotion and sponsorship for tobacco. Selling cigarettes to teenagers is not allowed. All these goals are required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which China ratified.

The government needs to be strict in restricting smoking in public areas and to ban cigarette advertising. It is not only a question of weak regulations but of weak implementation.

Even more shocking is that every year, more women, children, young people and the poor become addicted to cigarettes. The spike in growth of new smokers in China cannot be separated from the nation’s weak regulations and abysmal law enforcement on tobacco use.

Now the Ministry of Health has shown the political will to take on tobacco smoking.

Imperial Tobacco Forecasts Drop in Cigarette Shipments

Imperial Tobacco Group Plc (IMT), Europe’s second-biggest tobacco company, expects first-half cigarette volume to fall because Imperial tobaccobuying patterns in the U.K. shifted spending to the second half of the year.

Selling quantities for the period ending March 31 will drop about 1 percent, the Bristol, England-based company said today in a statement. Revenue in the period will increase about 2 percent at constant currency exchange rates and excluding other income growth in its Moroccan business, Imperial said.

The shift in U.K. spending will have no overall impact on the full year, the company said today. Imperial Tobacco confirmed that its financial performance remains in line with the board’s previous expectations.

Tobacco companies are relying on growth in emerging markets to offset declining consumption in western Europe and North America. Spain remains a “challenging” market because of a duty increase in December, the ban on smoking in public places and the weak economy, Imperial said.

First-half shipments of Davidoff cigarettes, Gauloises Blondes and West cigarettes increased, boosted by emerging markets, Imperial said. The JPS brand has maintained its “excellent” performance and Imperial has continued to deliver strong growth in fine-cut tobacco volume, it said.

The company expects to release its first-half results on May 10.

Imperial rose 21 pence, or 1.1 percent, to 1,922 pence yesterday in London trading. The stock has dropped 5.8 percent in the past year, compared with a 5.7 percent gain in shares of rival British American Tobacco Plc.

By Tom Mulier: tmulier@bloomberg.net; Andrew Roberts: aroberts36@bloomberg.net.

Smokeless tobacco in food category?

NEW DELHI: Can smokeless and chewing tobacco, India’s major public health problem, be called food items and then be tested and smokeless tobaccoasked to reveal contents? That’s what the Union health ministry now wants to find out.

The ministry has called a crucial consultation with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — the nodal body to implement the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 — on April 4 and 5. The Act replaced the earlier Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954 in which smokeless tobacco was not considered a food item. The ministry now wants to see that if a new clause can be brought into the Act declaring smokeless tobacco as food that people eat.

According to FSSAI CEO Dr V N Gaur, “All sections of the Act have already been notified. In a few weeks time, we will notify all the rules under the new Food Safety Act so that it starts to get implemented. At present, the Act clearly says tobacco is not a food item.”

He added, “However if the ministry wants to define it as a food item, a new clause has to be brought and put into the Act. PFA and FSSAI Act say that anything eaten is a food item.”

Ministry officials said at present, smokeless tobacco comes under no particular category. The rules to regulate tobacco use aren’t proving effective. “If we bring it under a food item, smokeless tobacco items will have to be tested for their ingredients and thus prove how harmful they are,” the officials said.

By Kounteya Sinha

Two tobacco products free of FDA oversight

How dissolvable tobacco products are made could determine whether or not they fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug camel snusAdministration.

Star Scientific Inc., a maker of dissolvable tobacco lozenges, announced Wednesday that it received an FDA notice saying that two of its products are not subject to regulations in the federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act.

The determination could open the door for other dissolvable tobacco products, such as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s Camel orbs, sticks and filmlike strips for the tongue, to also not be subject to FDA regulation.

The industry, led by Reynolds, has put more focus on smokeless tobacco as a revenue source in recent years as the number of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped to about 20 percent.

According to the federal act, smokeless tobacco is defined as “any tobacco product that consists of cut, ground, powdered or leaf tobacco, and that is intended to be placed in the oral or nasal cavity.”

The Star products are Ariva-BDL and Stonewall-BDL — the acronym stands for “below detectable levels” of certain cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco, particularly when it is burned as part of smoking. Star has sold a different version of Ariva and Stonewell for years.

Star declined to discuss its proprietary manufacturing process. Some analysts said its process may involve tobacco being compacted or compressed, rather than made into powder — evidentially enough of a distinction to not qualify as smokeless tobacco.

“It’s a head scratcher how the FDA made its determination since we applied for the products to be considered as a modified-risk tobacco product,” said Sara Machir, a spokeswoman for Star.

Star said that the notice came from a statement by Dr. Lawrence Deyton, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Deyton said he based the decision on the information submitted by Star.

The FDA verified Deyton’s statement that “not all tobacco products are currently subject” to the act. At this time, only cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco are subject.

Jeffery Ventura, a spokesman for the FDA, said that the agency “recognizes there are uncertainties regarding the regulatory status of a variety of nicotine-containing products derived from tobacco; more specifically, whether these products are regulated as drugs or tobacco products.

“The FDA is considering its legal and regulatory options regarding these products.”

With the notices in hand, Star said it will proceed with the marketing and selling of the BDL versions of Ariva and Stonewell. Machir said it could take two months for the products to reach retail shelves.

“These initiatives will be undertaken consistent with our belief that adult tobacco users should be able to have information about the toxin levels in all tobacco products,” said Paul Perito, the chairman, president and chief operating officer of Star.

Star continues to pursue FDA approval for a moist-snuff product that it said has the lowest levels of carcinogens — in this case nitrosamines — in the marketplace. That includes “99 percent lower than the levels found in conventional American moist snuffs, such as Copenhagen or Skoal, and 90 percent less than the level found in current snus products,” the company said.

David Howard, a spokesman for Reynolds, said that according to company policy, “communications with the FDA regarding specific products is confidential.”

Bill Godshall, the executive director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania, is an outspoken advocate for smokeless tobacco as a reduced-risk alternative to cigarettes. He said he is curious about how the FDA made its determination.

“Does this mean that some/many/most/all other dissolvable-tobacco products also aren’t smokeless tobacco?” he asked. “It also appears Star can now claim its Ariva BDL and Stonewall BDL are less-hazardous alternatives to cigarettes.

“Maybe Reynolds will also have to apply for modified-risk status for their dissolvables to find out.”

Scott Ballin, the past chairman of the Coalition on Smoking or Health, said that the FDA’s decision “is indicative to me that people are beginning to realize that not all tobacco-containing products are the same.”

“I have said for more like two years that the current statute is outdated and we need to be looking at a better, fairer regulatory system that regulates the most toxic products more stringently than the lower risk ones.”

Non-smoking Russia absolutely unreal?

The healthcare committee of the Moscow government gathered for a meeting yesterday. The deputies discussed an opportunity to no-smokingcut the list of places where smokers would be allowed to enjoy their cigarettes. It was particularly suggested smoking should be banned in all buildings that belong to Moscow. The list includes state institutions, stadiums, hospitals and polyclinics, schools, theaters and other cultural institutions. The populist bill is not going to be approved because of those lobbying the interests of tobacco companies.

The deputies offered to ban smoking on the stairways of apartment buildings. It was also offered to ban the sales of tobacco products in all buildings in Moscow’s property.

The current federal law allows smoking in all of the above-mentioned buildings, albeit in specially designated places.

The Moscow deputies hope to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 10-15 percent before 2014, and the number of passive smokers – by 50 percent. They also set the goal to cover 90 percent of Muscovites with anti-tobacco propaganda.

In this connection, it was offered to ban the sales of tobacco products on public transport stops, and on the areas located less than 100 meters far from the above-mentioned buildings. Tobacco advertising shall be banned on all buildings in Moscow property too, the bill says.

The anti-tobacco campaign will cause considerable damage to public catering enterprises. Dividing cafes and restaurants into smoking and non-smoking parts does not help. Even most powerful ventilation systems reduce the concentration of tobacco smoke in the air by only 20 percent.

Smoking kills approximately 500,000 Russians every year. Russian smokers have been getting younger during the recent years too. Forty-three percent of permanent smokers among youth are below 13 years of age. Twenty-one percent of Russian boys started smoking before they turned nine. Moscow-based schoolgirls smoke more than teenage girls and even boys in Russian provinces. Thirty-four percent of boys and 30 percent of girls smoke on a regular basis in Moscow. As for the rest of Russia, the percentage is smaller – 27 and 22 percent respectively. Seventy percent of Moscow schoolgirls have smoking experience, which considerably exceeds the average index in Russia – 57 percent.

Of course, every doctor would say that the Russian authorities must take efforts to approve the new law. Dr. Igor Orlov said, for example, that the average lifespan of people in Finland increased by 25 percent during a year after the government banned smoking in public places ten years ago.

Darya Khalturina, a co-chairwoman of the Russian anti-tobacco coalition, said that the level of heart attacks dropped by 17 percent at once at the countries that passed anti-smoking laws.

It is an open secret that Russian tobacco producers have a powerful and influential lobby. It is not ruled out that the lobbyists of tobacco companies simply stimulated the “sensitive” deputies and did their best to make the new bill not quite viable. At least, the officials representing tobacco companies say that they are not expecting a decline in their profit.

“This is a populist bill, which has no chance to be approved. Even if the Moscow Duma approves it, it will be immediately appealed since it violates the Constitution,” Maksim Korolev of Russian Tobacco agency told RBK daily.

Needless to say that those people who do not value their own health much, and those who turn their cash into cigarette smoke, will always be smoking no matter what happens.

Igor Bukker
Pravda.Ru

More Youth Using Tobacco Alternatives

But according to the Washington State Department of Health, the rate of students smoking cigarettes has stabilized compared to a decade ago.

A state survey released this month found that the rate of youths who smoke cigarettes didn’t increase, but those who are using candy flavored or other alternative tobacco products did.

According to the Washington State Department of Health’s biannual Healthy Youth Survey, there were no significant increases in the rate of smokers among sixth-, eight-, 10th-, and 12th-graders who participated since a decade ago.

But cigarettes aside, another potential problem that the health department wants people to know about is the increase in “alternative” tobacco, and nicotine products, which are seemingly targeted at youth characteristics such as their candy flavor.

Other results:

  • Alcohol is the primary drug of abuse among youth, but the numbers are declining. Since 2008, there are about 11,000 fewer youth drinking alcohol. The message about the risks of prescription drug abuse is starting to get out there — pain medicine abuse is down among 12th graders.
  • When students are depressed, abuse substances, are bullied and feel unsafe at school, they’re less likely to succeed academically. About seven percent of 10th graders attempted suicide in the past year — down from the previous survey. Of 10th graders surveyed in 2010, 85 percent said they felt safe at school.
  • About 31 percent of 10th graders and 53 percent of 12th graders in the state reported having ever had sexual intercourse. About eight percent of 10th graders and 17 percent of 12th graders reported they had four or more sexual partners. Among those who had ever had sexual intercourse, about 63 percent of 10th graders and 54 percent of 12th graders reported using a condom the last time they had intercourse.

House lawmakers working on two new tobacco tax bills

Texas lawmakers making headway on tax reform legislation in the House Ways and Means Committee.cigarettes tax

On the table are two new tobacco tax bills.

The legislation tacks on a two-cent tax on companies that are not part of the 1996 tobacco lawsuit settlement.

Some say this plan forces more competition between big cigarette companies and smaller ones.

“Now new companies have come in and they have an advantage selling the same types of products that the original companies were selling,” said Onte Williams with Philip Morris.

Some say the new legislation doesn’t make any sense.

“So there is no loophole. Why should a company that was not sued and did not do any of the wrong doings have to settle or pay, it makes no sense,” said Alonda Nadar with Dosal Tabacco Co.

Another plan, which could raise even more cash, has been sent to the House.

House Bill 11 would reshape the reporting process for the mix-beverage tax.

Experts say it will raise about $25 million over the next two years.

This is one may make it to the governor since it’s already a tax on the books that isn’t being enforced properly.

Tobacco Taxes Could Increase

Senator David Marx is finishing offered legislation that would introduce a $1.35 per-pack tax increase on tobacco products.cigarettes sale
Proposers of the legislation are underlining a research led by the Public Opinion Strategies. Results were presented by public health groups, which stated that 73% of Nebraskans are not against the tobacco tax increase. Marx declared that the poll findings are rather essential because practically half of those surveyed are smokers, which is a sign of a tough support.

The new tax would increase an assessed $72.9 million in annual state revenue. According to American Cancer Society the given tax increase would be quite high in order to prevent 19,500 Nebraska children from becoming smokers, support 10,000 present adult smokers to stop smoking and prevent 8,800 deaths while saving the state $463 million in smoking related health care costs.
“In case this tax would save such a significant amount in state revenue that would be great, but this is not what I strive for. My main objective is dedicated to decreasing tobacco use, mainly among young people,” said Community Connections Tobacco Free Lincoln County Coordinator Bonnie Kruse.

Kruse stated that it won’t be easy, but policy changes are quite good when it comes to prevention actions. “It is very difficult to do what we do tacking into account the approachability to tobacco products. One of the efficient ways to help us prevent tobacco use by teenagers is policy change. But when we talk about tax increase, even in the area that doesn’t influence the whole population you should always suspect a fight in these situations.” she stated. Some senators have yet to hear the proposal from Marx, but are forecasting a battle in some or other way.

State Senator Bill Hansen declared that the majority of legislators are against taxes in general, but he hopes that the given proposal comes forward. “Small as it is, an increase is an increase. I haven’t examined the proposal, so I haven’t decided, but I suppose that this would be a real fight, most of all if it gets out of committee, Hansen said.

Kruse informed that for every 10% increase of the price on tobacco products, it decreases smoking rate among young people by 7%. For many Tobacco Free agencies drop in usage is the main objective. Marx stated he plans to raise state revenue, but the mission behind the legislation is to reduce tobacco use.

As a former hospital administrator, Marx stated that he knows many things about the negative effects of smoking.
“It is time to bring that discussion forward and the state should undertake effective steps. I hope that the legislation will be adopted, because it is for the improvement of our state,” Marx declared.

F.D.A. to Re-examine Menthol in Cigarettes

A federal advisory panel on Friday said that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health in the United fdaStates, but stopped short of recommending that the Food and Drug Administration take any specific actions, like restricting or banning the additive.

The advisory panel’s chairman, Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, said the committee had found ample scientific basis supporting its finding that menthol cigarettes were more harmful than regular cigarettes, a decision that could provide a legal basis for the F.D.A. to try to limit, phase out or even ban menthol in cigarettes.

The panel found that scientific evidence did not show that individual menthol smokers inhaled more toxins or had an increased risk of disease compared with nonmenthol smokers. But it did emphasize the public health impact, determining that the availability of menthol cigarettes made smoking more attractive to youth, more appealing to African-Americans and others because the flavor was less harsh, and that it contributed to higher rates of smoking among these groups. “Removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States,” the panel’s report concluded.

Menthol was first added to cigarettes since the 1920s to make them less harsh. While Congress banned candy, fruit and spice flavoring in tobacco products, it deferred tackling the difficult issue of menthol to the F.D.A. when it gave the agency broad authority to regulate tobacco products under a new law passed in 2009.

The report issued on Friday by the panel, known officially as the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, represents the first salvo in what is expected to be a lengthy test of the F.D.A.’s regulatory muscle when it comes to further restrictions on nicotine and menthol. The F.D.A will review the findings of the panel, and perform a separate research and policy study, Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, director of the F.D.A. Center for Tobacco Products, said on Friday after the advisory group wrapped up a year of work. “Now it’s up to us to do our job,” Dr. Deyton said, adding that the agency would release a progress report in about three months.

Any government action would be preceded by a proposed rule and another round of public comments and no doubt, litigation. Two tobacco companies filed a lawsuit last month to try to block the advisory committee action or force the F.D.A. to disregard its advice, saying three of the eight panel members had financial conflicts of interest from legal and consulting work against tobacco companies, a claim the F.D.A. denied.

While some antismoking advocates hailed the panel’s findings as the first big step toward recognizing that menthol should be banned, others criticized the committee for not taking a stronger stand that would send a powerful signal to the F.D.A.

Industry analysts said they believed the F.D.A. might take a moderate action at most. Stock in Lorillard Tobacco, the Greensboro, N.C., company that is more than 90 percent dependent on menthol revenue with its leading Newport brand, closed more than 10 percent higher on Friday after the advisory panel issued its report. Menthol accounts for an estimated 27 percent of the $80 billion cigarette market in the United States and 19 million smokers — a disproportionate number of whom are African-Americans, younger and have lower incomes. Menthol is preferred by more than 80 percent of black smokers, about 22 percent of non-Hispanic white smokers and nearly half of 12- to 17-year-old smokers, according to government surveys.

Gregory N. Connolly, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who resigned from the scientific panel in December, said its failure to recommend a phase-out of menthol was “unfortunate” and would harm African-Americans. The new federal law asked the panel to make recommendations, he said.

“This is a huge victory for Lorillard,” Dr. Michael Siegel, a tobacco expert and professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, wrote. He said the committee’s failure to recommend policy “swept the issue under the rug by giving the F.D.A. an out.”

Other health advocates greeted the panel’s findings in a more positive way. “This is the most conclusive scientific finding that menthol cigarettes dramatically increase youth tobacco use and make it more difficult for African-Americans to quit,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “It creates a scientific record which compels F.D.A. to act.”

Dorothy K. Hatsukami, a panel member and professor from the Tobacco Use Research Center at the University of Minnesota, said scientific literature showed smokers who started younger were more likely to have trouble quitting and to die from smoking. “This is the population that’s particularly vulnerable to the effects of menthol cigarette smoking,” Dr. Hatsukami said.

Jonathan Daniel Heck, Lorillard’s principal scientist and a nonvoting panel member, disputed the advocates’ views, arguing that there was no evidence that menthol promoted youth smoking or made it harder to quit. Lower quitting rates by black smokers may be caused by socioeconomic or genetic factors, not menthol, the Lorillard report said.

Industry analysts cited a variety of reasons they believed the F.D.A. would not ban menthol. Nik Modi of UBS said governments could lose billions in tax revenue if menthol smokers switched to buying in underground markets. State and federal governments collect about $43 billion a year in cigarette excise taxes, UBS said.

According to Moody’s Investor Services, prohibiting menthol cigarettes would cut overall sales by up to 10 percent. David Adelman of Morgan Stanley Research predicted that the F.D.A. would probably seek more research, including studies of the unintended effects of such a ban, like the creation of a big underground market. He, too, anticipates a “more moderate” finding by the agency than that of the scientific panel on the public health effects, pointing out the lack of evidence suggesting that menthol harms individual smokers more than nonmenthol cigarettes.

And Mr. Modi wrote earlier this month, “F.D.A. does not want to see Big Tobacco in court.” The advisory panel’s chairman, Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, said the committee had found ample scientific basis supporting its finding that menthol cigarettes were more harmful than regular cigarettes, a decision that could provide a legal basis for the F.D.A. to try to limit, phase out or even ban menthol in cigarettes.

The panel found that scientific evidence did not show that individual menthol smokers inhaled more toxins or had an increased risk of disease compared with nonmenthol smokers. But it did emphasize the public health impact, determining that the availability of menthol cigarettes made smoking more attractive to youth, more appealing to African-Americans and others because the flavor was less harsh, and that it contributed to higher rates of smoking among these groups. “Removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States,” the panel’s report concluded.

Menthol was first added to cigarettes since the 1920s to make them less harsh. While Congress banned candy, fruit and spice flavoring in tobacco products, it deferred tackling the difficult issue of menthol to the F.D.A. when it gave the agency broad authority to regulate tobacco products under a new law passed in 2009.

The report issued on Friday by the panel, known officially as the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, represents the first salvo in what is expected to be a lengthy test of the F.D.A.’s regulatory muscle when it comes to further restrictions on nicotine and menthol. The F.D.A will review the findings of the panel, and perform a separate research and policy study, Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, director of the F.D.A. Center for Tobacco Products, said on Friday after the advisory group wrapped up a year of work. “Now it’s up to us to do our job,” Dr. Deyton said, adding that the agency would release a progress report in about three months.

Any government action would be preceded by a proposed rule and another round of public comments and no doubt, litigation. Two tobacco companies filed a lawsuit last month to try to block the advisory committee action or force the F.D.A. to disregard its advice, saying three of the eight panel members had financial conflicts of interest from legal and consulting work against tobacco companies, a claim the F.D.A. denied.

While some antismoking advocates hailed the panel’s findings as the first big step toward recognizing that menthol should be banned, others criticized the committee for not taking a stronger stand that would send a powerful signal to the F.D.A.

Industry analysts said they believed the F.D.A. might take a moderate action at most. Stock in Lorillard Tobacco, the Greensboro, N.C., company that is more than 90 percent dependent on menthol revenue with its leading Newport brand, closed more than 10 percent higher on Friday after the advisory panel issued its report. Menthol accounts for an estimated 27 percent of the $80 billion cigarette market in the United States and 19 million smokers — a disproportionate number of whom are African-Americans, younger and have lower incomes. Menthol is preferred by more than 80 percent of black smokers, about 22 percent of non-Hispanic white smokers and nearly half of 12- to 17-year-old smokers, according to government surveys.

Gregory N. Connolly, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who resigned from the scientific panel in December, said its failure to recommend a phase-out of menthol was “unfortunate” and would harm African-Americans. The new federal law asked the panel to make recommendations, he said.

“This is a huge victory for Lorillard,” Dr. Michael Siegel, a tobacco expert and professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, wrote. He said the committee’s failure to recommend policy “swept the issue under the rug by giving the F.D.A. an out.”

Other health advocates greeted the panel’s findings in a more positive way. “This is the most conclusive scientific finding that menthol cigarettes dramatically increase youth tobacco use and make it more difficult for African-Americans to quit,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “It creates a scientific record which compels F.D.A. to act.”

Dorothy K. Hatsukami, a panel member and professor from the Tobacco Use Research Center at the University of Minnesota, said scientific literature showed smokers who started younger were more likely to have trouble quitting and to die from smoking. “This is the population that’s particularly vulnerable to the effects of menthol cigarette smoking,” Dr. Hatsukami said.

Jonathan Daniel Heck, Lorillard’s principal scientist and a nonvoting panel member, disputed the advocates’ views, arguing that there was no evidence that menthol promoted youth smoking or made it harder to quit. Lower quitting rates by black smokers may be caused by socioeconomic or genetic factors, not menthol, the Lorillard report said.

Industry analysts cited a variety of reasons they believed the F.D.A. would not ban menthol. Nik Modi of UBS said governments could lose billions in tax revenue if menthol smokers switched to buying in underground markets. State and federal governments collect about $43 billion a year in cigarette excise taxes, UBS said.

According to Moody’s Investor Services, prohibiting menthol cigarettes would cut overall sales by up to 10 percent. David Adelman of Morgan Stanley Research predicted that the F.D.A. would probably seek more research, including studies of the unintended effects of such a ban, like the creation of a big underground market. He, too, anticipates a “more moderate” finding by the agency than that of the scientific panel on the public health effects, pointing out the lack of evidence suggesting that menthol harms individual smokers more than nonmenthol cigarettes.

And Mr. Modi wrote earlier this month, “F.D.A. does not want to see Big Tobacco in court.”

By DUFF WILSON
Nytimes

Philip Morris vs. Uruguay

Philip Morris International believes Uruguay is Marlboro Country. On February 19, the tobacco giant filed a lawsuit against that cigarettescountry, charging that new health measures involving cigarette packaging amount to unfair treatment of the company.

Uruguay’s new legislation, submitted in June 2009 and expected to go into effect in March 2010, requires that 80 percent of each side of cigarette boxes be covered by graphic images of the possible detrimental health effects of smoking. The company argues that the law limits the space for branding and thus infringes on its intellectual property rights.

These requirements are nothing new in Uruguay or elsewhere in the world. Before this law, Uruguay had legislation that required 50 percent of each side of the box contain health warnings. Although health-warning laws in other countries vary, they have been around for many years. Brazil, for example, requires that 100 percent of one side of cigarette boxes feature health warnings, while in Australia the measures go even further, requiring a warning on 30 percent of the front and 90 percent of the back.

Uruguay is not the first, second, third, fourth, or even the fifth country to implement these laws. There is a wide array of support for such lawsthroughout the world, from neighboring countries like Chile and Argentina to distant lands like Australia and Canada. But Philip Morris has not launched a lawsuit like this one before.

Ironically, the U.S.-based Philip Morris is filing its claim under a bilateral investment treaty between Uruguay and Switzerland, even though that European country became the most recent nation to adopt strict cigarette packaging rules on January 1, 2010.

Philip Morris has its headquarters in New York but its operations center in Lausanne, Switzerland. The firm is famous for Marlboros (the world’s top-selling cigarette) and controls around 15 percent of the international cigarette market outside the United States.

This case echoes many others currently underway in developing regions, where powerful corporations from the developed north seek to take advantage of “investor protections,” under trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, to ensure profits at any cost. Such claims are decided by international arbitration tribunals that cannot force a country to repeal its laws but can award massive compensation to the foreign investor.

Philip Morris’s lawsuit is a logical step in the tobacco industry’s aggressive push toward new markets, at a time when traditional markets in the developed world are drying up. The World Health Organization reported that “smoking is on the rise in the developing world but falling in developed nations. Among Americans, smoking rates shrunk by nearly half in three decades (from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s), falling to 23 percent of adults by 1997. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4 percent per year.”

According to Philip Morris’ latest annual report, profits from emerging markets grew 17 percent between 2007 and 2008, and now, at $33 billion, surpass profits from the European Union. Also, Philip Morris’ profits have grown the most in Latin America and Canada, by a hefty 23 percent.

There are many arguments in favor of discouraging smoking in the name of the public interest. Smoking has large social costs, both through smoking-related health care spending and negative effects on worker productivity. Smoking-related illnesses disproportionately impact the poor, who have less access to health care and for whom tobacco consumption represents a much larger portion of household income.

Tabaré Vázquez, a trained medical doctor whose term as the country’s president ended March 1, promoted Uruguay’s anti-smoking laws. Uruguay’s new center-left president, Pepe Mujica, comes from Vázquez’s own party and will likely support the anti-smoking law. On the campaign trail and in declarations since his election, Mujica has stressed that a continuation of his predecessor’s policies will figure prominently in his agenda.

All nations should be allowed to implement legislation they believe protects their population’s health — without having to face expensive lawsuits from global corporations. Philip Morris’s suit is just the latest in the tobacco industry’s long history of abuse of power.

Menthol Cigarettes No Riskier Than Others

Menthol cigarettes aren’t riskier than regular cigarettes and shouldn’t be regulated any differently, the tobacco industry argues in a report to the Food and Drug Administration obtained by The Associated Press.

The industry is trying to defend the minty smokes, a key area for growth in a shrinking cigarette market, as the agency weighs whether to ban the flavoring.

According to a draft executive summary, the tobacco industry said it believes there’s no scientific basis to regulate the menthol any differently and concludes that menthol cigarettes don’t make it easier for people to start, harder for them to quit or raise their risk of disease. It also believes that a ban on menthol would lead to more contraband smokes.

An FDA panel advising the agency on tobacco issues meets Thursday and Friday to discuss its own report on public health impact of menthol cigarettes due March 23. Draft chapters of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee’s report show that while menthol cigarettes may not be more risky, use is high among minorities, teenagers and low-income people.

The FDA won the authority to regulate tobacco in June 2009. The law doesn’t let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco, just regulate what goes into tobacco products, require the ingredients be publicized and limit marketing, especially to young people.

The agency’s panels advise it on scientific issues. It doesn’t have to follow their recommendations but usually does.

While most believe a ban is unlikely, the panel could suggest tighter restrictions on menthol cigarettes, or recommend further study of the issue.

A menthol ban would fall heavily on Lorillard Inc., the country’s third-largest and oldest continuously operating tobacco company. Its Newport brand is the top-selling menthol cigarette in the U.S., with roughly 35 percent of the market. Lorillard is based in Greensboro, N.C.

U.S. cigarette makers have gone on the offensive amid the menthol review. Lorillard and Reynolds American Inc., based in Winston-Salem, N.C., and owner of the nation’s second-largest tobacco company, have asked a federal court to stop the FDA from relying on the advisory panel’s recommendations, alleging financial conflict of interest and bias by several members.

In addition to the tobacco industry report, Altria Group Inc., the owner of nation’s biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, is set to submit its own menthol findings and recommendations to the FDA. Altria is based in Richmond, Va.

Ukraine cigarettes remain among the cheapest in the world

In March 2009, parliament discussed proposals to increase tobacco excise tax from Hr 1 to Hr 2 per pack of 20 cigarettes.

Representatives of transnational tobacco companies were very critical about the proposals and alleged that Ukrainians would not smoke less, but would just switch to cheaper smuggled cigarettes while government revenues would decline.

Since that time, the excise tax rate was increased even more and, at present, the average excise tax is more than Hr 3 per pack. The figures show what eventually has happened.

In 2007, when the tax rate was just Hr 0.5 per pack, the government collected Hr 2.5 billion from excise tobacco taxes. Then the rate was raised several times and the revenues increased to Hr 3.5 billion in 2008, to Hr 9 billion in 2009, and to Hr 13 billion in 2010, more than five-fold in three years.

In neighboring Russia, tax rates were also raised in those years, but not so fast as in Ukraine, and the revenues also increased, but only twice: from 50 billion rubles in 2007 to 108 billion rubles in 2010.

Tobacco consumption trends are even more indicative. In the mid-2000s, daily smoking prevalence in Russia and Ukraine was very similar – about 35 percent. In 2009, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey was conducted in both countries and daily smoking prevalence was 33.8 percent in Russia and 25.5 percent in Ukraine.

smokinh in ukraine

Ukrainians smoke less, a main reason why cigarette production in Ukraine decreased from 129 billion in 2007 to 102 billion in 2010.

It is worth mentioning that, in 2001, only 70 billion cigarettes were produced in Ukraine and the sharp production increase was mainly pushed by the huge smuggling of Ukrainian cigarettes to the neighboring countries where cigarette prices were higher.

British member of parliament Charles Tannock stated that, out of 80 billion cigarettes illegally smuggled into the European Union in 2008, 30 billion came from Ukraine. The World Customs Organization issued a report on customs and tobacco with data on large (more than 100,000 cigarettes each) seizures.

The country of cigarette departure was identified for 2,688 such seizures, and in 1,020 cases it was Ukraine. However, in 2008, there were 573 seizures of Ukrainian cigarettes and only 447 in 2009, while seizures of Russian cigarettes increased from 48 to 84.

So while Ukraine keeps the position as a world leader in cigarette smuggling, smuggling became less profitable after the tobacco tax increases and it is on the decline. This is the second reason why cigarette production in Ukraine decreased in recent years.

The tobacco industry tries to create the impression that cigarette smuggling into Ukraine is more important than smuggling out of Ukraine. Indeed, currently prices of cheap cigarette brands are higher in Ukraine than in Moldova and Russia (while Marlboro cigarettes is still more expensive in Moscow compared to Kyiv).

To measure consumption of smuggled cigarettes in Ukraine during the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, smokers were asked to show the pack.

Only 1.5 percent of them smoked Moldavian or Russian cigarettes. It means that, in 2009, about 1 billion smuggled cigarettes were consumed in Ukraine, while more than 30 billion cigarettes were produced in Ukraine just to be smuggled out of it.

The recent tobacco taxation policy was really a success in Ukraine. Tax rates increased by six times and this caused a five-fold increase in revenues. Cigarette production declined by 21 percent due to the decrease of both tobacco consumption and smuggling out of the country.

However, currently the average price of Ukrainian cigarettes is just Hr 8 per pack, while in Poland it is 9 zlotys – three times higher.

In 2011, Russia increased the tobacco tax rate much higher than Ukraine. Since April 2011, cigarette tax rates in Moldova will be raised by 50 percent. These are all reasons that justify continuing with a successful policy and increasing tobacco taxes in Ukraine again.

By Konstantin Krasovsky,

Cuba Introduces New Technologies in Tobacco Plantations

Havana, Cuba, Mar 16.- The introduction of new technologies such as the double-row planting method will allow Cuban farmers to cuban tobaccoincrease efficiency in the cultivation of what many people regard as the best tobacco of the world.

Oscar Basulto, director of the business group TABACUBA, told ACN that this technique is being successfully implemented in the westernmost province of Pinar del Rio as it allows to make the most of the cultivable land.

The method also reduces the appearance of weeds and it favors the works of irrigation, fumigation and harvesting. At the same time, it contributes to the saving of oil.

According to data provided by specialists in the sector, with this technique, yields increase between 25 and 30 percent as the number of plants per hectare also increases.

Hector Luis, a tobacco grower of the municipality of San Luis in Pinar del Rio selected as Habano Man 2008, said the method also contributes to the reduction of materials used such as fabric and wire.

According to reports from the Ministry of Agriculture, exports and sales of Cuban tobacco in 2010 reached 95% of the plan due to difficulties with the arrival of imports, an aggressive international anti-tobacco campaign, and the current international financial crisis.

Madoff Caught In New Ponzi Scheme

Bernie Madoff has been caught again involved in an illegal Ponzi scheme, this time an operation he ran from jail.madoff

According to authorities, Madoff was soliciting other prisoners’ cigarettes, claiming that if they invested a pack of 20 cigarettes with him, he’d return to them a half pack every year in “profits.”

Many of his fellow prisoners trusted him as they were not quite sure of who he was and what he was in prison for. Some of the prisoners entrusted him with their life savings of cigarettes. The scheme only came to light when two of his largest investors — each of whom had invested a carton with him — demanded their initial investment back.

Madoff had used those cigarettes to pay out phony “profits” to earlier investors and did not have enough cigarettes to cover their withdrawal from the stash in his cell.

The angry inmates reportedly accosted Madoff and, having no feathers, “tarred and nicotined” him.

Madoff promised to return all the cigarettes he owes his fellow inmates as soon as he is released from prison.

New Tobacco Tax in Illinois?

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A couple of new ways to tax tobacco in Illinois are making their way through the General Assembly.

A House committee has passed a bill that would allow cities to tax tobacco by whatever unit of measure they choose – by revenue, by weight, whatever. Cities already enjoy this privilege in taxing cigarettes. Phil Cobb of the City of Chicago’s revenue department told the committee this could mean up to $2.5 million more for the city per year.

Another bill would put “little cigars” in the same class as cigarettes when considering the tax. Cigars are taxed at a much lower rate than cigarettes. While health advocates say this makes sense, representatives of companies which make the little cigars say the real story is that the bill is being put forth by Altria, the company which used to be called Philip Morris. John O’Connell of the Cigar Association of America says Big Tobacco is simply trying to crush small niche companies such as his constituents.

The Lung Association denies it was put up to carrying the bill.

HB 2873 (measuring tobacco) and HB 1731 (little cigars) have both passed the House Environmental Health Committee.

Malawi Opens Tobacco Season; Farmers Complain of Low Prices

Malawi, the world’s biggest producer of burley tobacco, opened the 2011 season yesterday with President Bingu wa Mutharika asking malawibuyers to offer better prices.

“This year we have very good rains and with good care of the crop, we are sure of getting more revenue,” Mutharika said on MBC Radio during a live broadcast of the opening ceremony in the capital, Lilongwe. “The buyers should realize that farmers can only continue growing tobacco if they are paid prices beyond the cost of production,” said Mutharika.

Tobacco earnings fell 5 percent to $410.6 million in the year through Nov. 19 because of a drop in sales, the Bank of Malawi said Dec. 8. Prices averaged $1.90 per kilogram(2.2 pounds), higher than the $1.88 received in 2009, with prices declining in the second half of the season because of delayed confirmation from the buying companies’ customers and increased production in Zimbabwe.

Minimum prices for burley have been set at $1.80 per kilogram, down from $2 a kilogram set last year, Daily Times reported yesterday, citing Tobacco Control Commission Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali. The price reduction follows a drop in demand for the leaves by buyers, Munthali told the Blantyre-based newspaper. Malawi began setting minimum prices for the various grades of tobacco in 2007, after accusing merchants of putting growers out of business by offering them lower prices.

Tobacco is Malawi’s biggest foreign-exchange earner, accounting for 60 percent of all revenue earned from abroad.

By Frank Jomo in Blantyre via Johannesburg: gbell16@bloomberg.net.

Mayor Fuming Over Camel Cigarette Ad Campaign

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu usually welcomes national attention of New Orleans, but not by a cigarette company. One new orleans-camel-adscampaign ad has him fuming.

The ad that shows Joe Camel in front of New Orleans which actually read “N’Awlins” and other things like “where voodoo queens preside” and “party people get down.” Mayor Landrieu doesn’t like the campaign at all and so he wrote a letter to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

“There was a lot of aggressive advertising to young smokers and I think that was inappropriate. You know when I was in the legislature, I worked really hard to reduce the cancer rate in the state of Louisiana and especially aggressive targeting to youths for smoking I think is inappropriate, and cheap Camel cigarettes did that and so we asked them to stop,” Landrieu said.

We found some New Orleans residents downtown who really agree with Mayor Landrieu but we found others who really believe he should really be doing some more.

“Cigarettes will kill you. It will kill you. You get hooked on them. You can’t get off of them for some reason, I don’t know, but I’ll go along with the mayor,” said New Orleans resident Shirley Hicks.

“I don’t that cigarette companies should be advertising about New Orleans without the consent of the city or anything like that. While New Orleans is great for having a party and stuff like that, it’s not always the best thing to do, as we’re trying to get healthier as a city, as a society and stuff like that,” said New Orleans resident Alexander Huseman.

“So in reference to kids stop smoking. Yeah, more power to him. You want to build up revenue. You want to build up tourism for New Orleans pick your poison,” said New Orleans resident Kerry Watson.

Some wonder, why he’s not going after alcohol companies also picking up on the mardi gras theme, whether it’s beer or a bottle of booze to get people in the Carnival spirit.

The campaign was late last year, and we couldn’t find any of the New Orleans-themed Camel cigarettes left on the shelves.

Belgium expands smoking ban to all cafes, casinos

BRUSSELS – Belgium’s top court decided Tuesday to widen the country’s smoking ban in public spaces to cover all cafes and the smoking in cafekingdom’s nine casinos from July 1.

Smoking has been banned in work places, restaurants and pubs that serve food since 2009, while temporary exemptions had been granted to casinos and cafes that only serve snacks such as crisps and peanuts.

The law had called for the exemptions to end sometime between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2014, but the Flemish Anti-Cancer League asked Belgium’s constitutional court to strike them down.

The court decided to lift the exemptions but gave establishments until June 30 to “adapt to the general smoking ban.”

The judges ruled that the government failed to prove that pubs would be harmed by a general smoking ban, saying that drawing distinctions between establishments was actually harmful to competition.

The court also stated that the protection of the health of employees and non-smokers should apply to casinos even though they serve a “specific” clientele.

Smokers will still find a corner to light up: Special smoking rooms equipped with air vents in restaurants and other public buildings are still permitted since smokers are not supposed to use them, the judges said.

FDA to start regulating tobacco products

THE Department of Health (DOH) is all set to start regulating the contents of tobacco products via the reinforced Food and Drug fdaAdministration (FDA).

In a press conference, FDA Director Dr. Suzette Lazo revealed that the Republic Act 9711 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) has given the agency the power to standardize the contents of tobacco products.

“We did not regulate tobacco before (but) because of health implications of tobacco and the DOH has the responsibility to safeguard public health and make its effects preventable… It is going to do this thru the FDA,” said Lazo.

“We will comply with our mandate,” she added.

The health official failed to explain further their new mandate on tobacco regulation saying they are still going through the IRR but added that the law also gives the FDA powers to hold in contempt those that don’t follow their prescribed orders.

“Maybe we will look in the nicotine levels or any substance that would want people to smoke more,” said Lazo.

Smoke-related illnesses, such as lung cancer and heart diseases, have been identified as one of the more avoidable diseases.

It can be recalled that the DOH and some advocacy groups have been pushing for the implementation of the Administrative Order No. 2010-0013 requiring graphic health information on all tobacco packages.

This was, however, blocked by several tobacco manufacturers saying it does not conform to the guidelines set by the Tobacco Regulation Act (TRA) of 2003.

The use of graphic warning signs in compliance with the provisions of the World Health Organization-initiated Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), wherein the Philippines is a signatory.