April 2011 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: April 2011

BAT admits bankrolling newsagents’ tobacco campaign


British American Tobacco has admitted bankrolling an organisation of small shopkeepers that led the fight against the coalition government’s plans to force cigarettes to be sold only from under shop counters. Speaking at BAT’s annual meeting in London on Thursday, company chairman Richard Burrows confirmed that the tobacco group had funded the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) and attended meetings with the group and its lobbyists Hume Brophy to discuss the campaign against the point-of-sale move.

Their relationship raises questions about Hume Brophy’s tactics when it was lobbying MPs against the plan, as it said it was representing the NFRN and did not disclose BAT’s role.

Activists, among them the Labour MP Kevin Barron and Action on Smoking and Health, have voiced fears over “covert lobbying” of MPs by big tobacco companies. The day before BAT told the Guardian that claims that it was involved in “underhand tactics and the funding of an independent retailer organisation, via a PR agency” were “untrue”.

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, had refused to deal with cigarette manufacturers over the issue as a World Health Organisation treaty forbids it. He will now be asked whether he was aware of BAT’s role in making representations to MPs.

Smoking ban starts Sunday at Lake County senior public housing

Smoking will be banned starting Sunday in senior housing owned by a Lake County governmental agency.Lake County senior public housing

Lake County Housing Authority Executive Director David Northern said the no-smoking policy for the senior buildings is the first step in a plan that will be enacted for all of the agency’s low-income properties. The ban applies to any building labeled public housing or Section 8.

As of Sunday, smoking will be prohibited inside Gurnee’s Warren Manor, Hawley Manor in Grayslake, Shiloh Tower in Zion, John Kuester Manor in Wauconda, Beach Haven Tower in Round Lake Beach and Antioch’s Orchard Manor and Millview Manor.

While senior residents and their visitors can’t smoke in individual units or elsewhere in the buildings, they’ll be allowed to puff tobacco products in designated areas outside on housing authority grounds in compliance with local smoking laws.

Lake County Housing Authority is the fourth largest such agency in Illinois. Northern said it is the state’s largest authority to move toward smoke-free housing.

“We didn’t do it because we feel smoking is not right,” Northern said at a recent housing authority board meeting. “We did it to protect our residents.”

In all, the Lake County agency provides housing and related services for more than 11,000 of what it calls the most vulnerable residents.

Officials said only one negative comment was received regarding phase one of the smoking ban that starts Sunday.

Sally Stang, the housing authority’s associate director of operations, said an education campaign was used to ease the transition to the smoke-free policy.

“We’ve been doing this for two years,” Stang said. “Educating the residents, bringing in Smoke Free Illinois, offering kits to stop smoking. I think it’s going to go a little bit smoother than we had anticipated because of all that legwork we did.”

Phase two of the indoor smoking prohibition is set to begin May 1, 2012, at the Marion Jones Townhomes in North Chicago and all public housing scattered sites. The scattered properties include single-family homes and townhouses.

In addition to the housing units, smoking will be banned in common halls, stairways and any other place considered inside. Violators could be hit with a first-time $100 fine and $300 on the second offense.

Officials said a third violation will result in termination from the Lake County Housing Authority program and liability for costs of painting and cleaning of areas tarnished by tobacco smoke.

About 81 percent of Lake County Housing Authority residents don’t smoke, according to the most recent agency survey from December 2008.

Lake County Health Department employees have offered individual and group sessions for housing authority residents who want to quit smoking. Stang said she’s aware of at least 10 residents who have quit smoking since Jan. 1.

Funding for the agency primarily comes from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.
By Bob Susnjara

Big tobacco wields FOI docs against Labor

Big tobacco says documents obtained under freedom of information laws prove the federal government is on shaky ground when it comes to mandating plain packaging for cigarettes.

British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) has taken its fight to get access to one particular document to the Federal Court.

But it said documents already obtained under FOI laws showed plain packaging would impinge on tobacco companies’ trademark rights.
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Under Labor’s proposal, cigarettes would be sold in matt olive green packets because that’s the colour found to be least appealing to smokers.

There would be no obvious logos but there would be large pictures of the physical damage caused by smoking.

An April 2010 briefing note from the government body which administers Australia’s intellectual property rights system states that such packaging “would impinge on this (trademark) right”.

But IP Australia says the key issue is whether plain packaging serves the public interest.

“Such restrictions should only be introduced if there is a clear public interest to be served,” the briefing note obtained by BATA states.

“Notably, analysis of the public interest need should be based on strong empirical evidence.”

BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre said there was no such evidence and removing trademarks would result in the government having to pay the industry billions of dollars in compensation.

“The health minister is yet to reveal any real proof that plain packaging will reduce smoking rates and she has continually refused to release any legal advice which actually supports the untested legislation,” he said.

Indeed, IP Australia acknowledged that a 1995 Senate report concluded there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate generic packaging was effective in achieving health policy objectives.

It wrote in its April 2010 note that: “IP Australia is unaware of any subsequent evidence that establishes that the public interest would be better served by plain packaging.”

BATA believes that advice proves “the key body for intellectual property in Australia advises the Australian government … there is no evidence the public interest is better served by plain packaging”.

The federal government admits the actual impact on smoking rates can’t be calculated yet because no other country has trialled plain packaging.

But it says research suggests generic packs will reduce the product’s appeal, particularly to young people, limit the ability of companies to mislead consumers and increase the effectiveness of health warnings.

It was revealed in October 2010 the tobacco industry had lodged 19 FOI requests with the health department, ahead of possible legal action against Labor’s reforms.

The requests sought thousands of official papers dating back to the early 1990s.

But there’s one document BATA hasn’t been given and it’s taken the fight to the Federal Court.

Mr McIntyre said the industry wanted to see legal advice from the commonwealth attorney-general, referred to in a 1997 government response to a Senate report into the cost of tobacco-related illness.

“This is the one they’re holding back,” he told AAP on Thursday.

“The minister has continually refused to release legal advice or anything supporting the legislation – that’s why we’re going to the Federal Court.”

Comment is being sought from federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon and her department.

Rolling up under-the-counter trading in an emblematic product

ONE of the reforms approved at this month’s Congress of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party was a change in the treatment of the Cohibacountry’s 3,000 or so state-owned enterprises. Their management will enjoy more autonomy, but they will be subjected to thorough audits. That follows a trickle of corruption scandals. The latest involves Habanos, the state cigar monopoly.

For over a decade Manuel García, Habanos’s commercial vice-president, was the public face of the Cuban cigar industry, living a jet-set life that most Cubans can only dream of. But this year Mr García was not there to greet visitors at the Havana cigar festival. Since August 2010 he has been in jail, accused of masterminding graft on a grand scale.

The cigar industry was nationalised shortly after the 1959 revolution. But it was only in the late 1980s that Cuba took control of distribution, informing foreign retailers that it would supply only one distributor per region, in return for a 50% stake in the business.

That did not prevent the small-scale peddling of black-market cigars on the streets of Havana. But in the past decade the system has faced a bigger threat from dozens of online cigar retailers operating mainly from Switzerland and the Caribbean. Many operated legitimately, but some offered improbably low prices.

Cuban investigators believe they were able to do so because Mr García and ten of his staff, who also face trial, sold genuine cigars at a fraction of their normal price to black-market distributors in the Caribbean in return for bribes. Up to 45m cigars may have been sold this way. Since handmade habanos fetch up to £40 ($65) each in shops in the St James’s district of London, the loss was considerable.

The fraud also hurt Imperial Tobacco, a British company which inherited a 50% stake in Habanos when it bought Altadis, a Franco-Spanish firm, in 2008. Imperial has made no comment on the affair. But like the government, it will hope that the new management team at Habanos preserves the lucrative monopoly in Cuba’s most famous product.

Waterpipes to smoke tobacco prevalent

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 27 (UPI) — Teens, young adults and even pregnant women worldwide are using waterpipes to smoke tobacco at high rates, University at Buffalo researchers said.

Dr. Elie Akl, an associate professor at University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Public Health and Health Professions, conducted a systematic review involving 38 studies on the prevalence of waterpipe smoking across several countries including — Britain, Australia, Estonia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen — age groups and genders.

“Waterpipe smoking is a real epidemic in the world and it’s picking up in the United too,” Akl, the lead author for the study review, said in a statement. “The surveys included in this review found an alarming prevalence of waterpipe smoking among middle- and high-school students in the U.S. This was especially true of Arab-American students, who reported waterpipe usage ranging from 12 percent to 15 percent.”

Six percent in Pakistan say they use waterpipes to smoke tobacco, 4 percent to 12 percent in the Persian Gulf region, 11 percent in Australia among Arab-speaking adults and 15 percent in Lebanon. Group waterpipe smoking was 5 percent in Lebanon, 11 percent to 15 percent in Egypt, and in Lebanon, 5 percent to 6 percent of pregnant women also reported waterpipe smoking, Akl said.

The study, published in Biomedical Health Central Public Health, found about 10 percent of university students in the U.S. reported waterpipe smoking.

Hungary passes airtight smoking ban

Parliament’s approval on Tuesday of a ban on smoking in public places indoors is a successful step in the fight against the “epidemic” of smoking, Tamas Heintz, a deputy of the ruling Fidesz party and a proponent of the bill, told a press conference.

Heintz said that the new law was the first milestone in a public health strategy based on a preventive approach.

The deputy insisted that the ban would not cause “practically any economic drawbacks” for the catering industry.

Heintz could not answer questions about the future utilisation of Parliament’s smoking room, but said that supporters of the ban would try and convince as many of his peers as possible to stop smoking.

Tobacco producers, however, are not so optimistic. Illes Benyei, head of the national federation of producers, said that the new ban would impact 25,000 families employed in the industry. He warned that the majority of those people had no other skills and lived in the most neglected north-east of the country.

The honorary head of the trade organisation of Hungarian caterers said the ban would not reduce the number of smokers significantly, however, bars and restaurants will have fewer customers, which could heavily weigh on small, family-operated businesses. Tamas Haber said the new law was ill-considered, and that his organisation was ready to participate in talks aimed at refining details.

The smoking ban in all public locations indoors, including workplaces, restaurants and pubs, seeking protection of non-smokers was approved with 271 votes in support, 37 against and 14 abstentions earlier in the day.

The ban will be in force in all public institutions, on public transport vehicles, at stops and stations, underground pedestrian passages and in playgrounds.

The law does not allow designating indoors areas for smokers in public institutions, workplaces or trains. However, it will be allowed to smoke in open-air sections of restaurants and pubs.

Public education, childcare and health care institutions, however, will be banned from designating areas for smokers both indoors and outdoors.

E-Cigarettes To Be Regulated as Tobacco Products: Video

Tobacco-funded ad campaign misleading

PUBLIC health experts say a campaign that links plain cigarette packaging with children buying ”chop chop” – unbranded loose tobacco – from criminal gangs is grossly misleading and indicative of a desperate industry.

The Association of Australian Retailers, which is bankrolled by big tobacco, has been running advertisements claiming children as young as 14 are smoking illegal tobacco smuggled by ”highly organised criminal networks”.

The claim is attributed to the government’s 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Kypros Kypri, an associate professor in the school of medicine and public health at the University of Newcastle, said there was no indication in the survey of how the 0.1 per cent of 14- to 19-year-olds who reported smoking unbranded loose tobacco had obtained it.

It was open to the tobacco industry to predict plain packaging would encourage youths to buy cheap counterfeit cigarettes from the underworld, but to claim it as fact was ”very misleading”, he said.

”I don’t know of any study that shows 14-year-olds get illegal tobacco from criminal gangs.”

A spokesman for the alliance, Craig Glasby, defended the ads, saying: ”Anything that might make illegal tobacco more accessible to young teenagers concerns me as a parent and as a responsible small retailer.”

Leaked internal documents prepared by the public relations strategists The Civic Group reveal the ads were designed to be ”aggressive” and to ”identify and leverage existing emotional drivers and prejudices”.

The documents also tell the tobacco company Philip Morris that the ads ”should be fundamentally fact-based and always completely accurate”.

Mike Daube, a professor of health policy at Curtin University, said other alliance ads had similarly dubious claims, including that the trade in illicit tobacco was ”equivalent to an estimated 16 per cent of the legal market”. That figure was in a 2011 Deloitte survey of 949 smokers commissioned by the three tobacco companies.

Professor Daube said the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey of more than 23,000 people had found fewer than one in 10 people had actually smoked unbranded tobacco.

Casino smoking regulations: Follow the rules

Folks who think Atlantic City casinos can regulate themselves must be dismayed by word of the sad job they are doing obeying the Casino Smokingcity’s partial smoking ban.

Four years after the city adopted a partial smoking ban in casinos, apparent violations are common. A Press reporter recently documented them at eight of the city’s 11 gaming halls. They ranged from patrons openly smoking in “non-smoking” areas to a lack of signs designating smoke-free locations.

For a time, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort drew their non-smoking plan to include such strange contrivances as having gaming tables themselves be non-smoking, while allowing smoking in the seats around them.

At one casino, two slot machines sitting side by side each bear a sign. One prohibits smoking, the other allows it.

At another casino, one side of a craps table is a smoking area, the other side is smoke-free.

And there seems to be almost no effort to enforce the ban, either on the city’s part or by the gaming halls themselves.

We’ve said before that Atlantic City should ban smoking on casino floors. The health danger to employees who have to work in smoke-filled rooms outweighs the concern that non-smoking sections may be bad for business.

But, at the very least, Atlantic City’s casinos should be working harder to obey existing smoking regulations, especially now.

New Jersey’s answer to the increasing competition our gaming halls face has been an unprecedented level of cooperation between government and the casino industry.

Regulations are being eased. State inspectors are no longer present on every gaming floor and in the counting rooms. The Division of Gaming Enforcement recently adopted an “emergency” rule to allow casinos to do away with pit bosses.

Each such change is accompanied by assurances that the industry will follow all necessary rules and is capable of policing itself.

Unfortunately, it is human nature to cut corners. And the pressure to meet the bottom line can be a powerful incentive for the best-intentioned to look the other way.

Which is why casino operators should be demonstrating their good faith by meticulously following the partial smoking ban, and every other current regulation. The law is the law. If you don’t like it, work to change it.

In the meantime, if casinos want a more relaxed regulatory climate, they need to act more responsibly in the existing climate.

Bulgaria to sell stake in state-controlled tobacco company

Sofia – The Bulgarian privatization agency said Tuesday that it is putting up for sale the country’s remaining stake in cigarette bulgar tobaccomanufacturer Bulgartabak Holding.

The government holds 79.83 per cent of Bulgartabak, with the rest already privatized. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s cabinet declared the sale of the majority stake one of its priorities for 2011.

Over the years, giants Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco and the Korean KT&G have expressed interest in Bulgartabak, a Communist-era monopoly, local news reports said.

Bulgarian officials have estimated the sale could raise 100 million euros (145 million dollars). Shares from the portion already privatized are traded on the Sofia stock exchange.

How the stake will be sold – through tender or direct negotiations with a potential buyer – will be decided later.

Tobacco firms eye Facebook push

Tobacco companies are looking at Facebook and YouTube to promote their products if New Zealand introduces new anti-smoking legislation.

And a paper from Ministry of Health deputy director-general Margie Apa has warned that one of the risks of a pending ban on visible tobacco displays would be “adverse reaction by convenience retailer lobby groups”. The groups have close ties with tobacco companies.

The wide-ranging reforms include instant fines for retailers who sell cigarettes to minors. But Apa’s 19-page report – written on the eve of cabinet approval of the reforms last November – says the moves could lead to tobacco giants looking to mount unrestricted online promotions.

“There is also a risk tobacco companies will divert their marketing efforts into unregulated channels, such as internet social networks and product placement in entertainment media, such as Facebook, YouTube, films and video games,” the paper said.

Backers of the reforms say they are aimed at halving smoking by 2015 and ultimately making the country smoking- free by 2025.

The reforms are set to be introduced into law in the coming months, once amendments to the Smokefree Environments Act are passed.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia has also confirmed the government will monitor a proposal in Australia to introduce plain packaging from 2012.

Apa’s Better Retail Controls on Tobacco paper said the ban on retail displays and removing tobacco from view would cost individual retailers as much as $3000 in compliance costs.

The ban was the ministry’s “preferred option”, but Apa warned it could reduce the ability of officials to work with retailers.

Apa’s summary described the current stands as a “promotional tool used to generate awareness of products, communicate information, stimulate trial and encourage repurchase”.

“Retail tobacco displays impact on vulnerable consumers, such as people still experiencing nicotine withdrawal, and can prompt impulse purchases.”

Apa wrote that the “key aspect” of her paper was to minimise costs to retailers and “allow for flexibility” over compliance methods.

The paper also tackled comments from opponents that it could lead to a black market. But Apa wrote that any link between removing tobacco displays and illicit trading was tenuous.

“It is not currently a significant problem and it is more likely to be price driven.”

Cigarette sales in Japan drop 10%

TOKYO – Sales of cigarettes in Japan in fiscal 2010 plunged 10.1 percent from a year earlier to 210.2 billion cigarettes, marking the Japan Cigarettes salelargest fall on record, due to a sharp rise in prices, the Tobacco Institute of Japan said Friday.

The decline in sales, the sharpest since comparable date became available in 1990, stemmed from weakening demand as cigarette prices spiked following the imposition of the largest-ever tobacco tax hike on Oct. 1.

The sales value in the business year ended March increased 2.0 percent from the year before to 3,616.3 billion yen, the institute said.

By cigarette brand, Seven Stars topped the ranking for the third straight year, accounting for 4.8 percent of the sales volume.

Belgian barkeepers demonstrate against smoking ban

BRUSSELS — More than 800 Belgian bar owners and their supporters demonstrated Saturday against a decision to widen a smoking belgia demonstrationban in public spaces to cover all cafes and the kingdom’s nine casinos from July 1.

The demonstration in Brussels was organised by the federation of cafe owners and restaurateurs, which claims that 4,000-5,000 of the country’s 12,000 cafes are threatened with closure by the new legislation.

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.

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.

Bar owners fear loss of turnover of up to 50 percent, and warn of a knock-on effect on breweries and other suppliers. They want the option to declare their premises smoking or non-smoking.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

Farmers mad at Australian smoking law

Korea’s tobacco farmers are planning to hold a rally protesting the Australian government’s moves to reduce the country’s cigarette market.

The farmers claim the action limits Korean exports unfairly as the countries discuss a free trade agreement.

The Korea Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, KTGCA, demanded yesterday that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who will be arriving today to discuss a possible free trade agreement, withdraw proposed plain packaging regulations.

On April 7, the Australian government released a draft of a “plain tobacco packaging” bill that calls for the removal of branding, including trademarks and logos, from cigarette packs.

The bill was first proposed in 2009 and the law, if passed, is supposed to go into effect in July 2012.

The antismoking bill is being keenly watched by tobacco companies and other governments.

“The use of trademarks is the most fundamental part of commercial business, which enables consumers to recognize the product they want, and the right to trademark has been protected by international agreements and treaties,” the association said in a statement. “By restricting the use of trademarks, the plain packaging policy deprives tobacco products produced in Korea of an opportunity to enter and compete in the Australian market, therefore, cutting out the possibilities of exporting tobacco produced in Korea to the country.”

Korea’s only tobacco company, KT&G, isn’t big in the Australian market. It exports only about $1 million of products to Australia every year.

Even so, KT&G said the new regulations could not only create trade disputes but also infringe on private companies’ intellectual property rights.

“KT&G has been expanding mostly in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia, including Turkey, Iran and Russia, but we have a department devoted to studying possibilities in other countries, including Australia,” a KT&G official said.

The official said that for a company trying to enter a new market already dominated by global companies such as Philip Morris, limiting package design completely blocks its chances of selling in the market.

Korean tobacco farmers said that a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising already in place in Australia has made it difficult for new brands to enter the new market, and the additional antismoking measures will make things worse.

The farmers said raising entry barriers is unfair especially when lots of Australian products are expected to flood the Korean market if the two countries negotiate a free trade pact.

Australia is the third-largest exporter of agricultural and livestock products to Korea following the U.S. and China.

By Lee Ho-jeong, ojlee82@joongang.co.kr

Senate approves proposal to cut tobacco funding

INDIANAPOLIS — With just days to go until the end of the legislative session, supporters of an anti-tobacco program are working to restore its funding to the proposed state budget.

The two-year $28 billion budget proposal that cleared the Indiana Senate on Thursday eliminates the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency and cuts spending on tobacco-cessation efforts from its current $9.2 million funding to $5 million.

The Senate budget bill also shifts responsibility for the tobacco-cessation efforts to the state Department of Health in an effort to save an estimated $1 million in administrative costs.

Critics of the move say the proposed $5 million is just a fraction of the money that the state collects to fund anti-smoking efforts.

The source of the funding comes from a $4.5 billion settlement that Indiana received in 1998 after state attorneys general sued the tobacco industry. The Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency was created in 2001, using money from the settlement.

Opponents of the cut say the first they heard about it was when they saw an amended budget bill that was released April 18 after the state budget agency revised its revenue forecast to reflect a $640 million increase in revenues.

“This is a decision that was made behind closed doors,” said Amanda Estridge, Indiana spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society’s Great Lakes Division.

Estridge said the funding cut, combined with the legislature’s decision to reject a statewide smoking ban bill, would reverse progress the state has made in reducing the number of smokers in Indiana.

In the 10 years since the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency was created with the tobacco-settlement funds, the percentage of Hoosiers who smoke have dropped from 28 percent to 23 percent, she said.

“Clearly the program has been successful in cutting the use of tobacco, which is the leading cause of lung cancer,” she said. “This would reverse the progress we’ve made.”

Sen. Luke Kenley, who helped craft the proposed budget and chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee that approved it, said the move to eliminate the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency was motivated by a need to cut costs, and not, as critics have charged, punishment for the agency’s advocacy for a failed smoking-ban bill. He said eliminating the agency would save an estimated $1 million, mostly in salaries and benefits paid to the agency’s 12-member staff.

“I hate to burst their bubble, but we didn’t do this because we love smoking and hate people who hate smoking,” Kenley said.

Kenley said shifting the funds to the state health department makes sense because the department already conducts some smoking-cessation programs. “It does away with the duplication of efforts,” Kenley said.

The proposed elimination of the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency mirrors a failed effort made in the 2010 legislative session to get rid of the agency as a cost-cutting move.

Funding for the agency dropped from $32 million in 2003 to $10 million in 2004. It’s remained close to that level since. Most of the funds are distributed as grants to local community-based programs that promote efforts to stop or prevent smoking and tobacco use.

Rep. Peggy Welch, a Democrat from Bloomington and a member of the joint House-Senate State Budget Committee, told the Associated Press that the funding has dropped through the years because it was seen as “low hanging fruit” when budget writers were looking for programs to cut.

“We have a hard time in this state investing money now for its long-term gains,” Welch said. “It’s going to save us money in the long run, but we’re not willing to make that investment now.”

If the funding is to be restored, it will have to take place soon since the legislature is set to adjourn April 29. The Senate version of the budget bill returned to the House after it was approved Friday and now goes to a conference committee where differences between the House and Senate version must be worked out before it goes to Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.

By Maureen Hayden, Tribune-Star Statehouse Bureau

Tobacco debate smoulders on

New Zealand – MOVES to stub out cigarette stands and tobacco ad displays may result in the industry giants shifting their message to online social networks and video games, says a Ministry of Health briefing paper.

The report, Better Retail Controls on Tobacco, by deputy director-general Margie Apa, says the measures to cover up tobacco advertising are also likely to be met with opposition from outlets which sell the cigarettes.

“There is also a risk that tobacco companies will divert their marketing efforts into unregulated channels, such as internet social networks and product placement in entertainment media, such as Facebook, YouTube, films and video games,” the 19-page paper said.

“Such marketing efforts would not need to be conducted within New Zealand.”

The report also estimated it would cost individual retailers from $300-$3000 to comply with the covering up of cigarettes in their outlets.

There was “likely to be adverse reaction by convenience retailer lobby groups”.

But the report said cigarette stands stood in the way of a goal of making New Zealand smoke-free.

They were a “promotional tool used to generate awareness of products, communicate information, stimulate trial and encourage repurchase”.

“Retail tobacco displays have a particular impact on vulnerable consumers, such as people still experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and can prompt impulse purchases”, it added.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia has confirmed the Government will monitor a proposal in Australia to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products from 2012.

Apa’s report also addressed fears by opponents of the tobacco-control legislation that it could lead to a black market.

“[Critics]… suggested removing retail displays could lead to an increase in illicit trade in `black market’ tobacco – i.e. smuggled or illegally domestically grown products,” she wrote.

“Any link between removing tobacco displays and illicit trade is tenuous. Illicit trade may be an issue in Canada, which is usually cited as an example, given it shares a long border with the USA where tobacco is cheaper.

“However… it is not currently a significant problem.”

Rupert Grint Caught Smoking Weed?

Rupert Grint (or not?) who starred in all the Harry Potter films, was photographed smoking something that looks like a bong pipe.

Do you think Rupert is smoking weed or salvia?


The photo was allegedly leaked on Thursday, April 21st, and the picture was reportedly taken at a “Harry Potter” cast party.

Do you think it is really him? I don’t remember Rupert being so buff.

I wonder if the rest of the cast partook?

Vermont Senate Nixes Tax On Cigarettes

The Vermont Senate has rejected a plan to increase the state tax on cigarettes by a dollar a pack. The plan was designed to raise

Sen. Richard Sears

Sen. Richard Sears listens during debate at the Statehouse on Thursday.

$9 million to help balance next year’s budget. The vote was 16 to 14.

The action raises new questions about how the budget shortfall will be addressed.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Over the past few days, Governor Peter Shumlin has brought a number of senators into his office to urge them to reject the dollar a pack tax increase on cigarettes.

Shumlin says he’s concerned that the state will lose revenue if the tax increase goes into place because Vermont smokers will go to New Hampshire to purchase their cigarettes and smokers from Massachusetts and New York will no longer come to Vermont.

Senate Finance chairwoman Ann Cummings supported the tax increase. She said it would raise new money and discourage smoking in the future.

(Cummings) “In order to get people’s attention you have to have a big hit and a dollar is the minimum hit you can have and we’re working on health care and smoking is a large cause of heart disease, lung disease, just keep going through it and we felt that this was part of our ongoing investment in preventive health care and trying to control the cost of health care so it seemed like a win win.”

(Kinzel) Chittenden senator Phillip Baruth said he strongly supported the tax increase for a number of reasons.

(Baruth) “Because it’s much larger than a tax on cigarettes. We’re talking here not only about closing the budget gap I think that’s important we’re also talking about people not spending their lives buying and consuming a product that they are addicted to.”

(Kinzel) But Bennington senator Dick Sears said projections of new revenue were overblown because the state will lose a lot of cigarette sales.

(Sears) “When else do we propose a 45 percent tax increase on one item? So it will actually give New Hampshire stores a $20 a carton advantage over Vermont and many of you represent communities on the border with New Hampshire I suppose you probably lost a lot of the business anyways but a $20 tax advantage is quite high.”

(Kinzel) And Rutland senator Peg Flory asked her colleagues to remember that cigarettes are a legal product in the state of Vermont:

(Flory) “If it’s going to be legal to have them here why are we raising it by a dollar a pack and letting another state get that revenue? It makes no sense to me. To say we’re doing it for health benefits I think is fooling ourselves.”

(Kinzel) The issue might not be dead for the session because the Governor has indicated a willingness to support a smaller increase in cigarette tax.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

US negative outlook from S&P hits tobacco bonds

The negative outlook bestowed on the United States’ AAA rating by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services spread on Thursday to defeased tobacco bonds issued by states and local governments.

The rating agency said it revised the outlook on portions of 15 tobacco securitizations rated AAA due to their defeasance with U.S. Treasuries or U.S. agency securities to negative from stable in conjunction with its outlook revision for the United States on Monday.

Defeased bonds are those that have been secured by another asset, often to ensure the issuer has sufficient funds to pay the bonds when they become due.

On Wednesday, S&P assigned a negative outlook to a slew of other refunded municipal bonds that are rated AAA because they are secured by U.S. Treasuries or U.S. agency securities.

Muni issuers use State and Local Government Series securities — known as “slugs” — which are special low-interest Treasury securities — to invest proceeds from their refunded bond issues.

Through early April, the U.S. Treasury had sold $47.4 billion in slugs to muni bond issuers during the fiscal year that began last October.

S&P’s list of bonds that now carry a negative outlook and that were originally backed by states’ share of a 1998 nationwide settlement with U.S. tobacco companies, included issues from Wisconsin, Iowa, California, New Jersey, and Virginia.

On Monday, S&P revised its U.S. credit outlook to negative from stable. The agency said President Barack Obama and members of Congress had to slash the country’s deficit or face the potential loss of the triple-A credit rating on U.S. debt.

S&P said there was a one-in-three chance it would eventually cut the rating, which would drive up the cost of borrowing and chip away at the status of the United States as the world’s most powerful economy.

The rating agency also noted that it does not tie underlying ratings on state and local governments to that of the United States and as a result, existing outlooks on those that carry triple-A ratings on their own will not change because of Monday’s revision for the federal government.

By Karen Pierog


Below are the top five companies in the Tobacco industry as measured by the price to book ratio. Often companies with the lowest ratio present the greatest value to investors.

Alliance One International (NYSE:AOI) has a price to book ratio of 0.9x based on a current price of $4.03 and a book value per share of $4.37.

Universal (NYSE:UVV) has a price to book ratio of 1x based on a current price of $42.48 and a book value per share of $40.89.

Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) has a price to book ratio of 3.2x based on a current price of $36.07 and a book value per share of $11.17.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) has a price to book ratio of 10.7x based on a current price of $26.68 and a book value per share of $2.49.

Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) has a price to book ratio of 34x based on a current price of $66.11 and a book value per share of $1.95.

SmarTrend currently has shares of Reynolds American in an Uptrend and issued the Uptrend alert on July 21, 2010 at $28.05. The stock has risen 28.6% since the Uptrend alert was issued.

By Chip Brian at cbrian@mysmartrend.com

Blumenthal Pushes To Remove Menthol Cigarettes

HARTFORD,Conn. — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal encouraged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect public health by removing menthol cigarettes from the marketplace.

The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee found evidence that tobacco companies often include menthol flavors in their products both to entice certain demographics such as young children and teens to use tobacco, and to make it harder for them to quit.

“Such findings about the dangers of menthol tobacco products in general, and to our youth in particular, are highly concerning, and provide abundant grounds for FDA to develop a plan that will result in the removal of menthol from tobacco products to protect public health,” Blumenthal states in a letter to the FDA.

As state attorney general, Blumenthal helped lead the legal fight against big tobacco, which led to a historic settlement in 1998 that included restrictions on direct tobacco advertising to children. The settlement, according to Blumenthal, resulted in a dramatic drop in youth smoking rates in Connecticut and around the country.

Cigarettes sold as Philip Morris Int’l reports 1Q

RICHMOND, Va. – Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc., which Matlboro online and other U.S. brands abroad, reports its first-quarter results before the market opens Thursday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Whether fewer cigarettes sold in the wake of tax hikes and growing tobacco control efforts. Smokers face philip morrisnew tax hikes, bans, health concerns and social stigma worldwide, but the impacts are starker in the U.S. than in many other countries.

With offices in New York and in Lausanne, Switzerland, Philip Morris has compensated for consumers buying cheaper cigarettes — and for the weak economy — by cutting costs and raising prices. Its market share has increased.

Last quarter, Philip Morris International’s cigarette shipments increased 3.1 percent to 224.9 billion cigarettes, with gains in Asia, including Indonesia, Korea and Pakistan. The company also benefited from its acquisition of Fortune Tobacco Co. in the Philippines.

Tax increases hurt the number of cigarettes sold in various regions in the fourth quarter. Shipments fell 5.4 percent in the European Union. Volumes fell about 6 percent in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa and grew 2.4 percent in Latin America and Canada.

Weakness in places like Spain, Ukraine, Japan and Mexico could drive volumes down in the first quarter, Goldman Sachs analyst Judy Hong said in a recent research note. Impacts from the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan won’t likely be seen until next quarter.

Analysts also expect the company’s earnings to be affected by foreign exchange rates compared with the U.S. dollar. When the dollar is rising, companies that sell goods internationally and must convert revenue from foreign currencies usually take a hit in the dollar value of that revenue, and vice versa. That effect is particularly strong for Philip Morris International, because it does all its business overseas.

WHY IT MATTERS: 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.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: Analysts on average expect Philip Morris International to report earnings of $1.04 per share on revenue of $6.95 billion, according to FactSet. Analysts typically exclude one-time items.

LAST YEAR’S QUARTER: Philip Morris International reported net income of 90 cents per share on revenue of $6.5 billion.

By Michael Felberbaum

Sweden Launches New Strategy to Combat Narcotic, Alcohol Problems

The Swedish government Tuesday launched a new comprehensive strategy to deal with alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco problems together.

“The overall objective is to make Swedish society free from illicit drugs and doping with fewer medical and social damage caused by alcohol and tobacco,” Maria Larsson, Swedish Minister for Children and Elderly, said in a statement.

The goal is to address the overall problem caused by the use and abuse of alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco.

Statistics show that 15 percent of the total disease burden in Sweden is due to the harmful effects that may be linked to the use and abuse of alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco.

The strategy is proposed for 2011-2015 and was passed in the parliament at the end of March this year.

The government will invest 260 million kronor (about 40 million U.S. dollars) per year to support effort such as parents whose children take drugs or children who are abused at home.

Targets and monitoring structure consists of seven long term goals including the protection of children and youth, early intervention, care and treatment and guidelines for cooperation with other countries in the EU and internationally.

“Continued efforts are needed to improve cooperation between different authorities and between authorities and organizations,” Larsson said.

The strategy will put a foundation for building a sustainable system of indicators that make it possible to track trends and form the basis for an evaluation of interventions during the strategy period, Larsson said.

Demonstrators protest at Reynolds American

A group of 17 demonstrators staged a rally Tuesday in front of Reynolds American Inc.’s downtown headquarters to call attention to tobacco-farm workers, who the protesters said are often underpaid and forced to live in poor conditions.

Gail Phares of Raleigh, an organizer and advocate for immigrants’ rights, said that the U.S. must reform its immigration policies.

“It’s time for us to recognize the labor of farm workers and immigrants and their contributions to economic life in America,” Phares said to the group as they stood in a circle on the sidewalk in front of the building. “We must reject the criminalization of immigrants, and the politicians must fix a broken system.”

The protest was part of the 25th annual Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace, a statewide effort to support human rights for farm workers and undocumented immigrants. Some demonstrators carried white crosses and red flags, representing the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, which is part of the AFL-CIO.

There are about 30,000 tobacco-farm workers in North Carolina. FLOC representatives argued with company officials last year during Reynolds’ annual shareholder meeting. The group also plans to protest at this year’s meeting, which will be held May 6.

Before the rally, the demonstrators participated in a discussion about immigration at Dellabrook Presbyterian Church, off New Walkertown Road. The church and The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity sponsored the discussion.

They then walked about 3 miles to the Reynolds American’s building on Main Street.

“We are small in numbers today, but we present thousands of people, church members and farm workers,” Alexandria Jones, an organizer with the National Farm Worker Ministry told the demonstrators.

The events were coordinated by two groups founded by Phares — Witness for Peace Southeast, which works for social justice in North and South America; and the Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America, which supports poor people in North Carolina and Latin America and advocates immigration reform.

Diego Reyes, a demonstrator from Dudley in eastern North Carolina, told the protestors that Reynolds American must understand the needs of farm workers.

A spokeswoman for Reynolds American declined to comment Tuesday on the protests, referring to an open letter about farm-labor issues on the company’s website.

In the letter, the company says, in part, that it supports a state law that requires adequate working and living conditions for farm laborers. It also said it had taken measures to ensure safe work environments on the farms.

The Rev. Craig Schaub, the pastor of Parkway United Church of Christ, attended the rally with his daughter. “I support a living wage and safe working conditions for farm workers,” Schaub said.

By JOHN HINTON | Winston-Salem Journal

Teenagers love Hookah

ABU DHABI: Even during extreme hot weather in the country, business at shisha outlets in the capital never runs dry.hookah use

Haris Abdul Kader from the Brazilian Trading Establishment, Abu Dhabi, said that the shisha or hookah is very much “in vogue” in the UAE and is a popular cultural practice. “Because of its social aspects, hookah or shisha will continue to gain loyal smokers because it is also traditional.”

Yet Dr Eric J. Dierks, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Oregon Health and Science University, USA, pointed out, “there is a myth that smoking through a shisha pipe is safer than smoking cigarettes but this is almost certainly not the case. Several recent studies have indicated that shisha smokers actually inhale more of the cooled smoke than would a cigarette smoker, thereby increasing their exposure to carcinogens within the smoke.”

“The main causes of oral cancer have classically been related to smoking tobacco products and the Middle East has a higher rate of tobacco consumption than many other countries and this includes the use of shisha or hookah,” added the specialist, who will be speaking at the upcoming second oral and maxillofacial surgery congress to be held at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Hotel from May 1 to 5.

“Despite this, in terms of death rate from oral cancer, the Middle East is nowhere near the top. Iraq has the highest death rate from oral cancer but is only 31st in world ranking. This is followed by Yemen at 35th, Saudi Arabia at 59th and Iran at 131st. The UAE is 134th, Oman 138th, Lebanon 147th, Kuwait 187th, Qatar 190th and Syria 191st,” he noted.

Speaking to residents in the capital, it is evident that shisha smoking has increasingly become a part of the lives of teenagers. Abdul Kader noted that in the past few years, it has also become increasingly popular with Europeans and tourists and among this group grape flavour is highly preferred. “And among the Arabic clients, ‘mint’ is the popular choice,’ he added.

In Abu Dhabi other flavours that are popular include apple, mint, strawberry, rose, cherry, sweet melon and super cool grape.

One Arab teenager, Rahman 18, said “I know it’s bad, but I just love to hang out with friends and smoke my favourite mint flavour. I prefer smoking shisha because of it’s different flavours, the way it tastes and (the fact that it) smells better than cigarettes.”

Meanwhile an Indian expatriate, 21, said, “I smoke shisha for its taste. It’s relaxing and pleasant, takes away my distress from being away from home. My Arab friends introduced me to it.”

An European teenager, Josh, said that in his homeland in Finland, he will not be able to enjoy shisha. So while during his stay in Abu Dhabi for the next year or two, he hopes to enjoy the flavoured smoking. His favourite is the super cool grape.

Yet health experts warn that an hour-long session with a hookah can actually expose a user to the equivalent of 100 or more cigarettes.

According to Dr Pentti Grohn, professor in Oncology and Radiotherapy, Al Noor Hospital, Abu Dhabi, around one to two patients suffering from lung cancer caused by smoking visit his clinic daily.

He warned that half an hour of shisha is equal to inhaling 200 cigarettes. Dr Grohn pointed out that every cigarette shortens one’s life by seven minutes, reducing life expectancy by 7-10 years when compared to a non-smoker.

Meanwhile, Dr Dierks observed, “The early diagnosis of oral cancer is extremely important because not only is the prognosis significantly better for early stage cancer, but the treatment involved is often less extensive.”

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer reported globally with an annual incidence of over 300,000 cases. Roughly two thirds of these arise in developing countries.

The death rate of oral cancer is notably lower in the Middle East than in India or the U.S. In the Middle East, two deaths per 100,000 are caused by oral cancer whereas 10 per 100,000 occur in the U.S. and 20 per 100,000 in India.

Regardless of nationality, roughly half of long-term smokers die from the effects of tobacco smoking, be it from oral cancer, lung cancer or cardiovascular disease.

The U.S. should learn from Canada’s issue with tobacco

The officials have good intentions. The Black Market is growing rapidly. And smokers are willing to buy less expensive contraband cigarettes. This is the situation today in Canada, and it might become common to the United States very soon.

In several weeks, the United States could ban hot-cigs.biz/menthol-cigarettes-brands, after the federal U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and namely its sub-committee handling menthol issue, is scheduled to issue a recommendation regarding potential ban of mentholated cigarettes. Menthol-flavored cigarettes represent nearly 30 percent of the domestic cigarette market. In case the FDA decides to ban them, nearly 30 percent of the U.S. smokers will remain without their favorite flavor.

The menthol flavoring ban would be somehow similar to the situation when Canadian government approved a two-fold increase in cigarette taxes in an attempt to reduce smoking rates. Shortly after the tax hike, Canada was burdened with a problem of tremendous proportions.

In Canada, every third cigarettes is sold on the black market. In Quebec and Ontario provinces, the share of black market went up from 13 percent in 2006 up to 48 percent in 2010. This experience clearly shows that a huge contraband market can grow rapidly when a government implements high taxes or removes a popular product.
The problems for the law enforcement agencies is growing since criminal activities have developed from individuals engaged in occasional contraband to criminal groups distributing illegal goods by means of a nationwide black market chain.

Each week, new evidence of the dangerous black market is found. In December, the RCMP stopped the biggest illicit cigarette shipment ever discovered in the county – 10 million counterfeit cigarettes concealed in a container ship. The vessel, coming from China, transported more than 50,000 cartons, worth almost $5 million. Approximately at the same time, Ottawa police agents confiscated approximately 3 million smuggled cigarettes, drugs and several vehicles that transported the illegal products across Ottawa. Police said that only organized criminal groups have financial resources to carry out such activities.
Unfortunately, such events are common for the country. Illegal tobacco is one of the biggest black market goods across the world. In Canada the black market of tobacco is worth billions of dollars.

Since convenience stores’ profits usually depend on sales of tobacco products, the c’ stores across the country have been hit by sale declines. As legal sales were largely replaced by black market sales, many family business closed their doors, unable to compete with lower prices offered by underground market, which uses street sellers and car trucks to sell smuggled cigarettes.
Another issue debated across Canada nowadays is that whether the government’s tax policy has also destroyed its public health objectives. Traffickers don’t care about the age of their clients, selling their smokes to teenagers. Nearly 30 percent of cigarette butts found in schoolyards, are contraband, according to researches.

Therefore, while the U.S mulls over a menthol ban, they should study Canadian example. In case menthol cigarettes are prohibited in the United States, a black market will surely evolve, with illegal cigarettes flowing to smokers, hitting the legal business hard and the economy very hard. In addition, it would definitely not benefit public health, as anti-smoking advocates hope.

Dealing With Tobacco’s Cloudy Future

For all the controversy surrounding cigarettes and increased local and federal taxes, cigarette sales fared well in 2010, according to SymphonyIRI Group.

For the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, cigarette sales totaled more than $53.5 billion, up 5.21% from the pervious 12 months. Units sold increased 1.52% to slightly more than nine billion. The average price per pack in U.S. convenience stores jumped 21 cents to $5.94.

As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) begins to implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the tumult surrounding tobacco at retail shows no sign of abating. For example:

• The Justice Department was in a new dispute with the tobacco industry this winter over the government’s landmark lawsuit, this time involving corrective statements it wants the companies to make about health hazards.
• By a vote of 36 to 11 in early February, the New York City Council approved a bill to ban smoking in all city parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. This is just one of a growing number of cities that are eliminating places where adult smokers can enjoy a cigarette in public.

Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), told Convenience Store Decisions that the government was being, to say the least, intrusive. “We have seen just in the past five months the FDA take a very activist role in rolling out their regulations.”

The future of cigarette retailing depends largely on the retailers themselves, suggested Andrea Myers, executive vice president of marketing for Kocolene Marketing LLC, the Seymour, Ind.-based operator of 12 Fast Max c-stores and 19 Smokers Host tobacco stores. For example, stocking lower-priced, fourth-tier products, can help attract price-conscious smokers.

“We play heavily in the fourth-tier game in our tobacco stores,” said Myers. “We carry probably 6-8 brands that are very aggressively priced, and our volume in the tobacco stores is only down 2-3% compared to the year prior.”

Double-Edged Sword

Gary Tabor, director of marketing for Jay Petroleum Inc., which operates 35 Pak-A-Sak locations throughout east central Indiana, and west central Ohio, sees the tobacco category at retail in a state of “continual, slow decline” due to continued pressure on pricing, taxes and restrictive legislation.

But Damocles’ sword is double-edged, Tabor noted. “Obviously, some segments of the other tobacco category should pick up, as a result of the increased retail pressure on the prepackaged products. We’re seeing slight increases in the moist snuff category.”

The industry has already seen some operators opt out of the cigarettes business, along with some supermarkets, over these issues. Others are sticking to only major brands, packs and styles as cost and tax increases make it difficult to manage an inventory.

Myers urged c-store operators to stay on top of the emerging legislation. “Know your representatives, have a relationship with them and fight back every time something comes at us,” she said. “That way we can keep cigarettes visible, keep advertising and keep signage up as long as we can. Just keep pushing back.”

Is it a war that c-stores can win? “Yes,” Myers concluded. “Absolutely. The worst thing retailers can do is nothing, just sit there and let it happen. Don’t treat this as if it’s the end of the world. It’s not.”

Smoking supporters say it’s about freedom

“We want them to vote no on both measure one and two, but to educate them in letting them know they will be losing their china smokersfreedoms to choose,”said Keith Holzer, spokesman for the Employees for Individual Freedom. They referred the Bismarck City Commission vote to ban smoking in all bars.

In recent weeks, the group has began running its own ad campaign to counter messages for the smoking ban. Their “vote no” message is even printed on napkins. Mike Peluso, co-owner of the Stadium and Lodge, said they are only using private money for the ads; drop boxes ask patrons to help.

Holzer argues there are 62 other non-smoking liquor establishments and only 15 that allow smoking. “There are 70 percent of bars already non-smoking,” Holzer said.

According to Holzer, Fargo lost 30 percent of its sales when the smoking ban took effect and he said charitable gaming is down. That might mean layoffs.

A North Dakota Hospitality Association survey showed there were 50 openings in non-smoking bars here, Holzer said, so bar workers have a choice. “These employees were saying ‘we can choose for ourselves where we want to work.’ … They don’t need to be protected,” Holzer said.

It’s not the smoking huts the bar workers in the referendum oppose in the second ballot item, but that it also enforces the smoking ban ordinance for bars. “If the measure 2 goes through, the smoking ban is on,” Holzer said. Nobody has done an air quality study locally for smoking bars, he said.

Peluso said if the ban goes through, it will be costly for him either to add smoking huts or renovate. He won’t need to offer separate smoking and smoke-free bars. “We invested a lot of money into adding that addition of a smoke-free atmosphere.”

Peluso said the smoking ban would “dictate how we’re supposed to spend our money. I don’t agree with that. … At this place and you got a choice -right or left.”

Peluso said his workers ask to work in the smoking bar because they feel they earn higher tips; workers who smoke feel better-suited to work there. Peluso fears a smoking ban will mean a shorter stay for customers. “Now, they might choose to just go home,” he said.

By LeAnn Eckroth: 250-8264, leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com

Kenton County smoking ban in effect

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. – The stogies are extinguished at the Montgomery Inn in Fort Mitchell. The Kenton county smoking ordinance went into effect at midnight Friday morning.

“I think its probably the most ridiculous thing to ever happen in Kenton county,” said Ken Collova of Lexington.

Collova enjoyed the Montgomery Inn’s cigar bar when he drives up for business. He has little time for those who object to second hand smoke.

“Tell them to go somewhere else, seriously, tell them to go to McDonalds,” said Collova.

The Montgomery Inn’s general manager, Stan Thomakos, has researched the subject extensively.

“From what I’ve read we may lose business initially but it should rebound actually better than it was,” said Thomakos.

He does worry that business will head towards the counties that still allow smoking in such restaurants.

“The people of Kenton county now are going to be able to go the other counties that are adjacent to us and go there which may be a factor in our business,” said Thomakos.

Fines for non-compliance Thomakos says go up to $250.00.

Candy Cigarettes’ -a trip back to the 50’s and 60’s

If you were one of those people lucky enough to grow up in the 1950’s and 60’s when life was a real as it seemed, then you have to read Roger Bell’s newest book -Candy Cigarettes’ published by Black Moss Press.

The North Simcoe author’s memoirs open a precious time capsule that will have you laughing, crying and cherishing long forgotten memories and events that you or someone close to you has experienced. Bell has the ability to involve readers in colourful scenarios depicting his most personal childhood situations -a unique literary talent which opens a flood of happy and sad memories for those who remember the era and transition to important life changes.

The series of short, unrelated chapters describing his childhood from the early age of 3 to 18 years of age, take place in Port Elgin Ontario -a small farming and summer tourist town where he grew up. The memoir includes everything from fall fairs, young romances and cherry bombs to bad hockey experiences, an arena and grass fire, the opening of the first 365 day a year general store and the robbery of milk money from the bottles on the front step.

“The town totally changed in complexion from summer to winter and my goal was to capture the town and me before I went to university when everything changed,” said Bell an accomplished poet/writer who has published seven books.

“I wanted to capture what it was like while growing up there and the book finishes when my parents took me to the University of Western Ontario. It was written with no chronological or narrative thrust. One of my earliest memories includes the death of my paternal grandfather James Bell and moments on his farm -an original log farmhouse built in 1842. He lived there until the 1950’s. I write about the sectioned


raisin cookies he sometimes hid in the woodshed for me to find and sitting on his lap playing with his pocket watch. In 1954 I remember the actual storm and saw the damage from Hurricane Hazel, Canada’s Centennial Year in 1967 and a class trip to the west coast.”

Bell is one of the three talented authors speaking at the Midland Library

Spring Readings’ beginning with Richard Zurawski on Thursday April 14th and followed by poet Ellen Jaffe on Friday April 15th , with Bell on Saturday, April 16th -all readings to take place at 7 p.m. at the library. The Three authors will all be introducing their most recent publications including Zurawski’s Media Mediocrity – Waging War Against Science’ and Jaffe’s Feast of Lights’. Both authors will be speaking at the local high schools in the Midland earlier in the day. For information call the Midland Library at 705-526-4216.

Roger Bell is a Tay Township area resident who has lived in the area for 36 years. He moved to Huronia to teach High School English and retired in 2004. Bell started a serious writing career in 1997 after publishing Luke and the Wolfe’ -a BS Poetry chapbook under 40 pages but says opportunity actually got him started with Mythtakes’ in 1984 published by Whizzyfig Press after winning a competition. Black Moss Press has published five books including Real Lives’ in 1997, When the Devil Calls’ in 2000, Henry’s Creatures’ in 2000, Larger than Life’ in 2002, The Pissing Women of Lafontaine’ in 2005 and Bell’s last book You Tell Me’ published in 2009, which is all stories that were told to home and translated into poetry.