October 2011 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Program urges smokers switch to smokeless tobacco

In the smoker-heavy state of Kentucky, a cancer center is suggesting something that most health experts won’t and the tobacco smoke freeindustry can’t: If you really want to quit, switch to smoke-free tobacco.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the University of Louisville are aiming their “Switch and Quit” campaign at the city of Owensboro. It uses print, radio, billboard and other advertising to urge smokers to swap their cigarettes for smokeless tobacco and other products that do not deliver nicotine by smoke.

Supporters say smokers who switch are more likely to give up cigarettes than those who use other methods such as nicotine patches, and that smokeless tobacco carries less risk of disease than cigarettes do.

“We need something that works better than what we have,” said Dr. Donald Miller, an oncologist and director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, which supports the effort along with the University of Louisville. “This is as reasonable a scientific hypothesis as anybody has come up with and it needs to be tried.”

The campaign runs counter to the prevailing opinion of the public health community, which holds that there is no safe way to use tobacco. Federal researchers, however, have begun to at least consider the idea that smokers might be better off going smokeless.

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health says on its website that the use of all tobacco products “should be strongly discouraged,” and that there is “no scientific evidence that using smokeless tobacco can help a person quit smoking.” But this year it approved funding for a study that might provide some of that very evidence.

“Switch and Quit” is directed by Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville. He analyzed the 2000 National Health Interview Survey and found that male smokers who switched to smokeless tobacco were more likely to quit smoking than those who used nicotine patches or gum.

“Americans are largely misinformed about the relative risks. … They think smokeless tobacco is just as dangerous,” Rodu said. “This level of misinformation is an enormous barrier to actually accomplishing tobacco-harm reduction because if people believe that the products have equal risk, there’s not a real incentive.”

The program is funded through Rodu’s research money, which includes grants from the tobacco industry. Grants through the University of Louisville are unrestricted, which the program says “ensures the scientific independence and integrity of research projects and activities.”

“There’s absolutely no influence whatsoever,” Rodu said. “I decide, along with my colleagues, how we use the money, for what projects, and this is entirely the case. I would not have a situation where there was some control over the kind of projects I undertake.”

Tobacco companies want to market more smokeless tobacco and other cigarette alternatives to make up for falling cigarette sales. Some have introduced “snus” — small pouches like tea bags that users stick between the cheek and gum — and dissolvable tobacco — finely milled tobacco shaped into orbs, sticks and strips.

But they’re barred by federal law from explicitly marketing them as less risky than cigarettes — at least for now. That means the “Switch and Quit” program can do something the tobacco industry itself cannot: claim that smokeless tobacco has a health benefit when compared to smoking.

The program says smoking kills about 220 adults a year in and around Owensboro. The state of Kentucky, a leading tobacco grower, has the nation’s highest smoking and lung cancer rates.

Owensboro and the surrounding area consume about 3 million cigarettes a week, according to the program. That amounts to well over a pack for every man, woman and child in the community of about 115,000 people.

Owensboro resident Vernon Goode had smoked for about 10 years before he recently traded his Marlboros for dissolvable tobacco tablets. The campaign didn’t inspire him to quit, but he said he thought it was a good idea.

“I was just wanting to quit because, you know, I could feel it in my lungs,” Goode said. “I’ll smoke a cigarette every once in a while, but not very often. I want to quit altogether and I’m just using this right here as I guess what you’d call a stepping stone.”

The Owensboro program has raised concerns among some in the public health community who say organizers are claiming smokeless tobacco is a healthier alternative to smoking without approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

A 2009 law gives the FDA authority to evaluate health risks of tobacco products and approve those that could be marketed as safer than what’s currently for sale. None have been given the OK yet. The FDA also plans to regulate electronic cigarettes, battery-powered plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that users inhale.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the program “a giant experiment with the people of Owensboro without rules or guidance designed to protect individuals from experimental medicine.”

Smokeless tobacco isn’t a safe alternative to cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health warnings on the products required by the FDA state the same thing.

However, some studies, including a 2007 report from the Royal College of Physicians in London titled “Harm Reduction in Nicotine Addiction,” suggest that some smokeless tobacco products are about 90 percent less harmful than cigarettes.

“The worst that you can say about smokeless tobacco is that it’s the lesser of two evils,” said Dr. Randall Thomas, an oncologist with the Owensboro Medical Health System. The health system, the community’s largest employer, is going smoke-free in 2013 and is offering Rodu’s program as one of a variety of quit-smoking tools for its employees.

“I don’t think we have any problem in telling a person that drinks a six-pack a day that if they could cut it back to two beers a day or two drinks a day that their health risks are greatly reduced,” Thomas said. “Finding a way to let people have their nicotine that carries less risk, it’s the realistic solution.”

The Owensboro program doesn’t suggest pharmaceutical nicotine replacement gum or patches. That’s because they are regulated to provide very small doses of nicotine and are recommended for only a short period of time, while smokeless tobacco can be used as long as a smoker needs, Rodu said.

Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said more research is needed before anyone should suggest that the nation’s 46 million smokers would be better off using smokeless tobacco. In the meantime, he said, there are a host of FDA-approved products that can help people give up smoking.

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to determine whether smokeless tobacco can and should be marketed as a way to help people quit,” Myers said.

The National Cancer Institute approved funding earlier this year for a nationwide 1,250-person study to look at whether being given a snus product changes the habits of smokers who are not motivated to quit.

The tobacco industry sees smokeless tobacco as its future, said Matthew J. Carpenter, a psychology professor at the Medical University of South Carolina who is conducting the yearlong study.

Carpenter said the snus study will examine what smokers do when given smokeless tobacco. He won’t look at the health effects, or advise smokers to use the snus to quit.

“They are probably safer than conventional cigarettes, if for no other reason than you’re not burning anything, you’re not smoking anything, you’re not inhaling any smoke,” he said.

“If you compare it to conventional cigarettes, they’re probably a little bit better. If you compare it to quitting, they’re absolutely worse.”

Lobangclub to remove tobacco products and prices from app

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has asked the developers of Lobangclub to remove information on tobacco products and prices from its iPhone app that offers information on deals contributed by shoppers.

In an e-mail to users, Lobangclub founder Shen Guyi said he was contacted by a HSA officer who warned him that it is illegal to advertise tobacco in Singapore.

As Lobangclub has up to today to remove all tobacco related material from the app, Shen urged users to stop contributing tobacco related deals.

“I am asking all the members of Lobangclub, to please do not add any more tobacco/cigarette related products and prices anymore,” Shen urged.

“I know that there was a thriving community of tobacco lobang hunters who had found all sorts of lobangs on cigarettes, but from today onwards, we can no longer accept tobacco lobangs,” he said.

Lobangclub was recently named as Asia’s most valuable app in the Asia’s Top 50 Apps Awards. It includes deals on over 500,000 products in Singapore.

Tobacco advertising is banned in Singapore under the Smoking (Control of Advertisements and Sale of Tobacco) Act. Offenders are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

Shen’s e-mail is reproduced here:

Today is very scary day.

I was working non-stop throughout the night testing some new features for the next version of lobangclub, and just as I was going home in the morning, my iPhone suddenly ran.

“Hello ahh, may I speak to Guyi Shen”, the raspy voice on the other end said.

“It is I”, I tiredly mouthed into the phone

“I am from the HSA, did you know that it is illegal to advertise tobacco in Singapore?”, inquired the man on the other end of the phone.

“errr, hmmmm, errr…” I was speechless.

“You have until the end of today to remove all tobacco related material from lobangclub”, with that, the phone call was over.

So I am asking all the members of lobangclub, to please do not add any more tobacco/cigarette related products and prices anymore. I know that there was a thriving community of tobacco lobang hunters who had found all sorts of lobangs on cigarettes, but from today onwards, we can no longer accept tobacco lobangs.

The HSA(Health Sciences Authority) is the body in charge of enforcing the tobacco control act, and they have decided that we cannot allow anymore tobacco related prices/products to be added anymore.

So from today onwards, we will have to delete any tobacco related products/pictures/prices.

I thank you for helping me with this and don’t kena get me in further trouble with the HSA.

Exhibition Dedicated to the National Day Against Tobacco

On October 24 the exhibition opened in the Green Hall of the RA National Assembly, was dedicated to the National Day Against tobaccoTobacco celebrated on October 12.

Varduhi Petrosyan, Director of the Research and Development Center of the Healthcare Services of the American University of Armenia, has applied to the RA NA Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, asking to support in organizing the exhibition on anti-tobacco theme in the legislative body, to which the Speaker of the Parliament gladly responded.

The authors of the pictures touching upon the anti-tobacco theme are the juniors of the Fine Arts and Decorative Applied Art Studio-College and Davitashen N 2 Children-Youth Creative Center, who cooperating with the Research and Development Center of the Healthcare Services of the American University of Armenia have expressed their denial attitude to the use of the tobacco in the picture language of their childish fantasy.

Opening the exhibition Ara Babloyan, Chairman of the NA Standing Committee on Healthcare, Maternity and Childhood, has noted that, according to researches, the use of the tobacco more results in illness, disability and mortality of millions of people than the diseases, accidents and violence taken together.

Mr. Babloyan has mentioned that in recent years the parliament has had a big contribution to the process of anti-tobacco struggle, making a number of legislative amendments. He has stressed the fact that due to the taken steps during the last four years a group of NA deputies and members of the staff have given up the use of tobacco.

Mr. Babloyan has thanked the NA Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, noting that in his capacity as NA deputy, Head of the legislative body and citizen, he is becoming the best example for the society by refusing the use of the tobacco and living a healthy way of life.

In his word the NA Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan showed appreciation to the Directorate of the Research and Development Center of the Healthcare Services of the American University of Armenia for the organized exhibition and necessitated that our society gave up the harmful phenomenon of smoking as promptly as possible and live a healthy way of life.

Mr. Abrahamyan has considered important that the NA deputies serve as examples themselves and quit smoking. As the first step the NA Speaker proposed to declare the third floor and the area of holding the sittings in the parliament a non-smoking zone.

Varduhi Petrosyan, Director of the Research and Development Center of the Healthcare Services of the American University of Armenia, expressed gratitude to the NA Speaker for supporting the organization of the exhibition in the legislative body.

The Life Insurance Corporation coughs up crores for tobacco investments

Business moves do not get more ironical than this. When tobacco has been identified as the biggest preventable cause of death across the globe, public sector behemoth Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has coughed up a huge amount to invest in tobacco companies.

LIC has invested more than Rs3,600 crore in three tobacco companies in 2010-11, an RTI query has revealed. Anti-tobacco activists and cancer specialists are outraged, and believe that it is unethical and ironical that India’s largest insurance company would invest in something that is injurious to health.

The information was sought by an activist’s consortium called Voices of Tobacco Victims. The public information officer’s (PIO) reply shows that LIC has invested Rs3,600 crore in three tobacco companies. Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) has seen the biggest investment of over Rs3,500 crore last year, while the other two companies are VST Industries and Dharmapal Satyapal (DS) Ltd, which manufactures smokeless (chewing) tobacco. LIC also owns shares of ITC, and the number has steadily gone up over the years—from 51 crore in 2009 to over 99 crore on 31 March 2011.

However, instances of the government holding shares in big companies are not new. The Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI) held substantial shares in Axis Bank, ITC and Larsen and Toubro (L&T). These companies, though professionally managed, want the government to hold stock for fending off hostile takeover bids. British American Tobacco (BAT), the parent company of ITC, holds almost 32% stake in its Indian arm; and its attempts to gain a majority stake have been well-publicised.

Though the public insurer’s strategy may be perfectly legal, it is ethically incorrect for LIC to invest in tobacco companies without the prior approval of the investors, said Dr Vishal Rao, convener, Tobacco Free Bangalore and national executive member of the Federation of Head & Neck Oncology. “India is one of the early signatories to an international treaty called Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC). The huge investment by LIC in one of the biggest tobacco companies of India is surely against the spirit of FCTC,” he said.

In her reply, LIC CPIO (chief public information officer) Saroj S Dikhale has said that LIC does not charge any extra premium from tobacco users and smokers for issuing an insurance policy. “Depending on quantity, duration and type of tobacco consumption, while large numbers of customers are accepted without any extra premium, some of the applicants may be charged higher premium,” the reply said. However, it is not known how many claims have been rejected by LIC due to the insured’s habit of tobacco consumption.

According to a WHO (World Health Organization) study in 2010, around 34% of the population above 15 years in India consume tobacco in different forms. Minister of state S Gandhiselvam said in a written reply in Parliament a few months back that around eight to nine lakh Indians die every year due to diseases that result from tobacco consumption.

Dr PC Gupta, director, Shekharia Institute of Public Health said, “It is a shock that the investment with ITC has doubled in the last two financial years rather than coming down over the year. On one hand, the government is spending nearly Rs10,000 crore on treatment of tobacco-related illness and on the other hand, they are investing Rs3,500 crore in a leading cigarette manufacturer.”

A case against the harmful effects of gutka (chewing tobacco) is pending before the Supreme Court for an outright ban. “If the Supreme Court bans it, then what will happen to the invested public money in DS Group?” remarked Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, associate professor at Tata Memorial Hospital, who has been working closely with the activist group.

Will LIC dump its tobacco shares? Only the health ministry can take a call—but the insurance giant is under the ambit of a different regulator.

Uefa bans smoking in Euro 2012 stadiums

Soccer: Smoking will be completely banned at stadiums during Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, Uefa said on Thursday.

“Uefa will enforce a complete ban on the use, sale or promotion of tobacco in all stadia involved in Uefa EURO 2012,” said European soccer’s governing body in a statement.

“The regulation will apply without exception to all spaces within stadia perimeters, both indoors and outdoors.”

Uefa, which in contrast allows smoking at matches in the Champions League, said the policy had been drawn up with the World Health Organisation, World Heart Federation and the European Healthy Stadia Network.

“A tobacco-free EURO 2012 is about respecting the health of our spectators and everyone else involved in the tournament,” said Uefa President Michel Platini. “We uphold the highest standards of health, safety and comfort at our flagship tournament, and tobacco does not fit within them.”


Cuban Cigar Paying Homage to Local Tastes

In addition to pizza with mashed potato topping and caviar-flavored potato chips, Russian consumers will now have a Cuban cigar especially designed for their tastes.

Thanks to 20 percent growth in premium cigar sales, as part of a surging luxury items market, Top Cigars — the official distributor of Cuban stogies in Russia — introduced a new cigar especially selected and only available locally, during its annual partner event in Moscow on Thursday.

When asked about the resemblance of the model to its target market, Javier Terres, vice president of Cuban cigar sales monopoly Habanos, said, “It’s big, and it’s strong.”

The cigar, named the Emperador — Spanish for Emperor — is part of the Bolivar line. Its flavor and name were determined based on inputs from Top Cigar and its local partners.

This is the 25th regional edition made by the famous cigar maker since it started the concept in 2005, said Oleg Chechilov, editor of Smoke magazine. Terres, who was born at a cigar factory in Spain where his parents lived and worked, said the regional editions are intended to confirm the leading position of Habanos and its distributors in a country.

“[The Emperador] is a homage to Russian consumers. … They deserve it,” Terres said.

Terres said he would consider the program a success if the first shipment of 25,000 cigars sells out in a few months. Such a quantity represents less than 3 percent of total annual sales of Cuban cigars in Russia. Local retailers expect to charge between 700 rubles ($22) and 1,000 rubles ($31) for each cigar.

Top Cigars has about 400 partners — up 20 percent from last year — which gives it at least one shop in every city of Russia with a population of more than 1 million people. More partners are being recruited.

The Emperador is not the first cigar designed exclusively for Russia. Costa Rican cigar company Isthmus announced its Imperial cigar, complete with a double-headed eagle on the band, in May 2010, though it is only making first shipments next month, due to excise stamp problems.

“We took inputs on the desired flavor, size and even the name via the web portal of our Russian partner, which allowed us to offer the first regional cigar made especially for the local market. … We did this as a sign of respect to Russian smokers,” Kurt Brandt, founder of Isthmus, told The Moscow Times.

Industry experts estimate that about 70 percent of the total imported cigar market, valued at between $15 million and $20 million in 2010, belongs to Habanos.

China, which also has an exclusive Cuban cigar, is another focus market for Habanos. News reports, however, that cash-strapped Cuba is supplying both tobacco and agricultural expertise to help China build up its own cigar industry could not be confirmed by Terres.

Though the Russia business is growing, cigar retailers are resigned to a saturation of outlets, at least in Moscow, and a very specific client base. “Americans smoke to enjoy the smoke, while Russians are still in the show-off stage. … Buying and smoking is a very social process,” said Andrei Ushatov, who started selling cigars at his family-run shop in Volgograd when he and his wife realized that it was the next logical step in addressing the wealthy male segment.

“Before 2008, there were middle-class buyers who just wanted to have a new experience, but after the crises they disappeared,” Ushatov said.

Former alcoholics are a unique segment of customers, said Vladimir Sushkov of Moscow retailer Tabachnaya Lyubov. “They use cigars as a substitute for their obsessive tendencies, and their wives are thankful for the healthier habit,” he said.

By Justin Lifflander
The Moscow Times

Cigarette prices increase by up to 44 percent inTurkey

Recent tax hikes introduced by the Turkish government last week prompted a major Turkish-US consortium cigarette producer to cigarettesincrease cigarette prices by between 28 and 44 percent.

Philsa Philip Morris, a consortium of US cigarette producing giant Philip Morris and Turkish giant conglomerate Sabancı Holding, announced on Monday that the company had to revise cigarette prices due to new high taxes announced by the government.

The Turkish government on Thursday raised the private consumption tax (ÖTV) on cars and mobile phones as well as on tobacco and alcoholic products and will collect $3 billion in extra revenue per year. The tax hikes came as measures to curb the imports of certain products, while also increasing revenues at a time of intensifying global risks.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, responding to a new round of tax increases, has defended the measures as necessary to avoid economic woes like those in Greece and advised taxpayers to quit smoking and cut back on their consumption of alcohol to keep their budget intact.

“Don’t smoke and the problem is solved. Consume less alcohol and the problem is solved. Instead of riding a Porsche, use a Fiat. Cut back on expenses,” Erdoğan said during an address to lawmakers of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the town of Kızılcahamam, near Ankara, on Saturday.

Philip Morris Misled Smokers on Light Cigarettes

Altria Group Inc. (MO)’s Philip Morris unit deceived Missouri consumers by marketing Marlboro Gold as safer than regular cigarettes, marlboro cigarettesa lawyer told a St. Louis jury.

“Philip Morris made two promises — to provide lower tar and nicotine to smokers,” Stephen Swedlow, who represents Missouri smokers suing the company, said today in closing arguments in the state-court trial. “They did not deliver on this.”

In the lawsuit, a class action, or group case, filed in 2000 on behalf of all buyers of Marlboro Lights in Missouri, the smokers claim Philip Morris misrepresented that the brand was lower in tar and nicotine, a violation of state merchandising law. The cigarettes are no safer than others, the consumers said in court papers.

The smokers, who are seeking about $700 million plus punitive damages, don’t claim any personal injuries. The class, which was certified in 2005, includes as many as 400,000 current and former Marlboro Lights smokers. The trial began with opening statements last month.

Swedlow asked the jury to award $696 million. “I know that is a big number, but this comes to about 99 cents a pack,” he said.

The jury of three men and nine women began deliberations this afternoon.

“There was no deception on our part,” Beth Wilkinson, a Philip Morris attorney, said in her closing argument.
‘Did Not Prove’

“Did they prove that Marlboro Lights didn’t deliver less tar and nicotine? Did they prove that Marlboro Lights withheld information?” she asked. “They did not prove their case.”

Philip Morris didn’t tout Marlboro Lights as safer and its packages contain the same warnings as other cigarettes, Wilkinson said. “What other product in the United States has a warning that you’re taking your life in your own hands if you smoke these?”

Missouri smokers sustained no damages, George Lombardi, another Philip Morris attorney, said in his closing today.

“Nobody in this class paid a penny more for Marlboro Lights than Marlboro Reds or any other cigarette,” he told the jury. “In the real world, there was no ascertainable loss.”

The smokers claim that Philip Morris “willfully deceived consumers regarding the nature and effect of Marlboro Lights,” according to the complaint.
‘Fraudulently Represented’

Philip Morris owes damages because the company “fraudulently represented” that there was less tar and nicotine in Marlboro Lights, Swedlow, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said today. The smokers didn’t get what they were promised and this made their purchases worth less than what they paid, he said.

Philip Morris convinced the plaintiffs that it was better for their health to smoke Marlboro Lights than other cigarettes, Swedlow said. “They delivered the same tar and nicotine as Marlboro Reds.”

The class covers all purchasers of Marlboro Lights in Missouri from 1995 through 2003. Philip Morris sold $1.9 billion Marlboro Lights to the class members, Swedlow said today.
Second Trial

This is the second lawsuit to go to trial this year in Missouri against the tobacco industry over marketing practices. Missouri hospitals lost a jury verdict in April in their claim that Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co. and other cigarette makers manipulated the nicotine content in cigarettes and misrepresented the health effects of smoking.

The hospitals, which were seeking more than $455 million in damages, claimed the industry’s actions boosted spending for unreimbursed and uncompensated tobacco-related health care.

The tobacco companies denied any responsibility for patient-care costs at the hospitals or any financial losses by the hospitals. A state-court jury in St. Louis sided with the cigarette makers.

The case is Larsen v. Philip Morris Cos., 002-00406-02, Circuit Court, City of St. Louis, Missouri.

By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Joe Whittington

Respond to Charges of Discriminating Against Muslims

The President of Catholic University [CUA] has been directed to respond to new charges of illegal discrimination on his D.C. campus, and to do so in writing by next Thursday, reports public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who is a party to the legal proceedings.

The Office of Human Rights has given CUA President John Garvey until October 27th to provide a written response to new allegations that he and CUA illegally discriminated against Muslim students by denying them equal access to the benefits CUA provides to other student groups.

The Office also wants him to reply to suggestions that he may have lied to cover up his true motive. The allegation is that “an attempt was made to cover up the animus in such a decision against Muslim students, based solely upon their religion, by falsely claiming that the reason for the discrimination was that CUA ‘should [not] be sponsoring an organization that is not Catholic,’ whereas the University does in fact have a student organization for Jewish students.”

The Human Rights Act generally prohibits denying students equal access to university facilities based upon factors like religion, sex, or sexual orientation unless there is a “business necessity”: i.e., without the discrimination, the entity would literally go out of business.

“There is no way that Catholic University can show that it is a ‘business necessity’ to discriminate against Muslim students by denying them access to the same benefits other student groups enjoy, especially since many Catholic universities, including nearby Georgetown University, permit associations of Muslim students, and courts have held that any such denial cannot lawfully be based even on the most deeply held religious beliefs,” says Prof. Banzhaf, who has won more than one hundred discrimination cases under the Act.

In addition, it is alleged that CUA does not provide space — as other universities do — for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion. Furthermore, it appears that Muslims on campus may even be forced to do their meditation in the school’s chapels or in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – hardly places where students of a very different religion are likely to feel very comfortable.

The fact that the university apparently lied about its reason for discriminating against Muslim students — claiming that it should not be sponsoring a student organization which is not Catholic, while all the time sponsoring an organization for Jewish students — shows its “consciousness of guilt,” knowledge that discriminating against Muslims but not against other religious groups like Jews was wrong, argues Banzhaf.

He notes further that the denying Muslim students the opportunity to form a student group on campus could hardly be based upon any fundamental Catholic doctrine since Georgetown University not only has such a Muslim student group, but also provides its Muslim students with a separate prayer room and even a Muslim chaplain.

Garvey is also asked to address allegations that his sex segregation of dormitories, although apparently evenhanded, nevertheless discriminates against women. For example, a similar policy at Notre Dame, where Garvey may have gotten the inspiration since he was both an undergraduate and later a professor there, reportedly results in a “gross disparity” which discriminates against women, treating them as “second class citizens.”

Strangely, although the Office of Human Rights has been investigating discrimination on the CUA campus for several months, and the matter has generated hundreds of articles, several editorials, and even a comment by a U.S. Supreme Court justice, neither the President nor anyone else speaking for the University has sought to explain to the public, or even to CUA’s own students, why it believes that its discrimination does not violate the Human Rights Act.

“Perhaps this new demand by the agency formally investigating the matter will finally force CUA to publicly explain itself,” suggests Banzhaf.

Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
2000 H Street, NW, Suite S402
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418

Beautiful Letterhead

Travel traveling:

Antique Old Paper:

Background parchment paper:

Geyser grand canyon:

Smoking rules eased for part of Crown Casino

CROWN Casino has been granted exemptions from smoking bans on four separate floors of the casino complex – despite an election promise by the Baillieu government to review the casino’s special treatment.

Health Minister David Davis recently approved smoking in ‘‘high roller’’ areas on the ground floor and level one of the casino and on levels 29 and 39 of Crown Towers. Former health minister and now Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews approved similar exemptions for the casino last year.

Crown is the only poker machine venue in Victoria where smoking is allowed.

It also enjoys a more favourable tax rate on its 2500 poker machines, is the only venue allowed to operate 24 hours a day and can make larger cash payments from its machines.

In the lead-up to last year’s election, the Coalition promised to examine ‘‘Crown Casino’s exemptions … to ensure that gambling regulation is as consistent as possible’’.

‘‘It is an important principle that, insofar as it is appropriate, gambling regulation be consistent across the state and across various modes of gambling. This is particularly so when considering measures that are designed to address problem gambling,’’ the election promise said. Almost 12 months on from the election, the review of Crown’s special treatment is yet to begin.

Premier Ted Baillieu and Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien have also refused to detail discussions they have had with Crown Casino boss James Packer about poker machine reforms proposed by the Tasmanian federal MP, Andrew Wilkie.

The Baillieu government will not rule out a legal challenge to Mr Wilkie’s poker machine reforms, which could include mandatory cards forcing players to pre-set how much they are prepared to lose or low-intensity poker machines. Mr Packer has been actively lobbying federal and state MPs over the proposals.

Mr O’Brien told The Age the review of Crown’s exemptions would begin ‘‘either the second half of this year or early next year’’.

‘‘There is no doubt that Crown is treated a little differently from other gambling venues; there have been arguments put forward as to why there is good reason for that because of Crown’s mecca as a tourist destination,’’ he said.

‘‘I just think when things have been in place for quite some time it is always useful to have another look at them to see if the reasons you originally introduced them for still apply and if they are still appropriate,’’ he said.

InterChurch Gambling Taskforce’s Mark Zirnsak said it was disappointing the Baillieu government had exempted Crown again from smoking bans.

‘‘I think if employees were to suffer health effects down the track they would be wise to look at their legal options,’’ he said.

He called on the government to review all of Crown’s exemptions.

‘‘It is long overdue to have a review and what’s disappointing here is the same cosy relationship Crown enjoyed with the previous Victorian government appears to continue unabated with the new Baillieu government,’’ he said.

Cigarette Companies File 2nd Suit Over Warnings

Five tobacco companies filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington late Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of regulations and graphic warning labels under the 2009 law that imposed federal regulation on tobacco.

The companies lost a similar complaint last year in the United States District Court in Kentucky when District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., ruled they could be forced to put graphic images and warnings covering the top half of cigarette packages by the fall of 2012. That ruling is now pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The new suit challenges specific regulations that led to the F.D.A. selection of nine graphic warning labels, said Floyd Abrams, a lawyer for Lorillard. He said it was not uncommon for such a 1-2 punch when controversial regulations follow a controversial law.

Mr. Abrams argues the labels and pictures violate the First Amendment protections for commercial speech. The graphic images include a corpse and a man blowing smoke out of a tracheotomy hole in his neck.

“The government can require warnings which are straightforward and essentially uncontroversial, but they can’t require a cigarette pack to serve as a mini-billboard for the government’s antismoking campaign,” Mr. Abrams said in an interview.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington group that supported the law, was unimpressed by the new complaint. He said the only new facts were the nine label pictures.

“Having raised the same issues before the court in Kentucky and lost, Lorillard is obviously forum shopping to try to find a judge somewhere who will rule in their favor,” Mr. Myers said in an interview.

The 41-page lawsuit was filed by Lorillard, the third-largest cigarette maker in the United States; R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest; and three smaller companies. Altria, parent company of Philip Morris, maker of the dominant Marlboro cigarettes brand, supported the new law and has not joined these lawsuits.

Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the F.D.A., said the agency did not comment on pending litigation.

Japanese Smokers: Going the Way of the Dodo?

The Japanese smoker is becoming an increasingly rare breed. According to a new survey, 21.7% of Japanese adults are smokers, the smokers Japanlowest proportion recorded since the annual report conducted by Japan Tobacco Inc. began in 1965.

The smoking population in Japan declined for the 16th consecutive year, but the latest figure is 2.2 percentage points lower than 2010, reflecting the steepest annual drop seen in recent years. It’s another victory for the anti-smoking movement, against the backdrop of a pervasive smoking culture where 45.8% of surveyed adult men considered themselves smokers as recently as June 2005. That has now fallen to 33.7%, according to the JT survey released Thursday.

The curbed behavior puts Japan on the lower end of the scale compared to other corners of the world. About 20.6% of all U.S. adults smoke, according to the Center for Disease Control in 2009. Over in Europe, Greece has the highest smoking rate with the proportion of smokers exceeding 40%, according to a European Commission study published in 2010. The same study said the smoking rate among the French came in at 34% and 28% in the U.K. But boasting the world’s largest population, China also has the most smokers – over 300 million.

Japan Tobacco, the country’s leading cigarette maker known as JT, attributes the decline to the graying population, greater awareness about the health risks as well as tightening smoking restrictions. Whereas Japanese smokers could light up with abandon just about anywhere in the past, new regulations have scaled back smoking spots. Local governments have designated specific areas for smoking in public congested spots, such as train stations and outside department stores. Meanwhile, walking while smoking is prohibited. But perhaps the biggest nicotine-killer in Japan has been a tax hike imposed on tobacco last October – the unprecedented increase of ¥3.5 hike per cigarette, or ¥70 on a pack of cigarettes led to about nearly 40% hike in tobacco prices.

Although the beleaguered Democratic Party of Japan is likely to shelve plans that would have hiked the tobacco tax again, albeit temporarily, the leaf is not out of the woods yet. The DPJ is expected to hold talks on a potential exclusion with opposition parties the New Komeito and the LDP, which is supported by the tobacco farmers, according to the local business daily Nikkei on Thursday.

The smoking culture here has come a long way from the 1990s, when people started to quit. The country’s smoking rate among adults was 36.3% in 1995, the year the proportion of nicotine puffers started its long, slow decline. (Although JT notes that the survey method changed in 2006.) In Japan, it is illegal to smoke and purchase cigarettes for those under 20 years of age.

The world’s third-largest tobacco company by sales volume after Phillip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco PLC, said in late July its group operating profit declined 9.5% to ¥71.98 billion ($922.9 million) in its fiscal first quarter, hurt by the disruption of its tobacco sales following the March 11 disaster.

To deal with the changing tide, JT has pushed for compromise rather than an all-out ban on smoking like ones imposed in the U.S. and Europe. “JT will continue its efforts to realize a society in which smokers and non-smokers can co-exist in harmony,” said the company in the survey report. One example of nurturing this harmony is in urging smokers to be polite, such as courteously not littering the streets with used butts. Also, the company said it offers complimentary consulting services to restaurants, offices and stores to help create smoking and non-smoking sections before the practice is banished to the outdoors, as it is in all dining establishments in New York City.
By Yoree Koh

Group seeks to promote ‘kretek’ as cultural heritage

As the people of Jakarta are embroiled in an ongoing debate on the effectiveness and impacts of the city administration’s anti-smoking campaign, one group has emerged as a new proponent for the pro-cigarette argument.

Komunitas Kretek, (clove-cigarette community) says it will promote kretek as one of the country’s cultural heritages.

The community’s coordinator for Greater Jakarta, Zulvan Kur-niawan, told The Jakarta Post recently that the community was not established to start a widespread campaign for everyone to start smoking.

“It’s not about that at all. It’s more about empowering those in the lower economic class, including the clove farmers, tobacco farmers, the factory workers, the street hawkers and many others,” he said.

Around 6 million Indonesians work in the clove cigarette industry, according to the government.

Governor Fauzi Bowo issued gubernatorial decree No. 88/2010 establishing smoking-free zones in May last year, revising a regulation ratified in 2005.

The regulation, which bans smoking rooms in offices, malls and completely prohibits smoking in all buildings, has drawn controversy since its issuance.

While many had voiced their approval of the regulation, numerous pro-smoking advocates, including Komunitas Kretek, said time and again that the decree was discriminatory toward smokers.

They alleged that the decree was backed by multinational pharmaceutical companies who aimed to bring down Indonesia’s clove cigarette industry.

According to Zulvan, the community’s main concern is the local sovereignty of livelihoods and cultural resources.

Komunitas Kretek was established in October last year. In the one year since its inception, the community has spread to numerous regions across Indonesia.

Today, the community has six regional offices.

At a recent discussion on the local cigarette industry here, many voiced their agreement with the community’s stance on clove cigarettes.

University of Indonesia economist Syamsul Hadi said that the government should protect the local clove cigarette industry as it was one of the few “100-percent Indonesian” industries in the country.

“Virtually every part of the industry, from upstream to downstream, is completely Indonesian: the farmers, the factory owners and workers, the distributors, the sellers and the market,” he said. “Clove cigarettes are part of the nation’s culture, and on that basis we have the duty to ensure the industry’s existence,”
he added.

City Council member Taufiqurrahman said that, so far, all arguments on the local clove cigarette industry had been one-sided. “The government and the people should not get too preoccupied with health issues and forgetting other aspects of the industry,” he said.

“The industry has contributed around Rp 60 trillion [US$6.72 billion] to state revenue every year and is the livelihood of millions of Indonesians. People should take those things into account when debating the industry,” he said. (mim)

India may export tobacco to China

India is getting ready to export tobacco to China from this year, if everything goes well. Trade relations between India and China would be renewed after a gap of around 12 years.

The Tobacco Board has received communication from the Chinese government seeking tobacco samples. This happened after the successful visit of Indian Tobacco Association (ITA) delegation to China. The ITA delegation headed by Tobacco Board chairman, G Kamalavardhana Rao, had visited China from September 25 to 30.

Speaking to Business Standard, Rao said the delegation had held discussions with the State Trade Monopoly Administration (STMA) of China where the issue of tobacco imports from India were discussed. The STMA delegates have agreed to renew the trade.

The board would now hold consultations with the ITA and decide on the time to send the samples to China. “We are confident of completing the exercise in the next couple of weeks and send samples as requested by China,” he said.

The board had also committed to export tobacco at lower price than the price of Zimbabwe, the biggest tobacco exporter to China. Indian tobacco is now being exported to over 60 countries across the world and China being the biggest importer, India wants to renew the ties and restore its market.

“We are confident of getting orders from China for the next season. We are targeting at least 10 million kg tobacco to begin with,” Rao said.

Meanwhile, the Tobacco Board has fixed the crop size to 162 million kg for the 2012-13 crop season in Andhra Pradesh. This is against 170 million kg fixed for the 2011-12 season.

Carlisle firm finds loophole in law banning cigarette machines in pubs

A Carlisle business hit by the cigarette vending machine ban has found a way round the legislation.

Although the new rules ban machines which are in reach of punters in pubs, there’s nothing to say they can’t be kept behind the bar.

So Cumbria Vending Services, which on Kingstown Industrial Estate, is offering customers smaller replacements which are operated by staff.

Cigarette machines were the sole business for CVS and managing director Rod Bullough feared for his firm when the government announced plans to outlaw them.

CVS had been trading for more than 20 years and boasted contracts with about 300 pubs, clubs and hotels across Cumbria and the north east.

Mr Bullough wrote numerous letters requesting meetings with the politicians in charge health and business without success.

Two months ago, he decided to change the way he worked. The switch has been costly as the replacement machines need to be brought in and the old ones removed.

He said: “The take up has been good and we’re working very hard, but it took me 20-odd years to build my business up to what it was and it will probably take another 20 to get it back.

“Businesses like ours are legal and we pay our taxes but the government has treated us abominably, it has given us no support whatsoever.”

Vending machines only account for one per cent of the UK cigarette market and the government’s main aim was to stop youngsters getting their fix from them.

But Mr Bullough doubts it will have any effect on the numbers of children smoking and said pubs should be stopping children accessing the machines.

By Steph Johnson

Tobacco blamed for GEPF’s performance

Investments in tobacco shares have been blamed for the underperformance of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), which contributes more than 90 percent of the R1 trillion in assets managed by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

The underperformance, however, was slight as the GEPF posted a 15.3 percent return for the year to March, compared with the benchmark performance of 15.5 percent. The 2010/11 annual report noted that this was the 100th anniversary of the PIC, but also marked the year in which its assets exceeded R1 trillion.

Chief executive Elias Masilela said that in terms of revised Treasury rules, the GEPF’s mandate now allowed for 5 percent of its assets to be invested offshore and 5 percent in Africa. It has R25 billion invested in offshore equities.

Daniel Matjila, the chief investment officer, reported that composite equities of the GEPF delivered a negative return of 20 basis points net of costs. “This was due to the poor performance of British American Tobacco, which was formally included in the equity benchmark,” Matjila said.

It acknowledged an overweight position in equities and bonds, but noted that the property portfolio – about 3 percent of GEPF investments – returned 15.7 percent, pushing the market value of the GEPF property portfolio to R31.2bn as at March this year, compared with R26.9bn a year earlier.

Among its properties are 50 percent shares in the Menlyn Mall in Pretoria and Cavendish Square in Cape Town and a 50 percent share in the V&A Waterfront, purchased last year. The latter’s value is just short of R5bn.

The listed property component produced a return of 22 percent against a benchmark gain of 15.4 percent. Listed property makes up 40 percent of its property portfolio, with the remainder being indirectly or directly held properties.

GEPF assets under management grew from R818bn to R923bn in the year under review. The PIC’s managed assets jumped to R1.032 trillion, from R910.9bn in 2010. This includes the assets of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the Compensation Commissioner Pension Fund and the Compensation Commissioner Fund. The GEPF has 1.2 million contributors and 300 000 pensioners.

Between 2000 and 2011, assets under management had grown steadily, increasing at a compound rate of 15 percent a year against average inflation of 6 percent. This implies a real growth rate in assets of 9 percent a year over the period.

The UIF’s investments returned 9 percent for the year, an outperformance of the benchmark by 74 basis points, while the Compensation Commissioner Pension Fund’s assets returned 10.2 percent, 34 basis points better than the benchmark. The Compensation Commissioner Fund’s assets returned 8.4 percent, 42 basis points above the benchmark.

The Isibaya Fund underperformed its benchmark by 30 basis points with a return of 17.4 percent.

By Donwald Pressly

Belgian smoking officials to be docked for time they spend outside

Over 18,000 officials working for the Walloon, French-speaking regional authorities in federal Belgium, have been told that they will disciplined if they are seen smoking in public and that their salaries will be docked for the time they spend on cigarette breaks.

“The presence of officials smoking outside offices is not likely to give a positive image to our administration,” said a letter sent to all staff.

“Officials are invited to smoke in the courtyards of buildings or car parks out of the sight of passers-by. Failure to comply could result in disciplinary proceedings.”

One official told Le Soir newspaper that staff had been required to clock out for a smoke since August but were now being punished if they are seen smoking in public.

“Our attendance record then contains the words ‘invalid day: schedule not totally respected’,” said the civil servant. “This has shocked everyone, even my non-smoker colleagues.”

Belgium’s powerful public sector trade unions are taking up the issue. “Are they going to trouble someone for taking a few minutes for coffee or going to the bathroom?,” said Xavier Lorent, a trade union official. “It is a stigmatising smoking. Smoking is an individual freedom. Nothing says that a person will be less productive because he smokes.”

By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels

FDA to study effect of tobacco rules on smokers

U.S. health regulators said on Thursday they will follow the behavior and health of 40,000 smokers aged 12 and older to study the effects of new tobacco regulations.

The joint effort by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health is the first such study since Congress asked the FDA to regulate tobacco products in 2009.

The FDA said the results will help it better tailor regulations to inform people about the risks of tobacco products.

Rockville, Maryland-based research firm Westat will examine what makes people more likely to smoke or stop smoking, and what effect regulation has had on how people view tobacco and its risks.

“The results will strengthen FDA’s ability to fulfill our mission to make tobacco-related death and disease part of America’s past,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

The FDA was tasked with overseeing the advertisements and product designs of the tobacco industry, including marketing to children.

But its new rules have faced lawsuits from some tobacco manufacturers, who argue the government has overstepped its authority.

Last month, lawyers from companies including Reynolds American Inc and Lorillard Inc said the FDA had little evidence to prove product labels with pictures of rotting teeth and diseased lungs actually keep consumers from smoking or help them better understand its risks.

The FDA said almost 70 million Americans aged 12 and older used tobacco products in 2010, and cigarette smoking results in 443,000 deaths in the United States each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been little change in the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes since 2004.

Farmers won’t release crops without price update

BEIRUT: The head of Lebanon’s tobacco union said Tuesday farmers would not release this year’s crops until new pricing was issued that would meet the needs of agricultural workers.

“Tobacco farmers will not release their crops this year until after the issue of the new price list that should address the demands and hardships of the farmers,” Hasan Fakih said in a statement Tuesday, adding that farmers’ problems were not with Lebanon’s Tobacco Regie but with the Finance Ministry.

“The farming of tobacco represents a national sector that provides minimum-wage jobs for farmers in the south, Akkar [north Lebanon] and the Bekaa [east].” Fakih said.

The union leader also noted that the number of people working in the field had shrunk considerably, falling to 800 individuals from 2,400.

In September, the Union of Tobacco Farmers voiced support for a nationwide strike scheduled by the General Labor Confederation for Oct. 12, urging Lebanon’s largest labor group to include farmers’ concerns in its list of demands.

It called on the Finance Ministry to increase the crop’s prices by 30 percent, arguing that prices have not been updated since 1996. Their costs of living have since then risen by 120 percent, they claim, echoing a statistic frequently used by the GLC.

The group is calling on the government to more than double minimum wages, from LL500,000 to LL1.2 million, a change that would correct disparities between living costs and income levels, the group said.

Navajo Casinos Excluded from Smoking Ban Adopted by Tribal Council

Navajo Nation Tribal Council has voted to ban public smoking across the reservation lands, however issued an exemption for casinos owned by the tribe.

The council members had heated debates on the exemption, before approving it by a 14-5 vote during the summer session held in Window Rock. According to the law, the Council might reconsider the exemption of casinos as soon as the gaming authorities pay off their debts.

Several councilors considered cigarette smoking or consuming tobacco as a personal right, which can’t be regulated by the Tribal council and stated smoking ban would hurt casinos’ revenues. Critics of the exemption argued that casino employees and non-smoking patrons should not be exposed to passive smoking and that casino exemption could have adverse effect on Navajo youngsters.

The law was passed to Tribe Chairman Ben Shelly, who asked council members to avoid approving the bill, but hasn’t promised to veto it.

The bill adopted by the Tribal government admits the health dangers of tobacco smoke, yet its author focused on thousands of jobs provided by casinos game through permanent employment and construction, and considered the exemption would be a compromise. The tribe operates two gambling venues in New Mexico and has started construction of the third one, which is planned to be the largest casino east of Flagstaff.

Gaming authorities said that casino business would be hurt dramatically if patrons would be able to smoke while gambling in casinos and investments for planned venues would be in danger if casinos are included in smoking ban. They intend to repay nearly $200 million in debt in approximately seven years.

We are attempting to mitigate the risks related to a full smoking ban, offer new jobs and generate revenues that the Navajo Nation seeks and at the same time become totally smoke-free for our employees, admitted Sean McCabe, head of the gaming committee.
“As soon as we repay the debt, our business risks would be removed as well,” he added.
According to the bill, smoking is permitted only in certain areas of gaming venues, including slot machines, as well as in golf courses and other outdoor venues. Tribal council also approved an amendment to set aside an annual $150,000 fee from casino revenues for anti-smoking programs.

Navajo Chairman Ben Shelly stated the bill is not working to protect the health of tribe members. In a letter to tribal council, he wrote the legislation is an unfunded mandate to public health and public health authorities who are required to enforce it. Anyone caught on infringing the law would have to pay a fine of nearly $100 for the first violation and up to $500 for subsequent offences.

Plain packs for tobacco the next step

Cigars, cigarillos and loose and chewing tobacco are the next targets in the Federal Government’s plain-packaging campaign.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon issued a consultation paper yesterday explaining how plain-packaging rules for these tobacco products would work.

Legislation requiring plain, olive green packaging for cigarettes is now before Parliament.

The new consultation paper proposes that the packaging tobacco products are sold in would be in the same colour with no company branding or logos.

They would still have dominant and graphic health warnings.

Ms Roxon said the Government wanted the approach to plain packaging to be the same as far as possible across all tobacco products. ”Whether you are talking about cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco, all are addictive and all are harmful,” she said.

As many of these products are made overseas, the Government would allow them to be imported without the plain packaging. But they must be covered in the drab colour before they go on sale.

Options include stickers that cover the product’s original packaging, or purpose-made sealed bags or cigar tubes. Cigar bands would have to be removed, replaced or covered with a sticker.

Submissions are open until October 28 and the discussion paper can be found at www.yourhealth.gov.au.


Westlife criticised over controversial concert sponsorship

Westlife last night extinguished claims they are endorsing smoking by playing concerts sponsored by cigarette companies – burning their squeaky clean image into ashes.

Fans and anti smoking campaigners fumed over news that the pop sensations, who are on a tour of South East Asia, went ahead with a show in Jakarta, Indonesia sponsored by Clas Mild cigarettes.

“I’m calling on Westlife to grow up and to try and have some responsibility for their actions,” said anti-smoking campaigner Dr Luke Clancy of ASH Ireland.
“They will be directly responsible for the deaths of children. I can’t believe Westlife need the money. They shouldn’t be doing it anywhere,” he blasted.

However, speaking to The Star last night, band member Kian Egan (31) moved to extinguish the flames by claiming the group had no knowledge of the tobacco company’s involvement in their appearances and get no cash from the sponsors.

“We were totally unaware that a tobacco company was sponsoring our gig,” he puffed.
“We have nothing to do with it. The sponsors over here put it in place.”
He said Westlife are unaware of plans with sponsors until they arrive at the venue.
“We will not be promoting anything to do with it,” said Egan.

“We just wanna play our concert for our fans and give them a good time.
“We make nothing from the sponsorship. Sponsorship is needed for every gig in Asia. Without it the concerts wouldn’t take place,” he added.

Band member Mark Feehily (31) also moved to stamp out accusations levelled at them for performing concerts sponsored by a cigarette company.
“Whoever thinks we are endorsing smoking should bore off,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease and Westlife band member Nicky Byrne (31) and his family recently supported the launch of a televised heart attack awareness campaign for the Irish Heart Foundation.

The pop star’s father Nicky Byrne Senior, died in November 2009 from a heart attack.
“If we can help save one more life through this campaign, it will be worth it,” said Nicky in a statement on the Irish Heart Foundations website.

Massive posters advertising the cigarettes alongside images of the band were used to promote the Asian gig.
Dr Luke Clancy of ASH Ireland said Westlife were “greedy” and he accused them of “destroying lives of young children in Indonesia.”

‘If they never made another penny I suspect they have enough already,” he said.
“I’m blaming people who are grown ups, who are already rich, of being greedy, of getting more money even though they know that this will damage and kill many of the people they influence.
“They couldn’t do it here to take essentially bribes to enslave and addict children in other jurisdictions.”
ASH’s statement is the second damaging blow for Westlife as a result of cigarette companies this week.
The band also lost the right to trademark its own name after losing a European court battle to a German cigarette company.

Judges in Luxembourg ruled that “Westlife” cannot be registered as an EU trademark – because it is too similar to the word “West” – a cigarette brand name that was already trademarked by the German company.
The ruling, which said the tobacco firm had already acquired the brand first, now leaves the band open to counterfeiters across Europe.

By Colin Casey