November 2011 - |

Monthly Archives: November 2011

Harford to ban smoking on county government property

Harford County government says it plans to impose a complete smoking ban on its properties, owned or leased, though it isn’t clear what specific properties fall into that category.

The Harford County Department of Administration will conduct a public hearing on the proposed rule and regulation requiring county government property to be tobacco-free on Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. in the second floor conference room, Harford County Government Administration Building, 220 South Main St. in Bel Air.

“There’s been an issue at the county office building, where smokers congregate down the handicapped ramp and also at a picnic table on the parking lot,” Thomas said.

The proposed tobacco-free rule and regulation states: “Smoking and use of any tobacco products is prohibited on all property owned, leased or operated by Harford County, Maryland (the ‘County’). This consists of all buildings and grounds, including exterior open spaces, parking lots and garages, driveways and recreational facilities. In addition, smoking is prohibited in any vehicle owned or leased by the County.”

Besides cigarettes, cigars and pipes, “smoking” is defined as the use of other tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco, as well as, e-cigarettes.

The tobacco ban will take effect Jan. 1, 2012; however, the regulation has a provision for the county to provide a designated smoking area outside any leased county facility that is under contract to be used prior to the ban taking place.

Employees who violate this regulation are subject to disciplinary action, according to the regulation. Visitors and/or vendors who are observed violating this regulation will be required to cease the violation, or will be asked to leave the premises.

Thomas could not immediately provide specific details on the properties that will or will not be affected by the ban. He did say he had been told the libraries’ grounds would not be covered by it.

Tobacco health fund dwindling

A fund intended to support Nebraska health needs for generations is declining and will probably run dry if current trends continue.

Nebraska’s state investment officer, Jeffrey States, warned lawmakers Tuesday that money going out of the Health Care Cash Fund exceeded money coming in during the last fiscal year.

Projections show that the imbalance is likely to continue unless lawmakers cut back the spending from the fund, he said.

“You could maintain for the next 10 years the current level of spending, but it would not be perpetual,” States said.

The situation jeopardizes money used for a host of health-related needs.

Biomedical research, children’s health insurance, public health, behavioral health care, developmental disability services, respite care and more get annual allocations from the fund.

The fund provided about $59 million for those purposes during the fiscal year that ended June 30. More than $58 million was appropriated in the current fiscal year.

Former State Sen. Jim Jensen of Omaha said the Health Care Cash Fund was created in 2001 with Nebraska’s share of a national tobacco settlement agreement and with funds Nebraska collected through a Medicaid billing loophole.

The intent was to create a perpetual fund that could support health-related needs with its earnings, he said.

But the plan began running into trouble in recent years because less money has been going into the fund than expected.

The federal government closed the Medicaid loophole in 2005, and annual amounts coming in through the tobacco settlement are projected to shrink.

The volatile investment climate of recent years added to the difficulties of maintaining the principal in the fund, let alone adding to it, States said.

He told lawmakers the situation leaves them with the choice of spending at current levels and letting the fund slowly disappear or reducing spending to a level at which the fund’s principal could be maintained.

Jensen urged members of the Appropriations and Health and Human Services Committees to choose the latter option and preserve the fund.

“If it requires a temporary reduction in spending, so be it,” he said.

Senators heading the two committees said they have not decided which direction to head.

It may be the 2012 legislative session before lawmakers tackle the issue, said Sen. Lavon Heidemann of Elk Creek, the Appropriations Committee chairman.

“It’s not going to be an easy process by any means,” he said.

Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, the HHS Committee chairwoman, said senators may look at other options, such as finding money to bolster the fund.

Any proposal to cut spending is bound to face resistance.

Representatives of groups that have benefited from the fund told lawmakers Tuesday how critical the money has been for them.

Kay Oestmann, president of Friends of Public Health, said the $5.6 million per year for public health aid made it possible for Nebraska to expand public health services statewide.

The $14 million per year for biomedical research allowed the University of Nebraska, Creighton University and Boys Town to recruit top researchers, who now bring in many times that amount in federal research dollars, said Jennifer Larsen, University of Nebraska Medical Center vice chancellor.

David Holmquist, a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society, said money going to Tobacco Free Nebraska has helped the state bring down smoking rates by adults and teenagers to below national averages.

Nebraska was projected to receive $1.3 billion over 25 years in the settlement between states and tobacco companies. The settlement ended a lawsuit filed to recoup money spent on health care for smokers.

By Martha Stoddard

Philip Morris – comedy of errors

I don’t get to see the dandy Marlboro men, riding a horse anymore – According to a popular survey, Philip Morris, formerly known as Lakson Tobacoo Company, spent an astounding $6.4 million on publicity in 1998, making itself the third largest business advertiser in Pakistan that year. Thanks to the good three minutes cigarette TV advertisements back in the 90s for giving us ‘the taste of adventure’. Come to think of it, I still cannot trace back to the time when my ears last heard a fast forward – shrill voiceover coming straight from an electronic advertisement saying, ‘Smoking is injurious to health – Ministry of Health’.

Adding to my miseries, I don’t even get to see the dandy Marlboro men, finely suited; riding horses, driving jeeps, climbing mountain peaks and attractively sliding cigarettes from a cigarette pack. To top it off, my dilemma worsens when I can’t figure out a better ringtone that can replace the spell-binding background music of the famous cigarette advertisements of our times.

In the case of cigarette advertisements, the ban in Pakistan was imposed from approximately, the year 2002; since then the government of Pakistan outlawed open advertisement of cigarettes through both print and electronic media.
Even when cigarette advertisements were not banned in Pakistan, public service messages against smoking were regularly telecasted on electronic media. One very famous commercial, of 2 minutes, 17 seconds, pretty long to bear at this point in time, we all remember; ‘Wasim bhai, ap thaktay nahi hain? Jee nahi,mein cigarette nahi peeta.’ (Even though, I can bet, that out of all the good things that he does, he definitely is a good smoker.) Today, the same celebrity can be juxtaposed, with a voiceover warning about the dangers of smoking. Hail the excessive media exposure and advancement in time that have changed our perception towards things.

Just recently, as I was going through a print magazine, my eyes caught the full page view of my long lost ‘handsome hunk’, surfing through the sea on a graceful horse. Yes, it was none other than ‘The Marlboro Man’. I instantly wanted to thank the company for bringing back my childhood memories, but the Tobacco Control Cell of Pakistan apparently, did not like the dude’s presence on mass media. The cell lifted a ban on cigarette advertisements under the Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of

Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002, but Philip Morris did not even seem to research well before making such a major blunder. Good lord, Pakistan Tobacco Company – the major competitor of Philip Morris, did not follow their stars.
The Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002, governs multiple areas of tobacco control, including restrictions on public smoking, sales to minors, and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

According to the Presidential Ordinance, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no person/company shall advertise tobacco and tobacco products in any media, in any place and any public service vehicle.” This makes the recent promotional advertisement campaign by Philip Morris, a clear violation of these rules and regulation.

In another recent incident, the company evaded millions of rupees worth of taxes by short payment of federal excise duty and sales tax in their imported Matlboro online. For which Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued show-cause notice to Phillip Morris, asking them to pay evaded tax amounting, Rs300 million.

Despite the aforesaid cases, the giant cigarette company keeps on beating out products across the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) spectrum. The tobacco company is also involved in Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). CSR promotes the view that “firms should strive to make a profit, obey the law, be ethical, and be a good corporate citizen.” Ironic, how a cigarette manufacturing company rates environment, health and safety management as their top priorities. Whereas, tobacco is the only consumer product that kills one half of its users when used as directed. Let’s not get into the debate, the idea that tobacco companies can be ethical while promoting a disease-producing product is fundamentally contradictory.

By Maheen Syed

Battling Big Tobacco: Physician activism vital on smoking’s new frontiers

It’s no coincidence that the small South American country of Uruguay had a physician as president when it began implementing some of the strongest tobacco-control policies in the world five years ago. Dr Tabaré Vásquez, an oncologist, became president there in 2005 and proceeded to turn the nation of just 3.5 million people into a leading example of how to try to curtail cigarette consumption.

He achieved this through methods that are widely acknowledged to work by those advocating for global tobacco control: banning smoking in public places; increasing taxation on and subsequently the price of cigarettes; banning advertising, sponsorship, and promotion by tobacco companies; restricting the use of misleading words on cigarette packs; and making smoking-cessation programs and products widely available.

But the tobacco industry fought back [1], with Phillip Morris bringing an international lawsuit against the government there, “not because Uruguay is an important market but because its policies could spread over the world,” explained Dr Walter Reyes Caorsi (Casa de Galicia Hospital, Montevideo, Uruguay) during a session on global perspectives on tobacco control at the recent American Heart Association (AHA) 2011 Scientific Sessions. Although Vásquez is no longer president of Uruguay, his successor, José Mujica, says he plans to continue the strong tobacco-control policies established by his predecessor

Next in line to face the wrath of this industry—and a widely expected lawsuit—is likely the Australian government, which is hoping to enact, by the end of this month, a law that stipulates that cigarettes can be sold only in plain packaging.

And that, Matthew L Myers (president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids [CFTFK], Washington, DC) told heartwire at the meeting, means staying one step ahead of the cigarette companies, which will never stop attempting to fight those trying to effect change and which will keep pushing to expand their markets in any way they can.

“The evidence shows that restricting tobacco use is perhaps the most important way to reduce CVD globally,” says Myers. But he notes that it is important for people to understand “that we are at very different stages around the world: in developed nations, we are beginning to see tobacco use decline among both men and women. But in low- and middle-income countries, we are seeing both very high rates of smoking among men and, even more disturbing, dramatically increased smoking rates among women.”

And he warns that while the global public-health community’s focus is on trying to reduce the number of male tobacco users in developing countries—where frequently the majority of men smoke—the tobacco industry is unashamedly targeting women and children in those nations, most of whom do not currently smoke but whom industry sees as ripe for the picking.
What we are seeing now in emerging markets we’ve seen for 80 years in the developed world. The move to make smoking glamorous, to make smoking part of a new freedom, a new independence, a new economic wealth among women, is found in every low- and middle-income country that is beginning to prosper.”

According to Myers, health professionals have “huge political clout” that they don’t often put to use. “We have seen, where leaders of the health community become involved, demand change, support change, speak out, that in fact they can counteract the tobacco industry. Doctors need to be talking to their public officials about the impact of tobacco use and supporting the policies that we know work. They need to be speaking to the media. They need to be talking to their patients about both direct smoking and secondhand smoke.”

Johanna Ralston (CEO, World Heart Federation) agrees. Observing that not every country is as lucky as Uruguay to have had a physician as president, she said, “One of our priorities is to further engage the cardiovascular community in this space, so please do get more involved . . . cardiologists have an important role to play.”

Dr Hans Stam (CEO and executive director, Netherlands Heart Foundation) was equally as impassioned when he revealed the disaster that has befallen his country when a smoker became minister of health, rolling back a number of public-health policies limiting tobacco use. “Both the problem and the solution are outside the normal medical framework. But there is probably nothing we can do that will have a greater impact,” he urged.

“We need to remember that the tobacco industry won’t quit trying to change the perception of what smoking is really like,” Myers emphasized. “The task for all of us is to make sure that before they get there, we get there.”

By Lisa Nainggolan

Illegal booze and tobacco seized from Herefordshire shops

MORE than 6,000 “under the counter” cigarettes and 930 litres of black market beer were seized when a customs and revenue team raided a single Hereford shop that was already banned from selling alcohol.

The seizure was just one of several made in a series of raids across the county over two days.

One target was a house in Moor Farm, Hereford, from which tobacco was being sold to children. A further three kilos of hand rolling tobacco were found at a house in Leominster.

All told, five shops in the city centre were raided by customs officers backed up by trading standards officials and police.

A dog was used to sniff out where cigarettes may have been hidden Tobacco and alcohol products that would have drained around £13,500 from public finances in unpaid duty were uncovered.

HM Revenue and Customs has had Hereford in its sights since earlier raids exposed the extent of the county’s thriving black market in cigarettes and alcohol – a market described as “highly organised crime.”

One shop had around 6,500 cigarettes and 930 litres of beer seized having already been banned from selling alcohol after a previous bust by customs.

The duty evaded on the cigarettes is around £1,235.

and brands included Jin Ling, L&M Superkings Blue and Minsh.

The duty evaded on the beer is around £1,215.

Brands included Tyskie, Lech and Debowe.

A house search at Moor Farm uncovered 62kg of hand rolling tobacco, 37.5 litres of wine and a quantity of cigarettes. Another 48 litres of beer and 45 litres of wine were found in the garage, with the duty evaded totalling around £11,000.

Illegal cigarette and alcohol sales can be reported to HMRC on 0800 595000.

Tobacco lobbies silenced link to global warming

Politics, not science, is the root of the global warming debate, Dr. Naomi Oreskes argued Thursday afternoon. When it comes to the science, she said, there is no debate.
Oreskes demonstrated throughout her lecture there has been a scientific consensus about the validity of global warming dating back to the 1900s. The sole scientific debate that has existed in any point of time was over the effects of global warming and when it would occur – both of these debates have since been settled in the scientific community.

According to her lecture, in the 1900s, it was discovered that continual burning of coal would raise the average temperature of the globe 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. Work done in the 1950s proved that despite water vapor in the atmosphere, increased levels of carbon dioxide would still affect average temperatures. By the 1960s and 70s, advances in computers allowed scientist to model climate change, further solidifying the scientific consensus about global warming.
Finally, in 1988, James Hanses brought evidence to the table that global warming was not part of the future, but part of the present, and the scientific community agreed, Oreskas said. With the consensus of the validity of global warming came a scientific consensus that humans were the cause.

“These claims about climate control are not merely ‘skeptical.’ They are the scientific equivalent of saying Belgium invaded Germany,” Oreskes said.
The roots of global warming lie in politics, Oreskes said. Roots that can be traced back to the Cold War and tobacco. Three physicists seeking to defend the Strategic Defensive Initiative, commonly know as “Star Wars,” brought their argument not to scientific journals, but to popular media, grabbing the public’s attention with articles such as “America Five Years Left,” said Oreskes.

This new tactic was combined with “doubt-mongering,” a method practiced by the tobacco industry, said Oreskes. Tobacco companies used “doubt-mongering” to raise doubt about scientific fact about the heath risks of tobacco and cigarettes. They did this by having a scientist state that the science stating that tobacco was a health risk was flawed, the use of a scientist generated believable doubt that would be seen as credible by the public, and more importantly, Oreskes said, the press.
The combination of these two methods proved useful in discrediting the scientific facts of global warming, Oreskes explained. Climate change became a target for those no longer with an enemy due to the end of the Cold War, said Oreskes. The combination of “doubt-mongering” and addressing the public in the popular media raised doubt in the non-scientific community about the validity of global warming. The science of global warming became an enemy to politics, and all opponents needed to do was raise doubt in the public.

“That’s the evil genus of this strategy, because if there’s a debate, they’ve won,” Oreskes said.
Furthermore, Oreskes discussed how scientists backing the facts of global warming have been labeled environmental extremists, communists, socialists, and generally being against the free market. Saying the she had been called a Stalinist after publishing an article about the scientific consensus on global warming. Oreskas discussed the incorrectness of these labels, stating they come simply from fear of anything that makes a free market less “free.” However, “environmental damage is…the Achilles Heel of the free market,” she admitted.

Kaley Kruger, a 3rd-semester pre-teaching major, called Oreskes an incredible speaker. “I really liked how she brought up the different realms of politics and science.”
Haley Garbus, a 1st-semester psychology major agreed, saying, “I thought it was very interesting how much politics affect people’s views on anything scientific.”
Oreskes ended by debunking some of the myths that still exist about global warming, stating global warming has not stopped, global warming is not caused by the sun and the affects of carbon dioxide are not swamped by water vapor in the atmosphere.

The event ended with a book signing of Oreskes and Erik Conway’s book Merchants of Doubt, which explores the issues presented in Oreskes lecture in more detail.

Finance Minister Rejects Tobacco Excise Revision

Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo has refused to revise the tobacco excise rate, which will be applied as of January 1 next year. He said that businesses were considered before making the decision and determining the excise.

The 15 – 16 percent rate increase was made based on the tobacco excise implementation road map. “We hope everyone understands that we must protect the public’s health and this takes commitment from all parties,” he said.

Agus said the 10 percent cigarette excise increase was the most effective measure to achieve these goals. The 16 percent increase will be applied to the second category of handmade clove cigarettes. “But there may not be a cigarette company in this category,” he added.

Indonesian Cigarette Industry Forum (Formasi) executive Heri Susianto, called on the government to postpone the new tobacco excise rate. “We also ask that the excise be lowered,” he said after a hearing with the finance commission.

Bloomsbury to launch ‘The Tobacco Keeper’

The Tobacco Keeper is for anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East. The book written by Ali Bader and translated by Amira Nowaira will be published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing on December 5.

Long-listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) in 2009, The Tobacco Keeper is an ambitious and exciting novel, written by one of the rising stars of Arabic literature. It spans five decades of turbulent Middle East history, making it essential reading ‘for anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East’ said Baghdad News in a review.

A former member of Saddam’s army, now working as a journalist, returns to Baghdad to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the celebrated violinist Kamal Medhat, whose body has been found near the Jumhuriya Bridge in the occupied city.

With the help of a book of poetry and a bundle of the musician’s letters, the journalist discovers an extraordinary secret. The man known as Kamal Medhat had lived three lives, under the assumption of three separate identities; as a man as a Jew exiled in Israel, a Shia Muslim while in Iran and a Sunni Muslim on his return to Iraq.

The Tobacco Keeper examines the malleability and instability of identity. It highlights the complexity of the social make up of Iraq, and the persistent lack of cultural homogeneity despite attempts by the Ba’athist regime to enforce it.

‘In The Tobacco Keeper Ali Bader displays the courage to reveal the Arab world’s political maladies. He has confirmed with this novel that he is not only one of the Arab world’s most remarkable writers, but also one of the major writers of world literature.’ Akhbar Al Adab, Cairo.

Ali Bader is an award-winning Iraqi novelist, essayist, poet, scriptwriter and journalist who has written ten novels, two poetry collections and several works of non-fiction. He fought in the Iran- Iraq war as a conscript and more recently worked as a war correspondent covering the Middle East. He lives in Belgium.

UK research focus on coal, tobacco outdated

If the University of Kentucky ever hopes to become a Top 20 research institution, or even to be taken seriously as a place of higher learning, it should stop wasting millions of dollars on researching what we already know.

For decades, the UK Tobacco and Health Research Institute pretended to be creating a safer cigarette and finding new uses for the golden leaf. In reality, it was nothing more than a well-funded propaganda machine of Big Tobacco.

The Tobacco Research Institute, now named the Tobacco Research and Development Center, still claims to explore new uses for the plant. After 50 years of research, they still haven’t figured out that the best use for tobacco is killing people.

Now the university has broken ground for a $5.7-million research facility to turn coal and biomass into transportation fuels. UK’s press release says that when fully operational, the facility will produce one barrel of fuel per day.

Scientists who have already studied the issue say that developing a technology that utilizes fuels from coal is cost prohibitive. It can be done, but no one could afford it.

Safe cigarette. Clean coal. I detect a pattern here.

The price of electricity in Kentucky is increasing because we burn coal to generate electricity, and coal damages human health and the environment.

Those damages are finally being factored into coal’s cost through regulations. If we want a future of affordable energy, we can do what other states are doing, and that’s get more of our energy through renewables.

Because the Luddites are in control of my alma mater, may I suggest a few other 19th century research opportunities for the University of Kentucky?

Polio is a really bad disease, I hear. So is smallpox. How about finding a way to eradicate both?

But you can’t use vaccines to do it. Vaccinations actually cause diseases, such as autism. And the human papillomavirus vaccine doesn’t cure anything, but it does cause premarital sex. Yeah, like we need a shot for that.

However, we’re positive that Dino the dinosaur really was Fred and Wilma Flintstone’s pet. They’re in a museum right here in Kentucky. So settled is the question of The Great Flood that the building of an amusement park, the centerpiece of which will be a genuine replica of Noah’s ark, qualifies for state assistance. I can’t wait for the Six Flags Over David and Goliath.

We quarrel over when life begins and ignore the very real possibility that we may be closer to its end than its beginning. Fossil fuels cause global warming, and it’s getting harder to ignore.

When a company like Solyndra fails, conservatives scream, “We must stop funding solar research. It’s a waste of money.” But when a coal slurry impoundment pond breaks or an offshore oil well explodes, the message quickly becomes, “We must subsidize the coal and oil industry even more. It creates jobs.”

Renewable energy research, that’s the realm of other states. Our motto is, “We’re busy developing a safe cigarette and clean coal.”

We’re the 99 percent, but we elect candidates who serve the one percent. In fact, to even run for office, you have to be one of the one percent or be funded by the one percent.

America is in dire straits, and one side blames big business, the other side blames government.

Maybe both sides are right. Maybe big business is our government, just as government is big business. No need to worry about it. Relax, have a smoke. Clean coal’s on the way.

By Henry Riekert

Global Tobacco Control

GTSS Surveys

The Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS) aims to enhance country capacity to design, implement and evaluate tobacco control interventions, monitor key articles of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and components of the WHO MPOWER technical package.

The GTSS includes the collection of data through four surveys: the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS); the Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS); the Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS) and the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). The GYTS focuses on youth aged 13-15 and collects information in schools. The GSPS surveys teachers and administrators from the same schools that participate in the GYTS. The GHPSS focuses on 3rd year students pursuing degrees in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. The GATS is a nationally representative household survey that monitors tobacco use among adults aged 15 years and older.


The Global Tobacco Surveillance System Data (GTSSData) is a Web-based application that houses and displays data from four tobacco-related surveys conducted around the world.

  • Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS)
  • Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS)
  • Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS)
  • Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)
  • GTSS includes over 20 tobacco data topics including, tobacco use, tobacco advertising, cessation, secondhand smoke, school policies, and perceptions of smoking behaviors.

Tobacco and Nicotine

Nicotine, the main drug in tobacco, is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the United States. In 2008, 28.4 percent of the U.S. population 12 and older used tobacco at least once in the month prior to being interviewed. This figure includes 3.6 million young people age 12 to 17. Young adults aged 18 to 25 reported the highest rate of current use of any tobacco products (44.6 percent) in 2008. Most of them smoked cigarettes.

In 1989, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report that concluded that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, such as cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco, are addictive and that nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction. In addition, the report determined that smoking was a major cause of stroke and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Once hooked, nicotine addiction is extremely difficult to overcome.
Health Hazards

It’s highly addictive. Nicotine is highly addictive and acts as both a stimulant and a sedative to the central nervous system. The ingestion of nicotine results in an almost immediate “kick” because it causes a discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal cortex. This stimulates the central nervous system, and other endocrine glands, which causes a sudden release of glucose. Stimulation is then followed by depression and fatigue, leading the abuser to seek more nicotine.
Smoking cigarettes and marijuana are closely related. Research shows that youth who smoke cigarettes are fourteen times more likely to try marijuana as those who don’t.
Nicotine accumulates in the body. Nicotine is absorbed readily from tobacco smoke in the lungs, regardless of whether the tobacco smoke is from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Nicotine is also absorbed readily when tobacco is chewed. With regular use of tobacco, levels of nicotine accumulate in the body during the day and persist overnight thus exposing daily smokers to the effects of nicotine for 24 hours each day.

There are long-term hazards. In addition to nicotine, cigarette smoke is primarily composed of a dozen gases (mainly carbon monoxide) and tar. The tar in a cigarette, which varies from about 15 mg for a regular cigarette to 7 mg in a low-tar cigarette, exposes the user to a high expectancy rate of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. The carbon monoxide in the smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases.

Second-hand smoke can cause illness. The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children and sudden infant death.


If the details seem scarce, it’s because that’s how TOBACCO likes to keep them. Hailing from an unspecified burg in rural Pennsylvania, somewhere north of Pittsburgh, he has successfully made a name for himself even as he’s avoided acknowledging that name’s legal counterpart. As both the frontman of Black Moth Super Rainbow and the sole creative engine behind TOBACCO, he’s earned the eager ears and prying eyes of doggedly loyal fans and smitten critics alike – a kindness he’s repaid by granting few interviews, obscuring his face in photos, and seeming wholly uninterested in the subject of his own identity. Such things just get in the way of the music after all, so if it’s easier, you might think of TOBACCO as music – a one-man genre made of equal parts analog crunch, earthy psychedelia, fuzzed-up hip-hop, and outside pop. All the same, here’s what’s known.

TOBACCO has a sister. He grew up in a decent neighborhood. He was nearly strong-armed into elementary school band after an aptitude test suggested he play an instrument. He hated the idea, so he didn’t do it. He didn’t like music at all, in fact, until he discovered MTV – and hence, the Beasties’ “So What’cha Want” video – one long summer bridging the middle of middle school. The first concert he attended was Butthole Surfers, and it’s still his favorite. His favorite record of all time is Beck’s Mellow Gold. Sticking to his childhood guns, he typically doesn’t like music released earlier than the late ’80s.

As for high school, TOBACCO could have done without the classes. An extracurricular interest in freestyle BMX – flatland – was soon replaced by a growing zeal for music, even though his first band, called Wood, didn’t employ any instruments to its cause. (Its two main ingredients were flyers and hype.) Acquiring a guitar and a four-track opened up new doors, to the purplish noise and busted ghetto-blaster tracks that now populate The Allegheny White Fish Tapes, which TOBACCO self-released in 2009.

This was before the gritty analog synths, the murky vocoder-ing, and the hypnotic aural crush that came with founding Black Moth Super Rainbow. TOBACCO rounded up the group’s members before graduation, and until last year’s Dave Fridmann-produced collaborative affair, Eating Us, roughly treated BMSR as a solo project, penning three albums’ and several EPs’ worth of sludgy pagan pop for his cohorts to realize live. He designed BMSR’s album art as well, which occasionally involved scratch-n-sniff elements or hair.

But TOBACCO would come to crave a more pure musical identity, one steeped in guttural sounds that hit harder and flashed brighter. This fixation reared its ugly head as 2008’s beat-oriented Fucked Up Friends, TOBACCO’s official debut. Two years later, with BMSR effectively on hiatus, the man is back and beastlier than ever with Maniac Meat, a record designed to bully his previous works into a corner, gut them, and leave ’em for dead. This is a good time to mention that TOBACCO believes he is making pop music.

Davidoff Group appoints global marketing vp

Charles Awad has been appointed senior vice president of Global Marketing and Product Development, Cigars and Accessories within the Oettinger Davidoff Group, effective yesterday.

He was previously with the Estee Lauder Companies as global vice president for the company’s Beauty Bank Division in New York, where he was responsible for the development and design of new brands and business models.
Prior to that, he spent 17 years with Procter & Gamble in Geneva and London where he held important management functions in international marketing in Personal Beauty Care, Prestige Skin Care, Cosmetics and Designer Fragrances, and Food and Beverages.

Awad, a Swiss citizen, was born in Lebanon and lived in Paris and New York.

He holds an MBA from the French business school INSEAD as well as a Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, Indiana, US.

Karnataka prices touching last year’s levels

About 1.2 million kg of flue-cured tobacco is being marketed daily at the continuing auctions in the Indian state of Karnataka, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

Growers are said to have been delivering good quantities of bright grades, and prices are reported to have stabilized, touching last year’s level.

The Tobacco Board of India says that so far about 29.82 million kg of tobacco has been sold for an average of Rs103.39 per kg.

More Scots smoking following smoking ban

The number of smokers in Scotland has risen since smoking was ¬banned in public places, according to a story by Mark Aitken for the Sunday Mail.
And the vast ¬majority of smokers live in the country’s poorest ¬ housing estates. Those living in the most deprived areas are four times more likely to smoke than are those living in the most affluent neighbourhoods.

The British Medical Association Scotland was quoted as saying that most patients admitted to doctors that they wished they’d never started smoking, so much more had to be done to help smokers quit.
‘This is particularly important in communities with high levels of poverty and deprivation, where smoking rates are far higher, with as much as 50 per cent of the adult population smoking.

‘For these people, smoking is not a pleasurable ¬activity – it’s a death sentence.’

The incidence of smoking among men rose by one percentage point to 26 per cent last year, while the incidence among women remained unchanged at 25 per cent.

Tobacco firm gave thousands of pounds worth of hospitality to nine MPs who opposed smoking bill

    • Japan Tobacco International spent £23,000 entertaining 20 MPs in six months
    • Almost half of them voted against a bill banning smoking in cars


MPs who received thousands of pounds worth of hospitality from one of the world’s largest tobacco companies opposed a new law banning smoking in cars.
The parliamentary register of members’ interests shows Japan Tobacco International, which produces Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut and, spent £23,000 entertaining 20 MPs in the past six months.
Almost half of them voted against a Private Member’s Bill banning smoking in cars carrying children.

The MP behind the Bill, Labour’s Alex Cunningham, has asked Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon to investigate.
In May, seven Tory MPs accepted tickets from JTI to the Chelsea Flower Show, costing at least £1,100 each for themselves plus a guest.

In August Labour MP Simon Danczuk and Tory Andrew Rosindell watched the England versus India Test match at the Oval courtesy of JTI. They had also voted against the anti-smoking Bill.
Mr Danczuk received hospitality to the value of £1,389 and Mr Rosindell was given £1,447 worth. Both attended the game with a guest.
The MP behind the bill – Labour’s Alex Cunningham – is now demanding an investigation by John Lyon the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

Mr Cunningham said: ‘I’m really quite amazed that MPs would put themselves in such a vulnerable position by taking this stand on proposed legislation around the same time they were receiving such lavish entertainment from the tobacco industry.
‘I’ve asked John Lyon to look into it.’
The tobacco industry fears Mr Cunningham’s bill could be the first step in a total ban on smoking in cars, seriously affecting its profits.
It is keen to lobby MPs to limit new regulations from the health campaigners that have already led to a ban on smoking in public places.
In May, seven MPs, all Conservatives, accepted tickets from Japan Tobacco International to the Chelsea Flower Show costing £1,132 for themselves plus a guest.
They were also given lunch at the horticultural event.
Less than a month later they voted against the anti-smoking Bill which passed the first of the Parliamentary process by 78 votes to 66.
Between them, the nine MPs who voted against the Bill were treated to £10,778 of entertainment by JTI.
Mr Cunningham’s Private Members Bill is due to be voted on again on Friday.

Very few Private Member’s Bills become law but they stimulate debate and can lead to more powerful legislative efforts.
The Department of Health is already planning a publicity campaign next spring warning of the dangers of smoking in cars and at home.
Existing rules on lobbying make clear that MPs must not place themselves under any financial obligation to outside individuals or organisations and must not act as a paid advocate in any parliamentary proceedings.
They should not take payment to speak in Parliament, to vote a certain way, to introduce legislation, to amend legislation or to urge others to do so.
The lobbying industry is under increasing pressure after the resignation of former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox over his relationship with friend Adam Werritty.
But the Prime Minister has delayed plans to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists despite warning last February that: ‘lobbying was the next big scandal waiting to happen.’
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said: ‘It is odd that these MPs are so keen to genuflect towards the tobacco industry and worrying that they are so easily accessible to it.
‘Given David Cameron’s very strong words about lobbying being the next scandal to hit the political class you would think that MPs would be more cautious in their approach.’
A spokesman for JTI said: ‘Like other businesses or bodies, we invite politicians and their parliamentary staff to our events, and this exchange of views has helped bring more balance to an otherwise one-sided debate.’


SGA delays smoking ban discussion

The Student Government Association delayed a much-awaited discussion of its “smoking policy reform” until next week’s meeting and held an unexpected special election to replace the speaker of the senate.
During the senate meeting Wednesday, senators sent legislation regarding smoking policy to the external committee and voted to table 11 pieces of legislation while passing three bills that would only affect the SGA. Following the passage of the bills, Charles Vincent resigned as speaker of the senate.

Smoking policy
College of Music senator Jason Howeth said he authored the smoking policy referendum after several vocal performance students approached him with concerns about the effect of second-hand smoke on their voices.
“This is an issue that is facing every student on campus, not just those around the Music Building,” Howeth said.
Among those opposing the smoking ban is College of Public Affairs and Community Service senator Nicholas LaGrassa.
“I think it’s wrong for a multitude of reasons,” he said. “Mainly, it’s all but unenforceable. And this is a sort of movement of the non-smoking majority to strip away rights of the smokers.”
If the senate approves the referendum, the student body will be given the opportunity to vote for the legislation in a poll. If approved, the ban would then need to be approved by UNT President V. Lane Rawlins.

Bills passed
The senate passed bills to allocate money to provide food at SGA’s annual holiday party, modify the group’s budget and lengthen the group’s officer terms.
The Holiday Party Expenditures bill allocates $1,200 to provide food at SGA’s holiday-themed open house on Dec. 1 and 2. Any student may attend the open house, which is located at SGA’s office in University Union 320S.
The SGA also passed a bill to use more of its yearly budget this semester and less in the spring semester.
Reallocating money in the budget would better meet the group’s needs, SGA director of internal affairs Sara Boucher said.
“We’re proposing to increase the budget to $3,500, because if we’ve already spent $1,500 this semester, then it makes sense to raise it,” Boucher said. “I took all the funds that we weren’t going to use, and then I put the funds where I thought they should go.”
The officer terms bill changed the terms of the senate officers: speaker, speaker pro-tempore, secretary and sergeant-at-arms, from one semester to the entire school year.
“We are attempting to create more continuity in our organization so we can better serve our students, so that we’re not stopping and restarting our organization every three months,” Vincent said.

Speaker of the senate
Following Vincent’s resignation, the SGA held a special election in which it elected previous speaker pro-tempore Morgan Ray as the new speaker. The senate then elected senator Sean Smallwood to replace Ray as speaker pro-tempore.
As speaker of the senate, Vincent wasn’t allowed to participate in discussions and was required to abstain from voting and said he believed he could better serve the student body as a senator.
“Basically, there are a good number of bills coming up, and they’re really about students and about how we can help them out. And I would really like to be a regular senator again so that I can help out with those bills and debate on them and be part of the process again,” he said

Full campus smoking ban will be subject to review

The review “will be addressing not only the effectiveness of the policy but some of the weaknesses that we are seeing…issues, such as labor unions, issues of safe-havens, and things along communication lines, getting the word out,” University Senate Executive Committee Chair Sharyn O’Halloran said.

Columbia will conduct a review of how to implement a full smoking ban, University Senate Executive Committee Chair Sharyn O’Halloran said at Thursday’s senate plenary.

Senators did not vote on whether to ban smoking on campus, but O’Halloran said the University will study how such a ban would work in practice. The senate plenary also featured updates on the implementation of Columbia’s NROTC program and a discussion about new employee health insurance programs. The plenary was rescheduled from last Friday to accommodate University President Lee Bollinger’s schedule, but Bollinger left before holding his usual question-and-answer session, to the consternation of some senators.

The senate voted to ban smoking within 20 feet of buildings on the Morningside Heights campus last December, but University Senator Mark Cohen, a Business School professor, started pressing for a full ban immediately after that vote took place. The senate still has not voted on Cohen’s proposal, but O’Halloran said Columbia will start reviewing the issues that could come up if the senate passes a full ban.

“It [the review] will be addressing not only the effectiveness of the policy, but some of the weaknesses that we are seeing … issues, such as labor unions, issues of safe havens, and things along communication lines, getting the word out,” she said.

In addition to the smoking ban update, Vice Provost for Academic Administration Stephen Rittenberg told senators that membership of the provost’s NROTC committee has been finalized. Asked for details by student senators, Rittenberg said that the committee will include five faculty members and two students, and that its membership will be publicly announced in the next few weeks.

“We have established an advisory committee that is going to be starting next week and has been making progress in the various administrative and academic questions that need to be answered in order to start the program,” Rittenberg said.

Rittenberg was asked by senator Ryan Turner, a graduate student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, about whether the committee should have student membership from all three undergraduate schools that would take part in the program—SEAS, Columbia College, the School of General Studies. Turner said he had heard that the committee would not have a SEAS student on it.

Rittenberg responded that “this is not the type of committee that needs to have school-specific representation.”

“You had to make a choice on how large a committee you would have and the more people you have on the committee, the harder it is to get everyone to contribute,” Rittenberg said.

With the yearly enrollment period for employees to choose their health insurance plan set to end today, Assistant Vice President of Benefits Fiona MacLennan made a presentation to senators on the 2012 changes to the University’s insurance plans. There have been two new plans added to the mix this year—the result of recommendations from a University task force charged with balancing Columbia’s benefits pool as health care costs rise—and new childcare benefits and domestic partner credits were introduced as well.

Faculty members debated the new plans, which feature higher co-payments. Many pointed to the fact that some physicians associated with or recommended by Columbia are not covered by the new plans, and as a result, employees who see those physicians are subject to very high costs.

“We have actually been working very hard with the Columbia doctors to get as many of the doctors into any of the three networks, so that they will take Columbia employees’ insurance,” MacLennan said. “That’s not something that we can necessarily mandate.”

In what O’Halloran called the “feel-good” part of the plenary, two Columbia-associated nonprofit groups, Community Impact and Columbia Community Service, made presentations to the senate to about their work. CCS President Mark Kerman said that the presentations were part of the groups’ effort of “trying to build awareness,” since it is often difficult for them to communicate with the larger Columbia community.

O’Halloran also updated senators on the work of Ad Hoc Committee on Conflict of Interest Policy. The committee has now crafted a University-wide conflict of interest policy, which is being circulated to relevant senate committees.

By Margaret Mattes

Scion of Reynolds Tobacco Empire Speaks Out Against Smoking

It has been said that the cost of freedom is constant vigilance, and it appears that is the cost of a smoke-free environment as well. While the incidence of teenage smoking dipped dramatically between 2000 to 2009, dropping from 28 percent to 17.2 percent of high school students who confessed to having smoked in the past 30 days, the rate of decline slowed to only a 2.6 percent decline between 2006 and 2009.

Eighty percent of U.S. adult smokers begin before the age of 18, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Sadly, Connecticut is among the states with the worst performance in curtailing youthful smoking. According to the Web site, Connecticut gets an “F” for the amount of money it spends to fight smoking; a “C” for its smoke-free air laws; an “A” for its high tax on tobacco products and an “F” for its cessation efforts (helping people on Medicaid and state employees to quit smoking).

The state, which previously spent $6.1 million annually to fight smoking, reduced its budget this year to only $400,000, or 0.9 percent of the $43.9 million the CDC recommends, and only 0.1 percent of the estimated $529 million in tobacco-generated revenue the state collects each year from settlement payments and tobacco taxes. Those figures place Connecticut 45th out of 50 states in tobacco prevention efforts.

Connecticut’s tobacco settlement payments derived from the $206 billion master agreement between the four major tobacco companies and 46 states are folded into the general fund and are allocated through the budget process. In 2009, the Connecticut legislature changed the rules governing expenditure of funds from the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund (THTF) to allow it to spend up to 50 percent of the amount the legislature adds to the principal fund balance in that year, in addition to any interest that the fund accumulated. During the 2010 legislative session, the legislature redirected the $12 million in annual payments from the THTF to general revenue for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

In addition, the legislature transferred $5 million from the fund to general revenue, leaving only $400,000 in the fund. Once allocated, this will leave the trust fund with a zero balance, endangering the future of tobacco prevention efforts in Connecticut.

“That is pathetic,” said Patrick Reynolds, a scion of the Reynolds tobacco empire who has waged a war on smoking. “Connecticut is spending minimal amounts on tobacco prevention despite the fact that the state is receiving more tobacco-generated revenue than ever before as a result of a $1 cigarette tax increase that brought Connecticut’s total tax to $3 a pack.

“For years we were making tremendous progress,” he continued, “but the rate has slowed, and I attribute that to the tremendous cuts states have made in tobacco abatement. As states have become more strapped, they have cut tobacco prevention programs.”

While he applauded Connecticut’s high tax, he urged the legislature to refocus on the area of prevention. “The state studies are in,” he said, “and there is a clear correlation: the states that spend more have a lower rate of teen smoking.”

Connecticut might not be in a position to fund the prevention programs this year, or even next, but Mr. Reynolds is not waiting. The founder of The Foundation for a Smokefree America, he is a frequent speaker at schools around the country, and will appear Tuesday at the Torrington High School and Gilbert School in Winsted. He will speak the following day at Kennedy High School and Wilby High School, both in Waterbury. His appearances are being sponsored by the Education Connection in Litchfield.

He is now in his 60s, and one might wonder how anyone, even someone who could be dubbed the Reynolds’ family renegade, could dissuade young people from an activity promoted so persistently as being “cool.” The answer, he said, is in the emotional connection he establishes with his youthful audience from the moment he opens his mouth.

“It’s theater. It’s very powerful,” said the former actor. “I start by telling them the story of how my parents divorced when I was 3, how I missed having my father in my life, and I ask if any of them are living in a home without their biological fathers. A quarter to half of the hands will go up.

“I say, ‘I don’t know how you feel about that, but I want you to get in touch with your feelings. I felt angry, a little sad.’ Any speaker who is effective connects with emotion. That’s why I have been able to get through to kids from economically distressed backgrounds, even though I come from a mega-wealthy family. We are bonded by the fact of no father in the house. When I have made an emotional bond, I teach them. I take a moment when they are open to say, ‘If I can give one lesson today, take away that smoking is addictive.’”

As the program progresses he talks about the power of advertising, showing pictures of the cartoon camel, “Joe Cool,” and cigarette packages adorned with images of rappers. He discusses the celebrities who glamorize smoking. “I tell them these stars are irresponsible role models who really don’t care about you. They are worried about their careers, they’re self-absorbed. And I tell them that if they hero-worship, they are giving all their power away to another person.”

At the end of his impassioned program, he “initiates” his listeners into adulthood. He said societies around the world seek to protect young children but then put them through painful initiation ceremonies when they are on the cusp of adulthood.

“The elders take the children out into the forest or desert and make them pretty uncomfortable,” he tells the young people. “They really make them feel some pain because until today you have been a child. We have tried to shield your eyes from the pain we know is coming. But I ask them, ‘How are you going to handle it when life hands you pain? Are you going to run off to a bar, smoke cigarettes or take drugs? Or are you going to stay with what is bothering you, sober as a judge, and connect with another person?’

“I close by acknowledging that kids are worried about the future. … I ask them how many are worried. If they do not have hope for a future, a child is prone to risky behaviors. Then I walk them through four points to motivate them and get them to believe in the future and to give them a reason to stay tobacco and drug free.”

He tells them to think positively, to talk to one another, to evaluate what real wealth is—a hint, it’s not about money—and to “develop a rock-solid faith that wonderful times are coming.”

Mr. Reynolds has lived by his own convictions for decades now, divesting himself early of his family’s involvement in the tobacco industry.

In his book, “The Gilded Leaf” published with Lakeville author Thomas Schactman, he chronicled three generations of his family and its tobacco business. He is the grandson of the tobacco company founder, R. J. Reynolds, and son of R.J. Reynolds Jr., a man he invited back into his life when he was 9 after a six-year absence. His father died five years later from emphysema at age 58, leaving a will that disinherited Patrick and his brothers. He received $500,000 from his father’s fourth wife in agreement not to contest the will, but inherited $2.5 million from his grandfather in 1969, when he was 21.

In April 1986, Mr. Reynolds, a Republican, met with Sen. Robert Packwood, where the issue of a proposed cut in tobacco tax was raised. Outraged, Mr. Reynolds stood up and asked why tobacco taxes were so low. By June 1986, he had become an anti-smoking activist, appearing in advertisements for the American Lung Association and testifying before a congressional subcommittee, to the dismay of his family.

“My grandfather founded the company 1875 and my father died from smoking when I was 15 or 16,” he said. “He began smoking, and moved on to—which didn’t turn out to be safer because they had a filter.”

Appalled that his father and older brother had died as a result of smoking, his attitude toward tobacco use hardened. “As a Reynolds, I have a great platform to make a difference on this issue,” he said. “I have made it my life’s work to prevent teen smoking and to empower smokers to stop.”
He admits there was a “certain chill in air for a long while” with his family once he started his crusade. “Before I began speaking publicly, I went to see my brothers. They were worried the stock would go down and that I would be an embarrassment to the family if I spoke out,” he said. “I spoke out, but the stock went up.”

He adds that he had sold his stock in the company long before he became an advocate because “I wasn’t comfortable holding stock in a company that was selling addiction and death.”
In 1989, he founded The Foundation for a Smokefree America. In October 2010, he released an educational video for grades 6 through 12, “The Truth About Tobacco.” It addresses cigarette advertising, smoking in films, and the addictiveness of nicotine. “The video is next best thing to one of my programs,” he said.

‘It’s theater. It’s very powerful,’


Philip Morris challenges Australia on plain pack

Tobacco giant Philip Morris on Monday launched legal action against Australian laws forcing tobacco products to be sold in drab, plain packaging from late next year.
Australia’s parliament has passed laws compelling cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars to be sold in plain olive packs from December 2012.

Tobacco export countries including Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Ukraine have warned they may challenge under world trade rules, while tobacco companies including British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, have said they may challenge the law in Australia’s High Court.

Philip Morris said it had launched legal action that could trigger compensation claims worth billions of dollars.
“The Government has passed this legislation despite being unable to demonstrate that it will be effective at reducing smoking and has ignored the widespread concerns raised in Australia and internationally regarding the serious legal issues associated with plain packaging,” Philip Morris spokeswoman Anne Edwards said in a statement.

The action is being brought by Philip Morris Asia Ltd, Hong Kong, the owner of the Australian affiliate, through a notice of arbitration under Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.
The laws are being closely watched by governments considering similar moves in Europe, Canada and New Zealand, angering tobacco companies worried that they may set a global precedent and infringe on trademark rights.
The Himalayan nation of Bhutan banned the sale of tobacco outright earlier this year.
Australia’s Health Minister Nicola Roxon, speaking after parliament’s lower house approved laws already passed by the upper house

Senate last week, demanded tobacco companies respect the will of the parliament.
“Plain packaging means that the glamour is gone from smoking and cigarettes are now exposed for what they are: killer products that destroy thousands of Australian families,” Roxon told reporters.
Roxon said while the tobacco industry was fighting to protect its profits, the government was “fighting to protect lives.”

The World Health Organization in 2005 urged countries to consider plain packaging, and estimated more than 1 billion are regular smokers, 80 percent of them in poor countries.

Industry analysts say tobacco companies are worried that plain packaging could spread to important emerging markets like Brazil, Russia and Indonesia, and threaten growth there.
Legal experts have predicted both legal and WTO challenges to fail, as intellectual property rights agreements give governments the right to pass laws to protect public health.

Conservative opposition MPs, while backing the laws, urged Roxon to accept a three month moratorium on prosecutions and the enforcement of heavy fines for small tobacco sellers to give them time to adjust to the possible impact on sales.

Australia already bans tobacco advertising, smoking in public buildings and the public display of cigarettes in shops. In some states, it is illegal to smoke in a car if a child is a passenger.
Australia wants to cut the number of people who smoke from around 15 percent of the population to 10 percent by 2018. Health authorities say smoking kills 15,000 Australians each year with social and health costs of around $32 billion.
Australia’s tobacco market generated total revenues of around A$10 billion in 2009, up from A$8.3 billion in 2008, although smoking generally has been in decline. Around 22 billion cigarettes are sold in the country each year.

Mitt Romney’s tasted a beer and a tried a cigarette once, as a wayward teenager

Mitt Romney out to prove he’s not the boring guy depicted by some commentators and has, in fact, got an edgy side.
The Republican presidential candidate drops a bombshell revelation on voters in the forthcoming issue of People magazine – he once ‘tasted’ a beer and a cigarette.

Despite the Mormon Church’s ban on smoking and drinking, he said in the December 5 issue of the magazine that he did it as a wayward teenager.

Asked if he had ever had a beer, he responded: ‘Never had drinks or tobacco. It’s a religious thing. I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once, as a wayward teenager, and never did it again.’
The rock ‘n’ roll admission comes hot on the heels of a Saturday Night Live skit named Raw And Unleashed, where Romney, played by Jason Sudeikis, tries to portray himself as a wild and crazy dude.
The segment starts with the line: ‘Hi there America, you know me. I’m Mitt Romney, candidate for president and the current leader in the polls for the Republican nomination.

‘But you don’t hear much about me in the news, because the other candidates like Herman Cain and Rick Perry are hogging all the headlines with sex scandals and whoopsy-daisies. That’s why my staff and I decided that I was too boring. And therefore I should become fifteen to seventeen percent more edgy.’
Then comes the crazy moment – he unbuttons his jacket!
He brings on a former female employee and asks if he ever sexually harassed her.
She said ‘No’ but he once said she was a sharp dresser, to which Romney replies: ‘Keep away from me ladies because I’m a real dog, bark! Bark!’

The beer and wine shocker comes a day after New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte announced that she is throwing her weight behind the former Massachusetts governor.
Just hours later, Mr Romney beamed broadly as the senator told Americans why they should back his White House bid.

Mrs Ayotte told a crowd outside city hall in Nashua, New Hampshire: ‘There’s one person in this field who is prepared to lead the United States of America and that is Mitt Romney.
‘And most importantly, there is one person who I know will ensure that Barack Obama is a one-term president and that is Mitt Romney.’

Today it emerged that Republican Charlie Bass is also joining the Romney campaign.
Campaign aides said Mr Bass, who served six terms in Congress before losing his re-election bid in 2006 only to win back his seat in 2010, would join Mr Romney this morning on a tour of a Nashua defence contractor.
Mr Romney plans to announce Mr Bass as a co-chairman in New Hampshire and a member of his national advisers.

In a statement, Mr Bass said: ‘Voters in New Hampshire and across our country are looking for a candidate that understands what our economy needs to recover and grow, that has the experience of creating jobs and has the leadership qualities needed to bring the citizens of our nation back together in these challenging times.
‘I firmly believe that Mitt Romney is the candidate that will renew our country’s faith in the American dream.’

Mrs Ayotte and Mr Bass are the latest high-profile additions to an organisation that already included Granite State Republican heavyweights like former Senator Judd Gregg and former Governor John H Sununu.
But even in a world where the impact of endorsements is often exaggerated, the latest public show of support is a significant step forward for Mr Romney in New Hampshire.

It has led prominent Republicans to suggest that Mr Romney – who already enjoys tremendous advantages in the first-in-the-nation primary state – has become so strong here that the real contest on January 10 will be for second place.
Mr Romney hasn’t begun to run television advertising yet. Instead, he’s been steadily raising money and adding campaign muscle as his Republican opponents struggle to overcome weaknesses. He is expected to join the television ad war soon, however.

Like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s endorsement in September, Mrs Ayotte’s support offers a bridge to more conservative voters, who have been reluctant to endorse a candidate with a mixed history on some social issues.

Mr Romney has struggled to win over that voting bloc in New Hampshire and elsewhere, although some have begun to reluctantly embrace his candidacy in light of repeated stumbles by his rivals.
With Mr Romney looking on, Mrs Ayotte, along with her husband, promised to play an active role in the Romney campaign.
‘Joe and I will be doing everything we can to make sure Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States,’ she said. ‘We cannot take four more years of this president.’

Tobacco free play spaces

Many families enjoy spending time with their children at a local playground.
What parents and caregivers may not know is that if the playground is not tobacco-free, their children may be inhaling toxic chemicals while they are playing.

Those toxins come from secondhand smoke.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke inhale more than 250 toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.

These chemicals are found in substances such as embalming fluid, PVC piping, household cleaners, and pesticides. According to the Surgeon General, exposure to secondhand smoke results in an estimated 38,000 deaths annually and more than 1 million illnesses in children.

In addition to secondhand smoke, discarded cigarettes found in play spaces are also hazardous. In fact, small children and animals could be at risk of swallowing, choking or being burned by cigarettes that have not been put out properly.
If a child swallows a discarded cigarette they are ingesting the toxins in tobacco, nicotine and the plastic fibers in the filter.
There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure — even brief exposures can cause eye or lung discomfort, and trigger allergies and other illness in children.

The only way to fully protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of secondhand smoke is through 100 percent tobacco-free environments — including play spaces.
Children learn their behaviors from adults, so when children see adults smoking, they think that using tobacco is safe and acceptable. This may contribute to the more than 16,000 Pennsylvania youth who become new daily smokers every year.

A tobacco-free play space is healthy for adults and children, and helps to reduce the number of children who will try tobacco.
Young Lungs at Play is a local program that supports tobacco-free public play spaces through policy change.
You can help prevent a child’s exposure to secondhand smoke at outdoor public play areas by encouraging cities, towns, and schools to create tobacco-free parks, playgrounds, and other places where children play.

Your help can make a difference in the health and welfare of all community members.
For more information about Young Lungs at Play, call 451-7871 or e-mail
Joy Henry is coordinator of the Northwest Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Program.

Illinois sees drop in smoking; tobacco settlement money used for other needs

Tamerra Henderson-Hightower is almost Richard Pryor-esque when she talks about the painful pockets of her life. She pulls laughter out of the darkest spaces.
It’s not necessarily when she talks about the years of child abuse by her father, the years of drug addiction after an uncle introduced her to cocaine, even more years – nine times in and out of treatment – trying to kick the habit.
“Don’t get me wrong, I can tell you funny drug stories,” she says. “But the cigarette stories? They’re ridiculous.”

Henderson-Hightower, 46, of Bartonville, remembers the date she quit using drugs, Sept. 17, 2006. She doesn’t remember the day she finally quit smoking. “I just know I quit.”
By her logic, the day she stopped doing drugs and alcohol should have been the day she stopped smoking cigarettes. Not so.
“I would do anything for drugs and I would do anything for a cigarette but it took a year longer to quit smoking,” she says. “For me, that said cigarettes were much harder to quit.”

The Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society’s 36th annual event, came and went last Thursday with barely a mention. That doesn’t mean anti-smoking advocates and public health experts don’t have something to say.
“I’d have to say we didn’t see as much publicity about it as we have in the past,” says Kelli Evans, regional director of health initiatives for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. She suspects part of the reason is Illinois’ day she stopped smoking cigarettes. Not so.
“I would do anything for drugs and I would do anything for a cigarette but it took a year longer to quit smoking,” she says. “For me, that said cigarettes were much harder to quit.”

The Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society’s 36th annual event, came and went last Thursday with barely a mention. That doesn’t mean anti-smoking advocates and public health experts don’t have something to say.
“I’d have to say we didn’t see as much publicity about it as we have in the past,” says Kelli Evans, regional director of health initiatives for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. She suspects part of the reason is Illinois’ smoking rates have declined steadily since the ban on smoking in public places took effect in 2008.

For the most part, so have the dollars from the tobacco settlement with big tobacco companies, money originally intended to fund comprehensive tobacco prevention programs, says Greg Chance, director of Peoria County Health Department.
He points to a 2010 report that ranks Illinois 35th among states in the amount of money from the tobacco settlement that goes toward fighting tobacco use.
The state gets about $300 million a year from the settlement. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends states spend $157 million on anti-smoking programs. In fiscal year 2011, Illinois spent roughly $9.5 million, Chance says.
“Unfortunately, especially in recent years, we’re seeing the tobacco settlement dollars being used for a variety of other needs,” he says.
That means, cutbacks in smoking prevention programs throughout the state. For instance, the health department reduced staff and smoking prevention programs in the schools two years ago. The waiting list for free nicotine patches from last year’s state-funded program is so long that the health department will probably not be able to add new people to the program when the money arrives.
“People are already calling, but we already have about 70 people on the waiting list,” says Brian Tun, director of health promotions.

The CDC notes the number of former smokers in the United States has outpaced the number of current smokers since 2002. But, according to a CDC analysis of 10 years of survey data, almost 70 percent of current smokers want to quit.
The percentage of African-Americans who want to quit is even higher, in fact the highest among all racial, ethnic, age, education levels, economic statuses categorized in the 2010 health survey – 75.9 percent, compared to 68.8 percent overall. Yet, black people had one of the lowest quit rates. Of people who reported quitting in the past year, the percentage of African-Americans was 3.3 percent, compared to 6.2 percent overall. Consequently, smoking-related illnesses are the No. 1 cause of death in black communities.

One theory for the discrepancy in quit rates is that black people are more likely to smoke mentholated cigarettes, which increases nicotine dependence.
Henderson-Hightower, who is black, says her brand was Kool Milds, a menthol cigarette. She started smoking cigarettes and marijuana when she was 13, she says. By 21, she was using cocaine.
Though marijuana is often mentioned as a gateway to other illegal drugs, a new National Institutes of Health study (NIH) suggests nicotine use may be a more potent gateway to cocaine addiction.
Mice exposed to nicotine first, then to cocaine, were more likely to show addictive characteristics. However, mice exposed to cocaine first, then nicotine, weren’t more likely to use nicotine.
“If our findings in mice apply to humans, a decrease in smoking rates in young people would be expected to lead to a decrease in cocaine addiction,” the authors, led by Dr. Amir Levine of Columbia University, wrote.

And if their findings in mice apply to humans, it might also help Henderson-Hightower understand why she had a much tougher time kicking cigarettes than cocaine.
Seeing a hypnotist amounted to $70 up in smoke. She lit up two hours later.
Then she’d buy a pack and give it away, promising herself she would only smoke one from that pack. She’d keep her promise, then immediately buy another pack.
Don’t mention the nicotine patch.
She came to refer to her stint using the patch as “patch on, patch off.” She’d take it off to smoke, then put it back on. Soon, she realized she was smoking more than she was wearing the patch.
Henderson-Hightower became much more involved in her Christian faith about the same time she started doing the “patch on, patch off” routine.

She was leading a church support group, Bondage No More, for people who had gone through similar life experiences as hers. But she was also the member of the church choir who would go outside for a cigarette as soon as she left the choir stand.
“I was blurring the message,” she says now.
Not knowing what else to do, she started praying. Daily, she’d get on her knees and recite a Bible verse from the chapter of Mark, asking for the mountain to be removed. The mountain, in her case, was cigarettes. She’s not sure of the exact date. She just knows one day she realized she hadn’t had a cigarette in awhile.

She was living in a non-smoking building, which helped. A year after she quit, the state enacted the ban on smoking in public places, which helped her not to relapse, she says.
Life has not been a party since she quit. She has dealt with health problems, job problems, family issues.
“It’s the kind of stuff that drives people to smoke,” she says. “For me to start smoking again over problems? I think that would cause more problems.”

Setting tobacco crop targets

It merits a mention that tobacco growers are advised to sow only tobacco varieties recommended by the PTB as per provision of the agreement executed with tobacco companies.
The tobacco business and marketing are regulated through federal and provincial laws of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
And the Pakistan Tobacco Board tries to develop a co-relationship between crop production and requirements of the tobacco industry.

According to legal requirement, tobacco manufacturing and exporting companies are required to indicate their tobacco requirements by October 21 of each year in respect of ensuing crop to the PTB. After discussions between the Board and other stakeholders like growers, buyers and dealers, etc., and taking into account factors like crop size, prices, domestic usage and exports, these figures are finalised. The purpose of this exercise is to have a balance between the demand for tobacco by the companies and the crop size.

The following requirements for 2012 crop indicated by companies/dealers have been announced/publicised by the PTB to inform the growers to plan tobacco production for 2012 crop accordingly and to avoid crop surplus/shortage:-
The projected requirements for tobacco crop 2012 of flue-cured Virginia, dark air-cured and white patta are lower by 3, 34 and 2.3 per cent compared to the requirements by tobacco companies during 2011 while that of Burley is higher by 110 per cent.

The tobacco growers have been advised to plan production of tobacco crop 2012, keeping in view the set purchase targets of tobacco industry. They have been also advised to execute agreements with tobacco firms of their own choice so that no problem is encountered in its proper marketing at fair prices. Also, the companies will purchase tobacco according to their indicated requirements from ‘contracted growers’ or ‘agreement-holders’ and not from ‘Azad growers’.

The projection efforts are aimed at securing a balance between tobacco demand and supply. These efforts are offset, in case tobacco is produced without giving appropriate consideration to the execution of agreements. This has led to cultivation by growers of a crop size in excess of the demand resulting in over-supply and consequent price depression, not to mention difficulties in disposal of crop by small growers facing serious financial distress. The concluding message is that tobacco growers should not grow Virginia tobacco without agreements, while tobacco companies should ensure compliance with the provision of law which envisages execution of agreements for their targeted requirements by the end of December, each year.

It merits a mention that tobacco growers are advised to sow only tobacco varieties recommended by the PTB as per provision of the agreement executed with tobacco companies. However, the tobacco companies had reluctantly purchased the non-recommended varieties of flue-cured Virginia tobacco (locally known as Swati) grown on larger areas (almost 80 per cent) of tobacco growing districts of Mardan, Swabi and Charsadda during 2011 tobacco season.

Obama Congratulates Non-Smokers, Slams Tobacco Companies

U.S. President Barack Obama, a former smoker himself, has congratulated everyone who has taken part in a national day without using tobacco, while slamming tobacco companies for opposing new labeling requirements.

In a video message, the president said tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. He said the country has made progress in reducing the number of Americans who smoke, although 46 million people in the U.S. remain addicted.

The president had strong criticism for tobacco companies, saying they are trying to block graphic, new warning labels because “they don’t want to be honest about the consequences of using their products.”

His remarks were in observance of the “Great American Smokeout” by the American Cancer Society, a group that works to prevent cancer and tobacco use.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nine graphic ads that cigarette companies would have to put on their packages. The ads include images of rotting teeth, diseased lungs, a person smoking through a tracheotomy opening, and the body of a dead smoker.

Cigarette companies have filed legal challenges against the requirement for the new labels, arguing they amount to anti-smoking advocacy.

The president was declared “tobacco free” during his latest physical in October. In his video message, he said quitting smoking is hard, “Believe me, I know.”

November 18, 2011

F.D.A.: 1,200 Stores Violated Bans on Tobacco Sales to Minors

Over the last year, the Food and Drug Administration gave $24 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to improve enforcement of laws banning the sale of cigarettes to people under 18 years old.

On Thursday, the agency said sting operations with underage buyers had resulted in notices of violation to 1,200 stores in the first 15 states that conducted the new round of inspections.

“They are discovering that selling cigarettes to minors is not only wrong, it’s a violation of federal law,” Dr. Lawrence Deyton, director of the F.D.A. Center for Tobacco Products, said in a conference call with reporters.

While states have long banned cigarette (and alcohol) sales to minors and mounted enforcement efforts from time to time, the 2009 tobacco legislation passed by Congress for the first time set national standards and enforcement authority, effective June 2010.

A first violation gets a warning letter, while a second violation can result in a $250 fine, and five violations within 36 months can result in a ban on a store from selling tobacco, said Ann Simoneau, director of compliance and enforcement for the tobacco center. She said minors trying to buy cigarettes in the sting operations are accompanied by adults.

Paul Dabhi, manager of a Quick Stop store in Erie, Pa., said he took a number of steps to assure his store would no longer sell to teenagers after receiving a Sept. 29 warning letter from the F.D.A. The letter said an unidentified clerk sold a pack of Newport Box 100 cigarettes to a minor on June 29.

Mr. Dabhi said he did not know who made the illegal sale, but he put up more signs, talked to all his employees, and turned more security cameras toward the front counter.

“I’ll make sure it’s not going to happen again,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday.

“A lot of kids hang outside the store,” he added. “They try to get cigarettes, everything. We keep them away as best as we can. I’m taking a really high road now.”

F.D.A. officials said stores have passed more than 26,000 compliance checks, or about 96 percent of the total under the new enforcement program. The stores that passed and failed are all listed on an F.D.A. Web site. New York was not among the states reporting results to date.

November 10, 2011

A Tool to Quit Smoking Has Some Unlikely Critics

If you want a truly frustrating job in public health, try getting people to stop smoking. Even when researchers combine counseling and encouragement with nicotine patches and gum, few smokers quit.

Recently, though, experimenters in Italy had more success by doing less. A team led by Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania recruited 40 hard-core smokers — ones who had turned down a free spot in a smoking-cessation program — and simply gave them a gadget already available in stores for $50. This electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, contains a small reservoir of liquid nicotine solution that is vaporized to form an aerosol mist.

The user “vapes,” or puffs on the vapor, to get a hit of the addictive nicotine (and the familiar sensation of bringing a cigarette to one’s mouth) without the noxious substances found in cigarette smoke.

After six months, more than half the subjects in Dr. Polosa’s experiment had cut their regular cigarette consumption by at least 50 percent. Nearly a quarter had stopped altogether. Though this was just a small pilot study, the results fit with other encouraging evidence and bolster hopes that these e-cigarettes could be the most effective tool yet for reducing the global death toll from smoking.

But there’s a powerful group working against this innovation — and it’s not Big Tobacco. It’s a coalition of government officials and antismoking groups who have been warning about the dangers of e-cigarettes and trying to ban their sale.

The controversy is part of a long-running philosophical debate about public health policy, but with an odd role reversal. In the past, conservatives have leaned toward “abstinence only” policies for dealing with problems like teenage pregnancy and heroin addiction, while liberals have been open to “harm reduction” strategies like encouraging birth control and dispensing methadone.

When it comes to nicotine, though, the abstinence forces tend to be more liberal, including Democratic officials at the state and national level who have been trying to stop the sale of e-cigarettes and ban their use in smoke-free places. They’ve argued that smokers who want an alternative source of nicotine should use only thoroughly tested products like Nicorette gum and prescription patches — and use them only briefly, as a way to get off nicotine altogether.

The Food and Drug Administration tried to stop the sale of e-cigarettes by treating them as a “drug delivery device” that could not be marketed until its safety and efficacy could be demonstrated in clinical trials. The agency was backed by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Action on Smoking and Health, and the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The prohibitionists lost that battle last year, when the F.D.A. was overruled in court, but they’ve continued the fight by publicizing the supposed perils of e-cigarettes. They argue that the devices, like smokeless tobacco, reduce the incentive for people to quit nicotine and could also be a “gateway” for young people and nonsmokers to become nicotine addicts. And they cite an F.D.A. warning that several chemicals in the vapor of e-cigarettes may be “harmful” and “toxic.” But the agency has never presented evidence that the trace amounts actually cause any harm, and it has neglected to mention that similar traces of these chemicals have been found in other F.D.A.-approved products, including nicotine patches and gum. The agency’s methodology and warnings have been lambasted in scientific journals by Dr. Polosa and other researchers, including Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Writing in Harm Reduction Journal this year, Dr. Rodu concludes that the F.D.A.’s results “are highly unlikely to have any possible significance to users” because it detected chemicals at “about one million times lower concentrations than are conceivably related to human health.” His conclusion is shared by Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.

“It boggles my mind why there is a bias against e-cigarettes among antismoking groups,” Dr. Siegel said. He added that it made no sense to fret about hypothetical risks from minuscule levels of several chemicals in e-cigarettes when the alternative is known to be deadly: cigarettes containing thousands of chemicals, including dozens of carcinogens and hundreds of toxins.

Both sides in the debate agree that e-cigarettes should be studied more thoroughly and subjected to tighter regulation, including quality-control standards and a ban on sales to minors. But the harm-reduction side, which includes the American Association of Public Health Physicians and the American Council on Science and Health, sees no reason to prevent adults from using e-cigarettes. In Britain, the Royal College of Physicians has denounced “irrational and immoral” regulations inhibiting the introduction of safer nicotine-delivery devices.

“Nicotine itself is not especially hazardous,” the British medical society concluded in 2007. “If nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”

The number of Americans trying e-cigarettes quadrupled from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Its survey last year found that 1.2 percent of adults, or close to three million people, reported using them in the previous month.

“E-cigarettes could replace much or most of cigarette consumption in the U.S. in the next decade,” said William T. Godshall, the executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania. His group has previously campaigned for higher cigarette taxes, smoke-free public places and graphic warnings on cigarette packs, but he now finds himself at odds with many of his former allies over the question of e-cigarettes.

“There is no evidence that e-cigarettes have ever harmed anyone, or that youths or nonsmokers have begun using the products,” Mr. Godshall said. On a scale of harm from 1 to 100, where nicotine gums and lozenges are 1 and cigarettes are 100, he estimated that e-cigarettes are no higher than 2.

If millions of people switch from smoking to vaping, it would be a challenge to conventional wisdom about the antismoking movement. The decline in smoking is commonly attributed to paternalistic and prohibitionist social policies, and it’s ritually invoked as a justification for crackdowns on other products — trans fats, salt, soft drinks, Quarter Pounders.

But the sharpest decline in smoking rates in the United States occurred in the decades before 1990, when public health experts concentrated on simply educating people about the risks. The decline has been slower the past two decades despite increasingly elaborate smoking-cessation programs and increasingly coercive tactics: punitive taxes; limits on marketing and advertising; smoking bans in offices, restaurants and just about every other kind of public space.

Some 50 million Americans continue to smoke, and it’s not because they’re too stupid to realize it’s dangerous. They go on smoking in part because of a fact that the prohibitionists are loath to recognize: Nicotine is a drug with benefits. It has been linked by researchers (and smokers) to reduced anxiety and stress, lower weight, faster reaction time and improved concentration.

“It’s time to be honest with the 50 million Americans, and hundreds of millions around the world, who use tobacco,” Dr. Rodu writes. “The benefits they get from tobacco are very real, not imaginary or just the periodic elimination of withdrawal.

“It’s time to abandon the myth that tobacco is devoid of benefits, and to focus on how we can help smokers continue to derive those benefits with a safer delivery system.”

As a former addict myself — I smoked long ago, and was hooked on Nicorette gum for a few years — I can appreciate why the prohibitionists fear nicotine’s appeal. I agree that abstinence is the best policy. Yet it’s obviously not working for lots of people. No one knows exactly what long-term benefits they’d gain from e-cigarettes, but we can say one thing with confidence: Every time they light up a tobacco cigarette, they’d be better off vaping.

By John Terney
November 7, 2011

Tobacco Manufacturing

Manufacturing tobacco products is a large-scale global operation and we have 45 cigarette factories in 39 countries. Seven of these plus one separate plant also make either cigarillos, roll your own or pipe tobacco. We also have a factory making smokeless snus.

As well as tobacco leaf, we purchase a wide variety of other goods and services from suppliers all over the world. We promote continuous improvements amongst our suppliers in business practices, efficiency, quality, innovation and corporate responsibility. To learn more about how we engage with our suppliers visit Working with our suppliers.
Inside the factory

When processed tobacco leaf arrives at the factory, it is checked for quality and carefully blended with other ingredients that the brand recipe may call for, such as flavourings or expanded tobacco.

Keeping track of the various types of tobacco and blend components in use is key and computers are increasingly used to track production runs. Moisture content is also crucial. Too dry and the tobacco leaf will crumble; too moist and it may spoil during storage. The blended tobacco is treated with just the right amount of steam and water to make it supple and is then cut into the form used in cigarettes. Excess moisture is then removed so the cut tobacco can be given a final blending and quality check.

The technology has advanced dramatically over the years. Cigarette making, once done entirely by hand, is now almost fully automated, with the cut tobacco, cigarette paper and filters continuously fed into the cigarette-making machines. Quality is a top priority. Each cigarette is automatically quality controlled to ensure that it meets every aspect of its specification.

Packing machines put them into the familiar brand packs, wrap the packs in protective film and group them into cartons and cases. There is more testing at each stage to make sure the cigarettes are properly protected before the completed cases are ready for distribution.
Manufacturing changes

As a multinational business, we work to ensure that our costs are globally competitive and that we use our resources as effectively as possible. To improve productivity and to continue building a sustainable business, our companies have had to take some significant and difficult decisions to reduce manufacturing overcapacity by closing some factories and downsizing others.

We fully recognise the impacts of these decisions and work hard to mitigate the outcomes for employees and the wider community. These changes are also enabling us to rationalise our machine technology to establish a more cost-effective operational base for the future. Most machinery in factories being closed or downsized is transferred elsewhere and we aim to standardise machinery at each location.

Celebrity smokers and the ‘mass killer’

Recently, two popular actresses— Nora Aunor and Anne Curtis—appeared on the cover of local magazines holding lighted cigarettes. Nora is a known smoker, while Anne is a nonsmoker who was just made to hold the lit stick during the photo shoot.

As soon as the magazines were out, they elicited criticisms from the Philippine Medical Association and other antismoking groups. The flak is well deserved as one cannot understand much the rationale for the lit cigarettes on the cover.

In Anne’s case, there is not even a modicum of justifiable argument to defend the photo since she’s not even a smoker. One can’t help but suspect that cigarette manufacturers may be working subtly on magazine editors and photographers to portray cigarette smoking as still part of the “cool” or “in” lifestyle.

In Nora’s case, the magazine editor defended her pose, and was quoted as saying that the photo captures Nora and her “new openness” that reflects “who she is today.” Nora also argued that what she did was not a crime, and people were just trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Magazine cover
They should understand though that there are things we like to do or are addicted to do that we should rather just keep to ourselves and not display in public or through the media. The cover is a magazine’s most powerful communication page, and everything in the cover is what the people behind the magazine would like to communicate to the public. It has the imprimatur of the editors implying that while it’s true that they may not necessarily agree with everything depicted on the cover design, they don’t think it’s offensive or in bad taste.

In much the same way that expletives and other offensive words are not allowed in radio or television broadcasts, anything which is deemed offensive to a big number of people should not be allowed on the cover of any publication. One may invoke freedom of expression, which the Constitution espouses, but one should not undermine others’ freedom not to be offended or negatively affected by whatever one is directly or indirectly communicating. One may not be legally bound to do it—as there are no laws against it as Nora rationalized—but one is morally bound to adhere to such principle.

I know people who also advocate “openness” and they prefer to move about in their homes without any dress but such openness is not the type you’d like to show the public. It may be all right to mention in the text of the article, and they could have done the same with Nora’s smoking, but flaunting it on the cover does not really speak highly of one’s sensitivity to other’s beliefs and feelings.

Not everyone can be privileged to appear on the cover of widely read magazines. But with it comes the responsibility to only portray and communicate what can positively influence the readers, and not what can consciously or subliminally convey unhealthy and other negative messages. I agree with the plea of running priest Fr. Robert Reyes to Nora: “…be wholesome. Gusto niyo ba gayahin ka namin? Ang trabaho niyo is to inspire us, not to scandalize us…”

Are we making a mountain out of a molehill out of these cover photos? Not really. Smoking is one of society’s most pernicious killers, if not the most. It’s a mass killer, snuffing the life out of 87,600 Filipinos every year due to smoking-related ailments such as lung cancers, chronic lung diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Every day, something like 240 Filipinos are dying because of the ill effects of smoking. It is essentially a man-induced disaster that is causing more deaths than all the fatalities due to natural calamities, vehicular accidents, rebellion and all other disasters, either natural or man-caused.

I’m sure Nora or Anne would never want to appear on the cover of any magazine holding hands with a convicted mass killer. But they just did!

Secret Celebrity Smokers

n today’s society, where we’re more health-conscious and disease-aware than ever, smoking cigarettes has become as much of a faux pas as eating poorly, not exercising, and wearing black with navy (in that non-fashionable way).

But if smoking is taboo amongst us mere mortals, it’s even more of a no-no for celebrities.  Not only do celebs have to look their best at all times (which smoking will definitely hinder), but they;realso held on a pedestal for the world to see:  role-models, trend-setters, celebrated individuals.

Despite the pressure to be “perfect,” more celebrities than you’d think are secretly (or so they think) puffing away on the regular.

Over the past few months I’ve browsed several paparazzi sites where myriad A-list stars have been caught sneaking a cig.

Here’s a short-list (some surprising, some not so much ) of secret celebrity smokers, as determined by candid photos, interviews, and general knowledge:

  • Kate Hudson (presumably she’s stopped now that shes’ pregnant)
  • Jessica Alba (same goes for her)
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Brad Pitt
  • Eva Longoria
  • Katherine Heigl (she quit last year, but has now resumed)
  • Hayden Penettiere
  • Salma Hayek
  • Ben Affleck
  • Rumor Willis
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (not so secret–these girls are for real with their cigs)
  • Daniel Radcliffe (reportedly a pack-a-day)
  • Anne Hathaway (said to have quit)
  • Sarah Jessica-Parker
  • Lindsay Lohan (forever trying to quit)
  • Whitney Port
  • Nicky Hilton
  • Kate Winslet
  • Katie Holmes
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Jude Law

And there you have it—even “perfect people” have a tough time quitting the habit.  It’s hard, but so obviously worth it— for your health, your looks….you don’t need a lecture.