December 2011 - |

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Blowing Smoke: Are Cigarette Additives Toxic?

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you; but consider that a cigarette is more than just tobacco leaves.

By conservative estimates, according to research commercial cigarettes contain about 600 chemicals and additives— ammonia, DDT, chloroform, benzene, arsenic, and lead, just to name a few.

While some components are undoubtedly toxic, the health risks associated with smoke inhalation from other additives (such as menthol, sugars, and various herbs) are not as clear. These ingredients contribute to the unique character of a particular cigarette, and allow manufacturers to modify the sensory and pharmacological properties of their products.

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a closer look at these additives with an eye toward safety and possible regulation. But the jury, it seemed, was already in.

Anticipating the impending eventuality of additive regulation, the tobacco industry conducted several studies in the late 1990s. Philip Morris’s Project MIX examined three combinations of 333 cigarette additives for possible toxicity. In 2002, analysts published a report in Food and Chemical Toxicology concluding that there was no evidence of substantial toxicity attributable to the additives.

A study published last week in PLoS Medicine draws a different conclusion. Analyzing the same data collected in Project MIX, researchers from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, and the University of California at San Francisco, found that these additives contribute a great deal to cigarette toxicity.

According to researcher Stanton Glantz, professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, Philip Morris worked politically to get the regulations they wanted.

“If you simply take their own data and interpret it properly, you have strong evidence that putting the additives in the cigarettes increases the toxicity of the smoke,” said Glantz in a video for SciVee.

In the PLoS study, Glantz and his colleagues examined previously secret industry documents that revealed changes in analytical protocols after initial findings indicated a clear additive-associated increase in cigarette toxicity. They found that industry analysts intentionally obscured laboratory data in their presentation to get the results they wanted.

“This is a very important conclusion from a regulatory perspective because if Phillip Morris could convince the FDA that putting these additives in cigarettes didn’t really affect their toxicity, than there would be no reason to regulate these additives, or demand that they be taken out,” observed Glantz.

In addition to suspicious presentation of data, researchers found other methodological red flags in the MIX Project. For example, MIX used screening tests designed to give yes or no answers as a method to describe dose response measurements. In their animal toxicology studies, MIX tests were done with such low sample sizes that, according to Glantz, no regulatory agency could use it to evaluate safety.

Researchers said that larger sample sizes would probably have detected a much broader range of adverse effects attributed to additives than identified in the journal publication, suggesting that the published papers “substantially underestimate the toxic potential combination of cigarette smoke and additives.”

So why didn’t the peer review process catch such glaring problems? Glantz says that Food and Chemical Toxicologies has very strong ties with big tobacco, and the industry knew this journal would protect their interests.

“It was an inside job,” explained Edward Carmines, lead scientist of Project MIX, in a 2001 email. “We went to a journal whose editor knew us. The comments were technical trivia.”

The PLoS report recommends that the FDA and similar agencies conduct their own independent analysis of Project MIX data, and Glantz advises regulators to ban cigarette additives until the tobacco companies come forward with “well-powered, well-designed studies demonstrating safety.” Given the data found in Project MIX, researchers say it’s highly unlikely.

“You really can’t take anything at face value from a cigarette company,” said Glantz.

By Conan Milner

Cigarette sting smokes out 36 outlets

FIFTEEN per cent of cigarette sellers tested during a sting have been caught selling tobacco to minors.

Results of the operation, released today, show 234 businesses were tested and 36 outlets were found not complying with laws that ban the sale of cigarettes to youngsters under 18.

Of those, 27 were fined and nine were cautioned.

Health Minister John Hill said the controlled purchase operation aimed to monitor the sale of cigarettes to minors and prevent them from becoming addicted from a young age.

“We know that almost all adults who are smokers took up the habit before they were 18 years old, so we have to do all we can to prevent young people from starting smoking, or continuing to smoke,” he said yesterday. “Making it harder for children to buy cigarettes helps protect them from developing a habit that could well kill them in the future.”

The operation employs young people under the supervision of adults to try to buy cigarettes.

“Selling cigarettes to minors is a serious offence, which is why we regularly conduct monitoring of tobacco retail outlets across the state,” Mr Hill said.

All of the businesses that failed to comply have received advice about systems to promote compliance, such as cash register prompts and staff training.

Those businesses will be targeted again in future operations.

“Retailers play an important role in preventing children from getting hold of cigarettes, and are required by law to ask for identification if they suspect the purchaser is under 18 years old,” Mr Hill said.

“While the results of the most recent monitoring are positive and no business has been caught out more than once since 2005, there is still room for improvement and we would like to see even higher compliance in the next round of operations.”

Retailers who fail to comply with tobacco laws face a maximum penalty of $5000 and possible disqualification from applying for, or holding, a tobacco merchant licence.

Cigarette starts Whitefield blaze

Man who rented home fell asleep while smoking on couch

A Rockland Road home was heavily damaged by a fire Wednesday night after the man living inside fell asleep while smoking a cigarette on the couch, an investigator said.

Nick Teele, who rented the house by himself, escaped the burning building on his own with minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Firefighters from six area departments battled flames, cold and high wind to extinguish the blaze at 90 Rockland Road.

Whitefield Fire Chief Tim Pellerin said Teele was evaluated on the scene for superficial burns and minor smoke inhalation, but was not taken to the hospital.

The fire has been deemed accidental by the state fire marshal’s office, Sgt. Kenneth Grimes said Thursday.

Grimes said the cause of the fire appeared to be careless disposal of smoking materials.

“The fire originated in the living room, actually in the couch,” Grimes said Thursday, adding that Teele acknowledged he had fallen asleep on the couch and had been smoking.

A man at the scene, not a firefighter, slipped on ice from tankers at the fire, hit his head and was taken to the hospital. His name was not released.

Pellerin said the first firetruck was on the scene, which is in the far northern end of town, seven minutes after the fire was reported at 8:19 p.m. Wednesday.

Heavy fire was coming out of the back corner of the two-story, gambrel-style residence when firefighters arrived and smoke was coming from windows elsewhere in the home.

The weather added to the challenge of stopping the fire. At the time of the blaze, wind speeds were estimated at 16 miles per hour, with gusts up to 35 miles per hour and the temperature was about 20 degrees, according to National Weather Service data collected at the Augusta State Airport.

“I was really concerned, with a structure fire and the prevailing winds we had blowing, that the wind, when the windows blew out, would push the fire through the whole building,” Pellerin said.

Pellerin said damage was heaviest in the living room and kitchen, on the first floor.

The home sustained about $75,000 in damage but appeared able to be salvageable, Pellerin said.

Teele was able to retrieve some clothing and other belongings from the second floor and is staying with family.

“Everybody worked well together; it was a good save,” Pellerin said. “That truly shows how mutual aid and training pay off. Even with adverse weather conditions, the crews did a good job.”

Pellerin said firefighters were on the scene for about three hours. Whitefield firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Jefferson, Alna, Windsor, Somerville and Farmingdale.

By Keith Edwards

Discarded Cigarette Butts: Common and Toxic

Glance down at the sidewalk outside a building entrance or at the pavement at an intersection, and chances are you’ll see cigarette butts scattered about. Several trillion butts are littered each year. They are the most common littered item, comprising 38 percent of all U.S. roadway litter, says Keep America Beautiful. They are the most common beach trash.

Locally, many butts end up in the Potomac River, carried there when stormwater sends them into the river’s tributaries, local streams like Hunting Creek and Paul Spring Branch. Some end up in Dyke Marsh and other area wetlands.

Why is this a problem?

Besides being unsightly to most people, cigarette butts are toxic to fish and other organisms. Plastic from cigarette butts has been found in stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine animals because the animals mistake them for food.

Almost 95 percent of a cigarette filter is cellulose acetate, a plastic that degrades slowly. Fibers are thinner than thread, packed tightly and look like cotton. Cigarette butts contain multiple toxins that can leach out and become a biohazard to organisms. Kathleen M. Register, a Longwood University expert, has documented the harm of the butts’ toxins on aquatic organisms.

Other problems: Butts thrown from vehicles can cause fires. Cigarette butts are difficult and costly to pick up. Pennsylvania State University spent $150,000 in labor costs over two weeks to remove all butts from the campus. One survey of bikers in England found that coping with butts flung out car windows was their number two annoyance.

Some attribute the growth in improperly discarded butts to bans on indoor smoking. “Circumstantial evidence indicates that more cigarette butts are accumulating outside of buildings due to the popularity of indoor smoking bans,” wrote Register.

Local Efforts

No data on the number of littered butts locally exists, but cigarette butts top the list of trash items found during Clean Virginia Waterway cleanups. In 2009, one person picked up 952 butts on a 100-foot stretch of a left turn lane on a Fairfax County highway, according to the 2009 and 2011 reports of Fairfax County’s Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC). EQAC members have discussed stricter enforcement of anti-littering laws with the Fairfax County Police Department.

Mount Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland commented, “I have always wondered about folks who dump car ash trays onto a parking lot, throw cigarette butts out the car window or cigar butts into the Chesapeake Bay on a fishing trip. Would they dump this detritus into their bath tub before stepping in? How about dumping this stuff on your driveway or patio? The answer is obvious, but we need to convince folks that it is not a cool thing to do ‘litter-ally’ because it all ends up in the Bay.”

The county’s Clean Fairfax Council is seeking a grant to conduct an anti-littering campaign and to purchase large ashtrays for public events. They also propose a pilot study in which they would place signs in 20 public areas such as a library or recreation center throughout the county where cigarette litter is most prevalent. The signs will ask smokers to dispose of cigarette butts in proper receptacles.

Virginia Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) will again introduce a bill in the 2012 General Assembly to create a fine of $100 per butt for littering, aimed at people who empty car ash trays outdoors. “It is disgraceful that somebody has the temerity to discard a single cigarette butt or an entire ashtray of butts at an intersection just so they can keep their car clean, but at the same time completely disregard the environment.” A similar bill failed in 2011.

Report Litterers

In Fairfax County, people can anonymously report someone littering from a vehicle on the Clean Fairfax Web site or call 703-324-3106. The Council has an arrangement under which the police will send a letter to the owner of the vehicle after receiving the information. The letter states that the owner of the vehicle was observed littering and that he or she should avoid this to prevent future enforcement actions.

By Glenda Booth

Sting nets three stores in Watsonville for selling cigarettes to minors

Three stores sold tobacco to minors during a sting operation earlier this month, police said, vowing to continue efforts to keep the addictive substance out of the hands of those 18 and younger.

On Dec. 10, officers organized a youth decoy operation and sent police cadets into 13 retail outlets, including grocery, convenience, pharmacy and cigarette stores, Lt. David McCartney said.

“Unfortunately, three sold cigarettes to minors,” he said. “But overall, I think our businesses are doing really well. This is less than 25 percent, so 75 percent are in compliance. But there is room for improvement.”

Clerks at Safeway, Walgreens and Cigarette City, all on Freedom Boulevard, sold to the teens and were cited under a misdemeanor state law prohibiting such sales, he said.

The city began cracking down on cigarette retailers in March 2010, after police seized 150 illegal knives and a variety of brass knuckles from Cigarette City and Discount Cigarettes on Freedom Boulevard.

In a similar sting operation, cadets went into Cigarette City and were able to buy a switchblade knife along with cigarettes, a glass pipe and a lighter, police said.

In August of last year, the city became the first in the county to enact a licensing ordinance for tobacco retailers. It requires those businesses to pay $255 for a license to sell tobacco products.

McCartney said those fees pay for officers’ overtime and other expenses to run an education and enforcement program targeting the sales of tobacco to minors.

He said police conduct four annual stings and also send literature and reminders to businesses to remind them of the issue.

“It’s another tool we can use to try to keep our young people healthy,” he said. “It’s something we will continue to work on, both in education and suppression, acting on behalf of the City Council.”

Police also cite teens when they find them with tobacco products, McCartney said.

Businesses could face fines and restrictions on sales if they are repeat offenders, he said, adding that he doesn’t think it will get to that.

“We think continuing education and issuing citations will be enough to get the word out,” McCartney said.

In a decoy operation in Watsonville in March 2010, two of four targeted businesses sold cigarettes to minors.

In a county operation in August 2010, 38 of 142 stores across the county sold tobacco products to teens without verifying their ages, per the county Tobacco Education Coalition.

In March, county supervisors voted to require a license to sell tobacco. The license costs $318 per year and affects more than 100 retailers.

The city of Santa Cruz is considering a similar program, said Peter Nichols of the Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition.


Branded cigarettes safer

More than a quarter of young smokers believe cigarettes in “glitzy” and branded packaging are less harmful than those in packets with a plain design, a charity has warned.

A report by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that just over 25% of regular smokers aged 16 to 25 thought a branded cigarette pack was less harmful than another based on the packet design alone.

More than three quarters of smokers and non-smokers of the same age group thought selling cigarettes in plain packs, with no colourful branding or logos and larger health warnings, would make it easier for people to smoke less or quit.

More than 2,700 young people were surveyed for the report and 415 of the group were considered to be regular smokers.

Betty McBride, director of policy and communications at the BHF, said: “As informed adults we know that smoking is a deadly addiction that kills half of all smokers. But young people are not always fully aware of the risks, and the power of branding holds more sway. Tobacco advertising is rightly banned in the UK. Yet current glitzy packaging clearly still advertises tobacco on the cigarette box.”

The BHF is urging the Government to introduce a tobacco plain packaging Bill into Parliament and for ministers to seek amendments to the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

The Government is due to launch a public consultation by spring 2012 on the issue.

The lobby group Forest, Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, argued that the introduction of plain packs would have little impact on the number of young people who start smoking.

Simon Clark, director, said: “There is no evidence that plain packs will make any difference to youth smoking rates. The vast majority of young people are influenced not by packaging but by peer pressure and the fact that members of their family are smokers.

“Tens of millions of people have been exposed to branded cigarette packaging for decades and have never been encouraged to start smoking. To suggest that people are so easily influenced by the sight of a coloured pack is not only patronising, it’s downright offensive.”

5 Large-Cap Cigarette Producers

Health issues aside, tobacco/cigarette companies are among the most resistant businesses during recessionary periods. Historically, several vice-based consumer goods, such as purveyors of alcohol and tobacco products, have sustained lower retail sales declines than the average. In many cases, and due to a wide variety of circumstances, sales of such products actually increase when consumers work less and/or cut food budgets.

Nonetheless, at the onset of the financial crisis, many investors stayed clear of tobacco equities, not only due to concerns over the industry’s future, but also due to fears that the Obama Administration would increase cigarette taxes and regulations. While federal excise taxes on cigarettes were increased from 39 cents to $1 per pack, the fear over regulatory risks upon the industry was broadly overestimated, at least so far.

As a result, tobacco companies performed well during 2009 and 2010, along with the broader market. Moreover, and largely due to their above-average dividends, tobacco companies have also fared exceedingly well during 2011, vastly outperforming the broader market.

Below, I have provided the present yield and recent performance for five publicly traded large-cap tobacco companies: British American Tobacco (BTI), Lorillard (LO), Altria Group (MO), Philip Morris International (PM) and Reynolds American (RAI). (click to enlarge):

And below is a 2011-to-date share price performance comparison chart (click to enlarge):

As chart shows, these companies have performed exceedingly well during the past year, increasing between 21 percent and 39 percent since the start of 2011, dramatically outperforming the broader market, while most provided a yield of double the broader market’s average. These companies are also up more than 40 percent over the past two years.

It certainly helps that these companies can so easily push through price increases on their often captive and brand-loyal customers, so many of whom rely upon a smoke to help get through stressful times.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative and should not be construed as personalized advice as it does not take into account your specific situation or objectives.

100 days until end of tobacco displays

With just 100 days to go before tobacco displays in supermarkets must be removed, retailers are today reminded that they need to start getting their shops in order.

From 6 April 2012, large shops will no longer be able to display tobacco products to the public except on occasions for instance when staff are serving customers or when they are carrying out stock control or cleaning.

Customers will still be able to buy cigarettes in the usual way but the Government is ending tobacco displays to protect young people who are often the target of tobacco promotion. Ending open cigarette displays will help people trying to quit smoking and help to change attitudes and social norms around smoking.

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“Smoking kills over 80,000 people in England each year — making it one of the biggest preventable causes of premature death.”

“We cannot ignore the fact that young people are recruited into smoking by tobacco promotion. Two thirds of smokers say they were already regular smokers before they turned 18. More than 300,000 children under 16 try smoking each year. Ending tobacco displays in shops will protect young people from unsolicited promotions, helping them resist the temptation to start smoking. It will also help and support adults who are trying to quit.”

Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Tobacco Control, said:

“Cancer Research UK welcomes this important first step towards removing tobacco displays from shops. Selling cigarettes alongside sweets and crisps makes them seem like a normal, everyday product rather than a deadly and addictive drug. It’s vital that everything is done to put tobacco out of sight and out of mind to protect future generations of children. Half of all long-term smokers will die from a tobacco related disease, and most become addicted as teenagers. Lung cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK with more than eight out of 10 cases caused by smoking.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said:

“For far too long, large, colourful tobacco displays right by the sweets in shops have promoted cigarettes to children and made smoking seem part of everyday life. Removing these displays is a critical element of the Government’s comprehensive strategy to protect children from the harm caused by tobacco. Retailers have nothing to fear, the evidence from Ireland when the legislation was implemented there was that committed smokers still knew where to buy cigarettes and didn’t need to see the displays to decide what they wanted to buy.”

Cigarette May Have Started Hardee’s Fire

A discarded cigarette may be to blame for the fire that gutted the Hardee’s Restaurant in Washington Friday afternoon.

Fire Chief Bill Halmich said investigators found a cigarette in a pile of leaves behind the restaurant near a wooden walkway.

Fire and police officials, including Franklin County Arson Investigator Jim Schuhmacher and Sgt. Joe Kapustka of the Washington Police Department, are still investigating other possible causes, Halmich told The Missourian Tuesday.

No one was injured in the fire. Only the employees working at the time were evacuated. No customers were in the restaurant or drive-through lane when the fire broke out shortly after 1 p.m.

Halmich said the late discovery of the fire and the challenge of attacking the fire in ceiling spaces made it difficult for firefighters to save the building.

“That’s why it (the fire) gained so much headway,” the fire chief said.

While damage to the restaurant was extensive, the blaze reached only a first-alarm status.

According to dispatch records, Chris Lane reported the fire at about 1:12 p.m. Dec. 23. Halmich said Lane’s report was the only 911 call received about the fire.

The fire chief arrived at the scene about one minute later and saw flames coming through the roof.

“There was heavy fire in the storage building behind the restaurant and the back side of the main building,” Halmich said.

Washington Fire Department’s Engine No. 143 arrived about four minutes after the 911 call. Crews attacked the fire with a 2 1/2-inch line, spraying water toward the rear of the main building.

After the fires on the exterior of the two buildings were extinguished, firefighters focused their efforts on the roof and the interior of the main building.

Crews on the ladder truck, which arrived about 4 1/2 minutes after the initial call, made observations of the roof and worked on knocking out the fire.

Three crews went into the building to pull down the ceiling tiles and fight the fire from the inside. There also was a four-man crew to help in case something happened to the firefighters battling the blaze inside.

Smoke was reported from the floor to the ceiling inside the restaurant.

After about 20 minutes, firefighters reported the roof was sagging and smoke was coming out of two HVAC units on the roof.

Halmich ordered all fire crews to evacuate the building and about seven minutes later after crews evacuated, the ceiling and roof collapsed.

After that, Halmich said firefighters began “defensive operations” from the exterior perimeter of the restaurant and started extinguishing smaller fires as well as preventing fires from rekindling.

“It was challenging because the restaurant had been remodeled multiple times and the fire advanced in concealed spaces,” Halmich said. “They couldn’t even smell it inside.”

Ameren Missouri and Missouri Natural Gas crews were called to the scene to cut utilities to the restaurant.

Firefighters were on the scene with overhaul efforts until about 9:30 p.m. Friday. About 38 Washington firefighters responded. Six firefighters from the Marthasville Fire Department were called to stand by. Washington also had three engines on standby.

“We had more than enough resources,” Halmich said. “We just wanted to get it out without anyone getting hurt.”

Hardee’s officials were waiting to talk with their insurance agent regarding whether a new Hardee’s Restaurant would be built at the same location or a new one.

“We are looking at reopening,” said Mindy Lane, Hardee’s district manager.

Twelve employees worked at the Washington location at 228 E. Fifth St., Mindy Lane said.

Some employees, those who have their own transportation, will be transferred to other locations, she said.

Formerly a Burger Chef restaurant was located in the building.

By Paul Hackbarth

Ledyard student survey tracks use of pot, alcohol, cigarettes

Results from the 2011 youth drug and alcohol survey, which show that tobacco use among the town’s seventh- through 12th-graders is down but alcohol and marijuana use is trending upward, were presented to members of the Board of Education last week.

“The survey asks some really good questions about alcohol, drugs and tobacco use and gives us a baseline to determine if there are any trends of concern,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Graner said Wednesday. “Overall, tobacco use is way down which is a good thing, but the two areas of concern that I know the youth survey has looked at throughout the region are marijuana use and alcohol use.”

Earlier this year, 488 student surveys were distributed to classrooms selected at random by researcher Archie Swindell of Groton’s Quantitative Services. In 2007, when the survey was first distributed, 366 students took it.

Recent alcohol use – meaning students had more than a sip of alcohol for non-religious purposes in the past 30 days – is up one-half of a percent among students in seventh and eighth grade compared to 2009. A total of 5.6 percent of the students reported drinking alcohol.

Four years ago, when the survey was first given to seventh- and eighth-grade students, 18.6 percent of them had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days.

Recent alcohol use among ninth- through 12th-graders dipped slightly over results from 2009.

Recent and lifetime cigarette use is down 5.1 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively with high school students but has remained steady among middle school students with 2.6 percent reporting recent smoking and 7.7 percent reporting long-term smoking.

“Cigarette smoking used to be a lot bigger of a problem than it is now,” Swindell said.

Swindell said the use of marijuana is trending downward among high school students but increasing among middle school students.

“Marijuana has been a concern nationally but has not been true in the high school, but may be becoming true in the middle school because more kids are beginning to believe that marijuana is not as harmful as they used to think,” he said. “Ideally, you’d like to see kids delay as long as possible.”

Lifetime marijuana use is up 3.5 percent among seventh- and eighth-graders compared to 2009 results but 3 percent less among high school students. Among the town’s ninth-graders, the age for initiation to alcohol is up to 13.1 years over 2009 but the age for initiation to marijuana is down from 14.6 years to 13.4 years.

Swindell said that even though the results showed good and steady trends there needs to be initiatives to prevent increasing alcohol and drug use. He said that new challenges like the increasing use of prescription drugs are on the horizon and pointed to Ledyard’s Safe Teen Coalition as a way to further engage families, businesses and schools for future efforts.

Formed in 2006 with the intention to reduce underage drinking, the coalition has since blossomed, developing a youth advisory council, establishing a “Party Patrol” telephone hot line, holding community forums, distributing a biannual youth and parent survey and providing outreach education.

“All of those efforts are aimed at trying to show students just how dangerous this behavior is. I think we’re making inroads but you never want to be complacent with the data,” Graner said. “We haven’t seen much change in the prevalence of drinking and drug use which is reflective of the state and the nation, but you always want to see if you can do better to make sure that both parents and students are perceiving that these are very risky behaviors.”

By Julianne Hanckel

White Cloud Offers Personalized Electronic Cigarettes

White Cloud Cigarettes have been recently been labeled as a Smart Brand Product. When we tried to investigate the reason behind the conferring of this honor, it emerged out that the option to personalize one’s e cigarette that White Cloud provides its customers with gives them the ‘Smart’ edge.

Among all popular brands of e cigarettes which thrive to outdo all competition with some or the other unique feature, the manufacturers and marketers of the White Cloud Cigarette alone gave a thought to pepping up the look of otherwise drab looking e cigarettes. The White Cloud has recently come up with ‘Vapor Jackets’ which can be placed over the normal electronic cigarette cartridges.

Interestingly, surveys and studies on the usage patterns of accessories like the Vapor Jackets have revealed that the users of these Jackets are majorly the fashion-savvy, modern individuals who hate to compromise on even the slightest aspects in life and like to live life king size. “I find the jackets great because using them does not involve using clumsy adhesives or those hideous seams. These are so easy to use and change and make me look so cool”, quipped an excited Harry, who is also a White Cloud loyal. Kylie, his girlfriend was quick to add that she loves the jackets because she can match them with all her dresses and look trendy at all times.

Popular review sites for electric smoking devices like couldn’t agree less with fans and echo how these jackets are designed flawlessly. An expert reviewer with the site, when contacted, was quick to reveal the operant functioning logic behind these accessories. He told us how these jackets can be used and replaced almost effortlessly. “You cut them to size, so they will fit any of our Cirrus model e cigs and they are heat shrink so no need to worry about adhesives ruining your battery” reveals the official website of the White Cloud Cigarettes about the usage technique of these accessories. This means that these can be used and changed by just about anyone.

The wide range of designs and styles to doll up one’s favorite cigarette is no doubt exciting, but White Cloud has made the excitement achievable as the fashion savvy can now well indulge in that luxury by paying a paltry price of $4.99 for a pack of 7 jackets.

About is an e cigarette review website. Its goal is to provide visitors to the site with the most unbiased and honest information about the best electronic cigarette brands. The user-friendly website also includes a top 10 list of the most recommended electric cigarettes that are currently available.

22 states endorse cigarette labels

A group of 22 states — not including North Carolina — have stated their support of graphic cigarette warning labels and their stance against a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the labels.

The states filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington that backs the Food and Drug Administration’s attempt to introduce graphic labels that would cover half of a cigarette pack.

The FDA has claimed that the labels are the most significant change to cigarette packaging in 25 years. The nine labels — including images of a cadaver with a sewn-up chest, diseased lungs and gums, and cigarette smoke drifting around an infant — were chosen by the FDA in June. They were slated to debut on Sept. 22, 2012.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Inc. were among five tobacco manufacturers filing a lawsuit against the FDA in August challenging the constitutionality of the mandated labels, which also would cover the top 20 percent of advertisements. Also joining the lawsuit were Reynolds American Inc. subsidiary Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., Commonwealth Brands Inc., and Liggett Group LLC.

On Nov. 7, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon granted the manufacturers’ request for a preliminary injunction in a strongly worded rebuttal of the FDA’s initiative. The preliminary injunction moves the effective date of the regulations until 15 months after the final resolution of the litigation, which could take several years.

Leon said the labels would treat “every single pack of cigarettes in our country as a mini-billboard” for the FDA’s “obvious anti-smoking agenda.” Leon said the plaintiffs “have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”

The FDA has said the public interest in conveying the dangers of smoking outweighs the companies’ free-speech rights.

The 22 attorneys general stated a similar opinion in their filing, saying the First Amendment does not prevent the government from requiring that “lethal and addictive products carry warning labels that effectively inform consumers of the risks those products entail.”

The brief was filed by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Washington and West Virginia.

President Barack Obama — who recently became tobacco-free, according to his medical checkup — has weighed in on the label issue since Leon’s ruling, saying cigarette manufacturers “don’t want to be honest about the consequences.”

In January 2010, Judge Joseph McKinley Jr. of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled that tobacco manufacturers could continue to use color and graphics in marketing their products. He also ruled that manufacturers can claim a product is safer if it gains approval from the FDA.

However, McKinley upheld the majority of the provisions in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which became law in June 2010, including requiring large health warnings on cigarette packs.


Cigarette tax

If you’re a smoker, you know it is a costly habit in Florida.

Some lawmakers are pushing to make the high cost even higher, citing a goal of cutting down on teen smoking.

Not many people will disagree teen smoking is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

A higher tax could even encourage adult smokers to knock the habit, but for those who won’t quit, it could be become quite the burden.

At Cig-O-Rama in Tallahassee, if you’re looking for a deal, all you’ve got to do is pick out your tobacco and hit a button.

At the bottom of the machine, machine-rolled cigarettes cost you half the price of what you would pay for a carton of brand name smokes.

The man who owns the machine, Greg Haskins, said business is booming and it could get even busier if new taxes raise the price of cigarettes.

The new tax bill would double Florida’s cigarette tax. Haskins predicts the move would send more value-conscious customers his way.

Though he will get more business, Haskins feels the move would still accomplish its main goal of making it tougher for teens to smoke.

“I think it’ll be a better incentive for the young adolescents to try to stop that, because, you know, it’s going to be more money for them and it’ll be harder to find it,” Haskins said.

Statewide, one-fifth fewer high schoolers are lighting up.

When lawmakers hiked the tax over two years ago, Florida began raking in a billion dollars more a year.

Raising that kind of money in this economy is also a big selling point for the bill, but there is no guarantee the money jar will fill again.

If the tax were to climb packs of cigarettes to $2.34, many smokers could find they couldn’t keep their habit going.

If they stop paying for the packages, the extra money won’t roll into the money jar. But, there are folks like Ann Ladato who have been smoking for 30 years or more.

“If I had to buy regular cigarettes at that price, I’d have to leave town to buy them,” Ladato said. “[I’ll] go to Georgia, or buy them when I go home for a visit in Louisiana.”

The bill faces a high hurdle.

The Capitol’s majority Republicans, along with Governor Rick Scott, have made it clear they’re opposed to any and all new taxes.

Even though they voted overwhelmingly to hike cigarette taxes in 2009.

The bills has been dubbed the ‘Youth Smoke Prevention Act’ and is sponsored by South Florida Democratic State Rep. Jim Waldman.

By Troy Kinsey

Britney Spears and E Cigarettes

The media is abuzz with reports of confirmation regarding Britney Spears’ engagement with boyfriend Jason Trawick since Friday. However it is now that Spears has admitted the role of e cigarettes in cementing their bond of love.

The rumors had already been rife about the couple’s engagement, but Trawick put all speculations to rest after revealing the truth about their engagement to T.V Show “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush.

Britney, who was previously married to dancer Kevin Federline for two years and later to childhood friend Jason Alexander for merely 55 hour duration revealed that electronic cigarettes have helped her get a hold over her life. Before she started dating Trawick in May 2010, she was faced with the challenge to leave aside the baggage of the past few years in her life which had been extremely turbulent post her losing the custody of her children and her rehabilitation following a public meltdown.

Another challenge she was facing was to quit cigarettes. She knew that tobacco had been hampering her life but she simply could not give up on the habit. The delay in engagement was probably because Britney wanted to leave aside the habit and then enter a new bond, afresh, leaving aside her turbulent past.

E Cigarettes proved instrumental in helping Spears achieve her aim. “Britney shifted from tobacco to e cigs as soon as she heard about them. She simply loves them now…Trawick is thrilled at her successful transition too and has joined the e cigarette fan club along with her!” revealed a source close to her. Britney is also reported to love the vanilla flavored e cigarettes the most.

“Electric cigarettes are great and work for almost everyone. They are safe for human health as well as the environment, are cheap and offer more variety- what else could someone ask for?” averred Madhukar Yadav, the head at, a popular electronic cigarette review website.

Electric smoke has won accolades in the past, but with the pop diva embracing these, a good example is sure to be set for the public. Kudos to Britney for having made such a smart choice and setting a great example for her fans.

Burning cigarette claims life

A FATHER of five was burnt alive in the Baghbanpura police jurisdiction on Sunday.

The deceased was identified as Pyara Masih, 55, a resident of Mahmood Boti. His burning cigarette fell on his blanket and he fell asleep and the blanket caught fire. As a result, he sustained serious burns. He was rushed to hospital where he died. Police have handed over the body to his family after legal formalities.

Man dies in road accident: A 35-year-old man died in a road accident in the Baghbanpura police area on Sunday.

The deceased was identified as Fiaz Masih, a resident of 60-Mughalpura. According to the police, the man was going on his motorbike (LWR-7253) and hit motorbike hit a footpath and he died on the spot. Police have handed over the body to his family.

Two bodies found: Two unidentified men were found dead under mysterious circumstances in different areas of the provincial metropolis on Sunday.

A 45-year-old man was lying dead near Ali Park in the Tibi City police jurisdiction.

A 55-year-old man was found lying dead near Bhatti Chowk.

Police have removed the bodies to morgue.

Six accused arrested: Muslim Town police on Sunday claimed to have arrested six accused persons, including a couple and seized dozens of liquor bottles.

Police, on a tip-off, raided a house at Shah Di Khoi and arrested the accused persons identified as Bagh Masih, Riaz Masih, Faryad Masih, Shan Masih and Amir Aslam. A case has been registered against them.

Illicit arms seized: Punjab Highway Patrol (PHP) Sunday claimed to have arrested eight accused persons and seized illicit weapons.

The arrested persons were identified as Muhammad Irfan, Ilyas Masih, Muhammad Asif, Shahid Ali, Sufian Ahmad, Shabbir, Umar Farooq and Umar Daraz.

Five robbers arrested: Chung police on Sunday claimed to have arrested five accused persons of two gangs involved in house robberies and street crime.

The arrested accused persons were identified as Atiq alias Toni (ringleader), Bilal, Dogar, Imran and Nadeem. Police also seized 10 stolen mobile phones, cash, gold ornaments as well as illicit weapons from their possession.

504 cops promoted: Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Ahmad Raza Tahir has issued orders for promotion of 504 Lower School Qualified List C-I constables to the rank of head constable with immediate effect.

Cigarette Tax Among Petitions Certified for Circulation in Missouri

Two new initiative petitions have met state standards for circulation in Missouri.

One relates to taxation on cigarettes and tobacco products; the other relates to a municipal police force (see ballot language below).

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan says before either measure can reach the statewide ballot in November 2012, they each need the signatures from registered voters equal to 5-percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor’s election from six of the state’s nine congressional districts.

The signatures are due to the Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012.

The ballot title for the petition relating to taxation on cigarettes and other tobacco products reads:

Shall Missouri law be amended to: create the Health and Education Trust Fund with proceeds of a tax of $0.0365 per cigarette and 25% of the manufacturer’s invoice price for roll-your-own tobacco and 15% for other tobacco products; use Fund proceeds to reduce and prevent tobacco use and for elementary, secondary, college, and university public school funding; and increase the amount that certain tobacco product manufacturers must maintain in their escrow accounts, to pay judgments or settlements, before any funds in escrow can be refunded to the tobacco product manufacturer and create bonding requirements for these manufacturers?

Estimated additional revenue to state government from this proposal is $283 million to $423 million annually with limited estimated implementation costs or savings. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown.

The petition, which would amend Chapters 149 and 196 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, was submitted by Mr. Robert Hess, Husch Blackwell, LLP, 235 E. High St., PO Box 1251, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1251.

The ballot title for the petition relating to a municipal police force reads:

Shall Missouri law be amended to:
allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of transferring certain obligations and control of the city’s police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city and establishing a municipal police force;
establish certain procedures and requirements for governing such a municipal police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits, insurance, and pension; and
prohibit retaliation against any employee of such municipal police force who reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government agency, or the press?

State governmental entities estimated savings will eventually be up to $500,000 annually. Local governmental entities estimated annual potential savings of $3.5 million; however, consolidation decisions with an unknown outcome may result in the savings being more or less than estimated.

The petition, which would amend Chapters 83, 84, 86 and 105 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, was submitted by Mr. Marc Ellinger, 308 E. High St., Ste. 301, Jefferson City, MO 65101-3237.

Johnny Depp Caught Red Handed Smoking an Electronic Cigarette

Johnny Depp is undoubtedly every girl’s dream partner. Nonetheless, in a recent episode, cameras caught him red handed smoking an electronic cigarette in public. While Johnny Depp has been known to smoke cigarettes openly and has done so in several of his blockbuster movies, his recent switch to an e
cigarette has come across as a shocking ordeal for most of his fans the world over. It is a well known fact that most Hollywood stars smoke cigarettes and many have succumbed to their awful habit by falling prey to a wide variety of diseases, which include cancer of the lung or the throat region. Could Johnny be smoking a smokeless device for the very simple reason that he has suddenly started valuing his health?

In the movie, The Tourist, Johnny Depp is seen smoking an electric cigarette while traveling in a train. This scene caught the attention of millions of fans who happened to watch the movie. Not only did they express shock, they were also happy on seeing the change of habits displayed by none other than their favorite Hollywood heartthrob. “I was pleasantly surprised to see Johnny smoke an e cig.” Cindy stated. “I had seen him smoke cigarettes in several of his movies but never an electronic cigarette.” Jim, another movie lover had this to say. “I feel Johnny Depp is doing the right thing. By smoking an electric cigarette in a movie scene, he is helping smokers realize the benefits of smoking cigarettes that are free from smoke and tobacco. I am sure, more and more chain smokers would quit smoking and switch to smoking e cigarettes after seeing Johnny do the same.”

An e cigarette is a device which looks and feels just like a regular cigarette but in reality, it is poles apart from the latter. In fact, there is no similarity between an e cig and a regular cigarette, expect the fact that both deliver varying quantities of nicotine to the end user. An electronic cigarette is free from tobacco and it is also devoid of the toxic fumes which a regular cigarette is known to emit each time it is lit. Apparently, this is the main reason why Johnny Depp was promoting an electric cigarette through the means of his movie “The Tourist”.

Australia Questions Philip Morris Packaging Fight

Australia on Thursday accused tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc. of engaging in “corporate restructuring” to leverage an international-trade treaty to challenge the country’s plain-packaging laws.

Regional unit Philip Morris Asia Ltd., which sells cigarette brands including Marlboro cigarettes brand, applied in November for arbitration from a United Nations tribunal to challenge the Australian government’s plan to ban the use of distinct logos, branding and colors on tobacco packets starting next year. The company claims that the plain-packaging laws breach a trade agreement struck in 1993 between Australia and Hong Kong to protect their respective offshore investments.

The Australian government contended Thursday that the packaging legislation prompted Philip Morris to shift ownership of its Australian business to the company’s Hong Kong arm earlier this year.

“Philip Morris Asia acquired its shares in Philip Morris Australia on Feb. 23, 2011, both in full knowledge that the decision had been announced by the Australian government to introduce plain packaging, and also in circumstances where various other members of the Philip Morris group had repeatedly made clear their objections to the plain packaging legislation,” the Australian government said in a written statement.

In response, Chris Argent, a spokesman for Philip Morris, said “the transfer of ownership of the Australian operation to Hong Kong was undertaken for legitimate business purposes.”

The company and rivals Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, British American Tobacco PLC and Japan Tobacco Inc. have also filed High Court cases in Australia claiming the laws will deprive them of valuable intellectual property.

The legal dispute in Australia represents a key test for the tobacco industry, which in the U.S. is challenging plans to force companies next year to add labels on packs that include images of diseased lungs and a body on an autopsy table.

It is expected that the claims of all four companies, which are pursuing billions of dollars in damages, will be considered by the High Court concurrently in one case commencing next year.

Philip Morris employs more than 800 people in Australia and held about 38% of the local cigarette market in 2010, according to a written statement from the company. With offices in Melbourne, the company makes and sells brands including Marlboro, Alpine, Longbeach and Peter Jackson.

Australia’s new plain-packaging laws take effect in December 2012. Under the laws, tobacco-product names will appear in standard colors and positions in a plain font and size on packets colored a dark olive-brown. Health warnings with graphic images of the harmful effects of smoking will have to make up 75% of the front of the packaging and 90% of the back.


Welcome to Marlboro Country

Philip Morris International’s decision to slash the price of its best-selling Marlboro brand by 40 percent in Senegal has left health officials and activists fuming and sparked calls to toughen tobacco laws.

PMI, when contacted by AFP, refused to explain the shock decision to cut the prices of Marlboro — the world’s top-selling cigarette sold in some 180 countries — to 400 CFA francs (61 euro cents, 79 US cents) from 650 CFA francs.

The equivalent Marlboro pack of 20s in France is 5.70 euros ($7.40). The cost of cigarettes varies widely between US states, but typically, a Marlboro pack goes for about $6, according to, a website that compares tobacco prices worldwide.

“This drop is unacceptable. Senegal is the only country in the world where one can cut the price of cigarettes and nothing ever happens,” said oncologist Abdou Aziz Kasse, who also heads the Senegalese League Against Tobacco (Listab).

The Listab, which groups some 15 anti-smoking bodies, has said it will ask the government to force the tobacco giant to reverse the decision and has not ruled out a swoop on the firm’s offices in a chic northern Dakar quarter.

“Tobacco companies are losing the fight in the West” where anti-smoking laws are gaining teeth but the converse is true of Africa, Kasse said.

The outrage has spilled over to other countries, including the United States where Philip Morris is headquartered.

The US chapter of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement: “Senegal suffers from alarming smoking rates, with nearly one out of every three adults and an estimated 20 percent of youth already smoking.”

Its president Matthew L. Myers added: “It is imperative that Senegal’s government take action to counter PMI’s price ploy by increasing the taxes on tobacco products.

“Higher taxes are particularly effective in reducing tobacco use among vulnerable populations, such as youth and low-income smokers. Higher cigarette prices are scientifically proven to prevent young people from starting to smoke and encourage smokers to quit,” Myers said.

Ironically, Marlboro was launched in 1924 as a woman’s cigarette, based on the slogan “Mild As May”. The filter had a printed red band around it to hide lipstick stains.

It soon morphed into a macho cigarette with the iconic Marlboro man — a rugged cowboy — finding place in billboards, magazines and television screens across the world and also led to the Marlboro Country advertisement campaigns.

Senegal’s Health Minister Modou Fada Diagne has denounced the decision as “catastrophic for the health of the people”.

The National Federation of Parents of Senegalese Students (Fenaps) will “oppose it forcefully”, its chief Bakary Badiane said.

Badiane, who is vice-president of a continental body of parents of school pupils, said he could “take the fight to an African level to avoid the dangers that threaten children.”

Smoking can lead to lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema.

Cigarette prices were freed from state controls in 1994 in Senegal. A source in the commerce ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said PMI’s decision was aimed “at paying lower taxes”.

Under the west African nation’s tax regime, high-end cigarettes such as Marlboro attract 45 percent tax while cheaper smokes are taxed only 20 percent.

According to the body, Senegal’s tobacco market was worth 53.5 billion CFA francs (nearly 81.6 million euros) in 2004 and earned the sector more than 48 million euros in profits.

Senegal ratified the World Health Organisation’s anti-smoking treaty, which came into force in 2005.

It requires countries that ratify it to restrict tobacco advertising and sponsorship, put tougher health warnings on cigarettes and limit use of language like “low tar” and “light”.

The Listab meanwhile wants taxes on tobacco products increased by 50 percent.

“We will speed up the process of adopting the law,” against smoking, said health minister Diagne, adding that he aimed to increase public health funds with higher taxes.

By Malick Rokhy

Tobacco industry studies on cigarette additives

Scientific research published by the tobacco industry on the safety of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value, a new study has suggested.

In analysis led by Stanton Glantz from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California in San Francisco, the authors reanalysed data from “Project MIX” in which chemical analyses of smoke, and the potential toxicity of 333 cigarette additives were conducted by scientists from the tobacco company Philip Morris.

The authors of the independent analysis used documents made public as a result of litigation against the tobacco industry to investigate the origins and design of Project MIX, and to conduct their own analyses of the results.

Internal documents revealed post-hoc changes in analytical protocols after the industry scientists found that the additives increased cigarette toxicity by increasing the number of particles in the cigarette smoke.

Crucially, they also found that in the original Project MIX analysis, the published papers obscured findings of toxicity by adjusting the data by Total Particulate Matter concentration, when the authors conducted their own analysis by studying additives per cigarette, they found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20 percent or more.

They also found that the failure to identify many toxic biological effects was because the studies Philip Morris carried out were too small to reliably detect toxic effects.

The authors concluded that their independent analysis provides evidence for the elimination of the use of the studied additives, including menthol, from cigarettes on public health grounds.

“The results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes, including the level of Total Particulate Matter. In particular, regulatory authorities, including the Food and Drug Administration and similar agencies elsewhere, could use the Project MIX data to eliminate the use of these 333 additives including menthol from cigarettes,” the authors said.

By News Desk

Two Roll-Your-Own-Cigarette Stores to Close

Two stores, on Staten Island and in Chinatown, have agreed to stop selling roll-your-own cigarettes after New York City accused them of being fronts for evading cigarette taxes.

The owners of the stores, both called Island Smokes, agreed to close them by February as part of a consent decree filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, according to the city’s Law Department. They also agreed that no one associated with the businesses would operate a similar enterprise in New York City; stores had already been planned for the East Village and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The stores, which sell loose tobacco and rolling papers and have machines to help customers make their cigarettes, had appeared to operate in a legal gray area. The owners had argued that because they sold loose tobacco, they should not be subject to full state and city cigarette taxes, which can nearly double the price of a pack of cigarettes.

But the city’s lawyers contended that the businesses were set up to defy tax laws, which have pushed the price of cigarettes in the city to more than $10 a pack. They noted that store employees would help customers assemble the tobacco into cigarettes, including filters, using the machines on the premises. The cigarettes, packaged in a small tin, cost $6, or $4.50 for a refill.

“The success of the lawsuit should serve as a reminder to others thinking of ‘gimmicks’ to skirt New York City’s tough cigarette laws that the city will enforce those laws vigorously,” Michael A. Cardozo, the city’s corporation counsel, said in a statement. Mr. Cardozo noted that the city had ordered other stores to comply with tax laws or face litigation.

Jonathan B. Behrins, a lawyer for the shop owners, said that though he thought Island Smokes’ case was winnable, “a business decision” was made to close, rather than bear the cost of litigation.

“They researched the law through and through, and there’s a gaping exception for pipe and loose tobacco,” Mr. Behrins said. “These gentlemen saw the opportunity to make a niche out of it.” He said the stores appealed to people who wanted additive-free, “more organic” cigarettes, and just because customers used the machines in the stores, the city “put us in the same category with the Philip Morrises of the world, and that’s not fair.”

Similar stores under other ownership have proliferated, including at least three on Staten Island, he said. He compared the litigation against his clients to the Bloomberg administration’s grading of restaurants for compliance with health rules, which has led to some grumbling that the administration is overzealous.

The Bloomberg administration has portrayed cigarette taxes as not just a revenue source but as a tool to improve public health by discouraging people from smoking.


The Myth of the Dying Tobacco Industry

Despite the passage of smoking laws, anti-smoking campaigns and an increased overall awareness of the danger of smoking, the tobacco industry is still making strong profits.

Stanford’s Robert Proctor recently released his 750 study Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. Publishing the book personally cost Proctor $50,000 in legal fees to defend himself against the industry, which subpoenaed his email and unpublished manuscript

So what was the tobacco industry trying so hard to hide?

Besides some horrid health-related facts (“If everyone stopped smoking today, there would still be millions of deaths a year for decades to come.”) Proctors’ book accounts for how tobacco makers have repeatedly lied to Congress and the public.

Dispelling Myths

Proctor says six trillion cigarettes are smoked every year. “That’s “enough to make a continuous chain from Earth to the sun and back, with enough left over for a couple of round trips to Mars.”

But isn’t smoking on the decline? Not so fast. According to Proctor, “we don’t count the people who don’t count. It’s not the educated or the rich who smoke anymore, it’s the poor.” In addition, the rising popularity of hookahs are “just as addictive, and just as deadly.”

Another myth: “The tobacco industry has turned over a new leaf.” False, says Proctor. Cigarettes are made more deadly today than they were 60 years ago, and tobacco companies still target children, just not in ways so obvious as cartoon

Most people begin smoking at the age of 12 or 13, or even younger in some parts of the world, says Proctor. “And how many people know that cigarettes contain radioactive isotopes, or cyanide, or free-basing agents like ammonia, added to juice up the potency of nicotine?”

Industry Growth

Perhaps most interesting is Proctor’s note that global tobacco use would be declining were it not for China, where 40% of the world’s cigarettes are made and smoked.

But that, he believes, will change soon once China’s government realizes the fringe costs – paying for diseases caused by smoking and loss of productivity – outweigh the benefits of tobacco taxes.

Investing Ideas

Despite the rush of negativity towards the tobacco industry the cigarette companies trading on the US stock exchanges have posted positive performance this year – all above 10%.

We list the seven cigarette companies below. Do you think these names have the momentum to continue on an upward trend?

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$500 fine for littering beach with cigarette butts

Smoking and leaving your butts stubbed out in the sand on the city’s beach could cost you $500.

That is the fine the City Commission wants to impose in a new litter ordinance it will consider at its Jan. 10 meeting.

The ordinance would not ban smoking. It just prohibits leaving smoking-related litter behind.

After an hour-long workshop with county and state health officials last week, commissioners appeared poised to enact a stiff fine to discourage smoking on the beach.

They stopped short of out-right banning smoking, largely because of a Florida law that currently prevents local governments from enacting smoke-free regulations.

That law did not stop Gulfport, however, which banned smoking last month on its beach, athletic fields and on playgrounds. Violators there face a $97 fine.

Gulfport is also is considering strengthening its litter ordinance to raise those fines $50 to $143 if uncontested and to $188 if contested in court.

The idea for a significantly stiffer fine in Indian Rocks Beach was suggested by City Attorney Maura Kiefer.

“Why not make it a big fine?” Kiefer asked, stressing that the commission has the ability to pass an anti-litter ordinance targeting cigarette butts.

“To me, money talks. It would be a huge deterrent,” Kiefer said.

She also strongly recommended that the city pass a resolution in support of two bills being considered by the state Legislature that would allow municipalities to regulate smoking outdoors.

Residents attending the meeting appeared split on whether to regulate smoking on the beach.

Even some non-smokers were opposed to any new regulations. Others agreed with Kiefer that a large fine would sharply reduce the litter on the beach.

• • •

More than 200,000 cigarette butts were picked up on the beaches during a statewide coastal cleanup campaign last year, according to Deborah Shaffer, program manager for the Pinellas County Health Department.

Cigarette butts, often found within 10 feet of a designated ashtray, make up 20 percent of all litter found on Pinellas County’s 35 miles of beaches. Eighty percent of the butts end up in the Gulf of Mexico, she said.

“The issue is litter, but it is also health,” Shaffer said. “The bottom line is this litter poses a health hazard and costs money.”

Each cigarette butt contains 165 different chemicals and can take up to 20 years to degrade, Lucy Gonzalez-Barr, coordinator for Region 7 of the Florida Department of Health, told the commission.

Carolyn Smith, a volunteer with the Pinellas Tobacco-Free Coalition, said 52 Florida municipalities and counties have enacted ordinances and resolutions regulating smoking on the beaches and public places.

“We don’t care if people smoke, but we do care if our grandchildren pick up filthy cigarette butts,” said Commissioner Terry Hamilton-Wollin, who previously met with residents calling for a smoke-free beach.

She wants another workshop, but the rest of the commission appeared ready to enact the $500 fine for leaving cigarette butts on the beach.

“I am personally interested in some kind of signage with a greater fine,” said Mayor R.B. Johnson, asking Kiefer to prepare an ordinance for consideration at the commission’s Jan. 10 meeting.

“I think there are a lot of people out there who don’t know they (cigarette butts) are not biodegradable — and they do think the beach is an ashtray,” Commissioner Cookie Kennedy said.

She called for signs similar to national anti-litter bug campaigns she remembered from her childhood.

But it was Vice Mayor Phil Hanna who drew the most applause and even laughter for his sign idea.

“I see a real cute picture of a family and all you are seeing are little tushies and it says the only butts allowed on the beach are yours,” he said.

By Sheila Mullane Estrada

Identification of smuggled cigarette packs

The government is working on a proposal to paste stamps on cigarette packs to identify smuggled/non-duty paid packets for checking tax evasion, counterfeiting and smuggling.

Sources told Business Recorder here that the Tax Reform Co-ordination Group (TRCG) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will discuss the issue of stamps on cigarette packs to help identify smuggled/non-excise paid cigarettes packs. The 7th meeting of the TRGC would now be convened at Regional Tax Office (RTO) Karachi on December 23, 2011. The revised agenda of the TRGC meeting circulated by the FBR on Tuesday includes proposal of tax stamping on cigarette packets.

When contacted, a tax expert explained that the government can introduce a scheme to affix quality assurance stamp on every packet of cigarettes to check illicit/counterfeit production of cigarettes. In the past, the FBR had done working on the concept of tax stamping on cigarettes during the tenure of ex-FBR Member Sales Tax Shahid Ahmed. At that time, the FBR had analysed the concept of tax stamping in Turkey, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Tax authorities worked on the concept of ‘excise duty stamps’ for the cigarettes units for checking tax evasion, counterfeiting and smuggling.

In the past, tax officials had studied different international tax models for controlling excise duty evasion in cigarette industry. In Bangladesh, the concept of tax stamping and band rolling of cigarettes was successful due to support of government and political will. Tax authorities of Bangladesh did not hesitate to conduct raids on shops selling smuggled or non-duty paid cigarettes. Turkey and Malaysia are not facing problems of tax evasion, but their main concern is smuggling and counterfeiting of cigarettes. Pakistani tax officials had visited these countries to examine the operations of the cigarettes industry. It was observed that tax stamping has been fully enforced in these countries, they said.

On the other hand, Pakistan is facing problems of enforcement and compliance, even if ‘tax stamping’ is introduced on the cigarettes packs. Leading manufacturers wanted level playing field, as the smuggled cigarettes are being sold as comparatively less price against the duty paid cigarette.

The expert said that tax stamping is the most appropriate way to check the illicit trade. It is a kind of a ticket, which could be pasted on each pack of cigarette. The idea is to differentiate between the duty paid and non-duty paid cigarettes. Under the excise laws, the board is legally empowered to restrict the cigarette and beverage manufacturers to affix ‘excise duty stamp’ on each item to be sold in the market.

Secondly, another option is to paste a ‘tax marker’ on each pack of cigarette. Tax marker is a ‘dot spot’ containing specialised ink. A special gun is used to paste it on cigarette pack. It is not simply a dot, as it has a special code, which could be seen through special way.

Thirdly, another option is to use band rolling on cigarette packs, as the provision is available in both sales tax and excise laws. It is a special kind of strip, which covers the whole cigarette pack. However, the project can not be implemented without approval of the Printing Corporation of Pakistan.

Fourthly, a holographic sticker could be prepared from ‘fraud-proof paper’ with graphic security features. The stamp, which looks like a sophisticated small size currency note, has holographic features. Just like a hologram, you can see different dimensions of the stamp, which is impossible to copy through counterfeiting. Three different types of security inks are being used in these stamps, tax expert added.

The TRCG will also discuss the issues of Centralised Audit, FBR’s collection and reorganisation of the FBR. Besides, the meeting would also finalise the administrative measures to be taken in future.

The TRCG would also finalise the tax incentivisation scheme for the taxpayers to encourage compliance. The FBR is working on the lottery scheme to encourage documentation.

Sources said that the meeting would also discuss key tax policy issues including CGT on immovable property. The TRCG would discuss the redrafted statutory regulatory order (SRO) on revised zero-rated regime.

The TRCG would also discuss measures for expanding the outreach and tax policy proposals of the TRCG members, sources added.

Academician tarred with industry’s brush

This is a country of contradictions. While China has executed a ban on smoking in all indoor public places, a great many restaurants send suffocating smoke signals that the ban is being ignored, and Xie Jianping, a scientist who specializes in research on low-tar cigarettes has been elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering, an honorary body that advises the government.

The 52-year-old, called the “Killer Academician” by netizens, works as the deputy director of Zhengzhou Tobacco Research Center, which is affiliated with the China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC).

State-owned CNTC is the largest cigarette producer in the world and the dominant company in the Chinese market, which means it is also a main source of revenue for the State. The tobacco sector turned in taxes and profits of 513.11 billion yuan ($75.46 billion) to the national coffers in 2009, a year-on-year increase of 12.2 percent.

Xie said his research focuses on ways “to minimize the health hazards to smokers while satisfying their demand for tobacco products”, a claim that Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has dismissed as a pipe dream.

Certainly Xie and his colleagues have failed to present any real evidence that low-tar cigarettes are less harmful than those with a greater tar content, and few published studies in China have examined the validity of the health claims related to low-tar cigarettes.

This is not the case elsewhere, and researchers outside China have reached a conclusion, which Xie seemingly chooses to ignore.

As early as 2001, the US National Cancer Institute found that low-tar brands failed to offer any significant protection against developing lung cancer, emphysema or other ailments associated with smoking.

Its study found that the evidence indicated that there were no benefits to health from the changes in cigarette design and manufacturing over the last 50 years. Popular low-tar and “light” cigarettes are worthless as a way to reduce the health risks to smokers it said.

CNTC initiated a nationwide effort in the mid 1980s to lower the tar level of cigarettes produced in China. In 2004 CNTC set 15 milligrams as the maximum allowed limit for cigarettes sold in China. CNTC’s tar reduction campaign has been accompanied by the increasing popularity of low-tar cigarettes among smokers in China.

In 2006 CNTC stated that it put “developing less harmful” (including low-tar cigarettes) as one of the main focuses of its research and development plan for 2006-2020.

Still, machine-measured tar ratings cannot be use to predict how much tar a smoker will actually intake because the way the machine smokes a cigarette is not the way a person smokes a cigarette.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recently published the China section of a survey on smokers throughout the world. The paper criticizes the country’s tobacco industry for misleading the public by advertising its low-tar risk reduction strategy based on innovation.

To appeal to smokers concerned about health hazards, the tobacco industry has been reducing the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes.

The promotional strategies are intended to reassure smokers that filtered and low-tar cigarettes are less harmful and therefore less risky.

Switching to low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes may make sense for people who are hopelessly addicted, but for everyone else, there is only one sure way to avoid the hazards of smoking, and that is not smoking.

Wei Fusheng, a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, voted in favor of Xie’s election as an academician. Wei said that reducing the number of smokers in China will be difficult as the country has a long history of tobacco use, but it would gradually decline, in part because of the low-tar risk reduction strategy.

By Fei Erzi

Shisha worse than cigarettes

Smoking shisha has become a trend for the young, and is a common sight witnessed in the coastal city of Jeddah. Indoor and outdoor cafés, restaurants, and coffee shops overlooking the beautiful Red Sea overflow with customers, who have shisha pipes by their table, and are happily puffing smoke.

It is not unusual to find a woman’s face behind the cloud of grey smoke or to find young children sitting right beside smoking parents. It has been estimated that half of all smokers will die from smoking related illnesses.
Many people believe that smoking shisha is a safe alternative to smoking. Little, do they realize that smoking shisha is more dangerous than having a cigarette.

Worldwide, 6 million smokers die each year as a result of smoking and the number is expected to climb upto eight million by the year 2030. Smokers have a 30 percent higher chance of developing cancer, heart disease, and kidney failure than non-smokers. People who smoke shisha also suffer from high carbon monoxide level. And, high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to brain damage and unconsciousness.

Several Saudi doctors and dentists who are strong advocates against smoking attended the conference in the United States to help them continue their anti-smoking awareness campaign in the Kingdom. Among the attendees were Dr. Nadia Al-Hazmi, Dr. Danya Al-Aqaili, and Dr. Manal Shams.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania diligently made a study on smoking shisha. The study found that smoking an entire pipe of shisha by an individual is equivalent to smoking 200 cigarettes, and of course damage to health rises considerably as well. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, surprisingly, twice as addictive as heroin.
o combat this unhealthy Jeddawi trend, Dr. Nadia Al-Hazmi, Assistant Professor at King Abdul Aziz University Dental College publicly speaks out about the health hazards of smoking and is an active participant of the anti-smoking campaign at King Abdul Aziz University.
“All dental students in their final year at the university are required to take part in the anti-smoking campaign and help raise public awareness on the health risks of smoking,” said Al-Hazmi.

By Amal Al-Sibai

Raise cigarette tax, lower driver fees

A South Florida lawmaker wants to increase cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and is offering a political sweetener to try to get it passed: Use the money to roll back fees on motorists.

Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, filed the bill (HB 1049) last week. Lawmakers in 2009 also approved a $1-a-pack increase in cigarette taxes — or a “surcharge” as supporters called it — as they grappled with budget problems.

Waldman said the state has seen decreases in cigarette smoking, and he hopes the additional taxes will further reduce tobacco use by young people.

“This is a health care bill, plain and simple, to stop the youth from smoking,” he said Monday.

With the Republican-dominated Legislature opposed to tax hikes, Waldman said he would offset the higher cigarette surcharges by rolling back a series of unpopular fee increases that lawmakers also approved in 2009. Those fee increases caused motorists to pay more for such things as vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses.

It is too early to know whether Waldman can get lawmakers to go along with his proposal, which he said would bring in roughly $900 million a year in additional cigarette taxes. No Senate version has been filed.

Rep. Steve Precourt, an Orlando Republican who is chairman of the House Finance & Tax Committee, said he had not seen Waldman’s bill. But more broadly, he said lawmakers don’t want to raise taxes and fees this year.

Florida collects $1.34 in taxes on a standard pack of cigarettes, with $1 of that coming from the 2009 surcharge. Money from that surcharge goes into a trust fund to help pay for health-care services.

Tobacco-related issues typically touch off lobbying fights in the Legislature. David Sutton, a spokesman for Philip Morris USA, said in an e-mail that the tobacco company opposes Waldman’s proposal.

Sutton offered several reasons for opposing taxes that are “unfair to adult tobacco consumers.”

He said, in part, that higher taxes can encourage the use of contraband tobacco, are costly to retailers and do little to solve systemic state budget problems.

But Brenda Olsen, an American Lung Association official who has long worked on anti-tobacco issues in Florida, said higher cigarette taxes can help prevent youths from starting to smoke, as they are more “price sensitive” than adults. With the economy struggling, she said higher costs also could help spur some current smokers to quit.

Marlboro company becomes focus of stem cell therapeutics

That’s what Advanced Cell Technology Inc. submitted to federal regulators when it wanted to begin human tests of an eye treatment generated from human embryonic stem cells.

Scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration is a given when a company is the first to propose a new kind of medical treatment — except that until a few weeks ago Advanced Cell wasn’t the first company to receive FDA approval to run human studies of a treatment based on embryonic stem cells. Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., held that distinction.

Then Geron’s new management announced in mid-November that the company was shutting down its effort to treat spinal cord injuries, and would focus instead on cancer treatments. With that, for better or worse, Advanced Cell moved from second to the front of the embryonic stem cell line at the FDA.

“Obviously that puts a lot of pressure on us to deliver now,” said Dr. Robert P. Lanza, Advanced Cell’s chief scientific officer. “We have a lot riding on our shoulders.”

Stem cells are cells in the body that can generate other kinds of cells. The earliest stem cells exist in embryos. Adult stem cells flow in umbilical cord blood or live in the body. Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, arise when scientists reprogram ordinary cells such as skin cells.

In recent years, corporate and academic researchers around the world have dived into the stem cell field, probing the tiny cells to figure out how they work, how to generate and maintain them, and how they might be used in research, medical devices and medical treatments.

British researchers recently announced they had deposited human embryonic stem cells produced without any animal cells or products into the United Kingdom Stem Cell Bank, an achievement they believe could pave the way for products ready for human treatments. Japanese researchers last week reported coaxing adult stem cells to become human blood platelets.

Corporate researchers are using adult stem cells from blood, marrow, placenta and other sources to develop treatments for heart disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, peripheral artery disease, transplant rejection and spinal cord injury. One company, International Stem Cell Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., is prodding unfertilized human eggs to transform into stem cell-like cells and produce retinal cells, liver cells and other potentially therapeutic cells.

Yet, in a report to clients Nov. 15 about the medical device developer International Stem Cell, Zacks Investment Research analyst Jason Napodano wrote, “The market remains skeptical of the commercial potential for stem cell therapeutics.” The entire industry of 12 publicly traded stem cell companies had a market value of just $1.2 billion and, “The market has yet to assign a winner in the stem cell horserace due to the fact that no company has commercialized a big winner,” Mr. Napodano wrote.

Geron’s trial of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells generated from human embryonic stem cells began last year in Georgia. The treatment for spinal cord injuries had shown promise in animals, Geron said at the time.

The company’s decision to shutter its stem cell work in favor of other projects speaks to the long road that biotechnology products have to travel to become approved products, according to Joseph C. Laning, a biotech industry veteran and senior director of the University of Massachusetts Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry, a repository of stem cell lines and information about stem cells. The products also face manufacturing hurdles related to producing consistent product, he said.

“Right now with iPS and embryonic cells, I think a lot of the focus is sort of retrenching into this, ‘Can we use them as a research tool or a diagnostic tool?’ ” he said. “That gets the companies more comfortable with their (the cells’) abilities and their inabilities.”

Advanced Cell, publicly traded since 2005, has spent years developing its technologies. The company brings in little revenue and has an accumulated deficit of $180.9 million. About 1.6 billion shares of Advanced Cell common stock is outstanding, a result of numerous financings over the years. It trades for about 10 cents a share on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, an electronic exchange for small companies. No analysts from major Wall Street banks report on the company.

The company’s treatment for Stargardt’s macular dystrophy and dry age-related macular degeneration — the treatment that required the mountain of paperwork before the FDA — first went into the eyes of patients in July in Los Angeles. The retinal pigment epithelial cells, generated from embryonic stem cells, were developed to slow the progression of the eye disorders, which can lead to blindness.

Dr. Lanza said Advanced Cell plans to publish results from its early tests and is continuing to recruit patients for the safety studies, including in London. The broader field of stem cell therapeutics, he said, desperately needs a success.

“We need someone to show it works,” Dr. Lanza said. “All it really takes is one.”

Cuba’s cigars: a black market tale of survival

Packing long cigars into a white box picturing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a Cuban man delicately places a thin wax-paper stamp of quality inside.

He then finishes the job with an official guarantee.

Now, no one will be the wiser that these stogies are black market cigars.

“We have to do this just so we can live,” the man, who asked to remain anonymous, said in the Cuban capital. “To make a living here, you have to be constantly doing business.”

In a country where the average salary is about $20 a month, many Cubans say the black market helps buyers stretch their money and sellers supplement their income.

Some experts estimate that as much as 20 percent of goods are stolen as they are distributed to state outlets around the country – a drain President Raul Castro says must be stopped.

A box of Cuba’s prized cigars could cost hundreds of dollars in stores, but black market dealers sell it for a fraction of that price, usually to tourists.

In Havana, clandestine street dealers lead buyers up narrow staircases to small apartments where different brands of cigars in tightly packed boxes are spread out on beds.

Some workers smuggle surplus cigars out of distributors and sell them. Others make them in their homes using leftover scraps, dealers said.

Police pressure is constant, they said.

Although official outcries against corruption are not new for communist-run Cuba, Castro is taking tough action against graft and is believed to have increased vigilance on the streets and around markets, looking for people selling items illegally.

Cuba’s premium cigars – grown and cured in western Pinar del Rio province – dominate the world market and are one of the cash-strapped Caribbean island’s top exports.

The nimble fingers of Cuba’s licit cigar makers rolled out 81.5 million smokes last year, up 8 percent from 2009, according to the statistics agency.

The main buyers are France and Spain, but the jealously guarded global market share excludes the United States, where Cuba’s cigars are banned under decades-old trade sanctions.

On the black market, everything to make cigars look authentic is sold. A bundle of quality stamps goes for about $30, boxes around $5-$6, a batch of rings for as much as $30. Cigars themselves may be as low as $8 for 25, a dealer said.

All the goods are pilfered from manufacturers, sellers said, giving them the right look, touch and smell.

Sellers said they are just trying to make a living.

“In Cuba, everything is dangerous. You depend on your wits and don’t look for problems with anyone,” one seller said. “If you depend on just your salary, you can’t live.”

Electronic cigarette makers must prove safety of products

A new report details exactly what kind of scientific proof the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should require from the makers of electronic cigarettes and tobacco lozenges to show that what they are selling is not harmful to the overall public health.

These “modified risk” products claim to offer individuals nicotine without the health risks, namely lung cancer and heart disease, that are associated with the use of traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes.

“These products are ones that might carry a claim that they have less risk to the user than a traditional tobacco product,” said Dr. Jane Henney, a professor of medicine and public health sciences at the University of Cincinnati and chairwoman of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that wrote the report. “We believe that if those claims are to be approved by the FDA, the sponsor will have to bring to the agency a series of data to support that claim.”

These products are sold as part of a strategy to lower tobacco-related death and disease, especially among smokers who have had trouble quitting, but not much is known about the overall health risks of these products, according to the committee.

To determine that, the IOM report suggests that the FDA require testing in the laboratory and in animals, clinical trials with people, and post-marketing studies to see if any health problems show up once the products are in widespread use.

Given the “tobacco industry’s well-documented history of improper conduct,” the committee believes these studies should be done by independent third parties.

The authority for this kind of oversight was included in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which requires that modified risk tobacco products undergo an approval process similar to drugs and medical devices.

Several groups applauded the IOM report’s recommendations.

“The American Lung Association commends the IOM for its recognition that if a tobacco product is allowed to be marketed as ‘safer’ that the product must actually be safer,” Charles Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, said in statement.

“Decades ago, the tobacco industry developed light and low tobacco products that were no less harmful than those already on the market. Millions of Americans, who switched to those so-called ‘light’ and ‘low-tar’ products instead of quitting, died as a result of these claims. The scientific standards recommended by this expert panel are designed to prevent a repeat of similar attempts to deceive the American public. We encourage the FDA to heed these lessons and never lose sight of the deception and fraud perpetrated for decades by Big Tobacco,” Connor said in the statement.

“This report lays out a comprehensive scientific roadmap for the FDA to follow in reviewing applications for modified risk tobacco products,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

“It demonstrates the need for rigorous science, conducted and evaluated independent of the tobacco industry, before the industry is allowed to market any modified risk products,” he added. “It underscores the importance of the FDA considering the broad public health impact of introducing such products, and not just the impact on individual tobacco users. And it properly puts the burden on tobacco manufacturers to produce adequate scientific evidence before allowing them to claim that any tobacco product reduces the risk of disease.”

David Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the Legacy Foundation, said he believes the IOM report is right on target.

“These products are worthwhile, provided the overall public health message is adhered to,” he said. “It could cause, overall, long-term public health damage. For example, if it was more appealing to youth and young adults it might have a little less harm, but a lot more people would use it and that would violate the public health standard.”

According to the report, among the things studies should look at are whether the product is addictive and whether the components of the product are harmful to health. In addition, these products should be tested on current and former smokers, new smokers, adolescents and groups at high risk for tobacco use.

Tests also have to “evaluate whether this product would draw people to the use of this product who now don’t smoke, or who might have quit smoking and would be drawn back into this habit and therefore increase their risk,” Henney said. “These products should only be targeted to individuals who absolutely have been unable to stop smoking.”

The process should also be transparent, the report stated, with the companies and the FDA making all the data available to the public.

However, Ray Story, CEO of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, doesn’t see safety and public health as the driving factors behind the IOM recommendations, but thinks instead it is a conspiracy by tobacco companies, drug companies and the federal government to keep these products off the market.

“I’ve been fighting this issue for quite some time, but you are fighting much larger groups,” he said, noting that electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine without the risk of fire. “It does the same thing as a cigarette, without the 7,000 harmful chemicals and 65 carcinogens.”

By Steven Reinberg