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Category Archives: tobacco ban

E-Cigarettes are banned in Canada, but smoking isn’t?

I do not pretend to know much about the electronic cigarette industry – my interest has only recently aroused while research article I wrote for the site – but I had to laugh today after reading a news site that the sale of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine is illegal in Canada, but the sale of real cigarettes is not. And apparently Canada is not the only country that’s doing this.

The advertisement, import and sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is banned in Canada in March of 2009. Since that time, thousands of Canadians who use them have been forced to buy them in other countries, and to send them abroad, where they can be seized by customs officials.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine cartridges are not prohibited, as well as other nicotine replacement therapies like Nicorette gum or the nicotine patch. This question set off a wave of disputes, so far, to the end.

Health Canada has not made use of e-cigarettes with nicotine illegal (yet) and gives the following reasons for this prohibition:

• Improper use can lead to nicotine poisoning

• They have not been allowed to market

• They can be addictive

• Lack of quality control

Many Canadians suspect that the ban is not because of health problems at all, but for millions of dollars in state tax revenues generated each year from the sale of tobacco products. If more people switch to e-cigarettes, less people buy the real deal, which puts more pressure on the tobacco industry. It also means that there will be less tax dollars to fill the pockets of the Canadian government.

What do you think is the real reason behind this ban? Are you as unraveled as I am about the double standard that exists here?Why would Health Canada allow the sale of cigarettes, that kill hundreds of thousands of people each year, but to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes because they believe they are unsafe? I welcome your comments, as I continue to search for answers to these questions.

Cigarette discount ban in the works

Malaysia is preparing to approve a policy that will ban discounts on cigarettes in an attempt to continue smoking, Philip Morris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Corporate Affairs Director Richard James.

Tobacco companies are now allowed to offer a discount up to 5% of the retail price for one month, up to three times a year. These stocks are usually carried out by tobacco companies to introduce new products.

James said, Philip Morris, which makes Matlboro online and, there is a problem with the proposed plan of the Health Ministry as tobacco players were informed of the move and have enough time to respond.

“If the idea of a smoking bans to make it less accessible, then we have no problem with that. Actually, we got to know in advance what movements and preparing for it,” he said in an interview SunBiz.

However, James said that the ban on price discounts has not been declared so it is unclear when it will be done.

“Even though the ban has not yet been published, we know that it is the intention of the government. So we have to keep in mind is to make sure that we do not include price discounts for cigarettes in our business plans in the pipeline,” he added.

The Ministry has recently announced that the new price floor on 20-stick cigarette packs will RM7, compared to RM6.40, and only a pack of cigarettes with 20 sticks can be sold from September 1. The new regulation is aimed at reducing opportunities for children, youth and low-income people to buy cigarettes.

“In addition, we do not have any problems with the new rules, (we know that) every time the excise tax increase, the minimum price will also increase. For 20-stick pack decree was imposed a standard format for the execution and monitoring purposes smuggling of tobacco products and the prices are too many options, “said James.

He added that Philip Morris understands the need to regulate the tobacco industry, as smoking is harmful and addictive.

“But as long as the rules are reasonable, but not extreme, and while we can tailor our business (as amended) in a reasonable time, then we would not be against them. Australia’s recent decision to support the simple act of packing (which says that tobacco products should be in a simple package and carry graphic health warnings) is an example of extreme policies that we think that there is no scientific evidence to support this. Moreover, policies aimed at demonizing the industry, “he said.

James believes the rules Malaysia and tobacco prices of one of the strictest in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Not only do you have the laws on the minimum selling price of cigarettes, the Ministry of Health must also approve all retailers offer price of tobacco products before they can sell them. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world to do so.

“Injurious to health by tobacco products (with the image of patients, lung cancer and throat) are also among the largest in the region, after Australia, covering at least 40% before cigarette packages and 60% on the back,” James said, adding that there is a complete ban on the advertising of tobacco products in the country.

In Malaysia, Philip Morris is the third largest player after cigarettes British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and JT International Bhd, with a 15% market share.

James said the illegal tobacco trade, which accounted for 34.7% of all cigarettes sold in the country, continues to pose the greatest threat to the legal tobacco players like Philip Morris.

“These illegal cigarettes are usually brands, which are manufactured in Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia, and some of them are probably not registered brands in these countries. Although illicit trade effect will always be present in Malaysia from due to geography and the realities of government resources the Authority, we believe that (34.7%) level today is still too high, and we think that it can be brought up to a more acceptable level.

“We believe that the government loses about RM2 billion each year in lost excise taxes on tobacco market. This is a great incentive for the government in terms of picking unrealized gains,” he said.

CCBC part of a larger trend of tobacco ban in schools

The Community College of Baltimore County is planning to put out the tobacco on campus from July 1, continuing a trend already found in many other schools in the district of Baltimore.

Once the policy becomes effective, the school will allow the use of tobacco products only in private vehicles in college parking lot outside the roadway, or on the perimeter within designated stalls are located along the roadway.

Tobacco users are located outside these areas in Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex campuses during the first six months of the ban will receive oral and written warnings, said Hope Davis, a spokesman for the school.

After January 1, violation will result in $ 35 citations, she said.

“We believe that this is what’s really good for college,” Davis said. “We hope to move towards smoking and make a better environment for all.”

Until July 1, tobacco has been limited for at least 25 meters from the buildings of schools, Davis said.

The new policy does not affect the satellite sites in schools Hunt Valley, Owings Mills, Randallstown, or Ridge Road, where 25-foot minimum on the spot.

The college, which has more than 70,000 students, offering cessation classes fall on each of the campuses of the school, Davis said.

The school cooperates with the Baltimore County Department of Health to ensure that teachers and staff to participate in these classes, even if it occurs during their work, Davis said.

When asked to respond to the new policy, Davis said that it is difficult to assess before the policy goes into affect.

“I have not heard a lot of negativity about politics yet,” Davis said. “But I did not know he hit man. We probably know a little more after July 1, and students will return in full force in the autumn.”

Vivienne Stearns, Elliott, a spokesman for the Maryland Chapter of the American Cancer Society, called the ban of tobacco products at school, “probably, the trend” among colleges and universities in this area.

She used the Towson University as an example of a college that banned the use of tobacco products on campus. Towson opened its ban in August 2010, prohibits smoking in all buildings and all external grounds owned or run by universities.

“This is an encouraging sign each time a different campus decides to do it”, Stearns, said Elliott. “This is a trend, and you’ll often hear about the ban.”

Stearns, Elliott said that the American Cancer Society does not keep statistics on the number of institutions that prohibit the use of tobacco.

The use of tobacco and tobacco smoke contributes a third of all cancer cases, she said.

Of the 160,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the United States, Stearns, said Elliott 3400 non-smoking adults die of the disease due to passive smoking.

In 2008, theUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County, adopted policies to prevent smoking within 20 feet of all building openings, including doorways, windows and ventilation systems of consumption.

Elyse Ashburn, spokesman for UMBC, said that smoking is also prohibited on the patio outside the community and at school, “Main Street” area, which extends from the library on the next street, which has a wellness activity.

Ashburn said that the signs indicate areas where smoking is permitted.

Ryan calls for ban on flavored tobacco

Anti-smoking advocates praised the federal legislators in 2009, banning the sale of flavored cigarettes, they said, the potential appeal to young smokers. But the tobacco companies have found other ways to reach young people, the legislature, Sean M. Ryan said Sunday as he urged passage of state legislation that would ban other flavored products, including small cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff.

“This is a gateway product,” said Ryan. “Without this, you will not have young adults smoke cigarettes. Because we all know that cigarettes taste awful, you’re not going to become addicted without these flavors.” Products, Ryan said that flavored to taste like fruit, chocolate, vanilla, herbs and spices. While federal law has banned the sale of flavored cigarettes, flavored with little cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff can still be sold.

The bill, sponsored by the Legislative Assembly of Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, closes that Ryan sees as a loophole in federal law and to introduce an express prohibition in the State flavored tobacco products. The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in the General Assembly in January, but stayed in the Senate. Ryan, who will appear today at Roswell Park Cancer Institute with the American Cancer Society and the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, urged the Senate to the bill.

“At the same time we are working in the government to try to help people quit smoking, these products are marketed to help people start smoking,” said Ryan. “The state must do all it can to reduce the number of people start smoking.” Tobacco companies have stated that the appeal of flavored tobacco for young people is unintentional, but Ryan said that the products on the market clearly younger crowd. “Tobacco companies are smart,” he said. “It is clear that some of the flavors really aimed at younger audiences. I’ve never seen adult smoking chocolate mini-cigars.”

In the 2005 survey, Roswell Park found that 20 percent of smokers aged 17 to 19 years old said they used flavored cigarettes, compared with 6 percent of smokers older than 25 years.

The federal law banning flavored cigarettes should be in the 2006 agreement in which RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company agreed to a national ban on the line of flavored cigarettes, which included “Twista Lime” and “Mocha Taboo”. Other flavors include “Winter Warm Toffee” and “Kauai Kolyada.” In addition, the flavor menthol cigarette smokers has increased and has made it more difficult for smokers to quit, according to a 2011 study of Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. Federal law also gave the FDA authority to regulate the ingredients in cigarettes.

For Ryan, D-Buffalo, the issue is personal. While his mother to quit smoking, his father-in-law still has to deal with destructive of nicotine addiction, he gave years ago. “My grandfather and grandmother both have their lives cut short by smoking,” said Ryan. “I am one of the few people in my family who do not smoke. But you can see the terrible forces of drug addiction. “

Protesters picket key tobacco show in the Philippines

Hundreds of anti-smoking advocates on Thursday picketed the large international exhibitions of tobacco in the Philippines, a country which has attracted more attention from the industries of Western countries accumulate on the restrictions and taxes.

A Pack of cigarettes costs about 50 cents here, and nearly one out of every three Filipinos, aged 15 and older smoke, according to a poll cited the World Health Organization. The Government supports legislation aimed at preventing smoking with a new tax, but it is also trying to increase foreign investment to combat extreme poverty and unemployment.

The organizers of tobacco exhibits, including the world’s largest, said city officials have refused to indoor smoking ban for delegates. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III sent a congratulatory message to the meeting hoping that will benefit the economy.

One of the leaders of the protest, Roberto del Rosario, said that the government did not allow the show to go on.
“This business is killing people,” said del Rosario, president of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines.
WHO has also criticized the gathering, which opened in Manila on Thursday, claiming that provides a platform for the industry to promote “a deadly product in the Philippines and throughout Asia.”

Media were not allowed to trade shows, organizers said the show was “strictly industry only private meetings.”
They said the Philippines were chosen as the venue for “after several months of in-depth study of the place … for a number of good reasons.” It provides opportunities for the tobacco and cigarette manufacturers to meet the suppliers of raw materials such as paper, filters, and process equipment.

Dr Shin Young-soo, director of WHO’s Western Pacific, said that the Philippines is a competition against the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which he signed. The Convention requires signatories to ban tobacco promotion, advertising and sponsorship.

Pack of cigarettes costs about $ 1 in Laos, Malaysia, $ 3, $ 6 to $ 9 Hong Kong and Singapore.
Two former finance and two former secretaries of Health issued a statement saying that young people and encouraged the poor to smoke and drink, because alcohol and cigarette prices in the Philippines so low.

Supporters of the proposed measure of taxes, which push on the health and finance departments, they say that will fix the current structure of taxes on tobacco, which stands for a company that controls more than 90 percent of the market, and in which there is no system for adjusting the speed of inflation. The bill still pending in Congress.

The dominant tobacco company, PMFTC Inc, owned by Philip Morris International Inc, which bought local tobacco corporations luck in 2010.
PMFTC president Chris Nelson said the proposed taxes are “unfounded.”
“Our message is: we’re here for work, we are here for the prospects of economic growth on alcohol and tobacco and, therefore, I think, obviously … You have to be reasonable and realistic (tax) increases,” he said.
Although the proposed tax increase, he said he was optimistic about the prospects of the industry in the Philippines, as more farmers to go back to tobacco.

Smoking ban wrong choice for Alabama

After reading Wednesday’s doomsday letter to the editor about a campus-wide smoking ban, I almost wrote this column to say my final farewell.
In the letter to the author argued that life itself, each student is at risk if we allow people to use tobacco while on our campus.

Over the past week, several articles and columns have been published throughout the complex smoking ban for Capstone.
In favor of the smoking ban are complaining to the adverse effects of passive smoking and disadvantage to be around people smoking cigarettes while on campus.
Although I can identify with their problems, I would never advocate a ban on smoking when I can just avoid this problem by going around the smoker.
The author’s concept that equated smoking a cigarette in a public places to spraying a toxic venom is as utterly ridiculous as her claim that inhaling secondhand smoke is a violation of individual rights.

By that same logic, the thousands of air pollutants that we inhale everyday from industry in and around campus should be eliminated as well. In an open-air environment like the Quad, secondhand smoke inhalation is not a legitimate concern.
I can admit that the University’s current policy of limiting smoking to 30 feet from a campus building is not being enforced and should be. Nobody wants to walk through a cloud of smoke every morning when they try to go to the door of their dorm or educational buildings, but I do not see a problem if the rules are respected

Theoretically, the adoption of campus-wide smoking ban will force students who paid thousands of dollars to live in a dormitory in order to fully withdraw its personnel from the campus to take part in activities that are otherwise perfectly legal.
The question then turns to the control and supervision. Would UAPD be asked to take some time away from campus security to patrol the campus for smokers? Would they be asked to walk around the campus during the day to look for violators? Failure to effectively implement and maintain such a policy makes it very unenforceable and unnecessary.

Instead of trying to ban smoking all together, we must begin to learn simple ways to allow students to their legal right to use tobacco products, as well as provide other students the opportunity to not be around smoke.
In the past few months, I’ve been in conversations with student leaders and top administrators of universities around our country – some of which have recently enacted or adopted smoking bans. When asked about the smoking bans, they said that the vast majority of the ban has been completed in small steps and in close collaboration with his students.

As I’ve said many times in recent weeks, leaders on this campus, the next step in our policy on campus smoking should be left to the student body as a whole. Such a policy is more than a committee or commission; it should be a referendum on the left of the students.
Before we get ahead of ourselves calling for more regulations and policies, it is important to analyze the potential effectiveness and feasibility of our ideas. That would be almost impossible to completely eliminate tobacco use on campus.

However, by strengthening and enforcing existing rules of smoking, we could significantly reduce the undesirable effects of cigarette smoke.
Complete ban of tobacco would infringe on the rights of students to participate in officially authorized activities. In the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, we should explore other options to satisfy both sides.
The CW poll this week asks if you support a smoking ban. Answer it. Let your voice be heard.

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

Compromise on smoking ban could go up in smoke

City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn introduced a new citywide smoking ban Monday, but it is unclear whether his tenuously crafted compromise with Democrats will hold together.

Democrats made it clear through months of election-year campaigning that they want a stricter smoking ban when they take control of the council next month. They are upset at provisions of Vaughn’s last-minute and, in their eyes, watered-down proposal.

Minority Leader Joanne Sanders said Monday that Democrats haven’t taken roll, but she thinks most are against it.

Vaughn said he hopes he can get six to eight Republicans to back his proposal but admits it could be significantly fewer.

In order for this version to be passed, the measure, which would be stronger than the 2005 ordinance, would have to be voted on at the council’s last meeting of the year later this month. But with a majority of 15 votes on the 29-member council needed to pass the measure, its fate is up to the Democrats.

Many of them are clearly upset with the way this went down. But are they ultimately just blowing smoke?

“To come up with this at the eleventh hour is bogus,” Sanders said. “It’s likely a number of Democrats will want to wait until next year.”

Democrat Angela Mansfield and Republican Ben Hunter — in a nod toward bipartisanship — had been busy last month drafting a strict smoking ban that exempted only tobacco shops.

But Vaughn beat them to the punch, drafting an ordinance of his own that would exempt existing cigar and hookah bars while preventing new ones from allowing smoking. His ordinance also would presume existing social clubs and fraternal organizations to be nonsmoking, unless a majority of members vote by July 1 to retain smoking.

Monday, Vaughn sent his ordinance — along with a controversial redistricting plan — to the Rules and Public Policy Committee. If the committee signs off Dec. 13, Vaughn hopes to vote on both proposals at the council’s Dec. 19 meeting. The smoking ban, if passed, would take effect two weeks before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl — and clean-air advocates see that as a chance to highlight Indianapolis’ progressiveness.

It may not be so simple, though. A group called Save Indianapolis Bars plans to lobby council members to minimize exemptions, so no competitors gain an advantage. While they’re worried about profit, others see it as a public health issue.

“This is unfair to a group of workers who will not be protected,” Sanders said. “And anyone who says people choose where they work in this economy, I think they are in denial.”

Vaughn said he tweaked his original proposal last week after hearing suggestions from anti-smoking advocates to tighten the scope of his exemptions. However, Mansfield and other Democrats say they never saw Vaughn’s original proposal, so it’s difficult to know what was changed.

In an admission of the political reality of the situation, Mansfield said she will vote in favor of Vaughn’s plan. However, that comes with a caveat: She is upset by the way in which Vaughn and Republican Mayor Greg Ballard handled this, so she won’t lobby for her fellow Democrats’ support.

Mansfield met with the mayor and Vaughn about his proposal Wednesday, but she walked away feeling that there was no room for discussion on the ordinance. She had been willing to concede on social clubs — which include veterans halls — if the ban would include cigar and hookah bars.

But Mansfield said she thought their attitude was unyielding: “It was my way or the highway.

“To me, a compromise is if you both start in different directions and end up somewhere in the middle. This was not even an open discussion,” she said Monday.

Vaughn, though, sees it as a clear compromise. The number of workplaces that allow smoking in Indianapolis, he points out, would drop from an estimated 370 to about 60 or fewer.

“I really think this represents our only chance at a compromise,” he said. “The mayor felt pretty strongly he wasn’t going to support anything more strict.”

That may be so, but Democrats are clearly steamed about the whole process. The smoking ban, Mansfield said, should be a council issue.

“I tried to explain that to the mayor,” she said. “I don’t think he understands this three branches of government thing.”

Still, for all of the debate in Indianapolis, others see the potential smoking ban as clear progress.

Lindsay Grace of the anti-smoking advocacy group Smoke Free Indy said — even with the exemptions — that this is still a good ordinance.

The group will lobby the Indiana General Assembly next year for a statewide ban. And, if the local ordinance passes, Grace said she hopes the state follows the lead of its capital.

Elsewhere in the country, she said, states have followed the lead of influential cities. For instance, she said, New York and Boston both helped pave the road for statewide bans.

“If we can show the General Assembly that Indianapolis can do it in a bipartisan fashion with support from the public health community, we think that will go a long way in the Statehouse,” Grace said.

State Reps. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, and Eric Turner, R-Cicero, will be watching Indianapolis’ move. They’re likely to sponsor the state legislation.

“It would be a big benefit if the largest city in the state takes that quantum leap and goes smoke-free,” Brown said.

USAS campaign to ban sale of some cigarettes on campus

A group of about 10 students paid a visit to the basement of the University bookstore in Ferren Mall early yesterday morning. But unlike most students, they were not there to buy books.

Instead the students, part of United Students Against Sweatshops, found success in their campaign to stop the sale of R.J. Reynolds cigarettes on campus.

“We had a small victory — we had Reynolds [cigarette] products pulled from the campus stores,” said Beth Breslaw, USAS vice president. “This [victory] is only the first leg of the journey.”

After weeks of protesting against the R.J. Reynolds cigarettes, the group met with John Cusick, general manager of the Barnes and Noble bookstores on campus, and received his approval of the campaign resulting in select campus stores taking certain cigarettes off their shelves.

Four campus stores as of yesterday afternoon are removing R.J. Reynolds-brand cigarettes, including camel cigarettes and Natural American Spirit , from their shelves. These stores include the Livingston Student Center bookstore, the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus, the Busch Campus Center and Ferren Mall bookstore.

Student Life runs the Cook/Douglass Barnes and Noble and the Cook Campus Center store and would need to be addressed separately, said Breslaw, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

University students held signs yesterday displaying pictures of the harsh conditions within a R.J. Reynolds worker camp in North Carolina, with the intention of seeing Cusick to stop the sale of these cigarettes on campus.

According to an open letter R.J. Reynolds issued in October 2011, Reynolds American and R.J. Reynolds state that they support efforts to ensure workers in all parts of the industry have safe working conditions.

R.J. Reynolds has contracts with independent farms across the United States, including ones across North Carolina for tobacco-leaf products, according to the letter.

“Those contracts require the farmers to comply with all laws — including labor laws covering issues such as employment, and working and living conditions of workers,” the letter reads. “We meet with growers regularly and encourage them to follow all applicable laws and regulations.”

Breslaw said the University’s chapter of USAS delivered letters to the general managers of all seven bookstores on campus within the past two months and emailed the letter with their requests to see Cusick.

The letter, written on behalf of USAS, Rutgers University Campus Coalition Against Trafficking, Sociedad Estudiantil Dominicana, Rutgers United Students Coalition, Women’s Center Coalition, Rutgers University for the Welfare of Animals, Rutgers Undergraduate Geography Society and the Asian American Leadership Cabinet, addressed the group’s struggle to reach him and their mission.

In the meeting, Cusick said he did not receive the emails or the letters but read the letter for the first time yesterday and was taken aback by the photos of the cramped work camps.

“Jesus Christ, in my mind that is happening in Honduras or somewhere like that,” he said while looking at the photos of the living quarters of the workers on the posters.

Of the 700 Barnes and Noble bookstores on college campuses across the nation, only a handful of those stores sell cigarettes, which suggests why the issue was not addressed, Cusick said.

“We originally didn’t want to sell cigarettes when we got here,” he said.

The company that ran the Ferren Mall bookstore before Barnes and Noble sold cigarettes in the store, Cusick said.

Cusick said he would not be able to make a written statement in support of the campaign until he contacts Joel Friedman, vice president of General Merchandising and Store Construction/Design at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers.

Breslaw and others became involved in the cause after visiting work camps and tobacco fields in Dudley, N.C.

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee, a labor organization part of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization, hosted the USAS trip to North Carolina over the summer to visit work camps and tobacco fields, Breslaw said.

After arriving in Dudley, USAS president Rich Garzon said the workers lived in residence halls made of plywood with no insulation or air conditioning.

Garzon said it is strange to think these kinds of places exist in the United States.

“It was kind of weird. I’ve been abroad and I’ve seen sweatshops, and this was basically a bad sweatshop and it was in North Carolina,” said Garzon, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

Breslaw, who also visited the farm, said the workers have no protection from the elements in their plywood units and have difficulty accessing clean water.

Garzon said the people living on these tobacco farms do not receive water from a municipal source.

“There are restrooms which are basically disgusting. All the faucets and the toilets and everything is [covered] with hard-water stains,” he said. “I don’t know where they get their water from.”

When interacting with the workers on the farm, Breslaw found out that they are required to work 12 hours a day with no break, no water and no bathroom facilities during work hours.

She said people who work in the fields suffer from tobacco-related illnesses from the nicotine that is absorbed through the skin.

“Even though it’s like 100 degrees outside and there’s no breeze, they have to have every surface of their skin covered,” Breslaw said. “So they have to work in 100-degree weather in gloves and socks.”

Breslaw said she heard the stories of the immigrant workers who are trying to make their children’s lives better.

“That really made me want to bring inspiration back to people who haven’t seen it and make the invisible issue visible,” she said.

Cusick said although he does not usually speak for the company, he would continue to reach out to the group.

“As a company, we do not tend to tolerate this,” Cusick said to the protestors. “We will work with [the students] on this.”

By Anastasia Millicker and Yashmin Patel

Harford to ban smoking on county government property

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Scots smoking following smoking ban

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

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

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

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

SGA delays smoking ban discussion

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

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

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

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

Full campus smoking ban will be subject to review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Margaret Mattes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 10, 2011

Why we need a ban on menthol cigarettes

No action the Food and Drug Administration and the Obama administration could take would do more to save lives, reduce health-care costs and curb the tobacco industry’s exploitation of children and minority teens than to ban menthol flavoring in cigarettes.

Consider these findings from a March report by an FDA panel:

Eighty percent of adolescent African-American smokers use menthol cigarettes.
Most adolescent Hispanic American smokers use menthol cigarettes.
Most Asian-American middle-school smokers use menthol cigarettes.
Almost half of 12- to 17-year-old smokers use menthol cigarettes (and, as other research has found, more than 90 percent of adult smokers are hooked as teens).
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, enacted in 2009, bans flavoring a cigarette with any herb or spice, or strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry or coffee flavor — except for menthol. Why was menthol flavoring not prohibited as we and many public health professionals urged when Congress considered the bill?

Here’s what senior members of Congress told us: If the bill bans menthol flavoring, Philip Morris will withdraw its support and the legislation will not pass. After all, Philip Morris and the other tobacco companies have spent about $20 million a year lobbying for the past 12 years. The tobacco companies also sprinkle campaign contributions to legislators across party lines; last year alone, it gave $1.5 million to Republican members and $800,000 to Democratic members.

The 2009 law did establish a scientific advisory committee to evaluate health issues and make recommendations to the FDA. At our urging, it required the committee to act promptly on menthol flavoring in cigarettes. The committee’s recently issued report puts the ball of banning such flavoring in the FDA’s court because it concluded that menthol cigarettes have an “adverse impact on public health by increasing the numbers of smokers with resulting premature death and avoidable morbidity.”

Thanks to the committee’s work, we know why Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and the rest of the tobacco industry fought so fiercely to keep menthol flavoring in cigarettes. The committee found that menthol reduces “the harshness of smoke and the irritation from nicotine, and may increase the likelihood of nicotine addiction in adolescents . . . who experiment with smoking.” The committee charged the industry with exploiting teens and children: “Industry documents … confirm that the industry developed menthol marketing to appeal to youth.” While aiming this charge specifically at the Newport brand, the committee found “that strategy was also adopted by other tobacco companies. Marketing messages positioned menthol cigarettes as an attractive starter product for new smokers who are unaccustomed to intense tobacco taste. …” The committee noted that “adolescent menthol cigarette smokers are more dependent on nicotine than adolescent non-menthol cigarette smokers.”

The committee also found that the tobacco industry cynically targeted black people and “developed specialized brands and tailored marketing strategies to promote menthol cigarettes to African-Americans”; that “menthol cigarettes are disproportionately marketed per capita to African-Americans”; as a result, “menthol cigarettes are disproportionately smoked by African-American smokers .”

More than 80 percent of black smokers use menthol cigarettes, compared with 24 percent of white smokers. More than 47,000 black Americans die each year from smoking-related diseases. More black women get lung cancer than get breast cancer, and black men are 50 percent more likely to get lung cancer than white men are.

Lorillard (maker of Newport, Kent and others) and R.J. Reynolds have gone to court to block the FDA from considering the committee’s report. They allege that the membership of the committee “lacks fair balance.” That the tobacco companies would question the integrity of committee members after having been found by a U.S. district judge to have lied to the American public for 50 years a bout the health hazards of smoking is beyond chutzpah.

The FDA response to the committee’s recommendation will be a test of the Obama administration’s commitment to health care and reducing its costs. In the Tobacco Control Act, Congress found: “Reducing the use of tobacco by minors by 50 percent would prevent well over 10 million of today’s children from becoming regular, daily smokers,” and “Such a reduction in youth smoking would also result in approximately $75 billion in savings attributable to reduced health care costs.”

A ban on menthol flavoring in cigarettes would be a slam-dunk for an administration that trumpets its commitment to cutting health-care costs and protecting children.

Califano is founder and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. He was secretary of health, education and welfare during the Carter administration. Sullivan is president emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine. He was secretary of health and human services under President George H.W. Bush.

By Joseph A. Califano Jr. and Louis W. Sullivan

Uefa bans smoking in Euro 2012 stadiums

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

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

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

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

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


Carlisle firm finds loophole in law banning cigarette machines in pubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Steph Johnson

CA lifts ban on tobacco firms’ promotional activities

MANILA, Philippines – On petition of the country’s giant tobacco companies, the Court of Appeals (CA) has nullified a resolution of the Department of Health prohibiting the tobacco industry from conducting promotional activities.

In a 21-page decision, Associate Justice Noel Tijam, of the CA’s Special Eleventh Division, agreed with Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. and Fortune Tobacco Corp. that the DOH and the Bureau of Food and Drugs (Bfad) “committed grave abuse of discretion” in declaring that since July 1, 2008, all promotions, advertisements and sponsorships of tobacco products were already under Republic Act 9211, or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

The CA noted that while Section 22 of the law covering the ban on advertisements “prohibits all forms of tobacco advertisements in the mass media,” it exempts tobacco advertisements “placed inside the premises of point-of-sale establishments.”

The CA decision read in part: “The law being clear in distinguishing promotions from advertising and sponsorship, the public respondent DOH cannot hold a contrary view; much less exercise a carte blanche authority to deny petitioner’s promotional permit applications, as well as those by other tobacco companies. To begin with, it cannot modify supplant or even interpret its clear terms.

“Clearly then, the DOH should not have departed from the expressed provisions of the law. It being clear and unequivocal, it must have been given its literal application and applied without interpretation,” the CA ruled.

On the other hand, Section 23 of the tobacco law allows tobacco promotions with some restrictions such as it should be directed to persons at least 18 years old; all stalls, booths and other display concerning tobacco promotions must be limited to point-of-sale of adult-only facilities; telephone communications concerning promotional offers, programs or events must include a recorded health-warning message; and several other things.

The court also declared that the DOH has no authority to enforce the provisions of law, noting that Section 29 states that an Interagency Committee-Tobacco (IAC-Tobacco) shall have the “exclusive power and function to administer and implement the provisions” of the law.

The IAC-Tobacco is chaired by the secretary of trade, with the secretary of health as vice chairman.

The CA chided the health department for arrogating unto itself the authority vested on the IAC-Tobacco.

“The DOH also unlawfully provided absolute prohibitions on the advertising, promotions and sponsorships of tobacco activities without distinction and, thus, contrary to the tenets of the law. Indubitably, those acts translate to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction necessitating the issuance of a writ of certiorari,” it said.

Records showed that on November 19 and 28, 2008, Philip Morris sought BFAD permission for two for sales promotions. The BFAD informed the tobacco firm of a DOH memorandum prohibiting tobacco companies, starting July 1, 2008, from holding any form of tobacco promotions in the country.

The PMPI appealed to the DOH to no avail, prompting the tobacco firm to elevate the case to the CA.

Fortune Tobacco joined the fray, saying it had a direct and immediate legal interest in the outcome of the petition.

The appellate court granted Fortune Tobacco’s motion to intervene.

The Court said that while it was not oblivious of the desire of the people to live a healthy life and in a healthy environment, it also recognized the contribution of the tobacco industry to the advancement of the country’s economy.

“Although the intention of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco is to seek the gradual elimination of tobacco, public respondents DOH and the Bfad cannot speed up the process if, in so doing, they will deviate from or violate the express provisions of the law,” the CA added.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Marlene Gonzales-Sison and Jane Aurora Lantion.

El Salvador bans public-area smoking

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — El Salvador’s congress has overriden a veto by President Mauricio Funes and approved a ban on smoking in closed public spaces.

The law explicitly bans smoking in work places, public transport and public areas where children gather.

It also bans the sale of single cigarettes and requires warning messages on cigarette packs.

Congress approved the law Thursday, after Funes had vetoed it on the grounds that it excessively regulatied private activities.

In February, neighboring Honduras passed an even tougher anti-smoking ban that allows family members to call the police on people who smoke at home.

That law requires smokers to stand at least six feet away from nonsmokers in any open space

Navajo casinos exempt under commercial tobacco ban

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Navajo Nation lawmakers have voted to prohibit smoking in public places on the vast reservation with an exemption for tribal casinos.

The lawmakers heavily debated the measure before voting 14-5 in favor of it Wednesday. Under the bill, the Tribal Council can reconsider the casino exemption once gaming officials pay off their financing debts.

Some lawmakers saw smoking or chewing tobacco as a personal right that shouldn’t be regulated by the tribal government and argued that a ban would inhibit gaming revenue. Critics said no one should be exposed involuntarily to secondhand smoke and that any exemption sends the wrong message to Navajo youth.

The bill now heads to tribal President Ben Shelly, who urged lawmakers this week not to approve it but hasn’t said whether he would veto it once it reaches his desk.

The situation was different three years ago when Shelly’s predecessor, Joe Shirley Jr., struck down a bill to implement a smoking ban. Neither bill prohibited commercial tobacco sales on the reservation that are taxed by the tribe or put limits on the use of tobacco in traditional ceremonies.

Anti-smoking advocates like Patricia Nez Henderson say they’ll now lobby the lawmakers to make sure that a veto she anticipates from Shelly sticks. She said lawmakers have exposed Navajos to deadly toxins “just to earn a buck.”

The legislation acknowledges the health effects of secondhand smoke, but its sponsor pointed to thousands of jobs casinos create through construction and permanent employment and touted it as a compromise. The Navajo Nation operates two casinos in New Mexico and has broken ground on what will be its largest facility east of Flagstaff.

Gaming officials told lawmakers that business at the casinos would suffer if patrons couldn’t smoke, and financing for planned casinos would be in jeopardy should a smoking ban include casinos. They expect to repay an estimated $200 million in debt in about seven years.

“We’re trying to mitigate our business risks associated with a 100 percent smoking ban, provide the jobs and revenue that the Navajo Nation so badly needs and at the end of the day become entirely smoke-free for our people,” said Sean McCabe, chairman of tribe’s gaming board.

“Once we eliminate that debt, pay off that debt, our business risk is gone,” he said.

Under the legislation, smoking is allowed only in designated areas of the casinos like at slot machines, and in outdoor areas and golf courses. Lawmakers also amended the bill to set aside $150,000 annually from gaming revenues for anti-smoking education.

Shelly said the measure doesn’t go far enough to protect the health of Navajos. In a letter to lawmakers, he said the measure is an unfunded mandate to tribal health and public safety officials who are tasked with enforcing it. Anyone found violating the measure faces a fine of up to $100 for the first offense and up to $500 on the third offense.

Cigarette or cigar smoking is not a common sight on the reservation, but Shelly and other health advocates say they want to be proactive.

“We all know smoking is not good for our people,” said Delegate Katherine Benally. “By supporting this legislation, we will say that it’s OK.”

Montgomery smoking ban includes apartment areas

The signs at the entrance to Americana Centre Condominiums in Rockville reads: “No skateboarding, no roller blading, no roller skates.”

With the Montgomery County Council extending its smoking ban Tuesday to include common areas in apartment complexes, the maintenance crew will likely have to add “no smoking.”

The ban prohibits lighting up in such common areas of multifamily dwelling units as lobbies and laundry rooms. It also prohibits lit cigarettes within 25 feet of a private playground that is used by multiple families or in a community.

The ban was approved 8-1 with council member Craig Rice, District 2 Democrat, the lone dissenter. He said a playground area is defined in the proposal as a swing set, sandbox, slide, seesaw or playhouse, “but what about a child playing Frisbee 10 feet away from someone smoking.”

Council member Nancy Navarro, District 4 Democrat, a former smoker, said she remembered how “extraordinarily difficult” it is to quit smoking.

“We should make it more difficult to have the opportunity to smoke,” she said.

Council member George Leventhal, at-large Democrat, who sponsored the bill said he is “quite interested” in discussions about extending to ban to include county parks, which New York recently did and Howard County, Md., is poised to consider.

Americana front desk manager Evelyn Hansen said she doesn’t expect the ban to result in a backlash among residents, considering smoking on site is already limited to private units.

“And right now they’re fixing up the plaza deck,” she added. “I know [management] is not going to allow smoking there. The only thing I can see being a problem now is if people are throwing butts off the balconies.”

The ban will go into effect next month.

The County Council also introduced a bill Tuesday that puts a curfew on minors from midnight to 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Council member Marc Elrich, an at-large Democrat who serves on the public safety committee, said the proposal stemmed from recent problems for police trying to monitor an influx of juveniles from the District and Prince George’s County, and trying to stay one step ahead in a world in which communication is as quick as a few taps of a phone button.

“This is a big step for the county,” he said. “We don’t want to impose things you don’t need to impose. but there’s no magic that says [crime] can’t happen in Montgomery County.”

Montgomery County Police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said the curfew, if passed, “will be just another tool. It’s not something that’s mean to resolve everything.”

A public hearing on the curfew is scheduled 1:30 p.m. on July 26.

By Meredith Somers
The Washington Times

Tobacco Ban in Hennepin County Buildings Starts Soon

It’s been more than 10 years since the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners banned smoking in county buildings.

Fast forward to 2008 when the county decided on policy that restricted smoking within a “45-foot radius of street-level entrances of county-owned buildings” and banned the county’s employees from smoking while working or while in a Hennepin County vehicle.

Effective in 2011, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners has been put into place has put more policy in place. This time, the focus expands to all forms of tobacco. The ban includes smoking and use of any other form of tobacco, including chewing tobacco.

The policies relating to prohibiting tobacco use on all property owned by Hennepin County government was approved by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in March 2011, according to a news release from the county.

“By making our campuses tobacco-free, we’re beginning an era of cleaner facilities and lower costs – and hopefully getting folks to reconsider smoking altogether,” said County Board Chair Mike Opat.

Depending on where you live in the county determines when the policy goes into effect during the summer of 2011. For example, the policy goes into effect July 1, 2011 for all Hennepin County government property in downtown Minneapolis. Sites like the Maple Grove Library will have the policy will go into effect Aug. 1, according to Hennepin County Representative Carla Biermaier.

The policy goes into effect for other sites as follows:

  • Hennepin County libraries – Aug. 1
  • Suburban Hennepin County facilities – Sept. 1
  • Hennepin County sites where Hennepin County is the single leasing tenant – Oct. 1

“This new policy prohibits the use of tobacco anywhere on county-owned property – which, in the case of libraries, means anywhere in the buildings or on the grounds and in parking lots and ramps,” Biermaier said.

The new policy, according to the county, applies to:
·        Buildings and grounds of property owned by Hennepin County government and leased properties where Hennepin County is the sole tenant
·        Parking garages, lots and ramps owned by Hennepin County government
·        County-owned vehicles and equipment
·        Personal vehicles on county property
·        Tobacco use within 45 feet of street-level entrances to county buildings.

By Wendy Erlien

Ban on political donations from big tobacco companies

AUSTRALIAN Greens Leader Bob Brown has introduced a bill to parliament calling for a ban on political donations from big tobacco companies.

Senator Brown said his draft laws would make it illegal for political parties or candidates to accept a gift from manufacturers or wholesalers of tobacco products.

It would also introduce new, related offences.

“There should be public funding of elections to eliminate corporate funding, with the exception of small donations by individuals,” he said today.

“Donations by tobacco companies are particularly insidious, peddling death.

“Public health is at risk if we continue to allow big tobacco to exert influence over our policy making.”

Debate on the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Tobacco Industry Donations) Bill 2011 was adjourned.

Centers that ban cigarettes run risk of deterring clients

Many hospitals and other health-care offices have banned cigarettes inside and out. Employees and visitors might grumble, but for the most part, they understand that the move makes sense.

The issue gets more complex if the nonsmoking building is a center that treats other addictions. Anyone who works with alcoholics and drug users can tell you that smoking usually goes hand in hand.

But it can be more difficult to keep people in long-term treatment for drug and alcohol addiction if they aren’t allowed to smoke, according to a recent study by researchers at Ohio State University and Amethyst Inc., a Columbus treatment center.

The study looked at data from the first Ohio center to prohibit tobacco, before and after its 2003 ban. The center, which is not in central Ohio and remains smoke-free, is unnamed, per the request of officials there.

Thomas Gregoire, a professor of social work at Ohio State, and Gretchen Clark Hammond, who works at Amethyst, compared 147 women admitted before the ban and 214 women treated after.

The center had a 70 percent success rate before the ban. That dropped to 42percent by the end of the first three months under the ban. After the ban, patients stayed an average of 13 fewer days.

“That’s the challenge, and it’s juxtaposed against the importance of” getting people to quit, Gregoire said.

The researchers say that things have changed significantly in the eight years since that center’s ban.

Amethyst has been smoke-free for about five years, and experience has shown Hammond that making the transition not only is doable, but also is a step that will ensure better success for those in recovery, she said.

At least eight in 10 people in inpatient treatment smoke, Hammond said. Removing smoking as a trigger for other cravings makes it more likely that an addict won’t relapse, she said.

“There’s brain science behind that, and there’s a lot of behavioral science behind that.”

More centers are adopting tobacco bans, and some states have mandated them at treatment facilities.

But in practice, many administrators remain reluctant.

“We have studied and studied and studied this to death. We have voted and voted and voted again,” said Jann Robinson, director of nursing and patient safety at the Betty Ford Center in California.

Even in a state that has been a front-runner in restricting smoking in this country, Betty Ford officials have yet to ban cigarettes on the grounds. They do offer smoking cessation after a patient’s initial detoxification, and about 70 percent of smokers try to quit, Robinson said.

“We would really like to go smoke-free. That is someday our goal,” she said.

The lingering concern: “We would not have as many people coming in our front door. It would lower people’s access to treatment.”

Paul H. Coleman, president and CEO of Maryhaven in Columbus, said his experience with trying a smoke-free environment at a women’s center on the Far East Side was disappointing. The experiment two years ago lasted about six months.

“We listened to our patients’ voice, and it was very loud and very clear, and this is essentially what they said: ‘We signed on agreeing to stop the use of alcohol or other drugs. … We did not sign on to stop smoking, and we don’t want to do it.'”

Coleman said that the behavioral-health community needs more resources to help patients stop smoking.

He said he hopes that Maryhaven will try a smoke-free campus again someday.

By Misti Crane

New York to expand public smoking ban

NEW YORK, – Health Department authorities say they will expand New York’s smoking ban to include public places such as plazas, parks and beaches.

“This will protect New Yorkers from secondhand smoke and keep our parks and beaches clean,” said Susan Kansagra, the assistant commissioner for the Health Department’s Bureau of Tobacco Control, adding the suggestion is to “de-normalize” smoking in places where families gather so children don’t think the addiction is acceptable, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.

The law going into effect Monday will be accompanied by a television and print advertising campaign driving home the point for New Yorkers not to smoke in places where they’re now banned.

The danger of secondhand smoke indoors is clear, while the danger of it outdoors is less so, a public health authority said.

“Outdoors, the air-monitoring studies suggest smoke dissipates and there is virtually no health risk to anyone who is more than a few feet away,” said James Colgrove, a Columbia University public health professor and author of “NYC: Epidemic City.”

Scofflaws can be fined $50.

Enforcement is the province of the Parks Department and will be difficult since there aren’t many officers to do the job, the newspaper said.

Beach smoking ban stretches west

SMOKING is set to be banned on every Melbourne beach from Altona to Elwood, after Hobsons Bay Council became the third VictorianBeach smoking ban municipality to ban beachgoers from lighting up.

The council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to introduce bans for Williamstown and Altona beaches, and all public playgrounds in the area.

The move comes as the tobacco industry warns the price of cigarettes in Australia could be halved if a federal government proposal to introduce plain packaging is successful.

The new local law will affect the thousands of people who flock to the beaches, with those caught smoking facing fines of $200. It has been welcomed by Quit Victoria, which said public bans were critical in ”de-normalising” smoking.

Hobsons Bay mayor Michael Raffoul said the council had acted because of a lack of state government laws banning smoking in outdoor areas.

He said cigarette butts made up a significant proportion of litter at beaches and playgrounds in the municipality and a ban had been welcomed by residents.

”You would be mad not supporting a ban to help shield children from the deadly habit,” he said. ”We have a moral obligation towards our children. This is the least we can do.”

It is expected the new law will be in place before summer, with the council needing to prepare a community impact statement and accept submissions before it is voted on again.

The City of Port Phillip, which stretches from Port Melbourne to Elwood introduced similar laws along its beaches last summer, while the Surf Coast Shire banned smoking in 2008 in a Victorian first.

Several other Victorian councils also have some form of outdoor smoking bans in place, but the state lags behind New South Wales, where 79 councils have some form of outdoor smoke-free policy in place, according to Quit Victoria.

A 2009 Cancer Council Victoria survey found 77 per cent of 4501 Victorians polled said smoking should not be allowed in outdoor areas where children were present, with 63 per cent saying smoking should be banned on beaches.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said public bans such as this were important to help stop children thinking smoking was normal by seeing adults smoke.

She said the ban reflected changing community values but the Baillieu government needed to introduce more bans in public places.

”I think this is a good first step in terms of responding to demands of their constituents,” she said.

”We’re [now] waiting for [the Baillieu government’s] plans and we’re hopeful they would proceed in this way.”

A spokeswoman for Health Minister David Davis said the government was aware of numerous smoking reduction measures undertaken by councils and was interested in looking at the results.

By Reid Sexton

Texas Lawmakers Persistent on Smoking Ban

AUSTIN – The Texas lawmakers who are proposing HB 670, which would make Texas the first southern state to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and most public places, maintain the proposal is still alive, The Texas Tribune reports.

State Rep. Myra Crownover, one of the bill’s 74 supporters, said she is hopeful she can amend the bill onto SB 1811, a broad fiscal measure that is being addressed today, by tying it to health and state licenses concerning cleanliness and food quality. She said she has recruited about 100 House lawmakers to support the amendment, and that “if rat droppings are a problem, so is benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde in the air.”

The newspaper speculated that SB 1811 “is likely to become a Christmas tree for dead or dying bills,” and one that Rep. Rob Eissler characterized as an “excellent opportunity” for enacting a smoking ban.

“A bill that would save as many lives and as much money as this one is never dead,” Ellis said. “The burden will be on the people who vote against saving lives.”

According to the bill’s fiscal note, the measure would save the state an estimated $31 million in state Medicaid costs over the next biennium. It would continue to allow smoking in nursing homes, outdoor seating areas of bars and restaurants, and tobacco-related businesses.

Opponents of the bill argue it encroaches on personal freedom and sets a dangerous precedent for banning legal activity in public places.

Three southern states — Florida, Louisiana and North Carolina — prohibit smoking in either restaurants and bars or workplaces, but not both.

Washington Senate Approves Exceptions To Smoking Ban

OLYMPIA, Washington — Washington state senators have approved a plan that would allow cigar and pipe smoking at a limited number of establishments.

Lawmakers narrowly passed the measure Tuesday afternoon, sending the bill to the House. The plan would permit up to 100 cigar lounges and 500 retail tobacco shops to allow smoking. Cigarettes would still be banned.

Businesses would have to pay annual fees of $17,500 to obtain cigar lounge endorsements and $6,000 to obtain tobacco store endorsements.

Supporters of the measure say it would allow some confined smoking for adults to enjoy in a social setting. Opponents say it violates the will of voters, who approved a strict smoking ban in 2005.

Last year, El Gaucho in Tacoma sparred with the Pierce County Health Department over the ban. Owner Paul MacKay said last year that the lounge was originally built as a smoking lounge at a cost of about $100,000.

El Gaucho ultimately accepted a permanent ban on smoking. No word yet on how an exception, if it is passed into law, would affect that deal.

Nevada researchers find partial smoking ban

RENO, Nev. — An impact study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno has found that the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act is not only good public policy but also good for the economy.

In the study, hospital admissions in Nevada for second-hand smoke-sensitive health problems declined between 2007, when the NCIAA was implemented, and 2009. The researchers – Chris Pritsos, chair of the nutrition department in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, Wei Wang of the University of Nevada, Reno and John Packham of the University of Nevada School of Medicine – also found that hospital-billed charges for treating acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke significantly decreased from 2007 to 2009.

“It is very clear that the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act is not only having a positive health effect on Nevadans but is reducing health care costs for the state and federal governments as well,” Pritsos, the study’s lead author, said. “Imagine the lives and costs savings to Nevada if this ban were expanded to cover all segments of the population.”

Following the implementation of the NCIAA in 2007, the researchers found that hospital admissions in Nevada for AMI decreased an average of 346 per year while admissions for stroke decreased an average of 315 per year. Hospital bills in Nevada also decreased an annual average of $23.5 million for AMI (including an estimated reduction of $900,000 for Medicaid and $7.5 million for Medicare) and $9.8 million for stroke (including an estimated reduction of $600,000 for Medicaid and $4 million for Medicare).

“The partial statewide smoking ban has resulted in a statistically significant reduction in hospital admissions and cost savings to taxpayers and insurance plans that dwarf the purported economic damages to businesses claimed by opponents of the ban,” Packham said.

The research will also be discussed today at the first-ever National Smokefree Gaming Symposium in Las Vegas. Pritsos will talk about his research with other anti-smoking activists and casino workers lobbying the state to pass a statewide ban on smoking inside casinos. Casinos are one of the few places where the NCIAA did not ban public smoking.

Pritsos and Peckham said their findings are consistent with the “well-established direct relationship between AMI and stroke and exposure to second-hand smoke” and existing research on the impact of smoking bans on health outcomes throughout the western region.

Analyzing more than four million hospital admissions records between 1991 and 2009, the researchers used interrupted time-series regression modeling to compare predicted monthly hospital admissions for AMI and stroke against observed trends. They estimated the health care cost impact of the NCIAA using median billed charges per hospital admission for AMI and stroke.

Pritsos specializes in tobacco abuse research, and as president of the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition, he helped bring the NCIAA to voters in 2006.

The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act was passed in 2006 and was enforced statewide in 2007. The act banned smoking in most public places and in all enclosed workplaces, including restaurants and bars serving food.

The study, “Cost Saving Analysis of Reduced Hospital Admissions for Acute Myocardial Infarction and Stroke after Implementation of a Statewide Partial Smoking Ban in Nevada,” has been submitted for publication in the journal Tobacco Control.

By Mike Wolterbeek, a Media Relations Officer for the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at

Indoor Smoking Ban Starts in China

The Chinese regime launched a public ‘no smoking’ policy on Monday—that’s five years after it signed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Under the new ban, people cannot smoke inside public spaces.

Business must display “No Smoking” signs and outdoor smoking areas must not adversely affect non-smokers.

[Li Fei, Beijing Resident]:
“Actually, I am a smoker but I support the ban on smoking in public places, especially in restaurants. Usually the air in restaurants is not that good and they are quite crowded. If there are people smoking then it’s very smoky and, sometimes, when I go out to eat with my wife I am not very happy with the atmosphere.”

But enforcement is going to be tough. China has about 300 million smokers who consume a third of the cigarettes produced in the whole world.

[Lu Ankang, Lung Disease Specialist, Shanghai Ruijin Hospital]:
“The result of the smoking ban greatly depends on the how strongly the ban will be enforced. If it is carried out in a strong manner, smokers will change their habits and start to quit smoking. There may be hope of yielding results through anti-smoking campaigns.”

Previous anti-smoking campaigns of the Chinese regime have not been very effective. In 2008, it pledged to limit indoor public smoking in Beijing, but those spaces remain choked with smoke and ‘no smoking’ signs are routinely ignored.

Another obstacle to enforcing the ban is that the ruling regime itself has a direct stake in the industry. Nearly 8 percent of the country’s revenue came from taxes and profits related to tobacco in 2009. The China National Tobacco Corporation is a state-owned cigarette monopoly, and the largest company of this type in the world.