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Big tobacco makes one more attempt to advertise to kids?

In the 1950s and ’60s, it was open slather for tobacco companies to target teens.

“One of the most important customers today is the youthful novice in smoking,” declared an article in the Tobacco Trade Journal of Queensland in 1954.

“He is your customer of the future and special efforts should be made to cultivate him.”

The “model age” for smoking initiation in Australia, the industry held, was 15 years.

“Statistics show that 12 per cent of the population in Australia are teenagers and represent 16 per cent of the total purchasing power,” said the journal in 1964. “The importance of wooing this group with advertising is therefore evident”.

Teenagers the industry found, were “most responsive to advertising, and when it appears in a form slanted to them directly, it becomes a valuable springboard for capturing this lucrative market”.

But the steady attention of health authorities and governments, including creeping advertising bans from 1976 in Australia, have shut down these more blatant approaches to getting kids hooked.

Subtler techniques have been required.

In 1984, as Philip Morris tried to spruik its flagging Marlboro brand, it lamented that it lacked appeal to younger smokers and should “concentrate on sampling and promotion” to give young smokers “first-hand experience with the product”.

Across the industry, packaging was carefully designed to denote cool. Cartoon character Joe Camel, for example, was the “ambassador of smooth,” with his shades, his social ease and his high jivin’ lifestyle, and was clearly designed to be a hit with the kids.

Tobacco companies also got around advertising bans by sponsoring sporting events such as the Winfield Cup rugby league and Formula One to create an aura of success. Product placement in movies acted subliminally to reinforce the pro-smoking message.

“Incidental positive smoking imagery,” found the British Medical Journal, can “generate the … consumer effects attributed to … advertising”, and adolescent smokers were “particularly attuned” to it.

“Such imagery increased their urge to smoke and reduced their desire to quit.”

The latest challenge for big tobacco is plain packaging. Through FOI laws, perhaps, they are seeking once again to find a way to keep schoolkids and teens buying what they’re selling.


Yves Saint Laurent promotes own-label cigarettes in Asia and Russia

TOBACCO advertising is banned in Australia, the US and Europe, and smoking indoors is against the law in many of the world’s major cities. But in fashion, it appears, the habit is still as fashionable as ever.

Cancer risk seems to be of little concern to Yves Saint Laurent, which is promoting and selling cigarettes bearing its designer logo.

The cigarettes, which come in a sleek black box with gold foil, are being marketed towards women in Asia and Russia.

They are accompanied by an advertisement featuring a model that looks uncannily like Kate Moss, who came under fierce criticism when she smoked on the Louis Vuitton catwalk earlier this year.

Online retailers, which sell the cigarettes for up to $44 per 200-cigarette pack, reveal that the product first launched in 1989.

Promotional script tells prospective buyers that the label’s “philosophy is to give”

It continues: “Creating a sense of appeal to female vanity and thereby making the woman who chose to smoke Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes more attractive than one who smokes another brand or more attractive than a woman who did not smoke at all.”

The message is an uncomfortable one for countries like Australia, the UK and the US, where governments invest heavily in anti-smoking messages in order to help prevent the huge number of deaths each year caused by tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said that Yves Saint Laurent should be ashamed of itself.

She told MailOnline: “Since the advertising ban preventing any advertising promotion or sponsorship by tobacco companies came into force smoking amongst young people has dropped by a third.

“We won’t see Yves St Laurent cigarettes on sale (in the UK), as tobacco companies are banned from using brandsharing to promote smoking in the UK, or anywhere in Europe.

“Sadly in Russia and many parts of Asia, young people are not yet protected from such tobacco industry tactics, and glamorous brands like YSL can be used to suck them into an addiction that will lead to death and disability.

“YSL should be ashamed of itself.”

Research from the American Lung Association reveals that more than 430,000 people in the US die every year from smoking-related diseases, including those who have heart attacks.

And according to Cancer Research UK, more than a quarter (28 per cent) of all cancer deaths in Britain are caused by smoking.

It added that tobacco is behind around 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths in men and more than 80 per cent of lung cancer deaths in women in the UK.

Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, famously named a 1966 tuxedo for women called Le Smoking. It is a design that continues to influence fashion today.

YSL follows in the footsteps of Cartier and Pierre Cardin, which have also given tobacco firms permission to use their logo.

BY Tamara Abraham

World’s smallest cellphone jammer looks like a pack of cigarettes

Sometimes you just want to drown out the noise around you — starting with cellphones. While cellphones are great communication cigarette cellphone jammerdevices, people who go overboard, spilling their life stories out loud in public tend to become annoying. Silence them with the world’s smallest cellphone jammer.

Disguised as a pack of cigarettes, the so-called “world’s smallest cellphone jammer” disables a cluster of frequencies, mainly GSM and 3G signals within a 32-feet radiius — turning crystal clear babbling into ear-splitting static. This could come in handy when trying to block out mommy from shouting at daddy for the umpteenth time. Price for quiet? $46.

In the U.S. cellphone jammers are illegal, with anyone caught with one punishable with a fine of $11,000 and up to a year in jail time. I don’t know what the laws are in your neck of the woods, so consider yourself warned before hitting that “Add to Cart” button.

Announcements show promise for Tobacco Festival’s resurgence

The South Carolina Tobacco Festival, after a quiet 2009, appears ready to return bigger and better this September in conjunction with the Heritage Music and Arts Festival, a major-label recording artist, and a fireworks show that will light up the night sky above Lake City.

The 54th festival will be held from Sept. 17-19. The biggest attraction, on Saturday night, should be the Uncle Kracker concert, expected to draw a crowd of thousands. Afterward, Lake City will be treated to what organizers anticipate will be this year’s biggest fireworks display in South Carolina.

The Tobacco Festival always has been steeped in tradition, and this year’s festival will maintain plenty of what festivalgoers have come to love. On the first night, the Band of Oz will return for its fifth year to open the weekend events with the “Beach Blast.” Saturday will offer family events, food and vendors. The annual golf tournament will take place on Sunday.

Greater Lake City Chamber of Commerce Director Doug Stone said the chamber has worked with the Lake City Community Foundation and the National Bean Market Museum to develop the biggest festival Lake City has seen in decades, especially as it runs concurrently with the foundation’s Heritage Music and Arts Festival.

“It’s more than just walking around and eating candy apples or funnel cake,” Stone said.

Organizers have talked with entertainers who could perform in the city’s schools and auditoriums as well as professional artists who can bring exhibits to town, Stone said.

Corporate sponsorships, meanwhile, help the festival remain free to the public, Stone said.

The chamber board decided last year to scale the festival back because of the struggling economy. Last year’s events included the main attractions, however, such as the festival-opening street dance and the golf tournament.

It was a crucial move to avoid canceling the festival despite the economy. In fact, the dreary economy is a good reason the festival needed to continue. Residents of Lake City and its surrounding communities need a chance to have fun.

When scaling back the 2009 festival, the chamber intended for the festival to return bigger and better in 2010. It looks like that is going to happen. And when the residents of Lake City and the surrounding communities come out to have a good time at the festival, it helps the area’s economy.

In fact, with a relatively big-name act such as Uncle Kracker, we might see plenty of people from other parts of South Carolina and even other states contributing to our economy in mid-September.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

That cigars are now “in” is beyond question. Cigar dinners have become as popular as wine tastings. Fromm North America to the cigars smokeMiddle East, cigar clubs are opening at an unprecedented pace, an increasing number of restaurants now boast cigar menus and just about everybody, whether they smoke $1 cigars or $70 dollar cigars, is talking about them.

Like wine, cigars also have their own language and in addition to being familiar with their country of origin, the type of tobacco used and the method of rolling the cigar, true aficionados must also be able to evaluate cigars based on their weight, body, aroma, smoothness and balance. More than this, the special language of cigars includes a large variety of names and numbers. The true aficionado must realize, for example, that in order to be categorized as a “Churchill”, a cigar must be between 16.75 and 17.80 centimeters long and must have a thickness or “gauge” of between 47 and 50 (which in every day language translates to 1.70-1.75 centimeters). And thanks largely to the popular magazine “Cigar Aficionado:, cigars now have their own rating scale (95-100 – classic; 90-94 – outstanding; 80-89 – good to excellent; 70-79 – average to good commercial quality; under 70 – don’t waste your money).

In fact, the language used in evaluating cigars is no more or less poetic than those applied to wines. The “Cigar Aficionado” for example, writes that the top rated Churchill cigar of the world, which is produced by Cuban company Romeo Y Julieta is: “an outstanding cigar that is dominated by chocolate and coffee flavors, has a full-flavored finish and lots of spices”. The Churchill of another cigar-maker, Cohiba, was described as “elegant, with a tendency toward a light draw, but filled with perfectly balanced mild flavors of coffee and nuts and an overall flowery character”.

Many will also learn how to gain maximum pleasure from their cigars. One must, for example, master the art of placing a cigar alongside the ear, and then rolling it between three (never two or four) fingers in order to uses the senses of touch and hearing to determine its solidity, texture and humidity content. In order to gain a first impression of the quality of the tobacco, the cigar must then be sniffed. Only then can the cigar be lit and can one reach a final evaluation, determined by whether the cigar has a good taste, undertones of fruits or flowers, a pleasing finish and whether it burns too quickly or too hot.

The health ruse

In many countries, cigars, like cigarettes, must display a government warning against the dangers of smoking. Cigar smokers say that this is unfair. Their claim that cigar smoking is less hazardous to the health than cigarettes, based primarily on the fact that very few cigar smokers inhale when they smoke, thus exposing them to practically no danger of lung cancer. Cigar lovers do not, however, like to cite the statistics of the Surgeon General of the U.S. or of the Ministries of Health in France, Holland and England, all of which claim that cigar smokers are far likelier to develop cancer of the lips, mouth and upper palate than non-smokers.

The dark side of the trade

One of the basic rules of Roman law was caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. For more than 30 years there has been nothing easier than buying counterfeit Rolex watches, Chanel perfumes, and Christian Dior scarves for men and women. The latest sport in counterfeiting and stealing from unsuspecting buyers is in the field of cigars, many producers in the Dominican Republic now specializing in producing cigars that they call Cohibas but that have nothing in common whatever with the superb cigars of that Cuban brand. Here are some guidelines that may prove helpful in avoiding throwing your money away on second rate cigars.

First, it is important to know that genuine Cohibas come in two series – the Classic line that include their Lancero, Coronas Especial and Robusto cigars and the Siglo series of Siglo I, II, III, IV and V. Both styles are available in cedar wood boxes containing 25 cigars. If you should find Cohibas sold in white, paper-wrapped boxes, avoid them, for the company stopped that style of wrapping 15 years ago.

Be aware that Lancero and Coronos Especial cigars are also available in orange and blue printed cardboard cartons. Inside each carton are five cigars, each in its own box. Check each box and make sure that the Cohiba name is printed – correctly – near the top. Some counterfeiters seem careless over spelling, some even print the label upside down.

Another important test is to look at the cap of the cigar. The men who put on the tobacco that caps a genuine Cohiba are artists and the caps of genuine Cohibas are without faults. The caps of the counterfeits are often wrinkled, have a somewhat “off” color and are sometimes not at all tight fitting.

As to flavor, aroma, and the pleasure of the cigar, there is a problem, because if you are smoking a counterfeit you have probably already paid for the box. Genuine Cohibas are extraordinarily rich, tend to be full bodied, draw comfortably and have full flavors of tobacco, cedar wood, chocolate, coffee, spices and herbs. The counterfeits, on the other hand, are mediocre cigars at best, tending to draw either too hard or too easily, far too hot as they smoke, and lacking any finesse at all. The counterfeits can be bought at remarkably reasonable prices. Alas, comparing them to genuine Cohiba cigars is akin to comparing the wines of Romanee-Conti to those made on the Greek island of Samos. If you have never tasted a Samos wine, consider yourself fortunate.

Avatar on DVD Review

The top-grossing film in movie history is No. 1 again. The James Cameron epic Avatar, which has earned more than $2.7 billion in avatar reviewstheaters worldwide since its Dec. 18 release — nearly 50% more than the previous record holder, Cameron’s Titanic — went into video stores yesterday and sold about 4 million copies. That established new standards for sales of both DVDs (topping Twilight as the year’s top seller) and Blu-ray discs (smashing The Dark Knight’s stash by nearly a million units). Actually, we’re not sure how the folks at Fox calculated that, since the Blu-ray edition of Avatar is offered only packaged with a DVD for $39.99 (currently half price on Anyway, it’s quite a haul.

More surprising than the sales figures is the composition of the DVD package. Released on Earth Day, April 22, to underline the film’s eco-friendly message, the first home version of Avatar is hardly fan-friendly. It boasts no extra footage; apparently the picture that Cameron showed in theaters was his director’s cut. You’ll find no making-of documentaries, no “behind the scenes in Pandora” mini-movies, though several of these played in heavy rotation for months on the Fox Movie Channel. The presentation also skips the usual trailers for other Fox movies. The only “extra” is an anti-smoking public service announcement. And one other caveat, which sends the collective voice of Avatar’s admirers ascending into a shrill chorus: no freakin’ 3-D.

This, after all, was a movie sold on the need to see it in its full stereoptic grandeur, and audiences bit: about 75% of theatergoers paid higher prices to see the picture in 3-D or IMAX venues. Some people waited for weeks to get seats in those theaters, because, as critics and fans agreed, who wants to see Avatar in poor old 20th-century 2-D? Yet here the movie is, available in a format that only a quarter of the moviegoing public saw it in. If, as DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg keeps saying, 3-D is the biggest transformation in movies since color, then this is Avatar in black-and-white. Remember Col. Quaritch’s warning, at the beginning of the movie, that “You are not in Kansas anymore”? Welcome back to Kansas.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cameron said he didn’t release a DVD in 3-D because “Our feeling is there just aren’t enough players out there. We don’t want it to come out and be a fart in the frying pan.” Yet if there’s one event that could cue a 3-D DVD buying spree, it’d be the release of Avatar in that format. Instead, the Na’vigator hopes to milk his movie’s popularity dry with no fewer than three home versions. “Right now, today, if people want them some Avatar, they can get it. And I think they will. And then in August, we’re going to take those six minutes of deleted scenes and finish them up to a level of photo-reality equal to the rest of the film and re-release the film theatrically. Then we’ll get creative with the DVD technology in November.”

So what do you get right now? A crisp keepsake of the movie; a thing to hold called Avatar; a fetish for acolytes; a slim box to put on your video shelf, with space for the real editions coming out later. Seen in its flat format, the film looks ordinary, especially in its first half-hour or so, as Cameron none too adroitly sets up his premise. The middle section, in which Jake (Sam Worthington) befriends the Na’vi princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and becomes part of her world, is much more beguiling; 2-D can’t rob Pandora of its majesty, and the colors, especially in Blu-ray, are as spectacular as ever. Those who fell in love with the love story, with Jake and Neytiri and their blooming emotional connection, will get a lot more out of this Avatar than moviegoers who were just wowed by the spectacle.

But will any home version, in DVD, Blu-ray or 3-D, equal what the theatrical version offered? The whole economic and artistic point of the Avatar we all saw — indeed, of any 3-D movie — was to create an experience that couldn’t be duplicated at home. On the big screen, in that process, the picture hypnotized moviegoers with its size and scope. The gigantic image had no competition for a viewer’s attention; in the darkened cathedral of a large theater, the movie was the only light, and watching it was a votive experience, with Cameron the high priest controlling the message and the tempo. Sitting there, in the company of a thousand other communicants, we entered Jake’s virtual, much more beautiful life. We were all dreamwalkers.

There’s no way to duplicate that intensity at home, with a much smaller image, and the ordinary interruptions of phone and email messages, of the ordinary importuning of kids and spouses. Yet in an important and diminishing way, you are in charge, not Cameron. You can fast-forward through the slow spots, click back to relive a scene, stop when it’s dinnertime and maybe never come back. Even a movie as powerful as Avatar can’t work its spell on a distracted viewer. To stay with it requires an act of will, not the blessed passivity of a moviegoer.

Later this year we’ll doubtless pony up more money for a fuller version of the film. But I’d rather believe the rumor now circulating: that Fox has found a hole in the crowded schedule of the year’s 3-D movies, and will rerelease Avatar in theaters. That’s really the only way to see it — until Cameron and his video savants come up with a 3-D home machine that can duplicate the theater experience. I wouldn’t put it past them. After all, they figured out how to turn an epic vision into a trailblazingly glorious movie.

By Richard Corliss
Time, April 24, 2010

Baseball cards with bugs

Sports fans collect a lot of things — baseball cards, autographs, memorabilia, bugs.


That’s not a Joba Chamberlain reference there — it’s the latest concoction in the baseball card world from Carlsbad, Calif.-based Upper Deck.

It has put actual insects into baseball cards.

Last summer, Upper Deck issued Goodwin Champions, a baseball card set featuring the design and look of the 1880s tobacco cards of the same name — but with a modern twist that included autographs of sports stars (not just baseball players) and pieces of game-used memorabilia on their cards.

Autographs and memorabilia are the modern norm — but Upper Deck added a few extras.

“I want to create some watercooler talk,” said Upper Deck baseball product development manager Grant Sandground. “I want to have people talking about these products. Here are tobacco-era cards redefined.”

You see, tobacco cards — pieces of cardboard placed into packs of cigarettes to firm up the packaging — originally featured bugs, flags and athletes from all types of sports before baseball became the norm and the smokes were dropped in favor of bubble gum.

For the modern version of the old-time tobacco card, Upper Deck put the actual bugs into the cards for its Goodwin Champions Entomology cards. And because exotic insects come in all shapes and sizes, the company put redemption cards (think Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket) into packs instead of the cards containing the creepy crawlers.

Bug baseball card
Courtesy of Upper DeckHere’s a look at the back of the card.

“I wanted to show to the modern consumer that tobacco cards weren’t all about baseball players. … They had Civil War generals, racing horses, bicycles, animals and all sorts of stuff,” Sandground said. “What I wanted to do was take those subjects and completely turn them on their ear in a style befitting of Upper Deck — to take those concepts from 100 years ago and deliver them in the most modern manner possible.”

The company is preparing to ship the “bug cards” out to customers who have patiently waited for their collectibles, unveiling a peek at the Great Walking Leaf card seen here. That card is four times the size of a standard baseball card — but it’s infinitely creepier.

“People thought I was crazy when I came here and pitched this product,” Sandground said. “But we’re all pretty excited about it.”

The novelty of these cards hasn’t been lost on collectors — they’ve routinely been paying $100 a pop for the exchange cards, despite not knowing exactly which insect they might get in return.

Upper Deck has announced that there will be more than 30 different bugs to be collected, including specimens of the giant centipede (which can be a foot long), the walking stick, baby-back scorpions, the man-faced beetle, and several types of butterfly.

Something tells me that the Great Walking Leaf might not be the creepiest of the bunch.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine.

Brown Secures Agreement with American Spirit Cigarettes Maker

Los Angeles-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that his office has secured an agreement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc., the manufacturer of American Spirit tobacco products, that requires the company to clearly disclose that its organic tobacco is “no safer or healthier” than other tobacco products.

Attorneys general from 32 other states and the District of Columbia signed onto today’s agreement.

“Stamping an organic label on tobacco products is ultimately a distinction without a difference-organic or not, cigarettes are bad for your health,” Brown said. “Today’s settlement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company ensures that all future advertisements make it clear that organic tobacco is no safer or healthier.”

Today’s agreement follows Brown’s contention that Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company may have misled consumers in advertising its “organic” or “100% organic” Natural American Spirit cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco and pouches, leading consumers to believe these products were less harmful than other tobacco products. There is currently no competent or reliable scientific evidence to support this conclusion.

Under the terms of the agreement, all advertisements will clearly and prominently feature the following warnings:

– For Natural American Spirit organic cigarettes: “Organic tobacco does NOT mean safer cigarettes.”
– For Natural American Spirit organic roll-your-own or pouch tobacco: “Organic tobacco does NOT mean safer tobacco.”

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company has 30 days to meet these requirements, and all tobacco retailers selling these products must be contacted and instructed to dispose of old advertisements that do not feature these disclosures.

Organic tobacco is certified under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. To receive organic certification, tobacco farmers have to follow a strict, labor-intensive growing regimen. Certified organic tobacco is grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers prohibited under the program.

Thirty-two other attorneys general signed onto Brown’s agreement today from the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Additionally, the attorney general of the District of Columbia signed onto the agreement.

Brown’s agreement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc. is attached.

Grant funds research for alternative tobacco crops

Virginia State University’s Agricultural Research Station has been awarded two grants totaling approximately half a million dollars by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to research potentially profitable alternative crops for former tobacco and other small farmers in Southside.

“First and foremost, our goal is to rally to the aid of former Virginia tobacco farmers who are seeking to replace substantial income lost since termination of the federal tobacco price support program,” said Dr. Wondi Mersie, associate dean for research in VSU’s School of Agriculture.

“By increasing their incomes, we will simultaneously enhance Virginia’s agricultural economy,” he added.

The Agricultural Research Station received $238,750 to study the capability of oilseed crops-mustard, and canola-to produce biodiesel for use in diesel engines, and ethanol for use in gasoline engines.

As the project’s principal investigator, Dr. Harbans Bhardwaj, a VSU professor and research scientist, will also lead research on legume crops-mungbean and chickpea -for use as food and feed in domestic and import markets, and as feedstocks for ethanol production.

Field experiments will be conducted on VSU’s 416-acre Randolph Farm and at demonstration sites in Carroll, Franklin, Grayson and Patrick counties.

Dr. Tadesse Mebrahtu, a VSU research professor and agronomist, eceived $226,281 to research and promote Edamame, an edible soybean, as a feasible, practical alternative to tobacco.

“This vegetable is considered to have healthful benefits and has become a popular food item in grocery stores and in some fast-food restaurant salads,” Mebrahtu said.

Objectives of the project are to increase awareness of Edamame’s potential as a cash crop, and to foster development of related small business enterprises (processing, seed sales and a marketing cooperative) in Southside Virginia.

Chinese face eviction for spitting or dropping cigarette butts

The ubiquitous habit of spitting in China has defeated virtually every effort the authorities have made to stamp it out — from public information campaigns to fines.

Now, in a renewed push to curb the practice, one local administration is threatening serial offenders with eviction.

Under a new scheme introduced at a government-subsidised housing complex in the southern city of Guangzhou, residents have been told that they could forfeit their homes if they are repeatedly caught spitting or dropping cigarette ends.

A proposed penalty system has been designed to “build a civilised, hygienic, safe and harmonious community environment”, the Guangzhou Land Resources and Management Bureau said on its website.

Residents would be penalised on a points system and rack up three points if caught seven times committing any of a series of minor offences which include spitting.

More serious transgressions, such as unsafe storage of “flammable, explosive, poisonous, radioactive and other hazardous materials”, carry heavier point penalties. Residents who accumulate more than 20 points in a two-year period would be evicted.

A spokeswoman for the local housing authority said that the points system followed constant reports of unsanitary conditions and robberies in public housing neighbourhoods.

Spitting has proved almost impossible to halt in China. In the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing imposed hefty fines of 50 yuan (£5) for anyone caught expectorating on the street, a sum equivalent to a day’s wages for a university graduate.

Officials even promised to provide paper bags and tissues for anyone needing to spit and some civic-minded students took to the streets to police the programme voluntarily.

The state media hailed the campaign as a success, saying that the number of people spitting had fallen sharply.

Spitting still remains a widespread habit in much of China, however. The streets of Beijing are spattered with blobs of spittle and the sound of hawking is to be heard on every street corner.

The plan has already run into opposition, amid allegations that it discriminates against the poor.

The local New Express Daily said that if it was the duty of the government to provide housing to lower income people, then it should not abandon that responsibility simply because of the moral level of tenants.

The idea has similarly upset some in China’s increasingly vocal online community. One web user on popular portal said: “What if a rich person did all these things?”

Cigarettes and alcohol hit by ‘hidden’ excise charge

The cigarette and booze industries have been hit by a “hidden” excise charge this year, after the Government failed to cut the duty to make up for higher VAT.

There were no changes to alcohol and tobacco duty rates in yesterday’s pre-Budget report, after they had been increased a year ago to offset the temporary reduction in VAT. Industry expects predict that the impact of VAT going back up to 17.5 per cent on 1 January and no respite in the burden on excise duties would add up to 18p on a packet of cigarettes and at least 6p on a pint of beer.

Daniel Lyons, indirect tax partner at Deloitte, said: “Alcohol and tobacco companies didn’t beneift from the VAT cut, and will lose out when it returns to 17.5 per cent. It is a hidden charge and clearly bad news for those sectors, which have traditionally been seen as easy targets for taxation in the past,” he said.

Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, said the move would inevitably lead to a “significant increase in smuggling and associated criminality”. The lack of relief on excise duty and VAT hike would add between 13p and 18p on a packet of cigarettes, he said.

Yet the Government said tobacco duty would bring in £500m more than expected in the 12 months to the end of the tax year in April lifting the takings to £8.8bn. The pre-Budget report said sales may have been boosted by the weakness of sterling against the euro, “which would make cross-border shopping or illicit behaviour less attractive”.

Alcohol is expected to bring in £300m more to the Exchequer than expected, at £9bn, up from £6.2bn in the previous tax year. The Government separately said that the tax regime covering cider will be reviewed and proposals will be brought forward for the 2010 budget.

British consumers will have to pay 2.5 per cent more for retail products and services after the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that VAT will rise from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent from January.

Brigid Simmonds, the chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said the rise in VAT will hit struggling pubs at a time when a record 50 pubs a week are closing and the sector has had to endure an 8 per cent increase in beer duty since last December. She said: “Since the Budget of 2008, our tax bill has gone up by £600m during one of the deepest and longest recessions in living memory,” she said, adding: “Beer tax already accounts for around a third of the price of a pint and these increases will put yet more pressures on hard-pressed pubs and consumers.”

However, retailers said they were “relieved” that Alistair Darling had not proposed further hikes in VAT and welcomed the Government giving them four weeks, instead of two, to update price labels in stores after 1 January.

Stephen Robertson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “It’s a relief that VAT won’t increase beyond 17.5 per cent. Consumer confidence is weakening. Big price increases would fuel inflation, make people less likely to spend and hold back recovery.”

He added: “It’s come late but this change will give retailers more time to achieve this costly exercise without undermining their key mission – serving customers.” Retailers are concerned that the next government may introduce a 20 per cent rate of VAT to help plug the gaping hole in the public finances. The grocers also fear the next administration may put a new 5 per cent VAT rate on food, which is currently exempt.

By Nick Clark and James Thompson
10 December 2009

South Windsor Tobacco Wholesaler Plans Expansion

A South Windsor tobacco company that has been in business since 1955 is asking the town to approve its plan to add a 12,300-square-foot addition to its existing facility on Sullivan Avenue.

A representative of The Nuway Tobacco Co. will present the proposal today to members of the town’s architectural design and review committee. The advisory committee is scheduled to meet at 5:45 p.m. in town hall, 1540 Sullivan Ave.

The application, submitted to the town Nov. 9, is pending before the planning and zoning commission, Michele Lipe, the town’s assistant director of planning, said Wednesday. Lipe, who also is a member of the design review committee, said the committee’s role is advisory to the planning and zoning commission, which is scheduled to take up the application at its meeting on Tuesday.

The application is on file in the town planning department and is available for public inspection.

Lipe said the design review committee will hear a brief presentation and review the plan. The committee will then submit its recommendations to the planning and zoning commission.

Nuway Tobacco is a tobacco products wholesaler that specializes in cigars and related products.

Copyright © 2009, Courant

Imperial Tobacco profits are still booming

Since October 1996 – shortly after Davis took the job on the company’s split from Hanson – shareholders have seen the FTSE All Share double, turning a £100 investment into £204, assuming dividends were reinvested. A £100 investment in Imperial shares would have grown to £1,094 on a comparable basis, or nearly nine times better than the market generally. Is this a cause for celebration or should Davis skip the leaving party and slip out the back door next May?

The number of people aged 35 and over admitted to hospital for smoking-related diseases has risen by a fifth since 1997, from 1.2m to 1.4m and the cost to the National Health Service of treating these people is now £2.7bn.

Yet this is an industry that raises £9.9bn in tax for the Government, so it’s a profitable vice not just for Imperial shareholders, but also for the taxpayer. Smoking is bad for you, but so is booze, yet we demonise tobacco companies more than alcohol producers – why?

A ban on smoking in public places, for instance, has accompanied a ban on advertising and the next step is a ban on retailers displaying the product, far tougher than restrictions imposed on drinks companies. However, a fifth of Britons still smoke regularly and investing in tobacco companies is as mainstream as ever, despite the faddish popularity for “ethical” investing. The UK market for cigarettes is shrinking just 2pc annually so despite the hand ringing we still seem happy to not just tolerate smoking, but to carry on regardless.

Regulatory clampdowns in markets such as the UK and the US are being repeated in emerging markets. But at a time when freedoms in general appear to be being curtailed and behavioural controls by states increased, the market for smoking, its success and popularity, sends a counter message to the health warning. It reveals a rebelliousness by consumers. We won’t give up our simple pleasures easily, it seems. Alcohol consumption, and gambling likewise, show no signs of dramatically abating. Arguably such habits are eventually encouraged by overly nannying states that set out to curb them, either through tax or regulation.

The worst expression of this unintended consequence is the rise of smugglers. High taxes make smuggling worthwhile. Illicit trade in cigarettes robs governments of expected income and creates an illegal market that trades outside regulations supposed to protect sections of society, such as children.

Having quit the weed several years ago, I’m not going to celebrate Imperial or its peers. But their continuing success shows just how ineffectual the current invasive style of government, that we tolerate, really is.

By Damian Reece
10 November 2009

British American Tobacco, Shell and AWE to join 100+ other multinationals Ethical Corporation

LONDON–The CR Reporting and Communications Summit ( is the largest gathering in Europe on this topic. For two days in late November, many of the world’s biggest companies will gather in London to debate and discuss the future of corporate responsibility reporting.

The Marriott hotel in Swiss Cottage will play host to 18 individual workshops, where over 30 of Europe’s leading companies will present their own CR/sustainability reporting and communications strategies.

Julia King, Vice-President of CR at GlaxosmithKline will demonstrate how the pharmaceutical giant embeds sustainability reporting throughout the company’s many offices in the second plenary session of the first day.

Tying up the conference on the second day will be Josh Hardie, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Tesco. Mr Hardie will present how Tesco communicates their CR strategy to their stakeholders – a tough issue and one fraught with danger.

Other companies presenting their own CR reporting strategy over the two days include Arcelor Mittal, PepsiCo, Vodafone, Alliance-Boots, Danske Bank and Henkel.

Over 100 CR and sustainability professionals will be in attendance – both to take in best practice from speakers, and to network and discuss the topic in detail with each other. Other organisations confirmed to take part include BG Group, LaFarge, L’Oreal, Sanofi Aventis and the UK’s Royal Mail.

About Ethical Corporation

Ethical Corporation is an independent publisher and conference organiser, launched in 2001 to encourage debate and discussion on responsible business. Ethical Corporation also publishes the new online magazine, launched in February 2007.

Ethical Corporation
Nick Johnson, Chief Operating Officer
T: +44 (0)20 7375 7209

Stronger Smoking Ban On Its Way To Full Council

INDIANAPOLIS — The City-County Council will vote in two weeks on whether to expand the city’s current smoking ban.

The comprehensive ban could restrict smokers from lighting up in bars, bowling alleys and private clubs.
More than 50 citizens and advocates on both sides of the issue lined up at Wednesday’s council committee meeting to express their opinions.

Those who oppose the expanded ban said it will force bars out of business and will further restrict individual freedom.
“I like the idea of being able to leave my home, go to a bar, light up a cigar and watch the local game without that affecting my family at home,” said Bob Welch, who opposes the broader ban.

“This proposal is against property rights, and it takes choices away from employers,” said Timothy McGuire.
Those in favor of an expanded smoking ban primarily point out health risks.

“I represent tonight the people who have died and who are suffering from secondhand smoke and lung cancer,” said Dr. Nassar Hanna, an Indiana University oncologist.

One woman said her sister died from secondhand smoke because she couldn’t escape the smoke because of where she worked.
“I’m here to ask on behalf of my sister, Hazel,” she said. “I hope you’ll pass into law for all citizens to have a safe, healthy smoke-free workplace.”

Wednesday’s committee vote passed 4-2, with Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue. The full council will vote on the expanded ban on Oct. 26.

Copyright © 2009 Theindychannel

Cuba Slashes Tobacco Crop by 30 Percent Due to Recession

HAVANA – Cuba has reduced the area of its 2009 tobacco crop by almost 30 percent and the harvest forecast by 16 percent, to 22,500 tons, as a consequence of the global recession, officials said Tuesday.tobacco

The cutbacks are due to “the economic troubles that have generated a crisis” on the island, as well as the “financial restrictions that made it impossible to obtain the necessary resources,” according to a statement on the Web page of the National Statistics Office, or ONE.

The amount of land planted with tobacco was reduced from 28,200 hectares (69,629 acres) to 19,800 hectares (48,888 acres), while average yield is expected to rise from 0.95 tons to 1.10 tons per hectare (0.38 tons to 0.45 tons per acre), the ONE said.

Cuba is going through one of its worst economic crises in decades due to the drop in exports, the rising cost of imports, three devastating hurricanes in 2008, the trade and financial embargo of the United States, and the deficiencies of its own system.

Cuba produces some of the best tobacco in the world and is famous for brands of cigars like Montecristo, Cohiba, Partagas and Hoyo de Monterrey, whose sales have fallen in 2008 and 2009 because of the international crisis.

Tulare County plans to spend $2.9m from tobacco settlement on building projects

Despite a $13 million budget shortfall this year, Tulare County officials are in the midst of a building boom.

In the next year the county wants to spend $2.9 million on fire stations and a new motor pool. Nearly all of the money will come from tobacco-company funds designed to offset the cost of caring for smoking-related diseases.

Also in the pipeline: a $3.8 million museum dedicated to farmworkers. Money for that project, which is slated to open next year, is coming from a state grant and local fundraising.

In 2001, then-Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation that allowed local governments to spend the tobacco money on anything deemed appropriate. Locally, officials will steer about $203 million over the next decade into various facilities, including new jails, eight fire stations and a $73 million revamp of the county’s civic center in Visalia.

Other long-term projects include an $80 million county court complex and jail in Porterville and $20 million in improvements to local parks.

But in a presentation to the board this week, county Capital Projects Manager Brian Summers said money from the settlement might not be enough.

“In short, our needs far outweigh our available resources,” Summers said.
Millennium Fund

The capital-projects budget known as the Millennium Fund ‘ also serves as a reserve for the county. Earlier this year Jean Rousseau, the county’s administrative officer, borrowed $4.8 million from the fund to help bridge a $13 million shortfall.

Plans call for spending $2.6 million on two fire stations, one each in Visalia and Poplar, and improvements to the county’s motor pool. Fire Station 1, now at Lovers Lane and Walnut Avenue in Visalia, will move three miles south, to Avenue 256 and Lovers Lane.

Summers said the new location will cut response times because it’s more central to the station’s response area.

A new fire station for the department has been in the works for two years. Construction may start this fall and could take about four to six months to complete.

Eventually, the county wants to move the county fire department’s headquarters from leased space in the Farmersville Government Building to the new facility.

The project is estimated to cost about $1.8 million.

The new construction begins just as the county is shuttering its station in Waukena.

The western Tulare County station, which is staffed by “extra-help” firefighters paid on a per-call basis, responded to 255 calls in the area last year. The county’s station west of Tulare will respond to calls in the area.

Another key project has been in the planning stage for years.

The county’s agricultural museum in Mooney Grove Park will cost a total of ‘$3.8 million. The museum will spotlight those from around the world who’ve farmed the Valley for the last millennium.

A state grant will pick up $1.4 million of the construction. The balance will be made up through a fundraising drive by the Tulare County Historical Society.

County officials hope to begin construction in January. The building is slated to be completed in September.

Cigarettes prices in Australia would increase

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Under a proposed health measure in Australia, a pack of cigarettes would increase to $20 ($16.75US) per pack, putting pricing in-line with Britain and Ireland, the Herald Sun reports.

Anti-smoking advocacy groups, whose concerns focus on consumer health, have applauded such a scenario.

“Increasing prices is one of the most effective measures that government can take to reduce tobacco consumption,” the Preventative Health Taskforce said.

Australia’s government has yet to support the proposal and is taking a cautious approach as it assesses the nation’s tax system.

“I don’t intend to tip my hand one way or the other,” said Australia’s Treasurer Wayne Swan. “These are all important matters that are being considered through the Henry Review.”

Opponents to the proposal include tobacco manufacturers, who urge the government to consider smokers who manage a budget and have made an informed choice to smoke.”

Other tobacco-related news in Australia:

* Health advocates are urging legal action against tobacco companies to recover smoking-related health-care costs.
* A ban on smoking in prisons has been proposed.
* Making smoking in films a classifiable element that restricts viewership has been proposed.

Gruesome cigarette warning labels are coming to the U.S.

Gruesome pictorial cigarette-package warnings will be coming to the U.S. relatively soon, according to a recent article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The startlingly graphic labels — which are already required in many countries around the world – typically feature photos of people ravaged by diseases caused from smoking, in an effort to discourage tobacco use.

How gruesome are the warnings? Rotting teeth. Huge tumors. Festering sores.

Dramatic indeed, but are they enough to make people quit smoking? Apparently the Obama Administration is willing to try, as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed into law on June 22.

The debate is likely to be fierce as the FDA and tobacco companies grapple with exactly how to implement the directive. But there is evidence that graphic warnings do make a difference in smoking rates. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that smoking rates have dropped five percent since graphic cigarette-pack warnings became mandatory in 2000.

The new U.S. law directs the FDA to come up with specifics on the required graphic warnings within two years. From that point, tobacco companies will then have 18 months to comply.

For examples of what the new warnings may look like, the Tobacco Labeling Resource Center has a photo gallery of graphic cigarette warnings from around the world

E-Cigarette Companies Push to End Embargo

With the percentage of cigarette smokers in the U.S. declining every year, alternative tobacco companies have been working hard to get Americans to try products like electronic cigarettes–cigarette-shaped tubes that deliver vaporized nicotine instead of smoke. Technically, you could enjoy a smoke-free e-cigarette in your office, though we imagine the stares from coworkers would be distracting. But there’s at least one major obstacle to getting smokers to switch to “vaping”: The Food and Drug Administration thinks that e-cigarettes are unapproved drugs and began blocking their shipment into the country early this year.

On Monday, lawyers for two distributors pushed back, asking Washington, D.C., federal district court judge Richard Leon for a preliminary injunction to lift the embargo. The distributors, Smoking Everywhere and NJOY, sued the FDA in April, accusing the agency of overstepping its authority by labeling their products unapproved drug devices rather than tobacco products.

The Justice Department contends that e-cigarette companies market their products as quit-smoking aids, complete with customer testimonials from former smokers. According to the Blog of Legal Times, the companies’ lawyers at Thompson Hine and Latham & Watkins told Judge Leon on Monday that the FDA was “chasing its own tail” in trying to explain why a smoke is just a smoke while an e-cigarrette is a drug. Thompson Hine’s Kip Schwartz, representing Smoking Everywhere, said that his client neither intended nor marketed e-cigarrettes as smoking cessation devices. “We don’t want people weaned off the e-cigarrette, Schwartz told the judge. “We want them smoking it as long as they smoked regular cigarettes.”

NJOY is represented by Latham’s David Becker. Drake Cutini of the Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation is handling the litigation for the FDA.

Copyright © August 18, 2009 Law

China to Ban Tobacco Ads by 2011

China will ban tobacco advertisements and promotion activities starting from January, 2011.

Beijing News and the China Daily quoted Xu Guihua, vice chairmen of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, as saying that the cost of advertisements and promotions will also no longer be able to be deducted from business income taxes of tobacco companies, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation announced Monday.

Previously, advertising expenditure could be deducted from business income taxes, giving companies an incentive to spend more on advertising.

Zhang Xueyan, vice director of the Price and Tax Research Office of the Ministry of Finance, said this was a necessary measure to help curb China’s tobacco consumption.


Opinions vary on banning tobacco in military

Banning smoking in the military has become a topic of interest lately among members of the military and civilians alike.
The Department of Veteran Affairs and the Pentagon recently released a study done by the Institute of Medicine calling for a phased-in ban over a period of years. Since then, the Pentagon has reportedly decided not to implement the ban. Although the ban could be considered an ultimate goal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates already stated that he wouldn’t want to risk stress levels of the fighting troops rising even higher due to the loss of tobacco.
Nevertheless, the study, which suggests a ban on the use of tobacco by troops and to end its sale on military property, has raised a number of discussions.
The VA report found that one in three service members use tobacco and the heaviest smokers are soldiers and Marines, who have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Combat veterans are 50% more likely to use tobacco than troops who haven’t seen combat. Troops worn out by repeated deployments often rely on cigarettes as a stress reliever, and it was found that tobacco use in the military increased after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
Commanders, as currently stated among army regulations are already encouraged to “demonstrate positive efforts to deglamorize the use of all forms of tobacco products.“
Stephanie Palm, a local resident who served in the U.S. Air Force, said, “As a non-smoker I think it would be good to ban tobacco but would find it hard to regulate.“
He husband Adam Palm, who served in both the U.S. Navy and Air Force, agrees, but says, “Tobacco is just used to relieve the boredom around camp.“
The study concluded that soldiers who smoke have worse vision, don’t perform well on fitness tests, bleed harder after surgery, heal slower, and are at a higher risk for infection. Besides the numerous health issues, the study also found that they are more likely to not meet all physical commitments for the military.
Ruckersville resident, Jesse Rieth, who served in the U.S. Army, finds it to be “a ludicrous thing for the Department of Defense to be focusing on during the ongoing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. While it’s a noble goal to get the US forces as healthy as possible, imposing such a restriction would require a drastic shift in military culture – particularly in the enlisted ranks.“
Nevertheless, local resident Nick Smith, who recently left the active duty Marine Corps, said he “would encourage them to ban smoking while on a military base and in uniform, due to the fact that our image says a lot about us.“
Smith continues: “Clearly smoking is bad for a person’s health, and a healthier, athletic soldier, sailor or Marine is the desired end state. However, I have found that smoking after coming back from a high tempo operation or any fast pace day has calmed soldiers/marines. It allows peers to talk and let go of what they may be doing or have done. Now, you don’t need to smoke to do these things; it is just easier because of the settings.“
Ties between the military and tobacco date back to the early 1900s. During the time of World War I, soldiers were even issued rations that included .4 oz of tobacco and ten cigarette-rolling papers.
Whether the ban ever takes effect in the future, the facts are laid out for everyone to see not only the health issues it brings but also first hand why it seems to be so common in the culture that it is so closely tied to.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk confirms that a military smoking ban is unlikely now.
“We are not going to ban smoking at this instant,“ says Melnyk. “There was so much misleading media on this, but (Defense) Secretary Gates has made it clear that we are not currently considering a ban on smoking, but we do acknowledge the dangers of smoking.“
Melnyk continued: “There is an emphasis here (among the military, as with the general public) on quitting tobacco, but, that said, nobody is going to force people by banning smoking in the military anytime soon. We support the long term goal of a tobacco free military, but in the short term we’re not going to take people cigarettes away; it’s stressful enough.“
Copyright © 2009 Greene-news

Russian army rations to swap cigarettes for candy

Russia will no longer include free cigarettes in its food rations for servicemen but will compensate by providing them with candy, a top general said Thursday.

“We are no longer buying cigarettes for the armed forces and are replacing them with caramel and sugar,” Lieutenant-General Dmitry Bulgakov was quoted by news agencies as saying.

He specified however that Russia was not banning smoking in the military.

“Naturally, if a soldier wants to smoke we can’t forbid this. But now he’ll have to buy cigarettes in stores,” Bulgakov said. “If you want to smoke, then smoke. If you don’t want to smoke, eat candy.”

Bulgakov also announced defence ministry plans to provide military officers who work mainly indoors or in hot climates with new uniforms, including socks that let feet “breathe” and shoes “of high-quality leather.”

However, after being issued a complete uniform kit at the start of service officers will afterwards have to purchase new uniform components themselves, albeit from special military stores open only to officers and their families.

The decision to introduce updated, higher-quality uniforms to Russian military personnel was made in 2007, which were scheduled to be issued this year.

However, while a few units have received new uniforms — notably those that marched on the May 9 Victory Day parade on Red Square — the project has been delayed due to defence ministry budget cuts.

Defence chiefs now planned to phase in the new uniforms over the next two to three years, Bulgakov said.

Copyright © 2009 France24

Health Ministry calls on smokers to support tobacco ban

The Health Ministry would like to see tobacco consumers support the complete indoor ban on tobacco products that goes into force on July 19, Seracettin Çom, the general manager of the Health Ministry’s fundamental health services department, stated yesterday.

“We also want to see the support of tobacco addicts,” Çom said in a statement to the Cihan news agency. He said the ministry was still working on preparations to make sure that the ban is enforced, with 4,167 inspectors on 1,571 teams ensuring enforcement of the legislation. Çom further noted that the number of inspection teams will be increased if they are unable to meet demand.

Stressing that they will not make concessions in implementing the law, Çom said: “If there are those expecting a soft or lax enforcement of the law, they should correct such expectations. It is very important that the ban is backed by citizens.”

Çom added: “We cannot police every place. Those smoking in a closed place harm the people around them and contaminate their air as well. Second-hand smoke is worse than actively smoking. Chemicals and carcinogenic substances permeate floors, door handles and everywhere else. They linger in the air.” He also highlighted that smokers cannot claim that their smoking does not harm other people and reiterated that he expects support of the ban from tobacco addicts, too.

Çom further noted that many people, including tobacco addicts, back the ban and said: “We think of addicts more than they think of themselves. We also need to inform people besides tobacco addicts. The children of those who smoke at home breathe in the equivalent of five cigarettes. Women whose husbands smoke are three times more likely to have lung cancer than those whose husbands don’t smoke.”

Çom also recalled that seven out of 100 people gave up smoking after the smoking ban was partially launched last year.

Copyright © 2009 Todayszaman

Beer Bellies, Swine Flu, Smoking

Swine Flu In Philadelphia:

The Philadelphia Department of Health says a possible fourth swine flu death is being investigated. This comes as cases of swine flu, the H1N1 virus, have started to decline in the city and all over the state of Pennsylvania. 216 people have been hospitalized in Philadelphia with the H1N1 flu, according to a new update from the Philadelphia Health Department. Nine percent have required treatment in intensive care. School age children have been the largest group affected. Health officials say the cases have started to decline in the city and state, but they’re still recommending that people take precautions, like regularly washing their hands.

Team Sports And Cigarettes:

Team sports can help keep kids away from cigarettes, according to a new study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. It says participating in team activities, like soccer, reduces the likelihood of teenagers becoming established smokers. But teens who see movie smoking have an increased risk of lighting up, even if they also play team sports.

The Truth About Beer Bellies:

Beer bellies aren’t caused by consuming alcohol. It’s more about genetics, according to new British research of 20,000 people over eight years. It says people who drink regularly are more likely to put on weight everywhere, but they don’t necessarily accumulate fat just around the abdomen. The researchers say they found beer guts tended to run in families, and were not associated with how much alcohol someone drank. In terms of that all over weight gain that is linked to beer, the researchers say it’s a bigger problem for women. Alcohol tends to be more fattening for women than men.
Copyright © 2009 Cbs3

Isle Of Wight Tells Smokers To Butt Out

The Isle of Wight is turning into a smoke-free zone for the day, becoming the first island in the UK to try to stamp out the scorned cigarette.

The Needles on the Isle of Wight

An arm stubs out a cigarette on the Isle of Wight’s Needles

The move is to mark the second anniversary of the nationwide smoking ban in public buildings.

The Isle of Wight hopes it might lead to other UK cities doing the same and maybe even help create a smoke-free British Isles.

“We are delighted to lend our support to this campaign,” said the IoW’s assistant tourism director John Metcalfe.

“We pride ourselves on our green and beautiful island and we are also extremely keen to promote healthy lifestyles so visitors and residents can fully enjoy all we have to offer.

“The island is known for its stunning scenery, award winning beaches and a great selection of outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling and sailing.

“We believe the island is the best place in the UK to fill your lungs with healthy fresh air. We are affordable and with 350 ferries per day, we are easy to reach wherever you are in the UK.”

The initiative is being supported by NHS Smoking Cessation Services, QUIT and the Isle of Wight council.

Another sponsor, Nicorette, is offering support to anyone who needs it, with activity centred around the island’s capital, Newport.

“Obviously, we’re not going to be locking up people who are smoking,” a spokeswoman told Sky News Online. “But we’ll be trying to offer encouragement to those who want to give up.”

Research shows 20% of adults on the Isle of Wight smoke, with more than two thirds wanting to give up.

Greece, meanwhile, is the latest EU country to impose a ban on smoking – it will be its third attempt in a decade to stamp out the country’s love affair with cigarettes.

But critics fear loopholes in the legislation and its unpopularity mean it could suffer the same fate as previous anti-smoking bids.

Around 20,000 Greeks die a year from tobacco-related ailments and 42% of the population smokes.

Greece lags behind many of its European peers who have outlawed smoking in public places in recent years.

Copyright © 2009

Reynolds Tobacco workers protest

Some 400 employees of Winston-Salem-based R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Inc. marched in front of the General Assembly Tuesday to protest a proposed $1 per-pack increase in the state’s excise tax on cigarettes.

“We are sending a clear message,” said Reynolds CEO Daniel Delen, at a rally following the march. “The governor’s proposed $1 per-pack tax increase will cause job loss and economic hardship for thousands of North Carolinians.”

Also joining the protest were the mayors of Winston-Salem and the nearby communities of Tobaccoville and King. Many of the marching workers wore T-shirts reading, “North Carolina needs more jobs, not more taxes,”

The per-pack hike is one of several tax measures state budget writers are considering to help make up for a revenue shortfall in the state’s new, two-year spending plan, which must be adopted by June 30.

Tommy Hickman, Reynolds’ senior vice president of operations, told rally participants that tobacco jobs, once gone, would be difficult to replace.

“If you tax these jobs out of existence, where are these families going to find comparable jobs?” Hickman asked. “We know what’s happened to textile and furniture jobs in our state. Do we want the same to happen to tobacco jobs?”

Copyright © 2009 Bizjournals

Nikkei likely to edge higher, but lacking direction

Japan’s Nikkei stock average is
likely to edge up on Monday, buoyed by exporters such as Canon
Inc (7751.T) on growing hopes for a global economic recovery, but
a lack of strong trading factors will limit gains.
The Dow .DJI and S&P 500 .SPX gained on Friday due to
buying of defensive sectors such as pharmaceuticals, with such
sectors likely to be strong in Tokyo as well, market players

“Last week, the market gained on positive news such as
Chinese industrial production figures, which make it hard to deny
that the global economy is improving,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi,
general manager of equities at Daiwa Securities SMBC.

“There are a number of U.S. indicators due out later in the
week, which the market will use to confirm trends. But today,
there won’t be a lot of direction.”

The benchmark Nikkei .N225 closed at 10,135.82 on Friday,
its first close above 10,000 in eight months. Market analysts
said it is expected to move between 10,050 and 10,250.

In a sign the market may start higher, Nikkei futures traded
in Chicago 2NKc1 gained 0.4 percent from their Osaka close of
10,140 JNIc1.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2245 GMT ------------
                 INSTRUMENT   LAST       PCT CHG   NET CHG
S&P 500             .SPX       946.21       0.14%     1.320
USD/JPY             <JPY=>       98.39       -0.01%    -0.010
10-YR US TSY YLD    <US10YT=RR>  3.7916          --     0.000
SPOT GOLD           <XAU=>       934.9       -0.32%    -3.000
US CRUDE            CLc1       72.02       -0.03%    -0.020
DOW JONES           .DJI       8799.26      0.32%     28.34

> Defensives lift dow, S&P; tech weighs on Nasdaq [.N]
> Dollar rebounds after sell off, euro hurt by data [USD/]
> Bonds bask in afterglow of 30-year auction [US/]
> Gold hits 3-week low under $940 as dollar rises [GOL/]
> Oil falls on stronger dollar, profit-taking [O/R]

— Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T)

SMFG is seen raising more than 900 billion yen from a public
offering of common stock this month, with the final figure — to
be set early this week — possibly swelling to nearly 1 trillion
yen, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

— Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T)

Toyota is taking steps to boost its production capacity for
the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries used in its popular
Prius cars, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

— Japan Tobacco Inc (2914.T)

Japan Tobacco, the world’s third-largest cigarette maker,
said on Friday it has agreed with Tribac Leaf Ltd to buy the
British tobacco leaf company’s business operations.

— Inpex (1605.T)

Oil and gas field developer Inpex, and other oil-linked
shares, may retreat after oil fell from eight-month highs on
Friday as the dollar firmed and players took profits after a
three-day rally. [O/R]

— Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T)

Mitsubishi Corp and other trading firms may lose ground after
metals and oil prices retreated on Friday, with investors looking
to take profits after a recent rally.
Copyright © 2009 Reuters

The United States experience in tobacco control

The motion picture and cigarette industries in the United States grew rapidly after the First World War. By the end of the 1920s, studios brokered cigarette endorsement deals for movie stars under contract to them in return for national advertising campaigns paid for by the tobacco companies.
The tobacco industry shifted spending to television in the 1950s, but after the US Government banned broadcast advertising of tobacco products in 1970, systematic film placement of tobacco imagery intensified. In 1989, reports of product placement in Hollywood films spurred the US Congress to demand more detail on advertising expenditures from the tobacco companies. These data were to be used to improve US Federal Trade Commission surveillance of cigarette marketing expenditures. However, the tobacco companies denied they bought product placement in films, and some companies failed to report ongoing payments to Hollywood agents as recently as the mid-1990s. In response, health advocates implemented campaigns designed to educate film industry “creatives” (writers, directors, actors) about tobacco imagery’s harmful effect, but these actions were essentially ineffective.
In 1998, the states’ Attorneys General and the five large US tobacco companies entered into the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA); among other things, this legal agreement prohibited the participating US domestic cigarette companies from tobacco product placement in entertainment media. Because the MSA was an agreement between US domestic tobacco companies and the states’ Attorneys General, it did not cover overseas tobacco subsidiaries .
In 2002, the Smoke Free Movies project, based at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (a WHO Collaborating Centre), began a web site ( and a series of paid advertisements in entertainment trade publications. These ads suggested that smoking persisted in youth-rated films for one of two reasons (quoted verbatim from the paid ads): “Either people in Hollywood are still on the take, in which case they’re corrupt … or they’re doing Big Tobacco’s dirty work for free – in which case they’re stupid”. Smoke Free Movies and its national NGO allies also developed and promoted a set of four evidence-based policy solutions intended to substantially and permanently reduce teen exposure to onscreen tobacco imagery, without intruding on film content. These have provided the basis for the policy options described in Section 2.2, above.
The major motion picture studios, through the MPAA, at first took none of the steps advocated by US health experts and organizations. However, NGO tracking of individual studios’ records and the steady accumulation of research evidence on exposure of adolescents to smoking in the movies stimulated congressional hearings. In addition, Attorneys General from more than thirty states wrote letters to the companies that owned the major studios, stating that they were knowingly harming children by releasing films with tobacco imagery.
In Los Angeles, where the Hollywood studios themselves are located, the County Department of Health Services was the first public health agency in the United States to endorse the four policy goals, beginning in 2002. Since then, its publicity events and media briefings have been regularly attracting international attention. The Commissioner of Health of the State of New York, where most of these companies are based, published full-page advertisements in The New York Times and other news media calling for action by the studio heads. Other state and local public health officials continue to join this campaign.
On the national level, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all noted the need for the film industry to change its practices. Subsequently, the MPAA announced in 2007 that it would “consider” smoking in its ratings. In practice, however, the MPAA has not elevated film ratings for smoking but merely noted smoking in the rating labels attached to “independent” films given limited release, sparing most youth-rated films with smoking released by the MPAA’s own member studios. In 2008, MPAA-member film studios agreed to deploy anti-tobacco spots, but only on youthrated DVDs distributed in the United States.

Global Tobacco Epidemic

  • There are 1.3 billion smokers estimated worldwide, almost 1 million are men among them – equivalent to about one third of the global population aged 15 years and above.
  • About one in five smokes worldwide among teenagers.
  • Between 80,000 and 100,000 children start smoking every day worldwide. Evidence shows that approximately 50 percent of those who start smoking in adolescent years go on to smoke for 15 to 20 years.
  • About 15 billion cigarettes are sold every day, almost equivalent to 10 million every minute.
  • By 2030, tobacco is expected to be the biggest cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 10 million people dying of tobacco related causes across the world. Around 3 million deaths will be in developed world and 7 million in developing countries.
  • Since 1950, more than 70,000 scientific reports have showed that prolonged smoking causes premature death and disability worldwide. Overall, one in two smokers dies prematurely, with one quarter dying in middle age, losing 20-25 years of life.
  • Smoking alone is estimated to have caused 21% of deaths out of cancer worldwide. Smoking was linked with 856,000 deaths worldwide from lung, bronchial and tracheal cancers, 184,000 oesophageal cancers and 131,000 oral cancers.
  • In developed countries, cardiovascular disease is the most common smoking-related cause of death. Every eight seconds, someone dies out of tobacco use.
  • Smoking is on the rise in the developing world but falling in developed nations. Among Americans, smoking rates shrunk by nearly half in three decades (from the mid-1960s to mid-1990s), falling to 23% of adults by 1997. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year.
  • Cigarettes cause more than one in five American deaths.
  • Among WHO Regions, the Western Pacific Region – which covers East Asia and the Pacific has the highest smoking rate, with nearly two-thirds of men smoking.
  • About one in three cigarettes are consumed in the Western Pacific Region.
  • The tobacco market is controlled by just a few corporations like American, British and Japanese multinational conglomerates.
  • Peer-reviewed studies show teenagers are highly influenced by tobacco advertising.
  • About a quarter of youth alive in the Western Pacific Region will die out of smoking.