South Carolina (SC) will NOT devote any resources to anti-smoking programs..

July 5, 2008 - The bill passed to raise the lowest-in-the-nation 7-cent cigarette tax by 50 cents was vetoed by Governor Sanford. The SC House fell some 20 votes short of the two-third needed to override a veto by the governor. The bill if passed would have generated an estimated $159 million, of this $5 million would have been used for smoking prevention and cessation programs. Then in June 2008, lawmakers cut the $2 million the state was investing in anti-smoking efforts; so, as of now (7/3/2008), the state will spend no money on these programs. This is unfortunate since even the governor was for the tax increase on cigarettes. Governor Sanford: "We've been calling for an increase to the cigarette tax for five years, but the question has always been what happens to the money." The governor wanted to use the money collected to be used for tax relief for SC citizens. He was concerned the rise in the cigarette tax if used to grow the Medicaid benefit would result in fewer people smoking which could eventually result in a financial shortfall for the state.

Sanford didn't realize the increase would save the state money because fewer kids, teens and adults would be smoking. Kelly Davis, an anti-tobacco advocate, had it right but she was a little late - she noted if lawmakers cannot agree on how to spend this money then raise the tax and decide later on how to spend it. Reference: Help goes up in smoke by Staff Reports,, 7/3/2008. In our January 21, 2008 in our news brief we wondered if the SC lawmakers would take the proper action to improve the health of citizens of SC. It turned out worse then anyone could have expected. There was a proposal to ban smoking in cars with children present - we are not sure what has happened with this. More - other related news briefs: South Carolina - Tobacco Tax Increase Killed - State House Fails to Override Governor's Veto.. and Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??. Click on image to enlarge..

European Commission (EC) approves proposed acquisition of the cigarette business of Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni (STK) by British American Tobacco (BAT

July 2, 2008 - The EC has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the cigarette business together with certain roll-your-own tobacco and "snus" (a type of oral tobacco) interests of the Danish company STK by BAT of the UK. The Commission's decision is conditional upon the divestment of a number of tobacco brands, primarily in Norway where the Commission identified competition concerns. In light of this commitment, the Commission has concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. Reference: Merger: Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni by BAT, subject to conditions, 6/27/2008. Related news briefs: EU extends review of British American Tobacco (BAT) and Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni (ST), British American Tobacco (BAT) reported group volume sales up for first quarter 2008.. and BAT to Acquire Most of Denmark's ST...

Vending Machines - Japanese protecting their children from becoming life-long nicotine addicts..

July 2, 2008 - Japan is the land of the vending machine. Starting in July 2008, companies owning cigarette vending machines can be prosecuted for the sale of tobacco to anyone under the legal age. In a country where there are more than half a million cigarette vending machines, the legal implications of this new law are severe. The vending machines will employ an advanced facial recognition system that compares a buyer's bone structure, skin sag, brow wrinkles and crow's feet against a record of more than 100,000 people. If the buyer fails the visual scan, they will be required to insert their ID card into the machine in order to verify that they are of legal age to smoke. The new vending machines come at a time when tobacco companies are facing increased scrutiny from both the general public and the Japanese government. The card system was first introduced in Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures in March 2008 and gradually spread across the nation. It is expected, with the use of this new system, that teenage smoking will drop rapidly.A recent study showed that 14% of boys and 4% of girls aged 17 and 18 smoke every day in Japan. References: Taspo cigarette vending machine system goes into full effect across Japan, Japan-News, 7/1/2008 and Big in Japan: New cigarette vending machines can count your wrinklesby Matthew Firestone,, 5/14/2008. Related news brief: Japanese lawmakers want to triple cigarette prices... Click on image to enlarge..

RJ Reynolds (RJR) still giving away free cans of Camel SNUS

July 2, 2008 - They've tried just about everything: from providing coupons, to stationing people at bars and c-stores, to running ads in various publications. Where has this got them - surely they've given away more cans of Camel SNUS than have been paid for. As part of the reassessment after a disappointing 2008 1st quarter Reynolds American (RA - parent if RJR) introduced a new Camel SNUS promotion and new gas pump sign. In our c-store update of June 24, 2008 we noted that a coupon for a free can of Camel SNUS will be found on each pack of Winston. It's actually the can of SNUS itself. We thought like Swedish SNUS the Camel product had to be kept in a cooler. Sales of Winston, one of RA's non-growth cigarettes, one of the causes of RA's poor performance so they now add a free can of SNUS to the sale - that has even a poorer sales performance. RJR also has the same deal with their new Camel with more premium tobacco. Let's face it, the SNUS sucking technique while keeping the pouch in one place in your mouth is hard to master. Kids just love the Camel SNUS tag line. RJR also has a new Camel SNUS sign at the pump so a person (possibly with kids) getting gas can't miss it. Click on images to enlarge.. (


Congratulations are in order: Netherlands, Romania & Alberta..

July 1, 2008 - Congratulations are in order:
The Netherlands (Holland, Dutch) ban on smoking in public places starts July 1, 2008.
Romania to ban smoking in public places starting on July 1,2008.
Canadian province of Alberta - will eliminate the display of tobacco signs and tobacco products in convenience stores starting on July 1, 2008.
England - first anniversary of the smoking ban on July 1, 2008.
Ireland in March 2004 became the first country in the world to impose an outright ban on smoking in public places.

Vermont's Cigarette Tax Increase To $1.99 a pack..

July 1, 2008 - Starting on July 1st, Vermont will be raising its cigarette tax from a $1.75 a pack to a $1.99. When the new tax is in place, Vermont will have the 11th highest tobacco tax in the country. Over the past 20 years, the cigarette tax has risen slightly in the green mountain state.

The gradual increase has lead to a 25% drop in smokers.

Reference: Vermont to raise the tax on cigarettes,, 6/11/2008.

Vermont has required fire-safe cigarettes since May 2006.

Related news brief: Kentucky to go ‘fire safe’ by next year..


Black Lawmakers Want to Limit Use of Menthol Cigarettes..

July 1, 2008 - The 43-member congressional Black Caucus is calling for changes to a House tobacco-regulation bill (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act), demanding that the legislation place restrictions on menthol cigarettes, the type heavily favored by 75% of African-American smokers. The caucus is taking aim at a provision in the bill that would ban candy-, fruit- and spice-flavored cigarettes but that specifically exempts menthol. In recent weeks the exemption has become the focus of controversy because menthol brands are heavily used by black smokers, who develop a large share of smoking-related cancers and other health risks. On the other side of the debate, Lorillard, the cigarette company that would stand to lose the most from a ban on menthol, is mounting a counteroffensive. In e-mail messages sent on June 22, 2008 to smokers of its leading menthol brand, Newport, the company urged them to call their Congressional representatives.
(Newport, gives Lorillard 94% of its revenue, 92% of its volumes, 34% share of all menthol cigarette sales in the US, as well as an overall domestic tobacco market share of 10%.)
The legislation has passed crucial committees in both the House and the Senate, and supporters are hoping for floor votes this year. Reference: Black Lawmakers Seek Restrictions on Menthol Cigarettes by STEPHANIE SAUL, The New York Times, 7/1/2008. Related news brief: National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN), an antismoking group, pulls support for bill to regulate tobacco in the U.S.A...


Look for Imperial's Davidoff cigarettes to take market share from Marlboro cigarettes..

June 30, 2008 - Imperial Tobacco Group now with a presence in the United States is the world's fourth-largest multinational tobacco group in the world. Davidoff, just presented with a new product award for "Best Packaging & Design" was introduced into the U.S. domestic market in May 2008.

Gareth Davis
, Imperial's chief executive officer, said: "Davidoff is our key international strategic premium cigarette brand and an important growth driver for the business. We have achieved considerable success with Davidoff cigarettes, increasing global volumes in the last four years." ( Imperial Tobacco in EUR540m deal for Davidoff trademark, The Independent(London), 8/24/2006) More on Imperial/Davidoff: June 17, 2008. Altria - Philip Morris Tobacco had considered Marlboro more than a cigarette - a brand that stands for superior tobacco flavor. But after setbacks in the smokeless tobacco arena with Taboka SNUS, Marlboro SNUS and with Marlboro MST they are no longer sure. More: Altria's growth depends on the Marlboro name.. Click on images to enlarge.. - the 2-page ad that appeared in GQ magazine, the July 2008 issue.
A Lehman Brothers tobacco analyst has said that Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc. may offer to buy Imperial Tobacco Group Plc, with a view to breaking up the company.