Altria's Proposed Acquisition of UST Passes U.S. Regulatory Review..

October 18, 2008 - Altria Group Inc.** and UST, INC. today (10/17/2008) announced that the Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of the initial waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. Therefore no further regulatory review by the federal antitrust authorities is required in connection with Altria's acquisition of UST for $69.50 per share in cash.

Completion of the transaction remains subject to UST shareholder approval and certain other customary closing conditions. If approved and all other conditions to closing are satisfied the transaction is anticipated to close no later than January 7, 2009.

Reference: Altria's Proposed Acquisition of UST Passes U.S. Regulatory Review,
Business Wire, 10/.17/2008.

Related news briefs: Altria May Delay Purchase of UST Amid Tight Credit..; UST to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Altria..; Altria in advanced talks to buy UST, Inc..; Altria will continue to test Marlboro Smokeless Tobacco Products.. and Any interest Lorillard to acquire Swedish Match - NOT.

** - Altria owns approximately 28.5% of SABMiller (South African Breweries - Miller) plc.

New Hampshire Cigarette Tax Goes Up By 25 Cents A Pack..

October 17, 2008 - On October 3, 2008 we reported that New Hampshire's 25-cent increase in cigarette tax will only take effect if the state did not raise at least $50 million in cigarette taxes over the past three months. State revenue counters had until Oct. 15th to determine whether the $50 million mark had been reached.

The higher tax, which retailers are to start collecting immediately, will raise an extra $18 million a year for the state budget, by recent estimates. New Hampshire’s tax is now $1.33 a pack (from $1.25), still well below the $2.51 a pack, plus sales tax, that Massachusetts imposes.

The increase does not affect the price of cigars, pipe, smokeless and loose tobacco.

Reference: Cigarette tax goes up by 25 cents a pack by TOM FAHEY, State House Bureau Chief,, 10/15/2008.

Philip Morris International is suppose to post 'solid' 2008 3rd-quarter earnings

October 16, 2008 - Philip Morris International, Inc (PMI) will release the third quarter earnings for 2008 on Wednesday, October 22 at 7:00 am ET. The company will host a conference call that morning at 9:00 am ET to discuss the financial results. The presentation will be available via audio webcast at

Michael Branca, a Barclays Capital analyst he expected PMI, seller of Marlboro cigarettes overseas, to post better-than-expected third-quarter results. Similar to the previous two 2008 quarters, Branca said he expected a modest volume increase of 1.5 percent worldwide. He said markets in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America to be particularly strong while sales volume in the European Union may fall by about 1.7 percent.

PMI is a holding company that, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in markets outside the United States. PMI’s top 10 brands by volume are Marlboro, L&M, Philip Morris, Bond Street, Chesterfield, Parliament, Lark, A Mild, Morven Gold and DJI Sam Soe. Its products are sold in over 160 countries. Its brand portfolio includes a variety of blends and styles, across 150 brands and over 1,900 variants.

During the year ended December 31, 2007, L&M had a shipment volume of 97.1 billion units. PMI makes A Hijau, A Mild and Dji Sam Soe in Indonesia; Diana in Italy; Optima and Apollo-Soyuz in Russia; Morven Gold in Pakistan; Boston in Colombia; Best and Classic in Serbia; f6 in Germany; Delicados in Mexico; Assos in Greece, and Petra in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

On March 28, 2008, Altria Group, Inc. completed the spin-off of PMI.

Reference: Philip Morris International Inc (NYSE:PM) to Release Q3 2008 Earnings October 22, TransWorldNews, 10/15/2008 and Analyst: Philip Morris Int'l to post 'solid' gain, Yahoo Finance, 10/7/2008.

STOP - the Proliferation of Flavored Tobacco Products..

October 16, 2008 - We must stop the proliferation of flavored tobacco products. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) early in 2009 will introduce three dissolvable smokeless products -- a pellet (Camel Orbs), a twisted stick the size of a toothpick (Camel Sticks) and a film strip for the tongue (Camel Strips). Reynolds should know by now that these flavored products will increase the incidence of tobacco use among children.

In October 2006, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the Attorneys General of thirty-eight states entered into a settlement agreement that prohibited the sale and distribution of flavored (candy, fruit, and alcohol) tobacco products manufactured and sold by the company. Prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products.

In the past nine years, socially responsible Reynolds has expanded its flagship brand Camel through such introductions as Camel Exotic Blends, Camel No. 9 and Camel Signature. Lately Reynolds has been promoting Camel Snus, a smokeless product that is being promoted as the industry's best bet in a post-smoking environment.

Professor John Britton, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, a proponent of using smokeless tobacco as a harm reduction solution has admitted the job of tobacco companies is to sell as much tobacco as possible, so they will be targeting non-smokers rather than current ones, that's the worry. (Tobacco Cessation Forum..)

John Sweeney, the director of the sports-communication program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said "If the ads surround Camel Sticks with bursts of color and youth-oriented language, there will be a social uprising. On the other hand, if the advertising is adult in orientation and quietly informative, the product may be left to find its way." Michelle Roehm, an associate marketing professor at Wake Forest University, said that she likes the packaging design. "It appears to mimic the shapes and sizes of PDA devices that we're all accustomed to carrying around these days." Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said, "These products are flavored and packaged like candy, and very likely will appeal to children."

What do you think it will be?? Let's look back how RJR promoted Camel SNUS. The tag line is “Pleasure for Wherever Whenever.” Mitch Zeller, a health policy consultant who was director of the Office of Tobacco Programs at the FDA during the Clinton Administration, said the web site for Camel Snus "seems aimed at young adult males to get them to start using products." The site says Reynolds found Snus in Sweden, "home of the world's best meatballs, massage and blondes." Back in June 2006 RJR started the test marketing of Camel SNUS in Portland, OR and Austin TX. Kylie Meiner, the tobacco prevention coordinator for Multnomah County where Portland is located is convinced that the marketing of Camel SNUS is aimed at young people. One direct mail item she received read “Camel Snus – be the 1st on your block to try it” (Portland Tribune, 11/20/2006). Cathryn Cushing, a specialist with the Oregon's Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, "I see it as a young adult marketing strategy, and we have a lot of hip young adults in this city," Cushing said. And "if it appeals to a 22-year-old, I think you can assume it will appeal to a 16-year-old. Because what do 16-year-olds want to be? Twenty-two" (The Oregonian, 1/7/2007).

Comment from Metroblogging User - Portland, OR: There are only two drawbacks. First, it doesn't take a genius to see what a boon snus would be to underage users. Heck, you could sit in class with some in your mouth, and no one would be the wiser. At least when I was in high school, you had the telltale clumps of 'chaw' in the water fountains to betray the tobacco user, or at least the worn white rings in the back pocket of your jeans. You could probably hide this stuff from teachers and parents pretty easily. Second, although smokeless tobacco saves you from some of the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, plenty of smokeless tobacco users out there have developed cancer of the mouth or throat, and have had large chunks of their jaws and tongues removed as a result. But that's a hard image to sell to sixteen-year-olds, who are pretty sure that they're immortal ("You Snus, You Lose" posted by PAgent at 1:50pm on January 8, 2007).

RJR has had a number of Camel snus ads in community entertainment newspapers - take a look, you decide whose the target audience. There's been lots of coupon offers - giving away free cans of Camel SNUS. Some addition related news briefs: Experience of a High School Student Using Camel SNUS - from the Kansas City Star, 10/31/2007..; Are adults snoozing while kids are "snusing?".. and Ohio youth are using cigars and smokeless tobacco products and it is a continuously growing problem...

With the new dissolvable products that RJR wants to market you can count on the same happening again but on a much broader scale. Remember what UST's former salesman Bob Beets, said, "Cherry Skoal (moist snuff) for somebody who likes the taste of candy, if you know what I mean."

Let's NOT let this happen. Calling on the U.S. Attorneys General to enforce the agreement with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of October 2006.

"Our Highest Priority Has To Be Keeping Children From Beginning To Use Tobacco Products" Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the USA

Tobacco smoking makes you old before your time..

October 15, 2008 - As individuals increase the number of cigarettes smoked per day, health-related quality of life tends to deteriorate, according to a Finnish study published in the October issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers also found that health-related quality of life decreased even in people who eventually quit smoking.

Research Paper: The Effect of Smoking in Midlife on Health-Related Quality of Life in Old Age: A 26-Year Prospective Study; Arto Y. Strandberg; Timo E. Strandberg; Kaisu Pitkälä; Veikko V. Salomaa; Reijo S. Tilvis; Tatu A. Miettinen; Archives of Internal Medicine (2008). 168(18):1968-1974. ABSTRACT..

To investigate smoking's effects on quality of life, Arto Y. Strandberg, M.D. (University of Helsinki) and colleagues studied 1,658 white men who were born between 1919 and 1934. The men were considered healthy during an assessment in 1974 and received follow-up surveys in 2000 that asked about their current smoking status, health, and quality of life. The researchers used the Finnish national register to track deaths in the sample.

By the year 2000, 22.4% (372 men) had died. Heavy smokers - those who consumed more than 20 cigarettes per day - lived about 10 years less than never-smokers. Participants who never smoked had the best scores on all health-related quality of life measures and the highest scores on measures associated with physical functioning. As the number of cigarettes smoked per day increased, physical health became worse at an increasing rate. Further, heavy smokers experienced a decline in physical health that is similar to 10 years of aging.

"Although many smokers had quit smoking between the baseline investigation in 1974 and the follow-up examination in 2000, the effect of baseline smoking status on mortality and the quality of life in old age remained strong," write Arto Strandberg, M.D. and colleagues. "In all, the results presented here are troubling for those who were smoking more than 20 cigarettes daily 26 years earlier; in spite of the 68.9 percent cessation rate during follow-up, 44.1 percent of the originally heavy smokers had died, and those who survived to the mean [average] age of 73 years had a significantly lower physical health-related quality of life than never-smokers."

Reference: Quality Of Life In Older Age Negatively Impacted By Smoking During Younger Years, Peter M Crosta, Medical News Today, 10/14/2007.

Click on image to enlarge..

Smoking results in rapid aging of your skin - lots of wrinkles.


BAT Marketing Tobacco Products Using Text Messaging..

October 14, 2008 - In a move that anti-smoking lobbyists say is in direct violation of the law (South African Tobacco Products Control Act), Dunhill - a product of British American Tobacco (BAT) South Africa - has sent out mass Short Messages Sevice) SMS (SMS is used to send text meaages to mobile phones) to people promoting its new "limited-edition range". (Dunhill - 100th anniversary celebrations, has seen the launch of a range of limited-edition blends.)

BAT is trying to flout South Africa's tough anti-smoking laws, which have been designed to discourage people from picking up the habit.

Dr Yussuf Salojee, the South African executive director of the National Council Against Smoking - "I think the SMS is indicative of the desperate need of the tobacco companies to addict young people, and they will break the law to continue to profit from selling an addictive drug. The tobacco companies might be using this advertising strategy because they believed people would not report them. But we will lay a charge with the police. This is the first I heard of it, and if more people come forward with this complaint, we will definitely go to the police."

Salojee urged people who had received the SMS to contact the National Council Against Smoking on 011-720-3145 so that they could build a substantial case before going to the police.

Reference: Tobacco SMS sparks outcry by Lee Rondganger,, 10/13/2008.


Social Smoking Still Dangerous to Your Health..

October 14, 2008 - About 19% of the 45 million smokers in the U.S. can be considered occasional or social smokers. These occasional smokers often believe they are avoiding the health worries typically associated with smoking but new research shows that even these cigarette smokers can impair artery function, a sign of looming heart disease.

Lee Stoner et al.,Occasional Cigarette Smoking Chronically Affects Arterial Function, Ultrasound Medicine & Biology 2008. ABSTRACT

In a small study, researchers at the University of Georgia recruited 18 healthy college students, half of whom were nonsmokers. The other half were occasional smokers, puffing less than a pack a week and had not smoked for at least two days before undergoing testing. The study used ultrasound scans to measure how the students’ arteries responded to changes in blood flow. The study found that the arteries of occasional smokers were 36 percent less responsive to changes in blood flow than nonsmokers. And after the occasional smokers underwent the initial test, they smoked two cigarettes and had their arteries re-examined. The arterial responsiveness dropped by another 24 percent compared to before they smoked.

It was concluded that occasional smoking can impair flow-mediated dilation and found that repeated bouts of cigarette smoking — even if classified as occasional — appear to increase the risk for developing cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy, young people. The decrease in arterial function can last into the next week, if not longer.

Reference: Social Smoking Takes a Lasting Toll, Credit:Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press, 10/8/2008.

Related news briefs: The Vasoconstrictor Nicotine Causes Impotence in Men that Smoke.. and Nicotine – in any form – not safe...

Reynolds To Roll Out Camel SNUS Nationally Early in 2009..

October 13, 2008 - RJ Reynolds (RJR) said it will roll out Camel Snus nationwide beginning early next year.

In a recent article it was written that Camel Snus, a smokeless, spitless tobacco product is being promoted as the industry's best bet in a post-smoking environment. So far, even with attempts at public awareness and educating the public the marketing of SNUS products in general in the United States (and Canada) has been poor.

RJR has 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. Now based on information from a c-store owner the RJR salesperson for the last 3-weeks has given him at no charge 25-cans of Camel Snus Frost and asked for him to pass them out to those people that may be interested in giving it a try. Well - the owner can't even give the stuff away, even to dippers finally (he tells us) someone came into to the store and asked for Camel SNUS Original flavor and when asked was willing to take a bunch of the free cans.

It's doubted that Camel SNUS really gained market traction.

SNUS has failed to take-off elsewhere in the way it has taken off in Sweden (Simon Chapman, Queensland Independent, 10/2007). The Swedes have been using SNUS for over 200 years; it's a tradition--it's part of their culture.

UST executives have been very disappointed with the progress of the SNUS segment in total.> The entire segment itself has gained very little traction; we're struggling whether this segment is really going to take hold or not and whether an American consumer is really interested in this form of tobacco or not. (UST Inc. is a holding company for its principal subsidiaries: USSTC and International Wine & Spirits Ltd.. USSTC is the leading producer and marketer of moist smokeless tobacco products.)

A comment from a convenience store owner told us a Secret Shopper came in the store to determine if he would push the sale of Camel SNUS. He did mention Camel SNUS and won a $10 Walmart gift card. The owner did remark he made more with the gift card then he does with Camel SNUS in a whole month - he seldom sells a can.

Even with the Marlboro brand name Philip Morris USA (PM) has continued to stumble in the smokeless tobacco arena.. The Marlboro brand name is not as transferable as many originally believed. Unlike RJR, Altria is being financially disciplined in test marketing their smokeless products..

Is It Justified?? - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Adding Test Cities for Camel SNUS, May 14, 2008.


Lower Trademark Value of Reynolds' Kool cigarette brand. .

October 13, 2008 - Back on September 10th we reported that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) subsidiary of Reynolds American, Inc. would be scaling back marketing and promotional support for its Kool menthol brand cigarettes.

As a result, RJR has moved Kool from a "growth" brand to a "support" brand. Under accounting rules, that triggered an analysis of the trademark's value. The reduction in Kool's value is due to the reduced marketing support the brand will receive going forward. With this change, R.J. Reynolds has two growth brands, Camel and Pall Mall.

Reynolds American Inc. said on October 9, 2008 that RJR will record a third-quarter pre-tax non-cash charge of approximately $175 million associated with the lower trademark value of its Kool cigarette brand.

Change in Focus for Kool Triggers R.J. Reynolds Charge
,, 10/9/2008.


New York Public Library Cigarette Ad Exhibition..

October 13, 2008 - An exhibition hosted by The New York Public Library from October 7 to December 26, 2008 examines the historic advertisements in which tobacco companies claimed that smoking provided a range of health benefits. Admission is free. The exhibition curator, Dr. Robert Jackler, an associate dean of Continuing Medical Education at Stanford University, created the revealing look at the tobacco industry after his mother, a longtime smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. A related event featuring a lecture by Dr. Jackler, including the presentation of vintage video advertisements for tobacco products, will be held on Tuesday, December 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Reference: Historic Cigarette Ad Exhibition at The New York Public Library Showcases Deceptive Campaigns, 10/13/2008.

Click on image to enlarge.. - Spud cigarettes were the very first menthol cigarette. Menthols were most consistently thought of as something to change to when one has a cold, a very bad cough or a dulled palate. More on the Growth of Menthol Cigarettes.

From our collection of Art Deco Spud ads.