Massachusettes - Smoking ban drop in fatal heart attacks..

November 14, 2008 - The Massachusetts (MA) Department of Public Health (DPH) today released new data indicating a significant decrease in the number of heart attack deaths following the implementation of the statewide smoke-free workplace law in 2004. DPH partnered with the Harvard School of Public Health on the study in which heart attack death data from all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns was reviewed. It was found that an estimated average of 577 fewer fatal heart attacks annually than expected since the smoking ban took effect.

"People have assumed that the only benefit we will be able to measure of a smoking ban is long-term benefits," (such as diminished cancer rates) said John Auerbach, the state public health commissioner. "This study demonstrates a real connection between smoking bans and short-term improvement in health outcomes."

Exposure to secondhand smoke (passive smoking. side-stream smoke, involuntary) for 30 minutes in amounts that mimic what happens in a restaurants or bar can damage the lining of blood vessels.

Even Michael Siegel, MD, MPH a critic of the results of some antismoking studies believes this is the strongest study yet on the effect of smoking bans on heart attacks.

The study, to be presented today to the MA Public Health Council, appears destined to bolster the case of Boston health authorities who have already given preliminary approval to a sweeping strengthening of their tobacco control laws. Boston To Ban Drugstore Tobacco Sales..

Reference: Smoking ban tied to a gain in lives
Fatal heart attacks drop in Massachusetts
by Stephen Smith, Boston Globe, 11/12/2008.

Related: So-called first study to examine what happens to public health when people stop smoking — and breathing secondhand smoke — in public places.


Indonesia - NGO's (non-government organizations) Demand the Government Ratify WHO's FCTC..

November 14, 2008 - The Indonesia Civil Society for Tobacco Control has demanded the government ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to protect Indonesian citizens, especially young people, from smoking-related health risks and death. The group, comprised of 132 politicians, activists and celebrities, accused the government of giving into the cigarette industry by continuing to delay the ratification.

The WHO FCTC, signed by 160 countries, addresses several points, such as promoting taxation as a way to reduce cigarette consumption, imposing restrictions on smoking in public places, enacting comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship within five years of ratification, putting larger health warnings on cigarette packs and intensifying the fight against tobacco smuggling.

Data presented by the group show Indonesia, the only country in Asia that has not ratified the treaty, is the world's third largest consumer of tobacco, with the number of teenagers who smoke increasing by 144 percent between 1998 and 2004 and the total number of smoking-related deaths reaching 400,000 a year.

Tulus Abadi of Indonesian Consumers Foundation previously cited the National Economy and Social Survey from 2003 to 2005. It showed poor families' biggest expenditure was on rice, absorbing 19.30 percent of their income. Surprisingly, the second biggest was on cigarettes, which used up a hefty 12.43 percent. "Through the ratification of the FCTC, cheap cigarettes, which can be bought retail, would be limited because the government would be obliged to levy a higher cigarette tax," lawyer an advocate specializing in defending poor citizens in Jakartahristina Widiantarti (an advocate specializing in defending poor citizens in Jakarta) said.

Reference: Government 'powerless' against tobacco giants Astrid Wijaya, National News - Jakarta Post, 11/13/2008 and Government vs. NGOs tobacco case delayed again, Agnes Winarti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 10/10/2008)

Related news briefs: Indonesia to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7% in 2009..; Surabaya, Indonesia - anti-smoking bylaw 10/2009 - FOR REAL??; Indonesians smoking more than ever before..; Indonesia further rise in the excise tax would hurt the cigarette industry..; Alicia Keys - Jakarta Concert (July 31st) tobacco companies forced to withdraw sponsorship.. and Most Indonesians support moves to ban tobacco advertisements...


U.S. smoking rate under 20 percent - 1st TIME..

November 14, 2008 - US smoking rate is under 20 percent for first time. The number of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped below 20 percent for the first time on record but cigarettes still kill almost half a million people a year, health officials said on Thursday, 11/13/2008.

About 19.8 percent of U.S. adults -- 43.4 million people -- were smokers in 2007. That was a percentage point below the 2006 figure and followed three years of little progress, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report..

The CDC said The economic burden of smoking in the United States hit $193 billion per year, including direct health care expenditures ($96 billion) and productivity losses ($97 billion).

US smoking rate is under 20 percent for first time, Reuters, 11/13/2008.


C-store update: Virginia Super Slims "Purse Pack"..

November 13, 2008 - Philip Morris (PM) Virginia Slim Super Slim cigarettes (Lipstick-size pack) have arrived at convenience stores. PM USA moved up the launch date that was scheduled for first quarter 2009.

Take look at the images..

Several health organizations had requested that socially responsible PM not release this cigarette knowing it will have direct appeal to young women. STOP launch of PM's Virginia Slim "Super Slim" cigarettes..

Four or five R.J. Reynolds representatives stopped by the c-store all smiles bragging about all the new forms of smokeless tobacco that will be launched - they mentioned something about a Camel spray form will also be coming. They encouraged personnel to talk up the pleasures of sucking on a Camel SNUS pouch. The Secret Shopper.

Previous c-store update.


USA - Will County IL - Nov. 2008 Free from Smoking Classes..

November 13, 2008 - Illinois' Will County Health Department's Freedom from Smoking programs is free of charge throughout the month of November 2008. That applies to any of the classes currently scheduled, even those set up for January, February and March of next year.

Nov. 20, 2008 is the date of the Great American Smokeout, when smokers pledge to cut cigarettes out of their lives forever, and the Will County Health Department has made this great offer.

Saving on registration costs is not the only way to save bucks in this poor economy, either. According to Will County Health Department health educator Michelle Marek, a bonus of more than $1,460 is in store for those who quit for good. That's the average cost of a year's worth of cigarettes, she said.

Ms. Marek: "Many of the health benefits to quitting smoking happen really, really fast. In only a matter of hours, your body begins to get healthier. Within two hours, the nicotine begins to leave your system. Within six hours, your heart rate and blood pressure begin to decrease. Your circulation improves within two weeks, as the blood vessels that were constricted by the nicotine begin to relax."

Reference: Help available for smokers who want to quit
by JEANNE MILLSAP, The Bolingbrook Sun, 11/12/2008.

Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking..

November 13, 2008 - In these difficult economic times especially with the holidays approaching you can save money for your family and protect your health by quitting smoking.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, compiled the U.S. state taxes on a pack of cigarettes and the average price of a pack in each state. They then used the per-capita (for each person) packs bought in 2007, as calculated by the CDC, to approximate how much the average smoker spends per year on cigarettes.

Smokers in Delaware stand to save the most cash by quitting. That's because in Delaware, where a pack of cigarettes costs about $5.39, residents smoke more than in any other state--just over 185 packs per year. That comes out to $998.23 spent individually on smoking every year. On the other hand, so few cigarettes are smoked in Utah that the average resident would save less by stopping smoking than a smoker in any other state. For the 33 average packs they smoke a year, Utahns spend $150.85 annually.

Smokers in most states stand to save between $200 and $500. They include those in Florida ($276.04); Alaska ($441.72); Maine ($439.92); Mississippi ($321.46); and Illinois ($298.66). Those savings don't include the myriad other costs nonsmokers are spared: steep dry-cleaning bills, big health care costs and higher life insurance premiums among them.

Reference: What You'll Save By Quitting Smoking A state-by-state look at the dollars kept by kicking the habit by Francesca Levy,, 11/12/2008.

Related news briefs: Smokers' Homes More Likely to House Hungry Kids..; Cash-constrained households prefer cell phone use over tobacco consumption.. and Rising Prices Causing People to Re-think Their Lifestyle - This Just Might Be the Time to Eliminate Tobacco From Your Life..


African-Americans Smoke Less in Teens, May Catch up by 30s..

November 12, 2008 - Fred Pampel, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "For cigarette smoking, African-Americans (blacks) tend to act in a more healthy way during their teens, but that advantage goes away by middle age."

The study appears in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Pampel used data from two surveys to make his conclusions.

The National Youth Survey followed the same group of people between ages 12 to 18 in 1977 for 15 years through 1992. The National Health Interview Survey questioned different samples of people 18 and older for 30 years ending in 2006. Pampel looked at groups of white and black teens to see how their cigarette smoking patterns changed as they aged.

"The analysis found that this change is indeed real," said Pampel, and "the disappearance at older ages of the African-American advantage during the teens is more apparent among younger generations than older ones.

C. Tracy Orleans, Ph.D., of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the study did not factor in possible socio-demographic differences in exposure to higher tobacco prices and taxes, which "deter youth onset and promote quitting, especially among low-income smokers, and protection by worksite and comprehensive smoke-free airs laws, which affect adult cessation more than youth initiation." Gary Giovino, Ph.D., at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, does not necessarily agree with the study's conclusions.

Reference: African-Americans Smoke Less In Teens, Catch Up By 30s, Medical News Today, 11/10/2008.

African Americans start smoking later in life (Sterling and Weinkam, Amer. J. Ind. Med. 15:319-333, 1989), Royce et al., Amer. J. Public Health 83(2):220-226, 1993), USDHHS, SG Report 1998) and less likely to be heavy smokers (Robinson et al., Kaiser Foundation 1991) , Harris et al., Int. J. Epidemiol. 22(4):592-599, 1993), Coultas et al., Amer. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 149(3 Pt 2):S93-S131, 1994) but have a greater risk of developing a tobacco attributable disease (USDHHS, SG Report 1998).


President--Elect Barack Obama and Tobacco..

November 12, 2008 - With President Bush no longer a roadblock, health officials also can expect new powers to control tobacco, from cigarettes to the recently introduced smokeless products called snus.

President-elect Obama, a former smoker struggling to avoid relapse, is a sponsor of Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108/S. 625) legislation giving the FDA authority to control, but not ban, tobacco and nicotine.

American Association of Public Health Physicians believes that this bill is so distorted (in its present form)in favor of Altria–Philip Morris that, if passed in its current form, it will do more harm than good in terms of future levels of teen smoking and future rates of tobacco-related illness and death. It can protect cigarettes or it can protect the public's health. It cannot do both. (Joel L. Nitzkin, M.D., M.P.H., FDA Regulation of Tobacco, New Eng. J. Med. 359: 2070-2071, (Nov 6) 2008.)

As Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) has pointed out, "Poison peddlers shouldn’t get to decide how we as responsible legislators fight the war against their deadly products."

Revise Senate's Version FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill..

"An Obama administration would swing the pendulum back more to protection of public health," said William Hubbard, a retired FDA official who held top posts. "This bodes well for greater regulation in the food safety area, on imports, and on drug safety."

Senator Barack Obama's Tobacco Control History compiled by Clifford E. Douglas, Esq. Executive Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network, 3/8/2008.

Reference: Obama expected to bolster FDA oversight of imports by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, 11/7/2008.

Uganda stronger warnings on cigarette packs within 6-months..

November 12, 2008 - The government of Uganda has announced stronger warnings against smoking will appear on cigarette packets sold in the country starting within the next six months. The new warning, which is to take up a relatively big space on each cigarette packet, is to read: "Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart diseases and death." This step towards curbing the tobacco epidemic was announced by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) as a new compulsory standard for labeling of tobacco products sold in the country.

The new, stronger wording is to appear in both English and Swahili and will now replace the old warning "Cigarette smoking can be harmful to your health."

Phillip Karugaba, spokesman of the civil rights group TEAN, commended the UNBS for finally issuing a stronger warning. But, he added, "although it is not to the standards required by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), it is a start. We now have a stronger warning to smokers." Phillip Karugaba, spokesman of the civil rights group TEAN, commended the UNBS for finally issuing a stronger warning. But, he added, "although it is not to the standards required by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), it is a start. We now have a stronger warning to smokers." The FCTC of which Uganda is a signatory requires warning labels to cover between 30 and 50 percent of each cigarette packet.

Reference: Uganda steps up anti-smoking campaign

Related news briefs: Uganda - smoking ban NOT enforced..; British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa..

Click on image to enlarge.. - image from billboard in Uganda.


Tobacco-sniffing dogs identify nicotine addicted workers..

November 11, 2008 - Tobacco-sniffing dogs have been deployed to the former Deutsche Bank building to ensure nicotine-addicted workers don't light up on the job and spark another deadly fire.

For the past month, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation(LMDC) has resorted to deploying "tobacco detection canine" teams (pictured) at the building.

Careless smoking by workers inside the condemned building is blamed for the Aug. 18, 2007, fire that killed two firefighters. One year later, investigators found beer cans and empty cigarette packs inside the building left behind by workers.

"This is just one part of the project team's multifaceted approach to ensuring that all site regulations are strictly followed and enforced," said LMDC spokesman Mike Murphy.

Reference: DOGS NAIL DUMB-ASHES by ERIK SHILLING, New York Post, 11/8/2008.

Indonesia to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7% in 2009..

November 11, 2008 - Indonesia government is planning to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7 percent next year in an effort to increase state revenue and reduce cigarette consumption, Director General for Customs and Excise Affairs Anwar Suprijadi said.

"The increase in cigarette tax will not be high. It will be adjusted to the assumed inflation rate in the 2009 state budget," ANTARA news agency quoted the Director General as saying.

The Director General said the government would soon disseminate information on its plan to raise the tax duty on cigarettes in 2009.

Reference: Indonesian Govt Planning To Raise Cigarette Tax,, 11/7/2008

Related news briefs: Surabaya, Indonesia - anti-smoking bylaw 10/2009 - FOR REAL??; Indonesians smoking more than ever before..; Indonesia further rise in the excise tax would hurt the cigarette industry..; Alicia Keys - Jakarta Concert (July 31st) tobacco companies forced to withdraw sponsorship.. and Most Indonesians support moves to ban tobacco advertisements...


Stress - Driving some Americans to delay quitting..

November 11, 2008 - Stress caused by a slowing economy, shrinking retirement accounts and rising unemployment rates is driving some American smokers to increase the habit or delay quitting, according to a new survey.

The Washington, D.C.-based anti-smoking advocacy group, American Legacy Foundation, commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the online poll of 2,375 Americans 18 years old and older. Women smokers were more likely to smoke more due to worries about the economy, with 31 percent reporting they did, compared to 17 percent of men. A higher percentage (38 percent) of lower-income smokers-- those with a household income of $35,000 or less -- reported that they smoke more cigarettes per day due to the economy, the survey showed. Unemployed smokers were also more likely to boost smoking due to the financial crisis, with 29 percent smoke more compared to 17 percent of employed smokers. Former smokers are also not immune to the trend. The survey showed that seven percent of current smokers said their anxiety about the economy had driven them to start smoking again, while nine percent of former smokers were tempted to resume the habit.

But hard times have also encouraged smokers to be more thrifty. One fifth of smokers who are stressed about the economy said they switched to a cheaper brand to save money.

Reference: Hard times prompt Americans to increase smoking, Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; editing by Patricia Reaney, Reuters, 11/10/2008.

Related news briefs: Smokers' Homes More Likely to House Hungry Kids..; Cash-constrained households prefer cell phone use over tobacco consumption.. and Rising Prices Causing People to Re-think Their Lifestyle - This Just Might Be the Time to Eliminate Tobacco From Your Life..

Click on image to enlarge.. - image from Lakehead University collection.


Star Scientific Files Third Quarter Financial Report..

November 11, 2008 - Star Scientific reported a consolidated after-tax net loss for the third quarter of approximately $5.0 million, compared with a net loss of $3.6 million for the same prior-year period. The company ceased manufacturing and distributing discount cigarettes in June 2007.

Star pursued a variety of initiatives during the third quarter aimed at continued expansion of the distribution of Ariva® and Stonewall® dissolvable smokeless tobacco products. Those efforts included a test market in the Kroger grocery store chain and expansion of Ariva[R] distribution through the Walgreen's chain. The company also expects to begin distribution of an Ariva[R] Java blend during the fourth quarter. The results of third-quarter marketing efforts appear to confirm the company's view that Ariva[R] is the first smokeless tobacco product that is an acceptable alternative to cigarettes for female smokers, who make up approximately 50% of the U.S. smoking population. Stonewall dissolvable smokeless tobacco, which was developed for adults who use traditional moist snuff, is now available in three blends: Wintergreen, Natural and Java.

Reference: Star Scientific Files Third Quarter Financial Report, Business Wire, 11/8/2008.

Some related Star Scientific News briefs: Star Scientific wants to augment sales of their tobacco lozenges..; Star Scientific , second quarter 2008, sales down 23.6%..;Star Scientific Applauds Recent State Legislation - Banning Smoking in Cars with Children..

Shanghai Tobacco's Golden Deer Cigarettes - Hong Kong..

November 11, 2008 - The Shanghai Tobacco Group says the launch of two versions of its Golden Deer cigarette brand at duty-free outlets in Hong Kong has been successful.

About 3.6 million Golden Deer cigarettes were sold in the first month of their being made available to shipping lines in Hong Kong, according to a Tobacco China Online report.

The two brands comprise a Virginia-blend version delivering 13 mg of tar and an American-blend version delivering 12 mg of tar.

Reference: Golden Deer go duty-free in Hong Kong, Tobacco Reporter, 11/11/2008

Related news brief: Chinese cigarettes go global - Golden Deer Cigarettes.

Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..

November 11, 2008 - In its request to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body, the Philippines made clear it was not challenging Thailand's right to impose tobacco market regulations to fit public health goals.

"What the Philippines seeks is very simple: that within whatever regulatory framework Thailand chooses for itself, imported cigarettes be treated fairly, both at the border and in the internal market, and in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner. Currently, these basic requirements are not fulfilled because the playing field on which imported and domestic cigarettes compete is uneven," a country representative said in a statement.

In 2008 profits from state-owned Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) that dominates the Thai market, are expected to fall more than half to just THB two billion (EUR 41.5 million) per year within five years. This is due to competition from foreign producers and declines in cigarette smoking. The market share for foreign brands had increased by around 1 percent per year over the past several years to around 25 percent at present. Sales last year totalled 30.9 billion cigarettes. which posted 2007 net profits of 4.5 billion baht, produces the market-leading Krong Thip brand, and enjoys significant tax advantages over foreign imports. Sales last year totalled 30.9 billion cigarettes.(Profits for Thailand Tobacco Monopoly expected to fall, Tobacco Journal International, 3/17/2008.)

The two countries are allies in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Reference: RP seeks WTO probe of Thai cigarette import rules, Reuters, 10/22/2008.

Some other Thailand news briefs: Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..; Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..; Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

Canadian government fails to meet FCTC obligations..

November 10, 2008 - Canadian Federal government has failed to implement key provisions of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world's first public health treaty.

"This month marks the fourth anniversary of Canada's ratification of the tobacco treaty," said Francis Thompson, Tobacco Control Advisor for HealthBridge, "yet not once in the past four years has the government asked Parliament to make the legislative changes necessary to bring Canada's laws into line with its treaty obligations." Through the FCTC, countries undertake to implement comprehensive tobacco control measures, including large health warnings, comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, smoke-free spaces, controls on smuggling, and price strategies.

The organization of health agencies drew attention to four areas of particular concern: the failure to require health warning labels to appear on all tobacco products; the failure to provide protection from second hand smoke to workers and the public living in First Nations territories, the failure to stop tobacco companies from using deceptive marketing practices and the failure to meet minimum treaty standards for restrictions on tobacco advertising.

Canada continues to make significant progress, but in recent years most of the new measures have resulted from the actions of territorial and provincial governments, not the federal government," said Melodie Tilson, Director of Policy for the Non-Smokers' Rights Association.

Examples of inaction on the part of Federal government: companies can still advertise tobacco products (such as MacDonald's Mirage cigarettes) in Canadian magazines and in free weekly entertainment magazines across the country; failure to provide information behind the $1.2-billion smuggling settlement with Imperial Tobacco of Canada and Rothmans Inc.. (

Examples: A number of provinces/territories now ban the display of tobacco signs and tobacco products in convenience stores such as Quebec and Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan. In addition several ban smoking in vehicles when a child is present such asNew Brunswick, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Ontario, Yukon, . The recent ban of tobacco sales in pharmacies in San Francisco was modeled on a similar bans in eight Canadian provinces. (

Reference: Canada falls short of its tobacco treaty, PR-USA.NET, 11/10/2008.


Croatia - ban in smoking in public places goes in effect..

November 10, 2008 - Anti-tobacco law that bans smoking in all public institutions as well as work places has entered into force as of Thursday, November 6, 2008 in Croatia.

We thought this ban went into effect on October 27, 2008.

A warning about health risks caused by smoking will have to cover 40 percent of the back of a cigarette pack, the legislation stipulates. Fines of up to 2,100 euros (2,681.10 USD) for individuals and up to 21,000 euros (26,812.45 USD) for entrepreneurs will be imposed on those violating the smoking ban.

The health ministry estimated that tobacco kills some 10,000 people every year while an additional 3,000 die from passive smoking in Croatia, where 32 percent of the country's 4.4 million population are smokers. Health costs of treating the consequences of smoking are estimated at a significant 422 million euros (589 million dollars) annually.

Croatia already had laws banning smoking in health and education facilities, and marking out separate smoking areas in other public spaces. But the rules have often been ignored, notably in bars, restaurants and offices.

Reference: Smoking ban in public places enters into force in Croatia, IDIVIDI, 11/7/2008.

Another related reference: Croatia Aims at More Stringent Anti-smoking Laws..