Smoking mothers can impair a baby's ability to respond to external stimuli may increase risk of SIDS..

April 4, 2009 - Monash University (in Melbourne, Australia) researchers have shown that babies born to a mother who smokes are more likely to be slower to wake or respond to stimulation - and this may explain their increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Scientific director of the Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research Associate Professor Rosemary Horne and PhD student Heidi Richardson compared babies of mothers who smoked both during the pregnancy and after the baby was born, with babies who lived in a smoke-free environment.

The study involved 12 healthy, full-term infants born to mothers who smoked an average of 15 cigarettes per day. Their arousal responses during daytime sleep were monitored and compared with that of healthy infants who were born to non-smoking mothers.

The study was performed on each child on three occasions: at two to four weeks, two to three months and five to six months. Arousals were induced without compromising the infants' natural sleep cycles by delivering a pulsatile air-jet for five seconds at the infants' nostrils through a hand-held cannula.

"Those babies whose mothers smoked did not have as many arousals overall and the progression of the arousal response through the brain was also impaired. Mothers who smoked while pregnant and continued to smoke afterward significantly increased their baby's chances of succumbing to SIDS," Professor Horne said.

Professor Horne said the study suggested that maternal smoking can impair a baby's ability to respond to external stimuli, which may explain their increased risk of SIDS.

Although the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, research suggests that an impairment of the arousal process from sleep in response to a life-threatening situation is involved. Autopsies of SIDS victims have revealed brainstem abnormalities in key areas that are required for arousal and cardio respiratory control.

Reference: Pregnancy and tobacco a 'smoking gun' for baby: Study", Ritchie Centre for Baby Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 4/3/2009.

Some related news briefs:
Pregnant women who quit smoking before the 15th week reduce risk of premature birth and small babies..;
England - pregnant women getting paid to stop smoking..;
U.K. women paid for stopping smoking when pregnant...

North Carolina tobacco companies and growers oppose possible tax increase..

April 4, 2009 - Tobacco companies and growers bought full page ads in several newspapers across North Carolina today, April 3, 2009 to help boost opposition to a possible increase in the state cigarette tax.

The newly formed N.C. Taxpayers Alliance emphasizes the estimated 50,000 jobs in the state linked to tobacco production and warns that higher taxes will harm the industry. Gov. Beverly Perdue has proposed a $1-per-pack increase, though the Senate is expected to reduce that number.

"It will hurt farm workers and tobacco factory workers," the ad says, "It will hurt convenience stores and their workers." The ads encourage readers to call their local legislators and encourage them to oppose a tax increase. The advertisements appeared in newspapers in Wilmington, Rocky Mount, Goldsboro, Wilson, Greenville, Burlington, Gastonia and Boone.

The members of the alliance are tobacco companies: Reynolds American, Lorillard, Universal Leaf and Swedish Match, along with the N.C. Tobacco Growers Association and the Cigar Association of America.

We Salute Senators Julia Boseman and R.C. Soles for Standing Up for Our Jobs and Our Economy, North Carolina Taxpayers Alliance.

Related news briefs: Reynolds American - NC Governor's tobacco tax increase - Outrageous..; NC Governor calls for an increase in the tobacco tax..; North Carolina - may consider raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes..

Reference: Legal cigarette advertising submitted by Mark Johnson, The News&Observer, 4/3/2009.

South Carolina - can we expect a tobacco tax increase this year??

April 4, 2009 - At 7 cents, South Carolina's cigarette tax is the lowest in the nation. The Legislature has debated raising the cigarette tax for a decade, but this year's bill drew broader support in the House because it directed the income more toward private-based health insurance rather than toward the state-run health system.

Where the money goes when you buy a pack of cigarettes in South Carolina as of April 1, 2009..

South Carolina's House approved a 50-cent per pack cigarette tax increase Thursday, April 4th with plans to use the extra money to provide health insurance for low-income workers. House members voted by a veto-proof 97-22 to raise the state's tobacco tax from 7 cents to 57 cents on a pack of cigarettes, which is expected to generate $147 million for health care. Of the $147 million in new income, about $139 million would create a fund to cover 75 percent of a health care policy for those making up to about $21,600 a year. The maximum credit would be $3,000. Small businesses with 25 or fewer low-income workers would get a 67 percent credit on insurance premiums for each worker. That would have the same limit.

The vote came after an hour of debate in which House members beat back several proposed amendments, some of which would have lowered the tax increase from 50 cents to 30 cents. State Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, said if anything, he would have supported a bigger jump. "I would have liked to see a dollar (per pack increase)," he said, "but just on the heels of the federal hike, it was hard to get that." (Smokers' tax hike ignites passion Some mad enough to quit, some just mad; others take it all in stride by Robert Behre, The Charleston Post and Courier, 4/2/2009.)

Limehouse was referring to the new federal tobacco tax that took effect Wednesday, April 1st increasing that tax from 39 cents to $1.01 per pack, pushing the cost of most packs of smokes beyond the $4 mark. (Besides federal tax increase - several states want to do the same..)

This version was backed by the House leadership, including Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, who helped derail a different version last year following Gov. Mark Sanford's veto. State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, said he is fine with the new version, which he expects to survive a near-certain veto from Sanford.

A routine third reading today will send it to the Senate, which also passed a version of the tax last year.

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have raised their tobacco taxes since 2002, and even at 57 cents per pack, South Carolina's new levy would remain well below the $1.21 per pack national average.

Reference: House OKs cigarette-tax increase by Robert Behre, The Charleston Post and Courier, 4/3/2009.

Related news briefs: South Carolina a magnet for cigarette black market..; South Carolina - legislators eager to pass cigarette tax increase - the odds are against them??; South Carolina to spend NO money on tobacco prevention..; South Carolina (SC) will NOT devote any resources to anti-smoking programs..; In 2008 will the politicians do what's right for the State of South Carolina??; South Carolina - Tobacco Tax Increase Killed - State House Fails to Override Governor's Veto.. and Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??


FDA tobacco regulation or a lock in Altria's dominant position in the market..

April 3, 2009 - Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1256, the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act giving the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco. Mr. Waxman and his Senate counterpart, Edward Kennedy, Democrat Mass., have promoted legislation giving the F.D.A. regulatory powers over tobacco products since the Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that the agency did not have that authority.

At present the FDA has the authority to regulate sunscreen, our prescriptions, a box of macaroni and cheese or even a tube of lipstick – but not any tobacco product. The
Waxman bill provides authority for the FDA to regulate tobacco with many limitations.

Correspondence New England Journal of Medicine: Volume 359:2070-2071, November 6, 2008, Number 19 Joel L. Nitzkin, M.D., M.P.H. American Association of Public Health Physicians. To the Editor: In 1998, Mark Berlind, chief legislative counsel of Philip Morris, drafted specifications for regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would ensure the continuing profitability of the Marlboro brand, provide a shield against litigation, and protect cigarettes from competition from less-toxic, smokeless tobacco products. The current Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108/S. 625) discussed by Brandt in his Perspective article (July 31 issue) was negotiated between Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) and Mr. Berlind for purposes of securing an FDA bill with full support from our nation's largest cigarette maker. The text conforms to Mr. Berlind's 1998 specifications.

The bill has been dubbed by Fortune Magazine the "Altria Earnings Protection Act." We worry that the legislation will be flawed because the biggest player (with over half of the tobacco market) in the tobacco industry has been directly involved in writing the bill that regulates their industry. The true motivation behind the FDA tobacco regulation bill may be a big company’s desire to kill off its smaller competitors. "In short, it will lock in Altria's dominant position in the market."

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."

Stanton A. Glantz, the founder and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, and a professor of cardiology: “Going into partnership with them or cutting deals with them, there’s not a single case anytime anywhere in the world where that’s worked.”

“Philip Morris is supporting it for their own reasons,” said Mr. Waxman, a sponsor of the legislation. “This is a good bill and a strong bill,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve made any concessions that we’d want to change.” Chairman Henry A. Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee must stay very busy with lots of legislation various stages of development on his plate. As pointed out by Dr. Nitzkin despite the optimistic wording of the summaries used to attract endorsement and sponsors, this bill is so distorted 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.

Philip Morris which for years disputed research that found smoking was addictive and contributed to many health problems turned a blind eye when health-advocacy non-profit agencies stated that “Philip Morris shows contempt for women and their health by putting a pink gloss on Virginia Slims that causes lung cancer and heart disease, two of the leading killers of women.” In October 2008, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Philip Morris started marketing Virginia Slims with a slender "purse pack" in the same color of soft pink associated with the cancer campaign. Even TFK who partnered with Altria to write the tobacco regulation bill condemned Philip Morris for targeting women and girls.

Mike Szymanczyk now the CEO of Altria, Inc., the parent of Philip Morris Tobacco USA, brags to investors that they are directly involved in this legislation (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008)

Philip Morris is already preparing to circumvent the bill, once passed, by--for instance--seeking a trademark change for "Marlboro Snus Spice" to a more generic but still evocative trademarks such as "Marlboro Snus Snug Gold." Citi bank tells shareholders that if the FDA begins to regulate the tobacco industry, it would make little difference; many concessions have been granted to get tobacco companies to buy into this legislation weakening the bill even further. UST Inc. (now owned by Altria Group, Inc, the parent of Philip Morris), the biggest U.S. maker of smokeless tobacco products and the North American unit of Swedish Match AB which also sells smokeless tobacco announced they would support the bill. The bill was amended to give smokeless companies the ability to give away free samples to adults under limited circumstances which hadn't been allowed in earlier versions of the bill.

Regulation of the tobacco industry is absolutely necessary but let's do it RIGHT this time with less input from tobacco companies. Matthew L. Myers of TFK has even said, “The election of Barack Obama changes everything.”

Reference: Philip Morris’s Support Casts Shadow Over a Bill to Limit Tobacco by DUFF WILSON, The New York Times, 3/31/2009.

Archive of Supporting Documentation: U.S. House committee approves FDA tobacco regulation bill..; U.S. House considers legislation for FDA to regulate tobacco..; FDA regulation the other shoe to drop..; U.S. House committee approves FDA tobacco regulation bill..; U.S. House considers legislation for FDA to regulate tobacco..; U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce - legislation to regulate tobacco..; Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids - Need for FDA Regulation of Tobacco..; February 2009 - legislation FDA to regulate tobacco..; FDA Regulation Likely for Tobacco - Let's Do It RIGHT..; President--Elect Barack Obama and Tobacco..; Revise Senate's Version FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill..; FDA tobacco regulation - bill distorted in current form..; AWMA urges grassroots effort to defeat FDA tobacco regulation and SCHIP.."; More - Lorillard-Newport - FDA proposed tobacco regulation..; FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill Overwhelmingly Passed U.S. House..; House to Vote on FDA Regulation of Tobacco..; Bush administration opposes legislation to give FDA authority to regulate tobacco products...; With U.S. FDA tobacco regulations on the horizon Altria already preparing to circumvent the law..; Public health experts are questioning why menthol flavoring in cigarettes, received special protection as Congress tries to regulate tobacco..; Lorillard Tobacco opposes US FDA bill to regulate tobacco..; FDA regulation moves a step closer..; On Tuesday April 1, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect in January 1,..; FDA regulatory control tobacco bill is voted forward..; Reject Proposed Legislation That Would Add Responsibility For Tobacco Regulation to the FDA..; FDA Head: 'No' to Tobacco Cigarettes too "inherently dangerous" to regulate; would "undermine mission."; Federal tobacco regulation backed...; On July 18, 2007, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee postponed a vote on the bill - which would for the first time allow...

UST is now operating under the name U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co...

April 3, 2009 - Smokeless tobacco company UST Inc., the nation's largest maker of smokeless tobacco, has finished moving its operations from Connecticut to Richmond, Virginia where its new parent company, Altria Group Inc., is based.

Altria bought the maker of the Copenhagen and Skoal smokeless tobacco brands in January in a deal valued at $10.4 billion, plus the assumption of $1.3 billion in debt.

Altria's portfolio of businesses, now includes cigarettes, cigars, moist snuff and wines. It controls about 50 percent share of the tobacco industry and offers leading brands in each segment. Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria, "with the acquisition of UST, Altria has been transformed into the premier tobacco company in the United States. “Our tobacco operating companies have four powerful brands, Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild, which are leaders in the largest and most profitable domestic tobacco categories. Sales of smokeless tobacco have grown about 7 percent annually in recent years, and about 6.2 million Americans now use the products. Tobacco companies are aggressively pursuing smokeless tobacco as sales of cigarettes decline 3 percent to 4 percent each year.

Daniel Butler, president of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company: "While we are very pleased with the success of our strategy to drive category growth in moist smokeless tobacco, we've been less than pleased with our ability to hold our share of the category," Daniel Butler, president of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, said.

Butler said UST cut wholesale prices of its premium products about 20 percent this week to grab more market share and bring its prices closer to those of competitors. From February 1, 2009 through March 28, 2009 - the price of Skoal and Copenhagen was reduced one-dollar. After this promotion 68 cents was subtracted from the original price of these products. For the $1.00-off promotion Philip Morris USA (PM) field sales force took charge. It seems the only task left over for the UST field force is to give credit for expired cans of snuff. These sales people wonder if Altria will reduce the size of the sales force like they did after the acquisition of John Middleton - Black&Mild Cigars. Murray Kessler, former UST's president and chief operating officer is now Vice Chair, Altria Group, Inc.. -

References: Tobacco maker UST moves to Altria's Virginia HQ
Smokeless tobacco company UST completes move to Altria's Virginia headquarters
by Michael Felberbaum, AP Business Writer, 4/1/2009; UST is now operating under the name U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., Staff Writers, Richmond Times=-Dispatch, 4/1/2009.

(Name change no longer UST, Inc. the Altria subsidiary is called United States Smokeless Tobacco Company (USST)).


New York - more incidence of illicit cigarette traffiking..

April 2, 2009 - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New York office today, April 1, 2009 announced the arrests of two individuals who purchased untaxed cigarettes from ATF while also selling ATF counterfeit New York State/City Tax Stamps.

Illicit (illegal, contraband) cigarette smuggling defeats the purpose of anti-tobacco programs such as the continuous increase in tobacco taxes to make it too costly for kids to even consider smoking. Kids, who shouldn't be smoking at all, are having no trouble getting their hands on illegal cigarettes that cost pennies.

During the nine month investigation, Guang Ming Wang purchased a total of 31,980 cartons of untaxed cigarettes for $846,000 and also sold ATF 103,950 counterfeit NY State/City tax stamps for $4,000. After the undercover sales of cigarettes, both Wang's were observed by agents unloading the contraband at two locations, 144-05 29th Road and 135-06 62nd Ave. in Queens.

The cartons sold to Wang contained a total of 319,800 individual cigarette packs, which at a price of $10 per pack had a retail street value of more than $3.1 million dollars in New York City. The counterfeit New York tax stamps are worth $4.25 each, bringing their street value to over $440,000. It is estimated that the defendants conspired to deprive New York State and City of at least $1.8 million dollars in tax revenue through their actions.

The defendants are initially being charged with conspiracy to violate the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act and could face up to 5 years in prison on these charges. Additional charges are expected to be filed by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York whose office will be prosecuting the case.

In another New York case federal authorities have accused a former New York City police officer of shipping untaxed cigarettes from New York to Michigan, leading Michigan to lose out on more than $600,000 in cigarette excise tax. (Former New York City police officer charged with trafficking in contraband cigarettes, Associated Press, 3/16/2009)

Reference: ATF Arrests Million Dollar Cigarette Smugglers in Queens --CIGARETTES HAD A STREET VALUE OF OVER $3 MILLION by: PR Newswire, 4/1/2009.


New federal tobacco tax should save Tennessee $1.1 billion..

April 2, 2009 - New federal tax on tobacco products that went into effect Wednesday, April 1, 2009 is expected to save the state $1.1 billion in health care costs and save $241 million for TennCare. Smoking declines will save the state $1.1 billion in associated health care costs and $241 million for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

The federal excise tax on cigarettes rose yesterday from $0.39 to $1.01 per pack. Taxes on chewing tobacco rose from $0.195 cents per pound to $0.50.

Additional funds raised will benefit the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides insurance for children and their families if they make too much for government assistance but not enough to afford health care coverage.

Officials from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH)claim the new taxes will help 30,200 Tennessee quit using tobacco products, which will produce myriad ancillary benefits. TDOH claims the move will save 23,100 smokers in the state from smoking-related deaths.

The new tax is expected to help more than 1 million quit nationally and produce $44.5 billion in health care savings, including $7.5 billion for national Medicaid

Reference: New tobacco tax should save Tennessee $1.1 billion, Memphis Business Journal, 4/2/2009.

U.S. House Passes Bill Giving FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco..

April 2, 2009 - The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed (approved, passage) landmark legislation giving the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco, reported Dow Jones. The voted passed 298-112.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where lawmakers from tobacco-producing states oppose the legislation. The bill doesn't give the FDA power to ban existing tobacco products but gives the agency power to restrict sales on safety grounds. The FDA also would be able to stop companies from touting their brands as "low tar" and "mild" and other areas of the agency.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.) said money from the FDA's general fund will be used for only the first six months until the industry fees are adequate to fund the program. Money borrowed from the general fund will be paid back by the user fees, Waxman said.

The House, in a separate 284 to 142 vote, defeated an alternative offered by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) to establish a new tobacco regulation center outside the FDA but within the Department of Health & Human Services, said Dow Jones. (U.S. House alternative bill to regulate tobacco rejected..)


Reference: House Passes Bill Giving FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco, CSP (Convenience Store/Petroleum) Daily News, 4/2/2009.


Among Americans, Smoking Decreases as Income Increases..

April 2, 2009 - the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index - based on interviews with more than 75,000 individuals across the United States provides a closer examination of the relationship between household income and smoking behavior.

Nationwide, the index reveals that 21% of Americans say they smoke. As the accompanying graph illustrates, the likelihood of smoking generally increases as annual incomes decrease. One exception to this pattern occurs among those making less than $6,000 per year, an income bracket often skewed because many in that bracket are students. Among those making $6,000 to $11,999 per year, 34% say they smoke, while only 13% in the top two income brackets (those with incomes of at least $90,000 per year) say the same -- a 21 percentage-point gap.

The Well-Being Index also confirms distinctions in U.S. smoking rates relating to gender and race. Among respondents, 23% of men and 19% of women say they smoke. Blacks are the most likely to smoke (23%) and Asians are least likely to smoke (12%). Hispanics and whites fall in between, at 17% and 20%, respectively.

Interestingly, smoking rates in the United States are similar to those around the world. Across 118 different countries Gallup surveyed in 2006 and 2007, a median percentage of 22% said they smoked the day before the survey.

Reference: Among Americans, Smoking Decreases as Income Increases Gradual pattern is consistent across eight earnings brackets by Rob Goszkowski, GALLUP, 3/21/2008.

Legal Consortium files amicus (friend of the court) brief in first impression tobacco-free pharmacy case..

April 2, 2009 - William Mitchell’s Tobacco Control Legal Consortium and its California affiliate, the Tobacco Assistance Legal Center, filed an amicus brief at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on March 24 defending San Francisco’s pioneering ban on pharmacy sales of tobacco products against a First Amendment challenge by Philip Morris. This will be the first appellate decision on the validity of pharmacy sales bans of tobacco products and likely will set precedent for the country.

The San Francisco ordinance has survived an initial round of challenges after both Philip Morris and Walgreens requested injunctions to stop enforcement of the ban on selling tobacco products in pharmacies. Both challenges were rejected and the law went into effect Oct. 1, stripping tobacco products from the city’s approximately 60 drug stores. Philip Morris, the nation’s largest tobacco company, immediately appealed the order. The appeal before the Ninth Circuit could take months to resolve.

The Legal Consortium’s brief was written by Linda Lye, an experienced appellate attorney at Altshuler Berzon in San Francisco, and was joined by 19 parties, including national medical, public health, and pharmaceutical organizations.

The brief argues that the consensus of the public health community is that tobacco products should not be sold in pharmacies and that doing so conflicts with pharmacists’ code of ethics. It points out that the tobacco control movement has focused on changing social and cultural attitudes toward tobacco, including restricting the availability of tobacco, and that prohibiting pharmacies to sell tobacco is one reasonable step to achieve the ultimate goal of reducing and eliminating tobacco use.

Read the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium’s amicus brief in Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco et al.

Related news briefs: Philip Morris appeals tobacco ban at San Francisco pharmacies; Federal Judge Denies Bid To Stop San Francisco Pharmacy Tobacco Ban..; Philip Morris USA request stop in San Francisco's ban on tobacco sales by pharmacies..; San Francisco - cigarette sales rise sharply in c-stores..; San Francisco files brief to oppose bid by PM USA to block the banning of tobacco sales in pharmacies..; Philip Morris challenges San Francisco pharmacy tobacco ban..; Walgreen: San Francisco’s Tobacco Ban Is Unfair..; San Francisco - All Tobacco Products Banned in All Pharmacies..; San Francisco critical vote - bar tobacco sales pharmacies.. and SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought...


EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..

April 2, 2009 - European statistical service Eurobarometer has reported that Bulgaria ranks second highest in the EU for the percentage of adult smokers. The poll carried out between December 13 and 17, 2008 found that 39% of Bulgaria's adult population smoke regularly or occasionally, BTA reported. Students from Bulgaria smoke more than most other European countries..

Over 26,500 randomly-selected citizens aged 15 years and over were interviewed for the poll in the 27 EU Member States and in Norway.

The ranking list is headed by Greece, where smokers represent 42% of the adult population. Slovenia with 22% and Sweden with 26% of smokers are at the bottom of the list. A total of three out of 10 Europeans aged over 15 are smokers, Eurobarometer data also showed. About 46% of EU citizens have never smoked.

Reference: Bulgaria Second in EU Adult Smoking Survey, Sofia News Agency (, 4/1/2009.

Related news briefs: Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke.., PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..; Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..; WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..; WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..; Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...

U.S. earning for big three cigarettes makers may be down in 1st quarter 2009..

April 2, 2009 - Citi Investment Research analyst Adam Spielman has trimmed his first-quarter earnings estimates for cigarette companies.

In March major cigarette makers raised prices, partly to offset any drop in profit once the per-pack tax climbs from 39 cents to $1.01. Tobacco wholesalers and retailers are trying to limit their inventory temporarily. (With the April 1st tax increase wholesalers and retailers will have to pay for what they own on that day. This "floor" tax requires them to pay 62 cents for each pack of cigarettes they own that day, and this is on top of higher prices cigarette manufacturers are charging.

Spielman expects this lower inventory to cause first-quarter volumes to fall by as much as 15 percent, but reiterated that the inventory destocking is only temporary.
"The volume that is 'missing' from the first quarter will reappear in the second quarter, so we have lifted our second-quarter numbers," Spielman wrote in a client note. We are not expecting to get a clean quarter until the third quarter of 2009.

Spielman lowered his expectations for Altria Group Inc., Reynolds American Inc., and Lorillard Inc., saying that the inventory destocking may limit any gains to the stock price in the near-term.

Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Christopher Growe trimmed his first-quarter earnings estimate for Altria by 8 cents to 39 cents to account for the lower inventory. Shares of Lorillard slipped 58 cents to $64, shares of Altria Group declined 41 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $16.80, and shares of Reynolds lost 95 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $36.77.

Reference: Sector Snap: Analyst trims tobacco estimatesAssociated Press -, 3/27/209.


Excessive profiteering by big tobacco companies..

April 2, 209 - The Council of Independent Tobacco Manufacturers of America (CITMA) has condemned major US manufacturers for increasing cigarette prices ahead of the April 1 hike in the US’ federal excise tobacco taxes.

Philip Morris claimed that the price increase was necessary to address floor stock taxes brought about by the Federal Excise Tax (State Children's Health Insurance Program - SCHIP) legislation passed in February 2009,’ CITMA said in a press note issued by PRNewswire. ‘In fact, Philip Morris's price rise was three weeks ahead of the SCHIP tax increase.’ (Floor stock taxes - on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 when the tax takes effect, the wholesalers and retailers had to pay for what they own on that day. This "floor" tax requires them to pay 62 cents for each pack of cigarettes they own that day, and this is on top of higher prices cigarette manufacturers are charging.)

Kevin Altman, a CITMA representative: "This is just big companies using their market power to drive up their profits at the expense of adult consumers."

This pricing pattern is consistent with the behavior of the major tobacco
companies related to the cigarette Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). After that Agreement was signed in 1999 by the states and the major companies, in lock step, those companies raised prices to new highs. Profits at the major companies increased substantially and reached record levels, and all at the expense of consumers.

This most recent excessive price hike has provided substantial profits to
Philip Morris at the expense of consumers. "By adding an extra $6.17 under the
pretense it was wholly related to the increased tax to support health care, Philip Morris and the other large tobacco companies, continue to undermine the confidence of adult consumers. This latest hike only helps promote a negative perception of the big companies leveraging the market dominance that was created for them as a result of the cigarette MSA," stated Altman.

Related news brief: C-store chain upset that tobacco manufacturers raise prices early..

Reference: SCHIP Tax Increases Spurs Profiteering by Philip Morris and Other Big Tobacco Companies.., SOURCE Council of Independent Tobacco Manufacturers of America, Reuters, 4/1/2009.

In Process - North Carolina House poised to pass smoking ban..

April 2, 2009 - The house voted Wednesday April 1, 2009 to outlaw smoking in most workplaces and restaurants in North Carolina. The bill, which requires final House approval before moving to the state Senate. Most bars would be exempted.

Reference: N.C. House poised to pass smoking ban by Benjamin Niolet - News & Observer Staff Writer, 4/2/2009.

Florida Senate panel backs tobacco tax hike..

April 2, 2009 - A Senate committee ended a nearly 15-year stalemate on tax proposals in Florida Tuesday, unanimously voting to raise the cigarette tax $1 per pack and increase the tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco $1 per ounce.

Reference: Florida Senate panel backs cigarette tax hike
The Senate overcame its no-tax anxiety and gave preliminary approval to a $1 hike in state cigarette tax.
Miami Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, 4/1/2009.

Related news brief: Florida tobacco tax hike gets 1st critical vote today.., Tobacco Free Florida Week - 2/27/2009 - 3/7/2009.., Florida's $2.3 billion deficit - increase tax on cigarettes???; States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..; Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking...

New York City - cigarettes more than $10- a- pack..

April 1, 2009 - If this doesn't make you quit, nothing will. With a new 62 cent federal tax on cigarettes added this week with the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program law, the new price of a pack of cigarettes will soar past $10 in Manhattan.

The NYC price is the highest in the nation and more than twice the national average.
And don't forget to add the retail mark-ups, which could drive the price of your favorite smokes even higher.

The latest tax hike has left smokers fuming. Hakima Ougribe currently spends $10.95 on a pack of Marlboro Milds on the Upper West Side. She can now expect to pay well over $11 for a pack -- that's more than 55 cents a smoke. Restaurant owner Frank Rossi said he would give up his Newports as of today. "How does the government get away with it?" Rossi, a smoker of 15 years, said. Michael Southward, 24, of Hell's Kitchen said he could no longer afford to smoke.

The New York Health and Hospitals Corp. said the price rise would push the cost of cigarettes to more than $250 a month for pack-a-day smokers. Up to 20,000 New Yorkers are expected to quit after today's price rise. "Now is the time to quit," city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said. "Smoking is hurting your health and your wallet. "For many New Yorkers looking to save money during these tough times . . . You will feel better, your families will be safer and you will save thousands of dollars."

Reference: New York City - LATEST TAX PUSHES LOWEST CIG COST PAST $10 by DAVID HASTIE, New York Post, April 1, 2009.

Click on image to enlarge..


Bangladeshi government will increase taxes on tobacco products..

April 1, 2009 - The increase will be part of the next fiscal budget (July 2009-June 2010), its news agency BSS quoted a senior official as saying. During a meeting with a local research organization Unnayan Samannay (Development Coordination) recently, Chairman of the Bangladesh's National Board of Revenue (NBR) Abdul Mazid said the purpose of increasing tax on cigarettes and tobacco products is not to boost revenue but to protect public health. Mazid said imposition of higher tax would help downsize usuage of tobacco items in the country.

The NBR chairman further said, "We have to increase taxes on the tobacco products each year, as Bangladesh signed a United Nations agreement against tobacco. Under the rules, the country has already restricted advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products and smoking of cigarettes in public places and made warning on cigarette packets mandatory.

Bangladesh is the first signatory of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and 20th ratifier in the world, Following this the government of Bangladesh enacted the Bangladesh Tobacco Control Act 2005.

Nearly two-thirds of the world's smokers live in 10 countries: China, which accounts for nearly 30 percent, India with about 10 percent, Indonesia, Russia, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Germany and Turkey.

Reference:Bangladesh to increase tax on cigarettes, other tobacco products, BSS News Agency, 3/30/2009.

Related news brief: Marlboro to be Marketed in Bangladesh - One of the Poorest and Densely Populated Countries in the World..

WHO Global InfoBase - Bangladesh..

C-store chain upset that tobacco makers raise prices early..

April 1, 2009 - Sheetz upset cigarette maufacturers raised prices before the official start of the federal tax increase. (Sheetz has 350 convenience store locations throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina,

Sheetz: "The cigarette manufacturers think they're pulling an April Fools' trick on their customers. "Consumers were expecting an increase April 1, but the tobacco companies actually raised the prices as early as March 11, which forced us to raise our retail prices. Now, they're just pocketing that extra money. Add to that the fact that in the past few weeks, they've also raised their own prices, and so now they're taking in an extra seven bucks per carton. In my book, that's more than an April Fools' trick; that's just wrong."

Reference: Sheetz's Tobacco Promise
Pa. chain "calls out" cigarette companies on price hikes are FET increase kicks in
, CSP (Convenience Store/Petroleum) Daily, 4/1/2009.

Kentucky - state cigarette tax increase as of April 1 , 2009..

April 1, 2009 - Today Kentucky's cigarette tax doubles from 30 cents to 60 cents per pack. Just four years ago, Kentucky's tobacco tax was only three cents - the lowest in the nation. In addition, the federal tax on cigarettes today rises from 62-cents per pack to $1.01.

Kentucky is the nation's largest producer of burley tobacco and dark fire- and air-cured tobaccos. Only North Carolina surpasses Kentucky in tobacco production.
Kentucky is the most tobacco-dependent state in the United States. Although North Carolina grows more tobacco than Kentucky, tobacco accounts for a larger percentage of Kentucky's agricultural income. (Overview of Kentucky's Tobacco Economy by Will Snell and Stephan Goetz, AEC-83)

Related news brief:Kentucky raises taxes on cigarettes..

Greater chance of child having autism if their mothers smoked ..

April 1, 2009 - The study based on surveys that asked a variety of questions related to the indoor environment. Of the study's 4,779 children between the ages of 6 and 8, 72 had autism, including 60 boys. The researchers found four environmental factors associated with autism: vinyl flooring, the mother's smoking, family economic problems and condensation on windows, which indicates poor ventilation.

Children in the study also were twice as likely to have autism if their mothers smoked cigarettes. The autistic children also were more likely to have asthma.

Because their research was not designed to focus on autism, the researchers recommend further study of larger numbers of children to see whether the link can be confirmed. Several scientists who did not participate in the study cautioned that it has too many limitations to draw conclusions, but they suggested that new studies be designed to look for a connection between autism and indoor air pollutants.

Reference: Scientists Find 'Baffling' Link between Autism and Vinyl Flooring by Marla Cone and Environmental Health News, Scientific American, 3/31/2009.

U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Tobacco Firm's $80 Million Punitive Damages..

March 31, 2009 - The Supreme Court dismissed Tuesday, March 3, 2009 an appeal by Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA over $79.5 million in punitive damages awarded to the widow of a longtime Oregon smoker.

The top court did not decide the merits of the dispute, but in a one-sentence ruling said the appeal was dismissed as "improvidently granted." Philip Morris in its appeal had argued that the Oregon Supreme Court in upholding the award had defied an earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case.

More: UPDATE 2-U.S. top court dismisses Philip Morris appeal by James Vicini, Reuters, 3/3/2009.

Reference: Supreme Court Lets Stand Tobacco Firm's $80 Million Punitive Damages Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Gerald E. McCormick), Insurance Journal - Reuters, 3/31/2009.

Ireland - may raise tax on cigarettes as part of emergency budget..

March 31, 2009 - The Cabinet is due to meet again as part of preparations for next week's emergency Budget. Ministers met for more than seven hours yesterday to identify areas where cuts can be made and taxes increased in order to plug the massive hole in the public finances.

In the emergency budget the government may increase the price of cigarettes by €2 (1.85GBP, 2.66USD). Some commentators have warned that higher taxes will not achieve their aim of discouraging smoking and will instead just force smokers into the black market.

Speaking afterwards, the Taoiseach (Irish Government) said Irish people should expect a drop of up to 10% in their living standards over the next two years. He reiterated the need for a broadening of Ireland’s tax base, but gave no hint what taxes would be altered

Ireland vowed to show foreign investors it had a handle on buckling public finances after data showed the country's unemployment rate hitting a near 12-year high in February. Tax revenues fell by nearly a quarter in Jan-Feb from a year ago as the economy slid into its worst recession on record and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said shrinking revenues and spending pressures threatened to push the fiscal shortfall 5-billion euros (US$8-billion) over target. (Ireland plans emergency budget in April by Carmel Crimmins and Jonathan Saul, Reuters, 3/4/2009)

Chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation Michael O’Shea said the organisation was angered by the Government’s "apparent inability" to control the smuggling of illicit tobacco products into Ireland. "The failure by government to tackle the growth in smuggling is not a good enough reason not to protect the health of our children from cigarette smoking. This is a national disgrace," he said.

“It is not acceptable to let criminal activity dictate social measures to protect the health of our children and young people. It is not acceptable to say there will be no increase in tobacco prices – a proven deterrent to new and existing smokers – because smuggling will increase."

He called for the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to increase resources to deter smugglers through measures such as increased penalties and prosecutions. Contraband cigarettes account for around one-quarter of all the tobacco smoked in Ireland, according to official estimates. Ash, the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation said they were shocked and outraged at the investigation aired this week by RTE's Prime Time, which found children as young as 14 were being used to sell illegal and counterfeit cigarettes around the country. The investigation found that the smuggled cigarettes were on sale openly in casual markets and estimated that each carton of 200 sold on the black market represented a loss of about €65 to the exchequer.

Reference: Government 'complacent' over cigarette smuggling by CIARA O'BRIEN,, 3/27/2009, Smuggling 'shouldn't discourage hike in cigarette prices', Belfast Telegraph, 3/26/2009, Smuggling threat 'shouldn’t discourage hike in cigarette prices', Irish, 3/26/2009.

Orbs now come free with purchase of Camel, Winston, Kool, Salem and other RJ Reynolds brands..

March 31, 2009 - Indiana has one of the highest youth smoking rates in the country. The latest figures reveal that 22 percent of high school students in Indiana smoke.
Educators want to reach young people before an addiction to nicotine takes hold. Now they are warning of a new nicotine delivery device that is smoke-free dissolvable tobacco products.

Those who educate kids about tobacco are adding extra chapters to include new dissolvable products.

"They are all over Hancock County. They are all over central Indiana," said Brandee Bastin, Hancock County tobacco educator.

Camel Orbs come in a palm-size pack. Inside are tablets made from finely ground tobacco. Central Indiana - Indianapolis area along with Portland, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio are test sites for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's Camel dissolvable tobacco products.

"Part of it is a tactic to keep people addicted. 'If you can't smoke at work, hey, use one of these smokeless tobacco products.' But the point is there is no safe level of tobacco products," said Bastin.

State lab tests reveal the nicotine content in a dissolvable product can be 60 to 300 percent higher than in one cigarette.

"They have flavors like cool mint, just like Listerine pocket packs (R.J. Reynolds will soon be testing edible flavored tobacco strips in the Indianapolis market), except with a little death punch that kids don't know about," said Meg Highley, a junior at Mt. Vernon High School.

Wednesday (March 25, 2009) was a national day of youth awareness about tobacco. It's called Kick butts day," said Delana Bennington, Boone County tobacco educator "It is literally cigarette butts." Students in Lebanon cleaned up the grounds at Witham Hospital.

While Orbs might be smoke-free, the product carries risks. "It's just another way to get youth addicted even earlier to nicotine and tobacco. We are just trying to make sure that everyone knows that this stuff is out there because we don't want someone to talk in the gas station and see - oh that looks like a safe form of tobacco because there isn't one," said Highley.

It looks like with tobacco dissolvables kids will becoming nicotine addicts at younger ages than with smoking. (

Reference: Students warned of new tobacco product that looks like candy, Anne Marie Tiernon/Eyewitness News, - 13, 3/25/2009.


Florida tobacco tax hike gets 1st critical vote today..

March 31, 2009 - A bipartisan drive to raise Florida's tax (levy, user fee, surcharge) on tobacco products for the first time in two decades gets its first formal test Tuesday (March 31, 2009) with an afternoon vote in the Senate Finance & Tax Committee. (Currently Florida has the 5th lowest tobacco tax in the nation with the 4th highest U.S. population.)

The Florida Legislature began its 60-day session today, Tuesday, March 3, 2009 in a desperate dash for cash to close what could add up to $5 billion-or-bigger budget hole next year.

Legislation sponsored by the panel's chairman, Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne (SB 2438), would raise Florida's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack and apply the increase to chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars. According to a previous revenue estimate, the new tax could raise $850 million a year.

Supporters argue that Florida collects about $430 million in tobacco taxes today, but spends more than $1.2 billion in smoking-related healthcare costs. They say that means the 80 percent of Floridians who don't smoke are subsidizing the treatment of the smoking-related illnesses of those who do. (This is NOT fair - tobacco users should pay enough tax to cover the cost of their health care..

Supporters cite for raising the tax is that a higher cost would encourage some smokers to quit -- especially young people.

Related news briefs: Tobacco Free Florida Week - 2/27/2009 - 3/7/2009.., Florida's $2.3 billion deficit - increase tax on cigarettes???; States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..; Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking...

Reference: Florida Senate panel to vote on cigarette tax hike by STEVE BOUSQUET, Miami Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, 3/31/2009.


State Representative concerned tobacco companies targeting our young with SNUS..

March 31, 2009 - State Representative Bob Herron, Alaska State Government - District 38 - Bethel recently introduced HB 188 to change the state’s system of taxation on moist snuff tobacco (more commonly known as chew or iqmik). My goal is to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco in Alaska, especially amongst young people.

Herron is very concerned with new lightweight tobacco products such as “snus”, which tobacco companies are using to target our young people. The small, individually wrapped packets of tobacco are packaged very attractively in a brightly colored tin. They smell more like candy than tobacco, and the method of ingestion eliminates the need to spit. Such a product constitutes a significant risk to our youth, many of whom already chew.

Reference: YKHC Tribal Unity Gathering begins Wednesday in Bethel by Rep. Bob Herron, The Tundra Drums, 3/30/2009.


Croatia cigarette prices to go up April 1, 2009...

March 30, 2009 - The prices of all Croatian Tobacco Company (TDR) cigarettes will go up by two kunas or 0.27 Euros. (TDR - Tvornica Duhana Rovinj
- is the leading cigarette manufacturer in the region, owning a 25 percent share of the market, employing 1000 and working with more than 2000 tobacco farmers in a unique, vertically integrated business organization..

Change in pricing some cigarette brands in TDR's product portfolio. The price of York cigarettes will go up by one kuna or 0.13 Euros (or 0.17USD). TDR head Davor Tomaskovic said it was keeping York cheaper to benefit poor cigarette smokers.

That means the price of popular Ronhill will go up from 16 to 18 kunas (2.41 Euros, 3.21USD) and Walter Wolf will go up from 15 to 17 kunas (2.28 Euros, 3.03USD).

Tomaskovic claimed the new excise taxes on domestic and foreign cigarettes had to affect the price of retail cigarettes. He added the taxes would would also increase smuggling and black-market sales of cigarettes, harm domestic production and lower TDR’s income by three percent.

The Croatian government has increased excise taxes on domestic and foreign cigarettes to comply with EU guidelines. (Croatia has been a candidate country for EU membership since June 2004. Croatia continues bringing its legislation into line with the European Union in order to enter the pan-Europe bloc by 2011, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic.

As of 1 June, there will be a tax of 180 kunas or 24.31 Euros (32.35USD) on every 1,000 cigarettes or 3.6 kunas or 0.48 Euros (0.639USD) on each pack of cigarettes.

Tomaskovic said Croatia would have the most-expensive cigarettes in Europe in terms of the cost of living after the taxes entered into force.

TDR already noted a five-per-cent reduction in sales in January after it had raised the price of cigarettes by one kuna (0.13 Euros) and expects that percentage to increase. Tomaskovic said bad business results could have a negative impact on employees.

Related news briefs: Croatia - ban in smoking in public places goes in effect.., Croatia - A ban on smoking went into effect on October 27, 2008.., Croatia Aims at More Stringent Anti-smoking Laws...

Reference: Price of cigarettes to go up, Croatian Times, 3/28/2009.


Romania to increase excise tax on cigarettes April 1, 2009..

March 30, 2009 - The Government decided on Wednesday (March 25, 2009) the rise in the excises on tobacco by 7 euros/1,000 cigarettes, starting April 1 and by further 7 euros starting September 1, Minister of Public Finance, Gheorhge Pogea, announced.

Therefore, one package of the best sold cigarettes which now stands at 6.8 lei (0.000213USD) it will cost 7.2 lei (0.000225USD), said Pogea.

For cigarettes and cigars the excises will go up as of April 1 to 57 euros/1,000 (75.23USD) cigarettes, being expected to go up to 64 euros (84.47USD) for 1,000, as of Sept. 1.

For the sparkling alcoholic drinks, the rise in excises will be made in a single stage, the minister giving assurances that the excises on wine and beer will not increase, except for the rare beverages.

The excise on sparkling alcoholic beverages will increase from 34.05 euros/hl (44.94USD) to 45 euros/hl (59.39USD) and for the intermediary alcoholic drinks the excises will swell from 51.08 euros/hl (67.41USD) to 65 euros/hl (85.78USD).

In turn, the excises on fuel, natural gas or electricity will not be raised, said Minister Pogea.

By 2010, Romanian cigarettes is expected to be aligned with EU prices for cigarettes. (More - on tobacco in Romania)

Related news breif: Congratulations are in order: Netherlands, Romania & Alberta...

Reference: Excises on tobacco increase starting April 1, AGERPRES - Romanian News Agency, 3/26/2009.


Health Canada warns against 'e-cigarettes'..

March 30, 2009 - Health Canada is warning Canadians not to buy or use electronic smoking products, dubbed e-cigarettes. The agency says the products have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy and could pose a health risk.

Health Canada says that anyone selling, importing, or advertising electronic cigarette products in Canada "must stop doing so immediately." It's advising those Canadians who have used e-cigarette products and are concerned about their health to consult with a health care practitioner.

In the U.S. New Jersey Senator Frank R. Lautenberg is asking the government to prevent the sale of so-called "electronic cigarettes" until more is known about them.

E-cigarette manufacturers say their products deliver nicotine without the tobacco and chemical additives that are linked to cancer and other health problems. But Health Canada says they may do nothing to help a smoker quit the nicotine habit.
"Although these electronic smoking products may be marketed as a safer alternative to conventional tobacco products and, in some cases, as an aid to quitting smoking, electronic smoking products may pose risks such as nicotine poisoning and addiction," the agency says in an alert.

"Nicotine is hazardous to the health and safety of certain segments of the population such as children, youth, pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with heart conditions, and the elderly," the agency adds.

E-Cigarettes Lack Evidence of Health Benefits..

Health Canada reminds that it has authorized the sale of a number of legal smoking cessation aids, including nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine inhaler, and nicotine lozenges.

Reference: Health Canada warns against 'e-cigarettes', News Staff, 3/27/2009.


Finland banning shops from displaying cigarettes..

March 29, 2009 - The Finnish government said on Wednesday it planned to tighten the country's tobacco laws, banning shops from displaying cigarettes in an attempt to prevent youths from starting smoking. Meanwhile, the proposal for the new tobacco law allows bringing 30 cartons of the chewing tobacco “snus” into the country for personal use. However it would be forbidden to sell it or pass it to others. (Finland is a member of the European Union where snus is banned except in Sweden where snus has been used for over 200 years.)

Health and Social Services Minister Paula Risikko: "A visible display of tobacco products in stores would be banned," told reporters. We want to pay special attention to youths. The aim is to cut down the number of smokers and get smokers to quit."

If the bill passes parliament, cigarette vending machines would also be prohibited, she said, adding that customers interested in buying tobacco could ask a store clerk to see a list of available products and prices. The government is scheduled to present its tobacco bill to parliament by the end of June and aims for the new law to come into effect at the beginning of 2010.

In 2007 around one million of Finland's some 5.3 million inhabitants smoked, according to statistics from the National Institute for Health and Welfare. Tightening the tobacco law was needed, Risikko insisted, pointing out that smoking causes illnesses that cost Finland around €2-billion each year. Taxes on tobacco products meanwhile only generate about €600-million in state income annually.

Advertising of tobacco products is already illegal in Finland and the new law proposal also aims to ban all sponsorship by tobacco companies, including donations to charities.

Showing smoking or cigarettes in films or television programmes would however not be prohibited. "Freedom of expression will not be limited," Risikko said.

Related news briefs: Finland - proposal to ban tobacco display, total ban on SNUS.., European Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign..; Aland Islands Dispute Over Sale of SNUS On Board Ships Threatens Finland's Ratification of the EU's Treaty of Lisbon (The Reform Treaty)..; Finnish Ferry Goes Swedish Over Snus Ban.. and EU Takes Finland to Court Again For NOT Banning the Use of Oral Tobacco..

Reference: Display of tobacco products banned in Finland,, 3/25/2007, Cigarette displays banned Finland to ban stores from displaying cigarettes, Straits Times, 3/25/2009, More on restricting tobacco sales in Finland

C-Store- - $1-off promotion for Copenhagen and Skoal ends..

March 29, 2009 - March 29, 2009 - From February 1, 2009 to March 28, 2009 Philip Morris ran a $1.00-off promotion for either Copenhagen and Skoal.

After the end of March 2009 the price of these moist snuff products will be going back to its previous price (from $3.69 ---> $4.69 in NC), then the new price will be reduced 68 cents and so the new retail price per can is $3.99. Daniel Butler, president of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company has said they cut the wholesale prices of its premium products about 20 percent this week to grab more market share and bring its prices closer to those of competitors.

Sales of both Copenhagen and Skoal did improve during the $1.00 off promotion period.

C-stores are running a special buy two cans of Skoal get each can for $3.49.

As we know Rooster is being discontinued so they are running a special to get rid of remaining cans before they expire. Rooster.

Blunt Wraps - the wholesale price was $7 for a box of 25 - the price will be increased to $21 for a box of 25. Black&Mild cigars for a single cigar retail $.89 from $.69 and a 5-pack from $3.49 to $4.19.

Marlboro will have special on 2-packs for $5.29.. 72s and Virginia Slims will be approximately 50 cents more. Philip Morris Tobacco is trying hard to keep their customers as prices go higher and higher.

Kroger grocery stores are discounting tobacco - 20 cents of each pack when you buy two and we've be told they'll give a $1.00 of Skoal or Copenhagen if you show your Kroger card.

We complained about the tobacco promotions and when we came back to take additional pictures all the signs were gone.

Pregnant women who quit smoking before the 15th week reduce risk of premature birth and small babies..

March 29, 2009 - In women who stopped smoking before 15 weeks’ gestation, rates of spontaneous preterm birth and small for gestational age infants did not differ from those in non-smokers, indicating that these severe adverse effects of smoking may be reversible if smoking is stopped early in pregnancy.

It's known that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature birth, small babies, stillbirth and neonatal death, but no study until now has determined whether stopping smoking in early pregnancy reduces the risks of small babies and premature births, the study authors said.

"Pregnant women who smoke should be encouraged and assisted to become smoke-free early in pregnancy," said lead researcher Dr. Lesley McCowan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

The study also found that women who stopped smoking WERE NOT more stressed than women who continued to smoke, McCowan noted.

"Health professionals who care for pregnant women need to ask about smoking, advise about the importance of stopping, and, where possible, refer for extra support early in pregnancy to assist women to become smoke-free," she advised.

PAPER: Spontaneous preterm birth and small for gestational age infants in women who stop smoking early in pregnancy: prospective cohort study,
Lesley M E McCowan, Gustaaf A Dekker, Eliza Chan, Alistair Stewart, Lucy C Chappell, Misty Hunter, Rona Moss-Morris, Robyn A North, BMJ 2009;338:b1081, ABSTRACT..

Dr. Richard Frieder, an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, said the study authors didn't explain whether this difference in low birth weight and gestational age at delivery actually translates into a measurable difference in newborn health.

"We assume this to be true, but there was only about a half pound difference in birth weight and six days difference in gestational age. These numbers are not very impressive that one would think a big difference in neonatal health would be achieved. Still, we should assume that a half pound and six days more of gestation is better and that we should strive to help women stop smoking," he said.

There are other big issues at play when it comes to babies, women and cigarette smoke, Frieder added. "Babies that live in 'smoking homes' have a much higher risk of respiratory ailments, such as asthma and pneumonia and SIDS. In addition, women are more susceptible to the cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoke than men. The tobacco industry specifically targets women, despite this well-known fact," he said.

Reference: Newly Pregnant Smokers Have a 15-Week Window to Quit by Steven Reinberg, Health Day, 3/27/2009.

Boston's ban on blunt wraps stands..

March 29, 2009 - A Massachusetts judge has upheld the authority of the Boston Public Health Commission to ban the sale of "blunt wraps," tobacco-leaf papers often used to roll marijuana cigarettes.

Three major blunt wrap manufacturers - as well as their trade organization, the RYO (as in, roll your own) Cigar Association - sued the city in Suffolk Superior Court last month, hoping to stop the city's enforcement of the blunt ban, which started Monday, February 9, 2009). A judge denied a request for an emergency halt, but allowed the case to proceed for a full hearing. (Blunt lawsuit pits rolling paper makers v. city, by Stephen Smith,, 2/7/2009)

The makers of wraps, which are tobacco-based rolling papers, are suing the city over the Boston Public Health Commission's decision in December to ban their product from store shelves across the city.

Producers of blunt wraps contend that city regulators are unconstitutionally picking on them. It is estimated that $1.5 million worth of blunt wraps are sold annually in Boston.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said Thursday that a judge agreed that the board has the authority to enact regulations in the interests of public health.

The commission argued that the blunt wraps were being marketed to youth because of their bright packaging and exotic flavors.

Related news brief: Boston - NO Tobacco Products Sold - Pharmacies/College Campuses.., Boston bans cigarette sales in drug stores..; Boston To Ban Drugstore Tobacco Sales..

More Blunt Wraps: C-store Highlighting Tobacco Blunt Wraps Available in Lots of Different Flavors..

Reference: Boston's ban on blunt wraps stands, posted by Gideon Gil,, 3/26/2009.

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