BAT's deathly lobbying agenda in the EU ..


June 5, 2009 - British American Tobacco (BAT) spent more than €700,000 (977,858.50 USD) lobbying the European Union (EU) last year (2008), up to four times as much as the company declared on the EU's register of interest representatives, new research by Corporate Europe Observatory has revealed.

This report argues that BAT's hidden lobbying activities, which are clearly not in the public interest, should be exposed to public scrutiny. Obscured by the smoke British American Tobacco’s (BAT's) deathly lobbying agenda in the EU, Corporate Europe Observatory, June 2009.

Here's an excellent read for anyone truly interested in tobacco control. ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) report: How BAT promotes its brands to young people around the world??.

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National Day of Sweden (Sveriges nationaldag), June 6, 2009..


June 6, 2009 - Swedes will celebrate their national day for the second time since it became a public holiday.

Sweden - Regular tobacco (including SNUS) use falling. The number of men using smokeless wet snuff (‘snus’) tobacco has fallen from 22 to 19 percent, while snus use among women has remained stable over the last five years at about 3 to 4 percent.

Related news brief: National Day of Sweden (Sveriges nationaldag), June 6, 2008...




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New York State fewer people smoking..


June 5, 2009 - - Fewer and fewer people are smoking in New York, and health officials peg much of the decrease to higher taxes. The Department of Health announced Thursday, June 4th that just under 17 percent of state residents were smokers in 2008, a 12 percent or nearly 310,000-person drop from the year before. (Health Department spokeswoman Diane Mathis said the state data comes from an annual survey of "risk factors," that states do in coordination with federal officials.)

The decrease in smoking comes as taxes on cigarettes are hitting record levels, officials said. Last June, the state raised taxes from $1.25 to $2.75 per pack, making it the nation's highest state tax at the time. Additionally, federal taxes rose 61 cents to $1 a pack in April.

"For the first time, New York's adult smoking rate has dropped below 17 percent, which is well below the national average," said Dr. Richard F. Daines, the state health commissioner. "The data reported today show that New York's tobacco control efforts are having an impact and that keeping the price of cigarettes high is a proven intervention that has helped 310,000 New Yorkers become ex-smokers, who can now lead healthier, longer lives."

New Yorkers pay $3.75 in state and federal taxes for a pack of cigarettes. In New York City, where there is an additional $1.50 tax, they pay $5.25. (Rhode Island state cigarette tax highest in nation - $3.46/pack..)

Reference- Higher taxes snuff smoking rate by RICK KARLIN, Capitol bureau, TimesUnion.com, 6/5/2009.

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Cigarette smuggling from Virginia to New York..


June 5, 2009 - A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty in Alexandria federal court to purchasing thousands of cartons of cigarettes, the latest in a growing number of cases targeting smugglers who buy truckloads of cigarettes in Northern Virginia and sell them in other states without paying taxes on them.

Federal officials have been cracking down for years on smugglers who buy cigarettes in Virginia, haul them north on Interstate 95 and sell them in other states without paying the required cigarette taxes. It becomes a federal crime when someone buys, sells, transports or distributes more than 10,000 cigarettes, or 50 cartons, to avoid payment of state tax.

Cigarette smuggling is difficult to stop, partly because tobacco is a legal product, and can be highly lucrative: The smuggler said in court documents that he spent more than $1.6 million to purchase the cigarettes in Northern Virginia starting in November 2007.

Smuggling operations have long relied on suppliers in Virginia, where the state tax of 30 cents per pack is among the nation's lowest, partly because of the tobacco industry's historic prominence and political influence in the state. Smugglers purchase cigarettes in Virginia, through criminal means or legally in bulk from wholesale outlets, and sell them in the New York area.

Reference: ATF Sting Smokes Out N.J. Cigarette Smuggler
Man Spent $1.6 Million On Tobacco in N.Va.
by Jerry Markon, Washington POst, 6/4/2009.

Related news brief: Rhode Island retailers finding ways to avoid paying tobacco tax...
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U.S. Senator Tom Coburn suggests banning tobacco outright..


June 5, 2009 - Coburn, a physician has suggested banning tobacco outright rather than the Senate passing next week a bill called the Family Smoking Prevention Tobacco Control Act - that authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK)..

Senator Coburn during floor debate: “If we really want to make a difference in health and we want to eliminate dependence on tobacco, what we have to do is to stop the addiction.”

Coburn made his case against the bill because he said it would send a mixed message to the FDA, which is charged with ensuring the safety of food and drugs. Coburn’s argument is that there’s nothing safe about tobacco and that it would make more sense for the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to regulate it.

Coburn suggests that putting cigarettes and chew under the authority of an agency (FDA) that to this point has been tasked with ensuring product safety would only make it tougher to ban tobacco someday.

Coburn added: “In this bill, we allow existing tobacco products not ever to be eliminated.” There’s no evidence that lawmakers will take on assorted vested interests to outlaw tobacco entirely.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) displayed a blown-up picture of Gruen Von Behrens, a teenager who became addicted to snuff and later underwent multiple surgeries to remove his jawbone and half his tongue after being diagnosed with cancer.

Reference: Republican senator seeks to outlaw tobacco
by Alexander Bolton, The Hill, 6/5/2009.

Lots of Related News Briefs - do a random search, e.g., using the word: regulation or FDA or both..

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Rwanda - retailers hike cigarette prices


June 4, 2009 - A mini-market survey carried out in Kigali City shows that prices of Embassy, Intore and SM cigarettes manufactured by British American Tobacco Rwanda (BAT Rwanda) have increased, some by Frw30 per cigarette. (In November 2005 the Rwandan cigarette company ‘Tabarwanda’ changed its name to “British American Tobacco Rwanda” a year after the BAT Group acquired full shares of the company, Rwanda News Agency has established.)

Most shops in the city are retailing a dozen packets of Intore, that used to sell at Frw3,500, at Frw3,500. A packet that used to be retailed at Frw400 is now Frw500.
The World Health Organisation says smoking cigarettes kills almost 5 million people world wide each year. Perhaps it is most significant that smoking drains public health services.

To discourage smoking amongst populations, most governments impose high taxes on imported and locally manufactured tobacco products.

BAT Rwanda claims factory prices have not changed despite the high taxes the company pays to government.

Consumers say the increase in prices has not affected their smoking habits.

“Even if one stick increases to Frw100 it will not stop me from smoking. This is my daily bread,” said Claude Nyaga, 25, who has been smoking since he was seven years old.

Reference: Retailers hike cigarette prices by FRED BUTARE, Rwanda's First Daily - The New Times, 6/4/2009.
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Rwanda public smoking down..


June 4, 2009 Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho has revealed that the country's public consumption levels of tobacco have relatively gone down compared to the previous years. "Through various programmes such as sensitization campaigns on radio, billboards and stickers among others, the government has successfully managed to discourage people from smoking tobacco in public and in turn the levels have gone down." Rwanda..

However, statistics will be highlighted during the World Health Day celebrations that are set for next month," Binagwaho told the Sunday Times.

As the world marks the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) today, the health expert also emphasizes that using tobacco is not only harmful to the life of the consumer but also a health threat to those around the individual.

Binagwaho: Citing pregnant women as the most vulnerable people, she also called upon all mothers to be responsible and protect their unborn from this health threat. She added that the government is very committed to curbing public smoking. Binagwaho affirmed government's commitment towards graphic warnings initiative as a measure that will further lower public use of tobacco.

Reference" Rwanda: Public Tobacco Smoking Down - Minisante, Source from:The New Times 06/02/2009.

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Cambodia - graphic warnings soon to be on cigarette packs..


June 4, 2009 - Graphic health warnings about the dangers of cigarettes will soon be obligatory on every cigarette pack sold in Cambodia to ensure that the Kingdom meets its obligations under a World Health Organization treaty, government officials and local non-government organziations (NGOs) said Monday, June 1st.

Lim Thai Pheang, director of the National Centre for Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health, said an official decree was ready to be implemented, but needed to be officially approved by the minister of health.

Lim Thai Pheang: "The decree will decide on how the warnings will be placed on cigarette boxes, how much of the box the warning will take, where on the box the warning will go and what photos and words should be used, adding that he did not know when the decree would be finished.

According to a 2004 Tobacco survey by the National Institute of Statistics at the Ministry of Planning, 54 percent of Cambodian men 20 years and older smoke, compared with 6 percent of women 20 years and over.

Mom Kong, executive director of local NGO the Cambodian Movement for Health: "The health warnings on cigarette boxes are of great importance to remind smokers of all the different kinds of diseases that can be caused by smoking."

Placing warnings on cigarette boxes is required under the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Cambodia signed in November 2005.

WHO - the four recommendations in order for graphic warnings to be effective in deterring smoking: 1st, the warnings should show suffering, great pain or other ill-effects of smoking. 2nd, the warnings should be placed at the front or the back of cigarette boxes and not on the "unimportant" sides' and 3rd, the warnings should cover about 50 percent of the front or back of the box and 4th the warnings must be "active", meaning they should be updated at least every three years.
Indonesia is the only country in South-East Asia except Cambodia that has no bans on cigarette advertising. Cambodia has at least drafted legislation to enforce an ad ban.


Graphic warnings approved by Health Ministry..


Reference: Graphic warnings on cigarette packs ready to be implemented by Khoun Leakhana, The Phnom Penh Post, 6/2/2009.
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Imperial Tobacco - Canada Head - Canada growing crisis of illicit tobacco sales..


June 3, 2009 - This is another in a series of presentations given by Benjamin Kemball, president and CEO of on the subject illicit (illegal, contraband) tobacco sales. He believes that Canada has lost its leadership in tobacco control because provincial and federal governments have ignored the growing crisis of illegal tobacco sales, according to Imperial Tobacco Canada.

Kemball called for as a first step would be to bring everyone involved to the table, from the health communities to the First Nations communities (Collectively, First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis peoples constitute Canada's Aboriginal peoples, indigenous peoples or first peoples). He believes the road to solving the growth of illegal tobacco sales begins with the prime minister mandating a high-level ministerial appointee to take charge of the problem, enforce the current laws, control raw material and machinery. However, none of this will work if the First Nation communities are not invited to be at the table to help shape the solutions.

It is estimated that more than 30 percent of cigarettes purchased in Canada are illicit, and that this number reaches 40 percent in Quebec and 50 percent in Ontario. Royal Canadian Mounted Police seizures have found that the reach of illicit tobacco is spreading outside its traditional strongholds of Quebec and Ontario to other provinces; that networks are becoming more sophisticated; and that shipments are getting bigger.

Imperial says it believes that effective and enforceable tobacco control regulations are necessary due to the health risks associated with tobacco. The rampant growth of illegal cigarettes: that are falling into the hands of young people at pocket money prices; that have no government mandated warnings or other health information; that are manufactured in unlawful factories with no government oversight and no reporting of ingredients or product testing; all these conditions characterize illicit/contraband manufacture and sales.

We wonder if Imperial is diverting attention away from possible increases tobacco taxes or suits brought against tobacco companies.

Reference: Illicit trade passes half-share mark in Ontario, Tobacco Reporter, 6/2/2009.
Jun 2, 2009

Related news briefs: Imperial Canada - stop illegal tobacco sales rather than raisng tax on tobacco..; Canada - will higher tobacco prices lead to increase in illicit cigarettes..; Canada - to launch an advertising campaign on the problem of tobacco smuggling..; Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..; Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..; Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies..; As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing..; Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..; Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..; Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..; Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..; Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband...

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Indonesia - students/activists hold rally to ban cigarettes..


June 3, 2009 - Marking international anti-tobacco day, thousands of students and activists yesterday rallied in Indonesia, the only country in the region that has no legislation banning cigarette advertisements.

In the capital Jakarta, city governor Fauzi Bowo an anti-tobacco rally. "This event is in line with the government's programme to reduce air pollution, and the bad habit of smoking contributes largely to the air pollution," Antara news agency quoted Bowo saying.

Citing a global survey, Bowo said that 46.7 per cent of youths have tried smoking. He added that 9 per cent had access to tobacco since 10 years old, and 20 per cent of them became active smokers. "I'm very happy that such an awareness to avoid smoking is already with you all, the youth. So, let's fight together (against smoking)," Bowo told about 2,500 students.

Similar rallies were held in other parts of the archipelago. "We celebrate no tobacco day by calling on the people to respect the rights of those who do not smoke and also warning the public about the danger of smoking to our health," Maulizar, the rally coordinator in the East Java capital of Surabaya, was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post website.

Of South-East Asia's 125 million cigarette smokers, some 46 per cent are in Indonesia, the South-East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said last Monday.

The anti-smoking group said Indonesia has become a "cash cow" for Philip Morris International, the owner of Indonesia's PT HM Sampoerna Company, which last year claimed 30 per cent of the Indonesian market and an estimated revenue of US$1 billion ($1.44 billion).

Reference: Thousands attend Jakarta anti-tobacco rally, DPA, The Brunei Times, 6/1/-2009.

Image - Indonesia students holding no smoking signs during a campaign to mark World No Tobacco Day in Jakarta, Indonesia.Picture: EPA..

Related news briefs: Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..; Indonesia 'cash cow' for Philip Morris International..; Tobacco industry has long targeted young people as "replacement smokers"; Indonesia - district court dismisses request to ratify FCTC..; Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..; Indonesia - farmers hold rally protest tobacco controls..; Indonesia - tobacco farmers reject Islamic council's edict..; Indonesia - Ulema Council - debate results is split on smoking..; Indonesia - Withdraw Sponsorhip of Another Rock Concert..; Indonesia to increase tax on tobacco products..; Semarang, Indonesia - Cigarette Smoking Areas to be Prepared..; Jakarta, Indonesia - Malls help enforce non-smoking ban..; Indonesia - federal anti-smoking laws in one year - MAYBE..; Indonesia - NGO's (non-government organizations) Demand the Government Ratify WHO's FCTC.; 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...
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Pakistan - strong tobacco control measures..


June 3, 2009 - The government on Sunday, May 31st World NO Tobacco Day (WNTD) announced an immediate rollback of the controversial Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) and making the printing of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers mandatory with effect from January 1, 2010.

The government also prohibited the tobacco companies from offering free giveaways, cash rebates or discounts as a marketing incentive. It also announced to make Pakistan Railways smoke-free from July 1, 2009.

Minister for Health Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani made these surprise announcements at a seminar organized in connection with World No-Tobacco Day 2009 (WNTD) on Sunday, May 31st.

Pakistan shocked health experts at home and abroad on September 6, 2008 when it issued the controversial SRO containing guidelines for the establishment of designated smoking areas (DSAs). No other decision of the Ministry of Health has triggered as much media criticism as the said SRO.

In fact, the government went a step ahead by recognising the importance of this year's theme of World No-Tobacco Day and making it mandatory, with effect from January 1, 2010, to print pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers. "We realize that in view of our low literacy rate, people need to be warned of the health risks of smoking through graphic representations," Jakhrani stated. He also said that heavy penalties would be awarded to tobacco companies that offer any kind of marketing incentives to promote sales. "With effect from July 1, 2009, no tobacco company will be allowed to offer goods, cash rebates, or discounts as a marketing incentive," he stated.

Jakhrani also announced that all railway trains will be smoke-free from July 1, 2009. "We have worked out an action plan with the Ministry of Railways towards this end," he informed. After Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways will be the second public transport organisation to become smoke-free. He also promised to work on enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking Ordinance by prohibiting smoking in all public places including government and public offices, restaurants, airports and railway stations, etc.

The woes of the financially-starved Tobacco Control Cell also appeared to have been heard. Jakhrani promised to strengthen the cell so that it is able to perform its functions in a meaningful and effective manner.

Acting WHO chief Dr. Ahmed Shadoul read out the message of Regional Director EMRO Dr. Hussein A Gezairy. The RD has warned governments that the tobacco industry will not stop its attempts to manipulate the regulations (for application of pictorial health warnings) for its own benefit, and that they should, therefore, anticipate its steps and act accordingly.

Earlier, Shaheen Masud, director general-implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, recommended the simplification of procedures governing award of penalties for violation of the anti-smoking ordinance, and formulation of a multi-stakeholder response to the tobacco epidemic, with the ministries of education, railways, interior, youth affairs, as well as ulema, media, and police acting as key agents of change. She highlighted current and past initiatives of the Tobacco Control Cell, and pleaded for approval of the Rs.34.934 million PC-1.

Media Highlights..

Coalition for Tobacco Control - Pakistan - WNTD 2009
LANDMARK DECISIONS FOR TOBACCO CONTROL In Pakistan..


Related news brief: Pakistan - Government must withdraw Statutory Regulatory Order..; Bloomberg Grant: Tobacco Reforms in Pakistan...

References: Pakistan - Landmark decisions for tobacco control by Shahina Maqbool, The News, 6/1/2009.

Click on image to enlarge, Pakistan Coat of Arms..

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R.J. Reynolds loses Florida court trial - widow gets $30 million..


June 3, 2009 - As pointed out in January 2008, Cigarette Makers Face Thousands of New Florida Lawsuits...

Here's one of many to come: Circuit Judge Terry Terrell presided over the three-week trial in Pensacola, the first of what will be many tried in Northwest Florida and throughout the state. Some 100 similar cases will be tried in the 1st Judicial Circuit of Florida, which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.

A six-person jury on Friday, May 29th ruled in favor of Hilda Martin, the widow of Benny Martin, a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer in 1995. Of the award, R.J. Reynolds was ordered Friday to pay $5 million as compensation to Martin. The remaining $25 million was awarded Monday, June 1st as punitive damages, which a jury can award plaintiffs in civil cases to curb future misconduct by the defendant.

The jurors deliberated for about a hour Monday morning after hearing from attorneys for both parties.

Robert Loehr, the attorney for Benny Martin’s estate, said throughout the three-week trial that R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies conspired to make their products more addictive to customers and withheld information from the public about the dangers of smoking. Loehr likened the tobacco industry’s decades-long attempt to cover up the ill effects of smoking to the current corporate malfeasance in the U.S. banking system. “The results in this case are much more tragic,” Loehr said Monday.

Defense attorney Mark Belasic said that further punishment against the company was not required since R.J. Reynolds already acknowledged that its products can cause illnesses such as lung cancer and emphysema and that its products are addictive.

Circuit courts throughout the state were required to try the tobacco liability cases as a result of a Florida Supreme Court decision to overturn a $145 billion award in a 1994 class-action lawsuit known as the Engle case. The higher court said smokers must prove on a case-by-case basis that cigarettes caused their respective illnesses.

The original class-action lawsuit filed by the family of deceased Miami Beach pediatrician Howard Engle said that tobacco companies actively sought to keep customers addicted to their products. (Significance of the Engle Tobacco Case in Florida, Legal Match)

Reference: Pensacola widow gets $30M in tobacco suit by Kris Wernowsky, pnj.com, 6/1/2009.

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Malaysia: Are tobacco control measures working? - WHO thinks so...


June 3, 2009 - Malaysia has been praised by the for its efforts in curbing smoking. It has been taking several proactive measures against smoking, including introducing graphic health warnings on cigarette packets.

The organisation has also recognised the efforts of Health Ministry deputy director-general (Public Health) Dr Ramlee Rahmat who received its Special Director-General Award for outstanding work on pictorial health warnings in conjunction with this year’s World No Tobacco Day.

Dr Ramlee was conferred the award for leadership in the tobacco control legislation process, which resulted in the Control of Tobacco Product Regulation that requires the mandatory display of six sets of pictorial health warnings.

WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young Soo, said: “Experience from around the world shows that pictorial warnings motivate users to quit and discourage people from starting.” Tobacco is the world’s leading preventable cause of death and the only product that kills when used exactly as the manufacturer intends. Worldwide, more than 5 million people die from tobacco each year, more than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

In the Western Pacific Region, tobacco use is responsible for two deaths every minute. Unless urgent action is taken, there will be more than 8 million annual deaths globally by 2030, with more than 80 per cent of those in developing countries. Up to half of all smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease.

Dr Shin said: "Countries have obligations to use health warnings on tobacco products as part of the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

Four officials from Mongolia, Australia, Cambodia and Singapore also received the Special Director-General Award. Singapore introduced the pictorial health warnings in 2004 and Australia in 2006. Mongolia will implement the pictorial health warnings in January 2010 while Cambodia is developing a draft law on tobacco control and graphic health warnings.

Reference: WHO praises Malaysia for anti-smoking efforts by Annie Freeda Cruez, The New Straits Times, 6/2/2009.

Related news briefs: Malaysia - slowdown in cigarette consumption..; Malaysia - January 1, 2009 pictorial cigarette warnings..; Malaysia to hike cigarette prices..; Malaysia - 25% of all cigarettes sales are illegal...

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Mississippi Governor Barbour - would add 2-new tobacco taxes to a special session agenda..


June 3, 2009 - Mississippi lawmakers may end legislative session without agreeing on the state spending plan. The new budget begins July 1.

Barbour Barbour, the former Washington lobbyist who represented premium cigarette makers, said Monday, June 1st that if a special session is needed, he might propose additional tobacco taxes that could generate an estimated $20 million a year. That would be a relatively small addition to a nearly $5 billion budget. But Barbour said Mississippi’s overall tax collections in May were “sharply below” where experts originally thought they’d be, and lawmakers are scrounging for every possible dollar so they can avoid laying off state employees or cutting government services.

Barbour last month signed into law Mississippi’s first cigarette excise tax increase since 1985, taking the rate from 18 cents a pack to 68.

At a news conference Monday, the governor said he has been on record since last year supporting a higher tax on cheaper cigarettes made by companies that didn’t participate in Mississippi’s 1997 settlement of a massive lawsuit against the tobacco industry. (1998 Master Settlement Agreement..) He also said he wants smokeless tobacco to be taxed by volume rather than by price. He said with the current method of taxing smokeless products, “the state literally subsidizes cheaper tobacco by giving them a lower tax.”

Barbour said he would add the two new tobacco taxes to a special session agenda if budget negotiators agree there is “a need to add the additional tobacco tax. I don’t have any intention of adding any other taxes to the call, and I don’t anticipate that any other taxes would be part of any agreement.”

Reference: Budget: Gov. Haley Barbour says another tobacco tax possible, The Associated Press, 6/2/2009.

Related news briefs: Mississippi increases tax on cigarettes..; Mississippi will have a 50-cent increase in tax on cigarettes..; Mississippi governor wants more tobacco taxes considered..; Mississippi - tobacco tax likely to be approved May 6, 2009..; Mississippi - still chance for tobacco tax increase for July 1, 2009 budget..; Besides federal tax increase - several states want to do the same..; Mississippi - with federal stimulus package passed cigarette tax loses momentum..; Mississippi - tobacco tax increase may pass this time..; U.S. States Considering Tobacco Tax Increase...





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R.J. Reynolds launches retailer website for their retail partners..


June 3, 2009 - Tobacco Co. (RJR) has launched www.EngageRJRT.com, a new password-protected website that provides the company's retail partners with "anytime" access to tobacco category information, as well as consumer and industry data that retailers can use to engage their adult tobacco consumers. Retail partners need to contact their R.J. Reynolds representative today to register.

"It's all about providing valuable learning opportunities to our retail partners, giving them the resources they need to optimize tobacco performance within their outlets," said Rick Baker, vice president of trade marketing development for R.J. Reynolds. "Educating our retail partners about our business, and the category overall, is very important. The more effective we are at that, the more effective they will be in delivering winning results in their outlets."

EngageRJRT.com provides retailers with tools and information that they need to optimize their business, including customized store reports, tobacco industry news and trends, training materials for R.J. Reynolds' retail programs and more. It will be updated regularly with the latest news and information.

The company said that it hopes EngageRJRT.com will become the "go-to resource" that retailers will use to enhance tobacco category sales and overall sales within their outlets.

Retailers are expected to help sell their patrons on tobacco products. C-store update - The Secret Shopper & More..

Reference: R.J. Reynolds Launches Retailer Website Will provide tobacco category data, news, more, Convenience Store / Petroleum (CSP) Daily News, 6/3/2009.

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Commentary on - "Tobacco Bill Could Snuff Out RJR's Smokeless Strategy"..


June 2, 2009 - Article by David Whelan, Staff Writer for Forbes.com entitled: Tobacco Bill Could Snuff Out RJR's Smokeless Strategy, June 1, 2009.

Whelan article - claims snus products such as Camel SNUS are the perfect product where not in Sweden and not where it was test marketed and even now that Reynolds American has gone national with the product. By far - they have given away many more cans of this stuff than have been sold. We know c-stores where the stuff hardly sells and when finally a patron comes in and expresses interest in snus - they give them a can free plus ask if they want additional cans at no charge.

See what other tobacco companies are saying about the snus sales.

Maybe young adults and kids that would like to be young adults will - give it a try because it's a novelty - they think they're getting away with something - the tagline line for Camel Snus. Unfortunately they aren't faking out anyone but themselves since they end up being nicotine addicts for the rest of their lives.

R.J. Reynlds has tried just about everything: from providing coupons, to stationing people at bars and c-stores, to running ads in various publications to hook youngsters on snus without success.

I'd be willing to bet this factory Whelan mentions to produce Camel SNUS - will not be entirely devoted to snus; remember, Reynolds has their Camel Dissolvable Tobacco products also.

They have delayed the release of the Camel Sticks that look like flavored toothpicks and the Camel flavored strips for the tongue like those edible breath-fresheners strips Listerine makes. It's impossible to prevent our children from giving these products a try. It only take a few tries for a youngster to soon become addicted to nicotine. We can expect our future leaders - our children to end up as a slave to nicotine never able to reach their full potential.


Now you tell me who these products will appeal to. Look at this comparison of Camel Orbs flavored tobacco pellets and TicTac candies. Comments from another Camel Orbs test site - Indianapolis, Indiana.

Thank goodness for the U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio amendment to the proposed FDA regulation bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. With this amendment in place, Reynolds will never be able to market the Camel dissolvable tobacco products.

One last item - Mr. Whelan why do you think Reynolds American picked Portland, Oregon as a marketing test site. Well, here's the real reason that Portland was selected. In the State of Oregon tobacco companies are allowed to dole out freebies of smokeless tobacco but are banned from handing out free cigarettes. With products like Camel SNUS and the Camel Dissolvable Tobacco products that boast kid-friendly flavors the state legislators now wants this practice stopped. State Rep. Carolyn Tomei: "Now Oregon has become the place where they have campaigns for smokeless tobacco. They’re handing out free Snus samples, and to whom did they hand it out? Not people my age; it’s the young ones."

More supporting information can be found throughout the information base we maintain. Any of these addresses can be used to access the system: http://news.snus.biz , http://otpinfo.info , http://otpnews.info and http://snus-news.blogspot.com.

Reference: Tobacco Bill Could Snuff Out RJR's Smokeless Strategy,
David Whelan, Forbes.com, 6/1/2009.

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Nebraska - smoking ban - started at midnight on World NO Tobacco Day..


June 2, 2009 - Nebraska - law banning smoking in all public places and businesses except tobacco-only retailers, facilities that do research on the health effects of smoking, private homes. and 20 percent of hotel rooms went into effect at midnight Sunday, May 31, 2009 - World NO Tobacco Day..

State health officials say it will improve the overall health of all Nebraskans. A Department of Health and Human Services study says 80 percent of Nebraskans favor the ban.

The smoking ban approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Dave Heineman in February 2008. (Nebraska is the only U.S. state with only one legislative chamber.)

Supporters say the statewide legislation could even make local ordinances more effective. "The Omaha ordinance is actually a lot stronger in a couple of places than the state law," said Mark Welsch of GASP, Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution. "So those pieces that are stronger will stay in place. Those that are weaker will be superseded by the state law."

The law will be enforced by report only. To report a business that is not complying with the smoking ban, call 1-877-633-7331. Or you can also e-mail DHHS.

Last month, Gov. Dave Heineman signed a bill that would also exempt cigar bars, but it doesn’t go into effect until September. Some opponents think the most recent exemption is on shaky legal ground because it amounts to a special, unnecessary favor for cigar bars, one that conflicts with the reason for the ban: to promote public health. Attorney General Jon Bruning’s office has disagreed with that claim.

Related news brief: Nebraska's Smoke Free Law Goes into Effect June 1, 2009...

References: Butts Out Nebraska, The Smoking Ban's Here - Jason Volentine Reports, KOLNKGIN.com, 6/1/2009; Future of Nebraska smoking ban still hazy by NATE JENKINS, The Associated Press, 6/1/2009.


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North Carolina smoking ban includes banning hookah bars..


June 1, 2009 - As pointed out by Adam Bliss, owner of Hookah Bliss in Chapel Hill the North Carolina smoking ban will likely require about 20 hookah (argileh nargile, hubble-bubble, water pipe, hooka, shisha, goza, meassel, water pipe, sheesha) bars across the state to close. (North Carolina - legislators approve smoking ban..)

Now North Carolina hookah bar owners are joining forces to save their businesses. In the coming weeks, they hope to persuade state lawmakers to make legislative exemptions for them similar to those granted cigar bars and country clubs that will allow smoking after the indoor ban takes effect January 1, 2010.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, a Democrat from Carrboro, tried to persuade a colleague in the state Senate to make an exemption for hookah bars before the ban was approved last month. But the bill sponsor would not go along with the proposal because of the health hazards the bars pose for young smokers.

For the sake of the younsters that frequent these bars do not let the exemption happen. Dr. Adam Goldstein, director of the tobacco prevention and evaluation program at University of North Carolina Medical Center."The simple fact is that hookah smoking is no better, and it may be worse, than any other smoke." Goldstein does not favor smoking ban exemptions for hookah bars, and he is no more supportive of those in place for cigar bars.

Researchers have found that hookah smokers inhale more often and for longer periods than typical cigarette smokers. Scientists estimate that by puffing longer and in greater volume, a waterpipe smoker inhales the equivalent of 100 cigarettes or more during a single waterpipe session. (Dangers of hookah (waterpipe) smoking - Harvard Mental Health Letter..)

Just like with cigarette, health care workers warn that hookah smokers are susceptible to bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, various cancers and other problems associated with smoking.

Reference: Smoking ban threatens hookahs Hookah bar owners anxious about their survival hope for an exemption such as that for cigar bars by ANNE BLYTHE, The News & Observer, 6/1/2009.

A couple related news briefs: Hookah smoking popular among college crowd..; Hookahs on college campuses becoming growing public health issue..

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New Zealand - stop smoking campaigns NOT working..


June 1, 2009 - The government is reviewing the $37 million it spends on stop smoking campaigns, because they don’t seem to be working. In the past year, both the number of new smokers and the level of tobacco consumption have increased.

Twenty one percent of all Kiwis are smoking despite the millions of dollars poured into preventions. The Government is directing some of the blame at the cessation services. That means the $37 million the government pumps into the services is now under review. It also means uncertain times ahead for support networks like Quit-Line.

Associate Health Minister, Tariana Turia announced the review today, where representatives from many of the anti-smoking groups agreed a new approach is needed.

Maori are over represented in smoking statistics, 45 percent aged between 15 and 64 are smokers.

In total, close to 5000 New Zealanders die each year from smoking related illness and Tariana Turia says the Government no longer cares about the revenue generated by tobacco tax.

The Maori Party's Hone Harawira is trying to gain support for a bill which would eventually see a complete ban on tobacco.

But the changes which will more likely be made in the short term include the introduction of higher taxes on tobacco, tougher restrictions on its supply and a display ban in shops.

Reference: Government reviews funding for stop smoking campaigns, 3news.co.nz, 5/29/2009.

Related news briefs: BAT awarded worst corporation in New Zealand..; New Zealand - government may NOT support tobacco display bans..; New Zealand More Evidence Needed to Ban Tobacco and Cigarette Displays..; More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..; Horror photos go on New Zealand cigarette packs..; Country to Eliminate Smoking - The South Pacific nation of Niue; Ireland to ban tobacco displays..; Smokefree NZ within 10 years..; By law, oral snuff cannot (but nasal snuff is allowed) be sold in New Zealand and can be imported only for personal use..

Click on image to enlarge..

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Philip Morris - keep the mailing list growing..


June 1, 2009 - Mike Szymanczyk now the CEO of Altria, Inc. has stated on many occasions that Philip Morris owes their success: to the ability to connect with adult tobacco consumers through the in-store experience and the development of one-to-one relationships using their database of 25 million adult cigarette smokers (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008).

In order to keep the database growing Philip Morris runs various promotions to keep their loyal customers coming back. Here's one for the Summer 2009.


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What's Next ?? - - U.S. single cigarettes (loosies) being sold.. rs


June 1, 2009 - Tough times are usually measured by the unemployment rate, the stock market or foreclosures. But, for many, tough times can be measured in the simplest of things, such as the sale of single cigarettes or, “loosies”.

Higher Federal Taxes levied in April are driving cigarette pack prices up. Couple that with the down economy, and, corner convenience stores like Murphy's Express in West Charlotte say single-selling cigarettes are a hot item these days.

The store's owner says since the economy hit, they've gone from selling 8 packs to 10 packs an evening to 17 and 18 packs an evening of just single cigarettes.

With demand up, that means the price is going up. We're told “loosies” are now selling for 40 cents a piece, up from 35 cents this time last year.

Reference: Sign of the Times: Loosies Heating Up by Brien Blakely - FOX Charlotte/ WCCB-TV, 6/1/2009.
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South Australia - Annual Dirty Ashtray Award..


June 1, 2009 - The Australian Medical Association's (AMA's) annual Dirty Ashtray Award for the Australian State or Territory - South Australia had the dubious distinction of receiving the award for making the least progress on combating smoking during 2008.

AMA Federal President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, today used the eve of World No Tobacco Day to announce the results of the AMA/Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) National Tobacco Scoreboard.

The scoreboard allocates points to each State and Territory, over a number of categories, including legislation, to track how effective governments have been at combating smoking over the previous 12 months.

“It’s disappointing that South Australia is falling behind the rest of the country when it comes to tobacco control,” Dr Capolingua said. “South Australia has made no progress on point-of-sale display restrictions since inadequate laws were implemented in 2007. “Funding for tobacco control and public education is inadequate and there is still no comprehensive smoke-free policy across all South Australian health services.”

At the other end of the scale, Victoria was ranked as the best performer on the 2008 National Tobacco Control Scoreboard. “Victorian authorities deserve praise for introducing a tobacco control policy which includes a ban on point of sale tobacco displays and smoking in cars carrying children,” Dr Capolingua said. “Victoria has a strong public education strategy and good services to assist people who are trying to quit smoking.”

Dr Capolingua said she hoped the results of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard would encourage governments to do more to combat tobacco use. “We need a complete ban on tobacco advertising and tougher laws to protect non-smokers, especially children, from second-hand smoke,” she said.

“The Federal Government should significantly increase tobacco excise beyond inflation and use the proceeds to fund public health programs,” Dr Capolingua said.

Reference: South Australia ranked worst, Victoria best in fight against tobacco, Australian Medical Associatio, 5/30/2009. - Note the 2009 AMA/ACOSH NATIONAL TOBACCO SCOREBOARD SUMMARIES appear at end of this reference.

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Some facts for smokers to consider before considering smokeless tobacco..



June 1, 2009 - North Carolina lawmakers have finally agreed to a statewide ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants and Gov. Perdue cheerfully signed the legislation into law last week.

Smokers have a right to choose as well. Maybe now they'll choose to quit. Maybe the sheer frustration of finding somewhere to light up will make them throw up their hands ... give up, quit, desist. And stop standing alone in the cold, doing something they know is bad for them.

Harm reduction proponents say one viable path to quitting smoking ought to be a lesser evil: smokeless tobacco products. Murray Kessler formerly the chairman and CEO of UST and now a vice-chair at Altria has stated that nine out of ten smokers who try smokeless still reject the product.

An inveterate (hard-nosed, established, refuses to consider quitting the use of tobacco) smokers switching to smokeless tobacco may result in "harm reduction."
Smokeless tobacco is less likely to be fatal. Michael Thun, MD, American Cancer Society, Vice President of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research - "There is no evidence that smokers will switch to smokeless tobacco products and give up smoking. Encouraging smokeless tobacco use is not only a dangerous tactic in the drive to reduce smoking rates, but scientifically unproven as well.."

Brad Rodu,DDS an oral pathologist and professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, has argued passionately in these pages that smokeless tobacco provides a nicotine fix without causing smoking-related diseases. This gentleman who has accepted millions of dollars from smokeless tobacco companies lacks credibility even though he'll tell you he can act independent of these providers. Tobacco harm reduction chief spokespersons not concerned about kids..

Further, smokeless tobacco does not produce smoke, hence it eliminates the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Some public health professionals seem to think SNUS should be used as a harm reduction product in inveterate (firmly and long established) smokers that have no interest in quitting. But the tobacco companies are targeting a much younger crowd of young adults and any kids they can entice along the way - just take a look at the ads and the tagline: "Pleasure for wherever."

Don't reach for that pouch of chew just yet.

Comments of Dr. John Spangler, M.D., MPH is one of the world's leading experts in tobacco epidemiology. He founded the first physician-run tobacco-cessation clinic at Wake Forest University, School of Medicine.

Smokeless tobacco contains at least three known carcinogenic agents: N-nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and radioactive polonium 210. It increases the threat of various oral cancers. It also has been associated with esophageal, pancreatic, prostate and kidney cancer, possibly even heart disease.

And when it does kill, it can do so with a vengeance. Even for those who survive, it can leave behind scars and disfigurement, including the removal of all or part of the jaw and the loss of the ability to chew, smile, swallow or kiss.

Further, it already appeals to young people. According to the National Cancer Institute, smokeless tobacco use already is most common among adults ages 18 to 25.

Promoting it as a safe alternative could encourage even more use by young people.

Spangler: "Those who argue in favor of smokeless tobacco as a means to quit smoking -- an 'alternative' to cigarettes, if you will -- ignore the fact that there is not a shred of scientific evidence showing, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial setting, that smokeless is effective in helping patients quit smoking. This is the level of evidence that the FDA requires before a drug company can market a drug. We should insist on that level of evidence before we start pushing a product that is already known to be unsafe."

Harm reduction can be an effective approach in some cases -- for example, providing clean needles to drug addicts to help control the spread of AIDS. But not in this instance, when other, safer alternatives such as nicotine patches are readily available.

Those who are considering going smokeless should chew on that first.

Other articles with a similar focus have published recently: Are tobacco companies going to far?, posted by Sarah Harlan, WFIE>com, 5/27/2009 and Beware, parents, smokers and nonsmokers, of new tobacco marketing by Dr. James H. Baker, muskogeephoenix.com, 5/30/2009.


Reference: Here's hoping new smoking ban helps protect smokers from themselves by Allen Johnson, 5/24/2009.

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India - Still no pictorial warnings on cigarette packs..


June 1, 2009 - CHENNAI: The Union (the Government of India officially is referred to as the Union Government) health ministry directive that all tobacco products sold in the country carry pictorial warnings from May 31, went almost
unimplemented in large parts of Chennai (capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and is India's fourth largest metropolitan city, known as 'Gateway to South India'), on Sunday.

According to the cigarette and tobacco products (packaging and labelling) rules issued by the Union government, all cigarette and tobacco packs should carry pictorial messages and a revised statutory warning, "smoking kills and tobacco causes cancer" on 40% of the principal display area.

Some others were sure that the measure would not be followed. "In 2008, the Union government imposed a ban on smoking in public places and it was not followed. So I did not expect any warning on the packet," said N Anand of Mylapore. India - Heavy Fines If You Smoke In Public Places...

Reference: Still no warnings on cigarette packs, The Times of India, 6/1/2009.

Related news briefs: India - pictorial warning on cigarettes and tobacco products effective May 31, 2009..; India - pictorial warning on cigarettes and tobacco products will be implemented from May 31 - no doubts about it..; India - will pictorial or graphic health warnings be implemented from May 30, 2009..; India - placing pictorial warnings on tobacco products delayed again..
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Altria a tobacco giant with monopolistic characteristics - to encourage competition should Altria be split up..


May 31, 2009 - U.S. Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division claims that the Bush era policies weakened the anti-trust department's ability to keep companies from getting too large. She has essentially retracted a September 2008 report that amended Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The memo had loosened the rules which deemed it illegal to make any attempt at creating a monopoly. "The report...raised too many hurdles to government antitrust enforcementh" Varney said. "Withdrawing the report is a shift in philosophy and the clearest way to let everyone know that the Antitrust Division will be aggressively pursuing cases where monopolists try to use their dominance in the marketplace to stifle competition and harm consumers.

It seems like the last half of this statement describes Altria - now involved in all facets of the tobacco industry. Here's 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.

Altria provides more than one in every two cigarettes sold in the U.S., almost two-thirds of the moist snuff and has the best selling machine-made large cigar, Back&Mild with an ever growing 28.5% market share and growing. U.S. Center for Disase Control & Prevention found that Back&Mild are the preferred cigar of young African Americans at 56%. Ed Roberson, a former Conwood president told the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee: "Philip Morris has a 75 percent monopolistic market share with moist snuff. And they want you, the legislature, to protect that market share."

Altria played a pivotal role in writing the legislation for the FDA to regulate tobacco working with Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. What these strange bedfellows came up with is bad for competition in the tobacco industry. Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Inc. the smaller manufacturers oppose restrictions they say would perpetuate Philip Morris’s position as the market leader. Fortune magazine has even labeled the legislation to regulate tobacco, "Altria Earnings Protection Act."

A very similar scenario played out in the late 19th-century/early twentieth century when Buck Duke's American Tobacco Company had earned a substantial market, employed aggressive sales tactics, through mergers, internal efficiency and low prices lead to the breakup of this tobacco giant. James Buchanan Duke.

Maybe it's time for the U.S. Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney to take a close look at Altria and its subsidiaries.
TobaccoWatch.org


References: JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WITHDRAWS REPORT ON ANTITRUST
MONOPOLY LAW
, U.S Department of Justice, 5/11/2009; Snuff makes strange bedfellows
Proposal to change taxes puts cancer society, R.J. Reynolds on same side
by Gadi Dechter, Baltimore Sun, 5/25/2009; Obama vows antitrust crackdown Justice Department official reverses Bush administration report that limited government's ability to pursue antitrust violations. by David Goldman, CNNMoney.com, 5/11/2009.

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