Altria Group, Inc. seeks further review of a federal jury decison to reject a $24 million tax refund..

July 11, 2009 - A federal jury has rejected a $24 million tax refund claim filed by tobacco company Altria Group Inc. The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) challenged tax deductions the Richmond, Va.-based company made in 1996 and 1997 in connection with leveraged lease transactions. The company claimed the ownership structure of the properties allowed it to take certain tax deductions. The jury did not agree and rejected its claim.

The Justice Department says that taxpayers entered into hundreds of these types of tax shelters in the late 1990s and that billions of dollars may be at stake in disputes over these transactions.

Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) said today it will seek further review of a federal court jury verdict against it in a dispute with the IRS involving tax deductions related to four leveraged lease transactions. Altria filed suit seeking tax refunds totaling almost $25 million for taxes paid for years 1996 and 1997.

"We believe that Altria and its subsidiary, Philip Morris Capital Corporation, fully complied with the law governing these leveraged lease transactions and that Altria is entitled to a full refund," said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of Altria. "We will seek further review of the jury's verdict in the trial court and, if necessary, in the appellate court," added Garnick.

The leveraged lease transactions involved a Metropolitan Transportation Authority maintenance railroad yard in Hollis, N.Y.; a wastewater treatment facility in the Netherlands; and power plants operated by Oglethorpe Power Corp. in Georgia and Seminole Electric Cooperative in Florida.

The IRS challenged deductions relating to four leases in 1996 and 1997, and Altria paid the disputed amounts and filed suit against the IRS for a refund.

The case is Altria Group v. United States, Case No. 1:06-CV-09430-RJH-FM.

Altria directly or indirectly owns 100% of each of Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, John Middleton Co., Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital Corporation. In addition, Altria holds a continuing economic and voting interest in SABMiller plc.

References: Federal jury rejects Altria's tax shelter claim, 7/10/2009; Altria Will Seek Further Review of Jury Verdict in Tax Refund Case, Altria Group, Inc., 7/8/2009.


U.S. - Graphic labels for cigarette packs are three years away..

July 11, 2009 - The new law requires stark, black and white labels covering half the pack with warnings such as “Cigarettes cause cancer” or “Smoking can kill you.“

The U.S. government's new tobacco regulations spell out the words, size and color of new cigarette warning labels -- but despite much publicity about tough new warnings, don't expect to see any for three years.

Some public-health advocates worry it's a sign that federal action to cut smoking will come only slowly and cautiously -- a concern they'd had ever since the nation's No. 1 cigarette-maker, Philip Morris USA, came out for regulation nearly a decade ago.

But it also calls for warnings with color images, giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration two years to come up with guidelines for them. Cigarette-makers would then have 15 months to start putting new warning labels on packs. That means that it won't be until 15 months after the graphic-warning guidelines are published, in June 2011, that any new warnings will appear on packs, FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said. Officials of both Philip Morris USA and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which backed the legislation, confirmed that timeline.

Michael Siegel, a Boston University medical professor and tobacco-control advocate: "Evidence shows that while the warning labels may have a short-term impact, after a while people become used to them and don't pay attention anymore."

The warning labels specified in the bill -- covering half the front of a pack with warnings printed in letters roughly 3/8-inch high -- would be bigger than the text-only labels on British cigarettes, which cover about a third of the front of the packs. The new U.S. cigarette warnings, unlike the current warnings on the side of packs required since 1985, say cigarettes and smoking cause disease, not that they may do so.

The law also calls for eventually using graphic warnings, as Canada has for several years and as Australia started doing in 2006. Both countries use images of often luridly colored cancer-damaged tissue, while one Australian warning shows a baby on a respirator. The images are on both the front and back of the packs, so they are harder for smokers to hide.

A new study shows that Australian smokers noticed and read the new graphic warnings more than they had text-only labels and that the proportion who decided not to smoke at least one cigarette because of the warning roughly doubled. The study showed Americans notice the current warnings rarely, while Canadians notice theirs sometimes and Britons a bit more often than the Canadians. "There is no doubt that the bigger and more contrasting the warnings, the better for discouraging smoking and encouraging quitting," said the study's lead author, Ron Borland, of the Cancer Council in Melbourne, Australia.

RESEARCH PAPER: Impact of Graphic and Text Warnings on Cigarette Packs: Findings from Four Countries over Five Years; Ron Borland, Nick Wilson, Geoffrey T Fong, David Hammond, K Michael Cummings, Hua H Yong, Warwick Hosking, Gerard B Hastings, James Thrasher and Ann McNeill; Tob Control. Published Online First: 28 June 2009. doi:10.1136/tc.2008.028043; ABSTRACT...

The finding in an Australian study suggest that the introduction of graphic warning labels may help to reduce smoking among adolescents.

Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a backer of the new legislation, said it is better to wait for graphic warnings like those used in Canada and Australia than to go ahead immediately with the text-only ones. "I think this shows how we want to go forward with evidence-based policy," he said. McGoldrick said language implementing the text-only warnings as an interim measure was left out as the House and the Senate worked to reconcile their versions of tobacco-control law after they were hurriedly adopted last month.

Alan Blum, director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society: I can't recall a bill with so little give and take." "This was rammed down people's throats because of the deal they made with Philip Morris," he said. "In my opinion, there's this inside-the-Beltway mindset . . . saying, 'I don't care about the details, I'm going to get this bill through.'"

Altria Group, which owns Philip Morris USA, broke with the rest of the industry to support FDA regulation. Critics such as Blum believe the company's strategy is to use regulation to consolidate its hold on the market, but Altria said it believes regulation will encourage competition, including from tobacco products that are alternatives to cigarettes. For now, Philip Morris USA spokesman Bill Phelps said of the warning-label requirement: "It is too early to speculate on what these changes will entail from a manufacturing perspective."

Reference: Graphic labels for cigarette packs are three years away by David Ress, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/11/2009.

Counterfeit products continue to flood EU, U.S. markets..

July 10, 2009 - European Union (EU) officials say 2008 saw 125% increase in fake (illegal, illicit, contraband, counterfeit) products. Despite the best efforts of government agencies, the flood of counterfeit products continues to swell in both the European Union and the U.S.

According to EU statistics released this week, the total number of counterfeit articles detained more than doubled to 178 million in 2008, a big jump from the 79 million the year before. China accounted for more than half (54%) of the counterfeit goods overall, but other countries appear to be carving out niche counterfeit markets for themselves. For example, Indonesia was the biggest source of counterfeit food and beverage products while India produced the most fake medicines and the United Arab Emirates produced most counterfeit cigarettes.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol also reported a 39% increase in the value of goods seized for intellectual property rights violations last year. Of the more than $272 million in counterfeit goods seized in the U.S., China accounted for 81%.

Reference: Counterfeit products continue to flood EU, U.S. markets, Dave Hannon --, 7/10/2009.


PMI to buy Columbia cigarette maker - Protabaco..

July 10, 2009 - Philip Morris International Inc.,(PMI) seller of Marlboro cigarettes overseas, said Friday, July 10th it would pay $452 million to buy privately owned Protabaco, a Colombian cigarette maker expanding its presence in the South American continent. (Protabaco manufactures and sells cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars either in our own brands or private label.)

Protabaco is the second largest tobacco company in Columbia with about 32-percent market share and registered a turnover of around $108 million in 2008. The company has three cigarette plants in Columbia and its leading brands are Mustang, Premier and President.

The purchase of Protabaco needs regulatory approval and is expected to be completed within six months, New York-based PMI said today, July 10th.

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes bought Colombia's biggest tobacco company, Compania Colombiana de Tabaco SA, in 2005. (As of fiscal year ended December 31, 2005, Compania Colombiano de Tabaco S.A. is 96.65% owned by GWP C.V., which is an affiliate of PMI.)

Earlier this month, PMI said it would buy Swedish Match South Africa Ltd.'s pipe tobacco and snuff business for $222 million. PMI and Swedish Match are already partners in a joint venture to sell Swedish Snus and other smokeless tobacco products in markets outside the U.S. and Scandinavia. The deal between the two allows them to license the Marlboro brand for use on smokeless products.

PMI was spun off last year from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., the seller of Marlboros in the U.S.

Reference: Philip Morris International to buy Protabaco, Associated Press, 7/10/2009; Philip Morris acquiring Colombian tobacco company, Staff Reporters, Richmond Times Dispatch, 7/10/2009; Philip Morris to acquire Columbian cigarette maker for $452 million,, 7/11/2009.


Cyprus to tighten smoking ban starting January 1, 2010..

July 10, 2009 - NICOSIA - The Cyprus parliament voted by a large majority on Thursday, July 9th to make the Mediterranean holiday island the latest EU country to ban smoking in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and workplaces. The bill, which tightens up existing legislation that has gone largely unenforced, was carried by 27 votes to three in the 56-seat parliament with one abstention.

The sweeping changes come into effect from January 1, 2010 so as to give establishments, and smokers, time to adjust, although amendments can be made to the law before it becomes active. Smoking will be allowed only in outside open areas such as courtyards or street cafes, while employers will be required to provide a closed smoking area for employees dying for a puff.

Those who break the new law face a maximum 2,000 euro fine (2,787.07USD).

Bar and club owners say they will challenge the legislation in the courts as they expect business to suffer from the blanket ban.

The legislation tightens up a 2002 ban on smoking in public places which was not strictly enforced. The new law also does away with having designated smoking and non-smoking areas in the same establishment.

Opinion polls indicate that a majority of Cypriots welcome the smoke free regime which falls in line with the European Union's bid to ban smoking in enclosed public places across the 27-member bloc by 2012.

Cyprus has a lower rate of smoking than the European Union average. Some 29 percent of the population describe themselves as regular smokers, compared with an EU average of 31 percent. But Cyprus has one of the highest proportions of non-smokers subjected to passive smoke (secondhand smoke, involuntary smoking, sidestream smoke, ETS, environmental tobacco smoke) in public places. Smoking kills 600 people every year out of a population of roughly 800,000, said Cyprus National Coalition for Smoking Prevention president Stelios Sycallides.

Reference: Cyprus bans smoking at work and play; Cyprus votes for smoking ban,, 7/20/2009; Cyprus bans indoor smoking,, 7/10/2009.

Related news briefs: Cyprus - kids being exposed to high levels of passive smoking...


BAT helping Kazakhstan with program to prevent minors from smoking..

July 10, 2009 - The new program on prevention of sale of tobacco to minors has started in Kazakhstan (Kazakh) , the agency reports citing British American Tobacco (BAT).

According to the company, to solve the problem of smoking of minors in Kazakhstan the new program on receiving permission for retail sale having the slogan: "not to sell cigarettes to people under 18". During the campaign, the materials containing signes "We do not sell tobacco products to people under 18" will be displayed in all retail stores of the country.

The materials of the campaign such as stickers, posters and emblems, will be displayed in all shops of the country from July, 2009 and retail sellers will be trained to efficiently carry out the campaign. "The materials for shops have been issued and created individually for each person interested in the campaign, while the other materials have been specially made to deliver the necessary information to the people."

Launched in 1998, there has been a a very active youth smoking prevention coalition in Kazakhstan to combat underage smoking, which was initiated by the tobacco companies working in Kazakhstan—JTI, Philip Morris, Gallaher and BAT—jointly with the ministry of education and science and the ministry of culture and sport.

Competition for sales within the Kazakh tobacco market is fierce—with JTI, Gallaher, BAT, Philip Morris, Reemtsma and Korean Tobacco all continually fighting for a better market position.

Smoking is a major public health issue in Kazakhstan and other former soviet union countries particularly affecting socially vulnerable men and young women living in urbanized areas. These high-risk groups should be targeted in future smoking prevention and cessation strategies in the region. (RESEARCH REPORT Determinants of smoking in eight countries of the former Soviet Union: results from the Living Conditions, Lifestyles and Health Study)

Kazakhstan ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty in January 2007. WHO - Kazakhstan - Health..

References: The new program on prevention of sale of tobacco to minors has started in Kazakhstan, the agency reports citing British American Tobacco (BAT)
Kazakhstan Today, 7/9/2009; How the East Was Won: BAT and Big Tobacco's Conquest of the Former Soviet Union, Red_Orbit/com, 8/5/2005; Kazakhstan restricts tobacco marketing freedoms, Laurence Walker, Tobacco Reporter, Archived Issue, 9/2006.

Click on image to enlarge..

July 10, 2009 - Reynolds American Inc. will webcast its conference call following the release of second-quarter 2009 financial results on Thursday, July 23, 2009. The call will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

During the call, members of the Reynolds American management team will discuss RAI's results for the second quarter of 2009.

The RAI conference call will be available online on a listen-only basis at Registration for the call will be available as of July 9. Please
visit the Investors section at to register. A replay of the call will be available on the Web site for 30 days. Investors, analysts and members of the news media can also listen to the live call by phone, by dialing (888) 515-2235 (toll free) or (719) 457-2715 (international).
All remarks made during the conference call will be current at the time of the call and will not be updated to reflect subsequent material developments. While news media representatives will not be permitted to ask questions during the call,
they are welcome to monitor the remarks on a listen-only basis. Following the call, media representatives may direct inquiries to Jane Seccombe at (336) 741-5068.

Reference: RAI to webcast second-quarter 2009 earnings conference call, ReynoldsAmerican, 7/9/2009.

U.S. Military - phased in ban on smoking..

July 10, 2009 - Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking.

  During the World War I, Commander General John J. Pershing stated vehemently, “You ask me what we need to win this war…I answer tobacco as much as bullets.“ Cigarettes were sent overseas to American troops free with their rations. But now we know how dangerous the use of tobacco is; in fact, half of all individuals who keep smoking will die because of the habit. (American Cancer Society, Cigarette smoking)

Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon's office of clinical and program policy, says he will recommend that Gates adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban.

The study by the Institute of Medicine, requested by the VA and Pentagon, calls for a phased-in ban over a period of years, perhaps up to 20. "We'll certainly be taking that recommendation forward," Smith says.

A tobacco ban would confront a military culture, the report says, in which "the image of the battle-weary soldier in fatigues and helmet, fighting for his country, has frequently included his lit cigarette."

Also, the report said, troops worn out by repeated deployments often rely on cigarettes as a "stress reliever." The study found that tobacco use in the military increased after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the department supports a smoke-free military "and believes it is achievable." She declined to elaborate on any possible ban.

One in three service members use tobacco, the report says, compared with one in five adult Americans. The heaviest smokers are soldiers and Marines, who have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the study says. About 37% of soldiers use tobacco and 36% of Marines. Combat veterans are 50% more likely to use tobacco than troops who haven't seen combat.

Tobacco use costs the Pentagon $846 million a year in medical care and lost productivity, says the report, which used older data. The Department of Veterans Affairs spends up to $6 billion in treatments for tobacco-related illnesses, says the study, which was released late last month.

Along with a phased-in ban, the report recommends requiring new officers and enlisted personnel to be tobacco-free, eliminating tobacco use on military installations, ships and aircraft, expanding treatment programs and eliminating the sale of tobacco on military property. "Any tobacco use while in uniform should be prohibited," the study says.

The military complicates attempts to curb tobacco use by subsidizing tobacco products for troops who buy them at base exchanges and commissaries, says Kenneth Kizer, a committee member and architect of California's anti-tobacco program.
Seventy percent of profits from tobacco sales — $88 million in 2005 — pays for recreation and family support programs, the study stays.

Strong leadership could make the military tobacco-free in five to 10 years, Kizer says. President Obama, he says, could set an example for the military by ending his own smoking habit once and for all. Last month, Obama said he is "95% cured" but "there are times when I mess up" and smoke.

Reference: Ban on tobacco urged in military by Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY, 7/9/2009.

Related news brief: U.S. Department of Defense is endorsing the observance of World No Tobacco Day..


Ireland - tobacco companies not helping small retailers - display ban..

July 10, 2009 - On July 1, 2009 Ireland introduces a ban on the advertising and display of tobacco products in retail shops. Contrary to anti-smoking lobby group claims, tobacco manufacturers declined to assist smaller retailers with the expensive alterations, which require their products to be stored out of view in closed containers accessible only by staff. As a result hundreds of small independent retailers in Ireland have had to pay in full for costly alterations to their tobacco gantries after a ban on display came into force on July 1.

The lack of financial support offers little comfort to UK shopkeepers who are awaiting a Commons decision on the display ban this week. (Status of Proposal (June 30th) from Amanda Sandford, ASH UK: the proposal to put tobacco products out of sight at the point of sale..)

Large stores and supermarkets which sell greater volumes of tobacco are understood to have received some funding for the changes, which also apply to in-store vending machines.

Vincent Jennings, chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) in Ireland, said that many small retailers had found the costs hard to bear. “We had been hoping until the very last minute that small stores would receive some financial assistance but unfortunately for many this has not been the case,” he said.

Retailers are permitted to display one sign in their store informing the public that tobacco products are for sale in their stores to those over 18 years of age. However, no other signs which use the word ‘tobacco’ - even in reference to an age-restricted goods policy - are allowed.

The law also requires all tobacco retailers to register with the Office of Tobacco Control at a cost of 50 Euros (69.68USD)- a fixed fee irrespective of the size of the store.

Reference: Small stores pay out as Ireland goes dark, Gaelle Walker, Convenience Store, the, 07/07/2009.

Some Ireland related news briefs: Ireland - tobacco display ban came into force on July 1, 2009..; Tobacco control initiatives starting Wednesday, July 1, 2009..; Ireland - Office of Tobacco Control 2008 annual report - Positive..; Ireland - modest penalty for cigarette smuggling..; Ireland - to amend tobacco legislation to to include pictoral warnings..; Ireland - as of July 1, 2009 no advertising or display of tobacco products will be permitted in retail outlets..; Ireland - cigarette tax abandoned over smuggling fears..; Ireland - may raise tax on cigarettes as part of emergency budget..; Ireland - ban smoking in cars when kids are present..; Ireland - further provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002 and 2004 are to be commenced on 1 July 2009.; Ireland - 80% of smokers want a ban on tobacco advertising in shops to stop youngsters starting the habit..; Ireland to ban tobacco displays..; Ireland - reduction in admissions for acute coronary syndrome...

North Carolina - 50 cents increase in cigarette tax back in the news..

July 9, 2009 - North Carolina (NC) Governor with a budget gap currently at $4.7 billion (and growing). Perdue has suggested several new taxes, including a sales tax hike of 1%, which would raise the state sales tax to 7.75%, which is not too far from the highest sales tax in the country at 8.25% in California. Other taxes would include an additional temporary tax on wealthy individuals in what the state calls an “emergency surcharge”, an increase of fifty cents per pack on cigarettes, and an additional tax on alcoholic beverages. Perdue says that all the new taxes would add up to $1.6 billion in revenues for the state and claims that all taxes are temporary and that they will return to the current rates, or even decrease once the economy stabilizes.

The NC legislature did not pass a new state budget by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2009 but lawmakers did approve a temporary spending bill to keep government operating. July 15, 2009 is the deadline for coming up with budget.

Reference: North Carolinians to see tax hikeby Danielle Cuave, Raleigh Libertarian Examiner, 7/9/2009 (1:31pm).

Related news briefs: NC - Reynolds American employees protest any increase in cigarette taxes..; North Carolina House panel deletes cigarette tax increase..; 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..; North Carolina tobacco companies and growers oppose possible tax increase..

England - Shisha bars still open if comply with the smokefree legislation..

July 9, 2009 - From Action on Smoking and Health - United Kingdom (UK, Britain) some shisha bars Shisha bars (argileh nargile, hubble-bubble, water pipe, hooka, shisha, goza, meassel, hookah) remain open in England but they have to comply with the smokefree legislation (begun in July 1,2007). This means that they can only offer the waterpipes for use outdoors. Most of the cafes have some kind of terrace or space outside, often covered with an awning.

However, there has been some debate as to whether these spaces fall within the scope of the law. Basically it places are more than 50% enclosed they are covered by the law and smoking is prohibited.

Reference: Shisha smoking guidance 'needed', BBC News Channel, 7/1/2009.

Click on image to enlarge..

Netherlands - spot checks on smoking in small cafes suspended temporarily..

July 9, 2009 - The Dutch (Holland) government has dropped spot checks on smoking in small cafes after bar owners won two legal victories in their fight against a ban on their premises, the health minister said Wednesday, July 8th.

Ab Klink, the Dutch health minister said in a letter to members of parliament that action taken to fine offenders had also been suspended temporarily.

Appeal courts at Leeuwarden in the north and Den Bosch in the south have found in favour of landlords of cafes, restaurants and hotels without staff, who said the law did not oblige them to implement a smoking ban.

The ban on smoking in the hotel, restaurant and catering industry was introduced a year ago with the aim of protecting employees from the dangers of second-hand smoke inhalation.

Several thousand small bars and cafes in the Netherlands united late last year to defy the smoking ban and create a joint legal defence fund, arguing they lacked the floor space and money to erect separate smoking-only areas.

Prosecutors have taken the cases to a higher court for a definitive ruling.

Reference: Netherlands suspends tobacco inspections in small bars, Agence France Presse (AFP), 7/8/2009.

Related news briefs: Dutch bar owners without staff when victory against smoking ban..; Netherlands - Marijuana /Tobacco Cigarettes - Confusion..; Netherlands - small bars/cafes with no staff could be exempt from smoking ban..; Court spares small Dutch cafe over smoking ban..; Netherlands - 1st court case for flouting smoking ban..; Netherlands - ban on smoking in bars and restaurants NOT enforced..; Netherlands - ban on smoking in bars and restaurants NOT enforced..; Netherlands the smoking ban must be enforced - Ab Klink, Health Minister...; Congratulations are in order: Netherlands, Romania & Alberta...


PM USA puts several properties up for sale..

July 9, 2009 - Philip Morris (PM) USA has put some of its South Richmond and Chesterfield County properties up for sale as the tobacco company cuts costs and consolidates its operations in a smaller U.S. cigarette market. The Henrico County Virginia - based company is seeking to sell more than 570,000 square feet of office, laboratory, warehouse and manufacturing space just off Bells Road, on property adjacent to its cigarette plant off Interstate 95.

The property for sale includes 186 acres, about 86 acres of it developable land, according to a marketing brochure from the commercial real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis, which is handling the sale. The company also wants to sell a 93,000 square foot building in Chesterfield's Airpark Business Center on Whitepine Road. That building formerly housed a Philip Morris USA product research subsidiary, Chrysalis Technologies.

The sale of the properties is part of a larger restructuring by Philip Morris USA's parent company, Altria Group Inc., which is adjusting its business operations as U.S. cigarette consumption slowly declines and after spinning off its international cigarette business as a separate company in 2008.

Altria is seeking to save more than $1 billion in costs by 2011. The company has spent billions adding tobacco products other than cigarettes to its business portfolio. This year, it acquired the nation's top smokeless-tobacco maker, UST Inc., and it is combining many of that company's administrative and sales functions with Altria's.

The sale of the Richmond-area properties "is about how Altria and its operating companies have continued to innovate and consolidate and restructure the company for the future," said David Sutton, a company spokesman. "What we have done is moved some employees around, and shifted some focus and put people in different places."

Sutton said he could not comment on the asking price for the properties. The city of Richmond assessed the operations building and 60-acre parcel it sits on at about $68 million this year.

The company's restructuring plan includes closing Philip Morris USA's only other cigarette plant, in Cabarrus County, N.C. and moving the production to the Richmond plant. The company said in April it would cease production at the North Carolina factory by the end of July and put the plant up for sale.

The property for sale in South Richmond includes what Philip Morris USA calls its operations center, a three-story building that opened in 1982 and once housed several hundred employees, mostly in administrative jobs. Sutton said most of the operations from the building have been moved to other company facilities in the Richmond area, such as Altria's headquarters building on West Broad Street in Henrico County, Philip Morris USA's Park 500 tobacco processing facility in Chesterfield County, and its Center for Research and Technology in downtown Richmond.

Altria reported earlier this year that it had about 5,460 employees in the Richmond area as of Jan. 1, but a company spokesman confirmed in February that the company was cutting jobs locally as part of its corporate restructuring. The company has not released a specific number of jobs that were eliminated.

Reference: Philip Morris puts several properties up for sale, Contact John Reid Blackwell, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/9/2009.


Altria - second quarter 2009 results presentation,.

July 9, 2009 - RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 8, 2009-- Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) will host a live audio webcast on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss 2009 second-quarter business results. The business results will be issued by means of a press release at approximately 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time the same day. The webcast can be accessed at

During the webcast, Mr. Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. David R. Beran, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will discuss the company’s 2009 second-quarter results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

The webcast will be in a listen-only mode. Pre-event registration is necessary; directions are posted at An archived copy of the webcast will be available until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, August 21, 2009, at

Source: Altria Group, Inc.

Altria Client Services
Investor Relations

DipTops' patented moist smokeless tobacco (MST) accessory..

July 9, 2009 - DipTops LLC, maker of the DipTops Personal Spittoon, has announced that 7-Eleven Inc., Dallas, will soon begin merchandising DipTops' patented moist smokeless tobacco (MST) accessory in at least 600 7-Eleven stores in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The DipTops accessory gives MST or "dip" users the freedom to enjoy their tobacco without the fear of spills, odors or having their habit offend other people. When snapped on to the top of any 8-, 12- or 16-oz. beverage can, DipTops produces a disposable, spill-resistant spittoon that MST users can take with them anywhere. The product has gained significant traction in the convenience retailing sector in early 2009, according to Brian Goodell, president of DipTops LLC, Dublin, Calif.

Reference: 7-Eleven Says 'Can Do' to DipTops
Retailer adds MST accessory to East Coast tobacco sets
, Convenience Store / Petroleum (CSP) Daily News, 7/8/2009.

President Obama - time to get tobacco use out of your life forever..

July 8, 2009 - President Obama turns down a social smoke with his Russian counterparts. Instead Obama said he offered advice to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on reducing the smoking rate in Russia. A very good sign that our president - the role model for numerous people regardless of race - is ready to quit the use of tobacco forever.

Even when encouraged by the Russians the president refused. "You are among friends, smoking friends, so enjoy yourself," the paper wrote, pointing to the inexpensive price per pack - the equivalent of $1.25 - as proof that someone would gladly hand over a cigarette.

The White House says the president doesn't smoke in front of his wife and children, who accompanied him on this trip. They should know this is not good enough. Third-hand smoke clings to his clothing and also throughout the room (building) where he smoked.

Obama's oldest daughter has asthma - the presence of tobacco smoke can only aggravate her condition.

Typical smokers have very little education, make less than $34,000 a year and then there's President Obama - come on Mr. President, give up tobacco use forever.

The president apparently promised his wife he would quit smoking if she "let" him run for president. While far more momentous spousal vows have probably been broken by at least a billion or so married men, it would be nice if the president would honor this non-smoking pledge to his wife.

Fairly recently (June 23, 2009), President Barack Obama said he is “95 percent cured” of his addiction to nicotine, saying he has occasionally faltered in his attempt to quit smoking cigarettes. Mr. President show some leadership..

Related news briefs: President Obama still trying to kick his addiction to tobacco..; Father's Day and Third-Hand Smoke..; Children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke...

Reference: Obama rejects Russians' invite to light up by Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, 7/8/2009; Smoke Rings in the Oval Office, Dave Quick, Santa Monica Mirror online, volume 11 Issue 4. July 2-8, 2009

North Dakota's Comprehensive State Plan to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use 2009-2014..

July 8, 2009 - Details of a North Dakota anti-tobacco committee’s plans for reducing tobacco use in the state over five years:

TOBACCO TAX: North Dakota’s tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes would rise from 44 cents to $2, with a proportional increase in state taxes on other forms of tobacco, including smokeless, pipe and chewing tobacco. The tobacco tax has not increased since 1993. If the Legislature declined to approve the tax increase, it could be offered to voters directly as an initiated measure.

SMOKING BANS: The North Dakota Legislature and local communities will be pushed to ban smoking in all workplaces and places of public assembly, including bars and outdoor arenas. The plan sets a goal of having five communities with comprehensive smoke-free ordinances by June 2013.

LOCAL SCHOOLS: At least half the North Dakota’s school districts would not allow tobacco use within school buildings or on school grounds at any time. Tobacco use would be prohibited at school functions, such as football games, no matter where they were held. Students would not be allowed to wear clothing with tobacco advertising.

COLLEGES: Eleven North Dakota colleges would have tobacco-free policies. Eight already do, according to Kathleen Mangskau, chairwoman of the anti-tobacco advisory board.

HELP IN QUITTING: Increase the usage of a toll-free North Dakota “tobacco quitline” from 0.7 percent of the state’s smokers to 2 percent. Encourage large employers to cover tobacco cessation treatments with their health insurance policies.

For more information on the 5-Year Plan..

Related news brief: North Dakota - statewide anti-tobacco plan to be released in July 2009...

Reference: Details of N.D. tobacco panel’s plans to cut smoking, Associated Press -, 7/7/2009.


C-store Update; Marlboro Menthol No.54, Camel SNUS, Altria, etc..

July 8, 2009

Marlboro Menthol 54 - During the promotion period, i.e., June 17, 2009 - July 26, 2009, the introductory price will be $2 off per pack and $20 off per carton.

These cigarettes are a big seller, in fact, the c-store owner can't keep enough in stock and the wholesaler has limited distribution. Sales are probably strong because of the price at $2.42 a pack compared to Newport at $4.63 a pack (North Carolina>.

Click on image to enlarge..

More on Marlboro Blend No. 54..

Maybe this is the last straw - all cans have been marked down to $1.99 from $3.69. Sales of Camel SNUS have NOT improved.

Camel SNUS Guide to Dating - latest guide that has been mailed to all people on the R.J. Reynolds mailing list. Just imagine trying to kiss your date with the pouch stationed in your mouth - between your upper lip and gum. You'll release much more saliva and have that urge to spit.

Others in the past: SNUS Guide to Airports..
Advertisements in Entertainment Magazines..
Camel SNUS Guide to Sweden..

Recently was at a local convenience store keeping up with the happenings and picked out of the trash a discarded Rolling Stone magazine (July 9-23, 209). There was one tobacco ad on thicker paper in the center of the magazine for Camel SNUS with a coupon for a free can with any tobacco purchase. (Leslie Zeifman of Straight Arrow Publishing Co., Inc. owners of Rolling Stone magazines, Rolling Stone still seeks readers who are "hip and young."

Altria Group’s tobacco companies: Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company and John Middleton, are now represented at retail by a single organization — Altria Sales & Distribution. Watch for Altria to start seeking agreements with retailers on the location of their products in stores and c-store involvement in selling their products.

Word from Columbus - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has not yet attempted to launch the other Camel Dissolvables, i.e., Camel Sticks and Camel Strips..

Newport Pleasure Guide - 2009

Previous news brief..


Australia - illicit tobacco, do what's right increase the tobacco tax..

July 8, 2009 - The federal government is being urged to slash smoking rates by 9 percent over the next decade. Increasing the cost of tobacco products is one of the most effective ways to reduce the smoking rate, especially among consumer groups sensitive to price, such as young people.

It seems when a possible increase in the price of tobacco products are considered there's always those that bring up that this will result in the importation of illegal tobacco more profitable, potentially enticing new players into what is already a booming criminal market.

We say bring it on - that's why Australia has customs service national manager for investigations like Richard Janeczko to slow the flow of illicit tobacco products into the country. (Related news brief: Australia - illegal cigarettes readily available..)

Mr Janeczko's comments came in the wake of a discussion paper by the Preventative Health Taskforce, titled "Making Smoking History," and aimed at cutting the number of smokers from 17 per cent of the population, or three million people, to 9 per cent. (Australia - More on federal tobacco tax increase..)

The government is reportedly considering progressively increasing the price of cigarettes to $20 for a packet of 30. The proposal has been enthusiastically endorsed by the health industry, which argues that disadvantaged groups are more likely to drop the habit if the price goes up.

Mr Janeczko said an increase in tobacco tax would effectively increase the return made by smugglers, whose profit derived from dodging the excise. Mr Janeczko warned that, with greater profits to be made, there was a possibility of more illegal shipments from both existing criminal gangs as well as new entrants attracted by the high returns.

Mr Janeczko said the illegal importation of tobacco was a major issue for Customs.
According to figures supplied by Customs, there were 11 detections of illicit tobacco products between January and March. They included 65 tonnes of tobacco leaf and 22 million cigarettes. Last year, there were 40 detections of illicit tobacco products comprising 111 tonnes of tobacco leaf and 62million cigarettes. The year before, a total of 284 tonnes of tobacco leaf and 94 million cigarettes were seized.
All told, the illegal importations represented $185 million in tax evasion, not including GST.

Mr Janeczko has previously said the market for illegal tobacco is beginning to rival the illicit drug market. There have also been reports from overseas law enforcement agencies linking the proceeds of tobacco smuggling to terror funding. Last year, Mr Janeczko said it was believed the Lebanese crime groups responsible for tobacco importation and distribution in Australia had links to Middle East terror groups.

Reference: Tobacco tax 'boosts smuggler profits' by Paul Maley, The Australian, 7/8/2009.


Massachusetts - smokeless tobacco purchasers settle class action suit..

July 8, 2009 - At least 15,000 purchasers of chewing tobacco could be eligible for a piece of a $10.65 million class action settlement with U.S. Smokeless Tobacco (USST) Co., according to a lawyer for plaintiffs who sued the company.

The plaintiffs’ legal team, which had alleged that UST (former parent of USST) artificially inflated the cost of chewing tobacco through its large market share, has launched a Web site to explain to consumers how they can access their share of the settlement.

Frequent purchasers of chewing tobacco could be eligible to get up to $700 depending on how many UST products – which include the Copenhagen and Skoal brands – they purchased from January 1, 1990, through May 21. Infrequent purchasers could get $25 to $100.

Robert Bonsignore, one of the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs, said he was initially approached by chewing-tobacco users about filing a lawsuit after Conwood, a competitor of UST’s maker of Grizzly, the price-value/discount segment leader, had made similar claims against the company. The suit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court in 2001, and was one of several similar class action suits across the country, Bonsignore said.

Both sides in the Massachusetts fight eventually reached an agreement. That settlement was approved on May 22 by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel. “They fought it hard for a lot of years,” Bonsignore said of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, which is now part of Altria Group. “Both sides understood there were great risks (with moving forward with the case, so) we sat down and tried to come to a fair and reasonable settlement.”

A portion of the settlement amount will be used to pay the plaintiffs’ legal costs. Any funds that are left over would be contributed through court-approved donations to charities that haven’t been named yet.

For more information: In regard to Massachusetts Smokeless Tobacco Litigation..

CHEW ON THIS: Smokeless tobacco purchasers in Massachusetts are eligible to get up to $700 from legal settlement Company settles class action suit for $10.65 million
by Jon Chesto, The Patriot Ledger, 7/8/2009.


Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..

July 7, 2009 - Tobacco industry will try to "delay, dilute and damage" new measures in Scotland aimed at curbing sales to young people, anti-smoking campaigners warned today.

Leaders of ASH Scotland said it was "inevitable" that tobacco firms would continue to challenge proposed legislation from the Scottish Government, which includes a ban on tobacco displays in shops. Sheila Duffy, ASH Scotland chief executive, spoke out as the organization launched a new campaign to highlight public support for the measures.

Members of the public are being urged to write to local stores giving their backing for proposals in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill.

Ms Duffy said the legislation - which is currently going through Holyrood (Scottish Government)_- aimed to "prevent children from smoking by stopping the visibility and availability of cigarettes to young people including removing cigarette displays at the point of sale".

But Ms Duffy said: "Inevitably however, the tobacco industry will continue to challenge the measures outlined in the Bill and do all it can to delay, dilute and damage the legislation. By employing scaremongering and misinformation tactics they have made retailers afraid of this law rather than embracing it as an opportunity to remove a lethal product from display."

Ms Duffy said it was "natural" for stores to be uneasy about moves to change the way products are displayed, but stressed the proposed new laws would not stop them selling tobacco to adult smokers.

ASH Scotland's Pride of Place? campaign aims to capitalise on public support for the measures, after a poll found 57% of people backed removing promotional tobacco displays, compared to 21% who were opposed to this.

And the group is urging people to write to shops outlining their support for the Bill.

Ms Duffy said: "We want to take our message direct to shopkeepers and counter the misinformation from the tobacco industry through our Pride of Place? campaign.

"Shopkeepers need to know that the public support the removal of cigarette promotional displays because it will stop the marketing of tobacco to children and young people.

"By joining our Pride of Place? campaign, we are urging people to write to the shops they use on a regular basis from the local shops where they live and work, to the garage where they get their petrol, to the large supermarket they get their weekly shop, to let them know they welcome this policy, and why."

And she said: "We must never forget the 13,500 deaths in Scotland every year due to smoking, the thousands who are affected by disease and ill health, and the 15,000 young Scots who start smoking every year.

"If we all work together, and make our voices heard, we can cut the pipeline of new young smokers to the tobacco industry.".

Reference: Tobacco industry 'will undermine' Scotland's attempts to curb sale, The Herald, 7/7/2009.

Related news briefs: Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..; Scottish politicans most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..; Scotland - small businesses given extra 2-years to remove tobacco displays..; Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..; Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..; Bar workers who smoke also benefit from smoking ban..; 17 countries in the world ban indoor smoking - ENFORCEMENT..; England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..; Definite Health Benefits of Smoking Bans..; Northern Ireland raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18 joining the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries..; Scotland proposes to implement more measures to discourage tobacco use including the banning of tobacco displays..; Raise Age to 21 to Purchase Tobacco Products...

Scottish Coalition on Tobacco:

Click on image to enlarge..


Japan - Tokyo smoking cafes, people with children, those under 20 NOT allowed..

July 7, 2009 - Salaried workers feeling cornered by the ever-expanding ban on smoking in Tokyo can rest easy at a recently opened cafe in the Shinbashi district that caters exclusively to smokers. At Cafe Tobacco, smoking is allowed on all three floors, according to its operator, Towa Food Service Co.

The cafe, with 44 places, opened near JR Shinbashi Station in April. Towa Food Service has also opened a second Tobacco Cafe in the nearby Yurakucho business district.

The smoke, meanwhile, is not visible inside the building as smoke neutralizers are installed on each floor. "Smokers also hate smoke from other smokers," said a Towa Food Service official. The cafe also offers original blend coffee with a bitter taste, which is believed to go well with cigarettes.

A sign posted at the entrance advises people with children and those under 20 to refrain from using the cafe.

Reference: Tobacco Cafe an oasis for smokers, Kyodo News, The Japan Times Online, 7/4/2009.

Some related news briefs - Japan: Japan - Kanagawa - bans smoking in public places starting April 2010..; Japan shelves tobacco tax hike for 2009.., Japan - Ruling party plans tobacco tax hike in 2009..; Japan Tobacco Starts Petition To Fight Tax Increase..; How to get most smokers to quit?? - Keep On Raising The Price..; Japanese lawmakers want to triple cigarette prices..; Japanese tobacco giants focus on point-of-sales cigarette purchases..; Japan - photos can be used to fool the age-verification cameras on some vending machines..; Vending Machines - Japanese protecting their children from becoming life-long nicotine addicts...

Click on image to enlarge, opened in April in Tokyo's Shinbashi district. KYODO PHOTO..

Turkey - July 19th total smoking ban, will employees lose jobs..

July 7, 2009 - The roughly 1 million people employed in the coffeehouses around the country risk losing their livelihoods with the advent of the smoking ban on July 19, and the ongoing global economic crisis said the president of the Turkey Coffeehouses and Cafes Federation, Murat Ağaoğlu.

"At the moment coffeehouse owners are very worried because the implementation of the smoking ban will completely kill an already stagnant business," Ağaoğlu said. "We are already struggling to put bread on our tables due to the economic crisis. With this ban we will have to shutter our businesses and join the army of the unemployed," he said. "If only our sector had been consulted before preparing the ban. We could have come up with a more workable proposal at the very least," said Ağaoğlu.

He said there are around 250,000 coffeehouses in city centers across the country and that they provide employment to close to a million people.

He said the coffeehouses have around 20 million customers and most of them are unemployed people or those close to retirement.

He said fines ranging from 560 Turkish Liras (362.18USD) to 5,600 liras (3,621.83USD) would be imposed on proprietors that allow the ban to be violated and that this would lead to fights among customers and proprietors since they cannot afford to pay such fines. Ağaoğlu said this ban need to be scrutinized once again before being implemented.

Based on changes made to law number 4207 that regulates tobacco and the consumption of tobacco products the use of tobacco products was banned as of May 19, 2008 in enclosed area of buildings providing public services, buildings that cater to educational, health, production, commercial, social, cultural and sporting activities, all forms of public transport including taxis. This ban will be extended on July 19, 2009 to include restaurants, coffeehouses, cafeterias and bars. Places catering only to smokers or with separate sections for smokers will not be permitted.

Reference: ’Smoking ban in cafes risking jobs’, Hurriyet Daily News, 7/7/2009.

Related news briefs: Turkey - on July 19, 2009 will mark the beginning of “100 percent smoke-free air” in this country..; Turkey - national smoking ban starts July 19, 2009..;
Turkey - quit smoking photo displayed in İstanbul's Taksim Square..; Turkey - data on tobacco usage - Turkish Statistics Institution..; Turkey - smoking ban in all bars, restaurants and coffeehouses starting July 19, 2009..; Smoking ban in Turkey lowers cigarette consumption..; Turkey's ban on pubic smoking goes into effect on Monday, May 19, 2008..; British American Tobacco (BAT) reported group volume sales up for first quarter 2008..; More on the quick fix for outdoor smokers..; BAT to Acquire Most of Denmark's ST..; More on Philip Morris International of the Future..; WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008...


U.S. FDA posts job for new tobacco czar..

July 7, 2009 - Just two weeks after the FDA was given duties to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products, the agency is setting up a new Tobacco Division at its Maryland headquarters, our colleague Alicia Mundy reports on the Washington Wire blog.

To kick things off for the new division, the FDA recently posted a help-wanted ad for a tobacco center director. Applicants, it says, need substantial scientific expertise and experience in toxicology, epidemiology and public health.

The real test, Mundy says, will be knowing how play well on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Or as the FDA post says: “Substantial expertise and experience in the area of administrative procedure and regulation, including deep familiarity with Congressional operations and policymaking in the executive branch” are required.

Only U.S. citizens are eligible; the job pays $117,787 to $177,000 annually. And hurry. The application period ends July 9, 2009.

Reference: FDA Tries to Smoke Out New Tobacco Czar, WSJ's blog on health and the business of health, 7/6/2009.

Indonesia - last paradise to smoke in public places in Southeast Asia..

July 7, 2008 - When it comes to smoking, Indonesia remains the last paradise for a puff in Southeast Asia. Those addicted to cigarettes can openly light up in public places without worrying about tough anti-tobacco penalties found in the rest of the region.
This reality has been shaped by the power of local and multinational tobacco companies on the archipelago of some 224 million people.

At the finals for the recent “Mild Live Wanted 2009” countrywide talent contest, in the former colonial city of Bandung, competing musicians belted out their songs from around 3 p.m till midnight. For Indonesia's small, yet vocal, anti-tobacco activists, these concerts—billed to promote local talent—offered more than music to fill their ears. They were the latest in a string of publicity drives of the powerful multinational tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) in the country.

“A Mild is a product of PMI,' said Dina Kania, policy advocacy coordinator of the National Commission for Child Protection, a non-governmental organization that is part of the country's anti-tobacco movement. “This has always been a PMI promotional event since this annual concert series began in 2007.”

But in other forms of entertainment, the publicity for tobacco companies are more direct, revealed Ms. Kania during a telephone interview from Jakarta. “There was a film for teenagers last year where one of the actresses, who is still in junior high school, was smoking in scenes.” Such an effort to glamorize smoking goes to extremes, at times. “There are so many scenes of people smoking in Indonesian movies where the camera even zooms in to show the cigarette brand,” added Ms. Kania. “There is no regulation like in other countries.”

It is little wonder why a regional anti-tobacco lobby has described Southeast Asia's largest country as a “cash cow” for the tobacco industry. “With 63 percent of its men smoking, Indonesia contributes handsomely towards PMI's profits—making it its fourth largest market in the world,” said the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

“In 2008, PMI owned PT, HM Sampoerna became the market leader capturing 30 percent of the cigarette market share,” adds SEATCA. “The increased market was obtained through aggressive tobacco advertising and promotions not matched anywhere else in Asia.”

The wide latitude tobacco companies that advertise their product on large billboards across the country has earned Indonesia the dubious distinction of sharing the same spotlight as Zimbabwe. “The country is also one of only two that still allows cigarette advertising,” reports The Jakarta Globe, an English-language daily in a recent edition. “The other is Zimbabwe, which like Indonesia is one of the largest tobacco exporters in the world.”

Studies by the World Health Organization and other groups reveal that the country has some 63 million smokers, with a tenth of students in their teens being smokers. Children as young as 10 years are also among these smokers, say some reports.

Indonesia's smokers currently account for over 40 percent of Southeast Asia's 125 million smokers. This accounts for a large number of deaths due to smoking related diseases annually—about 200,000, according to SEATCA.

The prospect of more deaths from this “smoking epidemic” has still to move Jakarta, which has not signed the world's first public health treaty—the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which has been in force since early 2005.

By contrast, this treaty has been signed by Indonesia's nine neighbors in the region, which include Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The FCTC requires countries to restrict tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion; ensure people are protected from exposure to tobacco smoke; and have new packaging and labeling policies—including graphic warning signs about the dangers from smoking.

Reference: Indonesia a paradise for tobacco companies by Marwaan Macan-Markar, News, 7/2/2009.

Indonesia related news briefs: Indonesia - Industry minister to close tobacco to new foreign investment..; Indonesia Finance Ministry to cap tax deductions for tobacco companies..; Indonesia - Smoking hits poor families the hardest, making the poor even poorer..; Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..; Indonesia - government may raise cigarette excise tax next year..; WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..; 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...

Click on image to enlarge; graphic: Tamiko G. Muhammad/MGN Online..

India - tobacco production rose 25 percent in 2008-2009..

July 6, 2009 - India’s tobacco production rose by 25 per cent to 314 million kg in 2008-09 (252 million kg in the previous year), making it even more difficult for the country to meet its commitment to the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce production by 50 per cent within the next decade. The rise in output has been massive,” state-owned Tobacco Board Chairman J Suresh Babu said.

The output from Andhra Pradesh, the largest producer, rose to 200 million kg in 2008-09 from 165 million kg in the previous year. Production in Karnataka surged to 114 million kg as against 87 million kg during the review period, Babu said.

The rise in production may spell bad news for the country. India, the third-largest exporter of tobacco in the world, became a signatory to the "WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, whereby it is mandatory to reduce tobacco supply by 50 per cent within 10-15 years of signing the pact.

However, as prices of the Indian tobacco touched records, farmers are tempted all the more to cultivate it, Babu said. The average price of tobacco in the ongoing auction in Andhra Pradesh has touched a record and is currently ruling at Rs 108.70 a kg, compared with over Rs 84 the year before, he said.

Surging demand in global markets, coupled with a decline in output in Zimbabwe by about 20 million kg, is putting pressure on tobacco prices, he said.

To curtail tobacco production, the Commerce Ministry had mandated the Tobacco Board to prepare a road map for shifting farmers to other crops and work out a rehabilitation formula for those whose livelihood depends upon such cultivation.

On its part, The Tobacco Board has submitted a Rs 125-crore proposal to the Commerce Ministry to rehabilitate farmers. According to the proposal, an amount of Rs 5 lakh will be provided in three installments to each of the 2,500 barns selected in the first lot for farmers to shift to other crops.

Reference: Rising tobacco output flies in the face of WHO commitment, Press Trust Of India / New Delhi, 7/4/2009.


United Kingdom survey results adults back proposals to protect children from tobacco..

July 6, 2009 - The survey* - carried out by YouGov - questioned more than 2000 people from across the UK and shows that nearly 80 per cent of people support the smoking ban in the UK's pubs, clubs and enclosed public places. (Smokefree legislation was introduced across the UK (United Kingdom, Britain) first in Scotland in March 2006, Wales in April 2007, Northern Ireland in April 2007 and then England in July 2007. The laws now provide all workers with a smokefree environment safe from the dangers of secondhand smoke (involuntary smoking, ETS, environmental tobacco smoke, sidestream smoke, passive smoking) as well as the extra benefit of helping smokers break their addiction to tobacco.)

The research showed that 70 percent of adults in the UK back proposals to protect children from tobacco by putting it out of sight in shops and 76 percent support abolishing cigarette vending machines according to Cancer Research UK today (Wednesday, July 1st) - on the second anniversary of the smoking ban in England.

Those who had never smoked were most supportive of the ban and new proposals, with smokers showing the lowest levels of support. Women were also more likely than men to support the ban and new measures.

Other new results also show the 2007 smoking ban in England was followed by a rapid decline in smoking prevalence for about 9 months, amounting to 800,000 fewer smokers. Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco studies at the Health behaviour Research Centre at UCL: "The smoke-free law has been a huge boost to smokers trying to quit, but radical action is now needed to build on this success." Tobacco kills half of all long term smokers. Every single day around 450 under-18s start smoking across the UK and more than eight out of 10 smokers start before they are 19.

Elspeth Lee, Cancer Research UK's head of tobacco control, said: "Smokefree laws have been a real success - not only in protecting UK workers from secondhand smoke but also in helping smokers to quit. These results show there's huge public support for the new measures to protect young people from tobacco marketing. "Stopping the next generation from becoming smokers is a priority if we are to prevent more deaths from a product that has already caused far too many deaths. The public want this and research has shown that future generations will demand it."

Status of Proposal (June 30th) from Amanda Sandford, ASH UK: the proposal to put tobacco products out of sight at the point of sale has passed through the House of Lords and 2nd reading in the Commons. It's due for 3rd Reading in next few weeks. We are reasonably confident the measure will become law. The Bill is due for Third Reading within the next few weeks but a date has not been set yet. There is a chance that it might not be taken before the summer recess which is end July, in which case it would be held over until late September. Once the MPs have voted on the Bill, it returns to the Lords for final approval and then gets Royal Assent.

Reference: Public Backs New Plans To Protect Children From Tobacco, Medical News Today, 7/5/2009.


North Carolina - acute-care hospitals in the state tobacco-free..

July 6, 2009 - As of Monday, July 6th all of the acute-care hospitals in the state have become tobacco-free campuses. The voluntary policies mean that smoking is not allowed in the more than 100 hospitals – including their buildings, sidewalks, entrances and parking lots.

The effort began three years ago and has been spearheaded by N.C. Prevention Partners, a nonprofit group based in Chapel Hill. The group received a grant from The Duke Endowment and partnered up with the N.C. Hospital Association to spread the initiative.

Meg Molloy, N.C. Prevention Partners’ president and CEO: “North Carolina (NC) is leading the nation in tobacco-free hospitals. With these policies in place, millions of visits to hospitals each year by patients, visitors and employees will be protected from exposure to harmful secondhand smoke.”

Reference: N.C. hospitals becoming tobacco-free zones by Vicky Eckenrode (, Star News Online, 7/5/2008.

Australia - illegal cigarettes readily available..

July 6, 2009 - Right in the middle of Australia's biggest city - Sydney you can walk into a shop and buy an illegal (illicit, black market, contraband) packet of under-the-counter cigarettes for $7. Apart from being much cheaper than the mainstream brands, which sell for about $13 a packet, they don't have any of those confronting health warnings.

The ready availability of illegal cigarettes, which are understood to be in stock near many housing commission estates around the country, runs counter to a blizzard of government policies designed to discourage smoking. These include a New South Wales (NSW) government ban on smoking in cars carrying children that started this week. (New South Wales - July 1, 2009 - Great Day for Tobacco Control..)

NSW will soon be the first state to introduce a ban on the display of cigarettes in shops, with other states to follow. On top of this, the Rudd government is widely expected to announce a sharp increase in taxes on cigarettes following the Preventative Health Task Force's final submission to Health Minister Nicola Roxon this week. There has been no increase in the tax for a decade.

Anne Jones, chief executive of anti-smoking lobby group ASH Australia, said selling cigarettes without health warnings was illegal in itself but on top of that the sellers of illegal cigarettes had evaded federal excise duty, which normally made up 69 per cent of the retail price, and had no doubt also failed to pay customs duties.

Inner-Sydney resident Les Shearman has been trying for years to expose the illegal cigarette trade because of his concern about its impact on his friends' health. He believes the ready availability of cheap cigarettes is a major factor in their excessive smoking.

The Weekend Australian accompanied Mr Shearman while he purchased an illegal packet from Broadway Tobacco, located on one of the city's busiest thoroughfares. It took only seconds for him to purchase the pack from the woman behind the counter. No questions. No fuss. "They are incredibly easy to get," he said.

While there are a number of illegal brands, the cigarettes on this occasion were called Magna . They come in a plain red packet with no details apart from the name. They can be bought on the internet for as little as $US12.50 ($15.65) a carton.

While an occasional smoker himself, Mr Shearman said the multi-million-dollar illegal tobacco trade, both for "chop chop" and filter cigarettes, was having a bad impact on many of his neighbours. "I noticed that a lot of my male friends who are exclusively smoking illegal tobacco were developing hacking coughs," he said. "The cough is indicative of the volume they are smoking. It is a real, racking smoker's cough.

"We are talking about a group of people without much cash, and cigarettes at half the price is very attractive."

Ms Jones said price was the single biggest issue affecting tobacco consumption.

"Children are the most price responsive of all," she said. "Illegal cigarettes are being sold to low-income people, who not only as smokers will die a decade earlier than the average citizen, but will spend the last 10 years of their life with a chronic disease burden, desperately sick and unhappy."

Ms Jones said she could not understand why the government was allowing the illegal trade to flourish so blatantly.

Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney's School of Public Health said the laws were so easy to flout because the government was not taking its inspection duties seriously. "If it is so easy for the likes of you and me to find a shop selling illegal cigarettes, why is it so difficult for the Australian Federal Police to find them?" Professor Chapman said. "The answer is they have just not got their eye on the ball."

Another ban not enforced: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia - Councils responsible for Sydney's beaches have not fined one smoker, four years after the ban was introduced. (Cigarette beach ban goes up in smoke in Sydney, The Australian, 1/11/2009.

Reference: Illegal cigarette trade has plenty of puff, John Stapleton, The Australian, 7/4/2009.

Australia - More on federal tobacco tax increase..

July 6, 2009 - Australia may increase the price of cigarettes to help cut the number of smokers by 1 million people, the Australian newspaper reported, citing the Preventative Health Taskforce discussion paper.

The government may increase the price of a packet of 30 cigarettes to A$20 ($16), or raise the average price of a single smoke from 45 Australia cents to 67 cents, which would net an extra A$1.97 billion in taxes, the newspaper said.

Plain labeling of cigarette packets, a ban on internet sales and media campaigns are also recommended by the taskforce, the newspaper reported.

Kidney Health Australia said it would back any move to increase the tax on cigarettes, taking them to more than $20 a packet, to cut their use in the community - especially in children in the future. (Cigarette tax backed, Kidney Health Australia, 7/6/209)

See related story: Australia - federal government is currently analyzing recommendations for reducing smoking...

Reference: Cigarette Price Rise Considered by Government, Australian Says by Ben Sharples,, 7/6/2009.


Joel Nitzkin, M.D. - arguments against the new law to have the FDA regulate the tobacco industry..

July 6, 2009 - As we all know President Obama signed into law a bill that gives the U.S. government broad regulatory power over cigarettes and other tobacco products. Obama said the law would curb the ability of tobacco companies to market their products to children.

But several public health professionals have come out strongly against the new legislation. They argue that it was largely shaped by Philip Morris, now called Altria Group, the largest cigarette company in the country.

Democracy Now speaks with Dr. Joel Nitzkin, chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force of the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP).

Reference: Up in Smoke: How the Tobacco Industry Shaped the New Smoking Bill,, 7/2/2009.


Indonesia - Industry minister to close tobacco to new foreign investment..

July 5, 2009 - Indonesian Industry Minister Fahmi Idris said Thursday that he will propose closing the cigarette industry for new foreign direct investment in order to protect existing producers.

Idris added that his ministry will also propose six other industries, such as sugar refinery and pulp-making, to be closed for foreign investors.

Such a proposal will be subject to approval by the president.

There are now around 8,000 local cigarette producers, Idris said, and they are mostly small companies.

Such a proposal will be subject to approval by the president.

There are now around 8,000 local cigarette producers, Idris said, and they are mostly small companies.

Phillip Morris International and British American Tobacco Plc (BAT.LN) are the biggest foreign investors in the industry and have majority stakes in two large local producers.

Philip Morris International (PMI) back in March of 2005 purchased an Indonesian company PT HM Sampoerna.Phillip Morris acquired a 98% stake in PT HM Sampeorna (HMSP.JK) for $4.8 billion in 2005, and BAT last month bought an 85% stake in PT Bentoel International Investama (RMBA.JK) for $494 million.

Reference: Indonesian Min: To Propose Closing Cigarette Indus For New FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) by Jakarta Bureau; Dow Jones Newswires, Wall Street Journal, 7/2/2009.

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