Daily tobacco use can lead to chronic lower back pain..

October 24, 2009 - A Canadian study published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine has identified a higher rate of chronic lower back pain among people who smoke every day, particularly the young.

PAPER: Cigarette smoking and chronic low back pain in the adult population Fahad Alkherayf, Charles Agbi, Clinical & Investigative Medicine, Vol 32, No 5 (2009), ABSTRACT..

Professor and Director Michael Cousins of the Pain Management Research Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia said the research suggested their smoking was interfering with pain transmitters, causing osteoporosis or affecting their spine-related blood circulation. The condition resulted in chronic lower back pain which could also trigger a "downward spiral" in a person's life, he warned.

Cousins: "Chronic pain is now regarded as a disease in its own right. Patients with it rapidly progress into a downward spiral of physical, psychological and environmental changes, resulting in major deterioration of all life activities, in their work, family and community roles."

Researchers used health survey data from more than 73,000 people aged 20-59 to look for any link between smoking and back pain. They found that while 15.7 per cent of non-smokers reported chronic pain, for daily smokers the figure was 23.3 per cent and the association was stronger in younger adults. The study was controlled to ensure weight, fitness, education and other factors which can differ between smokers and non-smokers did not skew the results. "Back pain treatment programs may benefit from integrating smoking habit modification," the researchers said.

Lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia said the finding was significant as back pain was experienced by four out of five Australians. It was also a major cause of work absence and productivity loss, with the combined health and workplace cost estimated at more than $9 billion a year. ASH chief executive Anne Jones: "This study further strengthens the case for stepping up the fight against tobacco at all levels," said ASH chief executive Anne Jones.

Jones: "This should include an immediate tax increase and making all workplaces comprehensively smokefree in line with our commitment to the international anti-tobacco treaty."

Reference: Smoking linked to chronic lower back pain by Danny Rose, News.com.au, 10/24/2009.

Ireland - Cigarette pricing rule a risk to free competition..

October 24, 2009 -

Under an agreement reached with the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers' Advisory Committee, the Ireland's Department of Health has set a minimum price for the sale of 20 cigarettes of about €1.30. This price was set by using information on volume sales supplied by the tobacco companies for filtered and unfiltered cigarettes. The Government says the agreement with the tobacco manufacturers was made for the primary purpose of preventing low-cost selling of tobacco products in Ireland. By setting a minimum retail price for a packet of 20 cigarettes it undermines the ability of retailers to provide special cut- price offers on certain brands. Price control is also seen as a viable way to protect children from becoming addicted to cigarettes and to encourage existing smokers to quit, according to the Department of Health. EU warns Ireland over its tobacco price policy, Yesmoke.eu, 12/19/2006)

Europe Court has now said that the policy of setting a minimum price on tobacco products distorts competition, a preliminary opinion. The imposition by the Government of binding prices restricts manufacturers’ freedom to set prices, thereby posing a risk to free competition, according to Juliane Kokott, advocate general of the European Court of Justice.

Price control is also seen as a way to protect children from becoming addicted to cigarettes and to encourage smokers to quit, the department said. However, in her decision, Ms Kokott says minimum prices are not necessary because protecting public health can be equally and less intrusively attained by raising taxes.

The opinion of the advocate general is not a final judgment, although the court, to follow next March 2010, follows it in the vast majority of cases. Costs in the case were awarded against Ireland. A NEW court ruling could spark a price war on cigarettes in Ireland with disastrous effects for people's health, anti-smoking group Ash Ireland has warned.

Although this is an interim opinion, it could open the way for cigarette sellers to start discounting heavily on price, which could lead to more young people taking up the habit and reducing the incentive to quit, said Dr Angie Brown of Ash.

The Ireland's Department of Health said it was examining the opinion. “This opinion is at an intermediate stage in the process and the judgment of the court is still awaited,” a spokeswoman said. Setting a minimum retail price for cigarettes undermines the ability of retailers to provide cut-price offers on certain brands.

The European Commission took Ireland to the court in 2008 over its policy of setting a minimum price on tobacco products to protect public health.

A spokesman for cigarette firm John Player Sons said the main issue for the industry was illegal cigarette selling.

“While we don’t oppose the commission’s view that tobacco manufacturers should have the freedom to determine retail prices for their products, the fact remains that the real minimum price for 20 cigarettes in Ireland is the street price of €4-€5, due to widespread illegal cigarette selling.

“This greatly incentivises [provides incentive for] criminals by giving them huge margins while denying Government badly needed revenues. One in four cigarettes smoked in Ireland today is not even bought in an Irish shop.”

Reference: Cigarette pricing rule a 'risk' to free competition, PAMELA NEWENHAM and PAUL CULLEN, IrishTimes.com, 10/23/2009; EU ruling 'will spark cigarette price war' by Aideen Sheehan, Independent.ie, 10/23/2009.

Some Ireland related news briefs:
Ireland - people responding well to the ban on cigarette displays..;
Ireland - Philip Morris and retailer to file lawsuit to challenge tobacco display ban..;
Ireland - Prof Clancy not enough spent on prevention..;
Ireland - tobacco vendors must register by October 1, 2009..;
Children - exposed to cigarette smoke in cars have greater chance of respiratory distress..;
Ireland - tobacco companies not helping small retailers - display ban..;
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...


Maine - conference on a class-action lawsuit against the makers of light cigarettes..

October 24, 2009 - BANGOR, Maine— Attorneys from around the country descended Wednesday, October 21st on the federal courthouse in Bangor for a conference on a class-action lawsuit against the makers of light cigarettes.

It is the first multidistrict litigation case ever assigned to U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Multidistrict litigation, or MDL, is the label the federal judiciary gives cases filed against the same party or parties in federal courts around the nation. Once cases have been combined, a three-judge panel assigns them to one federal judge.

At least 20 lawsuits from around the country have been combined in Bangor. The MDL has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, who has not handled one since his appointment to the federal bench in 2003. Moreover, the original Maine case that led to the 20-case MDL is once again in the hands of Woodcock, whom the U.S. Supreme Court reversed last year.

In a 5-4 a split won by the court’s liberals, the justices ruled in December that smokers may use state consumer protection laws to sue cigarette makers for the way they promote “light” and “low tar” brands. The Altria Group Inc. argued on behalf of its Philip Morris USA subsidiary that the lawsuits are barred by the federal cigarette labeling law, which forbids states from regulating any aspect of cigarette advertising that involves smoking and health.

Tobacco litigation in federal court is not unusual. Cigarette cases regularly are filed in state and federal courts around the country. It is unusual for the first case in the nation against a particular tobacco company to be filed in Maine.

Bangor lawyer Samuel W. Lanham Jr. filed the lawsuit in August 2005 on behalf of Lori A. Spellman of Levant and Stephanie Good and Allain L. Thibodeau, both of Bangor. Each smoked Marlboro Lights for 15 years or more. The plaintiffs are not seeking damages for personal injuries or health problems caused from cigarette smoking. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that they were hoodwinked into thinking that “light” cigarettes contained less tar and nicotine than full-flavor cigarettes. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified compensatory, punitive and other damages. (U.S. Supreme Court: Good v. Altria Group..)

Woodcock granted summary judgment in the cigarette makers’ favor in 2006. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling the next year and attorneys for the tobacco firm appealed to the nation’s highest court. It was the first case argued during the U.S. Supreme Court’s term last year.

The meeting Wednesday, October 21st was purely about scheduling — which motions the judge will hear first, when briefs must be filed, how often Woodcock will hold conferences with attorneys, and which attorneys on both sides will act as liaisons from the court to the more than 25 attorneys scattered throughout the country.

The case is not expected to be decided anytime soon.

No hearings in the case will be held until January or February. Once Woodcock rules on whether the facts in a landmark case upheld earlier this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C., Circuit can be applied to the MDL case, his decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. That decision also could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys appeared visibly relieved when Woodcock, a Bangor native, said he would conduct monthly conferences via telephone and they would not have to fly to Bangor.
“I’m sure it would be helpful to the Bangor economy to have you all come her once a month, but I don’t think that’s the most efficient use of your clients’ money,” he said.

Related news brief: Law Suit Filed Against Philip Morris USA, Inc. - Marlboro Lights...

National tobacco case to be heard in Bango
by Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News (The Associated Press contributed to this report), 10/22/2009.

Mastic NY man arrested illegally trafficking in untaxed cigarettes..

October 24, 2009 - SUFFOLK COUNTY, New York—-A 33-year old Mastic man will be arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip Thursday following his arrest Wednesday, October 21st for illegally trafficking in untaxed cigarettes.

The Poospatuck Reservation is an Indian reservation in the community of Mastic, Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 271 at the 2000 census. Mastic, NY

Ronald E. Bell Jr. was taken into custody following an investigation by the Tax Crimes Unit of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County Police Department, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the US Postal Service and the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

During the execution of a search warrant Wednesday afternoon at Bell’s establishment, Flying Arrow Smoke Shop, 130 Poospatuck Lane, Mastic, investigators seized 5,850 cartons, or 1,117,000 individual cigarettes.

Bell is currently on parole for a conviction in 2007 for possessing and transporting more than 20,000 untaxed cigarettes. Bell will be arraigned Thursday, October 22nd in courtroom D-11 on one charge of possession and transportation of untaxed cigarettes, and one charge of attempting to evade New York State Cigarette Tax Laws.

Reference: Mastic Man Charged In Trafficking Untaxed Butts, NorthCountrygazette.org, 10/21/2009.

Mastic NY related news briefs:
NYC Area - more counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes seized..;
NYC - wins round in fight against Indian Tobacco Vendors..;
PM USA found more counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes in the NYC area..;
Philip Morris USA sues over counterfeit Marlboros..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;


Indian government tries to rein in tobacco growers with new penalty..

October 23, 2009 - India is the third largest producer and eighth largest exporter of tobacco and tobacco product in the world.. India is the fourth largest consumer of tobacco in the world.

The Indian government will impose a penalty of 15 per cent on the money earned by growers from the sale of flue-cured tobacco in excess of the quota allotted to them by the Tobacco Board, according to a PTI (Press Trust of India) story.

The penalty was five percent in respect of the 2008-09 season in Andhra Pradesh but farmers exceeded the quota anyway, tempted by huge increases in prices. PENALTIES ON TOBACCO GROWERS..

In announcing the new penalty, the Tobacco Board Chairman, J. Suresh Babu, said that as a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, India was under international pressure to bring down tobacco cultivation.

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Trivedi back on September reiterarated that India was committed to bringing down tobacco production, There was a need to focus on finding alternative livelihood for millions of farmers and cottage industry workers, engaged in tobacco related activities. ((India committed to reducing tobacco production: Minister, United News of India (UNI), newKerala.com, 9/16/2009)

Reference: India tries to rein in growers with new penalty, Tobacco Reporter, 10/22/2009.

Click to enlarge image; Children wearing skeleton masks participate in an awareness rally on World No Tobacco Day, in Calcutta, India, Sunday, May 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)


Ontario's Peel Region's general committee for now rejects banning smoking in multi-unit dwellings..

October 23, 2009 - Back on October 20th we reported that Peel's (Peel region is a regional municipality in Southern Ontario) top public health officials are lobbying to ban smoking from apartments and condos in an effort to limit second-hand smoke inhalation.

On Thursday, October 22nd the Peel Region's general committee rejected the idea of passing a bylaw banning smoking in such buildings because officials said restricting tenants' rights to do what they wish in their own homes wouldn't stand up in court. But the committee will ask the province for legislation that would protect residents of multi-unit buildings from second-hand smoke through various measures such as changes to the Ontario Building Code.

A decision by Waterloo to phase out smoking in social housing by requiring tenants after April 1 to sign leases with no-smoking provisions, and a similar proposal being considered in Hamilton, will have a "domino effect," predicts Pippa Beck, policy analyst for the non-smokers' group.

"Every day we're getting calls from tenants and condo owners who are desperate to escape the smoke," she said.

Building code changes that would require retrofitting ventilation systems in old buildings and ensure that new ones are capable of filtering out second-hand smoke are among the measures that could be taken, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said.

Landlords can declare their buildings smoke-free, but don't have the legal right to evict someone for smoking, said Brad Butt, whose Greater Toronto Apartment Association represents 230 companies that own 160,000 units. Butt: "The rights of tenants within the sanctity of their own homes are supreme."

Pippa Beck disagrees, saying her own study of case law over the past five years shows landlords do have the right to enforce no-smoking provisions that are stated in leases.

Reference: Peel rejects proposal to ban smoking in tenants' homes, theStar.com, 10/23/2009.


Thailand - Tobacco Expo organizers and guests must obey all tobacco control laws..

October 23, 2009 - Back in August 2009 we reported that the credibility of Thailand's anti-smoking policy is being questioned after it was revealed the country is hosting a major tobacco promotional event in November 2009. Map of Thailand..

Now the Public Health Ministry is warning the organiser of an Asian tobacco exhibition against breaking the laws covering the advertising of tobacco products and smoking during its three-day event next month. The Disease Control Department has sent a letter to the Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre asking it to inform the organiser, US-based Tobacco Reporter magazine, about the restrictions on tobacco promotion, public health spokesman Supan Srithamma said.

Mr Supan yesterday said public health officials would work with police in "inspecting and arresting" violators of the law at Tabinfo Asia 2009 in mid November.

The two applicable laws are the 1992 Tobacco Products Control Act, which controls the advertising and marketing of tobacco products, and the 1992 Non-Smokers' Health Protection Act, which sets out to prevent non-smokers, especially in public places, from being exposed to tobacco smoke.

The Non-Smokers' Health Protection Act prohibits smoking in an exhibition area. Smoking is only allowed outside an exhibition building, and should not disturb people or be located in areas easily noticed by visitors to an exhibition, said Panuwat Panket, director of the tobacco consumption office.

The Tobacco Products Control Act does not allow tobacco advertising in the form of posters, leaflets or video presentations during an exhibition or an academic conference.

Reference: Where there is smoke, there will be fire, BNangkok Post, 10/20/2009.

Some Thailand news briefs:
Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
Thailand - hosting major tobacco promotion event in November 2009..;
Thailand Tobacco Monoploly - union concerned about privatization..;
Thailand - monks sickly from tobacco smoking and/or smoke exposure..;
Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..;
Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..;
Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..;
Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

PMI - q3 2009 earnings results..

October 23, 2009 - Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI), which sells L&M, Parliament, Virginia Slims as well as Marlboros and other brands abroad, said Thursday, October 22nd its third-quarter profit fell nearly 14 percent as the stronger dollar shrunk profit earned in other currencies. PMI, the world's largest non-state-owned tobacco company, said sales volume was hurt by price increases and economic weakness, particularly in Spain and Ukraine.

Excluding acquisitions, Philip Morris' cigarette shipment volume fell 4 percent in the quarter. That was steeper than a 3 percent decline Gorham expected. The company also cited the weak Japanese economy and a shift in the timing of the Ramadan holiday for falling volume in Asia. The year-to-date decline is 2.1 percent, which Chief Executive Louis Camilleri said was more in line with the company's expectations for the full year.

Philip Morris shipped 219.3 billion cigarettes in the quarter, 2.9 percent less than a year earlier, as declines in Europe and the Middle East were offset by a rising volume in Latin America and Canada from its acquisition of Rothmans Inc. during the third quarter last year.

Slide presentation 2009 PMI 2009 Third-Quarter Report - October 22, 2009..


Canada - tobacco companies may face C$200 billion in claims..

October 22, 2009 - Tobacco companies that operate in Canada may face at least C$200 billion ($192 billion) in claims from governments seeking compensation for treatment of smoking-related illnesses and lost taxes from smuggling, an Ontario judge said. “On these two tracks, we have to be talking a couple hundred billion,” Superior Court Judge Peter Cumming said at a hearing in Toronto today.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, has sued tobacco manufacturers and is seeking C$50 billion to cover the costs of treating smokers in the government-funded health-care system for cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. British Columbia was the first province to sue and is seeking unspecified damages as is New Brunswick. Quebec has said it plans to sue and will likely seek about C$30 billion, said Laura Donaldson, an attorney for British Columbia.

The tobacco companies may also face further claims from provinces alleging they lost taxes because the companies exported Canadian cigarettes to the U.S. in the 1990s, knowing they would be smuggled back into Canada for resale on the black market. Provinces also claim smuggling led to an increase in smoking among youth, adding to the health-care costs.

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. and Rothmans agreed last year to pay about C$1.15 billion in fines and penalties to settle a federal smuggling case. JTI-MacDonald, the Canadian unit of Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI) and the third-biggest Canadian cigarette manufacturer, wasn’t a part of the settlement.

JTI won bankruptcy protection in 2004 after Quebec’s Ministry of Revenue demanded a C$1.4 billion payment for lost taxes from smuggling. The company said it had C$1.81 billion in assets and C$1.8 billion in liabilities.

Canadian provinces trying to force JTI to settle these health-care claims. (Canada Provinces Accused of Misusing JTI Bankruptcy (Update2) by Joe Schneider, Bloomberg.com, 10/20/2009)

JTI assumed all the liabilities in a 1999 restructuring when debt from companies associated with Japan Tobacco was imposed on the Canadian unit to make it judgment-proof, Donaldson said. (May 12, 1999 - RJR Nabisco sells international tobacco business to Japan Tobacco..

British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick asked the judge to put a time limit on new health-care recovery lawsuits and allow pending claims to be included among the creditors in JTI’s bankruptcy. The company, Canada’s federal government and Ernst & Young Inc., the accounting firm appointed by the court to oversee JTI’s operations while in bankruptcy, opposed the request.

The provinces are concerned the smuggling claims may be settled for pennies on the dollar and nothing will be left for the health-care claims if they’re not included among the creditors, Davidson said.

“I don’t want to clutter up the disposition of the smuggling case,” Cumming said. “There’s so much horse-trading here.”

The judge reserved his decision, saying it will take some time to consider the request. He noted there wasn’t any urgency in disposing of the request.

The case is Between JTI-MacDonald and the Attorney General of Canada, 04-cl-5530, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto)

Reference: Tobacco Companies May Face C$200 Billion in Canadian Claims by Joe Schneider (jschneider5@bloomberg.net), Bloomberg.com, 10/21/2009.

North Carolina - Charlotte - possible ban of street smoking on campus..

October 22, 2009 - When N.C. restaurants and bars go smoke-free at the start of 2010, smokers might find another place they aren't welcome: part of Elizabeth Avenue and its sidewalks. Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) campuses are going tobacco-free next year, and the school asked the city of Charlotte to ban smoking on Elizabeth Avenue from Kings Drive to Charlottetown Avenue, where it bisects its central campus. CPCC's ban in January includes not only buildings, but also campus sidewalks and outdoor common areas.

If the City Council approves the ban, Charlotte would be among the first cities in the country to ban smoking on a city sidewalk or street. The city currently can regulate smoking in government buildings. When North Carolina's new smoking law takes effect Jan. 2, local governments could prohibit smoking in parks. But it's unclear whether governments can prohibit smoking on other public property - such as sidewalks or streets.

CPCC leaders worry that if students can smoke only on the sidewalk, it will undermine the campus smoking ban, turning Elizabeth into an ashtray.

N.C.'s new law will ban smoking in restaurants and bars - a move that many other states made years ago. But if Charlotte moves forward with an Elizabeth Avenue ban, it would propel the city into the forefront of anti-smoking efforts around the country, said Cynthia Hallett, the executive director of the California-based Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.

New York City is considering banning smoking in parks, and the California municipality of Santa Cruz recently banned smoking on two streets.

Smoking isn't allowed today in CPCC's buildings. At CPCC's Information Technology building on the corner of Elizabeth Avenue and Charlottetown Avenue, the school has already banned smoking immediately outside the doors, under a portico.

But trash cans are covered with cigarette butts. People have to take only one step onto the city sidewalk to legally smoke.

UNC Charlotte prohibits smoking in almost all buildings. But the university doesn't have any city-owned streets through campus, so it wouldn't lobby the city for an Elizabeth Avenue-style ban, spokesperson Paul Nowell said.

Reference: No lighting up, even on sidewalk? CPCC goes smoke-free next year, wants city to extend ban to a section of Elizabeth Avenue by Steve Harrison
(sharrison@charlotteobserver.com), Charlotte Observer, 10/22/2009.


Malaysia - Kelantin State Government may not promote staff who smoke..

October 22, 2009 - Kelantan is a state in Malaysia - the capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. (Malaysia is a federation which consists of thirteen states and three federal territories.) The Islamic Party of Malaysia also called the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has been power for many years, Kelantan is also Malaysia's most socially conservative and Islamic state. (Kelantan)

The PAS government is studying the possibility of penalising state government servants by not promoting them if they are smokers.

State Women’s Development, Family and Health committee chairman Wan Ubaidah Omar said the government was serious in getting the masses to quit smoking. “The federal and state governments have done a lot to discourage people from smoking and it may be time to take punitive measures,” said Wan Ubaidah during the State Legislative Assembly meeting in Kota Darul Naim (Kota Darul Naim is Kelantan's state secretariat building complex. It is located in Kota Bharu.)

Wan Ubaidah (PAS-Kijang) said this in response to a supplementary question from Abdul Fattah Harun (PAS-Bukit Tuku) who suggested penalising civil servants in line with the proposal by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat that PAS leaders who smoked not be given a chance to contest in any general election. “All the anti-smoking campaigns seem to be going nowhere. I would like to suggest that state leaders set a condition that any assemblyman or civil servant who smokes will not be considered for a promotion,” he said.

Earlier, in reply to the original question by Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad (PAS-Gaal) about the state government’s efforts to educate the public on the dangers of smoking and measures taken to get smokers to kick the habit, she replied the government had recently organised a state-level workshop for 90 imams to disseminate information on the dangers of smoking. “I am very disappointed that all the anti-smoking campaigns don’t seem to have worked as based on studies almost half of the male population in Kelantan are smokers,” she added.

She said the state government had also disallowed smoking in hospitals, clinics, business premises and public areas.

Reference: Kelantan govt may not promote staff who smoke, theStarOnline, 10/22/2009.

Malaysia - related news briefs:
Malaysia - excise duty increased on tobacco - another increase could be coming this month..;
Malaysia - smoking limits your quality of life..;
Malaysia - smoking civil servants in Penang to receive free nicotine treatment..;
Malaysia - illicit cigarettes, BAT wants government to slow excise duty increases..;
Peninsular Malaysia - one of three cigarette packs is either contraband or fake..;
Komtar, Penang, Malaysia smoking ban strictly enforced..;
Malaysia student forced to smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours..
Malaysia - PSD and Cuepacs are at odds over the no-smoking rule at government de­­partments and agencies..;
Malaysia: Are tobacco control measures working? - WHO thinks so...;
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...Peninsular Malaysia - one of three cigarette packs is either contraband or fake..;
Komtar, Penang, Malaysia smoking ban strictly enforced..;
Malaysia student forced to smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours..
Malaysia - PSD and Cuepacs are at odds over the no-smoking rule at government de­­partments and agencies..;
Malaysia: Are tobacco control measures working? - WHO thinks so...;
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...


Reynolds American Inc. - q3 2009 earnings results..

October 22, 2009 - Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) posted better-than-expected profits and raised their year outlooks, as pricing remained strong but volumes lagged. Reynolds American Inc saw cigarette sales volume decline more than expected in the third quarter, as a tough economy and tax hikes prompted some smokers to switch to lower-priced brands.

Susan M. Ivey, RAI’s chairman, president and CEO: “This year has been marked by unprecedented increases in excise taxes on tobacco products, an extremely weak economy and intense competitive activity,” said “But the strength of our strategies and our operating companies’ brands has allowed us to continue to perform well even in these difficult times.” Ivey attributed Reynolds' third-quarter performance to improved operating margins, market share gains in some brands, and improved volume and market share for its moist snuff tobacco.

Cigarette volume fell 11 percent at Reynolds, nearly double the 5.6 percent decline anticipated by Credit Suisse analyst Thilo Wrede. The company estimated that its 11 percent drop in volume was better than the industry's overall decline, which it pegged at 12.6 percent. Camel lost 0.1 percentage point of market share in the U.S. and ended the quarter with 7.7 percent, according to data from Information Resources Inc. Pall Mall, which the company is aggressively promoting as a longer-lasting, more affordable cigarette, gained 2.3 points to end up with 5.0 percent of the U.S. market. The combined market share of Camel and Pal Mall is now at 12.7 percent - these brands have now grown to 45 percent of R.J. Reynolds’ total cigarette share.

In a conference call with investors, Ms. Ivey said she expects US cigarette demand to fall 8 percent to 9 percent per year and easing back to annual drops of 3 percent to 4 percent over the next few years.

R.J. Reynolds’ cigarette volume declined 9.1 percent, which was much more in line with the industry average of 8.9 percent. Reynolds' total third-quarter cigarette market share was 28.2 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the prior-year period, with growth-brand gains partially offsetting declines in the company’s support and non-support brands. (Total cigarette market share has remained relatively stable since the beginning of 2008.)

Net sales fell about 5 percent to $2.15 billion.

More cigarettes: Camel, the company’s leading premium brand, continued to show strength, with a third quarter total-tobacco market share of 8.0 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the prior year period, as performance from Camel Snus more than offset a modest cigarette decline of 0.1 percentage points. As stated, Camel’s third-quarter cigarette share was 7.7 percent.

Camel Crush, continues to perform well, with market share of 0.7 percent in the third quarter. Camel Crush uses R.J. Reynolds’ capsule technology to offer smokers the choice of regular or menthol with each cigarette. In August, the company expanded the use of this technology to Camel’s two core menthol styles to enhance the brand’s performance in the growing menthol category. These styles now offer adult smokers the option of adding more menthol flavor to each cigarette at any time.

Market share performance for the quarter? Susan Ivey: Camel was 1.43 share points in its menthol performance.

Pall Mall, R.J. Reynolds’ other growth brand, continues to perform very well. The brand’s high quality, great price and the fact that it lasts longer than other cigarettes, offers exceptional value to consumers. That makes Pall Mall especially appealing in the current economic environment. The brand’s third-quarter market share rose 2.3 percentage points from the prior-year period, to 5.0 percent.
Pall Mall began another pulse promotion (scheme of reducing price for a while and then after some smokers have switched raise the price) in October, and the company expects this to generate higher levels of trial and conversion. Pall Mall retains about half of its share gains from promotions, and the brand has added more
than 2 share points since its second-quarter promotion.

Pall Mall is now the leading value brand in the country. R. J. Reynolds’ support brands are showing continued stability with moderating share declines in keeping with the role they play in the brand portfolio strategy. The majority of the support brands declines came from two brands, Kool and Doral.

Conwood - Moist snuff: Bryan K. Stockdale, Conwood’s president and chief executive
officer: "Conwood’s third-quarter performance was highlighted by continued strong gains in moist snuff volume and share. Conwood’s total moist-snuff market share is now just under 30 percent, with Grizzly continuing to deliver exceptional growth.”

Grizzly continued to enhance its position as the moist-snuff category leader despite
substantial premium-brand price reductions and significant competitive promotions. Grizzly’s third-quarter share of 25.6 percent was up 2.1 percentage points from the prior-year period. Grizzly pricing and volume gains partially offsetting lower margins on premium Kodiak, as well as volume declines in roll-your-own and little cigars. The company reduced Kodiak’s price in the second quarter to make it competitive with other premium brands. Kodiak brand had a third-quarter share of 3.9 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the prior-year period. However, Kodiak’s share has increased by 0.2 percentage points since the brand’s April price reduction.

Stockdale: “Grizzly now accounts for more than half of the moist-snuff value (discount) segment, and it has captured about 85 percent of total category growth this year,” he said. “Grizzly has also enhanced its profitability with a June price increase of 10 cents a can.”

“Conwood’s latest premium introduction, Camel Dip, has delivered very encouraging
consumer response in its two lead markets,” Stockdale said. “Consumers like the innovative packaging and unique products, and we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen and learned to this point.” Conwood is confident that over time these product and packaging points of difference, supported by the heritage of the Camel brand, will help the company improve its position in the premium moist-snuff segment.

R.J. Reynolds Camel SNUS and Dissolvables.. Camel Snus, which was expanded nationally in the first quarter of this year, continues to gain
awareness and trial. Its third-quarter market share was 0.3 percentage points on a cigarette equivalent basis, which assumes that a tin of Camel Snus is equal to a pack of cigarettes. Camel Dissolvables — Orbs, Sticks and Strips — are currently in three lead markets. These products are made of finely-milled tobacco and completely dissolve in the mouth, offering consumers the most discreet and convenient way to enjoy tobacco today. “We’re excited about the potential of these new products, and we’re gaining valuable consumer insights about Dissolvables in their three lead markets.

Camel Snus went national earlier this year and have a share of three/tenths of 1% in the third quarter. That's on the cigarette equivalent basis that assumes a tin of Snus equals a pack of cigarettes.

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco: Susan Ivey delivered double-digit volume and earnings growth in the third quarter. (Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc. manufactures Natural American Spirit additive-free tobacco product.)

Reynolds American, Inc.Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript.


Richmond, California - may ban tobacco sales at pharmacies..

October 22, 2009 - The Richmond, California City Council took a cue from San Francisco and voted last night to ban cigarette sales at pharmacies. The council must approve the ordinance again at a future meeting before it will become law. Once the ordinance is adopted it will go into effect after 60 days.

But before the council approved the new ordinance, Council Member Ludmyrna Lopez tried to find out how many drug stores in the city would be affected. Neither council member Jeff Ritterman, who introduced the proposal, nor City Attorney Randy Riddle could tell Lopez exactly how many stores would be included under the law.
“I just asked the question and you don’t know how many pharmacies would be affected,” said Lopez. “I think that’s fair because if it is just one or two we don’t need an ordinance. I think we can just talk to them.”

The proposal is modeled after San Francisco’s landmark ordinance that made headlines and prompted lawsuits after the Board of Supervisors passed the same law last year.
The lawsuits have since been dropped, said Riddle, but Council Member Jim Rogers said he was concerned that the definition of a grocery store could potentially include chain drug stores such as Longs and Walgreens.

But Ritterman said that if the ordinance is working in San Francisco there’s no reason it won’t succeed in Richmond. Even though San Francisco has survived the legal challenges, Council Member Maria Viramontes said she is concerned that Richmond could be hit with lawsuits of its own. “When you start dealing with chain stores, they do throw out lawsuits. They do it all the time,” said Viramontes. “Do I want to sue San Francisco or do I want to sue Richmond?”

Resident Naomi Williams told the council she supports the ordinance. “The people who smoke and want to stop smoking, they go into the pharmacy to buy the patch and right next to the patch they find the cigarettes so they’re sending a mixed message,” said Williams. “It’s less than 10 percent of people that go into pharmacies to buy cigarettes anyways.”

But Tom Waller, another resident, spoke against the proposal. “I really worry about this slippery slope,” said Waller. “I understand that we want to put Richmond on the map in a leadership role. I think this puts Richmond on the map in a very negative way in terms of commerce. … I think this is a bad bad policy.”

Council Member Nathaniel Bates offered the lone dissenting voice against Ritterman’s proposal. “I just can’t support this,” said Bates. “I’m tired of these Socialist positions (that) keep on popping up where we’re going to save the world.”

Latest new brief on San Francisco: San Francisco - Philip Morris has dropped its lawsuit challenging San Francisco's prohibition on tobacco sales at pharmacies.. - see complete listing at bottom of this brief..

Reference: Richmond council votes to ban cigarettes at drug stores by Josh Wolf, RichmondConfidential.org, 10/21/2009.

Richmond, California related news brief:
Richmond, CA strictest secondhand smoking laws in the San Francisco Bay Area..

Australia - social cost of smoking $31 billion to economy..

October 22, 2009 - A Western Australia (WA) report that reveals the $31 billion social cost of smoking to the Australian economy is a mandate for tobacco taxes to be hiked, health groups say.

The Cancer Council of Western Australia today released what it says is the first independent analysis of economic arguments put forward by the tobacco industry.

The report was produced by internationally renowned health economists, Professors David Collins and Helen Lapsley, assessed the economic impact of both the tobacco industry and public health measures aimed at reducing tobacco use. It put the economic contribution of the tobacco industry at about $1 billion a year and the estimated social costs of smoking at $31 billion.

Cancer Council WA tobacco program director Denise Sullivan said the report debunked claims by the tobacco industry that higher tobacco taxes would be detrimental to the Australian economy. Ms. Sullivan: "The tobacco industry frequently employs economic scare tactics when policy makers are considering measures for reducing demand for tobacco, such as increases in taxes on the sale of tobacco. This report provides the evidence that there would be few, if any negative economic consequences in further measures to curb tobacco use in Australia."

Professor Helen Lapsley said tobacco control measures did not cause economic harm. "A fall in demand for tobacco, while significantly affecting the tobacco industry, will have very little, if any, negative economic impact," Prof Lapsley said. "Indeed, it is possible that the overall impact would be mildly positive."

Professor David Collins said the tobacco industry's arguments against increased taxes on the product were flawed. "The industry fails to take into account healthcare costs imposed on the community for the treatment of illnesses caused by tobacco," Prof Collins said.

Tobacco industry studies estimate cigarette and tobacco retailers provided 500,000 Australian jobs.

But Prof Lapsley said the number was overstated and the study found the industry was a minor and declining contributor to manufacturing output and employment, with profits largely remitted to parent companies overseas. Lapsley: "The figures put forward by the tobacco producers include jobs of those who sell materials to the industry as well as those at the retail level for whom only a fraction of their business depends on tobacco. It also ignores the fact that money saved by quitting or reducing smoking will be spent on other goods and services, themselves generating employment and tax revenues." (Report by Professors Lapsley and Collins: The costs of smoking to Australian society..)

Public Health Association of Australia president Mike Daube said the tobacco industry's arguments were misleading and based on self-interest. Professor Daube: "Big tobacco has opposed increased taxes on its products on the basis of the economic harm this would cause." "It's time for taxes on tobacco to be increased."

Prof Daube said Australia had not had a significant tax increase on tobacco for 10 years and was one of the lowest tobacco-taxing countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Dr. Daube: "This report gives the federal government a strong mandate for a significant tobacco tax increase, which will also enable them to spend more money on public health, including further action to reduce smoking, which still kills one in two regular smokers." "The only people with anything to lose with this strategy are the tobacco companies themselves."

The report found poorer consumers were more susceptible to tax increases and more likely to reduce consumption.

Australia - government's plan to reduce preventable illness will soon go to Parliament..

A study was commissioned by VicHealth found the economy would be $1 billion better off if the rate of smoking was cut by one third.

References: WA Cancer Council says smoking costs economy $31 billion Andrea Hayward, Sunday Times and PerthNow, 10/21/2009; Tobacco tax may help economy, Cancer Council Western Australia, ScienceAlert.com, 10/21/2009.

Western Australia related news briefs: (for other Australia related news briefs do a random search, simply enter the word Australia on the search line) Western Australia - kids no longer interested in smoking..; Western Australia - added sweetners make cigarettes easier to tolerate..; Western Australia - major tobacco companies were worried about tobacco controls...

Altria - q3 2009 earnings results..

October 21, 2009 - Altria profit higher but volume plummets. Reported results reflect higher operating companies income (OCI) from financial services and cigars, as well as the OCI contribution from the UST LLC (UST) acquisition, lower income taxes, higher earnings from Altria’s equity investment in SABMiller plc (SABMiller), and lower general corporate expenses, offset by higher interest expense, higher corporate exit costs, and lower OCI from cigarettes versus the prior-year period.

Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria: "The
premium brands of Altria`s tobacco operating companies, Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild, continue to display great strength in a challenging operating environment."

Philip Morris USA`s cigarette shipment volume in the third quarter of 2009 was negatively impacted by the Federal Excise Tax increase (FET), which occurred earlier this year, a decline in trade inventories, as well as changes to PM USA`s pricing and promotional strategies on its portfolio brands. PM USA`s third quarter domestic cigarette shipment volume of 37.5 billion units was 16.4% lower than the prior-year period, but was estimated to be down about 12% when adjusted for changes in trade inventories. Marlboro`s cigarette shipment volume was down 15% in the third quarter of 2009, but was estimated to be down about 10% when adjusted for trade inventory changes, which disproportionally impacted the brand. Parliament, Virginia Slims and Basic all lost market share compared to the third quarter 2008.

Total cigarette industry volume was down an estimated 10% in the third quarter
of 2009 versus the comparable year-ago period, when adjusted for trade inventory
changes. In the third quarter of 2008 the trade increased cigarette inventories,
while in the third quarter of 2009 the trade substantially reduced inventory

For the first nine months of 2009, PM USA`s domestic cigarette shipment volume
of 112.5 billion units was 12.5% lower than the prior-year period, but was
estimated to be down about 10% when adjusted for changes in trade inventories
and calendar differences. Total cigarette industry volume was down an estimated
8% in the first nine months of 2009 when adjusted for trade inventory changes
and calendar differences.

US Smokeless Tobacco Company's (USSTC`s) premium share of moist snuff tobacco (MST) in the third quarter of 2009 was unchanged versus the second quarter of 2009 at 48.4%. Copenhagen`s MST retail share increased 0.2 share points to 24.0% and Skoal`s MST retail share declined 0.2 share points to 24.4%. USSTC`s MST retail share in the third quarter of 2009 declined 0.3 share points to 55.6% versus the second quarter of 2009.

Cigars - Middleton`s third-quarter cigar volume increased 3.9% versus the prior-year period to 341 million units. For the first nine months of 2009, Middleton`s cigar shipment volume declined 3.9% versus the prior-year period. Volume results in the three- and nine-month periods were estimated to be relatively stable when adjusted for changes in trade inventories and Middleton`s migration to the Altria Sales & Distribution system, as well as the timing of promotional shipments. Middleton believes that the long-term growth rate for machine-made large cigars industry volume remained 3%, however, the industry growth rate has slowed after the FET increase.

Altria Group, Inc. Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript. - More information on webcast coming..

Related news brief: Preview - Altria - second quarter 2009 results..

Reference: Altria Reports 2009 Third-Quarter Results, Reuters, 10/21/2009.

Indonesia - PT BAT Indonesia to merge with PT Bentoel International Investama Terbuka...

October 21, 2009 - Cigarette maker PT BAT Indonesia (BATI.JK) said Tuesday it plans to merge with sister company PT Bentoel Internasional Investama ( RMBA.JK) in order to create a stronger entity.

"The combined market share of the two companies is expected to be around 8%," BAT Indonesia, a unit of British American Tobacco PLC (BTI), said in a joint statement with Bentoel.

It said each BAT Indonesia share will be exchanged for 7.68 Bentoel shares.

The merger proposal follows the 99.74% acquisition of Bentoel's shares in July by British American Tobacco.

Bapepam Logo

BAT said the merger is subject to approval from both shareholders of the companies and legal consent from the Indonesian Regulatory Authority for Indonesian Capital Market (Bapepam), the country's market watchdog.

The two companies will hold shareholder meetings December 4, 2009 for the approval of the merger plan. After the merger, Bentoel's assets will increase to IDR4.90 trillion from IDR2.35 trillion previously, the statement said.
In morning trade Tuesday, Bentoel shares were up 7.7% at IDR700 on the news.

Reference: UPDATE: BAT Indonesia To Merge With Bentoel To Boost Market Share by I Made Sentana; Dow Jones Newswires, 10/20/2009.

Indonesia related news briefs:
Indonesia - missing tobacco regulation in approved Health Law..;
Indonesia - section on tobacco in health bill disappears..;
Indonesia - Constitutional Court by close vote rules that tobacco ads can continue..;
Indonesia - parent smoking can negatively affect the nutrition of children..;
Indonesia - new council member suspect in cigarette fraud case..;
Indonesia - an NGO commission assists cigarettes must be banned in films..
Indonesia - a paradise for tobacco companies..
Indonesia - after buying cigarettes very little left for food..;
Indonesia - will they ratify the first world public health treaty..;
Indonesia - last paradise to smoke in public places in Southeast Asia..;
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...


Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Ending Tobacco Sponsorship..

October 21, 2009 - The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) announced last week that the US Smokeless Tobacco Company (USSTC), which recently merged with Altria Group, will not renew their national sponsorship agreement with the PRCA after 2009.

"We applaud the PRCA for ending tobacco sponsorship of its rodeos," said Andrea Craig Dodge, director of the Buck Tobacco Sponsorship Project. "Tobacco marketing including sampling booths, scoreboards, banners, and ads give young rodeo audience members the message that using tobacco is part of being an adult cowboy or rodeo fan."

For several years, a number of tobacco control advocates and community members have called for an end to tobacco sponsorship of rodeos. "Rodeo has been around since the 1800's - long before tobacco sponsorship of rodeos began in 1986," said "Cowboy Ted" Hallisey, director of Cowboy Ted's Foundation for Kids. "Without big tobacco, rodeos will move into mainstream sports because they will be more comfortable for children and families to attend," he said.

"Rodeo has been growing in popularity," said Dodge. "Now that the PRCA is ending its relationship with big tobacco, the sport will thrive even more."

Nationwide, 14 percent of boys age 12 to 17 use smokeless tobacco, and the rates are higher in rural states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Buck Tobacco Sponsorship Project, a program of the Public Health Institute, works to end tobacco sponsorship of rodeos and other family-oriented outdoor events. For more information, visit http://www.bucktobacco.org. To contact Buck Tobacco Sponsorship Project's Andrea Craig Dodge, call 510-302-3324 (office) or email her at acdodge@phlpnet.or.

Reference: Grassroots Activists Congratulate Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for Ending Tobacco Sponsorship, AScribe - The Public Interest Newswire, 10/19/2009.

FINAL - ASH UK favors e-cigarettes for inveterate smokers..

October 21, 2009 - ASH UK is at it again first they promoted snus and now e-cigarettes for inveterate smokers (smokers who either do not wish to stop smoking or find it very hard to do so). Tobacco harm reduction policies aim to reduce the prevalence of tobacco-related harm by encouraging inveterate smokers to adopt less harmful ways of obtaining nicotine.

While the ASH group in the United States and its leader, Prof. John Banzhaf III hold a large amount of contempt for e-cigarette products (electronic), the original chapter of ASH in the UK released a PDF file stating that the products could very well be a viable option for smokers who do not wish to quit or have not had success with cessation. (ASH UK was founded in 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). ASH continues to work closely with the RCP via its Tobacco Advisory Group. Dr. John Britton is the Chair of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians and Professor of respiratory medicine.)

If we could limit the distribution of harm reduction tobacco products to only inveterate smokers then all of us would be for the use of these products for this targeted population. But as we have learned tobacco companies have other plans. Even RCP's Dr. John Britton has noted: "It's their [tobacco companies] job to sell as much tobacco as possible, so they will be targeting non-smokers rather than current ones, that's the worry."

Briefly let's look how Camel SNUS has been promoted in the United States. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is targeting young adults smokers or non-smokers and any kids they can entice along the way. Note the tag line: Camel SNUS: "Pleasure for wherever."

Camel SNUS Guide to Dating - a mailing 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.

Ad from Entertainment Magazines:

Click on image to enlarge..

More - Advertisements in Entertainment Magazines..

Here's a SNUS Guide to Airports..

Camel SNUS Guide to Sweden..

Reynolds has tried every possible promotion to get as many cans as possible into the hands of the general public. Here's one coupon example :

Click on image to enlarge..

R.J. Reynolds sent female representatives to local bars, e.g., in Raleigh, NC passing-out free samples of either: 2-packs of cigarettes, 1-pack of cigarettes and 1-can of Camel SNUS or 2-cans of Camel SNUS.

Snus has been used in Sweden for over 200 years--it is part of their culture. Dr. Goran Boethius, pulmonary specialist and in Sweden Chairman of Doctors Against Tobacco: only five percent of all adult men in Sweden have quit smoking with the use of snus. (Sweden Tobacco Control 2006 Progress & Challenge - both are greater than ever)

Sir Alexander Macara: if legalized, snus might be taken up by people, especially the young, who might never have smoked tobacco but who may then progress to doing so.(BMJ 2008;336:359 (16 February)) The result of legalizing snus would be a generation of youngsters addicted to nicotine never able to reach their full potential. Are adults snoozing while kids are "snusing?"..

If we agree that our children are the future, then our highest priority has to be to keep children from beginning to use tobacco products. We can not have harm reduction tobacco products unless we can limit distribution to only inveterate smokers.

Much more supporting documentation can be found in the archive we maintain - do a random search..

Reference: ASH Agrees The E-Cigarette Is A Better Alternative To Tobacco, 24-7 Press Release, 10/19/2009.

Getting harder for tobacco users to find a job..

October 21, 2009 - There's a nationwide trend in the public and private sectors to try to lower health care costs by hiring employees who don't use tobacco products — and to encourage current employees to quit. In the U.S. each year, smoking results in $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in health care expenditures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking is the cause of one in five deaths annually or about 443,000 deaths a year, according to the CDC.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Wendell Hall will require his employees to pass on taking a puff. A policy that will go into effect January 1, 2010 will prohibit new employees — including deputies, jailers and civilian workers — from using tobacco products on or off the clock. The Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office policy is similar to a policy Pensacola, Florida police officers must adhere to. However, the police policy, which was implemented in 2003, does not apply to the department's civilian employees.

"I feel that we certainly have the right to be selective in not hiring those who are smokers, especially those who show evidence that they have been smoking for many years," Hall said. People already employed at the Sheriff's Office will not be allowed to smoke or use tobacco products at work, but the restriction will not apply to non-work hours. "It's a terrible habit," said Hall, who smoked for about a year. "We just want them to realize, if they could at all possibly give it up, they would be healthier and everybody around them would be healthier."

Kathy Marshall, a Santa Rosa deputy for the past 9½ years, estimates that more than half of current officers smoke. She does not smoke but is not a fan of the policy. "I think it's OK for an officer to smoke, but to do it in a private spot," she said.

Deputy Larry Owens, an 18-year deputy and a smoker, supports the new policy. "I agree with it 100 percent. It's just a matter of professionalism," he said. "I think an officer needs to project a professional image to the public, and I think it will be good. It won't affect me like it will the new hires, but that's something they'll have to deal with themselves."

New Sheriff's Office employees suspected of using tobacco products will have to submit to nicotine tests, Hall said. The first violation will result in a counseling session, the sheriff said. "We are not going to fire them the first time, I'm sure," he said. "But they will be dealt with."

Mary Ann Stalcup, the City of Pensacola's human resources director, said she could not find any records indicating that a police officer has ever been disciplined or fired for violating the policy. She also said the city does not have nicotine tests performed to see if officers are violating the policy.

Hall said he would like to institute other ways of creating a healthier work force, including requiring deputies to pass a regular physical fitness test. Police officers and deputies are required to pass a physical fitness test before they are hired but are not required to pass another test after they are hired.

Reference: Snuff 'em out, Santa Rosa sheriff tells employees
S.R. Sheriff's Office going tobacco-free
, Thyrie Bland (tbland@pnj.com), Louis Cooper contributed to this report, pnj.com, 10/20/2009.


PMI - preview q3 2009 results..

October 21, 2009 - Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is scheduled to report third-quarter results Thursday, October 22nd.

The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Philip Morris International — which sells Marlboros, L&M, Parliament and Virginia Slims outside the U.S. and has offices in Lausanne, Switzerland, and New York — is aggressively pursuing growth in emerging markets, while consumers in Europe are buying fewer cigarettes.

The company said in July that its second-quarter profit fell 9 percent as the stronger dollar sank profit earned in other currencies. The stronger dollar has hurt many companies that have large overseas businesses.

Most U.S. companies that sell goods internationally convert those sales from foreign currencies into dollars when they report their financial results. If the dollar strengthens relative to those currencies, revenue in those currencies translates into fewer dollars.

Philip Morris International is the world's second-biggest cigarette maker after the state-controlled China National Tobacco Corp. It was spun off in 2008 from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., owner of Philip Morris USA.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial on average expect Philip Morris International to post a profit of 89 cents per share for the third quarter on revenue of $6.71 billion. During the third quarter a year ago, the company earned $1.01 per share on revenue of $6.57 billion.

ANALYST TAKE: Credit Suisse analyst Thilo Wrede wrote in an Oct. 13 investor note that cigarette volume declines are still expected to decline and consumers to continue trading down in Eastern Europe. In western Europe, Canada and Japan volume declines are being offset by higher pricing, Wrede wrote.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. analyst Christopher Growe said in an Oct. 19 note to investors that while volumes will decline, he expects net sales to grow on higher pricing and cost cutting.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Wall Street will be watching the impact of recent acquisitions, exchange rates and sustainability of global tobacco consumption.

Philip Morris International finalized a deal in September to buy Swedish Match's South African snuff and pipe tobacco operations for roughly $222 million. Swedish Match South Africa Ltd. accounted for about 31 percent of total tobacco consumption in South Africa.

The companies are already partners in a joint venture to sell Swedish Snus and other smokeless tobacco products in markets outside the U.S. and Scandinavia. Tobacco makers have been seeking more smokeless products as demand for cigarettes has been threatened by smoking bans, higher taxes, health concerns and social stigma.

Philip Morris International also has said it would pay $452 million to buy privately owned Protabaco, a Colombian maker of Mustang, Premier and President cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the company is combating tobacco product display bans and has filed a lawsuit challenging an Irish display ban. There also are bans in Iceland and certain Canadian provinces.

Reefrence: Earnings Preview: Philip Morris International Inc. by MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, Associated Press, 10/20/2009.


RAI - preview q3 2009 results..

October 21, 2009 - Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) reports its third-quarter results on Thursday, October 22nd.

The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: The nation's second-biggest cigarette company offers such brands as Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit. It also owns Conwood Co., which makes Kodiak and Grizzly brand smokeless tobacco.

Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., is looking to grow market share and aggressively promotes its brands. Flagship brand Camel held 7.5 percent of the cigarette market in the second quarter, in line with a year earlier. Pall Mall's share climbed 2.6 percentage points to 5.2 percent.

The company's second-quarter profit climbed 4 percent because it raised prices and cut costs as sales volumes slipped and a 62-cent-per-pack federal tax took hold.
(Reynolds American Inc. Q2 2009 Earnings...)

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial on average expect Reynolds to post a profit of $1.17 per share for the third quarter on revenue of $2.19 billion. In the third quarter a year ago, Reynolds reported earning $1.19 per share on revenue of $2.25 billion.

ANALYST TAKE: Analysts expect the third quarter to be the first indicator of true cigarette volumes after declines in the first half of the year as the federal tax increase took effect April 1, 2009.

Credit Suisse analyst Thilo Wrede wrote in an Oct. 13 note to investors that the strength of Pall Mall could continue to offset declines in Reynolds' other brands. In an earlier note, Wrede said that the brand may be stronger than initially believed. "The promotions for Pall Mall appear to be more permanent in nature than initially thought and, even though we still believe that they do not maximize the short-term profit of the brand, we now see them as a successful — and profitable — long-term investment," Wrede said.

Wrede said he believes Reynolds' Grizzly brand is withstanding pricing competition better than expected but questioned whether the brand will be able to sustain if others like Altria Group Inc. permanently lower prices.

WHAT'S AHEAD: The industry continues to see the effect of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gaining the authority in June to regulate tobacco.

Reynolds and others opposed the legislation because it believed tighter regulations on marketing and product introductions could cement Altria's position as market leader.

Reynolds joined with Lorillard Inc. and smaller tobacco companies in a lawsuit in federal court in Kentucky challenging some marketing restrictions of the new law.

Wall Street will look at how smoking bans, tax increases and further regulation could affect cigarette volumes and profitability.

Reference: Earnings Preview: Reynolds American Inc. by MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, Associated Press, 10/21/2009.

Reynolds American's subsidiaries manufacture and market a variety of tobacco products.(wikinvest.com)

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (RJR) is the largest segment of the company and accounted for approximately 90% of sales in 2006. Its key brands include Camel, Kool, Winston, Salem, and Doral; also in smokeless tobacco arena Camel snus.

Conwood the company makes products in categories of smokeless tobacco, including moist snuff, dry snuff, and loose leaf tobacco. Conwood's largest brands are Grizzly, Kodiak, and Levi Garrett.

Santa Fe makes Natural American Spirit cigarettes, which are made of additive free and organic tobacco.

Lane makes specialize tobacco products such as roll-your-own and pipe tobacco, premium cigarettes, little cigars, and premium cigars.


San Francisco Bay area - hooked on hookah..

October 20, 2009 - Across the Bay Area and nation in recent years, hookah (argileh nargile, hubble-bubble, water pipe, hooka, shisha, goza, meassel, sheesha) lounges have become increasingly popular gathering places for college students too young to drink legally, transplanted Middle Easterners looking to indulge in a familiar pastime and even for veterans of the Iraq war, who learned to enjoy hookahs while overseas. The practice is believed to have originated in India and spread to the Middle East hundreds of years ago.

Hookah lounges in the Bay Area tend to cluster around universities such as Stanford, although there are many in San Francisco - from the Tenderloin to the Haight-Ashbury. High-tech workers and engineers such as Mohammad Aldossary, 25, a Stanford graduate student in petroleum engineering from Saudi Arabia, enjoy them, too.

The lounges are often classified as tobacco shops, allowing them to get around California's 1998 statewide ban on smoking in bars. Most cities prohibit the sale of food in such establishments. The sale of nonalcoholic beverages, however, is typically allowed as long as they do not make up a significant portion of revenues, and alcohol is prohibited, according to officials at the city attorney's offices in Palo Alto, Hayward and San Francisco.

To smoke, individuals and groups of people sit at a tall pipe with hoses containing removable plastic mouthpieces. The pipe's top contains a bowl of tobacco covered in foil and topped with hot charcoal that heats the tobacco when air is sucked through the hoses. The smoke is cooled through the water, resulting in a smooth inhalation of smoke flavored with a fruity essence, such as mango, watermelon or lemon mint. A bowl can last for 45 minutes and costs from $10 to $22, making it a cost-effective form of entertainment.

But like alcohol and tobacco, hookah smoke carries health risks. Proprietors claim that the tobacco, called shisha, is lower in tar and nicotine than mass-market cigarettes, and that the water filters out toxins, but the American Cancer Society's Web site states that "the water does not filter out many of the toxins. In fact, hookah smoke has been shown to contain concentrations of toxins, such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar, and heavy metals, that are as high or higher than are seen with cigarette smoke."

It further warns that users risk lung cancer and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, aspergillus (a lung fungus) and helicobacter (which causes stomach ulcers) from sharing pipes or from the fruity tobacco itself.

Reference: Bay Area hooked on hookah, Carolyne Zinko, Chronicle Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/18/2009.

A few related news briefs: College intramural or club sport students more likely less likely to smoke from hookah than cigarettes..; England - smoking a shisha pipe just as bad as smoking tobacco..; Mumbai, India - NGO activists want closure of hookah bars..; England - Shisha bars still open if comply with the smokefree legislation..; Hookah is worse than smoking cigarettes..; Sheesha (Shisha, Hookah, Narghile, Waterpipe) As Harmful as Cigarettes, says Expert..; Dangers of hookah (waterpipe) smoking - Harvard Mental Health Letter..; Hookah smoking popular among college crowd..; Hookahs on college campuses becoming growing public health issue...


Malta - adults smoking less but girls are smoking more..

Malta Coat-of-Arms, click to enlarge:

October 20, 2009 - The number of adults in Malta who smoke is appreciably on the decline but young people, particularly girls, are smoking more, a news conference yesterday was told. The news conference was given to promote World Heart Day (last Sunday in September), when radio and television stations will be running an advert to raise awareness regarding the dangers of cardiovascular diseases.

Health parliamentary secretary Joe Cassar said that not enough people in Malta are knowledgeable enough about the dangers their lifestyles can pose. “Cardiovascular diseases are still the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.5 million lives a year, even though the risk factors for heart diseases and strokes are well known.

“Recent statistics show that in 2007 in Malta, an estimated 21 percent of persons who passed away in that year had some form of cardiovascular-related disease or other. The Maltese government is treating this situation extremely seriously, with the investment in sophisticated machinery and advanced equipment in the field of cardiovalvulotomy (surgical correction of valvular stenosis by cutting or excising a part of a heart valve) being one of the highlights of the new Mater Dei hospital.

“However, our wish is not to cure cardiovascular-related diseases but to prevent such illnesses from cropping up in the first place. By increasing awareness throughout and promoting a vibrant educational campaign with school children at the centre of it all, the 21 per cent figure can be significantly reduced,” said Dr Cassar.

Speaking on behalf of the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Charmaine Gauci said that there are certain factors, contributing to cardiovascular diseases, which are impossible to prevent or change, citing age, gender and family history as prime examples.

“Nevertheless, we constantly encourage the population to adopt healthier lifestyles. Although there are currently 20.3 percent of adults who are smokers, this is in contrast to last year as the figure was estimated to be around 22.7 percent. Worryingly though, while the adult smokers have decreased, young people, particularly girls, are smoking more. Little do they know that they are increasing the risk of heart disease in the prime of their life,” said Dr Gauci.

“Stress management, eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and using less salt and processed foods can also reduce death by cardiovascular disease. Malta has one of the highest rates of child obesity in the world, and we continuously stress the need of at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, and 60 minutes for children,” she added.

Dr Cassar also took time to address the second food and water borne diseases and zoonoses (FWD) surveillance network conference, which is currently being held at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard. “Unfortunately in this day and age,” he said, “a lot of food is being processed industrially and the adequate transport facilities have contributed to the globalisation of food. This has increased the possibility of food being contaminated in one way or another, which leads to the outbreak of such diseases.”

Representatives from European Union countries, applicant countries and countries of the European Free Trade Area, as well as representatives from Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), were also in attendance.

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Reference: Adults in Malta smoking less, young people more by Scott Grech, Malta Independent Online, 10/20/2009.