Russia - Finance Ministry skeptical about raising taxes on tobacco..

January 30, 2010 - The Russian parliament's plans to sharply increase taxes on tobacco would create a boom in illegal trade in cigarettes and ultimately harm public health, according to the Finance Ministry. (Russia - tax on tobacco may be quadrupled..)

The State Duma is considering a bill to raise excise duties on tobacco threefold in 2011 as part of government efforts to improve public health in Russia, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the world. (In the Russian Federation - the Duma is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia.)

The ministry fears the bill would trigger a rise in illegal cigarettes sales, after similar laws have seen illegal tobacco markets thriving in the Baltics.

"High excise duties would prompt people to buy cheap and illicit tobacco products. This would hardly be to the benefit of public health," the ministry said in a report.

Cigarettes in Russia are the cheapest in the developed world, with smokers paying around a dollar for pack a that costs $8 in the United States. Russian filterless cigarettes - including the notorious "papirosy" - cost less than 30 cents a pack.

The World Health Organization says more than 60% of Russian men are smokers, and about 400,000 Russians die from smoking-related diseases annually. In April 2008, Russia signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control involving 172 UN member-states by that time. The Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, has submitted a bill stipulating a smoking ban in all public places. Considering the huge army of Russian smokers and an invisible, albeit extremely powerful tobacco lobby, the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, is unlikely to pass it anytime soon. (World No Tobacco Day, futile attempt to curb smoking, 5/29/2009)

With smoking and alcoholism cited as two of Russia's most widespread public health problems, Russian men have a life expectancy of only 60 years. President Dmitry Medvedev has begun to try to cut alcohol consumption, with a new law coming into effect on January 1 that set the minimum price of a standard half-liter bottle of vodka at 89 rubles (about $3).

Reference: Russian ministry opposes proposed hike in cigarette taxes Russian Information Agency Novosti (news) (RIA Novosti, 1/27/2010.

Related news briefs:
Russia - tax on tobacco may be quadrupled..;
Russia - tobacco epidemic with no solution in site..;
Russia - public health official discusses tobacco control..;
Russia - making it more difficult for servicemen to smoke..;
Russia - draft tobacco law being considered by Duma..;
Russia among top-10 smoking nations..;
Russian lawmakers discuss smoking ban for restaurants and bars..;
Russia passes new restrictions on tobacco..;
British American Tobacco (BAT) Misleading Russian Consumers..;
Russian State Duma (Parliament) ratified the framework convention of the World Health Organization (WHO) on tobacco control...


General Tobacco - will remove cigarette brands from certain states..

January 30, 2010 - January 25, 2010 - General Tobacco products is on its way to being barred from selling its cigarette products in 18 states over its failure to make payments under the multistate Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), which was created in 1998.

General Tobacco (GT) said Wednesday, January 27th it will comply with recent notices regarding the removal of its cigarette brands from certain state directories of approved brands for sale.

Some states have pursued additional payments from Mayodan-based General Tobacco related to the Master Settlement Agreement, a deal reached in 1998 when tobacco companies agreed to pay states for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. In a statement Wednesday, General Tobacco said it continues to dispute the validity of the agreement and maintains its claims that it is owed more than $95 million in overpayment to states.

“Consumers should not have to lose the choice of GT’s brands over what the company considers to be a bona fide dispute over the interpretation of the MSA and its validity under federal and state law,” said Ronald Denman, GT’s executive vice president and general counsel.

“Big Tobacco got away with billions in sales with no payments to the states before the MSA and is now squeezing its competitors out of business under the auspices of the MSA so that it can make many more billions.”

The de-listing does not pertain to the filtered cigars or pipe tobacco products sold by GT.

One of the states owed is Arizona. In May 2009 the Mayodan,NC based GT opened GT West, a distribution center for its complete line of products in Phoenix.

Reference: General Tobacco pulls brands amid dispute, The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area, 1/27/2010.

Some related news briefs:
General Tobacco - owes states $285 million..;
General Tobacco - last defendants dropped from cigarette antitrust suit..;
General Tobacco makes MSA payment in full..;
General Tobacco reaches deal with states on MSA;
Judge dismisses General Tobacco challenge to tobacco settlement..; General Tobacco lays off nearly 25% of work force..;
General Tobacco Sues 52 U.S Attorneys General and 19 Tobacco Companies..; N.C.'s General Tobacco Appoints New Sales Head..;
General Tobacco completes move to Mayodan, N.C..;
General Tobacco (GT) could “potentially” come out with snus type product..;


Canada - U of A - tobacco researcher leaves school - conflict of interest..

January 30, 2010 - Carl Phillips, a University of Alberta researcher who came to the university's School of Public Health with a $1.5-million grant from a U.S. tobacco firm has left his position. "As part of the mutually agreeable settlement, I voluntarily completely ended my affiliation with the UASPH (University of Alberta School of Public Health) moved my research lab from there," Carl Phillips wrote in an email to the CBC.

Phillips began his research at the university in November 2005 with a grant from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company. At the time, it was wholly owned by tobacco giant Phillip Morris International. [This statement is not correct Altria Group Inc (parent of Philip Morris USA) on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 completed its $10.4 billion acquisition of UST, Inc.]

Phillips researched the health effects of smokeless tobacco, and later the use of electronic cigarettes. "My only remaining involvement," he wrote, "takes the form of collaborations on a few ongoing projects with colleagues who are still there."

The decision brought kudos from Les Hagen, who speaks for the lobby group Action on Smoking and Health. Les Hagen, from Action on Smoking and Health, says the university did the right thing in allowing Phillips to leave the school. "I think the university has done the right thing," he told CBC News, adding that tobacco companies benefit from the credibility that can come from association with universities.

"If they can get some academic institutions and individuals — academics — to somehow endorse or support the development of their products, they can use that credibility to help sell those products," he said.

University officials confirmed the departure, but refused further comment.

Reference: Tobacco researcher leaves University of Alberta, CBC News, 1/26/2010.


Pakistan - over 273 people die daily of smoking related disease..

Over 273 persons succumb to smoking-related diseases daily in Pakistan, as the government has failed to implement proper rules and guidelines to ban cigarette smoking in the country.

Directly related news brief: Pakistan - implementation of tobacco control laws difficult..

Highlighting the government's failure in this regard, The Network (for consumer protection) Executive Director Dr Arif Azad said that a huge number of deaths can be prevented by dealing sternly with those agencies, which are not following its instructions to publish pictorial warnings.

"At least 273 people die daily of tobacco related causes in Pakistan. Delay in pictorial warnings means more preventable tobacco deaths," The Daily Times quoted Azad, as saying.

Azad said the tobacco industry was given a time period of six months to comply with the amendments but there has been no progress.

"It seems the tobacco industry has been given too much of a say over the pace and direction of the implementation process of pictorial warning," he added.

Reference: Over 273 people die daily of smoking related diseases in Pak, ANI (Asian News International), 1/29/2010.

Pakistan - related news brief:
Pakistan - implementation of tobacco control laws difficult..;
Pakistan - February, 2010 - graphic warnings on cigarette packs..;
Pakistan National Conference Tobacco Control, October 28th..;
Pakistan - pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and cartons soon..;
Pakistan - More, on rollback of the Statutory Regulatory Order on Designated Smoking Areas..;
Smuggled Cigarettes Give Boost To Pakistani Militants..;
Pakistan - strong tobacco control measures..;
Pakistan - Government must withdraw Statutory Regulatory Order..;
Bloomberg Grant: Tobacco Reforms in Pakistan...

European Union (EU) - “100 per cent smoke free environment”.

January 29, 2010 - The EU has declared war against smokers! Brussels wants to eliminate cigarettes with a ‘smoking police’, ashtray bans and high-publicity legal processes against celebrities who enjoy a puff.

A dossier (a collection of papers giving detailed information about a particular person or subject) with recommendations for the 27 member states has been released by the EU. The objective - a “100 per cent smoke free environment”.

Health ministers proposed the paper and the EU parliament has approved it. Member countries now have three years to bring the recommendations into their own legal systems, and in Germany it is set to spark a new debate over the controversial smoking ban.

The new 31-page document makes recommendations for drastic measures to ban smoking in all workplaces, public buildings and facilities:

• Fines: Anyone who breaks the ban will receive a fine. The penalties are intended to be high enough to act as a deterrent. Companies will be threatened with higher fines than individuals and if necessary may even be threatened with the temporary withdrawal of their business permit.

• ‘Smoking police’: The EU states are being asked to set up a system for enforcing the smoking ban, including a system of prosecution. The use of inspectors and enforcement officials is recommended. They will also carry out random spot checks.

• Ashtray ban: It will be the responsibility of all companies and public services to ensure that there are no ashtrays in the building.

• Shock trials: The EU states will be encouraged to carry out sensationalist prosecutions designed to shock the public.

Celebrities who smoke will also be targeted and exposed publicly as smoking offenders.

The document states that if individuals in the public eye have deliberately disregarded the law and this is publicly known, the authorities will demonstrate their commitment to and the seriousness of the legislation by reacting with rigorous and speedy measures, attracting the widest possible public attention.

With these measures, the EU is trying to attack and eliminate smoking as much as possible. The aim is for all enclosed workplaces and public areas to become smoke free, including those which are partly open or enclosed.

The smoking ban will also include all hallways, staircases, toilets, staffrooms, store rooms and lifts that are used at work.

In the future tobacco smoke should not be seen or smelled in the air - it will probably be illegal to light a cigarette!

The dossier even defines smoking as including the ownership or handling of a lit cigarette, regardless of whether or not the smoke is actively being inhaled.

Brussels, 30 June 2009, COM(2009) 328 final, Proposal for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION
on smoke-free environments
, {COM(2009) 328 final} {SEC(2009) 894}{SEC(2009) 895}
(presented by the commission); RECOMMENDATIONS
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, of 30 November 2009, on smoke-free environments
(2009/C 296/02)

Reference: The EU attacks smokers with new recommendations By Dirk Hoeren,, 1/29/2010.


Highlights - Altria - Q4 2009 Earnings Conference Call and more..

January 29, 2010 -

Michael E. Szymanczyk, Altria’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer, descirbes Altria "as the premier tobacco company in the United States with leading brands in cigarettes - Marlboro, smokeless tobacco - Skoal/Copenhagen and machine-made large cigars - Black& Mild.”

Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. said Thursday, January 28th that cost-cutting and strong sales of smokeless tobacco such as Skoal and Copenhagen led its fourth-quarter profit to climb 7 percent, even though it sold fewer cigarettes. The company said it cut expenses $157 million during the fourth quarter and $398 million for the full year and expects additional cost savings of about $462 million by 2011. It closed its Cabarrus County, N.C., cigarette factory in July to bring its manufacturing capacity in line with falling demand. (Philip Morris USA production plant in Cabarrus County, North Carolina closed..)

The company said it sold 11.4 percent fewer cigarettes in the fourth quarter than a year earlier. Altria estimated a total industry decline of about 10 percent. For the year, Altria’s cigarette volume fell 12.2 percent, compared with 8 percent industrywide.

In the fourth quarter, Philip Morris USA reported volume declines among all cigarette brands, including Marlboro, Parliament, Virginia Slims and Basic. Marlboro, the best-selling brand in the U.S., lost 0.4 point of market share in the quarter to end up with 41.7 percent (from 42.1 perecnt) of the U.S. market, according to data from Information Resources Inc. Altria's share of the U.S. cigarette market fell to 49.4 percent in the fourth quarter from 50.9 percent a year earlier.

Altria's Philip Morris USA unit increased prices on many of its cigarette brands last fall, but has lost market share as competitors like Reynolds American Inc (RAI) ratcheted up promotional spending, e.g. with Pall Mall.

Volumes may be declining, but cigarettes remain Altria’s biggest business by far, accounting for $14.4 billion in revenue in 2009 compared with Smokeless category that brought in $1.2 billion. In general, cigarettes account for approximately 91% of expenditures on all tobacco products in the U.S.. Total United States expenditures on tobacco were estimated to be $88.7 billion in 2005, of which $82 billion were spent on cigarettes. In 2005, consumers in the United States spent $2.61 billion on smokeless tobacco products, and more than $1 billion on cigars each year. (CDC Smoking and Tobacco Use: Economic Facts About U.S. Tobacco Use and Tobacco Production)

Smokeless Tobacco:
Copenhagen's retail share growth was quite impressive as it grew 1.5 share points from the third to the fourth quarter behind the successful launch of Copenhagen long-cut wintergreen. Smokeless tobacco volume grew 3.6 percent during the quarter and for the year volume for Altria's smokeless products declined 2.4 percent but gained market share.

Skoal also displayed relatively strong retail share stability in the fourth quarter when compared to some competitive brands which appeared to be impacted by Copenhagen's new product launch. Altria expecting Copenhagen Wintergreen to have big impact.. These products are chasing Reynolds American's American Snuff Company's Grizzly - the nations number one moist snuff brand..

To build on this successful launch, Copenhagen plans to introduce two new smokeless products in the first quarter of 2010. Copenhagen long-cut straight will expand the brand into the straight segment which the brand has historically under served, and Copenhagen extra long-cut natural will strengthen the brand's position in the core natural segment. Skoal also has a number of initiatives planned to strengthen its position in the smokeless products category which will unfold as the year progresses.

Copenhagen and Skoal both have areas of strength, although they are national brands. But I (
Szymanczyk) would say when you look at the growth in Copenhagen, it's really strongly being driven right now by Copenhagen long-cut wintergreen and that is everywhere across the board.

Flavors account for 56 percent of Altria’s smokeless sales, Mr. Szymanczyk said in a speech last September to analysts and shareholders. "They’re clearly trying to make the product more palatable and more appealing to a broad audience,” says James F. Pankow, a professor of chemistry at Portland State University in Oregon. Dr. Pankow in summarizing his recent paper: “The bottom line is that the flavorant levels in the smokeless products are in general markedly higher than in popular wintergreen and menthol flavored tobacco products,” said Pankow. “Moreover, the amount of wintergreen flavorant could by itself pose serious health risks to some consumers.” (Smokeless Tobacco products with up to 700% more flavor additives than candy..)

That audience, public health experts say, includes children. “The flavors are designed to attract kids,” says Kenneth E. Warner, dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a founding director of its Tobacco Research Network.

Last week, Altria told its distributors that Marlboro Snus would move out of test marketing and be available nationwide in March. (Marlboro SNUS market test being expanded..) But some analysts say that there have been very few successful new product introductions in the tobacco industry for decades, suggesting that snus is up against steep odds. “It’s a pipe dream,” says David Adelman, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, of the prospects for snus. How's SNUS doing in the U.S. - will Susan Ivey tell us the truth??

Dr. Gregory N. Connolly, a Harvard public health professor: “It is worth noting that for every pack of snus sold in the U.S., about 3,000 packs of lights are sold..”

Click to enlarge..
Altria sold fewer cigars - for the year, cigar volumes decreased 3.6 percent. Black & Mild also continued its strong share performance in 2009, growing 1.3 share points versus the prior year period. Share growth was driven by the successful new product launches of Black & Mild Wood Tip, Black & Mild Wood Tip Wine and the equity campaign introduced at the beginning of the year, "Enjoy Black & Mild." We are also pleased with the initial results for Black & Mild's new untipped product, Black & Mild Cigarillo, and expect to continue expanding into geographies where this product is sold. Black & Mild increased its retail share of the machine made large cigar category by 1.2 share points to 30.6% while Middleton's cigar volume in the fourth quarter of 2009 declined by 2.7% due primarily to trade inventory reductions.

The company said the business environment for 2010 is likely to remain challenging, as adult consumers remain under economic pressure and face high unemployment. Its tobacco operating companies also continue to see competitive promotional activity. It also expects that continuing state budget issues may lead to excise tax increase proposals in many states in 2010.

Reference: Altria Group, Inc. Q4 2009 Earnings Conference Call Transcript, Seeking Alpha, 1/28/2010; Where There’s No Smoke, Altria Hopes There’s Fire by DUFF WILSON and JULIE CRESWELL, The New York Times, 1/30/2010; Altria Group 4th-quarter profit climbs partly on strength of Skoal and Copenhagen sales by AP - AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman in New York contributed to this report, 1/28/2010; Altria profit up but cigarette volumes shrivel by William Spain & Andria Cheng, MarketWatch, 1/28/2010..

Scotland - parliament votes to ban retail cigarette displays and vending machines..

Click to enlarge:
January 29, 2010 - An end to the display of cigarettes and tobacco products in shops was approved by the Scottish parliament yesterday, along with a ban on cigarette sales from vending machines.

The display ban will come into force for large retailers next year, while small retailers will have until 2013 to implement the ban. Similar measures for England and Wales were passed by MPs recently. (Across the UK - a ban on cigarette vending machines is set to begin 2011..) Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..

Shona Robison, public health minister, said it was vital to reduce smoking rates if Scotland was to turn round its appalling health record.

"We've already made great strides - notably by banning smoking in public places (went into effect March 26, 2007) and raising the age for buying cigarettes to 18," she said. "This bill goes further by introducing measures designed to stop children from starting to smoke in the first place."

Reference: Scotland bans cigarette displays by Andrew Bolger, (Financial Times), 1/28/2010; Scottish tobacco display ban laws approved by MSPs - VIDEO, BBC News, 1/27/2010.

Some related news briefs - Scotland:
Scotland - health minister urges smokers to quit..;
Scotland - some men beginning to lead a healthier lifestyle and therefore living longer..;
Scotland - self-reporting of smoking by pregnant women underestimates true number of pregnant smokers..;
Scotland - tobacco firms claim proposed display ban is unnecessary..;
"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..;
Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..;
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...


Bulgaria - leadership of tobacco fund to be replaced..

January 29, 2010 - Bulgaria's Prime Minister (PM), Boyko Borisov, confirmed Thursday that he is set to replace the entire leadership of the so-called Tobacco Fund. The changes are forthcoming in the next few weeks while he is waiting only for the results of the probe.

The PM also said he had made an agreement with tobacco growers and producers that they designate 3-representatives to be appointed as members of the Monitoring Board of the Fund.

Borisov further reiterated his Wednesday statements, January 27th that the tensions among tobacco growers are politically motivated and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is behind the unrest.

The tobacco farmers had a mass protest rally scheduled for Thursday, but they canceled it after a midnight meeting with Borisov. (Between 15 000 and 20 000 Bulgarian tobacco producers were making preparations for a protest planned for Thursday morning. They were blockade the Danube Bridge crossing to Romania, and the border checkpoints with Greece.

“I made commitments and everything I promised is going on; we are working on getting more money,” Borisov declared.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry informed they have signed an agreement with the National Tobacco Growers Union 2009.

Reference: Bulgaria PM Set to Sack Tobacco Fund Leadership, (Sofia News Agency), 1/28/2010.

Bulgaria related news briefs:
Bulgaria - illegal trade in cigarettes will reach 40% of total trade in 2010..;
Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..;
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..;
Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac stays in the economy ministry, sold by middle of 2010, starting price 100,000,000 euro..;
Bulgaria - tobacco producers propose Bulgartabac transfer..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;
Bulgaria - start of steps leading to the privatization of the state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - police hold smoking protest over lack of bonuses..;
Bulgaria - police busts major cigarette contraband ring..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding” will be privatized in 2010..;
Bulgaria - MPs Impose Hefty Fines on Cigarette Sales Violators..;
Bulgartabac Chief - cigarette tax increase as of January 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria Bulgartabac Holding Sells 23% of Shares to Mutual Funds..;
Bulgaria - more than 70% of smokers want to quit..;
Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..;
Bulgaria - chair of the economic committee in parliament disapproves of planned raise in excise duties on cigarettes..;
Bulgaria and others - smoking ban, increased cigarette taxes, smuggling..;
Bulgaria - Cigarette excise duties will be increased next year..;
Bulgaria - cigarette contraband, government loses BGN 920M yearly..;
Bulgaria - one third of the tobacco products sold are illicit..;
Bulgaria - new government to speed-up Bulgartabac sale..;
Bulgaria - Fake Victory Light cigarettes..;
Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..;
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..;
Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..;
EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..;
Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke..;
PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..;
Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..;
WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...
Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgarian Communist Party which led to the crumbling of the communist regime..

South Korea - KT&G forms alliance with Imperial Tobacco Group..

January 28, 2010 - Kwak Young-kyoon, President of KT&G (formerly Korea Tobacco and Ginseng Corporation) , South Korea's foremost tobacco company, and Andrew Lochrie, regional director of Asia & Pacific at Imperial Tobacco Group, signed an alliance agreement under which KT&G will manufacture Imperial products. Under the deal, KT&G will manufacture and sell tobacco under the Davidoff brand in the first half of this year, the company said. KT&G and Imperial Tobacco plan to enhance their strategic tie-ups to expand their overseas market presence, the South Korean company said.

Davidoff is on offer in more than 100 countries across the globe and is particularly strong in such countries as Taiwan, Greece and Middle East, according to the Bristol-based company. The trademark was originally held by Reemtsma in German but was acquired by Imperial back in 2002 when it took over Reemtsma.

South Korea's biggest tobacco company, said Tuesday, January 26th that it has clinched a licensing agreement with Imperial Tobacco Group to use the European cigarette maker's Davidoff brand. KT&G Corp. has lost market share since the Korean market opened to international competition in 2001. KT&G has been subjected to continuous share erosion driven by aggressive market penetration from BAT, PMI and JT.

Imperial Tobacco failed in the marketing of Davidoff in the U.S. - the product was never promoted properly. (Imperial Tobacco Gets Approval to Sell Brands in U.S..; Commonwealth Brands Inc., the fourth-biggest cigarette maker; Davidoff Cigarettes Takes Award for ‘Best Packaging & Design’..)

Reference: KT&G forms alliance with Imperial Tobacco Group, Tobacco Journal International, 1/26/2010; KT&G Rises on Goldman Upgrade After Davidoff Contract (Update2), Reporter Saeromi Shin (, Editors: Linus Chua, Reinie Booysen, 1/27/2010.

South Korea - some related news briefs:
South Korea - more smokers in 2009 than in 2008..;
South Korea - remote island going smoke-free, car-free and night lights-free..;
South Korea - Stressed-out Koreans smoking more..;
South Korea - to ban smoking in public places from 2011..;
Korea - BAT - winning the hearts and minds of customers based on tactics tailored to local tastes..;
Korea - sets target to reduce smoking 10% in 5-years..;
Korea - stricter regulation of the tobacco industry coming..;
South Korea - tobacco imports surge 396-fold over 10-years..;
Korea - slight increase in men smoking.. ;
South Korea - anti-tobacco campaign - body painting..;
Korea - smoking ban just about everywhere by end of 2009..;
Tobacco marketing in South Korea has been deliberately aimed at girls and young women..;
Korea - smoking rates fall for men and women...

NY State - Seneca Indians against U.S. Senator Gillibrand's support of bill to ban mailing of cigarettes..

January 28, 2010 - The Seneca Nation of Indians is threatening to spend $250,000 against Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand this year because of her support for legislation that would ban the mailing of cigarettes. The Seneca Nation Foreign Relations Committee last week unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the Tribal Council set aside that money for “voter education and outreach.” The council will consider the request February 13, 2010.

Directly related news brief: NY State - Seneca Indians - lobbying against the PACT act..

The move came on the recommendation of J. C. Seneca, a leading tobacco entrepreneur and co-chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

“I propose that $250,000 be appropriated for a ‘get out the vote’ effort to educate and mobilize the thousands of workers, contractors, vendors and their families who are tied to the Nation’s $1.1 billion economy as to why Senator Gillibrand is harmful to the Seneca Nation and all of Western New York,” Seneca wrote in a Jan. 14 letter to the committee.

The Senecas are threatening to target Gillibrand, D-N. Y.,because of her support of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, a bill that the Senate could consider that would ban the U. S. Postal Service from mailing cigarettes.

The Senecas depend on the U. S. mail to deliver about two-thirds of the cigarettes they sell, and in an interview, Seneca said the tribe was ready to fight to protect that business. “The more we can do to educate people, the better,” he said, adding that the money could be spent on advertising or on campaign donations to Gillibrand’s opponents.

The $250,000 would be in addition to the $1 million the tribe earlier set aside to target state lawmakers seeking to collect taxes on the tribe’s cigarette sales.

Asked why the tribe was thinking of targeting Gillibrand, Seneca said: “Sen. Gillibrand has made no effort at all to listen or to be willing to help.”

Told of the Senecas’ plans to target the freshman senator, her spokeswoman, Bethany Lesser, said: “Sen. Gillibrand’s No. 1 priority is economic development and the Seneca Nation is a partner to our efforts to create jobs and grow our economy. However, Sen. Gillibrand remains committed to preventing the illegal trafficking of cigarettes to children.”

The potential boost in Seneca political funding comes weeks after the tribe targeted both Gillibrand and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y., in a billboard campaign. Asked why Schumer was no longer the target of the tribe’s ire, Seneca pointed to a recent interview with YNN Buffalo in which Schumer said: “If the Senecas have a really good and transparent way to prevent sales to minors — not using the PACT Act — I’d welcome it.” That comment “did kind of break the ice” between Schumer and the tribe, Seneca said.

But the relationship between the Senecas and Gillibrand remains icy.

Reference: Senecas threaten to target Gillibrand Stance on mailing cigarettes draws ire by Jerry Zremski (, Buffalo News Washington Bureau Chief, 1/25/2010.

Florida - tobacco companies ask court to block ruling..

January 27, 2010

- Background: In December 2006 the Florida Supreme Court breathed new life into a case against the tobacco industry that had worked its way through the courts since 1994. The case is known as the Engle case (landmark 1994 lawsuit filed by Dr. Howard Engle that produced a $145 billion judgment against cigarette makers six years later). On July 6, 2006, the Florida Supreme Court cleared the path for hundreds of thousands of Florida residents to file individual lawsuits against the nation's largest tobacco manufacturers for injuries sustained from smoking cigarettes. The Court set a strict deadline for injured persons to file a lawsuit: July 6, 2007; which is one year from the date the Court issued its opinion. The Court ruled that individual plaintiffs can use previous jury findings against the tobacco industry in the newly filed lawsuits. (Cigarette Makers Face Thousands of New Florida Lawsuits..; Dr. Howard A. Engle, the veteran pediatrician who lent his name to a landmark class action suit against Big Tobacco, dies..)

Tobacco companies now argue that a series of factual findings endorsed by the Florida Supreme Court in a 2006 decision, including that the companies sold defective products, that they conspired to hide information about the health effects of smoking and that they made false statements about their products, can't fairly be applied in any of 4,000 cases against them in Florida federal court.

The companies claim that applying the 2006 ruling, which came in the Florida's "Engle" tobacco class action, "would compromise an arbitrary deprivation of the defendants' federal due process rights," as a lower judge ruled in August 2008.

The plaintiffs, smokers and their families who are suing the cigarette-makers individually, claim the findings are based on ample evidence. They argue that the federal courts are required to apply state law in the cases and can't review the state Supreme Court's decision, according to the report. A decision in the smokers' favor would make it easier for smokers to win verdicts in the cases.

In Florida state courts, which instruct jurors on the factual findings endorsed by the state Supreme Court, smokers have won several of the post-Engle cases that have gone to trial. These include a $30 million verdict against Reynolds and an $8 million verdict against Philip Morris. The cases are being appealed.

The Engle case was filed in 1994 and named after a Florida smoker named Howard Engle who was the lead plaintiff. After more than a decade of litigation in the Florida courts, the Florida Supreme Court in 2006 rejected a $245 billion punitive damage verdict in the case and ruled that it couldn't continue as a class action on behalf of smokers statewide who were addicted to nicotine and developed cancer or other smoking-related illnesses.

At the same time, Florida's high court upheld a series of factual findings made by a Miami jury in the case and said those findings would apply in all of the individual suits filed by smokers who had been part of the Engle class. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.

In the appeal today in Atlanta federal court, the companies aren't challenging findings by the Engle jury, upheld by the Florida Supreme Court, that smoking is addictive and that it can cause illnesses including cancer, emphysema and heart disease.

In addition to Richmond, Virginia-based Phillip Morris, the biggest U.S. cigarette maker, the companies in the case include No. 2 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., a unit of Reynolds American Inc., and No. 3 Lorillard Tobacco, a unit of Lorillard Inc.

Reference: Cigarette Makers Ask to Block Ruling in 4,000 Cases (Update1) by Bob Van Voris (,, 1/27/2010..; Cigarette-makers challenge Florida ruling, CSP (Convenience Store/Petroleum) Daily News, 1/27/2010.

Other related news briefs:
Florida - plaintiff drops case to avoid paying legal fees for Philip Morris USA..;
Florida - jury awards $300 million in ex-smoker's suit..;
92-year-old wins $1.9 million tobacco judgment over wife’s death..;
Philip Morris USA sees decline in health lawsuits..;
R.J. Reynolds to appeal plaintiff's award of $30 million..;
R.J. Reynolds loses Florida court trial - widow gets $30 million..;
Nik Modi, tobacco analyst with UBS: Supreme Court Case "was a coin flip..";
California Supreme Court rules consumers can file lawsuits against tobacco industry..;
First menthol-cigarette lawsuit in the world filed in Israel..;
Law Suit Filed Against Philip Morris USA, Inc. - Marlboro Lights..;
U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Big Tobacco..;
U.S. Supreme Court 2008-2009 term, Altria v Good (07-562)..;
U.S. Supreme Court: Good v. Altria Group,.;
Justices turn down smokers' lawsuit against tobacco companies..;


NYC Lawsuit against Online Cigarette Vendor Dismissed..

Second Image - New York City Seal..
January 28, 2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, January 25th dismissed New York City's racketeering claim against a New Mexico company that sells "tax-free" cigarettes online to New Yorkers. The city's lost taxes "were not caused directly by the alleged fraud," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, according to a report from Courthouse News Service.

Hemi Group set up a website— —to sell cigarettes from low-tax or tax-free regions to people in high-tax areas, including New York City. Hemi Group, Jemez Pueblo, N.M., has no duty to charge, collect or remit the city's tax. But federal law, specifically the Jenkins Act, requires out-of-state vendors to file reports with state tobacco tax administrators identifying the names and addresses of in-state customers.

New York City filed a lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), claiming Hemi Group's business constitutes mail and wire fraud, causing the city to lose tens of millions of dollars in potential cigarette taxes.

The district court dismissed the case, but the 2nd Circuit revived the RICO claim, ruling that the city's alleged injury—lost tax revenue—was "business or property" under RICO, and came about "by reason of" the purported fraud.

But Chief Justice Roberts ruled that the city "cannot satisfy the causation requirement" that any injury was caused by the alleged frauds. "Here, the conduct directly responsible for the city's harm was the customers' failure to pay their taxes," Roberts wrote. "And the conduct constituting the alleged fraud was Hemi's failure to file Jenkins Act reports. Thus ... the conduct directly causing the harm was distinct from the conduct giving rise to the harm."

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said Hemi Group's failure to provide the Jenkins Act information "proximately caused New York City to lose tobacco revenue." He added that the city's revenue loss "falls squarely within the bounds of the kinds of harm that the Jenkins Act seeks to prevent. The statute is titled 'An act to assist states in collecting sales and use taxes on cigarettes," Breyer noted.

Reference: NYC Lawsuit against Online Cigarette Vendor Dismissed, CSP (Convenience Store/Petroleum) Daily News, 1/27/2010.

NYC directly related:
NY City - smokers kicking the addiction and living longer than ever..;
NY City Council not backing down as US Smokeless Tobacco files lawsuit against city..;
New York City - ban on flavored tobacco products becomes law..;
New York City bans the sale of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg pushing ahead to ban smoking in city parks and beaches..;
New York City - all retailers selling tobacco will be required to post warning signs..;
New York City - to ask public opinion - smoking graphic warning signs; New York City - proposed pictorial warning signs to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use.;
New York City - may ban smoking in parks and beaches..;
New York City - can't sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes..;
New CDC Chief Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH..;
New York City Council ban candy-flavored tobacco, smoking outside of hospitals..;
New York - city and state officials back off plans to crack down on cigarette black market..;
New York City - nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke..;
New York City - cigarettes more than $10- a- pack..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;
Michael Rubens Bloomberg - ELF Award winner 2008;
NYC sues reservation smoke shops over bootlegging..;
NYC Fights Smoking With Reality Images in Matchbooks..;
NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..;
NYC Warns Parents of Smoking Lawsuits...

NY City - smokers kicking the addiction and living longer than ever..

January 27, 2010 - "New York City is increasingly a healthy place to live," said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who credited better lifestyle habits for New Yorkers' longer lives.

"This probably reflects less on medical care than it does on the improvement of a few behaviors and conditions that have a big impact on health problems, particularly smoking, HIV/AIDS reduction and reductions in injuries," Farley said.

The Health Department's annual vital statistics report said life expectancy for babies born in 2007 grew to 79.4 years - an improvement of nearly five months over 2006. That's 19 months longer than life expectancy was in 2001.

Since then, the city has ended smoking in bars and restaurants and raised taxes on cigarettes. The average life expectancy for women is now 82 years, and for men, it's 76.3 years.

The leading cause of death in 2008 remained heart disease, accounting for 39% of deaths, with 24% of deaths due to cancer. Pneumonia and the flu were a distant third with 4%.

Among people between the ages of 15 and 34 who died, the leading cause of death was homicide.

A full report on a range of statistics about birth, life and death in New York is available at

Reference: New York City has highest life expectancy in recorded history: data by Erin Einhorn (, NEW YORK (NY) DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU, 1/26/2010.

NYC directly related:
NY City Council not backing down as US Smokeless Tobacco files lawsuit against city..;
New York City - ban on flavored tobacco products becomes law..;
New York City bans the sale of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg pushing ahead to ban smoking in city parks and beaches..;
New York City - all retailers selling tobacco will be required to post warning signs..;
New York City - to ask public opinion - smoking graphic warning signs; New York City - proposed pictorial warning signs to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use.;
New York City - may ban smoking in parks and beaches..;
New York City - can't sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes..;
New CDC Chief Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH..;
New York City Council ban candy-flavored tobacco, smoking outside of hospitals..;
New York - city and state officials back off plans to crack down on cigarette black market..;
New York City - nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke..;
New York City - cigarettes more than $10- a- pack..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;
Michael Rubens Bloomberg - ELF Award winner 2008;
NYC sues reservation smoke shops over bootlegging..;
NYC Fights Smoking With Reality Images in Matchbooks..;
NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..;
NYC Warns Parents of Smoking Lawsuits...

NY City - gets tough with clubs that do not enforce the smoking ban..

January 27, 2010 - A recent New York Times article indicated after six years after New York City passed a ban (2003) on smoking in bars and restaurants, it is easier than ever to find smokers partying indoors like it’s 1999, or at least 2002. (Blowing Smoke at a Ban by DOUGLAS QUENQUA, 12/31/2009)
Published: December 31, 2009

Now the New York City Health Department may close A-list clubs which flout the city's smoking ban. It may be closing time for some of Manhattan's hottest nightclubs, where the young and hip are arrogantly flouting the city's smoking ban.

The Health Department is moving to shutter five A-list clubs after an undercover sting showed they let their high-flying clientele light up inside again and again.
The velvet-rope violators include TheBox on the lower East Side and Chelsea's M2 Ultra Lounge, which just last week hosted Sean (Diddy) Combs' blowout bash for his son's 16th birthday, officials said.

The clubs are scheduled to appear today before a city tribunal, where officials will try to yank their food and beverage permits - a fatal blow that would put the kibosh on alcohol sales. The move is by far the city's most aggressive attempt to crack down on bars and clubs that turn a not-so-blind eye when their customers crave a smoke.

"We looked at our data and felt like these businesses continue to flaunt that they break the law," said Daniel Kass, acting deputy commissioner for environmental health. "They pay fines as a cost of doing business. We needed a new approach." Kass dispatched teams of sharply dressed spies to the clubs, where they nursed drinks - and looked for smokers. "We went out and stumbled upon some pretty flagrant disregards for the law, and decided we weren't interested in settling with these establishments," Kass said.

After the ban was implemented in 2003, bars busted for smoking were fined $200 to $2,000.

Not this time. A city judge will decide whether the Health Department has enough evidence to pull the clubs' permits for "willful and continuous disregard" of the ban. "We think we have a good case," said department lawyer Thomas Merrill. "I think we will shut them down."

Other clubs on the hot seat are The Imperial in the Flatiron District, Southside Night Club in Little Italy and Lit Lounge in the East Village. A handful of others will be named by the city in the coming weeks.

The most egregious offender is M2 Ultra Lounge, the department said. Undercover inspectors found dozens of smokers in plain sight during five recent visits - and even bathroom attendants selling loose cigarettes for $2. "The cigarettes are out in the open, you just have to ask for one," said one inspector. M2 Ultra Lounge owner Joey Morrissey said he gains nothing by having smoking in his club and has tried everything to stop it except take away cigarettes or toss out offenders.
"We can kick them out, but we would be kicking people out all night long and starting altercations," Morrissey said. "You don't want to risk having fights."
Morrissey said the city can do more to help, like ticketing people who smoke at the club instead of punishing the establishment. "You're not going to find someone in a club this big," he said of the 35,000-square-foot space.

Other owners simply denied that smoking goes on in their clubs or said they would not comment on the issue. "I think this is a witch hunt and there are a lot more things that affect our city than people occasionally lighting up," said Southside owner Tom Martignetti. The club's Web site has several pictures that seem to show clients smoking at the bar. "Obviously we have a no-smoking policy," Martignetti said. "There's no smoking here."

Why can't a city like Galveston, Texas enforce their city's no smoking ban??

Reference: Health Dept. to yank permits of nightclubs that scoff at New York City's cigarette smoking ban by Samuel Goldsmith ( with Michael J. Feeney, New York (NY) Daily News, 1/27/2010.

NYC directly related:
NY City - smokers kicking the addicition and living longer than ever..;
NY City Council not backing down as US Smokeless Tobacco files lawsuit against city..;
New York City - ban on flavored tobacco products becomes law..;
New York City bans the sale of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg pushing ahead to ban smoking in city parks and beaches..;
New York City - all retailers selling tobacco will be required to post warning signs..;
New York City - to ask public opinion - smoking graphic warning signs; New York City - proposed pictorial warning signs to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use.;
New York City - may ban smoking in parks and beaches..;
New York City - can't sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes..;
New CDC Chief Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH..;
New York City Council ban candy-flavored tobacco, smoking outside of hospitals..;
New York - city and state officials back off plans to crack down on cigarette black market..;
New York City - nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke..;
New York City - cigarettes more than $10- a- pack..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;
Michael Rubens Bloomberg - ELF Award winner 2008;
NYC sues reservation smoke shops over bootlegging..;
NYC Fights Smoking With Reality Images in Matchbooks..;
NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..;
NYC Warns Parents of Smoking Lawsuits...

Menthol May Be Nicotine's Partner In Addiction..

AUDIO: Menthol May Be Nicotine's Partner In Addiction..

A few related news briefs:
Menthol cigarettes - if banned, how can this be accomplished??;
Menthol Cigarettes - smokers who started recently more likely to smoke menthols..;
Lorillard - essentially a one-product company - Newport cigarettes..;

Reference: Menthol May Be Nicotine's Partner In Addiction by Brenda Wilson,, 1/25/2010.

Manchester, England - supports bid to tax tobacco giants over cigarette butts..

January 27, 2010 - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee appointed by the House of Commons published a report call on the UK government to evaluate the practicalities of imposing a small 'clean-up' levy on the products most commonly littered like cigarettes. (United Kingdom - should tobacco companies be forced to pay for cigarette butt litter??)

The Manchester council has come out in support of this report. The council estimates it spends £1.5 million annually cleaning its streets of cigarette litter. Smokers are said to be responsible for 94 percent of all litter. Manchester city centre chief, Coun Pat Karney, is calling on the government to take on the recommendations and go further still by imposing a tax on chewing gum companies as well. He said: “I'm really keen on this. Cigarette and chewing gum litter are the bane of our lives.

“We spend a small fortune ridding Manchester city centre's streets of cigarette litter and I don't see why councils should have to spend these great amounts when the source is a multi-million pound industry. A levy is long overdue.”

According to anti-smoking charity Ash: around 200 million cigarette butts are dropped on Britain's streets each day.

Street cleaners in Greater Manchester have previously said they sweep up up to 1,000 cigarette ends an hour. Campaigners say a levy may make smokers think twice about dropping cigarette litter as well as going some way to meeting the huge clean-up cost. In 2005, Manchester introduced £50 on the spot fines for people caught dropping cigarette butts and chewing gum on the city's streets.

Earth Day 2009 promoting environmental citizenship - Tobacco A Major Culprit..

Reference: Bid to tax tobacco giants over cigarette butts,, 1/26/2010.

Some United Kingdom related news briefs:
United Kingdom (UK) - should tobacco companies be forced to pay for cigarette butt litter??;
United Kingdom - govt cabinet business secretary has reservations about new anti-smoking strategy..;
United Kingdom - aggressive anti-smoking campaign to protect children..;
United Kingdom - public smoking ban does not lead to more smoking at home..;
UK - NHS Trust - smoking your body takes a beating film..;
United Kingdom - Packaging people - tobacco display ban - Counterfeit cigarettes could thrive..;
UK - Retailer tells small shops to ignore tobacco industry 'scare tactics'..;
UK - Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) unhappy with tobacco displays ban..;
United Kingdom - House of Commons - ban cigarette displays a step closer/vending machine ban even closer..;
Ireland - people responding well to the ban on cigaretet displays..;
JTI attacks UK government for plan to ban tobacco displays..
United Kingdom - 3rd reading of Public Health Bill including ban on tobacco displays..
United Kingdom - limiting access to cigarette vending machines not possible..;
Updated - England - tabacco display ban - the Lords got it right..;
Fewer Britons support the ban on smoking in pubs than in other public places..
"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..;
Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..;
Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..;
Scottish politicians most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..;
England, House of Lords votes to ban shop tobacco dislays and restrict vending machine use..;
Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..;
Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
UK - Strategies to be implemented to prevent underage tobacco use...

Germany - losing billions as smokers find cheaper places to buy cigarettes..

January 27, 2010 - German smokers are changing their buying habits, the survey said Germany lost at least four billion euros ($5.6 billion) in 2008 on cigarettes that were smoked in the country but not taxed, a study shows. Smokers are opting to buy their tobacco abroad or even on the black market to avoid hefty taxes, a study from the Hamburg World Economy Institute (HWWI) has found.

The number of cigarettes smoked in Germany without being taxed in the country has gone up from 16 percent three years ago to 20 percent, it said. Smokers consumed a total of 23 billion such cigarettes, according to the figures, and the majority were purchased legitimately in other countries. But about seven billion cigarettes were obtained illegally, fueling fears that the trade may be boosting organized crime.

The institute said price differences caused by high taxation allowed organized crime to thrive from trading in contraband. Signs of sophisticated smuggling operations similar to those in the United States, where different states have different tax rates, were now "recognizable" in Europe, according to the institute.

The trend comes as smokers try to dodge higher cigarette taxes introduced as a public health measure. Since the latest tax increase in February last year, a packet of cigarettes has cost about 4.50 euros ($6.32) - of which around 3.75 euros ($5.27)is tax.

"The new EU member countries have much lower taxes on cigarettes than we have in Germany and there is always the possibility to smoke smuggled cigarettes. These are, of course, much cheaper," said HWWI Director Michael Braeuninger. The majority of illegal cigarettes come from Ukraine (3.2 billion) and Russia (2.4 billion), according to the market research organization Ipsos. (Ukraine - lost cigarettes flooding Europe..; Waves of smuggled Russian cigarettes flood Europe)

The study showed large variations by region of the average proportion of untaxed cigarettes smoked. In some western parts of Germany it was as low as 10 percent while in some eastern areas half of the cigarettes bought had no German duty paid on them. Most of those cigarettes originated in Poland. (EU - mobilizing for a crackdown on cigarette smuggling with emphasis on Poland..

The study was carried out on behalf of Germany's cigarette industry association, the DZV, which is calling for increased activity against smuggling and counterfeit products. The change in smoking habits is estimated to have cost the cigarette industry about 1.2 billion euros in 2008.

Reference: Germany loses billions as cigarette smokers dodge taxes, Editor: Kyle James,, 1/26/2010.

Related news brief:
Germany - smokers smoking less but it's costing more..;
Bavarians force referendum on smoking ban next year..;
Bavaria - court rules, looser implementation of smoking ban constitutional..;
Germany - beer sales are down smoking ban maybe partial blame..;
Bavaria - state's parliament loosened regulation on smoking ban..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
German sales rise in Germany amid moves to impose smoking ban..

Goldman Sachs analyst predicts cigarette volume declines to slow..

January 27, 2010 - Shares of tobacco makers climbed Monday after Goldman Sachs analysts called for volume declines to slow dramatically in 2010 and economic stabilization to help cushion the companies from further margin losses. “We see improved volume performance emerging,” the analysts wrote in a note to investors. “We continue to believe the pricing environment will remain constructive.”

It's interesting to note on the January 21st Credit Suisse - cut the U.S. tobacco sector but not Philip Morris International (PMI)..

As the economy crumbled in 2008 and 2009, smokers downgraded to cheaper regional cigarette brands from “premium” names, hurting tobacco makers’ margins. Goldman Sachs analysts said they don’t expect aggressive discounting or accelerating downtrading, especially as the job market improves.

Shares of Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) its former parent company Altria Group Inc. and Lorillard Inc. all rose.

Meanwhile, the stocks also may have gotten a boost as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that New York City can’t use federal racketeering laws to force a cigarette seller to disclose its online client list in order for the city to collect taxes from customers.

It was initially unclear what effect the ruling would have on tobacco makers. Cigarette prices have increased dramatically over the past few years, mostly because of heavy taxes. New York City argued it was difficult to levy taxes on online cigarette sales.

Wall Street Access analyst David Silver said much of Monday’s gains are in response to the Goldman Sachs note. He said he believes 2010 is “going to be ‘less bad’” in terms of volume declines as the U.S. economy stabilizes. Though Europe and China are introducing new smoking bans and taxes, Silver said he isn’t worried that international volumes will suffer too much and actually sees significant growth opportunities in Latin America and Canada.

Reference: Tobacco Makers Up As Goldman Sees Volume Declines Easing by Melissa Korn of Dow Jones Newswires (, The Wall Street Journal, 1/25/2010.


A third of SIDs deaths could be avoided by quitting smoking..

January 27, 2010 - Smoke exposure during pregnancy damages a baby's blood pressure control, which may explain why such babies' risk of cot death is higher, say experts.

Maternal smoking remains one of the biggest risk factors for cot death (SIDS).

A team at Sweden's Karolinksa Institute found smoke-exposed babies had abnormal surges in blood pressure, even when sleeping undisturbed in their cots.

PAPER: Long-Term Reprogramming of Cardiovascular Function in Infants of Active Smokers, Gary Cohen (; Heather Jeffery; Hugo Lagercrantz; and Miriam Katz-Salamon, Hypertension (published online on January 25, 2010), ABSTRACT..

Surges in blood pressure put extra demand on the heart, making it pump faster and harder. The study suggests damage to the circulation may be a factor in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), although it set out to look at the effects of smoking on the newborn rather than cot death per se. Lead researcher: We have known for some time that there is a cardiovascular element to sudden infant death.

Cohen and his team studied 36 newborn babies - 17 of whom had mothers who smoked during the pregnancy. When they examined the babies they found the ones that had been exposed to cigarette smoke showed abnormal heart rate and blood pressure responses. And these abnormal responses got worse throughout their first year of life.

At one week of age the smoke-exposed babies showed abnormally large blood pressure rises as they were lifted up from lying down. By the age of one, the same babies appeared to have adapted to this and now showed abnormally low blood pressure responses to the same posture change.

Professor George Haycock, scientific adviser for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), said: "The hypothesis presented here is highly plausible and agrees with work from other research groups. Usually, when a person stands the heart rate increases and the blood vessels tighten, raising blood pressure slightly, to keep up the blood flow to the heart and brain.

Dr Cohen said: "Babies of smokers have evidence of persistent problems in blood pressure regulation that start at birth and get worse over time. "This study reveals for the first time that early life exposure to tobacco can lead to long-lasting reprogramming of the infant blood pressure control mechanism." He said this might explain why babies of women who smoke are at increased risk of cot death (SIDS).

"It's not just breathing, but blood pressure control and heart rate control. "This is another piece of the jigsaw." He plans to continue to study the babies as they grow up to see if the damage is lasting and whether it leads to problems, such as high blood pressure, in later life.

"FSID's top piece of advice remains, cut smoking in pregnancy - fathers too, and don't let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby."

Janet Fyle, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: "These findings support what we know; that smoking during pregnancy can harm the developing foetus. "The RCM would urge pregnant women who smoke to seek advice and support from their midwife about stopping smoking, for the benefit of their own long-term health. "This would also benefit the health of their child."

Reference: Blood pressure harm from smoke 'may explain cot death', BBC News, 1/26/2010.

Altria - to host webcast of 2009 fourth-quarter and full-year results on Thursday, January 28, 2010..

January 26, 2010 - Altria Group, Inc. will host a live audio webcast on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss 2009 fourth-quarter and full-year 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 fourth-quarter and full-year business 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, February 26, 2010, at

Singapore - illicit cigarette trade down by 37 percent ..

January 26, 2010 - The number of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized in Singapore last year, at 2.9 million, was down by 37 percent on that of 2008, 4.6 million, according to a Channel NewsAsia story quoting Singapore Customs. This was the largest drop in five years. The number of people caught selling or buying illicit cigarettes was about 2.5 per cent lower last year than it was in 2008.

Singapore Customs said the fall in the illicit trade in cigarettes could have been due to the ‘Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarette’ inscription that, since January 1 last year, has had to be printed on every cigarette.

The inscription is said to have made it easier for Customs officers to detect contraband cigarettes and, at the same time, made smokers more wary of lighting cigarettes without the inscription, though the latter effect has probably been undermined by public smoking bans.

The drop in the illicit trade was accompanied last year by a 13 percent increase in duty payments, which were valued at S$861 million.

Click to enlarge..

From January 1, 2009, all duty-paid cigarettes sold in Singapore have been marked with the letters "SDPC" which stands for Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarettes, Singapore Customs announced on Wednesday, 9/10/2008. (Singapore - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband..)

Reference: Singapore Sees 40% Fall In Supply Of Illegal Cigarettes, Source: Government of Singapore, 1/25/2010.

Singapore - some related news briefs:
Singapore - e-cigarettes are illegal..;
Singapore - record number of smuggling attempts for 1st part of 2009..;
Singapore - new measures to discourage smoking among the young..;
Singapore - more people were smoking in 2007 than 2004..;
Singapore - Smoking increase despite public ban, price hike..; Singapore - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband...