U.S.- H.H.S. Secretary - Priorities: Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use..



May 8, 2010 - Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Secretary's Priorities: Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use..

Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on April 28, 2009.
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New Zealand - revenue department has begun a review of BAT financial transactions..



May 8, 2010 - The New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has begun a review of financing transactions made by a tobacco firm.

[BTA = BAT, Inland Revenue Department or simply Inland Revenue (Maori: Te Tari Taake, lit.The Department of Tax) is the New Zealand government department responsible for the collection of taxes..]

On May 6th British American Tobacco (New Zealand) Ltd (BAT) revealed that it is currently under investigation by the IRD for a set of financing transactions. Although both parties refused to disclose complete details on the investigation, industry analysts believe that the alleged discretion is similar to the tax evasion through structured financing charges laid against several New Zealand banks recently.

The BTA has announced that NZD 39.6 million has been set aside as a reserve for any back taxes that might need to be paid. The BTA commented further that the IRD has not yet filed an official complaint or issued all appropriate documents. When all official procedures and investigations are completed by the IRD, BTA will make a full comment on its position. An official statement issued by the BTA claims that recent court rulings against structured financing indicate that the New Zealand Government is taking a conservative jurisprudence approach and the BTA will have similar results to previous cases.

BAT (New Zealand), whose brands include Dunhill, Rothmans and Benson & Hedges, has provisioned almost $40 million in back taxes because of the IRD review of "a financing transaction undertaken by the company", according to its report for the year to December 31, filed with the Companies Office.

Reference: Tobacco Firm Under IRD Investigation, New Zealand Taxation, 5/6/2010.
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Missouri - one of the most tobacco-friendly state in the U.S.A.


Missouri may soon become the state with the lowest cigarette tax in the country. South Carolina passes its tax hikes on cigarette packs, Missouri, by default, will become the state with the lowest taxes on cigarettes in the country at 17 cents per pack. That's $1.26 less than the state average. Missouri hasn't changed their cigarette tax since 1993.

Whether it’s at home or at work or at the convenience store checkout counter, Missourians live in a state that is one of the most tobacco-friendly places in the nation. That’s according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ranks states on their tobacco control efforts.

Missouri workers are more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke than any workers outside of Nevada. And Missouri families are more likely than others to welcome smoking in their homes — 69.5 percent of households in the state maintain no smoking rules, compared with the national average of 77.6 percent.

This nonchalance [indifference] doesn’t come without cost. An estimated 307 adults out of every 100,000 in Missouri die each year due to smoking. Only nine states had higher rates.

The CDC’s numbers for Kansas were nothing to be proud of either, but its rates of adult smoking and smoking-related deaths were closer to the national averages than those of Missouri. (Kansas - governor signed into law the Clean Indoor Air legislation.., 3/12/2010)

So what keeps Missouri smoking? “There’s a real lack of political will and a lack of investment in tobacco control,” said Douglas Luke, director of Washington University’s Center for Tobacco Policy Research in St. Louis. “The shame is that it costs us both in money and lives.” Missouri doesn’t have a clean indoor air law, Luke said. That leaves many workers in bars, restaurants and casinos exposed to second-hand smoke.

And Missouri spends just 1.7 percent of the amount the CDC recommends for tobacco prevention programs such as anti-smoking media and education campaigns. Only Mississippi and Tennessee spent less. “It’s not that we’re trying and failing,” Luke said. “It’s that we’re not even trying.”

Kit Wagar, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, acknowledged that more could be done to discourage smoking. But there have been successes, he said. “Nobody here is under any illusions that we’ve done enough. This is a huge public health problem,” Wagar said. “We’re working as hard as we can with the resources we have. We think we are making progress.” Missouri has successful prevention programs in schools, Wagar said.

And when the state teamed up with the Royals and Cardinals last year for anti-smoking public service announcements, calls by smokers to the state’s “quit line” more than doubled.

Luke is heartened by the growing number of localities in Missouri, such as Kansas City, Kirksville and Columbia, that have enacted indoor smoking bans.

“I have a lot of hope things will continue to improve and there will be discussion of doing something statewide,” Luke said. “Do we want to be known as one of the most unhealthy places in the country?”

House Democrat Jamilah Nasheed is sponsoring a bill to raise taxes on cigarettes to 33 cents. She wants the $90 million for the budget. The bill's hearing is not yet on the calendar, but to get the smoking rate down, cardiologist Dr. Arun Kumar has another idea. "The effect of smoking on our overall health care costs is immense, and if we focus our energies on preventing people from smoking in the beginning we'll be far better off," Kumar said. (Nasheed Files Bill To Increase Cigarette Tax, Arch City Chronicle, 2/5/2010)

References: Smoking habit ensnares Missouri by ALAN BAVLEY ,(abavley@kcstar.com), The Kansas City Star, 5/6/2010; Missouri May Have Lowest Cigarette Tax Reported by: Jena Pike, KOMU.com, 5/7/2010.

Missouri - some related news briefs:
Missouri - state wide smoking ban proposed..;
St. Louis City and County - voters approve smoking ban but NOT effective unitl January 2, 2011..;
Missouri - 2nd lowest cigarette tax and 4th highest smoking rate..;
Kansas City, Missouri - court upholds smoking ban..;
Missouri - fire-safe cigarettes delayed until January 2011..;
St. Louis County - joint statement;
Premium Cigar Store Owners Unite to Fight Proposed St. Louis County Smoking Ban Vote..;
Missouri - some cities becoming smoke free but NOT the state..;
West Saint (St.) Louis County - NO Smoking - firefighters or EMS personnel...
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British Columbia (B.C.), Canada - largest counterfeit tobacco seizure..



May 8, 2010 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian border authorities have made the largest counterfeit tobacco seizure in B.C. history.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP’s Federal Border Integrity Program’s Customs and Excise Team announced Wednesday, May 5th that they had seized more than 50,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes with a street value of $3.4 million at the Port of Vancouver.

CBSA officers at the port made the discovery on April 15 when they sent for a secondary check a marine container, declared as household sinks destined for an address in Richmond, that had arrived from China.

“Our officers are skilled in observing inconsistencies, and so the interception was purely the result of vigilance on the part of the CBSA officers,” said Faith St. John, spokeswoman for the CBSA. “But the declaration did indicate that the shipment contained household sinks. And when the officers X-rayed the shipment they noticed inconsistencies in the images.”

“And so when they opened the boxes they found that there were boxes of cartons of cigarettes hidden inside the shipment.”

St. John said that RCMP officers determined that the cigarettes were counterfeit cigarettes packaged as “Canadian and U.S. brands” along with Chinese brands “that are not normally available here.”

RCMP investigators launched an investigation to determine the recipients of the contraband cigarettes and on April 19 arrested six Lower Mainland men, who have since been released without charges.

“We’re going to make sure that we gather all the relevant evidence before we submit our report to Crown,” said Sgt. Duncan Pound of the RCMP’s Federal Border Integrity Team “This is the largest-ever tobacco seizure of counterfeit product destined for British Columbia.” Pound said the forces believes the cigaretttes “were going to be sold here in British Columbia.”

“This amount of illegal tobacco costs the public millions of dollars in lost duties and taxes when not regulated.”

Reference: $3.4 million worth of counterfeit tobacco seized in B.C.'s biggest bust by Jack Keating (jkeating@theprovince.com), The Province, 5/5/2010.

Canada - some cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Canada, Ontario and Quebec - illegal cigarettes greater than 40% of consumption..;
NCACT welcomes Quebec government's tabling of bill to fight contraband tobacco..;
Quebec - push to stop trade in illicit cigarettes..;
Canada Ontario/Quebec - make it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products..;
Canada - nearly one in five packs of cigarettes smoked by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products..;
Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey - 2008..;
Ontario, Canada - illegal cigarettes are everywhere..;
Canada - half of smokers have tried to quit..;
Canada - illegal cigarette trade - Imperial Tobacco President Kemball comments..;
Canada - Imperial Tobacco Head - Illegal Cigarettes..;
Imperial Tobacco - Canada Head - Canada growing crisis of illicit tobacco sales..;
Imperial Canada - stop illegal tobacco sales rather than raisng tax on tobacco..; Canada - will higher tobacco prices lead to increase in illicit cigarettes..;
Canada - to launch an advertising campaign on the problem of tobacco smuggling..;
Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..; Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..;
Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies..;
As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing..; Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..;
Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..;
Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..;
Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..;
Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband...
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Virginia - 1 of 3 teenagers identified smokeless tobacco products as candy or gum..






May 7, 2010 - One out of three teenagers younger than 18 mistakenly identified a new type of smokeless tobacco product as candy or gum in a survey conducted by a Virginia tobacco-prevention group.


FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) must not wait until sometime next year to get around to evaluating these smokeless tobacco products. Just the dosage forms alone of these flavored products are not acceptable: - orbs - that looks like candies currently on the market, a stick similar to a toothpick and probably the worst is the little edible strips that are placed on the tongue like a Listerine breath strip, for quick absorption. The primary mission of CTP is to prevent our children - the next generation from becoming nicotine addicts never able to achieve their full potential. (Smokeless Tobacco products with up to 700% more flavor additives than candy..)

Camel Dissolvables like Orbs - chance of nicotine poisoning increased..

The survey conducted last year by student volunteers with the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, the survey asked about 1,400 people, including 728 younger than 18, to identify package images for several types of novel, smokeless tobacco products, along with package images of conventional mints and gums.

About 39 percent of the people younger than 18 identified Camel Orbs as mints or gum.

Camel Orbs are a pelletlike type of oral tobacco that dissolves in the mouth, delivering a dose of nicotine to the user. Developed by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, Camel Orbs are part of a wider trend in the tobacco industry to introduce new smokeless products to the market as cigarette sales have declined and as indoor smoking bans become more common.

The smokeless products have been criticized by health officials and tobacco-control advocates, who say they appear too much like candy and pose a poison risk to young children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to review dissolvable tobacco products, and U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., last month urged the agency to pull the products from stores pending more study.

The results of the survey indicate that packaging of the products alone may appeal to youth, said Danny Saggese, director of marketing for the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. "It poses a significant risk to youth and raises the possibility of them not only using these products, but using them in places where smoking is now prohibited, and potentially becoming nicotine addicts," he said.

Of the teenagers younger than 18 surveyed, 28 percent said they would try Camel Orbs based on packaging alone.

Camel Orbs are not available in Virginia, said David Howard, a spokesman for Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds. The company is test-marketing the product in Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Portland, Ore. Howard said Camel Orbs are sold behind the shelf along with other tobacco products.

"They are clearly tobacco products," he said. "Their sale is age-restricted. It is illegal to sell them to minors. The packages carry the same warnings as other smokeless tobacco products." Starting late next month, the FDA will require smokeless tobacco products to have warning labels that cover one-third of the front and back of the packages, Howard said.

Christine Hou, a senior at the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, said she thinks the novel smokeless products are not widely known among teens, "but it is something [tobacco companies] are putting out there, which is scary." Hou and her sister Judy, 16, were among the more than 200 students who conducted the surveys among their peers and in public places between last May and December. The survey results are not a random sample of the general population.

Hou said she thinks the products blur the line between candy and tobacco. While teenagers might recognize it as tobacco, "they might think it is less harmful or not 100 percent tobacco," she said. "More kids might be willing to try it just because they don't know what it is truly is."

Another product identified in the survey was Stonewall, a type of smokeless, pellet tobacco sold by Henrico County-based Star Scientific Inc. About 35 percent of the survey respondents 18 or younger perceived Stonewall to be candy, mints or gum. Twenty-three percent said they would try Stonewall because of the packaging.

Click on image to enlarge..
Stonewall Hard Snuff Packaging - front..



Click on image to enlarge..
Stonewall Hard Snuff Packaging - back..




Sara Machir, a spokeswoman for Star Scientific, said she could not comment on the survey without reviewing it, but she said the company's internal research indicates that the median age of consumers of its products is 40 years old. Star Scientific also has said its products are labeled for use only by adult tobacco users, are stocked only with other tobacco products in stores, and have packaging designed not to look like candy.


A third product in the survey was Camel Snus Mellow, a type of oral, pouch tobacco that Reynolds sells nationwide. Twenty percent said they would try Camel Snus based on the packaging. (Experience of a High School Student Using Camel SNUS - from the Kansas City Star, 10/31/2007..; Are adults snoozing while kids are "snusing?"..; Children in Indiana starting to use smokeless tobacco products..)




The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is a state-created, tobacco and obesity-prevention organization funded with 10 percent of Virginia's annual payments from the 1998 national tobacco settlement.

Reference: Many teens mistook smokeless tobacco products for candyJOHN REID BLACKWELL RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER, 5/7/2010.
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Nigeria - call to emulate Australia's move to ban the promotion of tobacco..





May 7, 2010 - The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the federal government to emulate Australia’s move to ban the promotion of tobacco.

The Australian government last week announced that by July 2012, all cigarettes sold in that country will have to be in plain packaging – meaning no tobacco industry logos, no brand imagery, no colours, and no promotional text other than brand and product names in a standard colour, position, font style and size. (Australia - tobacco tax increase now in force, next comes plain tobacco packaging.)

In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN Programme Manager, Akinbode Oluwafemi said, “The Australian government’s move complements global efforts to curb the gale of deaths spurred by the deceptive promotional packs of the tobacco industry. It is highly commendable and timely in nipping the renewed efforts to woo underage persons into smoking through beautiful packs, colours and logos.”

“This enviable move by the Australian government should ginger our lawmakers to expedite action on the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) currently stagnating in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly. It is ironic that Nigeria which signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004 and ratified in 2005 is still lagging behind and prevaricating on domesticating the FCTC in form of state and national laws,” Akinbode noted.

The National Tobacco Control Bill was sponsored by Deputy Minority Leader Senator Olorunnibe Mamoora and scaled the second reading in February 2009.

A public hearing on the bill was also held on July 20 and 21 last year by the Senate Committee on Health, Chaired by Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.

The committee is expected to send the reports of the public hearing to the Senate plenary after which a vote will be taken on the bill. Senate President, David Mark had also hinted that the Senate will vote individually as against the usual practice of a voice vote.

Reference: ‘Emulate Australia in banning tobacco promotion’, written by Nasir Imam, Daily Trust, 5/6/2010.

Nigeria - related news briefs:
Africa - the increase in tobacco use must be prevented..;
Nigeria - parliament still debating new tobacco legislation..;
Nigeria - Customs Service Comptroller-General commended BATN..;
Nigeria - National Tobacco Control Bill - public hearing..;
Nigerian senator believes passage of anti-tobacco bill wil lead to unemployment..;
Nigeria - Senator claims anti-tobacco bill will lead to 400,000 job losses..;
Nigerian Lawsuit Against Tobacco Firms Adjourned Until January 2009..;
Nigeria House Passes Anti-smoking Bill..;
BAT using illegal tactics to get African youths to start smoking..;
British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa..
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PMI - webcast May 13th - Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium..


May 7, 2010 - Philip Morris International, Inc. will host a live audio webcast of the company's remarks and question-and-answer session by Hermann Waldemer, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), at the Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium at www.pmi.com on Thursday, May 13, 2010, at approximately 8:35 a.m. ET.

The webcast will provide live audio of the entire PMI session and will be in a listen-only mode. An archived copy of the webcast will be available until 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, June 11, 2010 at www.pmi.com.

Highlights - PMI q1 2010 earnings...

Reference: Philip Morris International Inc. to Host Webcast of Presentation at Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium, SOURCE: Philip Morris International, Inc., Business Wire, 5/6/2010.
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Philip Morris USA to raise prices by 8 cents/pack on most cigarette brands.



May 7, 2010 - Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA (PM USA) division is raising prices for Marlboro and most of its other cigarette brands by 8 cents a pack.

The price increase will be effective Monday, May 10th a spokesman said. The list price for Marlboro, or the price the company sells the cigarettes to its wholesalers for, will go up to $3.70 a pack from $3.62 a pack.

Cigarette companies in the U.S. have raised prices fairly steadily in recent years. The higher prices have helped shore up profits at a time when volumes have been under pressure as Americans smoke fewer cigarettes. Bans on smoking in public places and higher taxes have contributed to a decline in cigarette volumes.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris Growe said the latest price increase from Altria was higher than he had expected.
(Above entire article from the Wall Street Journal..)

Highlights - Altria Group, q1 2010 earnings conference call..

Reference: Altria Raising Cigarette Prices By 8c A Pack by Anjali Cordeiro (anjali.cordeiro@dowjones.com), Dow Jones Newswires; 5/6/2010.
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Lorillard , Inc. - to participate in the Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium on Thursday, May 13, 2010..



May 7, 2010 - Lorillard, Inc., the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States, has announced that Martin L. Orlowsky, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and David H. Taylor, Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium at the Goldman Sachs Conference Center in New York. Lorillard will present on Thursday, May 13, 2010, at 10:25 A.M. Eastern.

The presentation will be broadcast live over the Internet under the Investor Relations section of Lorillard's website at www.lorillard.com and will also be available in an archived format for thirty days following the event.

Lorillard - highlights q1 2010 earnings..

Reference:
Lorillard to Participate in the Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium on Thursday, May 13, 2010
, PRNewswire, 5/4/2010.
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Kenya - BAT trying to find ways to circumvent law that outlaws promotion of tobacco products..


May 6, 2010 - A war of words has broken out between the Kenya Tobacco Control Board and British American Tobacco (BAT) over a crop insurance policy.

The State agency says the cover violates the law barring promotion of cigarettes. The crop policy developed by UAP Insurance in partnership with Chancery Wright was recently introduced to farmers in Western Province.

BAT has, however, refuted the claims instead asking the board to allow the industry to engage its partners and contribute to their welfare.

“The crop insurance cover, similarly, has no relation to our cigarette brands. It is important that the regulator understands the difference between the corporate entity and the brands,” said Ms Julie Adell-Owino, head of corporate and regulatory affairs, for BAT Kenya.

The Kenya Tobacco Contrl Board, through its chairman Prof Peter Odhiambo, said the product is a violation of the Act and the two firms are liable for punishment. “It is a trickery; UAP is being used by the cigarette company to put a human face on the robbery. The Act prohibits any kind of promotion and by this the manufacturer is violating the law,” Prof Odhiambo told journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday.

“The crop insurance cover does not in any way contravene the tobacco control act and has no relation to our cigarette brands,” noted Ms Adell-Owino.

Already, about 1,000 farmers contracted by the multi-nationals have signed up for the product, most being from Western, Nyanza and Eastern provinces.

“The product allows the promotion of tobacco product and is also meant to create a brand recognition for BAT. This is against the Act and we are going to take punitive measures against them,” said Prof Odhiambo.

In 2008, the government enacted an anti-tobacco law which among other things outlawed smoking in public as well as promoting of tobacco and its by products.

“We believe that tobacco farming is a legal practice and have seen no reason why we could not as a responsible insurer help farmers by alleviating their crop losses” said Mr James Wambugu managing director UAP Insurance.

Reference:
Board raises smoke over tobacco cover by JOSEPH BONYO, Daily Nation, 5/5/2010.

Related news briefs:
Kenya - educate public on harmful effects of smoking and enforce provisions of tobacco control act..
Kenya - public health officers will be involved in enforcement of smoking regulations..;
Kenya - smoking ban must be enforced - it's the law..;
Kenya - BAT declines to support charities - tobacco control laws..;
Kenya - discrepancies between local smoke-free regulations and Tobacco Control Act..;
Smoking ban starts in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya..;
British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa..
Read more...

African-American infants at increased risk from tobacco smoke exposure..


May 6, 2010 - Low levels of prenatal tobacco smoke exposure are associated with a higher risk of developmental problems for African American children than white children, according to new research from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

The findings were presented at noon ET Saturday, May 1, at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, Canada.

PAPER: Racial Differences in Developmental Outcomes Associated with Prenatal Exposure to Tobacco Smoke Kimberly Yolton, Jane Khoury, Yingying Xu, Paul Succop, Bruce Lanphear. Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, OH; Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; Health Sciences, Simon Frasier University, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Platform Session: Environmental Health, 5/1/2010, ABSTRACT..

Prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke has already been linked to prematurity and cognitive defects in young children. Previous research has also shown racial differences in metabolism of nicotine among adolescents, adults, and pregnant women.

The current study focused on the developmental differences between 242 white and black children at 1 and 2 years of age. The study was limited to children whose mothers had measureable levels of cotinine – a biological byproduct of nicotine – in their blood during pregnancy.

"We found that low-level prenatal tobacco exposure was associated with deficits in both motor and cognitive development, but only for black children," said Kimberly Yolton, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist in the division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's and lead investigator on the study.

The children were assessed for cognitive and motor development using The Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Second Edition). Although the researchers found no statistically significant association between prenatal tobacco exposures and lower scores in white children, Dr. Yolton stressed expectant white mothers should still refrain from smoking.

"All women should be aware of the dangers of tobacco smoke to themselves and their developing babies, but our research suggests African American women should be particularly careful during pregnancy," Dr. Yolton said.

Interestingly, although only 30 percent of mothers in the study reported any exposure to tobacco smoke – either by smoking themselves or through second-hand exposure – all had measurable cotinine levels in their blood. Dr. Yolton said this indicates expectant mothers and their children may be at risk of exposure even when they don't realize it.

"And when pregnant mothers do smoke, the nicotine easily passes through the placenta to the developing baby, and nicotine concentrations are 15 times higher in the baby's blood than the mother's," she added.

Dr. Yolton said future research efforts are aimed at better understanding the metabolic and molecular reasons for tobacco smoke's harmful affects on infants and children as well as the racial disparities associated with exposure.

Reference: African-American infants at increased risk from tobacco smoke exposure, Contact: Nick Miller (nicholas.miller@cchmc.org), Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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South Carolina - tobacco tax increase bill goes to governor..





May 6, 2010 - South Carolina senators have approved raising the nation's lowest cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack. The 41-1 vote on Wednesday, May 5th suggests there are enough votes to override Gov. Mark Sanford's threatened veto of the proposal.

Sanford's communications director Ben Fox said Wednesday that the governor will carefully review the bill to raise the tax by 50 cents on a pack of cigarettes. His comments came after the Senate voted 41-1 to give the bill final approval. "We've repeatedly expressed grave concerns about raising the overall tax burden on South Carolinians without corresponding tax relief," Fox said.

South Carolina has the lowest state cigarette tax in the nation at 7 cents a pack. The national average is $1.41 a pack.

Most of the $136 million raised would go toward future Medicaid expenses. About $10 million would be set aside for smoking cessation and prevention and cancer research at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina for lung cancer research. It also would give $1 million to marketing agriculture products.

Sanford is expected to veto the legislation, as he did two years ago. In May 2008 the House fell 20 votes short of the total needed to override a veto on a 50-cent increase. The same could happen this year. The House showed lukewarm support for a 50-cent increase that eventually passed by a voice vote April 20. Many in the House pushed for a 30-cent increase, so it's unclear if the House will have enough support to find the 83 members needed to override the expected veto.

But the prospects may have brightened with legislators weary of annual battles on the issue. "People are tired of dealing with that issue in the Legislature and want to get it behind them" Cooper said. The Senate's vote on Wednesday shows enough support to overturn a veto. Sen. Lee Bright, R-Roebuck, was the only senator to vote against the bill.

Kelly J. Davis, spokeswoman for the South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative, said advocates are trying to build more support. "Poll after poll over the years shows that the vast majority of South Carolinians would support a cigarette tax increase of $1 a pack," Davis said. "The public support is there for this legislation."

Research by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids shows that a 50-cent cigarette tax increase would prevent 23,300 South Carolina children from becoming smokers and would prompt 12,800 adult smokers to quit, according to Davis.

Smoking has become more expensive around the nation, with the average smoker paying $5.28 a pack when taxes are included. South Carolina's average price would be $4.28 a pack with the increase. The federal tax last year jumped 62 cents a pack to $1.01.

If the increase becomes law, Missouri would then have the nation's lowest tax at 17 cents a pack. Rhode Island's tax is the highest at $3.46 per pack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reference: Senate passes cigarette-tax boost Measure goes to Sanford; veto is expected by Yvonne Wenger, The Post and Courier, 5/6/2010.

Related news briefs:
South Carolina - state senate could send 50-cent cigarette tax increase to governor soon..;
South Carolina - senators try to write bill on cigarette tax increase to override Governor Sanford's veto..;
South Carolina - increase in cigarette tax still NOT likely..;
South Carolina - cigarette tax, State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex speaks up..;
South Carolina - among the worst states in the nation in smoking prevention efforts..;
South Carolina - among the worst states in the nation in smoking prevention efforts..;
South Carolina - most residents support raising the tobacco tax..;
South Carolina - with Gov. Sanford still in office most likely no tobacco tax increase in 2010..;
South Carolina - low cigarette pricing, smuggling, higher insurance premiums, etc..;
Lexington County, South Carolina has a workplace smoking ban..;
South Carolina - governor disappears, maybe its time to slip through a cigarette tax..;
South Carolina - next legislative session starts June 16th..;
South Carolina - lawmakers may disappoint again on cigarette tax increase..;
SC tobacco tax increase - doubt exists maybe NOT this year..;
South Carolina - can we expect a tobacco tax increase this year??;
South Carolina a magnet for cigarette black market..;
South Carolina - legislators eager to pass cigarette tax increase - the odds are against them??;
South Carolina to spend NO money on tobacco prevention..;
South Carolina (SC) will NOT devote any resources to anti-smoking programs..;
In 2008 will the politicians do what's right for the State of South Carolina??;
South Carolina - Tobacco Tax Increase Killed - State House Fails to Override Governor's Veto..
Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??
Read more...

Romania - new strategy coming to cracking down on cigarette smuggling..


May 5, 2010 - British American Tobacco (BAT), the Romanian cigarettes’ market leader, as well as Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Romania and Philip Morris Romania had abrupt losses on the sales volume at the beginning of 2010. The BAT sales dropped by 15 – 17 %, and up to 40 % for JTI.

BAT, JTI and Philip Morris Romania firmly reject the idea of backing down from the local market, due to the latest increase of smuggling, and ask for dialogue with the authorities in the attempt to cut down on this phenomenon.

Directly related news brief:
Romania - cigarette smuggling decreased in March 2010..


The tobacco industry is one of the biggest state budget contributors. The three major companies provided the state with over EUR 2 billion in 2009, from VAT and other taxes.

Last year, the state confiscated more than 202 million smuggled cigarettes. One of three smoked cigarettes comes from smuggling; one of three cigarettes doesn’t pay state taxes.

The industry’s stakeholders took internal measures to fight smuggling. It seems these measures are not enough. Cigarette producers suggest the following measures in order to fight smuggling: Appointing an authority to coordinate the smuggling fight, preferably the National Customs Authority; Assigning resources for securing frontiers, especially those with the EU members; A better coordination between the fiscal and the monetary policy; Consolidating the industry-authority partnership.

Romania is not the only country facing this phenomenon. In the US, President Obama has recently signed a bill created (PACT) to stamp out tobacco smugglers, in an attempt to restore significant amounts of revenue lost because cigarette taxes are not being paid. In Ireland local Police cracks down on smugglers, as convictions for tobacco smuggling are up 100% at the end of March 2010. In Switzerland the World Health Organisation’s plan against tobacco smuggling is stalled over ways to trace products, duty free sales etc. The program would “Implement carton tracking in risk markets.” Examples on efforts to cut down smuggling could continue.

In Romania, in March 2010, the Official Monitor announced a new national strategy to fight cigarettes smuggling was to be implemented in 45 days. The Government formed a Work Group that would prepare the national strategic plan for fighting the illegal cigarettes traffic in the next two years. This order was also published in the Official Monitor. According to this document, ANAF will coordinate the new structure, which will include members of the National Customs Authority, the Financial Guard and of the police.

Fight against smuggling should go on with determination, as Romania loses EUR 1 bln every year due to this phenomenon. Romania needs that billion. With a fragile economic balance, Romania has gone further into a financial crisis due to the recession. One of the result was the country had to borrow more and more from the IMF. The story continues to get impressive media coverage whenever Romania has to pay a new part of its debt.

Reference: Cracking down cigarette smuggling would get Romania EUR 1 bln. Romania needs that bln! by: Nine oClock, Nineoclock.ro, 5/4/2010.

Some Romania related news briefs:
Romania - cigarette smuggling decreased in March 2010..;
Romania - PMI suspends cigarette production for two-weeks starting February 19th..;
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Netherlands - small bars can continue to ignore smoking ban..


May 5, 2010 - Small bars in the Netherlands (Dutch, Holland) can continue to ignore the smoking ban, as Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink says he will not take new measures to enforce it. A ministry spokesperson told the daily NRC Handelsblad that there is "no need to change current policy". Previously, the Dutch government had indicated they would change the law to keep bars smoke free..

The smoking ban, aimed at protecting employees' health, came into force in July 2008. Small bars, which are often unable to create the required separate zones for smokers and non-smokers, increasingly allow their clients to smoke indoors. The Supreme Court decided in April that a number of convicted owners who broke the smoking law should not be acquitted. They will have to re-appear before the court in June.

Figures collected by opinion pollster Intraval show that 41 percent of bar owners are flaunting the no-smoking law, and the percentage is increasing steadily. Bars are the exception, as hotels, fast food shops, restaurants and sports clubs are all obeying the rules.

The Dutch Food Safety Authority is checking whether patrons are allowed to smoke inside bars. The bar owner is cautioned twice and, if the smoking continues, the authority can impose successive fines rising from an initial 300 euros (385.35 USD) to 2,400 euros (3,082.91 USD).



Reference: Dutch minister admits smoking ban is partial failure, © Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 5/4/2010.




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World NO Tobacco Day, May 31, 2010..


May 5, 2010 - World No Tobacco Day 2010 will be designed to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It will also highlight the need for the nearly 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in accordance with their constitutions or constitutional principles.

In February, WHO chief Margaret Chan said that developing countries were the "new frontier" for tobacco marketing. "If Big Tobacco is in retreat in some parts of the world, it is on the march in others," she said in a speech on the fifth anniversary of an international convention on tobacco control. "In these countries as elsewhere, girls and women are a market with attractive and lucrative growth potential, and they are likewise being targeted," Chan said. In developed countries, tobacco companies have seen their marketing restricted or banned and sales are falling as public health campaigns and tight rules on smoking in public places hit profits. (Tobacco use in poor countries on the rise, says WHO chief, JamaicaObserver.com, 2/27/2010)

Women comprise about 20% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers. However, the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries. Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

World No Tobacco Day 2010 Posters..

Reference: World No Tobacco Day 2010 Theme: Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women, WHO, 12/19/2009.

World NO Tobacco Day - May 31, 2009 - GET INVOLVED..
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Bangladesh - tobacco companies targeting women, also other developing countries..



May 5, 2010 - DHAKA, April 29 (AFP) - Misleading tobacco advertisements abound.. From Bangladeshi chest doctor Kazi Saifuddin Bennoor - one that suggested smoking could make childbirth easier plumbed new depths. Advertisements telling smokers they are smarter, more energetic and better lovers than their non-smoking counterparts are a familiar sight across Bangladesh -- something unimaginable in most other countries. One in a rural area, Bennoor remembers, said that "if a lady smokes, her baby will be smaller and it will be easier to deliver, the labour will be less painful".

"These are very ruthless advertisements," said Saifuddin, an associate professor at Bangladesh's National Hospital for Chest Diseases.

The promotion is being linked to an alarming rise in tobacco use in the impoverished South Asian country, particularly among women and the young -- a trend repeated across many developing countries, anti-tobacco groups say.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that tobacco companies are targeting women in developing countries as a new growth market and Dhaka-based doctors treating lung diseases report they are seeing more female patients. Around 28 percent of adult Bangladeshi women now use tobacco, according to the latest WHO survey, and 43 percent of the adult population -- or 41 million people -- use tobacco in some form, up from 37 percent in 2004.

"(Tobacco use) has become an epidemic among rural women. It's a very serious health issue," a government advisor on health, Syed Mudasser Ali, told AFP, adding that anti-smoking laws were poorly enforced. Tobacco advertising was banned in Bangladesh in 2005, so the advertisements are usually fly-posters that do not specify the company behind the message. "Only a negligible number of people have been fined for breaching tobacco laws over the last few years," Ali said.

Officially 57,000 people die in Bangladesh of tobacco use annually, but that figure was likely a "huge underestimate".

The country fits a pattern emerging across the region of rising rates of female tobacco use, particularly in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia. This rise is largely because more Asian women are entering the workforce, have disposable income and see smoking as "modern and liberated," said doctor Mary Assunta, director of the International Tobacco Control Project.

"I've seen tobacco companies' marketing campaigns on my university campus and in residential dormitories," said one 25-year-old Bangladeshi female smoker who used to smoke a pack a day but is trying to quit on her doctor's advice. "They approach students with a questionnaire and ask them to fill it in to win T-shirts or lighters," she said, adding that she started smoking as her friends in class at Dhaka University all smoked.

Tobacco companies are encouraging the trend, viewing women in developing countries as their "largest unexploited market", according to the WHO -- which has chosen the theme of tobacco marketing to women for 2010 No Tobacco Day on May 31.

"We see clear marketing strategies targeting women in Asia such as lipstick-type cigarette packs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos," said Assunta. The pretty, small packets of ultra-thin cigarettes are designed to be something a woman would like to carry around with her at all times, just like her favourite lipstick. "These fit easily into women’s purses. Cigarette packs are coloured pink and there are even fruit flavoured cigarettes," Assunta said.

Tobacco companies in Bangladesh contacted by AFP all denied using illegal fly-posters or point of sales marketing, which the ministry of health hoped to stop with an amended version of the 2005 law.

The market is dominated by volume leader Dhaka Tobacco, which has a 40-percent share and monopolises low-end sales. British American Tobacco, which makes the popular Pall Mall and John Player Gold Leaf cigarettes, dominates the 140 million dollar premium tobacco market with its Benson and Hedges brand.

"BAT Bangladesh markets cigarettes in Bangladesh in full compliance of all applicable laws, rules, and regulations," company spokesman Shamim Zahedy told AFP, adding that their marketing only targeted existing smokers.

In developed countries, tobacco companies have seen their marketing restricted or banned and sales are falling as public health campaigns and tight rules on smoking in public places hit profits. As a result, developing markets are becoming "increasingly important" for transnational companies such as BAT and Philip Morris International -- which is aggressively expanding in the Philippines and Indonesia, said Assunta.

"Tobacco companies are definitely putting effort into consolidating their positions in low income countries," she said.

Even Bangladesh, where nearly 40 percent of the population of 144 million lives on less than a dollar a day, is a lucrative tobacco market, with annual sales estimated at around one billion dollars.

In Bangladesh's remote, rural areas, the health risks of tobacco use are not always well known, Bennoor said, making poor farmers -- particularly women who are generally less well educated -- an easy target. "It is a vicious cycle: people who are poor are more vulnerable to tobacco addiction, and then they are smoking, and it makes them poorer," he said.

For Bangladesh's rural poor, approximately 4.5 percent of household expenditure goes on tobacco, according to WHO estimates. In some areas, there have been signs of a fightback against the advertising, however.

At Dhaka University, one fly-poster claiming "smoking makes you smarter and more manly" prompted a student-run counter-campaign. "We are smart and we don't smoke," said handmade posters plastered over the original adverts on the university's city-center campus.

Reference: Tobacco firms take aim at Bangladeshi, Asian women by Cat Barton/ AFP, MySinchew.com. 4/29/2010.

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Turkey - even in tea houses smoking ban is working..




May 5, 2010 - According to survey results recently released by Marmara University patrons of teahouses in Istanbul have been largely content with the indoor smoking ban. Some 70 percent of respondents told researchers they supported the smoking ban.

The survey was conducted in January and February in 18 teahouses in an Istanbul district and solicited the views of 256 patrons, only four of whom were female, according to the National Committee on Cigarettes and Health, or SSUK.

Among unemployed respondents, 80 percent said they supported the ban, while 60 percent of those with jobs expressed support for the ban.

Close to half of the respondents said their pattern of visiting teahouses did not change following the institution of the ban, while 25 percent said they began to frequent these places more often after the smoking ban came into force in all enclosed areas July 19, 2009. Some 97 percent of respondents with what they characterized as a light addiction to smoking expressed support for the ban; only 13 percent of heavy smokers said they support the prohibition.

Pınar Ay, one of the people responsible for the survey, said 17 percent of respondents claimed they quit smoking since the ban went into force, while 24 percent said they had decreased the number of cigarettes they smoke a day.

Among the respondents, 42 percent said they smoke every day while 7 percent said they rarely smoke.


Prime Minister Erdogan has been the driving force behind the success of the country's smoking ban. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Turkey for its efforts to create a smoke-free environment and its successful implementation.


Celal Sezgin, 53, a lawyer registered with the Bursa Bar Association, was murdered in a pub for warning smokers inside about the smoking ban.

Reference: Turkish teahouse patrons support smoking ban, study says, ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News, 5/2/2010.

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FDA CTP - guidance on sale/distribution of tobacco products..



May 5, 2010 - The US Food and Drug Administration FDA) has posted guidance on its enforcement policy in respect of regulations restricting the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff: Enforcement Policy Concerning Certain Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco

This guidance represents the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public.

CTP = FDA Center for Tobacco Products..
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South Carolina - state senate could send 50-cent cigarette tax increase to governor soon..


Gov. Sanford - will he veto???


May 5, 2010 - The Cigarette Tax Bill could finally be heading to Gov. Mark Sanford's desk Wednesday or Thursday after the Senate takes a last look at the bill. Tuesday, May 4th the Senate took up the House's version of the Cigarette Tax, which raises the tax from $0.07 to $0.50. The Senate decided to carry the bill over to Wednesday for a final review. The current tax of 7 cents a pack hasn't changed since 1977 when a pack cost 48 cents.

If the bill is passed, it could raise $129 million in revenue, planned for a smoking cessation program and medicaid trust fund to offset the effects of diseases caused by smoking, organized by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"I think it's very tenuous, with some members of the Legislature to vote for the cigarette tax. We've had a majority vote, so now we need to move forward and send it down to the governor with strength behind it that most South Carolinians want this tax," Sen. Phil Leventis (D-Sumter County, Lee County) said.

Senators nearly agreed to send the legislation to Sanford on Tuesday. However, they're reconsidering their original vote in debate set for Wednesday.

At Greg's Gas Plus in North Augusta, the governor and a economics porfessopr at West Va. University Russell Sobel addressed the topic of possibly raising South Carolina's cigarette tax. Russell bolstered Sanford's case against the proposed tax increase, largely on the grounds that money is best kept in the hands of the private sector, rather than being sifted through the government. The proposed legislation, Sanford said, will arrive "shortly" on his desk for signature and would amount to a raise of 50 cents per pack. The governor, however, indicated he plans to veto what he described as "about a $1.3 billion tax increase over the next 10 years." (Governor discusses higher cigarette tax by BILL BENGTSON, North Augusta bureau, AikenStandard.com, 4/22/2010.)

The four Republicans running for governor would veto a cigarette tax increase and would push to drill, baby, drill off the coast of South Carolina. The Republican primary is June 8. — Corey Hutchins

References: VIDEO - Governor Could Get Cigarette Tax Bill By End of Week, Jeremiah Hall, wltx.com, 5/4/2010; Senate could send cigarette tax to governor, The Associated Press, 5/5/2010.

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California - governor vetoes propose ban on smoking at state beaches and parks..




May 4, 2010 - In a move certain to disappoint those who care about the environmental condition of the Golden State´s world famous coasts and mountains, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today vetoed a proposed statewide ban on smoking at state beaches and parks.


Notorious for enjoying a macho stogie in his own private tent, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went against the grain this week and vetoed what would have been a landmark bill banning smoking in state parks and beaches, the first such sweeping prohibition among the 50 states. California smokers can breathe — and cough, retch, spew and hack — a little easier.

Realistically, the celebration will be short-lived. It’s only a matter of time until a new governor is elected and the anti-smoking legislation becomes law. Tobacco addicts know which way the secondhand smoke is blowing. Their days of lighting up in the open air are numbered.

The Terminator gives California smokers a break by Logan Jenkins, SignonSanDiego.com, 5/6/2010.


"I´m sorry the governor did not agree with this widely supported effort to increase public awareness about the environmental threats carelessly tossed cigarettes are doing to our marine life and to the great outdoors," the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said afterward. "In addition to the clear environmental, fire safety and health reasons sought to be addressed under SB 4, the governor´s veto is in stark contrast to what is already being done at more than 100 local cities and counties statewide."

Senate Bill 4 called for a $100 fine on those cited for smoking at state beaches and parks.

The Legislature had approved SB 4, the No Smoking at State Parks and Beaches Act, after nearly four years of intensive legislative efforts.

More than 50 groups and organizations supported Oropeza´s bill, including the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach and Torrance, as well as state firefighters, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

Incomplete - see reference..

Reference: Governor vetoes proposed ban on smoking at state beaches and parks, California Chronicle, 5/4/2010.

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Viet Nam - smokers, vendors think tobacco control measures are a joke..



April 4, 2010 - Violations of the tobacco advertising and promotions ban are so wide-spread in Viet Nam (Vietnam) that virtually all cigarette vendors in the country have ignored the current regulations, a study has found. (Cigarette ban ignored)


Research by the Ha Noi School of Public Health (HSPH) released on Tuesday, showed that around 95 percent of the tobacco merchants surveyed had disregarded the national ordinance banning any form of cigarette advertisements and promotions.

Smoking has been banned in public places since January 1, 2010. Viet Nam - government ban fails to curb smoking in public..

The study, which looked at 1,500 cigarette vendors in 10 major cities and provinces throughout the country late last year, found that the most common violation was displays of more than one pack or one carton of a particular brand. More than 91 percent of the vendors surveyed broke this rule.

Another common violation was offering sale prices for cigarettes and giving packs of less than 20 cigarettes away for free, found the survey, which was done with technical assistance from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and financial support from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Violations in main public places and street sides, however, were almost non-existent, according to the study. Results were released at a conference in Ha Noi held to review implementation of the regulations prohibiting cigarette advertisements, promotions and cigarette-related sponsorship in Viet Nam.

"The rate of violations is high in places that sell cigarettes," said Dr Tran Thi Tuyet Hanh from the HSPH, who provided an example of Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City-based Craven Cafe, which gave away free cigarettes to customers.

The ban was originally introduced in the 1990s and went through further revisions in 2005. Specific rules banning cigarette advertising were added in 2008. Smoking has been banned in public places since January 1, including in classrooms, pre-schools, health centres, libraries, cinemas, theatres, factories, office buildings and public transportation.

The research, conducted in four northern, three central and three southern localities, including HCM City, was designed to review and collect data about enforcement of the circular, and to discover methods used by the cigarette industry to evade the rules.

Cigarette companies have managed to promote and advertise their products by sponsoring football clubs, music and performance shows, building charity houses, providing financial assistance to flood victims and tobacco farmers, and giving scholarships to poor and disadvantaged students, according to the survey.

A recent survey conducted by Nguyen Tuan Lam, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official, and other experts, found that higher incomes and low cigarette taxes had helped keep the smoking rate high, despite education about the hazards of smoking.

"Enforcing the ban in Viet Nam has been difficult because people don’t realise cigarette ads have been banned," said Hanh. "Inspection has been too weak and the punishment limited, focused mostly on wholesalers." Tobacco companies had taken full advantage of loopholes in the regulations to advertise and promote their products with eye-catching and colourful packaging, display boxes and posters, said Hanh.

According to statistics on tobacco taxation in Viet Nam released last month, the price of cigarettes is lower here than in other countries. A similar study done in 2005 showed that VND14 trillion (nearly US$737 million) was spent on cigarettes each year, and medical spending relating to cancer, heart and lung diseases, the three most popular smoking-related diseases, reached quadrillions of dong. The highest tax rate in Viet Nam is 45 percent, compared to those ranging from 65-80 percent in countries with effective tobacco control policies.

"Viet Nam is among the top 15 countries in the world in terms of the highest percentage of smokers, coming in at 56 percent of the population," said Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the MoH’s Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment, at Tuesday’s conference. Around 40,000 people die of smoking-related diseases each year, which is four times the number of deaths from road accidents, according to Khue.

Last August, Viet Nam approved an implementation plan for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which was ratified by the country. (Viet Nam ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in December 2004.) Plans include a roadmap to impose increased taxes and prices for tobacco products to reduce the number of smokers and the overall burden smoking-related diseases have on society.
(A survey conducted by Nguyen Tuan Lam, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official, and other experts, found that higher incomes and low cigarette taxes had helped keep the smoking rate high, despite education about the hazards of smoking.)

Experts and participants at the conference all agreed with adding specific regulations for a comprehensive ban on cigarette advertisements, promotions and sponsorships in the Draft Law on Preventing Tobacco-Related Harm. The draft bill has been discussed many times at National Assembly (NA) meetings and is expected to be submitted for approval at the NA’s 7th session in May.

"The draft law should clearly regulate a total ban on cigarette promotion activities such as using eye-catching colours and product designs, displaying cigarette boxes and sharing brands," said Hanh.

Viet Nam is a member of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca).

Reference: Vendors still violating cigarette ad ban, VietNamNet/Viet Nam News, 5/1/2010.

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