U.S. Menthol Cigarettes - FDA can we expect any marketing change??

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February 20, 2011 - Image - the new centerpiece for the tobacco power wall at convenience stores (c-stores) provided by Philip Morris USA (PM USA). As you know the intense competition for space in c-stores amongst the big three tobacco companies is an ongoing battle.(Big 3 cigarette companies continue to compete for c-store space - the PM T-SET..) Mike Szymanczyk, the CEO of Altria, Inc. (PM USA, operating company of Altria Group Inc) has stated that Philip Morris owes their success to the ability to connect with adult tobacco consumers through the in-store experience and the development of one-to-one relationships using their database of 25 million adult cigarette smokers (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008).

Tobacco companies are so sure that there's no way the FDA will alter the marketing of mentholated cigarettes. (Philip Morris USA - bold move - will introduce a new menthol cigarette in October 2010..; and later this month - PM USA - coming soon another Marlboro Special Blend in Menthol and Regular..)

We must make inroads in preventing kids from taking up smoking. Based on sales of tobacco products it's more than likely that kids if tempted will try cigarette smoking. At present each day in the United States, approximately 3,900 persons aged 12--17 years smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,000 adolescents become daily cigarette smokers The vast majority of persons who begin smoking during adolescence are addicted to nicotine by age 20.

We have seen figures showing that as high as 50 percent of teenage smokers prefer menthol cigarettes. (SOURCE: Mendiondo MS et al. Addiction 2010 Dec; 105 Suppl 1:124-40) (U.S. FDA for our children must limit the availability of menthol cigarettes..; Menthol cigarettes - easier to tolerate for the first time smoker - our kids...)

Lorillard commissioned a study conducted by Compass Lexecon, a Chicago-based economic consulting firm, that concluded that banning menthol cigarettes would result in a black market quickly emerging. Summary of the results of the Compass Lexecon study: Banning Menthol Cigarettes Would Create a Multi-Billion Dollar Black Market, Economic Study Concludes. Compass based their study on the experience of existing cigarette black markets in New York State and Canada.

We pointed out that if the Canadian government and the New York State authorities can control the illegal tobacco activities within these Indian reservations they will be able to limit the cigarette black market. (Lorillard Commissioned Study.. cigarette black market: Canada/New York State..)

We should be remembered that throughout the world when tobacco control measures are being considered the immediate response on the part of tobacco companies is that this will result in an increase in contraband cigarettes.

The FDA has a few things going for it to slow the black market in mentholated cigarettes:

..U.S. PACT ACT would prevent marketers from using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver any form of tobacco products (i.e, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco). Other carriers have also agreed like UPS and FedEX have agreed not to deliver tobacco products. (U.S. PACT Act takes effect Tuesday, June 29, 2010..)

..The FDA Center for Tobacco Products will have agents stationed throughout the country as part of the State Tobacco Retailer Compliance Check Inspection Program. Their role could be expanded to include looking out for illicit menthol cigarettes.

..Deborah Arnott, chief executive of United Kingdom Action on Smoking and Health, said: Tough law enforcement measures are the way to tackle tobacco smuggling. Since the government started cracking down on smuggling and new laws were put in place with the threat of heavy fines for manufacturers which allow their products to be smuggled, smuggling has reduced dramatically.
(United Kingdom - tobacco companies warn tax increase will lead to an increase in cigarette smuggling..)

Possibly the amount of menthol cigarettes could be altered.. According to Lorillard, NEWPORT had an imaginative hint of mint that swept to an immediate success in 1957 among smokers who wanted only a touch of menthol with more tobacco taste than offered by other mentholated brands. (The Growth of Lorillard's Newport Cigarettes)

Lorillard slide show on menthol: - Slide Show: "Myth versus Reality"

A few menthol related news briefs:
U.S. FDA for our children must limit the availability of menthol cigarettes..;
Lorillard Commissioned Study.. cigarette black market: Canada/New York State..;
Menthol cigarettes - easier to tolerate for the first time smoker - our kids..;
Series of papers on Mentholated Cigarettes - journal of Addiction..;
More on the defense of menthol - the Tobacco Industry..;
Menthol cigarettes - if banned, how can this be accomplished??;
For our children ban all flavored tobacco products...




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