Oregon Governor wants cigarette vendings machines banned..

December 31, 2008 - Oregon's Governor Ted Kulongoski
submits legislation for 2009 Session.

The governor wants to prohibit the sale of tobacco products through vending machines. Currently tobacco vending machines are allowed in taverns, cocktail lounges, hotels and motels, providing easy access to tobacco products and increasing the likelihood children will begin smoking. This legislation prohibits the distribution of tobacco through vending machines as another way to keep tobacco products out of the hands of children. [HB 2136] Health officials say this proposal is to restrict accessibility of tobacco to minors. Also these officials say smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disease in Oregon.

In addition the governor wants to require landlords to disclose where smoking is allowed --and not allowed -- on a rental property as a standard part of the lease agreement.

On January 1, 2009 - Oregon's smoking ban expands to bars, restaurants and other indoor work sites.

Reference: Forget about Santa, Governor wants a lot from the 2009 Legislature by Michelle Cole, The Oregonian, 12/18/2008; Potential Ban on Cigarette Vending Machines by Amy Sienicki, KDRV News Watch 12, 12/29/2008.

Utah Bars Go Smokefree January 1, 2009..

December 31, 2008 - On January 1, 2009 Utah's progress in providing smoke free environments will reach a new milestone. At that time taverns and private clubs will join thousands of other businesses in the state that already provide smoke free air for their workers, customers, and visitors.

Initial concerns by bar and club owners in those states about the impact on their businesses have vanished and tax receipts clearly indicate no loss of business. In fact, clean air venues may be attracting new customers who previously refused to patronize taverns and private clubs laden with toxic secondhand smoke. Several taverns and private clubs across Utah have already gone smoke free and report business is better than ever.

Lawmakers passed a law banning smoking in private clubs and taverns in 2006, but it only applied to newly licensed clubs. At midnight, all bars must go smoke-free. Under the new law, anyone caught smoking in a bar could face a $100 fine for the first offense and up to a $500 fine for a second offense. The state health department says bars can also be fined up to $5,000 for allowing smoking.

References: Utah Taverns and Private Clubs Go Smoke-Free January 1, 2009, Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, 12/30/2008; Smoking in Utah bars to be outlawed at midnight by Brock Vergakis - The Associated Press - Daily Herald, 12/31/2008.

BAT China - downplayed the dangers of second hand smoke..

December 31, 2008 - Three hundred million people smoke in China, accounting for one-third of the global “consumption” of cigarettes. Each year, about one million people die in China from tobacco-caused diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. More than 100,000 deaths from tobacco-related causes occur annually among the 540 million Chinese people who are exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS, environmental smoke, passive smoking, involuntary smoking).

China became a party to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty in 2005 but restrictions on smoking in public places in China remain limited and ineffective. Previous analyses of internal tobacco industry documents have revealed that transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) have used a multifaceted approach to undermine the adoption of restrictions on smoking in many countries.

Based on an analysis of internal documents researchers have found beginning in the mid ’90s through at least 2002, British American Tobacco (BAT) downplayed smoking-related disease in China by suggesting air pollution was a greater public health threat than smoking and arguing that the focus should be on what it characterized as China’s top killer, liver disease. As recently as 2006, despite two decades of research into the harms of second-hand smoke, China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Association was issuing statements that more research was needed to determine the effects of smoke exposure.

Research article: Monique E. Muggli1, Kelley Lee, Quan Gan, Jon O. Ebbert, Richard D. Hurt, “Efforts to Reprioritise the Agenda” in China: British American Tobacco's Efforts to Influence Public Policy on Secondhand Smoke in China, published December 2008 in the online journal PLoS Medicine.

Reference: Tobacco Company Downplayed Risks in China, Report Says by RONI CARYN RABIN, The New York Times, 12/29/2008.


Children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke..

December 30, 2008 - Thirdhand (third hand, 3rd) smoke is the term used for smoke contamination that lingers after the cigarette is stubbed out. Residual toxins remain in the air, on surfaces including clothing, and even in household dust. Children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke exposure because they breathe near, crawl on, play with, touch, and put in their mouths contaminated surfaces.

Lead study author Dr. Jonathan Winickoff said that particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic and that according to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene -- found in paint thinners, arsenic, lead, chromium, cadmium, and polonium-210 -- a highly radioactive carcinogen. Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous, Winickoff said.

"When you smoke -- anyplace -- toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing," Winickoff said in a statement. "When you come into contact with your baby, even if you're not smoking at the time, the baby comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breast milk."

Winickoff's team found that this was the case. In a survey of more than 1,500 households, 95.4 percent of nonsmokers versus 84.1 percent of smokers agreed that second-hand smoke harms the health of children, and 65.2 percent of nonsmokers versus 43.3 percent of smokers believed that third-hand smoke harms children. Strict rules prohibiting smoke in the home were more prevalent among nonsmokers – 88.4 percent versus 26.7 percent – but among both smokers and non-smokers, participants who agreed that environmental smoke was harmful to children's health were more likely to have restrictions on smoking in their homes.

PAPER:Jonathan P. Winickoff, MD, MPH et al., Beliefs About the Health Effects of "Thirdhand" Smoke and Home Smoking Bans, PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 1 January 2009, pp. e74-e79 (doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2184), ABSTRACT..

Parental tobacco use is a serious health issue for all the family members. To learn more - Click.

Reference: 'Thirdhand' smoke beliefs linked to home smoking bans, Posted by Elizabeth Cooney,Boston.com, 12/29/2008; Survey Highlights Beliefs About Children's Risks from 'Third-Hand Smoke' by Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today, 12/30/2008 and Third-hand smoke: Another reason to quit smoking, EurekAlert, 12/29/2008.


Oregon January 1, 2009 Smokng Ban Expanded..

December 29, 2008 - On January 1, 2009 - the smoking ban expands to bars, restaurants and other indoor work sites. No smoking within 10 feet of doors, windows or ventilation. More than 35,000 Oregonians work in these establishments, and that a U.S. surgeon general's report issued last year made it clear that their health is put at risk by exposure to secondhand (passive, involuntary, side stream, environmental)smoke.

Oregon legislators approved the indoor smoking ban 18 months ago, deliberately setting a long lead time so businesses could prepare. The new law expands upon a 2001 ban and prohibits smoking at all indoor work sites. Smoking will not be allowed outside within 10 feet of doors or windows. Motels and hotels must designate at least 75 percent of their rooms as nonsmoking.

The new law does not apply to tribal establishments, such as casinos or restaurants. Businesses can be fined up to $500 a day and $2,000 a month by the state Department of Human Services for violating the law.

State officials say that at least two-thirds of affected businesses already prohibit smoking.

Related news brief: Oregon - smoking ban to expand, prepares for Camel Dissolvables..

Reference: Smoking ban tops list of new state laws for 2009 by Janie Har, The Oregonian, 12/27/2008; Oregon smoking ban wins final OK, KATU.com, 6/18/2007.

Iowa - fire safe cigarettes - January 1, 2009..

December 29, 2008 - Iowa - A law signed on May 21, 2007 requiring the sale of new cigarettes that are less likely to start fires goes into effect January 1, 2009.

As can be seen from the image fire-safe cigarette has a what's called a speed bump in the band, so if it is left unattended it will extinguish on its own.

The cigarettes cost the same price, but some smokers say the new cigarettes leave a bad taste in their mouths. The new cigarettes may provide further incentive to once and for all stop smoking. Comment from an Iowa smoker: “If it tastes horrible, I'll probably be more apt to quit sooner,” Timothy Miller said. Another comment: "If you're not constantly smoking them, they'll go out. Then, if you relight it, it flames up in your face because of the paper.” Dummies - Citizens Against Fire Safe Cigarettes.."

Nearly every other state in the nation already requires or is in the process of requiring retailers to sell fire-safe cigarettes Other states requiring the sale of fire safe cigarettes starting January 1, 2009 include: Delaware signed into law July 5, 2007; Oklahoma signed into May 12, 2008, Pennsylvania signed into law July 9, 2008 and Texas signed into law June 15, 2007.

Learn more: Coalition for Fire Safe Cigarettes, an arm of the National Fire Protection Association.

Reference: Safer cigarette law goes into effect Jan. 1, Chicago Tribune - Associated Press, 12/29/2008; Smokers React to New Fire-Safe Cigarette Law by Mark Geary, Reporter, KCRG-TV, 12/29,2009.

Wisconsin - Increased Sales Tax Decrease in Smoking..

December 29, 2008 - Last January 2007, Wisconsin a tax increase that went into effect increasing the cigarette tax from 77 cents to $1.77 per pack (a 130 percent increase). One year after the tax increase, statistics show a considerable growth in state revenue brought in by tobacco products. Even with revenue growth, figures suggest the price hike may have nudged some people to snuff out their butts.

Through November of the last fiscal year, Wisconsin brought in $107 million through tobacco taxes, according to the state Department of Revenue. This year, the state collected more than $200 million, or an increase of 87 percent.

Wisconsin's rate of smoking is at 20 percent of the adult population, its lowest level in state history, according to the state Department of Health Services. The state's cigarette tax is now the 15th highest in the nation, according to an October report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Wisconsin would have ranked 33rd had it maintained the 77-cent tax.

Reference: Tax increase on cigarettes contributes to decrease in smoking by Jim Collar for The Northwestern, 12/28/2008.

Related news briefs: Wisconsin's achieves the lowest adult smoking prevalence ever..; The primary reason to increase the tax on tobacco is to get smokers to quit and dissuade kids from starting..; Wisconsin cigarette tax and tax on other tobacco products to increase January 1, 2008..;Wisconsin to Increase Tax on All Tobacco Products..; Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly (2-to-1) favor upping cigarette taxes by $1.25 a pack..

Smoking rampant among pregnant women in Alberta..

December 27, 2008 - A new report that shows a startling number of women in Alberta smoke while pregnant provides a clear warning sign the province's approach is falling short, a University of Calgary researcher says. A recently-released 2005 Alberta Health and Wellness study examined 28,484 samples from pregnant women randomly selected from 50,599 serum samples used for a province wide bio-monitoring test from January to December 2005. The concentrations of cotinine measured here indicate that many pregnant Albertan women were smokers at the time of their blood sample collection, particularly in the youngest women examined and in northern Alberta.

According to the study, between 25 to 32 percent of former and current smokers lit up regularly during their most recent pregnancy. The national average is 19 to 22 per cent. This, despite a provincial government strategy to reduce 2000-01 smoking rates in pregnant women from 32 per cent to 12 per cent in 2010-11.

It found that the levels of cotinine--a nicotine metabolite and marker of cigarette smoke exposure-- were unusually high among expecting Alberta women, particularly those in northern Alberta and younger than 25-years-old. The findings in northern Alberta, including formerly-separate Aspen, Peace Country and Northern Light health regions, were especially alarming, according to the report.

Dr. Shabih Hasan, a professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Calgary faculty of medicine who researches the effects of tobacco exposure during pregnancy. "There is an enormous price to pay for this. We have not made a dent." The risks of maternal smoking during pregnancy are well-established, Hasan said. Lighting up while pregnant has been found to harm the fetus and is linked to increased risks of stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, premature delivery and higher rates of sudden infant death.

Reference: Smoking rampant among pregnant women in Alberta by Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald, 12/26/2008.

Related news briefs: Tobacco a threat to pregnant women and children in developing world..;

Hong Kong - public smoking ban - smoking rooms??

December 27, 2008 - The Hong Kong (population 6.9 million) smoking ban in public places came into effect on January 1, 2007. The ban covers most public areas, including restaurants, offices and karaoke lounges. It also extends to outside areas with swimming pools, beaches and the larger parts of public parks now designated as smoke-free. Anyone caught lighting up in a banned zone faces a maximum fine of HK$5000 (£326, USD645).

The ban does not yet include nightclubs, bars open to those aged 18 or above, mahjong parlors, bathhouses and massage establishments, such venues have until July 1, 2009, to implement the law. With a little more than six months before the smoking ban is to be enforced the government is entering the final phase of a study of smoking rooms that may offer bar owners a way around the curbs. A number of Asian and European countries have placed restrictions on smoking but still permit smoking rooms to operate.

Officials are examining a 40,000-US-dollar smoking room partly funded by British American Tobacco at a Hong Kong bar to see if exemptions should be granted to bars with hi-tech facilities. The tobacco company claims the room removes and recycles smoke fumes safely and argues that it could save bars with high percentages of smoking customers from going bust.

However, the city's leading anti-smoking campaigner Anthony Hedley told Monday's (12/22/2008) South China Morning Post that allowing smoking rooms would be 'nothing short of a scandal.' The Hong Kong government will make recommendations to legislators on whether or not to allow the smoking rooms in a report early in 2009,

Reference: Hong Kong smoking ban startscarterersearch.com, 1/2/2007; Smoke-free Hong Kong may allow hi-tech smoking rooms in bars, monstersandcritics.com, 12/22/2008.

Taiwan lawmakers fail to raise tobacco tax..

December 26, 2008 - The Legislative Yuan (the Parliament) Monday, December 22, 2008 failed to pass any hikes in tobacco taxes, despite a wide range of proposals.

Lawmakers filed varying proposals to raise the current NT$10 (0.303USD) tax per packet of 20 cigarettes to NT$15, NT$20 or NT$40 (1.212USD) to discourage smoking, but because they failed to reach a consensus, the topic of higher cigarette taxes was referred to further negotiation. Ruling Kuomintang legislator Chang Shuo-wen proposed a hike to NT$40 while rejecting allegations he was trying to sabotage any rises. He said smaller increases would not work if the aim was to discourage smoking altogether.

Some lawmakers pointed out a contradiction in the government’s plans for the hike. “The country sells tobacco, but also bans tobacco,” said KMT legislator Lee Hung-chun, calling on the government to sell the

Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation - state-owned manufacturer and distributor of cigarettes and alcohol in Taiwan.

Lawmakers did agree on tougher measures against cigarette smuggling and on forcing the Department of Health to spend at least 6 percent of revenue from the tobacco tax on cancer prevention work.

The discussion about hiking tobacco taxation is coming amid preparations for the launch of a newly amended Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act on January 11. Under the new rules, smoking will be banned in all indoor workplaces staffed by at least three employees. Smoking will also be illegal in public indoor areas such as passenger waiting rooms and entertainment areas such as tea rooms, KTV parlors, and bowling alleys. The ban also covers some outdoor public areas such as train station platforms, swimming pools, school campuses and sports stadiums. The new act stipulates fines ranging from NT$2,000 (60.59USD) to NT$10,000 (302.95USD) for offenders.

Anti-smoking campaigners say the habit and its related diseases cost the National Health Insurance Bureau NT$30 billion in extra expenses a year. A 2005 study found from the public health and financial perspectives, the increase in this excise tax on tobacco to the Taiwan government will have significant effect in reducing cigarette consumption; it would also generate additional tax revenues - ABSTRACT.

Reference: Taiwan Legislature fails to raise tobacco taxTaiwan News, Staff Writer, 12/22/2008.

Euromonitor International: Tobacco in Taiwan. There are currently more than 4.5 million smokers in Taiwan, and that about 20,000 people die from smoking related illnesses every year. A pack of cigarettes can cost as little as NT$40 (US$1.3). (DOH (Department of Health) to push for NT$10 cigarette tax price increaseThe China Post, 10/22/2008)


Young adolescents exposure to tobacco ads and cigarette smoking..

December 25, 2008 - Researchers have found that children and young adolescents remain vulnerable to cigarette advertisements. The research team noted that "initial exposures to cigarette advertising (and the positive portrayals of smoking contained therein) should increase youths' willingness to experiment with cigarette smoking."

Under pressure to curtail marketing to children, tobacco companies have claimed they've refocused their marketing tactics to simply persuade adult smokers to change brands.

Team analyzed the psychological effects of cigarette advertisements and how such commercialization impacts children and young adolescents. The study showed that the youngest kids did not typically focus on brand meanings for any of the ads – tobacco or otherwise. For cigarette ads, this was still true for the vast majority of kids in fifth grade," Merrie Brucks, one of the co-authors said. But when a child was able to pick up on the brand name in a cigarette advertisement, the likelihood of being susceptible to smoking grew by 182 percent.

Based on their findings, the team supports "the policy of preventing children from exposure to any form of cigarette advertising," said Brucks. Citing concerns for children around the globe, the World Health Organization this year called for a ban on the advertisement and promotion of tobacco products.

PAPER: Freeman D, Brucks M, Wallendorf M, Boland W., Youths' understandings of cigarette advertisements, Addict Behav. 2009 Jan;34(1):36-42, ABSTRACT.

Reference: UA Research: Cigarette Ads Still Affect Children by La Monica Everett-Haynes, Arizona University Communications, 121/23/2008.

Some related news briefs: Youth exposed to smokeless tobacco ads despite settlement…; More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..; Cigarette retail marketing practices increase the likelihood of youth smoking..

STOP the Release of Dissolvable Tobacco Products..

December 25, 2008 - In January 2009 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco will start test marketing in 3-cities the first dissolvable tobacco products by a major company. Each product in convenient user-friendly dosage form containing amounts of the nicotine to render the user a slave to this addictive substance for many years to come. Public Health Professional are concerned.

The Camel Dissolvables Products: Sticks (twisted) can be placed in the mouth like a toothpick or broken into a pieces that are placed between the upper lip and gum, where they dissolve after 10 minutes; Orbs, which is a pellet (like placing a candy in your mouth) that lasts about 15 minutes and film Strips for the tongue, which dissolve after about 3 minutes. Flavors - Strips will come in fresh mint flavor and Sticks in Mellow; Orbs will be available in both flavors.

David Sutton, spokesman of Altria Group "We've been very pleased with the consumer response" to Marlboro Snus, says, which owns Philip Morris USA. This is NOT true - snus sales in the U.S. are around one percent of smokeless tobacco sales. Reynolds with Camel SNUS continues to flood the market with free cans of Camel snus. One of many examples: Have a Free can of Camel Snus. Sutton says smokeless is a "growing category" with sales rising 6%-8% annually. He says cigarette sales are falling 2%-3% each year.

Sara Troy Machir, spokeswoman of Star Scientific says, Teens like risk-taking behavior and a tablet, unlike a cigarette, won't lure them. If the tablet doesn't lure them how about the other dosage forms: the toothpick with flavor to mask the taste of the tobacco or the film strip it's just like a Listerine strip to enhance your breath.

Reference: Tobacco 'orbs' melt in mouth by Wendy Koch, USA Today, 12/24/2008.

A few related news briefs:We must stop the launch of dissolvable tobacco products..; Reynolds America moving ahead with dissolvable tobacco products..; STOP - the Proliferation of Flavored Tobacco Products..; R.J. Reynolds Dissolvables - it looks like candy.. and Snus News & Other Tobacco Products: STOP - the Proliferation of Flavored Tobacco Products..

Victoria, Australia 5-YR Tobacco Control Strategy..

December 23, 2008 - State Government hopes the new laws, announced today December 22, 2008, will help cut smoking rates in Victoria by 20 percent by 2013.

The ban on smoking in cars with children under the age of 18 will not come into effect until January 1, 2010. Victoria will become the fifth Australian state to ban smoking in cars with children. (Others that have already introduced such a ban: South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland.( Why the delay?? Vehicles Have Been Found to be the Most Dangerous Space for Second-Hand Smoke Levels. - even Philip Morris agrees. The prevalence of asthma in Australia is among the highest in the world: between 14% and 16% of children and between 10% and 12% of adults have asthma. (Asthma Statistics, Health InSite) Children who are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke in their parents’ cars are significantly more likely to experience asthma symptoms than those who travel in smoke-free cars, an Australian study shows. (Smoking in cars linked to asthma in children, Patient Health International, 3/2007)Victoria is Australia's second smallest state, the most densely populated and most urbanized.)

The ban on point-of-sale displays of cigarettes will be mandatory from January 2011.

Health Minister Daniel Andrews said other measures in the Victorian Tobacco Control Strategy 2008 - 2013 includes $22 million in funding for anti-smoking ads, making public school grounds smoke-free by July 1, 2009 and a boost to services to high-risk groups quit smoking.

"Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of illness and death in Victoria, claiming around 4000 lives, causing 80 per cent of lung cancer cases and costing Victoria around $5 billion every year."

Health groups welcomed the new five-year plan and said the measures would save thousands of lives.

Member of Parliament Damien Drum, says the State Government's new smoking laws do not do enough to stop young people lighting their first cigarette. Member of Parliament Damien Drum.

Reference: State Government bans smoking in cars with kids from 2010, Sarah Wotherspoon, heraldsun, 12/22/2008; Victoria bans smoking in cars with kids, The Australian, 12/22/2008.

Related news brief: Deadline for Comments on Victoria Goverment Tobacco Control Strategy..

The biggest losers when a parent smokes are the CHILDREN.

Adelaide, Australia - Imperial Tobacco stops marketing promotion..

December 22, 2008 - Cigarette giant Imperial Tobacco has dramatically pulled its tobacco products from Adelaide, Australia fashion stores after the brazen tactic to ensnare young smokers was exposed. Last week we reported that Imperial Tobacco had been providing cash incentives for high-end clothing stores and hair salons to stock Peter Stuyvesant brand cigarettes in specially designed cigarette dispensers.

Imperial Tobacco announced it would have all cigarettes out of boutiques by January 31, 2009. The tobacco company's legal and corporate affairs director, Pardeep Grewal, revealed the change in a letter to South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who attacked the company over its promotion in trendy stores. "(The company) has recently reviewed this situation and has decided to withdraw our dispensers from these particular types of outlets," Mr Grewal said.legal and corporate affairs director, Pardeep Grewal, revealed the change withdraw our dispensers from these particular types of outlets," Mr Grewal said.

Senator Xenophon and Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of NSW, Frank Zumbo, said the company should be investigated for several potential breaches of the Trade Practices Act in its marketing campaign.

Reference: Cigarette push stubbed out, SAM KELTON. Adelaide Now, 12/21/2008.

Philip Morris money influence on Virginia lawmakers..

December 21, 2008 - Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's call for increasing the state tax on cigarettes from 30 cents a pack to 60 cents was long overdue. The proposal to increase the cigarette tax as part of a larger plan to address the state's expected $2.9 billion budget shortfall. Virginians have to pay another $233 million a year in taxes just to support Medicaid costs related to smoking. Kaine believes that the taxes on smoking should pay for the budget costs incurred because of smoking.

The Virginia Speaker of the House Willam J. Howell, Virginia's top Republican lawmaker (28th District District includes County of Stafford (part); City of Fredericksburg), has pronounced Kaine's proposal dead on arrival. Why??

The Altria Group, the parent of Philip Morris, contributes more money to political campaigns than any other tobacco company. On its Web site, Altria identifies the recipients of the nearly $7 million doled out by its political action committee in 2008. (That figure does not include contributions by individual corporate officials.)

In Virginia Altria, contributed cash to 28 of Virginia's 40 senators and 85 of its 100 House of Delegates. Tobacco contributions helped elect the chairman and vice-chairman of powerful committees such as the House Appropriations Committee, the House Finance Committee and the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee.

As we know, tobacco products are the only products that if used as directed will kill you. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the U.S. resulting in more than 438,00 deaths each year. Philip Morris has over a 50% share in the domestic cigarette market.

Polls done by anti-smoking groups have consistently shown that voters support increased sales taxes on cigarettes, perhaps because most voters don't smoke. The people must step up and stop the process of buying influence.

If a higher cigarette tax is supported by residents and would help protect children, save lives and generate needed funds to pay for vital state services, then voting for it would appear to be a no-brainer -- except, it seems, to the 113 Virginia politicians whose hands are stuck deep in tobacco's pockets. At present, politics at every level has been tainted by the corrosive influence of money. This has to stop.

Reference: Tobacco's Money Trail in Virginiaby Pete Earley
The Washington Post, 12/21/2008; Page B07.

Related news brief: States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..


San Francisco - Judge threw out a Walgreens attempt to stop the ban of tobacco sales in pharmacies..

December 21, 2008 - San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch, who in late September also refused to allow a preliminary injunction to stop the city's ordinance banning tobacco sales by pharmacies dismissed the Walgreen Co. lawsuit Friday, December 19, 2008 that challenged the ban altogether, according to Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the city attorney's office.

Attorneys for the Deerfield, Ill.-based pharmacy chain had argued San Francisco's ordinance violated equal protection laws because the ban exempts supermarkets like Safeway and "big box" retail stores like Costco, which also contain pharmacies and sell cigarettes. Pharmacies such as Walgreens, which operates more than 50 stores in San Francisco, and Rite Aid, are included in the ban, as well as smaller independently owned pharmacies.

Dorsey said the decision Friday also renders Walgreens' appeal of Busch's preliminary injunction decision, currently before a state appeals court, moot. The company would now have to file a new appeal in order to continue to challenge the ordinance, he said.

San Francisco's effort appears to have attracted attention on the opposite coast. On Dec. 1, the Boston Public Health Commission approved a similar law, banning tobacco sales in pharmacies and drug stores, as well as hospitals and colleges. The law is set to take effect in February 2009. (Boston bans cigarette sales in drug stores..)

Reference: S.F. Judge Throws Out Walgreen's Cigarette Lawsuit, KTVU.com, 12/19/2008.

Related news briefs: Philip Morris appeals tobacco ban at San Francisco pharmacies; Federal Judge Denies Bid To Stop San Francisco Pharmacy Tobacco Ban..; Philip Morris USA request stop in San Francisco's ban on tobacco sales by pharmacies..; San Francisco - cigarette sales rise sharply in c-stores..; San Francisco files brief to oppose bid by PM USA to block the banning of tobacco sales in pharmacies..; Philip Morris challenges San Francisco pharmacy tobacco ban..; Walgreen: San Francisco’s Tobacco Ban Is Unfair..; San Francisco - All Tobacco Products Banned in All Pharmacies..; San Francisco critical vote - bar tobacco sales pharmacies.. and SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought...

Michigan public smoking ban fizzles..

December 20, 2008 - There will be no statewide ban on smoking in public places -- for now. State lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a ban early this morning, December 19, 2008 leaving anti-smoking advocates bitterly disappointed and a new Legislature to grapple in 2009 with an issue that has wide public support.

In a final, marathon lame duck session that began Thursday morning, the House and Senate could not overcome disagreements over whether to allow smoking in casinos and smoke shops.

“It is a serious disappointment, it’s another signal that Michigan doesn’t quite get it, is not quite ready to step into the 21st Century,” said Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, a leading proponent for a smoking ban who acknowledged the issue was dead for this year. “It sends an unfortunate message to the citizens of Michigan that we don’t care about their health, and that there are interests in Lansing that have greater influence than they do.” Meisner said compromise proposals could have passed the House and Senate, but that Democratic and Republican leaders could not agree to allow those votes.

The defeat left smoking ban proponents talking of a 2010 ballot proposal to accomplish it if lawmakers can't. Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she believes the Legislature will conform to "overwhelming" public sentiment next year and pass the ban. But if not, a petition drive is possible. Advocates say 33 other states ban smoking in public places to some degree. They cited numerous studies to argue that a ban would not affect business at bars and restaurants overall.

Reference: Public smoking ban fizzlesby CHRIS CHRISTOFF • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER, TV20 Detroit, 12/19/2008; Anti-smoking advocates look to 2009 after another bill fails
Those pushing for a workplace ban may pursue more legislation or consider a ballot drive
, Jennifer Mrozowski / The Detroit News, 12/20/2008.

Related news briefs: Will Michigan Pass Smoking Ban Before the End of Year..; Michigan Falls Short Again on Ban in Public Places.. and Michigan Senate Deals Blow To Smoking Ban..; .

WHO -2008 World Cancer Report - global cancer deaths will increase..

December 20, 2008 - The World Health Organization (WHO) released its 2008 World Cancer Report, and the numbers show that developing countries that adopt increasingly Westernized lifestyles and tobacco use are catching up to developed nations in the number of cancer deaths annually.

By 2010 cancer will surpass heart disease, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as the leading killer in the world. By 2030 the global cancer deaths are predicted to double. The last time a doubling of cancer rates was seen was between 1975 and 2000.

The report projects that the number of new cancer cases and deaths could more than double in the next twenty years to 27 million people with cancer and 17 million deaths annually.

The burden of cancer is shifting to developing countries such as India, China and Russia, where increasingly a Western lifestyle of smoking, fast and fatty foods and no exercise. Cancer cases and deaths in those countries are expected to see the biggest increases of more than one percent a year.

The types of cancer are evolving too. Japan has doubled or tripled the rates of breast cancer over the last 40 years. China’s breast cancer rates have increased 20 to 30 percent, just in the last decade.

Cervical cancer leads all cancers as the primary cause of cancer deaths in women. Largely preventable and treatable with early intervention, cervical cancer is seen among women in poor regions including many countries of Africa.

Developing countries often do not have the resources to cope with cancer. And as the populations grow and age, the numbers of cancer are expected to rise as well.

Smoking-related cancers such as lung cancer, as well as breast cancer have been increasing up to five percent a year in developing countries.

The export of cigarettes to developing nations, to offset reduced sales in the U.S., are expected to have an impact from the “smoking epidemic” that has yet to been seen. "How can we promote an addictive product that we know causes cancer, emphysema, heart disease, birth defects and other illnesses?" asked Dr. Raymond Scalettar, member of the board of trustees of the American Medical Association criticizing the Bush Administration’s trade policy of fostering exports by U.S. tobacco companies in 1989. "This is not an issue of free trade. It is an issue of public health policy and law."

More than a decade ago, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) predicted that global tobacco-related mortality would rise from 2.5 million to over 10 million by 2050, largely due to tobacco imports and aggressive advertising campaign that target women.

And in developing countries, cancer treatment is just not available for many people. In Africa, many countries also forbid the importation of morphine for pain.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. the rates of some types of cancers have dropped according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. There were fewer cases of lung, prostate and colorectal cancers among men and women, and among women, lung cancer death rates have leveled off.

The American Cancer Society believes the West must spread what it knows about cancer prevention to the rest of the world by a) promoting the HPV vaccine b) supporting tobacco-control programs and c) promoting culturally sensitive risk-reduction programs. In addition there should be more investment in cancer research and early detection, according to the ACS.

Reference: Exporting Cancer- WHO Global Report On Trends, posted by Jane Akre, InjuryBoard.com, 12/10/2008.

Oregon - smoking ban to expand, prepares for Camel Dissolvables..

December 20, 2008 - Since 2002, the Oregon Smokefree Workplace Law has made most workplaces smokefree. Effective January 1, 2009, a new law will expand the number of indoor workplaces that are required to be smokefree, and prohibit smoking within 10 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes of workplaces and public places.

Oregon health advocates should savor this hard-fought victory, but they will need to get up the next morning and resume the good fight. The tobacco industry is gearing up to trump anti-smoking legislation by peddling new dissolvable nicotine products -- still addictive and risky like cigarettes, but without the smoke. R.J. Reynolds will introduce dissolvable alternatives to cigarettes called Camel Sticks, Camel Orbs and Camel Strips. Camel Dissolvables" head for Portland by The Oregonian editorial board, OregonLive.com, 12/20/2008)

Workplaces and public places that must now be smokefree include but are not limited to:

* Bars and taverns, including bar areas of restaurants
* Bowling centers
* Bingo halls
* Private and fraternal organizations
* Employee break rooms
* Restaurants
* Private offices and commercial office buildings
* Retail and wholesale establishments
* Manufacturing plants and mills
* Truck stops
* Child and adult day-care
* Assisted living facilities
* Movies theaters and indoor entertainment venues
* Hotels and motels (Exception: up to 25% of guest rooms may be designated as smoking rooms by the owner or entity in charge)
* Work vehicles that are not operated exclusively by one employee

That's right - no more smoking in the day care center! There are some exceptions to the new law, but they are few:

* Certified smoke shops
* Cigar bars
* Hotel/motel rooms designated for smokers
* American Indian ceremonies

Employees and the public will be able to report violations of the new law once it takes effect by calling a toll-free number or completing an online complaint form. If your business is caught violating the laws, it can be fined $500/day or $2000 per 30-day period. For more information, including compliance tips, check out the State of Oregon's Smokefree Workplace website.

Reference: Oregon's New Smokefree Workplace Law Takes Effect January 1, 2009, Posted on December 1, 2008 by Dennis Westlind.

Finland - proposal to ban tobacco display, total ban on SNUS..

December 19, 2008 - The Tobacco Policy Working Group of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health restricting the display of tobacco products at retail points and for ending the import of snus (moist snuff).

The Cancer Society of Finland commended the group and summarized the content of the proposal: The removal of tobacco products from where consumers can see them is a reminder that tobacco is not an ordinary consumer product, but one that poses a severe threat of cancer (banning the display of tobacco on open shelves and vending machine sales and criminalizing the sale of tobacco to underaged people). The cancer society hopes that tobacco will become a redundant and pointless product. This would save the lives of some 5,000 people in Finland each year, says Harri Vertio, the general secretary of the Cancer Society. It is natural that the ban on tobacco advertising be extended to include cigarette packs, so that they are not themselves means of advertising brands.

Under Finland's current legislation passengers are allowed to import snuff from Sweden, the only European Union (EU) where snus can be sold, for private use. The Cancer Society of Finland points out that due to the use of snus, men in Sweden are the biggest consumers of tobacco products in Europe. The banning of snus imports is therefore a good thing, because nicotine addiction due to snus use is still relatively minor in Finland.

There have recently been indications that snus is being forced on consumers when there is no spontaneous demand for the product. I am astonished at the negligence shown by politicians on this issue. Snus contains 28 different carcinogens. Why would anyone want to recommend its use in Finland?, says Vertio.

Vertio says that Sweden’s allowance by the EU to continue to produce snus is only on the condition that the product is not distributed to other countries. There is a need at EU level to examine how Sweden is fulfilling its membership obligations.

Dr Matti Rautalahti, who is a specialist member of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s working group says that the cancer threat posed by snus has been demonstrated by numerous studies. The most recent of them, published last spring, indicates that snus causes cancer of the mouth and throat. The cancer threat of snus is not a matter of opinion but an established fact, says Rautalahti. Snus triples the danger of mouth and throat cancer. It doubles the threat of cancer of the pancreas. This type of cancer is extremely difficult to treat and carries only a three percent chance of survival after five years.

Reference: Finnish working group proposes total snuff, Nedws Room Finland, 12/18/2008; Cancer Society of Finland lauds ban on snus importsThe Finnish News agency (STT Info), 12/18/2008.

Related news briefs: European Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign..; Aland Islands Dispute Over Sale of SNUS On Board Ships Threatens Finland's Ratification of the EU's Treaty of Lisbon (The Reform Treaty)..; Finnish Ferry Goes Swedish Over Snus Ban.. and EU Takes Finland to Court Again For NOT Banning the Use of Oral Tobacco..


Law Suit Filed Against Philip Morris USA, Inc. - Marlboro Lights..

December 19, 2008 - Law firm files suit against Philip Morris USA, Inc. on behalf of a New York smoker who suffered economic damages as a result of the deceptive marketing of Marlboro Lights cigarettes. Class action status has been requested ‘to benefit all persons in the State of New York who bought Marlboro Lights’. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. (Docket Number: 08-CV-5085).

The lawsuit alleges that, because of misrepresentations made by Philip Morris USA, the plaintiff and members of the class purchased Marlboro Lights cigarettes in order to benefit from a low tar, low nicotine alternative to regular cigarettes, but did not receive those benefits.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, 12/15/2008 in a 5-4 decision ruled on Monday that a lawsuit involving ‘lights’ cigarettes brought under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act, Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, was not barred by federal law.

Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel: "While we had hoped for a dismissal of the Supreme Court case based upon federal pre-emption, it is important to note that the court made no finding of liability. We continue to view these cases as manageable, and the company will assert many of the strong defenses used successfully in the past to defend against this very type of case."

Reference: Parker Waichman Alonso LLP Files Suit Against Philip Morris USA, Inc. on Behalf of a New York Smoker Who Suffered Economic Damages as a Result of the Deceptive Marketing of Marlboro Lights Cigarettes, PRNewswire, 12/18/2008; ‘Lights’ case filed in New York, Tobacco Reporter, 12/19/2008.

Related news briefs: Nik Modi, tobacco analyst with UBS: Supreme Court Case "was a coin flip.."; U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Big Tobacco..

NY Proposed Budget - calls for 17 cent increase in cigar tax..

December 18, 2008 - Facing a projected $12.5 billion budget shortfall, New York Gov. David Paterson offered a $121.1 billion dollar spending plan Tuesday, December 16, 2008 that proposes many new taxes, includes raising the state cigar tax.

If the 2009-2010 proposed budget were to be approved, New York cigar smokers would be forced to pay 50 cents per cigar - an increase of about 17 cents. The current tax is about 34 cents. This tax increase is predicted to create $10 million in new revenue for the state.

Paterson’s budget also proposes, among other things, a tax rate increase on soda, movie and sporting event tickets, beer and wine, as well as downloaded music. The plan would also cut roughly $9 billion in spending, with projected spending cuts in health care, as well as an actual cut in education.

The proposal, which needs legislative approval, did not include broad-based income tax increases, but relied on smaller ones to raise $4.1 billion from cash-strapped New Yorkers.

Reference: New York Governor Proposes Cigar Tax Hikeby Andrew Nagy, cigaraficionado.com, 12/18/2008; Gov. David Patterson unveils dire New York State budget that includes new taxes. layoffs and cuts by KENNETH LOVETT and GLENN BLAIN, DAILY NEWS ALBANY BUREAU - New York Daily News, 12/17/2008.

U.S. - Children Remain Especially Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke..

December 18, 2008 - Nearly half of all children in the United States are still exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS, environmental, passive, invountary) each week, according to a new national survey from the American Legacy Foundation®, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence and researchers from Mississippi State University.

The Social Climate Survey of Tobacco found that 42 percent of children are exposed to SHS each week and there are public settings where children could be exposed that are still not smoke-free.

“Children especially deserve smoke-free environments, and all public places where children eat and play should be protected from secondhand smoke,” said Jonathan Klein, M.D., FAAP, director of the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center for Excellence. “Adults have the power to make healthier decisions for their children, and there needs to be more done to protect children in homes and cars from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Klein.

Other key findings include:

* While 75 percent of U.S households prohibit smoking in the home and car, that leaves 25 percent of American homes and cars unprotected.
* More non-smokers prohibit smoking in the home than smokers.
* More than one quarter of smokers report that their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke in their home.
* Among parents who smoke, only 53.5% prohibit smoking in the home and even fewer (22.5%) prohibit smoking in the family vehicle.
* 8.1 percent of US parents report that their child was exposed to SHS in an indoor public place in the past 7 days.

Over the years, studies have concluded that SHS smoke can be just as harmful as cigarette smoking. It is estimated that SHS exposure causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States. Even more disturbing is the fact that young children who are exposed to SHS are at a higher risk of developing asthma, ear infections and cavities. Infants are at a higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Reference: National Survey: Children Remain Especially Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke, Despite Nation's Progress in Clean Indoor Air Policies, 12/16/2008.


Adelaide, Australia cigarettes are being sold at high-end clothing stores and hair salons.

December 18, 2008 - CIGARETTES are being sold at high-end clothing stores and hair salons, in a "tricky and desperate" tactic to lure new young smokers.

A Sunday Mail investigation has discovered smoke company Imperial Tobacco is lavishing trendy Adelaide stores with cash incentives (CASH incentives of up to $2000 a year are offered to stores agreeing to sell cigarettes.)and corporate entertainment (BOOZY lunches and even a swish cruise have been held for businesses which sell the brand.) in return for stocking Peter Stuyvesant brand cigarettes in specially designed cigarette dispensers.

Marketing kits distributed by the tobacco giant to fashion retailers describe cigarettes as being safe and fashionable: "It used to be extremely dangerous. Now the only danger is you're not the coolest cat on the block." (SMOKING is promoted as safe and cool in literature given to targeted fashion outlets, FREE cigarettes are handed out to stockists.)

The activities has prompted calls for a State Government crackdown to ban the practice. Tobacco companies are constantly trying new ways to recruit new smokers. How about this one: In South Africa BAT Marketing Tobacco Products Using Text Messaging..

Reference: Imperial Tobacco offers cash incentives for fashion outlets to sell Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes, by Sam Kelton, The Australian, 12/14/2008.

Virginia Governor Kaine Proposes a 30 cent tax increase in cigarette tax..

December 18, 2008 - Virginia Governor Tim Kaine proposal to increase the cigarette tax as part of a larger plan to address the state's expected $2.9 billion buget shortfall.

The governor indicates further taxing cigarettes only helps to pay for the extra health costs associated with the addiction and could actually encourage smokers to quit. Kaine tied the tax on cigarette users to avoiding :even deeper cuts to the states lean Medicaid program." Adding 30 cents tax per pack (now at 30 cents per pack) would "bring tobacco products closer to paying for the costs that they create for Virginia taxpayers."

Virginia's present 30-cent tax is among the nation's lowest, ranking 47th nationally. Doubling it would move Virginia approximately into a tie for 37th place with Wyoming, seemingly inconsequential to a multinational tobacco giant. In 2004, Virginia's legislature approved a tenfold increase of its 2.5-cent cigarette tax, the nation's lowest at the time (raised to 30 cents in 2005).

Kaine continued, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that cigarette smoking causes over $400 million per year in Medicaid expenses for Virginia." His tax proposal would generate $167 million. "In other words, Virginians have to pay another $233 million a year in taxes just to support Medicaid costs related to smoking. I believe that the taxes on smoking should pay for the budget costs incurred because of smoking," Kaine said. "And it may, in fact, reduce our health care costs by encouraging some smokers to quit. That, in and of itself, would be a very good thing."

If approved, the new tax would bring the per-pack tax to 60 cents, which the governor said would put Virginia at about half the national average.

Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell and U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Richmond) came out agressively (sic) against a potential cigarette tax hike Tuesday, calling the increase “an assault on jobs.” Cantor felt the tax escalation (60 cents from 30 cents per pack) could negatively impact jobs at Richmond-based Philip Morris and its parent company, Altria.

Most counties and cities do not have their own cigarette tax rates because they are prohibited by state law, but there are major exceptions such as the cities and counties in Virginia.

References: Va. governor to propose 30-cent cigarette tax hike, CNNMoney.com, 12/16/2008; Yahoo! Buzz
Cantor steamed over proposed cigarette tax hike
by Allison Brophy Champion, StarExponent.com, 12/17/2008; Howell rips Kaine tax hike (UPDATED AND BUMPED), The Right-Wing Liberal, 12/2008;


States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..

December 18, 2008 - At least 29 states plus the District of Columbia face an estimated $48 billion in combined shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2009 (which began July 1, 2008 in most states.) At least three other states expect budget problems in fiscal year 2010.

Rhode Island is facing some tough fiscal and economic times. Its current budget deficit of $357 million is among the largest in the nation (relative to total spending). The budget picture in South Carolina is grim. The State's Comptroller General said recently that corporate income tax collections are down 57 percent, sales tax collections are down by 18 percent, and individual income tax collections are down nearly 3 percent since July 2008. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear recently stated that internal economic estimates project a revenue shortfall of approximately $294 million in the General Fund in the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2009

Michigan is now facing its most critical financial crisis in decades. The Governor and the legislature are faced with a $3 billion shortfall in 2008. With tax revenues in a virtual free fall, Florida is staring down a budget gap of $3 billion and growing.

Right away legislators want to tackle state budget shortfalls by limiting social programs such as Medicaid funding threatening to leave the state’s most vulnerable populations without access to health services.

How about a tax on tobacco products?? - This is a “win-win” situation for all concerned. As pointed out by Lynn Greaves, VP of the Saskatchewan Coalition for Tobacco Reduction "Tobacco taxation has been the strongest tobacco reduction measure that exists in the world today."

Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent.

Bringing the Florida state’s tobacco tax up by a dollar, now 4th lowest in nation, could generate about $1 billion in new net revenue, save nearly 100,000 Floridians from smoking-related deaths, help 123,600 adults quit smoking and prevent 209,000 youth from ever starting. Florida’s Medicaid program incurs an estimated $1.25 billion in costs due to smoking per year.

For the State of Michigan there will be a potential annual savings to Medicaid of $323 million if the smoking rate among Michigan adults was reduced five percentage points (from 21.9% to 16.9%). With a five percentage point reduction in smoking overall future state smoking-caused health care costs would decline by more than $2.5 billion. (Approximately 32.4% of the smoking related health care costs are paid by Medicaid.)

You can’t do wrong with an increase in the tobacco tax. The federal government has spoken: "Tobacco products are not safe and cannot be made safe and there is no medically established public health benefit associated with tobacco" as written by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services in a letter to Joe Barton, R-Texas the senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Governor of South Carolina can no longer refuse to support a tobacco tax increase (now has lowest tax in the nation at seven cents per pack) because, supposedly, a financial shortfall could occur because so many people would quit smoking. In this case, eventually the economy will return to normal generating enough tax revenue to restore normal levels.

As a result with an increase in the tobacco tax you get: the generation of more tax revenue, fewer kids considering tobacco use, adults breaking their addiction to tobacco, the cost of caring for people with tobacco related diseases would go down and since cigarette users are poorer as a group these individuals would have more money to care for their love ones. The greatest impact the higher tax will have is preventing our youngsters, our future leaders, from becoming addicted to nicotine. It’s a “win-win” situation for all.

State Budget Troubles Worsen by Elizebeth McNichol and Iris J. Lav, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
South Carolina Governor More Concerned About Election Year 2012 Than Fiscal Year 2009? The Tax Justice Digest, 12/12/2008.
Kentucky Coping With Economy, Tom Hale, Associated Construction Publications, November 4, 2008.
Fix Michigan's Budget Mess Now, Michigan State AFL-CIO eActivist Network,
Cigarette tax hike can help state, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 12/12/2008.
Smoking Facts for the State of Michigan, Michigan Residents 2005.
Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??
Bush administration opposes legislation to give FDA authority to regulate tobacco products..

Related news brief: Tax the hell out of all tobacco products until they disappear..; Kentucky considering increase in cigarette tax..;
Virginia Governor Kaine Proposes a 30 cent tax increase in cigarette tax..


Increasingly Teens Find Smoking A Dirty Habit

December 17, 2008 - The majority of teenagers, smoking is just out of vogue. Many teens say they would rather not date someone who smoked. The majority believe it reflects poorly on your judgment. These are some findings out of an annual survey on adolescent behavior from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Altogether more than 45,000 high school students at 400 schools were interviewed.

The survey also finds:
* Teen smoking rates dropped in 2008, now lower than the 1990s
* 12.6 percent of high school students had a cigarette in the last month compared to 13.6 last year
* 7 percent of eighth-graders are smoking, down from 21 percent in 1996
* 12 percent of 10-th graders are smoking , down from more than 30 percent in 1996
* 21 percent of eighth-graders said they had tried smoking, down from 49 percent in 1996

The survey found that 20 percent of high school seniors smoke, a decline from one-third in 1996.

What does this say about smoking? The study’s principal investigator, Lloyd Johnston, says that teens finally believe smoking is a “dirty habit” that can harm your health, despite the positive media images. “For years and years, the industry pitch was that smoking makes you sexy and attractive to the opposite sex. It turns out the absolute opposite is true. It projects a negative image, for both girls and boys.”

The problem is not of supply either. The survey finds that more than half of eighth-graders said they could obtain cigarettes easily. Declining rates of smoking are not just seen among teens. For the first time since the mid-1960s, the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes has fallen below 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2007, the prevalence of smoking fell to 19.8 percent, from 20.8 percent in 2006, according to a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

“While this is good news, deaths related to cigarette smoking are still on the rise,” Matthew McKenna, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health tells WebMD. Nearly one in five American adults smoke cigarettes and many former smokers are falling back to the habit again. “We believe the decline in proportion is threefold - a response to excise taxes that have made cigarettes more expensive, smoke-free laws and the availability of cessation medications,” McKenna says.

Reference: Increasingly Teens Find Smoking A Dirty Habit, by Jane Akre, InjuryBoard.com, December 16, 2008.


NY High Court Upholds Dismissal Of Cigarette Liability Claim..

December 17, 2008 - The New York (NY) Court of Appeals, upholding the reversal of a $20.5 million verdict, Monday, 12/15/2008 ruled that the estate of a smoker who died of lung cancer could not assert a negligent product design claim against two cigarette makers based on the availability of a safer "light" cigarette.

Writing for a 6-1 majority, Judge Robert S. Smith concluded that the smoker, Norma Rose, who died during the pendency of the appeal, had failed to prove an "essential element" of her products liability claim -- that light cigarettes, which have low tar and nicotine levels, have the same "utility" as regular cigarettes.

The only utility of a cigarette, Smith wrote, "is to gratify smokers" and Rose's lawyers "made no attempt to prove that smokers find light cigarettes as satisfying as regular cigarettes -- indeed it is virtually uncontested that they do not." To have ruled that the availability of light cigarettes rendered regular cigarettes defective in design, he noted, "would amount to a judicial ban" on their sale.

Rose's lawyers had argued at trial that a jury could find that light cigarettes were safer than regular cigarettes, the court said. "It is not necessary in every product liability case that the plaintiff show the safer product is as acceptable to consumers as the one the defendant sold; but such a showing is necessary where, as here, satisfying the consumer is the only function the product has," the court found.

In April 2008 an Manhattan appellate court reversed a 73-year-old lung cancer victim's $3.4 million compensatory damage award against two industry giants and threw out $17.1 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris USA. (Tobacco Companies Win Upset of Damages Award, Noeleen G. Walder, New York Law Journal, April 11, 2008
The jury verdict returned in 2005 was divided into $3.4 million for compensatory damages and $17.1 million for punitive damages.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that consumers in Maine could sue the Altria Group’s Philip Morris USA under state unfair-trade laws for its advertising of ‘light’ cigarettes.

Reference: NY High Court Upholds Dismissal Of Cigarette Liability Claim by Chad Bray Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, 12/16/2008; N.Y. High Court Upholds Reversal of $20.5 Million Tobacco Verdict, Daniel Wise, New York Law Journal, December 17, 2008.

NY Governor signs bill to attempt to curb illegal sale of tax-free cigarettes to non-Indian purchasers..

December 16, 2008 - Legislation signed by the Governor of New York David Patterson makes cigarette manufacturers and stamping agents accountable for sales of untaxed cigarettes by Indians to Non-Indians.

Under Article 20 of the New York State Tax Law, cigarettes sold by Indian retailers to non-Indians must be taxed. The bill signed by Governor Paterson today will prohibit cigarette manufacturers from selling unstamped cigarettes to stamping agents who have not provided them with a certification, under penalty of perjury, that the cigarettes will not be resold in violation of Article 20. Agents must provide the Tax Department with any certification they give to a manufacturer.

To the extent that the tax is undermined, our efforts to fight smoking are also undermined.”

“This law has not been adequately applied for far too long giving non-Indians easy access to tax-free cigarettes both on the reservations and over the internet,” said Governor Paterson. Although cigarettes sold by agents to retailers for re-sale to non-Indian purchasers must bear tax stamps, the State has, for many years, adopted a policy of non-enforcement, and unstamped cigarettes continue to be sold by agents to Indian retailers who sell them to non-Indians at discount prices.

The New York State Department of Taxation will have 60 days to issue a certification form and prepare to receive the certifications that will be submitted. Governor Paterson signed bill A11258A/ S 8146-B at a ceremony in Utica.

The Assembly held off sending the bill to Paterson, who hoped that he’d be able to negotiate a deal with the Seneca Indian tribe. However, the negotiations did not yield an agreement. Paterson has said before that he believes this issue will end up in court, and said at a public leaders’ meeting in November, when pressed by Republicans to sign the bill, that the state may not see revenue for some time.

Reference: Paterson signs indian cigarette law by Irene Jay Liu, timesunion.com, 12/15/2008.

Nik Modi, tobacco analyst with UBS: Supreme Court Case "was a coin flip.."

December 16, 2008 - Nik Modi, tobacco analyst with UBS Investment Research, New York, said in a research note that heading in, the Good case "was a coin flip." He added that "the FTC argument (that because the FTC authorized 'lights' phrases, the industry is not liable) was not the strongest argument and that the decision was close to a 50/50 probability either way."

He said, "However, today's U.S. Supreme Court decision did not affect the industry's primary argument against class-action lawsuits: that no two smokers within a class are truly alike in terms of how they interpreted cigarette labeling or marketing or its health impact. This argument has worked for the industry in de-certifying the overwhelming majority of lights class action cases, and worked in the Engle and Price class actions.... While the headlines on the decision would lead one to expect a slew of new class-action lawsuits against the industry, we note that class actions against tobacco are not substantially more attractive today due to: 1.) the primary argument that no two smokers are truly alike, and 2.) the limitations set from past precedents on punitive damage awards."

Three Maine residents sued Altria Group Inc. and its Philip Morris USA Inc. subsidiary under the state's law against unfair marketing practices. The class-action claim represents all smokers of Marlboro Lights or Cambridge Lights cigarettes, both made by PM USA. The lawsuit argues that the company knew for decades that smokers of light cigarettes compensate for the lower levels of tar and nicotine by taking longer puffs and compensating in other ways.

A federal district court threw out the lawsuit, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it could go forward.

Reference: SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) Greenlights 'Light' Suits PM USA: "We continue to view these cases as manageable" , CSP Daily News, 12/16/2008.

View of Court Documents..

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Big Tobacco..

December 16, 2008 - In a surprise 5-4 decision this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law does not preempt a state lawsuit brought by Maine smokers claiming that Altria, parent company of Philip Morris, fraudulently advertised health benefits of "light" cigarettes. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which runs against the Court's recent trend finding in favor of federal preemption of state lawsuits against businesses. Joining Stevens were Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito Jr. Thomas warned that the majority opinion will trigger "an untold number of deceptive-practices lawsuits across the country."`

The suit, filed under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Law, alleges that Altria misled consumers into believing that "light" cigarettes which contain less tar were less dangerous than regular varieties to smoke. The suit says the companies knew smokers typically make-up the difference in tar by taking longer or deeper puffs. Similar suits are pending in other states, exposing the tobacco industry to a new avenue of attack by smoking opponents.

Reference: Altria Case Deals Blow to Efforts Reining In Lawsuits by JESS BRAVIN, The Wall Street Journal, 12/15/2008; Supreme Court Rules Against Big Tobacco, The Blog of Legal Times, 12/15/2008.

View of Court Documents..

Related news briefs: U.S. Supreme Court 2008-2009 term, Altria v Good (07-562); Different U.S. Supreme Court Case - California: Justices turn down smokers' lawsuit against tobacco companies..; Different U.S. Supreme Court Case - Maine: U.S. Supreme Court Declares Maine Online Tobacco Sales Law Null..; Florida: Racial slur causes mistrial in Florida tobacco case..; Cigarette Makers Face Thousands of New Florida Suits..

Canadian Cancer Society calls for federal ban on flavored cigars..

December 15, 2008 - Canadian Cancer Society calls for federal and provincial legislation to curb the use of tobacco products among Canadian youth, including banning flavored cigarillos.

For example Prime Time Little Cigars.

According to the 2006-07 Youth Smoking Survey, 35 percent of teenagers, in grades 10 to 12 have tried cigars, cigarillos and little cigars, with the majority being male.
The survey also revealed that 48 per cent of teenagers say they have tried cigarettes. The survey, funded by Health Canada, compiled statistics on teenage smoking habits from 71,000 students in grades 5 to 12 in 467 schools across Canada.

Health Canada reports that the sale of cigarillos has grown since 2001, when about 50,000 cigarillos were sold, to 80 million sold in 2006.

When is a cigar not a cigar? When it is a cigarette disguised to slip through an excise tax loophole - Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

Reference: Cancer society calls for ban on cigarillos
Canwest News Service - The Windsor Star, 12/15/2008.

Related news briefs: Ontario to outlaw candy flavored cigars..; Ontario poised to ban flavored cigarillos..; Canada: a bill introduced to snuff out drive to recruit young smokers..; Still sucking our youngsters in.. and Quebec - Teens Switch from Cigarettes to Cigarillos...


European Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign..

December 15, 2008 - Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Health, has advised Finland’s Minister of European and Migration Affairs Astrid Thors (Swedish People's Party) to adhere to the tobacco directive adopted by the European Union (EU).

As reported by Helsingin Sanomat (biggest subscription newspaper in Finland) on Tuesday, December 11, 2008 Thors had bought ten boxes of snus for her “friends and acquaintances” during a stop-over in Sweden on her way home from Brussels, where she had been on an official journey. Vassiliou points out that Sweden has promised not to introduce snus on the market in any other member states. According to Vassiliou, this applies to the Finnish territorial waters as well. Large quantities of snus are sold on cruise ships sailing between Sweden and Finland. The Commissioner has given a very strict reply to Thors who would like to deregulate the sales of snus in the EU area.

A committee on tobacco policy set up by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to review a potential reform of the Tobacco Act is reportedly also planning to tighten the law further. The committee will submit its final report to Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko (National Coalition Party) on December 18th.

The marketing of snus as a less harmful substance than cigarettes is an outright distortion of the facts, says Harri Vainio, the Director General of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. ”There are no reasons to introduce on the market a new tobacco product that is popular among young people, even those below 15 years. It is an early way to become addicted to nicotine”, Vainio points out.

Directive Adopted by the EU: Under EU regulations dating back to 1992, the sale of this kind of smokeless tobacco (snus) is prohibited in all other Union member states with the exception of Sweden. The Swedes campaigned hard before entry into the EU to make their exemption from the ban a condition of joining.

Reference: Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign Experts: Snus causes addiction and cancer, HELSINGIN SANOMAT

Related news briefs: Aland Islands Dispute Over Sale of SNUS On Board Ships Threatens Finland's Ratification of the EU's Treaty of Lisbon (The Reform Treaty)..; Finnish Ferry Goes Swedish Over Snus Ban.. and EU Takes Finland to Court Again For NOT Banning the Use of Oral Tobacco..

In Process - NY Cayugas can't sell tax free cigarettes..

December 14, 2008 - The New York (NY) State Supreme Court judge rules the Cayuga Indian Nation does not have sovereign rights to sell tax-free cigarettes at its stores in Union Springs and Seneca Falls.


Boston bans cigarette sales in drug stores..

December 13, 2008 - Boston Public Health Commission, bans cigarette sales at drugstores (pharmacies) and on college campuses in the city and eliminates smoking on the patios of restaurants and bars with outside service. The restrictions, which would give Boston among the toughest anti-smoking laws in the nation, will go into effect in 60 days. Cigar bars and other swank salons devoted to smoking won a significant though temporary reprieve from Boston health regulators today, December 11, 2008 when it was decided that the establishments will face extinction in 10 years instead of the five-year grace period originally proposed as part of sweeping new tobacco control rules.

At the end of the 10-year period, smoking bars may ask the executive director of the health commission for a further grace period, the commission decided. The city now has six cigar bars and five hookah lounges - no new ones will be permitted to open.

"Cigarettes are bad, they're harmful to people, there's a need for us to change the social norms around cigarettes," said commission member Harold Cox, an associate dean at the Boston University School of Public Health. "Our responsibility as governmental officials is to protect people."

Summary of Regulations including Blunt wraps will not be sold in Boston.., Boston Public Health Commission, 12/11/2008.

Reference: Boston bans cigarette sales in drug stores but delays cigar bar closings by Gideon Gil, Boston.com, 12/11/2008.

Related news brief: Boston To Ban Drugstore Tobacco Sales..

Earlier this year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban tobacco sales at drug stories, saying selling cigarettes was out of place in stores devoted to health care products. Audit trail of events: Federal Judge Denies Bid To Stop San Francisco Pharmacy Tobacco Ban..; Philip Morris USA request stop in San Francisco's ban on tobacco sales by pharmacies..; San Francisco - cigarette sales rise sharply in c-stores..; San Francisco files brief to oppose bid by PM USA to block the banning of tobacco sales in pharmacies..; Philip Morris challenges San Francisco pharmacy tobacco ban..; Walgreen: San Francisco’s Tobacco Ban Is Unfair..; San Francisco - All Tobacco Products Banned in All Pharmacies..; San Francisco critical vote - bar tobacco sales pharmacies.. and SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought...

C-store update John Middleton's Black & Mild Cigars..

December 13, 2008 - For $100 per quarter Philip Morris Tobacco (PM) wants c-stores to devote an entire store shelf to Black & Mild Cigar selections. (From the image you can see Imperial Tobacco/Altadis (Alliance Tobacco Distributor) gets a shelf for Phillies Cigars and does not pay anything.) Also, a new Black & Mild sign has to be displayed. Here's the view the patron at the checkout counter would have of the Black & Mild shelf - can you find it?? The cigar distributor has to be on the PM's approval list of distributors. Here's an ad that appeared in the Raleigh, NC News & Observer a few months back promoting their wine flavored cigar.

The 2 for $6.10 off cans of UST's Skoal and Copenhagen will end. Local to this store the owner will give a $1.00 off if 2-cans ($4.39 each NC) are purchased. Watch - Altria will tweak the UST's premium brands - Copenhagen and Skoal - to return these brands to some modest share growth., i.e. take market share back from Conwood's Grizzly..

The PM salesperson has indicated that PM will accept returns of Marlboro 72s. This is surprising because returns are almost never accepted for cigarettes and most moist snuff products.

What do you think?? Are PM's Marlboro 72s and Philip Morris International's (PMI) Marlboro Intense the same product. The idea behind both is to appeal to customers who, due to indoor smoking bans, want to dash outside for a quick nicotine hit but don't always finish a full-size cigarette. Both cigarettes are shrunk down by about a half inch - 7.2cm long and shorter than the standard 8.5cm cigarette. The test marketing of Marlboro Intense began in November 2007 in Turkey. Pointing to his lit Intense, the PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos says there are "possibly 50 markets that are interested in deploying it."

Previous C-store update..