Smoking doubles stroke risk in younger women..

August 15, 2008 - Younger women who smoke have more than double the risk of stroke compared to nonsmokers, with the heaviest smokers among them having nine times the risk, according to a study from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine.

Bhat VM, Cole JW, Sorkin JD, Wozniak MA, Malarcher AM, Giles WH, Stern BJ, Kittner SJ; Dose-Response Relationship Between Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Young Women; Stroke, August 14, 2008. Abstract

Cole and his colleagues interviewed 466 women who had had a stroke, and also 604 women who hadn't. All were between the ages of 15 and 49, and were either smokers, non-smokers or former smokers. Any smoking at all doubles the risk of stroke, the study found. The risk was 2.2 times greater for women smoking one to 10 cigarettes a day, 4.3 times greater for those smoking 21 to 39 cigarettes a day, and 9.1 times greater for those smoking two packs a day or more, compared to nonsmokers.

The study also demonstrated the benefit of quitting smoking. Stroke risk declined as early as 30 days after a woman gave up smoking and returned to normal in about two years.

Reference: Stroke Risk in Women Smokers Goes Up by Each Cigarette by Ed Edelson, HealthDay Reporter, 8/14/2008.

Keeping up with lobbying activities of tobacco companies. .

August 15, 2008 - Tobacco has become unacceptable in many circles of U.S. life, it remains a strong presence in the inner sanctum of U.S. political life. A bona fide power broker, the tobacco lobby doles out money to politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, in return for votes, favors and influence. (The Tobacco Lobby by Tom Ferraro.)

Keeping up with lobbying activities of tobacco companies. Tobacco Industry Won't Kick Lobbying

PMI’s Rothmans acquisition clears competition hurdle..

August 15, 2008 - Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) has received an advance ruling certificate ("ARC") from the Canadian Commissioner of Competition in connection with the company’s proposed acquisition of Rothmans Inc. (Rothmans).

The issuance of the ARC satisfies one of the conditions to the company's offer dated August 7, 2008 that clearance be obtained under the Competition Act (Canada).

(If granted, an ARC precludes the Commissioner from challenging the transaction on the basis of the facts known at the time that the ARC was granted and exempts the transaction from pre-merger notification requirements. (U.S.-Canada Outsourcing: A Canadian Perspective by Jillian M Swartz of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP)

The company’s offer to acquire Rothmans is open for acceptance until midnight (Vancouver time), at the end of September 11, 2008, unless extended or withdrawn by the company. The offering documents are also available on the SEDAR website at, under the SEDAR profile for Rothmans Inc.

Reference: Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) Receives Competition Bureau Clearance for Acquisition of Rothmans Inc., istockanalyst, 8/14/2008.

Related news briefs: Rothmans reports loss for latest quarter..; PMI can't use the Marlboro brand name in Canada..; PMI - Rothman creating legal and public relations headaches..; Philip Morris International to buy Toronto based Rothmans Inc.. and Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling...

U.S. Federal tax increase on tobacco - try it again..

It's too easy for smokers in states where the state tobacco tax has been increased to go to an adjoining state to purchase a tobacco product..

Take Maryland - last year the legislature doubled the cigarette tax to $2 a pack to pay for expanded health-care coverage. Eight months late, cigarette sales have plunged 25% and the state is in fiscal distress again. 30 million fewer cigarette packs have been bought in the state so far this year. Residents of Maryland's Washington suburbs can shop in nearby Virginia where the tax is only 30 cents a pack and save at least $15 per carton. In New York City and New York State where the tax has been increased several times, three out of four cigarettes are bought elsewhere or are contraband. Out-of-state purchases, tax-free Indian reservation or Internet sales and a cigarette black market are booming.

State Legislature passes surprise bill to tax Indian cigarettes by Tom Precious - News Albany Bureau, The Buffalo News, 8/13/2008. Cigarette-maker Philip Morris, supports a New York state Assembly bill that would solve a long battle over collecting taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian reservation stores by making wholesalers pay the levy, a company spokesman said on Thursday, 8/14/2008.

It's been rumored that the Democrats in congress are planning one more pre-election go at the $35 billion children's health program expansion (State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)) funded by a 61-cent per pack tax increase and including a tax on other tobacco products.

According to the World Bank, price increases are the most effective and cost effective tobacco control measure, especially for young people and others on low incomes, who are highly price responsive. A price rise of 10% decreases consumption by about 4% in high-income countries.

Reference: Cigarette Tax Burnout, The Wall Street Journal, 8/11/2008, pg A14.

Organization formed - Cigar Rights of America..

July 14, 2008 - Driven by increasing calls from cigar connoisseurs and enthusiasts, a consortium of cigar manufacturers and premium cigar retailers have formed Cigar Rights of America (CRA), a nonprofit
organization formed to give cigar lovers across the United States a voice in the rising debate over cigar rights for those who enjoy cigars for pleasure.

References: CIGAR RIGHTS OF AMERICACRA, 8/2008. and Cigar Rights of America Gives Cigar Enthusiasts a United Voice Against Continuing.., Reuters, 8/8/2008.

STOP PMI Sponsoring Concert in Philippines..

July 1, 2008 was the date to start to enforce the remaining tobacco control measures that are part of the Phillippines' Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9211). The measures are: no tobacco ads in all mass media and no tobacco sponsorship of all sports, concert and arts events.

Now we have Philip Morris International (PMI) trying out the governments enforcement of these measures in sponsoring a free "Eraserheads Reunion" concert of the very popular Filipino group Eraseheads on Saturday, August 30, 2008. (The band is one of the most successful, critically-acclaimed, and significant bands in the history of Original Pinoy (Filipino) Music, earning them the accolade, "The Battles of the Philipines.") PM Managing Director speaks on Eraserhead reunion.

To obtain tickets people must visit an PMI website to sign up to win tickets. Visitors must provide personal contact information that allows PMI them to send them promotional material (like coupons) on tobacco products. We know this is exactly what PMI is looking for. Mike Szymanczyk now the CEO of Altria, 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).

The Philippines Department of Health has warned PMI that it is violating the country's tobacco regulation law and urged an end to their involvement. PMI was forced to remove posters and billboards in a Alicia Keys concert they sponsored in Djakarta, Indonesia when the singer protested.

Reference: Philip Morris Caught in Second Concert Sponsorship in Philippines, Center for Media and Democracy.

One Filipino dies of smoking-related ailment every six minutes. That's 240 everyday or a whooping 87,600 every year.

The Philippines has ratified the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.


Rothmans reports loss for latest quarter..

August 13, 2008 - Rothmans Inc. whose days as a publicly traded company are numbered, booked a massive $354.4 million loss in its latest quarter after the tobacco producer took a big charge for the costs of settling smuggling-related criminal charges with federal tax authorities.

Rothmans was one of two Canadian tobacco companies to plead guilty in late July to charges related to cross-border smuggling of cigarettes in the early 1990s.;

Net sales at Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., the company's operating unit, slipped to $176.2 million in the first quarter of its 2009 financial year, compared with $177.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

Cigarette maker Rothmans reports $354.4 million loss in its first quarter by David Friend, THE CANADIAN PRESS, 8/12/2008.

More - Lorillard-Newport - FDA proposed tobacco regulation ..

If you'd like, click on images to enlarge - according to c-store personnel this is the very first time that Lorillard has ever had a Newport buy one get one free (B1G1) promotion.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act outlaws cherry, vanilla and other flavors but not menthol. Seven former U.S. health secretaries called on Congress in June 2008 to amend the bill to include menthol in the list of banned flavors. Co-sponsors in the House added language to the measure urging health officials to study the safety of menthol and its effect on the health of black smokers. So if passed into law, the FDA could regulate menthol in cigarettes but only after scientific study and a federal rulemaking process. Why is menthol regulation a big deal for Greensboro, NC-based Lorillard?

Newport, gives Lorillard 94% of its revenue, 92% of its volumes, 34% share of all menthol cigarette sales in the US, as well as an overall domestic tobacco market share of 10%.

Lorillard agrees that a proper scientific review based on “sound information and scientific evidence and data, as the Energy and Commerce Committee report states, with involvement by all interested parties as required under federal rulemaking procedures, will be informative in addressing the questions that are being raised about menthol cigarettes.

The debate over menthol may doom the legislation, which failed in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005, said David Adelman, a tobacco analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, in a June 5 note to clients.

Related news brief:
Congressional Black Caucus - Menthol Exemption..; Black Lawmakers Want to Limit Use of Menthol Cigarettes... There are other related briefs: do a random search.

References: U.S. House passes tobacco regulation billMark Binker, Capital Beat, 7/31/2008 and Tobacco Regulation by FDA Passes House; Bush May Veto (Update2) by Catherine Larkin,, 7/30/2008.


Congressional Black Caucus - Menthol Exemption..

We thought the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus was calling for changes to a House tobacco-regulation bill (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act), demanding that the legislation place restrictions on menthol cigarettes,the type heavily favored by 75% of African-American smokers. (Black Lawmakers Want to Limit Use of Menthol Cigarettes..).

Now we find the exemption of menthol from this bill banning flavored cigarettes is causing a rift in the Black Congressional Caucus. Some members of the caucus, which has strong financial ties to tobacco companies, argue that menthol cigarettes cause disproportionate harm to blacks and are pushing for a ban. Others say a ban on menthol would sink the bill. It is surprising, however, that the bill appears to have no chance of passing without the support of Philip Morris, the country's biggest cigarette company.

Philip Morris alone has made annual contributions exceeding $250,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation which has influenced those opinions.

Previously secret documents show that tobacco companies provided money, cultivated social and political ties, and aggressively offered free cigarettes to African American leadership groups even as the evidence grew that African Americans bear a disproportionate share of the tobacco-related disease burden.
(Secret Documents Reveal Tobacco Industry Influence, UC Newsroom, 11/20/2002)

References: Menthol Debate Splits Black Caucus,, 7/25/2008 and
Making toxins tasty
, The Ottawa Citizen, 8/11/2008.

Star Scientific , second quarter 2008, sales down 23.6%..

August 11, 2008 - Star Scientific’s gross sales for the second quarter ended June 30 totaled $167,483, down 23.6 per cent on those of the second quarter of 2007, $219,242. Star Scientific's sales tobacco lozenges - Ariva® and Stonewall® Dissolvable Smokeless Tobacco Products.

Ariva was developed to give an adult smoker an alternative to cigarettes and Stonewall Hard Snuff was developed for adult user of traditional snuff and chewing tobacco and smokers who consume more than one pack of cigarettes per day.

Reference: Star Scientific Inc announces Q2 financial resultsTrading Station Securities, 8/11/2008.

News brief: Star Scientific Applauds Recent State Legislation - Banning Smoking in Cars with Children.. For more news briefs concerned with Star Scientific - do a random search..


Switzerland could join EU requiring sale of only self-extinguishing cigarettes ..

August 11, 2008 - Switzerland, not a member of the European Union (EU), could follow in the footsteps of a EU initiative in requiring companies to sell exclusively self-extinguishing cigarettes from 201l. EU plans 'fire-safe' cigarettes..

Insurers and tobacco manufacturers welcomed the move and the (New York state was first to enforce the so-called "fire-safer" cigarettes in 2003, with another 35 US states and Canada following suit.) "Burning cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities every year. Burning cigarettes are also responsible for many forest fires," a spokesman for the European Commission told swissinfo. "Fire-safer cigarettes would save hundreds of lives every year and reduce the number of fire incidents."

The Swiss Insurance Association welcomed such innovations, saying they could help prevent damage. Tobacco giant Philip Morris told swissinfo it would support the introduction of reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards in the EU provided they were consistent with those introduced in New York and Canada, applied to all lit-end tobacco products and manufacturers had enough time to make any necessary product design changes. But Fran├žois Thoenen, spokesman at the company's Swiss affiliate, warned: "Consumers should understand that those changes do not make cigarettes 'fire-safe' or even necessarily 'fire-safer'. Anything that burns, if handled carelessly, can cause a fire, including cigarettes manufactured to meet the 'New York standards'."

Reference: "Fire-safer" cigarette sparks Swiss interest, 8/7/2008.