Hookah smoking popular among college crowd..

September 6, 2008 - The first random sample of U.S. university students to address hookah smoking, showed 265, or 41 percent, out of a group of 647 students at University of Pittsburgh have smoked tobacco from a hookah (water pipe, sheesha, shisha, narghile). Also, 173 students -- nearly 88 percent of the 198 people who took part said they intend to do so again. The portion of respondents who have smoked cigarettes at least once, 39.6 percent, was virtually the same as hookah smokers.

"I'd say the most surprising [finding] is that the proportion who ever used [hookahs] is every bit as common as cigarette use," said Dr. Brian Primack, lead author. Perhaps more troublesome, though, was the finding that 35.4 percent of those who had smoked tobacco in a hookah had never smoked a cigarette.

Primack said: "[Hookahs] are reaching a group of young people who otherwise would have been nicotine- and tobacco-naive." 78.8 percent of the surveyed group that said it has smoked water pipes in the past year thought the devices were less addictive than cigarettes.

Paper: Primack BA, Sidani J, Agarwal AA, Shadel WG, Donny EC, Eissenberg TE
Prevalence of and Associations with Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking among U.S. University Students. Ann Behav Med 2008 Aug 22, ABSTRACT.

Reference: UPMC study shows smoking water pipes is popular with college crowd by Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/5/2008.

Related news briefs: Hookahs on college campuses becoming growing public health issue.. Other related news briefs: Some related news briefs: April 8, 2008, March 6, 2008, March 4, 2008, December 29, 2007, December 28, 2007, December 27, 2007, December 19, 2007, November 7, 2007 and October 25, 2007.


Boston To Ban Drugstore Tobacco Sales..

September 5, 2008 - Boston health regulators today gave initial approval to sweeping new tobacco control rules that would ban cigarette sales at Boston drugstores and on college campuses. The rules would also stamp out smoking on the patios of restaurants and bars with outside service; tobacco use has been banned inside since 2003. After a five-year grace period the city would shutter cigar bars, swank salons catering to tobacco connoisseurs, which were exempt from the earlier regulation.

The Boston Health Commission approved the new tobacco control rules 4-0 after an hour long hearing. The public will now get to comment, both in writing and at a public hearing that will be scheduled later.

The campaign is to further reduce cigarette smoking in the Boston area, especially among young people and the poor. Just like San Francisco, the city decided to target sales at the 74 pharmacies in Boston because stocking tobacco, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., is incompatible with the mission of a drug store. The measure are opposed by drug store chains and tobacco companies, which argue the rules unfairly limit businesses' right to sell a legal product.

Reference: Cigarette sales ban receives initial okay from Boston board by Stephen Smith and David Abel, Boston Globe Staff, 9/5/2008.

Click on image to enlarge..


Altria in advanced talks to buy UST, Inc..

September 5, 2008 - Cigarette company Altria Group Inc.** is in advanced talks to buy Skoal and Copenhagen smokeless tobacco maker UST Inc, the world's leading moist smokeless tobacco (MST) manufacturer, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Friday. (UST Inc. is a holding company for its principal subsidiaries: United States Smokeless Tobacco Company and International Wine & Spirits Ltd) The New York Times reported that a deal worth more than $10 billion could be announced on Monday, 9/8/2008 or even sooner. The source could not confirm the price or say when a deal might be announced.

Back in February 4, 2004 the buyout was predicted: With organic (internal) development in the smokeless tobacco arena failing look for Philip Morris USA to expand through acquisitions.. Then the following day Altria (Philip Morris USA) - UST Deal Debate - Analysts differ on possible acquisition of smokeless tobacco company..

Reference: Altria in advance talks to buy UST, Inc.,

** - Altria owns approximately 28.5% of SABMiller (South African Breweries - Miller) plc.

Cigarette Graphic Warnings Most Cover Most of Package..

September 5, 2008 - Health Canada set out to find out whether increasing the warning size from the current level - 50 percent of the panel's surface - to 75, 90 or 100 percent of cigarette packages would have a greater effect on smokers. After interviewing 730 adult smokers, 306 teen smokers and 440 teens who are likely to start smoking, the firm found that warnings need to cover at least 90 percent of the package for the negative messages about smoking to achieve "substantial" and "significant" effects on most indicators.

Melodie Tilson, an expert in tobacco packaging and the director of policy for the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, said this is the most important finding. "What really stood out is going from 90 percent to 100 percent made a huge difference," said Tilson, characterizing the move to plain packaging and "eliminating the ability of the industry to promote smoking" as the "logical next step in tobacco control." André Calantzopoulos, the Chief Operating Officer of Philip Morris International (PMI), has stated that PMI is strongly opposed to generic packaging. (London, Tobacco Conference, 6/27/2008 - TW)

These results build on research released earlier this year, conducted by Environics on behalf of Health Canada, which found that the current graphic health warnings on cigarette packages covering half the pack are failing to encourage the majority of smokers to quit. (Impact of graphic anti-smoking photos burning out by Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service, 7/4/2008)

Reference: Cigarette packs need to have horrific graphics to deter teens: research by Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service, 9/3/2008.

Countries which have picture based cigarette health warnings from
Also, from the Globalink Multimedia Center: World Tobacco-Control Image Database.

Some related news briefs: Britain to put picture warnings on ALL tobacco products.. and Horror photos go on New Zealand cigarette packs...

Click on image to enlarge.. TobaccoWatch.org


Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband ..

September 5, 2008 - The Canadian federal government on Thursday, 9/4/2008 unveiled a new prototype of an excise duty stamp designed to help authorities spot contraband tobacco products. The stamp, which was designed and produced by the Canadian Bank Note Co. and SICPA Product Security SA, contains overt and covert security features much like the identifiers stamped on money. Illegal possession of tobacco products without this stamp will be a criminal offense punishable by law. The Canada Revenue Agency will meet with industry and government stakeholders before rolling out the stamp in early 2010.

Trafficking in illegal tobacco provides cheap cigarettes, which encourages smoking, discourage quitting, increase average daily consumption, prompts relapse, and encourage youth initiation. Tobacco smuggling undermines the potential effectiveness of higher tobacco taxes reducing government revenues and encouraging adults to continue smoke and children to start smoking cigarettes.
The availability of low-cost illegal cigarettes has particular implications for vulnerable populations such as young people and the economically disadvantaged. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in April, 2008 said the underground cigarette industry costs the federal government as much as $2 billion in lost tax revenue per year.

A recent report, Contraband Cigarettes in Ontario by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit finds that almost one-third of cigarettes currently purchased in Ontario are illegal. The Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada has shown that the contraband cigarette problem is most extensive in Ontario and Quebec. A private study by Imperial Tobacco has estimated that these two provinces account for 96.5% of all contraband purchases in Canada. Income from contraband tobacco can be reinvested to support other crime activities, to finance drug trafficking in Canada and to purchase illegal weapons.

A previous legislative response to the proliferation of contraband tobacco in Canada was to reduce taxes on legal tobacco in order to lower the price of cigarettes and thus discourage contraband production and distribution. - A Very Strange Move..

References: Revenue agency introduces new tobacco stamp to combat contraband, The Canadian Press, 9/4/2008; New security stamp aims to extinguish contraband tobacco sales, CBC News, 9/4/2008; Letter to Prime Minister Harper on Contraband Tobacco, Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health, 1/24/2008 and Contraband tobacco in Canada, BizAims.com, 7/30/2008.

Related news brief:Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling..


Okotoks, Alberta - Smoking in Vehicles With Kids Present Banned..

September 4, 2008 - Starting Monday,September 1, 2008 the
Town of Okotoks, Alberta is banning smoking in vehicles when someone under 16 is inside. Okotoks is the first Alberta community to pass this bylaw. Similar provincial laws exist in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Also New Brunswick to ban smoking in cars with children or youth present..

City Councelor, Stephen Clark, says the law is meant to protect young children while also educating their parents. "I believe that most parents, once they're well aware of the health hazards to their children, especially infants - an hour in a confined area like a car where smoking is taking place is equivalent to a child smoking a pack of cigarettes. To an infant, it's very dangerous, the concentration of second hand smoke in a vehicle, in a closed space like that, is 11 times more than in a bar."

The Town says first time offenders will most likely just get a warning, but if they're caught again, they'll be hit with a $2-hundred fine.

Related news brief: At least one municipality in Alberta is considering a ban smoking in cars when kids are present.

Reference: Smoking bylaw begins in Okotoks, CTV.ca, 9/1/2008.

Banning smoking when children are in the car is a no-brainer - even Philip Morris agrees. Surveys of smokers have found that 90% of smokers support a ban on smoking in cars when children are present.

SUMMARY: Laws Banning Smoking in Vehicles Carrying Children – International Overview
Canadian Cancer Society, August 19, 2008


Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2007..

September 4, 2008 - The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) was developed to provide Health Canada and its partners with timely, reliable, and continual data on tobacco use and related issues. The survey's primary objective is to track changes in smoking status and amount smoked, especially for populations most at risk for taking up smoking, such as 15-24-year-olds.

The annual results from the CTUMS, for data collected between February and December 2007, show that 19% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older were current smokers (about 5.2 million smokers), unchanged from the same period one year ago. The current smoking rate among youth aged 15-19 years was 15% for the second year in a row (about 331,000 teens). Unchanged from the same period last year. The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20-24 years was 25% (about 575,000 young adults) in 2007, compared to 27% as reported last year at this time2. Males (28%) continue to have a higher prevalence of smoking compared to females (23%).

The CTUMS results for 2007 showed that the rate of smoking ranged from a low of 14% in British Columbia to a high of 24% in Saskatchewan. All provinces remained within ±5% of the National average smoking rate (19%). Along with the lowest smoking rate, British Columbia reported the highest percentage of never smokers (57%) while Quebec reported the lowest (46%). Also, Albertans should pay up to light up.. Fourteen percent (14%) of Canadian households reported at least one person who smoked inside the home every day or almost every day. Overall, 35% of respondents reported being exposed to second-hand smoke at least once a week, while 12% reported it occurring every day, and 12% reported exposure almost everyday.

Among Canadian youth ages 15-19, 32% reported having ever tried little cigars and 11% reported smoking a little cigar in the past 30 days. Forty-six percent of young adults ages 20-24 reported having ever tried little cigars and 10% reported smoking a little cigar in the past 30 days.

Reference: Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2007 - Summary of Annual Results for 2007, Health Canada.


NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..

September 4, 2008 - A federal appellate court on Tuesday, 9/2/2008 allowed New York (NY) City to move forward with four lawsuits against roughly 10 online cigarette vendors, accusing the out-of-state companies of violating federal and state laws by failing to report cigarette purchases by city residents. The city’s lawsuits, begun in 2003, assert that the online vendors have failed to file federal Jenkins Act reports, which are intended to alert state tax authorities to out-of-state cigarette purchases so that the purchases can be subject to local taxes.

Mayor Bloomberg portrayed the decision as a victory. “We will continue moving forward vigorously against those who break the law and deprive the City of vitally needed tax dollars – especially when such lawbreakers also undercut public health,” he said in a statement. The decision is the latest step forward in Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to reduce smoking in New York City, which have led to a 21 percent drop in adult smoking and a 52 percent drop in smoking among public high school students in the last five years.

Related news brief: Collect Tax on Phone and Online Tobacco Sales, More Money for State Health Care Programs.. and We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business...

Reference: City Can Proceed With Suits Against Online Cigarette Vendors by Sewell Chan, New York Times, 9/2/2008 and MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST CIGARETTE TAX EVASION GETS MAJOR BOOST.

Women Who Smoke Have Heart Attacks 14 Years Earlier..

September 3, 2008 - At the European Society of Cardiology Meeting in Munich, Germany (August 30, 2008 - September 3, 2008)it was reported that women who smoke have heart attacks nearly 14 years earlier then those who don't.

Paper: Sex-based differences in effect of smoking: first acute myocardial infarction occurs more prematurely in women than in men, M. Grundtvig1, T.P. Hagen2, A. Reikvam2, 1Lillehammer - Norway, 2University of Oslo - Oslo - Norway, European Heart Journal ( 2008 ) 29 ( Abstract Supplement ), 699. Abstract.

Dr. Morten Grundtvig and colleagues from the Innlander Hospital Trust in Norway based their study on data from 1,784 patients admitted for a first heart attack. Their study found that the men, on average, had their first heart attack at age 72 if they didn't smoke, and at 64 if they did. Women in the study had their first heart attack at age 81 if they didn't smoke, and at age 66 if they did. Researchers adjusted for other heart risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

Doctors suspect that female hormones protect women against heart disease. Estrogen is thought to raise the levels of good cholesterol and help blood-vessel walls relax.
"Smoking might erase the natural advantage that women have," said Dr. Robert Harrington, a Professor of Medicine at Duke University and a spokesman for the American College of Cardiology. "This is not a minor difference," said Dr. Silvia Priori, a cardiologist at the Scientific Institute in Pavia, Italy who was not connected to the study. "Women need to realize they are losing much more than men when they smoke," she said.

Reference: Smoking riskier to women's hearts than men's by MARIA CHENG, Associated Press, 9/2/2008.

Women heart attack risk factors and symptoms.


More Public Housing Units Going Smoke-Free..

September 2, 2008 - Illinois' Lake County Housing Authority is considering banning smoking in public housing units. The ban likely wouldn't go into effect until October 2008. If one is adopted, the no-smoking rule would become part of a tenant's lease, requiring smokers to take it outside like they do everywhere else. The all-important enforcement question has not been resolved.

Roughly 80 public housing authorities in 15 states from California to Maine have adopted smoke-free policies, but none so far in Illinois said Jim Bergman, director of the Smoke-free Environments Law Project based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The group works with local health departments on smoke-free issues largely focusing on apartments and condominiums. Bergman said Lake County could be the leader in Illinois if it takes this step.

THREE REASONS FOR BANS: Fire safety: Dozing smokers and butts in trash cans may be hazards; Neighbors' health: Secondhand smoke seeps into adjacent apartments and Cleaning costs: Paint, carpet repair and cleaning costs can double in a smoker's apartment. (USA Today Research) All bans forbid new tenants smoking indoors, Bergman says. Some forbid current residents smoking in their apartments, some allow them to smoke until they move out, and some set a deadline for quitting. Some ban outdoor smoking near the building.

References: Smoke ban in your home?Lake talks setting rule for public housing by Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald Staff, 8/30/2008 and Public housing kicks smoking habit by Emily Bazar, USA TODAY, 4/4/2007.


Orlowsky Defends Lorillard's Marketing of Menthol Cigarettes..

September 2, 2008 - Defending the marketing of menthol cigarettes by Martin L. Orlowsky, Chairman, President and Chief executive officer, Lorillard Tobacco Co., 8/21/2008. In brief, Orlowsky claims that Lorillard markets its Newport brand cigarettes to adult smokers of all ethnicities. He writes: the truth is that our marketing is not disproportionately directed to African-Americans. The truth is that we do not target underage smokers.

Mr. Orlowsky (Marty)has been a Director of Lorillard since January of 1999, and has served in that capacity while the Company was still owned by Loews Corporation until June 10, 2008. Mr. Orlowsky has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Lorillard since January of 1999 and added the Chairman’s position in January 2001. Previously, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer and prior to this position he was Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has been with Lorillard since 1990. (Lorillard, Inc.)

Sales of Newport are the highest in Eastern United States (US) especially in urban centers of the Northeast and this is where marketing activities are concentrated. In 1993 Newport became the #1 menthol cigarette in the US. Lorillard has for decades concentrated on building the Newport brand among the young. A 1978 Lorillard document, which said that the brand's growth was driven by "black people (all ages)" and "young adults (usually college age)" but added that "the base of our business is the high school student." By 1983, Newport had the youngest franchise of any brand, with 53 percent of sales to people aged 18 to 24, and it had doubled its penetration of the young black market, according to an RJR document. Newport succeeded because Lorillard relentlessly focused its ads at blacks living in the Northeast, according to industry analysts. A 1969 memo by rival R.J. Reynolds noted that Lorillard's "Negro market budget was increased 87 percent over 1968." The majority of the increase went to build Newport among black Americans. (Slugfest in the Smoke Ring by Brett D. Fromson, Washington Post, 3/1/1998; Page H01))

Menthol is much more than a flavoring agent - it has many uses as a chemical cooling agent, e.g., in cold cures to reduce nasal congestion and coughing.

While in a local convenience store I watched the Lorillard salesperson place a new Newport promotion sign behind the checkout counter. He could select either side of the sign - one side with a Caucasian couple and the other with an African-American couple - which side do you think he chose??

More on menthol and tobacco smoking.

Click on image to enlarge.. (TobaccoWatch.org)

Denmark - Must Be 18 to Buy Ciagrettes..

September 1, 2008 - As of today, 9/1/2008 a new law takes effect making it illegal for young people under the age of 18 to purchase tobacco or to introduce tobacco to Denmark from abroad.

Health Minister Jakob Axel Nielsen (Cons.) says the new law is designed to postpone the age at which some young people begin smoking. “Research shows that the younger children are when they start smoking, the greater the risk that they will become addicted. At the same time we know that most smokers begin smoking before their 17th birthday. By increasing the age limit we are targeting a group that could otherwise become addicted to tobacco,” says Nielsen.

As of Monday, all outlets that sell tobacco must sport signs with the new age limit. At the same time, personnel will be reminded that they are to ask for identity cards with pictures if young people enter a shop to buy alcohol or tobacco. The new age limit puts Denmark in line with the other Nordic countries.

Reference: Age limit for tobacco goes up, edited by Julian Isherwood, Politiken.DK, 8/29/2008.

Northern Ireland - Must Be 18 to Buy Cigarettes..

September 1, 2008 - as of today (9/1/2008)Northern Ireland has joined the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18.
The Assembly passed the required legislation at the end of June, just before the summer recess.

The change in the law is part of the drive by the North's Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to reduce smoking among young people, which is not prohibited by law. A recent study showed that some nine per cent of the 11-16 age group are smokers in Northern Ireland - a figure which has been reduced from 13.5 per cent as the anti-smoking message gradually gets through. The minister said although he believed the sale ban was necessary, he hoped young people would decide for themselves not to smoke. Mr McGimpsey has also extended to Northern Ireland a Department of Health consultation seeking views on the future of tobacco controls, including those likely to impact on children’s smoking such as advertising at point of sale and access to tobacco vending machines. The consultation ends on September 8th.

The Republic of Ireland introduced a similar ban four years ago - in 2004.

Reference: NI introduces prohibition on cigarette sale, RTE News, 8/31/2008 and Tobacco sales to unders 18s banned in NI, IrishTimes.com, 9/1/2008.