Habanos - after hurricanes can survive using tobacco reserves..

September 26, 2008 - Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which struck within 10 days of each other, destroyed up to 2 million pounds of Cuba's best tobacco, but reserves of the leaf should cover demand for the island's premium cigars for the next year, said Manuel Garcia, vice president of cigar producer Habanos S.A. Garcia stated: "Undoubtedly we are going to need an important financial injection for the tobacco (industry)."

Habanos, a joint venture between the Cuban government and Altadis, a unit of British-based Imperial Tobacco, produces and sells some of the world's best-known cigars, including Monte Cristo, Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta and Partagas. It reported sales of $402 million (218 million pounds) in 2007, up from $375 million in 2006.

Reference: Cuban cigar supply said not hurt by hurricanes by Esteban Israel, tiscali.news, 5/09/2008

Related news briefs: Imperial Tobacco Group to Enhance Joint Venture Altadis Had With Habanos Cigars..; Cuban cigar sales rose 7 percent to $402 million in 2007.. and Altadis (Alliance Tobacco Distributors) born from the merger of Spain's Tabacalera and France's Seita SA (F.STA) state tobacco monopolies...

FCTC Member Ghana - NO Law Banning Sales of Tobacco to Minors..

September 25, 2008 - The Focal Person for Tobacco Control at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has appealed to the government to hasten the approval of the bill banning the sale of cigarettes to minors. Currently there is no law banning the sale of cigarettes to children so they are able to buy them easily.

According to a survey conducted by the Ghana Youth Tobacco Survey among 9,990 junior high school pupils in the country in 2005, 33.9 percent of students buy cigarettes (rather cheap) from the store and of these, 55.9 percent bought cigarettes from stores where they were not refused purchase, despite their ages. Furthermore, the study found out that approximately one in seven students used one form of tobacco, while four percent of the students smoked cigarettes and 12.5 percent used tobacco products other than cigarettes.

It is pointed out that even if the bill eventually passes the children must be educated on the dangers of tobacco smoking.

The Ministry of Health and the Food and Drugs Board, in line with the constitution of Ghana, is urged to design and implement a comprehensive policy to ensure a total "ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship" in the country.

Related news brief: British American Tobacco (BAT) 100 years in Africa.

Reference: Cigarette sales to minors - hasten bill, GHS Appeals By ModernGhana, 9/24/2008 and Ghana: Government Urged to Ban Tobacco Adverts, Public Agenda (ACCRA), allAfrica.com, 9/15/2008.

Ghana has ratified (June 2004) the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.

Coffins in Ghana..
More on the Tobacco Challenge in Ghana..

Michigan Falls Short Again on Ban in Public Places..

September 25, 2008 - The State of Michigan came up 6-votes short in the state House in passage of a bill to ban smoking for all public places. The bill, had already cleared the state Senate and would be signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The main hangup - Detroit Democrats, concerned about a smoking ban's impact on the casinos and the revenues they generate, were instrumental in blocking the bill. "One reason we got a boom in Detroit casinos is because Windsor (Canada across the Detroit River) got a smoking ban," said Rep. George Cushingberry Jr., D-Detroit, who added that the loss of casino revenue would hurt schools and city services they help to fund.

The legislation would bar smoking in public buildings, any workplace, bars and restaurants, mall food courts and casinos in Detroit. Advocates for passage say they'll try again -- perhaps as early as today.

Related news brief: Michigan Senate Deals Blow To Smoking Ban...

Reference: Bill to bar public smoking falls short, Charlie Cain and Mark Hornbeck / Detroit News Lansing Bureau, The Detroit News, 9/24/2008

Philip Morris challenges San Francisco pharmacy tobacco ban..

September 25, 2008 - Philip Morris USA filed suit today in federal court to overturn a controversial San Francisco ordinance that would ban the sale of tobacco products in drug stores. On October 1, 2008 San Francisco would become the first city in the United States to ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies . The lawsuit asks the court in the Northern District of California to delay enforcement of the ordinance and ultimately declare it unconstitutional.

The suit by Philip Morris comes after Walgreens also filed suit in Superior Court earlier this month seeking an emergency injunction to block the ban. Both sides in that case are due in court Sept. 30.

References: Philip Morris USA Sues to Overturn Controversial San Francisco Sales Ban on Tobacco Products, Philip Morris USA, 9/24/2008 and Philip Morris challenges San Francisco tobacco ban, Article Launched, 9/25/2008.

Related news briefs: 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...

Boston, MA also wants to ban drugstore tobacco sales..


NYC Fights Smoking With Reality Images in Matchbooks..

September 24, 2008 - To make smokers aware of the deadly consequences of tobacco smoking the New York City Health Department's is running its "Eating You Alive" campaign. Matchbooks (approximately 400,000) will be given away at 132 cigarette retailers in various areas of New York City. Inside the matchbooks the smokers finds the words "Cigarettes Are Eating You Alive" with gruesome pictures of blackened lungs, bulging throat cancers and other smoking consequences. Sarah Perl, the department's assistant commissioner for tobacco control has said, "having it on the inside of the matchbook provides an element of surprise.". An anonymous donor provided the $25,000 printing cost. More matchbooks.

Manufacturing of matchbooks peaked during the 1940s and 50s, then steadily declined because of the availability of disposable lighters and various anti-smoking health campaigns.

A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that New York City’s smoking rate has plummeted since anti-smoking measures were adopted in 2002. In 2002 New York City increased the tobacco tax, eliminated smoking in virtually all workplaces, and launched hard-hitting anti-tobacco ads. Of the 8 million people in NYC approximately 1 million still smoke resulting in nearly 8,000 dying from smoking-related illnesses every year or more than 25 per day.

Recently, Health Canada it has been found cigarette packages would have a greater effect on smokers if the images covered most of the pack.

David Byrne, the European Union’s former commissioner for health and consumer protection has said, “People need to be shocked out of their complacency about tobacco. I make no apology for some of the pictures we are using.”

References: New York City Launches Aggressive Anti-Smoking Campaign by Alice Carver, eFLUXMedia, 9/23/2008; City targets smokers with gruesome matchbooks by Elisabeth Butler Cordova, CrainsNewYork.com, 9/22/2008 and Health Dept. Distributes Matchbooks With Grim Alert by By SEWELL CHAN, New York Times, 9/22/2008.

We wonder what has happened to the Bill that was before the New York City Council to prohibit smoking in cars with minors??


Smoking ban in Turkey lowers cigarette consumption..

September 24, 2008 - In Turkey smokers smoked 520 millions cigarettes less in July 2008 than in the same month of 2007 and 457 million cigarettes less in August 2008 than in August 2007. The amount of fines that smokers paid for smoking in closed areas exceeded YTL 20 million in the last four months, after the smoking ban was introduced. (Smoking ban lowers cigarette consumption - A smoking ban in closed spaces introduced in May 2008 has reduced cigarette consumption in Turkey, zamanus.com, 9/23/2008)

The smoking ban in closed spaces introduced in May 2008.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul approved a law on January 18, 2008 banning smoking in restaurants and bars, his office said, in a move aimed at bringing the nation of hardened smokers into line with much of the rest of Europe. The ban l included cigars, pipes and the traditional water pipe, a popular attraction for tourists in Istanbul and Turkey's coastal resorts as well as for locals. Many Turks doubt that the ban will be properly implemented in a country where rules and regulations are regularly flouted. (Writing by Gareth Jones, edited by Richard Meares) (Turkey's president approves smoking ban, Reuters, 1/18/2008.)


Sharp rise in cigarette prices proposed to curb the Albania's addiction tobacco..

September 23, 2008 - Health experts have proposed a sharp rise in cigarette prices to curb Albania's addiction to tobacco. "If the price of cigarettes was raised by 10 per cent, we estimate consumption among youths might drop by 8 per cent," Roland Shupreka, of Albania’s Public Health Institute.

A tobacco control law took effect in May 2007, that prohibits smoking in bars, restaurants, government offices and other public locations. In theory, Albania's anti-smoking legislation is among the strictest in Europe, but activists say implementation has been far from adequate because penalties are not being enforced . It was so disappointing when only after a month or so of putting the no-smoking signs up in every restaurant and bar, the management of the places started to once again place ash trays on the tables. The law itself is not the problem, it's the enforcement of the law, or rather the non-enforcement.
The new legislation -- which also penalises media outlets that promote smoking -- has been more successful at deterring advertisements. These have largely been removed from newspapers, TV broadcasts and billboards - An Albanian man waits to sell firewood under a poster advertising western cigarettes near Tirana Thursday, Feb. 13, 1997..(AP Photo/Santiago Lyon).

Albania has 872,000 smokers out of a population of 3 million. Health experts are particularly troubled by the fact that some 15 per cent of teens aged 13-15 have reportedly taken up smoking. Albanians spent more than €300 million on tobacco products in 2007. According to national statistics, 40% of Albanians smoke regularly. Tobacco consumption increased after 1990. Before then, no more than 20% of Albanians smoked. The largest rise in tobacco consumption has occurred among youngsters and girls.

Albania's neighbor Greece May Have the Highest Cigarette Consumption Per Person in the World..

References: Cigarette Price Rise Urged in AlbaniaBalkanInsight.com, 9/12/2008; Law fails to deter Albanian smokers by Sami Neza for Southeast European Times in Tirana, Albania - 12/11/07 and Smoke Free Albania?Stepping Stones, 2/1/2008.

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


Philip Morris International buys shares in biotechnology company - Medicago

September 23, 2008 - Philip Morris International (PMI) has purchased a large percentage of shares in Medicago, a Canadian firm, which plans to make vaccines from tobacco leaves.
Medicago Inc. today (September 22, 2008)announced that it has signed on September 19, 2008 a non-binding letter of intent with Philip Morris International for a private placement of 45,000,000 units at a price of $0.355 per Unit for proceeds of $15,975,000. The proceeds of the private placement will be used to further fund the development of Medicago's pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines. (Each Unit is priced at $0.355 per Unit and consists of one common share and one common share purchase warrant of Medicago.)

Reference: $15,975,000 Investment by Philip Morris International in Medicago, iStockAnalyst.com, 9/22/2008.

Recently PMI completed the purchase of Canadian cigarette maker Rothmans Inc.

Royal College of Physicians still pushing the use of SNUS..

September 22, 2008 - On May 31, 2008 the British Government's Department of Health (DH) released a paper on the the future of tobacco control. Interested parties have 12-weeks period (until September 8, 2008) to provide comments that should be considered before formalizing a National Tobacco Strategy.

The article British doctors talk up Swedish 'snus', The Local, 9/8/2008, the aim of the report, was to suggest radical ways to effectively eliminate tobacco smoking in the UK. Here's a radical approach - the tobacco advisory group of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recommended that snus should be marketed as a product aimed at helping smokers kick the habit. Except for Sweden, snus is outlawed by the European Union mainly because it was deemed an attraction to children, who would become easily hooked and could move on to cigarettes. Swedish Match (the world's second largest maker of snuff and chewing tobacco and market leader in Sweden - volume share of 90% at the end of 2006) anxious to market snus throughout Europe is trying their hardest to reverse the EU's decision and the RCP is helping them out.

"There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that smokers are able to switch to smokeless tobacco and remain switched," Dr.Thomas Glynn, the Director of Cancer Science and Trends at the American Cancer Society (Snusing: the new way to give up smoking, Susie Rushton, The Independent, October 9, 2007) "There is no evidence smokeless tobacco can help people quit smoking. There are no studies we would consider sufficient." Dr. Terry Pechacek, Associate Director of Science at the Centers for Disease Control Office on Smoking and Health. (SNUS the BUMP, Nordic Reach (The Scandinavian Lifestyle Quarterly}, No.17 Volume XIX, 2007, p53)Dr. Gunilla Bolinder, Director of Education at Stockholm's Karolinska University Hospital points out, "To sing the praises of SNUS is a deathblow to over 20 years of hard tobacco preventive work. SNUS only saves the life of the tobacco industry" (SNUS gets the thumbs-down NEWS-24 1/31/2007).

Professor John Britton, chair RCP tobacco advisory group, "It's their [tobacco companies] job to sell as much tobacco as possible, so they will be targeting non-smokers rather than current ones, that's the worry." According to the DH the focus is on the need to protect children and reduce health inequalities. A YOGOV poll shows strong support for tough measures to protect children for the harm caused by tobacco. The test marketing of snus products in the U.S. has been a big disappointment. Those that purchase the product are young adults and kids that want to be young adults; here's the Camel SNUS tag line, "Pleasure for where ever, whenever.." – no one will ever know.

Dr. Lars E. Rutqvist, the Vice President for Scientific Affairs at Swedish Match has stated the drive in Snus sales in Sweden has been in response to the smoking ban rather than the perceived advantage to user’s health.

The European Court of Justice ruled on (December 2004) that an EU ban on the sale of snus - Swedish snuff tobacco - should remain in force. Noting the risk that young people would become addicted to nicotine if they begin to use snus, the Court said that its decision was motivated by a desire to protect the health of European citizens. EU Scientific Committee Concludes: Insufficient Evidence to Lift Ban on SNUS..

Smoking cessation specialists in the UK from hospitals, primary care and management within the National Health Service from all over the UK, voted strongly against the proposal to make SNUS more available in their practice.

The summary of a new report by RCP entitled, "Ending tobacco smoking in Britain: Radical strategies for prevention and harm reduction in nicotine addiction" forms part of the RCP's response to the Department of Health's consultation on the future of tobacco control. At least in this summary there was no mention of "SNUS." (Royal College of Physicians: Ending tobacco smoking by 2025, politics.co.uk, 9/8/2008.

From the article in The Local - the availability of snus in Norway, a non-EU country, had NOT led to any measurable drop in the prevalence of smoking. Those that use snus in Norway are young adults and kids that tobacco companies have convinced to give it a try. According to Dr. Karl E. Lund, research director at the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research over the past decade, daily use of snus has tripled among teens and young adults. Swedish Match, makes what Dr. Lund calls "starter kits." "This is snus sold in glamorous metal boxes in which the snus is seasoned with different kinds of fruit flavors," he explains. "[They are] easy to use for snus novices." (NCI Cancer Bulletin, Feb 20, 2007 vol 4 number 8)



Australia - new regs fire-safe cigarettes by March 2010..

September 22, 2008 - Cigarette makers will be required to change their products to ensure that cigarettes self-extinguish more readily, before the regulations come into force in March 2010.

Cigarettes for sale in Australia will be subject to stringent new regulations to reduce the fire risk from smouldering butts. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced today a new mandatory standard which will require cigarettes to be tested for combustibility.

"Cigarettes will be subject to performance standards and a testing regime which will reduce the likelihood of inadvertent fires occurring when smouldering cigarettes are left near combustible materials," federal Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Bowen said in a statement. "Cigarette-caused fires cost Australia in excess of $100 million each year not to mention the injuries and deaths that result from carelessly discarded cigarettes."

A study conducted by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Science found that between June 1, 2000, and June 30, 2006, 67 deaths nationally were caused by cigarette-related fires.

Related news brief: Starting in January 2009 Australia may require all cigarettes manufactured and sold throughout Australia to be self-extinguishing...

Reference: Cigarettes to have reduced fire risk, news.com.au, 8/22/2008.

News on fire-safe cigarettes..

PACT Legislation now in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee..

September 21, 2008 - PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act) that overwhelming passed the House of Representatives 379-12 is now in the U.S. Judiciary Committee for consideration.

With other priorities it is doubted the bill will be considered during this congressional session. The sponsor of the bill in the Senate is Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI).

Related news brief: U.S. House Passes Bill to Prevent Tobacco Delivery By Mail..; We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business.. and Protect Our Children - Make it illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver any form of tobacco product...