Rhode Island state cigarette tax highest in nation - $3.46/pack..

April 11, 2009 - Rhode Island's leaders have taken decisive action to protect the state's kids and taxpayers from the devastating toll of tobacco use by increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 to $3.46 per pack (first state with a cigarette tax of $3 or more) making it the highest state cigarette tax in the nation. Rhode Island is also increasing the tax on most other tobacco products. Increased tobacco taxes are a win-win-win solution for Rhode Island -- a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue to help alleviate budget shortfalls, and a political win that polls show is popular with the voters.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Rhode Island, claiming 1,600 lives each year and costing the state $506 million annually in health care bills, including $179 million in Medicaid payments alone. Government expenditures related to tobacco amount to a hidden tax of $728 each year on every Rhode Island household. While Rhode Island has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 15.1 percent of Rhode Island high school students smoke, and 1,400 more kids become regular smokers every year.

Reference: Rhode Island Cigarette Tax Increase Delivers Victory For Kids And Taxpayers; $1 Increase Gives State Highest Cigarette Tax In The Nation, Medical New Today, 4/9/2009.

Click on image to enlarge, the Rhode Island state flag..


Czech Republic - Philip Morris profits dropping 2-years in a row..

April 10, 2009 - Czech Republic's largest tobacco company, Philip Morris saw 2008 unconsolidated net profit drop 36.7 percent. The company has seen two consecutive years of declining profits, after a loss of 14 percent in 2007. Sales of premium cigarettes have suffered dual blows from tobacco taxes, which have doubled since 2004, and the ensuing recession, which persuades many smokers to switch to cheaper brands and loose tobacco. The state currently generates 40 billion Kč per year from tobacco tax revenues, nearly a third of all total excise tax revenues.

Petra Dobešová, director of corporate affairs of Philip Morris Czech Republic, pointed to the effects of illegal tobacco trafficking rather than the financial crisis causing the decrease.

The most recent tobacco tax increase January 1, 2008, put Czech cigarette taxes above the European Union's (EU) required level of 64 euros ($85 US/1,736 Kč) per 1,000 cigarettes. (The Czech Republic became a member of the EU in May 2004.) As prices rise in the Czech Republic, so does illegal cigarette smuggling, particularly from Eastern Europe, and the production of counterfeit brand cigarettes. Some may consider cigarettes in the Czech Republic to be unfairly priced - costing nearly twice as much as some of its Eastern neighbors but tobacco taxes serve an important purpose, said Radek Ležatka, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry, allowing the government to raise money directly from consumers.

The other major reason for Philip Morris' losses over the past two years is the common practice of hoarding tax stamps, which cigarette companies historically do in the months before a tax hike.

Reference: Cigarette tax unbalances profits Philip Morris ČR's net profits drop 36.7 percent in 2008, The Prague Post, 4/9/2009.


Iraq - tobacco use increasing amongst youth..

April 10, 2009 - Findings of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey carried out recently by Iraq’s Ministry of Health. The survey will be used to predict problems the healthcare system is likely to face in the future, especially since Iraq is a young country, with around 43% of its population under the age of 19.

Nearly seven percent of adolescent Iraqis have smoked shisha (water pipe, hookah), and more than three percent have smoked tobacco, raising concerns among health officials about future diseases that could arise as a result. The fact that it is so popular among Iraq youth is a red light for health officials in Iraq and is prompting officials to launch campaigns warning against the hazards of this practice and to prepare for future diseases that could occur among the adult population.

Shisha, studies show, is even more harmful than cigarettes, because of the intensity of the exposure over a short period of time compared to cigarette smoking which is less intense with each smoke, Dr. Naeema Al-Gasseer, the World Health Organization’s representative in Iraq said. told The Media Line.

The report, a school-based survey among adolescents aged 13 to 15, suggested that shisha was the preferred form of tobacco used among young people in Iraq.

Overall, 13% of youth who have never smoked indicated they might initiate cigarette smoking in the next year.

The survey will be used to predict problems the healthcare system is likely to face in the future, especially since Iraq is a young country, with around 43% of its population under the age of 19.

“We know that tobacco smoking is a cause of mortalities and diseases. If we’re not alert to promoting healthy behavior, especially among youth, and prevent diseases, this will cause more risk factors for diseases such as heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes,” Al-Gasseer said.

The government is not only using the survey to plan its health system and tackle future problems, but is also cooperating with the Ministry of Education and the parliament to prevent smoking, making the public more aware of the health hazards it entails, and promote legislation to stem the habit.

Reference: Baghdad Fights Troubling Tobacco Trend Among Youth by Rachelle Kliger, Media Line - The MidEast News Service, 4/9/2009.

Related news briefs: Pipe dreams: With more hookah bars popping up, experts warn about the potential dangers of tobacco..; Syrian - spends $600 million each year on tobacco despite ban..; Dangers of hookah (waterpipe) smoking - Harvard Mental Health Letter..; Fred Thompson: Al Qaeda smoking ban pushed Iraqis to U.S..

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


Florida - besides tobacco tax increase Senate wants to restrict tax-free sales..

April 10, 2009 - A provision to suppress the sale of tax-free cigarettes sold on Florida's Indian reservations was tacked onto the Senate bill to raise the cigarette tax a $1.00 pack Tuesday night, April 7, 209. State senators want tribe's smokes labeled "Indian cigarettes'' and any non-Indian caught with them forced to pay a $1,000 fine and face misdemeanor charges. The Senate bill also requires that state regulators spend $50,000 on a public awareness campaign alerting smokers that buying tax-free cigarettes from the tribes is illegal.

Lawmakers fear that when the tax hike takes effect, buyers will flood Indian reservations to get the lower-priced cigarettes and undercut state tax collections.
The state now loses about $8.6 million from the sales of 26 million packs of cigarettes sold each year at smoke shops on the Seminole and Miccosukee reservations, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Because the tribes are sovereign nations, the state can't prevent them from selling cigarettes and it can't force tribal stores to collect the state tax.

If lawmakers approve the plan to raise the cigarette tax from 34 cents per pack to $1.34 per pack, and impose a $1 per ounce tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, estimates are that the state will raise about $1 billion. But that does not include the lost revenue from tobacco purchases on tribal land, purchases made on the Internet and from other sources. That amount could soar to more than $68 million. State economists said Wednesday that the penalties on any nontribal purchasers of the tax-free cigarettes would likely reduce the tax loss by a third or more, because the measure will be hard to enforce.

Reference: Florida Senate wants to restrict tax-free tobacco sales at Indian reservations by Mary Ellen Klas, St. Petersburg Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau, 4/9/2009.

Related news brief: Florida Senate panel backs tobacco tax hike..; Florida tobacco tax hike gets 1st critical vote today.., Tobacco Free Florida Week - 2/27/2009 - 3/7/2009.., Florida's $2.3 billion deficit - increase tax on cigarettes???; States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..; Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking...

Altria - 1st quarter results morning April 22, 2009.

April 10, 2009 - The Altria Group will host a live audio webcast at 09.00 hours Eastern Time on April 22 to discuss its 2009 first-quarter business results, which will have been issued through a press release at about 07:00 hours the same day.

During the webcast, Michael E. Szymanczyk, chairman and CEO, and David R. Beran, executive vice president and CFO, will discuss the company's results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

The webcast, which will be in a listen-only mode, will be available at www.altria.com.

Alberta - increases tobaco tax as of April 8, 2009..

April 10, 2009 -

Tax and Revenue Administration
Alberta Tobacco Tax Act
Special Notice Vol. 3 No. 11
Released: April 7, 2009
Produced by: Alberta Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration
For more information: tra.revenue@gov.ab.ca

Vol. 3 No. 11 / April 2009

Tobacco Tax Increase

Alberta will increase its tobacco tax rates effective 12:01 a.m. April 8, 2009. Tobacco tax rates effective April 8, 2009 will be as follows:

Cigarettes and Tobacco Sticks
* 20.0 cents for each cigarette
* 20.0 cents for each tobacco stick

Fine Cut 30.0 cents for each gram or any portion of a gram
Pipe 30.0 cents for each gram or any portion of a gram
Chewing tobacco, snuff 30.0 cents for each gram or any portion of a gram

* 103% of the taxable price of the cigar
* The minimum tax will be $0.20 and the maximum tax will be $6.27 per cigar.

Reference: ALBERTA TOBACCO TAX ACT SPECIAL NOTICE, Alberta Government, 4/8/2009.


Vancouver's GM Place - Britney Spears walks off stage blames cigarette smoke..

April 10, 2009 - Tobacco smoking in the presence of others is no longer "cool."

Britney Spears walked off stage shortly after the start of a concert last night at Vancouver's GM Place, leaving the crowd to sit in the dark for 30 minutes. The Vancouver Sun reports that a voice came on the venue's loudspeaker during the dark period informing the audience that cigarette smoke was to blame. "It's become uncomfortable and unsafe for the performers, including Ms. Spears," the voice said. "The show will resume as soon as the air around the stage is clear." Chanting and booing ensued until Spears finally came back to finish the show. The Associated Press reports that after the concert, Spears's publicist issued a statement saying "crew members above the stage became ill due to a ventilation issue."

In British Columbia, the province that Vancouver is located, as of March 31, 2008 smokers were not be allowed to light up in public places and workspaces, or within three meters (9-feet 10-inches) of public doorways. The problem is that ENFORCEMENT is limited.

Reference: Britney Spears walks off stage during concert, blames cigarette smoke by Mike Bruno, News Briefs - the latest in entertainment news, 4/9/2009.

New South Wales refuse to be complacent about tobacco control..

April 9, 2009 - Soon people in New South Wales (NSW) caught smoking in cars in front of children will soon face fines of $250 under tough new tobacco laws. NSW minister assisting the minister for health on cancer Jodi McKay says the laws, which also regulate the way cigarettes are displayed in shops, will come into effect on July 1, 2009. Ms McKay said the new laws would prevent children from being exposed to tobacco use. We refuse to be complacent about tobacco control, particularly the use of tobacco products around children. Under the laws, NSW Police can issue motorists with a $250 on-the-spot fine if they are caught smoking in front of passengers aged under 16.

The new laws also mean retailers must keep all tobacco products out of sight, vending machines will be restricted to licensed premises and tobacco companies will be banned from sponsoring sporting events. Retailers who sell cigarettes to children or breach other regulations may be stopped from selling tobacco products.

NSW Cancer Council chief executive Andrew Penman said the changes meant the state was among world leaders in tobacco control. "This is a strong package of reforms that will have an immediate benefit for the community, especially children," Dr Penman said.

New South Wales has introduced -sweeping anti-tobacco measures..

Shops with more than 50 employees will have six months to implement the display ban, while retailers who employ less than 50 people have a year to comply. Ms McKay said retailers would have time to get used to the new laws, with draft regulations detailing the changes released on Monday as part of a month-long public consultation process. NSW Health will work with retailers to help them phase out cigarette displays.

Tobacconists who generate 80 per cent of turnover from tobacco-related sales have 12 months to register as a specialist business to have a further three years to comply with the ban.

"Smoking continues to be the greatest single cause of premature death in NSW and we are demonstrating leadership in protecting children and young people from the harmful effects of tobacco," she said in a statement on Sunday.

Reference: Tough anti-tobacco laws from July 1, Australian Associated Press, 4/5/2009; Tough anti-tobacco laws from July 1, theage.com.au, 4/5/2009.

Click on image to enlarge..


New York City - nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke..

April 9, 2009 - Some 56.7 percent of nonsmokers living in New York City were found to have elevated levels of the nicotine metabolite cotinine, compared with an average 44.9 percent of nonsmokers nationwide. Among the ethnic groups studied, nonsmokers of Asian descent were most often affected, with 68.7 percent of those examined showing elevated blood levels of cotinine (passive smoking, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS, secondhand smoke, sidestream smoke, involuntary smoking).

The analysis is based on data gathered during a survey of 1,767 adults ages 20 and older in 2004, more than a year after passage of the Smoke Free Air Act of 2002, which banned smoking in virtually all city workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

Researchers with the health department said they were unsettled by the finding, which they called “puzzling.” New York City has fewer smokers per capita than many other American cities. Only 23.3 percent of adults in the city smoked at the time of the study, compared with a national average of 29.7 percent around the same time.

Finding suggests that New Yorkers are breathing cigarette smoke at lower levels but more often, a consequence of living in an usually dense urban environment.

PAPER: http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/ntp021v1Secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers nationally and in New York City
Jennifer A. Ellis, Charon Gwynn, Renu K. Garg, Robyn Philburn, Kenneth M. Aldous, Sarah B. Perl, Lorna Thorpe and Thomas R. Frieden Nicotine & Tobacco Research Advance Access published online on April 7, 2009 ABSTRACT/Complete Paper.

Smoking bans improve health, e.g., Smoking bans lower heart attacks..

Reference: New Yorkers Often Exposed to Cigarette Smoke, Study Finds, Article Tools Sponsored by By RONI CARYN RABIN, The New Yoprk Times, 4/8/2009.

U.S. - Smokers more stressed out than non-smokers..

April 9, 2009 - According to a Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey conducted June 16-July16, 2008 among a nationally representative sample of 2,250 adults half (50%) of all smokers say they "frequently" experience stress in their daily lives, compared with just 35% of those who once smoked and have now quit and 31% of those who never smoked. Is the stress a by-product of the smoking or of other unrelated factors?

The survey also finds that smokers are less happy and less healthy than both non-smokers and quitters. Consistent with what decades of public health research shows, smokers also report being in poorer health than non-smokers and quitters. Fewer than half of smokers (45%) say that their health is excellent or very good, compared with 63% of non-smokers and 55% of former smokers.

Age is strongly related to whether a smoker continues or stops. At ages 18 to 29, about eight-in-ten smokers are still smoking. But the rate of current smoking goes down sharply as smokers grow older. By ages 65 and above, only about two-in-ten smokers are still smoking, which means that the rest have quit. Whites are more likely to start smoking than are blacks or Hispanics. But among all smokers, whites are also more likely than blacks or Hispanics to quit. More than half of white smokers are no longer smoking, compared with about a quarter of black smokers and more than a third of Hispanics smokers.

High family income and high levels of education are associated with a low occurrence of smoking, and so is being married. Compared with other regions of the country, the Midwest has the highest rate of smoking. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) Midwesterners are currently smoking, compared with only one in five Westerners.

Reference: Smokers Can't Blow Off Stress by Wendy Wang and Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center, 4/8/2009.


California - congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the tobacco control effort..

April 9, 2009 - Anti-smoking advocates are celebrating this week's 20th anniversary of California's groundbreaking tobacco-control effort by releasing new data showing that cigarette use is continuing its steep decline in the Golden State. Data released by the state Department of Public Health show that smoking rates among adults have declined 41% since voters approved the California Tobacco Control Program, which instituted a 25-cent-a-pack tax on cigarettes that has funneled 5 cents per pack sold to tobacco control.

In 1988, nearly 23% of the public smoked, compared to 13% last year. Last year also saw youth smoking decline to 14.6%, one of the lowest rates in the nation, state health officials say.

Meanwhile, telephone calls to the "1 800 No Butts" help line are up 25% over last year, data show. Kimberly Belshe, secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, said in an announcement that authorities estimate the program has over the last two decades saved 1 million lives and $86 billion in healthcare costs.

Reference: Cigarette use in California is in steep decline by Eric Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 4/9/2009.

In Process - Sweden Trade Minister lift EU bloc to SNUS..

May 8, 2009 - Sunday, April 12 Swedes accuse EU of snuffing out smokeless tobacco
STOCKHOLM _ Few things get Swedish snus users more riled up than the European Union's ban on oral snuff, and Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling is no exception. As Stockholm prepares to host the rotating EU presidency in July, Bjorling is spearheading a campaign to lift the bloc's prohibition on snus, a moist tobacco product as steeped in Swedish tradition as pickled herring or crisp bread. BC-EU-FEA--Sweden's Snus Users. By Louise Nordstrom. AP Photos NY319-321
Tiananmen 20 years later: A survivor's story


Canada - to launch an advertising campaign on the problem of tobacco smuggling..

April 8, 2009 - Contraband tobacco is becoming a huge problem across the country - it now makes up 30 percent of all tobacco sold in Canada. The Canada Revenue Agency (formerly Revenue Canada under the Federal Identity Program is a federal agency that administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories),will launch an advertising campaign on the problem of tobacco smuggling, the minister of national revenue announced Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at a meeting of convenience store owners in Laval, Que.

"Smokers need to know that they are encouraging organized crime by buying smuggled tobacco," Jean-Pierre BlackburnMinister of National Revenue said. "We will tell smokers what impact smuggling has had on society." Dartmouth convenience store owner Sid Chedrawe, chairman of the Independent Food Stores Association, said the ads will focus on the increased health risks of illegal cigarettes. With contraband tobacco it may not be proper tobacco, it may not be stored properly, there may be items found in the tobacco, e.g. bugs, feces.

The fact illegal smokes are so cheap children can afford them also worries.

Reference: Ads to target cigarette smuggling by DAVID JACKSON and JOHN McPHEE Staff Reporters, The
ChronicleHerald.ca, 4/8/2009.

Related news briefs: Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..; Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..; Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies.., As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing.., Taxes to fund SCHIP may slow illegal cigarettes into Canada.., Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..; Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..; Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..; Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..; Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband ..; Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling...

Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..

April 8, 2009 - How often have you heard smokers use the justification that they pay enough taxes to cover their health care costs? Up until five years ago in Nova Scotia, that equation held true. In 2004-05, the government raked in $178 million in tobacco taxes while the direct cost of smoking to the health-care system is estimated at $170 million a year.

But this justification no longer holds. Illegal cigarettes have taken over one-third of the market in record time and cost federal and provincial governments $2.5 billion in lost revenue last year (2008). Nova Scotia’s tobacco-tax take is down by about $40 million. At this rate, the health care system may not be there to take care of you or your loved ones.

The contraband wave has left authorities drowning in indecision. Should they cut tobacco taxes, essentially declare war on the Mohawk reserves straddling the U.S.-Canada border that serve as safe havens for smugglers, ratchet up penalties, press the U.S. into action, or any combination thereof?

Reference: Smuggled cigarettes: Contraband’s deadly combo, The CronicleHerald.ca, 4/5/2009.

Related news briefs: Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..; Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies.., As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing.., Taxes to fund SCHIP may slow illegal cigarettes into Canada.., Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..; Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..; Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..; Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..; Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband ..; Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling...

Further layoffs for U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Brands, Inc...

May 8, 2009 - RICHMOND, Va. -- UST Inc. and subsidiary U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Brands Inc. have laid off 60 employees at a Longwood, Fla., facility, reported The Orlando Business Journal. The firm will begin layoffs on June 5, according to state records cited by the newspaper. The company plans to eliminate 53 sales representatives, five division managers and one department secretary and department manager, according to the notice the company submitted to the state.

David Sylvia, a spokesperson for Altria Group Inc., parent company of UST Inc., said the reductions were due to a consolidation of UST Inc.'s regional Longwood sales office—serving Florida, Georgia and Alabama—with the sales operations of Philip Morris USA, an Altria-owned tobacco manufacturer and marketer.

The job cuts will affect 16 employees in Virginia, including three at a regional sales office in Richmond, Va., Sylvia told The Richmond Times Dispatch.

Altria bought U.S. Smokeless' parent, UST Inc., in January for $10.4 billion, plus $1.3 billion in assumed debt. U.S. Smokeless is now a subsidiary of Altria, along with cigarette maker Philip Morris USA and cigar maker John Middleton Inc.

"We now have a centralized sales organization that supports all three companies," Sylvia told the paper. Other job cuts are expected elsewhere in the United States as the companies integrate their sales forces, but Sylvia said he could not release numbers.

A notice filed with state officials this week and made public yesterday indicated that U.S. Smokeless would cut 59 positions by June in the Richmond area. But Sylvia said most of the affected people are field sales employees who report to the Richmond office but live and work in a multistate region including Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and the District of Columbia.

It's almost like the UST sales people knew this was coming because more and more responsibility was diverted away from this group.

Related news brief: Altria more layoffs in February 2009..

Referenece: Layoffs at UST
Consolidation after Altria acquisition leads to reductions
, CSP Daily News, 4/7/2009.


Quit-smoking hotlines are being swamped..

April 8, 2009 - Quit-smoking hotlines are being swamped — some as much as four times their usual volume — by smokers ready to kick the habit after the largest-ever increase in the federal tobacco tax. Many state hotlines started to see an increase last month, when tobacco companies began raising prices in anticipation of the tax increase. Philip Morris USA raised the price of Marlboros 71 cents a pack, and R.J. Reynolds raised Camel 44 cents. The federal cigarette tax went up 62 cents to $1.01 a pack.

"We're seeing magnificent volume because of the tax," says Mary Kate Salley of Free & Clear, a Seattle company that runs "quitlines" for 17 states. She says the lines got 3,250 calls on Wednesday, the day the increase took effect, up 369% from the same day in 2008. In 10 other states, calls were 163% higher than on the three previous Wednesdays, says Dawn Wiatrek of the American Cancer Society, which runs quitlines in 11 states.

All 50 states and Washington, D.C., have quitlines (800-QUIT-NOW) staffed with counselors, and more than half offer free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges, says Linda Bailey of the North American Quitline Consortium. "Quitlines are the most efficient way to help people quit," say Matthew McKenna, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office of Smoking and Health.

Graph of quit method success rates..

References: As tax hits, smokers call 'quitlines' for help by Wendy Koch, USA TODAY, 4/6/2009.

A few related news briefs: Smokers living with kids are more likely to try to quit..; Smokers now more motivated to quit..; Federal cigarette tax increase will hit the poor hardest..; Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking...


Swedish Match launches snus brand General website..

April 7, 2009 - Swedish Match (SM) began test sales of Swedish snus in the US in early 2007 and, since then, just over 100 stores in 13 states have been selling Swedish snus, primarily the brand General. Swedish snus is a new product category for US consumers. The test launch was performed on a small scale and considerable work remains to be done before the product category can be established long term. For that reason, the Division does not want to make excessive conclusions based on the results, despite positive signs. SM has chosen to conduct the test sales via our network of stores that carry premium cigars. (Camilla Kuylenstierna, Strategic Brand Manager at Swedish Match North Europe and acting Senior Project Leader for Swedish snus at the North America Division, Swedish Match, 3/5/2008)

RICHMOND, VA--(Marketwire - April 6, 2009) - The original Swedish Snus by Swedish Match North America just launched a bold new website. General Snus is a premium, smoke-free tobacco product that can be enjoyed discreetly anytime, anywhere.

Invented by the Swedes over 200 years ago, Snus is an effective alternative to more traditional smoked tobacco.

General, the worldwide leader, is carefully crafted with select tobaccos from a recipe that has been nurtured since 1832. Available in a variety of portions and flavors, General Snus lasts up to two hours compared to many American competitors that last only 20 minutes. So if you are interesting in learning more about this modern, smoke-free product, check out www.generalsnus.com.

By logging onto www.generalsnus.com you will also gain access to history and fun facts, free samples and a video highlighting how General Snus offers fewer adverse effects when compared to cigarette smoking.

Want to really see what the buzz is about? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIDNgn-Iw9E

Related story: Snus Is on the Loose! Swedish Snuff Beats Bloomberg Tobacco Ban by Joe Pompeo, The New Observer, 7/29/2008.

Reference: The Original Swedish Snus by Swedish Match North America Launches Brand New Website, Swedish Match, 4/6/2009.


Syrian - spends $600 million each year on tobacco despite ban..

April 7, 2009 - Smokers in Syria burn up about 600 million dollars on tobacco and cigarettes each year, despite a ban on advertising and smoking in public, according to statistics published on Monday. "Smokers annually spend about 26 billion Syrian pounds (600 million dollars)," the state news agency SANA said, quoting a report by an official Syrian tobacco institution.

"Each smoker spends about eight percent of his income to buy 3.6 kilogrammes (about eight pounds) of tobacco," it said. The number of smokers in the Middle Eastern country has gone up by 15 percent, it said without elaborating, despite government attempts to counter the trend.

SANA said up to 60 percent of men and 24 percent of women still light up in Syria, which has a population approaching 20 million and where hookah (water pipe, sheesha, shisha, narghile) are becoming increasingly popular.

A law came into force in 2006 banning smoking in public places and on public transport, and a year ago Syria introduced a ban on tobacco sales to those under the age of 19.

The authorities have already instituted controversial antismoking steps. Smoking is now banned in all government buildings and the price of Syrian-made tobacco - the cheapest cigarettes on the market - was raised by 10 per cent this month. Smoking in a taxi is, in theory, punishable by a fine of 500 Syrian pounds (Dh36, 10.55USD). Although smoking is now prohibited in government buildings, it is not uncommon to see staff - even senior officials - lighting up in their offices. A taxi driver without a packet of cigarettes is a rare sight.

Syria was also one of the first Arab states to set up a national cancer register to track the effects of smoking, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Reference: Syrian Spends $600 Million on Tobacco Each Year Despite Ban, Source-AFP, Medindia.com, 4/7/2009.

Syrian Arab Republic has ratified the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.


New South Wales won't use "separation" anti-tobacco ad..

April 7, 2007 New South Wales health officials have decided against using a controversial anti-smoking advertisement launched by Quit Victoria last November 2008 - ad has polarised parents and commentators.

The "Separation" TV commercial features a young boy crying after he loses his mother in a crowd. Quit Victoria anti-smoking ad draws controversy..

The voice-over then delivers the message to parents: How upset would your child be if they lost you forever to a smoking-related death?

New South Wales has introduced -sweeping anti-tobacco measures..

Extra - New South Wales is Australias most populated state with over 6.2 million inhabitants. Queensland celebrates 150 years of independence from New South Wales on 10 December 2009.

Reference: 'Separation' anti-smoking ad deemed too distressing, Daily Telegraph, 4/7/2009.

EU - planning a new study aimed at developing better graphic images..

April 7, 2009 - The European Commission is planning a new study aimed at developing better graphic images to warn of the damaging effects of tobacco, in a bid to encourage more European Union countries to put the pictures on cigarette packets.

Haravgi-Nina Papadoulaki, spokeswoman for the EC’s commissioner for health and consumer protection, Philippe Brunet, said that, although the commission developed a library of pictorial health warnings in 2005, only three European Union member states have started putting the images on cigarette packets: the United Kingdom, Belgium (Belgium was the first European Union member state to publish warning photos on cigarette packets), and Latvia.

The commission has already asked researchers to submit proposals for the new study, which would include developing a new library of colour photographs, images, and text warnings about the negative consequences for health of tobacco consumption, said Ms Papadoulaki. The images and texts are intended to encourage smokers to quit and to deter young people from starting to smoke

The European Commission is planning a new study aimed at developing better graphic images to warn of the damaging effects of tobacco, in a bid to encourage more European Union countries to put the pictures on cigarette packets.
To make the new combined warnings effective throughout Europe, they will be tested in all 27 member states among smokers, potential smokers, and former smokers, she said.

The Role of Pictorial Health Warnings in Europe's Tobacco Control Policy by
Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health, The Power of Communications Against Tobacco, Bibliothèque Solvay, Brussels, 31 January 2007..

Countries which have picture based cigarette health warnings from

References: European Commission will look at which pictures work best to help smokers quit, blogsofbainbridge.typepad.com, 4/6/2009; European Commission will look at which pictures work best to help smokers quit, Ned Stafford, BMJ 2009;338:b1351, 4/1/2009.

British Columbia puts into effect smoking ban in cars when kids are present..

April 7, 2009 - On April 7, 2009 World Health Day the Canadian Province of British Columbia (BC, B.C.) put into force legislation aimed at protecting children (kids, under 16) from second-hand smoke in vehicles (cars, automobiles) by attaching a $109 fine to any offences.

Earlier news release: British Columbia moves to ban smoking in cars with children

Offenders who fail to pay the fine could have driver's licence and insurance requests turned away. Police will have the right to stop any vehicle they suspect to be in violation of the new rules.

The new rule pairs with existing laws that prevent people from smoking in the province's health facilities and indoor public areas. Tobacco use is also banned on school grounds and retailers are restricted in the way they display and promote tobacco.

Mary Polak, B.C.'s Healthy Living and Sport minister: "Any level of second-hand smoke has harmful effects on a child's health, so it's important that we protect vulnerable children who are confined in a vehicle. By making vehicles smoke-free for children under 16, we can help them get the best and healthiest start in life."

B.C.'s legislation follows similar rules in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Yukon.

New tobacco laws passed by the BC Legislature in 2007 were put in effect on March 31, 2008. These new laws were introduced to protect employees and the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, and to limit the display and promotion of tobacco products to youth.

Reference: New B.C. law to ban smoking in cars with kids., Canwest News Service, 3/18/2009.


Camel Orbs news from Columbus, OH test site..

April 6, 2009 - A week ago Saturday, March 28th on the way to talk at the Ohio School Nurses Association Conference, I stopped to pick up a package of Orbs at a BP to show the nurses since I'd left my samples at the office. I bought a Dr. Pepper and asked for them, and then was only charged for the soda.

When I left, I looked at the pack and noticed that they are now giving them away for free to anyone who buys any of RJR's cigarettes. (See the attached pictures of the packaging.) And, obviously, to someone who buys just a Dr. Pepper, too.

They also include a little leaflet that shows you how to open the pack. It is hard to get open, so I assume they were getting complaints and started to insert that in response. I will have to take a picture of it and send it to you.


We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business..

April 6, 2009 - Representative Anthony Weiner and State Senator Jeff Klein released a report Sunday, April 5, showing that New York City is losing up to $150 million a year in tax revenue due to online cigarette sales.

H.R.1676 - Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009,
Sponsor Rep. Anthony Weiner [D, NY-9]. To prevent tobacco smuggling, to ensure the collection of all tobacco taxes, and for other purposes. The legislation will effectively end Internet tobacco smuggling by stopping shipments of cigarettes through the U.S. Postal Service. FedEx, UPS, and DHL have already agreed not to mail tobacco.

On April 1, taxes for cigarettes were raised, and are now about $4.50 per pack, bringing the price up to about $10 for a pack of cigarettes in New York City. Weiner said that the rise of taxes is causing an increase in incentives to avoid the taxes as well.

Senator Klein said that he’s found, over the years, that young people are able to purchase cigarettes over the Internet as long as they verify, by checking a box, that they are over 18 years of age.

“The way we use our cigarette taxes, in the state of New York, is to provide health benefits,” he said. “We are actually able to insure $1.5 billion New Yorkers through an insurance program for the poor through cigarette taxes.”

Weiner announced that the legislation they were trying to pass would ban the United States Postal Service from shipping cigarettes. FedEx, UPS, and DHL have already agreed not to mail tobacco, but Weiner says that the USPS has said they’d prefer to see this as a federal law before complying.

Reference: NYC Losing $150 Million Yearly From Online Cigarette Sales by Catherine Yang, Epoch Times Staff, 3/5/2009.

Related news brief: PACT Legislation now in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee..; 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...


Court spares small Dutch cafe over smoking ban..

April 6, 2009 - A Dutch court on Friday, 4/3/2009 rejected a bid by prosecutors to punish a small cafe for defying the smoking ban, arguing it was too small to be subject to the country's tough restrictions. The Netherlands (Holland, Dutch) ban on smoking in public places starts July 1, 2008.

Prosecutors said they intend to appeal the acquittal.

The Victoria cafe, in Breda, near the Belgian border, escaped prosecution demands for a 1,200-euro (1,600-dollar) fine and closure for a month, after the court decided the prosecution was unjustified. The cafe, run by its owner with no other employees, and others like it were suffering disproportionately from the smoking ban.

Several thousand small bars and cafes in the Netherlands united in late 2008 to flaunt the smoking ban and create a joint legal defense fund, arguing that they lacked the floorspace and money to erect separate smoking-only areas. In its ruling, the court said it was likely that smokers would go to the bigger cafes that could afford separate smoking areas, which could lead to a big drop income for the smaller venues.

Sixty-two percent of Dutch cafes saw a drop in business in October and November 2008, compared with a year earlier, on account of the smoking ban, according to a study by the Dutch health ministry.

In February, the owners of a cafe with no employees in the northern Dutch town of Groningen was fined 1,200 euros (1,600-dollar) in the first-ever trial involving the smoking ban in the Netherlands.

Reference: Court spares small Dutch cafe over smoking ban, Physorg.com, 4/3/2009.

Related news briefs: Netherlands - 1st court case for flouting smoking ban..; Netherlands - ban on smoking in bars and restaurants NOT enforced..; Netherlands - ban on smoking in bars and restaurants NOT enforced..; Netherlands the smoking ban must be enforced - Ab Klink, Health Minister...; Congratulations are in order: Netherlands, Romania & Alberta...

Poor children are exposed to more secondhand smoke than their wealthier counterparts.

April 5, 2009 - Children exposed to secondhand smoke (ETS, environmental tobacco smoke, passive smoking, sidestream smoke, involuntary smoking) are more likely to develop respiratory infections, earaches and severe asthma. In addition, studies have linked exposure to secondhand smoke to hyperactivity disorder and behavioral problems.

Researchers collected data on families who participated in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey conducted from 2000 to 2004. They found that slightly more than a third of the children lived in homes with at least one adult smoker. But about 49 percent of children from lower-income households lived with someone who smoked, compared with 21 percent of kids from wealthier families, and poorer children were more apt to live with more than one smoker as well.

Among the approximately 5 million children who did not live with their parents, about 53 percent lived with a grandparent who smoked, and 46 percent lived with another relative who smoked, whereas 33 percent of children who lived with their parents co-existed with an adult smoker.

Considering just children who lived with someone who smoked, the smoker was the child's mother 59 percent of the time, and 57 percent of the children lived in homes where two people smoked. In contrast, 17 percent of the children whose mother did not smoke lived with other adult smokers, the researchers noted.

Family Composition and Children's Exposure to Adult Smokers in Their Homes
Katherine King, MSc, MPhila, Melissa Martynenko, MPH, Melissa H. Bergman, MD, Ying-Hua Liu, MD, MPA, Jonathan P. Winickoff, MD, MPH and Michael Weitzman, MDPEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 4 April 2009, pp. e559-e564

Reference: http://healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=625474">Poor Kids Exposed to More Secondhand Smoke
Wealthier households are less apt to include adult smokers, study finds
by Steven Reinberg, Health Day, 4/3/2009.

Quit Victoria anti-smoking ad draws controversy..

April 5, 2009 - Fiona Sharkie, executive director of Quit Victoria, the child in the ad known by his first name, Alexander, is shown standing alone in a train station while separated from his mother. The mother in the ad, identified as Annette, is Alexander’s real-life mom.

When he loses sight of his mother, his look of puzzlement turns into abject fear as tears roll down his face. A voice-over then says, “This is how your child feels after losing you for a minute. Just imagine if they lost you for life.”

Reference: Child in ad shed real tears, producer admits Anti-smoking agency says his anxiety only lasted a few seconds by Mike Celizic, TODAYShow.com contributor, 4/3/2009.