Saskatchewan - smoking ban takes effect May 31, 2009..

May 16, 2009 - Saskatchewan employees will breathe easier this spring as a workplace smoking ban takes effect. The province-wide ban is the result of amendments to The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 and comes into force on May 31, 2009.

"Our government strongly believes in protecting the health and safety of Saskatchewan people," Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Minister Rob Norris said. "A workplace smoking ban ensures residents will not be exposed to second-hand smoke as a result of employment."

Under the existing smoking regulations, workplace smoking is allowed in certain designated smoking areas only. When the workplace smoking ban takes effect in May, smoking will be prohibited in all enclosed places of employment, including buildings, vehicles, other enclosed structures and underground mines with the following exceptions: Traditional First Nations and Métis spiritual or cultural ceremonies; Designated smoking rooms for residents and visitors of long-term care homes that are allowed by the Ministry of Health's Tobacco Control legislation; Areas of underground mines that are located more than 10 metres from other workers; and Some self-employed businesses, vehicles and camp living accommodations with permission and when others are not present.

"The workplace smoking ban brings our province in line with other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world that have prohibited smoking in the workplace," Norris said. "It is consistent with our government's goal of a stronger Saskatchewan and a better life." To find out more on the health effects of smoking, contact the Ministry of Health or visit

Reference: WORKPLACE SMOKING BAN WILL TAKE EFFECT MAY 2009, Saskatchewan Government, 11/25/2008.


Scottish politicians most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..

May 16, 2009 - British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland Urges Politicians To Be Bold On Tobacco Control In Face Of 'Scaremongering' Tactics Of Cigarette Producers And Retailers.

Six times as many Scots die from smoking than from road and other accidents, murder, suicide, falls and poisoning combined, according to anti-smoking campaigners. Figures obtained by the anti-smoking group Ash Scotland show that in the period 2003-04, 13,473 people died from smoking-related illnesses, compared with just 2,082 from traffic accidents, murders, suicides, accidents, falls and poisonings. (15,000 Scots take up smoking every year, continuing to replace those who quit or die.) ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy presented the information at the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland annual conference in Ayr.

Ms. Duffy: “One in four of all Scottish deaths are estimated to be smoking-related.
“It’s a staggering figure, and a tragic waste of life.” She said tobacco companies still manage to advertise their product, the only known substance to kill half its long-term regular users, with marketing and displays in every corner shop, petrol station and supermarket. “One in four of all Scottish deaths are estimated to be smoking-related. It’s a staggering figure, and a tragic waste of life. She said that the tobacco industry was fighting “tooth and nail” at Holyrood (location of the Scottish Parliament) to stop the government’s plans.

The main issue is a proposal to ban tobacco displays beside cash registers which small newsagents and other corner shops claim will hit them in the pocket. The government is also planning to ban cigarette-vending machines as part of efforts to deter youngsters from becoming smokers. Reports find that one in ten regular smokers aged 13 and 15 buy tobacco from vending machines. BMA - Scotland's politicians have the courage and the confidence to take steps to protect the health of our children. It is now their job to put health before the interests of an industry that profits from sales of addictive and deadly substances.

Reference: Scottish smokers are silent victims, claims campaigner
‘smoking-related diseases kill six times as many as accidents, murder, suicide, falls and poisoning’
by Tim Pauling, The Press and Journal, 5/14/2009.

Related news briefs: Scotland - small businesses given extra 2-years to remove tobacco displays..; Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..; Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..; Bar workers who smoke also benefit from smoking ban..; 17 countries in the world ban indoor smoking - ENFORCEMENT..; England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..; Definite Health Benefits of Smoking Bans..; Northern Ireland raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18 joining the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries..; Scotland proposes to implement more measures to discourage tobacco use including the banning of tobacco displays..; Raise Age to 21 to Purchase Tobacco Products...

BAT Middle East - conference on the illicit tabacco trade..

May 15, 2009 - British American Tobacco Middle East is hosting a two-day conference for key stakeholders across the region to help tackle the issue of illicit tobacco trade.

The opening ceremony is being attended by key figures including the Lebanese Minister of Finance Dr Mohammed Shateh, as well as customs and other government entities; and their counterparts from Jordan, Syria and Yemen as well as members of the top management team of British American Tobacco Middle East.

In the Middle East last year 23.6 billion cigarettes or 16.3% of all cigarettes smoked were illicitly supplied last year, approximately one in every six cigarettes. British American Tobacco estimates that this equates to a loss of excise tax for regional governments of over US$ 162.2 million annually.

Legitimate tobacco companies across the Middle East are also losing some US$102 million in annual revenue due to illicit trade as well as associated threats to companies’ brands, jobs and distribution networks.

Omar Bseiso, General Manager of British American Tobacco Levant & Yemen commented: “We fully support regulators, governments and international organisations such as the World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) in seeking to eliminate all forms of illicit tobacco trade. We would like to see all our markets free of it.”

Illicit tobacco trade is a global problem. British American Tobacco estimates that more than 330 billion cigarettes smoked in 2008 were illegal; amounting to 6 per cent of the total world consumption. This has a huge impact on tobacco company profits amounting to approximately US$5 billion per year and the loss in government taxes of US$20 billion in 2008.

The vast majority of counterfeit cigarettes come from illegal operators in China, followed by Paraguay, the Middle East and to a lesser extent Eastern Europe.

British American Tobacco Middle East is part of the British American Tobacco Group, the world’s most international tobacco group and the second largest stock market listed tobacco group by global market share.

It markest and distribute 15 brands in 13 countries across the Middle East, including Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

British American Tobacco Middle East employs over 450 people across the Middle East. Its area head office is located in Dubai. The group’s portfolio includes more than 300 brands, the global drive brands being KENT, Lucky Strike, Dunhill and Pall Mall. Other international brands include Viceroy, Rothmans, Bensons & Hedges, 555, Peter Stuyvesant, Kool, and many others.

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd -- a unit of British American Tobacco - has been guilty of aiding smuggling.

Reference: Middle East governments losing US$162 million in tobacco excise taxes each year
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff, BusinessIntelligence-Middle East, 5/14/2009.


Bulgarian lawmakers voted to ban smoking in all public places from June 2010..

May 15, 2009 - Bulgarian lawmakers (MP - members of parliament) voted on Friday to ban smoking in all public spaces from June 2010, ignoring protests from tobacco producers and the tourist industry in Europe's number two smoker. The ban is included in the changes of the Health Act, which are proposed to the Bulgarian Parliament by the Cabinet.

Until the bill is enforced there will be limited smoking restrictions that are active now. The Black Sea country has already banned smoking in hospitals, taxis and offices and requires restaurant and bar owners to designate non-smoking areas, but the measures have been widely ignored.

Bulgaria ranks second after Greece in the European Union in terms of number of regular smokers as a percentage of the population, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey.

More than half of its men and more than a third of women in the European Union newcomer of 7.6 million people smoke.

In January, the EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla backed a ban on smoking in all workplaces across the 27-member bloc, including in bars and restaurants. Many European countries have already imposed national bans but the level of exemptions varies widely.

More than five million people die of smoking related illnesses each year, the World Health Organisation says.

References: No Smoking in Bulgaria Indoor Public Spaces after June 2010; Bulgaria votes for smoking ban in public places, Reporting by Irina Ivanova, Editing by Jon Boyle,, 5/15/2009; Bulgaria Cabinet to Request Smoking Ban in Public Spaces

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Libya is to ban smoking in public places..

May 15, 2009 - Tripoli - The Libyan (Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) government on Thursday, May 14th announced that it is to ban smoking in public places, and the media advertising of all tobacco products. The decision announced by the Libyan cabinet also prohibits selling cigarettes to any person less than 18 years old. Libya.

The Libyan government also banned producing any kind of sweets that are shaped like cigarettes and banned manufacturing, importing or marketing any product that carries titles of tobacco products, such as clothes or shoes or toys.

In 2008, the World Health Organisation said that only 5 per cent of the world's population lives in countries with comprehensive national bans on tobacco advertising and promotion. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya: Ratified the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on June 07, 2005.

Reference: Libya bans smoking in public places , DPA,, 5/14/2009.

Libya has ratified the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty on June 7, 2005.


U.S. - CDC BRFSS Tobacco Use - 2008 Prevalence and Trends..

May 15, 2009 - CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) - Tobacco Use - 2008 Prevalence and Trends..

Related news brief: U.S. - smoking prevalence not falling fast enough...


Imperial Canada maker of du Maurier cigarettes boasting about their greener packaging..

May 15, 2009 - In a full-page advertisement inside Toronto Life magazine, Imperial Tobacco Canada, the wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of British American Tobacco p.l.c.(BAT) boasts that du Maurier cigarettes has new "greener" cigarette packages. Still no word on their plans for your black lungs.

Imperial has replaced foil wrapping with paper and uses external cardboard packaging that "meets standards supporting sustainable forest management,' according to the ad. Eric Gagnon, Imperial spokesman, "Our product is going to be in the waste or the dumpster, so what we try to do in terms of ... corporate social responsibility is do it in a good manner." Heather Marshall specializes in waste packaging issues for the Toronto Environmental Alliance: "Even with more recyclable packaging, the cigarette filters leave a toxic pollutant on streets and beaches, she said.

Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada, had already seen du Maurier's green plans advertised on the plastic wrapping of older cigarette boxes. "I had to wonder," she said, "why isn't this space being used to give consumers more information on their health?"

According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, both Canada and the United States rank near the bottom when it comes to consumer behaviors that affect the environment.

Reference: Smokes: First you'll feel green, and then you'll die.. Cigarette company touts environmental package.. by Moira Welsh - ENVIRONMENT REPORTER,, 5/13/2009.

Click on image to enlarge, Imperial Canada supplied photo..

Kentucky - rate of adult smoking longer the highest..

May 14, 2009 - For the first time in years, Kentucky no longer leads the nation in adult smoking, state public health officials said yesterday. Kentucky now trails first-place West Virginia and Indiana, according to the latest numbers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of adult smoking in Kentucky dropped to 25.2 percent in 2008 from 28.3 percent the previous year, said Irene Centers, manager of the tobacco program with the Kentucky Department of Public Health. Kentucky now trails first-place West Virginia and Indiana, according to the latest numbers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC).

Centers said 2005's increase in Kentucky's cigarette tax from 3 cents a pack to 30 cents and the growing number of communities that ban smoking in public buildings might explain the drop in adult smoking.

The survey (state conducts the survey every two years)found that 9.7 percent of middle school students smoked last year, compared with 12.1 percent in 2006. But it found 26.8 percent of high school students smoked in 2008, compared to 24.5 percent in 2006.

An anti-smoking coalition had lobbied this year for a cigarette tax increase of at least 70 cents a pack but lawmakers approved only 30 cents.

And Kentucky spends about $3.7 million a year on smoking prevention, a fraction of the $57 million a year the CDC says it should spend. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry spends far more on marketing. But Centers noted smokers must now pay an additional 91 cents a pack because of the 30-cent state increase and this year's federal cigarette tax increase of 61 cents.

Centers said calls to the state's toll-free quit line -- a free counseling service to help people stop smoking -- jumped around the time of the April 1 tax increase.

Still, Kentucky has some of the nation's highest rates of older youths and pregnant women who smoke -- each with rates of about 27 percent -- indicating the state must work harder to reduce smoking and improve health of its citizens, advocates said yesterday.

In 2008 the Kentucky state health ranking was 37th; it was 43rd in 2007.

Reference: Kentucky's adult smoking rate drops State no longer leads the nation by Deborah Yetter •, Louisvile
Courier-Journal, 5/14/2009.

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Hawaii - cigarette and other tobacoo products tax increase.

May 14, 2009 - In Hawaii, the Legislature has approved and Gov. Linda Lingle has signed a 60-cent increase to the cigarette tax, bringing the total cigarette tax to $2.60 per pack beginning July 1. The state cigarette tax will further increase by 20 cents per pack annually in July 2010 and July 2011, reaching a total of $3 per pack.

The Republican governor vetoed bills that would increase state income taxes on the wealthy, the hotel-room tax, the conveyance tax on the sale of luxury and second homes, and tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars. The governor signed a bill that increases the state's cigarette tax.The Hawaii House and Senate leaders had the two-thirds' votes necessary to override override the governor’s veto of legislation to increase the tax on most other tobacco products. The bill calls for more than doubling the tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes, including "little cigars," over the next two years. The governor's strongest reason for the veto was its departure from the method that manufacturers, retailers and the federal government ullpost">use in the labeling of large and small cigars, possibly making the new law impossible to enforce.

A mistake in a newly enacted state law is good news for pipe and cigar smokers, as well as those who use snuff and chew tobacco. The error gives them a four-month tobacco tax holiday. (Hawaii Legislature Rushes Tax Bill Through, Accidentally Enacting a Tobacco Tax Cut,, 5/13/2009.)

Reference: Governor vetoes Hawaii tax hikes
Legislators criticize governor for 'putting on show'
by Derrick DePledge, Honolulu Advertiser, 5/8/2009; Hawaii taxes to go up July 1 as lawmakers override governor by Peter Boylan and Suzanne Roig, Honolulu Avertiser, 5/9/2009.


Wisconsin - legislature passes smoking ban in restaurants, bars and other businesses..

May 14, 2009 - Smoking would be banned in restaurants, bars and other businesses starting in July 2010 under a bill the Legislature passed Wednesday, May 13th.

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, who has made an indoor smoking ban a priority, pledged to sign the measure. "Today, Wisconsin is taking an important step to save lives and protect our kids and citizens from the scourge of tobacco," Doyle said in a statement.

Virtually all workplaces would become smoke-free on July 5, 2010.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin fought the ban for years. Though the group lost the battle, it won a concession by delaying the start date a year. Taverns and restaurants could allow smoking in outdoor areas under the bill.

Although Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, the issue didn't break along party lines. Efforts to soften the ban were fought off by a coalition of Democrats and key Republicans.

The measure gives lawmakers an issue they can tout in campaigns at a time when they face a record $6.6 billion deficit over two years that will force the

Reference: Assembly, Senate pass indoor smoking ban by Patrick Marley, Steven Walters and Stacy Forster, Miwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 5/13/2009.

Wisconsin related news briefs: Count Wisconsin as the 26th state to ban smoking..; Wisconsin may be the 26th state to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants..; Wisconsin - Increased Sales Tax Decrease in Smoking..; Wisconsin's achieves the lowest adult smoking prevalence ever..; The primary reason to increase the tax on tobacco is to get smokers to quit and dissuade kids from starting..; Wisconsin cigarette tax and tax on other tobacco products to increase January 1, 2008..;Wisconsin to Increase Tax on All Tobacco Products..; Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly (2-to-1) favor upping cigarette taxes by $1.25 a pack..

Pennsylvania - Judge rules Camel Ads Violated Ban On Cartoons..

May 14, 2009 - Harrisburg, PA - Camel ads coupled with illustrations promoting rock music in Rolling Stone magazine in 2007 violated the tobacco industry's decade-old promise not to use cartoon s to sell cigarettes a Philadelphia judge ruled Wednesday, May 13th.

The decision by Judge William J. Manfredi said R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. violated its pledge not to pitch cigarettes to children because the Rolling Stone-produced and placed illustrations were cartoons and the cigarette maker should have avoided their placement next to a Camel ad. Judge Manfredi ordered Reynolds to pay $302,000 or run a full-page anti-smoking ad in a Rolling Stone edition that circulates in Pennsylvania.

A 1998 master settlement agreement between 46 states and the tobacco industry includes a provision against using cartoons in advertisements to prevent the industry from appealing to minors.

Attorneys general in at least nine states sued over the ad in Rolling Stone's November 2007 edition. The nine-page advertising section combined pages of Camel cigarette ads with pages of magazine-produced illustrations on the theme of independent rock music.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania attorney general's office said the decision is a full victory. An R.J. Reynolds spokesman said the Winston-Salem, N.C., company will appeal.

After the magazine came out, Reynolds contended that the Camel ads themselves contained no cartoons and that the company didn't know the magazine's pages would be illustrations, as opposed to text.

R.J. Reynolds' defense has proved more successful in other states. Judges in Maine and Washington ruled in favor of the tobacco company. A California judge found that R.J. Reynolds violated the Master Settlement Agreement but was not responsible for the ad placement, while an Ohio judge found the opposite, R.J. Reynolds spokesman David Howard said. Neither judge ordered damages, but the company is appealing both decisions, Mr. Howard said. Suits in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and New York are pending.

References: Camel Ads Violated Ban On Cartoons, Judge Says, The Wall Street Journal - Associated Press, 5/14/2009; Pa. judge says Camel ad violated tobacco's pledge by MARC LEVY, The Associated Press, 5/13/2009; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Sanctioned for Ad in Rolling Stone, Amaris Elliott-Engel
The Legal Intelligencer, 5/14/2009.

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Maine - smoking prohibited at states parks, beaches and historic sites..

May 13, 2009 - Governor John Baldacci today signed into law a bill to prohibit smoking at state parks, beaches and historic sites. The bill's sponsor and the Department of Conservation don't think it will be difficult to enforce, but others question the need for such legislation.

It is no longer just cigarette butts litter, more and more moist snuff products such as Grizzly or Camel SNUS come in tobacco pouches that are sucked on and eventually discarded. Tobacco Pouch ready to be discarded. If you thought Cigarette Butts Everywhere Were Bad Wait Until Discarded SNUS Bags...

Reference: Smoking Banned At State Parks And Beaches by Anne Ravana, THe Maine Public Broadcasting Network, 5/13/2009.


Iowa Smoking Ban Lawsuit Dismissed..

May 13, 2009 - A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Iowa's Smokefree Air Act has been dismissed in Polk County District Court. In a statement from the Iowa Attorney General's office, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed last July by Choose Freedom Iowa; the Iowa Bar Owners Coalition (IBOC); Clinton's Organized Bar & Restaurant Owners (COBRA); Froehlich Properties, Inc., doing business as "Fro's"; and Ron Overson, plaintiffs.

They filed suit against the State of Iowa, the Iowa Deparment of Public Health, and its director, Thomas Newton.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General's Office reports that 44 Smokefree Air Act liquor license enforcement actions are pending at various stages before the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. Two actions have resulted in a liquor license suspension and a revocation ordered. The two bars - Fro's in Wilton and Otis Campbell's Bar in West Burlington filed petitions for judicial review by the courts.

References: Iowa Smoking Ban Lawsuit Dismissed, WQDC-DT, 5/12/2009.

Related news briefs - Iowa: Iowa - fire safe cigarettes - January 1, 2009..; Butts Out: Iowa joins 22 states with a workplace smoking ban..; Iowa - cigarette sales fall by 36% after $1 bump in cigarette tax..; It's Illegal for Women to Smoke in Public..; Des Moines: Iowa's cigarette tax is now $1.36 per pack, following a jubilant bill-signing ceremony Thursday morning (3/15/2007)..

Mississippi increases tax on cigarettes..

May 13, 2009 - Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist long opposed to raising Mississippi’s cigarette tax, has relented in the face of slumping budget revenues and signed the state’s first increase in nearly a quarter century.

Mississippi’s 18-cents-a-pack excise tax hadn’t changed since 1985 before Wednesday’s bill signing. On Friday, it goes up to 68 cents a pack. Barbour spokesman Dan Turner said the governor declined to comment on the legislation.

The tax hike comes as Mississippi struggles with an estimated revenue shortfall of $400 million for the year that ends June 30.

The cigarette tax is estimated to generate more than $113 million for the year that begins July 1, 2009.

Reference: Gov. Barbor Signs Off On Cigarette Tax Increase, , 5/13/2009.

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North Carolina - legislators approve smoking ban..

May 13, 2009 — North Carolina legislators (General Assembly) have approved a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in the country's top tobacco-growing state by sales. The state House voted 62-56 on Wednesday, May 13th to approve changes adopted in the Senate. Starting January 2, 2010, smoking will be prohibited inside bars and restaurants. The law would allow fines up to $50 for smokers who keep puffing after being asked to stop. A business that ignores the ban could face a penalty assessed by the local health director. The ban will likely require about 20 hookah (argileh nargile, hubble-bubble, water pipe, hooka, shisha, goza, meassel, water pipe, sheesha) bars across the state to close, said Adam Bliss, owner of Hookah Bliss in Chapel Hill.

Governor Beverly Perdue has said she would sign it into law.

By the end of this year, 31 other states and the District of Columbia will have laws banning smoke from workplaces, restaurants, bars, or some combination.

Last year, North Carolina farmers produced $686 million worth of tobacco, nearly half the value of the U.S. output.

Reference: Smoking ban in top tobacco-growing NC almost law by EMERY P. DALESIO, , 5/13/2009; House approves smoking ban for N.C., Ban, if signed, will require patrons to keep their cigarettes outside bY BENJAMIN NIOLET AND MANDY LOCK, The News & Observer, 5/14/2009.

Related news briefs: North Carolina - smoking ban scaled back again..; North Carolina Senate Health Committee votes for stricter smoking ban..; North Carolina House poised to pass smoking ban..; North Carolina - ban on smoking in public places passes 1st test...

In Process - New York - city and state officials back off plans to crack down on cigarette black market..

May 13, 2009 - New York - Despite its having been touted as a way to close budget gaps, city and state officials have backed off plans to crack down on the $1.6 billion black market for cigarettes. The sole city unit targeting illegal tobacco full time has been reassigned, and a new law aimed at Indian reservations -- the prime source of the butts -- hasn't been enforced.

A city squad formed in 2007 to sting stores selling unstamped, untaxed cigarettes -- which cost the city $195 million in lost tax revenue a year -- has been reassigned by the Finance Department.

The switch was one of the last moves made by Finance Commissioner Martha Stark, who resigned on April 28 after a city probe, sparked by a Post exposé, found that she had hired relatives and was dating an ex-subordinate.

Meanwhile, a law signed by Gov. Paterson in December was supposed to make enforcement on reservations easier but has been deemed unenforceable by courts.
Before it passed, Mayor Bloomberg urged the state to act and said it "could go a long ways in closing our budget gap."

Rulings require the state to hand out coupons to the reservations so that residents can exchange them for tax-free cigarettes. "The state has not handed out the coupons," said city lawyer Eric Proshansky. "The law cannot be enforced unless those coupons are distributed." A Paterson spokesman declined comment.

Reference: New York - War Against Black Market of Cigarettes Burned Out,, 5/10/2009.


Broward County Florida jury awards widow of smoker $1.5 million..

May 13, 2009 - A Hollywood, Florida widow was awarded about $1.5 for million for the death of her husband, who died of lung cancer at the age of 69 in 1996 after smoking three to four packs of Winston cigarettes a day.

The jury on Friday decided in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's favor on four of five counts, but on the fifth count found that John Sherman's death was caused by the company concealing information about the health effects of cigarettes. The jury assigned equal responsibility between Sherman and the company for his death. Gary Paige, attorney for widow Melba Sherman, said she is ``very grateful.''

R.J. Reynolds vowed to appeal.

Cigarette Makers Face Thousands of New Florida Lawsuits..

Reference: Broward jury awards widow of smoker $1.5 million.

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Argentina - only Latin American country that has not ratified the FCTC..

May 13, 2009 - Six years after signing (President Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) signed in 2003) the global World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Argentina is the only Latin American country that has not ratified it (parliamentary ratification is still pending), for fear of losing tens of thousands of rural jobs in seven provinces.

The treaty requires signatories to adopt a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of events by tobacco companies within five years of its ratification. Its provisions also set forth minimum measures on taxes, prices, labeling, packaging, and protection from second-hand smoke, like the establishment of smoke-free areas. But these provisions, accepted by other tobacco-producing nations, are staunchly opposed in Argentina by the tobacco industry and farmers, and ratification has been blocked in Congress by the representatives of tobacco-producing provinces.

"Until there is a replacement activity for tobacco growers, of which there are around 26,000 small producers around the country, ratification of the convention is unlikely," Senator Sonia Escudero from the northwestern province of Salta, one of Argentina’s main tobacco-growing areas, told IPS. "Our provinces are among the poorest in the country, and if we lose the 60,000 jobs that tobacco production provides, it would be complete chaos," she said. The activists argue that tobacco should be replaced by an equally or more profitable crop that does not pose such threats to health and the environment.

The lawmakers from the seven tobacco-producing provinces argue that ratification of the treaty would spell the end of their regional economies. Legislators from the northern provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, Corrientes, Misiones, Catamarca and Chaco are not optimistic about the possibility of finding adequate production and employment alternatives. "Crop substitution experiments are being carried out, but so far no crop has been found that brings the returns provided by tobacco," said Escudero.

Argentina is among the world’s 10 biggest producers of tobacco, exporting around 80 percent of what it produces. However, the cigarette industry, which generates the largest number of jobs in the sector, is not based in the north, but in Buenos Aires.

In Argentina, tobacco use is accountable for 40,000 preventable deaths a year. 40 percent of adults smoke in Argentina compared to 22 percent in the United States.

“One of the goals of this study is to raise public awareness,” he says. “This will help put pressure on politicians and public health officials.”

The federal government controls the price of cigarettes in Argentina. Pérez-Stable says pressure will need to be strong before the government will impose higher taxes on cigarettes, as many state governments have done in the United States.

Dr. Verónica Schoj, coordinator of the Smokefree Argentina Alliance (ALIAR), which groups around 100 tobacco-control advocacy organisations, rejected Escudero’s arguments. "Brazil is the largest tobacco producer in the Americas and the second largest in the world after China, and both countries have ratified the convention, because it outlines supportive measures to improve the living conditions of farmers, and for crop substitution," Schoj told IPS. "The ratification of the convention would be a huge stride towards reducing the leading cause of preventable premature death in the country, and in reducing the 4.3 billion peso (around 1.16 billion dollars) annual expenditure on treating illnesses caused by consumption of or exposure to tobacco smoke," she said. Schoj pointed out that in 1992, lawmakers in both houses of Congress approved a draft law on tobacco control, which was later vetoed by then president Carlos Menem (1989-1999) in response to lobbying from the tobacco industry.

Tobacco producers and the Tobacco Industry opposed FCTC ratification in Argentina by lobbying elected representatives and placing stories in regional media to obstruct approval of tobacco control laws. These activities have led to a delay in consideration of Argentina’s ratification of the FCTC despite the President’s signature in 2003.

The convention, which was adopted on March 21, 2003 and went into effect on February 27, 2005, has been signed by 168 countries and ratified by 164. May 31 is World No Tobacco Day.

More on Tobacco in Argentina - Euromonitor..

Reference: ARGENTINA: Tobacco Treaty Unratified, Six Years On by Marcela Valente,, 3/11/2009.


Netherlands - small bars/cafes with no staff could be exempt from smoking ban..

May 13, 2009 - A Dutch (Netherlands, Holland) appeals court ruled Tuesday, May 12th that small bars (apply to all small cafes and bars that employed no staff) with no staff except their owners are exempt from a national smoking ban introduced for the hospitality industry last July 2008. The appeals court of Den Bosch, in the southern Netherlands, found two owners of the Victoria cafe in Breda, near the Belgian border, not guilty of having contravened the ban. "The court finds that the (ban) is partly non-binding, as it lacks legal grounding" regarding establishments with no staff, said a court statement.

But its application was frozen by an announcement by prosecutors that they intended appealing the verdict in the Supreme Court. This could last 18 months. Court spokesman JJ van der KaadenKaaden: "Today's decision will not be formal until confirmed by the Supreme Court."

"This is a huge boost for (small establishments) to get back to business," said Joris Prinssen, a spokesman for industry association Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, in reaction to the judgement. Prinssen said there were some 9,500 bars in the Netherlands, of which 3,000 employed no personnel.

The owners of the Victoria cafe were first acquitted by a lower court last month, escaping prosecution demands for a 1,200 euro (1,600-dollar) fine and closure for a month. The prosecution appealed the finding. The cafe is run by the owners with no other employees. In February, the owners of a cafe with no employees in the northern Dutch town of Groningen was fined 1,200 euros in the first-ever trial involving a breach of the Dutch smoking ban. An appeal in that case is pending.

A recent Dutch health ministry study found that 62 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.

The House of Representatives in the Dutch parliament asked Tuesday for a new debate on the smoking ban.

Reference: Small Dutch bars cannot be held to smoking ban: appeals court, Agence France Presse (AFP), 5/12/2009.

Related news briefs: Court spares small Dutch cafe over smoking ban..;
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...

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UK - House of Lords -debate on tobacco plain packaging..

May 12, 2009 - This news brief provides information on the result of the vote on May 6. 2009 by members of the House of Lords on an amendment, tabled by Lord Naren Patel, to the 2009 Health Bill to mandate plain packaging for all tobacco products.

Lord Patel his amendment related to the plain packaging of tobacco products - March 11, 2009.

From ASH (Action on Smoking and Health)- United Kingdom (UK, Britain): Lord Patel raised the issue and it was debated briefly but not put to a vote. However, the Government has agreed to review the evidence on plain packaging as part of its new tobacco control strategy which is expected within the next few months.

House of Lords debate on plain packaging of tobacco products - May 6, 2009 on Tobacco proposals in the health bill. Here are a couple of excerpts from the debate that emphasize the importance of the packaging to tobacco makers. The Tobacco Journal International in its fourth issue of 2008 wrote: “An increasing focus has been put on the ever more elaborate design of cigarette boxes. Exclusive packaging is an instrument to communicate brand image and differentiate premium, high-priced brands from value cigarettes; while the cost of production is roughly the same for both and, according to analysts, the difference in quality is barely perceptible, the profit margin of premium brands is considerably higher than that of low-priced cigarettes.” There are a number of examples of tobacco companies that have chosen to introduce new brands in a way that appeals to particular markets. Camel Natural Flavour is a youth-oriented brand variant which was launched in 2007. In speaking to the trade press, Gallaher’s communications manager said: “Camel is the smoking style statement for young adult smokers.” A new range of Silk Cut cigarettes is, “aimed at females and will initially feature a limited edition to make it stand out on the shelf.” (Silk Cut is the brand of low tar cigarette produced by the Gallaher Group (owned by Japan Tobacco). The packaging is characterised by a distinctive stark white packet with the brand name in either a purple, blue, silver, white or green square.)

Related news briefs: United Kingdom to consider plain tobacco product packaging..; Australia - National Youth Tobacco Free Day Friday - March 27, 2009..; UK Planned Curbs On Smoking to be Axed..; WHO FCTC Durbin Meeting (Nov 17-22, 2008) - Generic Cigarette Packaging Proposal..; Cigarette Graphic Warnings Most Cover Most of Package..; More New South Wales - Sweeping Anti-Tobacco Measures..; British considering banning logos on cigarette packs, other measures...


Philippines may be losing the war against smoking..

May 12, 2009 - Despite the passage of the Tobacco Control Act in 2003, more Filipino youths are now smoking, “indicating that the law has not been effective”, Maricar Limpin, executive director of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP), said. A recent global youth tobacco survey showed that smoking prevalence among Filipino youth had jumped from 15 percent in 2003 to 21.6 percent in 2007. Limpin - We are losing the war against smoking.”

Smoking kills close to 90,000 people a year in the Philippines. "My friends look so cool smoking,” Arnold Santos of Mandaluyong City said, who took up the habit out of peer pressure. “Now, I smoke 10 cigarettes a day,” the 17-year-old, who has no plans of quitting just yet, said.

The 2003 act sets both the guidelines for and regulation of the packaging, sale, distribution and advertisements of tobacco products.

Among others, it mandates the printing of warnings in either English or Filipino of the harmful effects of smoking. Yet

“We are losing the war against smoking,” Limpin conceded.

At least 240 Filipinos die each day - 87,600 a year - from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, cardiac arrest, stroke and other chronic-obstructive lung failures, the health department reported. These figures are based on the 2005-2006 Tobacco and Poverty Study in the Philippines conducted by the College of Public Health of the University of the Philippines, National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The figures are higher than Malaysia and Vietnam, where 10,000 and 40,000 people respectively die each year from smoking-related diseases, but lower than Indonesia, where 400,000 people die annually.

Since 2007, separate bills have been pending with lawmakers to introduce the printing of graphic health warnings. An FCAP survey on 10,000 Filipino youths revealed they were more receptive to graphic warnings than text warnings. Limpin said the survey showed that the graphic design had a better ability to convey the health risks related to smoking and some said it stopped them from buying cigarettes.
While the visual warning has little effect on long-time smokers, preventing young people from taking up the habit would deny tobacco companies a new market, Limpin said. “The industry knows that the introduction of graphic warnings threatens its future market,” Limpin said.

In the Senate, the bill is now being discussed in the plenary. But in the House, composed of district and party list representatives from all 78 provinces, the bill has not passed the committee level because of opposition from legislators.

“It is being blocked because of fears it could kill the tobacco industry,” Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, main author of the anti-smoking bill, said.

According to the National Tobacco Authority, more than 57,000 farmers are engaged in tobacco farming.

La Union Rep. Victor Francisco said the main flaw of the bill was that it would raise the prices of local tobacco products compared with imports.

To compete, local manufacturers would have no choice but to increase their prices because of the additional cost, he said.

In addition, the bill failed to factor in the repercussions on local livelihoods; almost two million people depend on the tobacco industry.

“Our tobacco farmers, especially in the north, cannot easily shift to other crops because the soil is not compatible with other produce,” Francisco said.

The WHO’s Tobacco Framework Convention on Tobacco, to which the Philippines is a signatory, recommends the use of effective campaigns against tobacco consumption. Article 11 requires that state signatories adopt effective measures by September 2008, but the Philippines missed the deadline. Article 11 of the FCTC requires that signatory-countries adopt effective health warnings on tobacco products by September 2008. A month after the deadline, the Philippines was among the Southeast Asian countries that had not complied. Around the world, about 15 countries have introduced pictorial health warnings on tobacco products.

The Philippine tobacco industry: "the strongest tobacco lobby in Asia", K Alechnowicz and S Chapman, Tobacco Control 2004;13(Supplement 2 ).

References: Inside the Philippines: Philippines Effort to Cut Smoking Goes up in Smoke by John Chapin, The Cutting Edge, 1/29/2009; Philippines: Young smokers 'look so cool'
Bill to curtail smoking failed to factor in the repercussions on local livelihoods; almost two million people depend on the tobacco industry"> by Irin, Spero News, 1/29/2009.


Count Wisconsin as the 26th state to ban smoking..

May 12, 2009 - After months of trying, Wisconsin lawmakers are poised this week to pass a statewide ban on smoking in any workplace, including bars and restaurants. Twenty-five other states already have gone smoke-free, but the ban would mark a sea change for hard-partying Wisconsin, where beer and cigarettes go together like cows and hay.

State Senator Bob Jauch is applauding the smoking ban compromise reached between the Tavern League and the state. Jauch says the compromise version of the smoking ban will pass both houses by large majorities this week. The battle over smoking in public places has raged for years but Jauch says the compromise means everyone will be on the same page. Jauch credits the Governor Doyle for helping break the deadlock.

Jauch says not being able to smoke indoors won’t hurt the bottom line for bars. A March 2009 report by Indiana University's Center for Health Policy found that 47 of 49 studies concluded smoke-free regulations hadn't hurt the hospitality industry.

There’re some 30 communities in Wisconsin that have enacted their own smoking ban ordinances.

References" Jauch: Smoking ban will pass by big margins this week,, 5/12/2009; Wisconsin Legislature poised to pass smoking ban by TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press, 5/11/2007.

Wisconsin related news briefs: Wisconsin may be the 26th state to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants..; Wisconsin - Increased Sales Tax Decrease in Smoking..; Wisconsin's achieves the lowest adult smoking prevalence ever..; The primary reason to increase the tax on tobacco is to get smokers to quit and dissuade kids from starting..; Wisconsin cigarette tax and tax on other tobacco products to increase January 1, 2008..;Wisconsin to Increase Tax on All Tobacco Products..; Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly (2-to-1) favor upping cigarette taxes by $1.25 a pack..


Florida legislature pass budget with tobacco tax hike..

May 11, 2009 - Florida legislature approved a $1 per pack increase on cigarettes along with a $1 per ounce tax on smokeless tobacco. The tobacco tax will raise an estimated $900 million next year, if signed into law by the governor. Governor Charlie Crist at a town hall meeting in Pensacola said he probably will sign into law the $1-a-pack increase in the state's cigarette tax, which is now $34 cents. Crist initially had opposed it.

It was opposed by the tobacco lobby, but not aggressively, and was pushed heavily by hospitals and Florida's lung, cancer and heart associations. It registered 60 to 70 percent approval ratings in recent public opinion polls.

It was a bipartisan effort to raise Florida's tax (levy, user fee, surcharge) on tobacco products for the first time in two decades.

Paul Hull with the American Cancer Society: "It’s going to save lives, and most importantly, it’s also going to protect kids. Over 300,000 kids will never take up a cigarette because of this measure today." (Two Billion in New Fees by Mike Vasilinda Capital News Service, 5/8/2009)

Reference: Lawmakers needed an extra week, but they finally approved a new state budget..,, 5/8/2009; Florida budget passes, includes cigarette tax increase, pay cuts for state workers, Danette Pelletier, Tampa Headlines Examiner,, 5/9/2009.

Related news brief:; Florida - House may accept Senate's $1-per-pack increase in a cigarette tax..; Florida senate votes 39-0 to raise tobacco tax..; Florida cigar makers fuming over possible tax increase..; Florida - besides tobacco tax increase Senate wants to restrict tax-free sales..; 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...


Texas - tobacco lobbyists - derailing state smoking ban/smokeless tobacco tax change..

May 11, 2009 - In this year's legislative session, tobacco interests have retained 40 lobbyists – including seven former lawmakers – to influence proposals to limit cigarettes and change taxes on smokeless tobacco. So far, with three weeks left in the session, the lobbyists have registered successes, derailing two proposals that enjoyed widespread legislative support – a statewide smoking ban in public places and a new formula for taxes on chew.

Lance Armstrong - a Texan, the world's most famous cancer survivor's foundation is on the verge of losing its top priority of the legislative session: a statewide ban on smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants.

Senator Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has not allowed a vote on the bill, frustrating supporters who considered her advocacy a major boost in getting the bill passed into law. Getting a Senate vote doesn't guarantee the bill will ultimately pass this time either.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, the Houston Democrat sponsoring the smoking ban measure has stated that Republican Gov. Rick Perry said he'd allow the bill to become law if it gets to his desk.

Many cities around Texas have passed some sort of smoking ban, efforts at a statewide crackdown have failed in recent years. At present (April 29, 2009) twenty-eight Texas cities currently have smoking bans in place.

The second measure hobbling through the legislative session would change the way smokeless tobacco is taxed and apply the money for incentives to have young doctors practice medicine in underserved areas. Raising taxes on certain smokeless tobacco products, which are now taxed by price. If this bill would become law certain smokeless tobacco would tax it instead by weight. The issue has makers of lower-priced brands of snuff fighting more expensive products. Robert Culley, a lobbyist for Conwood, a Reynolds American company and maker of the smokeless tobacco brand Grizzly, said he’s against the bill. Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Altria, the parent company of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, said his company supports weight-based taxation for smokeless tobacco products.

Reference: Tobacco firms' 40 lobbyists put popular proposals at risk by ROBERT T. GARRETT and CHRISTY HOPPE, The Dallas Morning News, 5/11/2009; Smoking ban bill being blocked from Senate vote by JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press, May 6, 2009; Proposed tax increase on tobacco would fund doctor incentive by Corrie MacLaggan,, 3/23/2009.

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Prolonged effect of nicotine as a result of binding with melanin..

May 11, 2009 - Higher concentrations of melanin -- the color pigment in skin and hair -- may be placing darker pigmented smokers at increased susceptibility to nicotine dependence and tobacco-related carcinogens than lighter skinned smokers, according to scientists. One author Gary King, professor of biobehavioral health, at Penn State: "We have found that the concentration of melanin is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked daily, levels of nicotine dependence, and nicotine exposure among African Americans (black)."

To investigate the factors linking tobacco use, nicotine exposure, and skin pigmentation, the researchers recruited 150 adult African American smokers from three sites in inner city Harrisburg during summer 2007. Participants provided researchers with the average number of cigarettes smoked each day and answered a questionnaire that measured nicotine dependence -- the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Also cotinine levels (cotinine is a metabolic byproduct of nicotine that can be used as a biomarker for tobacco use) were measuered. King and colleagues surmise that nicotine's half-life may, along with tobacco toxicants, be extended due to the accumulation in melanin-containing tissues. Previous research shows that nicotine has a biochemical affinity for melanin. King: conceivably, this association could result in an accumulation of the addictive agent in melanin-containing tissues of smokers with greater amounts of skin pigmentation.

Statistical analyses of data on the three measures of smoking -- cigarettes per day, FTND score, and cotinine levels -- along with a host of other variables including age, education and social demographics of the smokers, reveal that facultative melanin -- the total amount of melanin acquired genetically plus the amount from the tanning effect of sunlight -- is significantly linked to the number of cigarettes smoked per day as well as the FTND score. This link was not observed with constitutive melanin, which is the amount of melanin solely acquired genetically.

The Penn State researcher cautions that additional studies with larger samples of smokers with varying levels of skin pigmentation will be required to provide a clearer picture of the link between skin color and nicotine addiction.

The Penn State team's findings appear in the June issue of the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior - ABSTRACT not available yet.

Reference: Skin Color Clue To Nicotine DependenceThe Study of Racialism, 5/10/2009.


South Carolina - lawmakers may disappoint again on cigarette tax increase..

May 11, 2009 - Hopes are dimming fast that South Carolina (SC) lawmakers will raise the state's lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax this legislative session. The argument for the past several years including this year has been about how to spend the money, not about raising the tax. The discrepancies between the House and Senate versions seem insurmountable, especially with the legislature planning to adjourn May 21.

Last year, the legislature passed a bill that would have raised the tax to 47 cents a pack. But Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed it, and lawmakers sustained his veto. Sanford has vowed to veto any bill that doesn't offset a cigarette tax increase with a cut in taxes. But lawmakers could overturn his veto. And the 97-22 vote in the House signaled they would.

SC with a lowest tax by far on a pack of cigarettes will be the laughing stock of the nation. The states along with SC that had the lowest tax have have approved a tax increase. In Kentucky the cigarette tax doubles from 30 cents to 60 cents per pack and Mississippi is on the verge a passing a tax increase. It will SC at 7-cents, KY at 60-cents and MS at 68-cents for a pack of cigarettes. SC ranked dead last in the nation for funding programs to prevent children from using tobacco, 10 years after receiving nearly $1 billion in a landmark case against the tobacco industry. South Carolina to spend NO money on tobacco prevention...

Don't get the idea these people are healthy - SC has a higher occurrence of common causes of death when compared with the whole country.

In 2008 the South Carolina state health ranking was 48th; it was 42nd in 2007.

Cities/Counties in SC have taken on their own to pass smoking ban legislation. The latest smoking ban when into effect on May 1, 2009 for residents of Rock Hill and the unincorporated areas of York County.

Reference: Lawmakers may disappoint again on cigarette tax,, 5/9/2007.

Related news briefs: SC tobacco tax increase - doubt exists maybe NOT this year..; South Carolina - can we expect a tobacco tax increase this year??; South Carolina a magnet for cigarette black market..; South Carolina - legislators eager to pass cigarette tax increase - the odds are against them??; South Carolina to spend NO money on tobacco prevention..; South Carolina (SC) will NOT devote any resources to anti-smoking programs..; In 2008 will the politicians do what's right for the State of South Carolina??; South Carolina - Tobacco Tax Increase Killed - State House Fails to Override Governor's Veto.. and Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??


NIOSH Report Recommends Eliminating Tobacco from Vegas Casinos

May 10, 2009 - TITLE: "Environmental and Biological Assessment of Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure Among Casino Dealers" and written by five NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety) employees, the Health Hazard Evalaution says NNAL in the dealers' urine (NNAL is an accepted biomarker for uptake of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK) increased significantly during their eight-hour work shifts, both adjusting for and not adjusting for creatinine clearance. The dealers also reported more respiratory problems than did the non-dealers, but differences in the prevalence between the two groups weren't significant, according to the report. The investigators found secondhand smoke components in the casinos' air, including nicotine, respirable dust, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. 124 NP dealers (non-poker (NP) casino dealers) out of a total working population of 1,188 NP and poker casino dealers participated in the environmental and/or biological assessment.

Fequently casino owner battle anti-smoking efforts by claiming they will hurt business, and the casinos already are reporting sharply lower revenues in Las Vegas for the first quarter of this year. Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., which owns Bally's Las Vegas and Caesars Palace, said its Las Vegas Region's revenues in the first three months of 2009 were down 20.5 percent, to $686.4 million, from the same period a year earlier, and income from operations was off by 36.4 percent.

Reference: NIOSH Report Recommends Eliminating Tobacco from Vegas Casinos, Health Hazard Evaluation from NIOSH, 5/7/2009.

Related news brief: Nevada - lawmakers may weaken smoking ban...

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Czech children worst in cigarette smoking in world..

May 10, 2009 - Czech (Czechoslovakian) children are among the youths that smoke the highest number of cigarettes in the world, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Wednesday, citing the latest survey of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) based on data from 2005-2006. Czechoslovakia..

Nearly one quarter of 15-year-old Czech girls (23 percent) smoke regularly, which is the second highest number in the world, with the neighboring Austria being the worst.

Among 15-year old Czech boys, one fifth (20 percent) smoke regularly. The situation is worse only in Austria, Finland and Hungary.

In Sweden and the United States, the number of smokers among children is three times lower than in the Czech Republic, the survey shows.

Zdenek Dienstbier, head of the Cancer League organisation, told the paper: "The Czechs have figured in top positions in similar surveys for a long time. This is a result of the general atmosphere in society that still does not consider smoking among youths a serious problem,"

According to Dienstbier, neither the regulation of tobacco advertising nor other restrictive measures would markedly improve the situation.

Hana Sovinova, from the Czech State Health Institute that took part in the survey, said it was good news that the number of smokers among children started to fall slightly. Sovinova said the situation was the worst in 2002. "Over 30 percent of Czech girls and 29 percent of boys aged 15 smoked regularly then," she told the paper.

The OECD survey also focused on children and alcohol. One-fifth of Czech girls and one-fourth of boys admitted that they were drunk a few times, which is more or less the average result in the 35 developed countries included in the survey, the paper writes.

Reference: Poll: Czech children worst in cigarette smoking, Prague Daily Monitor, 5/6/2009.

Related news brief: Czech Republic - Philip Morris profits dropping 2-years in a row...

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US Congress - Employers may reward employees for healthy behaviors..

May 10, 2009 - In its effort to overhaul health care, Congress is planning to give employers sweeping new authority to reward employees for healthy behavior, including better diet, more exercise, weight loss and smoking [tobacco] cessation. Lawmakers said they would make it easier for employers to use financial rewards or penalties to promote healthy behavior among employees. Congress is seriously considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria.

Today, chronic diseases—such as cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke), cancer, and diabetes—are among the most prevalent, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Seven of every 10 Americans who die each year, or more than 1.7 million people, die of a chronic disease. (Chronic Disease Promotion and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, “Prevention and wellness should be a centerpiece of health care reform.” The White House agrees. One of President Obama’s eight principles for health legislation is that it must “invest in prevention and wellness,” a goal espoused in almost identical words by Republican senators like John Cornyn of Texas and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah.

A web of federal rules limits what employers and insurers can do now. If, for example, an employer pays the cost of gym membership for employees as part of a wellness program, the payment is often counted as taxable income to employees.

Changes in brain activity, triggered by physical exercise, may help reduce cigarette cravings and help people stop smoking.

Reference: Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits by ROBERT PEAR, Te New York Times, 5/9/2009.


C-Store Update - Philip Morris USA to introduce another Marlboro menthol cigarette..

May 10, 2009 - Last Tuesday night (May 5, 2009) Senator Edward Kennedy introduced legislation similar to a bill (H.R.1256 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act)already passed by the House that gives the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products. Senate action on this legislation should be this month or in June.
Kennedy's bill is almost certain to pass and then be signed into law by the president.

As we know, Altria partnered with the 'Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids' to write the bill that has seen lots of concessions. We worry that the legislation will be flawed because the Altria, the biggest player in the tobacco industry has been directly involved in writing the bill that regulates their industry. As Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) has pointed out, "Poison peddlers shouldn’t get to decide how we as responsible legislators fight the war against their deadly products."

The bill has been dubbed by Fortune Magazine the "Altria Earnings Protection Act." The true motivation behind the FDA tobacco regulation bill may be a big company’s desire to kill off its smaller competitors. "In short, it will lock in Altria's dominant position in the market." (U.S. - FDA tobacco regulation or a lock in Altria's dominant position in the market...)

It seems like Altria has already started to put this plan in motion..

Cigarette makers have found it extremely difficult to take menthol cigarette market share away from Lorillard's . While fewer people are smoking, menthols' share of the overall cigarette market has grown steadily for several years. In 2000 about 26.5% of smokers were menthol smokers, in 2006 it was at 28.5% and it is expected the menthol category will continue to grow. David Adelman cigarette analyst at Morgan Stanley points out that Newport, which has a 10% share of the U.S. tobacco market, is the choice of roughly 17% of new smokers, Newport dominates the menthol category, with a 34% market share (while accounting for 90% of Lorillard's sales volume and nearly all its profit). ( Will Lorillard Meet Its Match?, Stocks by Andrew Bary, Barron's, 3/25/2009) Comparison - percent menthol market share.. Current Newport ad Maxim Magazine - March 2009. More on the growth of Newport Cigarettes.

Philip Morris USA will introduce a new menthol cigarette in June 2009..

During the promotion period, i.e., June 17, 2009 - July 26, 2009, the introductory price will be $2 off per pack and $20 off per carton. The new Marlboro Blend No. 54 will be supported by a Direct Mail campaign to smokers 21+ on PM's mailing list and Retail Look - a variety of point-of-sale will [exact text] be available to create awareness in your store for Marlboro Blend No. 54.

Benefits to C-store owner: Marlboro Blend No. 54 can help build profits from sales in your store; well executed promotional support may help increase foot traffic in your store and build loyalty with your Adult Smokers; Qualified Retail Leaders participants may receive Retail Leaders merchandising payments on qualified Marlboro Blend No. 54 purchases.

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