Pennsylvania may begin to tax OTPs - do it by Weight..

May 23, 2009 - In Pennsylvania unlike cigarettes ($1.35 per pack), other tobacco products (OTPs - such as pipe and rolling tobacco, chew and cigars) are not taxed. Pennsylvania is currently the only state in the nation with this tax loophole for smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products.

As part of his 2009-10 budget proposal, Governor Ed Rendell has included a tax on non-cigarette tobacco, also known OTPs. Like cigarettes, these products pose serious health risks and can lead to lifelong addictions among our young people. The governor has proposed a tax based on the weight of the products. But the weight-based tax could actually boost profits for some of these products. Governor Rendell can fix this flaw easily. Instead of taxing such tobacco products based on their weight, the state should base the tax on a percentage of the wholesale price.
State Representative Dan Frankel has introduced House Bill 57, which would tax OTPs based on the price for which a tobacco manufacturer sells the product to a distributor or wholesaler.

Some tobacco companies are pushing for a weight-based tax to help wipe out their competition and get kids addicted to a whole new generation of smokeless tobacco products. That's because they are now selling ultralight tobacco products that are smokeless, spitless, and able to dissolve in the mouth like candy. These products would be lightly taxed under Rendell's proposal, keeping their price very low and making them more accessible, especially to youths.

Conservatively, Pennsylvania could generate about $70 million a year from a price-based tax. That would go a long way toward balancing the state budget.

Tobacco is taxed for for two main reasons: First, to discourage people from using it - pushing them to quit or at least cut back. This is particularly true in the case of young people and second, we tax tobacco to make money for the state.

Increasing the prices of tobacco products by 10 percent reduces adult consumption by 3.7 percent, and male youth consumption by 5.9 percent, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Some may argue that other tobacco products aren't as harmful as cigarettes. That's not true. Smokeless tobacco is as addictive as cigarettes, and users are 80 percent more likely to get oral cancer than nonusers are.

Pennsylvania is particularly hard-hit by these other tobacco products. Seven percent of adult males in Pennsylvania use smokeless tobacco - more than double the national average of 3 percent. And 15 percent of our high school students have experimented with smokeless tobacco, making them prime candidates for more severe nicotine addiction when they are adults.

Pennsylvania does have a smoking ban in place but it's not as strict as the other surrounding states.

Reference: Right tax, wrong measure A proposed levy on smokeless tobacco is a fine idea, but not if it is based on weight. by Joy Blankley Meyer, The Philadephia Inquirer, 5/22/2009; Tax all types of tobacco Let's snuff out the loopholes< by State Rep. Dan Frankel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/7/2009.

A few related news briefs: Utah moves from a tax based on the percentage of sales price to one based on the weight - independent of price of smokeless tobacco product..; Wyoming - tobacco tax increase killed/Smokeless tobacco taxed by weight; Maryland - leaning toward taxing moist snuff based on weight NOT price...


Louisiana - will smoking ban be expanded..

May 22, 2009 - A push to expand Louisiana's indoor smoking ban gained momentum Wednesday, 5/20 when a Senate committee agreed to legislation that would ban the practice in bars and casinos.

The unanimous decision by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee came a day after a House health care committee approved similar legislation. The move sets up a showdown on the floors of the House and Senate between the public health advocates who are pushing the measures, and lobbyists for casinos and bars, who oppose the change.

Louisiana has a smoking ban in force:
As of January 1, 2007 the "Louisiana Smokefree Air Act," took effect prohibiting smoking in most businesses around Louisiana, leaving people to do as they'd like in their homes and cars (unless they're using their homes as day care facilities). Also - Louisiana has a smoking ban in force when children (kids) 12 and younger are in the car (automobile).

"It's been a chess match to participate in, but the folks we're not playing chess with are the folks who are exposed to secondhand smoke," said Sen. Rob Marionneaux Jr., D-Livonia, who sponsored Senate Bill 186.

Chris Young, a lobbyist for the Louisiana Association of Beverage Alcohol Licensees, said the amended version of the bill is better than the original because it covers everyone, instead of carving out exceptions for some. But bar owners still plan to fight the bills on the floor, Young said. Indian casinos would not be covered by the ban, and restaurants and bars could still allow smoking on open-air balconies and patios.

A spokesman for Gov. Bobby Jindal said the governor doesn't like the bills, but won't veto them should they reach his desk. "Seems like another step towards a nanny state," Jindal's press secretary, Kyle Plotkin, said. "We think adults can make decisions for themselves, but don't feel strongly enough to override the will of the Legislature." - hard to believe these comments from the governor's spokesperson. -

Reference: Senate panel backs smoking ban in bars
Sides gear up for fight over legislation
by Jan Moller, Times-Picayune, 5/21/2009.

Related news brief: Louisiana - increase in tobacco tax probably doomed...


U.S - PACT legislation passed by House..

May 22, 2009 - H.R. 1676, the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (the PACT Act) of 2009, was passed 397-11 by the House of Representatives on Thursday, 5/21/2009.

This legislation is extremely important, it will effectively end Internet and telephone tobacco smuggling by stopping shipments of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through the U.S. Postal Service. FedEx, UPS, and DHL have already agreed not to mail tobacco.

Chief sponsor Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said that as tobacco taxes have increased, "We have unwittingly created a large and growing black market for smuggled tobacco products." Weiner cited a Government Accountability Office report that organizations including Hezbollah made money through the tobacco black market.

The bill is especially aimed at Internet sales. Sellers on the Internet and others shipping to remote locations would have to verify the purchaser's age and identity through accessible databases.

Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products could no longer be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service except in limited cases. Private delivery companies already have agreed not to ship tobacco products while the Postal Service continues to deliver products purchased over the Internet.

Misdemeanors under current law would be made felonies, and it would be a federal offense for any seller failing to pay state tax laws. The legislation would empower each state to enforce federal law against out-of-state sellers sending delivery sales into the state. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would gain authority to inspect distributors of cigarettes, and anyone refusing the inspection would be penalized.


The Senate has not yet considered this measure.

Reference: House votes to crack down on tobacco black market, Associated Press, 5/2/2009.

Related news brief: U.S. - PACT Legislation to be considered by House this month..; We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business..; 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...


U.S. appeals court fines tobacco companies lied..

May 22, 2009 - The case is U.S. v Philip Morris USA et al, U.S. Court of Appeals (3-judge panel) for the District of Columbia, No. 06-5267. U.S. appeals court on Friday, 5/22 upheld a trial judge's racketeering verdict agreeing that cigarette companies systematically lied for years in order to sell tobacco products they knew were dangerous.

In a blow to anti-smoking groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also upheld the lower court's decision to reject expensive remedies, like funding a smoking cessation program.

The tobacco companies had appealed the decision of U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in August 2006 that included ordering cigarette makers to cease using expressions such as "low tar" or "light" in their cigarette marketing.

"Defendants knew of their falsity at the time and made the statements with the intent to deceive," said the 92-page ruling. "Thus, we are not dealing with accidental falsehoods, or sincere attempts to persuade; Defendants' liability rests on deceits perpetrated with knowledge of their falsity."

Other companies appealing Kessler's ruling were the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit of Reynolds American Inc, Lorillard Inc, Vector Group Ltd's Liggett Group, British American Tobacco Plc and its Brown & Williamson unit, as well as now defunct industry groups: the Council for Tobacco Research and the Tobacco Institute.

Despite the racketeering finding, the tobacco companies have managed to avoid major monetary penalties in the case that was originally filed by the Clinton administration in 1999 seeking $289 billion in damages. During the trial, that began in 2004, lawyers for the Justice Department under the Bush administration scaled back the monetary demands to $14 billion for anti-smoking campaigns.

But the appeals court upheld the order requiring warnings on cigarette packages and demanding that tobacco sellers publish the corrective statements on corporate websites, that they issue full-page advertisements in thirty-five major newspapers and put at least ten advertisements on a major television network.

The appeals court was highly critical of the tobacco companies, rejecting their arguments that they had never advertised "light" cigarettes as less dangerous. The court also pointed to evidence that the companies knew that second-hand smoke (passive ETS, environmental, involuntary) was dangerous, dismissing their assertions that there was no "scientific consensus."

Philip Morris and Altria said they would press on with the legal fight.

Reference: U.S. appeals court finds tobacco companies lied by Diane Bartz, Reuters, 5/22/2009.

Texas - smoke-free legislation falls short..

May 22, 2009 - Smoke-free Texas legislation banning smoking in nearly all workplaces falls short. Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today, May 19th announced that the effort to pass smoke-free Texas legislation has fallen short in the Texas Senate.

Senate Bill 544 would have eliminated smoking in indoor public places, including municipal worksites and private worksites including restaurants, restaurant bars and stand-alone bars. The legislation would have levied a maximum fine of $100 for owners, managers or operators, but exempted cigar bars and tobacco shops.

The bill was supported by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Texas Restaurant Association and others, was derailed in large measure due to an intense lobbying efforts by tobacco companies. According to the Dallas Morning News, Big Tobacco interests have hired 40 lobbyists and are spending between $1.2 and $2.4 million lobbying against the smoking ban and a new formula for taxing chewing tobacco.

Companion news brief; Texas - tobacco lobbyists - derailing state smoking ban/smokeless tobacco tax change...

Reference: Ellis set to hold "wake" for smoking ban [UPDATED], Texas Politics, 5/19/2009.

Ireland - as of July 1, 2009 no advertising or display of tobacco products will be permitted in retail outlets..

May 22, 2009 - On 29 March 2004, the Republic of Ireland became the first country to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces, including in restaurants and bars. The key next step was to focus on measures to protect young people by discouraging them from taking up smoking in the first place. To support this aim, point of sale advertising of tobacco products in retail premises is due to be removed from July 1, 2009.

Guidelines have now been published which provide retailers of tobacco products, including shops, licensed premises and registered clubs, with the necessary guidance in relation to the measures being introduced on 1 July 2009.

The key provisions being commenced are:
* ban on all in-store/point-of-sale advertising of tobacco products,
* ban on the display of tobacco products in retail premises,
* introduction of a closed container / dispenser provision,
* tighter controls on the location and operation of tobacco vending machines,
* introduction of a retail register for tobacco retailers.

Self-service vending machines will be permitted in licensed premises or registered clubs only. They must be token activated and located within the view of a responsible member of staff.

Mary Cunningham, Director of the National Youth Council of Ireland: “Eighty-seven per cent of the public support a ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and communication as a means of discouraging young people from smoking. There is compelling evidence from research that children are influenced by this form of advertising. In this context, it’s worth noting that 80% of child smokers in Ireland smoke just two brands, the brands which happen to be the two most heavily marketed through the use of in-store displays.”

Reference: Minister Brady welcomes the publication of Guidelines for those selling tobacco products after 1 July next, Ireland Department of Health and Children, 5/19/2009; Compliance Remains High as Smoke-Free Workplace Marks Five Years - PROMOTING A TOBACCO FREE SOCIETY, Ireland Tobacco Control, 3/29/2009.

Related news briefs: do a random search, e.g., for briefs on Ireland simply enter Ireland.

Click on image to enlarge..


Florida Governor Charlie Crist stated he will allow a $1-a-pack tax to become law..

May 21, 2009 - Florida Governor Charlie Crist unequivocally stated Tuesday, May 19th that he will allow a $1-a-pack tax to become law. Crist: "The cigarette tax is appropriate and I really view it more as a health issue than I do as a tax issue."

Crist had signaled weeks ago that he would accept the so-called "tobacco surcharge," but then he signed a no-new-taxes pledge last week that renewed the prospect that he might veto the increase. A veto of the cigarette tax would have thrown into chaos the proposed budget for the year that begins July 1, and likely would have led to a special lawmaking session.

Crist has until May 30 to sign the budget and use his line-item veto to strike items he doesn't like from the spending plan.

The tax, which will raise more than $900 million a year, is tied to the Medicaid health insurance program serving 2.6 million Floridians. With the tax money gone, the state would have lost nearly $2 billion in federal Medicaid matching funds.

Reference: Gov. Charlie Crist to approve cigarette tax
Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday he's ready to hit smokers up for a buck a pack more
by MARC CAPUTO, Miami Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, 5/20/2009.

Related news brief: Florida legislature pass budget with tobacco tax hike..;; 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...


U.S Senate committee approves FDA tobacco regulation..

May 21, 2009 - A bill, "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act" (S. 982) giving the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco products won approval from Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) by a 15 to 8 vote. Senator Christopher Dodd, who shepherded the bill through the committee, the Senate could take up the legislation as soon as the first week of June. About 2.7 million U.S. children currently smoke, Dodd said.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), would give the FDA limited authority to monitor smoking products. It would impose strict controls on advertising that restrict ads to black and white and stop the use of terms "mild" and "low tar." A similar bill passed the House last month (April).

The legislation does not allow the FDA to regulate farmers or tobacco itself, but would give it power over a growing number of smokeless tobacco products such as dissolvable tablets, strips and toothpick-like sticks. Both Reynolds and Star Scientific Inc have both recently introduced such smokeless products made with finely ground tobacco. U.S. Senate Health Committee Adopts Merkley-Brown Amendment on Tobacco Candy...

Reaction from tobacco companies has been mixed, with the nation's largest cigarette maker, Altria Group Inc's Philip Morris unit, backing the plan amid opposition from several smaller makers such as Reynolds American Inc's R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Lorillard Inc's Lorillard Tobacco Co. Altria spent nearly $3.6 million in the first quarter of 2009 to lobby for passage of this bill..

Senator Richard Burr would have replaced the bill with his own legislation. Burr's amendment was defeated by a 13 to 9 vote.

Tobacco producers have a large presence in North Carolina, the home state of Burr and Democratic committee member Sen. Kay Hagen, who said Tuesday that 65,000 jobs would be affected by the legislation. Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Inc., two leading tobacco companies, are based in North Carolina.

Burr's alternative measure would have created a new agency within the Health & Human Services Department (HHS) to regulate tobacco. Many Senate Republicans objected to giving the FDA power to regulate tobacco, saying that the agency is already hard-pressed to perform its drug-safety mission.

References: More FDA Tobacco Traction
Senate panel approves regulation measure; Burr's amendment defeated
, Convenience Store/Petroleum (CSP) Daily News, 5/21/2009; Senate panel backs FDA oversight of cigarettes, Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Reuters, 5/20/2009.


U.S. - PACT Legislation to be considered by House this month..

May 21, 2009 - H.R. 1676, the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (the PACT Act) of 2009, introduced by Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), which was scheduled to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 19th.

This legislation is extremely important, it will effectively end Internet and telephone tobacco smuggling by stopping shipments of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through the U.S. Postal Service. FedEx, UPS, and DHL have already agreed not to mail tobacco.

Philip Morris USA said that it supports this legislation.

The PACT Act includes provisions designed to bring an end to tax-evading sales of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products over the Internet and provides the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives with more resources and tools to accomplish this goal. These include creating six regional contraband cigarette trafficking teams, including one in New York City; a new national Tobacco Intelligence Center to monitor and coordinate illegal cigarette trafficking investigations in the United States; and a computer database that will track and analyze information from remote sellers of tobacco products.

Reference: PM USA Files More Counterfeit Cigarette Sales Suits While Congress hopes to make impact with PACT, Convenience Store/Peroleum (CSP) Daily News, 5/20/2009.

Related news briefs: We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business..; 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...

PM USA found more counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes in the NYC area..

May 21, 2009 - Philip Morris USA (PM USA) continues to pursue counterfeit sellers of the company's Marlboro brand cigarettes in New York. Following last week's filing against Mastic, N.Y.-based Tammy's moke Shop, PM USA filed three lawsuits today, May 20th against seven New York and New Jersey retailers in federal courts: Eastern District of New York (Ashley One Stop Deli, Richmond Hill, N.Y.; 88 Stop & Go Newsstand, Forest Hills, N.Y.; Prospect Park Deli, Brooklyn, N.Y.). Southern District of New York (336 Deli Grocery, New York; Manhattan Tobacco & Grocery, New York). District of New Jersey (Jaritza II Supermarket, Jersey City, N.J.; New York Deli Grocery, Union City, N.J.

Increases in federal, state and local excise taxes have provided new incentives for tax evasion and other criminal activity related to cigarettes. In New Jersey, the average retail price for Marlboro brand cigarettes is $7.25, of which $3.58 is excise taxes (excise taxes include federal FET], state [SET] and, where applicable, locality excise taxes). By comparison, the average retail price for Marlboro brand cigarettes is $9.64 in New York City, of which $5.26 is excise taxes. The counterfeit cigarettes purchased from the retailers above bore no tax stamp or a counterfeit tax stamp. As a result, the applicable excise taxes were not paid.

Reference: PM USA Files More Counterfeit Cigarette Sales Suits While Congress hopes to make impact with PACT, Convenience Store/Peroleum (CSP) Daily News, 5/20/2009.

U.S. Senate Health Committee Adopts Merkley-Brown Amendment on Tobacco Candy..

May 20, 2009 - The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) today approved an amendment from Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio focused on nefarious (wicked in the extreme) new products – tobacco candy. The amendment was approved as part of new landmark legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.

Tobacco candies are smokeless, dissolvable tobacco products. One variety, called “Camel Orbs”, is currently being test-marketing by RJ Reynolds in three cities, including Portland, Oregon, and Columbus, Ohio (also Indianapolis, Indiana. The Orbs come in two flavors - “mellow” and “fresh” – and are sold in containers designed to resemble cell phones. From a distance, the packaging and design of the individual Orbs are virtually indistinguishable from breath mints. Senator Merkley: criticized "dissolvable tobacco," a sweet-tasting melt-in-your-mouth lozenge that contains nicotine [milled tobacco]. A type called Camel "Orbs," sold in packages shaped like cell phones, is being test marketed in his state. Camel Orbs and Camel No. 9's are products of R.J. Reynolds of Winston-Sale, NC.

Senator Sherrod-Brown put up a chart showing the sleek pink-and-black packaging of Camel No. 9's , a cigarette stamped with a pink camel. The cigarette was handed out free at bars around N.C. State University when it was launched two years ago and was advertised in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour.

The Merkley-Brown amendment would require the new Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee to immediately study the public health effects of tobacco candy and report to the Food and Drug Administration on its findings. The Committee’s recommendations will provide the FDA with all the information it needs to act promptly on the question of the public health impact of these tobacco candy products, particularly as those risks pertain to children, and take steps to prevent these products from being widely marketed and sold.

As pointed out by the ranking Republican on the Committee, Wyoming Senator Michael Enzi, we need to fight the issue head on. Ban the use of all flavored dissolvable tobacco products such as the candy flavored tobacco lozenges, flavored tobacco toothpicks and the flavored tobacco filled edible film strips.

Statement of Edward M. Kennedy in support of the FDA regulation of tobacco products..

The HELP Committee is expected to conclude work on the "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act" in the next few days.

Reference: Senate Health Committee Adopts Merkley-Brown Amendment on Tobacco Candy, Jeff Merkley Oregon Senator, 5/19/2009, Burr and Hagan join hands to keep FDA's grip off tobacco by Barbara Barrett, The News &Observer, 5/20/2009.

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North Carolina Governor Purdue signs smoking ban law..

May 20, 2009 - North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signs into law a bill that prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants, at the Old House Chamber in the State Capitol.

The law allows fines of up to $50 for people who smoke after being asked to stop, and up to $200 for managers who've been twice warned to enforce the rules. More than 30 states have passed similar legislation.

But for North Carolina, "a state built initially on the backbone of tobacco," Perdue said, stubbing out the costs associated with secondhand smoke in the workplace overrode its heritage. Secondhand smoke cost North Carolina about $289 million in health costs in 2006, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina estimated this year.

"It's a huge marker in our state," Perdue said before signing the bill before about 200 cheering advocates in the old House Chamber of the antebellum state Capitol. "We will greatly reduce the dangers of secondhand smoke and lower health care costs for families." Carpenter Matt Swean responded with an expletive when hearing that argument.

Even one of the most tobacco-friendly states in the country apparently favors more smoking restrictions. An Elon University poll in March found about two-thirds of North Carolinians backed a ban on indoor public smoking. Eight in 10 said they consider secondhand smoke a threat to their health.

The number of North Carolina residents smoking has slid in recent years to match the national average of about 21 percent in 2007, the last year for which comparable data is available. By comparison, nearly 29 percent of Kentucky residents smoked.

Pub owner Peter Pagano, who bought the business four years ago, said he expects once the law takes effect, he may see alcohol sales decrease initially, but that would be balanced by more patrons willing to eat out again once all restaurants are smoke-free. "I think that will give smokers something of a refuge," said Pagano, 31.

The smoking ban would make the Irish pub a little more authentic since the Republic of Ireland banned smoking in bars in 2004 and Northern Ireland in 2007, said general manager Annie Nice, a native of Northern Ireland. "It'll be nice," she said of the coming ban. "I don't smoke and it would save me some dry cleaning."

Reference: State bans smoking in restaurants, bars by EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press - News & Observer, 5/19/2007.

Related news briefs: North Carolina - legislators approve smoking ban..; 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...

Click on image to enlarge..,STAFF PHOTO BY TED RICHARDSON.


Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..

May 20, 2009 - Cloves would be banned as a cigarette flavoring, along with cherry and chocolate, under tobacco legislation entitled the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is considering. Altria Group Inc., the largest U.S. tobacco company, backs the measure, which would exempt mint- flavored menthol cigarettes such as its Marlboro Smooth or Altria's latest menthol Marlboro Blend No. 54.

Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Indonesia’s ambassador to the U.S., wrote last month to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat: Congress would be “blatantly favoring a domestically produced product over an imported one” if it bans cloves and not menthol, Indonesia vows to take the matter to the World Trade Organization if the proposed ban becomes law.

The dispute may force lawmakers to choose between jeopardizing a $22 billion-a-year trade relationship with Indonesia or rewriting legislation that took years to negotiate among lawmakers, anti-smoking advocates such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Richmond, Virginia-based Altria.

About a fifth of glove exports go to the U.S., and Indonesia says its cigarettes make up 99 percent of the U.S. market for the product. A ban would hurt Indonesian clove farmers and violate WTO rules, said Trade Minister Mari Pangestu. Menthol-flavored products account for about 28 percent of all cigarettes sold in the U.S., compared with 0.09 percent for clove cigarettes, according to the Specialty Tobacco Council Inc., a trade group in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Among its members is PT Djarum, Indonesia’s leading clove-cigarette manufacturer.

Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of clove cigarettes, known as kreteks, exporting about $500 million worth of the product a year, according to the Indonesian ambassador. PT HM Sampoerna, Indonesia's largest cigarette producer, a unit of Philip Morris International Inc., which was spun off from Altria last year.
Kreteks, made from a mixture of cloves, tobacco and other additives, deliver more nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar than conventional cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Clove-flavored products are known as “trainer cigarettes,” and may lead to more tobacco use, a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse found in 2006.

A trade complaint by Indonesia would hinge on whether the U.S. can prove to the WTO that it’s banning clove cigarettes for health reasons and not to protect domestic producers.

Reference: Clove Cigarettes May Prompt U.S., Indonesia Dispute (Update1) by Mark Drajem and Lorraine Woellert,, 5/19/2009.

Related news briefs: Indonesia 'cash cow' for Philip Morris International..; Tobacco industry has long targeted young people as "replacement smokers"; Indonesia - district court dismisses request to ratify FCTC..; Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..; Indonesia - farmers hold rally protest tobacco controls..; Indonesia - tobacco farmers reject Islamic council's edict..; Indonesia - Ulema Council - debate results is split on smoking..; Indonesia - Withdraw Sponsorhip of Another Rock Concert..; Indonesia to increase tax on tobacco products..; Semarang, Indonesia - Cigarette Smoking Areas to be Prepared..; Jakarta, Indonesia - Malls help enforce non-smoking ban..; Indonesia - federal anti-smoking laws in one year - MAYBE..; Indonesia - NGO's (non-government organizations) Demand the Government Ratify WHO's FCTC.; Indonesia to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7% in 2009..; Surabaya, Indonesia - anti-smoking bylaw 10/2009 - FOR REAL??; Indonesians smoking more than ever before..; Indonesia further rise in the excise tax would hurt the cigarette industry..; Alicia Keys - Jakarta Concert (July 31st) tobacco companies forced to withdraw sponsorship.. and Most Indonesians support moves to ban tobacco advertisements...


Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..

May 20, 2009 - Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac Holding may be declared for sale during the current week. The news was announced Tuesday by the Novinar Daily which cites sources from Bulgaria's Privatization Agency.

The Agency is quoted as saying that Bulgartabac Holding would be privatized as a package including its two remaining factories in Sofia and Blagoevgrad, and a smaller plant in the village of Yasen close to Pleven. The way through which the Bulgarian tobacco monopoly will be privatized - through the Bulgarian Stock Exchange or by seeking a strategic investor - is said to become clear by the end of the current week. At the end of 2008, the Bulgarian Parliament voted to cross Bulgartabac out of the list of state-owned companies that cannot be privatized.

In the summer of 2008, Bulgartabac already sold two of its plants - in Plovdiv and in Stara Zagora - through the Stock Exchange.

It is interesting to note that Russia intends to take back a number of companies abroad that were once the property of the former Soviet Union, including Bulgarian cigarette maker Bulgartabac.

Reference: Bulgaria Cigarette-maker Bulgartabac Goes on Sale - Report, Sofia News Agency -, 5/19/2009.

Bulgaria related news briefs:Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..; Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..; EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..; Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke.., PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..; Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..; WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..; WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..; Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...


Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..

May 20, 2009 - The Scottish Tobacco and Primary Services Bill is in trouble because of a lack of consultation and poor research, it has been claimed. The bill aims to abolish cigarette vending machines in Scotland, but it is facing a fierce challenge from the industry, which could end up in the courts.

The National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators (Nacmo) has claimed that it was not consulted before the bill was brought forward. In addition, its representatives have said that the Scottish Government has used incorrect data on the number of vending machines in Scotland and jobs affected.

The Scottish Government regulatory impact assessment claimed only 14 jobs were supported by cigarette machines in Scotland, yet there are actually 45 jobs. And it overestimated the number of vending machines in Scotland, claiming there were 6,522 when in fact there are around 3,500.

The organisation has also attacked the Scottish Government for using English data about underage smokers to back up its arguments, and not collecting Scottish figures.

McGrigors, the legal firm representing Nacmo, has warned that if the measure goes ahead in the bill and is passed by MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) then there would probably be a legal challenge through a judicial review.

Paul Mair, chairman of Nacmo: any decision, even if it was delayed, would lead to the 14 companies operating vending machines in Scotland going bust overnight. "The banks would immediately withdraw their credit and that would be it. These are family companies not big conglomerates." He said that a radio frequency system can be attached to machines that forces purchasers to prove their age."

The Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison, has already had to write to the Health Committee admitting to masking mistakes. Now she has also admitted that the ban on vending machines, one of the headline measures of the bill, will have to be reviewed. "The proposed ban on cigarette vending machines needs to be viewed within the context of the impact the business has on the nation's health," she said.

Reference: Cigarette machines ban may be unlawful by David Maddox, Scottish Political Correspondent, The Scotsman, 5/20/2009.

Related news briefs: Scottish politicans most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..; 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...


Kids apt to smoke if mom did while pregnant..

May 20, 2009 - Work presented May 19th at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference in San Diego. Lead researcher Dr. Roni Grad, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics: "If you are exposed to smoking prenatally or in the early years of life, you are much more likely to be a chronic smoker at the age of 22." Smoking while pregnant "biologically primes" the unborn child to become a regular smoker as a teen and young adult, according to a theory put forth by University of Arizona researchers.

Grad's team used data from the Tucson Children's Respiratory Study to see whether a mother's smoking during pregnancy and during her child's early years affected whether the child smoked later on. The researchers assessed maternal smoking during pregnancy and when infants were 1.5 months and 1.5 years old and again when the children were 6, 9 and 11 years old. They then looked at the children's smoking behavior when they were ages 16 and 22. They found that women who smoked during pregnancy and during their children's early years were more likely to have kids who smoked at age 22. This proved true whether the mother smoked or did not smoke during the child's school years. In fact, these children are four times more likely to become regular smokers. The impact of early maternal smoking was not affected by whether the children's fathers smoked or by peer pressure during adolescence, the study found.

Grad added: "Nobody should smoke. I would definitely discourage any mother from smoking around her child. If children have been exposed in early life to smoke, I would really go the extra mile to try to keep them from experimenting, because they may be at higher risk of becoming nicotine dependent very quickly."

Reference: Scientists believe kids more apt to smoke if mom did while pregnant by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay, USA Today, 5/19/2009.

Related news brief: Poor children are exposed to more secondhand smoke than their wealthier counterparts.; Cigarette Smoking During Pregnancy Alters Maternal and Fetal Thyroid Function..

Altria cites smokeless items as key for business..

May 20, 2009 - Altria Group Inc., the nation's largest tobacco maker, told its shareholders Tuesday, May 19th that recent acquisitions and a focus on the growing area of smokeless products put it in a strong position for long-term growth.

Chief Executive Michael E. Szymanczyk (suh-MAN-sihk) reiterated to shareholders the importance of smokeless products to the company as consumers turn away from cigarettes.

The health concerns and higher prices. The federal excise tax on cigarettes rose to $1 per pack from 39 cents on April 1, a move that should translate directly into fewer cigarettes bought. In an effort to move beyond cigarettes, Altria and other tobacco companies have introduced a number of smokeless products to keep smokers as buyers of other items. They are trying to convert smokers to products such as moist snuff, chewing tobacco and snus - a teabag-like pouches that users stick between their cheek and gum.

The Richmond-based company also is using its market-leading Marlboro brand to expand some of its smokeless offerings. Szymanczyk said its Marlboro Snus product is "off to a good start" in test marketing and the company is optimistic about its growth.

From the archive: Initially, it was felt that just the Marlboro brands would make the smokeless entries successful. This just has not happened. Nik Modi, a UBS tobacco analyst has stated, "The Marlboro brand name is not as transferable as many originally believed." Altria's growth depends on the Marlboro name.. Kessler, CEO UST (now : Clearly Marlboro is a great cigarette brand. That said, history clearly shows that it is difficult to extend brands from one category to another. UST, Inc. NOT Worried About New Moist Snuff Entry - Marlboro. Murray Kessler, former Chief Operating Officer of UST, we are very disappointed in the total performance of whether -- they call it Snus or we call it spit-free. We've been testing this thing now for seven years. The newer entrance [entrees], if you go back, is now, in original markets, is over two years, and it is not gaining the traction, given the level of investment that's been put there. Kessler has stated in the past that "Nine out of 10 smokers that try smokeless still reject the product." (Kessler is now Vice Chair of Altria Group, Inc.)

To add its offerings, Altria completed its $10.4 billion acquisition of smokeless tobacco company UST Inc. in January, giving it market-leading brands such as Skoal and Copenhagen. Earlier, it bought the John Middleton cigar company, maker of the Black & Mild brand.

Altria said it believes volume in the smokeless tobacco industry as a whole grew 6 percent to 7 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, and machine-made large-cigar volume grew 4 percent compared with a year earlier. Where's The Growth in Smokeless Tobacco Products...

The company's profit for 2008 fell 50 percent, reflecting the spinoff of Philip Morris International, which makes Marlboro and other cigarettes for sale overseas, in March 2008. Net income dropped to $4.93 billion, or $2.36 per share, from $9.79 billion, or $4.62 per share. Revenue rose 4 percent to $19.36 billion.

Investors also re-elected nine directors and rejected six shareholder proposals, including ones on say on executive pay and making future or expanded brands non-addictive.

Related shareholders meeting: Altria - proposal defeated to remove nicotine from future tobacco brands...

Select news briefs from archive: C-Store Update - Philip Morris USA to introduce another Marlboro menthol cigarette.. - May 10, 2009;
How's SNUS doing in the U.S. - will Susan Ivey tell us the truth?? April 27, 2009;
U.S. earning for big three cigarettes makers may be down in 1st quarter 2009.. - April 2, 2009;
C-store update: Sales of Copenhagen/Skoal, Conwood's Kodiak, Grizzly... - March 2, 2009;
Altria more layoffs in February 2009.. - February 22, 2009;
C-store update: Philip Morris $1.00 off promotion Skoal and Copenhagen.. - February 7, 2009;
More on Marlboro MST & Marlboro Snus.. - February 2, 2009;
PM USA - discontinues Marlboro Moist Snuff & revamps Marlboro Snus.. - January 29, 2009;
C-store update: Altria to tweak sales of Skoal and Copenhagen/Chewing Tobacco/Free Cans Camel SNUS.. - January 8, 2009;
Altria completes UST acquisition.. - January 7, 2009;
Altria will continue to test Marlboro Smokeless Tobacco Products.. - September 10, 2008;
UST to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Altria.. - September 9, 2008;
Altria being financially disciplined in test marketing their smokeless products.. - August 6, 2008;
Without PMI - Altria's Net Income Drops 58%.. - August 1, 2008;
With slow growth consolidation is predicted in sputtering tobacco industry.. - June 26, 2008;
Altria's Plan for Organic Growth is failing - so-called potentially safer cigarette Marlboro Ultra Smooth removed from U.S. market.. - June 23, 2008;
Altria falling short on growth because of slowness in developing smokeless tobacco products.. - June 12, 2008;
Three of the four largest U.S. cigarette makers are no longer a smart investment.. - May 2, 2008;
Altria's growth depends on the Marlboro name.. - April 13, 2008;
With organic (internal) development in the smokeless tobacco arena failing look for Philip Morris USA to expand through acquisitions.. - February 4, 2008;
Altria confirms commitment to smokeless tobacco market tests.. - January 31, 2008;
With Shrinking America Cigarette Sales Philip Morris USA More Dependent on the Smokeless Tobacco Market.. - January 29, 2008;
Altria completes Middleton acquisition.. - December 12, 2007;Altria - NOT in Any Hurry to Expand Marlboro SNUS Distribution.. - October 18, 2007.

Reference: Altria cites smokeless items as key for business by MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, Associated Press, 5/19/2009.


Ethiopia - Tobacco Enterprise will punish illegal traders..

May 19, 2009 - The National Tobacco Enterprise (NTE) has announced that it will take severe measure against illegal cigarette distributors and traders in the near future.
The enterprise, which has the exclusive right to produce, import and distribute tobacco in Ethiopia said that the illegal trade is affecting its income.

According to studies, only 2.5 per cent of Ethiopians smoke.

When the crack-down starts it will shut superstores, including small shops who sell illegal products. The announcement disclosed that currently the enterprise is preparing for the clamp down in collaboration with stakeholders, like customs, police authorities and regional administrations.

The public relations department of the enterprise said "These products do not meet quality standards and seriously affect the health of the users." According to the assessment of the enterprise, currently three types of illegal Rothman cigarettes are distributed. According to customs, over 40 cigarette brands are imported illegally. These illegal products do not have an expiry date, and also do not state the producer country.

Over the last few years, the enterprise has expanded its market share and introduced a new product, Delight, to the local market. Recently it has been preparing to introduce another new product, Nyala Premium. Wendu Bekele public relation head of NTE, told Capital: "This new product will have high quality, like internationally branded tobaccos. It will enter on the market this Ethiopian budget year." Currently, the demand for Delight cigarettes is increasing, and production has been increased by the enterprise top match.

The enterprise disclosed that in the first quarter of 2009 the company was projected to produce 1456 cartons (each containing 20 packs) of Delight, while it actually produced and distributed 2333 cartons. NTE produces four kinds of tobaccos: Eleni, Gisila, Nyala, and Delight. It imports Rothmans from Kenya and Marlboro from Europe. It also produces candles.

According to the public relation head, his enterprise market coverage is 62 per cent, with the remainder covered by illegal cigarettes. He said that the enterprise coverage will increase when the new product enters the market.
The enterprise has four tobacco farms, 20 hectares in Robe, 1,200 hectares in Blate, 25 hectares in Awassa and 1.5 hectares in Wolyata. The factory is using three types of tobacco plants for its production; virginia, oriental and berle. Aside from its own plantation, the enterprise is also collecting products from other growers. For instance 65 per cent of Virginia and 100 per cent of Oriental type tobaccos are collected from other growers.

Following the Government selling a 22 per cent share of its enterprise to a Yemeni company, Sheba investment and Holding Limited in January 2001 the company recorded a good performance on production and income. While the remaining 78 per cent is still possessed by the Government, there is a plan to transfer it to a private holding.
Last year (2008) the NTE produced tobacco and candles at the total cost of 154 million birr which exceed its projections by 1.2 per cent and was a 7.1 per cent increase from 2007. In the same year (2008), the enterprise sold products that for over 652 million birr, which was 75 million birr (13 per cent) above its projections and amounted to a growth of 17 per cent from the previous year. The enterprise made a 139 million birr profit before tax, but the plan was to make only 123 million birr.
In 2009, NTE is projected to collect 157 million birr profit before tax. (One Ethiopian birr equal 0.09USD.)

Reference: Tobacco enterprise to punish illegal traders State monopoly to introduce Nyala Premium by MulukenYewondwossen, Capital Ethiopia, 5/18/2009; Ethiopia: Tobacco enterprise to punish illegal traders by MulukenYewondwossen, Ethiopia Review, 5/18/2009.


Tobacco Fed Regs is Philip Morris running the show..

May 19, 2009 - After more than half a century of debate and discussion, it is likely that Congress will pass legislation bringing tobacco products under the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA first tried to regulate tobacco in the 1990s, but the industry battled it to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5 to 4 in 2000 that the agency had exceeded its statutory authority. It called on Congress to amend the law.

Senator Edward Kennedy, with a history of working to better the lives of working families, as the primary sponsor of this legislation there is no doubt the "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act" will soon be passed by the senate and signed into law by President Obama.

It hard to believe that with congress controlled by democrats and a democratic president that Philip Morris (PM) had to get directly involved in order for this bill to become law. We know that the legislation that the House approved and the Senate will consider represents the results of negotiations between the tobacco control group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Philip Morris - the biggest player in the tobacco industry. The legislation has worked out so well for PM that the bill has been dubbed by Fortune Magazine the "Altria Earnings Protection Act."

We worry that the legislation has been flawed because the biggest player (with over half of the tobacco market) in the tobacco industry has been directly involved in writing the bill that regulates their industry. Matthew L. Myers the President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has even said, “The election of Barack Obama changes everything.”

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. Mike Szymanczyk now the CEO of Altria, Inc., the parent of PM-USA informed investors that they are directly involved in this legislation (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008) U.S. 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." Senator Enzi went on to say that he wants to see some kind of legislation on tobacco but is opposed to the Kennedy measure. "It makes me leery when a tobacco company is backing this," he said. "Nothing changes in it without Philip Morris's approval."

American Association of Public Health Physicians believe that this bill is so distorted in favor of Altria–Philip Morris that, if passed in its current form, it will do more harm than good in terms of future levels of teen smoking and future rates of tobacco-related illness and death. Stanton A. Glantz, the founder and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, and a professor of cardiology: “Going into partnership with them or cutting deals with them, there’s not a single case anytime anywhere in the world where that’s worked.”

The primary sponsor in the House, Henry Waxman, a leading foe of the tobacco industry, in response to a question about how he could promote a bill that is supported by Philip Morris, Representative Waxman stated: "Philip Morris is supporting it for their own reasons. This is a good bill and a strong bill. I don’t think we’ve made any concessions that we’d want to change." Obviously Waxman has a lot on his plate and hasn't even had the time to read the bill in detail.

Philip Morris which for years disputed research that found smoking was addictive and contributed to many health problems turned a blind eye when health-advocacy non-profit agencies stated that “Philip Morris shows contempt for women and their health by putting a pink gloss on Virginia Slims that causes lung cancer and heart disease, two of the leading killers of women.” In October 2008, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Philip Morris started marketing Virginia Slims with a slender "purse pack" in the same color of soft pink associated with the cancer campaign. Even Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids who partnered with Altria to write the tobacco regulation bill condemned Philip Morris for targeting women and girls.

Many concessions have been granted to get tobacco companies to buy into this legislation weakening the bill even further, e.g., UST Inc. - now owned by Altria, the biggest U.S. maker of smokeless tobacco products and the North American unit of Swedish Match AB which also sells smokeless tobacco announced they would support the bill. The bill was amended to give smokeless companies the ability to give away free samples to adults under limited circumstances which hadn't been allowed in earlier versions of the bill.

Regulation of the tobacco industry is absolutely necessary but we felt with the present political climate it could be done RIGHT with less input from Altria. It is unfortunate that this piece of legislation may be the last for Senator Edward M. Kennedy - a legislator that has done so much to better the lives of the average person.

References: Chances Bright for Legislation Seeking FDA Regulation of Tobacco by Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post, 5/11/2009.

Related news briefs in the archive - do a random search to retrieve those briefs of interest..


San Francisco - smokers may pay for cigarette litter pickup..

May 19, 2009 - In what he casts as an attack on litterbugs and nicotine addiction alike, Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to impose a fee on an age-old inhabitant of city streets: the cigarette butt. The added cost, Mr. Newsom hopes, will also dampen smokers’ urge to light up. “In general, fees help reduce the consumption and use of tobacco,” he said in an interview. “And we think that will have a very beneficial public health component.”

The proposal, to be introduced next month to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, would add 33 cents to the cost of a pack of cigarettes, to offset the estimated $10.7 million the city spends annually removing discarded butts from gutters, drainpipes and sidewalks. 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.. -

Officials here say the municipal fee would be the first in the country to take aim specifically at cigarette butts, particularly filters, which are not biodegradable. But the idea is expected to run into fierce opposition from tobacco companies.

Serena Chen, regional director of policy and tobacco programs for the American Lung Association in California, said litter-mitigation efforts aimed specifically at cigarettes had been proposed in legislatures in a couple of states (though never enacted), but that a city-level approach was new and welcome. “Anytime you raise the price of cigarettes, you discourage new starters,” Ms. Chen said, “and you increase the motivation of people who want to quit.”

San Francisco, California has already proved to be tough on smokers. Last year the city imposed a ban on the sale of tobacco at drugstores, a restriction that is being challenged in state and federal courts.

Reference; Cost of Cigarette Litter May Fall on San Francisco’s Smokers by JESSE McKINLEY, The New York Times, 5/18/2009.

Altria - proposal defeated to remove nicotine from future tobacco brands..

May 19, 2009 - Six stockholder proposals, including one on executive pay and another on removing nicotine from tobacco products, were defeated today at Altria Group Inc.'s annual shareholders' meeting in Richmond.

The proposal to give shareholders more say on executive pay was defeated with 53 percent of votes cast in opposition. The executive pay proposal would have allowed shareholders to vote on an advisory resolution at each annual meeting ratifying the compensation of top executives. Altria shareholders also defeated a proposal to have the company disclose all of its political contributions semi-annually.

Other proposals by tobacco-control activists were voted down by much wider margins, including the move to have the company remove the addictive substance nicotine from any of its future tobacco brands, which 96 percent of the votes cast opposed.

Henrico County-based Altria owns the nation's largest cigarette company, Philip Morris USA, and the country's largest smokeless tobacco maker, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.

About 175 company shareholders attended the annual meeting at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Reference: Anti-nicotine, pay proposals defeated at Altria meeting by JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/19/2009.

England - pregnant women getting paid to stop smoking..

May 19, 2009 - Pregnant women in South Yorkshire in Yorkshire County (this county is among the largest in England and is divided into four parts - North, South, East and West Yorkshire) could be rewarded with shopping vouchers if they quit smoking in a move already under attack by campaigners who say public money should be better spent.

Under the scheme, which is set to be agreed by health bosses today, mothers-to-be in Rotherham (a city in South Yorkshire) would receive High Street vouchers worth up to £40 (61.97USD) if they attend appointments with the health trust's stop smoking service. Vouchers worth a further £20 (31USD) would be given to their husbands or partners if they also quit.

If 100 couples take part in the scheme it would cost NHS Rotherham £6,000 (9,298USD) – far less, health chiefs say, than the cost to the NHS of the long-term problems associated with smoking in pregnancy. In Rotherham, the vouchers would be non-transferable and couldn't be redeemed against cigarettes or alcohol. They would be valid for stores including Mothercare, Early Learning Centre, Boots and Argos .

NHS Rotherham is aiming to reduce smoking in pregnancy rates to 15 per cent by 2010.

The report to go before today's board meeting says: "It has been estimated that interventions to reduce smoking in pregnancy could result in savings to the NHS at a rate of up to £4 (6.20USD) for every £1 (1.55USD) spent on the intervention.

But Susie Squire, campaign manager for the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This is a total waste of taxpayers' money. "Their own health and that of their child should be enough of an incentive for pregnant women to stop smoking, without any voucher system. "We've got to put the responsibility back on the individual and realise that nannying people simply doesn't work."

Similar pilot schemes have also taken place in Telford in Shropshire County and Colchester in Essex County. A pilot project in Brighton in Sussex County included children as young as 10, leading some critics to warn youngsters could be inspired to take up the habit to earn vouchers. Counties in England..

Ten reasons for pregnant women to quit smoking..

Reference: £40 vouchers for mothers-to-be who quit smoking by Jemi Harvey, Yorkshire Post, 5/18/2009.

Related news brief: U.K. women paid for stopping smoking when pregnant..


California Supreme Court rules consumers can file lawsuits against tobacco industry..

May 19, 2009 - Altria Group Inc., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, and other tobacco companies lost a bid to block a group lawsuit claiming that they misled thousands of Californians about the dangers of smoking.

The California Supreme Court decided 4-3 today that consumers can file class-action lawsuits against the tobacco industry and other businesses under a law voters limited in 2004, reversing a trend in the lower courts. The decision, written by Justice Carlos R. Moreno, revived a class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry that lower courts dismissed. The lawsuit charges that the industry lured people into buying cigarettes with deceptive advertising that suggested some brands were safer than others.

The ruling was the state high court’s most significant interpretation of Proposition 64, the 2004 initiative that limited suits under a major consumer law to people who claimed they had lost money or property as a result of a company’s wrongdoing. By interpreting this so-called “standing” requirement flexibly, the court cleared the way for consumer class actions that many lower courts have been throwing out.

The case against the tobacco industry, which lower courts had dismissed, charges the industry with luring people to smoke with deceptive ads about cigarette safety. Brought on behalf of every Californian who saw the ads and purchased cigarettes from 1993 to 2001, the suit could produce a jury award in the billions of dollars, lawyers said.

Reference: Altria Fails to Block California Smokers’ Lawsuit (Update3) by Karen Gullo,, 5/18/2009; California top court revives class action against tobacco industry State Supreme Court's 4-3 decision involving a deceptive advertising case surprises those who thought Prop. 64 had essentially ended consumer lawsuits by Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times, 5/19/2009.


Wisconsin Governor Doyle signs smoking ban..

May 18, 2009 - Governor Jim Doyle signed a smoking ban Monday, making bars, restaurants and other workplaces smoke-free starting next summer, July 5, 2010. "It's time for every person in Wisconsin to breathe freely at restaurants, taverns, and workplaces across the state," Doyle said in a statement. "A smoke-free Wisconsin will save money in health care costs, improve public health and save lives."

A ban has been a top priority of Doyle's, but lawmakers were unable to reach a deal in the last two-year legislative session. The Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a compromise last week that bans smoking in virtually all workplaces but delays the start date until July 5, 2010 - later than Doyle and other supporters wanted.

The bill includes forfeitures of $100 to $250 for violations, but only after a first-time warning is issued. It also bars local governments from regulating outdoor smoking areas.

Indian-run casinos are exempt from the ban because lawmakers do not have the power to fully regulate them under federal law. Also exempt are existing cigar bars and specialty tobacco shops.

Existing local smoking bans - in Madison, Appleton, Eau Claire and 34 other communities - will remain in place until the state ban takes effect.

Reference: Doyle signs smoking ban measure by Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal, 5/18/2009.

Wisconsin related news briefs: Wisconsin - legislature passes smoing ban in restaurants, bars and other businesses..; 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..

Smell associated with being a smoker may have more impact than talking about related-diseases..

May 18, 2009 - A new Australian study (presented on Saturday, May 16th at the Heart Foundation Conference)suggests the stink that envelops a smoker could be used as a potent motivator to quit, even more powerful than gruesome images of tobacco-related disease.

University of Sydney Department of Psychology PhD candidate Emily Kothe brought together 28 current and former smokers to test the effectiveness of the latest anti-smoking advertisements. While the television ads were shown to reduce cravings and inspire a sense of "disgust" and "worry" in current smokers, worryingly they also reported feeling the images did not relate to them. "Many smokers did not feel the advertisements were enough to make them quit," Ms Kothe said.

Ms Kothe said future ad campaigns should highlight consequences of the habit that smokers could immediately relate to. While the latest advertising campaign had proven effective in discouraging people from taking up smoking, the message was often lost on young smokers (aged 18 to 26) taking part in the trials.

Heart Foundation national chief executive Dr Lyn Roberts said the research added weight to calls for a rise in the tobacco tax. Dr. Roberts: "Smoking is the leading single preventable cause of ill-health and death in Australia, claiming more than 15,500 lives per year."

Reference: Bad smell 'may motivate smokers to quit, Australian Associated Press, 5/16/2009.


Denmark - e-cigarettes can not be sold OTC..

May 18, 2009 - The Danish Ministry of Health has banned the sale of electronic cigarettes over the counter, according to an Esmerk Danish News report. This means that in legal terms the cigarettes are now on a par with pharmaceutical products such as nicotine chewing gum.

Nycigaret, which has been discussing the categorization of e-cigarettes with the Danish authorities, was reported to have said it was planning to relocate its operations to Slovenia and sell its products via the Internet to Danish consumers.


Related article; Denmark bans smokeless cigarettes by Luna Finnsson,, 10/21/2009.

Reference: Denmark lumps e-cigarettes with nicotine gum, Tobacco Reporter, 5/15/2009.

Hong Kong - attempt to delay July 1, 2009 smoking ban fails..

May 18, 2009 - Bars, clubs, nightclubs, bathhouses, and massage and mahjong parlors (licensed venue in Hong Kong where people can play mahjong) will be made smoke-free premises when their temporary smoking ban exemption ends July 1, 2009.

League of Social Democrats lawmaker Albert_Chan_Wai-yip, introduced the bill that sought to defer the implementation date of the smoking ban in venues like bars, clubs and mahjong schools (parlors) by two years to July 1, 2011. He said the deferment would help tide those establishments over the current economic downturn.

Legislative Council of Hong Kong president Tsang Yok-sing (Jasper) would not delay the implementation of the bill. In his ruling, Mr Tsang ruled that Mr Chan's bill might not be introduced without the written consent of the chief executive. Mr Chan said yesterday he did not intend to pursue the matter further.

Reference: Attempt to delay smoking ban fails,, 5/12/2009; Attempt to Delay Smoking Ban Fails - Legco President Rules Out Lawmaker’s Bill, Ng Kang-chung, SCMP, Clear The Air Tobacco Blog, 5/12/2009.

Related news briefs: Hong Kong - cigarette smuggling soars after tax increase..; Hong Kong - Tax on cigarettes pushed up by 50 percent..; Honk Kong - smoking increase raise tobacco duties??; Hong Kong - temporary smoking ban exemption ends July 1, 2009..; Hong Kong - after smoking ban cigarette consumption up 14 percent..; Hong Kong - public smoking ban - smoking rooms??; Shanghai Tobacco's Golden Deer Cigarettes - Hong Kong..; More on Philip Morris International of the Future...


C-Store Update: blunts, Columbus c-store customer, Camel SNUS...

May 17, 2009

NOT In Boston..

Click on image to enlarge..

Camel Dissolvables - Comments of a c-store customer Columbus, OH one of the test sites for Camel Dissolvables - A half pamphlet for the Dissolvables that was sitting on the counter right where you pay at the convenience store of a Marathon gas station right down from where I work here in Columbus. It’s so funny that they spend so much time talking about how to open them. If you’ve tried to open them, you know they’re hard to get open and after you’ve used them for a few times, they start jamming and not coming out. (Really poor mechanism on the packaging.) But my 14-year-old son was the one who first got them open for me. So much for child-resistant packaging!

Click on either image to enlarge..

R.J. Reynolds Mailing - Camel SNUS The SNUS Guide to Sweden.. It is interesting to note that Camel SNUS was at first made in Sweden but management moved the manufacture to Winston-Salem, NC. - the location of the corporate headquarters for Reynolds American.

Available on Camel SNUS web site.. R.J. Reynolds - on Camel SNUS web site.. SNUS guide to surviving the downturn - cover..

Philip Morris (PMUSA) field sales force now represents U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands (USSTB) at retail for the purpose of offering and executing the sales program and executing the USSTB Retail Returned Goods Process. Most of the former UST field reps have been removed just like was done with the Black&Mild people. The c-store owner is asked to sign-off on a retail program agreement. The agreement is concerned with placement of product and signs and keeping the shelves well stocked. Remember - the strict rules regarding placement of cigarettes PMUSA set up - the T-set. Altria completes UST acquisition..

Marlboro - old slogan starting to be used more and more again.. old slogan re-surfacing.It seems like PM USA is starting to use an old slogan from the 1970's . Click here for a 1970 image.

PMUSA has big plans to take market share away from competitors once the bill (which they helped write) to have the FDA regulate tobacco is approved. We wonder who has gained more of an advantage - the split off of Philip Morris International from Altria or the passage of the "Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act" or as Fortune magazine describes it the "Altria Earnings Protection Act."

Whatever Happened To The Last Marlboro Man??. A couple months ago the Winston Man, Alan Landers dies of lung cancer..

Previous C-store update..

Turkey - quit smoking photo displayed in İstanbul's Taksim Square..

May 17, 2009 - People who quit smoking (no smoking = sigara icilmez) photo to be displayed in Taksim Square. The Web site (end smoking) has launched a campaign in which photos of people who have quit smoking will be shown in İstanbul's Taksim Square on May 31 in honor of the World Health Organization's (WHO) World No Tobacco Day.

With the motto “Quit, Shoot, Send. Your face will also be shown in Taksim,” the campaign asks people who have quit smoking to submit their photos to the Web site along with stories about how they quit smoking. The photos will be shown to millions on giant screens on May 31.

Speaking on behalf of, Dr. Gündüz Tezmen, head of Doğan Yayın Holding's health group, said he believed the campaign would motivate people who are thinking about quitting but keep putting it off. Stating around 1.3 billion people smoke worldwide, Tezmen added: “It has been proved by scientific research that tobacco, one of the worst addictions of our age, causes damage to every organ in our body and is involved in many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and apoplexy.”

Associate Professor Oğuz Kılınç, an expert on chest disease at İzmir's Dokuz Eylül University, noted that according to the WHO, one person dies every eight seconds due to tobacco-related diseases worldwide and one person starts smoking in the same time period. He also stated that quitting smoking is one of the most crucial steps smokers can take to increase their quality of life and to extend their lifespan.

Reference: People who quit smoking to be displayed in Taksim Square, Todays Zaman, 5/15/2009.

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