President Obama still trying to kick his addiction to tobacco..

June 13, 2009 - Even as he praised Congress' passage of legislation allowing federal regulation of tobacco, President Obama apparently is still trying to kick the habit. Nicotine Addiction..

Asked about it during Friday's daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs didn't get into specifics, but suggested Obama hasn't made a clean break.


Here's a compilation of the Q&As, scattered throughout the briefing:

Q: I'm wondering if smoking continues to be a struggle for the president.

GIBBS: I think the president would likely tell you, as I think many, anybody would that has, that has smoked or been addicted to smoking that it is a — it is a lifelong struggle.

Q: Is it a daily struggle for him?

GIBBS: Well, I — since days are comprised within your lifetime, I would — I think that's covered.

Q: Do you know, does President Obama still sometimes smoke?

GIBBS: I, I, again, I would simply tell you, I think it's a, struggling with a nicotine addiction is something that happens every day.

Q: One more on smoking. During the campaign, the then-Senator Obama chewed Nicorette with some regularity. Is he still doing that?

GIBBS: I saw him chewing gum earlier today. I don't know whether, I didn't ask him...

Reference: Obama and kicking the habit, The News and Observer, 6/13/2009.

Click on image to enlarge..

Greece - ban on smoking in workplace starts July 1, 2009..

June 12, 2009 - Athens - The days of cigarette friendly Greece are about to go up in smoke as the government announced a ban against smoking in the workplace to take effect starting July 1, 2009. The new law will have a heavy impact on a nation where nearly 45 per cent of the adult population smokes, and where smoking in offices and cafes is seen as a traditional pastime. We wonder about enforcement.. -

Greece, one of Europe's heaviest smoking nations, had initially allowed for designated smoking rooms to be set aside in state and private businesses under the new law, but the minister of health ruled that option out on Thursday.

"As of July 1 no smoking will be allowed anywhere in the workplace," said Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. He said the government will only pass a partial ban for restaurants and bars, saying smaller establishments will become strictly non-smoking but larger businesses were allowed to designate smoking and non-smoking areas.

Under the new law, smoking will be banned in other public places such as schools, universities, state offices, hospitals and on all forms of public transport.

The Health Ministry said the new law is aimed at saving the lives of an estimated 20,000 people who die of smoking-related diseases every year, adding that the habit costs the state more than 2 billion euros a year.

The imminent ban on smoking appears to have given some people the incentive to kick the habit, as some hospital clinics that help people quit are reporting waiting lists of up to three months.

According to a newspaper published in the Greek daily Kathimerini, hospital clinics indicated there was a rush of people wanting to quit. The University Hospital of Larissa, in central Greece, said it had no appointments available until after the end of September while at Evangelismos Hospital in central Athens, appointments were available after August. Officials said that there are less than 40 clinics across Greece that help people kick the smoking habit and that number will have to increase to satisfy demand.

Reference: Cigarette loving Greeks banned from smoking in the workplace, Author : DPA , EarthTimes, 6/11/2009.

Related news briefs: Greece starts anti-smoking campaign..; Greece May Have the Highest Cigarette Consumption Per Person in the World...
(Hellenic Republic)


U.S. House of Representatives passes Senate version of FDA tobacco regulation bill..

June 12, 2009 - The House of Representatives, which first passed a similar FDA bill in April, voted 307-97 to endorse the version (that includes Merkley-Brown Amendment..) passed 79-17 by the Senate on Thursday, 6/11.

Congress on Friday sent to the White House legislation that gives the federal government vast new powers to regulate and restrict cigarettes, the single largest cause of preventable death. President Barack Obama hailed the moment, saying it "truly defines changes in Washington."

S. 982—The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act..

The measure, more than a decade in the making, for the first time gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to examine what goes into tobacco products, ban those ingredients deemed dangerous to health and limit marketing and sales. Fierce opposition by the industry and tobacco-state lawmakers had prevented passage for years, along with veto threats by the George W. Bush White House. In the end, the nation's biggest tobacco company supported the measure, though rivals suggested that was because it could lock in Philip Morris' share of the market.

The legislation, one of the most dramatic anti-smoking initiatives since the surgeon general's report, would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the content, marketing and advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Reference: House Passes Tobacco Bill, Headed To Obama
Landmark Bill Gives FDA Authority To Regular Cigarettes
, CBS News, 6/12/2009.

Click on image to enlarge..

In Process: Children’s Tobacco Exposure Causes Premature Emphysema..

June 12, 2009 - To determine whether chronic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in childhood could lead to the development of early emphysema, the Dr. Gina Lovasi and colleagues analyzed 1,781 adults who had never smoked from Multi-Ethnic Study of Artherosclerosis (MESA). The CT images showed that some of the areas of lungs had indications of early emphysema: large contiguous areas of air-like density (”holes”, in contrast to lung tissue, which is more dense than air) or the total percentage of lung volume with air-like density.

Researchers have warned that constant exposure to tobacco smoke puts children at a higher risk of developing early emphysema later in life. Lovasi: “Emphysematous ‘holes’ in the lung that begin as small areas of damage or impaired development may expand according to a fractal trajectory after an earlier insult.”

“We hypothesized that environmental tobacco smoke in childhood may be one such early insult, associated with signs of early emphysema detectable on computed tomography (CT) scan in adulthood and perhaps lower lung function detectable by spirometry,” Lovasi added.

“The take-home message from our analysis is that exposure to tobacco smoke during childhood may be associated with detectable differences in lung structure, and perhaps early emphysema, later in life among people who do not themselves smoke,” said Lovasi. “These findings might also help researchers to understand how lung damage develops,” Lovasi added.

The data were presented on Tuesday, May 19, at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.

Reference: Early Exposure To Tobacco Smoke May Lead To Early Emphysema Later, ScienceDaily, 5/22/2009.

Related news brief: Among children with asthma, exposure to ETS is related to increased child behavior problems among boys..; Asthmatic kids breathe easier with smoke-free air..;


Indiana - fire-safe cigarettes - July 1, 2009..

June 12, 2009 - A new Indiana law taking effect July 1 will require all cigarettes sold in Indiana to burn out more quickly when left unattended in an effort to reduce the number of smoking-related fires. The new design forces a smoker to inhale to get the flame through two strips of paper incorporated into the cigarette. If left unattended, the cigarette will go out.

Jess Brewer of Lafayette, who recently traveled to Kentucky, where the new law was implemented in April 2008, finds the new cigarettes harder to smoke. "Since coming back from Kentucky about a week ago, I've been coughing constantly and having chest pains because you have to inhale harder on the new cigarettes," she said. "... What's the point of making safer cigarettes if they lead to negative health effects?"

The fire-safe packs sell for the same price as traditional cigarettes, Parish said. The new law, passed in 2008, doesn't apply to cigarettes that consumers roll themselves.

Indiana had 138 smoking-related fires last year, leading to four deaths, 11 injuries and $3.4 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Cigarette-ignited fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States, killing 700 to 900 people annually, the National Fire Protection Agency reports.

Lafayette fire prevention Chief Ron Ritchey said the new cigarettes will help prevent fires. "There are a multitude of factors that cut down on cigarette house fires, like flame-resistant mattresses. We're getting smarter about this problem and tackling it from all angles," he said.

Brandon Grimes of Lafayette said he thinks the mandate will have a bigger effect on the number of smokers when compared to the number of house fires. "If it causes too much of a hassle, it could lead to less smokers in the long run," he said. "If it increases the overall health of people, then it could be a change for the better. It might make it easier for me to quit."

Lives could be lost - Philip Morris refuses to set date to convert to fire-safe cigarettes..

Reference: Fire-safe cigarette law takes effect July 1,
Associated Press Information from: Journal and Courier,, 6/11/2009.

Some related news briefs: Lives could be lost - Philip Morris refuses to set date to convert to fire-safe cigarettes..;; Australia - Victoria fires - arson thrown cigarette butt..; U.S.A. Fire-Safe Cigarettes for All 50 States - NOW..; USA States Self-extinguishing Cigarettes Becoming the Norm..; Dummies - Citizens Against Fire Safe Cigarettes..; Cigarettes “fire safe” in Minnesota as of December 1, 2008..; Fire - Safe Cigarettes for all 50 states - NOW.. and Switzerland could join EU requiring sale of only self-extinguishing cigarettes..

News on fire-safe cigarettes..

Nicotine induces prediabetes, likely contributes to high prevalence of heart disease in smokers..

June 12, 2009 - Researchers at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA and Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA have discovered a reason why smoking greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Nicotine promotes insulin resistance, also called prediabetes, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, according to the new study, which was presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, the study authors were able to partially reverse this harmful effect of nicotine in mice by treating them with the nicotine antagonist mecamylamine, a drug that blunts the action of nicotine.

Their results may explain why cigarette smokers have a high cardiovascular death rate, even though "smoking causes weight loss, which should protect against heart disease," said the study's lead author, Theodore Friedman, MD, PhD, chief of the endocrinology division at Charles Drew University.

Prediabetes and diabetes are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Past studies show that cigarette smokers tend to be insulin resistant, meaning that their hormone insulin does not work properly. To compensate, their blood glucose (sugar) levels become higher than normal but not yet high enough for diabetes. Smokers also have higher rates of diabetes, but it is not clear whether smoking is the cause, because they could have other risk factors, Friedman explained.

Some studies demonstrate that nicotine and cigarette smoking induce high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. "As cortisol excess is known to induce insulin resistance, it has been suggested that glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, are the missing [causative] link between cigarette smoking and insulin resistance," Friedman said.

The new study results suggest this theory is correct, he said. The researchers studied the effects, on 24 adult mice, of twice-daily injections of nicotine for 2 weeks. The mice ate less food than control mice that received injections without nicotine, and they also lost weight and had less fat. Despite this, the mice receiving nicotine developed prediabetes (insulin resistance), which subsequent mecamylamine treatment improved somewhat. These mice also had high cortisol levels in their blood and tissues, and mecamylamine blocked this effect.

"Our results suggest that reducing tissue glucocorticoid levels or decreasing insulin resistance may reduce the heart disease seen in smokers," Friedman said. "We anticipate that in the future there will be drugs to specifically block the effect of nicotine on glucocorticoids and insulin resistance."

Currently available nicotine antagonists are not specific enough to completely block nicotine's effects or they have bothersome side effects, so better drugs are needed for this purpose, he said.

Reference: Nicotine induces prediabetes, likely contributes to high prevalence of heart disease in smokers, EurekAlert, 6/11/2009.

A few related news brief: Nicotine has a negative impact on the developing adolescent brain..; Prolonged effect of nicotine as a result of binding with melanin..; Addicted to Nicotine - You're Sick and Need Medical Help...

Click on image to enlarge.., Health Promotion Board - Singapore..


June 11, 2009

Children increasingly targeted by cigarette industry

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 06/08/2009 11:10 AM | National

Children and teenagers are prone to be the main target of the cigarette industry, medical doctors, professors, and activists said Saturday.

Speaking in a discussion on the need for picture warnings on cigarette packs, they agreed that as the third biggest consumer of cigarettes in the world (according to the World Health Organization 2008 data), Indonesia needed to more intensely protect children and adolescents.

They strongly proposed warnings in the packages had to include images of the dangers of smoking and its effects, such as lung cancer, mouth cancer and strokes.

The speakers said pictures would be more effective than words.

"The cigarette industry targets children and adolescents, for they are future smokers," said M. Joni, deputy head of the National Commission on Child Protection.

According to the Central Statistical Agency, a high incidence of smoking is found in children between 15 and 19 years old, with an increase of 12.9 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2004.

"Just look at cigarette advertisements, they never use old people, they use young, healthy teen idols," Joni said in the discussion, which was held by the Tobacco Control Support Center (TCSC) in cooperation with the Indonesian Association of Public Health Experts.

Lung cancer patients are also getting younger, from an average of 19 years old in 1995 to 17 in 2004, according to the TCSC.

Farid Anfasa Moeloek, head of the National Commission on Tobacco Control, said two important things in controlling cigarettes were the government's political will and regulations that really protected the public, especially on cigarette distribution, cigarette advertisements, and the distribution of information on the dangers of nicotine.

Indonesia is the only Asian country that has not ratified the FCTC - the WHO's Framework Convention for Tobacco Control.

Although Indonesia had contributed to the drafting of the FCTC in Geneva, the government has yet to ratify the convention.

The clauses brought by Indonesia and used in FCTC included protection for children under 20 years old, increasing tax from 70 to 80 percent, advertising regulations and health warnings.

Farid said the increased tax could be used for public health programs.

"With the current 37 percent tax, the government can have about Rp 54 trillion. This should be used to address smokers' health problems."

"If cigarette taxes are increased, more funds would be available to provide public health insurance.

"And it's not the industry who will pay for it. It would come from the public, in form of higher prices of cigarettes." (iwp)

References: Children increasingly targeted by cigarette industry, The Jakarta Post, 6/8/2009; Tobacco Seducing More Young People, Jakarta Globe, 5/29/2009.

Turkey - national smoking ban starts July 19, 2009..

June 11, 2009 - ISTANBUL - Ahead of the national smoking ban due to be put in place July 19, Health Minister Recep Akdağ has announced that ministry mangers who smoke either need to quit or give up their positions of authority.

Smoking will be banned in cafes, restaurants and other enclosed public places across Turkey in just over one month’s time. In preparation for the ban’s adoption, the Health Ministry has launched various projects around the country to raise awareness about the health risks of smoking and promote strategies for quitting before the ban.

Following a recent project in İzmir, where representatives from the ministry educated 300 people in 30 districts over three days about smoking, Dr. Oğuz Kılınç read a message from Akdağ saying the health minister was insistent that managers working in health services set an example and quit smoking ahead of the ban. "We are extremely happy with this decision by the Health Ministry and it has made us more enthusiastic to work for this cause," Kılinç said.

An expert on management law, Professor Ülkü Azrak said such an order could not be made. "If you ask me, this is a very strange decision and such a decision will not be passed by law. I therefore believe this is a wrong decision proposed by the Health Ministry," Azrak said, adding people cannot be stopped from smoking in designated areas.

Reference: Health minister tells staff to quit or leave, Hurriyet Daily News, 6/11/2009.

Related news briefs: Turkey - quit smoking photo displayed in İstanbul's Taksim Square..; Turkey - data on tobacco usage - Turkish Statistics Institution..; Turkey - smoking ban in all bars, restaurants and coffeehouses starting July 19, 2009..; Smoking ban in Turkey lowers cigarette consumption..; Turkey's ban on pubic smoking goes into effect on Monday, May 19, 2008..; British American Tobacco (BAT) reported group volume sales up for first quarter 2008..; More on the quick fix for outdoor smokers..; BAT to Acquire Most of Denmark's ST..; More on Philip Morris International of the Future..; WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008...

San Francisco - fight about selling tobacco products in drugstores has flared up..

June 11, 2009 - The City passed a law in 2008 that banned drugstores such as Walgreens and Rite-Aid from selling tobacco products. The company sued, but in a judge denied the lawsuit, leading to an appeal.

“Basically the way the ordinance is written now, big-box stores and supermarkets that operate pharmacies can still sell cigarettes, and that’s not fair because it singles us out,” Walgreen Co. spokesman Robert Elfinger said. The City fired back Wednesday, June 10th with a 39-page brief. “Consumers reasonably expect drugstores to serve their health needs, not to enable their deadliest habits,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

Reference: City responds to Walgreens suit over tobacco sales by Brent Begin, San Francisco Examiner Staff Writer, 6/10/2009.

Related news briefs: San Francisco - Judge threw out a Walgreens attempt to stop the ban of tobacco sales in pharmacies..; Philip Morris appeals tobacco ban at San Francisco pharmacies; Federal Judge Denies Bid To Stop San Francisco Pharmacy Tobacco Ban..; Philip Morris USA request stop in San Francisco's ban on tobacco sales by pharmacies..; San Francisco - cigarette sales rise sharply in c-stores..; San Francisco files brief to oppose bid by PM USA to block the banning of tobacco sales in pharmacies..; Philip Morris challenges San Francisco pharmacy tobacco ban..; Walgreen: San Francisco’s Tobacco Ban Is Unfair..; San Francisco - All Tobacco Products Banned in All Pharmacies..; San Francisco critical vote - bar tobacco sales pharmacies.. and SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought...


U.S. Senate passes bill giving FDA tobacco authority..

June 11, 2008 - approximately 3pm EDT The U.S. Senate on Thursday, June 11th backed a plan giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration power to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products, allowing the agency to curb advertisements, require stronger package warnings and inspect manufacturers.

Supporters said the bill, which passed in a bipartisan 79-17 vote, would help rein in the tobacco industry and curb smoking, especially among teenagers and children. The only Democrat voting against the bill was Senator Kay Hagen of North Carolina, said Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).

S. 982—The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act..

A similar measure has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier on Thursday she wanted to look closely at the Senate's bill. "But from what I have seen so far, I believe it will be possible for us to accept their bill and send it right on to the president."

President Barack Obama, who has discussed his own struggles to quit smoking, is expected to sign the bill into law.

Under the Senate plan, industry user fees would fund a new FDA tobacco division to inspect manufacturers as well as set certain cigarette standards. The bill also restricts vending machine sales and curbs advertising targeting youth.

Comments from some senators that sponsored the legislation.

Reference: U.S. Senate passes bill giving FDA tobacco authority reporting by Susan Heavey and Richard Cowan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Reuters, 6/11/2009.

New Zealand - BAT reducing prices discouraging people from quitting..

June 11, 2008 - Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) director Ben Youdan: Cigarette companies are using "loopholes" in legislation to cut prices and reverse smokers' quit rates, anti-smoking groups say. The recent lowering of the price of some brands at the bottom end of the tobacco market was an "underhand and cynical attempt to discourage people from quitting smoking".

Just recently the New Zealand government announced it was reviewing the $37 million it spends on stop smoking campaigns because they don’t seem to be working.

While it was illegal for individual retailers to discount cigarettes, supply companies can make country-wide price adjustments.

Tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT said its national price cut was in response to similar moves by competitors. BAT's Pall Mall and Freedom cigarette prices have been lowered by about 50c a packet, with Freedom's "limited edition" packet selling for $1.10 less.

A recorded message on the BAT phone number said the price of cigarettes was about 66 per cent tax. Fifty cents out of the remaining 34 percent meant the company was taking about a 15 percent drop in its returns.

BAT head of corporate and regulatory affairs Susan Jones said the price moves were in response to cuts by competitors like Imperial Tobacco's Horizon and John Brandon brands. BAT has 76 per cent of the New Zealand market and owns six of the top 10 brands, including the country's top two brands, Horizon and Benson and Hedges. Pall Mall is the country's fifth-best seller. Jones said Pall Mall and Freedom were "value" brands, but their prices were "still terrifically high and still very highly taxed".

Youdan said companies blaming each other for the price drop was beside the point one of them had started the move and the outcome was that both had lower prices that removed the incentive for smokers to quit. Youdan said New Zealand had good quit rates. "The best thing to decrease smoking is to raise the price," he said. "They are using loopholes in the Smoke-free Environments Act. They (retailers) are forbidden to offer them at a reduced rate other than 'normal trade discounts'." A complaint had been laid with the Ministry of Health, Youdan said.

Every 10 per cent increase in the price of cigarettes reduced youth smoking by seven per cent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. -

Reference: Ash attacks firms over cheaper cigarettes by IAN STEWARD, The Press -, 6/10/2009.

Related news briefs: New Zealand - stop smoking campaigns NOT working..; BAT awarded worst corporation in New Zealand..; New Zealand - government may NOT support tobacco display bans..; New Zealand More Evidence Needed to Ban Tobacco and Cigarette Displays..; More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..; Horror photos go on New Zealand cigarette packs..; Country to Eliminate Smoking - The South Pacific nation of Niue; Ireland to ban tobacco displays..; Smokefree NZ within 10 years..; By law, oral snuff cannot (but nasal snuff is allowed) be sold in New Zealand and can be imported only for personal use..


Eagle - 1st city in Idaho to ban smoking..

June 11, 2009 - The Eagle City Council approved a ban on smoking in public places including restaurants, bars and workplaces. This new ordinance makes Eagle the first city in Idaho to ban smoking, and goes beyond state law which does not ban smoking in bars. Smokers could still light up at private residences. On July 1, 2004, Idaho passed legislation that ensures smokefree restaurants.

The vote for the ban was three to two in favor. Eagle mayor Phil Bandy cast the deciding vote. “My position is that any that a perspective employee of any place of work shouldn't have to worry about whether or not they're going to go into a place and be subjected to direct or second hand smoke,” Bandy said. “That shouldn't even come into the equation."

It's unclear when this ordinance will take effect.

Violators will receive a written warning for the first offense. The fine is $25 for the second offense, and $50 for the third. Business owners or managers who don't abide by the smoking ban may be fined up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $500 for the third. In some cases, the city may revoke or suspend a business license.

Smokefree Idaho is working with Meridian, Boise and other Ada County cities to pass similar bans. Several Boise bar owners say they fear losing business if a ban passes.
At least 331 communities, none in Idaho, along with 18 states have smoke-free policies that include bars.

Effective the Fall 2009 the smoking ban at Boise State University will take effect. It will be enforced not by a citation process, but by a strategically placed signage and a hope that students and community members respect the rule and regulation of the university. Currently in Idaho, both the College of Southern Idaho and Brigham Young University (BYU) are smoke-free campuses.

Reference" Eagle first Idaho town to ban all public smoking, - Idaho News Now, 6/10/2009.

New York City - can't sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes..

June 11, 2009 - New York’s top court says New York (NY) City lacks legal standing to sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes under state business laws. The Court of Appeals says the city and state now charge $4.25 per pack in excise taxes, which are owed by purchasers in New York.

The city argued some online retailers misrepresent their cigarettes as “tax free” and claim that they don’t have to file state sales reports identifying buyers, which is required by federal law.

Passage of the PACT Act (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act legislation) of 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. The House of Representatives passed this bill (H.R. 1676) on May 21, 2009. This bill (S.1147) was introduced in the Senate on May 21st. The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee, the primary sponsor is Senator Herb Kohl.

Reference: NYC suit claiming Internet cigarette taxes fails, Business Week/Associated Press, 6/9/2009.

Related news briefs: NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..; Collect Tax on Phone and Online Tobacco Sales, More Money for State Health Care Programs..

Senate Bill S.982 - Final Vote Today - "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.. "

June 11, 2009 - The U.S. Senate voted 67-30 today to limit debate on the bill, and Democrats say they have enough votes to win final passage. But a final vote is not expected until Thursday, June 11th. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who is pushing Kennedy's priorities while the senator undergoes treatment, told Bloomberg News.

The House passed a very similar bill earlier this year (H.R.1256) and resolution of the minor differences would send the bill to President Obama, who supports it. The House version, e.g., must add the Merkley-Brown Amendment on Tobacco Candy... Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR): "Tobacco candies (R.J. Reynolds Camel Dissolvables) clearly designed to appeal to children through both packaging and taste. This is not a safe product. This is not safe tobacco. It is a product that, like cigarettes, causes cancer and kills."

A major hurdle to passage was cleared away Tuesday, June 9th when the Senate rejected a competing bill from the two senators from North Carolina, the nation's biggest tobacco producer.

S. 982—The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act..

Reference: Senate nears passage of bill allowing FDA's tobacco rules, The Boston Globe, 6/11/2009.

Continues to Lead Fight to Protect the People.. - click to enlarge..

Statement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act on the vote to Invoke Cloture..


Fitch Ratings - FDA oversight to favor big established brands..

June 10, 2009 - Fitch Ratings, an international credit rating agency, on Wednesday, June 10th said legislation pending in the U.S. Senate that will place regulation of the tobacco industry in the hands of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will likely benefit the big established brands.

Compliance costs will hurt smaller players, while planned changes to tobacco advertising will cement the market position of bigger companies, the agency said in a statement. "Looking further ahead as more restrictive advertising limits are imposed on all tobacco products, not just cigarettes, the brands with larger market share will maintain those shares," it said.

The Senate bill passed a procedural vote on Wednesday clearing the way for final passage. A final vote could come as soon as Thursday. The Senators will than have to work out differences with a similar bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives before forwarding it to President Barack Obama for signature.

The new legislation may speed up the launch of lower-risk tobacco products, although these will face resistance from existing smokers, said the agency. Companies will also find it hard to market reduced-risk tobacco products as current advertising and sale restrictions will remain in place and may even be expanded by the FDA.

Still, "creating a regulatory framework particularly for the introduction of new products may revitalize the U.S. tobacco industry, where the consumption of its primary product, cigarettes, has been declining for over a decade," said analyst and senior director Wesley Moultrie.

If companies succeed in bringing modified products to the marketplace, "sizeable shifts in the tobacco industry are possible," he said. For more, see [ID:nWNA6398]. (Reporting by Ciara Linnane; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

Reference: FDA oversight of tobacco to benefit big brands-Fitch, Reuters, 6/10/2009.

Related Fitch Ratings: Fitch Ratings - U.S. cigarette sales volume declines..; Tobacco Industry - Consequences of the SCHIP Federal Excise Tax Increases..; Fitch 2009 U.S. Tobacco Outlook...


India - NO graphic pictorial warnings yet. ...

June 10, 2009 - New Delhi: Graphic pictorial warnings like a cancer-disfigured face or diseased lungs - to highlight the hazards of tobacco intake - were supposed to have hit the market May 31, 2009. But they are nowhere in sight and the tobacco industry says it will take more time.

"Given the fact that the various trade channels hold fairly large quantities of inventory, it will take some time for stocks with the new health warnings to be available in the marketplace," Udayan Lall, director of the Tobacco Institute of India (TII), told IANS. The TII is an organization representing farmers, exporters, manufacturers and ancillaries of the cigarette segments of the tobacco industry.

Tobacco products with gory pictures were expected over 10 days ago - the skull and crossbones warning being optional for cigarette packs. Tobacco vendors in the country say they are left with no choice but to sell the old stock.

The delay in the health warnings reaching the market has been strongly criticized by NGOs (non-government organizationa) and health professionals. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

India records about 800,000 tobacco deaths every year or 2,200 deaths a day.

Sunita Gupta, convenor, Indian Cancer Society: "Display of pictorial warnings on tobacco products is one of the most proven ways to reduce tobacco consumption. It is a matter of great disappointment that after so much struggle, the pictorial warnings on tobacco products are still not there."

Stating the example of Thailand and other countries that have long implemented the warnings, Bhavna Mukhopadhyay of the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) said: "Over a period of time, we have seen a decrease in the sale of cigarettes in countries that have long implemented this rule. No change is seen overnight. Wait and watch, things will change."

However, cigarette vendors believe that their sales will not see a dip following health warnings. "If a person wants to consume poison on his own then no one can stop him. I don't think there will be any change in the sales of tobacco," said Kaushik T., a cigarette vendor at R.K. Puram.

Flouting the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packing and Labeling) Rules 2008 would attract fines up to Rs.5,000 with or without two years of imprisonment for the manufacturer. The dealer or seller can be fined up to Rs.1,000 with or without a year's imprisonment. On subsequent offences, the fine would be Rs.10,000 for the manufacturer and he could be jailed for five years. The fine would be Rs.3,000 for the seller and he may be jailed for two years.

Reference: Pictorial warnings on tobacco still not in sight, Source: IANS,, 6/10/2009.

Related news briefs: India - Still no pictorial warnings on cigarette packs..; India - pictorial warning on cigarettes and tobacco products effective May 31, 2009..; India - pictorial warning on cigarettes and tobacco products will be implemented from May 31 - no doubts about it..; India - will pictorial or graphic health warnings be implemented from May 30, 2009..; India - placing pictorial warnings on tobacco products delayed again..

Ireland - to amend tobacco legislation to to include pictorail warnings..

June 10, 2009 - As the theme of this year’s global No Tobacco Day without just cause. Starting on May 31st, global No Tobacco Day - WHO began a major information and lobbying campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of cigarette advertising. It also emphasized the effectiveness of placing pictorial images directly on cigarette packaging in dissuading people from starting smoking and providing an unambiguous depiction of the consequences of smoking for those who already smoke.

Proposals have already been submitted to Irish Government to amend the existing tobacco legislation, and one of these amendments will allow the Minister for Health to introduce combined text and photo warnings on tobacco products. It is anticipated that this will be enacted before the Dáil summer recess.

Popular wisdom would dictate that people are free to choose whether to smoke and graphic images would be unlikely to affect their knowledge of, or inclination to buy, cigarettes.

However, a four-country survey conducted by Dr David Hammond for peer-reviewed journal Tobacco Control determined that smokers who live in countries which have government-mandated health warnings are far more likely to have knowledge of the negative effects of tobacco consumption.

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

It is estimated that close to 7,000 people die each year in Ireland from smoking-related illnesses, and tobacco has been identified by the WHO as the leading cause of death and disability in the world.

According to the Department of Health commissioned Survey of Lifestyles, Attitude and Nutrition (Slán), rates of smoking among the Irish populace have declined over the period 1998-2007 from 33 per cent to 29 per cent.

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

Reference: Graphics smoke out the habit..,, 6/9/2009.

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

Click on image to enlarge..

Louisiana - further restrictions on smoking ban snuffed out..

June 10, 2009 - Efforts to further restrict smoking in public venues appear dead for the 2009 regular legislative session.

The death knell came as the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee voted overwhelmingly against state Senate-passed legislation even after being “watered-down.” Senate Bill 186 would have banned smoking in all Louisiana bars, casinos and other gambling establishments. That was the version the Senate passed May 28 on a 22-10 vote.

The House rejected on June 2 a similar measure that would have banned smoking in bars and casinos on a 29 for to 71 against vote. Rep. Rob Marionneaux proposed a compromise that would have banned smoking only at bars that sell food. Lobbyists for casino and other gambling interests continued to oppose the legislation even after their businesses were exempted from the proposed ban.

The House panel approved Marionneaux’s amendment on a 10-5 vote. But later, the panel rejected the amended bill with six committee members voting for it and 11 voting against it.

Reference: Smoking ban snuffed out in committee by MARSHA SHULER, Advocate Capitol News Bureau, 6/10/2009.

Related news brief: Louisiana - increase in tobacco tax probably doomed..; Louisiana - will smoking ban be expanded...


Senate Bill for FDA tobacco regulation may pass today. .

June 10, 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).

For Ted Kennedy's sake alone let's hope this is a good piece of legislation that will protect our children for years to come from the ravages of nicotine addiction. Citi bank tells shareholders that if the FDA begins to regulate the tobacco industry, it would make little difference; many concessions have been granted to get tobacco companies to buy into this legislation weakening the bill even further.

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, a physician has suggested banning tobacco outright rather than the Senate passing the Family Smoking Prevention Tobacco Control Act. - that authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK)..

Senator Coburn during floor debate: “If we really want to make a difference in health and we want to eliminate dependence on tobacco, what we have to do is to stop the addiction.”

Senator Richard Burr points out there is no healthy way to use tobacco.

Mike Leavitt, Health and Human Services Secretary in the Bush Administration: "Unlike the medical products FDA regulates, tobacco products cannot be made safe, and there is no medically established public health benefit associated with tobacco."

Some critics say the bill, largely the product of years of negotiation between cigarette giant Philip Morris and the advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, does not go far enough. We find that Mike DeWine, the former Ohio senator helped arrange a series of negotiations between Philip Morris and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "This is a big gift to Philip Morris and a big scam," said Joel L. Nitzkin, chairman of the tobacco-control task force of the American Association of Public Health Physicians. "Our initial impression was, 'Gee, this would be great.' But when we read through the entire 160 pages, we were horrified by what we saw." (U.S. House considers legislation for FDA to regulate tobacco..)

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. It's been stated that Philip Morris's conversion to support some form of FDA regulation was key to the bill's passage. But is this true at present with the Democrats the solid majority in both houses of Congress and a Democratic president supporting tobacco regulation. Matthew L. Myers the President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has even said, “The election of Barack Obama changes everything.” Revise Senate's Version FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill..

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." U.S. Senator 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." ENZI: SCIENCE, NOT POLITICS, SHOULD DRIVE TOBACCO REGULATION, Enzi: Peace Treaty with Philip Morris No Way to Win War on Tobacco.

Reference: Long Fight Over Tobacco Regulation in Last Round by Alicia Mundy, The Wall Street Journal, 6/10/2009.

Paper: U.S. - FDA tobacco regulation or a lock in Altria's dominant position in the market.., Samuel Garten, Ph.D., M.S., M.S. and R. Victor Falkner, M.A., M.S., M.A.L.S.

Archive of Some Supporting Documentation: U.S. House committee approves FDA tobacco regulation bill..; U.S. House considers legislation for FDA to regulate tobacco..; FDA regulation the other shoe to drop..; U.S. House committee approves FDA tobacco regulation bill..; U.S. House considers legislation for FDA to regulate tobacco..; U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce - legislation to regulate tobacco..; Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids - Need for FDA Regulation of Tobacco..; February 2009 - legislation FDA to regulate tobacco..; FDA Regulation Likely for Tobacco - Let's Do It RIGHT..; President--Elect Barack Obama and Tobacco..; Revise Senate's Version FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill..; FDA tobacco regulation - bill distorted in current form..; AWMA urges grassroots effort to defeat FDA tobacco regulation and SCHIP.."; More - Lorillard-Newport - FDA proposed tobacco regulation..; FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill Overwhelmingly Passed U.S. House..; House to Vote on FDA Regulation of Tobacco..; Bush administration opposes legislation to give FDA authority to regulate tobacco products...; With U.S. FDA tobacco regulations on the horizon Altria already preparing to circumvent the law..; Public health experts are questioning why menthol flavoring in cigarettes, received special protection as Congress tries to regulate tobacco..; Lorillard Tobacco opposes US FDA bill to regulate tobacco..; FDA regulation moves a step closer..; On Tuesday April 1, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect in January 1,..; FDA regulatory control tobacco bill is voted forward..; Reject Proposed Legislation That Would Add Responsibility For Tobacco Regulation to the FDA..; FDA Head: 'No' to Tobacco Cigarettes too "inherently dangerous" to regulate; would "undermine mission."; Federal tobacco regulation backed...; On July 18, 2007, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee postponed a vote on the bill - which would for the first time allow...


Lebanon - a smokers paradise..

June 9, 2009 - According to a WHO 2005 survey 60 percent of youths in Lebanon aged between 13 and 15 smoke cigarettes, narghile (hookah, water pipe, sheesha, shisha) or cigars, the highest number in the region. Overall, an estimated 42 percent of males and 30 percent of females smoke in Lebanon, a country of 4.5 million inhabitants, health experts say. Lebanon has signed and ratified the FCTC.

The anti-smoking lobby is barely a blip on the radar and the government cares little about the issue. So the price of Cuban Havanas is among the world's cheapest, about cigarettes are free of punitive pricing and health warnings are barely visible on the side of packs -- far from the bold warnings and pictures the World Health Organisation (WHO) is promoting on "World No Tobacco Day" on Sunday, May 31st.

Even teenagers can afford the average one dollar per pack, compared to an average seven dollars (five euros) in France or nearly nine dollars in Britain.

George Saade, a cardiologist and head of the tobacco control unit at the ministry of health: Tobacco companies are very powerful in Lebanon and they are involved in many things that would raise concerns of conflict of interest elsewhere. They sponsor
concerts, television shows and sports events where free cigarettes are sometimes distributed. You even see them at ski resorts. Where there are youths, there are tobacco companies."

An estimated 3,500 people die annually from illnesses related to smoking, they said.
"In the last five years we have seen a 17-percent increase in cardio-vascular disease while the United States saw a 17-percent drop for the same period," Saade said.

The area manager for Philip Morris, the largest importer of cigarettes in Lebanon, rejected the accusations. British American Tobacco, the second largest importer of cigarettes in the country.

Reference: No butts about it, Lebanon's a smoker's paradise.. Health professionals say number of smokers in Lebanon among highest in Middle East by Jocelyne Zablit - BEIRUT, Middle East Online, 5/31/2009.

Click on image to enlarge..


North Carolina House panel deletes cigarette tax increase..

June 9, 2009 - RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of a House committee have removed a provision that would raise North Carolina's cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack. The House Finance Committee agreed Tuesday morning to delete the cigarette tax increase contained in a proposed $940 million tax plan. That would reduce the package by $123 million. The 22-7 decision means less money available to restore cuts in the proposed $18 billion spending package for next year.

Rep. Van Braxton of Lenoir County offered the amendment. The Democrat said the tobacco industry already has been hit enough this year by a federal cigarette tax increase and a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

The House Appropriations Committee is reviewing the budget proposal and was expected to vote on it later Tuesday, June 9th.

Reference: NC House panel deletes cigarette tax increase, Associated Press, 6/9/2009.

Related news briefs: Reynolds American - NC Governor's tobacco tax increase - Outrageous..; NC Governor calls for an increase in the tobacco tax..; North Carolina - may consider raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes..; North Carolina tobacco companies and growers oppose possible tax increase...

New CDC Chief Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH..

June 9., 2009 - Frieden has served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Frieden, a 48-year-old infectious disease specialist, has cut a high and sometimes contentious profile in his seven years as New York’s top health official under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He led the crusade to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, pushed to make H.I.V. testing a routine part of medical exams, and defended a program that passes out more than 35 million condoms a year. In 2003, the city banned ban smoking in almost all workplaces, a precedent-setting move that inspired other cities to do the same. New York also instituted cigarette tax hikes. Health officials estimate the city has 300,000 fewer smokers now than in 2002, which should translate to fewer cancer cases. Smoking Ban Helps NYC Stop Smoking...

New York City's Five-Point Tobacco Control Plan..

We still wonder what happened to a bill (August 2007) introduced by New York City Council member James Gennaro that would have prohibited adults from lighting up in cars carrying minors. -

In 2006, New York became the first U.S. city to ban restaurants from using artificial trans fats, and required hundreds of eateries to post calorie counts on their menus.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Frieden acknowledged the challenge and said partnering with other agencies will be more crucial than it was in New York.
He listed smoking as the nation's No. 1 health issue, and stressed the importance of fighting preventable illnesses. But in carefully worded responses, he did not reveal plans for any new campaigns, saying his initial goal is to work with CDC staff to build future plans.

Reference: New CDC chief to target smoking, USA Today - Associated Press, 6/6/2009.

R.J. Reynolds to appeal plaintiff's award of $30 million..

June 9, 2009 - A jury in Pensacola, Fla., awarded $5 million in compensation damages and $25 million in punitive damages from Reynolds to the family of Benny Martin.

said it will appeal the decision. Reynolds spokesman David Howard said. "We believe the verdict will ultimately be reversed." The award in the Martin case is by far the highest of the seven cases in which a ruling has been made. Plaintiffs have won five cases and the manufacturers two. Howard said that the damages awarded in the other two cases involving Reynolds were just compensatory, and the juries found the plaintiff 50 percent at fault. "Therefore, Reynolds is liable for half the damages amount," he said.

Philip Morris USA has appealed an $8 million jury award and Liggett Group Inc. has appealed a $700,000 award. Reynolds also is facing jury awards of $1.5 million and $1.2 million.

As pointed out in January 2008, Cigarette Makers Face Thousands of New Florida Lawsuits... Howard said that Reynolds is aware of at least 3,284 potential individual lawsuits, of which Reynolds is a defendant in 3,270. Analysts have said there is the potential for about 8,000 of these individual lawsuits in Florida.

Edward Sweda, a senior attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project in Boston, said he believes the $30 million jury award is another major blow to the tobacco industry.

Reference: RJR plans to appeal Florida jury's ruling on damages from smoker's lawsuit by Richard Craver, Winston-Salem Journal, 6/3/2009.


Camel Dissolvables - can they be considered candy-like..

June 9, 2009 - The Camel Dissolvables Products: three forms of delivery: Sticks (twisted) can be placed in the mouth like a toothpick or broken into a pieces that are placed between the upper lip and gum, where they dissolve after 10 minutes; Orbs, which is a pellet that lasts about 15 minutes and film strip delivery - like placing a postage stamp on your tongue which dissolve in about 3 minutes (e.g., Listerine PocketPak, breath strips).

Reason put forward by Reynolds American for moving to tobacco dissolvables: Tobacco companies say snus (Swedish style moist snuff, pronounced snooze) has become so popular, they're taking the next step, totally dissolvable tobacco for traditional smokers that will solve all kinds of problems. - within reference look for "Costello" This statement is NOT true sales of snus have been poor.

Orbs, being test marketed in 3-sites in the U.S., are not to be chewed but like lozenges are placed in the mouth until the product has dissolved.

Candy can be defined as a confection made with sugar and often flavoring and filling.
A confection is a sweet preparation, such as candy.

Camel Dissolvables Flavors - Strips will come in fresh mint flavor and Sticks in Mellow; Orbs are now available in both flavors. Mellow - as an adjective (e.g. mellow Camel ORBS) can be defined as soft, sweet, and full-flavored from ripeness. The other flavor fresh mint like spearmint and peppermint are often the varieties of fresh mint that are used to flavor candy, desserts, and other items.

Camel ORBS - are available in fresh mint and mellow that user places in their mouth but does not chew. We have visually compared ORBS with the Tic Tacs - brand of small, hard sweet pellets centered around breath mints, though the line includes non-mint flavors.

Both products are pellets both are placed in your mouth until dissolved; these pellets are sweet, contain flavoring and other ingredients, of course the ORBS has added powdered tobacco. The original Tic Tac flavor has a fresh mint flavor. We wonder if a user can tell he difference - the tobacco taste surely must be masked.

Camel Dissolvables resemble forms of candy products. It's impossible to prevent our children from giving these products a try. It only takes a few tries for a youngster to soon become addicted to nicotine. We can expect our future leaders - our children to end up as slaves to nicotine never able to reach their full potential.

"Our Highest Priority Has To Be Keeping Children From Beginning To Use Tobacco Products" Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the USA.

Click on image to enlarge..

Senator Burr Fails to Adequately Defend Reynolds' Marketing of Flavored Dissolvable Tobacco Products..

June 8, 2009 - U.S. Senator Burr Defends Mint-Flavored Suckable ‘Tobacco Lollipops,’ Claims They’re Not Being Marketed To Children..

As Senator Burr points out there is no healthy way to use tobacco. No matter what the risk is the young adult or the kid that wants to be a young adult will be a nicotine addict their whole life never able to achieve their full potential.

On May 27, CNN’s Carol Costello reported on tobacco company R.J. Reynolds new dissolvable “smokeless products.” Noting that critics call them “tobacco lollipops” that are aimed at getting “kids hooked on nicotine,” Costello reported that “R.J. Reynolds will soon test three new products — Camel sticks that dissolve as you suck them, minty tobacco strips that look like breath strips, and orbs — flavored, dissolvable tablets that some say look and taste exactly like candy.”

On the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) came to the tobacco company’s defense, claiming that it wasn’t trying to deceive anyone; it’s CNN’s fault for labeling Camel Orbs as candy. Burr charged that CNN “mischaracterized the product” because “it’s not candy flavored”:

BURR: But when CNN did their story. Take a guess on the angle that they took. They labeled it as candy. Candy! Even though it’s not candy flavored. They said it was candy. … No, they said it was candy. That’s where they labeled it. … They portrayed Reynolds America as being deceptive and luring children. No candy. It’s not going in the candy section. It’s in the tobacco section where smokeless and stick products is.

Later in his speech, Burr responded to Sen. Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) criticism that some of the dissolvable tobacco products are in containers shaped like cell phones to attract kids. “Let me assure you, Mr. President, if a cell phone doesn’t work, children don’t want it,” said Burr.

While Burr might claim that the Orbs aren’t “candy-flavored,” the fact is that they come in “mint and cinnamon flavors” known as “fresh” and “mellow.” Additionally, the tobacco industry has a well-documented history of using flavored tobacco to market their products to children:

Documents from the tobacco industry also contradict these claims. A report from R.J. Reynolds in 1985 stated: “Sweetness can impart a different delivery taste dimension, which younger adult smokers may be receptive to, as evidenced by their taste wants in other product areas.” A Brown & Williamson report from 1972 suggested consideration of developing cola-flavored and apple-flavored cigarettes. The report also suggested a sweet-flavored cigarette and stated: “It’s a well-known fact that teenagers like sweet products. Honey might be considered.” If flavored products were appealing to youth then, what has changed to make them less appealing to youth now?

Burr’s speech today follows his earlier claims that regulating tobacco by the FDA would contradict the agency’s mission to protect public health since there is no healthy way to use tobacco. Burr, whose hometown Winston-Salem is also the home of R.J. Reynolds, is the second-highest recipient of campaign contributions from Big Tobacco.

Reference: Burr Defends Mint-Flavored Suckable ‘Tobacco Lollipops,’ Claims They’re Not Being Marketed To Children, Ben Bergmann (an Intern at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a Duke University student),

Supporting Documentation - coming.


Guam trying to increase the tax on tobacco to save lives..

June 8, 2009 - Guam, a territory of the United States, had the highest overall prevalence of smoking, at 31.1%. of any U.S. state or territory; United States Male 38.3% and Female 23.1% - Guam: Smoking Rates for Adults by Sex, 2007. Guam..

Guam’s medical community is making a proactive approach to raise taxes for distributors of cigarettes. As the Guam medical community takes on this quarter-of-a-billion-dollar tobacco industry, they must be prepared to face the full arsenal of political and financial resources that "big and rich tobacco on Guam" will use to stop any increase in the price of cigarettes – even if it means saving the lives of our people.

A member of the Guam Medical Society will hand carry a resolution to the American Medical Association to ask for their endorsement.

Excerpts from the resolution: Whereas Guam has the highest tobacco use per capita of any US state or territory; and Whereas Guam has a corresponding highest cancer and cardiovascular rate attributed to tobacco use; and Whereas it is hoped that an increased tax would move to correct the health problem wrought by tobacco products and secondarily bring necessary increase in revenue to Government of Guam to address the health problems associated with tobacco use; therefore be it RESOLVED, that our American Medical Association endorse the Guam Medical Society (GMS) efforts to have local legislation to sharply increase the Guam tobacco tax, which is the lowest in United States of America, in order to decrease the consumption of industrialized tobacco products.

This resolution will signify the beginning of a political fight that will separate those who care about our people and those who care only about the money to be made in the big business of tobacco.

For one simple reason…increasing the cost of cigarettes saves lives. It reduces the number of smokers. It reduces the number of kids who start smoking. It reduces the number of smoking-related health illnesses. That means healthier people, less cancer and other smoking-related diseases, and fewer kids taking up this life-taking habit.

Studies worldwide have shown that a 10% increase in the price of cigarettes results in a 4% decrease in the number of adults who smoke. However, in states like New York, where the combined federal, state and local taxes on cigarettes total $4.64 per pack (about 58% of an average $8 cash register price), cigarette sales have dropped by 20%.

The challenge? Raising the price of cigarettes and reducing the number of smokers takes money away from the established and powerful tobacco wholesalers who, in the past, have successfully flexed their political muscle to stave off all but nominal increases to the tobacco tax.

But it’s not just the doctors who are fighting to reduce smoking on Guam. In a story covered by Calvo-owned KUAM, Coordinator for the Tobacco-Free Program for Public Health Gil Sugitan said: “With the highest adult tobacco use rate on Guam, we wanted to bring our partners such as the Cancer Information Services of the Pacific, health partners -- Mental Health, Public Health, the American Cancer Society and the PEACE Project -- to get together to train individuals from the health community, community based organizations and other entities that we can work with people who are ready to quit using tobacco."

Over the next few weeks, GuamNewsFactor will follow the development of this campaign to save lives. We’ll explore the successes of states where increased tobacco costs have reduced the incidence of smoking. We’ll explore the lucrative business of tobacco wholesale. We’ll analyze the political alliances that will support and oppose this initiative as well as the media conflicts that will shape this ongoing debate. And we will hold elected officials accountable to you, the people of Guam, on their commitment to end smoking on our island and save the lives of our people.

References: Guam Cigarette Companies Profit By Hundreds Of Millions, written by Guam News Factor Staff Writer, 6/5/2009; Taking On Guam's 'Big Tobacco' Wholesalers, written by Guam News Factor Staff Writer, 6/5/2009; Guam Medical Society President Says We Need To Raise Cigarette Taxes To Save Lives, written by Guam News Factor Staff Writer, 6/5/2009.


Indonesia - Smoking hits poor families the hardest, making the poor even poorer..

June 8, 2009 - Former health minister Farid Anfasa Moeloek, who now heads the National Commission on Tobacco Control: More money is spent on cigarettes than on rice in low-income families that include a smoker, a former health minister said on Tuesday. “A smoker in the family can mean that up to 17 days of the family income is spent on cigarettes,” said during a health discussion on smoking. “This means that only 13 days of their income is left for food and other household necessities. This increases the likelihood of children suffering learning difficulties and other problems due to malnutrition.”

Farid: “Given that 70 percent of the country’s smokers come from low-income families, Indonesia faces losing a generation of children, adding that the data came from research conducted in 2007 by the University of Indonesia’s Demographic Institute.

Farid said: It important that the government finalize the law on tobacco control (WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)) which has been languishing in the House of Representatives since 2004. He said that by adopting the law, Indonesia could better protect its citizens, especially the poor and the young. The law addresses the need for smoke-free zones, a ban on selling cigarettes to under-aged children and outlawing cigarette advertising, as well as raising taxes on cigarettes. “If we can adopt this law, income from higher cigarette taxes can be allocated to help people suffering from tobacco-related ailments.”

Indonesia currently charges a 37 percent tax on tobacco and earns about Rp 42 trillion ($3.5 billion) annually from the tax.

Indonesia remains one of only four countries yet to ratify the 2004 World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which provides for tobacco control measures related to the production, sale, distribution, advertisement and taxation of tobacco. “I don’t know why we haven’t ratified this convention,” Farid said, adding that the mortality rate for tobacco-related ailments in Indonesia stood at 22 percent, including 32,400 infant deaths in 2006 linked to smoking, according to Unicef data.

Frid added: “Protecting our young generation is important as they have become the main targets of cigarette advertising.”

According to a global youth tobacco survey conducted by the World Health Organization in 2006, 14.4 percent of Indonesian students between the ages of 13 and 15 were smokers, while separate research in 2007 found that 41.5 percent of student smokers said they were influenced by cigarette ads.

Research by the National Commission on Child Protection showed cigarette companies sponsored 1,350 youth-oriented events in the first 10 months of 2007. A 2007 UN report that tracks countries’ progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals said that nationally, the number of malnourished children under the age of 5 remained relatively high despite reductions in the last two decades. “Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage, as well as of delivering a low-weight or premature baby,” Farid said.

Reference: Smoking Hits Poor Families Hardest by Nurfika Osman

Related news briefs: Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..; Indonesia - government may raise cigarette excise tax next year..; WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..; Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..; 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...


Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..

June 8, 2009 - First-quarter 2009 cigarette sales jumped 11.5%

Around 59.7 percent of the first quarter sales comprised machine-rolled clove cigarettes, 32.2 percent hand-rolled clove cigarettes and 8 percent machine-rolled non-clove cigarettes. While booking a 2.5 percent rise in sales volume to 18.1 billion sticks from 17.7 billion, the market share of Sampoerna-branded cigarettes dropped to 24.3 percent from 25 percent.

The consolidated market share of the Sampoerna brand and the Philip Morris brand was also very slightly down to 29 percent from 29.5 percent. But the Philip Morris market share rose to 4.7 percent from 4.5 percent. Sampoerna is controlled by US-based cigarette giant Philip Morris, which includes the world famous Marlboro brand.

Sampoerna did not explain the reasons behind the slight decline in the market share of its Sampoerna-brand nor the rise in its overall cigarette sales. The company's president director, Kevin Douglas Click, only said he was upbeat sales would remain stronger this year. Indonesia is a haven for smokers as Vice President Jusuf Kalla once said that the country had the cheapest cigarette prices in the world due to its low excise taxes.

Aside from Sampoerna and Philip Morris, the country also houses five other renowned giant tobacco companies; PT Gudang Garam, PT Djarum, PT Nojorono, PT Bentoel, and PT British American Tobacco (BAT) Indonesia.

Sampoerna's rival publicly listed BAT, which sells international brands including Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Dunhill, Ardath, Kansas and Commfil, announced Wednesday that sales volume was still growing even though Indonesia was still facing negative effects from the economic downturn. The company, however, suffered a decline in its market share during the first quarter of the year to 2 percent down from 2.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

BAT refused to explain any details on the drop in its market share, and sales volume.
BAT president director Ian Morton merely said that the tobacco industry in Indonesia was more resilient than other sectors in confronting the crisis.

Reference: Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger,
The Jakarta Post, 5/28/2009.

Related news briefs: Indonesia - govenment may raise cigarette excise tax next year..; WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..; Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..; 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...


Indonesia - govenment may raise cigarette excise tax next year..

June 8, 2009 - With cigarette sales up the government may raise the cigarette excise rate by 10%. Director general of customs and excise Anwar Suprijadi told The Jakarta Post Thursday, June 4th the government would impose higher excise rates for cigarettes and tobacco next year (2010) to raise more state revenue. Anwar said: “There won’t be any rate increase this year as agreed between the industry (protect the cigarette industry’s employment rate amid sluggish growth in other labor-intensive sectors) and the government. That’s why we aim for the 10 percent rise next year.”

In 2008 the Indonesia government also was planning to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7 percent next year (2009) in an effort to increase state revenue and reduce cigarette consumption.

Cigarette companies were more worried about the planned regional taxes as they claimed these additional taxes would be burdensome. Lawmakers are still deliberating the bill on regional tax and tax refunds, which if passed will impose on cigarette companies new regional taxes of between 10 and 25 percent of the product’s selling price.

Indonesia boasts the world’s cheapest cigarette prices, and is targeting to produce at least 245 billion cigarettes this year, up 3.3 percent from 237 billion last year.

Reference: Govt may raise cigarette excise by 10% Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, 6/5/2009.

Related news briefs: Indonesia - students/activists hold rally to ban cigarettes..; WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..; Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..; 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...