Spain - impact of 2006 law banning smoking in public places..

September 12, 2009 - Researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology(ICO) have studied the impact of the law banning smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants on those working in these places. The results are positive - 5% of waiters have stopped smoking, and the number of cigarettes smoked by those who still smoke has fallen by almost 9%.

On 1 January 2006, a smoking ban came into force in public places in Spain. More than three years later, these health measures against tobacco smoking have borne fruit. A new study led by researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) has shown that the proportion of smokers strongly addicted to nicotine has halved as a result of the law.

PAPER: Jose M. Martínez-Sánchez, Esteve Fernández, Marcela Fu, Mónica Pérez-Ríos, María J. López, Carles Ariza, José A. Pascual, Anna Schiaffino, Raúl Pérez-Ortuño, Esteve Saltó, and Manel Nebot Impact of the Spanish smoking law in smoker hospitality workers Nicotine Tob Res, September 2009; 11: 1099 - 1106, ABSTRACT...

All the effects observed during this research study have been "significantly reduced" among waiters in bars where smoking has been completely banned than among those who work in places with smoking areas, or where there are no restrictions in place. "Changing the partial ban on tobacco consumption in bars and restaurants for a total ban would have beneficial effects on the health of all the workers in this sector", Esteve Fernández, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the ICO, tells SINC.

The results confirm that 5% of waiters have stopped smoking and that, among those who continue to smoke, the number of cigarettes consumed has fallen by almost 9% (almost two cigarettes per day). In addition, levels of cotinine - a nicotine metabolite used to measure active, and especially passive, exposure to smoke - in the workers' saliva has fallen by 4.4%.

In total, 431 workers in the bar and restaurant trade were studied (half of whom were smokers) from three months before the law came into force and for a further two years afterwards. The scientists took data from five autonomous regions - Cantabria, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and the Balearic Islands.

Reference: Anti-smoking Law Helps Waiters To Quit Smoking In Spain, Science Daily, 9/10/2009.

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Spain - ready for expansion and enforcement of Anti-Smoking Act..;
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Dutch government will change law to keep bars smoke free..

September 12, 2009 - The Dutch (Netherlands, Holland) government vowed Friday, September 11th to change the law to keep bars smoke free after it suffered two successive defeats in court against bar owners challenging a smoking ban. The legal reasoning behind lifting the ban these hole-in-the-wall bars don't have employees, no one is being involuntarily put at risk by exposure to smoke.

A cabinet statement said the government would introduce changes to legislation in order to make sure that "a uniform obligation" applied to all.

Dutch bar owners won two victories earlier this year in their fight against a smoking ban on their premises. Two different courts found that the law, aimed at protecting staff from second-hand smoke inhalation, unfairly discriminated against small, one-man operations that employed none. Two brown bars (bars known for their picturesque dark interiors and typical Dutch 'gezelligheid' (coziness))– Cafe Victoria in Breda and De Kachel in Groningen, a college town in the north of the country – beat the ban with separate court cases that were upheld on appeal in different appeals courts on the grounds that the law unfairly targeted smaller businesses.

Several thousand small bars and cafes in the Netherlands united late last year to defy the ban that entered into force in July 2008, creating a joint legal defense fund, arguing they lacked the floor space and money to erect separate smoking-only areas.

The cabinet said the planned changes would make allowances for the introduction of "innovative air sytstems" if they could be proven effective enough to be an alternative to a dedicated smoking area in small bars.

Reference: Dutch govt to change smoking law after court defeat, Agence France-Presse (AFP, oldest news agency in the world), 9/11/2009.

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Clikc on image to enlarge, Coat_of_Arms the Netherlands..

Santa Cruz, CA - extends outdoor smoking ban..

September 12, 2009 - Citing the dangers of second-hand smoke and the number of cigarette butts littering the streets and beaches, city leaders in Santa Cruz will meet Tuesday, September 8th to extend a smoking ban through much of downtown. (Santa Cruz to Vote on Major Smoking Ban,, 9/2/2009)

As expected city leaders on Tuesday, September 8th unanimously approved a smoking ban along Pacific Avenue, Beach Street and West Cliff Drive, among other spots, and agreed to consider a new fee on cigarette sales in the near future. These streets are in the city's downtown commercial district and the main street running along the beach. The measure also prohibits smoking within 25 feet of commercial doorways, windows and air ducts, and increases the required percentage of non-smoking hotel rooms in the city.

"Our kids are picking up cigarette butts, kids are breathing cigarette smoke and it doesn't encourage a family atmosphere," said Councilman Ryan Coonerty, who proposed the ban along with Councilmen Mike Rotkin and Don Lane at the prompting of many in town.

The ban was warmly received by the audience of about 40 people, most of whom supported the new rules. Corinne Highland told the council she hoped it would create a cleaner environment for her 3-year-old. "My 3-year-old picked up a cigarette butt and I shrieked," she said.

Some encouraged the council to go even further and eventually ban all outdoor smoking in Santa Cruz.

"The current amendments are a pitiful attempt to do the right thing. You get an F-plus," said longtime county resident Bob Yount, who first asked Councilwoman Katherine Beiers for a downtown smoking ban in 1996.

One opponent to the proposed ban wondered how big an impact the new rules will have, as cars are still polluting the air with their exhaust. "This room used to be filled with people smoking cigarettes at City Council meetings. No one died at those meetings," said Scott Graham of Santa Cruz. "If I were to back my car into this room and let it run for 10 minutes, everyone would be dead."

The new rules would take effect Oct. 20. For the first month, police would issue only warnings. After that, citations. Coonerty said the fines would run somewhere around $35-$50.

Reference: Santa Cruz approves smoking ban for Pacific Avenue, Beach Street, West Cliff Drive by GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER,, 9/9/2009; Santa Cruz considers expanded smoking ban, Associated Press, 9/2/2009; Santa Cruz Expands Smoking Ban
Ban Prohibits Smoking Within 25 Feet Of Commercial Doorways - Associated Press, 9/9/2009.

Click on image to enlarge..

Croatian government gives in loosens public smoking ban..

September 11, 2009 - The Croatian government moved on Thursday, September 10th to loosen a controversial public smoking ban enforced only four months ago, after cafe owners complained it was crippling business.

The Croatian Government decided to ban smoking in early 2008 in public institutions such as hospitals, clinics, schools, nurseries and universities. The ban came into effect on November 7 2008, but in May 2009 the government passed a full ban, forbidding smoking in all closed public places, including bars, restaurants and cafes.

According to a new proposal, due in parliament later this month, smoking in cafes will be allowed in special spaces that must be larger than 10 square meters (12 sq yards) but must not cover more than 20 percent of the overall premises.

The cafes unable to meet those conditions will be able to cater for smokers if they secure a proper ventilation system, a change likely to be welcomed by the country's more than one million smokers, or almost 25 percent of the population.

The smoking ban remains in force for restaurants, hospitals, schools and airports.

Cafe and restaurant owners launched a petition in June, at the start of the summer tourist season, demanding changes to the law, enforced in May, which they said was hurting business already weakened by a recession.

Health Minister Darko Milinovic told a cabinet session the changes were jointly drafted by the guild of cafe and restaurant owners and the tourism ministry. "We are not changing the law under pressure and we remain committed to preserving the health of Croat citizens," Milinovic said. Health officials say more than 13,000 people die of smoking in Croatia every year.

During the last four months, Croatia has been the only Balkan country where smoking indoors has been effectively outlawed. With the latest changes, the smoking regime will be almost as liberal as in the rest of the region.

Croatia has been severely hit by the global crisis and its economy is expected to shrink around five percent this year, for the first time in a decade.

References: Smokers can hit the cafes again, reporting by Igor Ilic, editing by Paul Casciato, Reuters, 9/10/2009; Croatia reverses smoking ban in public places, the Sofia Echo, 9/11/2009.

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Stop smoking ASAP to reduce risk of breast cancer..

September 11, 2009 Women taking the next puff of a cigarette might consider this: smoking 100 or more cigarettes may substantially increase their odds of developing breast cancer, researchers report.

Previous studies linked regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding postmenopausal obesity as lifestyle changes that can reduce women's odds of developing breast cancer, notes Dr. Ivana T. Croghan and colleagues in The Breast Journal.

The current study provides new evidence that "a woman smoker can reduce her risk of breast cancer by stopping smoking as soon as possible (ASAP)," Croghan commented to Reuters Health via email.

Croghan's group compared smoking history and other breast cancer risk factors among 1,225 women who developed breast cancer and 6,872 who did not during the first year after their initial visit to the Mayo Clinic Breast Clinic.

Surveys completed during this visit indicated just over 10 percent were current smokers, almost 9 percent were former smokers, and 81 percent had never smoked, Croghan, with the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Research Program in Rochester, Minnesota, and associates report.

In addition to the link with smoking, women who had used oral contraceptives for 11 years or longer had a whopping 200 percent increase in the odds of developing breast cancer. Women who used postmenopausal hormone therapy showed 81 percent increased odds, while aging raised the odds of developing breast cancer by 2 percent per year.

On the flip side, Croghan and colleagues report that having a hysterectomy decreased women's odds by 35 percent. Also, they did not see a compounding increase in risk for breast cancer among women with more than one risk factor.

Croghan noted that prior investigations with contradictory results regarding smoking and breast cancer risk did not consistently define smoking as current, former or never. The current study defines anyone who ever smoked more than 100 cigarettes at any time as having a history of smoking. Those who smoked less were considered never-smokers.

Croghan's group suggests further investigations using similar smoking definitions to assess how pre- and post-menopausal duration of smoking, amount smoked, and exposures to second-hand smoke might alter a woman's odds of developing breast cancer.

The Role of Smoking in Breast Cancer Development: An Analysis of a Mayo Clinic Cohort (p 489-495) Ivana T. Croghan, Sandhya Pruthi, J. Taylor Hays, Stephen Cha, Ruth E. Johnson, Marianne Kosel, Richard Morris, Richard D. Hurt, The Breast Journal, Published Online: Jul 13 2009 7:11AM, ABSTRACT..

Reference: Nearly any lifetime smoking ups breast cancer risk by Joene Hendry, Reuteers- India, 9/11/2009.

Smokers with multiple sclerosis (MS) show more brain atrophy..

September 11, 2009 - People who have multiple sclerosis (MS) that have smoked for as little as six months during their lifetime have more destroyed brain tissue and brain atrophy than those who have never smoked. Back in 2005 researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that current and past smokers with multiple sclerosis were more than three times as likely as patients who had never smoked to have more rapid progression of their disease. (Smoking Tied to Multiple Sclerosis Progression Harvard Study Links Smoking With Greater Risk of More Rapid Increase in MS Symptoms by Salynn Boyles, WebMD Health News, 5/26/2005)

For the first time this new study, published in the journal Neurology, evaluated the effects of smoking on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of patients with MS. Robert Zivadinov, the lead author of the study noted how there is a greater loss of brain volume for people who enjoy cigarettes or cigars.

PAPER: Smoking is associated with increased lesion volumes and brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis R. Zivadinov, MD, PhD, B. Weinstock-Guttman, MD, K. Hashmi, MD, N. Abdelrahman, MD, M. Stosic, MD, M. Dwyer, S. Hussein, J. Durfee and M. Ramanathan, PhD NEUROLOGY 2009;73:504-510, ABSTRACT..

368 MS patients were evaluated, average age 44, who had been diagnosed about 12 years earlier. Of the 368 patients, 240 had never smoked, 96 smoked currently and 32 had smoked in the past. All patients were evaluated clinically and had an MRI to monitor the disease process and evaluate the effects of treatments. The MRI measured the size of the MS-related brain lesions and the brain shrinkage that can occur with age and with MS. Smokers with MS had nearly 17 percent more brain lesions than nonsmokers with MS. Smokers with MS also had more brain tissue shrinkage.

Dr. John Richert, executive vice president for research and clinical programs for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: the recent study lends weight to the conclusion, reached in some but not all previous studies, that smoking does in fact worsen MS symptoms.

References: Smokers with MS ’show more brain atrophy’ posted by Michelle Mitzvie, Ethiopian Review, 9/10/2009; Smoking Worsens Multiple Sclerosis Raised risk of brain lesions and shrinkage, researchers found, HealthDay, 8/17/2009.

Australia - Smoking 'biggest factor' in Aboriginal deaths..

September 11, 2009 - Smoking is the single biggest factor responsible for the gap between the health of ***Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, says a Northern Territory expert on preventable chronic diseases. IMAGE: Aboriginal hollow log tomb..

Dr David Thomas from the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research is a keynote speaker at a national conference on chronic diseases in Darwin today. Thomas says one in five Aboriginal deaths in Australia is linked to smoking. "Smoking is the biggest single risk factor for Indigenous disease, for Indigenous deaths and for the gap between Indigenous and other Australians." (Click on Dr. Thomas' image for more information about his work..)

Dr. Thomas welcomes a planned ban on smoking in Territory pubs and clubs from January next year, but he says more can be done. "Smoke free pubs and clubs is one."
"But smoke free cars, cars carrying children is another.

"Reducing the promotion of cigarettes by those sort of big lolly walls behind the cash register every time you go into a supermarket is another."

ASH 7/28/2009: Adult smoking rate among Australia's indigenous population is still around 50% - it hasn't fallen in ten years and is still double the national rate. Latest figures and comparisons with non-indigenous rates are shown in the Australian Bureau of Statistics' latest national survey of Tobacco Smoking in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population 2004-05. Report..

*** - The term "Aboriginal" has traditionally been applied to indigenous inhabitants (original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands),of mainland Australia, Tasmania, and some of the other adjacent islands. (Indigenous AustraliansFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Reference: Smoking 'biggest factor' in Aboriginal deaths by Cathy Harper, ABC News (Australia), 9/10/2009.


Secondhand smoke exposure and liver disease..

September 11, 2009 - A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside has found that even second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS, passive, involuntary, sidestream) exposure can result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a common disease and rising cause of chronic liver injury in which fat accumulates in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol.

PAPER: Second-hand smoke stimulates lipid accumulation in the liver by modulating AMPK and SREBP-1, Hongwei Yuan, John Y.-J. Shyy, Manuela Martins-Green, Journal of Hepatology September 2009 (Vol. 51, Issue 3, Pages 430-432), ABSTRACT...

The researchers found fat accumulated in liver cells of mice exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke for a year in the lab. Such fat buildup is a sign of NAFLD, leading eventually to liver dysfunction.

The study emphasizes that discouraging cigarette smoking helps prevent not only cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease and cancer, but now also liver disease.

Second-hand smoke is a major toxicant that affects children, the elderly and nonsmokers living in the household of adults who smoke. Many state and local governments have passed laws prohibiting smoking in public facilities. Diseases associated with second-hand smoking include cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis, pneumonia, bronchitis and severe asthma.

"The debate is over. The science is clear," the former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD, told reporters in June 2006. "There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.."

Reference: Second-Hand Smoking Results in Liver Disease, Study Finds, Univeristy of California at Riverside Newsroom, 9/10/2009.


Dark skinned smokers greater dependence, binding of melanin and nicotine..

September 11, 2009 - We reported on May 11, 2009 that scientists have reported that higher concentrations of melanin -- the color pigment in skin and hair -- may be placing darker pigmented smokers at increased susceptibility to nicotine dependence and tobacco-related carcinogens than lighter skinned smokers. (Prolonged effect of nicotine as a result of binding with melanin..)

One of the investigators, Dr. Gary King from Pennsylvania State University studied nicotine and melanin, a compound your body makes that determines how dark you are. And he found a connection. According to Dr. King, the melanin is strongly attracted to nicotine, and the way it works is when you light up a cigarette, the tobacco and all the chemicals created when it burns into your mouth, into your lungs and the rest of your organs, including your biggest organ ... skin.

Inhaling thousands of chemicals is not a good idea. But it is especially bad for people with dark, melanin-rich skin. That's because melanin grabs and hangs onto the nicotine.

Greater dependence means it's much harder for darker skinned people to kick the habit. In fact white smokers on average are 15 percent better at quitting than blacks. Even though whites typically smoke about five more cigarettes a day.

"Nicotine doesn't remain in the body for an extended period of time, which is one reason why smokers continually have to replenish their supply," said Dr. King. "The suggestion is that it does remain in their body much longer for African Americans than white Americans. African Americans typically smoke fewer cigarettes than Caucasian Americans and some other groups but yet still the dependence rate is much higher."

Dr. King's next step is to survey dark and light skinned people all over the world. His findings are based on a pretty small sample -- 150 subjects, all of whom are African American. The study targeted African Americans for several reasons: for one, black people have the widest range of melanin concentration.

Reference: The link between smoking and darker skin; Public Radio International, 9/8/2009.

More - See online sources for Dr. Gary King..


Pennsylvania - September 11th, one year after smoking ban took effect..

September 10, 2009 - Pennsylvania's smoking ban took effect on September 11, 2008.. A year after it was implemented, the statewide smoking ban is receiving mixed reviews from bar and restaurant owners. The ban, part of the Clean Indoor Air Act, brought fresh air to public places such as sports venues, workplaces and restaurants.

Pennsylvania's law is not as strict as the other surrounding states. Some of the compromises include: bars and taverns whose food sales comprise no more than 20 percent of gross annual sales are permitted to have smoking, even if the bar is connected to an eating area, as long as the eating area has a separate entrance and ventilation system. For casino owners smoking will be allowed on 25 percent of the gaming floor - 50 percent if economic hardship can be proven because of the smoking limitation.

Restaurant owners say since the law took effect, it has both helped and hurt business. Some establishments are attracting more customers in their dining rooms while others have lost bar regulars.

Christy Leiter of Tower City in Schuylkill County, said she now frequents establishments she used to avoid. "It has changed for the better. I hate to go to places where the smoke lingers and you can just smell it when you get there. It's unappetizing," she said.

The Pennsylvania Restaurant Association supports a more comprehensive ban for the health benefits of employees working in the hospitality industry, Conway said.

So far, 249 citations and 288 warnings have been issued statewide to establishments for allowing smoking and/or having no signs or improper signs about being a nonsmoking place, according to the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

For more comments about the smoking ban see the reference..

Reference: A year later, smoking ban gets mixed reviews from restaurant owners by SUE GLEITER, Of The Patriot-News, 9/8/2009.

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San Francisco can enforce its ban on tobacco sales in drugstores..

September 10, 2009 - San Francisco can enforce its ban on tobacco sales in drugstores, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled Wednesday, September 9th rejecting a free-speech argument by tobacco giant Philip Morris.

The ordinance, the first of its kind in the nation, took effect in October. It prohibits sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products at San Francisco's nearly 60 drugstores.

Philip Morris said the ban effectively forced the company to pull its advertising out of the stores, interfering with its constitutional right to communicate with customers. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the city hasn't restricted freedom of expression.

The city "limits where cigarettes may be sold; it doesn't prevent (Philip Morris) from advertising," the court said in a 3-0 ruling upholding a judge's denial of an injunction against the ordinance.

Even if the measure affects advertising in drugstores, the court added, it does not suppress any ideas or the company's ability to discuss its product.

Philip Morris could appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The purpose and effect of the ordinance is to suppress communications directed to adult smokers, in violation of our constitutional rights," said company spokesman Jack Marshall.

The city's lawyer, Deputy City Attorney Vince Chhabria, said, "We are not surprised the court concluded that Philip Morris has no First Amendment right to sell cigarettes in drugstores."

A state appeals court is considering a separate lawsuit by Walgreens, which says the ordinance discriminates against drugstores by allowing supermarkets and big-box retail stores with pharmacies to sell tobacco. (San Francisco - fight about selling tobacco products in drugstores has flared up..)

Let's hope the same verdict is rendered in the suit filed by R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and others claiming the law that gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration new authority over tobacco violates their right to free speech.

Reference: S.F. ban on tobacco in drugstores survives, Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/9/2009.

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Malawi - deports leaf tobacco merchants for paying low prices..

September 10, 2009 - Malawi, the world’s largest burley tobacco producer, said it will deport officials of Alliance One Inc. and the local unit of Universal Corp. for paying below government-mandated prices for the leaf.

“This is the action I have taken,” President Bingu wa Mutharika, the head of state for Malawi, said in a speech broadcast live on the state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corp. radio station today. “They have been defying my orders to pay better prices and I have decided to chase them.”

The government yesterday revoked temporary work permits for officials of Alliance One, Universal-unit Limbe Leaf Tobacco, and Premium Tama Tobacco Co., and issued them with 24-hour deportation orders.

Karen Whelan, spokeswoman for Richmond, Virginia-based Universal, didn’t immediately return a message left on her office phone. Henry Babb, a spokesman for Morrisville, North Carolina-based Alliance One, didn’t return a message left at his office. A receptionist at Premium Tama’s Lilongwe office said Managing Director Tom Malata isn’t available to comment.

Malawi started setting minimum prices for the various grades of tobacco two years ago after it accused merchants of putting farmers out of business. While dealers denied that they underpaid farmers, Wa Mutharika on April 6 threatened to deport buyers if prices didn’t improve. ‘Can’t Allow It’

“They have been telling our farmers to grow better quality leaf and yet what they are buying at the auction floors is the low quality tobacco,” he said today. “They have been doing this deliberately to accuse the farmers of producing low quality leaf and paying them less. I can’t allow that.”

This season Malawi set a price of $2.15 a kilogram (2.2 pounds) for burley tobacco and $3.09 a kilogram for flue-cured tobacco. Tobacco Control Commission Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali on Sept. 4 reported to the government that buyers were ignoring these prices, the president said today.

The southern African nation relies on sales of the leaf for 60 percent of its export earnings. Burley tobacco is a lower-grade variety of the leaf used to fill cigarettes flavored with higher-grade flue-cured tobacco.

Malawi is forecast to produce 245 million kilograms (539 million pounds) of burley this year, according to the Web site of Universal. That’s more than double its closest rivals, Brazil and the U.S., and more than a quarter of global output. Flue- cured production of 25 million kilograms is about 0.6 percent of the projected world crop.

Universal, the world’s largest tobacco merchant, owns 58 percent of Limbe Leaf through its Continental unit, with the remainder owned by Press Corp. Ltd. of Malawi, according to Limbe’s Web site.

Calls to the local office of Alliance One in Lilongwe were not answered. A person who answered the phone at Limbe Leaf in the city said Chairman Mathews Chikaonda is the only official authorized to speak to the press and he is unavailable because he’s in China.

Reference: Malawi Deports Universal, Alliance Tobacco Officials (Update3) by Frank Jomo,, 9/9/2009. (Frank Jomo in Blantyre via Johannesburg at

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Click on image to enlarge, the coat-of-arms of Malawi..

Peninsular Malaysia - one of three cigarette packs is either contraband or fake..

September 10, 2009 - GEORGE TOWN: One out of every three cigarette packs sold in peninsular Malaysia is either contraband or fake.

In Sabah and Sarawak, two out of three packs sold are illegal (illicit, black market, contraband, smuggled). (Malaysia is separated into 2 regions which are Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo by South China Sea.)

These numbers were based on a quarterly survey and study conducted by the Customs De­­partment and the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manuf­acturers (CMTM). Customs deputy director-general (enforcement) Datuk Mohamed Khalid Yusuf, in revealing the results, added that to date, 36.8% of cigarettes sold in the country were illegal compared to 25.7% for the whole of 2008. A previous report indicated that one in every four cigarettes bought in Malaysia is illegal.

Mohamed Khalid said 29.9% of them [illegal] were sold in the peninsula while the rest were found in Sabah and Sarawak.

Smoking in Malaysia, 6/6/2009..

Reference: One in three cigarette packs in M’sia illegal,, 9/9/2009.

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Chantix - another wrongful death lawsuit filed..

September 3, 2009 - A product liability lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer by the family of Dallas musician, Carter Albrecht, whose 2007 death brought media attention to the psychiatric side effects of Chantix, a smoking cessation drug that now carries strong warnings that it may increase the risk of sudden aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts and other unusual actions.

Carter AlbrechtCarter Albrecht, who was a popular musician in the Dallas area and a member of Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, was shot to death on September 3, 2007, after he began violently banging on the neighbor’s door in the middle of the night. Although he had been drinking the night he was shot, the family claims that his actions were caused by hallucinations, vivid nightmares and a violent shift in behavior after he started taking Chantix to help him quit smoking.

Chantix (Champix, varenicline) has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of adverse effects ranging from vivid dreams to heart troubles, vision loss, accidents, diabetes, mental confusion, loss of consciousness and psychotic episodes. Suicide-related events have been reported in patients taking varenicline who have no known pre-existing psychiatric conditions and in some patients who continued to smoke. linked to suicidal behavior and other psychiatric problems, should bear the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) strongest safety warning.

Chantix was approved by the FDA in 2006 and works by blocking receptors in the brain that are commonly stimulated by nicotine, reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes. However, shortly after the drug was introduced, hundreds of people began to report severe Chantix side effects, including violent and self-destructive behavior.

In July, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that its most serious safety warning – a Black Box – regarding psychiatric side effects be included on the Chantix label. According to The Washington Post, the FDA said psychiatric side effects seen among Chantix users included 98 reports of suicide and 188 reports of attempted suicide.

Chantix (Varenicline) - Adverse Event Reports - Death - Completed Suicide

The Albrecht’s Chantix wrongful death lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that Pfizer either intentionally or negligently advertised Chantix as a safe drug to help people quit smoking, without warning about the dangerous psychological side effects.

The case joins other similar suits filed throughout the United States by individuals who have suffered serious or fatal injuries as a result of suicides, suicide attempts and other changes in behavior allegedly caused by the drug.

Dozen’s of Chantix lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer, all containing similar allegations that Pfizer failed to adequately research Chantix or warn about the risk of problems. During clinical trials performed before the drug was introduced, individuals with a psychiatric history or current psychiatric symptoms were excluded from the studies. As a result, Chantix problems were not evaluated among people with common conditions like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and insufficient warnings were placed on the drug.

Earlier this summer, a group of 20 plaintiffs moved to consolidate the federal Chantix litigation into an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, to avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings, repeat discovery on issues common to all cases and to serve the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the courts. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled a hearing for September 24 to consider the motion.

Reference: Chantix Lawsuit Blames Drug for 2007 Death of Dallas Musician, (News that Matters..), 9/8/2009; Chantix wrongful death lawsuit filed by family of Dallas musician,, 9/2/2009.

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Anti-smoking drugs (non-nicotine) - Chantix and Zyban to carry mental health warnings..; Another Chantix Warning in Canada..; Operators of any form of transportation warned on the use of Pfizer's smoking-cessation drug Chantix..; Pfizer Changes Chantix Label..; Chantix Reports of Suicidal Thoughts and Aggressive and Erratic Behavior...


Altria - more Barclays Conference - comments menthol cigarettes..

September 10, 2009 - Mike Szymanczyk (serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria Group, Inc.)told analysts at the Barclays Capital investor conference that Philip Morris found a significant number of smokers were trying the company's newest cigarette, a menthol called Marlboro Blend No. 54 it introduced this summer.

Altria spokesman William R. Phelps said that for competitive reasons, he wouldn't comment about how many smokers were switching after trying the new variety. (Marlboro its 15th variety - Blend No. 54 - menthol flavored..)

Szymanczyk said Philip Morris wants to boost its share of the market for menthol cigarettes, where it now has a 28 percent share, as opposed to more than 50 percent for the overall cigarette market.

He said the company will launch an L&M (Love that Moment) Bold Menthol this year to boost its offerings in the "full-flavor" menthol sector, the one area where he said the company does not think it has a strong position. Blend No. 54 is also described as a "bold" flavor, which smokers describe as offering a particularly strong tobacco taste.

Reference: Altria plans expansion of Marlboro snus, by David Ress, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/10/2009.

Companion news briefs.. Altria - Barclays Conference - new version of Copenhagen, more markets for Marlboro SNUS..

Barrons March 23, 2009..


Altria - Barclays Conference - new version of Copenhagen, more markets for Marlboro SNUS..

September 10, 2009 - Tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. (MO) said Wednesday, September 9th at a Barclays Capital investor conference that it will launch a long-cut wintergreen version of Copenhagen, a premium brand that will compete with Reynolds-American Inc.'s (RAI) fast-growing Grizzly long-cut wintergreen variety. Altria also said it plans to expand the number of markets where it is testing the sale of Marlboro Snus, a type of spit-free smokeless tobacco.

The moves come about eight months after Altria became the biggest player in smokeless tobacco in the U.S. by buying UST Inc., owner of the Copenhagen and Skoal brands, for about $10 billion. The deal gave Altria a foothold in a growing category of the tobacco sector, helping it counteract prolonged declines in cigarette sales, where its Philip Morris USA unit is the U.S. market leader.

The Richmond, Va.-based company said it is introducing a wintergreen version of Copenhagen because it has a relatively small stake in that segment, the largest within the smokeless-tobacco category. "It's the natural place for Copenhagen to go ... and to begin to take some market share," Michael Szymanczyk, chairman and chief executive of Altria, said in an interview.

Altria has slashed prices of Skoal and Copenhagen this year in an effort to compete better with discount moist-snuff brands such as Grizzly. But the company has continued to cede market share to Grizzly and others, prompting concerns from Wall Street analysts. Discount brand Grizzly - the nations number one moist snuff brand - expanding its market share in the second quarter 2009 to 25.5 percent, up 2.2 percentage points.

"I would have thought the trends would have been somewhat better now," said David Adelman, an analyst with Morgan Stanley.

The UST deal came with risks. Market share for Skoal and Copenhagen had long been in decline. In addition, Altria is paying high interest rates on debt used to finance the UST deal, reflecting the tight credit markets at the time of the transaction.

Szymanczyk said the company has "stabilized" the market share of Skoal and Copenhagen after lowering prices for the brands by 62 cents a can in March. "Our objective was not to use price to grow the business, but simply to stabilize those brands," he said. (a href="">UST is now operating under the name U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co..)

The company knew it would take time to revitalize Skoal and Copenhagen, he added. "We never intended on trying to get that accomplished in eight months," he said.

In the wake of the price cuts, the average U.S. price for premium moist snuff such as Skoal is about $4.15, compared with about $2.75 for discount brands such as Grizzly and Swedish Match AB's Timber Wolf brand, according to Morgan Stanley. That price gap of about 50% is down from about 100% in the second quarter of 2008.

Grizzly's market share is a bit higher than Skoal, though both are around 25%, according to analysts. Copenhagen's is about 24%. A challenge for Altria is that the total discount category now accounts for more than half of industry volume, compared with less than 10% in the mid-1990s.

Szymanczyk declined to reveal the new markets where the company planned to test sales of Marlboro Snus. It has been testing the product in Dallas, Indianapolis and Arizona. ***The snus category is a small but growing segment of the U.S. tobacco industry. (How's SNUS doing in the U.S. - will Susan Ivey tell us the truth??)

Scientific research has shown that smokeless tobacco, and particularly snus, is safer for users' health than cigarettes. (Smokeless tobacco and the risk of carcinogenesis..; Snus does not save lives: quitting the use of tobacco does!(Philip Morris USA has revamped the Marlboro Snus concept with new packaging, product enhancements and pricing. Notice that there's only 6-pouches per container down from 12-pouches per container. Marlboro snus has sold for as little as 99 cents per container in the Phoenix, AZ area.)

Separately, Szymanczyk said the company plans to retain its roughly 28% stake in beer giant SABMiller PLC (South African Breweries - Miller). It also has no plans to put up for sale its wine business - Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (SMWE) - that it acquired when it bought UST, he said. (SMWE produces and markets premium wines sold under 20 different labels including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest, as well as exclusively distributes and markets Antinori products and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in the United States.)

Reference: WSJ: Altria Plans New Copenhagen Product by David Kesmodel, Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/10/2009.

*** - The author, Mr. Kesmodel, tells us the CEO of Altria told him in an interview that snus sales are growing in the U.S..

For more related news briefs - do a random search of the archive..

Click on image to enlarge; Mike Szymanczyk serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria Group, Inc.


Hong Kong - Is the fixed-penalty fine for smoking offenses effective?

September 9, 2009 - The smoking ban has been extended to include 48 covered public transport interchanges (Hong Kong - unions refuse to hand out penalty tickets for smoking..

However, there are not enough tobacco control officers, or staff from the other departments, to issue the fixed-penalty tickets. If there are not enough officers to patrol the new restricted areas, smokers will continue to light up.

It would appear that the issuing of tickets is fairly rare. Therefore, the new rule is not deterring smokers because there is little chance of them being caught and having to pay the penalty.

Most smokers do not care about the extended ban. I think the problem has been made worse, because smokers are unclear about the rules.

From my observations, it would appear that only a few posters have been put up in bus terminals telling smokers that, from September 1, smoking is banned. However, it is not made clear which are the restricted areas and where smoking is allowed.

This makes it really hard for smokers to follow the rules, because the instructions are unclear, and so people continue to smoke where they should not. It is also difficult for officials to take action against someone when they receive a complaint from a member of the public. After all, it does not take that long to smoke a cigarette and stub it out.

Education is the key to getting people to obey the rules and not light up in no-smoking areas. This is far more important than imposing penalties.

Gladys Ho, Tsuen Wan

The smoking ban was extended to transport interchanges from the beginning of this month. I am a non-smoker and support it. It means passengers do not have to put up with second-hand smoke when queuing up for a bus. However, I have my doubts about how effective it has been.

Before the ban was fully extended, some government departments were saying it would mean an increased workload on their staff. A law can only be effective if it has suitable penalties and enough people to enforce that law. If departments cannot, or will not, take action to fine people who break the law, then it will fail to have the desired deterrent effect.

The relevant departments have been designated the roles of enforcers of this particular law, and they should do their jobs.

Mak Ka-chun, Yuen Long

Clear The Air Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image
Is the fixed-penalty fine for smoking offences effective?
, Clear The Air Tobacco Blog - South China Morning Post, 9/5/2009.

Hong Kong related news briefs:
Hong Kong - more unions are starting to enforce extended smoking ban..
Hong Kong - unions refuse to hand out penalty tickets for smoking..
Hong Kong - tobacco smokers may be prone to developing life-threatening complications from swine flu..;
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in full force no exceptions..
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in effect - Wednesday, July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - smoking statistics..;
Hong Kong - movie poster woman smoking - NOT ALLOWED..;
Hong Kong - bar owners an employees march to protest smoking ban starting July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - attempt to delay July 1, 2009 smoking ban fails..;
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...

Hong Kong - more unions are starting to enforce extended smoking ban..

September 9, 2009 - More than a dozen unions have pledged to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department that they will enforce the smoking ban, its chief said yesterday, though union leaders disputed that claim.

Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Cheuk Wing-hing said that he had met the heads of 13 of the department’s unions, representing more than 5,400 civil servants, and that all leaders had said they would implement the law. The department has 16 unions.

Hong Kong - unions refuse to hand out penalty tickets for smoking..

His claim comes after seven representatives from the department’s two staff unions marched to the Legislative Council’s complaints division on Tuesday, September 1st to file a complaint about being made to enforce the ban. A union leader present at yesterday’s meeting with Cheuk said that some unions had made clear their opposition towards enforcing the ban.

But Cheuk said that it was only “individual groups” who were unwilling to perform their new duty. “Civil servants in their right mind will implement the new law,” he said. A failure to perform duties could lead to disciplinary action or even termination of employment.

The smoking ban was extended on Tuesday, September 1st.
Wong Wah-hing, chairman of the hawker control team sub-union at the Government Frontline Employees’ Union, said that a number of unions had told Cheuk that they were against the smoking ban. “We have too many things to do and do not have enough manpower,” he said.

Li Mei-siu, chairwoman of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s Staff Rights Union, which also expressed unwillingness to perform the new duty, was not invited to the meeting. Days before the ban was extended, Li demanded an increase of manpower and subsidies to assist in performing the extra task.

Cheuk said yesterday that such demands were “not up to the spirit of the times” and “would not win acceptance from citizens”. “We cannot agree on increasing manpower, especially when we are talking about slimming the civil service at this time,” he said.

He said there were 104 wet markets and cooked-food centres, so increasing staffing would mean a boost of several hundred people. “The public should not be misled by a group with unknown membership,” he said.

Li said her union represented about 90 staff, but they were voicing concerns for over 200 staff, who in a survey done last year expressed worries over personal safety in the course of enforcing the smoking ban.

The department gave verbal warnings yesterday to smoking ban offenders, but did not issue any fixed-penalty tickets. Cheuk said it was because both staff and citizens needed time to adjust to the new law, and that “enforcement would be stepped up in about a month”. The leisure department had given 435 verbal warnings as of 5pm yesterday. Its head, Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee, said that enforcement had been smooth. She hoped that staff would be “co-operative” and active in enforcing the new law.

The Tobacco Control Office issued 14 tickets yesterday, September 2nd. The Housing Department issued none.

Reference: Unions see red over enforcing smoking ban, Ng Yuk-hang, South China Morning Post - Clear The Air Tobacco Blog, 9/3/2009.

Hong Kong related news briefs:
Hong Kong - unions refuse to hand out penalty tickets for smoking..
Hong Kong - tobacco smokers may be prone to developing life-threatening complications from swine flu..;
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in full force no exceptions..
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in effect - Wednesday, July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - smoking statistics..;
Hong Kong - movie poster woman smoking - NOT ALLOWED..;
Hong Kong - bar owners an employees march to protest smoking ban starting July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - attempt to delay July 1, 2009 smoking ban fails..;
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...


Hong Kong - unions refuse to hand out penalty tickets for smoking..

September 9, 2009 - Starting on September 1st 2,200 staff from the Leisure and Cultural Service Department, 700 from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and 430 from the Housing Department will be responsible for handing out fixed-penalty tickets to those who smoke in premises and venues under their management - such as libraries, wet markets, beaches and housing estates.Two unions representing government workers said on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 their members were too busy to hand out fixed-penalty tickets to people violating Hong Kong’s anti-smoking laws.

“We’ve issued a statement to our members, urging them to do our original duties,” said Gary Cheung Siu-wing, chairman of the Leisure Service Staff General Union.
Saying that enforcing the smoking ban was not among their original duties, Cheung said there were not enough employees to complete even their normal work. Hence, they had no time to perform the extra duty.

Also opposing the extra duty is the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s Staff Rights Union. Its chairwoman, Li Mei-siu, said it would stage a demonstration in Central today before filing a complaint with the Legislative Council’s complaints division. She said staff would not be able to enforce the ban because of their existing workload and concerns about personal safety.

Mok King-po, the convenor of a coalition of Housing Department staff unions, said its members would accept the new role but more manpower and training should be given.

A spokesman from the Tobacco Control Office said staff were empowered to enforce the law whether or not their new warrant cards were ready.

The fixed penalty system for smoking offense came into operation on 1 September 2009. “Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences) Bill” received the Third Reading at Legislative Council on 2 July 2008. Under the “Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences) Ordinance”, smokers who light-up in the statutory no-smoking areas will be given a fixed penalty of HK$1,500. Officers of Tobacco Control Office, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Housing Department will have the power to issue fixed-penalty notice. Offenders of the law are required to settle the payment within 21 days. Those who fail to comply will face heavier penalty or even imprisonment. (
Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences) Ordinance
, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health)

Enforcement officers will issue a $1,500 (132.88EURO, 193.54USD) fixed penalty notice to anyone who smokes or carries a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe in any designated no-smoking area or public transport carrier. The Tobacco Control Office has drawn up guidelines for anti-smoking enforcement and drafted an operation manual on the fixed penalty system. Enforcement training seminars have been held since March for staff who will enforce the anti-smoking law.

No smoking signs will be displayed at the 48 covered designated public transport facilities - areas consisting of termini of two or more modes of public transport or bus termini of two or more specified bus routes. The ban has already been enforced in 43 indoor public transport facilities since January 2007. The Government is preparing to designate 130 open-air public transport facilities as no smoking areas.

The Tobacco Control Office has drawn up guidelines for anti-smoking enforcement and drafted an operation manual on the fixed penalty system. Enforcement training seminars have been held since March for staff who will enforce the anti-smoking law.

References: Fixed smoking penalty to launch Sept 1,, 8/26/2009; Unions tell staff not to enforce smoking ban, Paggie Leung, South China Morning Post - Clean the Air Tobacco Blog, 9/1/2009.

Hong Kong related news briefs:
Hong Kong - tobacco smokers may be prone to developing life-threatening complications from swine flu..;
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in full force no exceptions..
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in effect - Wednesday, July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - smoking statistics..;
Hong Kong - movie poster woman smoking - NOT ALLOWED..;
Hong Kong - bar owners an employees march to protest smoking ban starting July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - attempt to delay July 1, 2009 smoking ban fails..;
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...


Canada - nearly one in five packs of cigarettes smoked by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products..

September 9, 2009 - Current tobacco-control strategies seek to inhibit and reduce smoking among adolescents. However, such strategies are probably undermined by the contraband (illegal, illicit, black market smuggled) tobacco market. Using data from Canada’s 2006/2007 Youth Smoking Survey, we found that 13.1% of respondents who were daily smokers reported that contraband cigarettes were their usual brand. They consumed significantly more cigarettes than respondents who smoked other brands. Contraband cigarettes accounted for about 17.5% of all cigarettes smoked by adolescent daily smokers in Canada overall, and for more than 25% in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Nearly one in five packs of cigarettes lit up by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products, with that figure even higher in Ontario and Quebec, says a new report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Research Letter: Use of Contraband cigarettes among adolescent daily smokers in Canada, Russell C. Callaghan PhD, Scott Veldhuizen BA, Scott Leatherdale PhD, Donna Murnaghan MN, and Steve Manske EdD, CMAJ, Full Text..

“Although the use of illicit substances by adolescents is well known, the use of contraband cigarettes in this age group is striking,” writes report co-author Dr. Russell Callaghan of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Callaghan: He added Canadian tobacco-control strategies need to address the issue.
“The widespread use of First Nations (and) native brand cigarettes, especially in Ontario and Quebec, presents a serious challenge to tobacco-control strategies, which attempt to use accessibility and price mechanisms to influence adolescents’ smoking behaviour.”

Almost 42,000 students in Grades 9 to 12 were considered in the report. In that demographic, the report said 5.2 per cent were daily smokers, with more than 13 per cent of that group claiming they used contraband cigarettes.

Students who were considered daily smokers and used contraband products also reported higher smoking rates over those who smokes legal brands. Those who had access to contraband products smoked an average of 16.8 cigarettes a day, while those would paid the higher price for legal products smoked 11.9 cigarettes.

Neil Collishaw. Research Director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada: “There are some worrying things . . . those youth who use contraband, tend to smoke more and I think this causes me to think there’s a fundamental problems with the way we’re doing things. We’ve tried to set up substantial controls on tobacco, but youths continue to smoke, whether it’s contraband or regular cigarettes.”

The area around Cornwall, Ont., about 100 kilometres (62.14 miles) southeast of Ottawa, has been a noted hot spot for tobacco smuggling. At the end of August, Cornwall Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized more than 700,000 contraband cigarettes in six separate incidents. Police believe those cigarettes were smuggled into Canada from the United States.

Police say because of the temporary port of entry in Cornwall, which was set up in July, smugglers have been using the water to get illegal cigarettes across the border.

Reference: Alarming rate of contraband tobacco use by teens: CMAJ by Bradley Bouzane, Canwest News Service, 9/8/2009.

Canada - cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey - 2008..;
Ontario, Canada - illegal cigarettes are everywhere..;
Canada - half of smokers have tried to quit..;
Canada - illegal cigarette trade - Imperial Tobacco President Kemball comments..;
Canada - Imperial Tobacco Head - Illegal Cigarettes..;
Imperial Tobacco - Canada Head - Canada growing crisis of illicit tobacco sales..; Imperial Canada - stop illegal tobacco sales rather than raisng tax on tobacco..; Canada - will higher tobacco prices lead to increase in illicit cigarettes..;
Canada - to launch an advertising campaign on the problem of tobacco smuggling..;
Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..; Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..;
Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies..;
As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing..; Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..;
Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..;
Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..;
Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..;
Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband...


Florida - tobacco sales down in wake of new tax..

September 8, 2009 - As of July 1, 2009 Florida's new cigarette tax is $1.34 per pack. The latest figures from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation show a 28-percent drop in the sale of cigarette packs from July 2008 to July 2009 — 76.8 million packs sold this year compared to 106.6 million packs a year ago.

Sales are also down from June, the month before the buck-a-pack increase was added, 17 percent less in July than June, when 92.9 million packs were sold.

The state's convenience stores, where most cigarettes are sold, and where tobacco makes up 34 percent of non-gasoline sales, are already feeling the sting, said Jim Smith, head of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. "Indeed, my members in the northern part of the state have seen reduced sales of 30 percent," he said. "You are going to see layoffs. I think that's going to come. Sooner or later, something's got to give."

But Florida's loss has also been Georgia's gain. A 15-minute drive from Tallahassee, and a few miles north of the Georgia line, Florida smokers have been crowding the parking lot at Huds III convenience store and Texaco station in tiny Beachton, where cartons of premium cigarettes are $8 to $12 cheaper.

Health advocates, who have been championing tobacco-tax increases for years, are thrilled. The advocates point to studies, including a 1998 market analysis by Credit Suisse First Boston Corp., that show that for every 10-percent increase in price, overall smoking declines by 4 percent. Tobacco use among kids drops 7 percent, the advocates claim.

But the promise of $900 million a year in new state revenue proved too tempting for even the staunchest anti-tax conservatives who were scrambling to fill a $7 billion budget hole.

Tracking down Internet tobacco sales.. To make sure that Florida squeezes as much revenue as possible out of the new tax, lawmakers for the first time ordered regulators to begin tracking down Internet tobacco sales. Department of Business and Professional Regulation press secretary Alexis Antonacci Lambert said administrators are hiring seven people to begin the hunt, but she declined to say what strategy the state will use. "The goal of our investigators is to bring everyone into compliance," she said. Lambert said the department is not aware of increased smuggling activity or truck hijackings.

Jerry McDaniel, Gov. Charlie Crist's budget chief, said he was studying the numbers. It's too early to determine if the new tax ($900 million a year) will hit the projected revenue mark, he said. Amy Baker, the Legislature's chief economic forecaster, said the picture will be in sharper focus in the fall.

Reference: Tobacco sales down in wake of new tax by Jim Ash,, 9/7/2009.

Florida - Related to tobacco tax increase:
Florida - consequences of the $1.00 increase in the cigarette tax..; Florida - non-Indian customers pay tax on tobacco at reservation shops..;
Florida's New Tobacco Law - non-Indian tribe members on Indian reservations may no longer dodge the tax..;
Florida Governor Charlie Crist stated he will allow a $1-a-pack tax to become law..;
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...

Kansas - cigarette makers fined, failed to pay into escrow accounts..

September 8, 2009 - TOPEKA — Two tobacco companies must remove their cigarettes from Kansas distribution for the next two years as part of a $2.6 million judgment against them announced today by the Attorney General’s Office.

As a result of the judgment, Veneto, S.A. and Tapti Tobacco Products, Pvt., Ltd., are barred from selling the Nova or American Hero brand cigarettes within state lines.

The penalties resulted from the companies failing to pay into the state escrow fund created as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement reached in 1998 after 46 states, including Kansas, sued major tobacco companies seeking to recoup the costs of treating sick smokers. State Medicaid programs spend millions yearly for treatment of tobacco-related illness.

“It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to enforce the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the subsequent statutes governing tobacco sales in Kansas,” Attorney General Steve Six said in a prepared statement. “My office will ensure that non-participating manufactures live up to the requirements of Kansas law and the Agreement.”

Under Kansas law, manufacturers not part of the 1998 master settlement are still required to pay into escrow accounts held for the benefit of the state. The escrow money may be used to satisfy future judgments against tobacco firms that weren’t part of the original agreement.

Kansas sued and obtained default judgments against Veneto and Tapti Tobacco after they failed to make required escrow payments for sales in 2007 and 2008.

Tapti and its “Nova” brand, and Veneto and its “American Hero” brand were removed from the Kansas Directory of Compliant Non-Participating Manufacturers earlier this spring. Barring certain exceptions, it is illegal to possess cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco not listed in the directory.

Unlike the Participating Manufacturers to the Master Settlement Agreement, Non-Participating Manufacturers (NPMs) like Tapti and Veneto, have not been released from State claims. The master agreement allows states - including Kansas - to enact statutes forcing such non-participating manufacturers to place money into escrow each year to settle future judgments based on the number of cigarettes sold in that state.

Reference: Enforcement unit obtains $2.6 million in tobacco judgments, Kansas Health Institute News Release, 8/31/2009.

Related news brief: Arkansas - escrow accounts Master Settlement Agreement, non-participating manufacturers..

Export of Chinese modern cigarettes to Middle East to increase compared to 2008..

September 8, 2009 - Zhejiang Provincial China Tobacco Industry Corporation in east China's Zhejiang Province has registered sharp growth in the export of Modern brand cigarettes in markets in the Middle East region, with the export volume to the region in 2009 expected to top 100,000 boxes (1 billion cigarettes), an anticipated increase of 88.68 percent over 2008.

Recently, an eight-member delegation from Al Wahdania company and Yinbei International company - two cooperation partners to Zhejiang Provincial China Tobacco Industry Corporation in Middle East markets - conducted a five-day visit to Zhejiang Provincial China Tobacco Industry Corporation for talks on cooperation in business development in markets in the Middle East region.

During the talks, the two sides discussed measures adoptable in dealing with the sharp growth in the export of Modern brand cigarettes to the Middle East region, and agreed on the adoption of relatively complete countermeasures.

The Middle East region is the largest cigarette export market for Modern brand cigarettes of Zhejiang Provincial China Tobacco Industry Corporation. It is expected that the sales of Modern brand cigarettes will continue to grow in Middle East markets.

Research Report on China's Cigarette Industry, 2009..

Reference: Provincial Company Registers Sharp Growth in Cigarette Export, TobaccoChina Online, 9/7/2009.


PMI - lays off more than 300 workers in Serbia..

September 8, 2009 - BELGRADE, Serbia: Back in August Phillip Morris International (PMI) announced it would be laying off about a third of its 910 workers in Serbia. Phillip Morris’ reasoning for the layoffs is to keep competitive and have the most efficient business possible. With these cuts Phillip Morris hopes to increase the productivity of Duvanska Industrija Nis (DIN).

On Monday, September 7th PMI dismissed more than 300 people, or a third of its workforce, at a Serbian subsidiary in order to keep competitive, Beta news agency reported.

“The decision has been made based on a detailed analysis on the Duvanska Industrija Nis (DIN, Tobacco Industry of Nis) business performance and market situation, so a sustainable future of the factory in Nis is secured,” the agency said, quoting a DIN statement.

Earlier the management of DIN said the factory needed no more than 580 employees for the effective business. The job cuts and other measures planned were designed to enable DIN to become increasingly competitive due to lower prices and overall negative economic trends, it said.

According to the latest official data for June, the unemployment rate stood at 26.8 percent in Serbia, which plunged into recession in the first quarter of 2009 as a result of shrinking foreign investment.

US-based PMI bought DIN in 2003, formerly state owned, paying 580 million euros for a controlling 66-percent stake in the privatisation of Serbia’s biggest tobacco factory.

Tobacco in Serbia.. Cigarettes kill 47 a day in Serbia...

Reference: Philip Morris cuts 300 staff in Serbia,, 9/8/2009.

Image - Duvanska Industrija Nis - Tobacco Industry of Nis..