C-store update - let's ban all flavored tobacco products..

October 31, 2009 - Federal health officials banned the sale of flavored cigarettes on Tuesday, September 22nd in its first major action since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given authority of regulate tobacco. The FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, was quick to point out that these flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers.

Unfortunately, these flavored cigarettes at present are not even one percent of the cigarette market. The three biggest U.S. tobacco companies say they do not produce any flavored cigarettes other than menthol varieties (but they did e.g., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's Exotic Blends). Cloves for example was less than a tenth of one percent of the U.S. cigarette consumption.

Further action on the part of the FDA's Tobacco Center must include an expansion of the ban to include all flavored tobacco products such as cigars, cigarillos, snuff, chewing tobacco, dissolvable tobacco products, blunt wraps (The City of Boston has already banned these products). As pointed out in the FDA Parental Advisory - these kinds of flavors make tobacco products especially appealing to kids, and can lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction.

Let's take a look at the typical convenience store (c-store) in the U.S. and the various promotions that every patron is exposed to with an emphasis on flavored tobacco products. (Recently UBS Tobacco Analyst Nik Modi noted that c-stores as a channel represent roughly 70% of all U.S. tobacco sales.) First let's look at the checkout counter where we find the big three U.S. tobacco companies: Philip Morris USA (PM), R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard aggressively competing for every inch of advertising space. The point-of-purchase environment, i.e., the convenience store, is the main channel through which tobacco companies can entice new tobacco users and retain existing smokers. Mr. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria Group, Inc. has stated that Philip Morris owes their success to the ability to connect with adult tobacco consumers through the in-store experience and the development of one-to-one relationships using their database of 25 million adult cigarette smokers (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008).

Click on image to enlarge:

Below are a series of images of tobacco displays from your typical c-store all attempting to to entice the customer to give this inexpensive, glitzy stuff a try. Users of these products have told us how smooth and mild these flavored products are - you never taste the tobacco.

Click on image to enlarge..

Click on image to enlarge..

Altria's John Middleton Black & Mild Cigars are popular in urban centers across the country. Black & Mild Cigars' retail share of the machine made large cigar category is at 30.9 percent - based on 3rd quarter 2009 results. Share growth was driven (in part) by a recent successful launch of Black & Mild Wood Tip and Black & Mild Wood Tip Wine flavor. (Altria Group q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript - keypoints..) Nearly a quarter of 18- to 24-year-old blacks in the Baltimore area smoke Black and Mild cigars. Black & Milds in Baltimore, Baltimore City Health Dept., 10/2007.

Click on image to enlarge..

Click on image to enlarge..

Skoal is available in a variety of flavors: Wintergreen, Straight, Mint, Cherry, Classic, Spearmint, Berry Blend, Vanilla Blend, Apple Blend, Peach Blend, Citrus Blend.

Click on image to enlarge..

Let's not forget blunt wraps - already banned in Boston. New Royal Blunt in a re-designed stay-fresh pouch comes in 10 flavors to choose from: Sour Apple, Strawberry/Banana, Strawberry, Wet Mango, Purple Haze, Blueberry, Passion Fruit, Georgia Peach, Jamaican Rum and Black Cherry.

Dutch Master Sport Honey Cigarillos - B1G1F promotion - price for one cigar 30 cents..
Click on image to enlarge..

Our children are the future, as a result our highest priority has to be to keep children from beginning to use tobacco products. Let's ban all flavored tobacco products.

Japan Tobacco raises net forecast on currency gains and gains in market share for brands..

October 31, 2009 - Japan Tobacco Inc., the world’s third-largest publicly traded cigarette maker, raised its full-year profit forecast 8 percent on projected currency gains and increasing market share for brands including Camel and Winston.

Net income may be 108 billion yen ($1.2 billion) for the year ending March, compared with its previous estimate of 100 billion yen, the company said in a statement today. Annual sales may total 6.09 trillion yen, compared with its previous forecast of 6 trillion yen. “We are changing our forecast mainly because we have changed our exchange-rate assumptions,” Executive Deputy President Munetaka Takeda said in a briefing in Tokyo today.

The maker of Mild Seven cigarettes seeks to boost overseas sales as a declining smoking rate shrinks its home market. Sales volume of its eight “global flagship brands,” which include LD and Benson & Hedges, rose 1.8 percent in the first half, while total overseas sales volume fell 0.9 percent, the company said in its statement. Domestic sales volume dropped 5.2 percent. (Global Flagship Brands consist of eight brands: Winston, Camel, Mild Seven, Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, LD, Sobranie and Glamour.)

“I’m concerned about a slowdown in overseas sales, even though tobacco demand has been seen as less affected by economic swings,” Tomonobu Tsunoyama, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center Co., said by telephone.

Japan Tobacco’s market share grew to 40.2 percent in Britain, 36.5 percent in Russia, 18.1 percent in Italy, 14.6 percent in France and 18.4 percent in Turkey, it said in a separate statement.

The cigarette maker predicted exchange rates of 0.73 euro, 0.65 British pound, 32.25 rubles and 93 yen to the dollar. The projected rates for the European currencies are an average of 11.6 percent higher compared with the initial forecast in April, while the yen’s is 2.2 percent higher, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Japan Tobacco International is one of the companies operating in Canada that may face at least C$200 billion ($192 billion) in claims from governments seeking compensation for treatment of smoking- related illnesses and lost taxes from smuggling. (Canada - tobacco companies may face C$200 billion in claims..)

Japan Tobacco, which is 50 percent government owned, is the biggest traded cigarette maker after Altria Group Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc.

Reference: Japan Tobacco Raises Net Forecast on Currency Gains (Update2) by Naoko Fujimura (nfujimura@bloomberg.net), Bloomberg.com, 10/29/2009.

Some related JTI news briefs:
JTI attacks UK government for plan to ban tobacco displays.;
Japan Tobacco, Inc, annual survey finds 24.9% adults smoke..;
Japan - plaintiiffs have slim chance of winning against big tobacco..;
Japan Tobacco International - Business Results for January – June 2009..;
Japan Tobacco International profis to fall this year..;
Japan Tobacco International annual report January - December 2008..;
Japan Tobacco International to invest USD $200 million Turkey..;
Japan shelves tobacco tax hike for 2009..;
Japan - Ruling party plans tobacco tax hike in 2009..;
Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI) results of its Japan Smoking Rate Survey..;
Japan Tobacco Starts Petition To Fight Tax Increase..;
Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) to launch the D-spec cigarettes "Camel Nutty Lights Box" in Southern Japan in July 2008..;
Japan Tobacco's (JTI) market share up in Japan in FY 2007 for 1st time since 1985..;
Japan Tobacco acquires Gallaher Group..;
RJR Nabisco sells international tobacco business to Japan Tobacco..;


NCACT welcomes Quebec government's tabling of bill to fight contraband tobacco..

October 30, 2009 - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) welcomed the Quebec government's tabling of a bill to fight contraband tobacco. Bill 59 significantly increases the powers of provincial and municipal police to search, seize and fine anyone carrying illegal cigarettes in a car. Municipalities will be allowed to keep revenue from these fines.

"Giving police more powers to deal with contraband tobacco is a theme we've been talking about for the past several months and we're pleased that the Government of Quebec has decided to take this action," said Gary Grant, Spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco and retired Staff Superintendent of the Toronto Police Service. "With this bill, Quebec becomes the first jurisdiction in Canada to act in a meaningful way to fight contraband tobacco and the organized crime groups behind its distribution and sale. It's finally some real progress and we call upon government leaders at Queen's Park and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to take similar action."

Contraband tobacco is a major problem in central Canada and one of the most vulnerable populations - our kids - is at risk because of illegal cigarettes. A recent study by the NCACT and Canadian Convenience Stores Association of Ontario and Quebec high schools found that 30% of the cigarette butts found around Ontario schools and 45% at Quebec schools were contraband tobacco.

Studies have also shown the prevalence of contraband tobacco is rapidly growing in Canada - particularly in Ontario and Quebec. In both provinces, almost half of all cigarettes being sold are illegal - circumventing all government restrictions on the responsible sale of tobacco products.

"We're pleased the Quebec government has decided to act - this is certainly a step in the right direction," added Dave Bryans, President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association and founding member of the NCACT. "But now is the time for others to join suit. Parents and politicians need to know that efforts to keep kids from smoking are seriously at risk because of contraband tobacco. It is short-circuiting government's anti-smoking efforts - tobacco tax policy, health warnings, display bans, mandatory ID checks, government anti-smoking initiatives - they're all going up in smoke because of the wide availability of illegal cigarettes.

Reference: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco applauds Government of Quebec's move to get tough on contraband tobacco Coalition urges Federal government and Province of Ontario to take similar action, NewsWire.ca, 10/29/2009.

Canada - cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Quebec - push to stop trade in illicit cigarettes..;
Canada Ontario/Quebec - make it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products..;
Canada - nearly one in five packs of cigarettes smoked by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products..;
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...

Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds boosting per-pack cigarette prices..

October 30, 2009 - The nation's two top cigarette-makers are boosting per-pack prices by 6 to 8 cents a pack.

Though the companies won't say why, analysts believe it is to cover new user fees charged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to pay for the costs of its new assignment to regulate tobacco.

The increase on what Altria's Philip Morris USA and Reynolds American's RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. charge wholesalers seems unlikely to have a big effect on smoking, as this spring's 61.66 cent-a-pack hike in federal excise taxes did.

Last week, Altria Group Inc. chairman and chief executive Michael E. Szymanczyk told analysts the effect of that tax hike accounted for about two-thirds of the 16 percent drop in the number of cigarettes it sold in the third quarter. The rest came from wholesalers' inventory reductions.

That price effect was in line with the historical trend, he said.

Though tobacco companies don't disclose their models for forecasting the effect of price changes on smoking, economists and security analysts have estimated that every 10 percent increase in prices cuts consumption by 4 percent.

Reference: Two cigarette makers boosting pack prices
by Staff Reports, Richmond Times_Dispatch, 10/30/2009.

Quebec - push to stop trade in illicit cigarettes..

October 30, 2009 - The Quebec government on Wednesday, October 28th unveiled a push to stop trade in illicit (illegal, contraband, black market) cigarettes, including stiffer fines and a moratorium on manufacturing permits. The bill, introduced by provincial Revenue Minister Robert Dutil also gives more power to police, notably municipal organizations, to arrest, fine or charge producers, distributors and consumers of illegal cigarettes.

"This is probably the most important element," Dutil told reporters Wednesday.

Dutil: About 30 percent of cigarettes smoked in Quebec are contraband and the Quebec government is losing about $300 million a year in taxes. He blamed organized crime for most of the illicit trade, but noted natives also are involved.

The minister said crackdowns will take place on native reserves if needed, despite their claims they have the right to trade tobacco. "We will work, we work actually with natives on that aspect. It has happened (in the past) that we intervened alongside natives on reserves," he said.

Reference: Quebec to crack down on contraband tobacco, Monteral Gazette - Canwest News Service, 10/28/2009.

Canada - cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Canada Ontario/Quebec - make it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products..;
Canada - nearly one in five packs of cigarettes smoked by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products..;
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...


NIRA - stop accepting scholarship money from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco..

October 30, 2009 - National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) is the governing body for college rodeo competition in the United States. Collegiate competitors that perform well in the finals may be recipients of a certain amount of scholarship money depending upon how well they compete.

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco had been contributing $200,000 per year to the NIRA until the business was purchased by the tobacco corporation Altria last year, according to NIRA officials. Altria owns brand names such as Marlboro, Copenhagen and Skoal. The rodeo association now is in negotiations with Altria about continued funding of the scholarship program, NIRA spokeswoman Sarah Neely said.

The association of this deadly substance with a positive athletic event such as the rodeo is inappropriate.

A San Luis Obispo doctor, Stephen L. Hansen, a physician and representative of the county Tobacco Control Coalition, continues to speak out against Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University) for allowing students to accept scholarships from the smokeless tobacco industry as prize awards in collegiate rodeo events.

The League Against Spit Sponsorship at Our rodeo (LASSO) is a project committed to assisting the Cal Poly Rodeo in replacing the scholarship money awarded by US Smokeless Tobacco with money from a more positive source.

Cal Poly officials said that it’s not the university’s place to tell students how they might consider scholarship money, regardless of the company behind it.

South Dakota State University has denied funding from the tobacco industry and set up a replacement fund, but it’s the only university rodeo team that has done so, said Kim Homer Vagadori, a tobacco prevention coordinator for the California Youth Advocacy Network.

Reference: Doctor presses the case against tobacco scholarships Money is given as collegiate rodeo prizes; practice lures students to dangerous product, he says by
Nick Wilson (nwilson@thetribunenews.com), SanLuisObispo.com - The Tribune, 10/27/2009.

Queensland, Australia - January 1, 2010 start of law banning smoking in cars carrying children..

October 30, 2009 - On January 1, 2010 the Australian State of Queensland will start banning smoking in cars carrying children and will apply on all public roads.
Adults caught smoking in cars with children under the age of 16 will be slapped with $200 on the spot fines.

Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said the penalties were similar to those for people caught using a mobile phone while driving. "Obviously we don't expect the police to be on every shop corner or street corner issuing tickets but they can intercept people when they are smoking with kids in the car," Mr Lucas told ABC Radio this morning.

He rebuffed suggestions the legislation was a case of state revenue raising, saying the smoking ban was about protecting future generations.

"The level of tobacco smoke inside a vehicle is very high, and we know young children involuntarily exposed to tobacco smoke in confined environments have significantly increased health risks, including bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome," he said.

There are 276,000 smokers with children aged under 16 in Queensland.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said he could understand the logic behind the smoking ban, but said it was cause for concern.
"You might see justification for this but in the end these things are parents' responsibilities ... the state should really leave parents' responsibilities to parents," Mr Cope told brisbanetimes.com.au this morning. "This is just another example of the state stepping in and extending it's reach to people's private lives.
"Parents are ultimately responsible for taking care of their children ... parents should have control, not the state."

In justifying the new laws, Mr Lucas said children didn't "have the ability to have a say." "If I'm a smoker and I'm with another adult and we're smoking in the car, well that's really my choice,'' he said. "But kids don't have the ability to say, 'I'm hopping (getting) out.' They've got to go with Mum and Dad."

The State Government will also throw its support behind local councils seeking to ban smoking at shopping centres, public malls and bus stops.

"The State Government can control what happens a train stations ... but councils can apply to make local laws that control smoking around [bus stops and shopping malls]," Mr Lucas said.

Councils would therefore be entitled to the proceeds from fines, rather than the State Government.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the council would move to ban smoking in the Ipswich Mall precinct, but allow for designated smoking areas. He said it was likely smokers would be afforded a three month amnesty before new by-laws became effective.
"We want to sit down with Deputy Premier to work out the costs for council. We could keep all the fines and that could go to educational programs or paying for law enforcement officers," Cr Pisasale said. "This is not revenue raising. What this is all about is making sure we protect the health and the stature of people who can't make a decision."

Banning smoking when children are in the home or car is a no-brainer - even Philip Morris agrees. David Sutton, a spokesman for Philip Morris USA said the company believes the public "should be guided by the conclusions of public health officials regarding the health effects of secondhand smoke" and "particular care should be exercised where children are concerned." Bill Phelps, a spokesman for the nation's largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, said the company's website points out that public health officials have shown that secondhand smoke causes heart disease in nonsmokers. Phelps: "We agree that people should be able to avoid being around secondhand smoke, particularly in places where they must go."

More evidence - vehicles most dangerous space for second-hand smoke inhalation..

Reference: Queensland ban on smoking in cars carrying children, MARISSA CALLIGEROS, Australian Associated Press, BrisbaneTimes.com.au, 10/30/2009.


Lebanon - concerned citizens trying to introduce tobacco controls..

October 30, 2009 - A 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) report found that Lebanon was the biggest consumer of tobacco in the eastern Mediterranean region after Tunisia and Jordan. A survey carried out by the UN agency in 2005 found 60 percent of Lebanese aged between 13 and 15 smoke cigarettes, narghileh (hookah, water pipe, sheesha, shisha) pipes or cigars. 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 - a smokers paradise..)

Some 75 percent of children are subject to second-hand smoke exposure, increasing their chances of suffering from asthma, chronic bronchitis, eye and ear infections, potentially fatal lung and respiratory illnesses, and cot death.

There are now smoking bans in place in over 70 countries across the world, but in Lebanon, where smokers seem to vastly outnumber nonsmokers, there have been no such efforts to curb tobacco use. In fact, Lebanon seems to be something of a smoker’s safe haven. Gemmayzeh, arguably Beirut’s most popular bar and restaurant district, on Wednesday, October 28th will host its second smoke-free night this year in a bid to raise awareness on the dangers of tobacco.

Following the success of a no-smoking night in February, volunteers from the Beirut Metropolitan and Sahel Metn Rotaract Clubs decided to organize another to urge Lebanese authorities to encourage tobacco-free habits across the country. “We’re looking for sustainability in this campaign,” said Saiid Saber, a Rotaract volunteer.

“Our objective is to have regular smoke-free nights in all areas and in the long-term, to present a draft law to Parliament which restricts smoking in public places.” The clubs have also drawn up an online petition urging Lebanon to ban smoking in public places.

Saber said that although Beirut is a signatory to the WHO's 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, it has failed to ratify the document and has done little to enforce it. (This is NOT true. In December 2005 Lebanon ratified the WHO's Organization’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) with little fanfare by the government and no coverage by the local media, and so far it seems that the tobacco industry is behaving just as it did before. FCTC..

“Here things have been done in slow motion,” he said, noting that cigarette taxes have barely increased, health warning labels have not been added to packets, and the lack of enforcement of smoking bans in government buildings or hospitals.

With minimal regulation, no enforcement on the minimum age for smokers and lucrative sponsorship deals, the tobacco industry has found fertile ground in Lebanon. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Lebanon’s tobacco lobby spends “millions per year on advertising,” often designed to appeal to the young and image-conscious.

“It’s an easy, enabling environment” for smokers, complained Dr. Rima Nakkash, Assistant Professor of Research at the Center for Research on Population and Health at the American University of Beirut. But anti-smoking campaigns do see light at the end of the tunnel: smoking bans are gaining momentum in the Middle East, having recently been partially or totally enforced in Bahrain, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Qatar, Turkey and the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

In addition, the Rotaract campaign has grown. Some 36 establishments – 10 more than last year – have agreed to participate, sticking up “Ain’t no smoking tonight” posters designed by Internet cartoonist Maya Zankoul on their doors.

Nakkash said more and sustained awareness campaigns would help educate the Lebanese about their rights to clean air. But above all, she said, the Lebanese government needs to implement and enforce laws restricting tobacco use. Countries where comprehensive national strategies on tobacco use and advertising have been enforced have seen incidences of cancer and smoking plummet.

Lebanon's public health issues and services..

References: Beirut's smoke-free night draws widespread public support by Omar Katerji, Special to The Lebanon Daily Star, 10/30/2009; Gemmayzeh to go smoke-free for one night by Dalila Mahdawi, Lebanon Daily Star staff, 10/28/2009; Lebanon 'must move' to ban smoking Health experts push for law against lighting up in public places to save lives by Dalila Mahdawi, Lebanon Daily News, 10/29/2009.

Canadian - McGill University - light smoking damages arteries, reducing bodies' ability to deal with physical stress.

October 29, 2009 - The study was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009 (October 24-29 in Edmonton, Alberta) by Dr Stella Daskalopoulou, an internal medicine and vascular medicine specialist at McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal, Quebec. The study suggests that even light smoking in otherwise healthy young people damages the arteries, reducing their bodies' ability to deal with physical stress such as exercise, running to catch a bus or climbing stairs.

Daskalopoulou and colleagues showed that even one cigarette led to serious adverse effects in young adults: it increased the stiffness of the arteries of otherwise healthy 18 to 30 year olds by 25 per cent. Smoking helps plaque accumulate in the arteries, leading to a higher risk of blood clots, less oxygen in the blood, and higher blood pressure. It also makes the heart work harder and nearly doubles the risk of ischemic stroke (due to inadequate blood flow). Also, when arteries get harder, the heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood around, and the stiffer the artery, the higher the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Daskalopoulou told delegates: "Young adults aged 20-24 years have the highest smoking rate of all age groups in Canada. Our results are significant because they suggest that smoking just a few cigarettes a day impacts the health of the arteries. This was revealed very clearly when these young people were placed under physical stress, such as exercise," she explained.

For the study, Daskalopoulou and colleagues compared the arterial stiffness of young smokers who smoked about five or six cigarettes a day to that of non-smokers. The median age of the participants was 21. They measured the participants' arterial stiffness in three arteries, both at rest and then after an arterial stress test, using a new but not well established method called applanation tonometry. The three arteries were the radial (wrist), carotid (neck) and femoral (groin) arteries.

The "arterial stress test" was a bit like a cardiac stress test that measures the heart's response to exercise, except in this case Daskalopoulou and colleagues measured the arteries' response to exercise. Daskalopoulou said that:

"In effect we were measuring the elasticity of arteries under challenge from tobacco."

The participants first underwent an initial arterial stress test to establish a baseline measurement for both smokers and non-smokers who were asked to abstain for 12 hours before the test. After that first test, the smokers were invited back and asked to smoke one cigarette each and then take the test again.

The exercise was repeated one more time, except this time the smokers were asked to chew a piece of nicotine gum before taking the stress test.

Non-smokers also did the arterial stress test to establish their arterial stiffness levels after exercise.

The researchers found that: After exercise, the arterial stiffness of non-smokers fell by 3.6 percent; For smokers however, the pattern was reversed: after exercise (without smoking) their arterial stiffness went up by 2.2 percent; After nicotine gum, it went up 12.6 per cent, and after smoking just one cigarette it went up by 24.5 per cent.

Interestingly, said Daskalopoulou, arterial stiffness was the same in smokers and non-smokers at rest. "In effect, this means that even light smoking in otherwise young healthy people can damage the arteries, compromising the ability of their bodies to cope with physical stress. It seems that this compromise to respond to physical stress occurs first, before the damage of the arteries becomes evident at rest," she explained.

Dr Beth Abramson from the Heart and Stroke Foundation said that: "More than 47,000 Canadians will die prematurely each year due to tobacco use, which often starts in the teen years. We know that over 90 per cent of teenagers who smoke as few as three to four cigarettes a day may be trapped into a lifelong habit of regular smoking, which typically lasts 35 to 40 years," she added. Abramson said this study confirmed the importance of education, prevention and legislation, such as the recent passing of Bill C-32, Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act.

Reference: Even A Few Cigarettes A Day Reduces Artery Health In Young Adults, written by Catharine Paddock, PhD, Medical News Today, 10/27/2009.

Ireland - roll your own cigarettes making a comeback..

October 29, 2009 - Roll-ups (RYO, a cigarette which you make by wrapping a piece of paper around some tobacco) are making a comeback, as recession-hit smokers switch from expensive cigarettes to cheaper hand-rolled tobacco.

Irish (Ireland) Customs officials cleared 159,605kg of rolling tobacco for distribution in the first nine months of this year, a 38% increase on 2008. They attributed the surge to a rise in the use of roll-your-own tobacco by smokers striving to cut costs.

A survey published last week found that Irish people are smoking more than ever, with one third of the population still lighting up, the highest rate in 11 years. Despite hikes in tobacco tax, the ban on smoking in the workplace and a law against shops displaying cigarettes for sale, the number of smokers has risen since 2007, when 29% of the population smoked, the EU’s (European Union) Help campaign found.

A 25g pack of rolling tobacco costs €8.74 but, according to Vincent Jennings, chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, a thrifty smoker could roll as many as 150 cigarettes from it. Twenty cigarettes cost €8.45 (12.5455 USD), though a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice last week found that Ireland’s policy of setting a minimum price for tobacco products distorts competition.

“I always smoked Marlboro Lights and it’s only in the last year that I switched to rollies because I couldn’t keep paying out €8.45 (12.9729 USD) a pop,” said John Murphy, 33, who works in sales and advertising. “I used to spend €100 (148.427 USD) a week on cigarettes and now I spend €16 (23.7481 USD).

“Ireland’s culture of overcharging is a disgrace and if they continue to rip us off I’m going to buy it on the streets.”

Customs seized 3,144kg of roll-your-own tobacco in the first nine months, double the amount in all of 2007. Illicit tobacco products now account for 30% of consumption, the highest figure in the EU.

Convenience stores say they are losing about €80m a year and are not benefiting from higher rolling-tobacco sales as much as they should be, Jennings says. “One member found that when a local gang got in on the act, his tobacco sales went down to 25 percent of what they had been,” he said.

Imperial Tobacco, maker of Golden Virginia (rolling tobacco manufactured in Nottingham, England by Imperial Tobacco and sold throughout Europe), is enjoying a 15% increase in sales of the brand leader and has introduced discount brands such as Gold Leaf. Deirdre Healy of John Player & Sons, Imperial’s Irish business, said: “Unlike cigarettes, which are a standard size, roll-your-own gives greater flexibility to control spending by rolling a cigarette as small or as large as you like.

“Rolling tobacco has always been lower in Ireland than in the UK, accounting for about 2% of the market. But because of the times, we have increased our orders month-on-month.”

A recent analysis of smoking in the UK discovered a cultural shift in the use of tobacco, with more than one in four adult smokers using pouch tobacco. One in five white-collar professionals who smoke now use roll-ups, as do one in five female smokers compared with one in 50 in 1990, suggesting that the roll-up, favoured by actors such as Jeremy Irons and Kate Winslet, is now hip.

Jennings (chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association): “Rolling tobacco has become fashionable in certain quarters,” Jennings said. “I think, though, that for most smokers, it’s an inconvenience and they only go for it because of the value for money.”

Reference: Roll-ups burn a hole in cigarette sales, Gabrielle Monaghane, Sunday Times - Times Online, 10/25/2009.

Some Ireland related news briefs:
Ireland - lots of smokers - lots of sickness - resulting in premature death - THIS HAS TO STOP..;
Ireland - people responding well to the ban on cigarette displays..;
Ireland - Prof Clancy not enough spent on prevention..;
Ireland - tobacco vendors must register by October 1, 2009..;
Children - exposed to cigarette smoke in cars have greater chance of respiratory distress..;
Ireland - tobacco companies not helping small retailers - display ban..;
Tobacco control initiatives starting Wednesday, July 1, 2009..;
Ireland - Office of Tobacco Control 2008 annual report - Positive..;
Ireland - modest penalty for cigarette smuggling..;
Ireland - to amend tobacco legislation to to include pictoral warnings..;
Ireland - as of July 1, 2009 no advertising or display of tobacco products will be permitted in retail outlets..;
Ireland - cigarette tax abandoned over smuggling fears..;
Ireland - may raise tax on cigarettes as part of emergency budget..;
Ireland - ban smoking in cars when kids are present..;
Ireland - further provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002 and 2004 are to be commenced on 1 July 2009.;
Ireland - 80% of smokers want a ban on tobacco advertising in shops to stop youngsters starting the habit..;
Ireland to ban tobacco displays..;
Ireland - reduction in admissions for acute coronary syndrome...


New York City - ban on flavored tobacco products becomes law..

October 29, 2009 - The City Council voted, on Wednesday, October 14th to expand on the Food and Drug Administration’s action to ban the sale of flavored cigarettes by banning the sale of all flavored tobacco products in New York City (NYC). At this time a spokesperson for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg indictated that mayor supports the legislation, which now goes to his desk. (New York City bans the sale of flavored tobacco products..)

On Wednesday October 28, 2009, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed legislation to prohibit the sale of most forms of flavored tobacco products in New York City. The new law is more extensive than the federal Food and Drug Administration’s ban on candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes, which took effect last month.

The legislation covers “chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice flavors,” but exempts “tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors.”

The city ban includes cigars and smokeless tobacco, while the federal ban is limited to cigarettes. That ban prohibits the sale of cigarettes with “an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee.”

While the city’s adult smoking rate has fallen — a development that the mayor has repeatedly trumpeted as a public health success — the Council said that the proportion of public high school students in the city who said they smoked only cigars and cigarillos had tripled since 2001. Flavored tobacco products are often marketed at the young.

Violators of the new city law may be fined up to $2,000 or have their tobacco-vending license suspended.

Reference: Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products Becomes City Law by Sewell Chan, Cityroom.Blogs.NYTimes.com, 10/28/2009.

NYC directly related:
New York City bans the sale of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg pushing ahead to ban smoking in city parks and beaches..;
New York City - all retailers selling tobacco will be required to post warning signs..;
New York City - to ask public opinion - smoking graphic warning signs; New York City - proposed pictorial warning signs to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use.;
New York City - may ban smoking in parks and beaches..;
New York City - can't sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes..;
New CDC Chief Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH..;
New York City Council ban candy-flavored tobacco, smoking outside of hospitals..;
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New York City - nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke..;
New York City - cigarettes more than $10- a- pack..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;
Michael Rubens Bloomberg - ELF Award winner 2008;
NYC sues reservation smoke shops over bootlegging..;
NYC Fights Smoking With Reality Images in Matchbooks..;
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NYC Warns Parents of Smoking Lawsuits...

BAT - q3 2009 results cigarette shipments declined.

October 29, 2009 - British American Tobacco Plc (BAT), Europe’s largest cigarette maker, said shipments declined for the first time in almost two years during the third quarter as markets deteriorated from Brazil to Japan and South Africa.

BAT promotes themselves as the world's most international tobacco group, with quality brands sold in more than 180 markets.

The quantity of cigarettes sold in the three months ended September 30 fell 2.6 percent to 185 billion, the London-based company said today on its Web site. Nine-month shipments rose 2 percent to 533 billion, weakening from 5 percent growth in the first half and 7 percent in the opening quarter of the year.

BAT Chief Executive Officer Paul Adams said consumers are finding economic conditions “difficult” as unemployment rises. Smokers are switching to cheaper brands and cigarette smuggling is increasing in places such as Germany and eastern Europe as the recession leads consumers to tighten their purse strings.

“This statement had a more bearish tone than previous ones,” Adam Spielman, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said in a note. “The main problem was eastern Europe, but also the market is declining on Japan and Brazil, and now also in South Africa.”

Excluding acquisitions, volumes fell 3 percent in the nine months, worse than the first-half’s 2 percent drop, BAT said. Volumes of Kent, Lucky Strike, Dunhill and Pall Mall, the so- called major global brands, rose 4 percent in the period, further decelerating after two quarters of slowing growth.

To counter declining smoking rates in North America and countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom (U.K.), tobacco companies have been looking for takeovers to boost sales, as well as raising prices. BAT spent about $5 billion in total for Turkey’s Tekel in June 2008 and Denmark’s Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni (ST) in July.

Directly related: BAT - continues growth in 1st half of 2009...

Last week, Philip Morris International, which sells Marlboro in countries outside the U.S., and Reynolds American Inc., owner of the Camel brand, reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as higher prices offset shipment declines.

“Pricing remains the key to industry progress in the current year and into 2010 in our view, while all competitors appear to understand the need to retain pricing discipline,” Cazenove analysts said in a note today.

Reefrence: BAT Shipments Drop for First Time in Almost Two Years (Update1) by Jeroen Molenaar (jmolenaar1@bloomberg.net) and Paul Jarvis (pjarvis@bloomberg.net), Bloomberg.com, 10/28/2009.


Victoria, Australia - 4 in 10 smokers still light up around children..

October 28, 2009 - Survey finds almost half of Victoria's cigarette smokers still light up around children (kids), despite an increase over the last decade in the number of homes that enforce a no-smoking policy.

New research released today by the Cancer Council Victoria found significant improvement in the efforts of parents to keep tobacco smoke away from their kids. In 1998 just over half of surveyed households had home smoking bans, but in the latest survey just under three quarters of respondents to a phone survey said their household's regular smoker always or usually smoked outside.

If there is a child in the house, it is even more likely (82 percent) the smoker will go outside.

However the researchers said it was not an even trend. Parents were much more likely to protect their children from cigarette smoke when they were aged under five. There was a belief that as their child gets older they are better able to tolerate or avoid smoke exposure.

Also, households in lower socio-economic areas were less likely to enforce home smoking bans.

Outside the home, there has been an increase over the last 11 years in the proportion of smokers who do not smoke at all when they are around children: from 45 percent in 1998 to 56 percent in 2008.

The research was released today at the launch of a new ad campaign by Quit Victoria, titled "Cigarettes are eating you and your kids alive". The ads were copied from a successful New York campaign, and recently also screened in New South Wales.

Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews, who launched the campaign, said Victorians owed it to their children to take a tough stand on this issue.

The ads were funded through the state's Cancer Action Plan, which was launched last year. Under the plan, and the Government's tobacco control strategy, smoking has already been banned in schoolyards and it will be illegal in cars carrying children from January 1, 2010.

Royal Children's Hospital pediatrician Dr Rob Roseby said smoking increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and elevates the risk of contracting meningococcal disease by a staggering 700 per cent. Poisons like cyanide and carbon monoxide in cigarettes can trigger other chronic health problems including asthma, pneumonia and ear infections, he said. "Most parents who smoke know that their smoking is in some way potentially harmful to their children,'' Dr Roseby said.

Dr. Roseby - passive smoking leads to a "long, sad catalogue of risks" in children, "Smoking causes trans-generational disease," he said. "Children and toddlers are exposed primarily at the home, and then later at places like child care or shopping centres." If a parent smokes their child is twice as likely to go to hospital with pneumonia, twice as likely to get ear disease that must be treated with surgery, and if they need an operation is ten times more likely to have difficulty with anaesthesia.

References: Parents still smoking around children, NICK MILLER, theAge.com.au, 10/27/2009; Survey finds four in 10 Victorian smokers still light up around children, Edwina Scott, HeraldSun.com.au, 10/27/2009.

Victoria some related news brief:
Victoria, Australia 5-YR Tobacco Control Strategy..;
State of Victoria Releases 5-Year Tobacco Control Strategy..;
Quit Victoria anti-smoking ad draws controversy..;
Australia - wants to move up date for fire-safe cigarettes..;
Australia - Victoria fires - arson thrown cigarette butt..;
Smoking Device has Quit fuming..;
Victoria May Outlaw Underage Smoking..;

Third Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam smokefree..

October 28, 2009 - The third Asian Indoor Games (AIG), to be held in Viet Nam next Thursday, will be a non-smoking Games.

The events' organising board and World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Viet Nam branch office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the capital yesterday (October 25th) to make this AIG the third one to be non-smoking.

Organisers and the WHO have agreed that cigarette smoking and sports do not belong together; tobacco in any form is not allowed at the events. No smoking at the event is in alignment with government regulations banning of smoking in public places. Tobacco advertisements and tobacco company sponsors are also not allowed at the events.

Non-smoking areas include AIG gymnasiums, all offices of AIG management board, press centres, and transportation units serving the event.

"Viet Nam organised the non-smoking Southeast Asian Games in 2005 successfully so I believe Viet Nam will hold well this event," said head representative of WHO's Viet Nam branch office, Dr Jean Marc Olive.

Vuong Bich Thang, director of AIG's operation centre said: "We promulgated rules, held training courses for volunteers and security staff on a non-smoking AIG, as well as created information for the media and at the event on the non-smoking policy."

"After this event, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism will publish rules to ban smoking at sports venues and tournaments," Thang added. "In this way, we will be in compliance with the government's rules banning smoking in public places which will take effect next year," Olive said.

At present, 41 countries and territories have registered to take part in the third AIG Games from October 30 to November 8.

Reference: No smoking rule enforced, VNS, smoking-quit.info, 10/26/2009.


Saskatchewan - new anti-tobacco legislation expected soon..

October 28, 2009 - Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris on Monday, October 26th said the government is looking at updating its no-smoking law with new anti-tobacco legislation expected to be introduced later this fall. McMorris said that details of the province's legislation still need to be worked out but Saskatchewan must take steps to deal with smoking rates that are among the highest in Canada.

Among the measures being contemplated are banning smoking on restaurant and bar patios and in vehicles carrying minors, setting new limits on how close people smoking can be to public buildings and curtailing tobacco sales in pharmacies.

McMorris: "Allowing pharmacies, especially the big box store pharmacies, to be selling tobacco products, it's a little counterintuitive to be passing out (smoking) cessation ... medicine, for example, as well as selling tobacco at the same time."

"All provinces are looking at the whole piece of trying to drive down the use of tobacco, denormalize it and more importantly, protect the people around a smoker from second-hand smoke," McMorris said.

Under the NDP (New Democratic Party), the provincial government instituted a province-wide smoking ban in enclosed public places at the start of 2005. Outdoor patios in bars and restaurants were exempt although some communities, such as Saskatoon, instituted local restrictions on smoking on decks. (Government of Saskatchewan: Tobacco Reduction - Smoke Free Public Places.)

A number of jurisdictions meanwhile, including Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Yukon have already implemented bans on smoking in vehicles carrying minors, with the cut-off point ranging from 16 to 19 years of age.

Ray Joubert, registrar of the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists, said pharmacists would welcome a move to ban tobacco sales from pharmacies, noting that many already don't sell cigarettes. "Generally, it's a product that's not compatible with good health and pharmacies are places where one goes for good health, health care," said Joubert, adding that such legislation would level the playing field between small players and large retailers.

"Children in particular are especially susceptible to the poison in second-hand smoke, particularly in an enclosed, confined space like a car," said Donna Pasiechnik, tobacco control co-ordinator of the Canadian Cancer Society's Saskatchewan division.

As for restaurant and bar patios, Peter Van Loon, an educator with the Lung Association in Saskatchewan, said smoking should not be allowed in spaces where people are gathered together. But Tom Mullin, president of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association, said the move will be a blow to rural hoteliers who were hard-hit by the smoking ban four years ago. Many businesses sunk a considerable investment into building patios precisely because of the smoking law, he said. However, the association won't be "duking it out" with the government this time because public opinion is likely on its side, said Mullin. Instead, the hospitality industry will press for a better deal with the province on liquor sales.

References: Province plans smoking ban print this article Hospitality association says the move will be a blow, but believes public opinion not on its side, REGINA JAMES WOOD
Saskatchewan News Network - Prince Albert Daily Herald, 10/27/2009; Patio smoking ban under attack, CBC News, 10/26/2009.

Related news briefs: Saskatchewan - smoking ban takes effect May 31, 2009..; Canada - more governments encouraged to ban sales of tobacco in pharmacies..; Tobacco displays are on their way out in an increasing number of countries..; Tax the hell out of all tobacco products until they disappear...

Image - Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris..

Electronic cigarettes opening up a new front in the tobacco wars..

October 28, 2009 - Electronic cigarettes are opening a new front in the tobacco wars as state and local lawmakers try to restrict the product, which may allow users to circumvent smoking bans.

The battery-powered device is made up of a cartridge containing nicotine, flavoring and chemicals. It turns nicotine, which is addictive, into a vapor that is inhaled. Users say they're "vaping," not smoking.

E-cigarettes are used by at least a half-million Americans, says Matt Salmon, head of the Electronic Cigarette Association.

"People who smoke ought to have better alternatives, because some can't quit," he says. His father, a longtime smoker, died last week of cancer and emphysema.

Public health officials question the safety of e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates tobacco and nicotine replacement devices, says the e-cigarettes it tested had carcinogens. E-cigarette distributors have filed a lawsuit challenging the FDA's authority.

"It's a new frontier. We don't know what the dangers are," says John Banzhaf of Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-smoking group.

"We're actively investigating these companies and their products," says Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Other actions:

• California passed a ban on e-cigarette sales, but Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it this month.

• Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, a Democrat, reached a settlement in August with retailers and distributors not to sell them.

• New Hampshire state Rep. Rich DiPentima, a Democrat, is crafting a bill to ban sales to minors.

• New Jersey state Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, a Democrat, plans a bill to subject e-cigarettes to the same restrictions as cigarettes.

• In Paramus, N.J., the health department's board plans to propose an ordinance today banning e-cigarettes where smoking is not allowed.

• In August, Suffolk County, N.Y., restricted e-cigarettes in public places and banned sales to minors.

To Julie Woessner, 46, a former smoker in Wildwood, Mo., they are "almost a miracle," allowing her to kick her two-packs-a-day cigarette habit.

Reference: Firestorm over smokeless cigarette by Wendy Koch, USA TODAY, 10/25/2009.

Altria Group q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript - keypoints..

October 27, 2009 Mike Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

No mention of Marlboro SNUS but comment from Marty Orlowsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lorillard Triumphs SNUS is performing inline with its competitive adventives, which is pretty flat and it’s not showing any real dynamic growth and it’s no different than the category is frankly.

Marlboro’s retail share for the third quarter of 2009 was 41.9%, an increase of 7/10th of a share point from the second quarter of 2009. It’s a brand responded well after the initial period of dislocation caused by the Federal Excise Tax increase, and by differing market pricing around the event.

Marlboro was the only leading premium brand to grow third quarter cigarette retail shares measured by IRI capstone, eithene, either sequentially or on a comparable year-over-year basis. We are particularly pleased with Marlboro’s balanced retail share growth between menthol and non-menthol from the second quarter to the third. As the brand grew its non-menthol retail share by 4/10 of the share point, and its menthol retail share by 3/10 share point. The successful introduction of Marlboro Blend 54 was an important contributor to Marlboro strong menthol share grow.

We are particularly pleased with Copenhagen’s retail share performance. Copenhagen grew its retail share of the smokeless category of 3/10 of a share point from the second quarter of 2009 to the third quarter. And its September monthly retail share was 8/10 of a share point higher than it’s retail share in April, the month immediately following the list price reduction.

We expect the launch of Copenhagen Winter Green long cut in the fourth quarter of this year to continue enhancing Copenhagen’s ability to grow retail share of the smokeless category. Skoal has also responded well to the actions enhancing its value equation. Since July, Skoal has demonstrated retail share stability with a consistent monthly market share of approximately 23.6%. USSTC has a number of initiatives planned for Skoal that should continue strengthening its position in the smokeless category in 2010.

Black & Mild continued its impressive performance growing its third quarter retail share of the machine made large cigar category by 7/10 of a share points versus the year ago period to 30.9%. Share growth was driven by a recent successful launch of Black & Mild Wood Tip and Black & Mild Wood Tip Wine, as well as the equity building campaign, Enjoy Black & Mild. Black & Mild’s growth within the machine made large cigar category should be further enhanced by expanding its portfolio of products into new segments, such as untipped cigarillos.

In the smokeless category, USSTC and PM USA estimate that the long term category growth rate remains stable at about 7%. Middleton estimates that the machine made large cigar categories long term growth rate also remains relatively stable, at about 3%, though the category growth rate has slowed after the Federal Excise Tax increase on cigars.

The second factor was the decline in trade inventories across all of our tobacco businesses. In the third quarter of 2008, the trade increased cigarette inventories, while in the third quarter of this year the trade substantially reduced them. PM USA estimates that trade inventory levels on its cigarettes were reduced by an estimated 20% at the end of the third quarter of 2009 versus at the end of the third quarter of last year.

Dave Beran, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Altria Group.

Marlboro has growth 1/10 of a share point to 41.9% through the first nine months of this year, versus the same year ago period.

Through October 1st, 13 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, have increased their cigarette excise taxes in 2009, with an average increase of $0.54 per pack in those 13 states and DC.

Our third quarter master settlement agreement in quota of buy-out rules, were $1.2 billion or $0.67 per pack. Of the $0.67 the MSA represents $0.61 per pack in the quarter buy-out represents $0.06 per pack.

The FDA user fee payments for cigarettes through September 30th were $11 million or $0.01 per pack.

Copenhagen’s national retail price in the third quarter was $4.21 and its net price GAAP versus the leading discount brand was 51% in the third quarter.

Well, I've said this before and I'll repeat it again. 2009 is a year of transition for the company, so we've restructured the whole company. We bought UST, we've restructured that entire business enterprise as a part of a larger restructuring of Altria. I wouldn't try to read anything in quarter to quarter movements in that business at this point in time. We have absorbed all of the smokeless costs now together into one smokeless unit. We had smokeless costs over in the PM USA so that's been absorbed over in the smokeless side.

Can't tell you what our overall menthol share was. Our menthol share for Marlboro was up and I think I mentioned that and I think it was up by three-tenths, quarter versus a year ago.

Question: Copenhagen with the Long Cut Wintergreen. How does that — can you talk about how you're thinking then the evolution then of Skoal as well, because that struck me as a brand that perhaps was more suited to that kind of innovation. Should we expect line extensions or innovation in Skoal next year as well as you start to work toward maintaining share in both these brands with the long-term category growth rate of about 7%?

Michael E. Szymanczyk - Yes. We have actually some initiatives for Skoal that are planned. We haven't announced them yet as we're not quite ready to do that, but I would point out to you that relative to Copenhagen Wintergreen, about 40% of the MST segment is Wintergreen and it's a growing segment and Copenhagen has no business in the Wintergreen segment. So it's a very appropriate expansion for Copenhagen. It should participate in that segment, and we believe we have an excellent product to put forth to the consumer, and we believe it's going to stimulate growth on Copenhagen and create a lot of interest for the brand, among adult MST users.

But we also have some interesting initiatives for Skoal and so we'll kind of play all that out. As we get into 2010 we like to make focused efforts and make sure that we make the most of them and so we'll take advantage of that brand a little further into the year.

Question: And then secondly, just a quick question on the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Committee, should we still be expecting that report around this time next year or is that still further delayed?

Michael E. Szymanczyk - I think it's still around this time next year if I remember right — August next year if I remember right. And frankly, I'm not aware of a changing on timing for that. There have been some pushback where FDA has moved back the date for some submissions, but not long periods of time — 30 days, those kinds of things. I am not aware of one related to menthol at this point in time.

Okay. You're talking about relative to MST. Well, I'll tell you, there were several movements in the third quarter. One of them was, and I explained this in our last earnings call, that we moved our list price down and we moved it down a particular amount. We didn’t' want to go too deep with it. We wanted to set it at a level where then we could go into particular spots where we knew there would be a necessity for a bit more in order to get the gaps the way we wanted them and that we would do that in the third quarter once we were able to see what the impact was of the reduction that we took in the second quarter.

Question: Guess the question that I'm trying to get around is with Pall Mall obviously having an impact on Marlboro and with your focus on L&M kind of coming back to the fore, I mean, do you think of using L&M as more of a fighter brand within your portfolio as you've kind of now started to focus on just Marlboro and maybe one discount brand versus looking at Parliament Basic and the rest? Any thoughts on L&M specifically?

Michael E. Szymanczyk - Well, we have a strategy for how we use L&M. It's not a primary focus for us. Our primary focus is the Marlboro brand and that's where we'll continue to focus our effort. But relative to some differences between where basic has a nice franchise and where it doesn't, we have some activity with L&M. And we have some activity planned with a product called L&M Bold which is a full flavor menthol product where we're underdeveloped in the full flavor menthol. So that's really how we focused on L&M, but it is not our primary strategy. Our primary strategy is Marlboro.

Nik Modi - UBS - And Mike, just last question when it comes to the sales force. I mean clearly you have your current sales force selling all three different categories with cigar, smokeless and cigarettes, how long do you think it's going to take for that group to really get up the learning curve across all of the categories?

Michael E. Szymanczyk - Well, I think they're doing a great job. They're picking all of that up. They have a lot of work to do because we have launched some new programs relative to these new categories so those have to be sold in. We have (inaudible) activity before us that they'll be dealing with so they have a lot of activity.
Altria Sales & Distribution Organization..

Altria Group, Inc. Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript. - More information on webcast coming..

See Altria - q3 2009 earnings results...

Australia - do not publicly fund assisted reproduction services for couples who are smokers or obese...

October 27, 2009 - Fertility Society of Australia’s 28th Annual Scientific Meeting - Perth, October 25-28, 2009.

Couples who smoke, or are overweight, should be denied taxpayer-funded access to fertility treatments until they take steps to improve their health, a visiting expert says.

Professor Nicholas Macklon, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Southampton University in England says Australia should follow the example of New Zealand and other countries, which do not publicly fund assisted reproduction services for couples who are smokers or obese. "I suggest that Australia should consider this model and patients should not expect to undertake infertility treatment unless they are prepared to give themselves the best chance of conceiving and having a healthy baby. We know, for example, that both male and female obesity is a factor in infertility and that smoking reduces IVF (in vitro fertilization) success rates by half."

Prof Macklon spoke at the Fertility Society of Australia's annual meeting, a three-day event which got under way in Perth on Monday. He is considered a leader in the specialty of periconceptional medicine - an emerging field focused on the health factors that impact on fertility. Prof Macklon said there was overwhelming evidence of the effects of poor diet, smoking and lack of exercise on reproductive health. And that infertile couples seeking assisted reproduction should prepare for pregnancy by making lifestyle changes that give them the best chance to conceive.

"Leading a healthy lifestyle to achieve fertility fitness should be considered as much a part of assisted reproduction as high technology interventions such as IVF," he said.

Prof Macklon also said the objective of infertility treatment should not solely be to help a couple have a healthy baby "but to ensure that the child becomes a healthy adult". "If a couple is fit and healthy, the chances of pregnancy are increased and the life-time health of the child will be greater," he said.

One in six Australian couples experience infertility - defined as the failure to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse or the inability to carry pregnancies to a live birth. An estimated 10,000 children will be born as a result of assisted reproductive technology in Australia this year.

Dr Andrea Braverman, a renowned US specialist on the psychosocial aspects of fertility treatment, is also attending the conference. She said for some people, the news they were unable to conceive was equal to being "diagnosed with cancer". Braverman: The potential fall-out was not only personal, as it often had a corrosive effect on relationships. "For men it can cause feelings of sexual inadequacy, loss of potency and power (while) women can feel incompetent, useless and defective." "Sex as an expression of love can become an expression of failure month after month."

Dr Braverman said the medical or lifestyle factors contributing to fertility problems were shared equally by men and women. Making the decision to seek help could also feel like their problem was being "taken from the bedroom and into a cast of thousands". "For some there are happy endings, but not all," Dr Braverman also said.

Reference: Call to ban smokers from funded IVF, DANNY ROSE, BrisbaneTimes.com.au, 10/26/2009.


New Zealand - study, tobacco displays leads to increase in youth smoking..

Click to enlarge:
October 27, 2009 - Greater exposure to point-of-sale (POS) tobacco advertising displays are leading to an increase in youth smoking, a recent study published in Tobacco Control has found.

PAPER: Point of sale tobacco displays and smoking among 14–15 year olds in New Zealand: a cross-sectional study, J Paynter, R Edwards, P J Schluter, I McDuff
Tobacco Control 2009;18:268-274, ABSTRACT...

According to the study’s authors, this is the first study that explores the association between exposure to POS tobacco displays and smoking uptake in a jurisdiction where POS is the only form of tobacco promotion.

The study was conducted in New Zealand where approximately 28,000 students (age 14 or 15) were asked about their exposure to tobacco advertisements and their smoking status.

Study findings are:
• Two-thirds of the students visited stores where tobacco products were prominently displayed at least two to three times a week. Most students said they ‘always’ or ‘most times’ noticed cigarettes in these settings.
• Among students who never smoked, those who visited the stores at least two to three times a week were twice as likely to report that they might smoke in the future than students who visited the stores less than once a week.
• Youth exposure to tobacco POS displays is strongly associated with smoking experimentation with and current youth smoking rates.

The study also recommends that POS displays be part of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

August 2009 - Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) New Zealand starts fresh push for ban tobacco displays...

More - Point of sale tobacco display bans – myths and realities...

Related news briefs:
New Zealand More Evidence Needed to Ban Tobacco and Cigarette Displays..;
More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..;


Saudi Arabia - anti-smoking regulations approved in August 2003 not yet implemented..

October 27, 2009 - JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: New anti-smoking regulations that were approved by the Cabinet in August 2003 have not yet been implemented and there is no date fixed to do so, said Dr. Majid Al-Munif, head of the Anti-Smoking Program at the Ministry of Health.

"The regulations are yet to be studied and no specified time has been fixed to implement them," said Al-Munif. He added that specialists from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Rural Affairs are studying the new rules. "Officials from all government bodies are eager that the system gets implemented as soon as possible," he said, adding that other Middle East countries such as Syria, Iran and Jordan have already implemented similar systems banning smoking in public.

Asked whether the delay was due to objections, he said, "The delay and corrections to the rules do not necessarily mean that there are objections. Correcting the rules is unimportant; implementing is more important."

Sulaiman Al-Sabbi, secretary-general of the Anti-Smoking Society in Riyadh, blamed government departments on the delay of the set of rules, which he described as important since they also ban minors from buying cigarettes.

The new system outlines specific punishments for the use and distribution of cigarettes in the Kingdom. Fines range from SR200 to SR20,000.

According to article 13 of the new regulations, people or companies who plant or produce tobacco illegally in the Kingdom can be fined SR20,000. People who smoke in public can face fines of SR200.

Saudi Arabia did have an anti-smoking campaign that targets young grooms. The catchy slogan, “Kicking the habit is on you, and marriage is on us,” is meant to entice young grooms to give up smoking by offering an attractive incentive. And, indeed, hundreds have expressed interest in the first anti-smoking drive of its kind in the kingdom, with one man saying he is ready to take up smoking just to be eligible for the grand prize — an all-expenses-paid wedding. At this time about one quarter of Saudi Arabia’s 27.6 million residents smoked.(Saudi anti-smoking campaign stirs controversy with promise to help men with wedding expenses, Donna Abu-nasr, Breaking News 24/7, 6/29/2009)

Reference: Anti-smoking regulations fail to see the light of day by Fatima Sidiya, Zawya (Middle East business and finance news), 10/25/2009.

Saudi Arabia - some related news briefs:
Saudi Arabia - rid country of public smoking zones..;
Saudi Arabia - bans use of cessation drugs Champix and Zyban..;
Saudi Arabia - banning sales of electronic (e) cigarettes..;
Saudi Arabia - smokers to pay higher health insurance premium..;
50 lashes for smoker on Saudia Arabian Airlines..;
Saudi court set to hear tobacco compensation case..;
Saudis to sue tobacco firms for more than $2.7 billion Ryadh, Saudi Arabia..

Lorillard q3 2009 results - keypoints..

October 27, 2009 - Martin Orlowsky, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Lorillard, the oldest continuously operating U.S. tobacco company, said Monday, October 26th that its third-quarter profit dipped 1 percent, pinched by higher expenses and consumers tightening their spending. Total Lorillard wholesale shipment volume for the third quarter of 2009 was 9.458 billion units Total domestic industry wholesale shipments declined 12.6% (not adjusted for inventory, if adjusted little over 10%) versus Lorillard's 6.1% decline comparing the third quarter of 2009 with the third quarter of 2008. Newport domestic retail market share increased by .28 points over the year ago period to 10.29%.Total domestic industry wholesale shipments decreased an estimated 12.6% for the third quarter of 2009 compared to the third quarter of 2008. Lorillard's domestic wholesale shipments decreased 6.1% for the same period. This decrease in domestic wholesale shipments in the third quarter of 2009 reflects the impact of the $0.62 increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes from $0.39 to $1.01 per pack on April 1, 2009. Newport's domestic wholesale shipments decreased 9.8%, while Maverick's domestic wholesale shipments increased 51.9% in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the third quarter of 2008.

Based on Lorillard's proprietary retail shipment data, Newport continued to increase its domestic retail market share during the third quarter of 2009 by .28 share points to 10.29% in the third quarter of 2009 from 10.01% in the third quarter of 2008.

Total menthol segment share of the wholesale market during the third quarter of ‘09 was 28.9% an increase of seven tenths of a point over the third quarter of 2008. Newport’s share of the menthol market was 34.6% in the third quarter of ‘09 up slightly over the third quarter of ‘08. Lorillard was up 0.76 of the share point in the third quarter of ‘09 versus ‘08, achieving 11.89% share of the retail cigarette market. Newport’s retail share comparison of the same period was up 0.26 of a share point reaching 10.29% of the total retail market.

Marlboro 54 - The biggest difference in the menthol segment, I believe in the third quarter one would have to attribute to Marlboro 54, because that took full effect in the third quarter. They only had a couple of week or so worth of wholesale shipments in the third quarter with no real discernible impact at retail in the second quarter. So they were some degree of very deep discounting on Marlboro 54, although I will add I don’t think it had a very substantial overall effect negatively on Newport, because I don’t think the scope of that program was such that it would. So I don’t know if I’d say there were any differences, we did increase our spending modestly and I wouldn’t necessarily sort of describe it as earth shattering in nature.

Triumphs SNUS is performing inline with its competitive adventives, which is pretty flat and it’s not showing any real dynamic growth and it’s no different than the category is frankly.

David Taylor, Lorillard Chief Financial Officer - FDA fees minimal line $2.5 million, pretty small.

FDA study of menthol - here’s no menthol study per se. The committee will review existing menthol studies and they have about a year by which they have to report out whatever their conclusion recommendation is. So it really doesn’t allow for a time to conduct long term studies. So we fully expect that the committee will review existing data regarding the menthol question for one. We’re not aware of the committee having been constituted yet.

Lorillard Inc. Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript..

Reference: Lorillard, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2009 Results, PR Newswire, 10/26/2009.