South Dakota - smoking ban passed by legislature still must go to a statewide vote..

November 14, 2009 - Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl ruled Friday afternoon, November 13th there are sufficient valid signatures on petitions to refer the ban to a statewide vote next year. After a two-day trial, Trandahl restored a net total of 2,261 signatures which Secretary of State Chris Nelson previously ruled were invalid. Before that, the petitions had stood 17 signatures short of the 16,776 minimum needed to make the ballot.

Her decision remains subject to a possible appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court by Nelson or the American Cancer Society, which lobbied for the law and intervened in the lawsuit. Nelson and a cancer society official each said no decision has been made yet regarding an appeal.

The judge said Nelson properly did his job in reviewing the signatures. She said state law gives the secretary of state “no discretion” regarding validity of signatures. State law however also calls for petitions to be “liberally construed” and past state Supreme Court decisions give the courts the discretion to determine if there has been “substantial compliance.”

Consequently, Trandahl said the court has a different standard of review. She found there are 19,020 valid signatures on the referendum petitions. That is 2,244 more than needed.

Trandahl ruled that voters' signatures should be counted on petition sheets where notaries listed incorrect dates for the expirations of their state commissions.
She also declared valid the signatures on petition sheets where notaries didn't provide the complete month, day and year for the dates when they witnessed the petition circulators' signed oaths that the circulators followed the laws in gathering the signatures. “The only errors were clerical errors,” the judge said.

Those two decisions restored nearly 3,000 signatures which Nelson previously found invalid. Altogether there were 26 categories of reasons why signatures were in dispute. The final tally given by the judge showed 25,400 signatures were submitted; 6,380 are invalid; and 19,020 are valid.

The Legislature passed the ban against smoking in bars, casinos and restaurants with alcohol licenses last winter (of 2009). The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Bob Faehn, R-Watertown, and Sen. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls. Gov. Mike Rounds signed it into law March 30. The ban was supposed to take effect July 1, but four businessmen sponsored a petition drive to refer it to a statewide vote. Secretary of State Nelson originally declared there were sufficient signatures on the petitions.
A challenge led by American Cancer Society government relations director Jennifer Stalley of Pierre caused Nelson to further examine the petitions. He then found they were short of valid signatures. The four businessmen — Mike Trucano of Deadwood, Don Rose and Pete Thompson of Sioux Falls and Mark O'Neill of Henry — who sponsored the petition drive then filed a lawsuit challenging Nelson's findings.

Rose said after the decision Friday that he remains confident citizens will vote down the expanded ban because of the potential loss of video lottery revenue, one of state government's largest sources of in-state income.
Video lottery has won every time it's been tested at the ballot box in South Dakota during the past 20 years.
“People are going to vote their pocketbooks again,” Rose said. As to whether the sides might appeal, he added, “I think they'll consider it.” The petition sponsors were represented in court by attorney Sara Frankenstein and Quentin Riggins of Rapid City. “We've seen many technicalities, but we've seen no fraud or deceit,” Frankenstein said in her closing argument.

Earlier in the day 11 of the notaries public who left information off petition sheets or made other mistakes testified. Typical of their testimony was that of Penny Wenzel, bookkeeper at the Wessington Springs newspaper. She didn't put “2009” next to the April 20 date in the notary block on the back of the petition sheet. Asked why, she replied, “I have no idea," she said, adding that it was a clerical error. Another was Teresa Weber, a legal secretary at the Gellhaus law firm in Aberdeen. “It was a clerical error on my part,” she said.

The cancer society's Stalley said she was “obviously disappointed” with the results.
Stalley said she and the organization's lawyer in the case, Richard Casey of Sioux Falls, would go through the judge's decision category by category, once it's in written final form, before deciding whether to appeal. “Regardless of appeals or the outcome, I think everybody will take notarization a little more seriously tomorrow,” Stalley said.

Secretary of State Nelson said he thought some of the judge's rulings on various categories reached beyond substantial compliance. He said he'll meet with Attorney General Marty Jackley and the lawyers who represented him from the AG's office to discuss a possible appeal. Nelson noted that the judge found he had fulfilled his ministerial duties as secretary of state. “That's the No. 1 thing we were looking for,” he said.

One of the murky areas that the judge had to decide was who is a qualified voter eligible to sign petitions. She declared valid the signatures of 255 signers whom Nelson had ruled invalid because they are in a category known as inactive: registered voters who haven't voted in at least four years and haven't responded to notices sent to them. Inactive voters can show up at their polling place on election day and vote after filling out a new registration card. Unregistered voters don't get to do that. The judge said she found it hard to prohibit inactive voters from signing a petition when they can still vote. “This is probably the most difficult one to sort through,” the judge said.

Two Pierre men, Rob Goll and Curt Curtis, testified on Thursday that they thought they were still registered voters. Both were on the inactive list, and Nelson didn't count their signatures. Neither had told the county auditor he had moved from the address on the original registration. “I didn't think I had to,” Goll said.

Deputy attorney general Sherri Sundem Wald in her closing argument urged the judge to be cautious about applying the standard of substantial compliance. She warned it was “a slippery slope.” “They must get it right and not rely on the court to get close enough,” Wald said. “Your honor, this isn't a game of horseshoes.”

Reference: STATE: Smoking ban can go to vote, judge rules by Bob Mercer, American News Correspondent -, 11/13/2009

South Dakota State Smoking Ban - Developments - related news briefs:
South Dakota (SD) - judge smoking ban legally eligible for statewide public vote..;
South Dakota - smoking ban, judge won't let ACS call witnesses - as trial nears..;
South Dakota - statewide smoking ban trial date moved to mid-November.;
South Dakota - trial delayed in fight to enforce smoking ban..;
South Dakota - new judge appointed in the smoking ban dispute..
South Dakota - ACS wants smoking ban passed by legislature to begin ASAP..
South Dakota - opponents of smoking ban gain a delay..;
South Dakota - petition rejected - state smoking ban to take effect..;
South Dakota - Secretary of State's Office still counting disputed signatures on the smoking ban petitions..;
South Dakota - anti-smoking leaders challenge petition..;
South Dakota - smoking ban to start July 1, 2009 may be delayed..;
South Dakota - opponents try to stop extended smoking ban..;
South Dakota - extends smoking ban effective July 1, 2009...

State-Specific Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults --- United States, 2008

November 13, 2009 - Secondhand smoke (SHS, passive, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS, sidestream, involuntary) causes immediate and long-term adverse health effects in nonsmoking adults and children, including heart disease and lung cancer, and SHS exposure occurs primarily in homes and workplaces.

The CDC analyzed 2008 *Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 11 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Exposure to secondhand smoke in homes ranged from 3.2 percent in Arizona to 10.6 percent in West Virginia, researchers found. At work, exposure ranged from 6 percent in Tennessee to 17.3 percent in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In West Virginia, 68.8 percent of the people said they do not allow smoking in their home, as did 85.7 percent of those living in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Still, half the people in this country are not protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws," Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted.

The CDC maintains that passing more smoke-free laws and encouraging people not to smoke at home could go a long way toward reducing the danger to nonsmokers from secondhand smoke.

On the plus side, Frieden noted that in 2009, the federal tobacco tax was raised and some states are also raising their tobacco tax. "We know that those increases make a big difference," he said.

In addition, more places are becoming smoke-free, he said. "Going smoke-free not only protects the health of nonsmokers but also encourages smokers to quit," Freiden

*BRFSS conducts state-based, random-digit--dialed telephone surveys of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population aged ≥18 years to collect data on health conditions and health risk behaviors. The 2008 BRFSS included data from 414,509 respondents, which were used to assess current smoking prevalence. The questions to assess SHS exposure and home smoking rules were offered to states as an optional module and were used by 11 states and USVI, which combined represented approximately 19% of the U.S. adult population in 2008.

Reference: State-Specific Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults --- United States, 2008, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, November 13, 2009 / 58(44);1232-1235

U.S. - 2008 Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Trends in Smoking Cessation..

November 13, 2009 - To assess progress toward the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults to <12% (objective 27-1a) (5), CDC analyzed data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Results of that analysis, which indicated that during 1998--2008, the proportion of U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers declined 3.5% (from 24.1% to 20.6%). However, the proportion did not change significantly from 2007 (19.8%) to 2008 (20.6%).

In 2008, adults aged ≥25 years with low educational attainment had the highest prevalence of smoking (41.3% among persons with a General Educational Development certificate [GED] and 27.5% among persons with less than a high school diploma, compared with 5.7% among those with a graduate degree). Adults with education levels at or below the equivalent of a high school diploma, who comprise approximately half of current smokers, had the lowest quit ratios (2008 range: 39.9% to 48.8%). Smokers were more likely to be male (23.1 percent) than female (18.3 percent).

Evidence-based programs known to be effective at reducing smoking should be intensified among groups with lower education, and health-care providers should take education level into account when communicating about smoking hazards and cessation to these patients.

Many experts blame the turnaround on recent cutbacks in funding for state tobacco-control programs, which have proven successful.

Look ahead for 2009 (looking a third quarter 2009 results): The weak economy and higher prices are snuffing out cigarette demand around the world — most vigorously in the U.S., where a federal tax hike, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma have cut demand at least 10 percent.

Reynolds American Inc. — the second-biggest cigarette seller in the U.S., with brands such as Camel and Pall Mall — raised prices even as consumers bought fewer cigarettes. Analysts are closely watching the U.S. industry’s third quarter for the first clear sense of cigarette volumes after a 62-cent-per-pack federal tax increase took effect. Cigarette sales fell during the first half of the year before and after the April 1 change.

Cigarette volume fell 11 percent at Reynolds, nearly double the 5.6 percent decline anticipated by Credit Suisse analyst Thilo Wrede. The company estimated that its 11 percent drop in volume was better than the industry's overall decline, which it pegged at 12.6 percent. In a conference call with investors, Reynolds CEO Susan M. Ivey said she expects U.S. cigarette demand to fall 8 percent to 9 percent per year and easing back to annual drops of 3 percent to 4 percent over the next few years. (Reynolds American Inc. - q3 2009 earnings results..)

Altria Group Inc., parent company of the nation’s No. 1 tobacco company, Philip Morris USA. reported Wednesday said it sold about 12 percent fewer cigarettes versus an industry decline it estimated at 10 percent. (Altria - q3 2009 earnings results..)

Reference: Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Trends in Smoking Cessation --- United States, 2008, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 11/13/2009 - 58(44);1227-1232.


Ukraine - President Yushchenko vetoes bill to hike tobacco products tax..

November 20, 2009 - Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko, citing concern for the tobacco industry and fears of cigarette smuggling, on November 11 vetoed legislation that would have hiked the excise tax on tobacco products by 36 percent.

“The government has decided to raise taxes on virtually everything - alcohol, cars, gas and land in the face of a financial crisis. But cigarettes seem to be omitted on purpose,” said Hanna Hopko (from the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids), referring to the latest economic plan drafted by Finance Minister Victor Pynzenyk. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) research, higher cigarette prices are the most effective way to get adults to quit smoking and to prevent children from starting. "Raising excise taxes will result in smuggling from Russia, Belarus and Moldova,” Pynzenyk said. “Money from cigarette sales will go to these countries.”

Public health advocates called a news conference on November 12 to criticize Yushchenko and note that price increases are the most effective way to reduce smoking. Roughly a third of Ukraine’s adults smoke, one of the highest rates in the world. According to the WHO, more than 100,000 Ukrainians die of diseases caused by smoking annually. Tobacco-related illnesses prematurely kill some 300 Ukrainians daily, said former Health Minister Mykola Polischuk. “The president’s veto contradicts his mottos about European integration,” Polishchuk said. “Today all Europe is fighting for air uncontaminated with tobacco smoke.”

In contrast to the president’s fears that cigarettes will be smuggled into Ukraine if taxes are hiked, the flow of cheap contraband cigarettes goes the other way – from Ukraine, where cigarettes prices are the lowest in Europe, to other nations. The national customs service reported no cases of imported tobacco contraband in the last year, while 1, 700 cases -- involving 2.1 million packs - of export contraband were registered. In fact, Ukraine – with its cigarette factories pumping out billions of more cigarettes a year than are smoked domestically – is a prime source of cheap cigarettes smuggled abroad. (Ukraine - lost cigarettes flooding Europe..)

“Ukraine has the lowest taxes on cigarettes in the world, three to four times less than other countries,” Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said.

Ukraine is NOT a member of the European Union (EU). The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Ukraine, going beyond co-operation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation.

Tobacco tax veto criticized
, Nataliya Bugayova,, 11/12/2009; A high-ranking smoker keeps cigarette prices low in nation, Yuliya Popova, 10/29/2009; New High For Underage Drinking And Smoking, Kiev Ukraine News Blog, 1/10/2008.

Related news brief:
Ukraine - enforcement of smoking ban, 28,000 people fined..;
Ukraine - lost cigarettes flooding Europe..


Indonesia - the last paradise for a puff in Southeast Asia..

November 13, 2009 - When it comes to smoking, Indonesia remains the last paradise for a puff in Southeast Asia. Those addicted to cigarettes can openly light up in public places without worrying about tough anti-tobacco penalties found in the rest of the region. This reality has been shaped by the power of local and multinational tobacco companies on the archipelago of some 224 million people.

Similar news briefs:
Indonesia - a paradise for tobacco companies.., September 2, 2009;
Indonesia - last paradise to smoke in public places in Southeast Asia.., July 7, 2009.

At the finals for the recent countrywide talent contest, in the former colonial city of Bandung, competing musicians belted out their songs from around 3 p.m till midnight.

For Indonesia's small, yet vocal, anti-tobacco activists, these concerts - billed
to promote local talent - offered more than music to fill their ears. They were
the latest in a string of publicity drives of the powerful multinational tobacco
company Philip Morris International (PMI) in the country.

”A Mild is a product of PMI,” says Dina Kania, policy advocacy coordinator of
the National Commission for Child Protection, a non-governmental
organisation that is part of the country's anti-tobacco movement. ”This has
always been a PMI promotional event since this annual concert series began
in 2007.”

But in other forms of entertainment, the publicity for tobacco companies are
more direct, revealed Kania during a telephone interview from Jakarta. ”There
was a film for teenagers last year where one of the actresses, who is still in
junior high school, was smoking in scenes.”

Such an effort to glamorise smoking goes to extremes, at times. ”There are so
many scenes of people smoking in Indonesian movies where the camera even
zooms in to show the cigarette brand,” adds Kania. ”There is no regulation
like in other countries.”

It is little wonder why a regional anti-tobacco lobby has described Southeast
Asia's largest country as a ”cash cow” for the tobacco industry. ”With 63
percent of its men smoking, Indonesia contributes handsomely towards PMI's
profits - making it its fourth largest market in the world,” states the
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

”In 2008, PMI owned PT HM Sampoerna became the market leader capturing
30 percent of the cigarette market share,” adds SEATCA. ”The increased
market was obtained through aggressive tobacco advertising and promotions
not matched anywhere else in Asia.”

The wide latitude tobacco companies have to advertise their product on large
billboards across the country has earned Indonesia the dubious distinction of
sharing the same spotlight as Zimbabwe. ”The country is also one of only two
that still allows cigarette advertising,” reports ‘The Jakarta Globe,' an English-
language daily in a recent edition. ”The other is Zimbabwe, which like
Indonesia is one of the largest tobacco exporters in the world.”

Studies by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other groups reveal that the country has some 63 million smokers, with a tenth of students in their teens being smokers. Children as young as 10 years are also among these
smokers, say some reports.

Indonesia's smokers currently account for over 40 percent of Southeast Asia's
125 million smokers. This accounts for a large number of deaths due to
smoking related diseases annually - about 200,000, according to SEATCA.

The prospect of more deaths from this ”smoking epidemic” has still to move
Jakarta, which is still to sign the world's first public health treaty - the WHO
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
, which has been in force
since early 2005.

By contrast, this treaty has been signed by Indonesia's nine neighbours in the
region, which include Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The FCTC requires countries to restrict tobacco advertising, sponsorship and
promotion; ensure people are protected from exposure to tobacco smoke;
and have new packaging and labelling policies - including graphic warning
signs about the dangers from smoking.

”Indonesia is the only country in the entire Asia-Pacific region not to sign and
ratify the FCTC,” says Mary Assunta, chair of the Framework Convention
Alliance (FCA), a global network of over 300 anti-tobacco lobby groups
functioning as a watchdog for the FCTC. ”There is no political will. They
haven't even banned minors from buying cigarettes.”

”Indonesia needs to draw lessons from other parts of Southeast Asia,”
Assunta remarked in an interview. ”Once regulations were pushed through by
governments, there has been an immediate impact, like in Singapore,
Thailand and Malaysia.”

The multinational tobacco companies like PMI ”have been successful at
fighting off anti-tobacco legislation,” she added. ”It now has a big stake after
entering the market by buying the Indonesian company PT HM Sampoerna in

The result of this deal saw PMI producing not just its globally known Marlboro
brand but also the new Marlboro Mix 9, a clove-flavoured cigarette, given
how popular such a flavoured smoke is in Indonesia.

For now the prospect of the tobacco lobby's dominance giving way to the
anti-tobacco movement appears remote. The Indonesian legislature is
reluctant to endorse a draft anti-tobacco bill, which has incorporated many
features of the FCTC.

Reference: HEALTH: Tobacco Companies Have a Field Day in Indonesia by Marwaan Macan-Markar, - Wolrd News, 11/13/2009.

Indonesia related news briefs:
Indonesia - trade minister officials want to meet with US counterparts to discuss ban on clove cigarettes..;
Indonesia - PT BAT Indonesia to merge with PT Bentoel International Investama Terbuka..;
Indonesia - missing tobacco regulation in approved Health Law..;
Indonesia - section on tobacco in health bill disappears..;
Indonesia - Constitutional Court by close vote rules that tobacco ads can continue..;
Indonesia - parent smoking can negatively affect the nutrition of children..;
Indonesia - new council member suspect in cigarette fraud case..;
Indonesia - an NGO commission assists cigarettes must be banned in films..
Indonesia - a paradise for tobacco companies..
Indonesia - after buying cigarettes very little left for food..;
Indonesia - will they ratify the first world public health treaty..;
Indonesia - last paradise to smoke in public places in Southeast Asia..;
Indonesia - Industry minister to close tobacco to new foreign investment..;
Indonesia Finance Ministry to cap tax deductions for tobacco companies..;
Indonesia - Smoking hits poor families the hardest, making the poor even poorer..;
Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..;
Indonesia - government may raise cigarette excise tax next year..;
WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..;
Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..;
Indonesia 'cash cow' for Philip Morris International..;
Tobacco industry has long targeted young people as "replacement smokers";
Indonesia - district court dismisses request to ratify FCTC..;
Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..; Indonesia - farmers hold rally protest tobacco controls..;
Indonesia - tobacco farmers reject Islamic council's edict..;
Indonesia - Ulema Council - debate results is split on smoking..;
Indonesia - Withdraw Sponsorhip of Another Rock Concert..;
Indonesia to increase tax on tobacco products..;
Semarang, Indonesia - Cigarette Smoking Areas to be Prepared..;
Jakarta, Indonesia - Malls help enforce non-smoking ban..;
Indonesia - federal anti-smoking laws in one year - MAYBE..;
Indonesia - NGO's (non-government organizations) Demand the Government Ratify WHO's FCTC.;
Indonesia to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7% in 2009..;
Surabaya, Indonesia - anti-smoking bylaw 10/2009 - FOR REAL??
Indonesians smoking more than ever before..;
Indonesia further rise in the excise tax would hurt the cigarette industry..;
Alicia Keys - Jakarta Concert (July 31st) tobacco companies forced to withdraw sponsorship.. and
Most Indonesians support moves to ban tobacco advertisements...

Ireland - cancer society urges government to increase cigarette tax..

November 12, 2009 - The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) is urging the Government to increase the tax on cigarettes by €1 (1.48 USD) in the forthcoming budget in order to fund the fight against tobacco smuggling.

The organisation denies that an increase in the price of cigarettes would increase the sale of cheap smuggled tobacco.

“High price is not the problem. The problem is that the courts aren’t imposing high enough penalties, there aren’t enough disincentives and a key piece is that the Revenue does not have the resources it needs,” said Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy with the Irish Cancer Society.

Smuggling remains a problem in countries such as Turkey where cigarettes are cheap, she said.

It called on the government to increase investment into fighting tobacco smuggling by adding 60 more customs officials and extra resources, such as x-ray scanners, at a cost of €5 million per year. Such an initiative could reduce cigarette smuggling by a third and would be funded by a €130 million saving in lost revenue and €1 duty on tobacco which would generate an additional €200 million in tax, the society said.

Tax revenue from cigarette sales is expected to be €10 million less than expected this year despite a 75 cent hike in cigarettes over the last two budgets, the society said.

There is no evidence that less people are smoking but there is increasing availability of smuggled tobacco as one in five cigarettes smoked in Ireland is illegal, it said. The society wants to see the courts increasing the punishment for those caught smuggling cigarettes.

“The average fine imposed by court for smuggling cigarettes is around €400 (593.71 USD) nothing short of a joke,” Ms O'Meara said.

The cancer society's Chief Executive John McCormack told a briefing of TDs (Teachta Dála is a member of the lower chamber of the Parliament) and Senators this morning that some 6000 people die from smoking related illness each year and cigarettes kill more people than road crashes, suicides, drugs, farm accidents and AIDs combined.

Back in July 2008 the tobacco tax level for cigarettes in Ireland is 61.03%. This means that for every pack of 20 cigarettes which costs on average €7.40 (10.99 USD) , €4.51 (6.70 USD) goes to the state.

Reference: ICS seeks €1 hike for cigarettes, GENEVIEVE CARBERY,, 11/12/2009.

Some Ireland related news briefs:
Ireland - increase fine for cigarettes imported illegally..;
Ireland - roll your own cigarettes making a comeback..;
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...

South Dakota (SD) - judge smoking ban legally eligible for statewide public vote..

November 12, 2009 - Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl of Winner ruled Thursday, November 12th that South Dakota's smoking ban is legally eligible to be referred to a statewide public vote.

The decision means she will hear detailed arguments on whether thousands of petition signatures calling for the referendum are valid.

The American Cancer Society argued that the new law, which would ban smoking in bars and casinos, could not be referred because it is needed for the immediate preservation of public health. But Trandahl said the Legislature didn't declare the ban an emergency, so it is eligible to be referred.

She also rejected a motion by bar and casino owners to find that many challenged signatures should be counted because any mistakes on petitions were only minor.

Reference: SD Smoking Ban Eligible To Be Referred,, 11/12/2009.

South Dakota State Smoking Ban - Developments - related news briefs:
South Dakota - smoking ban, judge won't let ACS call witnesses - as trial nears..;
South Dakota - statewide smoking ban trial date moved to mid-November.;
South Dakota - trial delayed in fight to enforce smoking ban..;
South Dakota - new judge appointed in the smoking ban dispute..
South Dakota - ACS wants smoking ban passed by legislature to begin ASAP..
South Dakota - opponents of smoking ban gain a delay..;
South Dakota - petition rejected - state smoking ban to take effect..;
South Dakota - Secretary of State's Office still counting disputed signatures on the smoking ban petitions..;
South Dakota - anti-smoking leaders challenge petition..;
South Dakota - smoking ban to start July 1, 2009 may be delayed..;
South Dakota - opponents try to stop extended smoking ban..;
South Dakota - extends smoking ban effective July 1, 2009...

Across the UK - a ban on cigarette vending machines is set to begin 2011..

November 12, 2009 - A ban on cigarette vending machines is set to become law across the UK, after it cleared its final Commons hurdle on Tuesday night. Wednesday, 11 November 2009 MPs (members of parliament) approved Lords amendments to the Health Bill, following the surprise agreement in the Commons to the proposal from Labour former minister Ian McCartney last month.

Health Minister Gillian Merron said it was hoped the ban would dissuade young people from smoking, as these were the "new recruits the tobacco industry needs to replace those who die".

Under the initial wording of the Bill, the Government had intended to regulate vending machines more strictly and only impose a ban if that failed to prevent cigarettes being sold to children. (United Kingdom - limiting access to cigarette vending machines not possible..) But Mr McCartney's amendment was passed without a vote and Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the will of the House would be respected. (United Kingdom - House of Commons - ban cigarette displays a step closer/vending machine ban even closer..)

Ms Merron told MPs that vending machines reflected a time when shops closed early and it was difficult to buy cigarettes in the evening.

The ban brought the UK into line with 16 other EU countries, she said.

Reference: Cigarette vending machines banned, U.TV News, 11/11/2009.

Some related news briefs:
United Kingdom - Packaging people - tobacco display ban - Counterfeit cigarettes could thrive..;
UK - Retailer tells small shops to ignore tobacco industry 'scare tactics'..;
UK - Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) unhappy with tobacco displays ban..;
United Kingdom - House of Commons - ban cigarette displays a step closer/vending machine ban even closer..;
Ireland - people responding well to the ban on cigaretet displays..;
JTI attacks UK government for plan to ban tobacco displays..
United Kingdom - 3rd reading of Public Health Bill including ban on tobacco displays..
United Kingdom - limiting access to cigarette vending machines not possible..;
Updated - England - tabacco display ban - the Lords got it right..;
Fewer Britons support the ban on smoking in pubs than in other public places..
"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..;
Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..;
Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..;
Scottish politicians most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..;
England, House of Lords votes to ban shop tobacco dislays and restrict vending machine use..;
Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..;
Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
UK - Strategies to be implemented to prevent underage tobacco use...


Greece - smoking ban, re-examining the legal framework supporting it..

November 12, 2009 - Greece, Europe’s heaviest smoking nation, tries to kick the habit by banning tobacco in indoor public places beginning July 1,2009 but many doubt the ban will work. (Greece - will the July 1st smoking ban work??)

It has been found that the ban on smoking in most bars and cafes is not being adhered to nor applied properly, the government said yesterday, adding that it is launching a review of the law that was passed earlier this year after pressure from the European Union.

Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou said that she had noted “great gaps in the application of the smoking ban” and would be re-examining the legal framework supporting it.

At the end of last month, it was revealed that state inspectors had received more than 2,500 complaints about people violating the ban. It also emerged that some 2,200 cafe and bar owners in Athens had applied to turn their venues into all-smoking establishments but that none of the paperwork had been processed by authorities, in most cases because the applications were incomplete.

Xenogiannakopoulou said she wants to address such problems. According to the law, which came into effect on July 1, premises smaller than 70 square meters will henceforth be either exclusively smoking or nonsmoking. Those that decide to allow smoking must have their operating licenses revised, have adequate air-conditioning units installed and display a special sticker determining their status.

Larger establishments must restrict smoking to a separate section of their premises, exceeding not more than 30 percent of the surface area. Live music venues must separate smokers from nonsmoking patrons with the use of a 2-meter-high glass wall.

As for offices, businesses employing fewer than 50 workers are obliged to ban smoking on the premises. Companies employing more than 50 people have the right to maintain smoking rooms.

Meanwhile, the president of the National Coordinating Committee against Smoking, Panayiotis Behrakis, recommended yesterday that the government not allow any exceptions to the law and ban smoking in all public places. He also suggested that the price of cigarettes, which in Greece is lower in than many other European Union countries, should be increased with the main aim of reducing the number of youngsters who smoke, which is also particularly high in Greece

Reference: Smoking ban is re-examined, Kathimerini, 11/11/2009.

Some Greece related news briefs:
Pregnant women exposed to passive smoke greater chance of child will have respiratory distress..;
Greek betting firm - July 1st smokng ban has resulted in a further fall in sales..;
Greece - will the July 1st smoking ban work??;
Greece - ban on smoking in workplace starts July 1, 2009..;
Greece starts anti-smoking campaign..;
Greece May Have the Highest Cigarette Consumption Per Person in the World...
(Hellenic Republic)

C-Store Update - Copenhagen Long Cut Wintergreen, another new Marlboro coming..

November 12, 2009

Copenhagen long cut, wintergreen moist snuff is now available for sale. This premium moist snuff is selling for $2.19 a can.

Click on image to enlarge:

Conwood's Grizzly a value priced/discount brand not to be outdone lowered their price $1.59 per can.

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Some background: Altria Group Inc said on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 it completed its $10.4 billion acquisition of UST, Inc. greatly expanding Altria's presence in the faster-growing smokeless tobacco segment. Michael E. Szymanczyk - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Altria has indicated a little tweaking is necessary for the UST's premium brands - Copenhagen and Skoal to return these brands to some modest share growth. (Altria Group, Inc. Agrees to Acquire UST Inc. - Altria Group and UST Conference Call, Seeking Alpha, 9/10/2008.)

Ten years ago, UST owned more than 80% of the smokeless tobacco market. By late 2004, the company's market share had slipped to 68%. Today, it's less than 60% and trending down.

Grizzly, the nations number one moist snuff brand, in the second quarter 2009 expanded its market share to 25.5 percent, up 2.2 percentage points, according to data from Management Science Associates Inc., a research group. Conwood's overall market share was up 1.9 percent to 29.4 percent. By far the best selling type of Grizzly is the long cut wintergreen. Skoal already has this type of moist snuff but Copenhagen does not. The new product could drive Copenhagen's share of the segment from 23% to 32%, according to an Altria spokesperson.

Philip Morris Tobacco (PM USA) will be introducing in January 2010 Marlboro Special Blend. Here's their reasoning: Marlboro is the #1 cigarette brand in the country, non-menthol cigarettes represent the largest segment of the cigarette category and 16 percent of adult smokers age 21-64 say they always look around to see if there's anything new from their regular brand when shopping for their cigarettes.

From what we hear: one blend will have mellow taste and the other a more robust taste. We wonder if Philip Morris submitted the necessary documentation for this new product to the FDA's Tobacco Product Center for their approval.

Click on image to enlarge:

Previous c-store update..

Japan Tobacco growing popularity of its British cigarette brands..

November 12, 2009 - Japan Tobacco to take advantage of the growing popularity of its British cigarette brands, such as number one seller Mayfair, by raising the price of a 20-pack by 10-12 pence from November 24 (a pence is 1/100th of a pound, one pound = $1.66).

"The momentum is with us, the wind is behind us, and we should harvest that," UK managing director of JT International (JTI - Japan Tobacco International (JTI) is the international division of Japan Tobacco Inc.) Daniel Torras told reporters on Wednesday, November 11th adding higher tobacco leaf costs were behind the price rises. The maker of Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut cigarettes in Britain said market share gains had prompted it to go ahead with price rises of nearly 3 percent now, as it looks to take the lead on pricing from arch-rival Imperial Tobacco. "Our goal is to be number one in the UK and we expect to close the gap over the next few years," Torras said.

Rivals including Imperial and British American Tobacco said they had no plans to follow the price rises.

Japan Tobacco bought British cigarette company Gallaher in 2007 and the world's third-largest cigarette maker is spending over 80 million pounds ($134 million) in the four years to 2011 to boost market share in Britain, one of its top five markets.

Torras said JTI's market share in Britain rose to 40.5 percent in the year to September from 39.3 percent in the prior year, while, his figures showed, Lambert & Butler maker Imperial fell to 42.6 percent from 44.0 percent. Imperial gave a different figure on Tuesday with its annual results, saying its British market share fell to 45.3 percent in the year to September from 45.9 percent due to competition at the cheaper end of the market.

Imperial's success over the past decade has come from its Lambert & Butler and Richmond brands as British smokers traded down to those cheaper brands, while Gallaher suffered due to the decline of its premium brands, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut.

Torras said JTI's increased focus on cheaper brands had seen its mid-price Mayfair beating Lambert & Butler to top spot in the British market with a monthly share of 14.4 percent in August 2009, while JTI's Sterling was the top value for money brand ahead of Imperial's JPS.

The price rises will add 12 pence to a pack of Sterling currently selling around 4.35 pounds ($7.28). The value end of the market, which includes Sterling, Imperial's JPS and Windsor Blue, and BAT's Pall Mall, is the only sector of the British market in growth amid a slowly declining overall market.

The world's largest cigarette group, Marlboro-maker Philip Morris International, has around 7 percent share of the British market with its products being distributed by Imperial, while No. 2 BAT has around a 6 percent share. (Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 0.5973 pound)

Summary - UK Tobacco Industry - Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) - August 2007..

Reference: Japan Tobacco to raise UK prices by 10p-12p a pack, Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Dan Lalor, Reuters, 11/11/2009.

Japan - some related news briefs:
Japan - new government administration considering raising cigarette taxes..;
Japan - plaintiffs have slim chance of winning against big tobacco..;
Japan - convenience store sales fell in June 2009..;
Japan - tobacco control people upset with smoker-only cafes..;
Japan - Tokyo smoking cafes, people with children, those under 20 NOT allowed..;
Japan - Kanagawa - bans smoking in public places starting April 2010..;
Japan shelves tobacco tax hike for 2009..;
Japan - Ruling party plans tobacco tax hike in 2009..;
Japan Tobacco Starts Petition To Fight Tax Increase..;
How to get most smokers to quit?? - Keep On Raising The Price..;
Japanese lawmakers want to triple cigarette prices..;
Japanese tobacco giants focus on point-of-sales cigarette purchases..;
Japan - photos can be used to fool the age-verification cameras on some vending machines..;
Vending Machines - Japanese protecting their children from becoming life-long nicotine addicts...

Japan Tobacco says government will sell stake in future..

November 12, 2009 - Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI - is the international division of Japan Tobacco Inc.) said the country’s government will “eventually” sell its stake in the maker of Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut cigarettes in Britain (England, United Kingdom) as Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama may want to raise funds to stem rising public debt.

Japan Tobacco also operates in foods, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, engineering, and real estate. Japan Tobacco completed the largest ever foreign takeover in Japanese history through acquisition of Gallaher Group plc in April 2007. JT International (JTI), acquired in 1999 from R.J. Reynolds, is an operating division of Japan Tobacco Inc., handling the international production, marketing and sales of the group's cigarette brands. It sells Camel, Salem, and Winston brands outside the USA. (Japan Tobacco)

“What we hear is that they think about privatization, which includes us,” Munetaka Takeda, JT's executive deputy president, told a briefing in London yesterday. “So, eventually it’s likely to happen.”

Japan’s government owns 50.01 percent of the cigarette maker, having sold stock three times since the company was founded in 1985. Shares of Japan Tobacco, the world’s third- largest publicly traded cigarette maker, have fallen 14 percent since Hatoyama came to office on September 16, as the government debates whether to raise taxes on cigarettes.

“In the future, privatization has to be done,” said Yasuhiro Matsumoto, a senior analyst at Shinsei Securities Co. in Tokyo. Still, “the government wants to keep some control over Japan Tobacco to raise taxes.”

Most recently, the state sold a 14.5 percent stake in June 2004. Public debt in Japan is approaching twice the size of gross domestic product, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Japan Tobacco shares fell 1 percent to 249,300 yen at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

“The government will look cautiously at the stock market so it’s unlikely there’ll be a sale overnight or tomorrow, nor will they dispose of everything at once,” JT's Takeda said. Takeda’s comments come after the Hatoyama administration’s decision last month to shelve plans to sell shares of Japan Post Holdings Co.

Hatoyama and other officials in his administration have said the government may raise taxes on tobacco to discourage smoking. “We will stick to our policy to tax things that are bad for health,” Vice Finance Minister Naoki Minezaki said on NHK Television on November 8.

The smoking rate among men in Japan dropped to 36.8 percent in 2008 from 46.8 percent in 2003, the health ministry said this week. About 9.1 percent of women smoked last year, compared with 11.3 percent in 2003, the report said.

The average price of a pack of cigarettes in Japan is 300 yen ($3.30), including 174.9 yen in tax. The health ministry estimates the smoking rate among men may fall to as low as 27.1 percent if the price is raised to 500 yen. The country gets about 1 trillion yen in tax revenue each year from tobacco.

Japan Tobacco acquired RJR Nabisco’s international businesses, including the Camel and Winston brands, in 1999 and the U.K.’s Gallaher Group Ltd. in 2007.

International tobacco operations accounted for $3.4 billion, or about half, of the group’s 2008 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
To offset higher tobacco leaf costs, Japan Tobacco plans to raise U.K. prices from November 24, adding 10 pence (17 cents) to a pack of Camels, U.K. Managing Director Daniel Torras said.

“Leaf prices are staying at higher levels now,” said Takeda. “It’s very unlikely to assume leaf costs will dramatically fall in 2010.”

Reference: Japan Tobacco Says State Will Sell Stake ‘Eventually’ (Update1) by Jeroen Molenaar and Naoko Fujimura,, 11/12/2009.

Japan - some related news briefs:
Japan Tobacco growing popularity of its British cigarette brands..;
Japan - new government administration considering raising cigarette taxes..;
Japan - plaintiffs have slim chance of winning against big tobacco..;
Japan - convenience store sales fell in June 2009..;
Japan - tobacco control people upset with smoker-only cafes..;
Japan - Tokyo smoking cafes, people with children, those under 20 NOT allowed..;
Japan - Kanagawa - bans smoking in public places starting April 2010..;
Japan shelves tobacco tax hike for 2009..;
Japan - Ruling party plans tobacco tax hike in 2009..;
Japan Tobacco Starts Petition To Fight Tax Increase..;
How to get most smokers to quit?? - Keep On Raising The Price..;
Japanese lawmakers want to triple cigarette prices..;
Japanese tobacco giants focus on point-of-sales cigarette purchases..;
Japan - photos can be used to fool the age-verification cameras on some vending machines..;
Vending Machines - Japanese protecting their children from becoming life-long nicotine addicts...


Global Smokefree Partnership's 2009 report - Winning Smokefree Air..

November 12, 2009 - On 10 November, 2009, the Global Smokefree Partnership launched its 2009 status report, Rebutting the tobacco industry, winning smokefree air. The theme for the report is tobacco industry interference.

Rebutting the tobacco industry, winning smokefree air is the first report to detail the tobacco industry’s tactics to hold back legislation, alongside the positive impact of governments, organizations and individuals who are taking on Big Tobacco, and winning.

The biggest barrier to smokefree air is the multinational tobacco companies who stand to lose billions of dollars if smokefree laws are implemented. From fake “science” to buying influence, and from scare stories to cover-ups, tobacco companies continue to devote their considerable wealth to stopping smokefree laws in every region of the world.

Rebutting the tobacco industry, winning smokefree air will be released at a critical time. In late 2008, world governments agreed to a series of FCTC guidelines based on the recognition that tobacco company interests are fundamentally incompatible with health, welfare or “good causes.” These guidelines outline governments’ responsibilities under Article 5.3 of the FCTC on tobacco industry interference. They are expressly designed to stop Big Tobacco’s dirty tricks. The guidelines are essential to winning the battle for smokefree air.

By highlighting the story of those countries that have successfully worked for smokefree air since the adoption of the Article 8 guidelines, Rebutting the tobacco industry, winning smokefree air is a testimony to the surge of the smokefree movement and of the Article 8 guidelines’ importance in the development of these measures.

To download the Global Smokefree Partnership's 2009 report, Rebutting the tobacco industry, winning smokefree air (4.35 MB), please click here.


UCSF Center for Tobacco Control - taxpayers subsides for US films.

November 12, 2009 -

To view research paper click here..


Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..

Bulgarian Cancer Association
November 11, 2009 - Bulgaria's new government plans to raise duties on cigarettes for the next nine years except for 2011, the finance minister (Bulgaria's Finance Minister Simeon Djankov), a former World Bank economist, announced on Wednesday, November 11th.

Excise duties on cigarettes will be raised 43% next year, reaching EUR 76 ($113.89) per 1,000 pieces, in a bid to curb smoking, relieve the health care system and redirect more money to it. The current rate is EUR 52 ($77.93) per 1,000 units and the excise hike will bring the prices of most popular brands to BGN 4.50 ($3.44) - 4.90 ($3.75) a pack.

European Union countries agreed on Tuesday to raise taxes on tobacco products sold in the bloc, in a bid to protect public health and boost government revenue.

Under the deal, starting in 2014, the minimum tax will be raised to EUR 90 ($134.87) per 1000 cigarettes, and no lower than 60% of their sales price. The current minimum rate is EUR 64 ($95.91) per 1000 cigarettes and no lower than 57% of the sales price.

“We won't be waiting till the very last moment and will start in 2012 to gradually increase the excise duty so that they reach European levels before 2018,” the minister explained.

Under the adopted rules, after the deal comes into force in 2014 until the excise duties reach the lowest levels in all member states, scheduled for 2018, all foreigners, EU citizens, departing from Bulgaria, will be allowed to carry no more than 300 pieces (15 packs) bought here.

Reference: Bulgaria to Raise Excise Duties on Cigarettes for 8 Years, (Sofia News Agency), 11/11/2009.

Bulgaria related news briefs:
Bulgaria - chair of the economic committee in parliament disapproves of planned raise in excise duties on cigarettes..;
Bulgaria and others - smoking ban, increased cigarette taxes, smuggling..;
Bulgaria - Cigarette excise duties will be increased next year..;
Bulgaria - cigarette contraband, government loses BGN 920M yearly..;
Bulgaria - one third of the tobacco products sold are illicit..;
Bulgaria - new government to speed-up Bulgartabac sale..;
Bulgaria - Fake Victory Light cigarettes..;
Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..;
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..;
Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..;
EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..;
Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke..;
PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..;
Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..;
WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...

Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgarian Communist Party which led to the crumbling of the communist regime.

European Union - agrees to raise the minimum tax on tobacco products sold in the region..

November 11, 2009 - The European Union has voted to raise the minimum tax on tobacco products sold in the region, saying it would help protect public health and boost government revenue. The new taxes will go into effect in 2014. Countries in the EU which do not currently tax tobacco at the minimum rate, or have only recently raised rates to this level, will have until 2018 to comply with the new tax level.

This tax rise will start in 2014 for most of the 27 countries of the Union, while some others as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania will be allowed to delay the measure until 2018, as prices in this countries are lower than in the rest of the EU (from 1 euro per pack in Latvia to 6 euro in Ireland) and this raise would risk to have a too complicated impact in the market.

The tax on cigarettes will be expanded by 30%, from 64 to 90 euro ($134.9) per 1000 cigarettes. Under the new rules, the minimum tax will be raised to E90 for every 1,000 cigarettes, and no lower than 60% of their sales price; up from E64 ($96) per 1,000 and no lower than 57% of the sales price.

Some industry experts have asserted that the measure will increase smuggling from countries outside the EU such as Russia, Ukraine or African countries, where mafias are involved.

Figures from 2006 showed that about 25% of the EU's near 500 million people smoke and the number is declining steadily. According to British statistics, smoking kills more than a million men and 200,000 women in the European Union each year.

Related news brief: European Union - finance ministers will meet to agree on a minimum tax on tobacco and to eliminate loopholes..

References: EU Confirms Rise In Cigarette Tax,, 11/11/2009; EU Against Cigarettes: First Round, Published by David Hernandez Garcia,, 11/11/2009; UPDATE: EU Countries Reach Deal On Tobacco Tax by Adam Cohen and Joe Parkinson Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, The Wall Street Journal, 11/10/2009; EU agree to boost tax on cigarettes, European Union News - Reuters, 11/11/2009.

Los Angeles - jury recommends Philip Morris USA pay $13.8 million in punitive damages..

November 11, 2009 -

same article published on August 24, 2009..

Los Angeles - jury recommends Philip Morris USA pay $13.8 million in punitive damages..

Reference: Jury awards punitive damages to smoker’s daughter, South Florida Times, 11/11/2009.

Macedonia - intends banning smoking in restaurants and cafes from January 1 2010..

November 11, 2009 - Macedonia has become the latest country in South Eastern Europe to announce a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, and the latest to hear vociferous complaints from restaurant owners that their businesses will be ruined.
Currently, the law says that smoking may be allowed in no more than half the area of a bar or restaurant, but Macedonian media reports said that this rule is widely ignored.

Macedonia intends banning smoking in restaurants and cafes from January 1 2010. Customers caught smoking will face fines of the equivalent of 150 euro (224.41 USD) to 300 euro (448.77 USD), while restaurants and cafes that break the rules will be fined from 2000 to 4000 euro.

The new law also bans the sale of cigarettes to people younger than 16. Those who do will be fined 2000 euro (2,992.60 USD) to 4000 euro (5,985.68 USD).

Macedonia's A1 television said that proprietors would seek a meeting with authorities to ask for a reconsideration of the ban, Bulgarian news agency Focus said.

In July 2009, Greece banned smoking indoors in all public or private areas used as workplaces, including buses and taxis, and the same month, Turkey - not an EU member - caused an outcry when in the same month it imposed a comprehensive ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and cafes.

A few months earlier, non-EU-member Norway outlawed public displays of tobacco products, while in Switzerland, where smoking legislation is dealt with at canton (like states) level, a September referendum led Geneva to reimpose a ban on smoking in public places.

Bulgaria's northern neighbour and fellow EU member Romania has taken the route of increased excises - twice in 2009 - on the way to matching EU levels in 2010. Lithuania also has twice raised excises in 2009, pushing cigarette prices up by close to 50 per cent in a year.

A sole reversal of the trend was in Croatia, which made headlines around the world by backing down in September on an earlier outright ban, amending the rule to allow smoking in a fifth of the area of a restaurant or cafe.

More - Tobacco in Macedonia..

Reference: Macedonia to ban smoking in bars, restaurants from January 2010 by Clive Leviev-Sawyer, The Sofia Echo, 10/26/2009.

Africa - conference on the burden of cancer..

November 11, 2009 - The African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) seventh international conference on the burden of cancer in Africa.


While rich nations have taken action to reduce smoking, the World Health Organization (WHO) says tobacco consumption in Africa is expected to grow by than four percent a year. Health officials say they have a "golden opportunity" to head off an epidemic in tobacco use in Africa and prevent many cancer cases.

Among those attending is Dr. Thomas Glynn, Director of International Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society and acting head of the Global Smokefree Partnership. Glynn: "This is really the first time in the history of public health that we have the opportunity to prevent an epidemic…. There's no doubt tobacco is on the rise here, but it's the one continent where we are ahead of the ball at this point."

Glynn says there's a "predictable pattern' unfolding in Africa showing the rise in tobacco use. "It begins fairly mildly, particularly among the more well-to-do. Then, as time goes on and the tobacco industry begins to move in more strongly, we begin to see less well-to-do people using," he says. He says tobacco industry advertising and industry documents indicate strong interest in the continent.

"There are nearly a billion people in Africa, but only about four percent of the continent is smoking right now," Glynn says.

Cigarettes make up the vast majority of tobacco use in Africa, compared to cigars or chewing or smokeless tobacco. In south Asia, for example, smokeless tobacco is widely used. In the United States, there are strong health warnings on cigarette packs, warning of tobacco's link to cancer or problems in pregnancy. Glynn says there are some warnings in Africa. "It's one of the things there's a lot of attention being paid to because people are very often unaware of the dangers of tobacco use," he says.Currently, he says, warnings on cigarette billboard advertising are written in very small letters.

While cigarettes are growing more expensive in rich nations, in part to drive down tobacco use, they're relatively cheap in Africa. Glynn continues: "That's one of the major issues that needs to be dealt with. We have very good economic data showing that if you do raise the price of cigarettes through taxes people will smoke less and people will be exposed to second hand smoke a good deal less, including children," he says. Most Africans are exposed to second hand smoke on a daily basis. "If you price low at the beginning, knowing that it's a dependence producing behavior, you're going to have people then who need to pay more as time goes on. And that's exactly the pattern we've seen.

World Health Organization tobacco information... Glynn: "One of the difficulties of working in Africa at the moment is in getting reliable data. There are very few cancer registries, which will be able to give us the kind of information we need about exactly what the cancer profile is in Africa.

The American Cancer Society doctor says along with increased tobacco use, cancer risks are expected to rise as Africans adopt more of a Western lifestyle. This includes being more sedentary and a change in diet.

He expects this week's meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to conclude that a lot more needs to be done to educate the African public and healthcare professionals about the risks of smoking. One of the tools being used is the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) - the world's first public health treaty. The treaty was adopted in 2003 and took effect in 2005 with 167 countries agreeing to its provisions. "Most countries in Africa have now ratified that treaty…. They've agreed to do certain things, which can help prevent the tobacco epidemic," he says.

These include raising taxes on tobacco, creating smoke-free environments, reducing tobacco advertising and promotion, increasing health warnings about tobacco use and making smoking cessation treatment available. M-P-O-W-E-R package, a set of six key tobacco control measures that reflect and build on the WHO FCTC..

Reference: Cancer Experts Meet to Head Off Rise in African Tobacco Use by Joe De Capua,, 11/9/2009.

More - Federal judge rejects request for injunction blocking tobacco law..

November 11, 2009 - from the FDA Law Blog..

Click on the title below to read more:
District Court Denies Preliminary Injunction in a Case Challenging the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act..

Related news briefs:
-More - Judge McKinley's ruling turns down request to immediately halt enforcement of new tobacco federal regulations..;
-R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s bid to carve out a "free speech" marketing niche for innovative products received a setback..:
-Federal judge rejects request for injunction (to refrain from doing) blocking tobacco law..;

Thailand - hand-rolled cigarettes more popular and other matters..

Thailand Coat-of-Arms;

November 10, 2009 - The number of tobacco smokers currently in Thailand has reached 14.3 million, the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey revealed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry is considering a proposal to the Finance Ministry to increase the tax level on hand-rolled cigarette products (RYO) after finding over 7.4 million people smoke this style of cigarette. The remainder smoke manufactured cigarettes.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey is a national household survey launched in February 2007. Sixteen countries, home to more than half the world's smokers and bearing the highest tobacco use, were involved in the study: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.

Thailand was the first country to complete and release its survey - conducted this year as a household poll of persons 15 and older by the Ministry of Public Health, Mahidol University and the National Statistical Office. Lakkhana Termsirikulchai, who led a survey team, said it found that of the 14.3 million people who smoked tobacco, 7.9 million chose manufactured cigarettes and the other half - 7.4 million - were hand-rolled cigarette smokers.

Only six out of every 10 smokers said they planned or are thinking about quitting, while five in 10 smokers had tried to quit in the last 12 months. The survey found that 3.3 million workers are exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace and 20.5 million adults to tobacco smoke in their homes.

The survey found that 74.4 percent of adults noticed anti-cigarette smoking information on television. Only one in 10 adults were aware of cigarette marketing in stores where cigarettes are sold; seven in 10 smokers considered quitting because of warning labels; and 98.6 per cent of adults believed smoking causes serious illness.

Action Smoking and Health Foundation's secretary-general, Dr Prakit Watheesathokkij has expressed concern over the consumption of hand-rolled cigarettes as most people mistakenly believe smoking them is less dangerous than manufactured cigarettes. He said hand-rolled cigarettes also cause serious illness for smokers such as oral cancer and cancer of the oesophagus. In India, he added, about 100,000 died from smoking hand-rolled cigarettes each year.

He said most cigarette manufacturers are now producing more smokeless cigarettes after noting an increasing trend in smokeless tobacco use among teenagers worldwide.

To reduce the number of hand-rolled cigarette smokers, Prakit has asked the government to increase the tax level on hand-rolled cigarette products and collect tax excise to 70 percent of product price from the current rate.

Deputy Minister of Public Health Manit Nopamornbodee said he will consult with the Finance Ministry about increasing the tax level on hand-rolled cigarette products and ya nat - traditional medicine that contains hand-rolled cigarette products. "I will bring this issue to consultation with the Finance Ministry before implementing the regulation," Deputy Minister Manit Nopamornbodee said.

"We have to study its impact carefully on whether an increased tax level would reduce the amount of hand- rolled tobacco smokers or not," he added. He also instructed the Department of Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine of Public Health and the Department of Medical Science to conduct research into medicinal plants that help smokers to quit.

Meanwhile, Thai Network Against Tabinfo Asia 2009, led by Dr Hatai Chitanont, has submitted an open letter to Deputy Finance Minister,Prasit Pattaraprasit asking him to withdraw from the tobacco industry event he is due to open on Wednesday at Impact Arena Moung Thontani Exhibition Centre.

"Pradit must think carefully whether to participate, talking about a product that kills millions every year," he said. "Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has told Cabinet he will not allow government officials to be involved in the event."

He added that any government support for an event organised by the tobacco industry would be a violation by the Thai government of the UN's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Reference: Roll your own smokes popular but no safer, research finds
by Pongphon Sarnsamak, The Nation, 11-10/2009.

Some Thailand news briefs:
WTO - "DS 371" Philippines versus Thailand on cigarette customs valuation..;
Thailand - Tobacco Expo organizers and guests must obey all tobacco control laws..;
Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
Thailand - hosting major tobacco promotion event in November 2009..;
Thailand Tobacco Monoploly - union concerned about privatization..;
Thailand - monks sickly from tobacco smoking and/or smoke exposure..;
Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..;
Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..;
Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..;
Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

Imperial Tobacco - CEO Gareth Davis to retire/ delivers strong performance for year..

November 10, 2009 - Imperial Tobacco Group Plc said Chief Executive Officer Gareth Davis will retire after more than 37 years with Europe’s second-largest publicly traded cigarette company. Davis, 59, will be succeeded by Alison Cooper, currently chief operating officer, when he retires in May. Cooper, 43, joined Bristol, England-based Imperial in 1999 after previously working for PricewaterhouseCoopers LP.

Imperial also reported a 55 percent gain in full-year profit today.

Cooper will have an “enhanced focus on sales growth,” while continuing to look at costs, she told journalists on a conference call today. Under Davis, Imperial made acquisitions including Germany’s Reemtsma and Spain’s Altadis SA. He also bought Commonwealth Brands, Imperial’s first foray into the U.S., after judging the legal risk from government tobacco settlements had subsided sufficiently.

Cooper joins Reynolds American Inc. CEO Susan Ivey as a female top executive of one of the world’s top cigarette makers. She was previously a financial controller at Imperial, and was named Chief Operating Officer earlier this year.

Davis, who was appointed CEO in 1996, is one of the few tobacco company leaders to still dispute the link between cigarettes and cancer. He said in a 2005 court case that proof smoking causes lung cancer couldn’t be established beyond doubt.

He joined Imperial as tobacco companies began to put health warnings on packs, and is leaving after the U.K. banned smoking in public places and is considering banning advertising at the point of sale. That could force retailers to hide their tobacco packs from public view.

“I will have been at the helm for 14 years,” Davis said on the call. “I think the time is right for me to move on.” Davis had previously said he would retire at the age of 60.

Imperial, which has cut jobs and closed plants to reduce costs, said in the statement it is “very confident” of achieving its target of 400 million euros ($560 million) of cumulative synergies by the end of its 2012 fiscal year.

The “earnings numbers and debt are both better than the market had been anticipating,” Rae Maile, an analyst with JPMorgan Cazenove Ltd. in London, wrote in a note to clients.

More - Imperial Tobacco Group’s volume cigarette sales during the 12 months to the end of September, at 322.2 billion, were increased by 9.5 per cent on those of the previous 12-months period.

Reference: Imperial Tobacco CEO Retires; COO Cooper to Take Helm (Update1) by Louisa Fahy,, 11/10/2009.