Belgium - total ban on smoking in pubs and cafes postponed until 2014..

December 19, 2009 - Belgium was the first European country to introduce Belgium to introduce pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets - beginning in April 2007. However, the legislation on smoking in bars is complex, weak and confusing.

The Belgian Parliament has decided to postpone a total ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants until 2014. Professor Simon Capewell, speaking on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, described the decision as “catastrophic”. Based on their research and extrapolation from observed efforts of an effective ban in other countries, this regrettable decision will result in 5,000 additional deaths and over 10,000 non-fatal heart attacks and strokes in Belgium until 2014. (5000 Deaths : A Catastrophic, Regrettable Decision In Belgium, Red Orbit, 12/9/2009)

A total ban on smoking in pubs and cafés has been postponed until 2014. From January 2010 smoking will be banned in pubs where you can enjoy prepared meals. Smokers will continue to be able to light up in pubs where only drinks are served.

As of 01 January 2010, the new law will mean a ban on smoking in all places of work and in all places accessible by the public. Smoking in pubs where meals are served will also be outlawed. However, smoking will still be permitted in casinos, pubs and nightclubs where only pre-packaged foodstuffs are up for sale.

The Flemish Cancer League claims that the ban with exemptions for some pubs until 2014 is discriminatory in its present form and is in violation of the Belgian Constitution. The League is raising the matter before the Constitutional Court. The non-profit organisation is pressing for a total ban in all pubs by 2012.

The League's Vincent Coignez says that all scientists are convinced that cigarette smoke is harmful. In 2005 the World Health Organisation issued a recommendation calling for a total ban on the use of tobacco products in public places.

More - Tobacco in Belgium -

Belgium - map..

Reference: Smoking ban before Belgian Constitutional Court,, 12/10/2009; League Against Cancer wants new smoking law to be annulled, Flanders Today -, 12/8/2009.

United Kingdom - govt cabinet business secretary has reservations about new anti-smoking strategy.

December 19, 2009 - On December 13th it was reported that Lord Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, still had reservations over some of the measures in the aggressive new anti-smoking campaign.

Now we find that
a challenge by Lord Mandelson has delayed the Government's new anti-smoking strategy.

Peter Mandelson and to the right Andy Burnham..
Radical plans, including long-term proposals to outlaw eye-catching packaging for cigarettes, were expected in a policy paper this week. However, the paper has now been put back until the New Year while discussions continue between Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Health Secretary Andy Burnham. (Her Majesty's Government - the Cabinet)

Plain packaging is anathema (vehement denunciation) to tobacco giants who spend ­billions developing glossy brands that rely on distinctive colours and labels, particularly for lucrative premium brands. Tobacco Journal has claimed the proposals “could threaten profitability in the tobacco industry”.

Lord Mandelson, while no fan of the tobacco industry, sees his role as protecting business from unnecessary or ill-considered regulations, ­particularly in a recession. “There is some push-back from the Department for Business on this,” said a Whitehall source. “It is not a row but they are asking questions about whether this move is the right way forward. “The questions cover what the effect would be on the industry, are there any alternatives and have they been fully explored?”

A source close to Mr Burnham confirmed the smoking strategy had been delayed and said there were “cordial discussions” with Lord Mandelson's department.

It is understood the revised strategy will contain references to the plain packaging plan but no commitment to carry it out.

A source said Mr Burnham's department had initially wanted to go further and circulated firm proposals to other departments for comment.

Anti-smoking campaigners believe plain packets would sink premium brands and marketing designed to lure new smokers.

Deborah Arnott, of anti-smoking lobby group ASH, said: “We are deeply disappointed that tobacco industry pressure has stopped the Government from taking the logical next step, of getting rid of the brightly coloured branding and specialised packaging which undermines the health warnings on the packs.”

Smoking has fallen by a quarter in adults and nearly a half in young people over the past 10 years but there is concern at the number of teenage girls taking up the habit.

Video on the life and times Peter Mandelson.., 7 1/2 minutes,, 9/29/2009.

Reference: Lord Mandelson stubs out plans for plain cigarette packets, London Evening Standard, 12/18/2009.
United Kingdom, UK, Britain, British Isles, Northern Ireland

Some related news briefs:
United Kingdom - aggressive anti-smoking campaign to protect children..;
United Kingdom - public smoking ban does not lead to more smoking at home..;
UK - NHS Trust - smoking your body takes a beating film..;
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...

Sweden - North Korean diplomat and wife attempting to smuggle cigarettes..

December 19, 2009 - A North Korean diplomat and his wife have been sentenced to eight months in prison by a court in Stockholm, Sweden for attempting to smuggle more than 230,000 cigarettes into Sweden.

The man and the woman arrived in Sweden from Finland by ferry on November 18th.

When customs officials inspected their Russia-registered car they discovered the massive stash of cigarettes hidden under blankets and sheets in the back seat and trunk of the car.

At the time of the seizure the man, who is stationed at the North Korean trade mission in St. Petersburg, Russia, claimed that both he and his wife had diplomatic immunity and therefore couldn’t be held accountable for the alleged smuggling.

But the Stockholm District Court ruled that since neither of the two were accredited in Sweden, the Vienna conventions governing diplomatic relations didn’t apply.
Instead, according to the court, the incident is a simple case of two people who were caught in the act of smuggling large quantities of cigarettes into the country.
During the trial, the North Korean diplomat claimed that the cigarettes were going to be sent to his home country “for the purpose of supporting public projects”.

But at the time of the seizure, the couple told customs officials that the cigarettes were going to be sold in Sweden to finance a medical operation for his wife.

The court refused to buy either excuse, however, calling them both remarkable and blatant fabrications developed after the fact.

Reference: Diplomat and wife jailed for smuggling cigarettes, The Local, 12/16/2009.

Michigan - governor signs state smoking ban..

December 18, 2009 - LANSING, Mich. -- Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed a smoking ban into law. As a result most Michigan residents will find their work places, restaurants and bars smoke-free beginning May 1, 2010.

But the new law could still face a court challenge, with bars and restaurants affected by the ban arguing it's discriminatory to exempt three Detroit casinos.

The Democratic governor signed the measure Friday at Michigan Brewing Co., a downtown Lansing brew pub that already bans smoking. She said the pub's experience with going smoke-free shows that "you can make a go of it and be very successful, and be healthy as well." Dozens of smoking ban advocates crowded into the restaurant, erupting into loud cheers when Granholm announced after signing the bill, "It's done!"

Audio comments by Governor Jennifer Granholm..

"This is the greatest gift we could give the citizens of Michigan because it keeps on giving," said state Sen. Ron Jelinek, a Three Oaks Republican who helped craft the compromise that became law.

The ban applies to all bars, restaurants and work places, including private clubs and fraternal organizations.

The only exceptions are the Detroit casinos, cigar bars, tobacco specialty stores, home offices and motor vehicles. Although smoking will be allowed on casino gambling floors, it will be banned in the casinos' bars, restaurants and hotels.

Thousands of Michigan residents die each year from illnesses caused by secondhand smoke, Granholm said, adding that becoming the 38th state to limit smoking in public places makes a statement that Michigan cares about healthy lifestyles.

Anti-smoking advocates have worked for more than a decade to pass a smoking ban in Michigan. They were ecstatic Friday with the ban finally becoming law. "Workers across the state are cheering as smoke-free air is finally a law in Michigan," Judy Stewart, Campaign for Smokefree Air campaign manager and government relations director at the American Cancer Society, said in a statement.

But Lance Binoniemi, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA), said the ban will cost the state thousands of jobs if it's allowed to stand. "We have certainly had a lot of concerns, a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty," he said. "In the next four to six weeks, we're going to take a real serious look at any legal action that we may have a leg to stand on."

One ban the association is focusing on affects St. Louis, Mo., and contains a similar exemption for casinos. Bar and restaurant owners there are challenging the ban in court, Binoniemi said. (St. Louis City and County - voters approve smoking ban but NOT effective until January 2, 2011..)

The MLBA is still trying to figure out if the ban applies to patio seating and where patrons will be allowed to smoke if they can't smoke inside a bar or restaurant. "I don't know that even the governor or the Legislature know all those answers either, at this point," Binoniemi said. "It's all new to everyone."

Reference= At brew pub, Michigan governor signs smoking ban by KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press Writer - Raleigh News & Observer, 12/18/2009.

Michigan - Related news briefs:
Michigan - will be 38th state to ban smoking in public areas..;
Michigan - state smoking ban will be approved soon..;
Michigan - possible increase in tax on tobacco products coming..;
Michigan - counties can pass smoking rules..;
More evidence - Casino workers face greater chance of disease..;
Detroit Area Hiller's Markets to STOP Selling Tobacco Products..;
Michigan public smoking ban fizzles..;
Will Michigan Pass Smoking Ban Before the End of Year..;
Michigan Falls Short Again on Ban in Public Places..;
Michigan Senate Deals Blow To Smoking Ban...


Fifteen cigarettes: all it takes to harm genes..

December 18, 2009 - One genetic mutation occurs on average for every 15 cigarettes that a typical lung-cancer patient smokes, according to a study that has identified for the first time all of the mutations acquired during the lifetime of a cancer patient.

PAPER: A small-cell lung cancer genome with complex signatures of tobacco exposure, Erin D. Pleasance et al., Nature advance online publication,December 16, 2009, ABSTRACT..

Scientists have completed a full genetic analysis of the genomes of cancer patients, and hope the information will lead to a fundamental understanding of the causes of cancer – and possibly drugs and treatments – by identifying the mutations that turn a healthy cell into a cancerous tumour cell. They studied a lung-cancer victim who had built up about 23,000 DNA mutations in his lung cells that were linked with exposure to the toxins found in cigarette smoke and had accumulated over his lifetime.

Dr Peter Campbell of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who led the project: "For the first time, we have a comprehensive map of all mutations in a cancer cell. The profile of mutations we observed [in the lung-cancer patient] is exactly that expected from tobacco, suggesting that the majority of the 23,000 we found are caused by the cocktail of chemicals found in cigarettes. On the basis of average estimates, we can say that one mutation is fixed in the genome for every 15 cigarettes smoked," Dr Campbell said.

Reference: 15 cigarettes: all it takes to harm genes Study reveals the genetic mutations suffered by smokers who go on to develop lung cancer by Steve Connor, Science Editor, The, 12/178/2009.


Wales - annual report reveals another successful year for Stop Smoking Wales..

December 18, 2009 - New figures show that over 15,000 people contacted Stop Smoking Wales for advice on quitting smoking last year and over 50 per cent of those who took part in the treatment programme were successful in giving up.

The 2008-09 Annual Report from Stop Smoking Wales, run by the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS), shows steady progress with almost a 20 per cent increase in the number of clients contacting the free, NHS service during the last year.

Figures show that 15,086 people across Wales contacted Stop Smoking Wales for advice, and more than half of these went on to take part in local six-week support programmes to help them stop smoking.

Of the 7,697 people who took part in support programmes, 4,443 reported that they had completely quit smoking when they were followed up four weeks later. This means over 50 per cent of smokers have kicked the habit with the help of Stop Smoking Wales.

For more information on the report content and to view the actual report..

Reference: More than 4,000 Welsh smokers snuff out the habit, News Wales, 12/14/2009.


Spain - hotel and catering industry protests plan to ban smoking next year..

December 18, 2009 - MADRID — Spain's hotel and catering industry Tuesday protested a government plan to ban smoking in public places next year, warning that it could severely affect its business, already hit by the economic crisis.

On Monday, December 14th Spain's Health Minister said the government hopes to pass a law next year to ban smoking in enclosed public places such as bars and restaurants.

Jose Luis Guerra, deputy head of Spain's Hotel and Catering Association (FEHR): "We
are very concerned of the negative consequences of this plan. Our problem is that 40 percent of our customers link smoking with the consumption of products in hotels and restaurants," he told Spanish National Radio.

He predicted a fall of 10 percent in business if the ban is imposed.

Spain already has an anti-smoking law in force since January 2006, less restrictive that in other European countries, which bans smoking in the workplace and on public transport but only partially in bars and restaurants.

"This comes at the worst moment for the catering industry in 15 years," said Guerra.

The Spanish economy, Europe's fifth biggest, remains mired in a recession that began in late 2008, with unemployment at around 19 percent.

Reference: Spanish catering industry protests planned smoking ban, Agence France-Presse (AFP) -, 12/15/2009.

Spain - related news briefs:
Spain - hopes next year to expand ban on smoking in enclosed public places..;
Spain - impact of 2006 law banning smoking in public places..;
Spain - ready for expansion and enforcement of Anti-Smoking Act..;
Spain - ready for full smoking ban in public places..;
Spain - ban smoking public places - a lot of talk no action..;
Spain plans gruesome images on cigarette packs sometime in future...

Successful Massachusetts tobacco cessation program gets national attention..

December 18, 2009 - Back on November 18, 2009 we reported on a Massachuetts health program where lower income smokers have dramatically abandoned their habit amid a major state campaign that vigorously promotes and pays for tobacco addiction treatment. (Massachusettes - lower income smokers giving up their nicotine addiction.. At this time Governor Deval Patrick commented: "These findings have national significance for upcoming major decisions in health care reform."

Click to enlarge:
The Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program and MassHealth worked together to design a double barrier-free benefit that involved a double-barreled approach which combines counseling and medication. Beginning in July 2006, MassHealth began providing coverage of smoking cessation as part of the state’s health care reform initiative. Within just one year, users of the smoking cessation benefit had dramatic reductions in hospitalizations for heart attacks, declines in emergency and clinic visits for asthma, and a significant decrease in acute birth complications.

In the first two and a half years of the benefit, over 75,000 MassHealth members have tried to quit smoking. This represents 40 percent of smokers on MassHealth, a level unprecedented in the nation.

As predicted by the governor the success of this program has grabbed national attention, with several United States senators and anti-smoking advocates using the data to push for similar new Medicaid coverage for tobacco addiction in the national health care legislation.

The benefit was introduced into an environment that encourages quitting smoking: Massachusetts has smoke-free workplaces, high cigarette taxes, and a non-smoking social norm, all of which contribute to smokers wanting to quit.

Reference: Massachusetts Antismoking Plan Gets Attention by ABBY GOODNOUGH, The New York Times, 12/16/2009.

Scotland - some men beginning to lead a healthier lifestyle and therefore living longer..

December 18, 2009 - The gap in life expectancy between the sexes is closing because men are beginning to lead healthier lifestyles than women, Scotland's top doctor has said. Chief Medical Officer Harry Burns (Scottish Government's principal medical adviser) his annual report to highlight the narrowing gap between the number of years men and women can expect to live.

In 1980 the life expectancy for men and women was 68.7 years and 75.1 years respectively. But by 2008 male life expectancy had risen by 6.6 years to 75.3 years and female life expectancy increased by 4.9 years to 80 years.

Dr Burns said: "In every country women live longer than men and the same is true for Scotland. However current data suggests that men are narrowing the gap.

Dr Burns: "An examination of health-related behaviours suggests that Scots men appear to be more likely than Scots women to adopt healthy behaviours. In particular, men in Scotland are less likely to be smokers than in the past and this changing pattern of behaviour appears now to be accelerating gains in life expectancy."

The decrease in smoking by males may mean lung cancer will be more common in women than it is in men by the end of this decade. The report also said that over the last 10 years more men than women have achieved the recommended levels for exercise.

Dr Burns said: "The fact that males appear to be exercising slightly more frequently than females may be contributing to the narrowed gap in life expectancy."

Deaths from heart attack, stroke and cancer in the under-75s had all fallen in the last 10 years.

But Dr Burns added: "The conventional causes of premature death have been replaced by others. An examination of the statistics suggests that deaths due to alcohol, addictions, injury and suicide are increasing, particularly in the more deprived areas of Scotland."

Scotland now has one of the highest rates of deaths from liver cirrhosis in Europe. In the 1970s it had one of the lowest.

Dr Burns said alcohol can have a considerable impact on mental health as well.

He also highlighted the dangers of obesity, saying there was now little doubt "that Scots are following a similar pattern of eating behaviour to the Americans".

He said: "Serious efforts to reduce calorie consumption and increase energy expenditure across the whole population will be required if we are not to see an unnecessary rise in mortality from heart disease and stroke, with a consequent negative impact on life expectancy."

Dr Burns stressed the importance of establishing healthy habits in childhood to help tackle such problems.

"We all know what the healthier choices are: drinking less, not smoking, exercising more and eating sensibly. And evidence shows this could add up to 13 years of extra life. So why aren't we a healthier nation? Of course there is no single explanation but we do know the importance of instilling healthy habits in childhood. We want future generations to eat more healthily, drink more sensibly and take more exercise than their parents, and of course not to smoke. All of that depends on today's parents making an effort to support their children and give them a platform for success in their lives. Nurturing our children and developing their sense of control over their lives will give them the resources they need to look after themselves and make healthy choices in life.

"This is an important aspect of strategies to improve the health of Scots."

We wonder if Dr. Burn's is also seeing health improvements in Glasgow. As we know smoking rates are higher in Glasgow than in the rest of Scotland.

Reference: Scottish men narrow gap in life expectancy herald scotland staff, The Herald, 12/16/2009.

Some related news briefs - Scotland:
Scotland - self-reporting of smoking by pregnant women underestimates true number of pregnant smokers..;
Scotland - tobacco firms claim proposed display ban is unnecessary..;
"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 politicans most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..;
Scotland - small businesses given extra 2-years to remove tobacco displays..;
Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..;
Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..;
Bar workers who smoke also benefit from smoking ban..;
17 countries in the world ban indoor smoking - ENFORCEMENT..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
Definite Health Benefits of Smoking Bans..;
Northern Ireland raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18 joining the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries..;
Scotland proposes to implement more measures to discourage tobacco use including the banning of tobacco displays..;
Raise Age to 21 to Purchase Tobacco Products...

Published on 16 Dec 2009

Colorado - Supreme Court upholds ban of smoking on stage..

December 17, 2009 - In the first decision of its kind, the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday, December 14th extinguished hopes that theater actors would be exempted from a statewide smoking ban after all but one justice voted to uphold lower-court decisions barring cigarette use in performances.

Colorado Supreme Court -- December 14, 2009 No. 08SC351. Curious Theatre Company v. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The move ends a three-year state fight in which a coalition of state and national theater groups argued in multiple courts that the ban infringed on free-speech rights and interfered with their abilities to accurately produce plays.

Six justices found that regardless of whether onstage smoking is a form of expression, the ban on smoking in public places is constitutional because it aims to promote public health rather than stifle free speech.

No other state supreme court has decided a case involving a free-speech opposition to a state smoking ban, according to attorney A. Bruce Jones, who said his theater-company clients have not ruled out seeking a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the topic.

Denver's Curious Theatre Company is one of the handful of local theaters now considering their next move, said artistic director Chip Walton. "Obviously, we're very disappointed and don't agree with the decision," Walton said. "It doesn't appear that the court recognizes the negative impact this smoking ban has on live theater."

Because the decision by Colorado's top court could impact similar cases elsewhere in the country, the fight has drawn both national attention and support from theatrical and civil-rights groups such as the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the Dramatists Guild of America and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The courts heard testimony suggesting Colorado's 2006 anti-smoking rules are more stringent than in other states, many of which either exempt artistic performances or allow onstage smoking of non-tobacco cigarettes. (On Saturday, July 1, 2006 Colorado became the 13th state in the nation to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and most workplaces. Some cities, such as Pueblo, Boulder and Fort Collins, already had local bans in place. Colorado Smoking Ban Now In Effect,, 7/2/2006)

The defense, led by state Attorney General John Suthers, argued that actors can and do use fake cigarettes as an adequate alternative. Suthers, for example, attended a Rat Pack homage recently and found the bad-boy musicians all puffed mechanical stand-ins. "You can accomplish the expressive content by using (a) fake cigarette," Suthers said. "A lot of people are."

But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Gregory Hobbs called alternative devices "untenable and even laughable" and stated that onstage smoking is critical to setting mood and developing characters. "The characters and plots would lack depth and expressive force without the hovering smoke on stage, the poignant exhale of a puff of smoke and even the ability or inability to smoke," he wrote.

Even so, lawmakers intended the band to extend to artistic performances, said former state Rep. Mark Larson, who carried a similar bill in 2005 and supported it in 2006, the year it passed. A theater exemption was briefly amended into the bill but taken out of later versions, Larson said. "Acting is acting," Larson said. "Why not having a fake cigarette? What . . . difference does it make? Come on."

Reference: Colorado Supreme Court upholds ban of smoking on stage by Jessica Fender (, The Denver Post, 12/15/2009.

Click to enlarge..

From left to right: Uta Hagen, cigarette in hand, Arthur Hill, Beverlee McKinsey and Richard Easton in the London production of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf,' at the Piccadilly Theater in London in the early 1960s. This scene cannot take place as written in Lincoln, Neb.; Colorado; Scotland; or, starting April 2, in Wales. Smoking bans are so strict in these places that actors cannot legally light even herbal cigarettes onstage. (NYTNS | NYT)

Japan Tobacco (JT) - Mild Seven adding a new menthol and redsigning 15 varieties to keep domestic market sharegrowth..

December 17, 2009 - Mild Seven has been Japan’s No. 1 cigarette brand since 1978(according to market research conducted by JT). In line with the strategy to focus on three core brands including Mild Seven, JT is aiming to achieving a third consecutive year of domestic market share growth through the launches.

JT today announced it is redesigning 15 of the Mild Seven brand’s soft pack, box and 100’s box products. Additionally, a new product labeled as ’’Mild Seven Impact One Menthol Box‘’ is being developed. JT plans to launch the redesigned packages and the new product in early February 2010 in Japan.

The 15 products selected to be redesigned form the backbone of the Mild Seven brand. JT’s decision to redesign the packaging exemplifies the brand’s philosophy, which continuously evolves with the changing trends and times. The new designs incorporate a motif of a ’’breeze,‘’ aiming to visually convey a refreshing and upbeat sensation.

For more information on these products - please see the reference..

Reference: JT to Launch 15 New Mild Seven Package Designs and ”Mild Seven Impact One Menthol Box”, Japan Tobacco Inc., 12/17/2009.

Some news briefs containing Mild Seven:
Japan - new government administration considering raising cigarette taxes..;
Japan Tobacco raises net forecast on currency gains and gains in market share for brands..;
Japan Tobacco International - Business Results for January – June 2009..;
Japan Tobacco International profits to fall this year..;
Japan Tobacco International annual report January - December 2008..;
Japan Tobacco Starts Petition To Fight Tax Increase..:
Japanese lawmakers want to triple cigarette prices..;
Japan Tobacco's (JTI) market share up in Japan in FY 2007 for 1st time since 1985..;
Mild Seven cigarettes..;
Mild Seven family of cigarettes expands..;

Malawi - survey indicates fewer farmers to grow tobacco..

December 17, 2009 - An initial survey conducted by stakeholders through the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) shows that a significant number of tobacco growers will not grow the crop this year because of low prices experienced at the auction floors in the just ended selling season.

Landlocked Malawi, one of the poorest in the world, derives up to 70 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from tobacco and 80 percent of the country's labor force works in the tobacco industry. (Malawi - how can this country survive without tobacco??)

A summary of the Tobacco Industry Survey conducted in November and sourced by The Business Times, however, shows that part of the farmers getting out of tobacco may be offset by a number of cotton growers in the Southern Region who have decided to venture into tobacco growing after being disappointed by cotton this year.

The summary says that the survey which was based on seed beds prepared by growers as nurseries for their tobacco, shows a good number of growers, estimated by another industry executive at between 20 to 40 percent, have dropped out of tobacco growing this season.

It describes most of the disappointed growers as speculators who joined the farming with the hope of making a killing following good prices experienced in 2008.

“A preliminary Tobacco Industry Survey shows speculative growers have not found tobacco growing attractive this year, but hard core farmers, especially in the central region who depend solely on the crop for their survival will continue, albeit on a somehow reduced scale,” reads an analysis of the survey done by a Blantyre-based bank economist.

Most farmers, says the summary, informed the survey that because of low earnings from the crop last selling season, they are unable to grow the crop normally as they do not have enough financial resources to buy inputs and pay for other costs for the production of the crop.

In the southern region, which accounts for most of the speculative growing, some of the cotton farmers have abandoned their crop in favour of tobacco, according to the analysis of the survey.

Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Chief Executive Felix Mkumba said his association was eagerly awaiting for the results of the survey. He said, however, what was important was for Malawi to ascertain the international demand for the crop when looking at what the country would produce this year. “We have to strike a balance with the international demand because what really rules the market is demand and supply,” said Mkumba.

In the just ended tobacco season Malawi produced about 130 million kilogrammes of tobacco up from 94 million kilogrammes the previous year, a development that was seen as an overproduction and a key factor behind the poor prices for the crop experienced at the auction floors.

Tobacco is Malawi’s leading forex (foreign exchange)earner and any under production is cause for concern.

Reference: Survey shows drop in tobacco farming, written by Thom Khanje, Teh Daily Times, 12/16/2009.

Malawi - related news briefs:
Malawi - children - green tobacco sickness (nicotine poisoning..;
Malawi - deports leaf tobacco merchants for paying low prices..;
Malawi - kids working in tobacco production..
Malawi tobacco estate workers have not benefited..;
Malawi - how can this country survive without tobacco??;
BAT using illegal tactics to get African youths to start smoking..;
British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa...

PMI's CEO Louis Camilleri amed to board of Telmex Internacional..

December 17, 2009 - Carlos Slim’s Telmex Internacional SAB named Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri to its board, strengthening ties between the Mexican billionaire and the tobacco maker.

Shareholders approved the appointment today in a meeting, Mexico City-based Telmex Internacional said in an e-mailed statement. Camilleri, 54, has led the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company since March 2008, when it was spun off from Altria Group Inc., where he also had been CEO.

Camilleri’s appointment adds to the links between the maker of Marlboro cigarettes and Slim, 69, who’s a member of the board at Philip Morris. Grupo Carso SAB, the holding company controlled by Slim, has a stake in Philip Morris’s Mexican unit.

Philip Morris paid Carso about $1.1 billion in 2007 to acquire a bigger stake in the Mexican cigarette maker. The transaction left Philip Morris with 80 percent of the company and Carso with 20 percent. Carlos Slim has held a stake in the business since the early 1980s.

Telmex Internacional, which controls Latin American phone carriers such as Brazil’s Embratel Participacoes SA, fell 1 centavo to 11.69 pesos today in Mexico City trading, while Carso dropped 32 centavos to 41.60 pesos. New York-based Philip Morris fell 19 cents to $50.07 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Telmex Internacional was spun off last year from Telefonos de Mexico SAB, Mexico’s biggest phone company.

Reference: Telmex Internacional Board Adds Philip Morris Chief (Update1), by Crayton Harrison (,, 12/15/2009.

San Francisco may expand smoking ban..

December 17, 2009 - Smokers no longer would be allowed to puff away near the doors, vents and operable windows of any building - restaurants, shops, offices and housing complexes. Diners no longer would be able to smoke at outdoor tables. Smoking would be banned from farmers' markets, lines for movie theaters, concerts and sporting events, near ATMs and cab stands. The smoking ban in and near transit stops would be expanded.

Just a few days ago a proposal was circulated to reduce the number of stores in San Francisco that can sell tobacco.

The city already bans smoking in parks and taxicabs. (San Francisco - Michael Jordan caught smoking on public golf course..)

The goal, said Supervisor Eric Mar, chief sponsor of the legislation that was introduced Tuesday, December 15th is "to protect San Francisco's most vulnerable residents from secondhand smoke (passive, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS, SHS, sidestream, involuntary)." If approved, San Francisco would join a long roster of Bay Area communities - among them Belmont, Palo Alto, Hayward, Novato and Berkeley - that have made it more difficult for people to find a legal place to smoke.

The push to curb smoking in places where people congregate accelerated after the surgeon general and the California Air Resources Board issued reports in 2006 that highlighted the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke: lung cancer, heart attacks and asthma among them. (2006 Surgeon General's Report—The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke..)

Mar's measure has the strong backing of San Francisco public health officials, who view smoking bans as a beneficial tool to prevent deadly and chronic diseases.

The restrictions would not go as far as those in some cities, most notably Richmond, which include smoke-free housing laws, but they're a step in that direction, said Serena Chen, the American Lung Association's Bay Area director of policy and tobacco programs.

The San Francisco proposal would prohibit smoking in courtyards, yards, hallways, elevators, lobbies, stairwells, laundry rooms and other common areas of any residential property with two or more units. People who smoke outside would have to stand at least 10 feet away from doors and windows. And anyone who smokes inside their own apartment would be required to keep their doors shut. Single-family homes would not be affected.

The San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents the interests of landlords, has not taken a position, but "supports the concept," said executive director Janan New. Others were not as supportive.

"What a drag," said Rick Evans, a pack-a-day smoker, who fully intended the pun. The 23-year-old unemployed software designer recently moved to San Francisco from Florida and has spent many a day at sidewalk tables drinking coffee and smoking while hunting online for work. "I understand not wanting people to smoke inside a restaurant but now outside? That seems extreme."

Supervisor Chris Daly originally introduced the legislation last year, but it ran into fierce opposition, particularly from businesses. The new proposal addresses some of the biggest concerns.

The powerful Golden Gate Restaurant Association no longer opposes the plan. Kevin Westlye, the group's executive director, said making smokers stay 15 feet away from the businesses' doors, windows and vents - instead of 20 feet - is more reasonable.

Westlye said restaurant owners still have concerns that banning smoking at outdoor tables would hurt business, but the prospect of protecting their employees from secondhand smoke won out. "We don't want to put our staffs at risk," he said.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, however, isn't ready to endorse the expanded restrictions, said Rob Black, vice president of public policy for the business group. He said nightclub owners have expressed apprehension over the proposal to ban smoking in front of their premises because it would tamp their ability to control crowds. "You'll have people wandering all over the neighborhood," Black said.

California banned smoking in government buildings and schools and restricted smoking in restaurants and bars. Many Bay Area communities have enacted even more stringent guidelines on where people can smoke. Among the strictest:

Outdoor spaces: Unincorporated Alameda County, Albany, Belmont, Berkeley, Contra Costa County, Dublin, Emeryville, Hayward, Healdsburg, Los Gatos, Marin County, Martinez, Newark, Novato, Oakland, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Richmond, Ross, San Anselmo, San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Rosa, Union City and Windsor.

Housing: Albany, Belmont, Dublin, Martinez, Novato, Oakland and Richmond.

Source: American Lung Association

Reference: San Francisco may expand smoking ban, Rachel Gordon (, Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/16/2009.

Some San Francisco related news briefs:
San Francisco - mulls proposal to reduce the number of stores that can sell tobacco..;
San Francisco - Philip Morris has dropped its lawsuit challenging San Francisco's prohibition on tobacco sales at pharmacies..;
San Francisco - Michael Jordan caught smoking on public golf course..;
San Francisco - cigarettes cost a little more starting today, October 1, 2009..;
San Francisco can enforce its ban on tobacco sales in drugstores..;
San Francisco - fight about selling tobacco products in drugstores has flared up..
San Francisco - Judge threw out a Walgreens attempt to stop the ban of tobacco sales in pharmacies..;
Philip Morris appeals tobacco ban at San Francisco pharmacies;
Federal Judge Denies Bid To Stop San Francisco Pharmacy Tobacco Ban..;
Philip Morris USA request stop in San Francisco's ban on tobacco sales by pharmacies..;
San Francisco - cigarette sales rise sharply in c-stores..;
San Francisco files brief to oppose bid by PM USA to block the banning of tobacco sales in pharmacies..;
Philip Morris challenges San Francisco pharmacy tobacco ban..;
Walgreen: San Francisco’s Tobacco Ban Is Unfair..;
San Francisco - All Tobacco Products Banned in All Pharmacies..;
San Francisco critical vote - bar tobacco sales pharmacies..;
SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought...


Japan - small tobacco tax increase to be announced soon..

December 16, 2009 - Japan, one of the last bastions of rock-bottom cigarette prices and smoking-friendly policies, is set to announce its biggest-ever tax increase on cigarettes in a move that could have long-lasting ramifications for Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI), Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco PLC. (Japan’s government owns 50.01 percent of JTI; JTI also operates in foods, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, engineering, and real estate.)

The move to raise taxes—in a country where 40% of the male population still smokes and a pack of cigarettes costs only 300 yen ($3.39)—comes as the companies grapple with a shrinking market and falling demand.

From our report of December 4, 2009 - The Japanese government plans to raise the tax on tobacco by a few yen per cigarette, Kyodo news agency reported, a much smaller increase than the 10-20 yen anticipated by some market participants.(Japan - cigarette taxes increase may be less than expected..)

Japan, a $38 billion tobacco market and the fifth-biggest in the world, still boasts one of the highest smoking rates—thanks to the low cost and because smoking indoors at bars and restaurants is allowed. Japan - tobacco control people upset with smoker-only cafes.. But fewer people are lighting up, because of health concerns and the country's shrinking population. [JSMOKE]

This means that the three big companies will only grow by taking market share from rivals. Japan Tobacco, the world's third-biggest tobacco maker, has a 65% share of the Japanese market, while Philip Morris, the global market leader, has about 25% and BAT the remaining 10%. We have to grow our share in this country through innovation," said Naresh Sethi, the president of BAT Japan, in an interview. "We need an iPod of cigarettes."

Japan's new center-left administration, led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, is set to increase taxes on cigarettes by two yen to three yen a cigarette. In deflation-riddled Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) move to increase taxes—resulting in a 40-yen to 60-yen total increase on a pack of cigarettes—is monumental when salaries are shrinking.

An announcement could come as early as Friday or next week, according to a finance-ministry official. It would then have to be passed by Japan's parliament early next year, though this step is seen largely as a formality, with the difficult aspect being the consensus-building occurring now among the different parties regarding the size of the tax increase.

"For health reasons, the idea was to raise the tax rate by a greater level, but we had to raise it more gradually," said the finance-ministry official. "The new administration wants to raise health consciousness." (Japan - prime minister calls for tobacco tax increase..)

Japan is a unique market for cigarette makers, as the country's fickle smokers are less loyal to particular brands than their global peers. About 15% of Japanese smokers are amenable to trying new brands, a much higher proportion than in other markets, Mr. Sethi said.

"That's a huge opportunity for us," Mr. Sethi said. BAT aims to increase its market share in Japan to 20% by 2015 by launching new products. As a result, tobacco makers constantly inundate the Japanese market with new products or trendier designs for existing products to woo new smokers.

Japan Tobacco's Mild Seven, the top brand in Japan, comes in 23 different varieties, from Mild Seven Lights Charcoal Filter to Mild Seven Prime Super Light. Slims/superslims and menthol cigarettes, packaged in designer boxes, have been introduced and are intended to appeal to the growing number of female smokers.

Two years ago, BAT launched the "Kool Boost" brand in Japan (pmust be similar to R.J. Reynolds Camel Crush available in the U.S.), which features a menthol capsule in the cigarette's filter; smokers unleash the extra dose of menthol by squeezing the filter until the capsule bursts. The brand was so successful that it captured 1% of the entire market, and Mr. Sethi proudly refers to it as an "iPod product".

Though BAT and Philip Morris don't disclose their revenues and profits from Japan, it is a significant market for both. For BAT, the world's second-biggest cigarette maker, Japan is within its top 40 markets, though its "strategic importance" is much larger, according to a spokesman. The company has its own innovation center in Japan, where it tests new products and brainstorms for ideas.

Because cigarette prices are still very low in Japan, a tax increase could mean more to consumers," said Credit Suisse analyst Yoshiyasu Okihira, compared with markets such as the U.S. and Europe, where cigarettes are more than double the price in Japan.

But thanks to Japan's arcane Tobacco Business Law, cigarette makers can't increase their prices by as much as they want—they have to ask the government for permission. Thus, most cigarettes in Japan are priced between 300 yen (3.34 USD) and 330 yen (3.67 USD). "The new politicians in the DPJ get it, but they have to get out of the mind-set of price control. They should allow us to set our own prices," said Mr. Sethi.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is also aiming to get more people to quit, but the tax increase may not work.

Akira Taguchi, 49 years old, has been smoking for nearly 30 years. "A hike to 400 yen a pack wouldn't make me change my habit," said Mr Taguchi, who alternates between the Kent and Marlboro brands. "If it rises to 800 yen, then I would have to seriously think about cutting back. Personally, I wouldn't disagree with a fairly big hike, because that would make me more conscious about when to smoke. Sometimes I find myself smoking when I don't even want to…especially when I drink."

Reference: Tobacco Firms Await Japan Tax Increase Could Hobble Japan Tobacco, Philip Morris and BAT as Government Tries to Curb Cigarette Smoking by MARIKO SANCHANTA ( and JURO OSAWA (, The Wall Street Journal, 12/15/2009.

Japan - some related news briefs:
Japan - cigarette taxes increase may be less than expected..;
Japan - prime minister calls for tobacco tax increase..;
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...

Gaza Strip - Hamas bans smoking in public places in Gaza..

December 16, 2009 - The deposed Hamas administration on Wednesday, December 15th issued a smoking ban in public places in the Gaza Strip. The banning is applicable to all education and health institutions, clubs, restaurants, conference halls, public transportation and "any place the ministry considers public," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"This procedure is to protect people's health and the environment," the statement added. Smokers account for 37 percent of the total population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

Last week, the Hamas government announced a harsh drug law including death penalty and life sentence against drug dealers and addicts.

Reference: Hamas bans smoking in Gaza public places, Editor: Wang Guanqun,, 12/16/2009.

RAI - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco employees will be leaving by 2011..

December 16, 2009 - Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) said it plans to take a charge of approximately $47 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 in connection with severance and related costs for about 400 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company employees who will be leaving the company by 2011.

Tommy L. Hickman, senior vice president of operations for R.J. Reynolds: “The company benefits from additional streamlining that will better align our staffing level with business requirements and enable our manufacturing operations to phase in new productivity programs over time.”

R.J. Reynolds expects to achieve cost savings of approximately $17 million in 2010, which will increase to approximately $30 million in 2011, as a result of the headcount reduction.

Reference: Reynolds American to take charge of approximately $47 million related to workforce reduction, Reynolds American, Inc., 12/16/2009.

Court Dismisses Lawsuit over FDA’s Ban of Flavored Rolling Papers

December 16, 2009 - On October 15, 2009 BBK Tobacco & Foods (BBK), doing business as HBI International, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's ban on flavored cigarette rolling papers that are sold in separate packages. (FDA ban of flavored cigarette rolling papers..

FDA has prevailed on summary judgment in this lawsuit brought by BBK which sought a declaration that separately sold flavored rolling papers are not tobacco products subject to regulation under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Previously, FDA issued a draft guidance document and sent a letter to industry stating the agency’s belief that flavored rolling papers are banned by the FDCA as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act ("Tobacco Act"). BBK challenged FDA’s interpretation of the statute, and alleged that FDA’s actions had caused customers to stop buying BBK’s products.

The court ruled that the issues presented by BBK were not ripe for judicial review because FDA’s actions were not final agency action. The court noted that no legal consequences flow from FDA’s publication of guidance. Further, the court found that the hardship suffered by BBK had been largely the result of its own voluntary decision to stop distributing its products on the effective date of the Tobacco Act, and of BBK customers’ voluntary decisions to return BBK products. FDA had taken no action that specifically targeted BBK or its products. The court further ruled that BBK had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies because it had not filed a citizen petition with FDA seeking a “formal determination of whether the Tobacco Act applies to BBK’s products.”

The moral of the story? If an FDA draft guidance suggests that your product is unlawful, you'll need to file a citizen petition and/or face a warning letter or injunction before you can get judicial relief. (General Questions and Answers on the Ban of Cigarettes that Contain Certain Characterizing Flavors..)

Reference: Court Dismisses Lawsuit over FDA’s Ban of Flavored Rolling Papers by Ricardo Carvajal, FDA Law Blog, 12/13/2009.


Spain - hopes next year to expand ban on smoking in enclosed public places..

December 16, 2009 - Spain's government said Monday, December 14th it hopes to pass a law next year to ban smoking in enclosed public places such as bars and restaurants.

Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said there is a "very large consensus" for such a move. "The problem is not smoking in public places, but in enclosed public places," she told RAC1 radio.

Spain already has an anti-smoking law in force since January 2006, less restrictive that in other European countries, which bans smoking in the workplace and on public transport but only partially in bars and restaurants. (Spain - impact of 2006 law banning smoking in public places..)

Jimenez said in August that the government wants to introduce a total ban on smoking in public places, but did not indicate when such a measure might be imposed. (Spain - ready for expansion and enforcement of Anti-Smoking Act - August 30, 2009..)

Reference: Spain seeks new anti-smoking law from next year, Agence France-Presse (AFP) -, 12/14/2009.

Spain - related news briefs:
Spain - impact of 2006 law banning smoking in public places..;
Spain - ready for expansion and enforcement of Anti-Smoking Act..;
Spain - ready for full smoking ban in public places..;
Spain - ban smoking public places - a lot of talk no action..;
Spain plans gruesome images on cigarette packs sometime in future...

Taiwan - smokers appear on TV cartoons, also sports programs and movies..

December 16, 2009 - The Bureau of Health Promotion said yesterday, December 13th it would ask the National Communications Commission (NCC) to look into the option of penalizing stations that broadcast cartoons with regular scenes of characters smoking.
Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑媞), Bureau of Health Promotion director-general said the bureau found in a survey that cartoons topped other television programs in terms of the frequency of showing smoking.

The survey also found that sports programs and movies about police or teachers often contained such scenes. Chiu offered examples including the Japanese TV cartoons One Piece, Hiraku’s Go and Naruto (火影忍者), as well as TV series Police et Vous (波麗士大人) and the professional wrestling program Smack Down. The survey found that, on average, smoking scenes appeared at least once every two episodes. Several cartoons had images of smokers in every episode.

“Parents may be caught off guard because they might not expect images of smokers to appear in cartoons,” Chiu said. “Because cartoons and television series are aired daily at set schedules, children and teenagers may gradually see the images of smokers as acceptable and eventually start smoking. The government needs to take this matter seriously and address it in a more aggressive manner.”

The bureau also said in a statement that while Article 22 of the Tobacco Hazard Prevention Act (菸害防制法) states that images of smoking “shall not be particularly emphasized in television programs, drama or theatrical performances, audio-visual singing and professional sports events,” the act does not specify any penalty.

The bureau said the three major media laws — the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), the Broadcasting and Television Act (廣播電視法) and the Cable Television Act (有線電視法) — include penalties for programs that impair the physical or mental health of children.

The bureau will ask the NCC to look into programs that frequently show smoking and determine a penalty for them.

Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the NCC’s communication content department, said the commission would have to turn the cases over to an independent panel to review their content and determine if they impair the physical or mental health of children.
He said the NCC might consider inviting representatives from the bureau to make their case, however, it had not received formal notice yet from the bureau.

“This matter involves judging different values,” Ho said. “The smoking scenes may be placed in the plots as part of the producers’ creativity. The Bureau of Health Promotion may have its own thoughts on the matter, but we have to consider various factors. Wouldn’t it be strange to completely ban images of smoking?” he said.

Reference: Bureau wants penalties for TV smoking scenes by Shelley Shan, Taipei Times, 12/14/2009.

Taiwan related news briefs:
Taiwan - plans to ban people from smoking while walking and riding motorbike next year..;
Taiwan - Taipei quit smoking booths around city..;
Taiwan - smoking ban takes effect - THESE PEOPLE ARE SERIOUS..;
Taiwan lawmakers fail to raise tobacco tax..;


U.S. - teen smoking continues gradual decline, smokeless tobacco use up slightly..

December 16, 2009 - New data announced on Monday, December 14th from the Monitoring the Future study shows that while teen smoking rates are continuing their slow decline, an old threat has once again emerged - the use of smokeless tobacco. The study found that among 8th, 10th and 12th graders - all groups surveyed each year by the study - teen smoking rates among 8th and 12th graders continued to trend downward, while daily smoking amongst 10th graders crept upwards (5.9% in 2008 to 6.3% in 2009). Perhaps more concerning is the slight increase in daily smokeless tobacco use amongst 10th graders (now up to 1.9% in 2009 from 1.4 in 2008) and 12th graders (now 2.9 in 2009 up from 2.7 in 2008). Public health experts had predicted this increase in response to the tobacco industry's wide-ranging and aggressively marketed smokeless products now widely available.

The perceived risk of using smokeless tobacco products has decreased in all grades as has disapproval of smokeless products amongst 8th and 10th graders - a troubling trend indicating teens are not aware of the harm smokeless products can cause and that they are a viable alternative to cigarette smoking.

The report, now in its 35th year, is the most respected source for data about youth smoking.

References: Smoking continues gradual decline among U.S. teens, smokeless tobacco threatens a comeback, Monitoring the Future - Institute of Social Research, University News Service, 12/14/2009; Teen smoking continues to decline, but mild increase in smokeless tobacco, SOURCE Legacy, The Medical News, 12/15/2009.

United Kingdom - aggressive anti-smoking campaign to protect children..

December 15, 2009 - Stopping parents lighting up at home, or in cars, if they are with their children will form part of an aggressive new anti-smoking campaign to be launched by ministers this week.

Back in October 2008, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) called for a debate in England on banning smoking in all cars with kids present..

The Government will also announce it plans to go ahead with a ban on all advertising on tobacco packaging. That measure would mean in future cigarettes could only be purchased under the counter in packets. They would be marked only with government health warnings.

UK - Richard Branson makes high-profile plea for tobacco control measures to protect children..

At the heart of the drive is a new commitment to halve the number of adults who smoke by 2020. The current Department of Health target, which they claim to be on target to meet, is to reduce smoking prevalence to one in five people by next year. To reduce that to one in 10 a series of measures designed to stop young people taking up the habit will be unveiled.

Central to it will be an aggressive marketing campaign that aims to persuade parents to stop smoking in front of impressionable young children.
Other measures will include:
- a commitment to continued real-terms increases in tobacco duty to keep the price of cigarettes rising;
- more stringent implementation of guidelines on smoking in films and television programmes;
- new controls on the marketing of tobacco accessories;
- further investment in accessible and effective NHS "stop smoking" services; and
- imposing a total ban on smoking and the sale of cigarettes within the London 2012 Olympic site.

A similar ban on parents smoking is in place in several American states and cities. Other US authorities have made smoke-free cars and homes a condition of allowing people to foster children. (Ontario law banning smoking in cars with children takes effect..)

In Britain, calls to ban parents smoking in cars have been led by Professor Terence Stephenson, President of the Royal College of Paediatric Health. He said recently: “Why on earth would you light up in your car whilst your children are sitting quite happily in the back? On the assumption that you wouldn't pass the packet round and invite the kids to light up, why make them breathe tobacco smoke at all? “You can't inflict this on your colleagues at work any more. Why should we treat our children's health as a lower priority than our employees?” (More evidence - vehicles most dangerous space for second-hand smoke inhalation..)

Labour will be accused by some of introducing more “nanny state” rules. Prof Stephenson added: “If you act to make people safer, you get accused of introducing the nanny state. If you let people make their own decisions, you get accused of neglect. “It's extremely sensible, common sense - but is seen by some as too draconian and the trickling of nanny state rules again.”

Whitehall (Whitehall is often used to refer to the government of the United Kingdom) sources say that a new law has not been ruled out, despite nervousness among some ministers. Prof Stephenson’s views are said to be “persuasive", one source said. The source pointed to how opinion changed on an all-out ban on smoking in public places. Despite fearing a public backlash, MPs (members of parliament) voted through a complete ban three years ago.

The Government previously consulted on a packaging ban in 2008, but shied away from its introduction due to fears about its impact on the tobacco industry. (UK - House of Lords -debate on tobacco plain packaging..)

However, it is understood that Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, still has reservations over some of the measures. While Lord Mandelson remains opposed to the measure, Andy Burnham, Health Secretary, wants to press ahead, subject to an evaluation of the likely impact.

Mr Burnham would point to statistics that show while there are 2.4 million fewer smokers in Britain than when Labour came to power in 1997, more than 80,000 people still die in England every year, and the annual costs to the NHS are estimated to be £2.7 billion (3.02 billion EURO, 4.39 billion USD).

Unlike the build-up to the ban on smoking in public places there are no longer champions within the Cabinet prepared to speak up for smokers. John Reid, who held several Cabinet posts under Tony Blair, once remarked that for many working class people a cigarette was one of the few things to look forward too. Gordon Brown gave up his 30-a-day habit in 1982.

Members of Parliament (MPs, House of Commons) voted on Monday (12 October 2009) in favor of a ban on tobacco displays in shops and cigarette vending machines in a move that the government believes will help stop young people taking up smoking.

Smoke-free legislation was enforced across the United Kingdom (UK) by July 2007 (England - July 1, 2007, Scotland - March 26, 2006, Wales - April 2, 2007, Northern Ireland - April 30, 2007).

For more news briefs on the United Kingdom do a random search..

Reference: Parents face ban on smoking in front of children A ban on parents smoking in front of their children is being considered by the Government by Andrew Porter, Political Editor,, 12/13/2009.
United Kingdom, UK, Britain, British Isles, Northern Ireland

Some related news briefs:
United Kingdom - public smoking ban does not lead to more smoking at home..;
UK - NHS Trust - smoking your body takes a beating film..;
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...


Menthol cigarettes - if banned, how can this be accomplished??

December 14, 2009 - If you agree that our children are the future, then our highest priority has to be to keep children from beginning to use tobacco products.

As an initial step the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of candy-, fruit- and clove-flavored cigarettes on September 22, 2009 - three months after the President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The FDA commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commented that "These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers." when announcing the ban.

Big tobacco really did not mind taking these flavored cigarettes off the market. These cigarettes were not even one percent of the market.

Mentholated cigarettes, the most popular flavored cigarette with close to 30 percent of the market were allowed to stay on the market. So where sales of regular cigarettes continue to decrease in sales, menthol cigarettes continue to gain in popularity.

During the passage of the bill to regulate tobacco, the exemption of menthol proved controversial due to disproportionate use of menthol cigarettes by minorities. Seven former federal health secretaries joined to protest menthol’s special treatment and demanded that menthol-flavored cigarettes be banned just like the other flavored cigarettes. One of the former secretaries, Joseph A. Califano Jr., said the legislation was “clearly putting black children in the back of the bus.” He was referring to menthol cigarettes as being the choice of three out of four black smokers and being frequently preferred by young smokers. An estimated 80 percent of African-American teenage. Cristine Delnevo, Director of the Center for Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation Research at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, has said, "Historically, tobacco companies have targeted minority populations when marketing menthol cigarettes." (Menthol Cigarettes More Addictive to U.S. Minorities)

As a compromise, the FDA is tasked with developing a report on the risks of menthol flavoring and issuing a recommendation based on its findings. The report is currently scheduled to be published in August 2010, but the group tasked with producing the report, the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, is still in the process of being staffed, potentially delaying the report and therefore any enforcement action. The report will be a review of studies already conducted.

The scientific evidence for removing menthol from cigarettes is vast; the advisory committee should NOT problem agreeing that menthol cigarettes should be removed from the market.

A few examples:

The majority of menthol cigarette smokers are young smokers under the age of 45. According to a recent study by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, menthol cigarette use is higher among persons who started smoking in the past year (44.6 percent) than among longer-term smokers (31.8 percent). In addition, among persons who smoked in the past month, the percentage using menthol cigarettes increased from 31.0 percent in 2004 to 33.9 percent in 2008. This increase was most pronounced among adolescent smokers aged 12 to 17 (up from 43.5 percent to 47.7 percent), and young adult smokers aged 18 to 25 (up from 34.1 percent to 40.8 percent). (Menthol Cigarettes - smokers who started recently more likely to smoke menthols..)

Hymowitz et al. studied menthol cigarette smoking among adults who participated in a stop-smoking study. Among African Americans who smoked menthol cigarettes (n=174), the top reasons given for smoking menthols were as follows: 83% said that menthol cigarettes tasted better than non-menthol, 63% said that they had always smoked menthol cigarettes, 52% said that menthol cigarettes were less harsh to the throat than non-menthol cigarettes, 48% found inhalation to be easier with menthol cigarettes and 33% said they could inhale menthol cigarettes more deeply. Among a sample (n=39) of whites who smoked menthol cigarettes, 51% said that menthol cigarettes were soothing to the throat, 39% said that they had always smoked menthol cigarettes and 21% found inhalation easier with menthol cigarettes.

African Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from chronic and preventable disease compared with white Americans. Of the three leading causes of death - heart disease, cancer and stroke - smoking and other tobacco use are major contributors. African American men die from tobacco attributable cancers at a rate 34% higher than do white men and 58% higher incidence of lung cancer. Blacks have an 80% higher rate if death from stroke and have a 50% higher rate of death from heart disease than those in the general population. Each year approximately 45,000 African Americans die from a preventable smoking-related disease. (US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Tobacco use among U.S. racial/ethnic minority groups: a report of the Surgeon General, CDC, 1998)

The U.S. National Cancer Institute is developing a website providing information on "Menthol and Tobacco."

The advisory group should have NO problem in recommending that mentholated cigarettes be removed from the market. The major task will be to determine how this can be accomplished.

It seems the only solution available to the committee would be to ban mentholated cigarettes over a long period of time. Approximately 29% of cigarettes sold in the U.S. are mentholated. State budgets, already devastated by unemployment and reduced tax collections, would suffer further reduced tax collections. States took in more than $16 billion from state cigarette excise taxes in 2008. Taking the most extreme case, if menthol cigarette users all seek illegal cigarette replacements, states would lose approximately $5 billion in revenue. The expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) financed by an increase in the federal excise tax in April 2009 would require funding from other sources. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payments, which totaled $8.8 billion in 2009, would be subject to a sharp downward revision due to volume provisions. Bootlegging of menthol cigarettes would increase exponentially.

States have borrowed against future MSA payments from the tobacco industry, they are now dependent on the continued vitality of cigarette sales. If Big Tobacco stumbles, states will be on the hook for these massive, billion-dollar loans. (Cigarette tax increase cut smoking less payment to states, harm bond repayment..)

State budgets, already devastated by unemployment and reduced tax collections, would suffer further reduced tax collections. States took in more than $16 billion from state cigarette excise taxes in 2008. Taking the most extreme case, if menthol cigarette users all seek illegal cigarette replacements, states would lose approximately $5 billion in revenue. The expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) financed by an increase in the federal excise tax in April 2009 would require funding from other sources. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payments, which totaled $8.8 billion in 2009, would be subject to a sharp downward revision due to volume provisions. Bootlegging of menthol cigarettes would increase exponentially. Resources would have to be tasked to stop the illicit trade, further straining federal and state budgets. Outside of fiscal effects, the health effects of contraband and bootleg cigarettes are unknown. (Fitch Ratings - review of events that could adversely affect the U.S. tobacco industry..)

Clearly, Lorillard, Inc. (Lorillard) is the most dependent upon menthol cigarette sales and would be the most hurt by any type of menthol ban. Newport, gives Lorillard 94% of its revenue, 92% of its volumes, 34% share of all menthol cigarette sales in the US, as well as an overall domestic tobacco market share of 10%. Graph - Newport leads menthol segment.. Bar Chart - Premium Market Share..

From our own work with menthol and tobacco - here's a table that shows that mentholated cigarettes such as Newport can mask the early warning signs of respiratory disease the same as mentholated cold products..