Commentary: Philip Morris pushes smokeless tobacco for only for those who refuse to quit smoking..

January 9, 2009 - Commentary on an article entitled "Philip Morris Pushes Smokeless Firm Wants FDA to Position Tobacco Product as Safer Alternative to Cigarettes" by David Kesmodel that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on January 6, 2010.

Philip Morris and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., both units of Altria Group Inc., filed a letter with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The letter was submitted as part of a public-comment period in which the FDA accepted ideas for implementing the landmark law enacted last year that gave the agency broad authority to regulate tobacco products.

Altria is urging the Food and Drug Administration to adopt a regulatory plan that would encourage smokers who can't or won't quit tobacco to switch to less-harmful smokeless tobacco.

But is it possible to limit the use of a tobacco product to a particular group of individuals. The FDA Tobacco Center under the law will be responsible for carrying out the legislation, including restricting tobacco advertising, collecting user fees from tobacco companies and stopping the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products to children. No longer do we want our children, our future, being nicotine addicts never able to reach their full potential.

Let's look back on how we've done with limiting the distribution of SNUS (moist snuff) - a product at one time for use specifically by the pool of inveterate (hard-nosed, long established, deep rooted) cigarette smokers who refuse to quit smoking tobacco.

Proponents of using less harmful tobacco products such as Brad Rodu, DDS and William T. Godshall, MPH authored a paper in the December 2006 issue of the Harm Reduction Journal entitled, "Tobacco Harm Reduction: An Alternate Cessation Strategy for Inveterate Smokers," and Dr. Coral Gartner and colleagues paper in the June 16, 2007 issue of The Lancet concluded that SNUS could produce a net health benefit in inveterate smokers.

Joel Nitzkin, M.D., MPH, Chair AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force, American Association of Public Health Physicians: in correspondents with us we our in agreement that if harm reduction products like SNUS could be limited to inveterate tobacco smokers then we would have no problem accepting its use.

But it is impossible to limit the distribution of these products. As pointed out by John Britton, MD, Chair of the Royal Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, a proponent of the use of less harmful forms of tobacco, "It's tobacco companies job to sell as much tobacco as possible, so they will be targeting non-smokers rather than current ones, that's the worry."

Let's look at how R.J.Reynolds Tobacco has marketed Camel SNUS in the U.S. using the product tagline: "Pleasure for wherever!".

Click on image to enlarge:

Other ads from Entertainment Magazines

Camel SNUS Ads - Magazines: Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stones, People and Car and Driver - March 2009..

Click on image to enlarge:

Camel SNUS Guide to Dating - mailed to all people on the R.J. Reynolds mailing list. Just imagine trying to kiss your date with the pouch stationed in your mouth - between your upper lip and gum. You'll release much more saliva and have that urge to spit. Others in the past: SNUS Guide to Airports.. Camel SNUS Guide to Sweden..

Click on image to enlarge..

Reynolds has flooded the market c-stores with coupons for free cans of Camel SNUS. In fact - we have reported some c-stores were giving this stuff away free for anyone willing to give it a try.

One of the latest Camel SNUS ads - Break Free: Keep on Making Noise.. - Maxim Magazine , December 2009.

Besides Camel SNUS Reynolds is now test marketing in three cities three different dosage forms of dissolvable tobacco products. It is our point of view - the dosage forms alone market these products to kids. Each product in convenient user-friendly form: a flavored pellet like a Tic Tac or Life Saver Holes, a flavored toothpick is it peppermint toothpick or a peppermint toothpick laced with nicotine and an edible film strip for your tongue similar to Listerine pocketpaks breath strips.

David Howard, RJR spokesman: All three dissolvable products will be priced in-line with Camel Snus and promoted through point-of-sale signage, direct-mail promotions, print advertisements and sampling at places such as bars and clubs. (Convenience Store News - R.J. Reynolds' SNUS Goes National)

Comment from Metroblogging User - Portland, OR: There are only two drawbacks. First, it doesn't take a genius to see what a boon SNUS would be to underage users. Heck, you could sit in class with some in your mouth, and no one would be the wiser. At least when I was in high school, you had the telltale clumps of 'chaw' in the water fountains to betray the tobacco user, or at least the worn white rings in the back pocket of your jeans. You could probably hide this stuff from teachers and parents pretty easily.

Second, although smokeless tobacco saves you from some of the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, plenty of smokeless tobacco users out there have developed cancer of the mouth or throat, and have had large chunks of their jaws and tongues removed as a result. But that's a hard image to sell to sixteen-year-olds, who are pretty sure that they're immortal ("You Snus, You Lose" posted by PAgent at 1:50pm on January 8, 2007).

Are adults snoozing while kids are "snusing?"..

It is interesting to note in the Wall Street Journal article the photo showed tubes containing cans of Skoal moist snuff. Skoal is available in a variety of flavors Wintergreen, Straight, Mint, Cherry, Classic, Spearmint, Berry Blend, Vanilla Blend, Apple Blend, Peach Blend and Citrus Blend.

Recently, the FDA banned some minor flavored cigarettes but did not consider other flavored tobacco products. At the press conference announcing the ban FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD stated: "Almost 90% of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers, and these flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers." C-store update - let's ban all flavored tobacco products..

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

Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..

Click to enlarge; photo by Bulgaria Customs Agency..
January 8, 2010 - Two attempts to smuggle cigarettes across the Serbia-Bulgaria border were discovered by customs officers at the Kalotina border checkpoint on Thursday, January 7th. Map: Bulgaria - Serbia..

The busts come after Bulgaria introduced new increased duties on January 1, 2010 on the price of a pack of cigarettes of anywhere between BGN 1,10 (0.81 USD) and 1,40 (1.03 USD) making the price of the best-selling “Victory” brand BGN 5 (3.69 USD) instead of the current BGN 3,40 (2.51 USD).

A Bulgarian citizen was arrested after it was discovered that he had hidden 150 packets in his spare tyre [tire]. Customs officials became suspicious after an x-ray found strange shadows inside the tyre [tire] of the Mercedes. Several hours earlier, again at Kalotina, a Serbian citizen was detained after 410 packets of cigarettes were hidden in the spare wheel and two rear tyres [tires] of his car.

Contraband cigarettes account for 15-20 percent of the market in Bulgaria (May 2008) - contraband usually increases in cases of price hikes.

Reference: Bulgaria Police Bust Cigarette Smugglers on Serbia Border, (Sofia News Agency) , 1/8/2010.

Bulgaria related news briefs:
Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac stays in the economy ministry, sold by middle of 2010, starting price 100,000,000 euro..;
Bulgaria - tobacco producers propose Bulgartabac transfer..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;
Bulgaria - start of steps leading to the privatization of the state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - police hold smoking protest over lack of bonuses..;
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Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding” will be privatized in 2010..;
Bulgaria - MPs Impose Hefty Fines on Cigarette Sales Violators..;
Bulgartabac Chief - cigarette tax increase as of January 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria Bulgartabac Holding Sells 23% of Shares to Mutual Funds..;
Bulgaria - more than 70% of smokers want to quit..;
Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..;
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..

UAE - enforcement of the new tobacco control law not clear yet..

January 8, 2010 - On January 6, 2010 President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi), has issued federal law no 15 of 2009 banning import of tobacco and its by-products into the country unless specific standard requirements accredited in the UAE are met. (UAE - Khalifa issues federal anti-tobacco law..)

Yesterday, January 7th uncertainty was rampant among private businesses and government officials alike over when and where the legislation would come into force.
A number of tobacco shop owners said they were awaiting clarification as to how the law would effect them.

However, the new law appears to make little difference to the way most emirates already operate. Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Dubai have all implemented full or partial smoking bans since 2007 and the new law varies little from the existing legislation laid down by the respective municipalities. Emirates of the United Arab Emirates..

The Abu Dhabi Municipality, however, said it needed further instruction before publicising what role it would take in enforcing the law. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority said it was “trying to clarify the situation with the federal authorities” before establishing whether hotels and restaurants in the city are affected.

Details on which premises are expected to comply are expected from the Ministry of Health in the coming week. An appendix to the law is expected within a month, providing confirmation of who will be affected.

Dubai, however, will begin to enforce the new law immediately, said Salem Mesmar, the municipality’s assistant director general for health, safety and environment control. Abu Dhabi and Umm al Qaiwain stand to see the most change from the law, because every other emirate already has some form of smoking ban.

What is clear is that everything will soon become clearer. The Ministry of Health has established a national committee to combat tobacco to implement the federal legislation, said Dr Mahmoud Fikri, the head of health legislation and policies at the ministry. “By next week we will share our plans on how we will enforce the law and when, and answer all questions pertaining to the tobacco ban,” he said.

While much remains to be clarified, not least of all how the law will be enforced and by whom, the law nevertheless makes a number of points clear - please see reference.

Reference: Smoking ban leaves capital in a haze over details of tobacco curbs, The National staff, 1/8.2010.

UAE related news briefs:
UAE - Khalifa issues federal anti-tobacco law..;
UAE - doctors say national smoking ban needed for the sake of young people..;
United Arab Emirates - Despite Ban, Shisha Habit Spreading in Public..;
Sharjah Emirate, UAE - earn monetary rewards for quiting smoking..;
Dubai, UAE customs blocks e-cigarette shipment..;
UAE - graphic warnings on cigarette packs..;
UAE new tobacco ban proposed..;
UAE - Quadruple Cigarette Price - Prevent Kids from Smoking...


OHIO - American Legacy Foundation will appeal decision to allow state to use tobacco funds..

January 8, 2010 - A Franklin County Common Pleas Judge ruled on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 that state officials had no authority to divert $230 million from an anti-tobacco fund to balance the recently approved state budget.

On Thursday, December 31, 2009 an Ohio three-member appeals court ruled the state can use about $230 million set aside for tobacco prevention for other purposes overturning a trial court's decision - the case above.

But the state can't access the funds until the case is resolved, which depends on whether the American Legacy Foundation decides to appeal the ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The American Legacy Foundation said yesterday, January 6th that it will appeal a lower-court decision last week that would allow the state to use the tobacco funds in its two-year budget. The funds are what remain from the $10 billion that Ohio received from a 1998 settlement with major tobacco companies.

The foundation's president, Cheryl G. Healton, said in a statement: "Ohio is now dangerously close to joining the growing number of states that have diverted their tobacco settlement monies to purposes for which they were never intended, squandering precious opportunities to, literally, save lives."

Gov. Ted Strickland said he thinks the state has the authority to decide the best use of the tobacco money and that he is considering contacting foundation board members to express his displeasure with the legal fight.

The state wants to use $130 million of the tobacco funds to pay for optional services under Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor; $92 million for county subsidies for child-welfare services; $32.2 million to provide health insurance for poor children; and $3.4 million for breast- and cervical-cancer screenings.

Reference: APPEAL TO OHIO SUPREME COURT Tobacco-money dispute isn't over by Mark Niquette, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 1/7/2010.

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco seeks to enjoin the City of New York from imposing tobacco product standards..

January 7, 2009 - Joseph H. McKinley Jr., a federal district-court judge in Bowling Green, Kentucky ruled on Reynolds, the second-largest U.S. cigarette maker, and Lorillard Tobacco Co., the third-biggest, sued in August 2009 to block the marketing restrictions of tobacco regulation law.

Meanwhile, a second legal challenge was filed Dec. 28, 2009, by U.S Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing Co. LLC and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands Inc. (USST), both Altria subsidiaries. The companies seek to enjoin [for a court to order that someone either do a specific act, cease a course of conduct or be prohibited from committing a certain act] the City of New York from imposing tobacco product standards for smokeless and certain other types of "flavored tobacco products," as outlined in an ordinance signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Oct. 28, 2009. The ordinance bans all "flavored tobacco products," which are defined as all tobacco products, other than cigarettes, that contain a constituent or additive that imparts a "characterizing flavor," other than tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen. (New York City - ban on flavored tobacco products becomes law..)

Ironically, the lawsuit cites the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act in USST's defense. "FDA is the only agency with the right combination of scientific expertise, regulatory experience and public-health mission to oversee these [tobacco] products effectively," the lawsuit states, quoting the Act.

Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), was not surprised by the lawsuit, and in fact had warned New York City council members of the possibility in a July letter. "We told them they were going to get sued," he said, reiterating that the proposed ban was superceded by the new FDA regulations. "The city-elected officials simply do not understand that they have overstepped their authority by adopting such a broad and sweeping ban on flavored tobacco products. Moreover, the ban does violate the commerce clause of the U.S. constitution, which grants only Congress the powers to make laws that impact interstate commerce."

Briant also outlined another concern that makes the impending ruling so important. "This could be utilized or seen as a stepping stone by anti-tobacco advocates in other parts of the country to adopt a similar flavored-tobacco prohibition law," he says. "I have seen new anti-tobacco strategies adopted on the East or West Coast and then move inward covering other states, so all retailers across the country should be very concerned about this New York City ban."

Reference: Tobacco Trials Two court challenges could reshape tobacco sales and promotion by Linda Abu-Shalback Zid, Convenience Store / Petroleum (CSP) Daily News, 1/7/2010.

Turkey - overall, smoking ban is working..

January 7, 2010 - Turkey brought into effect a ban on smoking in bars, cafes and restaurants on July 19 2009, extending a ban issued in May 2008 on smoking in offices, public transport, shopping malls, schools, hospitals and other public places.

Turkey’s health minister Recep Akdag said: "We are working to protect our future, to save our youth."

On Wednesday, December 9, 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009 was unveiled in İstanbul, Turkey due to its successful implementation of a smoking ban in July 2009.

A reporter's assignment was to cover Turkey’s smoking ban by violating it to see if it really worked. The problem was that he never smoked, not even tried, not once.

Here's his story in the first person.

While I was waiting for the car, I was saying to myself: “How am I going to do that? If I just pretend smoke, will it look like real? Of course not!” With ideas running through my mind, I got into the car and saw a colleague who is a smoker going to cover the ban as well. It was the only time in my life that I thanked God that my friend was a smoker.

First we went to a mall where we heard people used to smoke. A banner that read, “Smoking is banned here and the fine is 62 Turkish Liras (41.13 USD),” was visible in all the cafes inside the mall. The banner also said, “Business owners who allow people to smoke can be fined up to 5,000 liras (3,427.59 USD),” which is why some business owners were upset about the law.

We sat down at a café inside the mall. Intentionally breaking the law right in front of the eyes of the business owner was exciting. My colleague went to light a cigarette. Was the staff going to warn her not to smoke? They did. But what if she insists, like, I guess, many customers in Turkey might? The waiter insisted more strongly and she had to put out her cigarette.

That attempt failed, but we knew that smoking had been banned inside shopping malls before July 19. Malls should have implemented the ban in May 2008. It was one of the ban’s incremental steps to prepare people for the full ban.

After that ban in May 2008, a campaign called “Smoke-free air space” gained pace and became widespread. That is one reason why “the man on the street” was aware of the coming full ban. Another reason was they all knew that old habits were going to have to change after July 19.

Before coming into effect, there was a mixture of opinions about the ban. Non-smokers were happy, including me, hoping that they would finally be able to “breath” in cafes and bars. Some smokers were happy, saying that they will use it as a chance to quit. Other smokers were not so happy.

I was surprised when I heard that business owners ended up complaining about the ban more than the smokers. Business owners claim they will go bankrupt if the ban is not relaxed. There were many protests held by teahouse owners after the ban took effect. Coffeehouse managers in the Marmara region’s Kocaeli province gathered on Aug. 11 in front of one of their establishments and lit up to protest the ban.

One teahouse owner’s innovative efforts were admirable. He found a way to smoke inside without violating the ban via a homemade mechanism with two hoses that reached outside and enabled smoking in enclosed areas. Maybe it was not the first innovation, but I found it to be the most intriguing. Suat Karakaya, owner of a teahouse in Istanbul for 15 years, drilled two holes in a window and passed two thin hoses through each. A lit cigarette is attached to the end of one hose outside the window while the customer smokes from the other end in the comfort of the establishment. The offending cigarette never needs to come inside. The second hose is for the smoker to exhale the smoke back outside. (First there was piped music, now there’s piped smoke, Tobacco Reporter, 1/7/2010)

Early on, the ban was strictly carried out in teahouses, cafes and nargile cafes and entertainment venues. In restaurants and bars, customers are stepping outside for their smokes and that has brought some changes to the sector, as well. Especially, the sales of outdoor heaters have increased because entertainment venues want to attract smokers with heated outdoor seating.

I have heard, however, that not all entertainment venues are obeying the ban. It remains to be seen how strictly the ban will be obeyed at entertainment venues as Turkey descends into its cold wintry days.

Reference: Turkey's smoking ban changes habits, inspires innovations SEVİM SONGÜN, ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News, 1/1/2010.

Turkey - related news briefs:
Turkey - court overrules TAPDK on tobacco labels..;
Turkey - cigarette producers sue to reduce size of graphic images..;
WHO to unveil new 2009 tobacco epidemic report in Turkey..;
Turkey - graphic/written warning labels starting January 1, 2010..;
Turkey - with expansion of smoking ban cigarette sales drop..;
Turkey - smoking ban, cafes (teahouses) losing business, owners threaten to strike..;
Turkey - hundreds of cafe owners demonstrate against smoking ban..;
Turkey - small--scale retailers to demonstrate against smoking ban..;
Turkey - anti-smoking advocates happy with early results of smoking ban..; Turkey - smoker wounds manager and kills his friend when asked to stop smoking..
Turkey - cafe owners complain about smoking ban..;
Turkey - dangers of secondhand smoke media campaign..;
Turkish Government - makes major move to improve the health of its citizens..;
Turkey - smoking ban starting July 19th will be enforced - these guys are serious..;
Turkey - poll indicates employers, their employees and customers support smoking ban in cafes, bars and restaurants..;
Turkey - July 19th total smoking ban, will employees lose jobs..;
Turkey - on July 19, 2009 will mark the beginning of “100 percent smoke-free air” in this country..;
Turkey - national smoking ban starts July 19, 2009..;
Turkey - quit smoking photo displayed in İstanbul's Taksim Square..;
Turkey - data on tobacco usage - Turkish Statistics Institution..;
Turkey - smoking ban in all bars, restaurants and coffeehouses starting July 19, 2009..;
Smoking ban in Turkey lowers cigarette consumption..;
Turkey's ban on pubic smoking goes into effect on Monday, May 19, 2008..;
British American Tobacco (BAT) reported group volume sales up for first quarter 2008..;
More on the quick fix for outdoor smokers..;
BAT to Acquire Most of Denmark's ST..;
More on Philip Morris International of the Future..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008...


Tennessee AG sues Colombian cigarette company over unpaid fees..

January 7, 2009 - Tennessee Attorney General (AG) Bob Cooper is suing Pronalci, a Colombian cigarette manufacturer over unpaid fees on smokes sold in his state.

Cooper said in a statement that Procesadora Nacional Cigarillera S.A. / Pronalci S.A., or Pronalci, is required by law to make payments into an escrow account for all cigarettes sold in Tennessee.

The Master Settlement Agreement allowed manufacturers who were not parties to the lawsuit to join the master agreement within 90 days, making them exempt from having to make future payments with certain restrictions. Unlike the Participating Manufacturers to the Master Settlement Agreement other cigarette makers have not been released from State claims. But the master agreement allows states - including Tennessee - to enact statutes forcing such non-participating manufacturers to place money into escrow each year to settle future judgments based on the number of cigarettes sold in that state.

It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to enforce the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the subsequent statutes governing tobacco sales. AG Cooper is seeking back payment of $300,000 plus attorney fees and penalties for cigarettes sold in Tennessee last year. The lawsuit was filed in the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court of Davidson County in Nashville.

Money in the tobacco escrow account is to reimburse the state for health care to treat smokers in the Volunteer State.

Bucaramanga, Colombia-based Pronalci is not a member of the multistate Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and is therefore classified under the Tennessee Tobacco laws as a Non-Participating Manufacturer. As such, the company must pay into the special escrow account.

The settlement agreement was reached originally by the nation's four largest tobacco companies: Philip Morris USA, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., and Lorillard Tobacco Company. More than 40 other tobacco companies later joined the agreement.

Reference: Tennessee AG sues Colombian cigarette company over unpaid fees by CHRIS RIZO (,, 1/5/2010; State sues Colombian cigarette maker, The City Paper, 1/5/2010.

Related news brief:
Kansas - cigarette makers fined, failed to pay into escrow accounts..;
Arkansas - escrow accounts Master Settlement Agreement, non-participating manufacturers..

Kretek International drops FDA lawsuit on clove cigars..

January 7, 2010 - Kretek International Inc.(KI) the top importer of clove-flavored cigars dropped a lawsuit Wednesday, January 6th against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that sought to prevent the agency from banning flavored cigars.

KI filed suit Wednesday, September 23rd in federal court to prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning flavored cigars.

In a statement, KI, importer and marketer of Djarum clove cigars, said it dropped a federal lawsuit against the agency that was filed last September after a federal ban against certain types of flavored cigarettes went into effect.

The move also comes after another federal court in Kentucky upheld most of FDA's authority to regulate tobacco products as part of a decision issued late Monday.

Officials from Kretek, a privately held firm based in Moorpark, Calif., were concerned the agency would try to ban its flavored cigars after the agency suggested it might go after products that were similar to cigarettes.

However, last month the agency posted information on its Web site about how it would regulate tobacco products. Kretek said the information "makes it clear that FDA will only be taking enforcement actions against tobacco products that meet the legal definition of a cigarette."

However, the company said it would refile a similar lawsuit if the FDA were to try to ban its clove cigars. The company noted that its Djarum clove-flavored cigars were classified as cigars by the U.S. Treasury Department's Tobacco Tax and Trade Board in 2007.

Last year, Congress gave FDA the authority to regulate tobacco and also called for a ban on all flavored cigarettes except for menthol.

The tobacco law does allow FDA to regulate cigars but requires the agency to first issue regulations deeming cigars to be subject to the law, a process that could take years.

Reference: Kretek International Drops FDA Lawsuit On Clove Cigars by Jennifer Corbett Dooren (, Dow Jones Newswires; The Wall Street Journal, 1/6/2010.

A few related news briefs:
Indonesia - trade minister officials want to meet with US counterparts to discuss ban on clove cigarettes..;
U.S. - Importer tries to get around clove cigarettes ban..;
Clove cigars close but not cigarettes..;
FDA regulations ban on clove cigarettes Indonesia may protest to WTO..;
Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..

UAE - Khalifa issues federal anti-tobacco law..

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan..

January 7, 2009 - Back in December 2009, Dr Wael al Mahmeed, head of the Emirates Cardiac Society said United Arab Emirates (UAE - UAE is a federation of seven emirates) needs a national smoking ban, for the sake of young people’s health – and soon, several leading doctors have said. “We need legislation, education and taxation” on tobacco products." (UAE - doctors say national smoking ban needed for the sake of young people..)

On January 6, 2010 President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued federal law no 15 of 2009 banning import of tobacco and its by-products into the country unless specific standard requirements accredited in the UAE are met. Those conditions include posting of clear word and image warnings on the box and a ban on all kinds of advertisements, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.

The law also prohibits smoking on public transport and public closed places. Under the provisions of the law, no licence [license] will be issued to cafes or similar outlets serving any types of tobacco or its products inside residential buildings or quarters or near them.Smoking will also be banned during vehicle driving in the company of a child under 12 years.

The law sets a series of penalties against offenders reaching in some cases up to Dh1 million (1 USD = 3.67350 AED (Dirhams)) in addition to a jail term of not less than two years.

The law calls for setting up a national anti-tobacco committee as per a cabinet resolution to ensure enforcement of the law and advance national efforts to fight the phenomenon and create a health environment for both UAE nationals and expatriate residents.

Commenting on the law, Health Minister Dr. Hanif Hassan said : “The legislation was issued within the context of measures taken by the wise leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed

Al Nahyan and the federal government under the stewardship of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to protect UAE citizens and residents, enhance public health, and combat diseases and harmful habits in the society including the lethal smoking menace which leads according to the latest World Health Organisation report to the death of more than 5 million persons every year.

The minister said the law aims to block the way before companies or individuals who are trying to seduce the population, notably the young generation, into the circle of smoking.

He added that the ministry of health would conduct a massive nationwide campaign to educate members of the public about the health hazards of smoking. The ministry will join forces with other federal and local concerned authorities to enforce the law in the best way.

The law prohibits selling of tobacco products to those less than 18 years old, bans cultivation of tobacco and import of tobacco-look-like sweet and toys and other similar products.

The law will spare the non-smokers the effects of passive smoking and the ensuing disturbance. The law empowers the court to confiscate seized and advertising materials and even close down the firm if found breaching the law. “The law demonstrates the UAE commitment to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which the UAE acceded to in 2005,”the health minister indicated.

“The law protects the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences generated from smoking tobacco and inhaling its smoke,”he added.

Highlighting some articles of the law, the minister the law bans smoking in places and houses of worship, educational, health and sports facilities. However, he indicated that a permit may be obtained from the competent authority to designate smoking areas at indoor places under specific rules.

The minister stressed the vital need of cooperation from all community forces to eradicate the smoking menace which causes many chronic ills that negatively effect economic growth and depress the development process.

Reference: Khalifa issues federal anti-tobacco law, Khaleej Times online, 1/6/2010.

UAE related news briefs:
UAE - doctors say national smoking ban needed for the sake of young people..;
United Arab Emirates - Despite Ban, Shisha Habit Spreading in Public..;
Sharjah Emirate, UAE - earn monetary rewards for quiting smoking..;
Dubai, UAE customs blocks e-cigarette shipment..;
UAE - graphic warnings on cigarette packs..;
UAE new tobacco ban proposed..;
UAE - Quadruple Cigarette Price - Prevent Kids from Smoking...

FDA Blog - District Court Strikes Down Some Tobacco Act Provisions as Unconstitutional..

January 7, 2010 - District Court Strikes Down Some Tobacco Act Provisions as Unconstitutional by David B. Clissold, 1/6/2010.

Directly related:
Federal judge - upheld most of law that regulates tobacco but struck down limits on advertising..

NY State - Seneca Indians - lobbying against the PACT act..

January 6, 2009 - The Seneca Nation (of Indians) is publicly lobbying against a proposed federal regulation that it fears would severely damage Indian-operated cigarette sales and manufacturing operations.

The federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act bill (PACT) prohibits the United States Postal Service from delivering tobacco products. UPS, FedEX and DHL have signed agreements with state attorneys general that they will not deliver tobacco products — but not the Postal Service - so far. (Protect Our Children - Make it illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver any form of tobacco product..)

U.S. PACT (PREVENT ALL CIGARETTE TRAFFICKING ACT OF 2009) - This legislation is extremely important, it will effectively end Internet and telephone tobacco sales by stopping shipments of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through the U.S. Postal Service. FedEx, UPS, and DHL have already agreed not to mail tobacco. H.R. 1676, the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (the PACT Act) of 2009, was passed 397-11 by the House of Representatives on Thursday, 5/21/2009. On November 19, 2009 the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved this legislation. We expect the legislation to be approved by the full senate and signed into law early in 2010.

Billboards along the I-190 in downtown Buffalo, New York make pleas to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to vote against the PACT Act bill that the Seneca Nation and other Indian tribes feel will all but shut down mail-order cigarette sales. If enacted, the bill could see more than 1,000 people locally lose their jobs, the Senecas say.

Many feel the bill is being championed by major cigarette manufacturers as an attempt to shut down or severely limited Indian-operated cigarette businesses.

“We applaud the goal of halting rogue tobacco smuggling, but it’s wrong to wipe out legitimate jobs in the process,” said Barry Snyder, Seneca Nation president. “Tobacco trade is a key component of the Seneca Nation economy.”

Snyder said if the PACT legislation is approved, the Seneca Nation could lose as much as 65 percent of its import/export revenue from cigarette and tobacco sales. Proceeds from those sales help fund health and education programs for the Seneca Nation.

Snyder noted the Seneca Nation uses state-of-the-art stamping and enforcement measures that ensure compliance with a rigorous set of internal regulations. Among the regulations are: retailer authorization, minimum pricing standards and a ban on sales to minors. The Seneca Nation also works closely with Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Enforcement on all matters related to cigarette sales.

Besides the billboards, the Seneca Nation’s Foreign Relations Committee has been working with lobbyists on rallying defeat for the PACT act.

“The PACT Act is being portrayed as a tool to fight cigarette smuggling,” Snyder said. “In reality, it will kill legitimate, treaty-sanctioned Native American commerce, causing significant economic harm.”

Indian reservations are the major source of untaxed cigarette black market for New York's booming tobacco black market, robbing the state of nearly one billion dollars annually in tax revenue. More than six billion untaxed cigarettes flowed through New York's ten reservations in 2007. If smoke shop owners only sold to members of their own tribes, as provided by law, every reservation resident-man, women, child-would have to smoke 44 cigarettes per hour. (Big Tobacco's New York Black Market by Marina Walker Guevara, Kate Willson, The Center for Public Integrity, 12/19/2008.)

Reference: Senecas fight tobacco sales bill by James Fink, Business First of Buffalo, 1/5/2010.

Some PACT related news briefs:
U.S. - Senate Judiciary Committee Approves PACT ACT..;
U.S. - Senate Committee scheduled to vote on PACT..;
Web-Based Companies must stop selling flavored cigarettes..;
Internet, Flavors everywhere - snuff being marketed to kids as hip, cool and healthy..;
U.S. customs officials bar imports bearing the Philip Morris USA trademark..;
Let's Get It Passed - Prevent All Tobacco Trafficking Act of 2009..;
U.S - PACT legislation passed by House..;
U.S. - PACT Legislation to be considered by House this month..;
We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business..;
PACT Legislation now in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee..;
U.S. House Passes Bill to Prevent Tobacco Delivery By Mail..;
We must get the United States Postal Service (USPS) out of the tobacco delivery business..
Protect Our Children - Make it illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver any form of tobacco product...

San Francisco (SF) - launches new anti-smoking campaign..

January 6, 2010 Starting Tuesday, January 5th posters dotting city bus shelters and intersections will urge San Francisco smokers to "make today the day" they quit the cigarette habit.

That slogan, emblazoned on a bright red and white poster, is popping up at 42 poster boards and transit sites across San Francisco, city and health officials announced this morning. The campaign to encourage residents to kick the habit is a partnership between the American Lung Association (ALA) in California, Healthy San Francisco and the city's Department of Public Health.

While the city's increasingly stringent anti-smoking laws can make cigarette holdouts feel vilified, the campaign seeks to support smokers with resources, not castigate them, according to Dr. Mitchell Katz, director of San Francisco's public health department.

"It's the New Year, it's time to make resolutions," Katz said at a news conference this morning outside City Hall. "Probably the single most important thing we can do as a community to improve our health is to stop smoking."

According to Katz, 14 percent, or one in seven adults in San Francisco are smokers. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, he said, as well as "a huge cause of disability and loss of function." Katz said San Franciscans need easy access to stop-smoking resources and information on potential treatments like nicotine patches and oral medication.

In addition to the slogan, posters include ALA's toll-free help line, (800) 586-4872. The number is staffed with specially trained nurses and respiratory therapists, according to Dr. James K. Brown, a professor at University of California, San Francisco, medical school and a pulmonary and critical care physician at San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Brown, who serves on ALA California's advocacy committee, said he hopes the new campaign "will motivate people who smoke to take the first step."

He urged anyone interested in quitting to visit their doctor to discuss various treatment options. "It takes most people several tries before they can quit for good," he said.

In addition to the well-documented connection between smoking and lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, the habit is linked to other disorders, Brown said, including reproductive issues, osteoporosis and other types of cancers.

According to Supervisor Eric Mar: Smoking impacts virtually every person in San Francisco, regardless of whether they ever light a cigarette. In 1999, the most recent figures available for the city, smoking cost San Francisco an estimated $433 million, he said. That figure comes from medical expenses at public health care facilities and other ancillary costs. That figure is likely higher today, Mar said.

Additionally, carcinogenic secondhand smoke kills 6,000 people in California each year, Mar said. He has sponsored a proposal to further tighten the city's smoking restrictions. The ordinance, proposed in December, would make smoking off limits in common areas of multi-family housing units, and "tighten up some loopholes" in current restrictions, he said.

Mar said his mother and father "both smoked like crazy" when he was growing up, and he and his brother would try to hide or break apart his mother's cigarettes.

Having fewer accessible places to smoke will discourage people from lighting up, and may encourage them to try quitting, he said. Mar praised the new campaign, saying it is important to provide smokers with access to proven means of quitting.

**Video available with first reference**
Reference: SF Launches New Anti-Smoking Campaign,, 1/6/2009; San Francisco Launches Citywide 'Make Today the Day' Quit Smoking Campaign, SOURCE: Healthy San Francisco, PR Newswire, 1/5/2010.

Some San Francisco related news briefs:
San Francisco may expand smoking ban..;
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...

Spain - still some hesitation on total smoking ban for country..

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January 6, 2010 - According to the Spanish government, smoking is the biggest killer in Spain and, in 2007, Spain suffered 50,000 smoking-related deaths. That´s an average of 137 deaths a day. Spain's Health Minister, Trinidad Jímenez, reported that smoking currently kills 153 people every day and that "between three and five people die every 24 hours as victims of passive smoking." (La Vida Loca: Life in Madrid : Spain´s Smoking Ban Gone Up In Smoke,, 12/10/2009)

Originally set to be implemented on the 1st of January this year, the smoking ban is still being debated in the halls of power here in Spain with opposition parties failing to agree and Madrid setting its own rules.

Spain’s Health Minister Trinidad Jiménez has stated that she wants a new tobacco ban prohibiting smoking in all public places throughout Spain to go into effect as soon as the ruling Socialist Party can gather cross party support for its ratification by Congress.

TheUnited Left (IU) and Catalan Nationalist (CiU) approve the across-the-board ban but the major opposition Popular Party has not officially said whether it will support it. However, Madrid regional health chief Juan José Güemes, a member of thePP, said Monday, January 4th he didn’t believe that the ban would work in the capital [Madrid]. “You never get good results from banning something,” Güemes said. “Restrictions mean curtailing freedoms and you have to be very careful about limiting individual guarantees.”

Deputy leader of the Madrid region, Ignacio González, also of the PP, said that his government would defend smokers’ rights “I believe that when it comes to the tobacco issue, one has to maintain some degree of respect — of course, at the same time looking at the legality of the legislation, but also ensuring that there is freedom to choose.”

It was in 2005, that the government introduced a tobacco law that has been poorly enforced. Under the regulations, public places more than 100-square-meters had to have a separate area for smokers. But a year later, a survey showed that more than half of the businesses around the country didn’t stick to the ban.

Madrid is different and the Madrid regional government issued its own decree, giving more freedom to smokers, such as allowing them to light up at certain areas at work and eliminating the 100-square-meter rule in the capital.

However, the PP regional governments seem divided over the introduction of the nationwide tobacco ban. Manuel Cervera, the health chief in Valencia, supports the Socialist government’s initiative. However, he criticizes the way the government may go about implementing it without considering alternatives for smokers.

Reference: SPAIN SPLIT ON SMOKING BAN, Staff Reporter, The Leader, 1/5/2010.

Spain - related news briefs:
Spain - hotel and catering industry protests plan to ban smoking next year..;
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...


District of Columbia (D.C.) - council toughens smoking laws, proposal must be voted on a 2nd time..

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January 6, 2010 - Yesterday, we reported that D.C. Council would meet that day, January 5th to toughen the District's smoking laws with new provisions targeting underage tobacco use and lighting up on public sidewalks, part of a broad bill that could portend a more rigid ban down the road. Distrct of Columbia (D.C.) - to toughen smoking laws..)

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to enact far-reaching proposals to curtail smoking by giving store owners a tool to prevent smoking on public sidewalks and by assessing new penalties on anyone younger than 18 who possesses tobacco products. The bill, part of a coordinated campaign to reduce tobacco use in the District, also requires store owners to ask for identification from anyone buying cigarettes who looks 27 or younger, places new restrictions on cigarette-vending machines and outlaws the sale of "blunt wraps."

Currently, it is illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone who is younger than 18. The proposal, which must be voted on a second time, also makes it illegal for a minor to "purchase" or "possess any cigarette or other tobacco products."

Violators will be subject to a civil penalty of $50 or less if they are caught with tobacco. But anyone younger than 18 caught using a false identification card to purchase cigarettes could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $300 for a first offense.

"We are trying to reduce underage smoking, so we are putting in a penalty," said council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.

But Peter Fisher, vice president for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said his organization opposes making it a crime for minors to possess tobacco. Instead, Fisher said, the council should focus on retailers who sell tobacco to minors. "There really isn't any evidence that these kind of youth possession laws do anything to reduce tobacco use," Fisher said.

Although much of the bill targets teen smoking, one provision could affect anyone who smokes on a public sidewalk in the District. Responding to complaints from business owners that some pockets of sidewalk smokers were becoming a nuisance, the bill allows shop owners to post no-smoking signs in front of their establishments. Under the measure, store owners can specify they don't want smoking within 25 feet of their front door or from the sidewalk, whichever distance is less. But the bill does not include enforcement provisions, meaning smokers could ignore the signs without fear of being penalized. Despite the lack of penalties, the sidewalk provision has sparked debate in recent weeks over whether the council was moving too aggressively to reduce smoking.

As it struggled with a budget deficit, the council voted in July to increase the cigarette tax by 50 cents to $2.50 a pack, one of the highest rates in the nation.

Council member David A. Catania, the chairman of the Health Committee, said the council is seeing success in "discouraging people from starting to smoke through education and taxes" and the investment in smoking-cessation programs. Catania cited recent studies that show an almost 20 percent decline in smoking in the city between 2005 and 2008. In 2005, about 20 percent of adults in the city smoked, according to the study. By 2008, that percentage had dropped to 16.2 percent, the 10th lowest ranking among the 50 states and the District, according to the American Lung Association. The councilman said the decline will save District taxpayers about $175 million in future medical costs. According to Catania, about 10.5 percent of high school students in the District smoked in 2008.

The proposal approved Tuesday also prohibits cigarettes from being intermingled with other products in bars and restaurants, which is designed to make it easier for store owners to keep track of who is buying tobacco from vending machines. The bill also prohibits cigarettes from being sold from mobile food stands, such as traveling hot dog or ice cream stands.

The provision banning the sale of cigar wrappers is targeted at marijuana smokers. Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), concerned that too many youths are smoking marijuana rolled in blunts, initially had a proposal to ban the single sale of all cheap cigars. But Mendelson scrapped the measure and instead proposed the ban on the wrappers. (Boston's ban on blunt wraps stands..)

Reference: D.C. moves to curb sidewalk smoking, youths' access to tobacco by Tim Craig, Washington Post Staff Writer, 1/6/2010.

District of Columbia - news briefs:
Distrct of Columbia (D.C.) - to toughen smoking laws..;
District of Columbia - takes from tobacco fund to bridge budget gap..;
District of Columbia (D.C. Washington) to double tax on a pack of cigarettes to $2.00..


South Korea - more smokers in 2009 than in 2008..

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January 6, 2010 - According to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, the smoking rate for people aged 19 or older increased by 1 percentage point, going up to 23.3 percent at the end of last year.

The ministry surveyed 3,000 people by phone across the nation. The rate for males went up to 43.1 percent, from 40.9 percent, while that for females decreased to 3.9 percent from 4.1 percent over the same period. Asked what caused them to smoke, 59.1 percent said they smoke due to their long-term habits and 32.6 percent pointed to stress. Of those surveyed, 68.8 percent replied that they have attempted to quit smoking at least once.

In response to the rising smoking rate, the ministry plans to intensify anti-smoking efforts by designating more parks, hospitals and other public facilities as smoking-free areas.

Closely related news brief: July 24, 2009 - Korea - slight increase in men smoking..

Reference: More Koreans Smoke,, The Korean Times, 1/5/2010.

South Korea - some related news briefs:
South Korea - remote island going smoke-free, car-free and night lights-free..;
South Korea - Stressed-out Koreans smoking more..;
South Korea - to ban smoking in public places from 2011..;
Korea - BAT - winning the hearts and minds of customers based on tactics tailored to local tastes..;
Korea - sets target to reduce smoking 10% in 5-years..;
Korea - stricter regulation of the tobacco industry coming..;
South Korea - tobacco imports surge 396-fold over 10-years..;
Korea - slight increase in men smoking.. ;
South Korea - anti-tobacco campaign - body painting..;
Korea - smoking ban just about everywhere by end of 2009..;
Tobacco marketing in South Korea has been deliberately aimed at girls and young women..;
Korea - smoking rates fall for men and women...

Federal judge - upheld most of law that regulates tobacco but struck down limits on advertising..

January 5, 2010 - U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. upheld most of a sweeping federal law limiting the marketing of cigarettes through sponsorships and on merchandise, but struck down limits on advertising and labels that tobacco companies said violated their free speech rights.

A new law giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration jurisdiction over tobacco can’t prevent companies from using color and graphics to advertise their products.

Judge McKinley in Bowling Green, Kentucky ruled that provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in June, violate advertisers’ free-speech rights.

The judge rejected a ban on the use of color and graphics in tobacco labels and advertising, which the companies said violated the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, he sided with the government on limits on tobacco-branded merchandise and sponsorships, rejecting the companies' argument that such marketing could be targeted specifically to adults and not children.

McKinley, whose ruling was made public today, also blocked a provision of the law barring statements that tobacco products are less harmful because they are regulated by the FDA or because they comply with agency requirements. The judge rejected cigarette makers’ bid to strike other provisions of the law.

Reynolds, the second-largest U.S. cigarette maker, and Lorillard Tobacco Co., the third-biggest, sued in August to block the marketing restrictions. They claimed the law went far beyond discouraging children from smoking and left them “virtually no means” to communicate with adult smokers and other tobacco users. Other companies seeking to void the law included included cigarette maker Commonwealth Brands Inc, Conwood Co, tobacco retailer Discount Tobacco City & Lottery Inc, and National Tobacco Co. (R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, others file suit claiming law restricts communication..)

Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA, which makes half of the cigarettes sold in the U.S., supported the FDA regulation and endorsed the law. It wasn’t involved in the suit.

FDA spokeswoman Kathleen Quinn said the agency was pleased with the ruling, which she said "will allow us to continue, in large part, with the implementation of the tobacco control act to protect public health. The agency will thoroughly review the opinion."

David Howard, an R.J. Reynolds spokesman, said the company was pleased that parts of the law were found unconstitutional and is considering its options. Howard said the company continues to believe the other challenged provisions of the law are unconstitutional and is considering its options.

Frank Hinton, owner of Discount Tobacco, said: "To tell me how I can advertise products on the inside of my store, that's just not right."

In an e-mail a Lorillard spokesman, Michael Robinson stated: "We are gratified that the court upheld the free speech rights to use color and graphics in our advertising to communicate with our adults consumers."

Commonwealth Brands, Inc., the fourth largest tobacco manufacturer in the U.S. released a statement today, January 5th in response to the Federal Court's decision to throw out a recent ban that was placed on the tobacco industry's advertising rights. Rob Wilkey, Senior Legal Counsel for Commonwealth Brands stated: "We are delighted with today's ruling. We have always strongly believed that the advertising ban violated our First Amendment rights and are very pleased that the Court agreed. It is a fundamental right that we be able to communicate with our adult consumers and today's ruling will ensure this." (Commonwealth Brands Delighted With Ruling on FDA Challenge, SOURCE: Commonwealth Brands, Inc., PR Newswire, 1/5/2010)

In his 47-page opinion, McKinley wrote that the tobacco companies are "clearly right" in arguing that some of the labeling at issue, such as Conwood's sketch of its original factory or the color of Lorillard's Newport menthol packaging, were not what Congress was targeting in trying to thwart improper advertising toward children.

"The act's 'blanket ban' on all uses of color and images in tobacco labels and advertising has a 'uniformly broad sweep'" too wide for what Congress intended, he wrote.

But McKinley also upheld parts of the law that require large health warnings on cigarette packs and preclude tobacco companies from distributing such things as caps, t-shirts and sporting goods with tobacco names or logos.

Citing Congressional findings, he said "there is no way to limit the distribution of these items to adults only" and that, if there were, adults would become "walking advertisements" for the idea that "tobacco use is widely accepted, which is extremely important to children and adolescents."

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement called the ruling "an important step toward ending the special protection the tobacco industry has enjoyed for too long and finally regulating tobacco products to protect our children and the nation's health."

The case is Commonwealth Brands Inc vs. United States, U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky (Bowling Green), No. 09-117.

Back in November 2009 Judge McKinley turned down a request by the R.J. Reynolds and others to immediately halt enforcement of new federal regulations on tobacco products.

References: Ban on Color and Graphics in Tobacco Ads Thrown Out (Update1) by Bob Van Voris, -Editors: Michael Hytha, Peter Blumberg, Business Week -, 1/5/2010; U.S. judge strikes part of tobacco ad, label law by Jonathan Stempel and Jeremy Pelofsky, - Reuters, 1/5/2010; Ban on Color and Graphics in Tobacco Ads Thrown Out (Update2) by Bob Van Voris (,, 1/5/2010.

Some related news briefs:
R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, others file suit claiming law restricts communication..;
FDA says delaying tobacco authority will harm public..;
U.S. FDA tobacco chief moving ahead despite facing legal action..;
Federal judge rejects request for injunction blocking tobacco law..;
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s bid to carve out a "free speech" marketing niche for innovative products received a setback..;
More - Judge McKinley's ruling turns down request to immediately halt enforcement of new tobacco federal regulations..;
More - Federal judge rejects request for injunction blocking tobacco law..;

Australia - AMA urges senate to pass Preventative Health Agency Bill..

October 27, 2009 - Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said the creation of the National Preventative Health Agency was an important first step towards reducing preventable chronic diseases in Australia. An Overview - National Preventative Health Strategy

Dr Pesce said the AMA urges all Senators to support the Australian National Preventative Health Agency Bill, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives.

Dr Pesce: "A growing number of Australians are at high risk of serious diseases and premature death due to excess weight, smoking and alcohol use. The proposed National Preventative Health Agency is a significant first step in a strategic national approach to reducing preventable chronic diseases."

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and the Preventative Health Taskforce both recommended the creation of a preventive health agency. "It is expected that a major role of the agency will be to progress the recommendations of the Prevention Taskforce," Dr Pesce said.

"The establishment of this Agency should not be stalled. It is time to start acting on a national prevention strategy," Dr Pesce said.

Reference: AMA Urges Senate To Pass Preventative Health Agency Bill, Australia, Source: Australian Medical Association (AMA), 10/27/2009.

Galveston, Texas - smoking ban took effect January 1, 2010 but it may not be enforced..

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January 5, 2010 - The Galveston (Texas) City Council adopted a comprehensive smoking ban Thursday, July 23, 2009 forbidding people from lighting up in bars, restaurants, private clubs and tobacco stores. The ban took effect January 1, 2010. (Galveston, TX - comprehensive smoking ban adopted - takes effect January 1, 2010..

So beginning last Friday restaurants and bars rang in the new year by asking smokers to snuff their cigarettes. Galveston’s smoking ordinance — one of the strictest in the state — bans smoking in restaurants, bars and private clubs, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars club, on patios and in outdoor seating areas, including the sidewalks outside venues along The Strand and Postoffice Street.

Th Galveston Police Department said the ordinance is among the last on its list of laws to enforce, city spokeswoman Alicia Cahill said. Cahill said the police department sees the ordinance as a symbolic gesture; while the city council had good intentions when it approved the plan, it’s “unreasonable for the police department to give (the ban) its undivided attention,” she said.

On the scale of what Galveston police have to deal with day-to-day, the smoking ban falls to the bottom, she said. Police have no plans to raid bars, restaurants and private clubs to ensure they are following the ordinance — officers will respond to complaints, but the officer has to witness a person smoking in an area where smoking is banned to issue a ticket, Cahill said.

The offense is a class C misdemeanor — the equivalent of a traffic ticket — and comes with a $100 fine. Police will ticket individuals, not bars or restaurants, she said.

Reference: Smoking ban arrives with the new year by Rhiannon Meyers, Galveston County Daily News, 12/31/2009.

Distrct of Columbia (D.C.) - to toughen smoking laws..

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January 5, 2010 - The D.C. Council will move Tuesday, January 5th to toughen the District's smoking laws with new provisions targeting underage tobacco use and lighting up on public sidewalks, part of a broad bill that could portend a more rigid ban down the road.

Current D.C. smoking laws: Banned in all workplaces, Prohibited in most bars and restaurants and a Cigarette tax now $2.50 per pack.

The omnibus smoking legislation, up for the first of two council votes, establishes civil penalties for minors who buy cigarettes, bars street vendors from selling tobacco products, bans the sale of "blunt wraps" often used to roll marijuana and allows commercial property owners to post signs banning smoking outside their buildings. It does not outlaw smoking outdoors. But the idea, at least, is on the table. (Boston's ban on blunt wraps stands..)

"You could say no smoking on public ways within a certain distance of residences or businesses, something of that nature," Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh said last month as the judiciary committee, on which she serves, discussed the bill. "I could even support that."

Mendelson and Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander introduced the bill now before the council in late July 2009.

The legislation installs a $50 civil penalty for minors who purchase or attempt to purchase tobacco products. There also is a $200 fine for youth who falsely represent their age. And there is a $250 penalty for street vendors caught selling cigarettes to anybody. "One less sale of a tobacco product to a teen could mean that one less teen grows up to be a smoker," Bob Summersgill, a member of Smokefree D.C., told the judiciary panel during its public hearing on the bill.

The aspect of the bill that has received the most attention might be its most irrelevant. Any commercial property owner or first-floor retail tenant, under the measure, could post signs stating that smoking was barred within 25 feet of their building, including the sidewalk. But there is no enforcement mechanism nor a penalty for a violation. "I think we can't get any further unless you want to ban smoking on sidewalks," at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Committee of Public Safety and the Judiciary, said last month.

Smokers who congregate outside office buildings, their smoke seeping through doors and windows, defeat the purpose of the smoke-free-workplaces law, Summersgill said. The provision, he said, is "sensible." But without a penalty, Cheh said, the law is "phony." If another council member were to draft a "thoughtful" bill banning smoking outright on the sidewalk, she said Monday, she could support it.

To flatly prohibit smoking outside businesses and residences "doesn't leave a whole lot of other sidewalks," Mendelson said last month. Cheh replied: "I know it would be unfortunate, but that's the way it would be."

Reference: D.C. Council takes up tighter smoking restrictions by Michael Neibauer (, Examiner Staff Writer, 1/5/2009.

District of Columbia - news briefs:
District of Columbia - takes from tobacco fund to bridge budget gap..;
District of Columbia (D.C. Washington) to double tax on a pack of cigarettes to $2.00..

North Carolina - some hookah bars owners stay open after smoking ban begins..

January 4, 2010 - The new law that went into effect on January 2, 2010 prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants, does not allow hookah (argileh nargile, hubble-bubble, water pipe, hooka, shisha, goza, meassel, sheesha) bars to continue to operate.

Adam Bliss, owner of Hookah Bliss on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, said this week that the business will stay open and possibly go to court over the smoking ban if it is fined. "We're going to stay open long enough to get a ticket," he said. "We're going to fight them in court."

The business specializes in hookahs, which are water pipes used for smoking tobacco, and serves beer. It has been open for about two and half years at 418 W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill.

Hookah bars were not included in the exemptions that were granted to cigar bars under the smoking ban law. Cigar bars were defined as businesses that generate at least 60 percent of their quarterly revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages and at least 25 percent of revenues from the sale of cigars. The law also exempts tobacco shops, which are defined as businesses that receive at least 75 percent of their annual revenues from the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products and does not serve food or alcohol.

The "Act to Prohibit Smoking in Certain Public Places and Certain Places of Employment" was passed by the N.C. General Assembly and signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue in May.

Bliss said his business might have to stop selling beer and be defined as a tobacco shop as a result. "Which makes you wonder whether this law was really about tobacco or alcohol," he bristled. Bliss also raised issue with the stated intent of the law, which was to "protect the health of individuals in public places and places of employment ... from the risks related to secondhand smoke," as written in the legislation.

"The reason they wrote this bill, they claim, is that it protects the employees from secondhand smoke. This is an employee health issue, according to the legislature," Bliss said. "But they automatically exempted four different types of places, and notice all those places are where the rich older males go, where the legislators are more likely to go. They're all places that the rich like to smoke and they're saying that the employees that work in the places where they like to smoke do not deserve the protection that the average employee who works in an average bar deserves."

Businesses that allow smoking are given two written warnings. On the third infraction, a business can be fined up to $200.

Hookah Bliss plans on having a party as the ban goes into effect throughout the state. "This is not so much about a lawsuit as about fighting a ticket on the grounds that the law is unfair," Bliss said. "We are not going to stop serving and we are not closed."

In Wilmington, NC little has changed at the Juggling Gypsy Cafe and Hookah bar in since the start of the smoking ban in North Carolina Saturday. Patrons continue to smoke. However, this is not an act of civil disobedience. Bar manager Denny Best says bar management has found what it believes to be a loophole in the new ban, allowing customers to continue to smoke tobacco through the water pipes. At one time, Wilmington had about 20% of the hookah business in all of North Carolina.

Reference: Hookah Bliss 'to stay open' Court fight vowed; cut out of cigar bar exemptions by Monica Chen (, The Herald Sun, 1/4/2010; Wilmington hookah bar defies smoking ban with "reality show", Reported by Kristy Ondo, Posted by Scott Saxton, WTOC-11, 1/4/2010.

Related North Carolina smoking ban news briefs:
North Carolina (NC) - beginning in January 2010 fire safe cigarettes (FSC), smoking ban in public places..;
North Carolina - smoking ban simple details, January 2, 2010..;
North Carolina - smoking ban does not allow hookah bars to operate - RIGHT..;
North Carolina smoking ban includes banning hookah bars..;
North Carolina Governor Purdue signs smoking ban law..;
North Carolina - legislators approve smoking ban..;
North Carolina - smoking ban scaled back again..;
North Carolina Senate Health Committee votes for stricter smoking ban..;
North Carolina House poised to pass smoking ban..;
North Carolina - ban on smoking in public places passes 1st test...