Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..

January 23, 2010 - The Bulgarian Customs Agency has announced on Friday, January 21st that, with immediate effect, new limits have been imposed on personal imports of tobacco products by travelers from outside the European Union (EU).

They will be restricted to free import limits of 40 normal cigarettes or 10 cigars or 20 cigarillos or 50 gm smoking tobacco.

The new limits apply to people passing through land, sea and river borders with non-EU countries. For Bulgaria, this includes Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

For passengers traveling by air, the duty-free limits remain unchanged: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos, or 250 gm smoking tobacco.

The Customs Agency stated that a reduction of thresholds for the import of tobacco products is necessary because of their low prices in neighboring non-EU countries. The goal is to eliminate the practise of importing large quantities of cigarettes by repeatedly crossing the state border, with those cigarettes then being sold illegally on the domestic market.

Duty thresholds are unchanged for alcoholic beverages transported by land, sea or river borders. Passengers may carry one liter of alcohol and two liters of beverages with an alcohol content less than 22%. There is no limit for still wines and beers.

Reference: Bulgaria Limits Non-EU Duty-free Tobacco Allowances, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 1/22/2010.

Bulgaria related news briefs:
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..;
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..;
Bulgaria - police busts major cigarette contraband ring..;
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..


Lung cancer patients who quit smoking double their survival chances.

January 23, 2010 -

PAPER: Influence of smoking cessation after diagnosis of early stage lung cancer on prognosis: systematic review of observational studies with meta-analysis, A Parsons (a.c.parsons@bham.ac.uk), A Daley, R Begh, P Aveyard, BMJ 2010;340:b5569, ABSTRACT, FULL TEXT.

Associated Editorial: Smoking cessation It is never too late for people to stop, even when they have lung cancer Tom Treasure and Janet Treasure, BMJ 2010;340:b5630, first 150 words of the full text. The editorial says this study adds more to the evidence that it is never too late for people to stop, even when they have lung cancer.

"We used meta-analysis to summarize the findings," said study lead author, Amanda Parsons, a Ph.D. candidate at the U.K. Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Birmingham College of Medicine and Dentistry. "Quitting smoking was associated with around double the chance of surviving at any time point compared to people who continued to smoke." Researchers at the University of Birmingham analysed the results of 10 studies that measured the effect of quitting smoking after diagnosis of lung cancer on prognosis.

Differences in study design and quality were taken into account to minimise bias.

Only 29 to 33 percent of early stage lung cancer patients who kept smoking survived for five years, while 63 to 70 percent of patients who quit survived that long, Parsons stated.

The survival seemed to come from a lower likelihood of tumor recurrence, not from heart/lung improvements, the researchers said.

This is the first review of studies to measure the effects of continued smoking after diagnosis of lung cancer and suggests that it may be worthwhile to offer smoking cessation treatment to patients with early stage lung cancer.

Worldwide, lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer. In the UK, it is second only to breast cancer, accounting for around 39,000 new cancer diagnoses annually.

Smoking increases the risk of developing a primary lung cancer; lifelong smokers have a 20-fold increased risk compared with non-smokers. But it is not known whether quitting after a diagnosis of lung cancer has any benefit.

Data suggested that most of the increased risk of death was due to cancer progression.

These findings support the theory that continued smoking affects the behaviour of a lung tumour, say the authors. They also provide a strong case for offering smoking cessation treatment to patients with early stage lung cancer.

It is concluded that further trials are needed to examine these questions.

Reference: Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer, St. John Healt System, 1/21/2020; Lung cancer patients who quit smoking double their survival chances, EurekAlert, 1/21/2010.


WHO FCTC Conference March 2010 - protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products..

January 23, 2010 - Back at the end of June 2009 representatives of governments gathered in Geneva to negotiate the first worldwide protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products. FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) Conference of the Parties, Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, Geneva, Switzerland, June 28th - July 5th, 2009. (Eliminating global illicit cigarette trade would save lives and increase tax revenue..)

Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, March 14-21, 2010.

Come March 2010 representatives of governments will meet to discussed and sign off on the draft protocol that expected to boost the war on illicit trade in tobacco products. If signed by governments attending the meeting, the protocol is expected to become an international convention to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products across the globe. The protocol could prohibit manufacturers across the globe from using the internet, telecommunications or any other evolving technology based modes to sell tobacco products or manufacturing equipment used in the production of cigarettes.

Cigarettes are the world's most widely smuggled legal consumer product. The supply of counterfeit tobacco, illegally manufactured tobacco passed off as legitimate products, is a global problem that costs many governments millions of dollars annually in lost revenue. About 657 billion cigarettes a year are sold illicitly - representing an enormous missed tax opportunity for governments, as well as a missed opportunity to prevent many people from starting to smoke and encourage others to quit.

Smugglers in east Africa are suspected to use their wide networks stretching across the war ravaged Somalia and DR Congo to peddle illicit tobacco products through the porous borders and escaping tax in the process and accumulating revenues which are deposited in several banks across the region.

Kenya has already barred the advertising of tobacco products in the media.

The manufacturing or distributing of tobacco products whose duty have not been paid or dealing in products that do not bear applicable fiscal stamps or unique identification markings is considered an offence under the protocol that would be ratified by governments. Defacing or interfering with the applicable stamps on tobacco packaging will become an offence under the protocol. The protocol also bars intermingling or mixing of tobacco products with non tobacco products during storage or transportation through the supply chain will also constitute an offence under the protocol as this is likely to conceal tobacco products.

Traders will also be barred from obtaining tobacco products from vendors or manufacturers who are not licensed to manufacture or deal in tobacco products.

People committing such offences shall be subjected to the domestic laws of the countries signatory to the protocol. Cigarette manufacturers in Kenya say counterfeiting is rife and that the country is used as a conduit to transport illicit tobacco products to the war ravaged DR Congo and Somalia. Leading tobacco products manufacturer British American Tobacco says the government loses upwards of Sh1 billion annually in revenue because of the sale of fake cigarettes.

According to the latest survey by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the local industry losses upwards of Sh50 billion in sales annually while about Sh19 billion in taxes do not reach the government as a result of the illicit trade. The Industrialisation ministry has put on notice traders dealing in counterfeits following the appointment of an anti counterfeit watchdog that has powers to prosecute cheats in a new move that is intended at putting brakes on fake products. Trade in counterfeits, according to the Economic Survey 2009, is among the key constraints to the local manufacturing sector that posted low growth of 3.8 percent in 2008 compared to a 6.5 percent growth in 2007.

Mr Collin Denyer, a senior investigations manager at tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT), told an anti-counterfeit meeting in Nairobi late last year that the Kenya government was losing upwards of Sh1 billion in revenue because of sale of fake cigarettes. "Counterfeited cigarettes especially from Asia are stealing 13 percent of tobacco market in east Africa. Pirates pocket Sh100 billion each year and this money could be used in other illicit activities such as terrorism in the region" said Mr. Denyer.

There are fears that proceeds from the sale of the counterfeited products could also be used in funding international organised crime and terrorism. BAT which has had several of its top selling brands knocked off and sold in several markets across east Africa and the UK. The cigarettes maker estimates that counterfeiters pocket in the upwards of Sh100 billion each year from the sale of imitated cigarettes across east Africa. (British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa..)

"Counterfeited cigarettes especially from Asia are stealing 13 percent of the tobacco market in east Africa. Pirates pocket Sh100 billion each year and this money could be used in other illicit activities such as terrorism in the region," Mr Denyer said.

Reference: Geneva Meet Trains Sight on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products by Jim Onyango, Individual.com, 1/20/2010.(Business Daily/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX)

Some related news briefs:
Australia - Smuggling of illegal cigarettes has hit an all-time high..;
Quebec - push to stop trade in illicit cigarettes..;
Tobacco smuggling fuels organized crime, robs governments of tax money and spurs addiction..;
Counterfeit products continue to flood EU, U.S. markets..;
Paraquay - top producer of contraband tobacco..;


Cambodia - text only cigarette warnings starting July 2010..

Cambodia - Royal Arms (Sodacan)
January 23, 2010 - The Council of Ministers approved a sub-decree on Friday, August 14th that will require health warnings to be printed (text only) on the outside of cigarette packages.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday, January 20th unveiled mandatory text-only cigarette warnings that all manufacturers and importers will need to include on packages sold in the Kingdom beginning in July 2010, a regulation that has disappointed public health workers pushing for visual warnings, which are believed to be much more effective smoking deterrents.

The text-only warnings fall short of complying with recommendations outlined in the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which Cambodia became a signatory in November 2005. Article 11 of the convention states that health warnings should cover at least 30 percent of all cigarette packages and advises the use of pictures – “preferably shocking ones”.

Officials had indicated that they would require visual warnings on all cigarette packages as recently as May 2008, when all government ministers approved a series of graphic images that had been produced by the Health Ministry. But at some point between the approval of the images and last October, when the cigarette warning sub-decree was formally adopted, the visual warnings requirement was dropped.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Wednesday that the decision to stop short of requiring visual warnings had been made in part because the government wanted to avoid insulting smokers. “Smokers have a right to smoke,” he said. “We just want to warn customers, not insult them.” He added that he did not know exactly when the decision had been made.

Anti-smoking advocates who have monitored the development of the warning labels expressed concern over the government’s decision, which they said would significantly lessen the measure’s impact.

“In the end, the Council of Ministers chose not to put the graphic warnings on the packets. It was obviously a disappointment to many of us in tobacco control, but that was their final decision,” said Mark Schwisow, country director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng defended the warnings at a press conference Wednesday. “We believe that those who smoke can understand the text even without graphics, because we have different kinds of text warnings,” he said.

Speaking at the same press conference, World Health Organisation representative Dr Pieter JM van Maaren refrained from criticising the text-only warnings, but he pointed out the benefits of visual ones. “Warnings that use pictures or graphics in addition to text have been shown to be particularly effective in communicating risk,” he said. “This is especially true to the large number of people who can not read.”

Dr Yel Daravuth, national professional officer for the World Health Organisation’s Tobacco Free Initiative, echoed that point in an interview. “We still want pictures on the packets, because pictures mean a lot to Cambodians,” he said. “Many people can’t read, but if they see the pictures they might understand what ‘lung cancer’ means.”

Article 9 of the October sub-decree calls for the following punishments to be levied against local manufacturers and importers that do not adhere to the warning label requirement: a written warning, temporary closure for first offenders and permanent closure for frequent violators.

Van Maaren said Wednesday that Cambodia has one of the highest rates of smoking in Southeast Asia – 48 percent of men and 3.6 percent of women over the age of 18 smoke cigarettes, and 17 percent of women and 1 percent of men chew tobacco, according to a 2005 survey that was published by the Ministry of Planning in 2009.

Mom Kong, director of the Cambodian Movement for Health, said in an interview at the press conference that the text-only warnings signify a step forward for anti-smoking campaigners. But he said he hopes that visual warnings are required at some point.
“We hope that the government will take a further step by having pictorial health warnings in the future, as strongly recommended by the WHO,” he said.

“The graphic warning is the best measure to prevent smoking by young people who want to start to smoke.”

Mam Bunheng appeared to leave the door open for the eventual adoption of a visual warnings requirement, saying: “We are doing this step by step. We must enforce this text label effectively.” But he did not specify any concrete plans to expand on the text-only warnings.

Reference: Tobacco warnings unveiled, Chhay Channyda and Brooke Iewis, PhnomPenhPost.com, 1/21/2010.

Cambodia - Related News Briefs:
Cambodia - now favors text only warnings on cigarette packs..;
Cambodia - graphic warnings soon to be on cigarette packs..;
Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..;

Finland - anti-smoking bill will end smoking altogether..

January 22, 2010 - this information is similar to that obtained from our correspondence with Dr. Matti Rautalahti, Ylilääkäri - Chief Medical Officer. Suomen Syöpäyhdistys - Cancer Society of Finland.

Finland aims to be the first country to try to create legislation to end smoking altogether. Next spring Parliament will vote on an anti-smoking bill, which is expected to grab headlines worldwide. The passage of time has changed views on smoking. Now Finnish lawmakers plan to take the offensive in the fight against smoking by introducing legislation to prevent people from lighting up.

Ilkka Oksala, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, put the case bluntly. ”Smoking kills, and we in Finland now have a new bill presented by the government to parliament last autumn with an opening clause, the intention of which is to stop smoking altogether in time. Nowhere else in the world is there such a clause.”

Just the thought of such an intention has the tobacco industry fuming. Tobacco giant Philip Morris Finland has already lodged a complaint about the matter with the Chancellor of Justice. ”The goals and methods of the anti-smoking bill are unrealistic… The proposed legislation could have unanticipated repercussions, and naturally we cannot support such initiatives,” declared Marju Vähimaa, CEO of Philip Morris Finland.

The draft legislation seeks to make Finland smoking-free not by an outright ban on smoking, but by methods such as limiting the visibility and availability of tobacco products.

It was as early as 1976 that the Finnish parliament first outlawed tobacco advertising. Soon it will most likely be illegal for tobacco even to be visible in shops.

There is one less-than-successful precedent. In 2004 and 2005, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan banned the sale of all tobacco products and smoking in all public places. However last year the sales ban was lifted following widespread violations.

Reference: Parliament to Consider Anti-Smoking Legislation, YLE.fi, 1/21/2010.

Finland related news briefs:
Finland - to end the consumption of tobacco products by 2040..;
Finland - extends anti-tobacco law, restricting smoking in cars and ban on cigarette displays..;
Finland - health officials devising more restrictions to fight tobacco use..;
Finland - government proposing ban on smoking when kids present and other tobacco control measures..;
Finland may ban smoking in cars carrying children..;
Finland - Court of Appeals Hears Cigarette Liability Case, Decision Spring 2010..;
Finland banning shops from displaying cigarettes..;
Finland - proposal to ban tobacco display, total ban on SNUS..;
European Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign..;
Aland Islands Dispute Over Sale of SNUS On Board Ships Threatens Finland's Ratification of the EU's Treaty of Lisbon (The Reform Treaty)..;
Finnish Ferry Goes Swedish Over Snus Ban.. and
EU Takes Finland to Court Again For NOT Banning the Use of Oral Tobacco..

Macedonia - pressure to ease smoking ban..

January 22, 2010 - A ban on smoking in public places takes effect in Macedonia on January 1, 2010 but some members of parliament (MPs) and the hospitality industry were fighting a last-ditch battle.

SKOPJE, the capital of Republic of Macedonia — Hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants throughout Macedonia shut their doors to customers on Friday, January 22nd in a 24-hour long protest against a freshly-imposed smoking ban. Along Skopje's the main pedestrian Makedonija avenue, patrons desperately trying to find a spot to have their morning coffee found even the most prestigious cafes closed. Red posters could be seen saying "Democracy is freedom to choose - Give our customers freedom to choose."

Macedonia began the New Year with a ban on smoking in bars, clubs and cafes, introducing harsh fines both for owners of the facilities and the smokers. Under the new regulations, smoking is banned in all locations serving food and drinks, both indoors and outdoors. Under the new law, owners who allow people to smoke on their premises face fines of between euro2,500-euro4,500 (US$3,600 to US$6,465). Customers who violate the ban face fines of euro150-euro300 (US$215-US$430).

Half of the two million population in the former Yugoslav republic are estimated to be smokers with many starting from the age of 14.. Restaurant and bar owners complain that they have seen their incomes drop by between 40 and 70 percent since January and many say they have been forced to sack employees.

They are calling on state authorities to reconsider some of the rules. Unfortunately, the Macedonian government, as a result of the reaction among owners of bars and restaurants, has decided to adopt amendments to the Smoking Protection Act.

Reference: Bars and restaurants in Macedonia shut doors in protest over smoking ban, Agence France-Presse (AFP), 1/22/2010; Macedonian restaurants, cafes, shut down to protest smoking ban, by: The Associated Press, 1/22/2010.

Macedonia related news briefs:
Macedonia - ban on smoking in public places takes effect on January 1, 2010..;
Macedonia - intends banning smoking in restaurants and cafes from January 1 2010..;
Ban on Tobacco advertising in Macedonia starts December 8, 2008..;


California - attorney general thinks e-cigarette distributor is targeting minors..

January 22, 2010 - Officials in California are making a strong push against one of the largest electronic cigarette retailers in the United States. It seems that the manufacturer -- -- is facing attack on at least two fronts in the Golden State: from the attorney general and a leading state lawmaker.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is suing Smoking Everywhere, alleging that the Sunrise, Fla.-based company is targeting minors in its marketing and making "misleading and irresponsible" claims that its tar-free alternatives to traditional cigarettes are safe.

"Smoking Everywhere launched a misleading and irresponsible advertising campaign targeting minors and claiming that electronic cigarettes do not contain harmful chemicals," Brown said. "We are asking the Court to take these cigarettes off the market until the company has proven the products are safe."

Electronic cigarettes (a deliver system for nicotine) are usually imported from China
and come in various nicotine strengths. Flavors used to disguise the taste of nicotine include: mint, almond, chocolate, cherry, regular, menthol, apple and strawberry. A perfect setting to get our kids addicted to nicotine for their entire lives never able to reach their full potential. Nicotine alone is an extremely toxic poison that is also sold commercially in the form of a pesticide. If the nicotine contains impurities or the strength designated is not correct the user could die.

Click to enlarge..
For its part, Smoking Everywhere claims that their products, which come in a range of flavors including mint, strawberry and chocolate, are designed to replicate smoking without some of the harmful side-effects of a traditional cigarette. The electronic cigarette functions by vaporizing a liquid nicotine mixture that is derived naturally from tobacco plants. The user inhales vapor without the fire, flame, tar, carbon monoxide, ash or smell of traditional cigarettes.

In his lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Brown is seeking to bar Smoking Everywhere from doing business in California until the company can prove that its products are safe and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (E-cigarettes - scientists want more safety studies before use..)

A similar lawsuit was filed last year against Smoking Everywhere by Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, a Democrat. The case is pending, a Kroger spokesman said Thursday.

Complicating the two state cases could be a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia, who in a 32-page opinion found that the FDA has no authority to regulate electronic cigarettes. (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: SMOKING EVERYWHERE, INC., Plaintiff and SOTTERA, INC., d/b/a NJOY, Intervenor-Plaintiff v. U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, et aI., Defendants. Civil Case No. 09-771)

If Brown's lawsuit did not mean enough legal trouble for the company in California, a state senator here has renewed her push to curb the sale of so-called e-cigarettes. But this time she is just targeting sales to minors. State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, introduced her measure the day after Brown filed his lawsuit. This year's Senate Bill 882 would take effect immediately upon the governor's signature.

Corbett, chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had a bill last year that would have banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the state entirely but the legislation was vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger The governor at this time did say that he supported restricting access of electronic cigarettes to children under the age of 18.

Corbett: "I am pleased to see the attorney general joining this very important fight against these deceptive and harmful products. We hope to move this urgency bill to the governor as quickly as possible to try to keep these addictive products out of the hands of minors."

Reference: E-Cigarette company faces legal fights on multiple fronts by CHRIS RIZO, LegalNewsline.com, 1/21/2010.


General Tobacco - owes states $285 million..

January 25, 2010 - General Tobacco products is on its way to being barred from selling its cigarette products in 18 states over its failure to make payments under the multistate Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), which was created in 1998. The MSA 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.

Back in April 2009 we reported that General Tobacco made its MSA payment in full.. See the related news briefs below.

The states owed are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Washington. In Missouri, General Tobacco's wholesalers and retailers have been told that if they owe the company money for purchases to instead send payment to the state. The Washington attorney general's office said retailers and wholesalers who have existing stamped cigarettes manufactured by General Tobacco may continue to sell them through February 19, 2010. After that date, they must remove any remaining inventory from their shelves. The stamps signify that taxes have already been collected on the product.

The date General Tobacco's products can no longer be sold on shelves varies depending on state.

Reference: Tobacco company owes states $285 million by CHRIS RIZO, LegalNewsline.com, 1/21/2010.

Some related news briefs:
General Tobacco - last defendants dropped from cigarette antitrust suit..;
General Tobacco makes MSA payment in full..;
General Tobacco reaches deal with states on MSA;
Judge dismisses General Tobacco challenge to tobacco settlement..; General Tobacco lays off nearly 25% of work force..;
General Tobacco Sues 52 U.S Attorneys General and 19 Tobacco Companies..; N.C.'s General Tobacco Appoints New Sales Head..;
General Tobacco completes move to Mayodan, N.C..;
General Tobacco (GT) could “potentially” come out with snus type product..;

Reynolds American 4th-quarter, full-year 2009 earnings conference call. .

January 22, 2010 - WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Jan. 21, 2010 – Reynolds American Inc. (RAI)will webcast its conference call following the release of fourth-quarter and full-year 2009 financial results on Feb. 4, 2010. The call will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

During the call, members of the Reynolds American management team will discuss RAI's
results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2009. The RAI conference call will be available online on a listen-only basis at www.ReynoldsAmerican.com. Registration for the call will be available as of Jan. 21st.

For more information: www.ReynoldsAmerican.com.

Credit Suisse - cuts U.S. tobacco sector but not PMI..

January 21, 2010 - Credit Suisse, an international financial services group, downgraded the U.S. tobacco sector to "market weight" (neutral = hold) from "overweight" (outperform = positive = buy) citing concerns about a more promotional environment and the impact of federal regulation on Newport menthol cigarette maker Lorillard Inc's

The brokerage, which also cut Lorillard shares to "neutral," said the uncertainty about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation this year reduces the ability of U.S. tobacco companies to improve valuations relative to the market.

"We are growing concerned that parts of the federal government are taking a more negative position in the menthol issue. We still do not believe that a ban is likely, but we are not ruling out that the FDA might take some action on menthol," analyst T. Wrede wrote in a note.

Earlier this month, a U.S. judge upheld much of a sweeping federal law limiting the marketing of cigarettes through sponsorships and on merchandise

Wrede said the promotional environment might not improve in 2010, adding that he expects more promotional spending across the industry this year.

The analyst is also cautious about the stocks of the top two U.S. tobacco companies Altria Group Inc and Reynolds American Inc.

However, Wrede raised his rating on Marlboro cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc (PMI) to "outperform" on an improving international outlook. "We prefer international tobacco stocks for the year, where we expect downtrading in emerging markets to improve by the middle of the year and continued strong pricing in developed markets," he said.

Reference: RESEARCH ALERT-UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse cuts US tobacco sector, Reporting by Viraj Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier, Reuters, 1/19/2010.

E-cigarettes - scientists want more safety studies before use..

January 21, 2010 - Electronic cigarette (e-cigarettes) look real, but are battery-powered and typically made of stainless steel

There is a worrying lack of safety data on electronic cigarettes, despite their growing popularity with the public, two leading Greek researchers have warned. Andreas D Flouris and Dimitris N Oikonomou said that while "alternative smoking strategies are always welcome in an effort to reduce the threat to public health" caused by tobacco, safety was also vital. "More rigorous chemical analyses are needed, followed by extensive research involving animal studies and, finally, clinical trials in humans," they wrote.

In the British Medical Journal, they say that without more evidence it is impossible to know if such products actually do more harm than good. Some studies have raised safety fears, but retailers argue e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to the real thing. Users can inhale nicotine without tar, tobacco or carbon monoxide.

PAPER: Electronic cigarettes: miracle or menace? Flouris (aflouris@cereteth.gr) and Oikonomou, FAME Laboratory, Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation, Centre for Research and Technology—Thessaly, Volos, Greece, BMJ 2010;340:c311, 1st 150 words of text..

The United Kingdom (UK) Department of Health suggested consumers "exercise caution".
The Department of Health is not aware of any evidence about the long-term safety of e-cigarettes and, as such, would suggest that consumers exercise caution. (Government spokeswoman)

The authors concluded that consumers should stop using the devices until ongoing safety studies reported back within the next year. The World Health Organisation is among those to raise concerns about the safety of these new types of cigarette substitute, which deliver a nicotine hit in a fine vapour. And in the past year, US regulators have detained and blocked numerous shipments of e-cigarettes at borders because the devices are not approved.

In the UK, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes as a "quit smoking" aid. But they are widely available to buy as a "cigarette alternative" over the internet and are sold in a number of places, including some bars and clubs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report expressed concern after finding different brands of the battery operated device delivered markedly different amounts of nicotine vapour with each puff. The FDA also detected traces of powerful cancer-causing chemicals. (FDA: Electronic cigarettes contain toxic chemicals..; e-cigarettes - FDA approval needed prior to marketing..; E-cigarettes need to establish efficacy and safety - FIRST..)

The researchers told the BMJ: "The scarce evidence indicates the existence of various toxic and carcinogenic compounds in e-cigarettes, albeit in possibly much smaller concentrations than in traditional cigarettes."

Callum Reckless, director at Smart Smoker, a company that sells e-cigarettes, said: "I believe that electronic cigarettes are indeed a safer alternative to smoking real cigarettes." He welcomed more research into the safety of the products.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said it had been working with regulators to test the products and that none of those tested so far complied with product safety regulations. She said the government was working to ensure e-cigarettes were labelled and sold appropriately.

"The Department of Health is not aware of any evidence about the long-term safety of e-cigarettes and, as such, would suggest that consumers exercise caution. "E-cigarettes are not promoted by, or available on, the NHS," she said.

FDA and e-cigarette manufacturers has been so heated. A U.S. judge last week granted an injunction barring the Obama administration from trying to ban imports of e-cigarettes, saying the move was part of "aggressive efforts" by the FDA to regulate "recreational tobacco products."

Reference: Proof lacking on e-cigarettes' safety, experts warn by Michelle Roberts, Health reporter, BBC News, 1/20/2010; Scientists want more safety studies on e-cigarettes, Reuters, 1/20/2009.

Guam - vote this week on an increase in the tobacco tax..

January 21, 2010 - Guam, a territory of the United States, lawmakers are scheduled to vote this week on a bill (Bill 150) that could increase the price of cigarettes by $2 a pack.

Guam had the highest smoking rate per capita in the nation for the period from 1998 to 2007, according to a study published in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vote will signify the end of a political fight that will separate those who care about our people and those who care only about the money to be made in the big business of tobacco.

Medical professionals are, recommending an increase in the cigarette tax to reduce smoking on Guam.

Senators decided to vote on Bill 150 last night after discussing the bill for several hours. Sen. Benjamin Cruz, an author of the bill, said it will be voted on by Friday. If Bill 150 becomes a law, new taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products will take effect 60 days later. The current $1 tax on cigarettes will climb to $3 and the current $3.50 tax on a pound of snuff will climb to $14.

Cruz said he hoped a higher price on cigarettes would persuade some smokers to quit and prevent children from starting.

Cruz initially proposed a larger increase to the taxes on other kinds of tobacco, including snuff, because he wanted it to be equal to the new tax on cigarettes. Cruz didn't want the new taxes to force smokers to switch to snuff, which "is even more disgusting." The current tax on snuff is $3.50 per pound, but senators have considered raising the price to as much as $21 per pound.

Reference: Tobacco tax hike up for vote by Brett Kelman, Pacific Daily News, 1/21/2010.

Guam related news briefs:
Guam - medical professionals send strong message about tobacco's ill efects..
Guam trying to increase the tax on tobacco to save lives..;
U.S. - smoking prevalence not falling fast enough...

Hong Kong study - further proof, women have a harder time quitting cigarettes..

January 21, 2010 - Women have more trouble quitting cigarettes because - more than men - they tend to take up smoking to relieve emotional problems, according to a leading medic.

The claim comes after a survey of women smokers by the University of Hong Kong's school of public health. Since 2006, the school has offered gender- specific counseling under a "Smoking Cessation Service for Female Smokers."

A survey of 332 women smokers, with an average age of 35, over six months until October 31 last year found that 26.5 percent quit after going through the program. The figure was slightly higher than previous studies, in which 21.9 percent of females said they had quit smoking after non-gender-specific counseling. Males chalked up a figure of 28.4 percent.

Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, head of the department of nursing studies at the university's Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, said the increase in the success rate may not be very significant.

But she added: "We must still emphasize the importance of the gender-specific nature of this program. "The craving is a big problem for women because, when they are not happy, they tend to smoke. "If emotional problems such as with relationships or families do not go away, it will be difficult to quit."

Although the majority did not quit smoking entirely, 56 percent of the women managed to reduce their consumption, while 12 percent returned to their original consumption levels. Chan said that, even for those who continued smoking, average daily cigarette consumption decreased from 15.2 to 9.4 and they were better able to resist smoking. The cessation service will start to explore different methods of counseling, Chan said.

The study also found that the tobacco tax increase last year led to a surge in the number of women who enrolled in the program. Professor Lam Tai-hing, director of the school of public health, said: "The financial secretary should think about increasing the tax again this coming budget, hopefully by another 10 percent at least."

He added that pictorial warnings on cigarette packs are too mild and should be revamped to create more impact. The placing of cigarettes in prominent places to attract buyers in shops should also be banned.

Reference: Emotions keep women on cigs, Kaylene Hong, theStandard.com.hk, 1/20/2010.

Related articles: Stress, Anxiety May Keep Women Smoking by Patti Neighmond, npr, 7/13/2009; Smoking Cessation Harder For Women Than Men, The first wealth is health, 7/9/2009; Gender plays a part in smoking and quitting, Hartford Courant, The St. Petersburg Time, In Print: Saturday, August 1, 2009.

Hong Kong related news briefs:
Hong Kong - as of November 1st no tobacco advertising at newsstands - now display boxes..;
Member states of WHO's Western Pacific region agree to new tobacco control action plan..;
Hong Kong - Is the fixed-penalty fine for smoking offenses effective?;
Hong Kong - more unions are starting to enforce extended smoking ban..
Hong Kong - unions refuse to hand out penalty tickets for smoking..
Hong Kong - tobacco smokers may be prone to developing life-threatening complications from swine flu..;
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in full force no exceptions..
Hong Kong - total smoking ban in effect - Wednesday, July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - smoking statistics..;
Hong Kong - movie poster woman smoking - NOT ALLOWED..;
Hong Kong - bar owners an employees march to protest smoking ban starting July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - attempt to delay July 1, 2009 smoking ban fails..;
Hong Kong - cigarette smuggling soars after tax increase..;
Hong Kong - Tax on cigarettes pushed up by 50 percent..;
Honk Kong - smoking increase raise tobacco duties??;
Hong Kong - temporary smoking ban exemption ends July 1, 2009..;
Hong Kong - after smoking ban cigarette consumption up 14 percent..;
Hong Kong - public smoking ban - smoking rooms??;
Shanghai Tobacco's Golden Deer Cigarettes - Hong Kong..;
More on Philip Morris International of the Future...

Czech Republic - new penal code weakens laws against illegal cigartte production..

January 21, 2010 - The new Czech Penal Code, in effect since January 1, 2010 considerably softens sentences for certain types of tax offences and has thus "saved" a number of suspects, including illegal cigarette producers, from tough punishment, daily Pravo writes.

The Justice Ministry said via its spokeswoman Jitka Zinke in late 2009 that the new Penal Code aims to toughen sentences for crimes against the life, health and human dignity, and not to toughen punishments for property crime, or even to soften it in certain cases. Addressed by Pravo on Sunday, January 17th Zinke said it is practice that will test the effectiveness of the new legislation.

Czech Republic children are among the youths that smoke the highest number of cigarettes in the world.

Czech Republic (proportion of smokers 36%), one of the few countries of European Union where smoking in bars and restaurants is based on the discretion of owners. Many Czech parliament members are smokers and are highly resistant to change the law. (Czech Republic - pubs and restaurants allow smoking or Do NOT allow smoking..)

A tobacco tax increase January 1, 2008, put Czech cigarette taxes above the European Union's required level of 64 euros ($85/1,736 Kč) per 1,000 cigarettes. As prices rise in the Czech Republic, so does illegal cigarette smuggling, particularly from Eastern Europe, and the production of counterfeit brand cigarettes. Philip Morris Czech Republic is the largest tobacco company. (Czech Republic - Philip Morris profits dropping 2-years in a row..)
Under the new Code, the preparation of tax evasion is no longer a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. The punishment can be imposed only for accomplished tax evasion, the paper writes. As a result, two big cases of illegal cigarette production in north Bohemia have faded away in the first week of the new year alone, Pravo continues.

"Illegal production has become punishable only at the moment the cigarettes are really produced. If we uncover a house full of tobacco, filters and forged packagings, it is not punishable," says Lenka Bradacova, head of the Bar Association.

Some experts that the new Penal Code would hamper authorities' struggle against tax evasion, Pravo says.

More - Tobacco in the Czech Republic..

Reference: Press: New law hinders struggle against illegal tobacco makers, Prague Daily Monitor, 1/19/2010.

Related news brief:
Czech Republic - pubs and restaurants allow smoking or Do NOT allow smoking..;
Czech children worst in cigarette smoking in world..;
Czech Republic - Philip Morris profits dropping 2-years in a row...

Los Angeles - more limitations on where smokers can smoke..

January 21, 2010 - The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday, January 20th to expand a smoking ban in outdoor dining areas, though the ordinance -- which still requires the mayor's signature -- will not be enforced for a year.

The ordinance makes it illegal to puff on a cigarette within a 10-foot radius of a dining establishment. That means restaurants' outdoor patios and doorways would be off-limits to smokers starting in February 2011. The measure also bans smoking within a 40-foot radius of a mobile food truck, food cart or food kiosk. Bars and nightclubs that require patrons to be 18 or older would be exempt.

The city currently bans smoking at its beaches and parks, as well as within 25 feet of playgrounds, bleachers, sports fields and picnic areas. Also, Los Angeles County - bans smoking at county parks, beaches, golf courses and other public spaces..

Councilman Greig Smith said he authored the ordinance in part because he has a severe allergic reaction to cigarette smoke, and because his son had asthma as a child. "That's what kind of brought it home to me that this was necessary," he said.

The council gave restaurants a one-year grace period to educate patrons about the new rules. Once that expires, restaurant operators will have to enforce the smoking ban themselves.

Reference: No Smoking in Outdoor Cafes Please, nbclosangeles.com, 1/20/2010.

United Kingdom (UK) - should tobacco companies be forced to pay for cigarette butt litter??

January 20, 2010 - A dispute has broken out over whether tobacco companies should be forced to pay a 'clean-up charge' for cigarette butts.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's report into waste strategy, published earlier this week, called on the government to evaluate the practicalities of imposing a small 'clean-up' levy on the products most commonly littered.

"Revenues could be distributed to local authorities to help clean up their neighbourhoods," the report suggested.

The Tobacco Manufacturers' Association reacted strongly against the proposal. It argued its support of personal ashtrays and other initiatives which encourage consumers to "properly dispose" of "each and every butt" meant it should not have to be penalised. "Across the UK, especially since the implementation of the smoking ban, our member companies have been working with the licensed trade to encourage them to provide ashtrays and cigarette disposal facilities in outdoor areas," a spokesman said.

"The best way to prevent smoking related litter is through changing people's behaviour by encouraging personal responsibility, providing solutions and enforcing existing anti-litter laws."

In addition to litter from containers used to drink retail drinks and confectionery packaging, 'smoking materials' constitutes the most prevalent type of litter, according to Keep Britain Tidy's 2008 survey.

According to anti-smoking charity Ash's Amanda Sandford around 200 million cigarette butts are dropped on Britain's streets every day. "An extra levy on tobacco products may make smokers think twice about dropping cigarette ends and tobacco packaging, and would go someway towards meeting the huge clean up cost," she commented.

Reference: Cigarette butt levy sparks tobacco row by Alex Stevenson, Politics.co.uk, 1/20/2010.

Some United Kingdom related news briefs:
United Kingdom - govt cabinet business secretary has reservations about new anti-smoking strategy..;
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...


U.S. FDA - key timelines associated with tobacco control act..

January 20, 2010 - The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act grants authority to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products.

Key regulatory timelines associated with the tobacco control act..


Adverse childhood experiences may be associated with harmful behaviors leading to smoking-related disease..

January 20, 2010 - The central message of this study is that our children can be faced with a terrible burden of stressors. These stressors are associated with harmful behaviors, such as smoking, that may lead the development of diseases like lung cancer and perhaps death at younger ages. Reducing the burden of adverse childhood experiences should therefore be considered in health and social programs as a means of primary prevention of lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

Stressors included: effects of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual), witnessing domestic violence, parental separation, or growing up in a household where people were mentally ill, substance abusers, or sent to prison.

PAPER: Adverse childhood experiences are associated with the risk of lung cancer: a prospective cohort study, David W Brown, Robert F Anda, Vincent J Felitti, Valerie J Edwards, Ann Marie Malarcher, Janet B Croft and Wayne H Giles, BMC Public Health 2010, 10:20doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-20, 19 January 2010, ABSTRACT..

Reference: Adverse childhood experiences are associated with increased risk of lung cancer, The Medical News, 1/19/2010.


Germany - smokers smoking less but it's costing more..

January 20, 2010 - Although new figures show that Germans are smoking less, they are spending more on tobacco products, according to the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) on Tuesday, January 19th. The increase in spending is despite what appears to be a move away from expensive cigars and cigarillos during the financial crisis.

Tobacco products worth €22.8 billion (32.14 billion USD) retail were sold in Germany in 2009, a total sum of 1.4 percent more than in the previous year, the new Destatis figures showed. Yet the number of taxed cigarettes dropped by 1.6 percent to €1.4 billion (1.97 billion USD) The financial crisis seems to have hit the luxury tobacco market in Germany particularly hard, with the taxed sales of cigars and cigarillos down by 24.6 percent.

Meanwhile the sale of fine-cut tobacco suitable for making roll-up cigarettes rose by 11.7 percent, the figures showed. Sales of pipe tobacco were down by 57.2 percent, but this initially startling figure seems to have been largely generated by a change in the tax rules which put so-called pseudo pipe tobacco into the same category as fine-cut, as it is not suitable for pipe use.

Reference: Germans cut back on smoking, but spend more as prices increase, German news agency Deutscher Depeschendienst (ddp)/The Local ((news@thelocal.de), 1/19/2010.

Related news brief:
Bavarians force referendum on smoking ban next year..;
Bavaria - court rules, looser implementation of smoking ban constitutional..;
Germany - beer sales are down smoking ban maybe partial blame..;
Bavaria - state's parliament loosened regulation on smoking ban..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
German sales rise in Germany amid moves to impose smoking ban..

Latin singer cigarette smoker Sandro dead..

January 20, 2010 - Latin America is in mourning. Argentine singer Roberto Sánchez—much better known as Sandro—has died. Argentine singer Sandro, whose gyrating pelvis and romantic ballads brought comparisons to Elvis Presley and made him the first Latin American to sing in Madison Square Garden, died Monday of complications from heart and lung transplant surgery. He was 64.

Last year, in one of his final interviews, the singer blamed his smoking habit for his long illness. "I am debilitated because I cannot move. My life is my bed, my spot in the dining room where I read the newspaper, and from there I do not move," Sandro told Mitre radio of Buenos Aires. "I am to blame for the condition that I am in. I deserve it; I sought it out. I picked up this damn cigarette."

Sandro, who recorded 52 albums, acted in 16 movies and was awarded a Latin Grammy for career achievement in 2005, suffered from chronic lung disease that led to the Nov. 20 surgery. He died at the Italian Hospital in the Argentine city of Mendoza, said Dr. Claudio Burgos.

For more including a video click on the address below:
Sandro: Adios to a Legend, Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture, 1/5/2010.

Taiwan - seek publc opinion before implementing anti-tobacco measures..

Taiwan Coat-of-Arms..

January 20, 2010 - On November 30, 2009 we reported that Taiwan plans to ban people from smoking while walking and riding motorbikes this year. Smokers who don’t carry an ashtray with them to discard their cigarette butts and ash could face fines of up to NT$6,000 (188.85 USD), reports said Tuesday, January 12th. (Taiwan - soon smokers will need to carry ashtrays..)

Ruling Kuomintang Secretary-General King Pu-tsung denied allegations Monday, January 18th that he was interfering with the government’s anti-smoking policies. King said he was objecting to the absence of supplementary measures to a potential ban on smoking outside. Such a ban should be accompanied by the setting up of extra smokers’ rooms near crowded locations, he said. The KMT (Kuomintang of China abbreviated KMT; translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party, is a political party of Taiwan )official said he originally made a phone call to his counterpart in the Cabinet, Lin Join-sane. At the time, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shen was standing next to Lin, so King said he decided to tell him about his concerns. The KMT official said he also informed Premier Wu Den-yih of his concerns. The EPA later issued a statement saying it would carefully evaluate the contents of its proposals and consider outside suggestions about its anti-smoking policies. King said he was only passing on public opinion. He had heard many people complaining about bans on smoking outside, though most members of the public voiced approval of fines for smoking while driving a vehicle or when inside public places, he said. (Taiwan KMT official denies interfering with EPA anti-smoking policies, Taiwan News, Staff Writer, 1/18/2010).

The Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has endorsed Kuomintang Secretary General King Pu-tsung's timely reflecting grassroots voice concerning a proposal to ban smokers from lighting it up while walking or riding a motorcycle. Ma became the second top government official to back up King concerning his timely conveying the public opinion on the issue despite charges from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that criticized him for interceding the authority of the Executive Yuan (Cabinet). Premier Wu Den-yih, the leader of the Cabinet, already came to the defense of King on Saturday, January 16th characterizing King's action as a way of conveying an opinion held by some people. Several legislators of the KMT said yesterday that President Ma, who concurrently serves as chairman of the ruling party, also agreed with King's relaying people's views.

King said he and Lin Jui-teh, the candidate, were non-smokers. But they both thought the proposed hefty fines on those walking or riding motorcycles or bicycles should be reconsidered after wider discussions. Critics said that the EPA yanked the plan only after King made his call. But officials at the agency said such a proposal is only at its budding stage and the EPA will only adopt specific measures after a consensus is built.

Wu said he personally received countless e-mail messages and phone calls expressing all kinds of suggestions and opinions each day as all citizens in this nation are entitled to express or relay opinions. Concerning the proposed fines, Wu said he believes that the EPA will make a most suitable decision after weighing pros and cons.

The ultimate decision on the issue still lies in the hands of the Cabinet and the Legislative Yuan if amendments to certain regulations are required, he added.

Reference: Ma endorses King's act of relaying people's opinions, The China Post, 1/18/2010.

Taiwan related news briefs:
Taiwan - soon smokers will need to carry ashtrays..;
Taiwan - cigarette consumption decreasing..;
Taiwan - smokers appear on TV cartoons, also sports programs and movies..;
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..;

NY State Governor Patterson - part of budget - collect Indian cigarette taxes..

January 20, 2010 - Governor Paterson is taking on the American Indians in New York, moving to collect taxes on cigarettes sold within reservations to non-Indians. The move is sure to provoke a fight, and past attempts have led to a tremendous backlash, with the Seneca tribe shutting down a highway near Buffalo.

The move, announced Tuesday, January 19th as part of his executive budget, has been pushed by legislators and budget watchdogs as an easy source of revenue—State Senator Carl Kruger has said it could be $1 billion a year—that is due to New York. The Seneca have opposed it, saying that as a sovereign nation, the state does not have the right to collect such taxes.

This is a turn for the Paterson administration, which was resistant to legislators' calls to impose new rules on collecting the taxes. The governor's counsel, Peter Kiernan, said this of the taxes at a Senate committee in October: "While that remains an option, it is a one-dimensional choice that could have deleterious consequence that could include resistance, violence and retrenchment."

This is coupled with a proposed rise in cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, which, from a policy perspective, makes sense to clamp down on loopholes: The higher the taxes are on tobacco, the more people can be expected to drive to where there are no taxes, purchasing their cigarettes in bulk. Then again, it's unclear just how serious the administration is about the plan. The governor did not include revenue from the tax collections in his budget, saying that it would hold off until a six-month public comment period ends.

Budget director Robert Megna told reporters this was because the state was being conservative in its expectations and that "We expect that ongoing negotiations will take place" with the Indians.

Reference: Paterson Going After Indian Cigarette Taxes by Eliot Brown (ebrown@observer.com), The New York Observer, 1/19/2010.

A couple related news briefs:
NY State - Seneca Indians - lobbying against the PACT act..;
NY Governor signs bill to attempt to curb illegal sale of tax-free cigarettes to non-Indian purchasers..;

Tennessee - hospital will no longer hire people that use tobacco products..

January 20, 2010 - As if higher tobacco taxes, steeper health insurance premiums and smoke-free workplaces weren’t enough, tobacco users have one more financial incentive to kick the habit — missed job opportunities. Starting February 1,2010 in Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee no longer will hire people who use tobacco products, making the hospital one of a small number (but growing) of employers nationwide that consider smoking status in job applicants.

Under the new rule, which does not affect current Memorial employees, those offered employment at the hospital will be tested for nicotine during their required drug test, a human resources officer said. Even nicotine gum or the patch would make a potential employee ineligible.

The decision not to hire tobacco users isn’t based on potential savings in health care costs, but rather is an extension of the hospital’s commitment to health, said Brad Pope, vice president of human resources. Like all hospitals in the region, Memorial’s entire hospital campus is tobacco-free. “I understand the concerns people have, but we are here for the health of our community,” he said. “Like it or not, what’s proven is that tobacco is the most preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. I think the Chattanooga and surrounding communities should expect this from Memorial.”

The practice of refusing employment to tobacco users began to crop up a few years ago and isn’t yet widespread, a tobacco control researcher said. Particularly in the deep South, and in a tobacco state such as Tennessee, it’s a bold move for Memorial, said pulmonologist Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, in Fort Oglethorpe. “It’s very brave of them,” he said. “I’m quite impressed by Memorial.”

A growing number of workplaces now deny employees the right to smoke anywhere on their campus, including outside. Policy prohibiting the hiring of tobacco users may be the future as the country develops a deepening social intolerance of smoking, said Jay Collum, coordinator of tobacco education and control at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

Costs and productivity consideration have led many employers nationwide, including the Chattanooga Times Free Press, to raise health insurance premiums for employees who use tobacco products and experiment with other programs to encourage wellness and help workers quit using tobacco, said Ron Harr, senior vice president of human resources and public affairs for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

The average smoker costs his or her employer $2,500 to $4,000 more each year in health care costs, compared with a nonsmoker, said Cathy Taylor, assistant health commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health. Nationally, smoking is responsible for an estimated $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity annually, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reference: Smokers need not apply for a job Memorial carves out plan to emphasize health focus by Emily Bregel, Chattanooga TimesFree.press, 1/18/2010.

Wisconsin - lawmakers defeat plan to eventually eliminate candy-flavored tobacco..

Click on image to enlarge..
January 20, 2010 - Wisconsin officials were willing to use $3 million from stimulus cash to prohibit sales of sweet-flavored dipping, chewing and loose tobacco, as well as cigars, which anti-smoking advocates claim are intended at teenagers. In case Public Health Department got the federal money and legislators adopt the bill, it would establish a statewide move to convince Wisconsin counties to outlaw sales of such products like candy-flavored moist snuff.

Lawmakers on Thursday morning, January 14th rejected a plan to use $3 million in federal stimulus funding to restrict the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products that critics say are aimed at youths.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted to send the request back to the state Department of Health Services. The department had proposed to use the money to fund a statewide campaign to persuade local communities around Wisconsin to ban sales of products like cherry-flavored chaw (chewing tobacco of the leaf variety, fine or long cut tobacco is called dip.)

A state official said the backdoor approach could eventually lead to a statewide prohibition just as local bans on smoking in bars and restaurants led to the statewide ban taking effect in July. But one Republican lawmaker said the idea makes a mockery of the federal stimulus bill's primary goal of creating jobs.

"This has nothing whatsoever to do with job creation," said Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Ashwaubenon, who pledged to oppose the proposal. Montgomery said that any ban on flavored products was best left to the federal government and that the state shouldn't be paying groups to influence local governments or public opinion.

Health Services spokesman Seth Boffeli said the proposal would improve people's health and save money on health care costs from diseases linked to tobacco. "This candy-flavored smokeless tobacco is being marketed directly at kids in junior high and high school," Boffeli said. Boffeli acknowledged that lawmakers could simply pass a statewide ban on flavored tobacco if there is support for it but said it was better to build that support first.

New tobacco products range from mango-flavored cigars and apple snuff to snus packets, which are similar to tiny teabags filled with tobacco that users place in their mouth, and "dissolving" tobacco that can be put in candies similar to mints.

"Most parents I've talked to had no idea most of (these products) existed," Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of Smokefree Wisconsin, said. "It's important that teachers, coaches, mentors of kids all know what is out there and intervene early." Busalacchi, whose group won't receive money from the grant, said she believed any campaign would focus on informing the community, not direct lobbying of leaders.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that in 2004 a study found that 22.8 percent of 17-year-old smokers reported using flavored cigarettes over the past month - compared to just 6.7 percent of smokers over the age of 25.

A federal law signed by President Obama in June bans the sale of candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes but doesn't extend that prohibition to other tobacco products. New York City passed a ban on most other flavored tobacco products in October.

Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Altria Group, which owns Phillip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, said federal law preempts local governments such as New York City from passing their own bans. "When you ban a product like this, it can have a significant effect on local businesses," Phelps said.

Reference: Lawmakers turn back plan to fight candy-flavored tobacco with stimulus dollars by JASON STEIN ( jstein@madison.com), Wisconsin State Journal, 1/14/2010.

Wisconsin related news briefs:
Wisconsin - almost last state to require fire-safe cigarettes..;
Wisconsin - government anti-smoking programs cut from $15.3 million a year to $6.9 million..;
Wisconsin - tobacco taxes to go up tomorrow, Tuesday, September 1, 2009..;
U.S. - Midwest States smoking bans do not hurt business..;
Wisconsin Governor Doyle signs smoking ban..;
Wisconsin - legislature passes smoking ban in restaurants, bars and other businesses..;
Count Wisconsin as the 26th state to ban smoking..;
Wisconsin may be the 26th state to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants..;
Wisconsin - Increased Sales Tax Decrease in Smoking..;
Wisconsin's achieves the lowest adult smoking prevalence ever..;
The primary reason to increase the tax on tobacco is to get smokers to quit and dissuade kids from starting..;
Wisconsin cigarette tax and tax on other tobacco products to increase January 1, 2008..;
Wisconsin to Increase Tax on All Tobacco Products..;
Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly (2-to-1) favor upping cigarette taxes by $1.25 a pack..

U.S. let's get the PACT bill passed by congress and then signed into law..

       Our Children Our Future
January 19, 2009 - 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.

On Thursday, January 14th advances in public health suffered a defeat when Judge Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop blocking the importation of electronic cigarettes from China and indicated that the devices should be regulated as tobacco products rather than drug or medical devices. Obviously this judge was not primed properly - surely it's the FDA's responsibility to protect citizens from products that are inherently unsafe or that make claims of effectiveness that cannot be substantiated. Nicotine alone is an extremely toxic poison that is also sold commercially in the form of a pesticide. (E-cigarettes usually come in various nicotine strengths and in various flavors such as mint, almond, chocolate, cherry, regular, menthol, apple and strawberry.) As stated by President Diana Zuckerman of the National Research Center for Women & Families: This is a misguided and mind-boggling decision by the court. Nicotine is an addictive drug, and therefore e-cigarettes are a drug delivery system." This preliminary injunction must be overturned as quickly as possible. (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: SMOKING EVERYWHERE, INC., Plaintiff and SOTTERA, INC., d/b/a NJOY, Intervenor-Plaintiff v. U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, et al.

The PACT act legislation has bipartisan support and should not encounter any problem in becoming law.

Protect Our Children - Make it illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver any form of tobacco product..

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 19th the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation and placed on the Senate calendar (Calendar No. 216) under General Orders.

Bill just needs the priority to come before the Senate to be discussed and then voted upon.

Sponsors: Sen. Herbert Kohl [D-WI]; Co-sponsors: Evan Bayh [D-IN], Robert Casey [D-PA], John Cornyn [R-TX], Richard Durbin [D-IL], Michael Enzi [R-WY], Dianne Feinstein [D-CA], Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY], Thomas Harkin [D-IA], Orrin Hatch [R-UT], John Kerry [D-MA], Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], Patrick Leahy [D-VT.

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.

Some PACT related news briefs:
NY State - Seneca Indians - lobbying against the PACT act.;
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...