New York City - expects vote soon on smoking at beaches and park..

January 8, 2011 - New York City officials expect a ban on smoking at beaches and parks to pass in a couple of months, but any effort to snuff cigarette and cigar use on public sidewalks isn't on the radar.

"People do come up to me with that suggestion, but we're taking on a lot already with beaches and parks," City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said Wednesday after learning of the new sidewalk-smoking ban in Great Neck Village. Brewer in September introduced legislation to expand the Smoke Free Air Act to include Central Park, Times Square and other recreational spaces. Outlawing smoking on sidewalks would be nearly impossible to enforce in a large city, said Brewer, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side.

Representatives of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office, the department of health and the NYC Coalition for a Smoke Free City also said they are focused on the beach and parks measure. The proposal, which Brewer expects will go to a vote in two or three months, is the most recent of several anti-smoking initiatives that the city has considered since outlawing smoking in nearly all bars and restaurants in 2002. In 2009 the city banned flavored tobacco sales and smoking within 15 feet of hospital entrances.

Tres Hanley-Millman, an Upper West Side resident who suffers from asthma and tobacco allergies, said the city should follow Great Neck. "I've even gotten burn marks walking down the sidewalk," she said. "If you live in a crowded, congested city and people are flicking cigarettes, it's bound to happen."

David Goerlitz, a former model for Winston cigarettes and a current member of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, argued that if the city were sincere about public health, it would ban cigarettes outright rather than limiting smokers' rights. "I need to stand up for the smokers. They know it's bad for them. They're trying to quit. And they don't deserve to be treated like cash cows or sacrificial lambs," said Goerlitz, 60, of Berlin, N.J. Goerlitz added the city's plans to ban smoking are futile if they can't be properly enforced. "It's like driving with a cell phone. You're not supposed to, but everyone does it," he said.

Reference: NYC expects smoking ban at beaches, parks by EMILY NGO. Special to Newsday,, 1/5/2011.

NYC directly related:
New York City - . U.S. Court rejects NYC law for shops to have anti-smoking signs..;
New York City - suing tobacco company in Washington State..;
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives $500,000 to defend anti-smoking laws in Uruguay..;
New York City - decreases in tobacco related disease..;
New York City - smoking-related deaths drop by 17% in 8-years..;
New York City - does it the RIGHT WAY, bans most forms of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - City Council moves one step closer to extending smoking ban to parks and beaches..;
New York City - Poospatuck Reservation stores (2) caught selling cigarettes to bootleggers..;
New York City - smoking ban enforced, club fined and closed for letting patrons smoke inside..:
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg still mulling over smoking ban at NYC parks, beaches..;
New York City - Department of Health cracking down on smoking at outside areas at bars and other places....;
New York City - more on the anti-smoking signs lawsuit against Department of Health..;
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg still considering smoking ban in parks and beaches.. - Get It Done Already!!;
Big tobacco companies file lawsuit contesting NY City's anti-smoking signs..;
New York City - federal judge rejects plaintiffs attempt to stop the law that blocks the sale of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - moving closer to closing a nighclub that flouted smoking ban..;
New York City - VIDEO: starting March 1, 2010 stores, anti-smoking signs..;
NYC Lawsuit against Online Cigarette Vendor Dismissed..;
NY City - smokers kicking the addiction and living longer than ever..;
NY City Council not backing down as US Smokeless Tobacco files lawsuit against city..;
New York City - ban on flavored tobacco products becomes law..;
New York City bans the sale of flavored tobacco products..;
New York City - Mayor Bloomberg pushing ahead to ban smoking in city parks and beaches..;
New York City - all retailers selling tobacco will be required to post warning signs..;
New York City - to ask public opinion - smoking graphic warning signs; New York City - proposed pictorial warning signs to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use.;
New York City - may ban smoking in parks and beaches..;
New York City - can't sue Internet cigarette retailers for lost taxes..;
New CDC Chief Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH..;
New York City Council ban candy-flavored tobacco, smoking outside of hospitals..;
New York - city and state officials back off plans to crack down on cigarette black market..;
New York City - nonsmokers exposed to cigarette smoke..;
New York City - cigarettes more than $10- a- pack..;
NYC can move forward with reservation cigarette lawsuit..;
Michael Rubens Bloomberg - ELF Award winner 2008;
NYC sues reservation smoke shops over bootlegging..;
NYC Fights Smoking With Reality Images in Matchbooks..;
NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..;
NYC Warns Parents of Smoking Lawsuits...

Mexico - increase tax on cigarettes Janaury 1, 2011..

Click to enlarge..
January 8, 2011 - After ringing in the New Year Mexico's smokers will face a tax increase for cigarettes, but whether this will cut down on smoking remains to be seen.

VIDEO - Mexico hikes price of cigarettes, David Botti reports, Reuters, 12/31/2010.

Mexico has around 65,000 cigarette-related deaths a year. The country has 105 million people.

Mexico related news briefs:
Mexico - new pictorial health warnings on all Philip Morris cigarette packs..;
Mexico - enforcement of smoking ban prior to World No Tobacco Day..;
Mexico - results of GATS released..;

U.S. FDA inspects retailers in Mississippi; issues warning letters for illegal tobacco sales to minors..

January 7, 2011 - SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 7, 2011 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced it is issuing its first warning letters to retailers for the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors in violation of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act). Using state inspectors who have been commissioned by the agency, the FDA visited 493 different retail establishments in Mississippi over the past three months and issued 25 warnings.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) (Public Law 111-31; 123 Stat. 1776) was enacted on June 22, 2009, providing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority to regulate tobacco products in order to protect the public health generally, and to prevent and reduce tobacco use by minors. In enacting the Tobacco Control Act, Congress found, among other things, that the use of tobacco products by children is a pediatric disease and virtually all new users of tobacco products are under the minimum legal age to purchase such products (sections 2(1) and (4) of the Tobacco Control Act).

FDA’s goals for the enforcement of the requirements established by the Tobacco Control Act and applicable advertising and promotion regulations are to prevent the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to children and adolescents, and to reduce exposure to marketing efforts that entice children and adolescents to start smoking.

FDA has the authority to take enforcement action against violative tobacco products and against persons who violate the requirements established by the Tobacco Control Act and applicable regulations. FDA may utilize several enforcement tools, including but not limited to, the following which are discussed further below: Warning Letters, civil money penalties, no-tobacco-sale orders, seizures, injunctions, and/or criminal prosecutions.

Warning Letters issued by the FDA are generally posted on FDA’s website, which is accessible to the public. The FDA posts resulting Warning Letters on a weekly basis. The most recent Warning Letters are posted at: Inspected retail outlets where no violations were observed is updated and posted monthly.

Enforcement Action Plan for Promotion and Advertising Restrictions - October 2010
Mississippi was the first state to participate in the FDA's State Enforcement Program, which got underway in the summer of 2010 and is designed to help enforce many provisions of the Tobacco Control Act and implementing regulations. The FDA established the program in 2010 and currently a total of 15 states have been awarded contracts to carry out inspections. A list of retail establishments found to be in violation of the law, as well as those which have been inspected and where no violations were observed, can now be found on the FDA's website.

"Retailers play a role in protecting our kids from becoming the next generation of Americans to die prematurely from tobacco-related disease," said Lawrence R. Deyton, M.S.P.H., M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. "We are providing retail establishments with the information needed to comply with the law. However, if inspectors identify violations, the FDA will take swift actions to protect young people."

Rules which limit the sale, distribution and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to protect the health of children and adolescents took effect on June 22, 2010. And, in order to help enforce these rules, the FDA awarded contracts to 15 states to assist in inspecting retail establishments that sell cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products.

During these compliance check inspections, officials are observing whether the retailers comply with various aspects of the law, including whether the retailer:
sells a tobacco product to a minor; requests proper identification; sells prohibited flavored cigarettes or individual cigarettes; and has self-service displays, like vending machines, which can be accessed by minors.

In fiscal year 2011-2012, the FDA plans to award enforcement contracts to all states and U.S. territories to assist with enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act.

To report a violation, call the FDA Center for Tobacco Products call center at 1-877-287-1373 or go to their website at

Media Inquiries: Jeffrey Ventura, 301-796-2807,; Consumer Inquiries: 877.CTP.1373

FDA Inspects Retailers in Miss.; Issues Warning Letters for Illegal Tobacco Sales to Minors, SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration,, 1/7/2011.

PAPER: for a country - the greater the smoking restrictions, the lower the consumption and passive exposure to smoke..

January 6, 2011 - A team of scientists led by the Smoking Control Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) in Barcelona, Spain, concludes that tighter controls coincide with curbed tobacco consumption and reduced exposure to second-hand smoke.

PAPER: Smoking Behaviour, Involuntary Smoking, Attitudes towards Smoke-Free Legislations, and Tobacco Control Activities in the European Union, Jose M. Martínez-Sánchez, Esteve Fernández1, Marcela Fu1, Silvano Gallus, Cristina Martínez, Xisca Sureda1, Carlo La Vecchia, Luke Clancy, PLoS ONE 5(11): e13881. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013881, ABSTRACT/FULL TEXT..

The study lists a range of powerful policies for tobacco control. These include price hikes, advertising or promotion bans, consumer information and health warnings, and support for smokers striving to kick the habit.

The Tobacco Control Scale (TCS), a tool developed in 2006, measures and monitors the implementation of such control policies in European countries. A high score indicates an intense policy effort, with individual policies weighted for impact. 'It has been demonstrated that increasing the price of tobacco is the most effective measure for controlling smoking (30 points out of 100 on the TCS scale) as compared with other action, such as, treatment to quit smoking (10 points on the TCS),' explains the Head of the ICO, Dr Esteve Fernández Muñoz, who was also a co-author of the study.

To analyse the effectiveness of such measures in the 27 Member States of the EU, ICO researchers joined forces with colleagues in Barcelona, Dublin (Ireland) and Milan (Italy). Together, they correlated TCS information with the outcomes of a Eurobarometer survey on tobacco consumption, a study funded by the European Commission as part of its ongoing exploration of public opinion in the EU.

Key results from the underlying Eurobarometer survey included the following findings: 3 out of 10 Europeans (31.5%) aged 15 and over are smokers, and 13.6% of non-smokers report regular exposure to second-hand smoke at home. Cross-referencing with the TCS scores notably revealed that smoking seems to be somewhat less frequent in countries with higher scores in the TCS (such as Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom), but is more widespread in countries with lower TCS scores. Self-reported exposure to second-hand smoke appears to follow a similar trend.

Dr Fernández Muñoz concludes: 'The countries with the highest score in the TCS apply active control policies and the consumption of tobacco and the proportion of the population exposed to smoke, both at home and in the workplace, is more reduced.'

Supporting Documentation:
Bar staff in better health after smoking ban,, 2/10/2009;
Teenagers listen to parents on smoking,, 3/27/2009;
Cancer death toll in Europe drops,, 11/30/2009;
Ban smoking, save a life,, 11/26/2010.

References: Anti-smoke laws 'have direct effect', Posted: Wed by Deborah Condon,, 1/5/2011; Restricting smoking in Europe effective by Administrator,, 1/6/2011.

Thailand - new tobacco control measures should be enforced in one year..

January 7, 2011 - Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said yesterday, January 5th the ministry would amend the 1992 Tobacco Products Control Act and prohibit the sale of tobacco products to people under 20 and issue a regulation that manufacturers can only sell fire-safe cigarettes that cut down fire risks and exposure to second-hand smoke.

The announcement was made by Jurin after he chaired a meeting with the National Tobacco Control Committee. He said the panel had come up with resolutions to amend the 1992 Act as well as ministerial regulations to control tobacco consumption and marketing.

Under the 1992 Tobacco Products Control Act, the ministry will revise the definition of tobacco products to cover all products that contain nicotine such as drinking water, gel, chewing gum and electronic cigarettes. Previously, the definition under this act had only covered tobacco products. The ministry will also revise the definition of "sell" in the law to cover words such as selling, giving, exchanging or distributing products containing nicotine for commercial benefit.

The ministry will revise the minimum legal age for purchasing cigarettes or tobacco products from 18 to 20 years old. Selling cigarettes to those under 20 via vending machines, the Internet or giving them as gifts is also prohibited. Selling tobacco products at a discount will also be prohibited.

Under the revised law, cigarette brands will be banned from all kinds of advertising, except for live broadcasts from abroad. He said the revisions would be submitted to the Cabinet and House of Representatives for consideration and approval first.

Thailand (Kingdom of Thailand (Formerly Siam) has an estimated population of 65 million) will be the first Asian country to allow only fire-safe cigarettes to be sold in the nation. On October 1, 2005, Canada became the first country to implement a nationwide cigarette fire safety standard. United States - as of January 1, 2010, the fire-safe cigarette law was in effect in 43 states. Europe - On November 30, 2007, 27 EU states approved a European Commission proposal which would require the tobacco industry to use fire-retardant paper in all cigarettes. The EU Commission has said that all cigarettes sold throughout the European Union will be self-extinguishing by 2011. Australia - cigarette companies were required to change their products to ensure that cigarettes self-extinguish more readily before the regulations came into effect in March 2010. (Fire safe cigarette)

"The ministerial regulation should be enforced within a year in Thailand," Jurin said. Under the regulation, the ministry will also ban tobacco manufacturers from adding flavours or vitamins to cigarettes.

At present, up to 20 percent of the Thai population smokes, most of them male. About 1 million of the smokers are between 15 and 24 years of age. The ministry expects these measures to reduce the number of smokers to 10 percent of the population.

The tobacco industry in Thailand is estimated to be worth between Bt60 billion and Bt70 billion (S$2.6 billion - S$3 billion) a year, with the State Tobacco Monopoly having a market share of 75 per cent.

Reference: Tobacco industry and smokers face new measures, The Nation/Asia News Network, 1/5/2011.

Some other Thailand news briefs:
Thailand - TTM to build a new plant to produce cigarettes.. WHY??;
Phuket, Thailand - no smoking in crowded outside areas starting January 1, 2011..;
WTO panel order Thailand to set up uniform taxes on both foreign and locally made cigarettes..;
Thailand - health authorities want to close smoking areas at airport..;
Thailand - EU free-trade agreement (FTA) stuck over alcohol and tobacco..;
Thailand govt - wants to ban the growing of Burley and Oriental tobacco..;
Thailand - more measures put in place to protect non-smokers..;
Thailand - number of no-smoking zones expanded..;
Thailand - PMI likely breached the Foreign Business Act..;
Thai Tobacco Monopoly withdraws products from Tabinfo Asia 2009..;
Thailand - organizer of international tobacco exhibition fined..;
Thailand - hand-rolled cigarettes more popular and other matters..;
WTO - "DS 371" Philippines versus Thailand on cigarette customs valuation..;
Thailand - Tobacco Expo organizers and guests must obey all tobacco control laws..;
Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
Thailand - hosting major tobacco promotion event in November 2009..;
Thailand Tobacco Monoploly - union concerned about privatization..;
Thailand - monks sickly from tobacco smoking and/or smoke exposure..;
Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..;
Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..;
Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..;
Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

- Thailand is a member of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)..

Kentucky - maybe this year statewide smoking ban including cars with kids present..

January 7, 2011 - A majority of Kentuckians favor a statewide smoking ban in public places such as restaurants, stores and offices, according to a poll released Thursday, January 6th by anti-smoking activists.

Kentucky Ranked Highest in Smoking-Related Deaths..

In 2007, the median prevalence of adult current smoking in the 50 states and DC was 19.8%. Among states, current smoking prevalence was highest in Kentucky (28.3%), West Virginia (27.0%), and Oklahoma (25.8%); and lowest in Utah (11.7%), California (14.3%), and Connecticut (15.5%). Smoking prevalence was 8.7% in USVI, 12.2% in PR, and 31.1% in Guam. Median smoking prevalence among the 50 states and DC was 21.3% (range: 15.5%-28.8%) for men and 18.4% (range: 8.0%-27.8%) for women. Men had a significantly higher prevalence of smoking than women in 30 states, DC, and all three territories. (State-Specific Prevalence and Trends in Adult Cigarette Smoking—United States, 1998-2007, MMWR. 2009;58:221-226)
House Bill 193 was filed Thursday by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, and Rep. David Watkins, D-Henderson. Watkins, a family physician, said Kentucky needs to curb exposure to cigarette smoke as well as reduce its rate of smoking, the highest in the nation. On Thursday night, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told a Chamber of Commerce dinner that he supports a statewide smoking ban and also plans to file a bill to ban smoking in cars if there are passengers under the age of 16.

Under the bill, people caught smoking in areas where smoking is prohibited would be guilty of a violation and would face a $100 fine for a first infraction and a $250 fine for subsequent violations. Business operators would face even stiffer fines for violations. The first violation would bring a $250 fine. A second infraction would draw a $500 fine if committed within one year of the first violation. Each additional violation within that same year would result in a $2,500 fine.

The poll shows that 59 percent of Kentucky voters favor a ban on smoking in public places with 39 percent opposed. Among supporters, 44 percent strongly favored the ban and 15 percent somewhat favored it. The support carried across party lines – with 60 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats supporting the statewide ban. Among independent voters, 55 percent supported the ban and 58 percent of people who identify with the Tea Party favored it, the poll found.

The poll also found 76 percent of those questioned believe exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful.

Nationwide, 23 states have bans on smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, according to the Smoke-Free Kentucky coalition. In Kentucky, 27 local communities including Louisville and Lexington ban smoking in public buildings.

References: Poll: Kentuckians favor statewide smoking ban by Deborah Yetter (,, 1/6/2011; Smoking ban bill introduced in Ky. legislature by BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press,, 1/7/2011; VIDEO - Smouldering debate over smoking bans in Kentucky set to re-ignite by: Bill Price, photography by Eric Clajus,, 1/6/2011.

Great Neck, New York - smoking banned on sidewalks - hefty penalty..

January 7, 2011 - Great Neck has banned smoking on public sidewalks in front of business and other areas on Middle Neck Road. Mayor Ralph J. Kreitzman said the ban, approved on Tuesday, January 4th was enacted after officials got complaints about smokers standing outside stores in the village.

“After complaints about smoke entering Village stores and upsetting customers,” Kreitzman said, “the Village decided to enact this local law to prevent such situations. It also is a health benefit for pedestrians. It would be great to see other Villages follow in our footsteps.”

It’s the first municipality in the New York State and third in the nation to enact such a restriction, according to a Great Neck village board press release.

The law, which went into effect Wednesday, January 5th prohibits smoking tobacco and other substances on sidewalks along or within 125 feet of Middle Neck Road in front of commercial establishments, the Village Green Park and the Village Housing Authority. The enforcement area stretches 1.3 miles. The ban also precludes smoking at benches in municipal parking lots with access to Middle Neck Road and within 10 feet around them.

The penalty is left to the discretion of a judge, who can fine a violator up to $1,000 or order up to 15 days in jail, Kreitzman said.

Village Attorney Stephen G. Limmer said enforcing the ban "will take some time," starting with posting signs in no-smoking areas and having business owners let smokers know about the ban. After that, parking enforcement officers and building inspectors would be responsible.

Great Neck Village already prohibits smoking in parks and municipal buildings. More than 200 municipalities across New York and about a half-dozen on Long Island have laws that restrict smoking in parks and on public beaches.

Neighboring New York City is currently considering a smoking ban in parks and pedestrian plazas. (New York City - City Council moves one step closer to extending smoking ban to parks and beaches..)

References: Great Neck Bans Smoking on Public Sidewalks by Long Island Press on 1/5/2011; Great Neck Village smoking ban takes effect, by NICHOLAS SPANGLER ( AND EMILY C. DOOLEY (,, 1/6/2011.

U.S. FDA - loses two top members - Connolly/Sharfstein..

January 6, 2011 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lost an adviser to the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) as well as its number two official.

A member of the TPSAC, a key tobacco-advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration, who faced criticism from the industry says he stepped down because he can be more helpful to the agency as an outsider. Gregory N. Connolly, a Harvard School of Public Health professor and tobacco researcher, said that he resigned about three weeks ago for "personal reasons" and because he could be "more effective off the committee than on it".

Connolly said he wasn't pushed to resign, though "I didn't have as many friends as one would like" within the FDA. He also said his decision had nothing to do with Philip Morris USA's effort last year to have him and three other members of the advisory committee removed on the grounds that they had extensive conflicts of interest. The agency rejected the Altria Group unit's request early last year.

An FDA spokesman said Wednesday, January 5th that Connolly resigned and that "his departure will not impede the schedule or progress of" the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. He declined further comment.

Connolly's apparent departure comes a few months before the panel is scheduled to issue a report on an issue crucial to the tobacco industry - whether menthol cigarettes should be banned. The FDA doesn't have to follow the panel's recommendation and faces no deadline to act. Menthol smokes account for about 30 per cent of industry sales.

More on the defense of menthol - the Tobacco Industry..

Morgan Stanley analyst David Adelman, in a research note, said Connolly's departure makes him more confident that the FDA will ultimately decide not to ban menthol as a cigarette flavouring. Connolly's absence "removes an individual who was the dominant anti-tobacco voice in the menthol hearings so far", Adelman wrote. The issue is of paramount importance to Lorillard, the maker of leading menthol brand Newport. The product accounts for roughly 90 per cent of the Greensboro, NC, company's sales.

Lorillard - essentially a one-product company - Newport cigarettes.. Lorillard cannot do what some competitors have done and focus on overseas for growth. In 1977 Lorillard sold the rights for international sales of its cigarette brands to British American Tobacco (BAT). (

Furthermore, FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, 41 years old, the FDA's number two official, is leaving the agency after a busy 21-month tenure that included clashes with drug and device makers over tougher regulation. He is taking the top public-health job for the state of Maryland, a spokesman for Maryland's governor said, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday. Sharfstein led the FDA's campaign against e-cigarettes. (U.S. FDA files new appeal in e-cigarette lawsuit..)

Reference: FDA loses two top members, Tobacco Journal International, 1/5/2011.

Tulsa, Oklahoma - named worst city for smoking..

January 6, 2011 - According to an article published Monday night, January 3rd on The Daily Beast, 24.6 percent of Tulsans are smokers, and they smoke an average of 16.2 cigarettes a day. Nearly 27 percent have tried to quit with gum, 32.8 percent with patches and 7.4 percent with a support program. The self-reported data were gathered by Experian Simmons, a consumer research company, and analyzed by the news site, according to the article.

Tulsa has fewer smokers per capita than another top-30 city, Louisville, Ky., but more people in Louisville have made attempts to quit, according to the data.

About 21.5 percent of people in Tulsa County smoke every day, and 6.4 percent smoke some days, according to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control.

Oklahoma City ranked seventh in the article, with 22.1 percent of the population smoking an average of 15.4 cigarettes a day. About 23.5 percent of smokers there have tried to quit with gum, 30.4 percent with patches and 8.9 percent with a support program, according to the article.

Cities in the Southeast dominated the list, and Oklahoma and Tennessee had five of the metro areas ranked.

Those two states (Oklahoma and Kentucky) are the only ones that do not allow cities to make smoking ordinances stricter than state law, and that's the reason they are so high in the rankings, said Doug Matheny, chief of Tobacco Use Prevention Services at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Most of the 21 states that aren't entirely smoke-free have cities that have declared themselves smoke-free. Tulsa and Oklahoma City can't respond in the same way, he said.

"The hands of cities in Oklahoma have been tied," he said. Lobbying from the tobacco industry has kept the state from allowing local control. Companies can give away free packs of cigarettes in bars, and some public places have no tobacco restrictions, Matheny said. "Most states didn't fall for it," he said, "but Oklahoma did."

The regulations can affect economic development, too. At least 25 national organizations refuse to have conferences in cities that aren't smoke-free, and some companies refuse to locate in such a city because they want a healthier workforce, he said.

The article's release coincides with the annual pledge many smokers take to quit for the new year.

Tobacco Road: Which States Have The Worst Smoker's Breath? by Chris Morran,, 9/8/2010..

For list of the 30 cities with the worst smoking records..

Reference: Tulsa named worst city for smoking by SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer, Tulsa World, 1/5/2011.

Bulgaria - tobacco contraband..

Focus News Agency..
January 6, 2011 - Rumen Petkov, the first Interior Minister in the 2005-2009 government of the three-way coalition led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, resigned from his post on April 13, 2008, after a series of scandals sparked allegations of corruption and mafia connections in his department.

Bulgaria lost about BGN 1 B from the smuggling of cigarettes in 2010, Petkov said Tuesday, January 4th at a news conference at the headquarters of the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
"This cannot happen without the collaboration of the state – the Interior Ministry, the Border Police, and the Customs Agency," he stated accusing the Borisov Cabinet – or at least some of its structures and aides of being involved in the cigarette contraband and other illegal activities. The former Interior Minister did not cite the sources of his data but mentioned a statement of the French Interior Minister who allegedly said that two-thirds of the contraband goods in Western Europe went though Bulgaria incurring total losses amounting to EUR 1 B.

Petkov proposed the forming of a Bulgarian-Turkish Commission to inspect trucks crossing the common border. "There have been trucks registered as bringing in cigarettes when passing through the Turkish border control, while the Bulgarian border control registered them as carrying plastic bags for Austria," he said.

Interesting to note back on November 2, 2010 - Bulgaria - Director of the Customs Agency announced Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe in seizure of contraband cigarettes..

January 5, 2011 - Sofia. Bulgarian border police have seized two trucks of contraband cigarettes at Ilinden border checkpoint and close to Bansko mountain resort, commissary Zaharin Penov, director of Border Police DG, told FOCUS News Agency. The cigarettes were hidden in sacks of salt. The trucks were traveling from Italy to the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. While checking one of the vehicles at Ilinden checkpoint the border police found out that it had been included in the Schengen Information System. The two truckers and the owner of the firm managing the vehicles were detained.

References: Ex Minister Blasts Bulgarian Govt for Cigarette Contraband, Human Trafficking, (Sofia News Agency), 1/4/2011; Bulgarian border police seize two trucks of contraband cigarettes, FOCUS News Agency, 1/5/2011)

Bulgaria - related news briefs:
Bulgaria - cigarette excise revenue down this year..;
Bulgaria - smoking restriction checks begin after January 3, 2011..;
Bulgaria - PMI to introduce their own Marlboro 10-pack cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - health minister will work for implementing full smoking ban in public places..;
Bulgaria - tobacco growers seeking more subsidies..;
Greece/Bulgaria - governments opposed to WHO's attempt to ban blended tobacco..;
Bulgaria - tobacco companies back effort to reduce illicit cigarette trade.;
Bulgaria - Mayor of Town of Kyustendil - non-smokers should pay less for health insurance..;
Bulgaria - smoking ban beginning January 1, 2011 - do they know which smoking ban applies??;
Bulgaria - Director of the Customs Agency announced Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe in seizure of contraband cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - smoking rate down, knowledge of dangers of tobacco use gaining..;
Bulgaria - another tobacco tax increase in the draft 2011 budget..;
Bulgaria - confusion over which public smoking ban is in force..;
Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, just added minors can't be in disco clubs after 10pm..;
Bulgaria - final vote delayed on weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, second reading..;
Bulgaria - commission tightens smoking ban a little..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac buyer may be chosen by end of year..;
Bulgaria - prime minister not happy with giving tobacco growers subsidies..;
Bulgaria - to loosen smoking ban to start June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - finance minister comments may be good news for tobacco farmers..;
Bulgaria - parliament debates proposal to water down smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - majority of all Bulgarians - 78% are against the smoking ban delay..;
Bulgaria - every increase in excise duty on cigarettes consumption goes down..;
Bulgaria - grace period over, increase in tobacco tax starts Thursday, April 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Italian authorities arrest 2-Bulgarians smuggling cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - tractor trailer loaded with contraband cigarettes seized in Ancona, Italy..;
Bulgaria - cigarette consumption down, cigarette tax collection up, seeking funds for technology to intercept contraband goods..;
Bulgaria - justifying why smoking ban won't go into effect on June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Citigroup chosen as consultant for sale of Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - ruling party may delay smoking ban until 2011..;
Bulgaria - Finance Minister Djankov, "Less Smoking Is Good for Economy..";
Bulgaria - govt to weaken full smoking ban to be effective June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - do producers support contraband cigarettes??;
Bulgaria - sale of Bulgartabac coming - selection of a consultant..;
Greek Farmers Renew Bulgaria Border Blockade..;
Bulgaria - leadership of tobacco fund to be replaced..;
Bulgaria - illegal trade in cigarettes will reach 40% of total trade in 2010..;
Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..;
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 Bulgaria;

FDA - mission based on law to ensure new tobacco products do not pose an increased threat to the American public..

January 6, 2011 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today, January 5th that certain tobacco products introduced or changed after Feb. 15, 2007 must be reviewed by the agency. In FDA guidance published today, the agency outlines a pathway for marketing a product whereby the company marketing the product must prove that it is “substantially equivalent” to products commercially available on Feb. 15, 2007.

The Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act, which became law June 22, 2009, contains a special provision for new tobacco products that were introduced into the market between February 15, 2007 and March 22, 2011, and for existing tobacco products for which changes were made in this time period.

In general, in order to continue to market these products, manufacturers of tobacco products that were introduced or changed after February 15, 2007, which include cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and all smokeless products must apply for equivalency by March 22, 2011. Manufacturers intending to introduce new products into the market after that date must submit an application for the new product and obtain a marketing order from the FDA before introducing the product to market.

“Substantially equivalent” means the products must be the same in terms of ingredients, design, composition, heating source and other characteristics to an existing, single predicate product or have different characteristics, but not raise different questions of public health.

"This specific part of the law is meant to ensure that new tobacco products are evaluated by the FDA before they are cleared to enter the marketplace. The law requires FDA to carefully examine the impact those products may have on the public health," said Lawrence R. Deyton, director of the agency's Center for Tobacco Products. "Products that are equivalent to those which were on the market on February 15, 2007, may be cleared to go to market; those that are not may be prohibited from the market, or withdrawn if they are already available, if the changes raise different questions of public health."

In general, in order to continue to market these products, manufacturers of tobacco products that were introduced or changed after Feb. 15, 2007, which include cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and all smokeless products must apply for equivalency by Mar. 22, 2011. Manufacturers intending to introduce new products into the market after that date must submit an application for the new product and obtain a marketing order from the FDA before introducing the product to market.

“No known existing tobacco product is safe, and a market order issued by the FDA for these products should never be interpreted as such” said Deyton. “One of the FDA’s missions required by this new law is to ensure new products do not pose an increased threat to the American public. These products will not be safer, but we are required by this law to not allow even more dangerous products to cause further harm to those Americans who use tobacco products.”

FDA also intends to issue guidance on materials the agency believes would show that a tobacco product was on the market on Feb. 15, 2007, as well as hold a Webinar Series in order to provide more assistance to manufacturers.

References: FDA to require substantial equivalence reviews for new tobacco products Certain products introduced or changed in the United States since Feb. 15, 2007 to be reviewed, FDA NEWS RELEASE, 1/5/2011; FDA's 'Substantial Equivalence'
Will review tobacco products introduced, changed since Feb. 15, 2007
, CSP Daily News, 1/6/2011.

FDA TPSAC - meeting January 11 and 12, 2011..

January 6, 2011 -

January 10-11, 2011: Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) Meeting

FDA White Oak Conference Center, Building 31, Room 1503
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002.

On January 10 and 11, 2011, the Committee will continue to 1) receive updates from the Menthol Report Subcommittee; and 2) receive and discuss presentations regarding the data requested by the Committee at the March 30–31, 2010 meeting of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee.

Wake County, North Carolina - school system gets $3million in settlement of tobacco case..

January 6, 2011 - As part of a plea arrangement entered this morning in Wake County (North Carolina) Superior Court, two South Carolina cigarette distributors agreed to pay $6.5 million in restitution and fines to settle a protracted and complicated tax fraud case that could have resulted in prison time.

Larry Phillips, 62, and John M. June Jr., 38, each entered Alford pleas to two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. June and Phillips, who operated J & E Distributors Inc.and Tobaccoville USA Inc., were accused of trying to avoid a 2005 state cigarette tax increase in a complicated scheme in which sales records and invoices were created to show they sold 958,000 cartons of cigarettes in August 2005 shortly before the tax jumped from 50 cents per carton to $3.00 per carton. Prosecutors said the men overstated their 2005 cigarette sales and understated their 2006 sales to sidestep the tax increase.

Under the arrangement, Phillips and June did not admit guilt, but acknowledged that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to bring convictions.

Reference: Wake schools to get $3m windfall from cigarette tax case settlement by Anne Blythe - Staff writer,, 1/6/2011.

Related North Carolina news briefs:
Raleigh, North Carolina - vote on smoking ban in parks delayed..;
North Carolina - smoking ban being challenged by some small businesses..;
North Carolina - air quality improved - reaping the benefits of state smoking ban..;
North Carolina - smokers be careful where you flick your cigarette..;
North Carolina - nine sentenced in cigarette-smuggling ring..;
North Carolina - U.S. cigarette consumption in 2009 fell 9.3% so share of MSA payment reduced..;
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina - you can smoke on the beach but don't drop them..;
North Carolina - reaping the benefits of statewide smoking ban..;
North Carolina - may restore tax stamp to reduce smuggling..:
North Carolina - smoking ban forces smokers outside in the cold..;
North Carolina - some hookah bars owners stay open after smoking ban begins..;
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...

Iowa - republican possible budget cuts includes anti-smoking programs..

January 6, 2011 - GOP (Republican) BILL (Proposal) would cut state money for anti-smoking programs.

Monday, March 8, 2010 - Iowa Department of Public Health officials said that a new study shows a 52 percent drop in cigarette sales in Iowa.

Report shows Iowa’s smoking ban has already led to a decrease in hospitalizations for cardiovascular diseases.
ANTI-SMOKING PROGRAMS – Cut state money for anti-smoking programs, the proposal says. Iowans would no longer see TV ads and billboards from the Just Eliminate Lies program, and they no longer could call in for free stop-smoking advice and nicotine gum from the Quitline Iowa program. The cuts also would take away state incentives to local police to enforce bans on tobacco sales to minors. The state’s anti-smoking efforts used to draw most of their financing from annual payments cigarette manufacturers made to settle a state lawsuit. However, legislators voted several years ago to sell off future tobacco company payments for immediate cash, which they have spent. The state health department said at least several hundred thousand dollars in federal grants probably could be revoked if the state cuts were put in place. SAVINGS: $2.4 million in the last six months of this year, plus $6.7 million in the next fiscal year.

"Just Eliminate Lies" program - Iowans no longer would face gruesome photos of mouth cancer or TV portrayals of smarmy cigarette salesmen if House Republicans get their way. GOP leaders want to end to the "Just Eliminate Lies" program, which sponsors graphic anti-tobacco ads and organizes youth conferences to battle smoking.

Linda Upmeyer, a Garner Republican set to become majority leader, said Just Eliminate Lies often spends money on superfluous activities, such as merchandise giveaways. "If we're going to do smoking cessation, I don't think Iowans want to buy backpacks and T-shirts," she said.

House Republicans proposed junking the program this week as part of a large package of budget cuts. They also proposed ending a program called Quitline Iowa, which provides telephone counseling to people who want to quit smoking.

Reference: Iowa GOP bill: Eliminate preschool, cancel sabbaticals and chop AEA budgets, Blog post by Jason Clayworth (, 1/3/2011; House GOP targets tobacco programs by TONY LEYS (, 1/5/2011.

Related news briefs - Iowa:
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - little filtered-cigars gaining in popularity.;
Iowa - cigarette sales drop 52 percent..;
Iowa - smoking ban leads to decrease in hospitalizations for cardiovascular diseases..;
Iowa - get a free supply of NRT for just calling the Quitline..;
Iowa Smoking Ban Lawsuit Dismissed..;
Iowa - fire safe cigarettes - January 1, 2009..;
Butts Out: Iowa joins 22 states with a workplace smoking ban..;
Iowa - cigarette sales fall by 36% after $1 bump in cigarette tax..;
It's Illegal for Women to Smoke in Public..;
Des Moines: Iowa's cigarette tax is now $1.36 per pack, following a jubilant bill-signing ceremony Thursday morning (3/15/2007)..

PMI ends pursuit to acquire Productora Tabacalera de Colombia, Protabaco Ltda (Protabaco S.A.) ..

January 6, 2011 - Philip Morris International Inc. today, January 5th announced that it would no longer pursue its intention to acquire Productora Tabacalera de Colombia, Protabaco Ltda. While approval to proceed with the acquisition was granted by the Superintendent of Industry and Trade of Colombia in October 2010, the approval was subject to several significant conditions and constraints that ultimately proved to be too burdensome.


October 7, 2010 - PMI - can acquire Colombia's Protabaco but with several significant conditions and constraints - decision under review..

June 16, 2010 - Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) plans to appeal a Colombian regulator's decision to deny its $452 million bid to acquire privately owned cigarette maker Productora Tabacalera de Colombia, or Protabaco. (Philip Morris International to appeal Colombia's rejection of proposed Protabaco acquisition..)

Friday, July 10, 2009 PMI said it would pay $452 million to buy privately owned Protabaco, a Colombian cigarette maker expanding its presence in the South American continent. (Protabaco manufactures and sells cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars either in our own brands or private label.) (PMI to buy Columbia cigarette maker - Protabaco..)

Protabaco is the second largest tobacco company in Columbia with about 32-percent market share and registered a turnover of around $108 million in 2008. The company has three cigarette plants in Columbia and its leading brands are Mustang, Premier and President.

The purchase of Protabaco needs regulatory approval and is expected to be completed within six months, New York-based PMI said on July 10th.
"After an exhaustive review of our options, we regretfully have concluded that the transaction, in light of the conditions, would not satisfy the strategic and financial objectives that were originally envisaged and therefore we have decided not to pursue the acquisition of Protabaco," said James Mortensen, President, Latin America & Canada Region.

"Colombia continues to be an important market for us and our commitment to the country and our employees remains steadfast," he added.

It is interesting to note:

In 2005 and 2006, Philip Morris acquired Colombia's largest cigarette maker, Coltabaco, for a little more than $300 million.

Reference: Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) Ends Pursuit of Colombian Acquisition, SOURCE: Philip Morris International Inc.. BUSINESS WIRE, 1/5/2011.

Chicago, Illinois - tenants in apartment building given one-year to quit smoking..

January 5, 2011 - Tenants at Kingsbury Plaza, an apartment building in River North, had a New Year's resolution made for them by management firm The Habitat Co. this year: Quit smoking. Or move. Kingsbury opened three years ago. Today, about 15 percent of its tenants are smokers. Last fall, a survey at the 420-unit building, which is 96 percent occupied, showed a concern about second-hand smoke. Penalties at Kingsbury will include a $350 fine for a first violation and eviction for the second violation.

Kingsbury on Jan. 1 began a yearlong transition to becoming a smoke-free building. If successful, Habitat, which manages more than 3,300 market-rate apartments in eight Chicago buildings, may apply it to other properties, said Gary Lundemo, Kingsbury's property supervisor.

Directly related news brief:
January 3, 2011 - Chicago - smoke-free apartment and condominium buildings are becoming the wave of the future..

Several high-rise apartments that opened in downtown Chicago during the past two years have marketed themselves as smoke-free residences catering to affluent, white-collar professionals. Few existing buildings have adopted a smoke-free stance, but the demand for apartments this year is expected to lead to higher rents and, perhaps, more experimentation with building policies.

One-third of people would be willing to pay more to live in a smoke-free building, according to a survey completed in November by the Chicago Tobacco Prevention Project.

Reference: Highrise warns: quit smoking or leave Kingsbury Plaza plans fine for 1st violation, eviction for second by Mary Ellen Podmolik, Tribune reporter, Chicago Tribune, 1/5/2011.

Illiinois - time for a tobacco tax increase, state now ranks 32nd in nation..

January 5, 2011 - Anti-smoking groups renewed their push for a $1-a-pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax on Monday, January 3rd pointing to research showing that the state would see $377 million in new revenue the first year of the tax increase.

Illinois spends $5 billion a year to treat diseases caused by tobacco use, according to a study by Frank Chaloupka, an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The state received roughly $560 million in cigarette tax revenue in fiscal year 2010.
Senate Bill 44, which would increase the state’s cigarette tax from 98 cents to $1.98 a pack in two 50-cent stages, passed the Senate in 2009, but has been stalled in the House ever since. In a statement, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, threw his support behind the tax and pledged to introduce it again in the Senate if it fails to pass the House before the 96th General Assembly completes its work on Jan. 12.

Back in April 2010 a poll released by the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco found that voters statewide supported raising the cigarette tax by $1 – from 98 cents per pack to $1.98. Of the 502 people who were surveyed, 74 percent supported the increase. That total included 71 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents. Even 42 percent of smokers said they support a cigarette tax increase, the survey found. (Public supports cigarette tax hike,, 4/17/2010)

“A cigarette tax increase is one of the most important agenda items for the coming year,” Cullerton said. “It will generate new revenue, reduce Medicaid costs attributed to smoking-related health concerns, and most importantly, it will dramatically reduce people’s desire to smoke.”

Kevin O’Flaherty, director of advocacy for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said a cigarette tax increase would offset the costs to the state of tobacco-related disease. “When you look at the amount of revenue that comes in from tobacco, it is a drop in the bucket compared to what the state spends on tobacco-related health care costs across the board,” he said. The state could double the money it would receive if it used the revenue for its health care provider relief fund and access matching funds from the federal government, O’Flaherty said. “That’s money on the table that’s being left behind,” he said.

Since 2002, the last time Illinois raised its cigarette tax, most states have raised their cigarette taxes at least once, Chaloupka said. Illinois is now 32nd in the nation in taxing cigarettes. If the state increased its tax to $1.98, it would rank 15th.

Raising the tax would increase revenue to the state, cause adults to quit smoking and children to never start, Chaloupka said. “Every time that states raise their cigarette tax, we see significant increases in the revenues that are generated from those taxes,” he said.

WHY NOT?? Asked why his group and other anti-smoking organizations don’t just seek to ban cigarettes, O’Flaherty said, “I don’t think any of our organizations want to see that tobacco just doesn’t exist. But what is very important to all of us … is that tobacco is no longer the serious public health problem that it is today. “In order to get to that point, we have to go quite a bit further … that the price for the product comes close to reflecting the true cost of the use of the product in our country.”

State Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, opposed the cigarette tax increase when it passed the Senate. “Although I’ve never been a smoker, it seems like we’re taking advantage of a group we’ve taken too much advantage of in the past,” Bomke said. “I think at some point, enough is enough. “I realize it’s by choice to smoke cigarettes, but some people have an addiction and a difficult time getting off them.”

Reference: New push starts for cigarette tax increase by CHRIS WETTERICH, THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER,, 1/3/2011.

Cigarette taxes in border states:
Iowa $1.36 per pack
Wisconsin $2.52
Missouri 17 cents
Indiana 99.5 cents
Kentucky 60 cents

Raleigh, North Carolina - vote on smoking ban in parks delayed..

January 5, 2011 - A vote on a controversial ordinance that would ban the use of tobacco in Raleigh's parks has been delayed two weeks until the City Council has more details. In its first meeting of 2011, the City Council considered a measure that was recommended unanimously by a city parks board. It forbids smoking and the use of other tobacco products in any city parks facilities, including greenways and state parks such as Moore Square that are operated by the city.

But before the council takes action, it wants to know how the ordinance would be enforced and how much new no-smoking signs would cost. It also wants city staff to explore the possibility of no-smoking areas in parks, and whether the city should ban smoking in some parks and not in others.

November 29, 2010 - Raleigh, NC - may ban smoking in city parks..

The issue is surfacing a year after the state legislature banned smoking in restaurants and bars statewide, and gave municipalities the authority to enact stricter smoking regulations. Boone, Asheville and Buncombe County have adopted similar no-smoking ordinances. Supporters of the ban cite the dangers of second-hand smoke and dropping cigarette buts in places where kids can pick them up or try to eat them. Opponents say the government has no business in what they do outdoors. (Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina - you can smoke on the beach but don't drop them..)

Reference: Vote on smoking ban in Raleigh parks delayed by Ray Martin - Staff writer, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/4/2011.

Related North Carolina news briefs:
North Carolina - smoking ban being challenged by some small businesses..;
North Carolina - air quality improved - reaping the benefits of state smoking ban..;
North Carolina - smokers be careful where you flick your cigarette..;
North Carolina - nine sentenced in cigarette-smuggling ring..;
North Carolina - U.S. cigarette consumption in 2009 fell 9.3% so share of MSA payment reduced..;
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina - you can smoke on the beach but don't drop them..;
North Carolina - reaping the benefits of statewide smoking ban..;
North Carolina - may restore tax stamp to reduce smuggling..:
North Carolina - smoking ban forces smokers outside in the cold..;
North Carolina - some hookah bars owners stay open after smoking ban begins..;
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...

Japan - demand for Chantix (Champix) soars while more and more lawsuits pile up in the U.S..

January 5, 2010 - Demand for the smoking cessation drug Chantix is skyrocketing in Japan, following a recent tax increase on cigarettes and due to a lack of publicity about the drug’s links to suicide and violent behavior.

Japan has always been a haven for smokers, with very few restrictions on where people can smoke and some of the lowest tobacco prices of an industrialized nation. However, that is changing as a new tax increased the cost of tobacco products in Japan and there are now more restrictions on smoking. This has led to a sudden increase in the number of Japanese who are trying to quit smoking, with many choosing to use Pfizer’s Chantix, known there as Champix, which has been heavily marketed by the drug maker in the country.

At the same time sales are soaring in Japan, they are plummeting in the United States amid growing reports of serious psychological side effects of Chantix, including an increased risk of suicide, suicide attempts and unusual aggressive behavior. In the first nine months of 2010, sales of Chantix in the U.S. dropped nearly 17%, to $252 million, and the number of people who have filed a Chantix lawsuit over injuries allegedly caused by the prescription drug has steadily climbed.

In Japan, there has been very little coverage of reported suicides on Chantix, and sales have been rapidly increasing. In September, sales of Chantix in Japan jumped from about 70,000 to more than 170,000. The increase was even greater in October, when new laws went into effect that raised the price of a pack of cigarettes about one-third; from 300 yen ($3.60) to 400 yen ($4.80).

Pfizer was unprepared for the rush of Japanese seeking to kick the habit, according to a report by the New York Times, and new prescriptions for Chantix were recently suspended when Pfizer ran out of starter packs. This month, the company predicts that they will have about 450,000 starter packs available for Japanese prescriptions. (In Japan, Pfizer Is Short of Drug to Help Smokers by HIROKO TABUCHI, The New York Times, 1/3/2011)

Meanwhile In the United States nearly 1,200 lawsuits nationwide against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. over its anti-smoking drug Chantix are being handled in U.S. District Court in Birmingham. U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson is overseeing pre-trial activity in the cases in which smokers and their families claim that Chantix left them with a variety of psychological problems. The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in late 2009 assigned the cases to Johnson, who was already handling two of the cases.

More suits are being filed daily from across the country. Since Johnson was appointed, the number of Chantix cases filed in federal court has grown from 37 to nearly 1,200 as of Monday, January 3rd according to court records. Last week, 26 were filed and a few officials said the number is expected to eventually top 2,000 cases. (Birmingham court to oversee Pfizer lawsuits by Kent Faulk, The Birmingham News, 1/4/2011.)

Chantix (Champix, varenicline) has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of adverse effects ranging from vivid dreams to heart troubles, vision loss, accidents, diabetes, mental confusion, loss of consciousness and psychotic episodes. Suicide-related events have been reported in patients taking varenicline who have no known pre-existing psychiatric conditions and in some patients who continued to smoke. linked to suicidal behavior and other psychiatric problems, should bear the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) strongest safety warning.

Chantix was approved by the FDA in 2006 and works by blocking receptors in the brain that are commonly stimulated by nicotine, reducing the positive feelings that come from cigarettes. However, shortly after the drug was introduced, hundreds of people began to report severe Chantix side effects, including violent and self-destructive behavior.

In July (July 1, 2009), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that its most serious safety warning – a Black Box – regarding psychiatric side effects be included on the Chantix label. According to The Washington Post, the FDA said psychiatric side effects seen among Chantix users included 98 reports of suicide and 188 reports of attempted suicide.

Some patients using Champix have also experienced serious skin reactions, including angioedema, characterized by swelling under the skin that can be fatal, and other severe skin reactions,

Chantix (Varenicline) - Adverse Event Reports - Death - Completed Suicide

Reference: Despite Risk of Problems with Chantix, Demand Soars in Japan,, 1/4/2011.

Some Chantix (Champix) related news briefs:
Champix (Chantix) - Health Canada issues stronger warnings..;
Champix (Chantix) - Canada class-action lawsuit started..;
Champix (Chantix) - more serious psychiatric reactions and death..;
Smoking Cessation - Chantix (Champix) vs. Cold Turkey..;
Chantix - Pfizer faces three lawsuits surely many more to come..;
Champix (Chantix) - the risks are greater then the benefits..;
Chantix - another wrongful death lawsuit filed..;
Anti-smoking drugs (non-nicotine) - Chantix and Zyban to carry mental health warnings..;
Another Chantix Warning in Canada..;
Operators of any form of transportation warned on the use of Pfizer's smoking-cessation drug Chantix..;
Pfizer Changes Chantix Label..;
Chantix Reports of Suicidal Thoughts and Aggressive and Erratic Behavior..;

New Zealand - more on smoking cessation - does it always require a drug(s)??

January 5, 2011 - Back on January 3rd we wrote a news brief based on an article entitled "Massive New Year's push to give up smoking.." (New Zealand - massive push to get smokers to quit..)

A sentence in this article has continued to bother us. We believe it's a comment from Paula Snowden, chief executive for The Quit Group, which runs Quitline. Here's the comment: Those who use support are up to five times more likely to succeed than going it alone.

We wonder where Ms. Snowden came up with the "five times..."

From your neighboring country - Australia. Here's a comment from Professor Ian Olver, CEO of Cancer Council Australia..

Going 'cold turkey' is still the most popular way to quit smoking, trumping nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), an Australian survey has confirmed.

A Cancer Institute NSW (New South Wales) survey of 1068 recent quitters revealed 69% of successful quitters had used the 'cold turkey' method of smoking cessation. The results, presented at the Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health (held in Sydney on 6-9 October 2010), found nicotine replacement therapy and 'cutting down, then quitting' were the second most popular quitting methods.

Younger quitters were more likely to stop smoking by going 'cold turkey' compared with older quitters. The latter, along with quitters who were less educated, were more likely to use assisted methods.

Professor Ian Olver, CEO of Cancer Council Australia, said the findings confirmed that 'cold turkey' was a successful strategy, and NRT "probably ... should only be used when the quit attempts fail".

Quitting smoking: cold turkey most popular method,, 10/15/2010.
President Obama - willpower does the trick - president has gone 9-months without smoking...

Summary of another study carried out in Australia..

Click to enlarge..

New Zealand related news briefs:
New Zealand - massive push to get smokers to quit..;
New Zealand - cigarette display ban passes first reading..;
New Zealand - price goes up number of smokers goes down..;
New Zealand - Māori Affairs Committee Report released - November 2010..;
New Zealand - non-smokers offered incentives to test cigarettes..;
New Zealand - phase out tobacco sales over the next decade..;
New Zealand - Scandinavian Tobacco granted clearance to merge its cigar and pipe tobacco businesses with Swedish Match..;
New Zealand - tobacco industry whistleblower addresses the Maori select committee..;
New Zealand - a third of patients seeking treatment in the ED were smokers..;
New Zealand - the majority of New Zealanders support an end to commercial tobacco sales by 2020 - can it happen??;
New Zealand - study revives interest in keeping tobacco hidden..;
New Zealand - health board says no to psychiatric hospital smoking ban..;
New Zealand - report on illicit trade and options to control growth of illicit trade..;
New Zealand - ASH Year 10 Snapshot Survey - Dramatic youth smoking decline..;
New Zealand - plain cigarette and tobacco packs could turn teenagers off smoking..;
New Zealand - Tobacco companies target women..;
New Zealand - lobby group of small retailers formed to protest tobacco price hike..;
New Zealand - more than half of the people want to end tobacco sales by 2020..;
New Zealand - revenue department has begun a review of BAT financial transactions..;
New Zealand - increase in tobacco excise forced through Parliament by the Government..;
New Zealand - Christchurch prepares for meeting with tobacco select committee..;
New Zealand - biggest drop in smoking rates seen in a decade..;
New Zealand - Maori affairs committee continues to gather information..;
New Zealand - study quit-smoking products that are acceptabe and effective..;
New Zealand - smoking ban results in decrease in heart attacks..;
New Zealand - BAT attends Maori Affairs select committee meeting on tobacco..;
New Zealanders want cigarettes banned by 2020..;
New Zealand - Maori women - almost 50% smoke..;
New Zealand - more and more teenagers turned off by smoking..;
New Zealand - loophole in the law banning tobacco sponsorship..;
New Zealand - University of Auckland to go smokefree - 1st university in country..;
New Zealand - smoking ban in bars results in less smoking at home..;
New Zealand - study, tobacco displays leads to increase in youth smoking..;
New Zealand - graphic warnings cigarette maker selects less offensive images..;
New Zealand - Maori committee to investigate smoking..;
New Zealand - Tairawhiti Board wants tobacco sold only on prescription..;
New Zealand - health researchers calling on government to ban importation of tobacco..;
New Zealand - 1st trial ever of e-cigarettes..;
New Zealand - BAT reducing prices discouraging people from quitting..;
New Zealand - stop smoking campaigns NOT working..;
BAT awarded worst corporation in New Zealand..;
New Zealand - government may NOT support tobacco display bans..;
New Zealand More Evidence Needed to Ban Tobacco and Cigarette Displays..;
More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..;
Horror photos go on New Zealand cigarette packs..;
Country to Eliminate Smoking - The South Pacific nation of Niue;
Ireland to ban tobacco displays..;
Smokefree NZ within 10 years..;
By law, oral snuff cannot (but nasal snuff is allowed) be sold in New Zealand and can be imported only for personal use..