R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co./Lorillard Tobacco Co. sued to block FDA TPSAC menthol recommendations..

February 26, 2011 - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (unit of Reynolds American, Inc.) and Lorillard Tobacco Co. sued to block the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from receiving recommendations from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) that includes members that the cigarette makers claim have conflicts of interest. (Case is Lorillard Inc. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11-cv-00440, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).)

Reynolds and Lorillard, the second- and third-biggest U.S. cigarette makers, filed the complaint today in federal court in Washington. They seek an order preventing the FDA from receiving the report, which is to include recommendations on the use of menthol in cigarettes.
The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) is currently developing a report and recommendations on the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on the public health. The report and recommendations are due to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by March 23, 2011. As the due date draws near, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looks forward to receiving the report from the Committee. FDA also understands that members of the tobacco industry, members of public health and tobacco control organizations, as well as the general public are eager to see the report and may have questions about the actions FDA will take after receiving the report. Therefore, FDA has outlined what is to come over the next few months as the Committee finalizes the report.

There is no required deadline or timeline for the FDA to act on the recommendations provided by the Committee in the report. Any action(s) taken by the FDA that lead to sale/distribution restrictions or establishment of product standards require formal rule making that includes public notice and comment. Therefore, receipt of the report and recommendations by the FDA will not have an immediate effect on the availability of menthol cigarettes.
Menthol report what to expect??
Three of the eight committee members “have severe financial and appearance conflicts of interest and associated biases,” the companies said in their complaint. The three members serve as paid expert witnesses in lawsuits against the tobacco industry and take money from drug companies that make nicotine-replacement products and other smoking-cessation aids, according to the complaint.
Some TPSAC background information:
August 25, 2009 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced an action regarding the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The Agency has officially established the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). (FDA Moves Forward on Implementation of Tobacco Law..)

March 1, 2010 - FDA - Roster of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee..

JUne 27, 2010 - Commentary - the FDA CTR Scientific Advisory Committee..

August 17, 2010 - FDA CTP justification for selection of members of Scientific Advisory Committee..

September 8, 2010 - CRE states that the FDA Tobacco Advisory Committee is in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act ..

January 6, 2011 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lost an adviser to the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) - Dr. Gregory N. Connolly..
Reynolds, a unit of Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc., makes Camel and Winston cigarettes in addition to its Kool and Salem menthol brands. Lorillard Tobacco is a unit of Lorillard Inc., based in Greensboro, North Carolina. It makes Newport, the top-selling menthol brand. (Lorillard - essentially a one-product company - Newport cigarettes..)

Jeffrey Ventura, an FDA spokesman, declined to comment on the suit.

Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA unit is the biggest U.S. cigarette maker.

References: Reynolds, Lorillard Sue to Block U.S. Panel Views on Menthol in Cigarettes by Bob Van Voris (rvanvoris@bloomberg.net), Bloomberg.com, 2/25/2011;
Tobacco companies sue to thwart federal panel, claiming bias
by the CNN Wire Staff, CNN Health, 2/25/2011

Thailand submitted partial appeal before applellate body of the WTO..

February 25, 2011 - On 22 February 2011, Thailand notified the Dispute Settlement Body of its decision to appeal the panel report in DS371. The following notification, dated 22 February 2011, from the Delegation of Thailand, is being circulated to Members.

“Thailand [on February 22] submitted a partial appeal of the Panel Report findings before the Appellate Body of the WTO,” said Ambassador Manuel Teehankee, who is the Philippines’ permanent representative to the WTO. Teehankee said Bangkok has the right to thwart the adoption of the panel report as it filed an appeal ahead of the scheduled WTO Dispute Settlement Body meeting today in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Philippines in 2008 lodged a complaint alleging that Thailand violated WTO rules when Bangkok designated higher customs values for Manila’s cigarette exports and jacked up the maximum retail prices on imported cigarettes to protect the Thai state-owned tobacco monopoly. (Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..)

Previous news briefs on this subject:
November 17, 2010 - WTO panel order Thailand to set up uniform taxes on both foreign and locally made cigarettes..;
March 18, 2010 - WTO delays verdict on cigarette confrontation between Thailand and the Philippines..;
January 19, 2010 - Thailand - PMI likely breached the Foreign Business Act..;
November 9, 2009 - WTO - "DS 371" Philippines versus Thailand on cigarette customs valuation..;
September 3, 2009 - Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
November 11, 2008 - Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules.. .
In a report issued on November 15 last year, the panel that looked into the dispute recommended that “the Dispute Settlement Body request Thailand to bring . . . inconsistent measures . . . into conformity with its obligations under the GATT 1994 and the WTO Agreement.”

Despite Thailand’s appeal, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo expressed confidence “that the WTO Appellate Body will uphold the position of the Philippines and require Thailand to comply with its WTO obligations with respect to Philippine exports.

“The Philippines, being a major tobacco producer and a growing exporter of manufactured cigarettes to Thailand, will strongly defend the findings of the panel report,” he said.

References: Thailand appeals WTO ruling favoring RP tobacco by BEN ARNOLD O. DE VERA REPORTER, Manila Times, 2/23/2011; Bangkok appeals WTO tobacco ruling in favor of PHL, With Paterno Esmaquel II/VS, GMA News, 2/23/2011.

U.S. - Convenience Stores - Seizing Smokeless Opportunities

Click to enlarge..

February 25, 2011 - The tobacco customer is changing, along with consumers’ product options, which is driving optimism for a strong 2011, by Pat Pape, Contributing Editor, Convenience Stores (c-store) Decisions, 2/24/2011.

Swedish Match - Full Year Report January - December 2010..

February 25, 2011 - Swedish Match's (SM) sales during the 12 months to the end of December (excluding sales of the businesses transferred to the Scandinavian Tobacco Group ‒ STG ‒ on October 1), at SEK11,222 million, were increased by about five per cent from SEK10,678 million.

Group Presentation - 12 months ending June 30, 2010

Swedish Match today..
The largest snus manufacturer in Scandinavia, number one position
The third largest moist snuff manufacturer in the US
Well positioned in the growing US snusmarket
A 50/50 joint venture with Philip Morris International (PMI) to commercialize snusoutside of Scandinavia and the US
The largest manufacturer of chewing tobacco in the US, with market leading brands
A significant and growing presence in the US mass market cigar market
A leading manufacturer and distributor of matches and lighters with a strong brand portfolio across the globe
The largest distributor of tobacco products on the Swedish market
A 49 percent ownership of Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG), with market leading positions for US premium cigars, European machine-made cigars, and pipe tobacco, as well as for fine cut tobacco

SM - Primary Reporting Segements
Snus and snuff
Swedish snusi n Scandinavia and US
US moist snuff
Income from SMPMI
Other Tobacco Products (OTP)
US mass market cigars
Chewing tobacco
Fire products
Other operations
Central costs

Sales of the businesses transferred to Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG), at SEK2,385 million, were down by about 32 per cent from SEK3,526 million; so, overall, SM's sales, at SEK13,606 million, were down by about four per cent from SEK14,204 million.(Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S (STG) plans for the future..)

Sales of snus and snuff were up by about six per cent to SEK4,522 million, while sales of other tobacco products were up by about four per cent to SEK2,440 million. Lights sales were up by about two per cent to SEK1,429 million and sales from other operations were up by about five per cent to SEK2,831 million.

"For the full year 2010 Swedish Match reported solid sales growth across our businesses," said CEO, Lars Dahlgren.

"In the fourth quarter, sales, excluding businesses transferred to STG, increased by seven per cent. Sales in local currencies increased for every product area, except for 'Other operations'. Snus and snuff and 'Other tobacco products' showed strong improvements in operating profit.

"In the Snus and snuff product area, we achieved solid gains in sales for Scandinavian snus, with volume growth in Sweden and Norway. In the US, fourth quarter moist snuff sales were higher than last year, while operating profit was impacted by marketing investments behind General snus.

"Our investments for growth in the smoke-free business continue, and we see positive signs from recent new product initiatives in Scandinavia as well as in the US.

"At the end of 2010, SMPM International (Swedish Match PMI) began its second limited test, this time in Canada. This test is in addition to activities in Taiwan. (PMI will jointly sell SNUS worldwide with Swedish Match AB..)

"The US mass market cigar business continues to perform very well, and our market share continues to grow.

"With regard to our new partnership with Scandinavian Tobacco Group, operational since October 1, we are pleased with the pace of activity as Scandinavian Tobacco Group works through the integration process. We are now expecting to see some of the synergy benefits coming through over the coming quarters.

"Our Group strategy is to position Swedish Match as the global smoke-free leader, to leverage our strong platforms in other tobacco products – US mass market cigars and chewing tobacco, to maximize long term profitability, to continue our operational excellence for Lights, and, through active ownership, realize the potential of Scandinavian Tobacco Group."

Comparable operating profit (operating profit excluding businesses transferred to STG, share of net loss from STG and larger one time items) for the full year increased by nine per cent to SEK3,158 million and for the fourth quarter by about 13 per cent to SEK836 million.

References: SM’s sales of snus and snuff up six per cent, Tobacco Reporter, 2/23/2011; SWEDISH MATCH : Full Year Report January - December 2010, Swedish Match, 2/23/2011..

PAPER: Ghana - secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in selected public places..

February 24, 2011 - Briefly Ghana was the 39th country in the world to sign unto the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the first country in West Africa sub-region to ratify it in 2004. In its efforts at meeting this demand the National Tobacco Steering Committee (NTSC) started formulating a national tobacco control bill in 2005 for the attention of government. It is almost six years now since the drafting of the bill was concluded but, clearly, there is little indication that the bill will be passed into law anytime soon. Then also the issue of whether the bill should form part of the general Public Health Bill or be made to stand alone. (Ghana - smoking and tobacco use now part of general public health bill..)

PAPER: Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in selected public places (PM2.5 and air nicotine) and non-smoking employees (hair nicotine) in Ghana, Wilfred Agbenyikey1, Edith Wellington, John Gyapong, Mark J Travers, Patrick N Breysse, Kathleen M McCarty, Ana Navas-Acien (anavas@jhsph.edu), Tob Control 2011;20:107-111, ABSTRACT/FULL TEXT..

Ghana to ban smoking in public places in November 2008..

To protect all people from the health effects of second-hand smoke (SHS), the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) legally binds signatory countries to implement legislations that eliminate smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces.2 11 Political influence of multinational tobacco companies remains a major obstacle for the implementation of smoke-free legislations in African countries.12 Indeed, despite the large number of African countries that have ratified the FCTC (39 as of July 2009), only a few (Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Niger and South Africa) have passed legislation addressing tobacco control in public places.1

What this paper adds
In Ghana, as in most countries in Africa, little is known about the extent of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in public places. This study measured particulate matter of 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and air nicotine concentrations in hospitality venues and hair nicotine concentrations in non-smoking employees in Ghana.

SHS levels were unacceptably high in public places in Ghana where smoking is allowed, comparable to those measured in American, Asian and European countries without or before smoking bans.
Implementing a comprehensive smoke-free legislation that protects workers and customers from SHS exposure in indoor public places is urgently needed in Ghana.

References: Where Is Ghana’s Tobacco Control Bill?JEORGE WILSON KINGSON, GhanaWeb, 2/24/2011.
Second hand smoke, passive smoking, environmental smoking, involuntary smoking- sidestream smoke)

Ghana - related news briefs:
Ghana - smoking and tobacco use now part of general public health bill..;
Ghana - will tobacco tax increase bring changes in smokers??;

Ghana - ratified FCTC in 2004 but no Tobacco Control Law yet..;
Ghana - WHO FCTC meeting - alternatives to growing tobacco..;
Ghanaians - spend more on alcohol and tobacco than on food and other beverages..;
Africa - the increase in tobacco use must be prevented..;
Ghana - Tobacco Control Bill to parliament this month, July 2009..;
Ghana to ban smoking in public places in November 2008..;
FCTC Member Ghana - NO Law Banning Sales of Tobacco to Minors..
British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa..
Ghanaians - spend more on alcohol and tobacco than on food and other beverages..;
Africa - the increase in tobacco use must be prevented..;
Ghana - Tobacco Control Bill to parliament this month, July 2009..;
Ghana to ban smoking in public places in November 2008..;
FCTC Member Ghana - NO Law Banning Sales of Tobacco to Minors..
British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa..

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. new Camel dissolvable test sites identified..

RAI's, President and CEO, Susan Ivey is almost gone..

February 24, 2011 - The debate over dissolvable tobacco products will be stoked further in March when R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA launch new test markets.

Reynolds said Wednesday that it has chosen Charlotte and Denver as markets for its second phase of testing Camel Sticks, Camel Strips and Camel Orbs with adult tobacco consumers. David Howard, a Reynolds spokesman, said the closest its products would be available is Lake Norman and Mooresville. The products will be sold in three mint styles, as well as a variety pack of all three. "We hope to gain new and additional insight into our dissolvables from markets where there is proven demand for smokeless products and the Camel brand," Howard said.

Also Wednesday, Philip Morris said it will test Marlboro and Skoal smokeless tobacco sticks in unidentified markets in Kansas. It is its first attempt at dissolvable products. (Altria companies to test new smokeless tobacco stick..)

Jeff Middleswart, the portfolio manager for the Vice Fund of USA Mutuals, said that having the Camel and Marlboro brands involved in dissolvable products is likely to intensify the debate among advocacy groups. One set says that smokeless tobacco products serve as gateways for teenagers to cigarettes. The other set sees the products as a way to reduce the risk of tobacco use compared with cigarettes. "Anything tobacco will create criticism — it's just the way of the world," Middleswart said. "A new product that has the potential to gain market share is going to be a target."

In December, 2010, Reynolds exited test markets in Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Portland, Ore., after two years to evaluate the feedback it got from adult tobacco consumers.
R.J. Reynolds dissolvable tobacco products:

December 21, 2010 - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco confirms Camel Dissolvables being pulled from all 3-test markets.. David Howard, spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), Winston-Salem, N.C., told CSP Daily News, "We have made the business decision that we are going to be going to new lead markets for our dissolvable tobacco products late in the first quarter of 2011. As a result of that, we will be leaving the current three lead markets--Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore."

February 4, 2011 - R.J. Reynolds is making product and packaging upgrades to Camel’s new line of innovative dissolvable tobacco products — Orbs, Sticks and Strips — which will be introduced in two new lead markets in March. (Reynolds American Inc. highlights business report q4 and entire 2010..)

At that time, Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called on Reynolds to permanently pull the products and to stop pushing tobacco products that he said enticed children and discouraged smokers from quitting. Myers has said that the dissolvable products appeal to children because they are easily concealed and colorfully packaged, shaped and flavored to resemble mints or gum.

Legislators in some states are trying to ban dissolvable products even though the products are not sold there.(Documentation: For Our Children - ban all dissolvable tobacco products - permanently..)

Howard said Reynolds has made adjustments to the packaging, marketing and product mix of its dissolvable products. Reynolds took a similar phased approach before its national launch of Camel Snus, another spit-free smokeless product. "The packaging is now larger and looks more like packaging of other types of traditional tobacco products, and is a different color," Howard said. "The packaging still carries language 'keep this product out of the reach of children.' "

John Spangler, a professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, said that the new Reynolds packaging and labeling "may alleviate some concerns."
"But many tobacco-control advocates still remain concerned about the products' appearance — small tablet, stick and strip — that still look like candy," Spangler said. "This is particularly true of any flavored products." (Some facts for smokers to consider before considering smokeless tobacco.. - comments by Dr. Spangler)

Glaxo Smith Kline calls on U.S. govt to eliminate dissolvable tobacco products..

Reference: Dissolvable tobacco products to be tested by RICHARD CRAVER JOURNAL REPORTER, Winston-Salem Journal, 2/24/2011.

C-store update - images Marlboro/Skoal Smokeless Tobacco Sticks - starting March 2011..

February 24, 2011 -

Altria companies to test new smokeless tobacco stick..

Click on image sets to enlarge..

Altria Philip Morris USA Marlboro Smokeless Tobacco Sticks

Altria USSTB Skoal Smokeless Tobacco Sticks


Hong Kong - Tax increase adds HK$10 (1.28 USD) to cigarette price..

February 24, 2011 - Duty on cigarettes was proposed to rise by 41.5 percent, soaring to 70 percent of the total price of one cigarette, Financial Secretary John Tsang said Wednesday in his 2011-12 budget. Cigarette prices immediately moved up from HK$39 (5.00 USD) on average to HK$ 49 (6.28 USD) or higher on Wednesday afternoon, February 23rd closely following the budget announcement.

Hong Kong University (HKU) Response to the Increase in Tobacco Duty Presented in the Budget, HKU.hk, 2/24/2011.

Directly related new briefs:
February 14, 2011 - Hong Kong - govt officials meet with tobacco companies ahead of next week's budget..;
January 24, 2011 - Hong Kong - Council on Smoking and Health has called for a raise in tobacco tax to at least 75% of retail price...

"We welcome the tobacco control measures. Increasing the tax duty on cigarettes is really an effective way of encouraging people to quit smoking, especially the younger generation," said Lisa Lau, chairman of Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health.

Lau said the smoking population in Hong Kong remains at 670,000, roughly the same with the figure in 2009. However, the amount of young smokers aged between 15 and 29 has increased by 10 percent since then, she said. Lau suggested the government continue raising the duty tax to 75 percent of the total price as suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Reference: Tax increase adds HK$10 to cigarette price by MICHELLE FEI, China Daily Clips, 2/25/2011.

Hong Kong related news briefs:
Hong Kong - govt officials meet with tobacco companies ahead of next week's budget..;
Hong Kong - Council on Smoking and Health has called for a raise in tobacco tax to at least 75% of retail price..;
Hong Kong - latest survey - proportion of smokers in younger age group dropped by 10%..;
Hong Kong - as of December 1st smoking ban extended to 131 bus terminals..;
Study - many benefits including improvement in your sex life when you quit tobacco..;
Hong Kong - from August 1, incoming passengers allowed to import a maximum of 19 cigarettes, one cigar or 25 g of cut tobacco..;
Hong Kong - ways to beat the smoking ban..;
Hong Kong - smokers defy smoking ban, no penalty for owners of
China - can they learn tobacco control from Hong Kong??;
Hong Kong - 50% increase in tax on tobacco products approved..;
Hong Kong - cigarettes too cheap, tax only 61 and 66 percent of retail price..;
Hong Kong study - further proof, women have a harder time quitting cigarettes..;
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...

Altria companies to test new smokeless tobacco stick..

February 24, 2011 - Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco operating companies are planning to test-market a new type of smokeless tobacco product in Kansas starting in March.

Introduction of Marlboro and Skoal Smokeless Tobacco Sticks, Kenneth F. Podraza, Ph.D. (Ken.F.Podraza@altria.com), Vice President Scientific Issues, Altria Client Services, 2/16/2011.


The product, called a smokeless tobacco stick, is designed for smokers or snuff tobacco users looking for a spit-free alternative to traditional oral tobacco such as snuff, a company spokesman said Wednesday, February 23rd.

Top U.S. cigarette maker Philip Morris USA will test-market the product under the brand name of its most popular cigarette, Marlboro. Altria's smokeless tobacco subsidiary, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., will test-market a smokeless tobacco stick using the Skoal name, its top-selling brand. (Marlboro and Skoal Smokeless Tobacco Sticks..)

Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco plan to test-market the smokeless tobacco sticks in "limited distribution" in stores in Kansas, Ken Garcia, a spokesman for Altria Client Services said. Citing competitive reasons, he would not comment on why the company chose Kansas, how long the test-marketing might last, or how long the company has been researching and developing the product.

R.J. Reynolds dissolvable tobacco products:

December 21, 2010 - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco confirms Camel Dissolvables being pulled from all 3-test markets.. David Howard, spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), Winston-Salem, N.C., told CSP Daily News, "We have made the business decision that we are going to be going to new lead markets for our dissolvable tobacco products late in the first quarter of 2011. As a result of that, we will be leaving the current three lead markets--Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore."

February 4, 2011 - R.J. Reynolds is making product and packaging upgrades to Camel’s new line of innovative dissolvable tobacco products — Orbs, Sticks and Strips — which will be introduced in two new lead markets in March. (Reynolds American Inc. highlights business report q4 and entire 2010..)

"We know that about a quarter of adult smokers have said they are interested in smokeless tobacco alternatives to cigarettes," said Garcia. "There is obviously an opportunity in the marketplace there with adult smokers, so we want to gain understanding of how this product connects with adult smokers."

The smokeless tobacco sticks consist of finely milled tobacco that is coated on roughly 2.5-inch-long wooden sticks, Garcia said. About two-thirds of the stick is coated with tobacco. The consumer places the stick in their mouth and "enjoys the tobacco flavor," as Garcia described it, and discards the stick when done.

The product will be sold in packs of 10 sticks, priced roughly equivalent to a premium moist smokeless tobacco brand, Garcia said. The Skoal and Marlboro products will be sold in four flavors.
Marlboro Smokeless Tobacco Sticks, from PM USA, is a spit-free tobacco product for adult
smokers who are interested in smokeless tobacco alternatives to cigarettes. Four varieties (Rich Tobacco Sticks, Original Tobacco Sticks, Cool Mint Tobacco Sticks and Smooth Mint Tobacco
Sticks) will be introduced.

Skoal Smokeless Tobacco Sticks, from USSTC, is a spit-free tobacco product for adult dippers
who are interested in smokeless tobacco alternatives to moist smokeless tobacco. Four varieties
(Rich Tobacco Sticks, Original Tobacco Sticks, Mint Tobacco Sticks and Smooth Mint Tobacco
Sticks) will be introduced.

The smokeless sticks are the latest of several alternative tobacco products introduced in recent years as Altria Group and other cigarette makers have sought ways to replace declining overall U.S. cigarette consumption with novel products. Philip Morris USA and other cigarette companies also have moved into smokeless products to provide alternatives for smokers as a growing number of states and localities have adopted bans on public and indoor smoking.

In a statement Wednesday, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a major tobacco-control group, criticized the products as "yet another way to get people, including kids, hooked on nicotine and to keep those already hooked from quitting." The group called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use its regulatory authority over tobacco products to closely scrutinize the smokeless tobacco sticks.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday exactly how the FDA's tobacco regulations might affect the sale of smokeless tobacco sticks. The FDA was granted power by Congress to regulate tobacco in 2009, and the agency has issued rules requiring that new tobacco products or changes to existing products be submitted for approval. Exemptions are made for products deemed "substantially equivalent" to those already on the market before Feb. 15, 2007. (FDA to review new or altered tobacco products by JOHN REID BLACKWELL , Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/6/2011)

Garcia said the company provided product information that the FDA requires for a product launch. A spokesman for the FDA said the agency cannot comment on product submissions.

The product is being manufactured at a Richmond-area facility, but Garcia declined to be more specific.

Reference: Altria companies to test new smokeless tobacco stick by JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times_Dispatch, 2/24/2011.

Victoria, Australia - lots of smoke-free areas but very little enforcement..

February 23, 2011 - Councils that have introduced strict smoke-free areas -- shopping strips, beaches and playgrounds -- all admit no one has yet been fined, despite scores of smokers having been caught by their officers.

Directly related news briefs:
Australia, New South Wales - Sydney Beaches - good tobacco control measures but where's the enforcement..;
Western Australia - resources for enforcement of tobacco control measures needed..;
Australia - smoking bans must be enforced, especially at hospitals...

Frankston City Council in Victoria's Port Phillip Bay caused fierce debate in November by declaring parts of its Central Business District (CBD) smoke-free. (FRANKSTON’S trial outdoor smoking ban in busy shopping strips started November 8, 2010. Lighting up in the designated areas during the six-month trial will result in a $110 fine.). The council warned of fines of up to $2000. But in three months, none has been imposed. It is believed dozens of smokers are caught in Frankston's Shannon Mall every day. Mayor Kris Bolam said it was "fantastic" that no fines had been issued. "I think people have embraced the changes," he said. "I think (the trial) has been a success and there hasn't been a need to fine anyone."

Two other Melbourne councils that imposed bans - Port Phillip Council and Monash City Council - are also yet to issue a fine. Port Phillip mayor Rachel Powning said the council had not fined smokers for lighting up on beaches because the bans were in an "educational phase". The City of Monash's smoking ban, due to take effect on October 1, is believed to be the most far-reaching of any Victorian municipality.

Smokers seen flouting Frankston's laws yesterday - some just metres from signs warning of $2000 fines - said they were not worried about being caught. "No, I'm not worried. And I wouldn't pay the fine, either," Steph Koulaginis said. Ricky Starr said the council should accept that "nearly everyone smokes". "I'm glad they're not fining anyone. You should be able to smoke outside," he said.

Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie said Frankston had been brave to ban smoking. But she said there needed to be changes if it was true that some smokers were receiving numerous warnings. "If a person has been warned 15 times, then that is 13 times too many," she said. "(But) we have to remember that Frankston is the first to do this, so this has been a big trial and they need time to get it right," she said.

Reference: Councils hold fire on smoking fines SMOKE police have yet to hand out a single fine., Paul Tatnell, DailyTelegraph.com.au, 2/12/2011.

Western Australia (WA) - surprising with the toughest anti-smoking laws in the nation but yet smokers can still smoke at some shopping malls ??

Perth - call for smoking to be banned in
city malls. Source: PerthNow

February 23, 2011 - Australian Council on Smoking and Health president Mike Daube has written to the City of Perth seeking its support for a ban on smoking in the malls. But Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, a non-smoker, refused this week to back the plan, saying she would wait until a formal proposal came before the council. Prof Daube said he believed decision-makers now understood how harmful passive smoking was. "I think (banning smoking in the malls) would be a good idea because the vast majority of West Australians are non-smokers and it would be very attractive for them," he said. "I strongly support any move to protect non-smokers, especially in crowded areas such as shopping malls."

WA implemented the nation's toughest anti-smoking laws last year, banning smoking in cars with children, between the flags on beaches, in al fresco areas and within 10m of playgrounds. Prof Daube said smoking was already banned in Hobart's main shopping malls and a ban in Perth's major shopping hubs would be the next "logical step." (Congratulations Western Australia (WA) - September 22, 2010 stricter anti-smoking laws in effect..)

Passive Smoking: The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General - June 27, 2006; A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease - December 9, 2010.

WA Cancer Council chief executive Susan Rooney said she supported Prof Daube's proposal. "These are the main thoroughfares through the city and a meeting place for people, so having them smoke-free would benefit the more than 85 per cent of the population who do not smoke," Ms Rooney said.

Smoking-related illnesses kill an estimated 1200 West Australians every year.

Reference: Call to ban smoking in city malls, Phil Hickey, PerthNow.com.au, 1/22/ 2011.

Western Australia related news briefs:
Western Australia - resources for enforcement of tobacco control measures needed..;
Congratulations Western Australia (WA) - September 22, 2010 stricter anti-smoking laws in effect..;
Western Australia - September 22, 2010 stricter anti-smoking laws in effect..;
Western Australia - even in outdoor, well-ventilated areas, second-hand smoke presented a health risk..;
Western Australia - strict anti-smoking laws come into effect on September, 22, 2010..;
Smoking during pregnancy - potentially negative effect on reproductive health in the next generation..;
Australia - social cost of smoking $31 billion to economy..;
Western Australia - kids no longer interested in smoking..;
Western Australia - added sweetners make cigarettes easier to tolerate..;
Western Australia - major tobacco companies were worried about tobacco controls...

Pakistan - survey - 40% of people believe that being Islam prohibits you from smoking..

February 23, 2011 - Some 45% of Pakistanis believe that smoking cigarette is not prohibited in Islam as opposed to 40% who say it is, according to a Gilani Research Foundation survey. In the survey, carried out by Gallup Pakistan — the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International, a nationally representative sample of men and women were asked: “In some Muslim countries there is restriction on smoking and it has been declared ‘haram’ from an Islamic point of view.

In your opinion is smoking tobacco prohibited in Islam or not?” 40% of the respondents replied in affirmative whereas 45% said that smoking tobacco/cigarettes is not prohibited in Islam and 15% of the respondents gave no response.

Reference: 45% believe smoking not prohibited in Islam: poll, Gulf-Times.com, 2/23/2011.

Pakistan - related news brief:
Pakistan - many cities people don't even realize that tobacco controls exist..;
Pakistan - on average 273 Pakistanis die each day from smoking related diseases..;
Pakistan - govt revenue loss on account of tax evasion, smuggling and counterfeiting in cigarette industry..;
Pakistan - will soon increase size of graphic warnings on cigarette packs..;
Pakistan - as of October 1, 2010 - cigarette packs must have 20 cigarettes or more..;
Pakistan beats India introducing - pictorial warnings on cigarette packs.. - REALLY..;
Pakistan - pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs will be enforced from June 1, 2010..;
Pakistan - govt misses deadline to implement pictorial tobacco warnings..
Pakistan - over 273 people die daily of smoking related disease..;
Pakistan - implementation of tobacco control laws difficult..;
Pakistan - February, 2010 - graphic warnings on cigarette packs..;
Pakistan National Conference Tobacco Control, October 28th..;
Pakistan - pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and cartons soon..;
Pakistan - More, on rollback of the Statutory Regulatory Order on Designated Smoking Areas..;
Smuggled Cigarettes Give Boost To Pakistani Militants..;
Pakistan - strong tobacco control measures..;
Pakistan - Government must withdraw Statutory Regulatory Order..;
Bloomberg Grant: Tobacco Reforms in Pakistan...

New York City - Mayor Bloomberg signs legislation into law that bans smoking in parks and on beaches..

February 23, 2011 - City of New York has taken the anti-smoking crusade one step further. In early February its City Council approved a bill banning smoking in the city’s 1,700 city parks and along its 14 miles of city beaches. (New York City on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 the city council voted 36 to 12 in favor of the smoking restrictions, extending an existing ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the legislation into law Tuesday, February 22nd that bans smoking in many public spaces around the five boroughs. Under the new law, smoking will be banned in the city’s 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches. City pools and recreation centers will also be smoke free. The bill bans smoking in city pedestrian plazas, like in Times Square, as well. The new law will not be enforced by the city’s police force, but by officers of the Department of Parks and Recreation, who will be empowered to fine smokers $50 for each offense.

But Bloomberg speculated that in large part the ban will be enforced by good citizens “gently” encouraging smokers to be considerate of others. “This is going to be enforced by public pressure,” the mayor insisted, adding that “it’s just everybody’s going to turn to you and say, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t be smoking,’ [a]nd you know, most people listen to that.”

The law will go into effect in 90 days..

Background of this legislation:

February 2, 2011 - New York City - tomorrow is the day, ban on smoking in parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas should pass..;

January 8, 2011 - New York City - expects vote soon on smoking at beaches and park..

October 15, 2010 - New York City - City Council moves one step closer to extending smoking ban to parks and beaches..

August 24, 2010 - Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-smoking crusade could be coming to a city park or public beach near you, a plan plenty of people say crosses the line, reports CBS 2′s Dave Carlin. CBS 2 has learned that Mayor Bloomberg is looking at a possible smoking ban for all city parks and public beaches. The new measure would widen the current smoking ban – in bars, subways, buildings, playgrounds and other public places – to include some 29,000 acres of park land and 14 miles of beaches. (New York City - Mayor Bloomberg still mulling over smoking ban at NYC parks, beaches..)

July 7, 2010 - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Tuesday, July 6th that he was leaning toward seeking a ban on smoking at city parks and beaches. See Background below on October 1, 2009 the mayor indicated he was pushing ahead to get this done.
Mr. Bloomberg said the ban made sense because it would cut the health risks of secondhand smoke and reduce littering. (New York City - Mayor Bloomberg still considering smoking ban in parks and beaches.. - Get It Done Already!!)

October 1, 2009 - The mayor initially hedged when Health Commissioner Thomas Farley proposed the ban last month, saying enforcement would be difficult. But now Mayor Bloomberg says he's pushing ahead with a controversial plan to ban smoking at city parks and beaches, after earlier saying it needed more study. (New York City - Mayor Bloomberg pushing ahead to ban smoking in city parks and beaches..)

September 14, 2009 - The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, announced on Monday, September 14, 2009 that the Bloomberg administration would seek to ban smoking in city parks and beaches. (New York City - may ban smoking in parks and beaches...
February 9, 2011 - Meanwhile, the city of Boston may soon follow New York in banning smoking in parks and on beaches.

Reference: VIDEO - Bloomberg Signs Legislation Expanding Smoking Ban by: NY1 News, StatenIsland.ny1.com, 2/22/2011; New York City Bans Smoking in Parks, on Beaches by Dave Bohon, New American, 2/14/2011.

Swedish SNUS - European Union not about any time soon to legalize the use of snus..

February 23, 2011 - The Swedish government (again) is now urging the European Union (EU) to legalise snus (moist powder tobacco). But this has led to a quarrel between the government and its own experts in the National Board of Health and Welfare and in the Swedish National Institute for Public Health.

Except for Sweden, snus is outlawed by the European Union (EU) (in May, 1992) mainly because it was believed it would be used above all by young people, and that oral tobacco contained particularly large quantities of carcinogenic substances. (The use of snus is a vital component of the Swedish heritage - its use dating back over 200 years.)

The argument from the Swedish government is that the ban on snus goes against the free market. Sweden's Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Göran Hägglund writes that "there is no argument at all which motivates a ban on snus" (quote from Svenska Dagbladet) and he continues that snus is clearly less dangerous than cigarets. Therefore he claimst that the ban on snus "lacks logic".

But at the same time, experts in Sweden do not agree with Minister Hägglund. The Swedish argument of 'harm reduction' with convincing smokers to instead start with snus is "a myth" according to these experts.

The problem today is that the tobacco issue has become a health issue in the EU as it has been moved to the EU's Directorate for health. This is why is the Swedish Minister for health and not for trade is answering the letter from the EU. This has created a conflict and a dilemma between Swedish authorities.

The government's expert organs for health issues; the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish National Institute for Public Health, are both strongly negative towards snus and have warned several times for its consequences. They are careful in openly criticising the government's letter to the EU but they are against an increased market for snus. Dr. Gunilla Bolinder, Director of Education at Stockholm's Karolinska University Hospital points out, "To sing the praises of SNUS is a deathblow to over 20 years of hard tobacco preventive work. SNUS only saves the life of the tobacco industry" (SNUS gets the thumbs-down NEWS-24 1/31/2007).

Reference: Sweden wants the EU to legalise snus, Mats Öhlén (mats.ohlen@stockholmnews.com), StockholmNews.com, 2/20/2011.

Related news briefs:
SNUS Ewa Björling, Sweden's trade minister more concerned with sales than health..;
Royal College of Physicians still pushing the use of SNUS..;
Our Kids are still our number one priority..;
EU Scientific Committee Concludes: Insufficent Evidence to Lift Ban on SNUS..;
EU officials said that Snus might appeal too much to young people..;
Snus snub for Sweden at EU court...

Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Four “Lights” Cigarettes Cases in Multi-District Litigation..

February 23, 2011 - Philip Morris USA (PM USA) said a federal appeals court today appropriately denied review of a Nov. 24 trial judge's decision denying class certification in four "lights" cases. In denying further review, the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision, "Even assuming that the denial of class certification threatens to end the litigation, we conclude that the district court's certification analysis is not sufficiently questionable to warrant interlocutory review."

"Federal courts have unanimously rejected class action status in these cases," said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. "It simply is not possible to resolve these claims without determining why an individual smoker decided to purchase 'Light' cigarettes. There are numerous individual issues that render a class action unsuitable for resolving this type of case."

In its ruling, the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it declined to review a Nov. 24 decision of a district judge that denied class certification in four cases that were selected as sample cases for larger group of "Lights" cases pending across the country.

In denying class certification, the district court stated, "Each state's class effectively includes everyone who purchased light cigarettes in the respective limitations periods, and this group necessarily includes class members who knew light cigarettes were not healthier than other cigarettes, notwithstanding Defendants alleged representations to the contrary. Those class members were not injured by the Defendants' misconduct and thus do not have standing. Furthermore, in view of the proliferation of information decrying the health risks of all cigarettes, there is no telling how many potential class members are similarly situated."

The case is In re Light Cigarette Marketing Sales Practices Litigation, a Multi-District Litigation in which pretrial proceedings in various "Lights" cases are being coordinated in the U.S. District Court in Maine.

Reference: Philip Morris USA Says Appeals Court Denies Review of Class Action Ruling in 'Lights' Cases", Source: Philip Morris USA, 2/22/2011.

Yemen - number of smokers in relation to its population size is one of the highest in the world..

Yemen coat-of-arms..

February 22, 2011 - Yemeni teenagers are among at least a million of the country's 3.4 million cigarette smokers under 24 (23,580,220 - 2009 Source: World Bank), revealed statistics from a field survey published by the country's Central Organization for Control and Accounting.

The survey also confirmed that the ratio of the number of smokers in Yemen in relation to its population size is one of the highest in the world. Yemen has 3.4 million smokers and 29.2% of these are persons aged 17-24, according to the survey.

Yemenis annually smoke 6.4 billion cigarettes which equals 317.5 million packs of cigarettes. This means that they smoke 870,000 packs of cigarettes daily at an average cost of YR150 (0.70 USD) per box. Yemenis spend YR130.5-million (611,957.80 USD) on cigarettes per day. (1 USD = 213.250 YER)

Of particular interest are the reasons that Yemenis teenagers smoke. These include smoking during Qat sessions and curiosity. They also imitate adults, their parents or celebrities and this habit soon turns to addiction. Teenage boys also consider smoking to be a sign of maturity and manhood.

VIDEO - About Chewing Qat In Yemen ; Yemen threatens to chew itself to death over thirst for narcotic qat plant, Hugh Macleod in Wadi Dahr and John Vidal, Guardian.co.uk, 2/26/2010.

“I am not a child anymore. I am an adult now and I know what I am interested in,” explained a 13-year-old smoker, Hussam. He said that he smoked his first cigarette two years ago. He now smokes a one-and-a-half boxes of cigarettes per day. He smokes more than two boxes when he chews Qat with his friends. “I don’t taste the Qat if I didn’t smoke,” said Hussam.

Fathya Hamid, a social expert in Yemen, said that when teenagers start to smoke cigarettes they usually want to imitate their idols or parents. “There is no control and monitoring by their families so this leads to increased smoking,” she added.

Smoking has also spread among male and female high school students, revealed the study. A recent study published by the Cancer Center at the University of Aden indicated that a total 37% of young men compared to 13% of young women smoke cigarettes.

Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that 12,000 Yemenis die annually from cancer as a result of smoking. The organization said that smoking is the second leading cause of death globally after hypertension or high blood pressure. The WHO estimates that death from smoking would increase to 10 million by 2020 and 70% of these will be in developing countries.

Reference: One million young smokers in Yemen, Written By: Fares Anam, yobserver.com, 2/15/2011.

Reminder - increased risk to animals' health when living with a smoker..

February 22, 2011 - Veterinary Alex Gough this week told the ­Veterinary Times that passive ­smoking is not just a problem for humans. He wrote: “Current evidence ­suggests that there is a significant increased risk to our animals’ health involved with living with a smoker.” (Pets - Pets can be harmed by second-hand smoke and/or ingestion of tobacco products..; Pets can be harmed by second-hand smoke and/or ingestion of tobacco products...)

His review of research showed that passive smoking (environmental tobacco smoke, ets, involuntary smoking, sidestream smoke) can give pets diseases from bronchitis to cancer. For cats illnesses linked to environmental tobacco smoke include asthma and cancer of the lymph nodes and mouth. Dogs living with smokers have a “significantly higher” risk of ­bronchitis and are more vulnerable to nasal cancer, especially long-nosed breeds such as greyhounds and lurchers.

Mr Gough, from Bath, says some critics want smokers to be banned from keeping pets even though we don’t have laws to protect children from passive smoking. And ­depriving smokers of Tibbles or Fido seems a bit extreme.

Mr Gough says ideally pet ­owners should not smoke, based on the evidence. “If this information encourages owners to quit,” he says, “we may find ourselves saving human lives into the bargain.”

Reference: PASSIVE SMOKING FOR PETS by John Ingham, Scottish Daily Express, 2/18/2011.

Spain - the govt is serious - smoking ban holding this time..

José Eugenio Arias-Camisón smokes a cigar in his
restaurant, which was closed Thursday due to refusal
to comply with the smoking ban.- JULIÁN ROJAS
February 22, 2011 - The owner of the Asador Guadalmina in San Pedro Alcantara, closed because he failed to obey the smoking ban, has announced that he will reopen on March 10. He says this will give his staff a “much-deserved” holiday. The Junta authorised the restaurant to reopen after he gave a written promise that he would no longer allow smoking on the premises. However he has said he will continue to campaign against the legislation. (Asador Guadalmina to reopen as non smoking restaurant, Costa del Sol, EuroWeeklyNews.com, 2/21/2011)

This restaurant shut down by police last week for repeatedly violating Spain's tough new anti-smoking law will reopen next month smoke-free, the owner of the establishment. Jose Antonio Arias, the owner of El Asador Guadalmina, defiantly vowed a week ago that no one would close his business. But Thursday he said he had decided to obey the law out of concern for his 16 employees and their families.

"I have decided to accept the law," Arias told reporters at a news conference at his restaurant, hours after regional health authorities said he had written to them, agreeing to adhere to the law that prohibits smoking in all indoor bars and restaurants.

Authorities said he still faces a nearly $200,000 fine for allowing smokers in his locale for nearly six weeks after the new law took effect January 2. (Spain - anti-smoking law goes into effect Sunday, January 2, 2010.)

Arias last week told Spanish media he would never pay the fine, and health officials sent police on February 10 to close his restaurant, located near the popular southern Mediterranean resort of Marbella. The closure of the restaurant was believed to be the first nationwide since the law went into effect, a Spanish health ministry spokesman said last week.

Before the shutdown, Arias said, "I am using my constitutional rights as a citizen and I'm not going to be run over by this dictatorial, Marxist, terrorist government."

The twice-elected Socialist government won backing for a law in 2006 that essentially allowed many bars and restaurants to choose if they would prohibit smoking. But as smoking continued across Spain, parliament followed up with the tougher one that banned such indoor smoking.

The law puts Spain in line with the strictest European countries -- Britain, France and Italy -- which prohibit smoking in all enclosed public spaces.

The Spanish government says most of the nation's 300,000 bars and restaurants are complying with the new law. Many have added to their outdoor terrace space, or put in outdoor heating, so that clients can step outside for a smoke, where it is allowed.

Regional health inspectors visited Arias' restaurant Wednesday to confirm that large signs which previously stated "this law will not be applied in our establishment" had been replaced with others that say smoking is prohibited, a regional health service spokeswoman told CNN.

Arias, at his news conference on Thursday, claimed he faced the potential fine because of the signs stating his disobedience to the law, and not for letting people smoke in his restaurant.

He vowed to continue a signature-gathering campaign across Spain to rally support to overturn the law, which Spain's hotel and restaurant federation says has caused a loss of business for many establishments.

Arias said his restaurant will reopen March 10. Until then, he added, the staff will have a vacation.

References: Restaurant shut down over smoking ban to reopen -- smoke-free by Al Goodman, CNN World, 2/17/2011; Rebel tobacco bar shut down, amid cheers and drinks The police take eight hours to close Andalusian restaurant which had refused to abide by the smoking ban, R. RINCÓN / J. VIÚDEZ - Sevilla / Marbella, Elpais.com/ - 2/11/2011.

Spain - related news briefs:
Spain - Spanish Hotel and Catering Association (FEHR) complains about loss of business..;
Palencia, Spain - hotels and restaurants protest anti-smoking law..;
Spain - anti-smoking law goes into effect Sunday, January 2, 2010.;
Spain - new smoking ban goes into effect January 2, 2011 - how many jobs will be lost??;
Paper: Spain - cost of each pack of cigarettes up to $150..;
Spain - doctors call for tobacco sales banned in vending machine in bars and from kiosks..;
Spain - the Basque Governing Council gives green to the latest anti-smoking bill..:
Spain - ban smoking legislation wins unanimous support in parliament..;
Spain - tougher smoking restrictions not until 2011..;
Spain - Indonesia`s clove cigarettes popular in Spain..;
Spain - health minister believes society mature enough to accept total smoking ban..;
Spain - cigarette sales are up - so what else is new!!;
Spain - zero tolerence smoking ban this year or next??:
Spain - in June 2010 government will present a law to congress to ban smoking in closed public places..;
Spain - government postpones debate on tougher smoking legislation..;
Spain - smoking ban to be implemented on January 1, 2010 still being delayed..;
Spain - still some hesitation on total smoking ban for country..;
Spain - hotel and catering industry protests plan to ban smoking next year..;
Spain - hopes next year to expand ban on smoking in enclosed public places..;
Spain - impact of 2006 law banning smoking in public places..;
Spain - ready for expansion and enforcement of Anti-Smoking Act..;
Spain - ready for full smoking ban in public places..;
Spain - ban smoking public places - a lot of talk no action..;
Spain plans gruesome images on cigarette packs sometime in future..

European Conference on Tobacco or health, March 28th - 30th, Amsterdam, The Netherlands..

During this special and important plenary session, the tobacco control strategies of California, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom will be presented, compared and discussed. Why were there strategies chosen, what made them successful and can they be succefully applied in other countries? You can discover the strategy that suits your country best and take it home to implement a successful strategy in your own country!

Learn More: Welcome to the ECToH 2011 conference website!

Cuban cigar sales up in 2010 thanks to jump in Asian sales..

February 22, 2011 -

WELCOME TO THE 13th HABANO'S FESTIVAL! February 21st to 25th, Cuba..

Cuban cigar sales rose 2% last year, according to the latest figures, reversing a downward trend. This is thanks to a jump in Asian sales as China overtook Germany as the third largest market for Habanos SA, the worldwide distributor of Cuban cigars. The distributor generated £228m in worldwide sales, a slight increase on the previous year rather than the much-anticipated drop, given bans in Europe and elsewhere on smoking in bars, restaurants and public spaces.

Spain and France remain the biggest markets, but following the opening of Cuban cigar shops in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, China is catching up. Brands such as Montecristo, Cohiba and Patargás offer an image of luxury and sophistication, qualities sought by China's burgeoning middle class.

These days, venues such as Havana Nirvana in Shanghai and Cohiba Atmosphere in Beijing allow the moneyed elite to relax with an expensive import and store prized purchases in rented humidors, ensuring their cigars remain in top condition.

But some Chinese aficionados have been enjoying Cuban tobacco since before the current boom. When William Wang sampled his very first cigar, eight years ago, the domestic sector barely existed. He can still recall the aroma of the Davidoff he savoured in a Shanghai wine bar.
Marketing manager for Casa de Tobaco, which arranges cigar-related events, Wang added: "In China, the people who smoke cigars are the upper class, the elite, or people who have come back from overseas.

"After people [who smoke] get rich, they want something nicer, something more upscale, something different. A cigar becomes their best choice. And in China, the number of people who become very rich is getting bigger and bigger."

A 2008 report said the Chinese cigar market was worth around 2.2bn yuan — but 200m of the 370m cigars sold that year were poor quality domestic products sold at rockbottom prices.

Industry sources say the market for imports is growing by around 30% a year or more. "Foreigners were the first [cigar] smokers in China, then gift-senders began buying Cuban cigars for people they wanted to please, and later people started to smoke themselves," said KC Chan, manager of Hong Kong-based Infifon, Habanos SA's distributor to the mainland.

This is welcome news for an industry shrouded in gloom when Habanos SA, a joint venture between Cuba and Imperial Tobacco Group, blamed an 8% fall in overseas sales last year on recession and bans.

The figures were released by its marketing director, Ana Lopez, at a news conference opening its annual cigar festival.

The company hopes smaller cigars, which are quicker to smoke, will appeal to smokers banished to the cold outdoors. "We're trying to offer a combination of new products, but smaller cigars are more important than in the past because there are fewer places to smoke and less time," said Lopez.

Part of the strategy is the Julieta, a smaller, milder version of the Romeo y Julieta cigar, to lure female smokers.

Connoisseurs say Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars that emulate Cuban hand-rolling techniques can be equally smooth, but lack the romanticism of those from the Caribbean island.

Churchill, a fan of Romeo y Julieta, had a long, fat variety named after him in 1947. John F Kennedy was so partial to Petit H Upmanns that he dispatched his press secretary to get 1,200 of them before slapping a US embargo on Cuba. Castro, who famously survived a CIA assassination plot involving an exploding cigar, liked to be photographed with a Cohiba Corona Especial clamped between his teeth, but he quit in 1985 for health reasons.

However, life is becoming increasingly difficult for smokers everywhere. A tough new Honduran law came into effect on Monday allowing family members to summon the police to stop people smoking at home. Smoking in most closed public or private spaces is prohibited, and in open spaces smokers must stand at least 6ft from non-smokers. (Honduras - smoking in public places ban starts February 21, 2011 - also other tobacco control measures..)

Reference: Cuban cigar sales up 2 percent in 2010, 2011 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY, Investors.com, 2/21/2011.

Cuba related news briefs - mainly regarding cigars:
Cuba - elderly will no longer get cigarettes in their rations..;
Cuban cigars - increased sales after a decline in 2009..;
Cuba - premium cigar sales down look to women to increase sales..;
Cuba - slashes tobacco land, demand for cigars down..;
Cuba Seeks World Heritage Designation for Cigar-Factory Readers..;
Tampa, FL - Hav-A-Tampa Cigar plant will close at the end of August..;
Habanos - after hurricanes can survive using tobacco reserves..;
Imperial Tobacco Group to Enhance Joint Venture Altadis Had With Habanos Cigars..;
Cuban cigar sales rose 7 percent to $402 million in 2007..;
Altadis (Alliance Tobacco Distributors) born from the merger of Spain's Tabacalera and France's Seita SA (F.STA) state tobacco monopolies...

Chandigarh, India - a leader in tobacco control..

February 22, 2011 - CHANDIGARH, a union territory of India - that serves as the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana, city administration is all set to tighten its grip around the tobacco companies as it has decided to notify a draft to tobacco vendors licencing rules soon, despite opposition by the tobacco companies.

“Chandigarh Tobacco Control Cell” met under the chairmanship of the UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas on Monday, February 1st. Niwas said: “Tobacco kills nearly a million people in India every year and no opposition from any lobby would be allowed to interfere in decisions taken in the interest of public especially when it is going to save lives of thousands of people.”

He has also asked the police and the Food and Drug Administration to increase the level of enforcement, especially during the evening and inside the liquor taverns and government offices of Haryana and Punjab operating from the city. The education department is also in the process of preparing a list of vendors selling tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institutions, in violation of orders.

Home secretary Ram Niwas also discussed rules relating to licensing of trade of tobacco within Chandigarh and members were asked to submit final comments so that these could be notified at the earliest.

Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan presented figures of reported violations for the last 10 months and stressed that the food department will also intensify the drive against violations of Section 4 of COTPA (Public smoking).

According to the report by World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health Survey, the figure of tobacco users in Chandigarh has come down to a low of 14 percent compared to the national average of 35 percent. (India - govt releases results of GAT Survey..) Chandigarh has also emerged as the best city in terms of exposure to Second Hand Smoke (SHS).

According to the figures released in the tobacco survey document; less than 11 percent people have any kind of exposure to second hand smoke anywhere in the city, compared to the national average of 29 percent and the highest Meghalaya, where over 54 percent are exposed to SHS.

Similarly, the figures of number of people consuming tobacco in Chandigarh is 3.3 percent which is less than 4.8 percent of Punjab and way below the national average of 20.6 percent. This is remarkable if it be considered that Punjab has over 56 percent Sikh population compared to just 19 percent here.

Reference: Chandigarh to ensure enforcement of tobacco control laws, DailyPioneer.com, 2/22/2011; Licences for tobacco vendors soon, TNN, Times of India, 2/22/2011.

India - some related news briefs:
*India - Cancer docs take tobacco battle inside parliament..;
*India - 80% of teenagers in metropolitan cities are addicted to smoking cigarettes..;
*India - despite govt ban, sale and advertising of tobacco products is rampant around educational institutions..;
*India - foreign cigarette companies could soon find it harder to sell their products..;
*Maharashtra, India - collecting fines from anti-tobacco drive..;
*India - health ministry formulating policy that is smokeless tobacco specific..;
*India - celebs shy away from endorsing tobacco and liquor..;
*Mumbai, India - students campaign to spread word on the dangers of tobacco products..;
*India - cigarette/bidis companies resume tobacco production..;
*India - will delay for a year the use of scarier pictorial warnings on cigarette and bidi packs..;
*India - cigarettes and bidis manufacturers halt production seek clarification on pictorial health warnings..;
*India - Tobacco Board warns farmers against planting unauthorized crop..;
*India - revised pictorial warnings on tobacco products will be implemented from December 1, 2010..;
*India - captions with pictorial warnings should use local languages..:
*India - pictorial warning will appear on every tobacco pack sold from June 1, 2010..;
*India - government set to ban foreign direct investment in tobacco..;
*India - despite tobacco control measure in place - tobacco sales increase..;
*India - still confusion pictorial warnings on cigarette packs..;
*Mumbai, India - NGO activists want closure of hookah bars..;
*India - gutkha and bidi companies NOT pictorial warnings..;
*India - cigarette packs with pictorial warnings are here..; *India - NO graphic pictorial warnings yet..;
*India - Still no pictorial warnings on cigarette packs..;
*India - pictorial warning on cigarettes and tobacco products effective May 31, 2009..;
*India - pictorial warning on cigarettes and tobacco products will be implemented from May 31 - no doubts about it..;
*India - will pictorial or graphic health warnings be implemented from May 30, 2009..;
*India - placing pictorial warnings on tobacco products delayed again...

Honduras - smoking in public places ban starts February 21, 2011 - also other tobacco control measures..

Honduras seal..
February 22, 2011 - A ban on smoking in public places and some private areas went into effect on Monday, February 21st in Honduras, the latest among half a dozen Latin American countries to pass anti-tobacco laws.

The Anti-Tobacco Act was an initiative of the Deputy President, which was tabled over the previous several years. It was not until last year, after a rigorous process of talking with tobacco businesses and civil society in general, that it was approved. This was also done to comply with international treaties regarding smoking in public, of which the Government of Honduras is a signatory.
"This law will reduce diseases, especially cardiovascular ones," said Health Minister Arturo Bendana as he celebrate a "historical event."

In Honduras, 30 percent of the people smoke, and nine out of 10 Hondurans suffering from acute bronchitis live in homes where there is a smoker, according to Honduran health authorities. For every dollar that the tobacco industry makes in Honduras, the state spends $10 to fight smoking-related diseases, according to the Health Department.

Smoking is now banned in buildings, offices, supermarkets and malls, bars, discotheques, hotels, gyms, public parking lots and public transportation. The new measure bans smoking in most closed public or private spaces and orders smokers to stand at least six feet away from nonsmokers in any open space.

A clause, however, expressly says relatives or visitors can summon police to deal with smokers at home: "Families or individuals may complain to law enforcement authorities when smokers expose them to secondhand smoke in private places and family homes."

Rony Portillo, director of the Institute to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, said those who violate the law will first receive a verbal warning and after the second offense could be arrested. To be released they would have to pay a $311 fine, the equivalent of a monthly minimum wage salary in Honduras. "The law is clear and we will comply with it," Portillo said. "Authorities will intervene (at a home) when someone makes a complaint."

The law says businesses, such as bars or restaurants, that allow smoking could be fined between $1,000 and $6,000 and repeat offenders could be shut down.

The law also outlaws all advertising for tobacco products and requires photos of lungs affected by cancer to be placed on cigarette packs. Tobacco and cigarette companies have 60 days to comply with both requirements.

Some say the law will be almost impossible to enforce in a country of 8 million people with a rampant crime problem and only 12,000 police officers. "Police won't be able to enforce it because they can barely keep up with the crime wave that has been overwhelming us to be able to go after those who are smoking at home," said Jose Martinez, a 38-year-old computer engineer who has smoked for 20 years.

In March 2006, Uruguay became the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to ban smoking in public places. Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru have since followed suit.

But in some other countries, smoking laws are not coordinated at the national level. In Argentina, for example, it is illegal to smoke in public places in the most populous province of Buenos Aires, but other regions allow it.

References: Anti-Smoking Law Takes Effect in Five Days, HondurasNews.com, 2/16/2011; Honduras bans smoking in public places, AFP, france24.com, 2/21/2011; Honduras law lets police be called on home smokers, Associated Press writer Olga R. Rodriguez in Mexico City contributed to this report. 2/21/2011.