Tuesday, August 12, 2008

100% Tobacco Free

RALEIGH, N.C. - “No smoking or use of tobacco products will be permitted in any College facilities or vehicles or on any campus grounds …” So begins Wake Tech’s “tobacco-free” policy, launched in 2007. By the end of this week, that policy will be standard operating procedure at all Wake Tech campuses and training centers. Wake Tech will be 100% tobacco free on August 1, when the college’s Main Campus becomes the last Wake Tech campus to put the tobacco-free ruling into effect.

President Stephen C. Scott and the Board of Trustees resolved to eliminate smoking and tobacco products on all Wake Tech campuses more than a year ago; they have been systematically putting the new policy into effect on Wake Tech campuses since then.

“We recognize that the use of tobacco products is not only a health hazard, but a practice that poses serious safety and environmental risks as well,” said Dr. Scott. “We believe that prohibiting the use of tobacco at Wake Tech is a vital step in providing the healthy learning and working environment we want for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.”

The policy is one part of a comprehensive health promotion program that includes education, prevention, cessation support, and policy reform that has long been a priority for Wake Tech’s administration. Wake Tech is a recognized leader in training the region’s nurses and allied health care providers.

The NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission awarded Wake Tech $75,000 to help bring about significant change college wide. The grant funds have been used to hire a full-time Health and Wellness Coordinator to oversee and promote the tobacco-free policy, as well as other health initiatives, across all campuses. Grant funds have also made it possible for Wake Tech to offer free smoking cessation programs each semester for those who want to kick the habit. Faculty and staff members were trained by the American Lung Association to facilitate the 8-week cessation program sessions.

The Northern Wake Campus opened in August 2007 as a totally tobacco-free campus. In January of this year, the new Public Safety Training Center followed suit when it opened, and Wake Tech’s Western Wake and Health Sciences campuses officially became tobacco free at that time as well.

Voluntary compliance will be emphasized for the first year that the new policy is in place. After that, students who violate the policy could receive a fine or be required to perform community service on campus. Employees could be subject to a written reprimand, probation, or termination.

Friday, July 18, 2008

EU executive wants higher tax on cigarettes

BRUSSELS, - Minimum duty on cigarettes should increase to reflect inflation, putting all European Union states on an equal footing and weaning more people off tobacco, the bloc's executive said on Wednesday.

"This proposal ... suggests a number of important amendments to existing community legislation in order to modernise and simplify existing rules, make them more transparent and better integrate public health concerns," the European Commission said.

Consumption of cigarettes in the 27-nation bloc fell 10 percent between 2002 and 2006 while excise duties rose by an average 33 percent.

"In order to trigger a similar decline in consumption over the coming five years, further increases in excise duties would be desirable," the Commission said.

A 25 percent hike in cigarette prices would be needed to achieve a 10 percent cut in demand, the Commission said.

The proposal is part of the executive's regular four-yearly update on the bloc's tobacco excise duties. Unanimity among the EU's member states is needed to adopt tax proposals.

The EU executive proposes giving member states greater flexibility in levying excise duties as part of efforts to cut cigarette consumption.

It also wants higher duties on roll-your-own tobacco to bring them in line with tax on cigarettes.

"In line with the structure of minimum rates on cigarettes, it is proposed to introduce a compulsory monetary and ad-valorem minimum requirement for fine-cut tobacco," the proposal said.

This would mean an increase in the minimum rates for fine cut to 60 euros per kilo.

Excise duties on cigars and cigarillos is also needed to take into account inflation for the 2003 to 2007 period, the Commission said.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Camel Redesign

A redesign of the Camel Lights packaging (the first since the brand's inception in 1913), coupled with a remix of the cigarette's long-standing recipe, poses a challenge to consumer brand loyalty.

The graphics on the package have been streamlined and stylized with bolder metallic colors and the cigarette has been enhanced with a blue stripe. It's still too early to tell what, if any effect the rebranding, launched in March, will have on sales, says RJ Reynolds Tobacco spokesperson David Howard. Camel Lights sell higher than all other Camel styles but Howard says, "part of the push behind this packaging refresh" was that the Lights' share of the market had become relatively flat. "In our focus group testing with adult smokers, both franchise smokers—current Camel smokers—as well as smokers of competitive brands, the response was very positive. Franchise smokers said that they liked the packaging as much if not more than the current packaging, they also liked the blend as much and found it at parity with Camel."

Rosie, a 22 year old from Allston and a Camel Lights smoker, was confused by the under-the-radar switch. "I thought I had mistakenly been sold a package of Camel Turkish Golds." The new design may have colored her impression of the cigarette's flavor at first. "I checked the package and thought maybe the taste was in my head, like I had just gotten a stale pack."

Elizabeth Miller, assistant professor of marketing at Boston College, says history has proven such switches risky. "There is always a danger when you change your formula when you're trying to attract new people, that you might make loyal users upset," she explains. "The classic example, of course, is Coke, when they changed their formula in the 80s. People were extraordinarily upset and they had to change it back."

Retaining the base of their franchise smokers was a priority for the Winston-Salem, North Carolina tobacco company, as was catching the attention of smokers of competitive brands. Whether either goal is ultimately achievable, particularly with smokers—who are, perhaps more than any other type of consumer, drawn to the predictability of ritual and the familiarity of their brand of choice—is debatable.

Susan Fournier, associate professor of marketing at Boston University, conducted six months of research on consumers' reactions to change. Products like cigarettes or caffeine tend to breed more resistance. "These are literally addicted people, and brand-addicted people," she says.

The experiment found that the stronger the subject's relationship was with the brand—"people who had a metaphoric relationship more akin to a partnership"—the more jarring the reaction when a product was altered. People with weaker relationships to brands, what Fournier calls "flings," were more open to change. "For people who were in flings, they thought of changes as exciting, because it brought new vitality to the brand," Fournier says. "Whereas the other people felt betrayal, like, 'Oh! You're not the brand I married!'"

As with romantic relationships, many react to perceived scorn by acting out. "I will definitely try out new brands," says Rosie. "I'll probably switch at least for a while, in the hopes that other folks do too and the new Camel Lights end up losing them money."

Joshua Sheppard, 21, used to buy Camel Lights by the carton. "But now I am hesitant to even pick up another pack," he says. "Even though it breaks my heart, I've been favoring Parliament Lights lately."

These reactions seem incongruous with the intent of Camel Lights' redesign and the new "higher end" recipe which calls for "premium" tobacco, using more leaves from higher on the tobacco plant's stalk.

"It doesn't taste like higher grade tobacco at all," says Rosie. "I suppose it's more 'flavorful,' but personally I think less is more. It's harsher, and the smell is way more intense."

Howard acknowledges iconic branding creates resistance to change, but insists, "Innovation cannot be restricted to brand new things. You've got to be willing to even take something as iconic as your Camel base and say, 'Hey, can we take something that's already great and utilize innovation to make it even better.'"

alternative cigarettes

An alternative method of puffing away at the pub has drifted into the national consciousness and is causing quite a stir in the industry.
So-called electronic or alternative cigarettes give users the sensation of smoking, even producing a vapour that can be inhaled and exhaled while delivering the nicotine hit, but are legal as no harmful smoke is emitted.
One brand on the market is called the SuperSmoker.
Its Ultimo model, which retails at around £78, allows smokers to dodge the smoking ban, which has now been in place for a year.
Inventors say the system helps people lead a healthier lifestyle and is much cheaper, claiming it can knock 65 per cent off of normal smoking costs.
It is legal to use inside pubs and clubs as it causes no harm to those sharing their air.
Cartridges are placed into a pre-charged atomizer and users suck on it like a normal cigarette.
The firm say it looks, tastes and smokes like a conventional cigarette but has no detrimental health effects on others and say it doesn’t cause cancer.
We asked 58-year-old smoker Graham Bates from Herne Bay to trial the SuperSmoker Ultimo on a trip to his local.
He said: “I felt a little strange using it. It does have a certain sensation of smoking but you have to suck pretty hard to get much out and it leaves a sugary taste on the lips.
“I used it in the pub and the barman did initially ask me to stop but I showed him the product and he was fine with it. He said he had seen them before and had no issues with people using them.”
Mark Bradley, assistant manager of the Prince of Wales pub in Railway Street, Chatham, said: “I’ve actually got one of the electronic cigarettes.
“I went to the London Bar Show last week and they were giving them out. I think they’re brilliant and bought some for my staff.”
Sam Griggs, trainee assistant manager of the Druid’s Arms in Earl Street, Maidstone, said: “I think they’re a good idea.
“I’ve not seen anyone using them in the pub. We’ve only got a little garden and it normally gets packed with smokers so products like this may become quite popular.
“It might cause a bit of conflict, though, as other customers may think they’re real cigarettes.”
Graham Moore, landlord of the Dukes Head in Sellindge, said: “I wouldn’t have any objections to them being used here. If they are legal to use indoors and don’t disturb anyone else then that’s fine.”
Ian Gray, from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, has looked into the sensation.
He said: “We have been the advisors to all the regulatory authorities on this matter and are hearing about it more and more.
“Our main concern was that officers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference but it’s clear if you are close to them they’re not normal cigarettes.”
He added: “They are perfectly legal to use because, in our view, this isn’t smoking. If people are using them it’s very unlikely that a local authority would want to make a prosecution as the legislation is to protect people from second-hand smoke but if there is none of that then there’s not really a basis for a prosecution.”
Mr Gray says the craze is catching on: “They seem to be using them a lot in the North. I suppose if you don’t want to go outside, it’s a real alternative.
“They seem to be particularly popular in bingo halls where older people who may not want to get up and go outside and all that goes with that such as collecting your coat.”

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cigarette tax kicking butt

PITTSFIELD — Smokers felt the first burn of the state's new $1 tax increase on cigarettes yesterday.
"It's disgusting, people can't live today with all of these taxes, it's killing business," said a patron of A-Mart on North Street, who identified himself as "Stoney."
The statewide cigarette tax increase of $1 went into effect yesterday, after passage in the Legislature late Monday and Gov. Deval L. Patrick's signature yesterday.
In January, the average nationwide price of a pack of cigarettes was $4.25, as reported by a study tracking state cigarette prices, but in Massachusetts, an average pack cost $5.41.
With the total tax now at $2.51, Massachusetts now
Projections are that the tax hike will raise up to $174 million in revenues to help support the state's health insurance programs. Medical News Today, an online newsletter reported in February that the state's subsidized health insurance coverage could cost the state as much as $1.35 billion over the next several years.
"If they were smart, they would have the same tax that New Hampshire has," said Mark Parrott, manager of A-Mart in Pittsfield, where he was tagging new prices yesterday.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reports that New Hampshire's cigarette tax is $1.08 per pack.
"They claim that they will raise $175 million with
this tax increase, but they will actually raise less, because they are not going to get the same number of consumers that they had before," said Parrott. "Some are going to quit smoking, and others are going to go to (buy in) other states."
For smokers, the cigarette tax adds to the increasing cost of gas and other commodities. But lawmakers hope the new tax will cause consumers to quit smoking.
But some smokers won't quit.
"Smoking is undoubtedly an addiction, in fact, it is more addictive than many more expensive drugs," said Emily Blanchard, community health worker for the Berkshire Area Health Education Center.
"Everyone has their own individual struggles, for one person it might be more difficult to quit than it would be for another person," she said.
During the month of June, the state was offering free two-week supplies of nicotine patches to individuals who called 1-800-trytostop. The program may continue depending on how successful it was, Blanchard told the Eagle.
Though Gloria Wilson feels the tax is too much, none of her friends seem upset by the increased tax, she said.
For many smokers, cigarettes use has been a part of their lifestyles since they were teenagers, said Wilson, a Pittsfield resident.
"I have smoked since I was 14," she said.
Pittsfield resident Anne Bishop, who was smoking a cigarette at a North Street park on Tuesday, said she's been smoking since she was in high school.
"I could quit if I wanted to, I have in the past, I could quit if they kept increasing the tax," Bishop said, but she indicated no intentions of quitting now.
She said cigarettes are not the products that should receive a tax increase.
"I think instead of increasing (the tax on) cigarettes, they should increase a liquor tax," Bishop said. "Drinking is more of a problem to quit, they should increase an alcohol tax. People drink, and then that makes them smoke more," she said.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Philip Morris presents at JP Morgan Global Tobacco Conference

NEW YORK - Philip Morris International Inc.’s (NYSE / Paris Euronext: PM) Chief Operating Officer André Calantzopoulos will address investors today at the JP Morgan Global Tobacco Conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London.
The presentation and Q&A session are being webcast live, in a listen-only mode, beginning at approximately 9:25 a.m. London Time
. An archived copy of the webcast, together with selected slides, will be available on the same site until 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, July 18, 2008.
Highlights of the presentation include Philip Morris International’s (PMI) key brand strategies and an update on major market performances.
The presentation may contain projections of future results and other forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
PMI is subject to other risks detailed from time to time in its publicly filed documents, including the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2008. PMI cautions that the list of important factors is not complete and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that it may make.

Scottish city to offer smokers food vouchers in return for quitting cigarettes

LONDON — Authorities in a Scottish city are offering smokers food vouchers if they quit.

Health officials in Dundee say ex-smokers will be given $25 a week on an electronic card. The credits can be redeemed in stores for fresh food and groceries, but not alcohol or cigarettes.

Participants in the pilot program will get help giving up cigarettes and will have to undergo weekly carbon monoxide breath tests to prove they have not started again.

Authorities said Saturday that the project will start in the fall. They hope it can help 900 people quit smoking over the next two years.

Dundee is Scotland's fourth-largest city and has one of Britain's highest smoking rates.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Use tobacco money to balance budget

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki says he hopes legislators consider approving his plan that could raise $600 million to $775 million in revenue without increasing taxes to address the budget shortfall.

"These are extraordinary times, and Nevada needs to take extraordinary measures," Krolicki said Thursday by phone from Beijing, where he is heading a state trade mission.

Under his plan, the state would sell bonds and use the revenue to cover current debts. The bonds would be repaid from the annual payments the state receives from tobacco companies.

Nevada receives about $50 million a year from the tobacco industry to compensate for the medical costs to the state of tobacco-related illnesses.

"The situation is so dire now it makes sense to use tobacco securitization to balance the state budget," Krolicki said. "You can't nickel and dime your way out of a $1 billion budget shortfall."

Legislators next week are scheduled to go into a special session to cut $100 million to $200 million more in state spending because of falling tax revenues. Lawmakers and Gov. Jim Gibbons already have approved $914 million in cuts to the two-year budget that ends June 30, 2009.

Krolicki's plan isn't without its critics.

In a letter Wednesday to Gibbons, state Treasurer Kate Marshall said her office has been unable to secure the "working papers" on the assumptions Krolicki used to arrive at the estimated proceeds from his plan. If the Legislature considers the proposal, Marshall said, she wants to work with the attorney general "to determine the extent to which such action would put the state at risk of engaging in fiduciary failure."

Marshall also pointed out that Krolicki in 2003 told the Senate Committee on Government Affairs that a tobacco securitization plan would be a "tremendous fiduciary failure" and should not be used to "balance today's budget."

At the time, Krolicki was state treasurer.

Krolicki said that in earlier sessions he advocated legislators issue bonds against the tobacco money. But at the 2003 session, he said, he opposed the plan because "it is too expensive and the market is not right."

The situation has changed dramatically since 2003, Krolicki said, and the plan is needed because there is no guarantee Nevada will continue to receive money from the tobacco industry at current levels.

The tobacco money now is used to cover some of the expenses of the Millennium Scholarship and SeniorRx programs.

"It is one of the few options that can raise a considerable amount of money without raising taxes or substantially harming a considerable amount of people," Krolicki said.

Legislators and the governor are looking at ways to cut spending without laying off workers.

Krolicki said his plan is available on his Web site and in handouts he has distributed to the media. He said he proposed creation of a working group, which would include the treasurer, to review the plan before any bonds were sold.

"I would be pleased to work with her (Marshall) and show how the model works," he said. "She is making noise now in a nonconstructive way."

Since Marshall assumed his job in January 2007, the two have been at loggerheads.

Krolicki has been investigated by the Nevada Division of Investigation because of concerns Marshall raised over his handling of a college tuition program and office e-mail messages. No charges have been filed against him.

Uganda: Tobacco Firms Should Be Socially Responsible

I wish to draw attention to the damage tobacco growing has caused to the environment in West Nile, the North, Bunyoro and south-western Uganda.
Several acres of woodland have been felled for flue-cured tobacco production in Maracha, Arua, Koboko, Yumbe, Hoima, and Masindi districts. Forests that would otherwise have filtered carbon emissions and protected arable land from erosion are removed, and temperatures in the tobacco-growing districts are rising.
Firms like British American Tobacco, Leaf Tobacco and Commodity, as well as Continental, in their fallacy, give eucalyptus seedlings to farmers supposedly to replace chopped forests without considering the long maturity period and its impact on the water table.
The tobacco firms do not plough back their high profits yet they hype their cosmetic social responsibility programmes. South African Breweries' "Drive Arrive Campaign" resulted into 10% decline in road accident-related deaths in 1998. What have the tobacco companies done?
Apart from the trivial contribution through the mandatory 2000 Crop Ordinance that Arua enacted, tobacco companies have not done much for the community. Since tobacco growing is laborious and an all-year round activity, many food crops are foregone by tobacco farmers, which has caused food insecurity.
Besides, during peak seasons, students stay home harvesting tobacco, leading to poor academic performance and child labour. Tobacco companies have not trained farmers to invest their little earnings and this leaves them in a cyclical poverty trap.
The negative impact of tobacco growing includes the accumulation of chemical compounds in soils and declining fertility. Tobacco production negatively affects people's health. The effects include nicotine poisoning, pesticide exposure, respiratory effects, musculoskeletal and other injuries.
The Government should assist tobacco growers in West Nile to produce alternative crops that thrive well there without fertilisers or pesticides. The sh48b the Government gets in tax revenues from tobacco exports and products should not shroud the negative effects on tobacco on the population.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wegmans, DeCicco Markets Ditch Cigarettes

Anti-smoking groups are praising Wegmans Food Markets and DeCicco Markets for discontinuing the sale of tobacco products at their stores.

The American Lung Association of New York State presented Wegmans with the Lung Champion Award to recognize the Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer’s January 2008 decision to stop the sale of such items at all 70 of its locations, which are in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.

“The American Lung Association of New York State commends Wegmans for its leadership in removing cigarettes from store shelves and putting the public health of its employees and customers above profits,” said Deborah Carioto, president of the organization. “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in this country, and with the single act of halting tobacco sales in its stores, Wegmans has set what I hope will be a trend among major retailers in this country.”

Besides banning the sale of tobacco products, Wegmans now offers a quit-smoking program for its employees. It said 550 are currently enrolled.

“Wegmans believes that the many young people who work in our stores will be affected by the message the company they work for is willing to give up profits out of concern for their health,” said Wegmans vice president Mary Ellen Burris.

Pelham, N.Y.-based DeCicco Markets, with locations in both Westchester and Rockland counties, stopped selling tobacco products at five of its six grocery stores in February. The sixth location, which opened in Ardsley, N.Y. last year, has never carried tobacco products.

DeCicco was honored at the sixth annual “No Thanks, Big Tobacco” appreciation event sponsored by the Elmsford, N.Y.-based Tobacco Control Partners of the Lower Hudson Valley.

Stephens City Town Council approves tax on cigarettes

STEPHENS CITY — A pack of smokes will cost 25 cents more in town when a new tax adopted Tuesday takes effect.

The Town Council voted 6-1 at its regular meeting to approved an ordinance creating a 25-cent excise tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes. Mayor Ray Ewing, Vice Mayor Joy Shull and councilmen Ronald Bowers, John Hollis, Lindel Fravel Jr. and Micheal Grim voted to approve the ordinance on the final reading. Councilman John Harter gave the dissenting vote.

"There were enough people in this town that didn't like the idea, and somebody had to vote against it," Harter said, explaining his vote.

Bowers disagreed.

"I think it's a fair tax because you're putting it on an elected product," Bowers said.

Currently, four businesses within town limits sell cigarettes and would have to charge the tax. Sellers must display a cigarette stamp provided by the town. Taxes will be collected by the town treasurer. The tax per individual cigarette will be 1.25 cents, but the total revenue should be around $25,000, according to Town Manager Mike Kehoe.

In other business, the council:

* Adopted a resolution to address "Virginia's transportation funding crisis," by which the town supports the efforts of the governor and the General Assembly "to act swiftly and decisively to approve legislation that will address the transportation funding crisis at the statewide, regional and local levels."

The resolution also states that such legislation should include new tax and fee revenue, including tolls on new highways, to ensure safe roads, ease congestion, promote economic development and provide consumer choices.

* Held a public hearing on the proposed 2008-2009 budget. No one spoke during the hearing. The total budget is proposed at $1.45 million, compared to $1.66 million for the current fiscal year. The council scheduled a June 12 special meeting at which they plan to vote on the budget.

Also, the council approved a motion extending the deadline to pay real estate and personal property taxes to June 30. Bills were to be due Thursday.

* Voted unanimously to award a contract to American Disposal Inc. for refuse collection. The contract is for one year at $101,192. Evergreen Waste Inc. currently provides the service for nearly $90,000 but submitted a bid of $125,881 for the next year, the second-highest of three bids.

* Voted unanimously to adopt a resolution requesting that the Virginia Department of Transportation reduce the speed limit on U.S. 11 (Valley Pike), 0.95 miles south of the previous town limits, from 55 mph to 45 mph.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Smokes in literature

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Once upon a time, the smell of cigar smoke was thought to be delicious, arousing. In the proposal scene of Brontë's novel, Jane catches the whiff of Rochester's cigar - "I know it well" - in the garden at Thornfield. It mingles with "sweet-briar and southernwood, jasmine, pink, and rose". With the heroine giddy on these blended scents, only one outcome is possible.
Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
It was also thought that clever people smoked, and became cleverer when they did so. Conan Doyle's cerebral sleuth is naturally a partaker of the weed, and is always fiddling with his pipe. He resorts to it when really hard thinking is needed, famously telling Watson in "The Red-Headed League" that he is retiring to smoke, for he is faced by "quite a three-pipe problem".
Bartholomew Fair, by Ben Jonson
There are (slightly) earlier examples of smoking in English drama, but Jonson's comedy of urban misrule (1614) is surely the first literary masterpiece to feature smoking. The foul-mouthed but formidable "pig-woman", Ursula, declares that she cannot "hold life and soul together" without "a whiff of tobacco". "Where's my pipe now? Not filled? Thou errant incubee!" she shouts at Mooncalf.
Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
In the 19th century, when women go to the bad they shamelessly take to cigarettes. Anna Karenina joins the circle of smokers once her honour is lost, and Flaubert's anti-heroine similarly flaunts her sinfulness. "Her looks grew bolder, her speech more free; she even committed the impropriety of walking out with Monsieur Rodolphe, cigarettes in her mouth."
All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
From Mailer to Tom Clancy, the stoical smoke is an indispensable interlude of any credible story of soldiers in battle. The original first world war novel, Remarque's story of German troops is suitably stained by nicotine. "Over our heads a cloud of smoke spreads out. What would a soldier be without tobacco?"
The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
Pipe-smoking (to which the author was himself addicted) is an infallible sign of humane virtue in Tolkien's fantasy magnum opus. Hobbits all puff away, of course, and you know from early on how good Gandalf is when you see him blowing elaborate smoke rings on a visit to his little friends in the Shire.
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
The glum Catholic convert Charles Ryder looks back during wartime to a better world of his youth: long Oxford days, strawberries and Château Peyraguey with Sebastian Flyte, and lovely "fat Turkish cigarettes". "We lay on our backs . . . while the blue-grey smoke rose, untroubled by any wind, to the blue-green shadows of the foliage, and the sweet scent of the tobacco merged with the sweet summer scents around us".
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
Everyone seems to smoke in Chandler's novels, women often with particular panache. Philip Marlowe himself smokes with a kind of world-weary soulfulness, as when confronted by a sudden revelation in The Big Sleep. "I sat there and poisoned myself with cigarette smoke and listened to the rain and thought about it."
Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
"9st 2, cigarettes smoked in front of Mark 0 (v.g.), cigarettes smoked in secret 7, cigarettes not smoked, 47* (v.g.)". Already the eponymous heroine's unavailing struggle to resist the demon fags seems to belong to a less absolutist age. How many does Renée Zellweger get through in those films?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Imperial Reports Lower Profit, to Raise $10 Billion

Imperial Tobacco Group Plc reported a 45 percent drop in first-half profit on costs for buying Altadis SA and said it will sell stock worth 4.9 billion pounds ($10 billion) to current investors to help fund the takeover.
Net income dropped to 233 million pounds in the six months through March from 421 million pounds a year earlier, the Bristol, England-based company said today in a statement. That missed the 370 million-pound median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Imperial agreed to buy Madrid-based Altadis in July of last year, months after unveiling the acquisition of U.S. cigarettes maker Commonwealth Brands. Most of the Spanish company's sales come from its domestic market and France, adding to its allure for Imperial, which is expanding in new locations because its main U.K. and German markets are shrinking.
``The focus will be to see how Altadis is performing,'' Rogerio Fujimori, an analyst at Credit Suisse in London, said yesterday. The takeover gave Imperial, Europe's second-largest cigarettes maker, cigarette brands including Gauloises and the world's largest manufacturer of cigars.

Investors will have the right to buy one new share for every two held as of May 15, said Imperial, the maker of Lambert & Butler and Davidoff cigarettes. It will sell 338.7 million new shares for 1,475 pence each, 44 percent less than yesterday's closing price in London trading.
Imperial rose 16 pence, or 0.6 percent, to 2,618 pence in London yesterday. The stock has slipped 3.5 percent in 2008, while larger competitor British American Tobacco Plc, the maker of Pall Mall cigarettes, is little changed.
The cigarette maker had said costs related to the Altadis purchase would lop 110 million pounds from first-half profit. The drop in earnings is ``all because of this exceptional charge,'' Fujimori said.
Imperial had said it would sell as much as 5 billion pounds of stock by July to help finance the takeover and retain its investment-grade credit rating. The company has raised its stake in Logista, the Spanish cigarette distributor controlled by Altadis, to about 97 percent following an offer to minority investors this month.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Austria takes tough stance on cigarette imports

Austrian customs officials have started imposing tough fines on persons bringing Czech cigarettes to Austria and in addition they confiscate all the non-permitted cigarettes they find, the daily Lidove noviny wrote Tuesday.
Czechs taking out more than one carton of Czech cigaretteswhile travelling for holiday to Croatia via Austria could be severely punished because the Austrian customs officials have started imposing tough fines on all drivers who violate "the tobacco law" while crossing the Austrian border, the paper says.
Under the law, passed shortly before the Czech Republic joined the Schengen area without border checks last December, one person can only take out 200 pieces of cigarettes with the Czech-language health warning message while travelling from the Czech Republic to Austria.
Drivers have to pay a 50 euro fine for each additional carton of cigarettes if caught and besides, Austrian police confiscate the cigarettes from them, the paper says.
"The time when we just reprimand the people violating the law or simply return cars back to the Czech Republic is over. At present we confiscate everything that crosses the permitted limit," Franz Dorninger, head of the Linz customs administration, told Lidove noviny.
While as recently as in January and February Austrian customs officials were still lenient towards Czechs violating the tobacco law, in March they imposed 47 fines for carrying non-permitted amounts of cigarettes from the Czech Republic to Austria and 48 fines were imposed in April, Dorninger says.
"On average, the drivers who are usually caught having two additional cartons of cigarettes above the one permitted carton on them had to pay a 100 euro fine," he says.
However, statistics does not allow to find out whether the drivers punished were Czechs or Austrians, HN writes.
The Czech Industry and Trade Ministry resents the Austrian police raids on people taking Czech tobacco products out to Austria. On the basis of the EU agreements from January 1, 2008, Austria must allow the import of up to 800 pieces of Czech-made cigarettes per one person, Lidove noviny writes.
However, since Austrian cigarette sellers have threatened to stage a general trike if their government failed to protect them against the cheap Czech competition Vienna has adopted special measures.
Although it has officially confirmed that people are allowed to take to Austria up to four cartons of Czech cigarettes per one person this is only possible if the health warning message is written in German.
The import of cigarettes with the Czech health warning message remains limited to one carton.
"In our opinion, such measure runs counter to the rules of free trade within the EU," Czech Industry and Trade Ministry spokesman Tomas Bartovsky told Lidove noviny.
Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman has thus called on Austrian Health Minister Andrea Kdolsky in written to abolish the controversial measure.
Riman was not satisfied with Kdolsky's answer in which she pointed to the protection of the health of the Austrian population.
He has thus called on the Association of Czech tobacco products traders to complain about the measure at the European Commission, Lidove noviny writes.
Despite the gradual increase in prices of tobacco products in the Czech Republic they are still cheaper there than in Germany or Austria. Foreigners thus buy roughly one-fourth of the 73 billion pieces of cigarettes annually sold in the Czech Republic, the daily Pravo wrote on Monday.
According to Pravo, foreigners took some 5.6 billion cigarettes out of the Czech Republic last year.
On the other hand, some 1.8 billion cigarettes were taken to the Czech Republic from Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia where tobacco products are substantially cheaper for Czechs, Pravo said.

Monday, May 12, 2008

‘Joint effort needed’ to strengthen tobacco law

A TOTAL of 52 participants including mall managers, restaurant and hotel managers, health professionals, legal experts, law enforcement agents and government officials recently attended a National Health Authority’s (NHA) workshop on Tobacco Law number 20 of 2002.
Penalties for violating the law include fines of up to QR5,000, closure of establishment which violates the law and jail of up to six months.
The aim of the workshop, which is one of the activities lined up for the commemoration of the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ was to discuss how to improve the implementation of the law among other things.
The theme for the year is ‘Tobacco-Free Youth’.
The director of the Public health at the NHA, Dr Gail Fraser Chanpong, who declared open the workshop, said that tobacco is a major public health problem in the community and that urgent cigarettes control efforts are needed.
Prof Ravinder Mamtani of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar discussed the effects of tobacco and highlighted its effects, including cancer and heart diseases.
“Globally, tobacco kills approximately 5.4mn people annually, that is, one person every six seconds,” he said.
Legal expert at the NHA Asmaa Abdel Halim highlighted parts of the law and also discussed how it organises and controls tobacco sale and smoking in public places.
She stressed the importance of collaboration between all governmental agencies, families, educational institutions and others to reach the goals set by the country.
Head of the Non-communicable Diseases section Adenike Ajani said legislation is one of many strategies that can be used for tobacco control, especially because of its special consideration for the youths.
She added that the law prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors and advertisement that may encourage its use among youths.
Ajani noted that tobacco in the law refers to all kinds of products including water-pipe (sheesha) and chewing tobacco (suwaikah), while adding that there is no safe form of tobacco.
Major Hamad al-Ansari of the Ministry of Interior said that law enforcement officials will continue to support the cigarettes control efforts of the NHA, adding that official channels of collaboration need to be established to strengthen the role of the police officers in the tobacco control.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Camel brand contains crushable capsule

Consumers can squeeze this blue capsule inside the filter of the new Camel Crush to release a menthol flavor. The brand is being test-marketed at local Quality Mart stores.

A tiny blue capsule is the key element in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s latest attempt to woo smokers.
The capsule is embedded into the filter of a regular Camel Lights cigarette.
When smokers squeeze and snap the capsule, it releases menthol to change the flavor. The
cigarettes — packaged in a sleek black and blue box and called Camel Crush — is being test-marketed at local Quality Mart convenience stores, and beginning this month in Pennsylvania.
"We're giving the adult smoker the ability to savor two distinct flavors with Camel Crush and customize the experience," said Brian Stebbins, the senior business-unit director for Camel. "They can crush it a little and get a slight flavor over the length of the smoke. They can crush it completely and get a fresh menthol blast."
Reynolds views product innovation as a positive and differentiating way to compete for adult smokers and market share.
However, the capsule also has become the latest target of anti-smoking groups, which claim that product innovations such as Camel Crush and the marketing of
cigarettesare geared toward attracting young consumers.
"Tobacco companies have carefully designed their products to attract new users, almost all of whom are children," said The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in a February report titled "Big Tobacco's Guinea Pigs."
"Tobacco products are far from simple tobacco leaf rolled in paper or other packaging. They are highly engineered nicotine-delivery devices, finely tuned to appeal to the taste, feel, smell, and other sensations of new and addicted smokers," the report says.
Stebbins declined to say how much Reynolds has spent to develop Camel Crush, but it has been in the works for several years.
"We had to find the proper type of capsule," Stebbins said. "We also had to invent manufacturing machinery to put the capsule in the same place in the filter consistently without breaking it." Reynolds said it has obtained a patent on the machinery.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fire-safe cigarettes bill passes Senate

A bill sponsored by Sen. Rosalind Kurita of Clarksville to require "fire-safe" cigarettes in Tennessee passed the state Senate today and is on its way to Gov. Bredesen for his signature.

The fire-safe cigarettes bill passed in the house by an overwhelming majority on April 10 and was approved in the Senate this morning.

Fire-safe cigarettes are made from a special paper that contains "speed bumps" — areas of increased thickness that extinguish the cigarettes when air is not pulled through them, according to a news release today from the Senate Democratic Caucus. Unattended cigarettes burn out when the flame hits the speed bumps.

The new law will require that only these cigarettes be sold in Tennessee.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tobacco market practices

LONDON - Britain's consumer affairs watchdog said on Friday it suspected cigarettes price-fixing involving tobacco companies and retailers, including all big four supermarket chains, between 2000 and 2003.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a so-called statement of objections naming two tobacco manufacturers -- Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco-owned Gallaher -- and 11 retailers.
The retailers are Wal-Mart-owned Asda, Co-operative Group, First Quench, Morrisons, Safeway, Sainsbury, Shell, Somerfield, T&S Stores, Tesco and TM Retail.
Imperial Tobacco had no immediate comment. Gallaher, which is owned by Japan Tobacco, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The OFT made two allegations, including that there were arrangements between "each manufacturer and each retailer that restricted the ability of each of these cigarettes retailers to determine its selling prices independently, by linking the retail price of a manufacturer's brand to the retail price of a competing brand of another manufacturer".
The second was more specific, alleging "in the case of Gallaher, Imperial Tobacco, Asda, Sainsbury, Shell, Somerfield and Tesco, the indirect exchange of proposed future retail prices between competitors".
The allegations come two days after the OFT was forced to apologise to supermarket Morrisons and pay 100,000 pounds ($197,700) to settle a defamation action over an incorrect accusation in another antitrust probe.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

S.Korea's Tobacco Giant Opens First Overseas Plant In Turkey

South Korea`s top tobacco company Korean Tobacco & Ginseng (KT&G) has opened on Thursday a factory in Turkey which is the first overseas plant of the company.
KT&G plans to produce two cigarettes brands at its plant in Aegean province of Izmir, company`s chief executive Kwak Young Kyoon said at the opening ceremony.
The plant, which has the capacity to produce 2 billion cigarettes a year, will ship 60 percent of its production to central European and Middle Eastern countries, mainly to Iran, Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain.
Kyoon said his company spent nearly 50 million USD for the plant, adding that KT&G targets 3 percent of market share in its first year in Turkey, and aims at 5 percent market share in the next three year.
KT&G is the largest tobacco company of South Korea and sells 100 billion cigarettes a year to almost 40 countries. The company is also active in ginseng, pharmaceutical and real estate sectors.

Friday, April 18, 2008

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Latvia FinMin projects average inflation at 14.6 pct in 2008

RIGA - Latvia's average inflation is expected to reach 14.6 percent in 2008, Latvian Finance Minister Atis Slakteris told ministers in a report on budget performance in the first quarter of the year, said the BNS news agency.
The minister said, though, that this was a 'cautiously optimistic scenario', adding that the economic situation in Latvia also depended on external risks, considering continuous problems in global financial markets, especially in the United States.
According to the report, average inflation in 2007 was 10.1%, including a 14.1 percent 12-month inflation in December.
In the first quarter of 2008, consumer prices jumped 5.7 percent with the 12-month inflation rate reaching 16.8 percent in March.
'Price increases could be seen in the regulated services sector, especially heating energy. Increased prices for cigarettes had a substantial effect on the average price level, basically because the excise tax on cigarettes was raised in compliance with EU minimum requirements. Food and fuel also rose in price significantly due to the global market situation,' the ministry said.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Japan Tobacco to shut its 9th-biggest cigarette plant in Japan

TOKYO - Japan Tobacco Inc., the country's largest cigarettesmaker, has decided to close down its cigarette plant in Ishikawa Prefecture, the ninth-biggest of its 10 cigarette factories, as a response to falling domestic demand, the company said Thursday.

Japan Tobacco has been expanding its cigarettes sales outside Japan, as well as its other business operations such as food and pharmaceuticals, to compensate for shrinking business opportunities in Japan, where the population is aging and an anti-smoking campaign is gaining ground.

The 35-year-old plant in Ishikawa produced 7.4 billion cigarette sticks in the year ended March 2007.
Japan Tobacco did not provide a figure for the total volume of its cigarette production nationwide.

The company sold a total of 174.9 billion cigarettes in Japan in the year to March 2007, down 6.4 percent from a year earlier.

Japan Tobacco has yet to assess the financial impact of the planned factory closure, it said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Legislation to give FDA authority over tobacco

Legislation to grant the Federal Drug Administration authority over cigarettes product regulation has moved to the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill, which has bipartisan support.

According to a Wednesday article by the Media General News Service, the legislation would give the FDA control over nicotine levels, cigarette marketing and health-warning labels, proposals that have been in Congress for more than a decade.

The bill would reinstate the FDA's 1996 rule that restricted cigarettes marketing and sales to youth. According to a release by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the legislation would give the FDA the authority and resources to control regulation of tobacco products.

"The legislation provides FDA with resources necessary to fulfill its new responsibilities by requiring manufacturers and importers of tobacco to pay user fees to fund FDA's new regulatory responsibilities under the bill," according to the release.

According to the committee's Web site, the bill has more than 600 organizations supporting it.

Ryan Willcott, president of College Republicans, said there are parts of the legislation he likes, like the push to lower the levels of nicotine to help with addiction. He also said he likes that the government would be able to rid any appeals that cigarettes have to children, and he agrees with increasing the size of the surgeon general's warning on packaging.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fire-Safe Cigarettes Now Sold In Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. - All cigarettes now sold in Kentucky must be "fire safe," according to a law that went into effect April 1.
The law, passed a year ago by the 2007 General Assembly, is expected to save lives and property by reducing fires caused by careless smoking, said Richard Moloney, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Housing, Building and Construction, the agency that includes the State Fire Marshal's staff.
"We're confident that this legislation will pay immediate dividends," Moloney said. "Unfortunately, Kentucky ranks ninth in the nation in fire-related deaths. We believe this law will reduce the number of such deaths."
A fire-safe cigarettes is less likely to burn when left unattended. Typically, the cigarette has several bands of thicker paper that act as "speed bumps" to slow down the burning of the cigarette. If the cigarette is not puffed, it will extinguish itself when it burns down to one of the bands.
Kentucky is now one of 24 states that mandates fire-safe cigarettes, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The State Fire Marshal is certifying fire-safe brands sold in Kentucky. A pack containing fire-safe cigarettes can be identified with the letters "FSC" or "FC," signifying fire standards compliance.
While there are penalties for failing to comply, Moloney said many cigarette manufacturers have already submitted their brands for certification. It may take a while before current inventory leaves store shelves and the fire-safe cigarettes appear.
Smokers should not rely solely on fire-safe cigarettes to avert a fire, Moloney said.
"First and foremost, a smoker should always properly extinguish his or her cigarette," he said. "A moment of carelessness can lead to tragedy."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why people smoke cigarettes?

What is the nature of this psychological pleasure? It can be traced to the universal desire for self-expression. None of us ever completely outgrows his childhood. We are constantly hunting for the carefree enjoyment we knew as children. As we grew older, we had to subordinate our pleasures to work and to the necessity for unceasing effort. Smoking, for many of us, then, became a substitute for our early habit of following the whims of the moment; it becomes a legitimate excuse for interrupting work and snatching a moment of pleasure. "You sometimes get tired of working intensely," said an accountant whom we interviewed, "and if you sit back for the length of a cigarette, you feel much fresher afterwards. It's a peculiar thing, but I wouldn't think of just sitting back without cigarettes. I guess a cigarette somehow gives me a good excuse."
Most of us are hungry for rewards. We want to be patted on the back. A cigarette is a reward that we can give ourselves as often as we wish. When we have done anything well, for instance, we can congratulate ourselves with a cigarette, which certifies, in effect, that we have been "good boys." We can promise ourselves: "When I have finished this piece of work, when I have written the last page of my report, I'll deserve a little fun. I'll have a cigarette."
As we have said, to explain the pleasure derived from smoking as taste experience alone, is not sufficient. For one thing, such an explanation leaves out the powerful erotic sensitivity of the oral zone. Oral pleasure is just as fundamental as sexuality and hunger. It functions with full strength from earliest childhood.
A cigarettes not only measures time, but also seems to make time pass more rapidly. That is why waiting periods almost autuomatically stimulate the desire to smoke. But a deeper explanation of this function of smoking is based on the fact that smoking is ersatz activity. Impatience is a common feature of our times, but there are many situations which compel us to be patient. When we are in a hurry, and yet have to wait, a cigarette gives us something to do during that trying interval. The experience of wanting to act, but being unable to do so, is very unpleasant and may even, in extreme cases, cause attacks of nervous anxiety. Cigarettes may then have a psychotherapeutic effect. This helps to explain why soldiers, waiting for the signal to attack, sometimes value a cigarette more than food.
The companionable character of cigarettes is also reflected in the fact that they help us make friends. In many ways, smoking has the same effect drinking has. It helps to break down social barriers.
The mind can concentrate best when all outside stimuli have been excluded. Smoking literally provides a sort of "smoke screen" that helps to shut out distractions. This explains why many people who were interviewed reported that they cannot think or write without a cigarette. They argued that moderate smoking may even stimulate mental alertness. It gives us a focal point for our attention. It also gives our hands something to do; otherwise they might make us self-conscious and interfere with mental activity. On the other hand, our respondents admit that smoking too much may reduce their efficiency.
One shortcoming of our modern culture is the universal lack of adequate relaxation. Many of us not only do not know how to relax, but do not take time to learn. cigarettes helps us to relax because, like music, it is rhythmic. Smoking gives us a legitimate excuse to linger a little longer after meals, to stop work for a few minutes, to sit at home without doing anything that requires effort.
Smoking brings relief. Worry, anxiety, depress us not only psychologically but also physiologically. When a person feels depressed, the rhythm of his breathing becomes upset. A short and shallow breath creates a heavy feeling in the chest. Smoking may relieve mental depression by forcing a rhythmic expansion of the breast and thus restoring the normal pace of breathing. The "weight on the chest" is removed.
This connection between smoking and respiration accounts for the common expression, smoking makes us breath more steadily, and thus calms us down.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pay cuts for Japan Tobacco chiefs over tainted dumplings

TOKYO— Japan Tobacco said Friday its entire board of directors will take pay cuts after the company became embroiled in a scandal over poisoned dumplings imported from China.
JT president Hiroshi Kimura and four other JT executives will take a cut of 30 percent for three months, while others will see their salaries reduced by 10 percent over the food scare which erupted in January, a company statement said.
Japanese authorities have confirmed that 10 people suffered pesticide poisoning after eating tainted dumplings that a JT subsidiary imported from China.
Thousands more people complained of illness although the exact circumstances of how the cigarettes products were contaminated has not yet been established.
"We take this incident seriously and have decided at a board meeting today to penalise relevant members," JT said in a statement.
The poisoning scare has alarmed cigarettes consumers in Japan, which relies on imports for 60 percent of its food, with China the top provider after the United States.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Big Tobacco Faces Further Cigarette Market Declines In The U.S.

NEW YORK -The future of Big Tobacco in the U.S. is looking hazy.
Tobacco companies have been steadily selling fewer cigarettes in the U.S., but that rate of decline is likely to accelerate over the next few years. Those declines will mean the biggest cigarette companies could be in for a much tougher fight for their survival and growth in the U.S.
Altria Group Inc. (MO) - which at the end of this week will spin off its Philip Morris International business and transform itself into a domestic tobacco company - expects unit volumes of the overall U.S. cigarettes industry to decline by 2.5% to 3% a year for the next few years. That decline is steeper than the historical rate of about 2%. Altria estimates industry volumes, or the number of cigarettes sold, fell about 4% in 2007.
"We have highlighted accelerated volume declines as one of the bigger risks the industry faces," said Janice Hofferber, a vice president at Moody's Investors Service who follows tobacco and consumer products. Historically, tobacco companies have been able to raise prices fairly easily, but "there is a limit to the pricing flexibility these companies have."
The weaker volumes will mean that cigarette companies will need to focus more on cost cuts, and to dabble in new kinds of tobacco products. One thing, however, is unlikely to change: Altria is likely to continue to have the upperhand in U.S. tobacco market for some years due to the power of its Malboro brand.
In general, volumes have declined as cigarettes sellers have been pushed to boost prices to offset higher federal and state taxes and to make annual payments under a 1998 settlement agreement with states. Bans on smoking in public places and more health-conscious consumers have also contributed to the cigarette volume declines.
The U.S. tobacco companies have been trying to grow in the smaller, growing market for smokeless tobacco products. Altria - or the Big MO as the company is often called for its trading symbol - has a relatively small presence so far in smokeless tobacco. But its Marlboro brand still has 41% share of the retail market, larger than the combined share of the next 10 largest cigarette brands. Marlboro also continues to gain market share. Last year, Altria's U.S. tobacco segment saw revenue net of excise taxes rise 1.2% to $15 billion.
"I think Altria is better positioned to withstand price increases because of their brand position," said Hofferber.
Lorillard is in the next best position after Altria, she said, due to its dominance in menthol cigarettes. At the end of last year, Loews Corp. (LTR) announced plans to spin off Lorillard, its tobacco unit. Lorillard's Newport cigarettes are the top selling brand in the menthol market.
Rival Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) made an astute and quick move through its acquisition of smokeless tobacco maker Conwood in 2006 but Conwood by itself isn't sufficient to offset the challenges of weaker cigarette demand. The smokeless tobacco market is still far smaller than the market for cigarettes. A spokesman for Reynolds, which sells brands like Camel and Kool, said the company is making concerted efforts to get adult smokers to switch to its brands by introducing product and packaging innovation.
Cigarettes accounted for more than 90% of expenditures on all tobacco products in the U.S. in 2006, according data compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Total spending on tobacco was $88.8 billion in 2005, of which $ 82 billion was spent on cigarettes, according to the agency.
Altria, Reynolds American, and the soon-to-be-independent Lorillard will not be able to rely on international growth to offset U.S. declines. Altria will be a U.S. tobacco company after the March 28 spinoff of Philip Morris International. Reynolds does business mainly in the U.S., while Lorillard sold the international rights to substantially all of its brands, including Newport, in 1977.
That said, some investors are still hoping to see steady returns from U.S. tobacco businesses.
"There is still a lot to like," about cigarette stocks, said Charles Norton, portfolio manager of the $183 million Vice Fund, which owns tobacco industry shares. "The story for the U.S. cigarette makers is not one of volume growth."
Norton likes these companies' strong pricing power, emphasis on cost reduction, their expansion into alternative tobacco products, their willingness to distribute cash to shareholders through dividends or buybacks, and an improved legal environment. In the last couple years, cigarette companies have had several important legal victories in tobacco lawsuits in the U.S.
"Tobacco in general offers earnings stability and dividend security that are vital in uncertain times like we are experiencing right now," Norton said. Norton's fund holds shares of Altria and Carolina Group (CG), currently the tracking stock for Lorillard. He has short positions in smokeless tobacco company UST Inc. (UST) and Reynolds American.
So far, no one is predicting the death of the U.S cigarette industry. Standard & Poor's tobacco debt analyst Ken Shea said, "You are going to have a universe of consumers" for cigarettes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oregon's cigarette tax

Gov. Ted Kulongoski plans to announce a renewed push to increase Oregon's cigarettes tax to pay for expanded children's health care when he delivers his state-of-the-state address today in Portland.
Details are being worked out, but the Democratic governor is expected to announce he is resurrecting an idea that was left for dead after Oregon voters trounced Measure 50, which would have increased the state tax on a pack of cigarettes by 84.5 cents.
"The failure of Measure 50 last November was a setback, but I refuse to treat it as a defeat. Kids can't wait," Kulongoski said Thursday.
The cigarette-tax increase is one of the key elements of Kulongoski's annual address in which he also will outline plans to seek more revenue to upgrade Oregon's transportation system, possibly with gas- tax increases or higher state vehicle- registration fees.
Additionally, Kulongoski said he will push to increase the corporate minimum tax — set at $10 in 1931 and unchanged since — and dedicate the money to Oregon's rainy-day fund to shield schools, health-care providers and other services from getting hammered in the next economic downturn.
Kulongoski's chief of staff, Chip Terhune, acknowledged that the shaky economy could make those revenue increases a tough sell with lawmakers.
"This is ambitious," Terhune said. "He is reaching hard for this one. But frankly, the governor continues to believe that making sure that children have health insurance is critical and that transportation infrastructure is in dire need of reinvestment."
Kulongoski also will outline further plans to combat global warming, which could include offering new incentives to encourage use of all-electric cars. He also will push for reallocating existing state revenue to provide increases in funding for K-12 and for higher education, as well as for Head Start preschool programs.
Terhune said Kulongoski's proposals amount to a "road map" for the coming election year in which he will try to drum up support for those ideas before forwarding them to the 2009 Legislature for consideration.
The cigarette-tax increase will reprise a long political battle in 2007, which ended with voters soundly defeating the proposal after a record-shattering $12 million TV blitz financed by the tobacco industry.
Terhune said Kulongoski's new cigarettes tax proposal will be less than the 84.5-cent-per-pack proposal that was rejected by voters. And he said it will be written in more specific terms to make it clear that all of the money goes to children's health programs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cigarettes Maker Has Conducted 33 GM Tobacco Tests Since '05

Two days ago, Philip Morris backed NC-State scientists announced they'd genetically engineered tobacco plants to have reduced levels of some carcinogens. Further investigation by Wired.com revealed that the tobacco giant has applied for 34 field test permits for genetically modified tobacco since May of 2005, according to the USDA field trials database. 33 of the permits were issued.
Over the last three years, the USDA received 117 total applications to test GM tobacco strains, including 19 by North Carolina State University, which received $17.5 million from Philip Morris in December 2002 to map the tobacco genome.

Little can be determined about the types of studies that Philip Morris has run because they've labeled the details of their field permit applications, "Confidential Business Information," sealing them from public scrutiny.
Philip Morris is not alone among tobacco companies in genetically modifying tobacco. Vector Tobacco, which has developed a low-nicotine variety of the crop, has applied for 14 field permits since 2005, although five were rejected. RJ Reynolds has applied for six, and had one denied.
But the scale of the Philip Morris' genetic engineering program caught even staunch anti-GMO groups off-guard. Bill Freese, of Center for Food Safety, commented, "I'm shocked."
Many groups that fight genetically modified organisms focus on genetically modified food or "pharming," or the practice of synthesizing pharmaceuticals in cigarettes plants. Tobacco, however, is a natural drug crop and falls between the cracks of most watchdog groups. For example, Vector has been marketing cigarettes with genetically modified tobacco under the Quest 1-2-3 brand since 2003, according to an interview the company's CEO gave to Business Week. Almost no public outcry has resulted.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kentucky not alone with its budget problems

As Kentucky faces a projected revenue shortfall of nearly $1 billion over the next two fiscal years, the state is not alone in the nation when it comes to grappling with sagging revenues and increasing budgetary needs.
Kentucky is among states across the country that are facing tough budget decisions this year, according to a review by The Associated Press. Nearly two dozen states are facing shortfalls that combined total more than $34 billion, the AP review found.
"Nearly all the states are having problems, and the ones that aren't are getting ready to have problems because of the downturn in the national economy," said House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green. "This is not unique to Kentucky in any way."
Kentucky is facing a projected budget shortfall of approximately $900 million over the next two fiscal years beginning July 1. That's about $580 million in fiscal 2009 and about $300 million in 2010.
Lawmakers in Kentucky are pondering various options, including raising the state's tax on cigarettes and significant cuts to higher education funding. Gov. Steve Beshear has proposed a two-year spending plan that calls for 12 percent cuts to public universities and multiple government programs and agencies.
Beshear has proposed an austere two-year $18.5 billion spending plan that includes significant cuts to state agencies and public universities. Kentucky's current two-year budget is about $18.1 billion.
But Beshear has said that cuts to higher education and other areas of state government were needed to offset unavoidable hikes in "have to" areas such as Medicaid and the state's prison system.
Beshear has already ordered 3 percent spending cuts to state government and public universities in an effort to resolve the current fiscal year's $434 million budget shortfall. Beshear attributed the current year fiscal problems to less income than was considered in the budget, additional spending that was authorized by the General Assembly since the budget was passed and additional spending needs in programs such as Medicaid and the state's prison system.
A group of Kentucky economists, known as the Consensus Forecasting Group, predicts shrinking revenue from various sources, including corporate and individual income taxes and sales taxes.
Now Kentucky lawmakers are considering ways to increase revenue.
Beshear is pushing a proposal to legalize casino gambling, which he says could bring at least $500 million in license fees by next year and $600 million in new revenue in future years.
The Kentucky House last week approved a budget proposal that called for an increase in the cigarettes tax of 25 cents per pack. Beshear wants lawmakers to pass a 70-cent cigarette tax increase and use the revenue to generate up to $800 million in new revenue through bonds.
Beshear, who has opposed raising such taxes, said he believed the proposed cuts to state government would be too severe.
Senate President David Williams, however, said there is "very little if any sentiment" for raising taxes. The state is in "tough economic times," and there will likely be "some cuts," Williams said.
"I never have believed, and do not believe, that we are in a fiscal crisis," Williams said.
Nevertheless, Kentucky's Medicaid program would likely fall short at least $360 million over the next two fiscal years under Beshear's proposed budget, Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller recently told a legislative panel.
Under the House-approved plan, Kentucky would also refinance General Fund debt, and other services would be taxed under the proposal. Public-school teachers, however, would see a pay increase of 4 percent over the next two years under the proposal.
Along with the cigarettes tax increase, the House revenue package counts on revenue from higher taxes on other tobacco products and a variety of business services to generate an additional $95 million. Revenue from the taxes coupled with cost-saving provisions would generate some $800 million over the next two years. One of the largest of those provisions calls for restructuring and refinancing General Fund debts to save about $300 million over two years.
Williams said he did not agree with the House's proposal, which is pending in the Senate.
"I think that that's not responsible," Williams said of the House plan.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Darling clobbers booze, cigarettes

Alistair Darling has slapped more tax on cigarettes and alcohol as he scaled back on his economic forecast.
In what he called his "budget for stability", the Chancellor also moved to reaffirm the Government's green credentials by introducing moves to help the environment.
Among the measures announced are the prospect of a charge on plastic bags and free road tax for one year of low-emission cars. However, he postponed a planned increase in fuel duty until next October.
Booze and cigarettes will rise dramatically at midnight on Sunday - the eve of St Patrick's Day - to help raise money to tackle child poverty, he said.
Duty rates will increase by 6% above inflation with beer up by 4p a pint, cider 3p a litre, wine 14p a bottle and spirits 55p a bottle. Duty on tobacco rises from 6pm today, adding 11p to the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes and 4p to five cigars.
It was a difficult first budget for the Chancellor with the UK economy facing the biggest slowdown since Labour came to power and a large hole in Treasury coffers. High levels of government debt and the global credit crunch left him with few options.
Standing at the despatch box, unveiling Labour's 12th budget, he spared motorists a further hike at the pumps with the planned 2p rise in fuel duty - which kicks in automatically every year - delayed "to support the economy now and help business and families".
He added: "For environmental reasons we will increase fuel duty by 0.5p per litre in real terms from 2010."
The move sparked widespread criticism from environmental campaigners, who claimed it damaged the government's green credentials, but soaring crude oil prices have left fuel inflation at the highest since records began in January 1997.
In a nod to tackling green issues he announced legislation to come into force in 2009 to impose a charge on single-use carrier bags if progress is not made on a voluntary basis.
The Chancellor confirmed that the Government was poised to impose charges on the use of plastic carrier bags unless supermarkets make "sufficient" progress on a voluntary basis.
He said legislation would come into force in 2009 and could lead to around 12 billion fewer plastic bags in circulation.
He announced plans for a zero rate of car tax in the first year for new, low emission cars but a higher first year rate on the most polluting cars.
Despite keeping a tight rein on the purse strings there were a few bonuses. Parents will get an extra £50 a year above inflation on the child element of the tax credit from next April and a further £125m to be spent over the next three years to help families.
Child benefit for the first child will rise to £20 a week from 2009 - a year earlier than planned.
And five million customers on energy pre-payment meters will be given a fairer deal, with legislation if necessary.
Mr Darling said all economies were trying to maintain stability during the global slowdown but insisted Britain was better placed to do so. He told MPs growth in the British economy was estimated at 1.75% to 2.25% in 2008 - higher than Japan or the US - and will rise to 2.25%-2.75% in 2009 and 2.5%-3% by 2010.
Corporation tax will fall from 30% to 28% by April this year, he confirmed.
To prevent a return to the high inflation of the early 1990s he said he is writing to the governor of the Bank of England to keep a 2% target on inflation.
Today's budget was a major test for Mr Darling, who has come under increasing criticism for his handling of the Northern Rock crisis, attempts to tax wealthy "non dom" foreigners living in Britain, and his overhaul of the capital gains tax system.
He told MPs that the Government's action to support Northern Rock and protect depositors and savers meant that confidence and stability in the banking system had been maintained despite the "worst period of financial disruption for a generation".
The Tories said that for the "first time in years" the story of the budget is the state of the economy and the incompetence of a government that failed to prepare. A spokesman said: "We know that after 15 years of global economic growth, Britain has the worst budget deficit of any major economy."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Assembly Approves Fire-Safe Cigarettes

All cigarettes sold in Wisconsin would have to be the type that automatically extinguish when they're not being smoked under a bill that has passed the Assembly.

Wisconsin would join 22 other states in requiring that only fire-safe cigarettes be sold should the bill also clear the Senate and be signed by the governor.

Tobacco companies do not oppose the measure, which has the support of firefighters and emergency responders.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company plans to voluntarily switch all its cigarettes to the fire-safe kind by the end of next year.

Monday, March 3, 2008

ITC Shares Drop After India Increases Cigarette Tax

NEW DELHI: When it comes to smoke, Finance Minister P Chidambaram does not want to differentiate between filter and plain cigarettes, on which he has proposed to levy an excise duty of up to Rs 1.32 per stick.

The new duty structure brings non-filter cigarettes on par with filtered ones.

"Non-filter cigarettes are more toxic than filter cigarettes, yet they enjoy a favourable tax regime, which is iniquitous. I propose to tax both filter and non-filter cigarettes on par by applying higher rates," Chidambaram said in his Budget speech.

For the smaller non-filter cigarettes not exceeding 60 mm length, the excise duty has been increased nearly five times to Rs 819 per 1,000 cigarettes from prevailing Rs 168.

But for the longer cigarettes, the excise duty has been increased by over two and half times to Rs 1,323 from Rs 546 for every 1,000 sticks.

He, however, kept the excise on filtered cigarettes unchanged.

At present, cigarettes attract duty at varying rates depending upon whether they are filter or non-filter and their length. Excise duty rates on non-filter cigarettes have been enhanced to bring them at par with filter cigarettes of corresponding length.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

British American Tobacco wins Turkish privatisation auction

British American Tobacco PLC (AMEX:BTI) said it has won the auction for the cigarette business assets of Tekel, the Turkish state-owned tobacco company, with a successful bid of 1.72 bln usd.

The transaction is subject to approval by Turkey's competition board and ratification by the Turkish Privatisation High Council. The deal's completion is expected later this year, BAT said.

The deal, if successful, will lift BAT's share of the Turkish market to 36 pct. Tekel's brands account for around 32 bln cigarettes, or around 29 pct of the market, and the company has estimated EBITDA earnings of 151 mln usd in 2007, BAT said.

Annual savings of around 30 mln by the third full year are estimated for the enlarged business, driven largely by improvements in the supply chain and savings in administrative costs, BAT said.

BAT predicts that the transcation will be earnings enhancing by 2009.

Paul Adams, BAT CEO, said: 'This investment, coupled with the country's rapid economic growth, will transform our position in the world's eighth largest cigarette market.'
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tobacco Origins and History

1492- Columbus Discovers Tobacco. In his journal, Columbus mentions tobacco for the first time. Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres first observe the native smoking ritual and try it themselves. Jerez becomes the first smoker of western decent.

1556-Tobacco use spreads to the old world through Spain and Portugal. The plant that grew from these seeds is christened Nicotina tabacura by Linnaeus, thereby immortalizing Jean Nicot's name. Later the addictive alkaloid is called nicotine.

1548 - The Portuguese begin to grow tobacco for export in Brazil.

1770 - The first tobacco shop is established in Lancaster.

1826 - England is importing only 26 lbs of cigars per year. By 1830, England is importing 250,000 lbs per year.
1847 - Philip Morris is open for business in England. They sell hand rolled Turkish cigarettes.

1854 - Philip Morris begins making its own cigarettes in London, on Bond Street

1881 - James E. Bonsack invents the automated cigarette-making machine. It can produce 200 cigarettes per minute, a production rate which would have previously taken 50 workers, thereby markedly reducing the cost of production. Within one year the largest cigarette manufacturer sells more than a billion cigarettes annually.

1832 - The cigarette is invented by an Egyptian artilleryman during the siege of Acre. The Egyptian's cannon crew had improved their rate of fire by rolling the gunpowder in paper tubes. For this, he and his crew were rewarded with a pound of tobacco. Their only pipe was broken, so they took to rolling the pipe tobacco in the paper tubes.

1864 - First American cigarette factory opens and produces almost 20 million cigarettes annually.

1875 - Allen & Ginter cigarette brands, Richmond Straight Cut No. 1 and Pet, begin using picture cards to stiffen the pack and protect the cigarettes. The cards, with photos of actresses, baseball players, Indian Chiefs, and boxers are enormously successful and represent the first modern promotion scheme for a manufactured product.

1901 - 3.5 billion cigarettes and 6 billion cigars are sold. Four in five American men smoke at least one cigar a day.

1902 - Tiny Philip Morris sets up a corporation in New York to sell its British brands, including Philip Morris, Blues, Cambridge, Derby, and a cigarette named after Marlborough Street, where its London factory is located. Marlboro is one of the earliest woman's cigarettes, featuring a red tip to hide lipstick marks. It does not catch on with the public.

1910 - Most popular brands: Pall Mall, Sweet Caporals, Piedmont, Helmar and Fatima.

1913 - RJ Reynolds introduces Camel, considered by historians as the first 'modern' cigarette.

1917 - During World War I cigarettes become the smoke of choice as pipes and cigars prove unmanageable at the front. Between 1910 and 1919 cigarette production increases by 633% from under 10 billion/year to nearly 70 billion/year and cigarette smoking begins to become fixed among American men. The American Red Cross and the Young Men's Christian Association, previously opposed to the propagation of cigarettes, actively supply them to the troops overseas.

1921 - RJ Reynolds spends $8 million in advertising, mostly on Camel. Inaugurates the highly successful "I'd Walk a Mile for a Camel" slogan.

1924 - Philip Morris re-introduces Marlboro with the slogan "Mild as May," targeting "decent, respectable" women. "Has smoking any more to do with a woman's morals than has the color of her hair?" the advertisement reads. "Marlboros now ride in so many limousines, attend so many bridge parties, and repose in so many handbags."

1927 - A sensation is created when George Washington Hill blatantly aims cigarettes advertising campaign at women, urging them to "reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet." Smoking initiation rates among adolescent females triple between 1925-1935, and Lucky Strike captures 38% of the American market.

1936 - Brown and Williamson introduce Viceroy, the first national brand to feature a filter of cellulose acetate. Advertising increases the use of physicians to counter the claims that cigarettes are a major health problem.

1940 - Adult Americans smoke 2,558 cigarettes per capita a year, nearly twice the consumption of 1930

1945 - Smoking is now socially acceptable for women. Another generation of Americans is now habituated to tobacco as a result of free cigarettes distributed by the Red Cross and other organizations to our fighting men and women.

1952 - Kent introduces the 'Micronite' filter, which Lorillard claims "offers the greatest health protection in cigarette history." It turns out to be made of asbestos. Kent discontinues use of the Micronite filter four years later.

1954 - RJ Reynolds:- introduces:- Winston:- cigarettes, but promotes the taste benefit, not health. Winston dominates the US market for the next 15 years.

1954 - Marlboro advertising taken over by the Chicago ad agency Leo Burnett. "Delivers the Goods on Flavor" ran the new slogan in newspaper ads. Design of the campaign, which features 'Marlboro Men,' is credited to John Landry of Philip Morris. Prior to initiating this campaign, Marlboro had <1% of the US market.

1963 – Marlboro dispenses with tattooed sailors and athletes as the Marlboro Man and settles on the exclusive use of cowboys. For several years, Philip Morris research had shown that sales increased whenever they cowboys appeared in their campaigns.

1964 - Marlboro Country ad campaign is launched. "Come to where the flavor is. Come to Marlboro Country." Marlboro sales begin growing at 10% a year.

1968 - Philip Morris introduces Virginia Slims with the slogan, "You've come a long way, baby." Five yeas later, Billy Jean King, wearing cigarettes colors, defeats Bobby Riggs in the televised 'Battle of the Sexes.' Virginia Slims continues to promote tennis matches to this day.

1972 - Marlboro becomes the best-selling cigarette in the world. It remains so today by a wide margin.
1999 - About 10 million Americans smoke cigars.

2002 - CDC estimates smoking health and productivity costs reach $150 billion a year, according to a new study published in this week's WMMR. CDC estimated the total cost of smoking at $3,391 a year for every smoker, and even itemized the per-pack health/productivity costs at $7.18/pack. Further, it estimated the smoking-related medical costs at $3.45 per pack, and job productivity lost because of premature death from smoking at $3.73 per pack.

Current campaign
Fire-safe cigarette legislation has been passed or introduced in many states. To maintain regulatory uniformity, all states and countries are using the “model” FSC regulatory bill based on the New York FSC law. With identical fire safety regulations for cigarettes in all states and countries, cigarette manufacturers can voluntarily produce FSC worldwide. Until then, legislative campaigns mandating FSC will continue.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Victorians shun cigarettes

However, Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said research indicated the increase in the price of cigarettes had also contributed to the decrease ...

New smoking restrictions and graphic advertising has helped cut the number of Victorians now smoking regularly.
New figures show fewer than one in five Victorians are now regular smokers.
The Cancer Council Victoria says 17.3 per cent of Victorians now smoke regularly, compared to 21.3 per cent in 1998.
Council spokeswoman Professor Melanie Wakefield said considerable tobacco control activity and reform had contributed to the reduction.
Last year, the Victorian government introduced a ban on smoking within bars and clubs.
"Over the past decade, Victoria has experienced a rise in smoke free environments, exposure to regular quit smoking mass media campaigns and the introduction of graphic health warnings on cigarette packets," Prof Wakefield said.
However, Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said research indicated the increase in the price of cigarettes had also contributed to the decrease in smoking rates.
The figures also show a sharp drop in the number of young adults who smoke regularly.
In 2006, 26.2 per cent of people aged 18-29 were regular smokers. In 2007, the figure was just 18.6 per cent.
Ms Sharkie said Quit had found there were fewer young people experimenting with cigarettes during high school, which may have contributed to the drop, Ms Sharkie said.
However, Prof Wakefield was reluctant to draw any conclusion from the large reduction.
"I'm not going to get too excited about that ... we want to see data from future years to be confident ... but nonetheless the data is moving in the right direction."
Quit also launched a new advertising campaign on Thursday highlighting the difficulty in diagnosing lung cancer before it's too late.
Associate Professor David Ball from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said there were no nerves to detect pain in the lungs.
"I've seen cancers the size of grapefruit in the lung, and the person is not aware of it being there," Prof Ball said.
Prof Ball said the number of lung cancer deaths exceeded that of breast and prostate cancer combined.
"Those people who continue to smoke I'd advise, 'It's never too late'," he said.
"If you quit smoking it not only reduces your chance of getting cancer, but those people who do develop the disease are much more successfully treated than those who continue to smoke."
Victorian Minister for Health Daniel Andrews said the state government was committed to releasing a Victorian Tobacco Strategy.
The government is setting a 20 per cent smoking reduction target in adults by 2013.