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.