понедельник, 27 июля 2009 г.

Mexico hopes tax on soda will refill lost oil revenue

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico is trying to make up for a projected shortfall in oil revenue by raising taxes on other quick-fix liquids: colas and carbonated drinks.
A proposal by the nation's new President Felipe Calderon would impose a 5% levy on soft drinks -- and an additional 15% on cigarettes -- to raise $1 billion next year. With Mexico's oil production falling and its economy slowing, Calderon's administration is scrambling to find additional sources of revenue. Calderon said last week that he would seek to impose the new taxes as part of his 2007 budget.
The proposal has raised the ire of Mexico's $10-billion soft drink industry. The sector has taken out full-page ads in national newspapers blasting the proposal as a job killer and a potential blow to Mexican consumers, who trail only Americans in their consumption of carbonated drinks.
"Taxes on beer, cigarettes and soft drinks are the easiest to collect," said Alfredo Paredes, chief executive of Ajegroup, the maker of a popular soda called Big Cola. "That is why they are targeting us."
Although the tax would be levied on bottlers, companies said they would have to pass the cost on to the public, which already pays a 15% value-added tax on soda. They said the new tax could cost Mexico 36,500 jobs, including sugar-cane harvesters and mom-and-pop vendors.
Manufacturers said the hike would be particularly hard on low-income Mexicans, who spend more of their incomes on soft drinks than on beans. The average Mexican drinks an eye-popping 152 liters of soda a year, according to the industry statistics.
Sugary cola is a dietary staple for Mexico's poor. Cash-strapped laborers guzzle it on the job. Two-liter beverage bottles are more common than lunch boxes on construction sites.
"Poor people drink it for energy to keep from falling down in the street," said Paredes, whose Big Cola has captured nearly one-tenth of the Mexican market by selling cheaper than market leaders Coke and Pepsi.
At a convenience store in the capital's Polanco neighborhood, a 3.3-liter bottle of Big Cola was selling for $1.11 on Monday compared with $1.57 for a 2-liter bottle of Coke.
Paredes and other business leaders want Calderon to boost tax receipts by getting more cheats to pay up, rather than tapping industries that are already contributing.

четверг, 16 июля 2009 г.

Depression, Cigarettes and Negative Ions

How are smoking and depression connected? Is one the cause of the other? Science has shown that smokers are generally more prone towards depression than non smokers. How can employers combat this and help employees be as productive as they can be?
The scientific connection between nicotine addiction and depression has been well documented. A history of depression is a common link between many people suffering from nicotine addiction. Many smokers start as teenagers, when peer pressure and anxiety are at their zenith.
Studies have shown that regular smokers have lower monoamine oxidase A and B activity (Sharma, 2006). These enzymes serve many functions in the body, one being the regulation of moods. Depression has been shown to increase when dependant smokers quit using nicotine.
Besides the time lost from smoke breaks, workplace productivity is severely affected by the depression that accompanies nicotine addiction. The decreased enzyme activity has also been linked to attention deficit disorder. The ups and downs of nicotine cravings further contribute to productivity loss. When a smoker tries and fails to quit, depression increases.
The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimate that $92 billion is lost every year due to cigarette smoking. On average, smokers take 6.16 sick days while non-smokers take 3.86 days per year (Halpern, 2001). These two figures give a small example of lost productivity because of nicotine addiction. Some suggest that the losses are due to the depression caused by nicotine addiction and withdrawal.
Because of this loss, employers would love help their employees kick the habit. But until laws are enacted that completely ban smoking, this is easier to say then do. Fortunately, there are technologies available to employers that can help.
Air purifiers that use negative ion technology have been linked to a decrease in smoking. Negative ions are particles which remove smoke and other contaminants from the air. They attract these toxic substances and attach themselves, causing the combined result to be too heavy to float. No longer able to remain airborne, the contaminant sinks harmlessly to the floor.
Besides the benefit of clean air, negative ions have also been linked to positive moods. One of the ways they do this is by increasing the oxygen flow to the brain. Another way is by eliminating many germs from the air (Mann, 2003). One in three people are highly susceptible to their effects.
Because of the mood enhancing properties, many smokers can be encouraged to quit. The uplifting effects of the negative ions boost their ability to quit smoking, keeping the depression at bay. With the pure air surrounding them, employees who smoke are given a breath of fresh air that invigorates them. They'll be less apt to light up once they realize that cigarettes worsen their depression.
Employers are constantly searching for ways to increase productivity. Millions of dollars are spent trying to encourage employees to quit smoking and get back to work. An air purifier that uses negative ions is exactly what they need to get their employees working at full steam.

понедельник, 13 июля 2009 г.

Smoking Kills And E Cigarettes Could Save Smokers Lives

With smoking being one of the leading causes of death in the United States and around the world, people have been looking for a healthier alternative for years now. While some try to quit with patches, gums, pills, and other methods such as hypnosis, there are a number of people who are now switching over to a product called the e-cigarette.

Tobacco cigarettes emit around 4,000 chemicals and many of them are known to cause cancer, including formaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, and Polonium-210, but e-cigarettes contain only a few ingredients and by removing the tar, some health officials say that they could be safer than tobacco by 100 times.

E-cigarettes come with many different conveniences, including the fact that a user no longer has to wonder where to put their cigarette out, whether they are out in public or in a private home. Since they do not burn, e-cigarettes do not have to be put out. Cigarettes are one of the biggest causes of wildfires around the world and the mass use of e-cigarettes would remove that risk.

E-cigarettes also do not pose a risk of setting yourself or a piece of furniture on fire if you fall asleep with it in your hand. In fact, most users have reported that the nicotine craving is eliminated with only a few drags and because it can be set down anywhere, such as a desk or side table, most users actually forget it's there when they become pre-occupied with work, TV, or other things. Some have claimed that this actually has resulted in them smoking less during the day, because the craving is eliminated so quickly and they can pick up the e-cigarette and put it down anywhere at will.

Gone are the days of being committed to smoking an entire tobacco cigarette out of a sense of monetary responsibility. With the price of cigarettes on the rise, many smokers will not waste even half of a cigarette and will finish it, even if they don't want to. E-cigarettes get rid of that self-imposed responsibility.

Another great thing about e-cigarettes is that you no longer have to hear complaints from children that they are stinky. While most e-cigarette brands smell different, they do not smell nearly as bad as lit tobacco. There is also the benefit of your clothes and hair not smelling bad anymore, your breath will benefit, and the mist will not stain your teeth yellow like tobacco smoke does.

понедельник, 6 июля 2009 г.

No Benefit from Smoking Light Cigarettes

A new study finds people who smoke low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes are under a false illusion if they believe the choice will decrease their health risks.

In fact, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University found that light cigarette smokers increase their lifetime risk of a variety of smoking-related diseases.

A review of over 12,000 self-reported smokers discovered people who smoke low-tar and low-nicotine, or “light” cigarettes while believing they are reducing their health risks are less likely to kick the habit.

As such, light cigarette smokers’ increase their lifetime risk of a variety of smoking-related diseases suggests the study published online by the American Journal of Public Health.

The analysis, conducted by Hilary Tindle, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, while she was based at Harvard Medical School, found that of 12,285 self-reported smokers, those who used light cigarettes were about 50 percent less likely to quit smoking than those who smoked non-light cigarettes.

Smoking light cigarettes was associated with reduced odds of quitting for all age groups, but this effect increased with progressing age, peaking in adults age 65 and older, who were 76 percent less likely to quit than their counterparts who smoked non-light cigarettes.

Additionally, Dr. Tindle and her collaborators, who included Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, found that more than a third (37 percent) of the self-reported smokers said they used light cigarettes to reduce their health risks.

The majority of these light cigarette smokers were female, Caucasian and highly educated. The responses were obtained as part of the 2000 National Health Interview Survey, an ongoing household survey of the U.S. population conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the National Center for Health Statistics.

According to Dr. Tindle, these findings are particularly disturbing because they translate into more than 30 million U.S. adult smokers who think they are reducing their smoking-related health risks by using light cigarettes but who, in fact, actually may be increasing such risks.

“Even though smokers may hope to reduce their health risks by smoking lights, the results suggest they are doing just the opposite because they are significantly reducing their chances of quitting. Moreover, as they get older their chances of quitting become more and more diminished,” Dr. Tindle said.

Light cigarettes were first introduced to the U.S. market in the late 1960s and now account for almost 90 percent of the cigarettes sold in the United States. A number of studies have refuted the notion that they have less tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes, instead suggesting that the amounts of tar and nicotine are comparable.

Furthermore, research has suggested that light cigarette smokers experience little or no long-term reduction in their risk of tobacco-related disease compared to smokers of regular cigarettes.

In the article, Dr. Tindle and her coauthors suggest that physicians and other clinicians should warn their patients about light cigarettes during routine smoking cessation counseling, because research shows that smokers are more likely to show interest in quitting if they know that lights do not reduce health risks.

In addition, the authors suggest that there be disclosures on cigarette packs and warnings in advertisements whenever the term “light” or similarly misleading terms are used.

“Because smoking is such a major cause of death and disability in this country and worldwide, we believe that it is critical to give smokers accurate information on the potentially detrimental effects of the use of lights to reduce health risks and the potential impact on subsequent smoking cessation,” she said.

пятница, 3 июля 2009 г.

Formula One

Marlboro is also known for its sponsorship of motor racing. This started in 1972 with its sponsorship of Formula One teams BRM and Iso Marlboro-Ford. The former took one win at the very wet Monaco Grand Prix.

For 1974 Marlboro dissolved its sponsorship of both teams and became famously associated with the McLaren team, which brought it its first constructors' championship and its drivers title for Emerson Fittipaldi. The team was successful through to 1978, with another world champion in James Hunt in 1976. Following that the partnership went through a dry patch until Ron Dennis's Project Four organisation took over the team in 1981. Marlboro-sponsored McLarens dominated F1 for much of the 1980s and early 1990s, with Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna between them winning the drivers' championship each year from 1984 to 1991, with the exception of 1987.

After the departure of Ayrton Senna in 1993, Marlboro McLaren did not win a race for three years. Marlboro ended their sponsorship of the team in 1996, which ended the famous red and white McLaren livery. Marlboro also sponsored Scuderia Ferrari as secondary sponsor from the mid 1980s as a result of company president Enzo Ferrari, who refused to allow "outside" sponsor brands to appear on his team cars. After his death in 1988, Marlboro began to take over as the primary sponsor which they would be later officially branded as Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

In September 2005, Ferrari signed an extension of their sponsorship arrangement with Marlboro until 2011. This comes at a time when tobacco sponsorship has become wholly illegal in the European Union (including F1 races) and other major teams have withdrawn from relationships with tobacco companies, for example McLaren ended their eight year relationship with West, Renault broke with JT and BAT withdrew in 2006. In reporting the deal, F1 Racing magazine judged it to be a "black day" for the sport, putting non-tobacco funded teams at a disadvantage and discouraging other brands from entering a sport still associated with tobacco. The magazine estimates that in the period between 2005 and 2011 Ferrari will receive $1 billion from the agreement. Depending on the venue of races (and the particular national laws) the Marlboro branding will be largely subliminal in most countries. In April 2008, Marlboro dropped their on-car branding on Ferrari.

Marlboro also sponsored the Alfa Romeo Formula One team between 1980 and 1983, although unable to match up to its pre-war and 1950s heyday, the team only achieving one pole position, one fastest lap and four podium finishes.

Other racing series

Since their start in Formula One, Marlboro has also sponsored numerous teams and races, from Joest Racing in Group C in 1983 to Toyota at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1999 (despite a tobacco ban in France) and Marlboro Masters Formula Three race in Zandvoort.Marlboro sponsorship in Champ Car (also known as 'CART' and 'IndyCar' at that time) dates back to 1986. The Penske cars in the Indy Racing League (IRL) currently run in Marlboro's distinctive red and white colors. In 2006, a Marlboro-sponsored car won the Indianapolis 500. However for the 2007 season, Marlboro have ceased their sponsorship of the Penske Cars, their place being taken by Kodak, and later Cellco Partnership. The team will retain the colour scheme. Where 'Marlboro Penske' appeared on the side of the cars, 'Team Penske' replaced it. Although "Marlboro" does not sponsor Team Penske, Philip Morris USA is still Team Penske's main sponsor, and the Penske team's new name, Penske Championship Racing, reflects the Cellco Partnership sponsorship.

Marlboro also sponsored the Australian Marlboro Holden Dealer Team from 1974 through to 1984. The Marlboro branding gave rise to some of Australia's most prominently recognizable race cars such as the L34 and A9X Torana, as well as the famous VK Group C "Big Banger" Commodore of Peter Brock and Larry Perkins Bathurst winning fame. As well as this, in Motorcycling Grand Prix, Marlboro sponsored the Kenny Roberts run Yamaha team in 500cc as well as one of his former rider, Wayne Rainey's team in the 250cc class. As a result of their sponsorship, Marlboro decals on race replica bikes became one of the most popular decal kits that were available. Marlboro nowadays sponsors the Ducati MotoGP team whom Casey Stoner rides for, despite as of the 2009 Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing Season, they are only allowed to brand the bikes at 1 round, in Qatar.

Marlboro also has a long history in rallying sponsorship, including with the factory World Rally Championship teams of Toyota (notably with Freddy Loix until the end of 1998), Mitsubishi (to whom Loix moved from 1999 until 2001, with the iconic livery remaining on successive Lancer Evolutions until the marque's temporary WRC withdrawal at the end of 2002), and Peugeot, from 2003 to 2005. During the 2007 GP2 Series Season, ART Grand Prix were also sponsored by Marlboro. Marlboro are generally credited as being among the most important of sponsors to the world of Formula-1 (and motor racing in general), having provided financial backing to countless young racers who may not have otherwise been given the opportunity to compete. In mid-2006, special "racing editions" of Marlboro Red were sold in the UK, with a Ferrari-inspired design, although the Ferrari name and badge were not used.