понедельник, 30 ноября 2009 г.

Tobacco taxes vary wildly across Potomac

Virginia, despite joining its counterparts across the Potomac in banning smoking in bars and restaurants, stands apart in its refusal to levy heavy taxes on the sale of cigarettes.
The state takes 30 cents out of every pack of cigarettes, a pittance compared with Maryland and the District and a reminder that the Old Dominion is far from uprooting its tobacco history.
While lawmakers agreed this year to the unprecedented restriction on where someone can smoke -- a victory for Gov. Tim Kaine -- the General Assembly nevertheless shot down Kaine's effort to double the cigarette levy to pay for skyrocketing Medicaid costs.
Virginia until five years ago had almost no tax on cigarettes, charging only 2.5 cents per pack. The increase to 30 cents in 2004 was the first since the tax was enacted in 1960.
That levy is the third lowest cigarette tax in the nation -- higher than only Missouri and South Carolina -- and less than a tenth of Rhode Island's highest-in-the-nation $3.46 per pack charge, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Maryland doubled its tax to $2 per pack in 2007. The D.C. Council matched that tax in 2008, and this year upped the ante to $2.50 a pack.
Virginia lawmakers' reluctance to follow suit is no doubt linked to the tobacco industry's presence in the state. Altria -- the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris -- is headquartered in Richmond and is a major campaign donor. Tobacco ranked ninth last year among the state's most lucrative agricultural products, bringing in $83 million, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

четверг, 26 ноября 2009 г.

Tobacco retailer fined S$2,500 for selling cigarettes to underage youth

A tobacco retailer has been fined S$2,500 for indirectly selling tobacco products to a person below the age of 18.
Cheau Biau Teck has also been banned from selling tobacco products.
Cheau who owns a provision shop overheard an adult offering to buy a packet of cigarettes for an underage youth.
Despite knowing that it was illegal, he still sold the cigarettes to the adult knowing that the adult would pass it on to the youth.
This is the second time that Cheau has been caught for the same offence.
The Health Sciences Authority reminds all tobacco retailers that selling tobacco products to a person below the age of 18 is an offence and is punishable with a maximum fine of S$5,000.

понедельник, 23 ноября 2009 г.

14 charged with cigarette smuggling

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria charged 14 people Thursday with paying money or trading guns and drugs to purchase 388,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes intended for sale in New York.
The case in U.S. District Court is the latest to target smugglers who buy truckloads of cigarettes from undercover agents in Virginia and sell them in other states without paying the required cigarette taxes. Federal officials have been cracking down on the practice for years.
The people charged Thursday with trafficking in contraband cigarettes allegedly purchased them in Stafford County. Two people were also charged with agreeing to hire a hit man to kill a man and his wife who were believed to be stealing some of the cigarettes.

среда, 18 ноября 2009 г.

Newton aldermen snuff out tobacco in pharmacies

Newton — The Board of Aldermen approved a ban forbidding pharmacies from selling tobacco products in the city by a wide margin Monday night. The measure passed without discussion.
In an 18-3 vote, members approved the ban, which supporters said was intended to prevent those in the public health business from selling cigarettes and other tobacco items.
Aldermen Bill Brandel, Amy Sangiolo and Jay Harney cast the only nay votes against the ban.
Supporters of the proposal said at a previous meeting that pharmacies should not sell cigarettes because they also sell medicine — including medication for people trying to quit smoking.
Having to walk by cigarettes while being treated for cigarette addiction was sending patients mixed messages, they said.Opponents said the measure would deprive pharmacies from a source of revenue.
Of the 60 licensed cigarette vendors in Newton, 10 are pharmacies. According to city statistics, two of those pharmacies were caught selling cigarettes to minors during the city’s enforcement sweep in June, while 16 other vendors were also caught.
Newton’s ban is similar to that in neighboring Needham, along with ones in Boston and San Francisco.

понедельник, 16 ноября 2009 г.

Cigarette vending machines banned

A ban on cigarette vending machines is set to become law across the UK, after it cleared its final Commons hurdle on Tuesday night.
MPs approved Lords amendments to the Health Bill, following the surprise agreement in the Commons to the proposal from Labour former minister Ian McCartney last month.
Health Minister Gillian Merron said it was hoped the ban would dissuade young people from smoking, as these were the "new recruits the tobacco industry needs to replace those who die".The measure will come into force in 2011.
Under the initial wording of the Bill, the Government had intended to regulate vending machines more strictly and only impose a ban if that failed to prevent cigarettes being sold to children.
But Mr McCartney's amendment was passed without a vote and Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the will of the House would be respected.
Ms Merron told MPs that vending machines reflected a time when shops closed early and it was difficult to buy cigarettes in the evening.
The ban brought the UK into line with 16 other EU countries, she said.

четверг, 12 ноября 2009 г.

Tobacco Smoke Has Harmful Impact On Asthma, Rhinitis And Immunity

Tobacco smoke is involved in uncontrolled asthma, a diminished response to anti-asthma drugs, rhinitis, nasal obstruction, and deregulation of the immune system according to an international expert at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Miami Beach, Fla.
Tobacco smoking has been mainly associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is attributed to being one of the main reasons that COPD disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
“Recent studies have shown that smoking can be linked with other respiratory diseases such as asthma exacerbations and rhinitis,” said Carlos Baena-Cagnani, M.D., faculty of medicine, at Catholic University of Cordoba in Argentina. “Both active and passive smoking has been shown to be involved in uncontrolled asthma and associated with asthma exacerbations in children and adolescents.”
According to Dr. Baena-Cagnani, active smoking also causes changes in inflammation in asthma patients, diminishes their response to anti-asthma drugs, and has been found to induce nasal obstruction and decreased mucociliary clearance.
“The message is that smoking is a risk factor for the inception of asthma in allergic rhinitis patients, and it should be discouraged in patients with rhinitis,” he said. “There is increasing and compelling evidence that respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD, are also related to a deregulation of the immune system, especially the innate (natural) immunity.”
According to the latest World Health Organization statistics, currently 300 million people have asthma, and 210 million people have COPD, while millions have allergic rhinitis and other often under-diagnosed chronic respiratory diseases, Dr. Baena-Cagnani said.

вторник, 10 ноября 2009 г.

Teenagers could be fined if they smoke

SHOPKEEPERS want to turn children into criminals by making it illegal for minors to light up.
Under a plan proposed by the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores, which represents corner stores and petrol stations, children under 18 would be fined or given a court notice for smoking, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Association executive director Sheryle Moon said teenage smoking should be treated the same as underage drinking, adding: "Just as police officers enforce alcohol now, they would have the power to enforce underage smoking."
Frustrated that retailers carry the burden of underage smoking and face fines of $5500 if they sell to a minor, shopkeepers want parents and children to bear the responsibility.But their proposal, which will be presented to State and Federal Governments this week, has been slammed by anti-smoking groups, who said it would criminalise children.
About 10 per cent of children aged between 12 and 17 smoke - that number doubles after 17.
While the rate of underage smoking is declining, about 80 per cent of smokers started while children.
Under the NSW Tobacco Act, there is nothing to prevent a child from smoking - but an adult who purchases cigarettes for a minor can face a fine of $2200. Next year, under new legislation, shops will be forced to hide tobacco products from sight.
Ms Moon said traders face up to $20,000 in shop renovations to meet the laws, adding it was a "disproportionate level of responsibility".
The NSW Cancer Council yesterday dismissed the idea, claiming that education was more effective in reducing underage smoking.
Instead of the law criminalising teenagers who smoke, it recommended corner stores and petrol stations just stop selling cigarettes.
"The problem with making smoking illegal is that it turns people into criminals for a bad habit they developed through aggressive marketing by tobacco companies," the Cancer Council's tobacco unit manager Wendy Oakes said.

пятница, 6 ноября 2009 г.

Memphis man second to go to court

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - A Memphis businessman linked to a multistate black-market cigarette operation will be in federal court in Greenville on Nov. 24 to face charges in the investigation, according to court documents.
However, prosecutors have not released any information on charges against Randy Benham and Jerry Burke.
Burke, of Tupelo, will be in the Greenville court that same day.
Documents accuse Burke of flying a plane to traffic the cigarettes and continuing his involvement with the business, even after he sold it to Benham.
Prosecutors allege Benham made it appear the cigarettes were being sold in Mississippi when they were being diverted to other states.
Federal agents raided a Tupelo warehouse owned by Benham in May. They seized thousands of cartons of cigarettes on which no state or federal taxes had been paid.

четверг, 5 ноября 2009 г.

Five held for smuggling cigarettes

Marine police arrested five foreigners who were trying to smuggle in 7,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes off the waters of Segari yesterday.
The five, aged between 21 and 49, are being held to assist in investigations.
Perak Marine police commander Deputy Supt Shaari Ariffin said the cigarettes were believed to have originated from a neighbouring country.
Also seized during the 1.50am operation was a speedboat.
“This is our biggest haul this year,” said DSP Shaari, adding that the seized items were worth about RM773,800.
He said the success of yesterday’s operation was due to public cooperation and urged anyone with knowledge of illegal activities in Malaysian waters to inform the Marine police immediately.

понедельник, 2 ноября 2009 г.

It’s no smoke: IU Southeast students protest smoking ban

A small group of students at Indiana University Southeast protested the university’s tobacco-free policy by lighting cigarettes and smoking on campus Thursday afternoon.
Three students received referrals after campus police asked them to put out their cigarettes and they refused, but the protest remained peaceful. Another half dozen students joined in the protest or carried signs but chose not to smoke.
Ian Girdley, a sophomore English and journalism major, organized what he called the “act of civil disobedience.”
“We ask the IU Board of Trustees to give us a reasonable place to smoke while still protecting students from unwanted secondhand smoke,” Girdley said.The students walked from the free speech area near the clock tower about 50 yards to a nearby field to smoke. The campus policy is that students can only smoke in vehicles.
“I think most of us would just like a designated area to smoke — maybe one on each end of campus,” said Katelyn Dowell, a junior majoring in psychology.
Tristan Williamson, a junior English major, does not smoke, but marched with the demonstrators. He said it is “ridiculous” that smokers do not have a place to go.
Former IUS music professor Jamey Abersold argued with the protesters, accusing them of distorting the truth about the harmfulness of tobacco. Abersold now does anti-smoking presentations at local schools.
“I don’t think people should be allowed to smoke anywhere,” Abersold said.
University spokeswoman Jenny Johnson Wolf said the students who chose to smoke will be referred to the vice chancellor for Student Affairs, which is university policy for anyone caught smoking.
There is a judicial hearing to determine any discipline. Wolf said there is no minimum or maximum penalty for violating the smoking ban and that each offender is treated on a “case- by-case” basis.
In two years of the restrictions, less than 20 students have received referrals for smoking, Wolf said. Many of the students at the protest say they smoke in the parking lot, and no one has ever told them to stop. Girdley said he has received verbal reprimands for smoking on campus, but was never issued a referral before Thursday.
He said one reason they chose to demonstrate now — two years after the Indiana University Board of Trustees mandated the campus become completely tobacco-free — is because of concern the university was planning to start stricter enforcement of the anti-smoking policy.
Wolf said the university is discussing how to better enforce the rules, but that no formal proposal has been made and no date is set for changes to take place.
“The campus, with feedback from our Executive Council and students, is reviewing options to improve the effectiveness of the tobacco-free compliance, Wolf said. “This includes the possibility of fines and/or community service being assigned to those who break the tobacco-free policy.”
Student Government Association President James Bonsall said he will meet today with administration officials to discuss how to better enforce the tobacco-free policy. He said the university is considering issuing citations that would be similar to parking tickets, rather than having students go before a judicial board.
“Basically, nobody has ever had to enforce the smoking ban so far,” Bonsall said.
He said the problem with the current system is that some students do not have vehicles on campus and therefore cannot smoke. He supports having designated smoking areas away from building.
“I don’t believe nonsmoking students should be subjected at all to smoke,” Bonsall said.
He said it was good to see students out protesting, although he disagrees with them violating university rules to do so.