пятница, 10 декабря 2010 г.

San Francisco KTVU report: how many cigarettes make for safe smoking?

You might say, just one cigarette now and again can't hurt, can it? It can't be all that bad, surely? Or you might say you've been smoking for years and you're still here, so that probably means you are immune, right?

Not necessarily so, says San Francisco's KTVU Channel 2 news. The San Francisco news station came out with a report this lunchtime that says that even a limited amount of social smoking or drawing in someone else's secondhand smoke is enough to block your arteries and cause a heart attack.

San Francisco's KTVU revealed that the above were the findings of the newest surgeon general's report on the habit that San Franciscan's, along with other Americans, just can't seem to kick.

Although many San Francisco residents are under the impression that lung cancer is the biggest fear and that can take decades to develop, the new report says that "tobacco smoke begins poisoning immediately - more than 7,000 chemicals in each puff rapidly spread through the body to cause cellular damage in nearly every organ."

"That one puff on that cigarette could be the one that causes your heart attack," reveals Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, according to San Francisco's KTVU. Benjamin also advises San Francisco residents to stay away from anyone else who is smoking.

That's because around 443,000 Americans die from illnesses every year that are related to smoking.

The good news is that smoking-related illnesses have decreased since the warning was first issued by the Surgeon General in 1964, but the decrease has now leveled off and around 46 million--that's one in five-- Americans still smoke and millions more are exposed to the second-hand smoke.

KTVU San Francisco says that "The government had hoped to drop the smoking rate to 12 percent by this year, a goal not only missed but that's now been put off to 2020."

Some experts are asking why cigarettes have not been banned altogether, since this is now the 30th report the surgeon general has given.

"How many reports more does Congress need to have to say that cigarettes as a class of products ought to be banned?" asked Dr. K. Michael Cummings of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a nicotine expert, who was one of the people who reviewed the cigarette report.

"One-third of the patients who are in our hospitals are there today because of cigarettes," he says.

That question was not answered in the report. Some San Franciscans have their own opinions on that:

"Maybe the government doesn't want to give up the taxes it collects from the sale of cigarettes. But it's crazy because look at the expense that is paid out in health treatment and then in disability benefits when the person becomes too ill to work," says San Francisco resident Hattie Costello, who gave up smoking.

The conclusion in the report? That there is NO safe level of exposure to the smoke from cigarettes, either as a smoker or as someone who ends up inhaling second-hand smoke.

San Francisco smokers are learning from KTVU that even the very first inhalation can be enough to cause a heart attack in a person who may already have clogged arteries, even if the clogging is slight and the person doesn't know their arteries are clogged, says Dr. Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Too often people think the occasional social cigarette is not so dangerous, when in fact this report says yes, it is," he said.

Man burnt for cigarette succumbs to injuries

A 45-year old shopkeeper, who was set on fire by a Class 10 student in Pataudi last Saturday, died on Thursday. According to the police, the shopkeeper, identified as Rajender Kumar, had refused to give cigarettes to the boy on credit. The boy came back with an inflammable material and set him
on fire.

"The boy was caught by other shopkeepers and handed over to the police. Meanwhile, Kumar was first rushed to a private hospital in Gurgaon," a senior police officer said.

"Later, he was shifted to the burns ward at the Safdarjung Hospital, where he died today (Thursday)," the police officer added.

Following his death, the market remained closed and shopkeepers also held a protest near Sadar Bazaar demanding R25 lakh as compensation for the family.

Kumar owned a grocery shop at Heli Mandi in Gurgaon. "On Saturday, the boy had come to purchase cigarettes on credit, but Kumar refused. The two entered into an argument after Kumar insisted on payment," the official said.

The boy left the shop enraged and came back with a can of petrol. He set the shop on fire while Kumar was still inside.

The police registered an FIR against the accused under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case has now been registered under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC.

Free cigarettes possible motive for Standish man who allegedly gave alcohol to minors

While this small, northeastern Michigan city has a quaint, hometown feel, area residents say underage drinking is going on and parents are to blame.

Community members reacted Thursday to reports of a recent drinking party involving a dozen 11- and 12-year-olds.

“If that’s true, you have to blame the parents. That’s just terrible,” said Standish resident Eileen Gilbert.

Standish police Chief Mark Christian said more than a dozen 11- and 12-year-olds were given minor-in-possession citations Dec. 3 in a neighborhood on River Street. A 43-year-old Standish man is expected to be charged with providing the alcohol.

As of Thursday, police had not identified the adult they believe involved in the incident. But they said the man confessed to buying the alcohol.

The Times attempted to contact the man at his home, based on a tip from one of his relatives. A woman at the home, Jo-Lin Heriter, identified herself as the man’s girlfriend.

She said he was taken to jail Tuesday for an unrelated probation violation but said he is “innocent until proven guilty.”

She added that he told her he had purchased the alcohol in exchange for a free pack of cigarettes.

People such as 81-year-old Phyllis Elliott of Pinconning feel the children’s parents share the blame.

“My question is, what are the parents thinking?” said Elliott, who visits Standish frequently to shop and see friends.

“I had seven children and, at that age, I knew where they were at all times. I would never let them out for parties if I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

One resident in the River Street area who declined to give his name said he frequently sees groups of middle school-aged kids running around the neighborhood.

“(Kids) run all over the place. Sometimes they’re loud and I have to tell them to knock it off,” said the neighbor.

Gilbert though, who lives a block away on Main Street, said the neighborhood is pretty quiet.

Arenac County Undersheriff Don McIntyre hopes a serious penalty is in store for the person who provided the alcohol.

“This is the youngest group of kids that I’ve heard (involved with underage drinking) since I’ve been here,” said McIntyre. “I would hope a judge sees the seriousness of this.

“Eleven and 12 years old is a significantly low age. You normally would see this with high school-aged kids, not middle school.”

Standish Police Chief Mark Christian said he chased down more than a dozen 11- and 12-year-olds Friday and was brought into a house where several bottles of alcohol were found. Christian said the children told him that they pooled their money and gave it to the man who then purchased the alcohol for them.

Christian said the man could face charges of selling and furnishing alcohol to minors — a misdemeanor that could bring more than $1,000 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

Today, in a text message to the Times, Christian said no further information is available at this time and he expects to know more next week.

Underage drinking isn’t new to Arenac County, said McIntyre.

“But kids are getting smarter by staying off the roads, staying in small groups and drinking alcohol in obscure locations,” said McIntyre. “They’re definitely getting more creative in that aspect.”

Alcohol consumption by children or adults younger than 21 is always a concern for the sheriff’s office, said McIntyre, but with 11- and 12-year-olds, it’s a greater concern.

“Eleven- and 12-year-olds don’t have the ability of logical reasoning as an 18-year-old would have. Just as an 18-year-old wouldn’t have that logical reasoning that a 30-year-old would have,” said McIntyre. “It’s a dangerous decision.”

Just One Cigarette Starts Damaging The Body

The damage cigarettes do to the body isn’t limited to the one smoking, and it’s not just heavy smokers who are at risk for health effects. Even light smokers, or those occasionally exposed to cigarette smoke via second-hand smoke, are at risk for damage, including heart attacks and asthma. According to US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, there is no safe level of tobacco smoke exposure.

“You don’t have to be a heavy smoker or a long-time smoker to get a smoking-related disease or have a heart attack or asthma attack that is triggered by tobacco smoke,” said the report. “Low levels of smoke exposure, including exposures to secondhand tobacco smoke, lead to a rapid and sharp increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and stroke.”

There’s nothing I am more allergic to than cigarette smoke. I’ve never smoked a single cigarette, and I loathe going into environments where people have been chain smoking. Nobody was happier than I was when my city passed a smoking ban; you do what you want to with your lungs, but I want to be able to breathe and not suffer because you want to smoke, thank you.

вторник, 20 июля 2010 г.

Electronic cigarette company offers kits to public at wholesale price

Online PR News – 15-July-2010 – VIP Electronic Cigarette, an online e cigarette retailer, started supplying an e-cigarette starter kit 3 years through their partner trading company. The 1st generation of e-cigarettes became popular with smokers looking for an alternative to smoking tobacco. Despite an early success, the VIP team believed the primary version of the e-cigarette could be improved.
Much has changed since the launch of the original electronic cigarette model. Based on customer feedback and after intensive research, they now have a first-class 3rd generation electronic cigarette to beat all rivals.

A modified lithium-ion battery increases the number of recharge cycles prolonging the life of the battery. The plastic filter tip now features a brown cigarette styled paper covering to convey the feeling of holding a normal cigarette. Individual micro-heating units (atomisers) and cartridges have been replaced by high performance cartomizers.

The new wave of cartomizers produce what can only be described as the closest experience to smoking a real cigarette as possible. Cartomizer vapor production is maximzed to present a full flavored throat hit to satisfy heavy, light or social smokers.

Buying direct from VIP instead of purchasing by way of an affiliate, reseller or third party can cost significantly less. By supplying their own exclusive range of electronic cigarettes, VIP can offer customers a great deal.

VIP Electronic Cigarette is a leading e-cigarette retailer in the UK unmatched for customer service and quality.

понедельник, 21 июня 2010 г.

Fact sheet for world no tobacco day 2010

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on countries to protect women and girls from efforts by the tobacco industry to induce them to start smoking.
The organization released data that smoking and chewing of tobacco among women and girls is increasing in Asia and the Pacific. It is estimated that more than 8 percent of girls between 13 and 15 years of age, or around 4.5 million girls, are using tobacco products.
In observation of World No Tobacco Day this year, WHO called for comprehensive bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship to protect women and girls from deceptive messages that portray smoking as glamorous or fashionable.
Worldwide, of more than 600,000 deaths caused every year by second-hand smoke, 64 percent occur among women.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control calls for gender-specific tobacco control strategies and the full participation of women in tobacco control measures.
Empower and protect women from tobacco marketing and smoke
Women are at great risk
Tobacco companies are spending heavily on alluring marketing campaigns that target women.
Women are gaining spending power and independence. Therefore, they are more able to afford cigarettes and feel freer to use them.
Tobacco companies are investing heavily in the low- and middle- income countries, where most potential new female users live.
Many countries do not do enough to protect their people from second- hand smoke.
Many women do not know about the harm done by second-hand smoke, or feel as if they have no right to complain.
Tobacco use and premature deaths of women
Women comprise 20 percent of the world's 1 billion smokers.
Of the more than 5 million people who die each year from tobacco use, approximately 1.5 million are women.
If current conditions continue, tobacco use will kill 8 million people each year by 2030, of whom 2.5 million will be women.
Three-quarters of these deaths would be women in low- and middle-income countries. Each of these deaths would have been avoidable.
Disturbing trends on tobacco use among women and girls in the Western Pacific Region
Based on the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, it is estimated that 8.4 percent of girls aged 13-15 years, or around 4.7 million girls, in the Western Pacific Region use tobacco products.
In New Zealand, smoking among girls ages 13-15 years old increased from 23.9 percent in 2007 to 39.9 percent in 2009.
In Cambodia, according to a nationwide survey in 2005, 17 percent of women and 1 percent of men chewed tobacco.
It is estimated that more than a half a million middle-aged and older women in Cambodia chew tobacco.
The high prevalence of tobacco chewing is linked to the belief that this alleviates morning sickness among pregnant women.
In Palau, 53.7 percent of girls aged 13-15 currently use other tobacco products, including chewing betel nut with cigarettes, increasing the risk of oral cancer.
In Vietnam, it is reported that two-thirds of all women are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.
In China, where one-third of the world's adult smokers live and where more than 97 percent of those smokers are men, more than half of the women of reproductive age are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, which puts them and their unborn babies at risk.
The epidemic of tobacco use manifests itself differently in women than in men
The tobacco industry dupes many women into believing that smoking is a sign of liberation, and many women wrongly view smoking as a good way of keeping slim.
Women who smoke are more likely to experience infertility and delays in conceiving than those who do not. Maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the risks of premature delivery, stillbirth and newborn death and may cause a reduction in breast milk.
Evidence shows that women develop lung cancer with lower levels of smoking compared to men, and are more at risk of contracting the (more aggressive) small cell lung cancer.
Women who smoke are at increased risk of developing potentially fatal chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Smoking increases women's risks for many cancers, including cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney and cervix, as well as for acute myeloid leukemia. There is a possible link between active smoking and premenopausal breast cancer.
Many tobacco control strategies ignore women who chew tobacco.
Second-hand smoke is a major health risk for women at home and in the workplace.
In many countries, vastly more men smoke than women, and many of those countries fail to protect nonsmokers from exposure to indoor second-hand smoke adequately.
In many countries, women are powerless to protect themselves, and their children, from second-hand smoke.
Tobacco industry marketing endangers women
Advertisements falsely link tobacco use with female beauty, empower-ment and health. In fact, addiction to tobacco enslaves and disfigures women.
Advertisements lure women with such misleading identifiers as "lite/light" or "low-tar". A higher proportion of women than men smoke "lite/light" cigarettes, often in the mistaken belief that "lite/light" means "safer".

понедельник, 14 июня 2010 г.

Ethics Group Challenges FDA Tobacco Panel Members

Two panelists on a new federal advisory committee on tobacco product safety should be removed, according to a complaint by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

The New York Times reported June 7 that that group argues that the work of Neal L. Benowitz and Jack E. Henningfield on behalf of drug companies that make smoking-cessation products represents a conflict of interest.

Both men are members of the scientific advisory committee at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products. The panel met this week to discuss the harmful components of tobacco products, ahead of a full committee meeting in July to advise the FDA on whether it should regulate or ban menthol cigarettes.

Altria Group, the owner of Phillip Morris, objected to the same panelists in March, but the FDA rejected that challenge on the grounds that tobacco-cessation drugs were not part of the Center for Tobacco Products' regulatory purview.

"I really don't see any conflict," Benowitz said. "My involvement with pharmaceutical companies is aimed at reducing the risk of smoking, quitting smoking. The aim of the committee is also to reduce the adverse health consequences of tobacco use."

"We just thought the financial conflicts were clear," said Melanie Sloan, director of the watchdog group and former assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia. The FDA shouldn’t be exchanging Big Tobacco for Big Pharma, she said.

понедельник, 7 июня 2010 г.

Fight over cigarettes sparked riot at camp

HULU TERENGGANU, MALAYSIA - The riot that broke out at the Ajil immigration detention camp started over a pack of cigarettes.

An Immigration Department source said an argument broke out between a newcomer and another detainee who had been at the camp for some time.

'They were fighting over a pack of cigarettes,' he said yesterday.

'This led to the rest joining in the brawl.'

In the 9.15pm incident on Saturday, the 127 Vietnamese detainees had rioted and tried to escape camp but were thwarted by security personnel.

Eight detainees were injured and subsequently treated at the Hulu Terengganu Hospital.

'They attempted to tear down the main door at the entrance to escape, but were foiled because of quick intervention from Immigration officers and the riot police,' said Terengganu Immigration director Mahasan Mustapa.

The Vietnamese Embassy has been informed about the incident. There are 200 illegal immigrants at the camp.

During the incident, the rioters used combustible materials to start a fire.

Fire and Rescue Department officers in three engines from Kuala Berang and Kuala Terengganu prevented the fire from spreading.

The riot also caused a commotion when the remaining detainees shook the fence surrounding the camp and scared stall owners operating outside the compound.

Terengganu police chief Senior Asst Comm 1 Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said the riot was brought under control around midnight.

Tom Yam stall owner, Kharuddin Ismail, 53, who operates outside the camp, said the situation was tense.

He added that Immigration officers had asked the stall owners to clear the area as they feared the riot might spill beyond the perimeters of the camp.

вторник, 1 июня 2010 г.

A lifetime of ‘no tobacco’ needed

The World No Tobacco day is once again upon us to remind us politely that health is a concern of everyone. From personal physical fitness to the threats posed by growing global pandemics, all people share an interest in improving the well being of themselves and others.

Real, sincere and ongoing action is needed to achieve this, instead of mere rhetoric. The war against tobacco needs to be won, and not just fought, with renewed pledges; stricter legislation; innovative awareness programs; and the will to succeed in curbing the menace of tobacco.

It is easy to reel off statistics about the health hazards of tobacco consumption — tobacco consumption is a leading cause of death among Indians aged 30-69 and 1 million Indians die from smoking-related diseases each year in India; among all women, 11 percent (over 54 million women) use some form of tobacco; approximately 1 in 20 (or 90,000) deaths among women 35-69 years old can be attributed to smoking; tobacco use causes lung and other cancers, respiratory/heart disease, heart attacks, and other diseases; smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, increased blood pressure/heart rate and adverse reproductive outcomes; consumption of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy decreases gestational age at birth and decreases birth weight...... The list can go on and on.

But does it really cut any ice with the users? Perhaps, since the times of Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit seems to be the sweetest. So it is with tobacco and its many variants. Very often my smoker friends argue that the state has no right to take away their freedom of smoking or chewing tobacco. They should be free to eat, drink, smoke, whatever they like. Even if one concedes their argument about freedom to make personal choices, they need to be reminded that one’s freedom is only acceptable as long as it does not curb the freedom of others.

So the government has every right to curb their freedom of smoking in public places to prevent innocent nonsmokers from becoming victims. Even within homes, children and family members are, very often, subjected to passive smoking of their elders, spouses and/or other smoker relatives. So, all those who value their freedom to smoke, will have to respect the freedom of others too. Beyond this, we can let it be the smokers’ choice to lead a healthy life or inch toward disaster in isolation. We can only counsel such diehards, who are bent upon committing death by tobacco.

Again, the duty of the state is not merely to enact sensible laws for tobacco control, but also enforce them strictly — something which is shamefully lacking in India. We have wonderful laws, but just on paper. To find the ground reality, some students of Class XII of Loreto Convent College, recently did a random survey of the city of Lucknow, as part of their Environmental Education Project. They surveyed 200 persons (150 males and 50 females) of various age groups, and coming from different strata of society — from rickshaw pullers to executives.

They traversed the entire city clicking photographs of shops/kiosks selling cigarettes and other tobacco products much within 100m range of educational institutions. They searched in vain, for signage in schools/colleges proclaiming that smoking is prohibited in the premises. They examined the tobacco/gutkha pouches for the information printed on them, and even posed as customers and easily bought cigarette and tobacco packs, despite being less than 18 years of age.

I am tempted here to mention some of their findings, which point directly to the shabby manner in which the laws are enforced:

Although a large majority of the respondents (98.5 percent) had heard anti-tobacco messages on television/radio, yet more than 70 percent of the males and 50 percent females surveyed were found to be users of tobacco products.

Forty-one percent of the respondents confessed to have smoked in public places, but surprisingly 94 percent of the offenders were neither checked nor fined for this violation. More than 29 percent respondents said that there was no ban on smoking at their workplace.

Out of all the minors surveyed (males and females), 81 percent of the males and 33 percent of the females were tobacco users. 76 percent of the people felt that it was very easy for minors to buy tobacco. In fact, more than 51 percent of the respondents had bought tobacco products from minors, at some time or the other.

Seventy-eight percent of the people said that they had seen tobacco shops within 100 yards radius of schools and colleges. Out of the 36 city schools/colleges that the students personally visited, 30 had one or more shops selling cigarettes and tobacco products, in some cases right next to their entry gates.

Out of the 20 gutkha packets of different brands studied by the students, 7 were known to be regularly advertised on television, radio, cinema halls. Only 12 gutkha brands had mentioned some alluring descriptors. The nicotine and tar content was not mentioned on any cigarette/tobacco pack.

понедельник, 10 мая 2010 г.

Rising popularity of `hubble bubble' - aka hookah - worries anti-smoking forces

A new fad is threatening to undercut the hard-fought gains of laws that have placed strict limits on smoking in public, experts say.

The smoking of hookahs — waterpipes evocative of Cairo's Kasbah or a Saharan oasis — is surging in popularity among young adults, research suggests.

And in a number of places, laws aimed to keep bars and restaurants cigarette-free don't ban the aromatic smoke swirling from these exotic waterpipes, which are sometimes known as shisha, narghile or hubble bubble.

"From a public health standpoint, we really do need to nip this in the bud before we've got a hookah lounge on every corner," says Pippa Beck, a policy analyst with the Non-Smokers Rights Association.

Beck notes Ottawa, where she is based, has issued at least 15 licenses to restaurants or bars that offer hookahs.

"It really is a problem, and certainly for young people who otherwise wouldn't smoke cigarettes. They seem to think this isn't a big deal."

A new study on hookah use by young adults in Quebec suggests Beck's assessment is on track. The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The work, by a team at the University of Montreal that has been studying smoking in Quebec teens for years, shows that about 23 per cent of 871 study participants reported smoking a waterpipe at least once in the previous year.

While most reported smoking hookahs only on rare occasions, about four per cent of the participants said they smoked hookahs at least once a month.

Though anti-smoking laws are making cigarette smokers virtual pariahs, paradoxically hookah smokers can and do indulge in bars and restaurants.

In some cities, clean air laws cover only the smoking of tobacco — which sometimes provides an out for hookah bars that claim they offer tobacco-free product. In other places, exemptions are given to this type of establishment.

"The thing that bothered me about it, actually, is its visibility," says Jennifer O'Loughlin, the senior author of the study.

"In a country that is banning smoking cigarettes in so many public places and smoking is becoming so contrary to the social norms, are we going to let waterpipe replace smoking in terms of visibility?"

The craze isn't just sweeping Canada. Hookah use is on the rise throughout the United States and elsewhere, says Dr. Wasim Maziak, an epidemiologist who studies tobacco addiction at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

"It's still under the radar currently. But I think there's a kind of major awakening," Maziak says, pointing to the fact that the U.S. National Institutes of Health have started funding research into hookah use.

"This is spreading so fast.... People now understand it's really a major public health threat."

Hookah smoking has been practised for centuries, but was on the wane in the last century, Maziak says. "It used to be old men in the Middle East smoking this raw tobacco."

But in the 1990s, the trend reversed. Maziak puts the change down to the fact that while in days gone by shisha smokers had to prepare their own blends, commercially prepared product became available, in a range of flavours such as apple and even Earl Grey tea.

What goes into it often isn't clear. Beck says some claim to contain no tobacco, but it can be almost impossible to verify that without doing laboratory analyses. Product labelling is either minimal, indecipherable or non-existent.

"Some is labelled, some isn't. It's hard to tell what's in it. The labelling might be in Arabic," she says.

Beck says she knows of some public health units in Ontario that have analyzed some shisha products to see if they actually contains tobacco. Some do, others don't seems to be the conclusion.

But even if there is no tobacco, the practice of drawing smoke into the lungs is not a healthy one, Beck says. O'Loughlin concurs.

"Waterpipe smoke contains harmful constituents — nicotine, carbon monoxide, carcinogens. And it may contain greater amounts of tar and heavy metals, including cobalt, chromium and lead," she says.

"Waterpipe use has in fact been linked to lung cancer, heart disease, infectious disease and pregnancy related complications. So that's a list that would certainly raise my anxiety."

Another thing that worries people watching the trend is the fact that while most North American hookah smokers don't indulge daily, they get a high dose of smoke when they do. A session generally lasts over an hour and people partaking often take many hits off the pipe.

A World Health Organization report on waterpipe smoking in Egypt suggests the smoke exposure in a hookah session there could be equivalent to that of 100 to 200 cigarettes. Maziak says his team has analyzed blood samples taken from waterpipe smokers, finding "very high levels" of nicotine.

Experts worry that people using hookahs don't fully understand the risks, buying into myths that the water in the pipes filter out dangerous components in the smoke.

O'Loughlin says this trend is one to which regulators need to start paying attention.

"Here's a product that is not regulated in Canada or the United States that people are turning to," she says. "And I think at a minimum it warrants monitoring surveillance to make sure that its prevalence doesn't increase over time."

понедельник, 3 мая 2010 г.

Bars usher in smoke-free era

Alyssa Ahlberge, a server at Cheers Neighborhood Grill and Bar, was pleased to be working without having to breath in secondhand smoke thanks to the Ron Davis "Smoke Free Air" Law that took effect Saturday.

The legislation makes Michigan the 38th state to go smoke free, and three members of the Central Michigan District Health Department and a member of the CMD Health Board visited seven Mt. Pleasant establishments Saturday night "to celebrate the Smoke Free Law."

"Tonight, we are not on work time," said Melissa DeRoche, public information officer for the health department. "No one's getting paid. We are doing this because we believe in the Smoke Free Law."

Ahlberge's employer posted "No Smoking" signs at the doors, as the first smoke free night began, but she was concerned that business was down.

"We had people who would smoke up on our bar and people who would come in and eat just at the bar so they can smoke," said Ahlberge. "I have felt a great relief that I don't smell smokie, and I can breathe better when I'm working.

"It's a lot easier, I feel, to work in this environment. But, I'm afraid it may affect business."

DeRoche said the "premise behind the law was to protect people who work in these establishments."

Travis Foster walked in to Freddie's Tavern with a lit cigarette in his hand, and, as he took one step in, realized he was could no longer smoke there.

"I really think it's not fair for all the smokers across the whole United States really, especially in Michigan now," said Foster. "It's unfair for us to be segregated just like certain people not allowed in certain establishments."

Freddie's had no signs posted at their entrances, and wait staff told customers that if they wanted to smoke they had to step out the backdoor to light up.

Gary Welch of Lansing was dining at Freddie's who said he's a smoker and will continue to go to bars.

"You're still going to go to the bar, and you're still going to smoke," said Welch.

Randy Prout of Rosebush stood outside the backdoor of Marty's Bar and Grill with three other patrons who were smoking cigarettes, and said that he felt like he was "committing a crime by smoking."

"It wasn't put to a vote to me, and I'm a registered voter," said Tammy Andrews, who stood with Prout in the alley behind Marty's. "Smoking is not against the law.

"The state of Michigan makes so much money off the tobacco tax and to take that right away from us (is not fair).

"(We want) to be able to come in to our favorite establishment and have a cocktail and unwind after a hard days work and be able to light up a cigarette."

Marty's had the largest "No Smoking" signs of the seven bar establishments visited by health department representatives late Saturday.

Teresa Fuller was out with her mother and sister at Marty's, and she brought her e-cigarette to curb her need to light a cigarette. The e-cigarette does not create smoke, but still contains nicotine.

"It's all vapor, air vapor, you do get a little nicotine with it," said Fuller. "You have to charge it, but you just hit it.

"And you get a nicotine hit. No second hand smoke, so it's a good thing."

Jan Woodcock of Mt. Pleasant went to Rubbles, and she was happy about the Smoke Free Law, and she said she will go out a lot more now that she doesn't have to breathe in "nasty smoke."

"I see a lot of people in (Rubbles)," said Woodcock. "I don't think there's going to be any problem. People have talked about that and I think that's a non-issue."

The Bird Bar and Grill did not have "No Smoking" signs posted, but patron Bob Puddy did not mind standing outside to smoke.

"I think the new law is more of an infringement on businesses than on me," said Puddy. "The next thing on the chopping block will be fast food places. Eating there is worst than smoking."

Billy and Sarah Holey were out celebrating the new law at the Blackstone Bar where more than 15 people sat on benches and stood on the sidewalk to smoke.

It's nice to go out for the evening, and not smell like smoke," said Sarah Holey.

The Green Spot had signs on both entrances, and just after midnight, there were less than two dozen people in the establishment.

понедельник, 26 апреля 2010 г.

NATO Fights Tobacco Tax Hikes With PACT Act

This month, NATO launched a new strategy to fight state excise tax increases on tobacco in states where lawmakers are proposing to raise cigarette and tobacco product tax rates.

The strategy focuses on educating lawmakers about the pending tax windfall that all 50 states will receive due to the passage of the federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act), NATO stated.

Under the PACT Act, Internet sellers are required to collect cigarette/smokeless taxes plus sales taxes, and remit them to states. In addition, the PACT Act prohibits the delivery of these tobacco products through the U.S. Mail. These regulations will significantly reduce Internet sales, NATO stated. Without the Internet's low-priced tobacco, consumers will revert to buying products at local stores -- resulting in the tax windfall to states, according to NATO.

Currently, states are losing an estimated $1.4 billion a year in state excise taxes and sales taxes on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products sold over the Internet.

As part of NATO's new campaign to fight state tax increases, the association is sending lawmakers in select states a letter informing them of the estimated size of the tax windfall that their respective state may expect to receive as a result of the PACT Act. In some cases, NATO believes the size of the expected tax windfall is estimated to be more than the additional revenue the state might collect if the cigarette and/or smokeless tobacco rates were increased. Elsewhere, the estimated tax windfall may allow lawmakers to reduce the amount of any proposed tax increase, NATO stated.

NATO has sent letters to lawmakers in Kansas ($.55 per pack cigarette tax increase and OTP tax increase from 10 percent to 40 percent); Minnesota (taxing little cigars as cigarettes); New Hampshire (20-cent per pack cigarette tax increase); New York ($1 per pack cigarette tax increase); and South Carolina (50-cent per pack cigarette tax increase).

In other NATO news, the company received a wave of exhibitor commitments to the 2011 NATO Show, being held April 12-14, 2011, at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The latest exhibitors to sign up for the NATO Show include:

-- A&T Tobacco Imports
-- Bags of Bags
-- Bahama Mama Cigars
-- Beach Cigar Group Inc./Gurhka Cigars
-- Cheyenne International
-- DWC Enterprises
-- Global Tobacco
-- Great Midwest Tube & RYO Machines
-- International Tobacco Partners
-- Liaison Sales and Marketing
-- M & R Holdings
-- National Honey Almond
-- Rouseco
-- Tantus Tobacco

"Having a great trade show means that retailers find value in attending, and the retailers are telling manufacturers and distributors, this is the show to attend. When that happens, companies can't wait to sign up," Jim Colucci, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Altadis USA and a member of the NATO Trade Show Committee, said in a statement. "Also, these companies realize NATO has put more resources into fighting legislative battles than ever before, and helping support the trade show means more resources to fight anti-tobacco legislation. That's a big point of difference between NATO and other shows which will not be using the proceeds to fight tobacco-related legislation."

Other tobacco companies that have committed to exhibiting include:

-- Nat Sherman
-- New Image Global
-- Smokey Mountain Chew
-- Zander-Greg
-- K. K. International Corp.
-- Arango Cigar Co.
-- Carolina Tobacco
-- Dom Rey Cigar Inc./Cusano Cigars
-- Drew Estate
-- Harold Levinson Associates
-- House of Oxford
-- King Maker Marketing
-- Renegade Tobacco/House of Windsor
-- Smoker Friendly Intl.
-- U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers
-- Zippo Lighter Co.
-- Altadis USA
-- Swisher International
-- Swedish Match
-- Republic Tobacco
-- National Tobacco Co.

понедельник, 19 апреля 2010 г.

Freedom Smokeless Electronic Cigarette Sales Are Smoke ‘N

Freedom Smokeless announced today that they are now selling their premium brand electronic cigarettes via the internet. Previously, Freedom was sold exclusively through retail outlets. Glenn Kassel, Freedom’s President and Co-founder said, “The response that we have received from our retail customers has been overwhelming and selling on the internet was a natural progression for our Company to make.” Freedom put over a year into the research, design and development of their product. Their two-piece electronic cigarettes are tobacco-free, ash and smoke-free and do not produce second hand smoke. Mike Lewis, Freedom’s CEO said, “As a smoker myself, I am very sensitive to the needs of our customers. We have a custom designed, technologically advanced delivery system that inhales and exhales a “smoke like” water vapor exactly like a tobacco cigarette without flame, smell or all of the carcinogens contained found in tobacco.”

Freedom has partnered with Digital Brand Group (DBG) to launch and sustain this campaign. Jeremiah Jacks, CEO of DBG said, “I am pleased to partner with Freedom. Their emphasis on quality and unparalleled customer support mirrors that of DBG. We look forward to dominating the market together!” The campaign will include aggressive affiliate marketing, both domestically and internationally.

Freedom has a starter kit that consists of a lithium ion battery, USB charger, AC wall adapter and a 4-pack of atomizers. Customers have the option to upgrade to either a deluxe kit that includes a second battery (either in white, black or chrome) or the platinum kit that also adds a carry case and extra pack of atomizers. To help the launch, all customers that order will receive a free car charger. The battery, carry case and chargers all carry the distinct Freedom logo. The atomizers are available in two flavors (tobacco and menthol) and four nicotine strengths-high, medium, low and zero. About Freedom Smokeless

Founded in 2008, Freedom proudly assembles their electronic cigarette products in the United States. Striving for technological excellence, Freedom has invested heavily into R & D and has produced an electronic cigarette that has proven to be the most reliable and satisfying experience in the market today. The products are designed to provide a fresh alternative to traditional tobacco for the smoker.

About Digital Brand Group

Digital Brand Group is one of the leading digital business companies for emerging small and middle-market companies. DBG's proven business and technology integration expertise spans across multiple industries that include (but is not limited to): manufacturing, real-estate, apparel, food & beverage, health & beauty care, transportation, automotive, government, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. DBG's International team also offers a specialized competency in culturally-oriented / family-owned businesses.

четверг, 15 апреля 2010 г.

Gates Foundation cuts funding linked to tobacco companies

Some people may wonder why a board member for a unit of one of the world’s largest tobacco companies would plan a campaign for tobacco control in Africa. Bill and Melinda Gates certainly thought it seemed like a conflict of interest.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation withdrew a $5.2 million grant to the International Development Research Center for planned tobacco control work in Africa after learning that chairwoman Barbara J. McDougall has served as a Director of Imperial Tobacco Canada.

The New York Times reports that McDougall’s affiliation with the tobacco company had not been included on news releases about her appointment to the research center. Anti-tobacco activists revealed her industry connection last month.

The Gates said, "We are deeply disappointed by this revelation and feel this conflict is unacceptable as we work to support meaningful tobacco control programs in Africa."

Officials for the research center say they are disappointed, but they understand and respect the Gates’ decision. So do members of the African Tobacco Control Alliance.

Rachel Kitonyo, chairwoman of the African Tobacco Control Alliance, praised the decision. She believes McDougall’s participation would have threatened the integrity of the program as the tobacco industry "seeks to avoid, delay, dilute and defeat laws and policies designed to reduce tobacco use" around the world.

While the Gates will no longer be funding the International Development Research Center on this project, the foundation will continue its work on tobacco control and hopes to partner with other institutions to reduce tobacco use in Africa.

In Africa, tobacco use is more than a health problem – it is also a developmental problem. According to the World Health Organization, money spent on tobacco limits the funds put toward essentials like education, food and medicine.

Notably, the Gates Foundation provided the WHO with $10 million last year for tobacco control in Africa.

понедельник, 29 марта 2010 г.

Smoke gets in your eyes

Despite all the evidence out there, people are still smoking.

IN THE 1940s, smoking cigarettes was socially acceptable – even considered cool, if you believe some of the ads from way back then. For example, one ad for Camel cigarettes read: “More doctors smoke CAMELS than any other cigarette!” Accompanying the claim was a picture of a handsome doctor (you can tell he’s a doctor because he’s wearing a white coat) holding a cigarette in his hand. The message? Beautiful, intelligent, successful people are smoking Camels, so why aren’t you?

Moreover, if your doctor smokes Camels, they can’t possibly be bad for you. I mean to say, this is the guy responsible for your health. And if he thinks a Camel is better than, say, a Marlboro, who can argue with that? A couple of Camels a day might even help that hacking cough you’ve had for a while, the one that causes you to bring up blood and pieces of lung tissue.

Even if such ads were still allowed today, no doctor would endorse such a product, simply because we all know better now. Seventy years later, we all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. We all know that stinking hair, and nicotine-stained teeth and fingers are neither sexy nor as cool as some would have you think. We all know that most doctors don’t look like movie stars.

I started smoking when I was 15. And no, I didn’t smoke Camels. I smoked a brand called Player’s. There was no sexy advertising, not that I can remember, but it was the cigarette that my father smoked – or at least one of them.

My father smoked three packets of cigarettes a day: two packets that guaranteed that his lungs were perpetually clogged with tar, and a packet of menthols. The menthols were for his health.

You see, way back then, we were slowly becoming aware that smoking could cause all sorts of nasty cancers, but most people chose to ignore the warnings.

My father did know better, but those menthols cigarettes were supposed to cancel out the ill-effects of the other cigarettes.

He didn’t know it at the time, but those menthol cigarettes were just as harmful as any other cigarette around. Still, that soothing menthol flavour had him fooled.

Even when he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he continued to smoke his menthol cigarettes. He would spend half an hour every morning coughing violently in an attempt to clear his lungs, followed by several menthols with his cup of coffee.

I didn’t start smoking because of my father’s influence. If anything, his habit disgusted me. During the winter months, when all the windows and doors in my house were firmly closed against the elements, the living room was often full of smoke, the result of one man and his 60 cigarettes. And even when he wasn’t at home, that room reeked of stale nicotine.

Every spring, my father would open the windows, don a pair of overalls, and paint the living room walls. I often watched as he applied the virgin white paint, which seemed all the whiter against the yellowing walls.

It probably never occurred to him that the inside of his lungs had suffered a much worse fate. And it certainly never crossed my mind that I would be yellowing walls of my own in years to come.

Long before my father’s cancer was diagnosed, peer pressure induced me to smoke for the first time. I’d just moved to a new school, where two of the most popular girls in my year had befriended me.

I was so grateful for the friendship and eager to be accepted, so when they offered me a cigarette one day after class, I accepted without even thinking about the consequences. The first inhalation almost caused me to throw up, but I persevered.

I smoked for almost 15 years before deciding to give it up. But to this day, I regret that first puff.

Despite all the evidence out there, people are still smoking. And it’s not just middle-aged people, people who didn’t know any better way back then, who are indulging. A lot of young people are taking up the habit. Like what the heck do we have to tell them about cigarettes to stop them from starting in the first place? Of course it doesn’t help that Malaysia has been dubbed the “indirect advertising capital” of the world.

Seventy years from now, we might look back on the indirect advertising campaigns that promote cigarettes today and find them equally as insidious as the Camel ad of the 1940s.

I sure hope so.

понедельник, 15 марта 2010 г.

Tax tobacco

Discussions regarding revenue in the state of Louisiana are met with deep suspicion by legislators and statewide officials fearing retribution from voters. While the prospect of higher taxes intimidates any voter, legislators and governors are wary, rightfully so, about the impact of tax policies upon attempts to attract future businesses and residents.

Nonetheless, I have a proposal that the Louisiana legislature should adopt that will increase revenues, decrease non-discretionary state expenditures, decrease the number of cuts to state services, and increase the quality of life for Louisianans — increase the tobacco tax.

Non-smokers in Louisiana pay a "hidden tax" on the tobacco usage of other Louisianans. About 23.5 percent of Louisianans smoke, which is the 11th-highest smoking rate in the nation. Louisianans spend $1.4 billion per year in smoking-related medical costs; the state of Louisiana spends $663 million per year in smoking-related Medicaid costs.

Smoking imposes a "hidden tax" of $197.86 per person per year on Louisianans. Each pack of cigarettes costs Louisiana $1.72 in Medicaid spending; each pack of cigarettes sold in Louisiana imposes an additional charge of $3.83 being spent on health care.

Tobacco usage places an undue tax burden upon non-smokers in Louisiana. Tobacco taxes would decrease the hidden taxes paid by non-smokers.

Tobacco taxes are popular. Public opinion polls demonstrate voters, whether smokers or non-smokers, support tobacco taxes.

The tobacco tax is supported by low-income voters and high-income voters, Democratic and Republicans.

In 61 polls conducted across 39 states, majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents expressed support for increasing tobacco taxes and a preference for candidates who support an increase in tobacco taxes over candidates who oppose them. In Tennessee, 38 percent of Republicans said they would support a Democrat who supports a tobacco tax over a Republican who opposes a tobacco tax.

Even in tobacco-dependent South Carolina, 71 percent of the voters expressed support for a $1 increase in their tobacco tax. Voters do not support cuts to education or health care in order to balance the budget. Tobacco taxes are popular with voters; voters will punish candidates who oppose tobacco taxes.
Tobacco taxes are supported by Republicans. Last year, Florida ($1), Hawaii (60 cents) and Mississippi (50 cents) approved tobacco tax increases. Tobacco taxes were signed into law by Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, which raised its tobacco tax for the first time since 1985. Barbour remains as popular as ever and is even being mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012. Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota all increased their tobacco tax in recent years.

Tobacco taxes are not as regressive as other sales taxes. Studies show tobacco tax increases cause more low-income smokers than high-income smokers to quit. Tobacco taxes increase revenue, reduce Medicaid expenditures and lead to smoking cessation. Tobacco taxes behave like tax cuts because individuals who stop smoking pay less in taxes and have more money to spend on other goods and services.

The tobacco tax in Louisiana is embarrassingly low. The average state cigarette tax is $1.27 per pack; however, in Louisiana the state cigarette tax is 36 cents per pack, 8 percent for cigars, 33 percent for smoking tobacco, and 20 percent for smokeless tobacco.

Louisiana ranks 46th out of 50th. Louisiana could increase the cigarette tax by 90 cents and still fall below the national average.

Louisiana should increase the cigarette tax to match the national average and increase the tax rate assessed on cigars, smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco by 10 percent. This would generate more than $300 million per year for the state of Louisiana; the state could do a lot with an extra $300 million. This figure does not include the savings created by decreasing smoking-related Medicaid costs.

Tobacco taxes are smart politics. Tobacco taxes are healthy politics. Tobacco taxes are right politics. I am perplexed why the governor doesn't see this.

Dr. Joshua Stockley is a professor of political science at ULM. This column is taken from his recent commentary, "Tobacco & Fat: How More Taxes Can Be Smart Politics," written for the Louisiana Progress Journal produced by the Louisiana Progress Initiative.

вторник, 9 марта 2010 г.

Senecas See Comeback Over Sale of Cigarettes

There is a relatively short list of people who like mail-order cigarettes: teenagers, adults evading sales taxes and the Seneca Nation of Indians of western New York, which dominates the national market.Even the big tobacco companies oppose the practice, in part to stamp out the Senecas’ competition. And with the industry’s strange-bedfellow backing, a bill to block the shipment of cigarettes passed the House of Representatives last spring by a vote of 397 to 11. A Senate committee approved it unanimously last fall.

But then the Senecas, who control a gambling and cigarette empire that brings in more than $1 billion a year, began a campaign of back-room lobbying and public political threats. That now appears to have shut down the legislation and kept the tribe in the cigarette business, a case study in the power of a well-financed special interest to thwart what had seemed to be a national consensus.

“Isn’t that the way things go in the American system?” asked Richard Nephew, co-chairman of the Seneca Nation’s foreign relations committee. “It is something new for us to actively get involved in the American political process,” he said. “But we are trying to learn what works in America, and I guess making political contributions is something that works.”

As recently as December, a ban on mail-order cigarettes called the PACT Act — for Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking — looked all but certain to become law. After the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the House measure, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, prepared the bill for passage on the floor. No senator has publicly opposed the legislation.

But at the last minute, two or three Democratic senators told party leaders privately that they might block the bill, according to senior Senate Democratic aides. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Senecas and their lobbyists said they did not know who their Senate protectors were. Records of the tribe’s campaign contributions offered few clues; the only significant donation was a $15,000 check to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The Senecas’ apparent victory — at least for now — is a comeback of sorts. Five years ago, the Indian nation lost much of its business when Eliot Spitzer, then attorney general of New York, pressured private carriers like FedEx and UPS to stop delivering cigarettes in the interest of keeping them away from children. That forced the Senecas to rely on the United States Postal Service, which declined to join the ban. The tribe’s sales fell to about 12 million cartons a year from a peak of about 30 million cartons in 2004, according to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Despite its professed inexperience in Washington, the Seneca Nation is well represented on K Street. Last year, the tribe spent more than $300,000 in reported fees to three lobbying firms: the powerhouse Akin Gump; Holland & Knight, where its lobbyists include Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former senator and American Indian; and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, which represents many Indian nations and led the Senecas’ side of the cigarette fight. Sonnenschein reported that its fees from the Senecas jumped threefold to $110,000 in the fourth quarter as the battle heated up.

The Senecas and their lobbyists won the support of other Indian nations and advocacy groups, including the National Congress of American Indians, by attacking the proposed legislation as an intrusion on Indian sovereignty. The Senecas charged that it would give states powers to police Indian land; its Congressional sponsors dispute that.

“Conferring jurisdiction to the states — that should be very troubling to every Indian tribe,” Mr. Nephew said.

On Capitol Hill, the lobbyists distributed memorandums painting the legislation as a ploy by big tobacco companies to scapegoat American Indians for teenage smoking, beating back low-price competition in the process. (The tribe’s online Seneca Smokeshop specializes in Indian-made and other “economy” brands.)

And in hard-pressed western New York, the Senecas warned that the proposed ban could cost 1,000 jobs in the cigarette business. “An attack on the Seneca Nation is an attack on the economy of western New York,” J. C. Seneca, who runs a tobacco business and is co-chairman of the tribe’s foreign relations committee, told The Buffalo News. With its cigarette sales and casinos, Mr. Seneca said, the Indian nation was “a $1.1 billion economic engine” that would use its tobacco profits for new investments and jobs.

By mid-December, the campaign had won two important converts. Two western New York congressmen, Brian Higgins and Eric Massa, both Democrats, wrote letters to the state’s two senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, also Democrats, urging them to block Senate passage. Mr. Higgins and Mr. Massa had voted for the bill in the House, but they said the Senecas’ arguments about the economic impact had changed their minds.

“I do not believe that western New York can afford any more job losses,” Mr. Higgins wrote to the senators. (Mr. Massa, who announced this week that he was retiring, echoed the sentiment.)

The next month, the Senecas sent a warning in the form of an electronic billboard along an upstate New York highway. “Don’t let the PACT Act destroy western New York’s economy,” the billboard declared. “Tell Senators Schumer and Gillibrand No.”

The nation, which has fought off years of New York State efforts to tax its cigarettes, had already dedicated a $1 million war chest for political retaliation against any New York State official who crossed the tribe. Also in January, the Seneca Nation’s foreign relations committee approved a proposal to spend $250,000 opposing Ms. Gillibrand’s campaign for election this fall; it will be her first statewide race because she was appointed last year to fill the seat left open by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Both New York senators are sponsors of the bill, and both said through spokesmen that they had not worked behind the scenes to slow its passage. Matt Canter, a spokesman for Ms. Gillibrand, said she supported economic development but not at the price of enabling teenage smoking.

Seneca officials and their lobbyists said the tribe tried to prevent under-age sales, in some cases by requiring faxed proof of age. Critics said faxed identification was easy to fake or borrow. The Senecas noted that online wine merchants use private carriers like UPS and FedEx that allow them to require the signature of an adult, but the Seneca cigarette dealers must rely on the United States Postal Service, which does not offer that option.

“It seems very discriminatory, as if they were targeting the Seneca Nation,” Mr. Nephew of the Senecas said of the federal legislation.

Senate Democratic leaders could still revive the measure, perhaps by attaching it to some other bill. Republicans have talked of pushing forward, possibly to make trouble for Ms. Gillibrand. But even if it did pass, Mr. Nephew said, it would ban only cigarette shipments and not cigars. “I guess there are a lot of cigar smokers in Washington and places where powerful people hang out,” Mr. Nephew said. “It appears that they are protecting their own habit.”

понедельник, 1 марта 2010 г.

Intruders smash glass doors, take cigarettes and liquor from Port Sanilac-area businesses

Sanilac County sheriff’s deputies are investigating a series of business break-ins.

Intruders smashed glass doors to force their way into at least four businesses along M-25 (Lakeshore) from southern Worth Township into the village of Port Sanilac, said Lt. Robert Willis.

Among the businesses that were entered early Saturday are Sunrise gas station and party store and Lakeview Donut Shop in Worth Township, Pine Hill Market in Sanilac Township and The Willis’s Market in Port Sanilac.

The culprits made off with cartons of cigarettes, liquor and beer from all four merchants plus a small amount of cash from one of the businesses.

понедельник, 22 февраля 2010 г.

Tobacco companies seek Supreme Court review of racketeering verdict

Three major tobacco companies are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a racketeering verdict against cigarette makers over the marketing of so-called light cigarettes.
Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA unit, Lorillard Inc. and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit of Reynolds American Inc. are asking the nation's highest court to review an appeals court decision in the case.
In May, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the verdict against the cigarette makers, finding that the companies violated federal anti-racketeering laws by conspiring to hide the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
At trial, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington ruled in 2006 that the cigarette companies could no longer use misleading designations such as "low tar" or "light" in their marketing campaigns.
In a 1,653-page opinion, Kessler wrote that the defendant cigarette companies "marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs."
In its appeal, Philip Morris accused the government of misusing the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO, to go after them.
"Absent further review, the government will henceforth be free to pervert RICO into a device for evading the legislative process, penalizing and chilling public debate on scientific matters, and constraining constitutionally protected speech through vague and sweeping injunctions," the tobacco company wrote in its appeal.
The 1999 original case was filed by the Clinton administration, which sought $289 billion in damages. At trial, which began in 2004, the U.S. Justice Department under the Bush administration reduced the federal government's demands to $14 billion for anti-smoking efforts.

понедельник, 15 февраля 2010 г.

Ice cream van man sold smuggled cigarettes

Police seized thousands of pounds worth of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco from an ice cream van.
They pounced on it in Ashford, Kent, after being tipped off by suspicious residents and seized 16,000 cigarettes and 22lbs of hand-rolling tobacco worth £10,000.
Police said: "It seems that illegal tobacco was being sold along with the 99s and ice lollies." Customs investigators have now been called in.

пятница, 12 февраля 2010 г.

Cigarettes smuggled in as soya beans

State Customs seized 192,000 cartons of smuggled cigarettes at Senari Port on Friday.

The cigarettes, worth RM1.6 million, arrived at the port last Thursday and were declared as soya beans from a neighbouring country.

State director Datuk Rusmani Abdul Sukur said the seizure was based on a tip-off.

"We have identified the consignee and agents of the container and are still investigating," he said yesterday.

In Butterworth, state Customs officers seized cigarettes worth RM1.1 million with unpaid duty amounting to RM4.8 million.

State Customs chief Datuk Matrang Suhaili said officers seized 50,000 cartons of "Tex" brand cigarettes from a 40-foot container at the North Butterworth Container Terminal on Sunday.

The consignment, weighing some 40 tonnes, had been declared as "animal feed" from Canada and was addressed to a feed mill in Sungai Bakap, near Nibong Tebal.

Matrang said investigations showed the company was not aware of the import.

A forwarding company supervisor and two haulier drivers had been detained to facilitate investigations.

понедельник, 8 февраля 2010 г.

British American Tobacco report: more holes than a sieve

Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney, has been taking a close look at a new report, prepared by Price Waterhouse Coopers for British American Tobacco, and has found it has more holes than a slab of Swiss cheese (or whichever metaphor you prefer).

He has given the report a big, fat F.

Chapman writes:

“Australia’s tobacco industry is having a major attack of the vapours following recommendations made by the government’s Preventive Health Task Force last year. Its chief concerns are with a proposal to push the price of a pack of cigarettes to $20 in two tax increases, bringing us into line with UK and Irish prices, but still around $3 behind Norway.

The other would see local industry internationally humiliated as being the first anywhere in the world to have to sell cigarettes in plain boxes with only the brand name to differentiate the products. Just like prescribed drugs have always been packaged. Local management don’t want that blight on their CVs.

The bogeyman of a booming black market in tobacco is the frontline of its attack on the tax rise. British American Tobacco has got out of the blocks in 2010 last Friday releasing a commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers report on the use of illegal, tax-avoiding tobacco. I will be setting the report this year as an exercise in critical appraisal for my public health students. It is quite something.

BAT thinks tobacco products are already outrageously expensive because smokers are already turning into criminals and buying hot goods from … well, just about everywhere tobacco is sold. So much in fact, that $624 million in tobacco tax is being avoided, they say.

We learn that half of smokers are aware of illegal tobacco and according to a Roy Morgan study commissioned by BAT, half of these (ie: 25% of all smokers) have purchased it. So if you believe the report, 12.3% of all tobacco now consumed in Australia is illegally purchased: about 1 in 8 cigarettes and roll-your-owns. Let’s pause and get this in perspective. Globally, an upper limit of 8.5% of tobacco sold is estimated to be black market, but most of this occurs in nations with high corruption indexes like most of Africa and the former Soviet states. BAT is saying that Australia is in that league.

Contrast this with findings of the 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, (amazingly, not compared or even referenced by PWC) which found that, while 8.7% of adult Australians had ever smoked unbranded, only 0.2% of the population (around 33,000 people) used it more than half the time.
A core claim of the PWC report is that loose “chop-chop” tobacco constitutes 83% of the total volume of illegal tobacco sold (the rest being counterfeit or smuggled), and yet only 2% of smokers in this survey regularly bought chop-chop (see p1). The report fails to specify the average amounts purchased by smokers who purchased at varying levels of regularity, but at an estimated total of 2,119,000 kgs per year, this would have to require astronomical levels of consumption of illicit tobacco by these 70,000 or so smokers.
The report is strewn with semi-literate writing (“Figure 7: Unbranded tobacco is predominately purchase loose in bags”) and the authors misspell the name of one of the largest tobacco manufacturers in the world, Philip Morris. The lack of transparency is staggering. The key table, table 7, states that the estimated number of unbranded tobacco users, point 4, is 13% based on “extrapolating 5 to 6”. No note 6 appears in the table, and Note 5 is calculated using the estimated quantity of tobacco multiplied by the estimated number of unbranded tobacco users (which was what was listed as point 4!). No estimates are provided anywhere of the total number of smokers in the population, or the source for such an estimate. If the estimated number of purchasers is calculated from the percentage of smokers who have reported purchasing the product, (presumably, purchasing it on any occasion in the last year, (13%)), then PWC must be assuming a total 3.9m smokers. But current estimates of the number of Australians (14 or 15 years and over) who smoke at least weekly range from 3.1m (NDSHS 2007) to 3.3m (ABS Nat Health Survey 2007).
Something is fundamentally wrong with the estimates of the amounts and frequency of purchases. The 403 gms of unbranded tobacco purchased 11 times in a year represents around 6820 RYO cigarettes (based on an average of 0.6 gms of tobacco per cigarette), or an average of 19 cigarettes per day (403*11/.65=6820 divided by 365 days). While it is possible to believe that someone who exclusively or almost exclusively smoked unbranded tobacco smoked 19 illicit cigarettes every day last year, this is simply not plausible as an average for all the people who have ever purchased any quantity in the last year, i.e. including those who have purchased them on just a few occasions. According to the NDSHS (refer Figure 4.1), around 150,000 Australians exclusively use roll-your-own tobacco: the rest of the estimated 780,000 smokers who ever use RYO also smoke tailor-made cigarettes. And yet, the PWC report estimates that 507,000 Australian are purchasing well over the average number of cigarettes smoked daily as unbranded tobacco – more than five times the number of estimated regular, exclusive RYO users.

Now, with $624m going missing each year, we might assume that this news would have caused considerable interest in Canberra since a similar tale was told in a 2007 report, oddly cloaked in the same nationalistic pleas to hold taxes down for the benefit of Treasury (and no mention of what BAT might project in increased sales from lower tax) .

So the obvious question to ask is this. If every fourth smoker has bought hot tobacco — mostly from suburban tobacconists and markets, with – get this — nearly 10% buying from supermarkets – then why aren’t these places swarming with plain clothes federal police, daily busting what must be hundreds if not thousands of these tax-evading, bold-as-brass illegal suppliers? Don’t think the customers are street savvy young people experienced in looking over their shoulders as their buy dope and speed. The report assures us they are mostly low income, older males, notoriously difficult for federal police to simulate in their investigations.

So why is finding and busting these places beyond the wit of the federal police? For the simple reason that it’s nearly all total nonsense.

The clues to this are not hard to find. Significantly, nowhere in the report is there any data on how many people were interviewed for this “survey”, how they were recruited, what the refusal rate was, what questions were asked or what the characteristics of the sample were. Most crucially the report fails to state how it defines “users of unbranded tobacco” – anyone who has ever used unbranded tobacco, anyone who has used it in the past 12 months, or perhaps anyone who has used it in the past 12 months more than 50% of the time? A Friday email to BAT’s head of spin asking some these basic questions remains unanswered.

Imagine a stranger phoning or coming to your door and asking whether you regularly purchased illegal tobacco. “Sure, what would you like to know? I’m not in the least bit worried about what might follow from such disclosures.” But the reliability of the answers would be dodgy for a far more fundamental reason. Counterfeit or illegal brands are often indistinguishable from the real thing. And it’s not that they might taste differently: it’s been known for decades that many smokers can’t even tell their own brands when the pack is blinded.

Asking smokers to tell you if the pack they have is legal or illegal is simply useless. The gold standard used in studies estimating use of illegal tobacco involves highly detailed checking of the pack by skilled counterfeiting specialists and analysis of the tobacco to compare it to local blends to look for often large differences. The study seems blissfully unaware of these basic problems.

Like the owners of the White Star Line expressing concern that the Titanic passengers might get splinters from the handrails, the report is full of feigned horror at the extra health risks like inhaling mould that illegal tobacco might contain: “These cigarettes labelled with fake branding pose health risks to consumers as production facilities are unregulated and do not have to adhere to the strict production standards which licensed manufacturers follow.”

Remember, these are the same strict production standards that allow cigarettes to walk out the factory door oozing with over 60 known carcinogens and which will kill half of long term users when used according to the manufacturers’ instructions.

Another hint of the quality of the information is found in when, without blinking, the report notes that 13% of illegal purchasers said they would increase their illegal purchases if laws went ahead (as they have) to require retailers to cover pack displays. Try and figure that one.

The amateurishness of this report is jaw-dropping. If a student was to hand in an assignment of this standard, I would fail it badly. That BAT was prepared to actually release this nonsense speaks volumes about its public affairs quality control.

As far back as 1994, an executive search firm told the Financial Review “”I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s harder to get enthusiasm for tobacco companies. There is a trend. If you have ten qualified candidates and you tell them it’s a tobacco company, five might say they don’t want the job.” Sixteen years later it looks as if the odds may have lengthened considerably.

четверг, 4 февраля 2010 г.

Electronic Cigarette Offer For Cape Town Residents Gets Great Reception

Seems as though the South Africa city of Cape Town can now take advantage of a limited time offer from Greensmoke brand electronic cigarettes. "We're excited to offer the trade in program to the traditional smokers out there who have already made the switch from tobacco cigarettes to this smarter alternative." states Jeff Smith, affilate for Greensmoke. "It gives the opportunity for these smokers to try our Greensmoke e cigarettes at discounted price."

The program gives new or seasoned users of the popular tobacco alternative device an incentive to try Greensmoke brand. South Africa users from Khayelitsha all the way to Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth can simply send in their current brand e cigarette for a R300.00 coupon that can be used torward a starter kit or any product they sell. "There may be many users out there who are not happy with their current brand for what ever reason. We feel our product is the best on the market and this program is a great way to prove it. What better way to prove than with current users of the popular device" says Jeff.

What is an electronic cigarette? Green Smoke is a revolutionary new nicotine delivery system that provides a smarter alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. With traditional cigarettes, the smoker is forced to inhale thousands of unwanted chemicals (over 3900) and carcinogens along with the nicotine. With e cigarettes, this is a thing of the past!

понедельник, 1 февраля 2010 г.

New Mexico Drops a Bill for $1 Cigarette Tax Hike

A bill that would raise cigarette excise taxes in the state by $1 a pack to raise money for education was snuffed last week when a legislative committee voted unanimously against the idea, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. However, two other bills remain that could raise the state's cigarette tax.
The House Business and Industry Committee voted to table House Bill 35, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Brian Egolf, which killed it for this session. Egolf said the legislation would have raised $36 million, earmarked for the public schools.
Health advocates, including the American Cancer Society, supported the bill, along with several labor and religious organizations. Supporters saw the bill as a way to prevent further cuts to education and other state programs as the state faces a $600 million budget shortfall, the report stated.
Opposing the bill were tobacco lobbyists and representatives of several business groups, among them Mark Smith, of the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.,
"We pay a good wage," he told the newspaper. "We've been in Santa Fe 27 years." Smith claimed the cigarette tax increase would cause the loss of hundreds of jobs statewide in the retail industry.
Other opponents noted that the federal tax on cigarettes went up by 62 cents a pack only last year.
However, there are still two Senate bills that would raise cigarette taxes, but if one or both passed the Senate, they likely would have to go through the same committee that voted down this bill, the report stated.

пятница, 29 января 2010 г.

Measure aims to prohibit sale of electronic cigarettes to minors

Frustrated by a lack of federal regulations governing electronic cigarettes, Arizona policy makers are taking the initiative to ban sales of the tobaccoless devices to minors.
Senate Bill 1053, sponsored by Sen. Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale, makes it a petty offense to sell, give or furnish the cigarettes to underage teens.
E-cigarettes, as they are called, resemble traditional cigarettes and emit a puff of nicotine vapor when inhaled. A major distributor, NJOY, is based in north Scottsdale.
The bill glided through the Senate's Committee of the Whole on Thursday. It must get final approval in the Senatebefore advancing to the House.
According to a Senate bill fact sheet, there are no federal regulations regarding e-cigarettes and they are not required to display health warnings like conventional cigarettes.
Jennifer Boucek of the Arizona Attorney General's Office said the danger lies in the cigarettes' ability to attract young people with flavors such as strawberry and chocolate.
"We believe children are at risk now," Boucek told The Arizona Republic.
Boucek said the Attorney General's Office proposed the idea to Allen, who could not be reached for comment. The law also prohibits minors from accepting or possessing the cigarettes, with fines of up to $300.
Despite efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detain imports into the United States, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that distributors are free to import them. Electronic cigarettes are largely manufactured in China.
NJOY CEO Jack Leadbeater said the devices are for committed adult smokers only. The company has taken "numerous steps" to ban access of the products to young people, he said.
"We applaud taking steps to protect our youth, while maintaining appropriate access to the adult committed smokers," Leadbeater said.
An opponent of the bill, Rick Galeener, said he is tired of government regulations invading personal freedoms. Galeener, who smokes regular cigarettes, said he believes political correctness has gone too far.
The FDA has denounced the cigarettes as "highly addictive" due to their nicotine content. Public-health experts said that more should be done to regulate marketing of the products, which are mostly sold online and in shopping malls.
An analysis released by the FDA last year showed some samples of the cigarettes contained carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient found in antifreeze. The analysis has been disputed by distributors and users of the cigarettes.

среда, 27 января 2010 г.

OAP's fag savings go up in puff of smoke

A chain-smoker is battling with customs after they seized his year’s supply of cigarettes.
Widower Len Penman, 72, from Stantonbury, went to Adinkerke in Belgium and spent £800 on tobacco.
The 30-a-day pensioner bought 3,200 Superking cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars and three grams of Golden Virginia tobacco – within the legal importation limits.
But a customs officer at Coquelles accused him of wanting to sell the goods despite Mr Penman arguing that he was going to smoke them all himself.
Since the trip on June 17, friends have written letters attesting to his 56-year habit.
But correspondence from HM Revenue and Customs maintains that Mr Penman’s motive was ‘commercial importation’.
The former Wolverton Works vehicle maker said: “I bought the limit so I wouldn’t have to go back there for another 12 months.
“I saved up the money to get the coach over there. They told us how much we were allowed to bring back and I stayed within that limit.
“But the bloke at customs accused me of wanting to sell them. He said to me: ‘I don’t think you smoke’. I showed him the nicotine on my nails and he still didn’t believe me.
“I’ve written letters galore to them. I feel like the bloke who seized them should be up for robbery.” The former Transport and General Workers Union branch manager said he has been made to feel like a drug smuggler.
However, he cannot afford the appeals process which would mean an overnight stay in Dover and solicitors’ costs running into thousands of pounds.
The village of Adinkerke attracts tobacco tourists to stock up on cheap cigarettes but HM Customs can use their discretion in confiscating from those they believewill sell them.
Mark Lancaster MP, who has fought the case on his constituent’s behalf, said: “I was shocked that Mr Penman could have been treated in this manner having followed the guidelines to the letter. I have and will continue to do all I can to get to the bottom of this.”

понедельник, 25 января 2010 г.

Community reacts to governor's cigarette tax hike proposal

STATEWIDE -- It's something smokers just don't want to hear.
"The government should be out of our business and should stop telling people what to do and what not to do."
Those who want to light up may have to pay an extra buck in taxes for a pack of cigarettes. This as part of Governor Paterson's 2010-2011 budget proposal. The governor wants to hike up the cigarette tax from $2.75 to $3.75.
"It’s ridiculous, now they're raising it up a dollar everyone is going to quit"!
That's exactly the point the American Cancer Society wants to make.
"You know it’s hard to get excited for a tax increase in this economy. This is tax increase that New Yorkers can feel very good about its actually good for public health and financial health and it will help in three ways it will save money creating new revenue and it will save lives because it will get individuals from stop smoking or even starting and all of that money will go to offsetting the cost of health care, " said American cancer society regional vice president Diana Martin.
Businesses agree, some saying after the Governor's first cigarette tax hike they've seen more people opting to buy smoking cessation products.
" I've seen less people buying less cigarettes and more people quitting and trying to quit with Chantix and some of the other things that are available to them, " said Mobile clerk Sandra Blanchard.
The governor's cigarette tax increase proposal will help close the $7.4 billion budget gap the state faces by reeling in about $200 million each year in revenue.

пятница, 22 января 2010 г.

Philip Morris targets S.F.'s cigarette fee

In what has become a familiar scenario, Philip Morris USA has filed a complaint in San Francisco Superior Court over the city's new 20-cent fee tacked onto packs of cigarettes.
The move likely foreshadows a lawsuit - the second time in 18 months the tobacco giant will have sued San Francisco over its cutting-edge cigarette policies. The company said the city's first-of-its-kind ban on cigarette sales in drug stores including Walgreens violated its constitutional rights to advertise its products, but its claim was rejected in court.
Now, Philip Morris and some local retailers say the city's 20-cent charge on cigarette packs, the brainchild of Mayor Gavin Newsom that was implemented Oct. 1, violates state law because voters didn't approve it. The city argues that since it's a fee, rather than a tax, voter approval isn't required.
Newsom said the city completed an extensive study showing that it costs San Francisco $7.5 million every year to clean up cigarette butts tossed onto city streets - and that smokers should be the ones picking up the tab.
"Twenty cents a pack - that's what it costs us," Newsom said of the clean-up, adding he wasn't surprised by Philip Morris' complaint. "We anticipated this. I think they'll lose. They lose most of their lawsuits."
Newsom has long said he believes chewing gum is the real culprit when it comes to littering the city's streets, but he's not ready to levy a fee on packs of gum. Even in open-minded San Francisco, that would likely be a real, um, sticky situation.

четверг, 21 января 2010 г.

Burglars steal cigarettes, lottery tickets from store

Burglars broke into Pappy's General Store at 600 White St. in Bowmanstown early Tuesday and stole $300 worth of cigarettes and $2,700 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets, according to state police.
The store's video surveillance system shows two people dressed all in black with black backpacks and hooded coats throwing a rock through the front door around 2:15 a.m. They grabbed the cigarettes and lottery tickets and fled in an unknown direction, state police said.

понедельник, 18 января 2010 г.

Police blotter: Woman charged with shoplifting cigarettes

Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office

Lakelia Ann Dickey, 24, on Friday night was charged with strong-armed robbery, shoplifting and giving false information to police.

Dickey is accused of using force or intimidation to take a carton of Newport cigarettes from Walgreens, 2410 Reidville Road, on Oct. 30, 2009.

Armed robbery

Deputies are investigating an armed robbery that occurred early Saturday at Waffle House, 2230 Chesnee Highway.

An employee said a man wearing a "gauzy" mask that partially covered his face, gloves with fur lining, dark pants and a blue hooded sweatshirt entered the restaurant about 2:30 a.m. Saturday and demanded money.

The suspect, described as about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 240 pounds, held an arm behind his back as if he were armed, the employee said.

Witnesses said the man arrived in a white, four-door Buick and left in a gold, four-door Lincoln or Cadillac.
Spartanburg Public Safety Department

Report: Man hit with blunt object

A 47-year-old man told police that he was walking on Highland Avenue near Norris Street early Saturday when an unknown suspect hit him on the head from behind with a blunt object.

The victim said the assailant then hit him in the face with a stick or bat and went through his pockets but took nothing. The victim described the suspect as about 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing black coveralls and a dark baseball cap. The victim said he heard two or three other people in the background but could not provide further information.

пятница, 15 января 2010 г.

Man brandishes shotgun, demands cash, cigarettes

A man brandished a sawed-off shotgun at a Redford pharmacy and demanded cigarettes and cash, according to Redford police.
The man walked into the CVS Pharmacy on Telegraph about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, a police spokesman said, and pulled the shotgun from under his coat.
The cashier complied, and the robber left in a silver, four-door vehicle.
Other incidents reported to Redford police include:
Two robbers were apparently familiar with operations at the Gold N Time Fine Jewelry when they stole three expensive rings from the store. One of them went into the store about 2:30 p.m. carrying a large wad of bills, according to police reports.
At his request, a salesperson brought out three diamond rings with gold settings. As the first robber was looking at the rings, another buzzed the locked door to gain entry. When the salesperson unlocked the door, both men fled with the three rings reportedly valued at more than $12,000 each.
Police said the robbers were apparently knowledgeable about the front door's locking system and were able to circumvent the system. They can't, however, circumvent the surveillance system, said police, who are reviewing the videos for clues.
A woman told police she was driving westbound on Schoolcraft near Inkster about 10:30 p.m. Sunday when her vehicle was tailgated by a vehicle containing three men. When she pulled into a gas station to avoid the vehicle, it followed her, police said, and three men wearing ski masks approached her vehicle — one carrying a silver handgun.One of the men demanded the woman's belongings, police said. When she did not comply promptly enough, one of them said, “Bitch, you think I'm kidding?” He then made a menacing gesture. The men escaped with her purse and other belongings.
A resident in the 9500 block of Inkster told police she returned to her home about 8 p.m. Sunday to find the front door wide open and the house ransacked. She said her diamond earrings were stolen along with $125 she had hidden. The intruder apparently broke a side window to get into the house.

понедельник, 11 января 2010 г.

EU to crack down on cigarette smuggling

Brussels is mobilizing itself to cope with smugglers of cigarettes, which are causing annual losses of around €7 billion. The dam on the road to the EU smuggling will be developed in Poland, where in 2009 authorities seized 750 million cigarettes, which is 100 million more than in the preceding year.
However, this is only the tip of an iceberg as Poland is also the main distribution center of cigarettes floating from the East to the European Union countries. The stakes are high as each successful shipment of a container of cigarettes with 100,000 packs means net earnings of zł.2 million for the smugglers.
"Tobacco products are on the top of the smuggling list in the EU. International gangs see it as more beneficial than drugs.
Profits are comparable, penalties lower, while there is social approval in some countries," said Piotr Dziedzic from the Finance Ministry.

среда, 6 января 2010 г.

Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarette Smoking Lowest Since '75

Marijuana use among teenagers increased this year after previous declines, while the use of other illicit drugs like cocaine mostly declined.
According to an annual National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded survey of nearly 47,000 students, almost one-third of 12th-graders and more than one-quarter of 10th-graders reported using marijuana in 2009. Almost 12% of eighth-graders reported marijuana use, an increase from about 11% in 2008.
The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, asked teenagers to report on the use of smoking, alcohol use and drug use, including non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and over-the-counter cold and cough products.
The report showed cigarette smoking was at the lowest point since the survey started in 1975, although the use of smokeless-tobacco products increased on some measures this year.Daily cigarette use by 12th-graders was 11.2%, a slight drop from 11.4% in 2008, while any use during the past 30 days was 20.1%, also a slight decline from 2008. Smokeless-tobacco use during the past 30 days in 2009 was reported by 8.4% of students in 12th grade, up from 6.5% in 2008.
Researchers said one of the reasons smoking rates have declined is that the percentage of students who reported ever trying smoking has "fallen dramatically." For example in 1996, 49% of eighth-graders reported trying cigarettes, compared with 20% this year.
Alcohol use stayed about the same last year, with more than half of 10th-graders and about two-thirds of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past year.
The survey showed past-year use of cocaine decreased to 3.4% from 4.4% in 2008 among 12th-graders, along with declines in the use of hallucinogens and methamphetamine.
The use of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines to get high, however, edged up among all age groups, with 6% of 10th-graders reporting non-medical use of the products last year.
The annual survey also found continuing high rates of prescription-drug abuse, with almost 10% of 12th-graders reporting non-medical use of the painkiller Vicodin last year, the same rate as 2008. Almost 5% of high-school seniors reported using OxyContin for a non-medical use in 2009, a slight uptick from 2008.
Researchers said 66% of teens reported obtaining the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, while 19% said they received the drugs with a doctor's prescription, and 8% said they bought the drugs from a dealer.

понедельник, 4 января 2010 г.

Negeri Sembilan Customs Seize Cigarettes Worth RM685,056

Negeri Sembilan Customs officers intercepted a lorry after a two-kilometre chase in Terengganu on Tuesday and seized smuggled "kretek" (clove) cigarettes valued at RM138,816 on which duty of RM546,240 had not been paid.
Negeri Sembilan Customs director Mohd Kassim Ismail said they caught up with the lorry at Km79 of Jalan Kuantan-Kuala Terengganu near Kampung Meraga Beris in Kemaman at about 8am.
"Checks revealed that the lorry had a fake plate number and was laden with 8,680 cartons of kretek cigarettes of various brands," he told a news conference at Wisma Kastam here Thursday.
The lorry driver fled into some undergrowth nearby after realising the presence of the Customs officers, he said.