вторник, 27 марта 2012 г.

Equity Research on Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc.

Though regulations continue to tighten and growth in established markets has somewhat stalled, cigarette companies such as Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc. carry on generating revenues. Emerging markets now offer bigger opportunities for growth, though in developed markets many are increasing their focus on smokeless tobacco products which have been gaining in popularity.

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The tobacco industry is no stranger to headwinds, and these keep building. Most recently The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed a campaign worth $54 million, including billboards, print, online, radio and television ads, intended to reduce the number of U.S. smokers by around 50,000.

Officials want Russian duty free to cut cheap ciggies

cigarettes in Russian

Russian public health officials are up in arms against tobacco sales both at home and abroad. They are pushing for legislation banning duty free shops from selling cigarettes. Russia may become the first country to implement such a measure.
The Russian Ministry of Public Health argues cigarettes bought in duty free shops are often smuggled to other countries, where retail prices for tobacco products are higher, the RBC Daily reports.
The Russian Government stressed the proposal should be also considered by Belarus and Kazakhstan, Russia’s partners in Custom Union. The authorities have already submitted the proposal these countries.
But experts from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade consider the claim groundless as retail prices for cigarettes in Russia are much lower that those in duty free shops.
Sales of cigarettes in Russian duty free shops make up 8 percent of their revenues. As for cigarette producers, they won’t be significantly affected as duty free shops account for 1% of cigarette sales.
A proposal to ban displaying cigarettes in duty free shops was discussed in several countries as a part of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2009-2010. Although the UK approved the measure, it was later dropped from the document.

Freedom Cigarettes the UK's Favourite Electric Cigarette Brand

 Favourite Electric Cigarette

Over the past five months Freedom Cigarettes has experienced so much demand that the current space they rent is too small to cope with the growing demand for their products.

(PRWEB) March 23, 2012

For a business that has been running for just under one year, Freedom Cigarettes has seen sales in their electric cigarettes increase tenfold in the past few months. Their current range of electric cigarettes are the three piece model which consists of a battery, an atomiser and a cartridge. The cartridge holds the liquid, which is vapourised by the atomiser (which acts much like a kettle) when the battery is activated. The cartridges are disposable, and changed as required, and the atomiser is semi-disposable and should last for a few weeks.

Most of their business to date has been via their website, which has been generated by clever social networking and word of mouth. They have a large Facebook following and are just about to start on an aggressive Twitter and Google plus campaign.

"There are many reasons why we are seeing such a growth in demand for our electric cigarettes, but in the end it comes down to a clever business strategy. The other part which is vitally important is having a strong and recognisable brand. Now we are at the stage that our current office does not cater for our needs and we are actively looking to move to a much larger space. This is exciting for our company and everyone here is working really hard to keep things running smoothly. We are hoping the 2012 will be a successful year for Freedom Cigarettes." commented Nigel Quine Director of Freedom Cigarettes.

Many are turning to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking

cigarette users

Electronic cigarette use appears to be rising at a rapid rate. Despite an almost noncommittal stance from the FDA in regards to health concerns, a study conducted by Center for Disease Control (CDC) researchers and published by Tobacco Control and Pubmed.gov suggests that the number of electronic cigarette users nearly quadrupled over a 12-month period.

It should be noted this increase in popularity is taking place even amidst a debate over the advantages of these products. For the uninitiated, electronic cigarettes are designed to mimic the habitual effects of a tobacco cigarette. And while they do not use tobacco, combustion, smoke, or ash, the FDA has yet to completely rule on how they will be regulated.

According to the CDC, tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, "accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths in the United States each year." The fact that more than 2.5 million Americans have made the switch to electronic cigarettes seems to suggest that the public is looking for an alternative to tobacco products.

The simple truth is that tobacco cigarettes contain thousands of toxins and chemicals. According to the CDC, tobacco cigarettes contain over 7,000 known chemicals. Hundreds of these are toxic, and around 70 are directly linked to cancer. This is to say nothing of the toxins and chemicals found within secondhand smoke. A fact sheet published by the CDC, notes that second-hand smoke from a burning from a burning cigarette, cigar, or pipe tip is responsible for between 150,000-300,000 of new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually, and approximately 7,500-15,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States.

As an alternative, e-cigarettes do not use tobacco, and they do not combust. So instead of producing smoke, they produce vapor.

Personal benefits may not be the only appeal of e-cigarettes for those hoping to make the switch. The environmentally conscious smoker may be taking note of the impact their smoking habit is having on the environment. As reported in a June 2008 article by Popular Science, every year, some 600 million trees are destroyed all in the name of producing tobacco cigarettes. In addition, a countless number of cigarette butts and waded up packs get tossed, many of which end up lining street curbs and filling community parks.

понедельник, 19 марта 2012 г.

State police seize marijuana plants

cultivation of marijuana

A request to check a resident in Bridgewater resulted in a major drug bust, including the seizure of 99 marijuana plants, Vermont State Police said.

John Keough Jr., 42, was ordered to appear in Vermont Superior Court on April 24 to face charges of possession and cultivation of marijuana, Trooper Daniel Martin said.

Troopers responded to 137 Baker Hill Road for a welfare check and could smell marijuana from inside the home about 9:40 Saturday morning, Martin said.

The owner agreed to a consent search and troopers found 58 large mature plants, 11 small plants 4-to-6 inches tall, and 30 2-inch starter plants, Martin said.

CCBC To Become Tobacco-Free Campus

tobacco-use kiosks

Beginning July 1, all three of CCBC's main campuses—Essex, Dundalk and Catonsville—will bar the use of tobacco products from all buildings, exterior grounds and athletic fields, according to a news release.

“Our intent is to promote a healthy campus environment, ensuring that all members of our college community—including students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests—enjoy access to clean air,” said CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis in a statement.

According to the release, once the new policy goes into effect, "tobacco products may be used only inside private vehicles on college parking lots outside the perimeter roadway, or within designated tobacco-use kiosks located on the campus perimeters."

Enforcement of the new policy will be gradually phased in over several months. During the first three months of the new policy, violators will receive a pamphlet detailing the college policy along with resources for cessation programs, according to the release.

After three months, the release continued, those caught smoking on campus will receive a warning along with information on how to quit.

But, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, violators will be issued a $35 citation or requested to leave the campus, the release states.

At the same time, CCBC officials said the college is partnering with the Baltimore County Department of Health to offer free smoking cessation classes to all CCBC students, faculty and staff.

Smoke ban compromise?

city’s smoking ban

A compromise on the city’s smoking ban may be in the works.

Supporters of the smoke-free ordinance approved at the polls in April sent a letter to City Council on Friday outlining a limited number of exemptions they will accept in order to preserve “the will of voters and the rights of workers.”

The concessions come as council considers whether to approve an initiative petition submitted by the group Live Free Springfield that seeks a total repeal of the ban.

According to the City Charter, council must either approve the petition or give voters the chance to do so at the June election.

Council held a public hearing on the matter Monday night. At a meeting Tuesday, several members suggested striking a compromise of some kind by approving the repeal then adopting an amended version of the April ban incorporating additional exemptions.

A workshop to discuss possible changes is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

As recently as Tuesday, a spokesman for One Air Alliance said the group would oppose any changes. The alliance and other groups supporting the ban have argued the City Charter requires an unanimous council vote to repeal or amend the voter-approved ban.

Friday, spokesman Stephen Hall said the groups “were taken by surprise” when the idea amending the ban appeared to gain traction.

“We realized there is a lot at stake here ... The intent of this ordinance could be undermined and gutted,” he said. “This is our attempt to reach out and compromise.”

In a joint letter to City Council, One Air Alliance, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association outlined three tightly-worded exemptions — for electronic cigarettes, private clubs and tobacco shops — they could accept.

As a condition, the groups want Live Free Springfield to withdraw its petition calling for the repeal of the ban.

That does not appear to be legally possible short of a court decision.

A petition can’t be willingly withdrawn once signatures have been certified by the City Clerk. But City Manager Greg Burris said the city might be able to have the petition dismissed by a judge — negating the need for an election — if Live Free Springfield approved.

'Kick Butts' events encourage tobacco-free community

tobacco-free community

A National Kick Butts Day event will be at noon March 19 at the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council headquarters, 3553 Houston Harte Expressway.

The Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council for the Concho Valley is also calling on youth organizations around the county to design billboards containing "Kick Butts" messages. They will display on the billboards to encourage a tobacco-free community.

KBD is a national day of activism with hundreds of events from coast to coast. More than 1,000 KBD events occur around the country.

понедельник, 12 марта 2012 г.

British American Tobacco mulls $200M investment in PH

Philippine tobacco farmers

British American Tobacco (BAT) on Monday said it is preparing to invest $200 million in the Philippines, but only if the sin tax reform law is passed.

Jim Lafferty, BAT Philippines General Manager, said the company's investment plans will depend on the "leveling of the playing field in the tobacco industry."

"Currently the excise system is a barrier to entry of new players. New brands, whether locally-produced or imported, are taxed higher than old brands. This is what has deterred us in the past and fixing this is a prerequisite for this kind of major investment," he said.

BAT is hoping the government can level the playing field in the tobacco industry soon by enacting the Sin Tax Reform bills, which are currently pending in Congress.

"There are several means to leveling the playing field and we are supportive of those options. All we want is a chance to fairly compete... Our position is, there is nothing better that can happen to the tobacco industry in the Philippines than if the market is opened up to full competition. Right now what you have is a monopoly. The historic excise system essentially supports the monopoly. If there are more players, the stakeholders stand to benefit more," Lafferty said.

Lafferty emphasized the importance of the Philippine market to BAT.

"We believe that the Philippines is presently on the right track and offers outstanding potential. It can become one of the biggest economies in the next decade. We want to be part of that growth... And, to achieve this we must invest heavily in the Philippines market, across all areas including investing in people to build a world-class organization," he said

Even without a local presence in the Philippines, BAT bought more than 1 million kilos of leaf last year from Philippine tobacco farmers. "That was when Philippines was not even in our operations radar. Imagine what we can do, as we know more of the market, and we have a significant presence here," Lafferty said.

The planned $200 million investment will go to developing, producing, distributing and marketing British American Tobacco brands in the country within the next 5 years. The BAT official said this will create jobs, as well as contribute taxes for the government.

"This is classic open market practices at work. The $200 million would follow as a direct result of establishing a level playing field. And we believe this is only the start of the new levels of investment to flow in once sin taxes are properly reformed... Everybody wins in a true level playing field. The farmers have more buyers for their produce. There are more jobs, more infrastructure, more taxes paid. More modernization. It ripples into every area of the economy,” Lafferty said.

Campaigner lauds DepEd for banning acceptance of donations from tobacco firms

tobacco firms

An anti-tobacco campaigner on Sunday lauded the Department of Education for issuing guidelines banning schools from accepting donations from tobacco industry players or from having partnerships with them.

Debby Sy, anti-tobacco campaigner and member of the Coalition for Health Advocacy-Transparency, openly praised DepEd for issuing Department Order No. 6 series of 2012.

The DepEd DO No. 6, or "Guidelines on the Adoption and Implementation of the Public Health Policies on Tobacco Control and on Protection Against Tobacco Industry Interference," was issued based on the joint memorandum by the Civil Service Commission and Department of Health (CSC-DOH).

The joint CSC-DOH memorandum bans the interaction between public schools and the tobacco industry, including accepting donations.

"I hope we can start by congratulating DepEd for choosing health over tobacco funds. And may be, we can also commit to help encourage non-tobacco private-sector donations to public schools that are in need of support," she said.

According to Sy, banning acceptance of donations from the tobacco industry entails "some level of sacrifice" by the public school sector, particularly in rural areas.

But she said "through DO 6, DepEd has proven that the school children's health and morals are more important... in efforts at protecting children from tobacco industry deception."

"Let's support the DepEd in their endeavor to give priority to public health and morals," she added.

DepEd hopes to continue its campaign against smoking due to tobacco's bad effects on health, especially of the students.

With the DO No.6, protection of the students will be ensured against the commercial interest of the tobacco industry, it said.

According to DepEd, copies of the new order have been distributed to school officials for proper implementation.

Moreover, it said school officials are encouraged to report any violation of the guidelines, adding that "those who defy the order will face appropriate charges."

MPs ask govt to suspend errant tobacco company

Continental Tobacco

A section of MPs from West Nile and Western Uganda want the operations of Continental Tobacco stopped and its management arrested for failure to pay farmers whose livelihood depends on the cash crop.
For at least 12 months now, Continental Tobacco has subjected its suppliers to a cat and mouse game, forcing the lawmakers from the tobacco growing areas to lobby for the company’s closure.

“Matters regarding Continental Tobacco are already in Parliament. And our position is to have it closed because it has caused untold suffering to our people,” Buhaguzi County MP, Bigirwa Julius Junjura said in a stakeholders meeting on tobacco last week.

Although the meeting was attended by several cigarettes makers/tobacco dealers, including BAT, MPs drew their guns at Continental Tobacco, saying it is the frog that spoils the pond.

It also emerged that the MPs are considering legal action against the tobacco company whose owners are believed to be Kenyan.

Tobacco farmers Daily Monitor spoke to said Continental Tobacco had lured farmers through offering above market prices compared to competitors’ offer.

Attorneys want Handy Township marijuana case to be dismissed

Medical Marihuana Act

Attorneys for four people accused of selling marijuana to an undercover officer at a now-defunct medical marijuana dispensary will ask the judge to dismiss the charges.

Judge Michael P. Hatty will hear the motion at 9 a.m. today as well as one from the prosecutor's office prohibiting the four defendants charged in connection to raids on the now-defunct Marshall Alternatives medical marijuana dispensary from using the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act as a defense.

The prosecutor's office also want to preclude "all references" to medical marijuana during the trial.

"Of course, the prosecutor would like to prevent the defendants from raising a defense — it would certainly make it easier to secure a conviction," attorneys Matt Newburg and Mary Chartier wrote in a court document filed Thursday.

The prosecutor's office argues that to use the immunity section of the state law, the defendants must prove they are "primary caregivers" who have been authorized under the state's registry to provide marijuana for medicinal purposes to the person receiving the marijuana, according to court documents.

The undercover officer's medical marijuana card did not provide a caregiver designation.

The defense argues entrapment, saying the officer presented fraudulent documents — a driver's license and registry ID card — to receive marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The prosecutor's office also argues that the law does not permit patient-to-patient sales of marijuana.

However, defense attorneys disagree, arguing that precluding the use of the MMMA and related evidence violates their clients' constitutional rights to present a defense.

Marshall Alternatives owners Christi Marshall, 39, and Alan Dale Marshall, 39, along with employee Stephanie Lynn Baxter, 30, were charged with delivering marijuana for allegedly selling the drug to an undercover narcotics officer who posed as a card-carrying medical marijuana patient in February and May 2011.

April Sundie Smith, 44, also is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver in connection to the Marshall Alternatives raids.

пятница, 2 марта 2012 г.

Smoking ban now too weak

smoking rules

That was a fair assessment of a bill that started out as a fairly comprehensive statewide smoking ban but came out of the Indiana Senate this week with enough exemptions that it was barely on par with a public service announcement.

We've been lukewarm to past statewide smoking ban proposals, preferring instead that regulations be left to local and county jurisdictions. But if Indiana is going to have statewide rules, make them reasonable and rigorous.

The Indiana Senate, though, has shot holes in House Bill 1149, leaving a Swiss cheese approach to smoking rules. The Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air was calling it one of the weakest in the nation.

And at this point, the bill is hardly worth Indiana's time to pass and enforce.

The Indiana House measure would have prohibited smoking in all indoor workplaces except casino gaming floors, existing cigar and hookah bars and private clubs whose memberships vote to approve smoking.

Here are some of the Indiana Senate's add-ons:

• Bars and taverns;

• Private clubs and fraternal organizations, even if they allow kids;

• State-licensed gaming facilities;

• Charity gaming events, including those held at churches and schools; and

• Residential health care facilities and retirement homes.

There's more. But you get the drift.

At this point, the General Assembly might as well scrap the idea for another year.

Senate Passes Smoking Ban

bill bans smoking

The Indiana State Senate has passed a smoking ban that many feel is much weaker than the law that is needed. The passed bill bans smoking in most work places and restaurants, but it will not affect establishments such as bars, charity gaming events and nursing homes.

The House and Senate are expected to create a compromise measure sometime next week before the House will re-vote on the new bill.

Criminalization Makes Marijuana a Gateway Drug

Makes Marijuana

Let's assume you've smoked marijuana. Wild assumption, right? So surely, you've endeavored into bigger and badder things too? The truth is that marijuana, the plant, is not a gateway drug. Marijuana, in its medical uses, is not a gateway drug. But the criminal culture that surrounds the drug war, rather, is what creates this widely-feared gateway.

And the gatekeepers? You guessed it - everyone but marijuana users. Think about black-market dealers from top to bottom: the drug lords in other countries, the sinister characters digging narco-tunnels from Mexico to the United States, the high-level dealers, the low-level dealers. All these people with dirty street product, who don't have their marijuana lab-tested for toxins and contaminants. Those are the gatekeepers, and those are the ones that cause the perpetuation that marijuana itself is a gateway drug.

And then, of course, there's the anti-marijuana politicians. These are the guys that ignore any evidence that marijuana has and is helping patients of certain diseases. These are the guys that are perfectly happy with you ingesting a bevvy of pills with side effects ranging from stomach-bleeding to thoughts of suicide. These are the guys that would rather have you drive to a bar, throw back as many beers as you'd like, then drive home. These politicians would put you in prison for months alongside violent criminals just because of a minor marijuana possession charge. So, you end up in jail for a minor possession charge. It's your first time in prison, and you've got violent criminals around you. Assuming you make it out physically okay, you've probably got some phychological issues now to talk through - and you've certainly now got a record following you around forever.

Even Edward McClelland, an NBC Chicago affiliate writer says that the only thing marijuana is a gateway to is stoner music like Bob Marley, junk food, surfing the internet all day, and watching cartoons. McClelland makes a great case for a lot of issues surrounding marijuana and which gate it is we're all supposed to be walking through. He mentions Anita Alvarez, a state attorney in Chicago, who doesn't want to decriminalize marijuana because, of course, it's a gateway drug.

"Alvarez doesn't want to decriminalize marijuana because it would be bad for business," says McClelland. "Fewer pot busts means fewer court cases, which means fewer assistant state's attorneys, which means fewer jobs for Alvarez to hand out, and fewer employees to work for her re-election. So it's in her interest to call marijuana a gateway drug. Let's just be clear that the gate leads to a very comfortable couch."

McClelland is onto something. States can make their money the right way or the wrong way, but that's a moral decision we don't want them making, since so far, their moral decision has been to use any means necessary to write tickets and make arrests, despite, in some cases like New York's, being told otherwise. In fact, the Drug Policy Alliance had found that New York City police were targeting minorities specifically.

Most proponents of medical marijuana agree that some sort of organized regulation needs to happen, and all agree that not allowing medical marijuana to exist legally pushes normally-lawful citizens to the black market. Inevitably on that black market, patients will receive contaminated or not optimally-potent product. Lab associations like the Association Of California Cannabis Laboratories(ACCL) are stepping in to ensure clean and consistent products across the industry - and products that target specific illnesses and symptoms with cannibidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. This sort of chemical-level science isn't operating in an industry that is meant for a marijuana user to springboard into other drugs; organizations like the ACCL are aimed at creating effective medicine for patients.

So while proponents try to get effective, clean relief into the hands of the sick, the pharmacetical industry aims to prescribe pills that makes your stomach bleed, pills that cause depression (fixed by a pill that relieves depression), pills that make you nauseated, pills that frankly, make you need more pills. Politicians are creating laws that turn a law-abiding citizen with a debilitating disease into prison-packing criminals. A black market drug dealer is trying to figure out new ways to make money by selling people weaker marijuana mixed with whatever toxins it picked up on its way into the country underground. If you decriminalize marijuana, you lessen (if not lose) the underground market.

One such gatekeeper offcially thanked former and present United States presidents for keeping his cartel alive through criminalization. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, the assumed head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, was quoted as saying: "I couldn't have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama, none of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, Gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you."

If marijuana is a gateway drug, it's only because the gateways are paved with bad politics and suspicious characters. One can't help but wonder if we loosened the noose locally on marijuana a little, if the gateway we're so terrified of might just disappear.

How to Get the Real Scoop on E-cigarettes

Scoop on E-cigarettes

Many people like the idea of smoking a lot more than they like the reality, and more of them are choosing vaping over smoking every day. Vaping? Well, electronic cigarettes use vapor not smoke, so users don't smoke them. They vape them. But how does anyone decide which of the many electronic cigarettes on the market to try? By comparing smokeless cigarette reviews to see what more experienced e-cigarette users say, of course.

"Everyone has different criteria for what makes a great e-cigarette," said Chad Maynard of ElectronicCigarette.net. "Some people are really into a lot of vapor to replicate a cloud of smoke, while others love that electronic cigarettes come in a range of flavors."

1. Vapor. Most e-cigarette users value vapor, so most e-cigarette reviews discuss it in detail. Some brands start out with a great cloud of vapor but it starts to thin out when the battery is less than fully charged.

2. Battery life. Battery life might not be the most obvious feature for a vapor cigarette review to focus on, but because vapor can really depend on the strength of the battery, it is an important detail for anyone trying to choose a good brand to try for a first vape.

3. Flavor. For some, the option of a pineapple or mocha electronic cigarette is just one more reason to skip the old tobacco variety and embrace e-cigs. Others want one thing and one thing only - tried-and-true tobacco taste. But no one wants 100 weak, not-quite-right flavors, so e-cigarette reviews should discuss the quality as well as the quantity of flavors to really be useful.

4. Presentation. No one ever picked up their first traditional tobacco cigarette without thinking about image. Electronic cigarette users want packaging that looks good too.

5. Cost. Good electronic cigarette reviews get to the nuts and bolts of costs, including shipping costs.

"New brands are appearing all the time and existing brands are changing and evolving too," said Maynard. "For example, the new White Cloud battery is their smallest ever."

"Vaping does involve some initial expense, although it is usually cheaper in the long run than smoking. Consumers need to be informed, especially when purchasing online, and e-cigarette reviews can give the details people need to make informed choices," Maynard said