пятница, 25 мая 2012 г.

College trustees hear smoking complaint

At its regular May meeting on Monday, the Flathead Valley Community College Board of Trustees raised the age for the senior tuition benefit to 65 and heard a student complaint about the campus smoking policy. During citizen comments, Jackson Hokanson advocated making the campus tobacco-free. The college now only allows smoking in designated areas.

He offered statistics during his presentation, including that tobacco is a public health crisis that killed more Americans than terrorism, World War II, cocaine, heroine, alcohol, vehicular accidents, homicide or suicide combined. “As an educational institute, we have the responsibility to not only educate our students, but also protect them as well as faculty, staff and visitors from health hazards on campus,” Hokanson said.

He said secondhand smoke kills 50,000 people each year, and that about four Montanans die every day of a tobacco-related disease with a related cost exceeding $305 million. “Our poorly placed designated smoking area is a commonly traveled route between the childhood center and the rest of campus,” he said. Hokanson pointed out that the new nursing/health building is adjacent to this site as well. He alleged that there have been no efforts to make sure people smoking on campus are of legal age. Trustees don’t act on items brought up under citizens’ comments.

However, trustee Tom Harding asked Hokanson to provide copies of his research to the board, and trustee Mark Holston said he would like so see the issue revisited as a future agenda item. The board has considered making the campus tobacco-free but decided that policy might prevent some displaced workers from taking retraining for new careers.

High court in Ohio upholds state smoking ban

Ohio's statewide smoking ban is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday. The court rejected claims by a Columbus tavern owner that argued the fines it was charged for violations were an illegal taking of property, violating the state's legitimate police powers. Ohio Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, in authoring the opinion, wrote, "The goal of this legislation is to protect the health of the workers and other citizens of Ohio."

 She said, "It does so by regulating proprietors of public places and places of employment in a minimally invasive way." Zeno's Victorian Village had been cited 10 different times between July 2007 and September 2009 totaling $33,000. The tavern was also known as Bartec Inc., whose CEO and sole shareholder was Richard Allen. On behalf of Bartec and Allen, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law argued that the smoking ban was supposed to be enforced against smokers, not businesses. Maurice Thompson, the bar's attorney, called the ruling discouraging.

He said it means "there's really no meaningful limit on the regulation of private property in Ohio by the government." Thompson said it is unlikely the center would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on a federal property-rights issue, even though Ohio's is the first state Supreme Court to rule on that issue with regard to a smoking ban. He said Ohio has some of the strongest property protection laws in the country. "So we felt that if there was anywhere we could win, it was with bars in Ohio," he said. Thompson said he expects the fight to move now to the state Legislature, where a bill is already in the works to exempt bars from the ban.

 Overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2006, Ohio's ban prohibits smoking in most indoor public places. Penalties for proprietors violating the ban range from a warning letter for a first violation to fines of $100 to $2,500 for subsequent violations. Fines can be doubled for intentional violations. Justices said there was evidence that the bar tacitly allowed smoking and had plastic cups partially filled with water that were placed around the bar as ash trays. They said the complaints were against the bar, not individual smokers. The opinion further noted the bar had access to an appeals process and did not take advantage of it eight of 10 times. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, legal counsel to the Ohio Department of Health, noted that Zeno's currently owes more than $40,000 for its repeated smoking ban violations.

 "This is great news for the health of Ohioans and for the democratic process," DeWine said in a statement. "The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a law passed by a statewide majority of Ohio voters, and patrons and employees of Ohio businesses will continue to enjoy surroundings that are safer because they are smoke-free." Lanzinger's opinion noted that the bar argued "that prohibiting smoking in an adults-only liquor-licensed establishment, such as Zeno's, is unduly oppressive and amounts to a taking." She said that was "an as-applied challenge" that suggested their unique circumstances made the law unconstitutional for them. The legal issue was disregarded because it had not been raised in earlier phases of the case.

 The 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus had upheld enforcement of the law, saying there was overwhelming evidence that Zeno's owners had intentionally violated the ban. That decision reversed a lower court ruling that tossed the violations and said the state health department exceeded its authority by holding Zeno's responsible for the actions of its patrons. Public health and medical groups lined up Wednesday to praise the ruling. Groups opposed to the ban have included the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association and the Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association, where an official has said it is devastating small businesses in Ohio.

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Tobacco taxes make smokers gasp

New Zealand's government has squeezed smokers more than ever by announcing a 40% hike in tobacco taxes over the next four years. Prices there are already among the highest in the world, and by 2016 they will top 20 New Zealand dollars (£9.60) a pack on average. Officials hope higher taxes and new restrictions will bring the nation of 4.4 million closer to a recent pledge to snuff out the habit entirely by 2025.

Other countries have lauded the idea of trying to wean their populace off tobacco, but few, if any, have been willing to put a date on it. Health officials even considered raising the cost of a pack of cigarettes to 100 New Zealand dollars (£48). Although that idea was dismissed, another measure, which will force retailers to hide cigarettes below the counter rather than putting them on display, will come into effect in July. Smoking rates among New Zealand adults have fallen from about 30% in 1986 to about 20% today.

Cigarette sales have fallen more sharply, suggesting that even people who still smoke have cut back. Opponents say the hikes could drive some low-income people to commit crime to support their habit. They want the government to provide more support and alternatives to smokers if it is serious about making them quit. The New Zealand branch of cigarette company British American Tobacco said the tax increases will force consumers to turn to the black market. Susan Jones, head of corporate and regulatory affairs, said: "Consumer demand is far better served by legitimate companies than by the illegal operators that will surely grow as the government makes it increasingly difficult for people to buy their product of choice."

Smokers urged to quit smoking on World No Tobacco Day

The Thai Health Promotion Foundation is inviting smokers to quit smoking on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day on 31 May. With the quick approach of the World No Tobacco Day, the foundation’s Director, Kritsada Rueng-areerach, has called on smokers to realize the dangers of tobacco. At the same time, he has encouraged them to take this opportunity of the World No Tobacco Day to quit their smoking habit with the objective of reducing cancer, which is one of the main causes of fatalities among the Thai people. Approximately 40,000 people die from smoking each year.

An academic report has indicated that the risk of cancer for smokers is 3.16 times greater than non-smokers. Smokers also risk contracting respiratory diseases, such as bronchitis, chronic cough, pulmonary Emphysema, all of which can lead to fatal outcomes. Moreover, smoking can cause chronic ulcers, hypertension, liver cirrhosis, periodontitis, sinusitis and heart disease. Additionally, the chance of miscarriage is 1.6 times higher in pregnant smokers, while smoking can be the root of a baby's under-development.
Another articles about tobacco danger read on www.freetobacco.info

‘No plan for fee on tobacco sale in Ajman‘

Ajman Municipality has denied the implementation of a fee to outlets such as shopping malls, petrol stations and supermarkets located at industrial areas that are selling tobacco products. Majid Al Suwaidi, director of the Monitoring and Commercial Protection Department at Ajman Municipality, said that there are no plans to implement a fee. The ban of selling tobacco(www.tobacco-news.net) products only applies to residential areas.

 “We have banned the selling of tobacco products at residential areas and areas located nearby schools and youth centres and we have stopped issuing for opening new cafes at residential areas. The decision of banning the selling of tobacco products at outlets nearby schools was taken after the civic body received complaints from parents of school children who said that their children buy cigarettes from supermarkets and groceries nearby their homes or schools,” he said.

Al Suwaidi confirmed that no tobacco products will be sold at residential areas and this has nothing to do with attaining a permission to sell as the main target is to ban selling of tobacco products and not collecting fees. “The law of banning the sale of tobacco products three month ago bore fruits as we are witnessing fewer complaints from parents of teenagers regarding the availability of tobacco products at supermarkets and other outlets. We are regularly conducting surprise inspections to all supermarkets and groceries located at residential and school areas to ensure their abidance to our set rule.”

CDC says states only spend 3% of tobacco settlement on prevention

States have spent only about 3 percent of the billions they've received in tobacco taxes and legal settlements over the last decade to fund tobacco prevention programs. A report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says states have collected nearly $244 billion in taxes and settlement money since 1998. More about tobacco settlements read on this blog.

That compares with only $8 billion earmarked for state tobacco control efforts and is far less than the $29 billion minimum the CDC said should have been spent over that same period. States on average have never spent as much the CDC would like. But the total has declined dramatically in recent years as states grapple with budget deficits. Public health officials say prevention programs are vital to reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

How colourful cigarette packets are snaring out children

Tobacco news: www.tobacco-news.net
WITH their pretty jewel coloured boxes, shiny labels and enticing names, you might think they were bottles of expensive perfume. The obligatory warning labels aside, these aspirational packets of cigarettes are designed to appeal to fashion-conscious women, but research suggests that children as young as nine or 10 are also attracted to them. Andrea Crossfield, director of Tobacco Free Futures, says: “Cigarette brands are no longer seen on billboards or in magazines, but the packet acts as the mobile salesman, especially when it is taken out of the pocket 20 times a day. “This is advertising by the back door and just as children aspire to wear certain clothes or trainers, certain brands will have appeal and play a part in taking up smoking.” It’s easy to see why teenage girls might be tempted to try these attractive products.

 “The brands on the market at the moment are incredibly appealing – many packs are brightly coloured pink or purple, and look stylish and slick, resembling a lipstick or perfume bottle or feeling like a mobile phone to hold because the edges are smooth,” says Andrea. “It's incredible the thought that goes into these packets, all designed to engage new customers, the vast majority of whom are under 18.” Worryingly, children identify them with their favourite celebrities. “I heard one of these packs described' as 'like something Victoria Beckham would smoke' in a recent survey we did,” says Andrea. “There's no doubt they appeal to children and we want to stop that and stop children starting to smoke – removing the brand from packets will definitely help.”

 Tobacco Free Futures is now lobbying for these packs to be banned, in a bid to cut the number of children who are tempted into taking up the habit with their Plain Packs Protect campaign. It’s a campaign that’s backed by Dr Paula Grey, director of Public Health for Liverpool. She says: “Research shows that four out of five children in the North West have tried smoking before they reach the age of 14. “As well as continuing to publicise the health risks, we need to find other ways to reduce the attractiveness of smoking. “Tobacco companies are using ever more sophisticated techniques to market cigarettes to young people, including brightly coloured and super slim cigarettes alongside eye-catching and novelty packaging. “The Plain Packs Protect campaign is lobbying for plain packets to combat this and reduce the impact of smoking. Overall smoking costs the NHS in Liverpool approximately £12.7m and kills around 1,000 people each year.”

 Figures published by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation say that smoking just one cigarette as a child almost doubles the chance of a teenager becoming a smoker. Andrea says: “Plain, standardised cigarette packaging won’t stop everyone from smoking, but it will give children one less reason to start. “In Liverpool, and across Merseyside, we've seen a huge wave of support with hundreds of residents signing up to plain packs so we know it's an issue that local people feel strongly about. “We hope this momentum continues to grow as we believe that people in Liverpool and across Merseyside play a significant role in turning off the tap of new young smokers.” There is some resistance to the campaign though.

NY man sentenced in W.Va. on cigarette charges

A New York man convicted of contraband cigarette charges in West Virginia will spend more than a year in prison. Mohammad D. Mohammad of Brooklyn, N.Y., also must pay a $5,000 fine. Mohammad pleaded guilty last November to one count of transporting and possessing more than 10,000 cigarettes without paying state taxes. Officers found the cigarettes when they stopped him in Lewis County on March 29, 2011. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II says Mohammad was sentenced to one year and nine months Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Elkins.

Here are a lot of articles and news about cigarettes and tobacco manufacturer.

понедельник, 14 мая 2012 г.

Freedom Cigarettes Convert Smokers to e-cigs in Brighton on the May Bank Holiday

Freedom Cigarettes has been increasing their customer base by handing out free electronic cigarettes to smokers in Brighton this May bank holiday. Electric cigarettes are becoming more popular as tobacco smokers are looking for a healthier lifestyle. E-cigs offer a tobacco and tar free alternative to tobacco cigarettes which is more socially acceptable as there is no second hand smoke or bad smell. Freedom Cigarettes has aggregated thousands of customers in the past month with their new disposable model.

Their new disposable e-cig combines new technology and hardware which produces more vapour and flavour than ever before. This May bank holiday the Freedom team made their way down to Brighton and gave out over three hundred disposables smokers in bars and clubs. The response was really positive as over eighty five percent of the smokers said they would make the switch to electric cigarettes. “We believe in the quality of our e-cigs and want to connect with smokers on ground level. Experiential marketing is definitely one of our strengths as it lets us understand our customers and what they really want from an e-cig.

The team went to Brighton last weekend on the bank holiday and gave out over three hundred new disposable electric cigarettes. We couldn’t have been happier with the response as quite a few of the people actually preferred the taste and feeling to normal tobacco cigarettes. In a few weeks we will be launching our new product range and website which will feature some great new products and things to do on our site. This is a really exciting time for Freedom.” commented Richard Power of Freedom Cigarettes.

Turkey Cigarette Tax Would Quicken Inflation, BGC Says

A planned Turkish health tax on cigarettes would have a “very negative” impact on prices, increasing the inflation rate by 1.2 percentage points this year, BGC Partners’ chief economist, Ozgur Altug, said in an e- mailed report today. The tax would increase tobacco prices in Turkey by 24 percent and the likelihood of having double-digit consumer price inflation again by the end of the year would “increase significantly,” Altug said.

 An additional tax of 1.50 liras ($0.85) per cigarette package is likely to raise 4.1 billion liras ($2.3 billion) in revenue for the government, Sabah newspaper reported today, without saying how it got the information. Turkish prices in March were 10.4 percent higher than a year earlier. The statistics agency in Ankara will release figures for April tomorrow. The average forecast of six economists on Bloomberg is 10.9 percent, estimates ranging from 10.6 percent to 11.3 percent.

Tobacco-tax increase on California ballot, but it can't help solve budget crisis

In the past decade, red and blue states alike have approved more than 100 tobacco tax increases in a desperate hunt for budget revenues. But not one has passed in California, whose 87-cent cigarette tax dropped from third-highest in the nation in 1999 to 33rd today despite the state's ongoing budget problems. That confounds health advocates, who otherwise consider California to be a trailblazer when it comes to bans on smoking in bars and restaurants, and public campaigns urging tobacco users to quit. But longtime state budget watchers are hardly surprised.

They largely blame the state's supermajority requirement to pass tax increases in the Legislature. That forces tobacco tax proposals to the ballot, where industry can spend unlimited sums to defeat them. "Certainly the state has been looking in every place possible for new sources of revenues," said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. "Most other places have a simple majority, and I think a two-thirds majority is a hurdle even for something seemingly as popular as a tobacco tax."

 The June ballot in California includes Proposition 29, a tobacco tax that would raise $735 million in its first full yearm mostly for cancer and disease research. The Legislature could not tap the funds for 15 years, and even then not without meeting certain requirements. The initiative has generated much of its support and opposition along predictable political lines, with Republicans and anti-tax groups opposed and Democrats and health organizations in support. Tobacco firms R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris have contributed more than $38 million against the measure. An early PPIC poll showed 67 percent of likely voters in support in March, but backers believe it will ultimately be a close contest under the weight of heavy industry opposition. Baldassare observed that support for tobacco taxes "fits the tax-the-other-person mentality."

 The state Department of Public Health said last year that the adult smoking rate dropped to 11.9 percent, compared with 27.7 percent in 1985. As Gov. Jerry Brown prepares to release a revised budget reflecting a deficit that has ballooned to $16 billion from the original $9.2 billion estimate, Proposition 29 opponents have seized on a budgetary argument to make their case. The No on 29 campaign states on its website, "Billions in New Taxes, but Nothing to Fix the State Budget." It also points out that funds would not go to schools, unlike other general fund revenues. Proponents have dismissed the argument, saying it is beside the point and disingenuous, coming from opponents to other state tax increases for education.

 "This measure is not going to solve the state budget crisis," said Jim Knox of the American Cancer Society. "It is not a cure for global warming. There are a lot of things it doesn't do. This measure is intended to raise the tobacco tax to protect kids from smoking." Still, the budgetary argument has won sympathy in some unexpected places. The Los Angeles Times editorial board opposed the initiative on grounds that cancer research is not a priority during the budget crisis, even though it praised the health benefits that could result from a $1-per-pack increase in cigarette taxes. 

The left-leaning California Budget Project, which has not taken a position, concluded in a policy paper, "A key policy issue raised by Proposition 29 is whether it is desirable to dedicate hard-to-raise new revenues to a specific set of programs that would be 'locked in,' limiting the ability of the Legislature to make changes in response to shifting economic, budget and demographic trends." Democrats and health advocates acknowledge the severity of the state's fiscal needs, but maintain that California probably will never pass a tobacco-tax increase for general budget purposes. Given that political reality, they say, it is worth passing Proposition 29 because a higher tax would reduce smoking. Tobacco companies hold sway in the Capitol.

They have been reliable supporters of the California Republican Party and its legislators, and have also donated to some influential Democrats, records show. Altria Group donated $10,000 and R.J. Reynolds gave $5,000 to the legal defense fund of Democratic state Sen. Rod Wright, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees tobacco-related bills. Since the recession in 2008, nearly two dozen other states have raised tobacco taxes to help balance their books. A Public Policy Institute of California poll in March found that 63 percent of likely voters say they favor higher tobacco taxes for that purpose. Yet most of California's 87-cent excise tax on cigarettes goes for programs other than the state's general fund.

The most recent tax increase, 1998's Proposition 10, devotes 50 cents per pack to First 5 early childhood development programs. Political experts say voters will not support tax increases that support the general fund because they do not trust lawmakers to spend the money. That leads to ballot initiatives that have a defined spending purpose outside the Legislature's reach and typically for a pet cause of the funder. "You can't do a tax for the general fund on the ballot," said Lenny Goldberg, lobbyist for the left-leaning California Tax Reform Association. "Nobody will go out and argue for it. The other side of it is, the public in the polling we've seen will vote for a tax only if they know where it's going."

Review of tobacco prices

First, it was the KP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti who recently had called a special meeting of all stakeholders — tobacco growers, dealers, companies and the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) — to resolve the grievances of farmers about the support price for their crop. And now, following legal action and agitation by the growers, a high-powered committee sent by the federal government is talking to them to asses the cost of production (CoP) of the crop that earns billions for the federal government.

Farmers said Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Israrullah Khan Zehri had sent the committee headed by Director-General National Agriculture Research Council Dr Muhammad Sharif to suggest a new support price for tobacco, if needed. The committee was given a warm welcome by tobacco growers in Swabi. “ It met and interviewed tobacco growers here and would do the same in Mardan, Charsadda and Mansehra,” a farmer said. “We hope the committee will assess the actual cost of production and recommend a fair tobacco support price and the federal ministry of commerce will notify the new price for this season,” said Liaqat Yousafzai, general secretary of the Kashtkar Coordination Council.

 When contacted, Dr Sharif said the CoP assessment process would continue for 10 days in various tobacco-growing districts and views of growers would be sought. “The terms of reference of our committee are to assess the actual per kg cost of production and identify factors for stated low tobacco support price. Later on the basis of the data collected and empirical evidence, the committee would present its findings and recommendations to the federal government,” he said. Mr Sharif said “farmers have told us that CoP for tobacco has increased while they are receiving very low support price. We are collecting data. It will be analysed and hopefully the committee will put forward its report to the chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council after six days.”

 The committee doesn’t intend to take views of national and multinational tobacco companies and tobacco dealers on the CoP. But, according to a source, tobacco companies also plan to prepare a counter-report which they will present to the government. Mr Yousafzai said farmers in Swabi had informed the committee members that while their average CoP was around Rs240/kg, the PTB had fixed the minimum price at Rs117/kg. “We want to be paid as per the CoP and the minimum price must be fixed taking into account the increase in the minimum and weighted average prices last year, rate of inflation, global tobacco prices, surge in prices of other crops and raw materials and our profit margin,” he said.

Duty-free tobacco comes under fire

Norwegian authorities have long imposed punitive taxes on tobacco, partly because it’s considered a luxury item along with cosmetics and alcohol but mostly for health reasons. A single pack of 20 cigarettes now costs around NOK 90 (USD 16) in a Norwegian shop, with the vast majority of the price consisting of tax. Norwegians traveling in and out of Norway, however, can still buy duty-free tobacco products at international airports and on board ships, where a pack of cigarettes costs around NOK 30 (USD 5).

Some Norwegians are known to travel on the ferry between Sandefjord in Norway and Strömstad in Sweden, for example, or to buy cheap tickets on board the ferries to Denmark, with the main purpose of buying duty-free goods, and having some fun along the way. Now the head of the medical association, Geir Riise, is calling for removal of the so-called “quota” that allows Norwegians to bring a certain amount of tobacco into Norway duty-free. “Tobacco sales must be removed from duty-free shops,” agrees Anne Lise Ryel, secretary general of the cancer association.

She told newspaper Vårt Land that price advantages of duty-free sales must be eliminated, adding that the sheer presence of tobacco in duty-free shops “normalizes” the product and undermines display prohibitions in Norway, where tobacco products are hidden away and customers must specifically ask for them. The display prohibition, which has been challenged by tobacco companies, is based on the theory of “out of sight, out of mind.” Norway’s health ministry is currently considering new measures to further discourage smoking among youngsters, and is in the process of collecting public comment.

среда, 2 мая 2012 г.

Missouri voters could decide on higher cigarette tax

Smoking could get more costly as some seeking to raise Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax expect to submit signatures this week to put the issue before voters in November. The proposal calls for increasing Missouri’s tax on each pack of cigarettes by 73 cents and steering the additional money to education and smoking prevention and cessation. Taxes on other tobacco products also would be increased. Health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, are pushing the ballot measure.

 Missouri now levies a cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack, far below the national average of $1.46. Virginia has the second-lowest cigarette tax at 30 cents. Among states in the central U.S., the tax is $1.36 in Iowa, $1.15 in Arkansas, 98 cents in Illinois and 79 cents in Kansas. Five states have a tax of at least $3, and New York’s tax is $4.35. The federal government also has its own $1.01 tobacco tax. Supporters of raising Missouri’s cigarette tax say they’re focused on improving public health by keeping teens from starting smoking and getting adults to stop. “Most people are looking for a reason to quit,” said Misty Snodgrass of the American Cancer Society. “Tobacco and cigarettes are not an essential life benefit. It’s not like rent or food. So people make those choices whenever it does become more expensive.”

A trial judge in Cole County is scheduled to consider a legal challenge to the tobacco tax ballot summary on May 7, the day after groups seeking to get initiatives on this fall’s ballot must submit signatures to the secretary of state’s office. If the plan clears those hurdles, this will be the third time in the past decade that a measure seeking to increase tobacco taxes has appeared on the statewide ballot. Missourians in 2002 defeated a 55-cents per-pack increase by roughly 31,000 votes. In 2006, they rejected an 80-cents-per-pack increase by about 61,000 votes. Snodgrass said this year’s proposal is broader and different from the previous efforts. She said supporters opted for a ballot measure instead of attempting to go through the General Assembly, partly because a significant tobacco tax increase probably would have required voter approval anyway. Nonetheless, tobacco tax proposals also have been floated in the Missouri Capitol. Besides public health concerns, some legislative supporters have eyed the additional tax revenue to help depleted state coffers. The House Ways and Means Committee this past week held hearings on three proposals from Democratic lawmakers that could help boost state cigarette taxes.

The annual legislative session ends in three weeks, making final passage unlikely for measures that have not yet been cleared for debate by the full House. Several of the businesses that sell cigarettes and other tobacco products oppose large increases to Missouri’s cigarette tax. Ron Leone, the executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, said the combination of federal, state and local government assessments makes taxes paid on cigarettes quite high. He said focusing on just the state tax of 17 cents offers an incomplete picture.

But he is endorsing a proposal to gradually raise the state cigarette tax to 33 cents after four years. Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/29/3581515/missouri-voters-could-decide-on.html#storylink=cpy

Smokeless cigarettes offer clean alternative

The owner of Vapor4Life in Northbrook found a somewhat different way to celebrate Earth Day. The company, which sells electronic cigarettes, is offering a free e-cigarette to visitors to the businesses’ new Smokeless Lounge through May 2. The lounge offers local customers a chance to try out the company’s e-cigarette products. “This company is all about helping people, so naturally we want to help our environment as well,” said Steve Milin, president and CEO of Vapor4Life. “This event is a great way to get our community involved in doing something good not only for themselves, but also for generations to come.”

 The company is calling the two-week long event “Switch to a Cleaner Alternative.” During the event smokers are invited to the Vapor4Life Smokeless Lounge and Store to trade in their pack of traditional pall mall cigarettes for a free electronic cigarette. Vapor4Life is located in the Sky Harbor Business Park at 4100 Commercial Ave. The lounge is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. During the event, community members ages 18 and older will be able to receive their free e-cigarette, learn how the technology works and drop off any rechargeable batteries for recycling. “Trillions of cigarette butts are littered every year, causing environmental clean-up issues and dangers to wildlife,” said Milin, a former smoker himself.

“Electronic cigarettes help reduce that waste by using rechargeable, recyclable battery-operated devices.” Milin said an e-cigarette battery may be recharged an average of 200 to 300 times. After its typical life cycle of three to six months, depending on usage, it can easily be recycled. Vapor4Life has been proactive in informing customers that their products can be recycled. Further, Vapor4Life has joined Call2Recycle, the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America. “By recycling used e-cigarette batteries, Vapor4Life is demonstrating its commitment to the environment by adapting green business practices,” Milin said.

Call for candy cigarettes to be banned

Lollies that look like cigarettes are corrupting New Zealand children, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says. "I am appalled that we continue to sell lollies shaped as cigarettes and I certainly do not condone these products," she told the New Zealand Herald. Mock cigarettes are prohibited in Canada, Britain, Finland, Norway, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But it's not illegal to sell the local Spaceman candy sticks or American brands of bubble gum packaged to look like a cigarette with a filter in New Zealand.

 Auckland University tobacco control researcher Dr Natalie Walker told the NZ Herald that her son had found the American products in a sweet shop. She thought they had been banned and raised the matter with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service. Her comments have prompted Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to renew calls for the government to ban the lollies when they pass legislation forcing tobacco products into plain packaging.

 Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has joined in condemnation of the products. "It's one way of getting young people connected to cigarettes. Any marketing of cigarettes or cigarette-similar products to children is a bad step and should be stopped as soon as possible," he said.


Such cheerful descriptions from the children in this spot sound apropos of a new toy’s label or even an ad for wintergreen gum--but the surprising truth becomes evident at 30 seconds in with a slow pullback shot revealing a desk littered with empty cigarette packages.

Created by agency AMV BBDO London as part of Cancer Research U.K.'s campaign to remove all branding from tobacco packages, "The Answer is Plain" aims to serve as a wake-up call to just how susceptible children are to finding flashy and colorful designs highly appealing without any understanding of the dangers within such neatly presented boxes.

 Director Finn McGough shot the kids giving their unscripted feedback at primary schools across London. The campaign underscores the findings in a new Cancer Research U.K. report that identifies young people and women as the prime target groups for tobacco packaging. Granted, petitioning for unbranded cigarette packs is a mere fraction of a larger anti-smoking bid, but this eye-opening spots argues it will at least “give millions of kids one less reason to start.”

Quinn ties cigarette tax hike to health benefits

Whether successful or not, Illinois governors repeatedly have aimed at the same target for additional money to address the state's financial gap — cigarette smokers. But for the first time, Gov. Pat Quinn has floated the idea of tying a cigarette tax hike to improving health care. The Democrat says a $1-per-pack increase would bring in nearly $700 million — including federal matching funds — to help close a $2.7 billion Medicaid short fall, with the benefits going well beyond. The thinking goes like this: Raising the price of cigarettes gives smokers incentive to quit and deters young people from starting. Since there'll be fewer smokers, the costs of treating smoking-related diseases should also go down.

 But the plan to essentially double the cigarette tax has raised questions about whether such a hike could indeed curb smoking, if it's a sensible funding source as the number of smokers dwindles, and if it would simply drive smokers to buy cigarettes elsewhere. "It makes sense from a public health perspective," said Heather Eagleton a spokeswoman for the Illinois division of the American Cancer Society. "We are aware that it is difficult to quit ... and this may be the final push they need to quit." Her group estimates that about $1.5 billion of the state's $14 billion Medicaid budget goes toward treating smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer and Emphysema. However, business groups and smoker rights advocates say it's not so simple.

 "Why should a segment of the population that smokes have to pay for (Medicaid)?" said William Fleischli, a vice president of the Illinois Association of Petroleum Marketers and Illinois Association of Convenience Stores. He cites a 2010 study by Illinois State University that calls a cigarette tax an unstable source of income, especially as the number of smokers continues to shrink. The percentage of smokers has gone down dramatically over the last few decades, and though the rate of decrease has slowed, experts say it continues to dwindle as social attitudes change and smoking bans become more prevalent.

There are about 1.6 million adult smokers in Illinois, roughly 17 percent of adults — down from around 22 percent in 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The governor tried to raise the cigarette tax before, as did his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich. The two most recent proposals passed in the Illinois Senate but died in the House. The cigarette tax was last increased in 2002, from 58 cents to 98 cents, under Republican Gov. George Ryan. Quinn's proposal to fix the state- and federally funded health insurance program, which serves about 2.7 million poor and disabled Illinoisans, also includes $2 billion in cuts to services and care-provider rates. "We've got to use our heads here," Quinn said Friday. "We ought to use this (cigarette tax) strategy to get revenue for Medicaid and also prevent bad things from happening in the first place. That's what a good health wellness system is all about."

 Illinois' current 98-cent tax on cigarettes ranks 32nd highest among states, according to a 2012 survey by the Federation of Tax Administrators. But that ranking jumps into the top five for those who buy their smokes in Chicago and have to fork over a 68-cent city tax and $2 tax for Cook County. The suburb of Evanston also imposes a 50-cent tax in addition to the Cook County tax. "We feel that we're being singled out and picked on unfairly," said David Kuneman, a Midwest spokesman for The Smoker's Club, an advocacy group. He said smokers already bear an unfair tax burden and that state legislators should look to taxing alcohol.

 A tax hike in Illinois could increase sales in nearby states, experts say. Indiana's tax is slightly higher than Illinois' and ranks 32nd, but it doesn't have the same county or city taxes. Meanwhile, Missouri's tax is 17 cents, which is the lowest in the nation. Illinois customers come into County Market Express in Taylor, Missouri, every day just for cigarettes, says 20-year-old clerk Aerick Steward. A pack of Camel's totals $4.66 compared with $5.41 in a nearby Quincy, Ill. convenience store. "When people get paid they come over and get cigarettes and buy by the carton," he said. The Illinois tax hike "would be good for business and we'd definitely have a lot more people coming here." However, economists say a boost in cross border sales wouldn't affect major metropolitan centers like Chicago or trump the other benefits.

 "If the price of something goes up, we've got a lot of evidence showing you've got a lot of smokers who will try to quit smoking," said Frank Chaloupka, an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "It's basic economics." He estimates that some 60,000 smokers in Illinois would give up the habit for good if the tax goes up $1. The American Cancer Society has placed that estimate even higher, at nearly 73,000. Karyn Smoter is skeptical. The lifelong Chicagoan, 40, has a pack-a-day habit. Her husband smokes almost double that.

They drive 20 miles to neighboring DuPage County each week to avoid paying the Cook County tax; her Virginia Slims Menthol Lights run around $7 a pack there, compared with $10 in Chicago. "I'm not happy about (the proposed tax), but I understand," said Smoter, who works at a downtown law firm. But she doubts whether it would actually give her incentive to kick the habit for good. She quit for a year once, but relapsed, saying smoking is how she copes with stress. "It would be $100 a pack and some people wouldn't quit," she said.

Teen Drug Use: More Teenagers Smoking Marijuana

More teens are smoking dope, with nearly 1 in 10 lighting up at least 20 or more times a month, according to a new survey of young people. The report by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, being released Wednesday, also said abuse of prescription medicine may be easing a bit among young people in grades 9 through 12, but still remains high. Partnership President Steve Pasierb says the mindset among parents is that it's just a little weed or a few pills – no biggie. "Parents are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them," said Pasierb.

"Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can't wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy." Use of harder drugs – cocaine and methamphetamine – has stabilized in recent years, the group's survey showed. But past-month usage of marijuana grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year. Also alarming, says Pasierb, is the percentage of teens smoking pot 20 or more times a month. That rate went from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, or about 1.5 million teens toking up that frequently. Alex, 17, in Houston, says he started smoking pot at age 13, mostly on the weekends with friends. "I just liked being high," said Alex, who is in a recovery program and asked that his last name not be used. "I always felt happier. Everything was funnier and my life was just brighter."

 Alex then started abusing prescription drugs at 14. He blacked out one day at school, got arrested and ended up in rehab. After being sober for two years, Alex slipped and smoked pot last month. Still, he says he hopes to work toward a more sober life. The findings on marijuana track closely with those in a recent University of Michigan study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. That study also found marijuana use rising among teens the past few years, reversing a long decline in the previous decade.

Smokers' rights group challenges NY's smoking ban

A smokers' rights group is objecting to a new rule beginning this year that will prohibit smokers from using New York state's parks, pools areas and beaches and historic sites as ash trays. The anti-smoking rule created in April by the state parks department would result in a disorderly conduct violation for smokers who puff away in banned areas. Smoking will be allowed in some areas. "These bans were imposed by bureaucratic fiat, not legislated law," says Audrey Silk, founder of CLASH, which supports smokers' rights nationwide.

"On that basis alone, they're unconstitutional." She said the rule "in fact went against the Legislature's will." Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the parks department, said the authority to create the measure comes from the Legislature. He said state parks and recreation law allows the agency to take action to protect the welfare and safety of the public. "Creating designated smoke-free zones in state parks will ensure that millions of people who visit these sites each year will be able to enjoy outdoor activities in a safe and healthy environment," state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah said last month.

 Silk had said CLASH will sue if the department doesn't change its position. Smoke-free areas will be around all playgrounds and swimming pools and can include swimming beaches, pavilions and picnic shelters, gardens, outdoor seating areas near food or drink concessions, and anywhere outdoor environmental education programs are provided. The measure also bans smoking in the state's parks in New York City, including Riverbank, Roberto Clemente, East River, Clay Pit Ponds, Gantry Plaza and Bayswater. New York City already bans smoking in parks and at beaches, boardwalks and public plazas and is stepping up enforcement with more than 100 tickets issued so far this year.

The city ban carries a $50 fine. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has introduced legislation in the City Council that would require residential buildings to adopt smoking policies and notify prospective residents. Bills similar to the Cuomo administration's parks rule have died in Senate and Assembly committees for years. That is because of insufficient support from the Assembly's Democratic and the Senate Republican majorities, although the bills were sponsored by majority members. At least one bill remains active. Silk said the April announcement of the rules came ahead of a 45-day comment period, required before state regulations can be adopted. "Aside from the primary legal constitutional question, this course of events furthermore makes a mockery of public participation," Silk said. "Parks have demonstrated that this is already a done deal, public comment period or not." The state has 178 parks and 35 historic sites that draw visitors from throughout the world.