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Cigarettes Tobacco Reviews and News

Archive for November, 2010

“Tobacco Should be Made Illegal”

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

tobacco packMany U.S. citizens nowadays insist that tobacco products should completely disappear from our marketplace. They call tobacco companies “the merchants of death”, and rightfully so. As tobacco manufacturers now face a decline in sales, due to the fact that people know more about the hazards of cigarettes and therefore smoke less, these corporate monsters come up with new exquisite ways to boost their sales and further spread disease. One of the tricks is to hide nicotine in seemingly harmless products.

Recently held National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Minneapolis discussed this new strategy of tobacco producers. During the Conference, University of Minnesota tobacco researcher Dorothy Hasukami described to more than 3,000 national anti-tobacco activists and experts his findings of a whole array of new nicotine-containing products on the market.

The most dangerous of the new products is snus, also known as spitless tobacco – small packets containing nicotine which can be easily held in the mouth. Tobacco marketers promote this product as being less harmful for health and containing less carcinogens that traditional cigars and cigarettes yet producing the same powerful “high” for users since it contains the same amount of nicotine.

Another invention of tobacco companies is a nicotine-containing lozenge that can be placed under the tongue just like cough drops.

Hookahs, or water pipes, are also promoted now as a safer way to use tobacco than conventional smoking. Hookah smokers think that tobacco smoke drawn through water is “cleaner”. However, the Conference experts successfully challenged this point of view by presenting evidence that tobacco used in hookahs actually is more dangerous because it contains more tar and more nicotine than tobacco used in cigarettes.

One more ?great? marketing idea of tobacco producers is to make small flavoured cigars, such as the Swishier or Winchester, and sell them to naive consumers who think that they are getting a “healthier” product. In 2006 alone, more than 4.5 billion of such cigars were sold in the U.S.

In view of the above, many anti-tobacco activists are wondering why tobacco giants, such as Philip Morris, are still allowed to sell their deadly stuff to U.S. consumers and make big profits. Tobacco products should be regarded as venom, which they are, and should be made illegal, just like contaminated food, opium, crystal meth, and other dangerous drugs and poisons.

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco death toll accounts at 430,000 death cases a year, yet tobacco industry is still a highly profitable business in the country. Although a whole range of measures have been implemented in the recent decades to reduce smoking, such as information campaigns educating the U.S. population about hazards of tobacco, or laws prohibiting smoking in restaurants, offices, and other public areas, these measures are not sufficient enough. Tobacco companies are still thriving, and even major lawsuits against them have not diminished their profits.

Some U.S, citizens, including the participants of the Conference, proposed to take more drastic measures against tobacco corporations. Among the proposed steps are the following:

1. To impose a high tax on cigarettes, cigars, snus, and other tobacco products. Profits from the increased taxation should be directed to treat tobacco-related diseases. In addition, higher prices should further encourage consumers to quit smoking.

2. To introduce a law obliging tobacco producers to gradually decrease the amount of nicotine in their products.

3. After a ten-year period, to require tobacco corporations to stop producing tobacco-containing products.

Although such proposed measures seem to be fair, their opponents argue that increased tobacco taxation will have a very bad impact on poor and lower-middle-class Americans – the categories of the population that smoke the most. Other say that such drastic measures will be against America’s deeply cherished values of “personal freedom”. In addition, tobacco products cannot be made illegal because governmental officials signed solid contracts with tobacco corporations in exchange for the billions of dollars that tobacco producers pump into the U.S. economy?

FDA Warns Online Retailers against Selling Flavored Cigarettes

Monday, November 29th, 2010

tobacco cigarettes online On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration sent out a warning to several web based companies to stop the sale of banned flavored cigarettes to American customers immediately. Letters were sent this week to over a dozen online retailers which stated that they were violating a latest ban.

The letter also demanded that the companies confirm in writing the actions that have been taken by them. In September, the FDA banned cigarettes which were candy, fruit and clove flavored as the Federal health authorities and regulators are of the view that these products are very appealing to youngsters and contribute to making experimental and new smokers, permanent smokers.

“FDA takes the enforcement of this flavored cigarette ban seriously”, Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement. “These actions should send a clear message to those who continue to break the law that FDA will take necessary actions to protect our children from initiating tobacco use“.

The ban on manufacturing, marketing, import and distribution of flavored cigarettes is not applicable on menthol based cigarettes and/or tobacco products like cigars which are flavored. Currently, the FDA is researching these products and their stance is doubtful as well.

Lifting the smoke screen on big tobacco

Friday, November 26th, 2010

tobacco cigarettesThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released its investigative report into the tobacco industry’s global lobbying campaign.
The investigation, called Smoke Screen – big tobacco’s global lobbying campaign, traces how multinational tobacco companies, faced with stagnant sales and health-conscious governments in developed nations, have targeted expansion in developing countries and emerging markets.

Smokescreen reporters investigated an array of industry efforts to delay or derail smoking reforms – ranging from hard-nosed lobbying and lawsuits to charitable donations and outright payoffs.

Thirteen ICIJ reporters conducted hundreds of interviews with leading politicians, government regulators, health-care specialists, tobacco control activists, and current and former industry executives.

The project examines six countries as case studies – India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and Uruguay. In each of these places, court and government records are being mined – in some cases testing new freedom of information laws. And a trove of tobacco industry documents, made public after the industry lost landmark lawsuits in US courts, are being examined to draw connections between past practices and present-day consequences of tobacco’s hard lobbying.

COP-4 delivers progress on global tobacco control

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

tobacco cigarettes companyThe fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4) to the global tobacco treaty has ended with major achievements for public health, despite unprecedented efforts by the tobacco industry to block any treaty progress.
The 172 Parties to the treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), rebuffed a months-long, global industry campaign and approved guidelines on tobacco flavourings and additives (Articles 9 & 10).

This occurred despite the industry’s efforts to paint the guidelines as a ban on certain varieties of tobacco that would put the livelihoods of millions of farmers in jeopardy, particularly in the developing world. Instead, COP-4 delegates endorsed the guidelines’ aim of limiting flavourings that are used by tobacco companies to attract young smokers.

The COP also voted to create a working group that will draft guidelines on tobacco taxation. Tobacco tax increases are the single most effective short-term measure to reduce tobacco consumption, but are often blocked by lack of awareness in finance ministries of the added revenue (and public health gains) to be made.

Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) director Laurent Huber said: “Despite COP-4’s slow start, decisions taken by the sovereign states that negotiated the treaty this week demonstrated a willingness to protect the health of the citizens of the world rather than the interests of the tobacco industry.”

Successful outcomes from COP-4 were:

  • Guidelines on Article 9/10 that primarily dealt with tobacco additives, which increase tobacco product’s attractiveness, were adopted unanimously. This happened despite the tobacco industry’s elaborate public relations campaign to prevent adoption. China argued strongly against adoption until late Friday, but eventually joined the consensus.
  • As expected guidelines on Article 12 (education, communication, training and public awareness) passed without difficulty.
  • Guidelines on Article 14 (cessation policy) also passed without difficulty.
  • The mandate of the Article 17/18 working group was extended. This group is working on policy options and recommendations with respect to economically viable alternative livelihoods, particularly for tobacco growers.
  • The Parties agreed to create a working group to draft guidelines on Article 6 (price and tax measures), of which many Parties (over 30) immediately volunteered to join. However, after some very difficult budget negotiations, there is no money for this group to meet yet.
  • A decision was adopted to support Parties being attacked under trade and investment agreements for measures implementing the FCTC and its guidelines – in particular the host country, Uruguay, whose labelling and packaging requirements are under legal attack by Philip Morris.
  • In terms of financial resources and mechanisms of assistance it was decided to press for the case of linking FCTC implementation with international development efforts, including next year’s UN summit on non-communicable diseases.
  • The Illicit Trade Protocol negotiations will continue through 2012. Next year, an informal working group will work on unresolved issues from the last formal negotiating session (held in March 2010), as well as how the protocol will be financed and how it can best complement other agreements (for example the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime). A final negotiating session will take place in 2012.
  • The reporting cycle for Parties has changed effective of 2012, so everyone’s deadline meshes with the COP’s two-year cycle.
  • The Secretariat and WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative will jointly prepare a report on liability issues (Article 19).
  • A mandate for an expert group on cross-border advertising was agreed.  However, there is no money in the budget for this expert group, so extra funding is required.

Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

tobacco quit smokingMany smokers rate the fear of weight gain as their number-one barrier to quitting. They worry that the weight they gain may be a greater risk than their present smoking habit.

This is unrealistic; to reach the same heart disease risk as posed by smoking just one pack of cigarettes per day, they would have to gain over 40 kg above thier recommended weight. The fact is that many, but not all, ex-smokers do gain some weight after they quit. One study found that 60 percent of men and 51 percent of women ex-smokers put on extra kilos. But the degree of weight gain is relatively small in most cases (between 2 to 5 kg during the first few months of cessation).

What is the connection between quitting smoking and gaining weight?

The main reason that people gain weight when they quit smoking is simple: they eat more. There are several reasons why this happens:

  • Nicotine curbs your appetite. It also perks you up when your energy is low because of hunger. When you quit smoking, you may feel hungry more often and eat more as a result.
  • Nicotine dulls your taste buds. So when you quit smoking, food tastes better and you may want to eat more.
  • Without cigarettes, you may turn to food as a replacement. You may need something to do with your hands and mouth at certain times of the day when you used to smoke. Not only does it fill the void left by the cigarette, food can be an emotional comfort, easing the pain of withdrawal.
  • In a heavy smoker, smoking burns up to 200 calories a day. Also, the metabolism is increased slightly. So when you quit, your body isn’t burning calories as fast as it used to. This can lead to small weight gain.

Studies show that the more cigarettes you smoke, the more likely you are to gain weight when you quit. A study also showed that the more you worry about gaining weight as a result of quitting smoking, the more weight you are likely to gain.

How do I avoid this weight gain?

Here are some Tips for avoiding weight gain:

  1. Think positive, and keep temptation away. Remind yourself every day of how much healthier you are for having quit smoking.
  2. Don’t quit smoking during holiday periods. You’re more likely to eat more then.
  3. Stay away from alcohol. Alcoholic drinks have a lot of calories, so avoiding them will help you control your weight. And drinking can weaken your willpower, especially if you usually smoke when you drink.
  4. Eat at least 3 healthy meals a day so you don’t get hungry. For some people, eating smaller healthy meals more than 3 times a day works better. And eat more whole-grain foods. They stay with you longer and help keep you from getting hungry.
  5. Consider getting professional help. Dietitians or nutritionists, fitness instructors, and therapists can all help you control your weight when you quit smoking.
  6. Make regular activity part of your life. Regular physical activity will give you energy, help to relieve stress and increase your sense of well-being. Walk, bike, swim, dance; choose activities you enjoy and you’ll stick with them.
  7. Weigh yourself at least once a week. Keep a pencil and paper near the scales, and write your weight down. That way the extra pounds won’t “sneak up” on you.
  8. Nicotine can decrease your appetite. When you quit, you may notice that your food cravings increase. Don’t worry, these cravings will pass. Have plenty of healthy snacks around you to satisfy your urge to nibble. Some examples of healthy snacks include herbal or green tea, fresh fruit, fat free yogurt, sugar-free chewing gum and vegetables (such as carrot and celery).
  9. Make plain tap water your number one drink of choice! Water helps to flush the nicotine from the body during the first few days of quitting. Besides water, your best choices are low fat milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, mineral or soda water.
  10. Ask your family and friends for support. Be direct. Ask for healthy snacks at get-togethers or invite them to join you for a weekly walk. Ex-smokers often have great tips for quitting, so ask for their advice.
  11. Reward yourself for not smoking. Don’t use food as the grand prize! Put your “cigarette money” aside and spend it on something special for yourself, such as a new pair of running shoes or a holiday.
  12. Don’t give up! Changing any habit, such as smoking, is always a challenge and can be stressful. Take charge of your life. You’ll feel proud of yourself and be much healthier once you’ve kicked the habit.

By quitting smoking, you are taking a big step to improve your health. Instead of worrying about weight gain, focus on quitting. Once you are tobacco-free, you can work toward having a healthy weight for life by becoming more physically active and choosing healthier foods.

Bulgaria – changes to tobacco taxes.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

tobacco taxationNovember 22, 2010 – from the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria – changes in the tobacco taxes.Cigarettes longer than eight centimeters, without the filter, will be subject to double excise duty. This is stipulated with the amendments passed on second reading to the Excise Duty and Tax Warehouse Act. The excise duty for each cigarette longer than eight centimeters, without the filter and mouthpiece, but less than 11 cm will equal the one for two cigarettes. Currently this has applied to cigarettes longer than 9 cm up to 18 cm.

The amendments increase also the price of plain tobacco, which will be taxed the same as fine cut tobacco. This will be done by expanding the definition of fine-cut tobacco – for such will now be considered tobacco, in which the tobacco particles have a cut width of less than 1.5 mm, currently being – less than 1 millimeter.

In brief, the adopted change to the tobacco excise duty ups the price of tobacco from the present BGN 100 (69.57 USD) to BGN 130 (90.45 USD) per kilogram. The law prescribes the price to rise to BGN 152 (105.69 USD) per kilogram as of January 1, 2012.

The government’s motive for the increase is that it would equalize the tax burden for this product with the excise duty for manufactured tobacco cigarettes. Following its last year’s increase, cut tobacco turned out to be much cheaper than manufactured cigarettes and its consumption increased over 200 times, according to data from the Finance Ministry.

WHO FCTC COP-4 – next steps on illicit trade.

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

control of tobaccoNovember 21, 2010 – COP-4 – The fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has come to an end in Montevideo, Uruguay from October 15 through October 20, 2010.
Working document for COP-4 meeting: Draft protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. Annex to this document contains the draft protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products, the text of which was agreed by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products at its fourth session, held on 14–21 March 2010.

COP-4 Policy briefing: Next steps on illicit trade

You can not have an effective tobacco control program unless the flow of illicit (illegal, contraband, smuggling, black market) tobacco products is controlled.