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Archive for September, 2011

Underage Cigarettes Sold in Highland Store

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

best quality marshal cigarettesA highland shop that sold cigarettes to an under-age “customer” has been hit by two fixed penalties of £200. Highland Council’s Trading Standards department issued the two notices after a test-purchase exercise undertaken across the Highlands that involved the use of a young volunteer.

The £200 penalties, which were new sanctions introduced by Scottish legislation earlier this year, were issued to the shop assistant who made the illegal cheap Marshal cigarettes sale and to the company operating the shop premises in the Badenoch and Strathspey area.

Officers visited 22 tobacco retailers across the Highlands and the 16-year-old volunteer was refused cigarettes in 21 of these premises. It is an offence to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of eighteen.

Trading Standards Manager Gordon Robb said: “I am pleased that the majority of tobacco retailers included in the exercise complied with their legal obligations and refused to sell tobacco to our young volunteer, but given the significant efforts by government, charitable organisations and local authorities to raise awareness of the health issues and the law, I am disappointed that we didn’t achieve a 100 per cent refusal rate. One fail is one too many in my book, especially when the adoption of a strict No Proof of Age – No Sale policy can virtually eliminate it happening.

“We applaud those traders who refused to sell and they have all been sent a letter congratulating them on their responsible actions and reiterating the importance to continue to act diligently with regard to the sale of tobacco and other age restricted products.”

The programme of attempted test purchases was undertaken under a strict test purchasing protocol drawn up by the Scottish Executive, The Crown Office, Trading Standards, CoSLA, health agencies and industry representatives.

This requires the volunteer to be at least 18 months younger than the age limit of the product, not look older than their age and for them to be truthful if challenged.

New tobacco legislation places a duty on local authorities to carry out programmes of enforcement action in its area. The new legislation allows trading standards officers for the first time to issue fixed penalties up to £1,000. Failure to pay can result in a report going to the procurator fiscal. If a tobacco retailer is repeatedly the subject of tobacco enforcement actions, the council can apply for a banning order which will prevent the business from selling tobacco.

Mr Robb added: “Since the sale to our volunteer, our officers have worked with the retailer concerned and provided staff training and advice on good business practice to help ensure future compliance. We are planning further test purchasing exercises.”

No Smoking in Brookline Apartments

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

buy marlboro cigarettes When the Mazza Pavillion senior housing building reopens, it will be smoke-free, following a Pittsburgh Housing Authority vote today. It will be the city’s first no-smoking public housing facility.

The 30-unit building in Brookline has been closed since 2008, after mold was discovered, and has been gutted and rebuilt. It is poised to reopen, and in consultation with returning residents and the group Tobacco Free Allegheny, the authority decided to ban smoking discount Marlboro cigarettes, said Executive Director A. Fulton Meachem Jr.

The authority also voted to create a process by which other public housing communities can go smoke-free. Community members would have to reach out to the authority, and there would be a comment period for residents before any such policy would be implemented.

Severe Tobacco Rules Set By Year’s End

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

discount lucky strike cigarettesThe government expects to finish by the end of this year a new set of smoking regulations designed to bring Indonesia closer to ratifying an international convention on tobacco control. At the center of the debate are rules concerning advertising and mandatory picture warnings on cheap Lucky Strike cigarette packaging.

Although last year Indonesia signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which states the dangers of tobacco and sets limits for its use, the country remains the only one in Southeast Asia and one of the last in the world that has not ratified it.

The government is contemplating how best to meet the six requirements required under the FCTC. These concern cigarette duties, advertising, picture warnings, smoking-free areas, anti-cigarette campaigning and anti-cigarette education.

“The regulation has for a year been discussed between ministries and related sectors, including the tobacco industry and the cigarette companies,” Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the National Commission on Tobacco Control (KNPT) at the presidential palace on Monday.

“It has been decided that the draft should be issued as a regulation soon. The target is this year.”

Among the six components, Endang said the picture warning on cigarette packaging was the most difficult thing on which to reach agreement.

However, she claimed that cigarette executives said they would comply with the picture warnings if the regulation makes it mandatory.

The Health Ministry, Endang said, will cooperate with anti-tobacco groups to promote awareness as the government mulls a partial ban on cigarette advertisements.

Endang said that Yudhoyono had asked her ministry to educate the public, including children, about the dangers of smoking.

Any change to the rules would be gradual, she added.

“Regarding the ratification, the president said that it would be done in phases, rather than all at once,” Endang said.

Farid Moeloek, the tobacco commission chairman, said he hoped the House of Representatives would soon deliberate the regulation, which has drawn sharp criticism from tobacco farmers.

Cigarettes have long been a controversial issue in Indonesia. Earlier this year, a study by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease found the country had become home to the third-largest population of cigarette consumers in the world.

Indonesia has some of the lowest tobacco tax rates and the cheapest tobacco products in the world, and the number of smokers in the country has steadily increased.

Some 65 million Indonesians smoke, with 40 percent of them illiterate and 60 percent poor. In the last decade, the rate of smoking among 10-to-14-year-olds has grown from 9.5 percent to 17.5 percent.

The government has been reluctant to impose strict controls on tobacco. The industry generates significant tax revenue, and it is one of the nation’s major employers.

Despite that, however, Moeloek said the Indonesian people would benefit in the long run from increased regulation.

The KNPT chairman said Indonesians spent a total of Rp 138 trillion ($15.2 billion) a year cigarettespub.biz/info/buying-cigarettes-online. The nation also spends Rp 2 trillion a year treating smoking-related illnesses.

He said smoking was responsible for Rp 105 trillion in lost productivity annually. The tobacco industry generates Rp 60 trillion a year in taxes and duties.

Anti-tobacco activists have warned that the regulation that would require tobacco companies to place graphic warnings on cigarette packs could face an untimely death because of the government’s insistence that all stakeholders, including the tobacco industry, have wide-ranging input wanted.

“If we keep letting people challenge this regulation, there is no way we can finish it this year,” said Kartono Muhammad, a prominent anti-tobacco activist.

Teen Smokers Learn about Smoking Danger

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

buy karelia cigarettes onlineToday’s teens may not remember Clark Gable’s consummate cool while lighting a dewy-eyed starlet’s cigarette, but they’ve lost many of their grandparents who followed his lead.

Smoking in movies is still estimated to influence more than half of all new teen smokers, students at an anti-tobacco training were told Monday. Several of them mentioned that they had relatives who died from smoking cheap Karelia cigarettes.

“My great-grandpa died from smoking,” said Levi Tull of La Loma Junior High. He said his mother, brother and others around him smoked, although several had tried to quit.

Levi has asthma and gets headaches from smoke, so he said he won’t be a smoker.

The Stanislaus County Office of Education brought 130 middle school student leaders from around the county to the training, hoping the pre-teens will help their classmates stay tobacco-free. Lorraine Jones, an adviser from Keyes Charter, said the workshops help.

“They’re really good. It’s at their level, and it’s stuff they care about,” said Jones, whose school is participating for a second year. “There’s a lot more interest about it around the school this year.”

The all-day training was paid for by a grant, said Charmaine Monte of the Protecting Health And Slamming Tobacco program that put on the training.

The program supports the workshops, anti-tobacco school materials and a mandatory counseling program for kids caught smoking on campus.

Monte said only about one out of 100 kids is caught on campus, but officials know more are smoking, especially here.

Stanislaus County has a higher rate of young smokers than the rest of the state, research shows. More than 15 percent of teens smoke here, nearly 1 percent higher than the state average. Monte said 7 percent of junior high kids in this area smoke.

Pouring ball bearings into a metal can, Monte and fellow presenter Elizabeth Escalante sounded out the number of daily deaths from drug overdoses, a few clicks, a few more. When they got to daily tobacco deaths, 1,200 ball bearings bounced into the can while young jaws dropped.

“There are 90 tobacco deaths for every one drug overdose,” Monte told the shocked crowd.

The tweens’ reaction was exactly what she wanted. Half of all smokers say they took their first puff by eighth grade, so reaching this age group is key.

A similar program for high school student leaders will be held Monday, Monte said. The message will be reinforced throughout the year with periodic events:

• The anti-drug Red Ribbon Week: Oct. 24-28
• The Great American Smoke Out: Nov. 17
• Tobacco & Hollywood Week: Feb. 20-24
• Kick Butts Day (KB Day for tender ears): March 21

Barcelona’s Campaign Against Smoking

Monday, September 26th, 2011

buy camel cigarettesA newspaper, a café con leche or an espresso, a café, and a cigarette. Maybe a croissant as well. It’s the stereotypical Spanish breakfast. Substitute a few tapas for the croissant and you more or less have lunch covered as well. But on the 1st of January, 2011, a newly enforced law in Spain interrupted the daily routine of millions.

On this day, patrons at restaurants were no longer able to smoke inside the establishment, but were instead forced to go outside, where there was usually an added service charge.

I landed in Barcelona for my semester abroad on the 8th of January, and it became immediately clear that restaurant and café owners were desperate. The experimentation with specials changed daily, with local business owners vying for strategies on how to regain their share of the market. Needless to say, restaurants felt the residual effects of the ban immediately, losing up to 20% of customers the month it came into existence.

In Spain, mornings are meant for a trip to the café. And in a heavy recession with rampant unemployment, usually an espresso and a cheap Camel cigarettes smoke is all the average patron can afford. The café is not only a place to eat, drink, smoke, and keep up with the news, but in Spain is the most natural way to keep up with friends and neighbors. Understandably, customers and restaurant owners were outraged. As I walked to the Metro on a sunny day, cafés would be comfortably filled with people sitting outside smoking, with hardly anyone inside. However, on a rainy day, the café would be entirely empty…

But the law carried on regardless and people managed to get on with their lives in one way or another. It wasn’t the smoothest of transitions, to say the least, but the negatively externalities began to fade. Sure, a trip to the café may not have felt as Spanish as before, but the reasoning was sound and the vast, silent majority in the city approved of the ruling. As a non-smoker, I couldn’t remain truly unbiased on the issue, but seeing a non-smoking atmosphere become the status quo throughout Spain was honestly a pleasant surprise.

This newly adopted status quo made my trips to watch FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou or Barça B at the Miniestadi oddly engrossing as I couldn’t help but assume the perspective of a sociologist. The Camp Nou is what it is, an absolutely perfected microcosm of Catalan pride and personality. The only beer that is sold in the stadium is non-alcoholic Estrella Damm, but you didn’t have to go far to find an old Catalan man smoking a cigar or a student finishing off a pack of cigarettes around the 80th minute. The smoking situation at the Camp Nou is essentially what you would expect from any estadio in Spain.

The Miniestadi, on the other hand, is a different animal. Not only is the stadium a tenth of the size of the Camp Nou, but the crowd is of a different blend. Matches at the Camp Nou often don’t end until midnight, but at the Miniestadi you’ll find yourself finished with the fútbol by early evening. The tickets are much cheaper, which makes it a viable option for almost all Barça fans. The outcome is an audience of families, a couple hundred die-hard supporters, and older men. Children come early, incessantly screaming at players to wave at them. The kids, no older than 8 or 9 years old, get their wish from most of the young Barça B players.

When the match begins, there is an order of natural, self-segregation in the stands. The packs of kids go back to watch with their families in one section, while the older men smoking are opposite to them. Occasionally the two groups cross paths if the unwritten code isn’t understand, which ends with either the family moving or one of the parents asking the smoker to put it out or move. The smoking ban in restaurants probably had nothing to do with this disposition, though this stream of consciousness was unmistakably progressive.

All of this leads us to present day. The members of FC Barcelona have voted to implement a “Smoke-free Camp Nou’ campaign to promote “awareness of the values of health, sport and respect for children, as Barça is eminently a family club,” according to the club’s spokeman Toni Freixa. Smoking is now illegal in all public or collectively used enclosed spaces located in sports facilities or leisure centres where food is served, and the campaign hopes to entirely ban smoking in the Camp Nou over the next few months.

Will there be backlash? Undoubtedly. But is this campaign journeying into unchartered waters? Absolutely not. Spanish and Catalan culture is evolving, leaving some of its most quintessential elements of the 20th century behind. Barcelona’s bullfighting ring has been turned into a upscale shopping mall and this past Sunday marked last day bullfighting could legally occur within the region of Catalunya. Smoking is the tip of the iceberg and it will be alluring to see where sport, culture, and social development go next.

Employment Discrimination Against Smokers

Monday, September 26th, 2011

best quality beverly cigarettesThe “smoke-free workplace” movement began in the 70’s and 80’s with few complaints or dissenting voices. It began with concerns about smoking Beverly cigarettes online aboard commercial flights and the concentration of smoke within such a confined space. The concern was very reasonable and most smokers accepted the restrictions.

It has now been extended to almost all work places, restaurants and bars, public facilities and even outdoor areas like parks and sports stadiums. Personally, I am happy to not be exposed to second hand smoke and I am in support of most of these bans on a personal level, if not entirely on a constitutional level.

The “smoke-free workplace” movement has morphed even further into the “smoker-free workplace.” Drudge has a story posted titled “Only Non-Smokers Need Apply At Baylor.” Baylor University has announced that not only is no smoking allowed on their campuses, but Baylor will not hire anyone that smokes or uses tobacco in any way, citing the high cost of health care for smokers.

Baylor is not the first large employer to come to this decision. Others include the World Health Organization, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Crown laboratories, Medical Mutual, Clarian Health (where I once worked, in Indianapolis) and several others. Some have even gone so far as to fire employees that were hired before these new policies were instituted. All claim that the policy is not discriminatory because it is based upon the costs incurred by smokers both in health care and lost productivity. Further they claim that it is a behavior that in responsible for these costs and not a physical or genetic malady.

But is tobacco use the only behavior that costs employers in health care expenses and lost productivity?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

At least one of every five ED [emergency department] visits for an injury results from participation in sports or recreation. In 1999 [the numbers have more than doubled in 2010], Americans made an estimated 1.5 million ED visits for injuries sustained while playing basketball, baseball, softball, football, or soccer. Approximately 715,000 sports and recreation injuries occur each year in school settings alone. Injuries are also a leading reason people stop participating in potentially beneficial physical activity.
Few data exist about injury incidence and prevalence, costs, relative risks of injury from different activities, risk and protective factors, and effective programs to prevent [sports]injuries. While some ED surveillance data are available, they exclude the large proportion of SRE injuries that are treated in primary care settings, sports medicine clinics, orthopedic clinics, and chiropractic clinics.

The epidemic of obesity has resulted in an exponential rise in heart and vascular disease, orthopedic problems, kidney disease, diabetes and near incapacitation for many sufferers. As medical director for a large emergency medical service I had to order the purchase of new ambulance gurneys because our previous equipment was only rated for 450 lbs! We had to upgrade, at considerable cost, to gurneys rated for 650lbs. The cost of obesity is perhaps as high as 160 billion dollars per year.

Homosexual behavior also costs many billions in health care and lost work.

Gay websites, medical journals, psychological journals, and Centers for Disease Control all conclude that homosexual behavior results in greater risk for the following:

AIDS, Hepatitis A, B & C; many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases; anal cancer & other cancers; higher rates of alcohol dependence; tobacco use at 50% higher rates; eating disorders; high rates of psychiatric illnesses, including depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts; debilitating health; and reduced life span (up to 20 years). The Archives of Internal Medicine found that homosexuals acquired syphilis at a rate ten times that of heterosexuals.

One study concludes that 66% of AIDS is found in 2% of the population.

The lifetime cost for treating a person with HIV from infection until death is estimated at $154,402. The average total lifetime charges for care of children with HIV infection is estimated at $491,936. The annual expense for treating a case of advanced AIDS is $34,000.”

Clearly, use of tobacco is not the only behavior that costs employers (and taxpayers) enormous amounts of money. But none of the employers mentioned above, or any employers anywhere that I could find, have instituted polices similar to those relating to smoking. None have established policies banning the obese, sports and fitness aficionados, or most certainly, homosexuals from the workplace.

For some people to be denied economic opportunity because of a legal behavior that they might engage in while not at work is absolutely discriminatory when we see that other behaviors contribute equally or even moreso to the high costs of health care and lost productivity. Some smart lawyers are going to file a huge class-action lawsuit against these employers and they’ll win.

I quit smoking cigarettes over thirty years ago and it would please me to no end if tobacco could be outlawed in the U.S. That won’t happen because government is addicted to the large revenues smokers contribute to their treasuries annually. Also, a black market and organized crime would surely soon fill the demand for the illegal substance. As long as it is legal let’s try to be a little more tolerant of the unfortunate souls that suffer the addiction to nicotine.

New Smoking Ordinance to Be Discussed by Boise City Council

Monday, September 26th, 2011

discount avalon cigarettesIf a new ordinance goes into place, the city of Boise could join 600 cities across the country that have already banned smoking best Avalon cigarettes in public places such as sidewalks and parks.

The proposal is still in early stages, so there is still a lot of opportunity for the public to give input. If passed the ordinance will add new restrictions to state laws that already ban smoking in public places such as; restaurants, elevators, and most work places.

The entire Boise state campus is already smoke free.

David Anderson has been smoking for 16 years, he recalls when restaurants would give him the option of selecting smoking or non smoking. He feels his freedom of choice is being taken away.

He says, “I should have that personal freedom, it’s a choice that I should be able to make. I’m very mindful to others.”

The Red Feather Lounge like many places in Boise doesn’t allow smoking inside or out, the restaurant says it’s not damaging their business, if anything it has helped.

Rachel Willey is one of the managers she says, “People enjoy it more, they don’t like smoking when they are eating or nearby. She says they haven’t complained.”

Violators can face a $69 fine and employers who allow smoking in prohibited areas can also be hit with a $119 one.

The city says if the ordinance does pass, it could take into effect as early the beginning of next year.

The next public information meeting will be held at city hall on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011.