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Archive for January, 2012

Tobacco Smoking Restricted in All Parks

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

discount hilton cigarettesCigarettes could be stubbed out of Hamilton playgrounds and parks under a new smoke-free policy to be considered by the council in August. A Waikato coalition group working against smoking, known as Chances, and the Waikato Bay of Plenty Cancer Society are also urging the city council to enforce a non-smoking rule across parks, playgrounds and bus shelters after unprecedented public support.

The calls coincide with a proposal from Auckland health heads to the Auckland Council to comply with the Cancer Society’s request to restrict cigarette or tobacco smoking in its open spaces, parks, sports fields and playgrounds, as well as in malls and pedestrian areas.

A survey of 111 residents at Hamilton Lake and Innes Common playgrounds, the city bus station and Waikato University in mid-2011 found 94% wanted children’s playgrounds to be smoke-free.

There was also large support for rolling a smoke-free policy out across the bus shelters and the city’s bus terminal.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Cancer Society health promotion manager Melanie Desmarais said it wanted those public areas to be kept smoke-free to reduce the exposure of teenagers to smoking.

Of the 19,000 new smokers every year, 90% were children and young people.

She hoped the Hamilton City Council would act as a role model for other Waikato councils as the country made small steps towards becoming smoke-free by 2025.

The Waikato Stadium and the Hamilton Zoo are already smoke-free and more than 30 New Zealand councils have had smoke-free policies for several years.

Hamilton City Council strategy and policy committee chair Maria Westphal said the committee would consider a policy in August.

“This is a matter which has significant public interest and we’ll certainly be ensuring we get the views of individuals and groups as part of any process.”

The Waikato DHB is also waiting for a response to a request last June to make two streets outside the hospital smoke-free because of the large number of people who congregated there.

Waikato DHB spokeswoman Mary Anne Gill said it was a bad look having so many people smoking along the street just outside the busy hospital.

“Ideally, we would love all of the streets outside the hospital to be smoke-free.”

Rotorua’s playgrounds have been smoke-free since 2008 and the ban is slowly being rolled out to other council facilities, grounds and playgrounds.

Rotorua District Council parks and recreation manager Garry Page said the eventual quest was for all areas in the city to be smoke-free to teach youth that smoking was not socially acceptable.

“We are looking at changing the culture instead of having smoke-free grounds. We will change that around and [then] look at getting smoking zones.”

He said peer pressure from responsible users had worked as the best enforcement tool, rather than ticketing people who were breaking the rules.

Marlboro Sales Down, Altria Group Inc.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

tax free marlboro cigarettes onlineAltria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO), makers of tax free Marlboro cigarettes and many other branded tobacco products, reported fourth quarter earnings this morning. Adjusted EPS came in at $0.50, a penny better than estimates. Revenue totaled $4.34 billion, also above the consensus estimate of $4.23 billion.

Net income for the quarter was down by -9% year-over-year at $836 million compared with $919 million in the same quarter a year ago. Earnings were boosted by the company’s cost cutting, which met a $1.5 billion reduction goal in the third quarter of 2011. The company is looking for an additional $400 million cuts by the end of 2013.

The company’s market share fell -0.7% to 41.6% of the total US market.

Altria announced the retirement of the company’s chairman and CEO, effective in May. The new chairman and CEO will be Martin Barrington, a 19-year veteran of the company.

The company’s 2012 guidance calls for full-year EPS of $2.14-$2.20, not including a $0.03/share adjustment. Analysts had a consensus estimate of $2.19. EPS for 2011 totaled $2.05 on an adjusted basis, slightly higher than the consensus estimate of $2.03.

Altria repurchased $1.3 billion in stock in 2011, out of $2 billion authorized in two repurchase programs. The company expects to complete the authorized repurchase program by the end of this year. Altria pays an annual dividend of $1.64/share, for a dividend yield of 5.7%.

Shares are trading higher by about 1.2% in the pre-market this morning, at $29.00 in a 52-week range of $23.20-$30.40.

No Smoking at Ottawa’s Outdoor Places

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

buy camel cigarettesOttawa would be a healthier place if smoking is banned at outdoor bar and restaurant patios and on municipal properties such as parks, beaches, sports fields and areas outside city facilities, say public-health officials.

Vendor stands at the Parkdale and ByWard markets are also proposed to fall under new smoke-free bylaws that are to go before the city’s board of health on Feb. 6, with the goal of having any new rules in place by the time warm weather arrives and patios and markets open.

If approved by council, the regulations would create smoke-free spaces at four beaches, more than 1,000 city parks, more than 200 patios and areas outside about 300 city facilities, such as arenas and City Hall, said Dr. Isra Levy, the city’s medical officer of health. Events on municipal properties would also be smoke-free under the proposed changes.

“We’re doing this because second-hand smoke is a health hazard. We know that it can be as toxic outdoors as indoors,” Levy told reporters and councillors on Monday, adding that there is strong correlation between smoke-free regulations and reduced smoking rates and exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as increased attempts to quit smoking.

Public consultations found there is “significant support” for more smoke-free outdoor spaces, Levy said.

“Our proposals reflect what we believe to be the will of the people in this community,” he said.

If the changes go ahead, officials would begin cracking down on offenders starting July 2, after a warning phase beginning in April. Someone who violates the rules would risk a $305 fine, said Linda Anderson, the city’s chief of bylaw and regulatory services, adding the department expects a high level of voluntary compliance.

The proposed bylaws are part of a three-year renewed smoke-free strategy that would also increase services and programming to help people stop smoking, and provide public education campaigns and a community engagement plan.

Levy said the strategy “is designed to protect children and non-smokers from second-hand smoke, while reducing smoking rates in this community.”

The initiatives do not require additional funding for enforcement or enhanced services, and will be paid for through a reallocation of provincial “tobacco funding,” according to officials. Ottawa Public Health receives about $1.8 million a year for tobacco-related programming and services, most of which comes from the province.

Mike Ziola, chairman of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association’s Ottawa chapter, said the recommendations are an “evolution” of the city’s smoke-free bylaws that were approved 11 years ago, and were not surprising.

“It’s going to happen, so we need to work with it,” Ziola said.

The industry would prefer to see fines start in September, rather than July, in order to allow owners to become accustomed to the new rules, he said, and there are some concerns, especially in the ByWard Market, about “where we’re going to put people to go and smoke.”

Some businesses also raised fears during consultations about the possibility of an increased number of cigarette butts thrown on streets. Although other cities such as New York found that was not the case, there are plans for tobacco anti-litter campaigns, and existing butt receptacles are to be moved to areas that are convenient to smokers, according to a health unit report.

In August, Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais proposed a smoking ban at public beaches and parks, and on outdoor patios and terraces before 8 p.m., out of concern for children’s health and safety.

Health officials were already working on the file, and the board of health in September directed staff to conduct a “comprehensive study” that included a look at the potential expansion of smoking bans.

Blais welcomed the proposed changes, telling reporters on Monday that it demonstrates that consultation “leads to a pragmatic approach that will ensure that Ottawa remains one of the safest and healthiest communities in which to live and raise your family.”

Officials looked at Blais’ idea of making patios smoke-free only after 8 p.m., but found it would make enforcement difficult, that health hazards would remain and that there was strong public support for a ban at all times.

Setting up designated smoking areas in parks and beaches — an idea floated at council — was also not recommended, because it would be difficult to enforce and children may still be exposed to second-hand smoke and would see people smoking.

Ottawa has two bylaws that prohibit smoking in indoor public places and enclosed workplaces. There was heated debate in 2001 when council banned smoking in bars, restaurants and gaming rooms, although the proposal last year for a review of a possible expansion of the bylaws appeared to be met by less hostility.

Only one councillor dissented in September when council approved a motion asking the board of health to review and report on the public-health value of an expanded ban. Orléans Councillor Bob Monette, a former smoker, said at the time that he quit smoking because of education, not legislation, and a new ban would be “unmanageable.”

On Monday, Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes, chair of the board of health, said that officials have come up with a “complete package” that would see Ottawa “be a healthier place.”

“Really, what we’re doing is catching up with our population. The people in Ottawa want to see less smoking,” she said.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called the proposed changes “a balanced and sensible approach to protecting the public’s health,” and said he is very supportive.

“We know that second-hand smoke kills people, and if we’re able to minimize the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke, whether it’s in a playground or a patio, then that’s the right thing to do,” he said.

During the review, health officials held consultations with residents, businesses and other interested parties about smoke-free areas.

Levy said a lot of input was received from smokers, and officials found that “smokers, in general, support the direction that we’re moving in,” although in lower numbers than non-smokers.

Still, more than 50 per cent of smokers supported expanding smoke-free spaces, Levy said, anticipating that it reflects an understanding and respect for non-smokers, and recognition that the strategy would help people who want to stop smoking.

In the months before the board of health called for the study, health officials had been collecting opinions from the community in order to assess the level of public openness to updating smoke-free bylaws.

A preliminary analysis of opinions gathered in 2010 and 2011 from residents and people ranging from business and restaurant officials to staff members with festivals, hotels and markets found there was strong support for smoke-free spaces such as parks, playgrounds, patios, public sports fields, beaches, and doorways to public places and workplaces.

Officials considered other areas, such as hospitals, colleges and universities, constructions sites and hotels, but found that, depending on the site, there were concerns around public readiness for a ban, legal impediments, and the potential costs of enforcement and implementation, Levy said.

The public-health unit will still work to make “significant, measurable progress in all areas, not just the ones covered by regulation,” he said.

Municipal properties excluded from the proposed smoking ban include roads and sidewalks, property leased to a third party or managed by a local board, and long-term care facilities, which are regulated by provincial legislation.

The city says about 15 per cent of Ottawa residents smoke, and the smoking rate “has levelled off since 2005 after steep declines in earlier years.”

An anti-smoking group leader said the proposed bylaws are the “basis of a really important change.

“Basically, they’ll have dealt with the majority of the remaining problem for public exposure,” said Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

Public-health staff also looked into the regulation of shisha-pipe (hookah or water-pipe) establishments, where some of what’s being called a herbal product has been found to contain tobacco.

Staff recommended having Holmes, as the chair of the board of health, write letters calling for other levels of government to bring in tougher rules and legislation pertaining to tobacco water-pipe products and other substances that are smoked.

The letter to the province would ask for the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to consider amending the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and broadening the legislation in a way that would include the smoking of “water-pipe products.”

Anderson said bylaw staff will continue to monitor shisha-pipe establishments. (In 2011, inspection blitzes of 20 known water-pipe establishments in Ottawa resulted in provincial offence notices being issued to all but one of them, for offences such as selling tobacco without a required licence.)

Following consideration by the board of health, the recommended bylaws are to go to council’s community and protective services committee on Feb. 15, and council on Feb. 22.

Smoking Restrictions Failed in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

best beratt cigarettes onlineAs students, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama flunked the no-smoking class. The three states racked up a row of F’s from the American Lung Association’s annual report card that grades states on their efforts to curb ahram. The State of Control report looks at four categories: tobacco prevention, control and spending; state smoking restrictions; cigarette tax rate; and state cessation coverage.

Out of the three states, Tennessee has the highest number of smokers — 20 percent of adults and high school students — and the highest number of deaths from smoking per 100,000 population.

However, Alabama and Georgia are not far behind in both percentage of smokers or deaths caused by smoking, with all three states ranking high in national percentages.

“If you can’t breath, nothing else matters,” said Shirley Cudabac, development director for the American Lung Association in Chattanooga. “There are so many statistics out there, but that is really what matters.”

In its annual report, the Lung Association found many states regressed in 2011. No state passed a strong smoke-free air law, and Nevada weakened its existing law. No state increased its tobacco tax significantly and more than a dozen states cut or eliminated funding of tobacco control and prevention programs.

Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama all spend only a fraction of the recommended funding for tobacco prevention and control spending.

In addition, three states have some of the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation, with Georgia’s ranking fourth lowest, Alabama coming in at fifth and Tennessee adding a few more pennies at the 13th lowest tax in the nation.

It doesn’t look as if 2012 will bring many improvements in the tri-state region, said Cudabac, a sentiment echoed by June Deen, state director for the American Lung Association in Georgia.

Although local advocates for the American Lung Association are pushing higher cigarette taxes and more funding for cessation programs, neither seems likely to happen with tight state budgets, they said. Lawmakers are looking to cut programs, not increase them, despite studies that show each dollar spent on cessation programs results in three dollars of savings to states, Deen said.

For help to stop smoking:
Call the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or 1-800-586-4872 or visit www.lungusa.org

“We can help a lot of people and Georgia at same time,” Deen said. “We know that people want help quitting smoking and we know that it’s very hard to quit, so we need to provide more options for people to quit.”

Both Georgia and Tennessee received passing grades in the smoke-free air category, with state laws in place to restrict smoking in government and private workplaces, restaurants and bars. Alabama, on the other hand, does not restrict smoking in such places.

Signal Mountain mother Scottie Goodman Summerlin agreed that Tennessee needs to do more to help people stop smoking, but she said laws to restrict smoking in the state already have dramatically improved life for her and her two sons.

Summerlin calls herself a “regular mom” who volunteers with the American Lung Association to help raise awareness about secondhand smoke. She and her two sons have asthma and immediately notice when someone lights up at a ballpark or other public place.

“I feel like Tennessee has done a pretty good job so far; if you go to other places like Alabama or Nevada, you realize how much you take for granted,” she said. “But I would like to see higher cigarette taxes. Studies show that the more you tax [cigarettes], the less people buy.”

New Cigarette Tax Approved

Monday, January 30th, 2012

cheapest camel cigarettesSmokers should brace themselves for a fresh rise in the price of cigarettes when a new tax approved by the UAE and other Gulf oil producers is enforced at the end of 2012, an official was reported on Monday as saying.

Health ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) endorsed the “health tax” at talks in Saudi Arabia in early January as part of joint plans to curb the consumption of tobacco in the region, said Dr Widad Al Maidoor, head of the anti-smoking section at the UAE Ministry of Health.

“The new law is intended to reduce tobacco consumption in the GCC and envisages the imposition of a new tax called ‘health tax’.…it will affect tobacco products and equipment used in its production and manufacturing…the tax will amount to 100 per cent of the product’s value.”

Quoted by the semi official daily Alittihad, Maidoor said the new law would be enforced at the end of 2012 after it is approved by the GCC finance ministers.

Cigarette prices have steadily increased over the past years following a series of GCC taxes and a surge in global prices of most consumer items.

Dealers said that despite the rise, cigarette prices in the region remain far below those in advanced countries. “In Britain for example, a 20-cigarette pack now sells for nearly Dh30, more than four times the prices here,” said an owner of a supermarket in Abu Dhabi.

Smokers Don’t Want To Quit, New Study

Monday, January 30th, 2012

discount cigaronne cigarettes It has been revealed in a recent report that smokers who on the way of quitting the habit of smoking discount Cigaronne cigarettes do not consider taking one cigarette in a day as a part of their habit can be in for risk. The report says that they believe they have successfully renounced their smoking practice.

A majority of smokers does not want to kick their evil habit of smoking unless and until they fall seriously ill or feel a need to save money, found the report. It has been told by a third of all smokers that they would quit only in case of either of these reasons. A few have told that they diminished their number of smokes in a day due to the smoking ban in public places that was introduced in the year 2007.

A latest analysis by a team of researchers has unveiled that smokers keep their habit of taking one cigarette every day as a secret from their family and friends. Also, they do not agree to the fact that they are still not able to quit from their habit of smoking. Smokers deny themselves to be called smokers if they only prefer one time smoking in a whole day.

It has been uncovered that most of the smokers like to hide their habit from their partners, family, friends and children. They make excuses like going for a walk whenever they want to go out for smoking.

According to the poll conducted, more than half of all smokers believe they are smokers anymore. One cigarette in a day should not be considered as part of their smoking habit, said the participants of poll.

“Light smokers in particular convince themselves that they have quit but still smoke. Just smoking one or two cigarettes a day has an impact on health and is detrimental to your skin and appearance”, said Fiona Caplan-Dean, clinical services manager at the Co-operative Pharmacy.

Cigarettes Makers and Tobacco Ads

Monday, January 30th, 2012

discount camel cigarettes A recent School of Medicine study chronicles the intricate advertising campaign crafted by cigarette companies using doctors’ endorsements to promote their products as healthful, starting in the 1920s and continuing for half a century.

Senior author Robert Jackler, professor of otolaryngology, called the advertisements uncovered by the study “outrageous.”

“Tobacco science used pseudoscientific experiments to arrive at a preordained conclusion,” he said.

The advertisements used endorsements by celebrities–Mickey Mantle for Viceroys, John Wayne for Camels and even Santa Claus for Marlboro and Lucky Srike cigarettes –and throat doctors to validate their claims.

“At that time, people weren’t so concerned about lung cancer,” Jackler said. “People were concerned about throat irritation. So throat doctors would endorse their products.”

Memos from companies such as Philip Morris reveal that tobacco companies recruited doctors from Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania to promote their product. They also used slogans such as Lucky Strike’s, “the Finest Flavor and protects the throat,” and Old Gold’s, “ask your dentist why Old Golds are better for the teeth.”

The study, published in the January issue of The Laryngoscope, also determined that physicians were paid about $11,000 annually, making an additional $5,000 in endorsements a substantial incentive to comply with industry rhetoric. In addition, companies funded extravagant dinners for those throat doctors willing to comply.

“Not only would [doctors] recommend smoking, they actually prescribed cigarettes, saying smoke this brand because they’re better for your throat,” Jackler said.

The Journal of the American Medical Association stopped publishing tobacco advertisements in 1953, but “a number of state and local medical journals continued advertising cigarettes into the late 1960s,” wrote Robert Proctor, professor of history, in an email to The Daily.

Proctor, who teaches a class titled, “Global Tobacco Science and Shenanigans,” also noted that despite changes in legislation preventing historical marketing techniques, tobacco companies continue to advertise their product as “sexy, glamorous, adventurous, liberating and fun.”

“You don’t see unattractive or overweight people in tobacco ads, do you?” Proctor asked. “The fact is that Americans still smoke about 350 billion cigarettes every year, enough to circle the globe some 800 times.”

The study was conducted as a part of Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising, with additional funding from the department of otolaryngology.