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City Reduces Cigarette Butts

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

cheapest bond cigarettesCity officials have partnered with Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful Inc. in a campaign to eliminate Bond cigarette butts from five Delray Municipal Beach access points. Litter Prevention Coordinator Jen Buce said the city received a $1,250 grant from Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful that allowed the city to select the design of five cigarette receptacles and a cigarette bait tank.

“Funding from this grant award will be utilized to target the cigarette litter within the city’s beach area starting at Atlantic Avenue and A1A,” Buce said. “We picked out five cigarette receptacles. Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful Inc. ordered and paid for them, and the Parks and Recreation Department installed them.”

Buce said a cigarette bait tank, which resembles a fish, has been installed at South Ocean Boulevard.

“It’s a big steel container that looks like it’s got a big fish fin on the back,” she said. “It’s right by the beach pavilion near the showers and main beach path.”

Buce said the container cost $500 and was placed in a spot along the Delray Beach Municipal Beach area where cigarette butts tend to accumulate.

“I asked Tim Simmons, the city’s Parks and Recreation superintendent, where the most cigarette butts were found along beach access points, and that’s where we ended up installing the cigarette bait tank,” Buce said.

The other four cigarette receptacles are located on the South Ocean Boulevard beach entrances, including two in front of Sarah Gleason Park at 2 S. Ocean Blvd.

Lourdes Ferris, executive director of Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, approved the grant money for the project and helped the city with the receptacles and bait tank idea.

“This year, they decided they wanted to do the beach,” Ferris said. “Two years ago, we focused on downtown Atlantic Avenue. I ended up buying a large bait tank that holds 5,000 cigarette butts and has cute little messages like ‘feed me butts’ and ‘save a fish.’

“It’s located in a smokers’ traffic area and doesn’t have to be maintained as often. The cigarette bait tank keeps cigarette butts dry and out of our water system.”

Ferris urged smokers to review litter ordinances. She said they should be aware that under Florida law, cigarette butts are considered litter and that discarding one can result in a $100 fine.

“We’re making it easy on smokers when we put these cigarette litter receptacles in transitional areas,” she said. “We need to inform the public on why it’s not a good idea to discard cigarette butts. These are plastic fiber and don’t biodegrade. They still contain carcinogens, which could end up in storm drains and water systems.”

Ferris said that Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful has provided the city with 500 cigarette pocket ashtrays – personal egg-shaped containers in which smokers can put used cigarettes until the butts can be trashed.

Tobacco Companies in the Supreme Court

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

discount bond cigaretteA month and a half after losing its multibillion shekel smoking suit in the Supreme Court – after 13 years of legal proceedings – Clalit Health Services is not giving up. The HMO this week asked the Supreme Court for a rehearing with an extended panel of justices.

The original NIS 7.6 billion suit was filed by Clalit and was combined with a similar suit from Maccabi Health Services against Bond cigarette manufacturers and importers. The suits demanded compensation for the HMO for the costs of treating smokers. Maccabi filed its suit in 1998, claiming it had to pay the costs of treating its clients while cigarette companies continued to advertise their harmful products and hide the dangers of smoking.

Clalit warned that the recent Supreme Court decision would worsen the financial situation of the health system worse and lead to numerous suits in the courts.

The Supreme Court ruled that tobacco companies had no direct responsibility for any damage in these cases related to any one individual. The court said that the suits lacked any connection between specific people harmed by the cigarette manufacturers, and contained no details of the scale of damage done or how the companies violated their responsibilities to the plaintiffs.

But Supreme court Justice Miriam Naor wrote in her opinion that the HMOs could file different suits, such as suits seeking compensation for damage to specific individual smokers.

Just as in the United States, Israeli tobacco companies have managed to fight off attempts to make them legally responsible for the astronomical health-care costs associated with smoking. The health services are not the direct victims of cigarette manufacturers and cannot demonstrate specific harm. Furthermore, Israelis cannot file class action suits in cases of bodily harm. But the court did clear the way for individual suits and also said the Knesset is the address for such problems and new legislation is needed.

Clalit also argued in its request for a rehearing that the court contradicted the basic principles of Israeli health insurance law, saying the law involved is different from that in regular insurance cases.

In addition, Clalit said it will be necessary for individuals and the HMOs to file hundreds of thousands of suits against the cigarette manufacturers – and clog up the courts for years.

In the original case, the late District Court Judge Adi Azar ruled against Maccabi in September 1999. “Maccabi has no direct claim against the cigarette manufacturers … It is hard to say the health services are being harmed by providing the services for which they exist,” Azar wrote. Azar said HMOs are a form of medical insurer, and an insurance company cannot claim it is harmed by paying its clients.

In Defense of Tobacco

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

bond cigarette onlineWhen Europeans arrived in the New World, they found the natives smoking tobacco, an indigenous leaf the Dominican chronicler Bartolome de las Casas said made them “benumbed and almost drunk.”

From the start, however popular it was among some, tobacco was judged by many to be very bad. King James I of England wrote a treatise against it, damning smoking Bond cigarette as “a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse.”

Tobacco is a member of the nightshade family, whose siblings include potatoes, tomatoes and chili peppers, all of which contain some nicotine.

Even those among us who don’t smoke may confess that the smoldering aroma of good pipe tobacco or a fine cigar can be pleasant. The good news is that tobacco can be enjoyed in ways that don’t involve sucking hot smoke into your lungs.

The culinary possibilities of tobacco have been explored by innovative chefs such as Thomas Keller of California’s French Laundry, who infused coffee-flavored custard with tobacco leaf and served it to fellow chef and TV personality Tony Bourdain.

About two years ago, I ate a dinner at Tru that paired small batch Pappy Van Winkle bourbon with several dishes, including a lobster lightly smoked with tobacco. The beverage and leaf, both sons of the American South, were quite complementary, reflecting the fundamental culinary principle that what grows together, goes together.

The James Beard award-winning Chicago chef Carrie Nahabedian of Naha warns, though, that, “You need finesse when dealing with tobacco and food. It’s a fine line between beauty and nausea, just like using too much lemon balm: one minute beautiful and fresh, too much and it’s like a bar of soap.”

Nahabedian once prepared sweetbreads with a veal reduction infused with high-quality tobacco at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles for an Academy Awards party. She remembers the dish as “haunting in flavor and aroma, with a rich, smoky, earthy, leather-scented finish.”

“Haunting” is a good way to describe the flavor of tobacco, which we do not usually associate with fine dining, except, perhaps, in the form of an after-dinner Cohiba.

Which brings us to chef Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse in the James Hotel, who has been experimenting with a medium amber ale finished with Blue Note pipe tobacco, a relatively sweet and mild Black Cavendish.

Gresh says he brewed this beer without a lot of hops to achieve “a sweet tobacco finish and that sensation of ‘I just smoked and now I’m drinking a beer.’ “

Is Altria Puffing Smoke?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

cheap bond cigarettesThe United States’ most dominant Bond cigarette company reported second-quarter results earlier this week that did little to ease investors’ worries amid increasing legislation and anti-smoking campaigns.

Altria (NYSE: MO ) , most famous for its Marlboro brand that still commands 42.6% of U.S. cigarette share, went up in smoke following its earnings report. Overall profits fell 58%, mostly because of charges related to lease transactions, but plenty of other warning signs littered its earnings report as well.

Altria was able to reaffirm its full-year forecast of $2.01-$2.07 in adjusted earnings, but it cautioned that high unemployment rates and a weak economic environment are likely to affect consumer cigarette-buying habits.

The potentially damaging impact that new warning labels will have on U.S. cigarette manufacturers has investors worried, too. Based on an FDA ruling, Altria, along with U.S. rivals Lorillard (NYSE: LO ) , Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI ) , and Vector Group (NYSE: VGR ) , will have to devote 50% of their packaging to warning labels describing the dangers of smoking by October 2012. In addition, company advertisements will need to devote at least 20% of space to these warning labels. Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM ) has successfully integrated these challenges around the globe, but there’s no telling what devastating effect this could have on U.S. tobacco companies.

Growth in the company’s alternative to traditional tobacco products, smokeless tobacco, slowed to a crawl in the second quarter, with sales up only 4%. Altria still commands the lion’s share of the U.S. smokeless-tobacco business, but the door is being left open for Reynolds American to close the gap. Smokeless tobacco makes up just a fraction of these tobacco giants’ current revenue streams, but it could be the difference between bridging the gap if anti-smoking regulations continue to be adopted or falling by the wayside.

Even Altria’s ability to pass along price increases to consumers can’t be seen as a complete victory. It’s clear that consumers are hooked enough on Altria’s products to pay a premium price, but Altria’s seasonally adjusted cigarette volume fell by 4.5%, worse than its previous guidance. The drop is predominantly due to the existence of cheaper alternatives in the form of Pall Mall from Reynolds American and Maverick from Lorillard. The company also sees shipping volume falling even further in the second half of 2011.

Make no mistake: Altria is a portfolio staple among dividend-seeking investors. It’s very hard to argue against a company that, as fellow Fool Morgan Housel pointed out just last week, has returned a jaw-dropping 278,000% since the late 1960s if you had held your position and reinvested the dividends. And Fool Matt Koppenheffer has a more upbeat take on the company’s future. Altria’s current yield is near the top of its sector at 5.6%, but it has its own set of worries — namely, that it bears a significantly higher debt load than many of its peers and boasts a payout ratio of 76%, which could curb near-term dividend growth.

But yesterday’s quarterly report only convinced me further that Altria’s business model is broken. Even at 12 times forward earnings, the company isn’t priced attractively enough in my opinion to attract long-term investors, considering the legal ramifications, anti-smoking campaigns, and intense competition surrounding this company. This company’s best days may be behind it.

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