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September 12th, 2011:

Call to bar alcohol and tobacco from TPP

Colin Williscroft | Monday September 12, 2011

Trans Pacific Partnership negotiators have been told to exclude alcohol and tobacco from any agreement.

The executive vice-president of the American Medical Association (AMA) James Madara wrote to US trade representative Ron Kirk urging the exclusion of tobacco and alcohol products from all provisions of TPP and any other free trade agreement.

“Removing trade barriers may be a desirable objective when the products being traded are beneficial, but tobacco is not a beneficial product,” Mr Madara said.

“Cigarettes are the only legally available consumer product that kills through its intended normal use.”

The letter cited longstanding AMA policy that “international trade agreements recognise that health and public health concerns take priority over commercial interests, and that trade negotiations be conducted in a transparent manner and with full attention to health concerns and participation by the public health community’’.

The exclusion would prevent actions like that of cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, which has sued the governments of Uruguay and Australia for their tobacco control policies.

It would also mean intellectual property rules would not apply to tobacco and alcohol trademarks, and governments would not be required to reduce their current tariffs on imports, Professor Jane Kelsey, associate dean from the Auckland University law school said. Prof Kelsey was at the TPP negotiations in Chicago.

FDA to Big Tobacco: You already lost fight over graphic labels’ANV

If you haven’t already seen the images that the Food and Drug Administration will require tobacco companies to include on cigarette packages, take a look. They’re disgusting: rotting teeth and gums, blackened lungs, a patient with a Frankenstein scar running down his chest. Congress’s 2009 Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the first update of cigarette warning labels since 1984, was supposed to give the FDA the power to depict the health consequences of smoking with color graphics. These labels, approved in June after a two-year rule-making process, sure do that.

In August, a group of tobacco companies claimed that the new labels violate the industry’s constitutional rights. In a 41-page complaint filed in Washington, D.C., federal district court, the tobacco companies argued that the labels are an unprecedented attempt to force them to serve as mouthpieces for the government’s anti-smoking message. “This is precisely the type of controlled speech that the First Amendment prohibits,” the complaint claimed. “While the government may require plaintiffs to provide purely factual and uncontroversial information to inform consumers about the risks of tobacco products, it may not require [tobacco companies] to advocate against the purchase of their own lawful products.”

The complaint asks for a declaratory judgment that the tobacco labels are unconstitutional and a preliminary injunction blocking the FDA from implementing the new labeling rules.

But as the FDA pointed out in a 55-page response Friday, there’s a bit of a roadblock in the industry’s way. To win a preliminary injunction, the tobacco companies have to show that they’re likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment argument. That will be very tough, the FDA argued, since they’ve already lost that case. In 2009, three of the plaintiffs in the declaratory judgment suit were part of a different coalition of tobacco companies that sued the FDA in Bowling Green, Ky., federal court, raising First and Fifth Amendment challenges to the Tobacco Control Act. Ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment (after denying Big Tobacco’s preliminary injunction bid), Judge Joseph McKinley Jr., upheld the law’s constitutionality in a Jan. 10, 2010 ruling. (Both sides appealed aspects of the ruling; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard the appeal in July.)

The FDA argued that the new suit is simply a reboot of the old, failed case. “Plaintiffs’ new suit reprises arguments already considered and rejected in [the previous suit],” the filing said.

The tobacco companies-which represented by a crackerjack lineup of law firms, including Jones Day;Cahill Gordon & Reindel; Latham & WatkinsO’Melveny & Myers; and Covington & Burling-claim that the new suit is different from the old one because when they first sued, the FDA hadn’t settled on precisely which images tobacco products would carry. The FDA has countered that the industry considers any color graphic to be a violation of its First Amendment rights-an issue Judge McKinley has already decided.

D.C. judge Richard Leon will have to sort the whole thing out. I’ll let you know when he does.

(Reporting by Alison Frankel)

Plain Packaging

Tobacco packaging has become one of the tobacco industry’s leading promotional tools. In Australia,
the Government proposes to require that tobacco products be sold in plain, standardised packaging.
In the UK, the Government has committed to consulting on similar legislation. Research suggests that
plain packaging would increase the impact of health warnings, reduce false and misleading messages
that one type of cigarette is less harmful than another, and reduce the attractiveness to young people.

SummaryTobacco packaging has become one of the tobacco industry’s leading promotional tools. In Australia,the Government proposes to require that tobacco products be sold in plain, standardised packaging.In the UK, the Government has committed to consulting on similar legislation. Research suggests thatplain packaging would increase the impact of health warnings, reduce false and misleading messagesthat one type of cigarette is less harmful than another, and reduce the attractiveness to young people.

Download PDF : Plainpacklinks

“We don’t smoke that shit, we just reserve the right to sell it to the young, the poor, the black, the stupid.”

There are more than 5,000 chemicals in cigarettes and a number of them are proven to be carcinogenic. Nicotine is a lethal insecticide.

Even after processing tobacco’s taste is bitter – without flavorings no-one would use tobacco.

Ban the flavorings and smokers will give up since , as the Reynolds tobacco executive stated it will taste as he described it above.

Here is a list of some of the  current known flavorings in tobacco:

EFTA rules on display ban

12 Sep 2011. In the case Philip Morris Norway versus the Norwegian State, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) today ruled that tobacco display bans are a suitable measure for protecting public health.
In its judgement today, the EFTA Court ruled that the display ban, which “by its nature” would reduce the consumption of tobacco in Norway, clearly reflects health concerns recognised by Article13 EEA. “Accordingly, in the absence of convincing proof to the contrary, a measure of this kind may be considered suitable for the protection of public health,” states EFTA in its ruling.

The EFTA Court did agree with Philip Morris Norway who argued that the display ban in shops entails an unlawful restriction contrary to Article 11 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area as it hinders the free movement of goods.

However, the court said it will be up to the national courts to determine that their objective to protect public health could not be achieved by less extensive prohibitions or restrictions. “The review of proportionality [between Article 11 and 13] and of the effectiveness of the measures taken relies on findings of fact which the referring court is in a better position to make than the EFTA Court”.

Today’s ruling ends one of the first legal challenges brought against a display ban of cigarettes. Although EFTA, which consists of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, doesn’t have juridical powers over EU policy, the outcome is expected to indirectly influence the ongoing reform of the EU tobacco products directive.

After a display ban took effect in Norway in January 2010, Philip Morris Norway filed a lawsuit against the Norwegian state (represented by the Ministry of Health and Care Services) before the Oslo District Court, which requested an Advisory Opinion from the EFTA Court in October 2010. (ci)

Tobacco money opens University registration

South China Morning Post – 12 Sept. 2011

A prestigious Beijing university denied rumours that it enrolled an 11-year-old because his father donated millions of yuan, saying the admittance was in line with all requirements and regulations.

Xu Hengrui , from Yunnan province, is a first-year student at Renmin University’s law school. He is the university’s youngest ever recruit. There is no minimum age for taking the college-entrance examination. But online rumours claim that Xu was admitted to the college before sitting the exam, on the condition that he achieve the minimum score for college entry, after a large sum had been donated by his father, the chairman of a tobacco supply company in Mile county.

The rumours also said Xu had been driving since seven. The minimum age for a driver’s licence is 18.

Xu’s academic prowess was described online as average, but he was made out to be a genius in Yunnan.

An unidentified official at the admittance office of Renmin University said Xu was recommended by the Yunnan education department, and his performances in the written test, interview and review by an independent committee all met the university’s criteria for its special admittance programme, according to a report by The Beijing News.

The official denied Xu’s father was on the university’s board directors.

A vice-president of Mile No1 Middle School, where Xu was registered, told the newspaper that Xu scored 526 points on the college-entrance exam, 31 points more than the benchmark for top universities in Yunnan. He said Xu had criticised the teaching at his primary school since second grade, before moving to Kunming , where he was taught at home by tutors.

The vice-president said Xu returned to the school for exams in an Audi that he had driven alone from Kunming, about 140 kilometres from Mile county.

Employees get more help to quit smoking and get active

Employees get more help to quit smoking and get active

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 12 September 2011

New Responsibility Deal pledges on health at work and physical activity

Typhoo, McCain and Centrica – who between them employ more than 35,000 people – have today signed up to help their employees to quit smoking by providing workplace stop smoking services or encouraging them to go to appointments during working hours without losing any pay.

In addition, the Co-operative has today unveiled a new individual pledge to encourage more people to become more physically active.

The pledges are part of the Government’s Responsibility Deal, which is working with business and charities to make changes to help make the population healthier. So far, 285 organisations have signed up to be part of the deal.

Companies are being encouraged to get their staff to use online tools such as NHS Lifecheck to help improve their health and well being. They will also be encouraging their employees to take part in more formal screening programmes.

The new pledges were launched at seminars where organisations involved in the Health at Work and Physical Activity networks of the Responsibility Deal got together with Health Ministers Lord Howe and Simon Burns to talk about their progress so far. More companies are expected to sign up to the pledges over the coming weeks.

Lord Howe said:

“It’s really hard to stop smoking – people who want to quit need all the support they can get.

“Around 21 per cent of adults smoke – so an estimated 7,000 smokers work for Centrica, McCain and Typhoo. I’m really pleased these companies are going to help their employees quit and I hope that more will sign up to the pledge.

“We spend a big chunk of our lives at work so it makes sense that employers look after us as best they can. And it’s good business for them to have a healthy and happy workforce.”

Dame Carol Black, Chair of the Health at Work group said:

“Each and every organisation on the Health at Work group has worked hard to bring the Responsibility Deal to life. I’m delighted we’re able to launch two new pledges today which will go even further to improving the health of employees.”

The Co-operative, which is already committed to inspiring young people to lead an active lifestyle, also launched a pledge with its partner Activate Sport – the UK’s leading sports and activity camps provider for children – committing, by 2012, to:

reach 20,000 young people through sports camps; and

double the number of camps to 500 across the UK.

Simon Burns, Minister of State for Health and Co-Chair of the Responsibility Deal Physical Activity Network, welcomed the new individual pledge from The Co-operative and Activate Sport. He said:

“This pledge on behalf of The Co-operative and Activate Sport is a great example of a major retailer working in partnership to promote a range of sport and physical activity opportunities for children and young people.

“This is particularly important for those children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who often face a range of barriers to participate regularly in sport and physical activity.”

Fred Turok, Co-Chair of the Responsibility Deal, Physical Activity Network, said:

“I am delighted that The Co-operative has moved so quickly in setting the standard for business by making a core commitment to the health of the nation, giving opportunities to young people to increase their physical activity levels through their partnership with Activate Sport.

“It is crucial that we improve the nation’s health through physical activity and embed exercise into the DNA of business and the community. I urge other businesses to follow this example and begin to think about their own commitments and role in improving the health of the nation.”

Earlier this summer, guides were also published to help employers and managers help people with long term conditions. These can be found at: Conds_Employees_Factsheet_A4.pdf nicConds_LineManagers_Factsheet_A4.pdf

Notes to editors

1. Launched on 15 March, the Public Health Responsibility Deal has been established to tap into the potential for businesses and other organisations to improve public health and tackle health inequalities through their influence over food, alcohol, physical activity and health in the workplace. For more information on the Responsibility Deal go to tm

2. Partners signing up to the Responsibility Deal have committed to take action to improve public health. This action is expressed as a series of pledges covering food, alcohol, physical activity and health at work. These pledges are not intended to replace Government action. The Government will continue to develop national policy, define priorities and communicate public health messages.

3. The Department of Health has signed up to all the health at work pledges and the relevant physical activity pledges.

4. NHS LifeCheck is a simple, confidential and easy-to-use online tool that will aim to get people thinking and finding out about their health or the health of their children. For more information go to

5. Businesses at the Health at Work seminar include American Express, Coca-Cola, Centrica, EON, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Philips, Pru-Health as well as a number of smaller organisations including charities. Some of these organisations also attended the Physical Activity Seminar, which included representatives of American Express, Danone, Slimming World and Sodexo.

6. The most effective method of stopping smoking is through Local NHS Stop Smoking Services, where a successful quit attempt is up to four times more likely than unassisted (‘cold turkey’) quitting and twice as effective as medication alone. More information is available at or by calling the Smoking Helpline on 0800 022 4332. Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A tobacco control plan for England was published on 9 March 2011: Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_124917


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Phone: 020 7210 5221