Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

December 12th, 2012:

trick or treat

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Tobacco companies’ aggressive coupon marketing tactics may reduce the likelihood that current smokers will quit, according to new research published in Tobacco Control, an international peer-reviewed journal. This report is the first-of-its-kind to illustrate that cigarette coupons have a negative association on smoking cessation.

“We know that raising the price of cigarettes encourages smokers to quit. Coupons are a way to bring the price down, and keep people smoking,” said Dr. Kelvin Choi, Research Associate at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and lead author of the article. “Smokers who receive these coupons think the tobacco industry cares about their health and well-being, even though industry documents prove that they know their products are addictive and deadly.”

Dr. Choi analyzed data collected through the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) Cohort Study, funded by ClearWay MinnesotaSM, which recruited 2,436 participants who were smokers and recent quitters in 2007, and surveyed them between 2008 and 2010.

The findings include:

  • Nearly half of smokers reported receiving cigarette coupons.
  • Eighty percent of those who received coupons redeemed them.
  • Women, younger smokers and heavier smokers are disproportionately targeted by coupons.
  • Smokers who use coupons are more likely to believe that tobacco companies care about their health, do their best to make cigarettes safe and tell the truth.
  • Smokers who redeem coupons are 84 percent less likely to quit smoking.

Tobacco companies are restricted from using many forms of marketing and advertising. They also know that higher tobacco prices encourage smokers to quit. Cigarette coupons, disseminated through direct mail marketing or other promotional channels, is a legal way for them to reach consumers, counteract rising tobacco prices and keep smokers addicted.

Watch this video to see an example of the coupon redemption process.

“This research is another reminder that tobacco is still a big problem in Minnesota,” said Molly Moilanen, Director of Public Affairs at ClearWay Minnesota. “Stronger policies can counteract the tobacco companies’ tactics. We know a $1.50 per pack tobacco price increase will help more than 30,000 Minnesota adults quit smoking and prevent thousands of kids from becoming addicted adult smokers.”

Currently, New York is the only state that does not allow retailers to use cigarette coupon programs to sell cigarettes under their minimum legal price. There are 25 other states, including Minnesota, that regulate minimum cigarette prices, but they do not prohibit the use of promotional coupon programs. Updating regulations to restrict the use of coupons would further encourage smokers to cut back and quit. For more information on this research, visit

Since 2000, ClearWay Minnesota has awarded more than $19 million in grants to Minnesota researchers. The impact of ClearWay Minnesota-funded research has been felt well beyond Minnesota’s borders and has significantly contributed to the science base in the field of tobacco control.

ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, non-profit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state’s 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call (952) 767-1400 or visit

Related Links:
ClearWay Minnesota Tobacco Coupons: Cheaper Addiction

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota


Find this article at:

Plain tobacco packaging ‘vital to discourage children’

12:36pm Wednesday 12th December 2012

SOUTHAMPTON MP Alan Whitehead is calling for the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco.

The introduction of plain packs is backed by 190 health and welfare organisations, including Cancer Research UK, the British Medical Association and the Royal Medical Colleges.

With 243 people out of 100,000 smoking, Southampton has a higher smoking rate than the national average (216 out of 100,000). Southampton also has a higher rate of people who die early of lung cancer. Speaking about the introduction of plain packs, Alan Whitehead said: “I welcome any measure that will lessen the burden of smoking, particularly one which will deter the young people of Southampton from starting a habit that kills one in two of its long-term users. “I believe plain packaging is a vital step toward discouraging children from starting smoking.”

Tobacco smuggling in Europe lower than industry figures suggest

The prevalence of tobacco smuggling in Europe is lower than industry figures suggest, reveals the largest study of its kind, published online in Tobacco Control.

Significantly, it is availability, rather than price, that seems to determine the level of illicit trade, the research suggests a finding that runs directly counter to the arguments proffered by the tobacco industry say the authors, including Professor Anna Gilmore from the University’s Tobacco Control Research Group in the Department for Health.

They base their findings on a representative population sample of 1000 people from each of 18 European countries: Albania; Austria; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Croatia; England; Finland; France; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Spain, and Sweden.

Only tobacco purchased from unauthorised sources or sold at very heavily discounted prices from legitimate retailers was defined as having been illicitly traded.

Health warnings and / or tax stamps that were either absent / inappropriate / tampered with, or clearly those of a duty free outlet were deemed the hallmarks of smuggled products.

Among the 18,056 participants, some 5,268 (27 per cent of the sample) classified themselves as current smokers; the final analysis was based on the responses of 5,114.

When quizzed about the provenance of their tobacco products, most respondents said they had bought them from a legal source. Just four per cent said that they had purchased their tobacco illegally, amounting to 296 packs.

The only distinguishing feature of the purchasers of illicitly traded products was their educational attainment: those with low levels were significantly more likely to buy them.

Two thirds (65.5 per cent) of illicitly traded packs had an inappropriate health warning; half had an inappropriate tax stamp; and just over one in four (27 per cent) had been bought at a knock down price.

The prevalence of illicit manufactured packs of 10 and 20 cigarettes was 5.9%, and 11.7% for hand rolled tobacco, with an overall prevalence of illicitly traded products of 6.5 per cent. Industry commissioned reports put the overall figure at just below 10 per cent.

Hand rolled tobacco was twice as likely to have been illicitly traded as manufactured cigarettes.

The availability of illicit tobacco was four times as high in countries bordering Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, and Belarus than it was elsewhere.

Almost four out of 10 tobacco products (37.8 per cent) purchased in Latvia came from an illicit source; in Sweden the comparable figure was almost one in five (19%), with Bulgaria coming third in the league table at 18 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, the prevalence of illicitly traded tobacco was one per cent or less in Greece, Austria and Portugal.

Frequency of illicit trading was also higher in countries where a 20 stick pack of Marlboro cost less than the average, rather than more.

Obtaining reliable figures on tobacco smuggling is difficult, precisely because this kind of activity does not tend to be recorded, say the authors, who acknowledge that their methods are not full proof either.

But to date, analysts have relied heavily on reports commissioned by tobacco manufacturers, which are unlikely to be neutral, they argue.

“The tobacco industry has claimed that high cigarette taxes drive smuggling, and has argued that with governments, sometimes successfully, that they should not increase tobacco tax because this will increase the level of trade.”” they write.

But they conclude: “This study suggests that the supply of illicit tobacco, rather than its price, is a key factor contributing to it.”

University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK

Imperial Tobacco, one of the world’s biggest cigarette firms, loses display battle

Ministers say the ban is needed to protect future generations from the “devastating effects” of smoking.

Brian Farmer

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

One of the world’s biggest tobacco firms lost a Supreme Court fight today against a planned cigarette display ban.

The UK’s highest court dismissed an appeal by Imperial Tobacco against the Scottish Government’s attempts to ban the open display of cigarettes in shops.

At a hearing in London, lawyers representing Imperial, which is based in Bristol, asked a panel of five Supreme Court justices to analyse the issues after twice failing to persuade Scottish judges to set aside legislative provisions.

Ministers say display bans are needed to protect future generations from the “devastating effects” of smoking.

Imperial argues that there is no credible evidence that display bans have cut tobacco consumption.

Imperial, the firm behind Lambert & Butler and Richmond cigarette brands, also opposed a ban on tobacco vending machines.

It argued that the legislative provisions dealing with display bans fall outside the scope of the Scottish Government and are matters reserved for the UK Parliament in London.

The company’s civil court challenge has delayed the implementation of measures aimed at stopping people smoking.

Ministers intended to introduce the display ban in large shops in Scotland – the first part of the UK to adopt a ban on smoking in public places – in April.

Imperial initially sought a judicial review of ministers’ plans for display bans.

A judge in Scotland ruled against the firm in September 2010.

Imperial appealed but three judges rejected the challenge in February.

That decision was welcomed by Scotland’s public health minister Michael Matheson, who said the proposals would play a “crucial role” in preventing youngsters from starting to smoke.

But Imperial voiced disappointment and appealed to the Supreme Court.

At the Supreme Court, Imperial argued that sections 1 and 9 of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 were “outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”.

Section 1 prohibits the display of tobacco products in a place where they are offered for sale and section 9 prohibits vending machines for the sale of tobacco products.

Today, the justices unanimously dismissed Imperial’s appeal, ruling that the two sections “are within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”.

Announcing the decision of the court, Lord Hope said: “The purpose of section 1 is to enable the Scottish ministers to take steps which might render tobacco products less visible to potential consumers and thereby achieve a reduction in sales and thus in smoking.

“The purpose of section 9 is to make cigarettes less readily available, particularly (but not only) to children and young people, with a view to reducing smoking. The legal effect and short-term consequences are consistent with those purposes.”

He said the court “does not see how it can be said that the purpose of sections 1 and 9 has anything to do with consumer protection”.

Lord Hope added: “The aim of sections 1 and 9 is to discourage or eliminate sales of tobacco products, not to regulate how any sales are to be conducted so as to protect the consumer from unfair trade practices.

“The purpose of sections 1 and 9 also has nothing to do with the standards of safety to be observed in the production and sale of tobacco products.

“Sections 1 and 9 are designed to promote public health by reducing the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products, not to prohibit in any way their sale to those who wish and are old enough to purchase them.”