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February, 2013:

Increasing tobacco price saves lives and money

Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Increasing tobacco price saves lives and money


  • Tyler Cowart — University student

February 28, 2013

I read the Feb. 27 letter to the editor, “Tobacco tax increase,” about the tobacco tax increase within Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget. The letter made a very inaccurate claim that increasing the price of tobacco does not encourage smokers to quit. Extensive research shows quite the opposite. Not only does increasing the price of these products lead to a decline in tobacco use, it’s proven to be one of the most effective ways to help people quit and to keep young people from starting. In fact, the 94-cent increase Dayton is proposing is estimated to prompt nearly 23,000 Minnesota smokers to quit and prevent nearly 30,000 kids from becoming addicted adults.

Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in our state and in our nation. In Minnesota, tobacco is responsible for 5,000 deaths each year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By increasing the price of tobacco products, Dayton is standing up for Minnesota kids and for smokers to make it easier to say no to these deadly products. What’s more, he’s doing it in a way that will not only cut health care costs in the future — Minnesota currently spends $3 billion on tobacco-related health care costs each year — it will generate more revenue for the state. An increase of 94 cents will generate an estimated $116 million for the state each year.

Tobacco taxes save lives. But if it’s the money that matters to you, the research is clear there, too. A tobacco price increase like this one will save money and increase state revenue. The governor’s budget is the right move for all Minnesotans — that means students, too.

Tobacco display and brand communication at the point of sale: implications for adolescent smoking behaviour

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2nd Circuit upholds NYC ordinance on flavored tobacco YET in Hong Kong it is still legal ! it is even manufactured here !

Tobacco leaves. File photo. REUTERS Jorge Silva

2nd Circuit upholds NYC ordinance on flavored tobacco

2/26/2013COMMENTS (0)

By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) – The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a district judge’s decision that upheld a New York City ordinance limiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, saying the measure did not pre-empt federal law.

The ruling marks a victory for the city, which under Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pushed several health-focused measures, including limits on sales of supersize soft drinks in an effort to fight obesity. The tobacco ordinance, signed into law and approved by the city council in October 2009, prohibits the sale of any flavored tobacco product except in a tobacco bar.

Sharyn Rootenberg of the New York City Law Department handled the case on appeal for the city.

Kenneth Parsigian of Latham & Watkins represented the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing Company LLC, whose moist smokeless tobacco brands include Copenhagen and Skoal, and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands Inc. Both entities are units of Altria Group.

Tuesday’s decision backed a summary judgment ruling in favor of the city granted by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in November 2011.

Federal law “expressly preserves localities’ traditional power to adopt any ‘measure relating to or prohibiting the sale’ of tobacco products,” Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for the three-judge panel, which also included Judges Reena Raggi and Jon Newman.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision and are considering our options,” said Brian May, a spokesman for Altria.

The City Law Department was not immediately available for comment.

The ordinance sought to deter younger smokers often attracted to flavored tobacco products, Bloomberg said before signing it in 2009.

In late 2009, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal district court, seeking to stop enforcement of the measure.

The plaintiffs argued that a statute that Congress passed in 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, pre-empted the city ordinance. The federal law granted the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products.

The city ordinance was a products standard regulation designed to “evade express federal pre-emption … by artful crafting that elevates form over substance,” the appellants wrote in their brief.

But the 2nd Circuit concluded that the ordinance does not require tobacco manufacturers to alter the properties of their products, which would have subjected it to federal pre-emption.

“A local sales regulation that does not clearly infringe on the FDA’s authority to determine what chemicals and processes may be used in making tobacco products does not fall within this description and is therefore not pre-empted,” Lynch wrote.

The 2nd Circuit also disagreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that the ordinance is effectively an outright ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

“While the sales restriction imposed by the City’s ordinance is severe, it does not constitute a complete ban, as it permits the limited sale of flavored tobacco products within New York City,” Lynch wrote.

The case is U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing Company LLC, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands Inc. v. City of New York, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-5167

For U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing Company LLC, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands Inc: Kenneth Parsigian of Latham & Watkins.

For the City of New York: Sharyn Rootenberg and Michael Pastor of the New York City Law Department

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Red Cross museum tries to return tobacco money

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva is currently undergoing renovations

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva is currently undergoing renovations (Keystone)

Feb 25, 2013 – 12:32

Admitting “a lack of vigilance,” the Geneva-based International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum has refused a controversial donation offered to it by Japan Tobacco International (JTI). However, JTI says it won’t take the money back.

Last November, a host of international anti-smoking and health advocacy groups protested the museum’s decision to accept a donation from JTI, citing it as a poor move for an organisation whose mission is “to protect life and health and respect human beings”.

On February 19, museum director Roger Mayou admitted his organisation had made a mistake in accepting tobacco industry money for their $20 million (CHF18.6) renovation. JTI had pledged $150,000 to the project.

Smoking funds

Outrage over tobacco funds for Red Cross

Campaigners are fuming over donations made by Japanese Tobacco International (JTI) to the Geneva-based International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum and to the Geneva Red Cross. Red Cross officials, however, downplay the controversy. […]


However, according to Saturday’s issue of the Tribune de Genève newspaper, JTI said in a statement that it refused to take back the donated money, leaving the museum in an awkward position.

JTI said it “does not accept this unilateral termination or repayment of the amount allocated for the construction of the new museum, amount given and accepted in good faith and at the express request of the Museum Foundation”.

The funds are currently blocked in an account overseen by the museum’s lawyer, and the museum has formally ended its partnership with JTI, which has its international headquarters in Geneva.

For its part, the Geneva Red Cross, which had also accepted funding from JTI, saw no reason to “discriminate against a perfectly legal organisation” when the controversy began in November.

However, its president Guy Mettan told the Tribune de Geneve on February 22 that the organisation was considering terminating its partnership with JTI, “but we’ll take the time to find other sources of funding in order not to have to lay off staff.”

Borg: Tobacco Directive is balanced and ambitious | New Europe


Monday, February 25, 201302:11:06

‘We must make smoking unappealing’

European Union commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg. | AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS

Borg: Tobacco Directive is balanced and ambitious

Article |February 24, 2013 – 12:23pm| By Andy Carling

Healthcare NGOs gathered in the European Parliament to listen to Health Commissioner Tonio Borg discuss the controversial Tobacco Directive after he had attended the European Council’s Competitiveness meeting.

Borg said the Council gathering had discussed the issue, arguing that the controversial Tobacco Directive’s implementation could cost jobs and others saying that improvement in health would more than compensate. “This is a health issue. Of course it has economic effects, but it is a health issue,” said Borg.

“This is a balanced directive. Balanced but ambitious,” Borg said.

He explained that the Commission, and many others’ position was straightforward, “We all shared the conviction, that as responsible legislators we must stop our children smoking. We all know the results of smoking, cancer, heart disease and premature death.”

He said that a city the size of Frankfurt was lost every year due to smoking and noted, “If tobacco had been introduced today it would be prohibited.”

Explaining the directive he said, “Tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products – and not be masked by designs or disguised by flavours. This is why the Commission proposal focuses on two key aspects: first, packaging and labeling; and second, flavours.”

He said that it will be possible to use additives but not “a characterising flavour.” He said that some were arguing that flavours such as menthol should be permitted but Borg felt otherwise, pointing out that research showed that people smoking mint flavoured cigarette actually inhaled more smoke.

Countering the argument that the directive would cost jobs, he said, “It will have economic consequences, but also economic advantages because those who stop smoking will spend their money elsewhere in the economy.” He repeated that health was his main concern, adding that this would have benefits through lower health care costs, and healthier, more productive workforces.

He stressed the timeliness of the proposal, “This directive is also needed because of new developments in the markets, with products that look like perfume and smokeless products, as if harm is limited to the smoke and not the nicotine.”

“The aim is reducing the number of smokers,” he said.

Speaking on the new packages, the Maltese Commissioner explained, “We want to see clear information about the nature of the problem. Some have said pictures are too disturbing, but the purpose is to shock, not to show something pleasant, to make smoking as unattractive as possible.”

However, he said it would be up to the EU Member States to bring in ‘plain packaging.’ He explained that only a few nations had introduced such packaging, notably Australia, but he said that recent court victories for the Canberra government could make it easier for European nations to follow the antipodean lead.

With the Swedish Snus, a tea bag like chewing tobacco, he said that Sweden was given an exception during membership negotiations on the strict condition that they would not market in any other EU nation and that changing this “would require a treaty change,” the Brussels way of saying ‘never.’

Borg urged that “negotiations must come to swift conclusions during current parliament.”

Cristian Busoi MEP (ALDE, RO) explained that smoking was behind the biggest killers in Europe and said it was “more disturbing” because almost 61,000 people die each year from second hand smoking “like Europe losing a small town every year.”

He said the tobacco directive was one of the most sensitive and important debates facing parliament this year. Aloz Peterle MEP (EPP, SLO) said that he didn’t smoke, but used smoke “to calm bees” while beekeeping. He said he had attended too many funerals of cancer victims and he said, “we know the consequence of smoking.” He said action was needed and he was concerned by the number of young girls who were beginning to smoke. “Prevention is not only possible, it is a must,” he declared.

Florence Berteletti-Kemp from the Smoke Free Partnership said their mission was the implementing of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has been ratified by the EU and all member states.

Berteletti-Kemp said there were many challenges for the directive, adding that smoking cost the EU €25 billion in health costs and €7 billion in productivity losses.

“I could have chosen to talk about the lobbying of the tobacco industry,” she said, adding, “in 2010 the six leading tobacco companies made $35 billion in profit. This is equal to Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Microsoft combined.”

Illustrating the size of the Tobacco lobby, she continued, “There are at least 97 full time lobbyists in Brussels with €5.3 million budget. I believe these figures are only the tip of the iceberg”

She said that they supported the Directive and cautioned that, “We must prevent young people taking up the habit. This year 80 million will begin to smoke.”

“Smoking is the biggest avoidable health threat in the EU. We know that it is children – not adults – who start smoking. If we can stop children and young people from starting before the age of 25 then we will have gone a long way to solving the problem – and that is why we need to take measures to stop companies marketing cigarettes at the young,” said Linda McAvan MEP (S&D, UK) and Rapporteur for the proposed Tobacco Products Directive.

She added that she supported the Commissioner and wanted to strengthen the directive, adding that she was shocked by some of the packaging that had been introduced recently.

She also noted, “We’ve seen that other countries have gone further than the EU, in fact some of those products are only on sale in the EU.”

“Why are we seeing more pink cigarettes on the market if it’s not about bringing young people into smoking?” She asked.

Health Commissioner says new tobacco laws will boost EU economy

25 February 2013 Last updated at 16:01 Help

The Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, has insisted that draft laws to further regulate the use and sale of tobacco in the EU will save thousands of lives and boost the EU economy.

He gave evidence to the Environment and Public Health Committee on 25 February 2013, following publication of revisions to the Tobacco Directive.

The European Commission says almost 700,000 Europeans die from smoking-related illnesses each year – equal to the population of Frankfurt or Palermo.

The associated costs for healthcare in the EU are estimated to be at least €25.3bn a year.

Mr Borg said that despite a reduction in revenue from the sale of tobacco, costs of tougher laws would be outweighed by reduced healthcare costs.

He also added that people who currently spend money on tobacco products could spend money elsewhere if they quit smoking, leading to an economic boost.

He said that the new laws would make it compulsory to include “shocking” pictorial information on tobacco labels, as currently done by 13 EU countries, and that warnings would have to cover 75% of cigarette packets.

The new directive would also ban strong flavours such as menthol or vanilla, which can mask the taste of tobacco.

Smoking in parliament

Some MEPs urged the Commission to go further, with British Labour MEP Glenis Willmott saying the EU should introduce plain packaging.

To applause from many colleagues she criticised the European Parliament for allowing smoking in some of the bars in parliamentary buildings.

“We have members who subject workers to smoke in the members bar in Brussels and Strasbourg and it is a disgrace,” she stated.

The EU would maintain its ban on chewing tobacco – called snus. Only people in Sweden can use it, under an exemption acknowledging the country’s snus tradition.

Swedish green MEP Carl Schlyter, said he was “one of the few Swedes who did not want to export the product”, and urged the Commission to regulate any type of nicotine product, whether it be cigarettes, e-cigarettes or chewing tobacco.

Tonio Borg became Health Commissioner in November 2012, after his predecessor John Dalli left the Commission following allegations of being embroiled in cash-for-influence allegations over the new tobacco directive.

Useful links.

The European Parliament’s disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations can be found here.

Read More

·       EU steps up anti-tobacco warnings

·       Malta’s Borg gets EU health role

Quit smoking now.. and you can still enjoy some good life–enjoy-good-life.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Quit smoking now.. and you can still enjoy some good life

By Dr Ellie Cannon

PUBLISHED:22:20 GMT, 23 February 2013| UPDATED:22:20 GMT, 23 February 2013

Good's bad habit: Richard Briers as Tom Good

Good’s bad habit: Richard Briers as Tom Good

Richard Briers loved a ‘laugh and a joke’ – or smoke, for those not fluent in cockney rhyming slang.

In an interview before his death last week at 79, Briers – a national treasure for his role in TV’s The Good Life – estimated his nicotine habit had seen him puff half a million cigarettes in his life.

Despite having given up a decade ago, it was too late: he spent the last years of his life too breathless to manage climbing stairs, thanks to lung disease.

‘I’ve got emphysema, you see, so I’m b******d,’ he said, as wryly as his alter ego Tom Good might have done.

‘The ciggies got me. If you do it [quit] in your 30s, you’re OK, but after 30 it gets you.’

He was right in many ways, but he probably enjoyed a far better final decade because he DID stop smoking.

It’s testament to the horrific grip of addiction that I have patients who, given a diagnosis like this, carry on smoking.

Richard’s apparent symptoms were not the worst I’ve seen – many patients spend their final years immobile and bound to an oxygen cylinder, unable to speak. For those who ask the kind of questions below about smoking, my message is: It is never too late: quit now!

So smoking doesn’t just mean you get lung cancer?
No. Most people realise lung cancer and smoking go hand in hand, but less well known is the link with other lung diseases.

Emphysema is now generally referred to under the umbrella term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD – which also includes chronic bronchitis – that causes horrific symptoms and is ultimately also fatal.


Both involve narrowing of the airways in the lungs and a debilitating, life-threatening and progressive condition that interferes with normal breathing. Smoking irritates and inflames the lungs, resulting in scarring. Over years, the inflammation leads to changes in the lung. COPD is the fifth biggest killer in the UK.

If Briers was ‘b******d’ anyway, why bother to quit?
By stopping smoking, he would have helped to relieve some of his symptoms of breathlessness. Once emphysema is at a certain stage, it is classified terminal. Giving up smoking, no matter what stage of the disease, can prevent it from worsening and for those with early emphysema, stopping can be the only treatment they may need.

Emphysema is not the end: Giving up smoking, no matter what stage of the disease, can prevent it from worsening and may mean you don't need treatment

Emphysema is not the end: Giving up smoking, no matter what stage of the disease, can prevent it from worsening and may mean you don’t need treatment

How come some get to their 80s having smoked all their life and have no lung problems?
Of all smokers who get through 20 cigarettes a day, about 20 per cent will develop COPD. As yet, no reason has been identified why some smokers will develop the lung disease while others won’t.

Likewise, roughly one in ten lifetime smokers of 40 a day will develop lung cancer if they continue past the age of 60, but it’s impossible to know which.

I wouldn’t like to live with those odds. The risks increase with every year that smoking continues and can reduce or at least not increase if the person quits.

What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?

Do it: It's never too late to quit smoking

Do it: It’s never too late to quit smoking

Coughing tends to be the first: normally an intermittent ‘smoker’s cough’ which then becomes persistent and regular.

Breathlessness and producing a lot of phlegm each day are other features that signal damaged airways. These all start off mild but evolve into daily, distressing symptoms.

Patients with terminal COPD are often housebound due to breathlessness. They need to be attached to oxygen most of the day and quality of life is poor. Since the airways are so badly damaged, infections are very common and they are more prone to pneumonia.

Can it be cured?
There is a range of treatments, depending on severity, but none can reverse the lung damage.

Inhalers are a common treatment, as are steroids and tablets to break up the mucus or open up the airways. Oxygen therapy is prescribed in the late stages and lung surgery may be an option for some with certain types of COPD.

This may involve removing a section of the lung that’s no longer working, called lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS), to give the remaining lung more room to work.

But one in four gets no benefit, and about one person in 20 dies during or shortly after surgery. Sufferers can also help themselves by losing weight, exercising and having flu and pneumonia vaccines

Read more:–enjoy-good-life.html#ixzz2LqBwvBet
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Living dangerously

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Make Hong Kong more family-friendly says women’s survey

Submitted by admin on Feb 23rd 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

Living dangerously

A few more reasons why the dangers of smoking should be taken seriously: tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of whom more than 5 million are users and ex-users and more than 600 000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation.

Smoking kills more people each year than shark deaths, hypothermia, murder, suicide, drowning, death on the roads (1.3 million), industrial accidents, prescription and illegal drugs, tuberculosis (1.4 million) and HIV/Aids (1.7 million) combined, and more than twice as many as alcohol. There is no other consumer product or risk factor that remotely resembles this degree of risk. According to the American Cancer Organisation about half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit.

Source URL (retrieved on Feb 23rd 2013, 7:27am):

The Lancet and RCP

two-thirds of all deaths of smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are caused by smoking; smokers lose at least 10 years of lifespan’

‘Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

As a young doctor I was depressed to see so many patients in their 50s and 60s suffering because they had started smoking as children. Back then there was very little we could do, but now we have the opportunity to help protect our children by implementing standardised packaging ‘

Download PDF : The Lancet