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March 1st, 2013:

British singers criticised for taking tobacco money

Joss Stone, Craig David and Lisa Stanfield under fire for appearing at Indonesian music festival sponsored by cigarette firm.

Joss Stone in 2012

8:17AM GMT 01 Mar 2013


Joss Stone, Craig David and Lisa Stanfield have been criticised for promoting the aims of “Big Tobacco” by agreeing to perform at Indonesia’s Java Jazz Festival, which is sponsored by one of the country’s largest cigarette companies.

The event’s main sponsor is Djarum, the country’s third biggest tobacco company. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the festival in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta and all three British singers are scheduled to perform on a stage promoting one of Djarum’s leading brands.

Research shows that more than 200,000 people a year die in the country from smoking-related disease and Amanda Sandford, research manager for Action on Smoking and Health, told the Independent newspaper: “For decades the tobacco industry has used sponsorship to promote its brands to impressionable young people. Most countries have now banned this and in response, the industry has focused on exploiting the lack of regulation in countries like Indonesia.

“The fact that musicians and entertainers are willing to take Big Tobacco’s money adds to the problem. We call on all entertainers to make a public commitment not to accept tobacco money and to withdraw from any existing contracts.”

David, who last month signed a new deal with Universal records and is due to set out on a world tour, rejected the claims, saying he promoted healthy living and was against smoking but legislation against tobacco was a matter for the Indonesian authorities. The British singers do not have a direct deal with Djarum and the Independent reported that representatives of Lisa Stansfield declined to comment and publicists for Joss Stone did not respond to requests for comment.

Tobacco Firms Save $1 Billion With Kitty Litter in Cigars

By Anna Edney – Mar 1, 2013 1:01 PM GMT+0800.

A dozen tobacco companies have gained from a legal loophole that helped them avoid as much as $1.1 billion in U.S. taxes.

Their secret: Using fillers such as the clay found in cat litter or stuffing the products with more tobacco to tip the scales in their favor. The heavier weight let the companies sidestep a 2,653 percent increase in a federal excise tax, taking advantage of a 2009 law that spared so-called big cigars.

There were 22 companies producing small cigars in the year before the law created the new tax structure, according to data from the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Twelve of those companies, none of which the government would name, either switched to or increased production of large cigars in the year following the law, the bureau found.

“It shows what length the tobacco companies will go to avoid taxes and regulation that were designed to improve public health without regard to their customers,” Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington, said in a telephone interview. “They should equalize the tax to stop the shenanigans.”

The practice has contributed to a doubling in sales of the weightier tobacco products and slowed a decade-long decline in tobacco use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an Aug. 2 report blamed sharp increases in adult consumption of pipe tobacco and cigarette-like cigars since 2008 on the 2009 law “that created tax disparities between product types.”

Durbin Legislation

The Government Accountability Office estimated in an April report that “market shifts from roll-your-own to pipe tobacco and from small to large cigars reduced federal revenue by a range of” $615 million to $1.1 billion from April 2009 through September 2011.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, introduced legislation Jan. 31 to close the loophole. The bill would equalize the tax structure so there wouldn’t be an incentive to manipulate products, generating $3.6 billion in new tax revenue over 10 years, Christina Mulka, a spokeswoman, said by e-mail.

The loophole appears to have mainly benefited smaller tobacco companies. Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), the second-biggest U.S. tobacco company, doesn’t operate in that market, David Howard, a spokesman for the Winston Salem, North Carolina-based company, said in an e-mail.

Altria Group Inc. (MO), the largest seller of tobacco in the U.S., said its John Middleton Co. unit had already been selling large cigars with its Black & Mild line before the change in the law. The company didn’t have to make any shifts in how it formulates the cigars, which mostly are wood or plastic tipped and come as singles or in packs of two or five, David Sylvia, a spokesman for Richmond, Virginia-based Altria, said by phone.

Customer Demand

Prime Time International Co., a closely held tobacco company, sells some of its large cigars and flavored cigars in 20-count packs, similar to regular cigarettes. Closely held Cheyenne International LLC, based in Grover, North Carolina, also specializes in smaller-sized cigars that have a similar look and design of cigarettes.

Jack Wertheim, chairman of Phoenix-based Prime Time, said shifts into the “large” cigar market are about responding to customer demands. The company sells large and small cigars to satisfy customers who prioritize taste and quality and appease those who want a lower-priced product, he said.

Prime Time isn’t saving on taxes, and any savings would be passed to the customer, Wertheim said.

Current rules require a rolled tobacco product to weigh at least 3 pounds per 1,000 to be labeled as a “large” or “premium” cigar, a category where taxes increased just 155 percent.

Nothing Illegal

The Treasury Department said tobacco companies aren’t doing anything illegal by making their products heavier.

“If you meet the definition of a large cigar, then you’re a large cigar,” Thomas Hogue, a spokesman for the tobacco bureau, said in a telephone interview. “There’s nothing in the Internal Revenue code that goes after the specifics on how that weight is achieved.”

Hogue wouldn’t provide the names of the tobacco makers switching to heavier products.

Cheyenne was found to make two kinds of cigars that look like cigarettes yet weigh enough to be taxed as big cigars. One of the two has a regular fiber filter; the other has filters made of white fiber cylinders surrounding a granular clay substance.

X-Ray Tests

Jim Pankow, a chemistry professor at Portland State University in Oregon, published the first measurements of how addictive nicotine is when delivered by tobacco smoke. He agreed to conduct X-ray diffraction tests on the weightier Cheyenne product on behalf of Bloomberg News and found the clay filters were made of sepiolite. The weighty mineral is used for absorption in waste treatment, industrial cleaners and pet litters, according to the European Industrial Minerals Association.

“They’re making products that are classified as cigars that are designed almost exactly like cigarettes,” Pankow said in a telephone interview.

The vast majority of Cheyenne’s cigars that are considered large began marketing in 2007, said Marc Scheineson, a partner at Alston & Bird LLP in Washington who is regulatory counsel for the tobacco company. He didn’t say when the company’s heavyweights hit shelves. He said less than 3 percent of the company’s sales come from little cigars and heavyweights.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau reviewed Cheyenne’s products to determine which excise class they fit in, he said.

“You can look at this as a loophole or tax planning or a way to perpetuate job growth or small business continuity,” Scheineson said in a telephone interview.

Filter Choice

British American Tobacco Plc (BATS)’s Kent cigarettes used a similar micronite filter at one point. The London-based company said it moved the cigarettes to charcoal filters long ago.

“The decision regarding whether to use charcoal or micronite filters is simply down to taste and currently, charcoal filters are used in Kent cigarettes in the vast majority of international markets where the product is sold,” Will Hill, a spokesman for the company, said in an e-mail.

Filtrona Plc (FLTR), a maker of cigarette and cigar filters, said its sepiolite-based Cavitec Flavour product is one of many specialty filter types. Altogether they represent about 17 percent of the Milton Keynes, U.K.-based company’s total filter sales globally, Melanie Hulbert, a spokeswoman, said in an e- mail. Filtrona wouldn’t reveal its customers’ names, citing confidentiality agreements.

FDA Oversight

In addition to avoiding some taxes, cigars also sidestep a ban on flavored cigarettes. Cheyenne’s heavyweight products come in wild cherry flavor, while their other cigars can be bought in flavors such as grape and vanilla.

The result is that while cigarette smoking — the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. — continued an 11-year downward trend, large cigar smoking tripled from 2000 to 2011 and loose tobacco pipe smoking has jumped almost sixfold, the CDC said last year in a report.

Sales of large cigars more than doubled to 1 billion units a month in September 2011, from 411 million when the law took effect in January 2009, the GAO said. At the same time, small cigar sales dropped to 60 million from 430 million.

The FDA, which was given the authority by Congress in 2009 to regulate tobacco, primarily cigarettes, is now looking to broaden its rules.

The agency is “moving as expeditiously as possible to release for public comment a proposed rule to regulate additional categories of tobacco products,” Jennifer Haliski, an agency spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The FDA is scheduled to release a proposed rule by April, the federal Office of Management and Budget, which oversees all regulation development, said on its website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Edney in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reg Gale at; Jodi Schneider at

Tobacco cuisine on display at Cuba Cigar Festival

Submitted by Anonymous on Mar 1st 2013, 7:16am

News›Hong Kong

PETER ORSI (Associated Press)

HAVANA (AP) — Tobacco: It’s what’s for dinner.

A team of Croatian chefs whipped up a pungent meal Thursday, infusing the flavor of the tobacco leaf synonymous with Cuba into baked stone bass filets, bread and butter, a rich demi-glace sauce, even ice cream.

The result was a tangy heat that one taster likened to ancho chili powder, and a powerful finish with all the nicotine kick of a chubby Montecristo cigar.

“Wow, buzz city!” said Gary Heathcott, a public relations worker from Little Rock, Arkansas, who also writes for Smoke magazine. “The first buzz I ever received from biting into fish.”

Grgur Baksic, owner and executive chef of the Gastronomadi dinner club in Zagreb, led the demonstration before a standing-room-only crowd of aficionados at a Havana convention center as part of Cuba’s 15th annual Cigar Festival.

It’s a six-day bash that brings together hundreds of cigar sophisticates from around the world, and culminates Saturday night with a gala and auction of humidors worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A dozen cameras following their every move, Baksic and two other chefs carefully wrapped the bass filets in tobacco and banana leaves, with a sprinkling of garlic and honey to draw out the smoky flavor.

As the mild white fish baked for about a half hour, they demonstrated how stirring tobacco sauces into butter can create a sharp spread for bread and crackers, and used a torch to dry out liquid-infused tobacco salt that can be employed in just about any dish.

“It’s like how you can put chili on a sweet or a sour, you can put honey on a fish and on a fruit and on a meat,” Baksic said. “Something that is good is always good. You cannot make a mistake.”

Baksic said Thursday’s demonstration was the result of two years of trial and error. He said they unsuccessfully tried American, European and African tobacco varieties before settling on Cuban tobacco, which he called the finest in the world. The chefs warned tasters not to eat the leaves themselves, which would be hard on the stomach.

Why tobacco?

“Why rosemary? Why chili? It’s about variety,” Baksic said. “We are a little bit crazy. Our company are gastro-explorers, so we are always looking for what … is not normal for other people.”

Some at the demonstration found the ice cream, a creation by Italian chef Bruno Luciani, overwhelming. What started out as a smooth, milky sweetness soon set throats on fire.

“I think they (nonsmokers) might find it a bit strong, and also they might actually get high,” said James Suckling, an American food, wine and cigar critic living in Hong Kong. “So probably in small doses they might find it amusing.”

Suckling, like other cigar aficionados sitting on a 16-member tasting panel, gave the meal good reviews, however.

“At first I didn’t really get much flavor and I thought it wasn’t up to much,” he said. “But then I started tasting the fish … and it has a very spicy, almost intense black-pepper taste. And then you get the nicotine and it’s like you’ve been chewing tobacco.”

Heathcott put it more succinctly: “It grabs you by the throat.”


Peter Orsi on Twitter: [1]

Source URL (retrieved on Mar 1st 2013, 7:43pm):


Cost biggest reason to quit smoking

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Smoking ban in public places to be extended to cars carrying children under plan being considered by David Cameron

  • PM reveals idea is part of plan to improve public health
  • Health minister Anna Soubry
  • Confined space means the fumes other passengers breathe in can be 11 times more concentrated
  • Around 300,000 children in the UK visit the GP each year due to second-hand smoke

By Matt Chorley and Tamara Cohen

PUBLISHED:15:48 GMT, 27 February 2013| UPDATED:01:38 GMT, 28 February 2013

David Cameron told MPs the government is considering a ban on smoking in cars, expanding the ban in public places and insisting on plain cigarette packs

The Prime Minister is considering a ban on smoking in cars when children are present.

David Cameron said there had been a ‘real health advance’ with restrictions on smoking in public places and those wanting to go further had a ‘good point’.

He said other options included mandatory plain packaging, recently introduced in Australia.

The intervention comes 24 hours after health minister Anna Soubry backed the idea of a ban in cars.

She said lighting up on the road was a ‘child welfare issue’ and called on the Government to consider making it illegal.

At Prime Minister’s Questions Mr Cameron was urged by Labour’s Ian Mearns to go ‘a significant step further and introduce a ban on smoking when children are present in vehicles’.

Mr Cameron replied: ‘We should look carefully at what the you and others have said.

‘We are looking across the piece at all the issues, including whether we should follow the Australians with the ban on packaging and what more we can to do to restrict smoking in public places.

‘There has been a real health advance from some of the measures that have been taken.

‘We must consider each one and work out whether there is a real public health benefit, but you make a good point.’

Health groups have called for a cigarette ban in cars for years as the confined space means the toxic fumes other passengers breathe in are up to 11 times more concentrated.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, backed the PM: ‘The case for a ban on smoking in cars is now unarguable.

‘Since the BLF began this campaign in 2010, we’ve had overwhelming support from the public, from politicians – and now from the Government’s own health minister.

‘Unfortunately, since then, children’s exposure to second-hand smoke has resulted in 800,000 primary care consultations, 440,000 new episodes of disease and 25,000 hospital admissions.’

Yesterday Miss Soubry, a junior minister for public health, became the first frontbencher to suggest it, although she stressed this was her own opinion not Government policy.

‘I would ban smoking in cars where children are present’, she told the Local Government Association’s annual public health conference yesterday.

‘I would do that for the protection of children. I believe in protecting children. I would see it as a child welfare issue. I think it is something we should at least consider as a government.


The minister would need to convince David Cameron who said he backed the ban on smoking in public places (posed by models)

Miss Soubry, Tory MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire has courted controversy for her outspoken views on people’s lifestyles.

Last month she said children from poor backgrounds were more likely to be obese due to an ‘abundance of bad food’.

However research from a US university published shortly afterwards suggested in fact middle class children were more likely to be fat.

She has also described the current laws on assisted dying as ‘appalling’.

A survey by the Department of Health last year found that more than one in five smokers lit up in front of their children in the home or in the car.

Around 300,000 children in the UK visit the GP each year due to second-hand smoke, with 9,500 visiting hospital.

It has been against the law to smoke in vehicles solely used for work, such as pool cars or lorries, since July 2007, a year after smoking in pubs, clubs and restaurants was banned.

While the government are not currently considering a ban, they have run marketing campaigns encouraging people not to smoke in front of their children at home or in the car.

Anna Soubry is the first frontbencher to suggest the proposal

Anna Soubry is the first frontbencher to suggest the proposal

The anti-smoking charity Ash said there is ‘growing public support for a ban on smoking in cars altogether.’ Martin Dockrell, its policy advisor said:

‘The minister can count on our support and the majority of the public. A ban on smoking in cars is the right thing to do. We need to think about whether this should just be aimed at children. Older adults are vulnerable too.’

South Africa has banned smoking in cars as have some parts of Canada, the US and Australia. The British Medical Association and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health also back a ban.

Second hand smoke is particularly damaging to babies and children as their smaller lungs will breathe in relatively larger doses of smoke than adults, and their immune systems are still developing.

It is associated with asthma, ear infections, pneumonia and even cot death. Research has found children who breathe in smoke are more likely to get cancer in later life.

Last year the House of Lords approved plans to ban smoking in cars, by handing offenders a £60 fine or forcing them to attend a smoke awareness course.

But they acknowledged ministers prefered education to try and convince parents to change their behaviour. David Cameron suggested it would curtail personal freedoms, and said parliament needed to have a ‘serious think’ before taking such a step.

Labour MP Alex Cunningham introduced legislation urging a ban in the Commons last year but it faced significant opposition from MPs of all parties

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Future Fund gives tobacco the flick

Judith Ireland
Published: March 1, 2013 – 3:00AM

THE Future Fund will drop tobacco producers from its investment portfolio.

Chairman of the fund’s board, David Gonski, said on Thursday that primary tobacco producers would be excluded after a review of investments by the board’s governance committee.

”The board noted tobacco’s very particular characteristics, including its damaging health effects, addictive properties and that there is no safe level of consumption,” he said in a statement.

”In doing so the board also considered its investment policies and approach to environmental, social and governance issues.”

Tobacco investments – which include companies such as British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco – accounted for 0.3 per cent, or $222 million, of the value of the multibillion-dollar Future Fund as at December 31.

It follows a 2011 decision to stop investing in landmines and cluster munitions, although the fund continues to invest in nuclear weapons.

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek welcomed the fund’s decision on tobacco, saying it was ”great news”.

Last year, the Gillard government won a High Court battle to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

Greens senator Richard Di Natale, who campaigned for the fund to drop its tobacco investments, said the decision demonstrated why it was important to have other voices in the Parliament.

”This is a win for public health and I hope that it is an inspiring example to all other investment funds,” he said.

The Future Fund was established in 2006 to provide for unfunded Commonwealth superannuation liabilities for public servants and defence personnel.

The separate nation building funds – set up in 2008 to support infrastructure, health and education – do not hold any securities issued by tobacco companies, but the same restriction will apply.

The National Heart Foundation also welcomed the decision. The foundation’s tobacco control spokesman, Maurice Swanson, said: ”We now urge the federal government, as well as all state and territory governments, to introduce firm policy to ensure that no taxpayer money is invested in tobacco companies moving forward.”


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