Oct 22, 2014
Tobacco companies may be excluded from the investor protection chapter of the free trade agreement between the US and 11 other Pacific nations, according to reports.
A Reuters source “who has knowledge of the negotiations” said the US is to suggest that the tobacco industry should not have the right to sue governments for introducing anti-smoking healthcare regulation, as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
There are a number of high-profile cases currently underway, whereby tobacco companies are using the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause of existing free trade agreements to challenge government rulings that damage their profits.
In Australia, Philip Morris International (PMI), the Swiss-based manufacturer of Marlboro, is suing the government for introducing plain packaging. In Uruguay, it is pursuing the government in the courts over anti-smoking legislation (for example, the ‘single presentation’ requirement that prohibits marketing more than one tobacco product under each brand and the requirement that health warnings cover 80% of a cigarette pack).
In both cases, PMI says this damages the company’s brand and trademarks.
TPP negotiations are ongoing in Australia, with the host nation joined at the table by the US, Japan, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam, Peru, Chile, Brunei and New Zealand.
Reuters reported that the US is considering tabling the idea at this round of talks and the reaction will be watched closely from Europe, where ISDS is forming a key part of the debate around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the free trade agreement being negotiated between the EU and US.
Today (22 October), the new European Commission was voted in by the European Parliament, with the President and Trade Commissioner both making strong statements on ISDS.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission’s new president, said in a parliamentary address in Strasbourg this morning that his commission “will not accept that the jurisdiction of courts in the EU member states be limited by special regimes for investor-to-state disputes” – suggesting that he is keen to move away from the private tribunal scenario that typically defines ISDS hearings.
He has tasked Frans Timmermans, the commission’s first vice-president, with advising him on the issue, saying: “There will be no investor-to-state dispute clause in TTIP if Frans does not agree with it too.”
This would seem to imply that Juncker supports the kind of ISDS included in the free trade agreement with Canada, which has been finalised but not ratified. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) included a reformed ISDS clause, whereby the European Commission is thought to have negotiated safeguards to ensure ISDS could not be used to block government decisions over national legislation.
The culture and airline sectors are set to be exempt from ISDS in Ceta, meaning that there would be some precedent should the US decide to negotiate the exclusion of tobacco in both TPP and TTIP.
Cecilia Malmström, the new trade commissioner, has sought to allay rumours of a dispute over ISDS with Juncker. Taking to social media, she said there are “no differences in the commission on ISDS”, saying she looked forward to addressing the issue with Juncker and Timmermans.
She added: “If it is to be included in TTIP, ISDS must indeed be reformed”.
Timmermans will oversee regulatory reform within the commission and is set to be given the authority to slash red tape and rework subsidiarity (whereby decisions are taken on a national government level rather than centrally).
In his address, Juncker announced that Timmermans – a Dutch Labour politician – will also have “horizontal responsibility for sustainable development”.
It led one MEP to remark to IBTimes UK that he is “being given everything that seems to be causing the commission trouble”.
Speaking earlier this year on TTIP, Timmermans said: “It is very simple, if we are able to see TTIP for what it is: not a free trade agreement. TTIP is a geostrategic agreement. It is a political agreement. It should not be left up to people who know everything about the way you slaughter chickens. It should be something our political leaders should take up and decide on soon.
“When you have TTIP in place, it will change the nature of the game globally. Because then the United States and Europe will set the rules of the game, and the others will follow suit, including China, Japan and others.”
Sir, In James C Miller III’s letter (October 16), the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) attempts to cast itself as a key stakeholder in setting tobacco taxation policy at last week’s meetings for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. But the Russian government and Secretariat for the treaty were right to renounce ITIC as an arm of the tobacco industry. For all ITIC’s bluster about offering “fact-based taxation advice” and “transparency” in its dealings with governments, the reality is the organisation acts as a front group for big tobacco. Its main financial sponsors includes four of the largest tobacco corporations, including Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco.
Margaret Chan, the World Health Organisation director-general, has many times noted that allowing these bad actors to participate in their own regulation is akin to foxes guarding the hen house. And to this end the treaty has prohibited as much. The strong guidelines on tobacco taxation adopted last week by the 178 countries party to the treaty is tribute to this prohibition.
Corporate Accountability International
Director, Challenge Big Tobacco Campaign
Electronic cigarettes, or eCigs, are shrouded in controversy. The industry says it’s safer than smoking because carcinogens are removed by replacing the plant matter in tobacco with vegetable glycerin, which is then evaporated instead of burned and smoked.
VG is a common food-grade thinning agent used in a variety of foods, including those fast food scrambled eggs served at restaurants, hotels, and cafeterias. It’s also the base for cough syrups, both over-the-counter and prescribed (such as codeine syrup, the active ingredient in sizzurp).
Dosed or not, you can fill an eCig tank with just flavored vegetable glycerin, which will produce smoke, however you won’t get the burn effect in your lungs some smokers crave. This is caused by adding propylene glycol to the mixture. PG is the chemical solution found in theatrical smoke machines. It’s debatably food grade.
The more PG you add, the more of a burn you’ll get from the vapor, but a max of 20 percent is sufficient. It’s a good idea to skip the PG though, and many vaping connoisseurs do so. Although there are risks of drowning when too much vapor condenses in your lungs, the biggest concern is the PG effect on your body when inhaled over long periods of time.
Dissolving Pharmaceuticals in Glycerin
Since it’s the base for codeine cough syrup, it stands to reason any drug can be dissolved in vegetable glycerin and either swallowed or vaped (depending on whether or not it needs heat to activate it).
Drugs that can be dissolved in Glycerin include ecstasy, Molly, (both MDA and MDMA), meth and other amphetamines, heroin, codeine, Percocet, ritalin, xanax, acid, DMT, mushrooms, science, or even just muscle relaxers or over-the-counter medications.
In addition, THC and CBD concentrates can be thinned with vegetable glycerin, along with other terpines, to be vaped in an eCig. This is best done prior to letting it set to become shatter or honeycomb wax.
Dissolving Herbs in Glycerin
Dissolving tobacco, marijuana nugget, and other herbs in vegetable glycerin is achieved through a process called steeping, which is how teas are infused. This is best done in a double boiler, which is accomplished by putting the herbs and oil in a jar in a boiling pot, rather than directly on the heat.
Steeping can be used to infuse glycerin with tobacco, cannabis, kief, magic mushrooms, kraton, peyote, ayahuasca, and more.
With many herbs, you can steep in the sun if you live somewhere with ample lighting.
Warning About Drugs
The above information is in no way meant to teach drug usage. Dosage measurement would need to be carefully regulated to avoid overdose as many drugs are toxic when not used as directed. Do not attempt to actually vaporize any drugs in glycerin unless you understand the risks, and you’re sure you want to…
14 Oct 2014.
Delegates to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Moscow opted to bar the public, including media representatives, from their plenary session, according to two accounts.
Following ejection of tobacco industry observers, expert groups and some media representatives from the viewing gallery from the 13 Oct opening session, all accredited media were kept from the hall on the following day, a Russian journalist told TJI. The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) is scheduled to close on 18 Oct.
“Hidden agendas corrupt policy-making processes”, commented Michiel Reerink, vice president for global regulatory strategy at Japan Tobacco International. “COP is again hijacked by tobacco control lobbyists who freely exercise undue influence. We urge the FCTC to take every remaining opportunity to fix this broken process,” Reerink said in a prepared statement.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in the text of her COP6 opening address, said “, despite the fact that we are facing new threats, like the Ebola virus, we still draw your attention to the fact that tobacco control remains our main priority.”
COP meetings are held semi-annually to review and expand the scope of the FCTC. COP sessions in Korea two years ago and Uruguay in 2010 also were closed to outside observers.