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September 11th, 2015:

Public support for graphic health warning labels in the U.S.



In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was required to mandate that graphic health warning labels be placed on cigarette packages and advertisements.


To assess public support in the U.S. for graphic health warning labels from 2007 to 2012.


Data from 17,498 respondents from 13 waves of the National Adult Tobacco Survey, a list-assisted random-digit-dial survey, were used. Overall support for graphic health warning labels, as well as support by smoking status, and by sociodemographics and smoker characteristics are estimated. Analyses were conducted in 2014.


Since 2007, a majority of the public overall has been in favor of labels. Support increased significantly among the public overall and among non-smokers from 2007 through 2009 (p<0.001), after which it remained flat. Among smokers, support levels increased from 2007 through 2011 (p<0.001), but decreased significantly from 2011 through 2012 (p<0.001). Support was high regardless of smoking status, although among smokers, support varied by level of smoking, interest in quitting, and whether labels were seen as an important reason to quit. Support varied by sociodemographic characteristics, particularly among smokers. Younger, less-affluent, and less-educated smokers supported labels at higher levels than their counterparts.


A majority of U.S. residents support graphic health warning labels for cigarette packs, though support among smokers declined after 2011.

Tobacco evidence – The Scotsman
Subject: Tobacco evidence – The Scotsman

Dear Sir,

I refer to the letter from Neil McKeganey (11 Sep 2015) in response to Sheila Duffy of ASH Scotland.

On the writer’s own website ( he lists Big Tobacco among his funding sources: Philip Morris / BAT/ Nicoventures & also Reckitt Benckiser BAT’s CEO Nicandro Duranante was appointed as a Non-Exec Director of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc in December 2013.

GTNF – Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum aka the ‘Davos of Tobacco’ since 2008,  is a yearly gathering of tobacco industry executives, invited front groups & paid friends of the industry where tricks of the trade are exchanged.

“what really distinguishes the GTNF is its “two-way traffic” approach. The essence of the forum and workshop sessions is interaction, conversation, debate, consensus—a sharing of knowledge, expertise and wisdom”

The writer is a repeat yearly speaker/panelist at GTNF conferences dating back numerous years & is scheduled to attend GTNF in Bologna this month

Big Tobacco does not invite dissenting voices to speak at its own industry conferences.

Indeed the writer sees nothing wrong with convicted Rico racketeers funding selective research

“it is a predatory industry whose market dynamics  demand that it recruits young people. It does this by deploying vast promotional expenditures to create, communicate & amplify a set of positive values associated with the product. Once the glamour phase subsides, nicotine addiction takes over making the customer dependent on the product & securing a profitable cash flow. Trapped by nicotine addiction, the smoker is subject to a variety of sub-lethal illnesses which culminate in a one in two probability of death through smoking-related disease. The smoker’s death means a replacement customer must be found – and the cycle begins again”

“After combing through nearly 50 million pages of previously secret, internal tobacco-industry documents, UC Davis and UC San Francisco  researchers say they have documented for the first time how the industry funded & used scientific studies to undermine evidence linking secondhand smoke to cardiovascular disease.”

Moreover, another frequent speaker at the GTNF conferences each year is Dr Delon Human, a South African doctor based in Switzerland who was funded by BAT to write a book on nicotine.

Human’s EuroSwiss Health company along with LIAF (Italian anti tobacco foundation) funded the recent Nutt report  relied upon by PHE for its ‘e-cigs 95% safer’ report.

The chief executive of LIAF is Dr Riccardo Polosa. A search of Legacy tobacco documents online reveals 134 links for ‘Polosa’ & shows his University department received Euro 400,000 study funding from PMI 12 years ago. Another regular GTNF panelist is South African opthamologist Kgiso Letlape with connections to Delon Human thru the African Medical Assn.

Polosa & Letlape are amongst the authors of the Nutt report funded by Human /LIAF and the writer rubs shoulders with them at the GTNF conferences. Another Nutt report author, K Fagerstrom is shown as a recipient of industry funding.  (the Davos of Tobacco)

As for the writer’s query on the effectiveness of killing the ‘Silent Salesman’ (the last available advertising outlet for Big T = the pack) combined with a multi pronged approach of increased taxation , health warnings replacing the glitz & control of point of display, Health Australia states:

Q: Have any early impacts of tobacco plain packaging been identified?

A: Research undertaken during the roll-out phase of the tobacco plain packaging legislation, when both plain and branded packs were available found that plain packaged cigarettes with larger health warnings increased smokers’ urgency to quit and lowered the appeal of smoking

Australia’s plain packaging laws successful, studies show The first comprehensive evaluation of Australia’s ground-breaking plain packaging tobacco laws shows they are working, the Victorian Cancer Council says.

Fourteen separate studies on the impact of plain packaging in its first year were published today in a special supplement to the British Medical Journal.

The research found after the laws were implemented, there was a “statistically significant increase” in the number of people thinking about & making attempts to quit smoking

Readers must query the possible bias and intentions of the correspondent with a pinch of salt, which is also bad for the health.

People in glass houses should not throw stones.


James Middleton



00:29 Friday 11 September 2015


Sheila Duffy (Letters, 9 September), like many single-issue lobbyists, celebrates the data that confirms her view while casually disregarding other evidence that contradicts it.

In her letter, she refers to the dozens of studies that have focused on tobacco plain packaging without mentioning the “inconvenient finding” that not a single one of those studies has actually shown a reduction in smoking prevalence attributable to plain packaging.

In advance of this policy being implemented in Australia, leading tobacco control researchers were advising that plain packaging would result in a 1 per cent reduction in adult smoking 
and a 3 per cent reduction in children’s smoking within two
years of the policy being implemented.

Those same researchers are now advising that plain packaging may be a “slow burn distal” influence on smoking with its impact best considered in the long term when it is used alongside a whole host of other tobacco control measures such as taxation.

Tobacco plain packaging was implemented as a way of reducing smoking prevalence and while it may well reduce the 
attractiveness of smoking, nobody ever died from the attractiveness of a cigarette packet.

The key to reducing smoking-related health harm, as Duffy well knows, is to reduce smoker numbers.

Those who advocated for plain packaging should be demanding the evidence on whether it has reduced smoker numbers rather than switching the assessment criteria to a range of soft, subjective measures, such as determining if plain packaging reduces the appeal of smoking.

Neil McKeganey PhD

Centre for Drug Misuse Research Glasgow

19:56 Tuesday 08 September 2015


In THE midst of a recent article about alcohol minimum unit pricing, Neil McKeganay, from the Centre for Drug Misuse Research, casually dismisses proposals for standardised tobacco packaging as lacking in evidence. Far from being rushed this policy has been years in the making, and the subject of dozens of studies – I wish all policy initiatives were so carefully considered and had such strong public support.

Plain, standardised packaging makes the look of tobacco more truthful and is designed to disrupt tobacco companies’ attempts to hook in new consumers through presenting their product as sophisticated, rugged or slimming. In 2011 the UK Department of Health commissioned a systematic review of 37 studies on the likely impact of standardised packaging, later updated with 17 further studies. This evidence consistently demonstrated that standard packs would reduce the appeal of tobacco products and increase people’s awareness of health warnings.

In Australia where tobacco has been sold in standardised packaging since December 2012, all the early signs are encouraging. Smokers say the cigarettes don’t taste as good, and that they are more likely to think about quitting. Smoking rates in Australia are plummeting. Figures from the Australian department of health show that tobacco consumption in the first quarter of 2014 was at the lowest ever recorded.

McKeganay’s own tobacco-industry funded group claims an interest in researching “harm reduction”. Standardised tobacco packaging is a well-evidenced harm reduction measure.

Sheila Duffy

ASH Scotland Frederick Street Edinburgh

Are we all shills for Big Tobacco?

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On September 9, the Financial Review carried a lead story about how Sydney University, fresh from efforts to significantly reduce fossil fuels within its $1.4b portfolio, was now investing in British American Tobacco, beer giant SAB Miller and FEMSA, a big Mexican Coca-Cola and Powerade bottler.

Earlier this year, in response to the university’s public commitment to reduce the overall carbon footprint of its investments, the profiles of all its funds managers were reviewed. The university is a signatory to the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) and a member of the UN-led PDC (Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition).

The university’s investment policy prohibits investment in entities “directly involved in the primary manufacture of complete tobacco products”, but Vice President for Operations Sara Watts told me one of its fund managers inadvertently gave the university “indirect exposure to tobacco and alcohol products because of the pooled nature of the investment vehicle used by that manager”.

“This is an issue which the university takes seriously, and we will be looking at options that remove this indirect exposure and will bring them to the relevant Senate committee for decision,” she said.

The sub-text of the Fin Review piece was plain: Sydney University was being hypocritical, publicly divesting in stocks that swelled its carbon footprint, while investing $2m in big tobacco. It was therefore benefiting from the sales of a product that kills over 6 million people annually around the world.

Sydney University has been a pioneer in getting rid of tobacco from its affairs. In September 1982, its Senate passed the world’s first policy that disallowed staff from accepting grants from a tobacco company. This was strengthened in 2003, after a protest I led over the then chair of BAT Australia, Nick Greiner, being appointed to an honorary role in the university’s Graduate School of Government. Greiner resigned from his position.

Tobacco companies are the only companies explicitly excluded from participation in the annual student career fairs; tobacco is not sold on campus; and smoking is banned everywhere but four small, outdoor designated smoking areas far from buildings.

The Fin Review story saw pro-smoking activists delirious with excitement on social media that this meant, of course, that I was now obviously a big tobacco shill, as my salary derived in part from tobacco investments. This meant I was now paid by them, the argument ran.

With $2m of $1.4b invested in BAT, the homeopathically small proportion that might arguably be linked to my salary would be pressed to buy a sachet of sugar for a coffee. But that’s what passes for excitement among pro-smokers these days.

Indeed, by extending the same logic, there is no citizen in Australia who is free from taking the Big Tobacco dollar. Some $9.763b is collected annually from customs and excise duty on tobacco and GST. This money goes into consolidated revenue where, along with every other form of government revenue, it is pooled to provide expenditure on things we all use and benefit from: roads, government schools, health care, prisons, defence etc.

Every doctor in Australia by this argument, “benefits” from big tobacco each time they receive a Medicare payment from Canberra.

I’m proud of the responsive way my university is dealing with its carbon-footprint-related investments. I’m confident that the inadvertent investment in a tobacco company will soon be erased. And I’m certain that BAT doesn’t see me as a shill on its payroll.

JAILED: Stretford air stewardess who smuggled shisha tobacco into the UK from Dubai

CTA says:

Numerous locations in Hong Kong are offering shisha smoking
There is no Government Chemist tested and registered excise paid shisha tobacco in Hong Kong
There is no record of tar or nicotine content
It stands to reason that all shisha tobaccos are either hand carried or couriered or posted into Hong Kong and no duty is paid,
no warning labels are attached on the container and all such products are ILLEGAL:
so, do something about it…………….. put the onus on the vendors and users to show their excise receipt

AN air stewardess who repeatedly smuggled shisha tobacco into the UK from Dubai has been jailed for 18 months.

Jade Kaur, from Stretford, was caught with 25kg of non-UK duty paid shisha tobacco and 3,200 cigarettes in her luggage when stopped by Border Force officers after landing at Manchester Airport in November last year – evading more than £57,000 in excise duty.

The 27-year-old was arrested and the HMRC investigation uncovered messages on her mobile phone that proved she had carried out at least a dozen similar long-haul trips while off duty.

The hauls evaded more than £57,000 in excise duty.

Kaur owned up to illegally bringing 275kg of shisha into the UK between July 2014 and November 2014 while flying in on staff-discounted tickets from Dubai, where she was based at the time, to Manchester.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “As an air stewardess, Kaur knew exactly what she was doing was illegal, yet kept on going for months purely to line her own pockets. But now the game is up and she is paying the highest price by losing her freedom, not to mention her career.

“HMRC will not hesitate to investigate those who try to profit from defrauding honest taxpayers and businesses. If you have information about illegal smuggling activity, the transport, storage or sale of illicit tobacco, cigarettes or alcohol you should contact the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Kaur pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to three counts of the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.