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January, 2017:

Berlin woman faces €250,000 fine if she smokes on balcony past 8pm

A woman in Berlin has been banned from smoking on her balcony past 8pm – a violation the ban could lead to a fine of up to €250,000, or six months in prison.

Uta F., 52, has lived in her Berlin-Hellersdorf apartment for the past nine years, but now her occasional nightly routine of having an evening cigarette has been halted by a court, according to B.Z..

Her upstairs neighbour took her to court because he said the smoke coming from her balcony was blowing into his apartment and bothering him.

Uta F. told B.Z. that she enjoyed having her evening cigarette on her balcony in her fourth floor apartment.

“I don’t smoke a lot – in the evening with wine or sometimes when I cannot sleep at night,” she said.

But a local court ruled that Uta F. may no longer smoke on her balcony between 8pm and 6am. The two parties ultimately agreed to the conditions of the judgement, and Uta F. may therefore not appeal, a civil court spokeswoman told broadcaster rbb on Monday evening.

The judge further stated that if the woman were to violate the conditions, she would face a fine of up to €250,000, or six months in prison.

“This punishment is, however, very unlikely,” the court spokeswoman said.

The judgement had been based on a federal court ruling in 2015 that said smoking tenants are only guaranteed to be able to smoke on their balconies during limited time periods, because the smoke presents a significant disturbance to others.

In that case, two married couples had battled it out for years over one couple’s smoking habits. After the federal court ruling, the case was sent back to a lower court for further review, but was ultimately thrown out because the wife in the pair of smokers had died.

Last year, one of Germany’s ‘most famous smokers’ won a years-long legal battle against eviction before a Düsseldorf court. The court found that there was not sufficient evidence to show that he was disturbing the peace.

One liberal politician from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) condemned the latest ruling in Berlin. The Berlin state parliament representative and FDP spokesman for legal and constitutional protection said that he could only shake his head at the ruling.

“Forbidding an occasional smoker from having an evening cigarette on her own balcony constitutes a very big encroachment on her personal sphere,” said the FDP’s Holger Krestel.

Donald Trump’s inauguration fueled by tobacco, oil and drug company money

Other big-spending sponsors include insurers, auto makers, tech giants

Big corporations with money riding on President Donald Trump’s policies helped pick up the tab for Trump’s inaugural festivities earlier this month, new disclosures show.

The companies’ five-to-seven-figure contributions earned company representatives prime perks, including access to events featuring the newly inaugurated president, Vice President Mike Pence, the Trump and Pence families and prospective Cabinet members and administration officials.

Pfizer Inc. and Dow Chemical Co. both disclosed making $1 million contributions to Trump’s inaugural committee in December 2016.

Microsoft Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Amgen Inc. and Altria Client Services LLC reported giving $500,000 each, a contribution that would have earned tickets to a similar list of events.

According to Microsoft’s report, half its contribution was in cash and half in “in-kind contribution, products and services.”

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported making its contribution on Dec. 19, the week after Trump announced he would nominate Rex Tillerson, the company’s chairman and CEO, as secretary of state. Tillerson’s nomination is still pending.

General Motors Co. reported giving $200,000. Six companies reported $100,000 contributions: Verizon Communications Inc., Valero Energy Corp., MetLife Group Inc., Clean Energy Fuels Corp., Anthem, Inc., and Aetna Inc.

Aflac, Inc. reported giving $50,000 and Monsanto Co., Florida East Coast Industries, CVS Health and Brown Rudnick LLP reported giving $25,000.

According to inauguration donor packages previously obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, donors in the “$1,000,000+” tier were to receive four tickets to a “leadership luncheon” billed as “an exclusive event with select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership to honor our most generous inaugural supporters.”

Donors in the $500,000 tiers also got access to a dinner with Pence and his wife, a candlelight dinner with Trump and Pence, and other festivities. Donors in lower tiers received more limited ticket packages to inaugural events.

The inauguration committee doesn’t have to file detailed reports listing contributors until 90 days after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

But companies that lobby the federal government are legally required to file so-called “lobbying contribution” reports twice a year, and contributions to inaugural committees must be disclosed. The reports only cover the second half of 2016, so any 2017 contributions companies made to the inaugural committee aren’t included.

Trump’s inaugural committee raised more than $100 million, according to a report in the New York Times earlier this month, far more than previous inaugural committees. Tens of millions of dollars in inaugural contributions have yet to be disclosed.

The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

This article was co-published by the Buffalo News.

Trump’s Administration on the FDA Regulating Cigars

President Donald Trump and his administration are about to get busy in the coming months. The present administration is expected to review the regulatory powers of the Food and Drug Administration of the United States over tobacco products.

The Daily Caller reports that organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are petitioning the FDA with its programs to discourage young people from smoking pipes and cigars. The group sees the idea of the government arm of paying up to $25 per cigar as absurd.

Last year, the FDA announced that its plans to regulate tobacco products and e-cigarettes did not push through in August because of injunctions filed by tobacco organizations against the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services in July 2016. The additional regulations aim to prohibit walk-in humidors in stores, ban colorful and artistic labels on cigars and cigar boxes and will require pipe shop owners to secure a manufacturer’s license prior to taking bulk tobacco orders.

The H.R. 563, known as the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Preservation Act of 2017, when taken into effect will override the FDA’s regulations for cigars and was originally sponsored by Congressman Bill Posey and Florida Democrat Kathy Castor.

Forbes reports that Trump’s views against regulations and how they hamper the U.S. economy is backed up in his First 100 Days of Action Plan where is plans on cutting the red tape at the FDA. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was signed by former U.S President Barack Obama gave the FDA the regulatory powers over tobacco products.

The new President’s move against or in favor of new and existing policies in the administration is now creating speculations not only in the FDA issue but as well as in healthcare. Trump has been very expressive against the Affordable Care Act and has pledged that an appeal to Congress will be in the works once he is elected.

Modifications of his stance on these issues and how far he will deconstruct existing policies is what the nation awaits.

Tobacco price rises cut smoking but some pay more than $40 a packet

The rapid rise of tobacco prices is seeing smokers change habits, say Nelson retailers.

However, there are diehard smokers, who say they cannot give up, paying more than NZ$40 for a packet of their preferred cigarettes.

At 10 per cent increase on cigarettes and tobacco products took effect this month, the first of four annual 10 per cent increases designed to help make New Zealand smokefree by 2025.


Smoking just a little more harder to take in with tax hikes on January 1 raising the price of tobacco products by 10 per cent.

The cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes will rise to about $30 in the next four years.

Independent retailer Mark Nicholson of Richmond Discount said the excise tax increases had “not negatively” affected his business.

But he had seen a shift in where people bought their tobacco, and a change from premium to value brands.

“They’ll come to us because it’s a bit cheaper and a bit faster, as opposed to regulatory [procedures] at places like supermarkets,” he said.

While he accepted there was a goal to reduce smoking rates in New Zealand, especially among young people, Nicholson said there were unintended consequences from the price increases.

Some of his regular clients were getting “hammered” financially due to their life-long habit.

“The bulk of our customers are aged, on a pension or fixed income, have smoked their whole life and when they started smoking no one was saying, ‘hey its bad for you’,” he said.

A Nelson smoker of 48 years, who did not want to be named, said he now had to pay NZ$46 for his preferred packet of 40 cigarettes.

“It’s not going to restrict me because I’m craving for the damn thing – I’m addicted and there’s nothing they can come up with any certainty that will knock the cigarettes off,” he said.

He said he started smoking when it was a common part of Kiwi culture, when the health effects were not fully known and there were no warning labels on packets.

Nicholson said another unintended consequence of price rises was to make tobacco products very attractive to organised crime.

As a result, Nicholson said businesses like his spent thousands annually on insurance and security to protect against those looking to cash in.

“The costs just get exponentially higher for us, the risks get exponentially higher and we have to do things to combat that, because you’re talking about a product that’s highly targetable and highly fencible.”

Manager of Fresh Choice Nelson City Mark A’Court said sales for cigarettes and tobacco were down this year.

“This is an ongoing trend for our store over the past few years, where we are 7 per cent down, but not in all supermarkets where tobacco sales actually [show] growth in sales dollars, not volume.”

A’Court said Fresh Choice’s prices were set by its head office and they did not get into discount lines as some stores had done.

Packets of 20 were being sold for between NZ$23- $27, while 30 gram pouches of tobacco were selling between $48-$53.

New Zealand is already one of the most expensive places to buy cigarettes in the world, behind Australia which also has strong pricing measures to deter smokers.

Online database Numbeo shows that a packet of 20 Marlboro cigarettes costs, on average, NZ$22.

In comparison, the same quantity costs NZ$26.04 in Australia, $NZ15.57 in Britain, $NZ8.99 in the USA and $NZ0.93 in Nigeria.

Smokers have declined significantly in New Zealand in the last 20 years with 17 per cent of adults currently smoking, of which 15 per cent smoke daily.

This has dropped from 25 per cent in 1996/97.

The New Zealand youth smoking rate dropped from 14 per cent to 6 per cent in the past 5 years.

The three key objectives of tobacco control activities in New Zealand are to reduce smoking initiation, increase quitting and reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

The national target is that 90 percent of Primary Health Organisation-enrolled patients who smoke have been offered help to quit smoking by a health practitioner in the last 15 months.

For the quarter between July and September 2016, Nelson Bays Primary Health sat third on the national table, with 92 per cent.

The cost of smoking: (Source: Quitline)

– Someone smoking a pack a day spends about $160 a week on cigarettes, which is nearly $8,500 each year.
– There are approximately 650,000 smokers in New Zealand.
– 4,700-5,000 New Zealanders die from smoking-related illness each year.
– Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand.

Anti-Tobacco Groups Worried About Trump, Congress

Lawmakers considering efforts to weaken FDA’s regulatory power

The federal government and most states continued to receive mostly failing grades from the American Lung Association (ALA) for efforts to reduce tobacco use among adults and teens during 2016, despite the enactment of the long-awaited “deeming” rule giving FDA regulatory authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars.

The failure to require graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging and to move toward banning menthol cigarettes earned federal administrators and lawmakers an “F” grade from the ALA for tobacco regulation, according to the group’s annual State of Tobacco Control report, released late this week.

But despite these shortcomings, anti-tobacco advocates who spoke to MedPage Today say there is no question that regulatory and other actions taken at the state and federal level during the Obama administration’s 8-year tenure helped spur the record decline in tobacco use among adults and teens.

And they expressed concern that many of these hard-fought gains will be rolled back by the new administration and Congress.

“There is no question that what government does makes a big difference,” Matthew L. Myers of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids told MedPage Today.

“During the last eight years we have seen tobacco advertising restricted through the FDA, there have been sustained (anti-tobacco) mass media campaigns, tobacco taxes have increased and internet sales have been curtailed. All of these things contributed to the dramatic decline in tobacco consumption,” Myers asserted.

Speaking with a group of corporate leaders on Monday, President Trump vowed to do away with 75% or more of government regulations and he repeated his campaign promise of massive tax cuts.

Myers said Trump’s views on specific tobacco regulations and taxes are not known.

“President Trump has not spoken about this, so it is still unclear what position he will personally take,” Myers said. “To date, the physical manifestation of our concern comes from the cigarette and e-cigarette industries urging Congress to curtail funding for successful mass media campaigns and critical regulatory measures.”

The ALA’s Erika Seward said two specific attempts now before Congress to weaken FDA’s regulatory authority over tobacco are of particular concern.

On Jan. 13, Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) reintroduced a bill in the House to exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation. The agency’s deeming rule announced last May extended its authority to cigars, e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and hookah. Posey first introduced the legislation in 2015, but it failed to pass under the previous Congress.

Congress is also considering legislation to grandfather flavored e-cigarettes and other non-traditional cigarette tobacco products, which would allow them to stay on the market.

“This is especially troubling because the Surgeon General has found that these flavors are particularly attractive to kids,” Seward said, noting that flavorings are believed to be a major driver of the more than 10-fold increase in e-cigarette use among high school-age kids between 2011 and 2015.

She added that there is “real concern about what lies ahead for reducing tobacco use and, specifically, whether the FDA’s existing authority will be weakened.”

While President Trump has not yet named a new FDA director, past actions by his pick for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary have not lessened this fear.

Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-Ga.), was one of the few members of Congress to vote against giving FDA authority over tobacco, and he also voted against continuation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is largely funded by tobacco taxes.

As head of HHS, Price would have authority over the FDA, the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other major health agencies.

Myers said lobbyists from the e-cigarette industry are working to convince lawmakers to effectively prevent the FDA from regulating the products, as are groups that oppose government regulation on ideological grounds.

On Jan. 17, a coalition of a dozen free-market and anti-tax activist groups opposed to e-cigarette regulation, including FreedomWorks and Campaign for Liberty, sent a letter to Congress urging that all products on the market before the regulations went into effect last August be exempt from key provisions of FDA oversight, arguing that regulation “is depriving smokers of a demonstrably safer alternative (to traditional cigarettes).”

“While everyone’s focus seems to be on the White House, the tobacco industry has made it clear that it intends to urge Congress to dramatically curtail what has been working to reduce tobacco use,” Myers said.”It may feel like we’ve been back this year for a really long time, but it’s still early.”

Dundee smokers needed for university’s vaping study

Smokers in Dundee are being recruited for a new study that will examine the potential health risks of vaping.

Researchers at Dundee University are looking for 135 volunteers who have been smoking for at least two years and who smoke more than 15 tobacco cigarettes a day, or the equivalent amount of rolling tobacco, for the vital research.

The effects of smoking on blood vessels will then be compared to the blood vessels of those who use e-cigarettes.

The VESUVIUS study is being funded by the British Heart Foundation who say more work is needed to understand the potential impact of vaping on heart and circulatory health.

Smokers who sign up for the study will be put into one of three possible treatment groups: continuing with tobacco cigarettes, switching to e-cigarettes with nicotine or e-cigarettes without nicotine.

Dr Jacob George, who is leading the study, said: “Many people are using e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking and they are sold on the principle that they’re a much safer alternative to traditional cigarettes because they don’t contain harmful substances like tobacco and tar.

“But just like traditional cigarettes, most of the do contain nicotine, which can be harmful to blood vessels.

“So it’s essential to know how much safer they really are, compared to tobacco cigarettes.”

Participants will have to make two visits to Ninewells Hosptial, four weeks apart. There, they will provide blood and breath samples as well as receiving a blood pressure check and undergoing a non-invasive ultrasound examination of blood vessels in their arm.

British Heart Foundation Scotland director James Cant said: “We all know that smoking tobacco raises our risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.

“E-cigs have been hailed by some as a great way to help smokers quit but little is actually known about their impact on our heart and circulatory system. That’s why we’re delighted to funding this important research.”

Anyone who wants to take part should contact trial manager Pippa Hopkinson on 01382 383195 or 07850 540230.

New Study on Mental Illness and Cigarette Use

40% of smokers in the U.S. have been diagnosed with mental illness

Taking a drag or just a quick smoke break could be hazardous.

According to recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, cigarette use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

“We have a tendency sometimes to not think of it as being as dangerous as things like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, when in reality it kills more people than any illicit drug,” says treatment coordinator for the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, Jean Hartzog.

In West Monroe, a tobacco summit was held as different groups gathered to search for new ways to end the addicting habit.

“We are an area that has a lot of need for this sort of thing, and it’s good to see all of these people coming together,” says cardiologist, Mark Napolli.

Organizers share important facts, saying 40% of smokers in the U.S. have been diagnosed with mental illness.

“Individuals with mental health difficulties die on the average, 25 years earlier than the general population, that’s a lot of years to give up,” says Hartzog.

E-cigs seem to be the popular alternative for smoking cigarettes, but specialists agree there has not been enough research to determine the dangers of this device. However, they do comment on the dangers of nicotine.

“The main active ingredient in the e cigarettes and the vaping is nicotine, and that is the same chemical that is in tobacco which is addicting and which can cause a lot of vascular complications as well as brain development impairment in younger people, says Napolli.

Organizers say, they hope to improve tobacco treatment through policy change and coalition building.

They leave one simple message for residents.

“76% of Louisianians don’t smoke, and you need to join them,” says Hartzog.

Whether it’s in treatment facilities, in the work place, or at home, organizers encourage everyone to stomp the habit for good.

Neuhaus signs Tobacco 21 legislation

Orange is the first county in the Hudson Valley to enact such a law, which takes effect June 1

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus signed legislation on Friday, Jan. 27, to enact a law that would increase the minimum age for purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products in the county from 18 to 21.

The Orange County Legislature unanimously approved the proposal in December. Legislator James DiSalvo, R-Highland Falls, introduced the law a month earlier.

DiSalvo’s father, Mike, a member of the American Heart Association’s Executive Leadership Team, represented him at the signing. Neuhaus was joined at the event by Legislator Barry Cheney, Deputy Commissioner of Health Chris Ericson and representatives from the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Action Network, and the American Lung Association.

“I am pleased to take this proactive step toward keeping cigarettes out of the hands of young people,” Neuhaus said. “I want all Orange County residents to be healthy. As a parent of three, with another child on the way, I want to do all we can to reduce access to cigarettes.”

The Tobacco 21 law takes effect on June 1. Retailers who sell tobacco to someone under 21 could be fined $300 to $1,000 for a first offense and between $500 and $1,500 for further violations.

There are currently nine other counties in New York State where the minimum age for buying tobacco products is 21: Albany, Schenectady, Chautauqua, Suffolk and the five counties that make up New York City.

In Onondaga and Nassau counties, the minimum age is 19. In all other counties the minimum age remains 18.

“We want all county residents to live longer, healthier and more productive lives,” James DiSalvo said. “This measure will help to reduce Medicare and Medicaid tobacco related costs in the future. I am thankful this legislation received bi-partisan support and appreciate everyone who assisted in getting this accomplished.”

3,200 first-time young smokers each dayAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness.

Approximately nine out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18. Each day in the U.S., according to the CDC, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers.

Proof ‘we can work together’“This legislation is proof of the good work we can do when we work together,” Chairman of the Legislature Steve Brescia said. “I see this as a model of how we can advance serious, substantive legislation going forward.”

Added Commissioner of Health Dr. Eli Avila: “This is a proactive move in public health and another important step to keep our younger population from becoming addicted to tobacco products.”

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845-291-3255 or

Call to ban sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes in Wales

Health officials are calling for a ban on the sale of confectionary-like flavours in e-cigarettes over concerns they appeal to children.

Public Health Wales said it could potentially lead to nicotine addiction in adult life.

It recommends restrictions on advertising e-cigarettes in all media regularly viewed by children.

A vaping company said it should be able to market itself as an “alternative to smoking”.

There are also calls for restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes in and around school grounds and a register of retailers to be set up to prevent their sale to under 18s.

E-cigarettes deliver nicotine within an inhalable aerosol by heating a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and or glycerol, and are available in a variety of flavours.

Ashley Gould from Public Health Wales (PHW) said: “You can buy bubblegum, candyfloss, jam doughnut flavour e-cigarettes and they are only aimed at one audience – and that’s about recruiting children.”

PHW said while the health risks associated with e-cigarettes were significantly lower than cigarettes “they are not without risk.”

It said the potential risks were:

Mimicking smoking a cigarette, which could play a role in normalising smoking behaviour
May reduce the likelihood of smokers quitting by displacing proven methods
Potentially acting as a gateway to tobacco use

The potential benefits e-cigarettes can have on smokers were also identified.

The UK’s Royal College of Physicians previously said they should be offered to smokers to help them quit.

Mr Gould said for people who are smoking and want to continue to do so, they would “100% advocate making the switch to e-cigarettes because it’s less harmful than continuing to smoke”.

Joe Bevan, director at Celtic Vapours, said he would like to be able to market his product “as an alternative to smoking.”

“We’re not nicotine replacement therapy and we’re not smoking,” he added.

He said the vapour e-cigarettes give off is “no more dangerous than the actual air we breathe on a daily basis.

“Our emissions tests have shown if you stand by a busy road you will inhale more toxins.”

Public Health Wales issues updated advice on e-cigarettes

Public Health Wales has today (26 January) published its updated position statement providing advice to the public about the potential impacts of e-cigarettes on health.

The updated advice says that, for children and young people and non-smoking adults, the use of e-cigarettes is likely to be harmful to health.

Current smokers who want to quit are advised to find out about the range of help available to them and choose the approach that is best for them. This help includes proven NHS services like Stop Smoking Wales and community pharmacies.

The advice for committed smokers who can’t or won’t quit is that switching completely to e-cigarettes will significantly benefit their health.

Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement for Public Health Wales, said:

“We recognise that there are a lot of confusing and contradictory messages around e-cigarettes. This is because there isn’t one simple answer – it is different for different groups of the population.

“In simple terms, if you don’t smoke, don’t vape. But if you are a committed smoker who is unwilling or unable to quit, switching completely to e-cigarettes will be beneficial to your health.”

Public Health Wales is committed to a smoke-free and nicotine-free Wales in the longer term.

The new position statement was approved at a meeting of the Public Health Wales Board today.