Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

October 9th, 2015:

Tobacco Giants Say They Shouldn’t Be Singled Out under Trans-Pacific Partnership – Why Not When Their Products Kill 6 Million a Year–why-not-when-their-products-kill-6-million-a-year-300157274.html

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

It is absurd that tobacco giants Philip Morris International and Altria are complaining the tobacco industry is being “singled out” because the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement prevents them from using the TPP to attack life-saving measures to reduce tobacco use.

Tobacco products SHOULD be treated differently. They are uniquely lethal and kill when used as intended, and the tobacco industry is the poster child for abuse of the world trade system. How shameless of tobacco companies to play the victim when the real victims are the six million people their products kill worldwide each year.

It is not surprising for tobacco companies to say and do anything to sell more cigarettes despite the fact they kill millions every year. The question now is this: Will members of Congress stand for the right of governments, including our own government, to protect the health of their citizens from tobacco, or will they stand with the tobacco companies and help them spread death and disease around the world? Congress should reject the tobacco industry’s disingenuous arguments and support this landmark provision in the TPP that protects nations’ authority to enact tobacco control measures.

This safeguard for tobacco control measures is necessary given the abusive conduct of the tobacco industry and the uniquely harmful nature of tobacco products. Tobacco products are the only consumer products that kill when used as intended. Globally, tobacco is projected to kill one billion people this century unless governments implement effective tobacco control policies. There is a unique global consensus that nations must act as demonstrated by an international public health treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has been ratified by 179 nations and the European Union.

The tobacco industry has fought back by filing – or threatening to file – costly trade lawsuits with the aim of defeating effective tobacco control measures or intimidating government into inaction. Australia and Uruguay are currently battling such lawsuits filed by Philip Morris International, and as reported by The New York Times, many other countries have been threatened with them. The huge costs of these lawsuits have discouraged nations from taking life-saving action.

In its statement on the TPP, Philip Morris International complains that these cases do not justify protecting tobacco control measures under the TPP and doing so would result in “a diminished rule of law.” In reality, it is Philip Morris’s own trade lawsuits that have diminished the rule of law and been viewed as so abusive that countries made it a priority to protect tobacco control measures under the TPP.

The tobacco industry and its political allies also claim this provision would harm tobacco farmers. Make no mistake: This provision would not impact trade of tobacco leaf in any way and includes language specifically exempting tobacco leaf. It is focused on preventing tobacco manufacturers’ abuse of the international trade system and addresses the actions of these manufacturers, not growers. Tobacco companies must not be allowed to hide behind tobacco growers to disguise their own wrongful behavior.

The tobacco industry’s abuse of trade agreements is a real and direct threat to public health around the world, and it must be stopped. It is the tobacco manufacturers’ own behavior that has created a broad consensus that they must not be allowed to threaten countries that act to protect their citizens from tobacco.

Big Tobacco’s Staunch Friend in Washington: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Download (PDF, 548KB)

Chamber of Commerce Chief Is Powerful Ally of Big Tobacco

“A plaque on Donohue’s desk, well known to visitors, says “Show me the Money.”

There are different ways to interpret this message. It could refer to his predilection for chauffeured Lincolns and chartered flights, or his $5.5 million paycheck in 2013, more than 10 times what his predecessor earned in his last full year, 1996.

It is also a reminder that under his watch, the Chamber has become a fundraising juggernaut.

The Chamber is not required to disclose its donors, but from 2008 to 2012, the last two presidential election years, the number of donors who gave more than $1 million doubled, to 42, tax records show. Revenue at the Chamber has grown to $164 million in 2013, from $76 million a decade earlier. Including its various affiliates, the total rises to $260 million.

Philip Morris increased its contributions to the Chamber more than sevenfold to $180,000 in 1998, Donohue’s first full year on the job, from $25,000 annually in the mid-1990s. A Chamber official said that represented just 0.2 percent of the Chamber’s overall revenue at the time. Philip Morris Cos., known as Altria since 2003, does not disclose its current contributions, but it does have a seat on the Chamber’s board.”

Chief of Ukraine Presidential Administration backs Russian tobacco monopoly

The chief of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration Boris Lozhkin is backing a Russian tobacco monopolist.

Lozhkin openly supports the Russian tobacco company Megapolis, which monopolized 90 percent of tobacco product sales in Ukraine under former President Viktor Yanukovych. Megapolis under Yanukovych managed to monopolize cigarette sales on the Ukrainian market. The company signed longterm contracts for almost all products produced in Ukraine by the so-called “Big Four” – British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Inc., Imperial Tobacco Group and Philip Morris.

Megapolis sells to large and small retailers, taking a large part of the profit. Megapolis behaves in the same way monopolistic companies in the United States did during the 20th century before anti-trust laws were passed. Retail chains which do not agree with its draconian terms are shut out of the market altogether. It’s not possible on the Ukrainian market to purchase cigarettes directly from producers, according to contracts which grant Megapolis exclusive sales rights.

The Ukrainian distributor Megapolis is a subsidiary of the Russian distributor Megapolis, which controls 70 percent of the Russian tobacco market. According to Forbes, the principal owners of the group are Igor and Sergei Kesaev.

In 2013 they sold a 40 percent share in the international cigarette companies Japan Tobacco, Inc. and Philip Morris International for 1.5 billion USD. According to Forbes, a portion of the sale receipts were invested in weapons production companies and notes that this includes the “principle owner” of the Degtyarev factory which produces automatic Kalashnikov firearms (AK-47 through AK-103).

“The tobacco market is the fourth largest taxpayer and its influence on the country’s economy and domestic market is enormous.”

At the same time, when the entire world is imposing sanctions against Russia, a Russian company is exacting monopolist rent on the Ukrainian market. In addition, proceeds are directly funneled to a weapons producing Russian company, which directly supports pro-Russian separatists in an armed conflict in east Ukraine.

The interests of Megapolis in Ukraine’s political world are represented by Boris Kaufman, who has on numerous occasions been linked to the Ukraine’s Presidential Administration chief Boris Lozhkin.

Ukrainian media on several occasions earlier reported on ties between Megapolis and Yanukovych family members.

It is worth noting that the Austrian bank account of Boris Lozhkin was frozen last month. Some 130 million USD had been deposited in the account from fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko.

Many people in Ukraine connect the fact that even after the victory of the democratic revolution in Ukraine two years ago there continues to exist a monopoly created by Russian traders of weapons with the Ukrainian partner Megapolis represented by businessman Boris Kaufman. It was namely Kaufman who was able under the previous administration to arrange protection from the family of the former president Yanukovych and with Lozhkin when he became the head of the new Presidential Administration.

Hopefully the monopolist control of the Russian company on the Ukrainian tobacco market will serve as the basis for a serious investigation by the Ukrainian Anti-Monopoly Committee and that top Ukrainian bureaucrats supporting the scheme are punished

Contrasting male and female trends in tobacco-attributed mortality in China

Download (PDF, 1MB)


Download (PDF, 279KB)

Download (PDF, 217KB)

Download (PDF, 530KB)

Smoking gun: one in three men in China will die from tobacco, study says

Mainland labour force and public health system will face severe strain in the future unless smokers get help now to kick the habit, studies warn

By 2030, two million Chinese smokers will be killed annually because of their deadly habit – unless programmes are implemented across the country to help them kick the vice, a top medical journal has warned.

Studies published in The Lancet by researchers from Oxford University, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control showed that two-thirds of China’s young men smoke, and unless they quit, half of them would die from it.

“About two-thirds of young Chinese men become cigarette smokers, and most start before they are 20. Unless they stop, about half of them will eventually be killed by their habit,” said Oxford University’s Zhengming Chen, co-author of the article.

China has more than 350 million smokers, who consume over a third of the world’s cigarettes and account for a sixth of the global smoking death toll. The country’s population is 1.4 billion.

“The annual number of deaths in China that are caused by tobacco will rise from about one million in 2010 to two million in 2030 and three million in 2050, unless there is widespread cessation,” the researchers wrote.

“Widespread smoking cessation offers China one of the most effective, and cost-effective, strategies to avoid disability and premature death over the next few decades.”

Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the think tank Research Centre for Health Development, said the study highlighted China’s problem of young smokers.

“The estimate is scientific as it is based on preliminary studies and a summary of previous research,” she said. “The Chinese future is built by healthy youngsters; there is no Chinese dream if they are dying prematurely.”

Criticising the progress of China’s smoking ban as “far from ideal”, Wu urged the government to step up its efforts against powerful tobacco company lobbyists. “It will not hurt our economy as it’s a gradual process, we are not asking for an immediate shutdown of all tobacco plants.”

Yang Gonghuan, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Institute of Basic Medical Sciences and a former National Office of Tobacco Control director, said: “If the government does not take the scientific studies seriously, the loss in public health expenditure and labour force will be catastrophic.”

China’s 2010 smoking death toll comprised some 840,000 men and 130,000 women. Smokers have about twice the mortality rate of people who have never smoked.

The proportion of deaths attributed to smoking among Chinese men aged 40 to 79 had doubled from about 10 per cent in the early 1990s to 20 per cent today, the researchers said.

Oxford University’s Richard Peto, one of the study’s authors, said tobacco deaths in Western countries had been dropping for 20 years, partly because of stiff price rises. “For China, a substantial increase in cigarette prices could save tens of millions of lives,” he said.

Particulate Matter from Electronic Cigarettes and Conventional Cigarettes

GDE Error: Error retrieving file - if necessary turn off error checking (404:Not Found)