Monthly Archives: February 2015

Tobacco companies fighting over claims on smoking’s effects

Smoking Youth

America’s biggest tobacco companies asked a federal appeals court Monday to set aside a series of court-ordered advertisements saying they lied about the dangers of smoking. The companies told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington that they’re ready and willing to pass along factual public health information about cigarettes online buy, but said they won’t go along with being forced to underwrite an ad campaign that would have the companies brand themselves as liars.

The statements imply “that we’re still engaged in aspects of wrongdoing … (and) that we do things that we don’t do,” Miguel Estrada, an attorney representing the tobacco companies, told the panel. In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the largest cigarette makers to publicly admit that they had lied for decades about the dangers of smoking. The ruling came after testimony from 162 witnesses, a nine-month bench trial and thousands of findings by the judge that defendants engaged in a massive campaign of fraud.

Kessler required the companies to publicly address smoking’s adverse health effects, nicotine manipulation and the health impact of secondhand smoke. The judge also required that the companies address the truth about “light” and “low tar” brands and the nature of cigarette addiction. The companies in the case include Altria Group Inc., owner of the biggest U.S. tobacco company, Philip Morris USA; No. 2 cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., owned by Reynolds American Inc.; and No. 3 cigarette maker Lorillard Inc.

The preamble to the ads says a “federal court has ruled that Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA deliberately deceived the American public.”The companies said the statement is overbroad and misleading. But the government’s attorney, Melissa Patterson, told the court that the preamble ensures that the statements that follow are “seen as the real truth,” saying the companies have a history of using tactics that raise questions about public health warnings about the dangers of smoking.

The statements the companies are being ordered to publish are based on the fact that the “fraud is likely to continue,” added Howard Crystal, an attorney representing public health interveners in the case.

The ads would be in all cigarette packs sold for 12 weeks over the course of two years, in TV spots once per week for a year, in a separate newspaper ad by each company, on company websites indefinitely and at certain retail outlets. They stem from a civil case the government brought in 1999 under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Tobacco News



Most support non-smoking campus

Smoking Student

Students, faculty and staff at Oregon State University have largely embraced a new policy that prohibits smoking on the Corvallis campus, but the policy change hasn’t completely eliminated secondhand smoke exposure, new research out Monday shows.

A campus-wide study of the first year of the university’s smoke-free policy showed that 72 percent of students and 77 percent of faculty were in support of the new policy, which took effect in September 2012.

That number is expected to rise as people become accustomed to the policy, said Marc Braverman, a professor and Extension specialist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and the study’s lead author.

“The more people live with the change, the more supportive they tend to become,” Braverman said. “We’re not trying to force smokers to quit. We’re trying to address the health concerns brought on by secondhand smoke. This is a clean air policy.”

However, about 77 percent of students and 55 percent of faculty and staff who responded to a survey on the policy reported that they had encountered secondhand smoke near the periphery of the campus within the previous two weeks.

In addition, 29 percent of students and 18 percent of faculty and staff said they had been exposed to secondhand smoke near a building entrance on campus in that same time period. To be noted that on the campus area cigarettes are not sold. On the question can you buy cigarettes online, students say Yes.

The shift of smoking to campus boundaries is to be expected if people are following the policy, and other universities have experienced the same problem, Braverman said.

One of the next steps is figuring out how to reduce the impact of that shift, both in terms of secondhand smoke exposure and other issues, including an increase in cigarette butts and other trash in common smoking locations just off campus.

Findings from the study were published in the February issue of the journal, “Preventive Medicine.” Co-authors are Lisa Hoogesteger, director of OSU’s Healthy Campus Initiatives, and Jessica Johnson, who was a graduate student in public health when the research was conducted. The study was supported by OSU and a grant from PacificSource Health Plans.

Researchers wanted to evaluate the policy implementation because more and more colleges and universities are adopting smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies, Braverman said.

When the idea was initially proposed at OSU in 2008, only 130 campuses nationwide were smoke-free or tobacco-free. As of last month, that number has jumped to 1,500 campuses, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, an advocacy group that tracks tobacco policies nationwide.

“It’s gotten to be quite a popular movement, but there is not a lot of information about the best ways to implement a policy like this or what a campus should expect when it does,” Braverman said.

In the spring of 2013, after almost a full academic year with the policy in place, the researchers invited all students, staff and faculty at OSU’s Corvallis campus to take a Web-based survey. More than 5,600 students and 2,000 faculty and staff members responded.

The research team found that there was widespread awareness of the policy change: 89 percent of nonsmoking students and 90 percent of smoking students knew OSU was a nonsmoking campus, while 92 percent of nonsmoking faculty and staff and 99 percent of smoking faculty and staff knew about the policy.

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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Tobacco News


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Norwegian Government to consult on proposal for standardised packaging of tobacco products

Plain Cigarettes packs

Announcement made at joint press conference with Norwegian Cancer Society and Ministry of Health and Care Services

At a press conference with Secretary General Anne Lise Ryel of the Norwegian Cancer Society, Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie announced today that his Department will consult on proposal for standardised and ad-free packaging for all smoking and smokeless tobacco products soon.

The communication aims at creating awareness among young people, policy makers, interested organisations and groups as to why standardised packaging is an important and necessary measure to reduce the uptake of smoking and positively impact people’s health. The measure will concern both tobacco packs and smokeless tobacco (snus) boxes.

Smoking accounts for over 6600 deaths in Norway each year. It is the main cause of early death, and treating people with smoking-related conditions costs the health care system billions each year. Among adolescents, smokeless tobacco (snus) use is overtaking smoking. Although smokeless tobacco (snus) does not cause the same health damage as smoking, it is harmful to health and gives the same nicotine addiction.

Health Minister Bent Høie said:

“Smoking remains one of the most significant challenges to public health. Each year it accounts for over 6600 deaths in Norway and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease. It is our responsibility as a nation to look closely at initiatives that may stop young people from taking up smoking”.

Secretary General Anne Lise Ryel of the Norwegian Cancer Society said:

“This is indeed a great day for public health and cancer control in Norway. Evidence suggests that branded packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to smoke and in consolidating the habit. This announcement from Health Minister Høie comes only days after World Cancer Day. This first step is a signal that the Government places the health and well-being of all Norwegian children before any other considerations.  We congratulate Health Minister Høie for having his priorities right.”

Public consultation will be opened in a few days.

However, the law will not be applied to cigarettes purchased in the internet. therefore if you buy a carton of cigarettes online you will not get cigarettes in plain packs.

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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Tobacco News


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Smoke-Free Smithfield in the UK

Smoking Man

A council report states: “The TCA will undertake work to consider the establishment of a smoke-free Smithfield, smoke-free playgrounds and parks and a smoke-free city centre bus station. “The move to smoke-free status of these important settings will contribute to the broader tobacco control programme which aims to reduce the harm and health inequalities caused by tobacco use in the city.”

Public transport group Aces has backed the council’s move – if the ban can be enforced. Co-ordinator Selwyn Brown said: “People aren’t allowed to smoke inside the bus station as it is, but does that mean nobody smokes there? I think the council needs to look at enforcing the existing rules properly, before it expands the no-smoking area.

“There are other towns around the country, such as Chorley, where they do strictly enforce smoking bans in bus stations.” Smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of disease and premature death in Stoke-on-Trent.

Councillor Adrian Knapper, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are looking at increasingly innovative ways of reducing the damage caused by smoking, and smoke-free zones are just one possibility. Although the idea is in the very early stages it has been tried in other authorities across the country and proved successful.

“Any decision would be subject to intensive consultation.” Blackpool Council has already implemented voluntary smoking bans in outdoor areas.

But Gary Pennington, chairman of the Friends of Highfield Road Park in Blackpool, which became a smoke-free zone three years ago, does not believe the measure has made any difference.

The 58-year-old smoker of cheapest kebt cigarettes said: “People say they don’t want children to see people smoking, but don’t they ever walk past pubs or clubs where there will be loads of people outside smoking? Parks aren’t just for children, they’re for all ages, including those seniors who have spent all their life smoking. If they want to smoke in the park, it won’t harm anyone else. “I don’t think it’s made any difference. I’m not aware of anyone being prosecuted.”

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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Tobacco News


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