How Much is a
Life Worth -- to the Tobacco Executives?
How much is the
environment, including forests and food security of a nation, worth to
the Tobacco Executives?
are excerpts from some 2013 and back to 2010
And the life of a
child, easily poisoned
by secondhand smoke or by eating a candy flavored smokeless "snus"?
EXCERPTS from The Washington Post,
[date not given online] May 2013, Shareholders press companies to
disclose more about political spending, writer Dina ElBoghdady.
... The number of shareholder proposals demanding more
transparency in political spending has more than doubled since 2010,
jumping from 61 to 128 this proxy season, according to the Sustainable
Investments Institute, a research group that tracks the issue.
This week, shareholders of an Illinois fertilizer company
overwhelmingly approved a resolution initiated by the New York State
Common Retirement Fund that would require the company to report all
political spending and detail how it makes its spending decisions.
The 65.9 percent vote for the plan, which the company reported in
regulatory filings Thursday, was one of the largest ever in favor of
disclosure, according to the Center for Political Accountability. It is
the largest among cases that involve formal opposition from a board.
The development comes as the debate about political spending heats up
in Washington. House Republicans this week called upon the Securities
and Exchange Commission to ignore a petition that would require
publicly traded companies to report their political spending. SEC
Chairman Mary Jo White, who joined the agency last month, declined to
take a position on the issue, citing the need for more analysis by her
As the political wrangling rages, 217 companies have been urged by
investors to make the disclosures since 2004 and 118 have adopted such
policies, said Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political
Accountability, which pioneered the push for disclosures.
The 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election
Commission, which rolled back restrictions on political spending by
corporations, associations and labor unions, further emboldened
investor activists to confront corporate boards.
disclosure say shareholders need to know precisely how a company is
spending money on politics in order to assess if the spending exposes
them to reputational, business or legal risks.
“The SEC is playing catch-up when it comes to this issue,” Freed said.
“Companies are forging ahead. Each year, there are new companies that
are adopting disclosure or strengthening existing policies.”
These resolutions are not binding. But if 30 percent or more of
shareholders vote for one, the support often brings corporate boards to
the negotiating table and results in change, said Heidi Welsh,
executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute. “It
doesn’t fly if they ignore what a large percentage of their owners
want,” she said.
are banned from donating directly to candidates at the federal level.
But the political spending at issue involves corporate money — or
shareholder money — that goes to political entities, as well as to
trade associations and nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups that do not need to
disclose their donors.
The New York State Common Retirement Fund, through the Office of the
New York state comptroller, has waged a campaign to force more
disclosure at its portfolio companies. It has reached agreements with
nearly 20 companies since 2011 — including Qualcomm, Southwest
Airlines, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plum Creek Timber, Harley-Davidson
and Noble Energy this year.
“We want to see not only transparency, but also accountability,” New
York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.
... The company did not return a call requesting comment.
But in a regulatory filing, the company said its corporate board
unanimously opposed disclosing its political spending because the
semiannual report called for in the resolution is “neither necessary
nor an efficient use of company resources.”
“Our corporate political contributions and grassroots lobbying
expenditures are undertaken subject to strict policies and robust
internal approval processes to ensure that contributions and political
activities are always both in the business interests of the company and
its stockholders,” the company said in its filing.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National
Association of Manufacturers have opposed the call for more disclosure.
Institute, media release, Edward L. Sweda, Senior Attorney for the
Tobacco Products Liability Project, March 18th, 2013.
Big Victory at Florida Supreme Court is Bad News for Cigarette
Florida smokers and their families who
are suing tobacco companies won a resounding victory on March 14, 2013
when the Supreme Court of Florida upheld its landmark 2006 ruling in
Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So.2d 1246 (Fla. 2006).
By a vote of 6 to 1, Florida’s highest court ruled in favor of the
plaintiff in Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al. v. Douglas, 2013 Fla.
LEXIS 440, upholding a $2.5 million award in the death of Charlotte
Douglas and explicitly rejecting industry arguments that the Florida
Supreme Court’s ruling seven years ago violated the Due Process rights
of the companies.
The Engle case originated as a class action and went to trial before a
jury; that jury in Phase I of the trial found the defendant companies
strictly liable, in that the cigarettes that the defendants
manufactured and placed on the market “were defective in many ways
including the fact that the cigarettes contained many carcinogens,
nitrosamines, and other deleterious compounds such as carbon
monoxide.” While the case ultimately was not allowed to
proceed as a class action, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled in 2006
that the members of the class could file their own individual cases
(so-called “Engle Progeny” cases) and proceed with those cases relying
upon the jury’s Phase I findings of liability, including that smoking
caused a variety of specific diseases, that nicotine in cigarettes is
addictive, that the tobacco defendants placed cigarettes on the market
that were defective and unreasonably dangerous and that all of the
Engle defendants were negligent.
The tobacco companies have argued that, despite the fact that they
vigorously presented a defense to these claims during the original
Engle trial, applying the Phase I findings to the Engle Progeny trials
violates their due process rights. Even though the R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco Co. relied on this argument unsuccessfully in the Martin case a
year ago, (see
companies tried again in Douglas. Commenting on the original
Engle trial, the six-member majority in Douglas said: “As illustrated
by hundreds of witnesses, thousands of documents and exhibits and tens
of thousands of pages of testimony, the Engle defendants had notice and
the opportunity to defend against all theories of liability for each of
the class’s claims in the yearlong Phase I trial.”
That six-member majority also noted that the tobacco defendants “argue
that the Phase I findings establish, at most, that some of their
cigarette were defective for some unspecified reason and that they
engaged in some, unspecified tortious conduct. This, they claim,
requires reversal of the verdict for the plaintiff based on strict
liability because the Douglas jury was not instructed (and did not
find) a causal connection between a specific defect in the defendants’
cigarettes and the injuries alleged. We disagree and decline the
defendants’ invitation to revisit our decision in Engle.”
The majority clearly recognized and emphatically rejected the
industry’s fundamental argument. “At its core, the defendants’
due process argument is an attack on our decision in Engle to give the
Phase I findings res judicata – as opposed to issue preclusion – effect
in class members’ individual damages actions. However, res
judicata is the proper term, and we decline the defendants’ invitation
to rewrite Engle.”
The decision was bad news for the tobacco industry and its friends on
Wall Street. Pro-industry analyst David J. Adelman of Morgan
Stanley admitted that the ruling “was even more pro-plaintiff than we
expected and will make it more difficult for the industry to
successfully defend these claims.”
After the decision was released, Philip Morris USA announced that “it
plans to seek further review” of the Douglas decision. That means
yet another attempt to persuade the Supreme Court of the United States
to consider the industry’s appeal that Engle Progeny trials that result
in plaintiff verdicts somehow violate the companies’ due process
rights. If the Supreme Court of the United States makes the same
decision it made a year ago about an almost identical appeal (Martin),
the answer to the tobacco companies will be a final “No.”
EXCERPTS from The
Times, March 3, 2013, Op-Ed, "Stubbing
Out Cigarettes for Good",
by Richard A. Daynard,
professor of law, Northeastern University, president of its Public
Health Advocacy Institute.
PERHAPS no public official was as
synonymous with the antismoking movement as C. Everett Koop, who died
last Monday at age 96. Dr. Koop, who worked tirelessly to turn America
into “a smoke-free society,” did not live to see that goal reached. But
the rest of us have the power to make it happen.
Fewer than one in five American adults smoke, a share that’s plunged by
about half since the 1960s — an achievement due, in some measure, to
Dr. Koop’s antismoking crusade as surgeon general, from 1981 to 1989.
Revelations in the 1990s about tobacco companies’ cover-up of smoking’s
dangers also played a role. So have a host of other strategies that
have included consumer taxes, minimum ages for cigarette purchases,
restrictions on smoking in public spaces and programs to help people
quit. Continuing on the same path, with some luck, we might be able
reduce the smoking rate a little more.
But that would still leave us with a profound public health tragedy:
cigarettes continue to kill more than 400,000 Americans a year and cost
untold billions in health care spending.
To its credit, the Food and Drug Administration has tried more
aggressive approaches, including a recent effort to require
hard-hitting graphic warnings on cigarette packages. That proposal,
already the rule in dozens of countries, has been held up in United
States federal courts over concerns that the ads might infringe on
cigarette manufacturers’ First Amendment rights. But even if
implemented, more scare tactics would not go far enough.
What we need is an all-out push to reduce smoking rates to well below
10 percent. The notion is nothing new to tobacco-control advocates ...
But ... little has been said about two possible approaches that could
have an immediate impact.
One involves federal action; the other, state or local action. Both are
made possible by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,
which President Obama signed in June 2009.
Under the act, the F.D.A. has the power to establish tobacco product
standards including “provisions, where appropriate, for nicotine yields
of the product.” The only limitation on this power is that the F.D.A.
may not require that nicotine yields be reduced to zero. The law calls
on the F.D.A. to apply public health criteria — “the risks and benefits
to the population as a whole” — in designing its regulations. It also
encourages the F.D.A. to create tobacco standards that will help
existing users stop smoking and decrease the risk that nonsmokers will
The F.D.A. would be well within its authority to require nicotine
content to be below addictive levels — an idea that originated with a
1994 article in The New England Journal of Medicine urging a
nonaddictive nicotine standard.
Cigarette makers would lobby hard to block such a standard. But if the
F.D.A. insisted on the change, and cigarettes ceased to be addictive,
ample evidence shows that most smokers would quit or switch to less
toxic nicotine products. Current nonsmokers, moreover, would be far
less likely to become addicted.
Another part of the act affirms the authority of states and municipal
governments to prohibit the sale, distribution and possession of — and
even access and exposure to — tobacco products by individuals of any
This provides an opportunity for states, counties and cities to adopt
the Smokefree Generation, a proposal by A. J. Berrick, a mathematics
professor in Singapore.
The idea is simple: no one born in or after 2000 can ever be sold
cigarettes. Under such legislation, which jurisdictions like the
Australian state of Tasmania are considering, the vast majority of this
cohort — the oldest are now 13 — would never begin smoking. It’s hard
to imagine too many parents objecting, and it would be easy for
retailers to enforce. In the United States, it would provide a useful
focus for state and local public health officials to do something
game-changing, rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for
Washington to act.
Critics will say that, even if a state or city passed such a law,
would-be smokers could go to an adjoining one to buy cigarettes. But
evidence suggests that border-crossing and smuggling would be minimal.
States that have sharply raised their cigarette taxes, after all, have
not only increased tax revenue but also reduced rates of smoking
prevalence, even among nicotine addicts. Young people, who are
generally not addicted (yet) and who tend not to have peers who smoke,
are even less likely to chase cigarettes across state or county lines.
Some antismoking advocates who support existing approaches
(smoking-cessation programs, higher taxes) fear that pushing for an
“end game” — a smoking rate below 10 percent — is too ambitious. But
then, banning smoking in restaurants, workplaces and bars was once seen
as crazy, too. Sometimes, a little crazy goes a long way.
EXCERPTS from the BBC News, July 5, 2012, Fake [electronic] cigarette caused M6
police Megabus coach swoop.
A fake cigarette prompted armed police
to swoop on a coach on the [United Kingdom] M6 Toll road and close the
motorway for more than four hours.
Forty eight passengers on the Megabus Preston to London service were
led off the coach and forced to sit apart in a cordon on the opposite
The road was closed near Lichfield before police said they were no
longer treating the incident as suspicious.
Police said they received a "genuine report" of vapour escaping from a
Armed officers, troops, firefighters and bomb disposal experts all went
to the scene.
A force spokeswoman said, given the credibility of the information
received, officers "responded swiftly and proportionately". But police
found no crime had been committed.
The M6 Toll road was shut from about 08:20 BST and fully reopened by
14:00 BST northbound and by 15:00 BST southbound.
Staffordshire Police received a report from someone who saw vapour
coming from the man's bag while the coach was near the M6 Toll plaza at
Weeford, near Lichfield.
The force said on investigation they found the passenger had an
electronic cigarette which produces a visible vapour.
The passengers, including at least one young boy, were taken to a
cordoned-off area of the motorway and surrounded by police.
A decontamination unit was set up and officers searched the coach
passengers one by one.
Military personnel, police dog handlers, firefighters and other
specialist units were at the scene.
No-one was injured, there was no danger to passengers and no-one was
being treated as a suspect after armed officers evacuated the Megabus
coach, police said.
The spokeswoman said: "We can now confirm that, whilst this was a
genuine security alert, the significant concerns reported to us were
"It's important to state that no criminal offence has been committed
and no passenger or any other member of the public is being treated as
"We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and hope that the
public understand that we have our duty to safeguard public safety."
She said: "We are assisting police with their inquiries into an
allegation made against a passenger who was travelling on the 05.10
Preston to London service.
"There were 48 people booked to travel on board the service, which was
due to arrive at Victoria Coach Station in London at 10.55am.
"Police have confirmed that all passengers are safe and well and they
have been transferred to a substitute vehicle."
[In a sidebar, How electronic cigarettes work]
of [an electronic cigarette website] said
... "I've been more worried in the past that people would think
these devices look like drug paraphernalia
rather than something used by a terrorist." [bold emphasis added]
EXCERPTS from The Jerusalem Post, June 14, 2012, Expert: Organized tobacco's days are
numbered, by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich.
... It is inevitable that “the days of
organized tobacco around the world are numbered” as exemplified by the
declaration of the government of New Zealand, which will be smoke free
by 2025 along with a growing number of other countries.”
This was the surprising and optimistic prediction on Wednesday of
long-time smoking-prevention lawyer Amos
Hausner, the head of the Israel Council for the Prevention of
Hausner, the son of Gideon Hausner – Israel’s late attorney-general and
prosecutor of Nazi murderer Adolf Eichmann – echoed the famous
characterization of the Nazis by describing tobacco sales as the “the
banality of evil.”
This phrase was coined by Jewish political philosopher Hannah Arendt in
her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.
Her thesis was that the great evils in history generally, and the
Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths –
but by ordinary people who accepted their state’s norms and therefore
regarded their actions as normal.
Hausner said in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that tobacco companies’ actions
also exemplify this because they know their products will kill half of
their users, but they continue to make them even deadlier and market
“Unlike the Nazis, who were motivated by hate, anti-Semitism and
vicious racism, the tobacco companies are motivated by greed,” the
Hausner was one of the speakers at the first Israeli Conference on
Tobacco or Health, which was held at Tel Aviv University and attended
by over 150 people.
As for the “numbered days of organized tobacco,” Hausner said that
public opinion surveys in New Zealand show that two-thirds of the
public – including many smokers – advocate a “completely tobacco-free
country.” Other countries will follow, he said, adding that he hoped
Israel would eventually be among them.
A 2011 book with the title comparing tobacco to "a holocaust" called
for its abolition, a term that was used in mid-19th century America,
when slavery was legal, regarded as economically beneficial and widely
supported in the South. But just a few years later, slavery was
completely abolished – as if it never happened. The same, said Hausner
to much applause, can happen with smoking. [Golden Holocaust: Origins of the
Cigarette Catastrophe and The Case for Abolition, by Robert N.
Proctor, 2011, University of California Press]
“Today, we are in the midst of an irreversible process that will lead
to the termination of organized tobacco,” he said.
“The environment will be completely tobacco-free. This is what people
all over the world want.”
“Only last year, a book was published that asked: ‘What will happen if
all Americans stopped smoking?’ Many people think this already. The
public mind is already set for this process,” Hausner declared.
He added that last month, a small shareholder in a US tobacco
conglomerate said when the CEO was about to retire: “Don’t you think
that you will be subject to indictments on the basis of your crimes
against humanity? Tobacco is killing 5.7 million people every year
around the world.”
Hausner commented that instead of just suing tobacco companies for
damages – such as the $245 billion judgement against organized tobacco
in 1998, which ordered the companies to compensate the 50 US states for
the costs of treating tobacco-related diseases – the legal action will
focus against “crimes against humanity, of homicide, even the genocide
of people by smoking their products.” Thus he predicted that such
lawsuits will replace settlements of compensation for financial loses.
Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said that despite
the slow decline in adult smoking rates in Israel to a little over 20
percent, the percentage of those who smoke must drop to 10% or less.
The country cannot afford to spend huge sums to treat patients harmed
by tobacco, he said, and the ministry will take increasingly strict
measures to raise tobacco taxes, restrict places where smoking is
allowed and limit advertising of tobacco products.
However, Gamzu erred when he declared that “there is not a single
newspaper in Israel that does not accept tobacco advertising,” even
though he heard from The Jerusalem Post at a No Smoking Day press
conference a few weeks ago that it has not run tobacco advertising for
many years. The English-language Post also does not use photos of
celebrities, models and others who smoke or hold cigarettes.
Editor-in-chief Steve Linde confirmed this no-tobacco advertising
policy, which the paper’s readers demand.
Gamzu later apologized for his comment that all Israeli newspapers
He added that he indeed heard that the Post has followed this policy for
many years but “forgot.”
However, newspapers read by the haredi community – including Deputy
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman – regularly run tobacco advertising,
with one ad employing havdala candles to remind readers to light up
their cigarettes when Shabbat ends.
Prof. Gregory Connolly, a
veteran researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, said at the
conference that tobacco killed 100 million people globally in the last
century, with about five million people now dying from tobacco-related
The figure will rise to eight million by 2030 until serious action is
taken, he cautioned. “It could cost a billion lives in the 21st
century,” Connolly said.
He noted that in the last two decades, while local companies like Dubek
historically controlled tobacco production and sales in Israel,
multinational companies such as Philip Morris have taken over the
majority of the industry here, reaping the profits and leaving behind
huge damage to the public health at the cost of billions of shekels a
Connolly noted that the tobacco industry conducts much research to make
cigarettes and other products more addictive to children and adults,
adding “pellets of menthol” that give the false impression that they
are “lighter and easier to smoke,” as well as selling nicotine-packed,
short cigarettes that enable employees to fully consume them before
their smoking breaks end.
April 23, 2012, Speech by Amos Hausner at
United Nations Round-Table
discussion "to mark the 50th anniversary of the trial and the
deliverance to justice of Adolf Eichmann."
"Attorney Amos Hausner is the son of
Gideon Hausner, Israel’s Attorney General during the 1960s and chief
prosecutor of the Eichmann Trial. Amos Hausner was instrumental
in setting precedents in several fields of Israeli law, including the
restriction of smoking in public places and cigarette advertising since
1983. The World Health Organization awarded him an honorary medal
in 1994 for his achievements. He is a board member of the Massuah
Institute for the Study of the Holocaust; a member of the lay advisory
board of the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute in Miami,
Florida; and of the Disciplinary Tribunal of Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. He was a Supreme Court Judge of the World Zionist
Organization between 1998 to 2006." [From The United
site on the 50th Anniversary of the trial of Adolf
Transcription of the speech of Amos
Hausner, April 23, 2012, from the video at this link, Round-table
April 23, 2012,
United Nations, "to mark the 50th anniversary of the trial and the
deliverance to justice of Adolf Eichmann."
Ramu Damodaran, with the Outreach Division of the Department of Public
Information at the United Nations
son of Gideon Hausner, the chief prosecutor in the trial of Adolf
Thank you, and thank Dr. [Mark] Ellis
for his very interesting remarks. I think what I will have to say
right now will be kind of a follow up to what Dr. Ellis just said.
One of the arguments that Eichmann
presented throughout his trial through his lawyer was that actually
everything he did, everything, was 100% legal under the law where he
acted. That was the first defense.
Now the second defense, that actually
supplemented the first one, was that he actually did what his officers
told him, and he is entitled to the defense known as an "act of state"
-- which means an officer fulfilling his duties under the law of the
state where he serves.
Now those two defenses if accepted in
the Nuremberg trials and in the Eichmann trial would really lead to
chaos and disaster and eventually genocide.
Those two pleas were totally, but
totally rejected by those courts.
Today many of us tend to take this
rejection on the basis of the general principle that Dr. Ellis
mentioned to you before. The general norm, the universal norm
that "Thou shalt not kill", definitely not commit genocide, kill masses
But, at so many points in history,
this has never been taken for granted. I would like to call your
attention to a decision, an infamous decision, made right here in the
United States just one century earlier, the decision in the Dred Scott
vs. Sanford case , the decision in which the United States
Supreme Court upheld slavery on legal grounds, on the grounds of
legality, when the court said that the Constitution of the United
States allows slavery. And even the Founding Fathers of the
United States thought that slavery was a legal institute.
And these legality arguments supersede
the right of the slaves who were considered property. They even
said that those people known as slaves --
meaning of an African origin, meaning people of a different skin color
-- cannot even be American citizens.
So at that point in time, the
"universal" argument was not in existence. And this is why you
are so proud later that such a principle of the "universal norm" now
takes precedence. And now nobody can make such arguments of
Let me bring you an example.
Just last month, a Congo General named
Lubanga was convicted of such a crime because he recruited young
children to his army. Now, in his own country, many people still
consider General Lubanga as a hero. If he were to be tried under
standards prevailing right there, his conviction was far from being
And I think I am standing on safe
grounds, when I say, and here I come to even more concurrent day to day
events that if the Syrian rulers and their subordinates are now put on
trial before any court, be it a domestic one or an international court,
they will not be able to argue the legality of what they did under
their own laws and under their own constitution.
And that brings me, speaking of the
example of where the Eichmann lesson has indeed been learned, to other
areas of the international law,
where I believe that the international law has a long way to go.
The first one is a matter that Dr.
Ellis touched on before, the issue of prevention. That is, is
international law really implemented in a form, in a manner, in a
fashion that may prevent such crimes of genocide, crimes against
humanity, war crimes from taking place?
Look what happened, for instance, in
Cambodia. Millions of people were slaughtered in Cambodia before
universal international law went into the picture. And our
aim was to punish those responsible.
In Rwanda, hundreds of thousands of
people were killed. It took many years for the international
community to intervene through the international legal institutions.
This is where international law
differs greatly from the domestic law. Domestic criminal law, the
way it is implemented, does not look only to the past, it looks into
the future. For instance, the domestic criminal law recognizes
such offenses as sedition, or incitement to commit a crime when there
is a clear and present danger that such a crime indeed will take
place. This is enough, the uttering of those words, that
constitute sedition is enough to constitute the violation of the
domestic criminal law.
Another one is the uttering of
threats, no physical action took place, just words, uttering of
threats, well, this is sufficient to constitute a crime
under most domestic laws.
And in my eye, the most important one
is the offense of conspiracy to commit a crime. Conspiracy to
commit a crime means two people, or more, but now two people are
enough, get together and make a decision to commit a crime --
freedom of speech -- they did nothing, maybe nothing will take place,
in most cases nothing takes place, and yet, the fact that they make
such a joint decision is sufficient to convict them of conspiracy to
commit a crime.
Is this the way international criminal
law is implemented? I'm afraid to say that it is not. Look
what is going on, for instance, with the threats that are now heard in
the squares of Tehran. The alleged successors of the Persian
Empire come and shout in the squares, "Death to Israel!"
OK. So there is incitement, there are threats, there is a
conspiracy, there are preparations, and yet there is no intervention of
the legal international justice system, which if it takes place, may
prevent wars, may prevent atrocities, may prevent Armageddon scenarios.
And when I get to this point, to the
intervention of the legal international criminal institutes, I would
like to call your attention to an area where I am involved which Ramu
[Damodaran] mentioned to you before. And this is a fact that 5.7
million people on this world die each year as a result of something
that people were drawing at their desk.
My father in his opening speech spoke
about the new kind of criminal, the one who is not using swords, the
one who is not using weapons, but the one who is sitting at his desk
drawing, making plans, the result of which kill many people.
This is the case with the cigarette
The people who design, make, market,
advertise these cigarettes know when they do so that every second
user of this product will consequently, unavoidably die from the use of
this product. This knowledge, and this act, and remember what I
said before, the denial of the legality argument, suffice to justify
bringing these people to justice before the international justice of
the criminal law, which I believe should be initiated by the health
organizations, the World Health Organization, and countries such as
Australia, Norway, Uruguay, which right now have very serious conflicts
over the right, the right to defend the health of their citizens
against the cigarette pandemic. It is time that the international
law will take and exercise its jurisdiction to punish and to avoid
Remember what I said before: The
international law has two facets -- it should be punitive to punish for
past events. But it should also be preventive international law,
to prevent crimes from happening.
And here we are talking about,
according to the data of the World Health Organization published last
year in 2011, we're talking about
1 billion people who die as a consequence of the use of tobacco by the
end of this 21st Century, something that can and should be
EXCERPTS from The Associated Press, article in The Richmond Times-Dispatch and
other newspapers online; by Michael Felberbaum; Altria CEO conducts his final shareholder
meeting; May 17, 2012.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Outgoing
Altria Group Inc. CEO Michael E. Szymanczyk finished his final
shareholder meeting on Thursday much the same way as his first --
fielding attacks against the nation's largest tobacco company.
The owner of top-selling Marlboro cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA,
held its annual meeting Thursday in its headquarters city of Richmond
[Virginia]. It marked the last day for Szymanczyk, who has served as
chairman and CEO since March 2008 and in the same capacity for Philip
Morris USA from August 2002 through July 2008 before the company spun
off Philip Morris International Inc.
“It has been an honor to lead the reshaping of Altria,” said
Szymanczyk, who got choked up during his closing remarks about his
23-year career. “Altria and its companies have experienced significant
change since I first joined the company. Change is not new for our
companies. They have been successful for more than a century because
they have demonstrated the ability to adapt in dynamic industries and
to the world around them.”
Martin J. Barrington will replace Szymanczyk as CEO and chairman, and
David R. Beran will serve as president and chief operating officer.
During his presentation to shareholders, Szymanczyk touted Altria's
premium brands like Marlboro and said the company is well-positioned
for future growth in a changing industry. In addition to Philip Morris
USA, Altria owns U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., maker of brands such as
Copenhagen and Skoal, and Black & Mild cigar maker John Middleton
Co. The company also owns a wine business and holds a voting stake in
In 2011, the company saw its net income fall 13 percent to $3.39
billion on lease, legal and restructuring charges. Its net revenue
excluding excise taxes fell nearly 2 percent to $16.62 billion.
Shipments fell 4 percent to 135.1 billion cigarettes, largely on
declines from its premium brands.
However its 2012 first-quarter profit rose almost 4 percent as higher
prices and cost-cutting helped offset declines in cigarette volumes.
Shipments fell 2.6 percent to 31.1 billion cigarettes, but the Marlboro
brand gained market share and ended the period with a 42.3 percent of
the U.S. retail market.
“For nearly 60 years, Marlboro has been the cigarette that men smoke
for flavor, and adult smokers have been invited to `Come to where the
flavor is. Come to Marlboro Country,”' Szymanczyk said, adding that the
company is evolving the brand to try to keep it growing and steal
smokers from its competitors.
Like other tobacco companies, Altria is focusing on cigarette
alternatives, such as cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco, for future
sales growth because the decline in cigarette smoking is expected to
Altria also has been forced to cut costs as tax hikes, smoking bans,
health concerns and social stigma make the cigarette business tougher.
After completing a $1.5 billion multiyear cost savings program last
year, the company rolled out a plan to cut $400 million in
“cigarette-related infrastructure costs” by the end of 2013 in advance
of anticipated cigarette volume declines.
Szymanczyk said cost-cutting “continues to be a priority.”
Over the years, the question-and-answer sessions of tobacco company
annual meetings typically feature various groups attacking them for
selling products that are responsible for about 443,000 deaths a year
in the U.S. Szymanczyk's final shareholder gathering was no exception.
“With your retirement I'm sure you look at your legacy. Certainly you
and the company have a passion for success. I'm not sure about
satisfying your customers and their preferences unless they all have a
death wish,” Anne Morrow Donley, co-founder of the Virginia Group to
Alleviate Smoking in Public, told Szymanczyk. “At some point in the
future, you and the company may indeed be charged with crimes against
humanity _ I look forward to that.”
The 63-year-old Szymanczyk did not respond to those remarks. He also
has declined numerous requests for an interview with The Associated
Shareholders on Thursday elected 11 directors to the company's board
and rejected a shareholder proposal to have the company disclose its
lobbying policies and practices. ...
EXCERPTS from [Costa Rica] The Tico Times, March 26, 2012,
anti-smoking bill", by Matt Levin.
President Laura Chinchilla on Thursday
morning signed the Control of Tobacco and its Harmful Effects on
Health Bill, approving wide-ranging changes to Costa Rica’s
regulations on smoking.
Her signature marks the end of a
struggle to ratify stricter tobacco laws. A previous bill was written
in 2009, the same year that a Health Ministry poll showed 93 percent
support for stricter laws.
Chinchilla remarked that this
moment should have come years ago, but she applauded those who
refused to let the bill die.
“I recognize all health
institutions, which did not lower the flag and fought for the passage
of this law,” the president said at a ceremony at Casa Presidencial
in Zapote, in southeastern San José.
The law becomes official
once it is published in the government newspaper, La Gaceta, which
Chinchilla said would happen “as soon as possible.” A 90-day
adjustment period then begins as officials determine reglamentos, or
regulations, that explain how the law will be enforced. Health
Ministry officials are working on the regulations with the Alcoholism
and Drug Dependency Institute (IAFA) and the National Anti-Tobacco
Network, among others.
The bill bans smoking in places such as
bars, restaurants, public buildings, bus stops and taxi stands. Taxes
will increase ₡20 ($0.04 cents) per cigarette. The bill mandates
cigarette packs display text and photo warnings on at least 50
percent of the box. Central American neighbors Guatemala, Honduras
and Panama already approved similar measures, as did six countries in
After the signing ceremony, the media amassed
around doctors and lawmakers who pushed for the bill in an effort
that Roberto Castro, director of the National Anti-Tobacco Network,
likened to David versus Goliath. The influence of tobacco companies
had influenced smoking policy in the country since the late 1980s
(TT, March 9).
Access Without Exclusion Party member Rita
Chaves, who headed the committee in charge of the bill, called the
law an “important advancement” for the country.
very satisfied,” said Teresita Arrieta, of IAFA. “And now we’re
waiting anxiously for the implementation of the law.”
battle by lawmakers to pass a stricter anti-tobacco law overcame its
final hurdle on Tuesday when the Constitutional Chamber of the
Supreme Court (Sala IV) ruled the bill is constitutional.
5-2 decision, the court said the legislation did not contain any
procedural errors or articles that could be deemed
Two magistrates who approved the bill
questioned why the Sala IV reviewed the legislation in the first
On Feb. 27, Costa Rican lawmakers passed the
100-percent smoke-free environment bill in a 45-2 vote, sending it to
the president to sign. However, in a controversial move, the Sala IV
accepted a last-minute petition by 10 opposition legislators to
assess the bill’s constitutionality before Chinchilla could sign it
Judges Luis Jinesta and Ana Virginia Calzada stated
the Sala IV never had authority to review the bill since it already
had passed the Legislative Branch. Still, tobacco reforms held up
under scrutiny – and for the reasons anti-tobacco advocates had
cited all along.
The judges wrote that there’s no proof
bill’s tax increase would encourage contraband, an argument made by
tobacco companies Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.
Smokers’ rights are not infringed upon since the law does not ban
the sale of tobacco products, the Sala IV affirmed. It only limits
where products can be used in an effort to protect public health. The
smokers’ rights argument had been made repeatedly by leaders of the
country’s Restaurant Chamber, which oversees bars and clubs in
In addition, the Sala IV referenced
effectiveness of the law in other countries in regards to protecting
the public. The smoke-free bill follows guidelines set by the World
Health Organization, already put into practice in nine other Latin
The law’s execution faces several
challenges. Health Minister Daisy Corrales said the country needs to
train more police officers to monitor the law, which doles out heavy
fines to offenders and could lead to the temporary closure of
businesses caught violating the decree. The country also will take
action to combat contraband cigarettes.
Corrales said 60
percent of funds that will come from the cigarette tax will go toward
the Social Security System to treat tobacco-related illnesses and
create programs to help smokers quit.
Representatives for the
tobacco industry and the Restaurant Chamber both stated to media
Tuesday night that they would accept the ruling.
EXCERPTS from media release of March 26,
2012, Edward L. Sweda, phaionline.org,
in the case of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Mathilde Martin, No.
of dollars in liability to Florida smokers after the U.S. Supreme
Court today denied Reynolds American’s petition for certiorari
in the case of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Mathilde Martin, No.
The company had appealed
a $28.3 million judgment
against Reynolds for the death of Benny Ray Martin, the husband of
Mathilde Martin. Her case is one of thousands of “Engle Progeny”
lawsuits in Florida, cases that followed the landmark 2006 ruling by
the Florida Supreme court in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So. 2d
1246 (Fla. 2006).
Edward L. Sweda,
Senior Attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project (a project
of the Public Health Advocacy Institute based at Northeastern
University School of Law in Boston) was ecstatic to learn of the
denial of Reynolds’ cert petition. “At
will be held accountable for their
massive and reprehensible misconduct that harmed thousands of Florida
smokers. As Reynolds’ own lawyers have concluded, denial of its
cert petition is a very big deal indeed,” Sweda said.
In arguing in December
2011 that its petition
should be granted, Reynolds’ attorneys (Paul D. Clement of Bancroft
PLLC, Gregory G. Katsas of Jones Day and Eric E. Murphy of Jones Day)
claimed that in “their conduct of Engle progeny litigation, the
Florida state courts are engaged in serial due-process violations
that threaten the defendants with literally
(emphasis added) Moreover, “the massive
imposed on the Engle
defendants – which currently stands at over $375 million in adverse
judgments – will… steadily increase as Engle progeny trials
TPLP Director, Mark
Gottlieb, noted that, “while
cigarette companies’ statements are often thought to be
disingenuous, in the case of Reynold’s Petition to the Court, it is
absolutely true that the Engle cases create ‘massive liability’
with ‘no end in sight.’” Gottlieb
added: “But the industry’s liability is not limited to these
cases. Verdicts like the Evans case in Boston ($81 million) and
Schwarz in Oregon ($25 million) can and should become more
commonplace beyond the Sunshine State.”
Currently, of the 61
Engle Progeny cases that have
reached a verdict (not counting mistrials), 41 have been plaintiff
verdicts (one of which was overturned on appeal on statute of
limitations grounds and is being further appealed) and 20 have been
defense verdicts, with thousands of cases awaiting trial. “Today is
a great day for thousands of Florida residents who turned to the
American judicial system to seek justice,” Sweda
Conference on Tobacco or Health, Dr Margaret
Chan, Director-General of the World
Organization, "Galvanizing global action towards a tobacco-free
conference is being held at a time when we are at a crossroads in our
efforts to rid the world of a killing addiction. In principle, the
balance is entirely in our favour. In a perfectly sane, reasonable,
and rational world, with a level playing field, the anti-tobacco
community would surely speak with the loudest voice and carry the
Evidence for the physical harm, and economic
costs, of tobacco use keeps growing, and I am certain that this
conference will expand the evidence base even further.
use is the world’s number one preventable killer. We know this
statistically, beyond a shadow of a doubt. In a world undergoing
economic upheaval, with populations ageing, chronic diseases on the
rise, and medical costs soaring, tackling a huge and entirely
preventable cause of disease and death becomes all the more
We know that tobacco directly harms the user’s
health in multiple ways. We know that tobacco products kill their
We know that tobacco smoking, like a
shooting, kills innocent bystanders who are forced to breathe air
contaminated with hundreds of toxic chemicals. We know what tobacco
exposure during pregnancy does to the fetus, another innocent,
blameless, and entirely helpless victim.
We know that tobacco
use is not a choice. It is a powerful addiction. The true choice is
between tobacco or health.
We have evidence, and we have
instruments. As a tool for fighting back, we have the WHO Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control, with 174 parties now committed to
implementing the treaty’s articles and obligations. These
govern nearly 90% of the world’s 7 billion people. If safety from
tobacco lies in numbers, we have them.
But we also know that
implementation falls short, for many reasons, in many countries. We
have addressed this problem as well. We have a practical,
cost-effective way to scale up implementation of provisions in the
treaty on the ground. That is, the best-buy and good-buy measures for
reducing tobacco use set out in the MPOWER package.
abundant country experiences that demonstrate the effectiveness of
these measures. Evidence also shows how these measures can have a
For example, in a study published
this year, researchers demonstrated that smoke-free workplaces
actually decrease smoking in homes. These findings soundly refute
Just two weeks ago, another
major study, involving more than 700,000 deliveries, found that
smoking bans have significant health benefits for unborn babies. This
proved true for women who smoke but also for women who have never
consumed tobacco yet were exposed to second-hand smoke.
we have an enemy, a ruthless and devious enemy, to unite us and
ignite a passionate commitment to prevail.
is where the balance no longer tips so strongly in our favour. The
enemy, the tobacco industry, has changed its face and its tactics.
The wolf is no longer in sheepÂ’s clothing, and its teeth are
Tactics aimed at undermining anti-tobacco campaigns,
and subverting the Framework Convention, are no longer covert or
cloaked by an image of corporate social responsibility. They are out
in the open and they are extremely aggressive.
high-profile legal actions targeting
Uruguay, Norway, Australia, and
Turkey are deliberately designed to instil fear in countries wishing
to introduce similarly tough tobacco control measures.
the industry wants to see is a domino effect. When one country’s
resolve falters under the pressure of costly, drawn-out litigation
and threats of billion-dollar settlements, others with similar
intentions are likely to topple as well.
countries are being subjected to the same kind of aggressive scare
tactics. It is hard for any country to bear the financial burden of
this kind of litigation, but most especially so for small countries
like Uruguay. This is not a sane, or reasonable, or rational
situation in any sense. This is not a level playing field.
Tobacco can afford to hire the best lawyers and PR firms that money
can buy. Big Money can speak louder than any moral, ethical, or
public health argument, and can trample even the most damning
scientific evidence. We have seen this happen before.
horrific to think that an industry known for its dirty tricks and
dirty laundry could be allowed to trump what is clearly in the
public’s best interest.
And there are other tactics, some
new, others just old butts in new ashtrays.
countries, the tobacco industry is pushing for joint
government-industry committees to vet or screen all policy and
legislative matters pertaining to tobacco control. Don’t fall into
this trap. Doing so is just like appointing a committee of foxes to
look after your chickens.
More and more, investigations are
uncovering the tobacco industry’s hand in court cases filed against
tobacco control measures.
Paying people to use a country’s
judicial system to challenge the legality of measures that protect
the public is a flagrant abuse of the judicial system and a flagrant
affront to national sovereignty. This is direct interference with a
country’s internal affairs.
Members of civil society,
need you, now more than ever.
Experience has shown that, when
government political resolve falters or weakens under industry
pressure, coalitions of civil society can take up the slack and carry
the day. We need this kind of outcry, this kind of rage.
public opinion is vital. If tough tobacco legislation wins votes,
politicians will back it, and fight back against industry.
year’s high-level UN meeting on noncommunicable diseases [NCDs]
adopted a political declaration. To reduce risk factors and create
health-promoting environments, heads of state and government agreed
on the need to accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control.
They recognized that
substantially reducing tobacco consumption contributes to reducing
NCDs and has considerable health benefits for individuals and
countries. They also recognized the fundamental conflict of interest
that exists between the tobacco industry and public health.
I addressed that meeting, I reminded participants that full
implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
would deliver the single biggest preventive blow to heart disease,
cancer, diabetes, and respiratory disease. I called on heads of state
and government to stand rock-hard against the despicable efforts of
the tobacco industry to subvert this treaty.
I have a final comment.
I come from a
culture that shows great respect for its elders. So let me say that
some of the older people in this audience may recall the Virginia
Slims marketing campaign that targeted young professional women.
That campaign sought to hook teenaged girls and young women
by portraying smoking as a symbol of emancipation and self-assertive
freedom. Its slogan was
memorable: “You’ve come a long way,
Let me turn that around, addressing my
marketing campaign to the tobacco industry.
“We’ve come a
long way, bullies. We will not be fazed by your harassment. Your
products kill nearly 6 million people each year. You run a killing
and intimidating industry, but not in a crush-proof box. Tobacco
industry: the number and fortitude of your public health enemies will
damage your health.”
Ladies and gentlemen,
sincerely hope that this conference, including the high-level
ministerial panel on countering tobacco industry interference, will
again tip the balance entirely in our favour.
is our watershed event. I sincerely hope that this event further
damages the health of an industry that aggressively sells a
We can, and must, stop this
industry’s massive contribution to sickness and death, dead in its
I wish you a most productive meeting. Thank you.
Times-Dispatch, March 1, 2012, "Occupy Richmond
demonstrate downtown", by John Reid Blackwell.
Participants in the
Occupy Richmond movement demonstrated downtown Wednesday, charging
that Virginia's legislative process is being corrupted by corporate
interests acting through a conservative, nonprofit organization
called the American Legislative
demonstration was sparked in part by a report released in
ProgressVA that identified more than 50 bills introduced by General
Assembly members in recent years that were nearly identical to model
legislation from American Legislative Exchange.
"has had a track record of supporting legislation that is very
partisan indeed," said Isaac Ramsey, a Richmond resident and
Occupy participant. "In Virginia, they have attacked health
care, education and voting rights."
American Legislative Exchange's director of communications, described
her group as an "educational resource" for lawmakers with
input from the private sector and employers.
those are the job creators, the people who stimulate economic growth,
and those are things we need more than ever right now," she
The Occupiers say the council is a largely
corporate-funded group that influences public policy by facilitating
lobbying of elected officials and by developing model legislation for
lawmakers to introduce in state legislatures.
About 25 Occupy
Richmond participants started their demonstration in front of the
Richmond Times-Dispatch building before moving to Altria Group Inc.'s
downtown research and technology center. They put on a street
outside the research and technology center and held a mock trial in
front of the federal courthouse.
The demonstrators directed
their ire at ... tobacco giant Altria because the
company has provided financial support for the council.
spokesman [David Sutton] for Altria said the company's
involvement in the council is
just one of many ways it makes its views known on public
EXCERPTS from The
Gazette, February 29, 2012, "Youth find creative ways
to fuel cravings for nicotine", by Cindy Uken.
A Skyview High School wrestler was
school this month — one day before the state wrestling tournament —
with a $4.55 can of Copenhagen. The penalty resulting from the
ill-conceived decision was priceless.
He was suspended from
school for three days and prohibited from participating in the state
tournament. ... also was required, per school policy,
to complete a drug and alcohol class, according to Skyview wrestling
coach Rich Malia.
"It was pretty traumatic for both him
and his parents," Malia said.
The incident underscores
the ongoing and growing issue of tobacco use among youth in Montana.
Montana males, both adults and kids, are using smokeless tobacco at
alarming rates — about twice the national average, according to the
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
In Montana, 13.5 percent of
students in ninth through 12th grades reported using smokeless
tobacco, according to the 2011 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Additionally, 5.2 percent of students in seventh and eighth grades
reported using smokeless tobacco.
The popularity of smokeless
tobacco coincides with the tobacco industry's creation of an array of
smokeless-tobacco products in response to the nation's move toward
clean indoor air policies and laws. The products, such as Snus, are
made even more appealing by fun, bright, colorful packages and
candylike flavors such as spearmint, peppermint and winterchill.
products are sold throughout Montana, with the tobacco industry
spending an average of $34 per Montanan per year, according to the
Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program.
The spike in
smokeless-tobacco use in Montana comes when getting a nicotine fix is
more convenient and less noticeable than ever. No longer is
tobacco associated with a bulging mouthful of intense-tasting, wet,
smelly, brown crud and drooling spit.
The current product of
choice among youth is Snus, a tiny pouch filled with tobacco that
kids can discretely tuck under their lip. Gone is the telltale bulge
in the check and the tobacco juice. Snus curbs the craving as
nicotine absorbs into the gums. Kids like it because it is not easily
detected and they can stay buzzed 24/7.
It turns out that Snus
is no longer just for the cheek and lip. The latest craze to
capitalize on the nicotine punch of the pouches is to use it not with
the mouth but with the feet. There is a growing trend among
school kids of cutting slits between their toes and tucking a pouch
there. The nicotine absorbs directly into the blood, giving them a
nicotine high at school or during practice. No one is the wiser.
trend has caught the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services and
an addiction counselor for Billings School District 2.
kids are telling me they put it between toes, put on their shoes and
socks and no one can detect it," said Tammy Perkins, a Rimrock
Foundation addiction counselor at Senior High. "There's no big
ol' pouch in their mouth." Perkins said the method is
particularly popular among student athletes.
section supervisor for Healthy Lifestyles with the Montana Department
of Health and Human Services, tells a similar story. "I don't
think it's a rampant problem in Montana by any stretch of the
imagination. We've heard of it. There are kids in Montana doing it,
but usage itself is a huge issue. However they absorb it, to me,
isn't the issue. The issue is the usage."
considered a "starter kit" to cigarette smoking, has been
available in Montana for about six years but has "definitely
increased greatly" over the past five years, Campbell
With tobacco use among high school youth already
well-documented, state health officials are bracing for the next wave
of tobacco products aimed at youth and putting parents and educators
on notice. The products that are Montana-bound are Camel Sticks,
Camel Strips and Camel Orbs.
The smokeless-tobacco sticks,
sold in matchbook-like packs under the brand names Marlboro and
Skoal, are aimed at adult smokers and snuff users who want a
smokeless, spit-free alternative. The sticks are coated with finely
milled tobacco and come in different flavors such as "cool
mint." They carry the same potential health risks as other
tobacco products and bear similar warnings.
The strips are a
film strip for the tongue and also are made from finely ground,
flavored tobacco. The products melt in the mouth within three to 30
Orbs look similar to a Tic Tac. They,
too, are made
of finely ground tobacco with mint or cinnamon favoring. They are
loaded with nicotine and dissolve in the mouth, like a breath mint.
They can poison children. Given the candylike quality, youth are
easily and readily attracted to them, Campbell said.
Sticks, Strips and Orbs were test-marketed in a few locations and
re-released in March 2011. They were recently pulled from the market
to redesign the packaging. The new package just recently hit
Colorado, so it won't be long before the products are in Montana
stores, Campbell said.
"Is there an uptick in kids using
new products?" Campbell asked rhetorically. "Oh, yeah,
across the board. The issue is that the tobacco companies know that
so they manufacture it in flavors kids will like. Do you seriously
think a 50-year-old person that smokes is going to go in and buy
Since much of the tobacco advertising is now
restricted by law, cigarette companies focus on retail marketing and
display advertising, with the tobacco industry paying retailers for
product placement near candy and at levels viewed by children,
The tobacco industry outspends Montana's
tobacco prevention program by a margin of four to one, annually
spending $33 million marketing tobacco in Montana.
products can contain up to four times as much nicotine as in a
cigarette, Campbell said.
"The addiction is created so
quickly, it doesn't take much," she said. "These are
definitely starter products. They taste good. They're less harsh and
less intense. If a kid puts a cherry-flavored little pouch of tobacco
in their lip, it won't be as abrasive. It does become addictive."
EXCERPTS from East
Bay RI (Rhode Island), February 29, 2012, "Ban butts at the beach", no
editorial writer listed.
For the sake of fresh air, clean sand
and tender toes, beach
operators need to draw a line in the sand against smoking.
bill before the Rhode Island legislature would accomplish just that
for state beaches there. Massachusetts lawmakers would do visitors to
Horseneck and other places a favor by following suit.
are right up their with jellyfish, seaweed, green flies and
sandwich-snatching seagulls in their ability to put a damper on a
good beach day. There’s not much to be done about those other four,
but cigarettes can and ought to be banned on the beach.
enterprising Portsmouth college student set out last year to gauge
support for steps to rid beaches of this nuisance. Starting at her
home-town Sandy Point Beach, she polled beach visitors about
cigarettes. Most she has talked to think beaches would be well rid of
That’s hardly a surprise.
Good clean salt
air is part of beaches’ allure and nothing quite taints that
pleasure like a beach neighbor lighting up a smoke 20 feet
Worse perhaps is what happens to the butts. ... The Coastal
Conservancy reports that 38
percent of trash removed from beaches and coastlines last year was
Laden with toxins and bacteria, cigarette
filters are especially revolting bits of flotsam — bite size for
toddlers and shore creatures. And for sheer pain, crab bite and
jellyfish sting are no match for the misery of stepping on a buried
but still smoldering butt.
... People pay
dearly to visit the beach and the price of admission to these public
places ought to assure pristine air and sand.
both of these so ought to be forbidden.
EXCERPTS from Stanford
Report, December 12, 2011, by Cynthia Haven,
"Tobacco industry dying? Not so fast, says Stanford expert"
The cigarette industry is not dying. It
continues to reap unimaginable
profits. It's still winning lawsuits. And cigarettes still kill
millions every year.
So says Stanford's Robert Proctor,
Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for
Abolition, a book the tobacco
industry tried to stop with subpoenas and
hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Proctor, the first historian to testify in court against the tobacco
industry (in 1998), warns that the worst of the health catastrophe is
still ahead of us: Thanks to the long-term effects of cigarettes, "If
everyone stopped smoking today, there would still be millions of deaths
a year for decades to come."
"Low-tar" cigarettes? "Light" cigarettes? Better filters? Forget it, he
said. They don't work. Today's cigarettes are deadlier even than those
made 60 years ago, gram for gram.
Half the people who smoke will die from their habit. A surprising
number will die from stroke and heart attacks, not cancer.
Moreover, he asks, "How many people
know that tobacco is a major cause
of blindness, baldness and bladder cancer, not to mention cataracts,
ankle fractures, early onset menopause, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous
abortion and erectile dysfunction?"
Six trillion cigarettes are smoked every year – that's
6,000,000,000,000. Proctor said that's "enough to make a continuous
chain from Earth to the sun and back, with enough left over for a
couple of round trips to Mars."
His 750-page book, a decade in the making, has already earned high
praise, with terms like "a real page-turner," "a must-read," "the most
important book on smoking in 50 years."
"This book is a remarkable compendium
of evil," wrote Columbia's David
Rosner, an author of Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of
Industrial Pollution. "It will keep you spinning from page one through
the last. … It is the type of book that makes you wonder how, in God's
name, this could have happened."
According to Donald Kennedy, Stanford president emeritus and former
editor of the journal Science, the book "unpacks the sad history of an
industrial fraud. [Proctor's] tightly reasoned exploration touches on
all topics on which the tobacco makers lied repeatedly to Congress and
The hefty book has not only won him
accolades, but it's personally cost
Proctor $50,000 in legal fees to defend himself against the industry,
which subpoenaed his email and unpublished manuscript.
According to an article in The Nation
last year, Proctor is one of only
two historians who currently testify on behalf of smokers injured by
tobacco products; 50 have testified on behalf of the industry.
Academics from virtually every discipline have been collaborating with
the Marlboro Men – and made big money doing so.
"This is the biggest breach of
academic integrity since the Nazis," he said, and "certainly the most
Such language is typical for Proctor. When it comes to cigarettes, he
speaks in provocative superlatives, pulling no punches.
Cigarettes are "the deadliest artifact
in the history of civilization"
– more than bullets, more than atom bombs, more than traffic accidents
or wars or heroin addiction combined. They are also among "the most
carefully and most craftily devised small objects on the planet."
"The industry has spent tens of billions designing cigarettes since the
1940s – that's from the industry's own documents," he said.
He also marshals evidence to show that
substantially to environmental damage, even global warming:
finally decide to take seriously the problem of global climate change,
cigarettes will come under increasing scrutiny. Tobacco agriculture and
cigarette manufacturing have heavy carbon footprints – think
deforestation and petrochemical pesticides – and cigarettes are leading
causes of fires and industrial accidents. There's not much room for
cigarettes in an environmentally conscious world."
For the industry, though, the cigarette represents the perfect business
model. "It costs a penny to make.
Sell it for a dollar. It's
addictive," says investment guru Warren Buffett. Proctor notes
artfully crafting its physical character and chemistry, industry
scientists have managed to create an optimally addictive drug delivery
device, one that virtually sells itself."
"There's hundreds of things people don't know about smoking," said
Proctor. Myths have instead lulled the public into complacency. He
listed a few of the most common:
Myth #1. Nobody smokes anymore.
If you read the media, smoking sounds
like a dying habit in California. That's far from true, said Proctor.
Californians still smoke about 28 billion cigarettes per year, a per
capita rate only slightly below the global average.
So why do we have this illusion? "We don't count the people who don't
count. It's not the educated or the rich who smoke anymore, it's the
poor," said Proctor.
Also, look at popular social trends – the recent trendiness of cigars,
for example. Or the current fad for hookah
parties. He recalled one
such event at Stanford: "They would never have a Marlboro party. But
hookah is just as addictive, and just as deadly."
Myth #2. The tobacco industry
has turned over a new leaf. "The fact is
that the industry has never admitted they've lied to the public or
marketed to children or manipulated the potency of their project to
create and sustain addiction," Proctor said. "A U.S. Federal Court in
2006 found the American companies in violation of RICO racketeering
laws, and nothing has changed since then. And the same techniques used
in the past in the U.S. are now being pushed onto vulnerable
Myth #3. Everyone knows that
smoking is bad for you. Proctor pointed
out that most people begin smoking at the age of 12 or 13, or even
younger in some parts of the world. "Do they know everything?" Proctor
asked rhetorically. "And how many
people know that cigarettes contain
radioactive isotopes, or cyanide, or free-basing agents like ammonia,
added to juice up the potency of nicotine?"
Myth #4. Smokers like smoking,
and so should be free to do it. And the
industry has a right to manufacture cigarettes, even if defective.
Proctor called this "the libertarian argument."
"It is wrong to think about tobacco as a struggle between liberty and
longevity; that tips the scales in favor of the industry. People will
always choose liberty, as in 'Give me liberty or give me death.' What
people don't realize is that most smokers dislike the fact they smoke,
and wish they could quit. Cigarettes are actually destroyers of
There are tobacco industry documents, he noted, in which smoking is
compared not to drinking but rather to being an alcoholic. Proctor also
points to how we handle other forms of toxic pollution: "We don't allow
kids to play with toys coated with lead paint. We don't drive cars that
don't meet safety standards."
The upshot: "People should be free to smoke wherever it harms no one
else, but cigarettes as now designed are too dangerous to be produced
Myth #5. The tobacco industry
is here to stay. Global tobacco use would
be declining were it not for China, where 40 percent of the world's
cigarettes are made and smoked. Proctor has a bet with a colleague,
though, that China will be among the first to bar the sale of
cigarettes, once their financial costs are recognized. Governments
throughout the world have benefited from tobacco taxes, which he calls
"the second addiction." The costs of paying for diseases caused by
smoking are high, however – especially when you count lost productivity
– and governments will start winding down on tobacco, he says, once
this is taken seriously.
Proctor also said that in the United States, a "Kafkaesque world"
divides smokers and non-smokers. The industry has computerized
databases of virtually all smokers and spends over $400 per smoker per
year on special offers, coupons, sign-ups and other direct mail
approaches – an unseen world to non-smokers. "This is precisely how the
industry wants it; a fungus always grows best in the dark," he writes.
Proctor admits to a personal motivation for his research. Three of his
grandparents died from smoking – one from emphysema, another from lung
cancer and a third from a heart attack in his mid-50s. The family
blamed the last death on eating too many eggs. "That's the story," said
Proctor, "but he smoked nonstop."
For Proctor, then, his engagement with Big Tobacco is more than just
research: "It's part of my sense of what it means to be an ethical
human being, using my expertise to do what's right for humanity on the
EXCERPTS from Costa News,
June 10, 2011, "More
people go to bars
following smoking ban", by Oliver McIntyre.
Study contradicts cries from the
sector of lost
CONTRARY to complaints from bar and restaurant
owners about lost business due to the smoking ban, a new study shows
in fact more people are going out now that the establishments are
In a survey carried out by the Spanish Society for
Family and Community Medicine (SemFYC), 70 per cent of respondents said
they go out to bars and restaurants with the same frequency as before
ban, while 18 per cent said they go out more and just 12 per cent said
go out less.
According to the survey - carried out at health
centres among 4,000 people including smokers, non-smokers and
86 per cent of respondents believe that the smoking ban will result in
improved health for the general public, while 93 per cent say it will
improve the health of children and of hostelry workers. Even 50
of smokers say they would be against going back to allowing smoking in
number of smokers attempting to quit ... has continued rising,
according to SemFYC's Vidal Barchilón. "There is no
the [smoking] restrictions have a positive effect" on quit-smoking
Despite the study's findings, bar and restaurant owners
continue to maintain that the smoking ban is costing them money in lost
business. Rafael Prado, president of the Aehma hostelry association in
Málaga province, said the SemFYC study "does not correspond with
reality." Smokers are "the best customers of the restaurant and
trade," and the only establishments that may be benefitting are those
outdoor terraces, he said.
EXCERPTS from The Center for Responsive Politics,
... Once seen as corporate giants who
could use their
money for political favors, the biggest tobacco companies now often
approach politics more discreetly.
Campaign contributions, which
once totaled more than $10 million in a single election cycle, added up
a mere $3.2 million during the 2010 election cycle. And federal-level
lobbying expenditures in 2010 represented less than a quarter of what
were a dozen years before, in 1998, the Center for Responsive Politics'
The industry, which includes employees and
political action committees associated with tobacco companies, has
channeling money through harder-to-track organizations connected to
candidates. These include leadership PACs, which members of Congress
sponsor, and 527 groups, which are barred from donating to candidates
may campaign and advertise on their behalf.
As contributions to
candidates and committees declined by more than $6 million between the
and 2010 election cycles, contributions to leadership PACs remained
consistent, totaling more than $600,000 each year, the Center's
indicates. During the 2010 cycle, the industry gave more than $740,000
leadership PACs -- nearly a quarter of the amount it gave to all
The industry has also been generous to 527
committees. During the 2010 election cycle, the tobacco industry gave
$5.4 million to such organizations, according to the Center's research,
while its contribution to candidates and other political committees
And in the wake of last year's Citizens United v.
Federal Elections Commission ruling, which made it legal for
to make unlimited independent expenditures to support or oppose
candidates, critics of the industry believe it will become even harder
track the tobacco companies' political involvement.
like corporations in general, may now contribute unlimited amounts of
to non-profit organizations that in turn may advertise for or against
political candidates without revealing their source donors.
thing the tobacco industry has done is stay out of the public view and
disguise its efforts in politics," Stanton Glantz, professor of
the University of California-San Francisco and director of the Center
Tobacco Research and Control told OpenSecrets Blog. "With the rise of
undisclosed money, it is hard to know what they're doing."
McGoldrick, vice president of research for the Campaign for
Kids, told OpenSecrets Blog that tobacco companies' campaign
to candidates and federal lobbying expenditures may have declined, but
are dispatching their resources to other places.
always looking for creative ways to exert their influence," McGoldrick
said. "The Citizens United decision opened avenues for many groups. You
expect them to take any opportunity they can to influence the
Two of the
largest tobacco companies in the country,
Altria Group and Lorillard Tobacco, declined to comment on their
involvement. Dosal Tobacco declined to comment on the company's
contributions and others such as Reynolds American, Cigar Association
America and Commonwealth Brands did not return OpenSecrets Blog's
The tobacco industry's political influence also has
geographic significance, as some of the top tobacco producing and
manufacturing states including, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida,
Pennsylvania and Ohio, are considered swing states as the 2012 election
cycle revs up.
Many of the top recipients of donations from the
tobacco industry have been congressmen from these states and the
PACs sponsored by the congressmen.
The two highest
leaders in the House of Representatives -- Speaker John Boehner
and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) -- are among top tobacco
recipients. During the 2010 election cycle, Boehner received nearly
from people and PACs associated with the tobacco industry and Cantor
received $27,850. The two lawmakers' leadership PACs together received
than $158,000 from the industry.
Boehner, a smoker himself,
reportedly called the regulation of the tobacco industry by the Food
Drug Administration, which was approved in 2009, a "boneheaded idea"
voted against it, while Cantor voted in favor of the bill. One of the
largest contributors to Cantor's campaign was Virginia-based tobacco
company Altria Group, which was one of the only tobacco companies that
favored the regulation.
leader of Republican Party
has close ties to tobacco companies, a spokesman for Boehner,
Steel, told OpenSecrets Blog in an email that "Rep. Boehner makes
policy decisions based on what he believes is best for his constituents
the American people."
The offices of
both Cantor and Sen.
Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who received the most in contributions from
interests during the 2010 election cycle, did not return repeated phone
calls and emails.
clear that tobacco interests
usually support members [of] the Republican Party, they also donate to
Democrats. And by funding leadership PACs of Democrats instead of their
campaigns, they have been able to make it seem like they are
their Republican leanings.
During the 2010
election cycle, the
industry contributed only $4,700 to the campaign of Rep. [sic. --
Senator] Mark Warner
(D-Va.), but it gave $54,500 to his leadership PAC -- near the top
all leadership PACs in terms of money received from the tobacco
"The tobacco industry has a very strong Republican
bias, but they give the Democrats enough to keep them shut and keep it
becoming a campaign issue," Glantz said. "They go with who's in power,
they are nicer to the Republicans when they are in power than the
Besides campaign contributions, many congressmen
have other personal interests in the success of tobacco companies.
members of Congress hold assets in three of the biggest tobacco
the Center's research of 2009 financial disclosure reports indicates.
Rep. F. James
Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) holds between $100,001 to
$250,000 in Altria Group stock. Most members of Congress who
investments in Altria are Republicans, but Democrats such as Kay Hagan
(N.C.) and Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.) each reported tobacco company assets
valued at more than $2,000. Federal lawmakers will release their 2010
disclosure reports later this month.
And the industry's
political influence is far from restricted to the federal level.
With more regulation and tax hikes proposed on the state level in
years, tobacco companies have been directing their lobbying resources
the states, McGoldrick told OpenSecrets Blog. Their state
expenditures have been rising as federal lobbying efforts are now a
fraction of what they were in the late 1990s.
"They are all over
the place," McGoldrick said. "They are (at state capitols) in good
A lawyer representing the small Florida-based
tobacco company, Dosal Tobacco, told OpenSecrets Blog he has seen the
bigger tobacco companies change their focus from the federal to the
level to lobby against a tax hike.
"We have seen an increase --
in Florida at least -- in lobbying by the major tobacco companies,"
Mike Huey, government counsel for Dosal.
The companies might be
increasing their presence at state legislatures, but many of the
lobbyists hired by the tobacco industry are Washington insiders. About
percent of the lobbyists worked for the federal government prior to
becoming lobbyists, according to the Center's research.
of the biggest battles facing the industry today remains on the federal
The Food and Drug Administration, now responsible for
regulating the tobacco industry, is debating a ban on menthol
which make up about 90 percent of sales for the third-largest tobacco
The industry is ramping up its lobbying
efforts in response. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Lorillard
$900,000 -- nearly half of its lobbying expenditures during the 2010
-- in what may foreshadow a broader lobbying expenditure uptick
court overseeing an extended battle between the Justice Department and
array of tobacco companies declined on Wednesday to shut the case
tobacco is regulated under a new law.
Judge Gladys Kessler, who
had ruled in 2006 that Philip Morris and other tobacco companies were
guilty of racketeering because of years of deception about tobacco's
safety, insisted on Wednesday that she retain jurisdiction over the
The companies had argued that she had lost jurisdiction
because of a 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration authority
The companies also argued that being
by the FDA would make it less likely they would commit future
Kessler staunchly and tartly
disagreed, calling their
assertions "simply unconvincing."
"Defendants' contention that
no reasonable likelihood of future RICO violations exists due to the
regulation is particularly unconvincing when defendants are
and vigorously challenging, both in a separate lawsuit and in
administrative proceedings, many of the provisions of the Tobacco
Act," she wrote in Wednesday's ruling.
The racketeering case,
filed in 1999 by the Clinton administration, sought to force the
to fund a smoking cessation program and other remedies. Under the Bush
administration, the U.S. Justice Department dropped demands from $280
billion to $14 billion.
Kessler ruled in 2006 that the companies
broke the law and could no longer use expressions such as "low tar" or
"light" in their cigarette marketing. But she also said she could not
them to fund a smoking cessation program, and an appeals court agreed.
The Obama administration appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled
in June that tobacco companies could not be forced to pay billions for
"We continue to believe that the FDA is
the appropriate agency to regulate tobacco products and we're
our appellate options," said Steve Callahan, spokesperson for Altria
Defendants named in the original suit
American's R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, Lorillard Inc and Altria, which
Philip Morris USA Inc.
The case in U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia is no. 99-2496.
The Independent, WNTD,
2011, "The unstoppable march of
the tobacco giants", by Emily Dugan.
Despite the known
catastrophic effects on health of smoking, profits from tobacco
soar and sales of cigarettes have increased: they have risen from 5,000
billion sticks a year in the 1990s to 5,900 billion a year in 2009.
now kill more people annually than alcohol, Aids, car accidents,
drugs, murders and suicides combined.
West now consumes fewer and fewer of the world's cigarettes: richer
countries have changed – from smoking 38 per cent of the world total in
1990, they cut down to 24 per cent in 2009. Meanwhile, the developing
world's share in global cigarette sales has increased sharply, rising
per cent in 2009.
An investigation by The Independent
reveals that tobacco firms have taken advantage of lax marketing rules
developing countries by aggressively promoting cigarettes to new, young
consumers, while using lawyers, lobby groups and carefully selected
statistics to bully governments that attempt to quash the industry in
In 2010, the big four tobacco
companies – Philip Morris
International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Imperial
– made more than £27bn profit, up from £26bn in 2009.
price of their profits will be measured in human lives. In the 20th
century, some 100 million people were killed by tobacco use. If current
trends continue, tobacco will kill a billion people in the 21st century.
In striving for greater profits, the
big tobacco firms have pushed
the average price of cigarettes up in rich countries such as Britain –
where 20 cigarettes now cost more than £6 a pack – while
the price paid to tobacco growers in poorer countries such as India and
Malawi. Although around 77 per cent of the price of a pack is tax, the
amount charged by tobacco companies has also increased.
investigation by the Office of Fair Trading last year found that a dozen
tobacco manufacturers and retailers in the UK had colluded in price fixing,
ensuring that packs remained at higher prices to maximise profits. The
largest fine was one of £115m for Imperial Tobacco, makers of
& Butler and Golden Virginia. The
fine made a minimal dent in its
profits for 2010, which topped £4.39bn.
Meanwhile in Malawi,
where tobacco farming is heavily relied upon for the economy, the
anti-corruption bureau has accused tobacco companies of colluding to
prices paid to farmers for the raw product low. Tobacco auction
become a battleground between government and industry, as a kilo of
plummeted from an average of £1.06 per kg in April 2009 to 47p
per kg this
year. The knock-on effect of this on
farms is near-slave wages for workers
and a temptation to use cheap (or free) child labour.
Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath, said: "What
most people don't realise is that, although sales are falling in the
industry profits are increasing. These companies remain some of the
profitable in the world. This is thanks in part to their endless
ways of undermining and circumventing regulation. They're trying to
reinvent their image to ingratiate themselves with governments, but
the scenes it's business as usual."
This year's World No Tobacco
Day [May 31] is focusing on persuading more countries to sign a global
up by the World Health Organization to ensure public health protection
smoking. Although 172 countries have signed up to the Framework
on Tobacco Control since it was produced six years ago, 20 per cent of
have still done nothing at all to implement its recommendations, and major
countries, including the US and Indonesia, are still not even
In Indonesia alone there are 21
smokers. There is little to stop companies promoting cigarettes
people. In countries such as Nigeria, Ukraine and Brazil, tobacco
have sponsored club nights or parties aimed at attracting new young
In Russia, attempts to entice women smokers have included packaging
look like jewel-encrusted perfume bottles and even selling cigarettes
branded by the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.
Peruga, programme manager for the WHO's tobacco free initiative, said:
need to do more. We need to stop the tobacco industry promoting
as normal corporate citizens when they are killing people every day. We
lagging behind in establishing comprehensive bans on advertising,
marketing, promotion and sponsorship."
When countries in these
emerging markets try to clamp down on tobacco, the battle often ends up
the court room. In Uruguay, for example, the government had been
the way under President Tabaré Ramón Vázquez
Rosas, a former oncologist.
In 2006 it became the first in the region to ban smoking in public
and now it wants 80 per cent of every pack of cigarettes to be taken up
with health warnings.
In response, Philip Morris has sued
government. It is thought that the company will demand at least $2bn in
damages if Uruguay loses.
Courtroom bullying like this has a
broader intimidatory effect on other governments in the region, which
already less inclined towards legislating further against smoking.
Laurent Huber, director of the Framework Convention Alliance on tobacco
control, said: "In countries like Uruguay, the tobacco industry uses
vast wealth to tie up public health measures in court battles. Win or
this has a chilling effect on other governments."
are by no means confined to the less-regulated emerging countries. In
Australia, which will become the first country to introduce plain
for cigarettes by law, the industry has been accused of scaremongering
against the measures by threatening to flood the market with cheap fags.
In Britain, the industry is also prone to taking any measures
necessary to keep regulation at bay. This autumn a group of tobacco
companies is taking the Government to court over its proposals to ban
cigarette displays in all shops.
More often in the UK, though,
Big Tobacco's attempts to alter public opinion are more subtle. A study
from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), out this week, scrutinises the
credibility of economic arguments used by the industry to fight back
against legislation. For example, when Christopher Ogden, chief
of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said in 2010 that the smoking
had severely threatened the pub and bingo industry because of lost jobs
livelihoods, the reality was a little different. Data from the Office
National Statistics shows a net increase in the number of people
pubs since the smoking ban. When England went smoke-free in 2007, the
number of premises licensed for alcohol increased by 5 per cent, and it
continued to grow every year since.
Deborah Arnott, chief
executive of ASH, said: "In line with our international treaty
the UK government has not only banned advertising and put health
on packs, but also committed to protect public health policies from the
commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry. To get round
the industry uses front groups
to covertly lobby politicians, arguing that
smoke-free legislation has destroyed the pub trade, and that putting
tobacco out of sight in shops will both be ineffective and put corner
out of business.
"The next big battle is over putting cigarettes
in plain packs. Already the same arguments are being used. The evidence
thin or non-existent, but no matter, the danger is that policy makers
be misled that where there's smoke, there's fire."
Louis C Camilleri
CEO of Philip Morris
Made £12.4m last year. Recently told a nurse that cigarettes
"weren't that hard to quit".
British American Tobacco (BAT)
Paid £2.4m last year. Formerly
led Souza Cruz SA, BAT's Brazilian unit, and also headed BAT's African
Middle Eastern businesses.
Paid £1.9m last year. Former sales and marketing
regional director for western Europe.
Sean Nicholson, 43
From Jarrow, Tyne and Wear
started smoking when I was 11. I worked in the shipyards for 15 years
always smoked. I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary
at 34, and later on it turned out I had emphysema too. The specialists
I was the youngest case they had ever seen. Soon I couldn't breathe if
walked a few steps. The consultants said I had the lungs of a
Seven weeks ago I had a double lung transplant. Now I can breathe again
I can't stand the sight of people smoking. It took getting new lungs to
realise how silly I'd been."
Ryan Gamble, 17
"I've smoked for about six years. I
started because my friends were doing it and I just kept the habit
hated it at first, I choked. I smoke about 10 or 15 a day and it's hard
quit. I work in a chip shop and half of my wages go on that [smoking].
wish I'd never started. You wake up coughing and you can't run
Sharon Gould, 53, and her son Ben, 10
"I started smoking when I was 14. I
quit when I was pregnant with Ben but then I started again. I used to
in the house when he was in another room, or smoke in the car with the
window down. Ben was around two when we discovered he had asthma. I
understand what I've done and I want to put it right. I gave up three
ago. It's too late for Ben, but I want to help other parents not make
same mistakes. It could be genetic, but statistics say that I am partly
responsible for my son's asthma. It was Ben that made me stop. Ben
like smoking and I don't blame him. He used to say 'Please mummy, don't
smoke, it's horrible.'"
José Carlos Carneiro, 64
From Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"I began to smoke when I was 15
years old, influenced by tobacco advertising and wanting to make a good
impression with girls who studied at my school. I had both my legs
amputated in 1983 thanks to Buerger's disease [associated with
I had not been a smoker I would have a fantastic
EXCERPTS from UPI, May 30, 2011, "Tobacco giant Philip
Morris suing Uruguay over ban", no writer stated.
giant Philip Morris is suing Uruguay in a world tribunal over a smoking
that it sees damaging its business prospects.
legal action, if successful, will see the state of Uruguay hauled
the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a World
Anti-tobacco campaigners have hailed Uruguay's
tough stand on tobacco. Analysts said Philip Morris chose a small Latin
American for potentially precedent-setting litigation instead of taking
major countries in the West that all have legislated with varying
of enthusiasm to discourage tobacco use.
ICSID is an autonomous
international institution established under the Convention on the
Settlement of Investment Disputes between states and nationals of other
states. ICSID is mandated to provide facilities for conciliation and
arbitration of international investment disputes.
As legal curbs have targeted
smoking in workplaces and public transport in most industrial countries
the Western Hemisphere, tobacco use has grown or continues at even
in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Philip Morris claim against Uruguay argues the Latin American country's
laws are damaging the company's commercial interests.
began its campaign against tobacco use about four years ago and
despite change of government. Former Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez
banned smoking in public buildings and later government curbs made the
tougher. A total blackout of tobacco advertising was reinforced with a
requirement for cigarette manufacturers to display prominent health
warnings on cigarette packs.
The Uruguayan ban didn't spare
smoking products designated as "light."
The legal first by
Philip Morris was seen by officials as a potential test case in which
manufacturer appeared emboldened by the Latin American country's
small size and perceived expectation it wouldn't have pockets deep
to fight the case in an international forum. U.S. lawyer Paul Reichler,
expert on international public law, is expected to lead the defense
Uruguay says the government is within its rights to defend
health of its citizens.
Reichler, quoted in the Uruguayan media
and MercoPress, said the defense would question a Philip Morris
that Montevideo was bound by agreement to protect investments.
To counter that argument, the defense would argue the government was
fully within its rights not to allow economic activities that damage
"The treaty establishes that by sovereignty
Uruguay has the right to prohibit unhealthy activities ... With its
anti-tobacco laws the country does not attack the investments of Philip
Morris, it only imposes limits to an activity that is to promote and to
commercialize harmful products," said Reichler.
health groups said they support Uruguay's decision not to bow to
from Philip Morris.
The groups include the American Cancer
Society, Framework Convention Alliance, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,
Corporate Accountability International, InterAmerican Heart Foundation
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.
Uruguay's tobacco control laws are some of the toughest in the world,
including graphic health warnings that cover 80 percent of cigarette
packages and a policy of one package per brand, which was adopted to
the tobacco industry's use of packages with colors and other symbols
substituting brand descriptions such as "light" and "low
EXCERPTS from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, May
20, 2011 print/online, "Altria: Smoking is addictive", by John Reid
The top executive of tobacco giant
Altria Group Inc. told shareholders
Thursday that smoking is addictive
and can be very difficult to quit.
The comment by Michael E. Szymanczyk, Altria's chairman and chief
executive officer, came as part of a presentation to shareholders about
the company's 2010 business results, though he also focused heavily on
the company's philanthropic giving and its programs to prevent youth
smoking and to comply with the Food and Drug Administration's
of tobacco products.
"Because tobacco use is addictive and
it can be very difficult to quit,
our tobacco companies help connect adult tobacco consumers who have
decided to quit with cessation information from public health
authorities," Szymanczyk said during the annual meeting at the Greater
Richmond Convention Center.
His comment reflects the company's
official position, but stood in
contrast to a comment made last week by Louis C.
Camilleri, the chief
executive officer of Philip Morris International Inc.
Camilleri said cigarette smoking is
addictive but is "not that hard to
quit" and that former smokers outnumber current smokers in the U.S.
His statement was in response to a shareholder comment at Philip Morris
International's annual meeting in New York City. Camilleri is the
CEO of Altria Group, which spun off Philip Morris International as a
separate company in 2008.
Philip Morris International sells cigarettes internationally, while
Henrico County-based Altria Group, the parent company of top U.S.
cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA, sells tobacco products in the U.S.
market. The company is a major employer in the Richmond area and a
significant buyer of Virginia-grown tobacco.
Three tobacco-control activists at Altria's meeting Thursday pressed
Szymanczyk to elaborate on his comment. He referred them to the
company's position on smoking and addiction outlined on its website.
"I would simply say that what I said is on our website," Szymanczyk
in response to one activist's question about why his comments
"There is nothing new here," Szymanczyk said. "This is the Altria Group
shareholders meeting, and we discuss the business of Altria Group."
One shareholder and tobacco-control advocate, Anne Morrow Donley of
Richmond, asked Szymanczyk whether he would advise people not to smoke
around women of child-bearing age. Donley cited several recently
published studies showing that exposure to secondhand smoke by pregnant
women can harm the fetus and cause health problems such as low birth
weight in infants.
"For some time, our position has been that people should be guided by
public health authorities relative to issues of smoking and health,
including secondhand smoke," Szymanczyk said. "I also think that our
position has been clear that pregnant women shouldn't smoke and that
children and pregnant women shouldn't be exposed to smoke."
Altria shareholders overwhelmingly voted to reject a proposal offered by
some tobacco-control advocates for the company to stop making tobacco
products with added characterizing flavoring unless and until
independent research shows that added flavors do not contribute
significantly to youth tobacco use.
The Rev. Michael Crosby, a tobacco-control advocate from Milwaukee,
argued that adding flavors to tobacco products entices underage users.
Altria's board of directors
recommended shareholders reject the
proposal, saying it would put the company at a competitive disadvantage
because "millions of adult tobacco consumers prefer tobacco products
offered in a wide range of flavor varieties."
The FDA has been studying whether to ban or restrict menthol flavoring
in cigarettes. An FDA scientific advisory committee concluded in March
that removing menthol from cigarettes would benefit public health, but
it did not formally recommend a ban.
EXCERPTS from USA TODAY, May 11, 2011, "Philip
Morris Int'l CEO: Tobacco not hard to quit", by Michael Felberbaum, Associated Press.
Times Dispatch, re. comment by
Altria CEO, Szymanczyk on addiction.
RICHMOND, Va. — The head of cigarette
maker Philip Morris International (PM) told a cancer nurse Wednesday
that while cigarettes are harmful and addictive, it is not that hard to
CEO Louis Camilleri's statement was in response to comments at its
annual shareholder meeting in New York, in which the seller of Marlboro
and other brands overseas spent most of the gathering sparring with
members of anti-tobacco and other corporate accountability groups
targeting its marketing and regulatory dealings.
The nurse, later identified as Elisabeth
statistics that tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans and 5
million people worldwide each year. She is a member of The Nightingales Nurses , an activist group
that works to focus public attention on the tobacco industry
She also said a patient told her last
week that of all the addictions he's beaten — crack, cocaine, meth —
cigarettes have been the most difficult.
In response, the often unapologetic
Camilleri said: "We take our responsibility very seriously, and I don't
think we get enough recognition for the efforts we make to ensure that
there is effective worldwide regulation of a product that is harmful
and that is addictive. Nevertheless, whilst it is addictive, it is not
that hard to quit. … There are more previous smokers in America today
than current smokers."
Camilleri is a longtime smoker.
An April 2009 BusinessWeek
article quoted him as saying he had quit only once, for three months
when he had a cold. Following Wednesday's meeting, the company
reiterated its position that "tobacco products are addictive and
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said
the comments represent the "most irresponsible form of corporate double-speak
"Study after study has documented the powerful addiction to cigarettes
is one of the most difficult to overcome of any drug anywhere in the
world," Myers said. "It is stunning in the face of overwhelming science
for the leader of the world's largest private tobacco company to deny
how difficult and addictive cigarettes are."
Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham said
addictiveness is why tobacco is such a profitable business.
"It's in the interest of executives to give the impression that they
don't want new smokers to take up smoking, that they believe that
people who do, can quit, but the statistics tell another story," Gorham
There are more 1 billion tobacco users in the world, according to the
World Health Organization. While global figures are not widely
available, the U.S. Public Health Service says about 45% of U.S.
smokers try to quit each year, and only 4% to 7% of them are
Last year, Philip Morris International saw its profit grow 14.5% as its
net revenue excluding excise taxes rose 8.7%. The company has raised
prices and focused on emerging markets for growth ...
Philip Morris International, with offices in New York and Lausanne,
Switzerland, was spun off from Richmond, Va.-based Altria in March
Philip Morris International is the
world's largest non-governmental cigarette seller, smaller only than
state-controlled China National Tobacco.
Money.MSN, May 11, 2011, 2:02 PM, "Cigarettes not that hard to
The top executive at Philip Morris tells shareholders that smokes
aren't so addictive", by Kim Peterson.
... Louis Camilleri was asked
about the issue [addiction] at the company's annual shareholder
meeting. A nurse said that one of her patients told her it was harder
to quit cigarettes than crack, cocaine or methamphetamine.
Camilleri acknowledged that cigarettes are harmful and addictive.
"Whilst it is addictive, it is not that hard to quit," he told the
nurse. "There are more previous smokers in America today than current
There are flaws all over that logic. The fact that more people have
quit does not mean it's easy to do so. Of the 19 million U.S. adults
who tried to quit in 2005, only 4% to 7% were successful, one study
showed. Huge industries have been built around the fact that people
can't easily quit, offering nicotine gum, inhalers, lozenges, nasal
sprays or patches for help.
Camilleri himself has only quit once, for three months when he had a
cold, and is still a smoker today, the Associated Press reports.
Still, it's not that shocking that he would take this stance. The
tobacco industry has fought hard against every health claim that could
hurt sales. The industry hid the true dangers of smoking, and wouldn't
admit for decades that cigarettes were addictive.
So of course executives would now say that cigarettes aren't hard to
"It's in the interest of executives to give the impression that they
don't want new smokers to take up smoking, that they believe that
people who do, can quit, but the statistics tell another story," a
Morningstar analyst told the Associated Press.
But Camilleri is partly right: There are more ex-smokers in this
country than there are smokers. That has led Philip Morris to look
overseas for new growth, focusing on emerging markets.
EXCERPTS from The Winston-Salem Journal, May 5,
2011, "Reynolds American takes step", by Richard Craver.
Reynolds American Inc. took a step
Friday toward finding common ground
with groups representing migrant farm workers in addressing laborers'
work and living conditions.
The company pledged to use an independent, third-party monitor to
assess the working conditions at U.S. tobacco farms that supply product
The company also proposed a council that would involve tobacco
manufacturers, growers, the N.C. Labor Department, agricultural
scientists, farm workers and their representatives, such as the Farm
Labor Organizing Committee [FLOC
The issue has been raised for at least four years at Reynolds' annual
shareholders meeting, including the one held Friday in Winston-Salem.
Groups wanting to protest Reynolds' policies typically buy its shares
to be able to speak at the meeting.
Reynolds repeated its stance that it is not the company's role to
negotiate on behalf of non-Reynolds workers. In February 2010,
Reynolds' board of directors announced a "Statement on Human Rights" —
on its website — for how it and its operating companies conduct their
There was some scoffing among farm-worker representatives when Daniel
Delen, who took over as chief executive and president of Reynolds in
March, said, "We believe no company has done more than R.J. Reynolds to
promote farm-worker safety and improved working conditions on tobacco
farms in North Carolina and beyond."
However, Reynolds' two updates to its policies appeared to take some
tension out of the room because they were acknowledgments that the
company is willing to take a more visible role in worker conditions.
Both address the requests of farm-worker representatives.
It was not clear whether the proposals were a reflection of Delen's
role as top executive compared with Susan Ivey, who retired Feb. 28, or
an evolution of Reynolds' stance on the issue. Delen could not be
reached for comment after the meeting.
The FLOC has been demanding that Reynolds use its clout to pressure its
suppliers to improve conditions and raise wages for the state's 30,000
tobacco farm workers.
Reynolds said its suppliers are required to certify they have received
training from the Good Agricultural Practice program before its
subsidiaries buy tobacco from them.
In proposing a council to examine the issue, Delen said, "Formation of
such a council, when properly constituted, might well make a
significant contribution to the improvement of worker safety and living
conditions on the farms."
"We believe that making progress on ensuring a safe and legal work
environment for U.S. farm workers can best be achieved by taking this
broader view of the situation."
Delen said its legal officials are meeting Monday with Oxfam America
and FLOC officials to begin the process of determining the lead
official of the council.
"We want a leader who is independent, socially conscious and with no
financial conflicts," Delen said.
FLOC held a protest downtown Friday with about 130 participants. The
group also was armed with a report that it said documented sub-minimum
wages, needlessly dangerous conditions in the fields and inhumane
living conditions at some N.C. tobacco farms last year.
Both Delen and Tom Wajnert, Reynolds' chairman, referred to the report
and its multi-party proposal several times during the meeting. Reynolds
has suggested a multi-party approach on its website.
"This research reveals an industry
that systematically exploits farm
workers' fears of arrest and deportation to deprive them of their
basic, internationally recognized human rights," said Minor Sinclair,
the director of Oxfam America's U.S. regional office.
"We hope the people who can truly
influence Reynolds American will
review this meticulously documented, first-hand research and take the
suggested actions contained in the report. Nothing less is acceptable."
The N.C. Labor Department has said that most farmers in North Carolina
adhere to the worker standards. Some protesters have questioned how
active regulators and enforcement officials have been in addressing
working and living conditions.
"As for Reynolds Tobacco, in our experience they have been very
proactive when it comes to safety and health training," said Dolores
Quesenberry, department spokeswoman.
The Rev. Michael Crosby, representing
the Interfaith Center on
, said Reynolds is following the path
Altria Inc. and Philip Morris International in coming to the table. "I
see a glimmer of hope on an issue we having been raising for a number
of years," Crosby said at the meeting. "For your willingness to
participate with stakeholders, I sprinkle holy water on you.
"Yet, because these discussions are going on at the highest levels with
Altria and Philip Morris International, I would urge you to take it to
the same level here."
The response to Reynolds' proposals by many protesters was simply
"There remain questions on whether this council will look pretty and
pretend to look into the labor issues, or it actually does address the
issues and push for changes in a timely fashion," Viridiana Martinez
"It is progress and it is about time, but we will continue to put
pressure on them to do the right thing. It's not enough to decide to be
nice now. I still don't know how these Reynolds leaders sleep at
Oxfam America, "A state of fear: Human rights abuses
in North Carolina’s tobacco industry,
Research Report", Published: May 05, 2011
America’s migrant farmworkers toil for sub-poverty wages under some of
the most dangerous working conditions in the nation. Oxfam America and
the Farm Labor Organizing Committee have completed a joint study of the
tobacco industry’s impact on the human rights of farmworkers in the
fields of North Carolina. This
The Los Angeles Times, April
5, 2011, "Secondhand smoke isn't just bad
for kids' bodies, it's bad for their brains", by Karen Kaplan.
Children and teens exposed to
secondhand smoke are more likely to
develop symptoms for a variety of mental health problems, including
major depressive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and
others, according to a study published in Tuesday’s edition of the
journal Archives of Pediatrics and
At this point, it should come as no surprise to anyone that exposure to
tobacco smoke is unhealthy. Plenty of studies have linked secondhand
smoke to respiratory problems, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome,
middle ear infections and other physical health problems. But the link
between secondhand smoke and mental health has not been examined as
The new study is believed to be the first that looks at how secondhand
smoke exposure – as measured by the presence of a nicotine metabolite
in the blood – is associated with mental health in a nationally
representative sample of American kids and teens.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, the University of
Miami and Legacy, the nonprofit that fights tobacco use, used data on
2,901 youths who were between the ages of 8 and 15 when they were part
of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2001 to
2004. As part of the study, the kids were asked to provide blood
samples; those who were exposed to secondhand smoke had higher levels
of the cotinine, which is produced as the body metabolizes nicotine.
The kids were also assessed for a variety of mental health disorders as
defined by the National Institute of Mental Health’s Diagnostic
Interview Schedule for Children Version IV.
Here’s what the researchers found: On average, the kids had almost five
symptoms of major depressive disorder, almost four symptoms of ADHD,
almost three symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and more than one
symptom of conduct disorder.
After taking into consideration the kids’ health history and other
factors, the researchers determined that levels of cotinine in the
blood were strongly correlated with ADHD symptoms and weakly linked
with symptoms of major depressive disorder, conduct disorder and
generalized anxiety disorder. Overall, the links between cotinine and
psychiatric symptoms were greater for boys than for girls, and for
whites compared to blacks and Mexican Americans.
But none of those symptoms added up to a single diagnosis of a mental
health disorder that could be linked with exposure to secondhand smoke
in the children and teens in the study. At first, it looked like higher
cotinine levels might be associated with a higher risk of ADHD. But
upon further analysis, it turned out that the increased ADHD risk was
actually due to smoking by mothers during pregnancy.
Still, the authors make the undeniable point that there’s no upside to
secondhand smoke for kids, teens – or anyone else:
“Efforts to ban smoking in public places where children and adolescents
are present, including all child care settings and schools, should
continue, as well as increased efforts to develop interventions
targeted directly at parents and and designed to prevent [secondhand
smoke] exposure in the homes of children and adolescents.”
EXCERPTS from The
Japan Times, March 28, 2011, "Firms
poorest", by Cesar Chelala, M.D.,
an international public health consultant.
NEW YORK — Facing greater restriction
in the United States and other
industrialized countries, multinational tobacco companies are
increasingly marketing their products in developing countries,
particularly among women and adolescents.
While smoking rates in some
industrialized countries are decreasing at
about 1 percent a year, those in developing countries are increasing at
around 3 percent.
It is estimated that, if current trends persist for the next 30 years,
up to 7 million people from developing countries will die every year
from diseases related to smoking.
For the past several years, corporations such as Philip Morris, RJ
Reynolds, and British-American Tobacco have been expanding rapidly in
Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Tobacco-provoked deaths can only add
to the inequities in health of ethnic and minority populations.
Jeanette Noltenius, an expert on tobacco and alcohol abuse issues,
stated recently, "In the U.S., minorities such as Hispanics have been
specifically targeted by the tobacco companies since the early 1960s,
and have received a double dose of advertising (in Spanish and
According to data from the Bureau of Census, U.S. Department of
Commerce, the number of young Latino smokers is expected to triple by
2020, accounting for 19 percent of young American smokers, up from 9 at
Since the early 1980s, American trade
officials, with help from the
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, have led a sustained campaign
to open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand among the
In Taiwan, U.S. officials' efforts to
force Taiwan to open its markets
to U.S. tobacco products have resulted in increased smoking,
particularly among women and children. Talking about U.S. government
support for American tobacco companies, a corporation executive
remarked: "We expect such support. That's why we vote them in."
These actions have prompted the Asia-Pacific Association for the
Control of Tobacco to protest strongly against what they consider an
invasion of their countries by U.S. companies targeting Asian women and
The association has complained about strong-arm tactics used by U.S.
government officials in their countries. A report from the U.S. General
Accounting Office established that "U.S. policy and programs for
assisting the export of tobacco and tobacco products work at cross
purposes to U.S. health policy initiatives, both domestically and
Several studies show that in the poorest households in developing
countries, 10 percent or more of the total household expenditure is on
tobacco. As a result, there is less money for basic items like food,
education and health care needs, thus leading to increased
malnutrition, illiteracy and premature death.
In China, tobacco companies have been moving steadily inland with
intense promotional campaigns. It is estimated that of the world's 1.71
billion smokers, more than 350 million are in China, where lung cancer
has been increasing 4.75 percent a year.
The Chinese government is facing the dilemma of promoting tobacco
cessation policies while it heavily depends on earnings from the
state-run monopoly tobacco company.
Researchers with the School of Public Health at the University of
California state that raising the tobacco tax by the equivalent of 15
cents per cigarette pack could save more than 13 million lives and
generate $9.5 billion in revenue for the Chinese government.
Lured by financial gains from growing tobacco, millions of hectares in
China are presently under cultivation. Gains from the sale of tobacco,
however, may be just short term, since the costs of treating lung
cancer and other related diseases amply exceed the tobacco profits.
According to experts, those excess health care costs amount to $200
billion annually on a global scale, one-third of which is incurred by
While anti-smoking efforts gather momentum in the U.S., those efforts
are far less effective in developing countries. Such countries'
policies will not be as effective unless transnational tobacco firms
are made to limit their aggressive advertising.
Countries in Asia and Latin America are conducting health education
campaigns and have passed legislation to control smoking. Up to now,
several countries worldwide have enacted legislation to control tobacco
consumption. Although, in general, this legislation has been passed at
the national level, in the U.S., Canada, and in several Latin American
and Caribbean countries, these laws are being enacted by state or local
Despite increasing condemnation by public health officials and the
World Health Organization, international companies continue with their
indiscriminate tobacco-promotional efforts in developing countries,
exacting a high human toll. ...
EXCERPTS from Environmental
March 2011 online, "Secondhand Smoke Exposure During Pregnancy and
Infantile Neurodevelopment", authors BE Lee, YC Hong, H Park, et al.
"During prenatal development, the
nervous system may be more susceptible to environmental toxicants, such
as secondhand smoke. The authors assessed the effects of prenatal and
postnatal secondhand smoke exposure on the neurodevelopment of 6-month
infants. The subjects were 414 mother and infant pairs with no medical
problems, taken from the Mothers' and Children's Environmental Health
study. Prenatal and postnatal exposures to secondhand smoke were
determined using maternal self-reports. Examiners, unaware of exposure
history, assessed the infants at 6 months of age using the Bayley
Scales of Infant Development. Bayley scores were compared for
secondhand smoke exposed and unexposed groups after adjusting for
potential confounders. Multiple logistic regression analysis was
carried out to estimate the risk of developmental delay posed by SHS
exposure. The multivariate model included residential area, maternal
age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, education, income, infant sex,
parity, birth weight, and type of feeding."
Smoke] is composed of more than 4,000 chemicals, such as nicotine,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), aromatic amines, and carbon
monoxide, and many of these substances are known to cross the
placenta and reach the fetus. Although SHS exposure is a diluted
form of exposure, certain toxic chemicals are present at higher
proportions in SHS than in mainstream smoke. Furthermore, it has
been reported that tobacco smoke can affect the developing fetal
nervous system by reducing oxygen and nutrient flow to the fetus, and
that prenatal nicotine exposure alters neurotransmission systems and
causes structural and functional changes in the central nervous
this study, we
found that prenatal SHS exposure is associated with a significant
decrease in cognitive function in 6-month infants. This finding
provides evidence of the adverse effect of maternal SHS exposure
during pregnancy on child neurodevelopment."
that the exposure of non-smoking mothers to SHS [secondhand smoke]
has a significant deleterious effect on infant cognitive ability."
from the Associated Press, article in The
Times-Dispatch, March 10, 2011, "Spain: 'Hair' musical
respects new smoking law", by Daniel Woolls.
MADRID (AP) -- Actors playing
joint-puffing hippies in a Spanish
adaptation of the American musical "Hair" are not violating a new law
banning tobacco-smoking in enclosed public places, an official said
A spectator had complained it might be tobacco the actors are smoking,
and a formal complaint was filed with the play's producers, Barcelona
city health department official Manel Pineiro said. But the production
company ultimately showed the cigarettes were just herbs like basil.
He said a letter was sent a few days ago to the theater saying it was
not violating a new Spanish law that bans smoking in all enclosed
public places and that the complaint from the spectator had mushroomed
out of all proportion.
The play's artistic director, Joan Lluis Goas, said the warning the
theater had originally received was "too much" and that artistic and
cultural expression should be protected from "silliness and
Separately, a restaurant owner in southern Spain who had emerged as one
of the most outspoken critics of the law and let his customers keep
smoking - only to be fined euro145,000 ($200,000) and forced to shut
down last month - reluctantly reopened smoke-free on Thursday, saying
he had to make a living and keep his workers employed.
Jose Eugenio Arias Camison, who runs a Basque-style restaurant in the
southern resort town of Marbella, said the hospitality industry in
Spain is taking a big hit because of the new ban on smoking in bars in
restaurants, which took effect Jan. 2. ...
from news release, Public Health
Advocacy Institute, February 24, 2011,
Florida jury returns multi-million verdict against tobacco companies.
A jury in Gainesville,
Florida today [2/24/2011] assessed punitive
damages in the amount of $1.5 million against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
(RJR) and another $1.5 million against Philip Morris (PM) in an Engle
Progeny case. The same jury on Tuesday night awarded the family of John
Huish $750,000 in compensatory damages, attributing 25% fault to RJR,
25% to Philip Morris and 50% to Mr. Huish. So, the compensatory damages
award will be reduced by 50%.
Of the 35 Engle Progeny
trials that have reached a jury verdict since February 2009, 24 have
been plaintiff verdicts (69%).
Mr. Huish, who died of
small-cell lung cancer in
1993 at the age of 64, had started smoking two decades before warning
labels appeared on cigarette packs. He started smoking Lucky Strikes,
followed by Camel, Chesterfield, Marlboro and then Marlboro Lights. Mr.
Huish’s widow, Anna Louise Huish, brought the lawsuit and is
represented by the West Palm Beach firm of Searcy, Denney, Scarola,
Barnhart & Shipley.
Senior Attorney for the
Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University School of
Law (TPLP), Edward L. Sweda, Jr.
was delighted with the verdict: “This jury was justifiably appalled by
what it learned about the tobacco companies’ outrageous misconduct
during the decades that John Huish was an addicted customer. Someone
who is not addicted would not have smoked two or more packs per day for
46 years, as Mr. Huish did before succumbing to lung cancer.”
TPLP Director Mark
noted that, “Jury after jury of ordinary folks have found the way that
cigarette makers conduct their business is deserving of punishment.
With thousands of these cases in the pipeline in Florida, it’s going to
be a long slog for Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds.”
from The Korea Herald,
February 7, 2011, "Smoking to be banned at three Seoul plazas", by Bae
Smoking will be prohibited at three
main squares in central Seoul from March and those who break the ban
will be fined 100,000 won ($94) from June after a three-month grace
Under the city administration’s ordinance putting stricter regulations
on outdoor smoking, the no-smoking public areas will be expanded to 23
parks by September and 295 bus stops on central lanes by the end of the
The administration will install warning signs around the three squares
― Seoul, Gwanghwamun and Cheonggye ― by the end of this month.
The measure aims to reduce the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke,
and the associated health risks.
Currently, large buildings and indoor public areas are designated as
smoke-free. Experts are demanding more steps to induce people to quit
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the smoking rate among
adults here was 39.6 percent last year, one of the highest among OECD
member states. The average smoking rate of 31 member states was 27.3
percent as of the end of 2008.
The National Health Insurance
Corporation estimates 2.7 trillion won is spent annually to treat
smoking-related diseases at medical institutions and pharmacies. It
reported that 40-something smokers are likely to die some 6.28 years
earlier than their non-smoker peers and spend 11.2 million won more to
be treated for cerebral vascular diseases.
The Korea Institute for Health and
Social Affairs in 2007 calculated the socioeconomic costs of smoking to
be 5.6 trillion won including money for treatment, nursing and
transportation as well as loss of income and damage from second-hand
smoking. It is equivalent to 14 billion won lost a day, the institute
In a survey by the Health Ministry of 3,000 randomly-selected adults
nationwide last year, the majority picked expansion of non-smoking
areas to be the most effective measure against smoking, followed by
cigarette price hikes, regulations and public campaigns.
The News & Observer,
Raleigh, North Carolina, February 4, 2011,
"Raleigh bans smoking in city parks", by Josh Shaffer.
Raleigh City Council on Tuesday
banned lighting up in all public parks and greenways but two: Nash and
Moore squares downtown.
Smoking in the city's green spaces is also acceptable - if it's kept to
the parking lot.
The council's 6-2 vote caps a month of debate that pitted public health
against private rights. Supporters spoke of cleaner air and less
litter. Opponents predicted problems with enforcement and the exclusion
of residents from public spaces.
Laura Aiken, executive director of Advocates
commended the council for reducing trash and limiting secondhand smoke,
noting that Raleigh "can be a positive example for the rest of the
But Dallas Woodhouse, state director of Americans for Prosperity [Koch
brothers financed advocacy group according to LA Times], says
the law makes criminals out of people engaged in legal activity - and
said it might force people to smoke indoors, near children.
The law takes effect July 1.
EXCERPTS from the
BBC, February 3, 2011, "New York [City] smoking ban extended to parks
and coastlines", no writer stated.
Some of the toughest anti-smoking
measures to be adopted in a major city have been approved by
councillors in New York.
The measures are set to extend a smoking ban to municipal parks,
beaches and even Times Square.
The ban will take effect three months after it is signed by New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
It will make it an offence to light up in any of the city's 1,700 parks
and along 14 miles (23km) of coastline.
"This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some
fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a
beach not littered with cigarette butts," Mr Bloomberg said after the
The ban is set to encompass pedestrian areas like the one in Times
It will give the city's Parks Department the power to impose fines
similar to those used for minor offences like begging or public
urination. They carry fines of under $100 (£62).
But the city expects the law to be primarily self-enforced, relying on
residents to tell anyone lighting up in a park on a beach that it is
illegal, one councillor said. Police will not be responsible for
enforcing it, she added.
However, some of those councillors who voted against the measures
denounced them as an infringement on individual rights.
Smoking was banned in New York's bars and restaurants nearly a decade
Smoking is also prohibited in Los Angeles city parks and in Chicago
parks with playgrounds.
vs. health are before the Virginia General Assembly which is in its
"short" session this year, January 12 -- February 26, 2011.
The general legislative web site
gives links to finding which state senator and delegate represents
those living in each part of Virginia and their during the session
phones and e-mails.
from The Virginian-Pilot, January 24, 2011, "Raise taxes on cigarettes?
Not in Virginia, says House panel", writer Bill Sizemore.
... Three bills that would have authorized additional
taxes on cigarettes were extinguished with no discussion today in the
House Finance Committee.
cigarette tax rate of 30 cents per pack won’t change. It’s the
next-to-lowest rate in the country – only Missouri’s is lower, at
introduced by Del. Patrick Hope,
D-Arlington County, would have raised the per-pack rate to $1.45,
the national average. HB1750, offered by Del. Ken Plum, D-Fairfax
County, would have raised it to 80 cents.
by Del. Bill Barlow, D-Isle of Wight County, would have enabled all
Virginia counties to impose a local cigarette tax. Only Fairfax and
Arlington counties can do so now. So can cities and towns.
me, it should be a no-brainer,” said Barlow, who has introduced the
measure for several years at the request of county governments in his
district that would like to lessen their reliance on the real estate
tax. But the subcommittee that considered the bills last week was
having none of it.
“At least they
complimented me on my
persistence,” Barlow said.
Hope’s bill would
directed most of the new cigarette-tax proceeds toward shoring up
Medicaid, the federal/state health insurance program for low-income
people. The program’s cost has ballooned in recent years and now
accounts for 20 percent of Virginia’s general-fund budget.
Virginia Medicaid budget is facing a fiscal crisis,” Hope told his
colleagues on the House floor last week. “We have to do something
Del. Bobby Orrock,
R-Caroline County, a member
of the subcommittee that rejected the tax bills, said the state
should beware taxing tobacco to the point that people quit smoking.
“You don’t want to
restrict the chicken so much that she
doesn’t lay any more eggs,” Orrock said.
interests have given Virginia candidates $433,344 in campaign
contributions over the past year, according to the nonprofit
Tobacco Info.ca No. 4 February 2011 (Canada), "WHO study finds
smoking kills 600,000 worldwide", by Joe Strizzi.
global study into the effects of second-hand smoke (SHS)
found that it is the root cause of over 600,000 deaths per year
worldwide. Some 165,000 or more than a quarter of those deaths are
children who are often exposed to what is commonly referred to as
‘passive smoking’ at home.
“Smokers are putting not only
themselves at risk, but also 1.8 billion
non-smokers,” wrote the World Health Organization (WHO) in a
press release. “In 2004, 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers and
35% of female non-smokers were exposed to SHS worldwide.”
The WHO research team, led by
Annette Pruss-Ustun in Geneva, found that in the 192 countries
examined, SHS is particularly dangerous for children, who are believed
to be at higher risk of sudden death syndrome, pneumonia and lung
The study used estimates of the instances of certain diseases and the
number of people exposed to SHS in a particular region. It examined the
effects of passive smoking on both deaths and years lost of life in
good health to determine that SHS exposure led to 379,000 deaths from
ischemic heart disease; 165,000 deaths from lower respiratory
infections; 36,900 deaths from asthma; and 21,400 deaths from lung
cancer. In order to gather comprehensive data from all the countries
observed, researchers looked at statistics dating as far back as 2004.
“Passive smoking is a global health
issue,” remarked the study’s
co-author Alistair Woodward, professor at the University of Auckland in
New Zealand. “Billions of people are
still exposed, needlessly, to
second-hand smoke. This paper puts a figure on the cost, globally, of
premature deaths and loss of good health. We hope our findings
spur policy makers to take action. We know what works in tobacco
control — what is needed is leadership and political commitment.”
The authors also found that women
and children are disproportionately affected by exposure to SHS. Of the
603,000 deaths, 47% occurred in women, 28% in children and 26% in men.
Women suffer more from the impact of SHS as they are 50% more likely to
be non-smokers than men. Children are by far the most affected by
in terms of lost years of life as most of these deaths occur from
respiratory infections during their first few years.
The highest exposure to SHS was
found in Eastern Europe, the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia, with
more than 50% of some population groups exposed. About 60% of all child
deaths occurred in Africa and Southeast Asia combined.
Only 7.4% of the world lives in jurisdictions with comprehensive
smoke-free laws at present. As such, the study’s authors urge countries
to enforce the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a treaty
under the guidance of the United Nations and adopted by the World
Health Assembly in 2003, which entered into force in 2005.
should bear in mind that enforcing complete smoke-free laws will
probably substantially reduce the number of deaths attributable to
exposure to SHS within the first year of its implementation, with
accompanying reduction in costs of illness in social and health
systems,” the authors wrote.
Pruss-Ustun and colleagues made three key recommendations in their
study published in the medical journal The Lancet. The first was
immediate enforcement of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to
create complete smoke-free environments in all indoor workplaces,
public places and public transport. The second was the inclusion of
complementary educational strategies, such as voluntary smoke-free home
policies, for countries that already have smoke-free laws. The third is
the need to dispel the myth that developing countries can wait to deal
with tobacco-related diseases until after they have dealt with
infectious diseases. Together, tobacco smoke and infections lead to
substantial, avoidable mortality and loss of years of active life.
What is SHS?
According to Health Canada, breathing in second-hand smoke causes at
least 800 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease every year in
Canadian non-smokers. The best way to protect your family from the
health effects of second-hand smoke is to make your home and car 100%
Second-hand smoke is what smokers exhale and what rises from an idle
burning cigarette, cigar or pipe. When you see second-hand smoke in the
air, what may not be so obvious is that there are 4,000 chemicals in
the smoke, and more than 60 of these chemicals are carcinogens. The
chemicals also contribute directly to other diseases, such as asthma,
heart disease and emphysema.
When someone smokes in your home, second-hand smoke spreads from one
room to another, even if the door to the smoking area is closed. In
addition, the potentially toxic chemicals in second-hand smoke can
cling to rugs, curtains, clothes, food and other materials, and often
remain in a room or car long after the smoker has been there.
You may think
you can clear the smoke from a room or your car by opening a window or
turning on a fan, but this is not the case. Studies have shown there is
no level of ventilation that will eliminate the harmful effects of
second-hand smoke. Even air filters (air purifiers) are not enough.
Second-hand smoke is composed of both particles and gases. Most air
filters are designed to remove fine smoke particles from the air, but
they do not remove the gases that can cause diseases.
EXCERPTS from The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly,
January 20, 2011, "Big Tobacco Case Tops Year's Largest Verdicts", by
Two Boston trial lawyers took on Big
Tobacco and won the largest jury verdict in the state last year in a
wrongful death suit that exposed a disturbing campaign to distribute
menthol cigarettes to inner-city children.
The $152 million award in Evans v. Lorillard is nearly 10 times larger
than 2009’s top verdict of $15.7 million in a patent case. The historic
win against the third-largest cigarette maker in the nation came after
thousands of working hours and late nights at the attorneys’ downtown
Boston law firm.
“We ate supper together a lot of nights — lots of Wagamama and B Good
Burgers,” said Thomas Frisardi, who tried the case with lead
plaintiff’s attorney Michael D. Weisman, both of Davis, Malm &
Frisardi and Weisman faced off against Lorillard’s stable of attorneys
hailing from three firms: Nutter, McClennen & Fish and Prince,
Lobel, Glovsky & Tye, both in Boston, and Shook, Hardy, Bacon in
In the courtroom, the disparity in plaintiff’s and defense resources
was glaring, Frisardi said. He and Weisman sat together at a small
table. Behind them, sitting at two tables pushed together, were the
four main defense attorneys. Another group of defense attorneys watched
from the gallery.
An outmanned Weisman and Frisardi said the defense tried to bury them
in paperwork, filing, for example, more than two dozen pre-trial
motions, including eight motions for summary judgment, with briefs
totaling 132 pages.
“That was an example of the way in which they conducted business,”
Weisman said. “There were more resources devoted to this case than any
other case I’ve ever seen.”
Messages left for the defendant’s lawyers went unreturned. A Lorillard
spokesman has said the company plans to appeal the verdict, which marks
its first loss in a suit brought by an individual.
Before Marie Evans died, Weisman filed an emergency petition to record
her testimony about Newport cigarette giveaways targeting black
youngsters in Roxbury’s Orchard Park in the 1960s.
Lorillard fought the request but lost.
Over the course of three days, Evans sat in front of a video camera at
her home and talked about receiving free cigarettes from Lorillard
representatives who approached children near a playground in the
Orchard Park housing project where she lived.
Evans said she was 9 when she was given cigarettes. She smoked for more
than 40 years before she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and her son,
Willie Evans, a Boston lawyer, sued Lorillard.
She was in “extreme pain” during the video deposition, which unfolded
over three days in 2002, but she delivered her testimony without drama,
Weisman said. She died three weeks after the recording.
The video deposition played a crucial role in the case, as did internal
Lorillard documents that evidenced an aggressive campaign to entice
black youths to smoke Newports.
A subtler, though significant, factor in the plaintiff’s win was the
juxtaposition of cross-examination styles when third-party fact
witnesses took the stand for either side, Weisman said.
“It was dramatic — the difference between Tom’s examination and theirs
— and I don’t think the jury liked it,” Weisman said. “Lorillard
cross-examined our witnesses as if they were lying.”
Instead of trying to discredit Lorillard’s witnesses, Frisardi said he
showed jurors that many of them were actually being truthful in
testifying that they didn’t remember the giveaways, because they had
daily routines that would have kept them away from the park.
“He did not attack the witnesses; he did not call them liars,” Weisman
said. “That was an important strategic decision that Tom made to
them with dignity and respect. In the opening statement, I told the
jury that this case is about dignity, that Marie Evans was a dignified
The most memorable moment of the trial for Weisman came during the
cross of a Lorillard representative who showed jurors a copy of a
Newport advertisement from a 1965 edition of Ebony magazine.
In the copy, the pack of cigarettes was blue.
That was a problem for the plaintiff. Many of the witnesses who
remembered the giveaways could not recall the brand of cigarettes they
were given as children, but they testified that the packs were green.
“If the pack was blue, it couldn’t have been Newport,” Weisman said.
But Weisman and Frisardi had the actual magazine ad. The package was
Weisman showed the Lorillard rep the magazine and asked him if he had
compared his copy to the real ad.
“He said he had not,” Weisman said.
He asked whether Lorillard had intentionally altered the color of the
Newport ad to deceive the jury. The defense objected, and Superior
Court Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey sustained the objection.
But the damage was done.
“It made it look as though the defense didn’t really care whether the
jury got the facts,” Frisardi said. “And this happened right in the
middle of the defense’s case.”
She [Marie Evans] readily admitted that she shared fault with
Lorillard. But her addiction was stronger, more difficult to shake,
because Lorillard had started her young, Frisardi and Weisman argued.
“I learned that there are fundamental changes in the brain that happen
if you start smoking as a child, as Marie Evans did,” Weisman said. “It
is much more than willpower.”
Both sides called addiction experts to the stand. The plaintiff’s
experts testified that addiction means different things for different
people, while a defense expert flown in from the Medical University of
South Carolina told jurors that anyone can quit smoking and that it’s
just a matter of motivation.
“She ended up being a better witness for us than for them,” said
Weisman, who confronted the MUSC expert with a document that showed
Lorillard had recruited youth smokers in the ’60s.
“She was visibly taken aback on the stand,” Frisardi said. “I would say
her facial expression said she was upset, and I think the jury saw
Neither side knew whether any of the jurors were smokers or ex-smokers,
which is what Frisardi and Weisman wanted.
They had filed a motion in limine to prevent the defendants from having
jury consultants conduct online research on the jurors, such as
visiting their Facebook pages or blogs.
Judge Fahey allowed limited online research, but she ordered that the
lawyers submit affidavits detailing every website that was visited
during the inquiry. And in the end, Lorillard never did the research,
according to the plaintiff’s team.
Meanwhile, Frisardi and Weisman successfully opposed Lorillard’s
request to make jurors answer detailed questionnaires. The jury was
simply read a description of the case and asked if they could be fair
“We pushed very hard for a simple process,” Weisman said. “We did not
think it was necessary to pry into jurors’ backgrounds or personal
habits. They swore they could be impartial, and that was good enough
The jury, which took three days to seat, deliberated for six days
before deciding compensatory damages. It determined that Lorillard was
negligent for marketing Newports to children and failing to warn Marie
Evans of the health risks; that the company committed breach of
warranty by distributing a dangerous product; and it acted in a
malicious, willful and wanton manner.
The jury awarded $71 million in compensatory damages: $50 million for
Marie Evans’ estate and $21 million for Willie Evans. Following a
one-day hearing on punitive damages, the jury awarded another $81
million to the plaintiff, mirroring five days of net sales for
Fahey is deciding whether additional damages are appropriate under the
plaintiff’s statutory claim alleging Lorillard breached consumer
protection law. The judge recently ordered Lorillard to keep at least
$270 million in liquid assets on hand until the lawsuit is finalized.
News Release [Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
EXPOSURE TO TOBACCO SMOKE CAUSES IMMEDIATE DAMAGE, SAYS NEW
SURGEON GENERAL’S REPORT
Report focuses on how tobacco smoke causes disease
Exposure to tobacco smoke – even occasional smoking or secondhand
– causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness
or death, according to a report released today by U.S. Surgeon General
Regina M. Benjamin. The comprehensive scientific report -
first Surgeon General’s report and the 30th tobacco-related Surgeon
General’s report issued since 1964 - describes specific pathways by
which tobacco smoke damages the human body and leads to disease and
The report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and
Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease, finds that cellular
damage and tissue inflammation from tobacco smoke are immediate, and
that repeated exposure weakens the body’s ability to heal the damage.
“The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every
inhale causing damage immediately,” Benjamin said in releasing the
report. “Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can
damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.”
"Over the last two years we have stepped up efforts to reduce
use, including implementing legislation to regulate tobacco products,
investing in local tobacco control efforts and expanding access to
insurance coverage for tobacco cessation" said Secretary of Health and
Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. "This will remain a key priority of
The report also explains why it is so difficult to quit smoking.
According to the research, cigarettes are designed for addiction. The
design and contents of current tobacco products make them more
attractive and addictive than ever before. Today’s cigarettes deliver
nicotine more quickly and efficiently than cigarettes of many years ago.
Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mixture of more than 7,000
and compounds, of which hundreds are toxic and at least 70 cause
cancer. Every exposure to these cancer-causing chemicals could damage
DNA in a way that leads to cancer. Exposure to smoke also decreases the
benefits of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Smoking causes
more than 85% of lung cancers and can cause cancer almost anywhere in
the body. One in three cancer deaths in the U.S. is tobacco-related.
The report describes how the delicate lining of the lungs becomes
inflamed as soon as it is exposed to the chemical mixture in cigarette
smoke. Over time, the smoke can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular
disease and could trigger acute cardiac events, such as heart attack.
The report describes how chemicals from tobacco smoke quickly damage
blood vessels and make blood more likely to clot. The evidence in this
report shows how smoking causes cardiovascular disease and increases
risks for heart attack, stroke, and aortic aneurysm.
Smoking causes many other harmful effects throughout the body,
including making it harder for diabetics to control their blood
Smoking makes it harder for women to get pregnant and can cause a
miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight, as well as damage to
fetal lungs and brain tissue. Babies who are exposed to secondhand
smoke are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome, the
“This report makes it clear – quitting at any time gives
your body a
chance to heal the damage caused by smoking,” the Surgeon General said.
“It’s never too late to quit, but the sooner you do it, the better.”
Fortunately, there are now more effective ways to help people quit
ever before. Nicotine replacement is available over the counter and
doctors can prescribe medications that improve the chances of
successful quit attempts. Smokers can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.
To help communicate the report findings as widely as possible, the
Surgeon General unveiled an easy-to-read guide with practical
information about how tobacco smoke causes disease, A Report of the
Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You.
Copies of the full report, executive summary, and the easy-to-read
guide may be downloaded at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/tobaccosmoke/index.html.To
and click the Publications Catalog link under Tools & Resources.
EXCERPTS from Lawyers and Settlements . com,
December 3, 2010, R.J. Reynolds Guilty of Unbridled Deceit Says
Attorney, writer Brenda Craig.
Tallahassee, FL: Attorney James
Gustafson has just
finished up a huge and historic wrongful death suit against R.J.
Reynolds. A Florida jury awarded $8 million in compensatory damages and
another $72 million in punitive damages to Diane Webb, whose father,
James Cayce Horner, smoked up to two packages of cigarettes a day until
he died of lung cancer. ...
And maybe it’s because Gustafson’s own father also
died of lung
cancer that he speaks so clearly and eloquently about the damage done
by big tobacco. "These smokers were part of our greatest generation,"
says Gustafson. "They made it through the Depression, they fought and
won World II, they created a giant of an industrial nation and it was
on their backs that this country was built."
"These are people who started smoking decades before
warning labels on cigarettes," says Gustafson. "James Horner, Diane
Webb’s dad, started smoking as a teenager in 1934 and smoked for 32
years before there was ever a warning label put on these packages."
"James Horner watched his wife die of lung cancer,
had a heart attack because of cigarettes and then finally he died,"
And although smoking killed Gustafson’s father, he
says he never
really knew just how deplorable big tobacco’s conduct has been until he
started working on this trial. "The depth of their deceit is just
unfathomable—it is just bottomless," says Gustafson.
"My dad smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes and then
filtered cigarettes," says Gustafson. "But I now know that filters are
a fraud. If anything they make cigarettes more dangerous because they
make the smoker puff harder."
"The R.J. Reynolds internal documents are
spectacular in their deceit,"
says Gustafson. "Sometimes juries are skeptical about wrongful death
suits for smokers, they wonder why you’re doing this," says Gustafson.
"But in these cases, the conduct of big tobacco is so bad you can
literally see the jury turning against the company."
"We are not proving these cases with our own
documents, we’re proving these cases with their own documents,"
from EurekAlert!, October 4, 2010, Breast cancer linked to
environmental smoke exposure among Mexican women.
Mexican women who do not smoke but are exposed to smoking,
known as environmental smoke exposure, are at three times higher risk
for breast cancer than non-smoking women not exposed to passive
smoking, according to findings presented at the Third AACR [American
Association for Cancer Research] Conference on The
Science of Cancer
Health Disparities, being held Sept. 30-Oct.3, 2010.
"Everyone should avoid secondhand smoke," said Lizbeth
Ph.D., professor of epidemiology, at the National Institute for Public
Health, Mexico City, Mexico.
... "We have found that environmental
exposure to tobacco increases a
woman's risk for breast cancer in the same way that active smoking
More than 6 million Mexican women between the ages of 12 and 65, who
have never-smoked, are being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke,
according to background information from the National Surveys of
Addictions. Previous research has shown that active smoking is linked
to a 20 percent increase in the risk for breast cancer — the leading
cause of cancer in women in Mexico — with the highest incidence among
those women in the Mexican states bordering the United States. However,
the association between environmental tobacco smoke and breast cancer
risk, particularly among postmenopausal women, is less established.
Therefore, López-Carrillo, and colleagues conducted a study to
the risk for breast cancer due to lifetime exposure to passive smoking
among pre- and postmenopausal women residing in Mexican states
bordering the United States.
They examined 504 women with confirmed breast cancer and compared them
with 504 healthy women of similar age. During direct interviews, the
women were asked about their active and passive lifetime smoking
exposure at the home and the workplace. Women with either active or
passive tobacco exposure were compared to those women who had never
smoked and had no passive smoking exposure.
Compared with women who had never smoked and
had no passive smoking
exposure, women with passive smoking exposure had a threefold higher
risk for breast cancer. The link between passive smoking and breast
cancer remained regardless of menopausal status.
Among women who actively smoked, the researchers found an increased
breast cancer risk; however, this association was only significant if
women began smoking between puberty and the birth of their first child.
"Active and passive smoke exposure is a modifiable risk factor for
breast cancer," López-Carrillo said. "Reducing not only active
but also passive smoking, will prevent new breast cancer cases in this
EXCERPTS from The Los Angeles
Times, August 20, 2010, How many cigarettes is it safe to smoke?
(Hint: not many.), Karen Kaplan.
Photo caption: Even a single cigarette produces enough
smoke to alter genes in the lungs, according to a new study.
... “How many cigarettes can I smoke before I start to do some
The sobering answer: Zero.
That’s the conclusion of a new study from researchers at Weill Cornell
Medical College and Cornell University in New York.
The researchers recruited 121 healthy volunteers to pee into a cup and
submit to a bronchoscopy, a procedure that included removing cells from
the lining of the part of the airway that would first come into contact
with inhaled smoke.
Smoking status was determined based on levels of nicotine and cotinine
(a chemical produced in the body as nicotine is metabolized) found in
their urine. The 40 people with undetectable levels of nicotine and
cotinine were classified as nonsmokers; those with low levels were
considered occasional smokers or people exposed to secondhand smoke;
and those with high levels were considered regular smokers.
By comparing the lung biopsies from regular smokers to those from
nonsmokers, the researchers identified 372 genes whose expression was
triggered by tobacco smoke. Then they checked to see what those genes
were doing in the occasional smokers. It turned out that 128 of those
genes (34%) had been activated -- presumably by cigarettes -- including
41 (11%) that were “significantly modified,” according to the study.
Next, the researchers checked to see how much nicotine and cotinine had
to be in the urine before changes in the lung cell genes were
noticeable. For nicotine, that level was a mere 1.8 nanograms per
milliliter -- too low to be picked up in tests. In other words, “there
was no detectable level” of nicotine that was considered harmless, the
researchers wrote. For cotinine, the threshold was 11 ng/ml, only
slightly higher than the amount that the most sensitive tests can
Digging further, the researchers found that the two groups of
genes that responded most strongly in the occasional smokers were the
same two groups that are most active in regular smokers. “These
changes in gene expression are likely the earliest biologic
abnormalities in the small airway epithelium that lead to clinically
detectable lung disease,” they wrote.
Considering that so many people are exposed to secondhand smoke or
partake in an occasional cigarette, the findings are significant, they
The study was published online this month in the American Journal
of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 19,
2010, 13 charged with violating Va. restaurant-smoking ban, Staff
reports, including contributions form John Reid Blackwell, and The
Church, Va. -- ... Responding to
months of complaints, police charged nine smokers with lighting up in
several Vietnamese restaurants in Eden Center. Four more people were
charged with allowing smoking in their establishments.
Church officials said those arrested were issued citations and fines.
They are first
known citations since the state limited
smoking in restaurants. Violators can face $25 fines.
Hagy, director of the Virginia Department of Health's division of
food and environment services, said yesterday that he is aware of no
other citations issued for violations of the restaurant smoking law
the Richmond, Chesterfield County
and Henrico County police departments said yesterday that those
departments have not issued any citations.
The law [amendment to the Virginia
Indoor Clean Air Act passed in 1990], which
took effect Dec. 1, generally prohibits smoking in restaurants but
allows certain exceptions. For example, restaurants may allow smoking
indoors only if they have separately enclosed and vented smoking and
nonsmoking rooms with a public entrance into the nonsmoking area.
Hagy said about
92 percent of full-service and fast-food
restaurants in the state have indicated that they are nonsmoking
since the law took effect.
Since Dec. 1,
have visited more than 23,000 restaurants, and 97 percent of them
have been in compliance with the law, Hagy said.
months ago, we issued a policy . . . to our people that restaurants
should know the law by now," he said. "If they have one
that has not complied, then they [local health officials] should
report that information to their local law enforcement."
EXCERPTS from EurekAlert, August
18, 2010, "Berkeley study shows
ozone and nicotine a bad combination for asthma", based on Atmospheric
Environment, Article in
Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 29 July 2010.
reason for including asthma on the list of potential health risks posed
secondhand tobacco smoke, especially for non-smokers, has been
Furthermore, the practice of using ozone to remove the smell of tobacco
smoke from indoor environments, including hotel rooms and the interiors
vehicles, is probably a bad idea.
A new study by researchers
with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) shows
ozone can react with the nicotine in secondhand smoke to form ultrafine
particles that may become a bigger threat to asthma sufferers than
itself. These ultrafine particles also become major components of
smoke - the residue from tobacco smoke that persists long after a
or cigar has been extinguished.
"Our study reveals that nicotine
can react with ozone to form secondary organic aerosols that are less
100 nanometers in diameter and become a source of thirdhand smoke,"
Mohamad Sleiman, a chemist with the Indoor Environment Department of
Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) who
"Because of their size and high surface area to
volume ratio, ultrafine particles have the capacity to carry and
potentially harmful organic chemicals deep into the lower respiratory
where they promote oxidative stress," Sleiman says. "It's been well
established by others that the elderly and the very young are at
Results of this study have been reported in the journal Atmospheric
Environment in a paper titled "Secondary organic aerosol
formation from ozone-initiated reactions with nicotine and secondhand
tobacco smoke." Co-authoring this paper with Sleiman were Hugo
and Lara Gundel, also with EETD's Indoor Environment Department, and
Smith, Chen-Lin Liu, Musahid Ahmed and Kevin Wilson with the Chemical
Dynamics Group of Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division. The study
carried out under a grant from the University of California's
Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
The dangers of
mainstream and secondhand tobacco smoke, which contain several thousand
chemical toxins distributed as particles or gases, have been well
documented. This past February, a study, also spearheaded by Sleiman,
Destaillats and Gundel, revealed the potential health hazards posed by
thirdhand tobacco smoke which was shown to react with nitrous acid, a
common indoor air pollutant, to produce dangerous carcinogens. Until
however, in terms of forming ultrafine particles, there have been no
studies on the reaction of nicotine with ozone.
Released as a
vapor by the burning of tobacco, nicotine is a strong and persistent
adsorbent onto indoor surfaces that is released back to indoor air for
period of months after smoking ceased. Ozone is a common urban
that infiltrates from outdoor air through ventilation that has been
to health problems, including asthma and respiratory ailments.
Says co-author Gundel, "Not only did we find that nicotine from
secondhand smoke reacts with ozone to make ultrafine particles – a new
and stunning development – but we also found that several oxidized
products of ozone and nicotine have higher values on the asthma hazard
index than nicotine itself."
Says co-author Destaillats, "In our
previous study, we found that carcinogens were formed on indoor
which can lead to exposures that are likely to be dominated by dermal
uptake and dust ingestion. This study suggests a different exposure
to aged secondhand or thirdhand smoke through the formation and
of ultrafine particles. Also, our group had previously described the
formation of secondary organic aerosols in reaction of indoor ozone
terpenoids, commonly present in household products. But this is the
time that nicotine has been tagged as a potential candidate to form
ultrafine particles or aerosols through a reaction with ozone."
To identify the products formed when nicotine in secondhand smoke is
reacted with ozone, Sleiman and his co-authors utilized the unique
capabilities of Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS), a premier
source of x-ray and ultraviolet light for scientific research. Working
ALS Beamline 9.0., which is optimized for the study of chemical
using vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light and features an aerosol chemistry
experimental station, the researchers found new chemical compounds
within one hour after the start of the reaction.
VUV light of Beamline 9.0.2's custom-built VUV aerosol mass
minimized the fragmentation of organic molecules and enabled us to
chemically characterize the secondhand smoke and identify individual
constituents of secondary organic aerosols," says Sleiman. "The
identification of multifunctional compounds, such as carbonyls and
present in the ultrafine particles, made it possible for us to estimate
Asthma Hazard Index for these compounds."
... Says Sleiman, "In addition, we need to do
further investigations to verify that the formation of ultrafine
occurs under a range of real world conditions. However, given the high
levels of nicotine measured indoors when smoking takes place regularly
the significant yield of ultrafine particles formation in our study,
findings suggest new link between asthma and exposure to secondhand and
EXCERPTS from The
2010, "Uganda’s forest cover fast dying out as tobacco industry booms",
writer, Halima Abdallah.
Uganda’s tobacco industry is spawning an environmental
disaster, as farmers turn to fruit trees for wood fuel to cure the
Driving through tobacco growing areas, outside the Murchison Falls
National Park one barely encounters natural forests.
The native trees have been cut down and no efforts have been made to
Occasionally, one sees smaller manmade forests of eucalyptus trees that
belong to a few individuals who, after growing food crops still have
land to spare.
Larger manmade forests belong to the leading tobacco company British
American Tobacco Uganda Ltd. The company sells the wood to the tobacco
Caught between the short term need for revenue and employment
opportunities that the tobacco industry presents, the government has
turned a blind eye to the unfolding environmental impact of the plant.
In 2009, the country exported 32,000 tonnes of tobacco leaves that
fetched $57 million in revenue.
The previous year, the industry exported 29,042 tonnes fetching $66
Also, over 90 per cent of Uganda households rely on wood fuel as a
source of energy, which adds to the challenge of redeeming the forest
In addition, there is increased demand for timber for the construction
and furniture making industries.
A 1992 Panos study on deforestation in developing countries revealed
that 69 per cent of wood consumed by tobacco companies goes to fuel
used in curing tobacco, and 15 per cent to poles and sticks for
The most affected countries include Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Brazil and
Uganda. Zimbabwe is the only country in Africa that uses the flue
method — which makes use of coal, petrol or oil — to cure tobacco
Despite tobacco being an industrial crop with a considerable number of
farmers producing it, the National Agricultural Research Organisation,
Uganda’s lead research body, cannot regulate the crop as it is outside
This leaves the sector in the hands of private multi billion dollar
Julius Mukalazi, director of research at the Zonal Agricultural
Research and Development Institute in West Nile, said the effect is
disastrous as these companies have exhausted the natural forest trees
and are now cutting down mango trees.
“In future we may not have fruits,” said Dr Mukalazi. “Batu
companies need to come up with mitigating programmes such as
agroforestry, growing woodland for firewood and fodder for livestock,
which should be integrated under Naro.”
However, when asked about their plan for reforestation, Batu was
The British American Tobacco Company introduced tobacco to the farmers
in West Nile in 1927 as a cash crop.
As supply grew, the British built a factory in Jinja in the east in
The region is also suitable for growing fruits like mangoes, avocados,
citrus and passion fruits, which also have industrial uses.
Cereals, cassava, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and pumpkins can also
be grown in the area to boost food security.
The surplus can be sold in ready markets in DR Congo and Southern Sudan.
The region is also suitable for apiary and cash crops like coffee and
cotton, but the farmers prefer growing tobacco because of the
incentives that the tobacco companies provide. ...
Unlike other environmental control efforts, the problem in this case is
a multibillion dollar industry.
For example, while Uganda’s activists fight tobacco advertisements
the mass media, tobacco companies are offering scholarships, contracts
to farmers who are assured of payment after harvest, besides taking
part in corporate social responsibility projects that portrays them
favourably in the public eye.
According to the Forestry Policy of 2001, Uganda’s natural forest cover
stands at 4.9 million hectares which is 24 per cent of the total land
area, out of which government owns 1.9 million hectares either under
the Forestry Department or in national parks that fall under the Uganda
Incidentally, only 740,000 hectares of forests stands today.
It is estimated that 800,000 cubic metres of logs are cut each year.
EXCERPTS from The
Sun (Florida), March 12, 2010,
"Alachua Co. jury awards $17.5M in case against R.J. Reynolds", Diane
An Alachua County [Florida] jury has awarded a total of
million in damages to Amanda Jean Hall, who sued the R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco Co. after the death of her husband.
It was, attorneys said, the largest single civil verdict in the
county, topping the previous high award of $10 million.
Arthur Lamar Hall began smoking at 14 and continued until one
year before his death of lung cancer in 1995, family members testified
in the case. Despite several attempts, he had been unable to quit
Jurors were asked to determine whether Hall was addicted to
cigarettes containing nicotine and if that was the cause of his death.
After seven hours of deliberation Thursday, they delivered a verdict
that said Jean Hall and her family should be awarded $5 million in
compensatory damages. When they returned to the courtroom at about
10:30 p.m., jurors also said they planned to award punitive damages
against Reynolds Tobacco.
Friday morning they resumed deliberations to decide how much the
company should pay for what the plaintiff's attorneys said was half
a century of deceiving the American people about the health dangers of
Attorney Mark Avera asked jurors to consider the net worth of R.J.
Reynolds in determining punitive damages. In fiscal year 2007, it was
$8.88 billion; in fiscal year 2008 it was $7.9 billion.
"Send a message to RJR's boardroom that they will be held accountable
for their poor choices," he said.
Speaking in behalf of the tobacco company,
attorney Dennis Murphy said RJR's corporate management "has heard your
message and we accept your verdict on compensation."
The "old guard" of the firm is now gone, he
said, and message being put out by R.J. Reynolds has changed.
"Don't punish the company just for making
profits," he asked.
Six jurors spent four hours determining how much the tobacco company
should be assessed in punitive damages. The sum they settled on was
When they returned to the courtroom and their verdict was announced,
Jean Hall began to cry.
The widow of 15 years said she'd done a lot of crying since the first
part of the verdict came in last night.
"I'd hand every bit back to them (the
tobacco company), if I thought it would bring Lamar back for just one
day," she said.
Attorney Rod Smith of the law firm Avera & Smith, representing the
Hall family, said he fully expects R.J. Reynolds to appeal the verdict,
as the tobacco company has done in other civil litigation.
Of a dozen cases tried since the Florida Supreme Court threw out a
class action suit brought in behalf of all Florida smokers in 2006, ten
of the verdicts have come in behalf of the plaintiffs.
In the 2006 ruling, the court held that each smoker's case against a
tobacco company had to be decided individually.
... Jean Hall said that the past two weeks of the trial represent
the only time she has been inside a courtroom.
She had been getting ready for church one Sunday about three years ago
and saw an ad on TV about bringing suit against a tobacco company.
That's when she decided to step forward.
"She is one of the most courageous women I
know," Smith said.
"I believe this verdict tells Big Tobacco
that North Central Florida is
not tobacco country," he added. "This case sets the precedent for the
many individual cases to come."
RJR's attorney claimed "the message" from RJR management has changed --
Question, but they're still manufacturing and marketing addiction and
death -- right?
EXCERPTS from news
Liability Project, March 11, 2010, Florida Jury Returns Multi-Million
Dollar Verdict for Family of Smoker Against Three Tobacco Companies.
A six-person Tampa, Florida state court jury on Wednesday
10, 2010] awarded $5 million in damages to the widower of a longtime
smoker who died of lung cancer at the age of 62. The jury
responsibility for Charlotte Douglas’ death at 18% for Philip
5% for R.J. Reynolds, 27% for Liggett, and 50% for Ms.
the verdict is upheld on appeal, the plaintiff will receive $2.5
Ms. Douglas, who died in 2006, approximately two years after being
diagnosed with cancer, smoked various brands. She also made
quit attempts, including the use of nicotine patches and nicotine gum.
Edward L. Sweda, Jr., Senior Attorney for the Tobacco Products
Liability Project (TPLP), based at Northeastern University School of
Law in Boston, welcomed the victory for the Douglas family, noting that
the “verdict brings the total number of plaintiff victories in ‘Engle
progeny’ cases in Florida to 9 out of 11 trials that have gone to a
jury verdict over the past 13 months. We anticipate even more
victories for plaintiffs in these Florida lawsuits in the coming weeks
The Douglas family was represented by Attorneys Howard Acosta,
Kent Whittemore, Bruce Denson and Hutch Pinder.
EXCERPTS from the Altria web site,
February 22, 2010, News Releases, John T. Casteen III Elected to
Altria's Board of Directors. [Excerpted Article from
UVA's The Cavalier Daily follows]
The Board of Directors of Altria
Group, Inc. ... today announced the election of John T.
Casteen III to the Board of Directors. With the addition of Mr.
Casteen, the Altria Board increases from nine to ten directors.
Mr. Casteen has served as the President of
the University of
Virginia since 1990. He will step down from that position on August 1,
2010 and become President Emeritus at that time.
"I am delighted to welcome John Casteen to our Board of
said Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Altria. "With his broad public and private sector experience, I know he
will make significant contributions."
Mr. Casteen previously served as the Dean of Admission at the
University of Virginia from 1975 to 1982, Virginia
1985, and president of the University of
Connecticut from 1985 to 1990.
Mr. Casteen's business career has included service as a director
the following companies: Connecticut Bank and Trust Company; New
England Education Loan Marketing Corporation (Nellie Mae); Sallie Mae;
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Connecticut, Inc.; College Construction Loan
Insurance Association (Connie Lee); Allied Concrete Company; Jefferson
Bank Shares, Inc.; Jefferson National Bank; and Wachovia Corporation.
He currently serves as director at Sage Publications, Inc.; Jefferson
Science Associates, LLC; and the Virginia
Mr. Casteen has been a director of the American Council on
Education, a director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association,
trustee and chair of the College Entrance Examination Board,
commissioner of the Education Commission of the States, member of the
Board of Control for the Southern Regional Education Board,
commissioner of the New England Board of Higher Education, and chair of
the Association of Governing Boards' council of presidents. From 1991
to 1993, he chaired the National Board on Oceans and Atmosphere. He is
a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
EXCERPTS from The Cavalier Daily,
University of Virginia, February 25, 2010, President Casteen joins
Altria board of directors, writer Rebecca Rubin.
EXCERPTS from Reuters,
February 10, 2010, Secondhand smoke raises TB risk: study.
President John T. Casteen, III has been elected to the
directors of Altria Group, Inc., a Richmond-based corporation and
parent company of tobacco and wine businesses such as Philip Morris
USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
... Casteen’s appointment increases the board’s membership
to 10 directors.
As a board member, Casteen will be one of the individuals tasked
with maintaining the overall well-being of the corporation.
“The Board has responsibility for establishing broad corporate
policies, setting strategic direction, and overseeing management, which
is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Company,” according
to the Altria Web site.
Casteen has been familiar with Altria and Mike Szymanczyk, its
chairman and chief executive officer, since February 2007, when Philip
Morris USA committed $25 million to the University. About $20 million
of that gift was donated toward Medical School research and projects,
including a smoking cessation program, according to a University press
Overall, Casteen has a large amount of respect for Altria’s
management and the direction the company has taken with Szymanczyk, he
said in an e-mail.
“This is a company committed to change and innovation,” he said.
is also a company with deep roots in Virginia. I am honored to join the
Altria board and to have the opportunity to become part of the
... In his new position, Casteen will work with another member of
University community. Former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, director of the
Miller Center of Public Affairs, has been a member of Altria’s board of
directors since 2008.
Some of the COMMENTS from readers
Tom Houston MD
Feb 25, 2010, 9:02
It is highly unfortunate that the head of
such an esteemed institution would lend his name and sully his
reputation by joining the board of Altria (nee Philip Morris), whose
products kill 50% of their longterm customers, and cause untold
suffering from smoking-related chronic disease. As the report states,
his job will be to maintain the “well-being” of the company, meaning
its financial health–which comes with a high toll in human lives and
excess medical care costs worldwide. It’s a sad day for the University
and its friends.
Tom Houston MD
Family Medicine and Public Health
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Feb. 25, 2010, 10:13
I totally agree with Dr. Tom Houston’s
comments. What a shame that UVA would allow its president to interact
in such a way with people who consider money above anything else.
Note: Abstract of study is at http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/170/3/287
Smoking has long been known to boost tuberculosis risk, and
a new study from Hong Kong suggests that being exposed to someone
else's tobacco smoke also increases the likelihood of contracting the
Dr. Chi C. Leung of the Wanchai Chest Clinic in Wanchai and colleagues
compared TB risk in older women living with at least one smoker to that
of women living in smoke-free homes. The study included 15,486
non-smoking women 65 to 74 years old, all of whom lived with their
husbands. All of the women had enrolled at one of the territory's 18
Elderly Health Centers between 2000 and 2003, and about one in four
lived with a smoker.
During follow-up, which lasted through the end of 2008 (or until a
person died or was diagnosed with TB), 117 women developed active TB
and 69 of these cases were confirmed in a laboratory.
Leung's team found that women who had been exposed to secondhand
smoke were 1.5 times more likely to develop active TB than women who
didn't live with a smoker, while their risk of culture-confirmed TB was
Secondhand smoke exposure accounted for about 14 percent of active TB
cases and about 18 percent of culture-confirmed TB cases.
The researchers also found that the women who lived with a smoker
were significantly more likely to have some type of obstructive lung
disease, such as emphysema, as well as diabetes, at the study's outset.
The findings appear in the latest issue of the Archives of Internal
Medicine [February 8, 2010]
In a written commentary published with the study, Dr. Neal L. Benowitz
of the University of California San Francisco notes that secondhand
smoke has many known harmful effects, including increasing the risk of
lung cancer and heart disease in adults and promoting asthma and lower
respiratory illness in children. And smoking can promote respiratory
infections, such as TB, by impairing the ability of the lungs to fight
off infection, he adds.
In China, 60 percent of men smoke, but only 4 percent of women do,
Benowitz notes, so secondhand smoke disproportionately affects women.
"Secondhand smoke exposure is another health problem of particular
concern for women in less developed countries," he adds. "Therefore,
smoking bans should be part of the international women's health
Excerpts from The Winston-Salem Journal,
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said yesterday that it has
to pay $150,000 to Maryland as part of a settlement with that state's
attorney general regarding a former Camel marketing campaign.
The settlement is the latest development involving claims that
violated the Master Settlement Agreement with a four-page pullout in
Nov. 15, 2007, issue of Rolling Stone.
On Jan. 15, an appellate
court in Ohio ruled that Reynolds cannot be blamed for the content of a
Camel advertisement in the magazine being placed around a five-page
containing cartoon images. The magazine ran four pages of Camel
ads as bookends to five pages of editorial content about indie-rock
The day after the filing of the lawsuits in December
2007, Reynolds voluntarily stopped promotions for the campaign.
David Howard, a spokesman for Reynolds, said that Reynolds
wrongdoing. ... the company chose not to spend time or resources
"to defend a program that ended two years ago."
The Virginian-Pilot, January 29, 2010, "Locals show love
for ailing musician", April Phillips.
There aren't many local musicians who've been able to
full-time living in Hampton Roads. Guys like Joe Maniscalco are the
creative, industrious and fortunate minority.
However, more than 30 years in a
clouded with secondhand
smoke that curled its way into his lungs has taken a toll.
Smoking-related pneumonia and other illnesses have kept Maniscalco off
the stage for nearly a year. Ironically, his health plummeted
the smoking ban that took effect in December was well on its way to
This Sunday, Maniscalco's fellow
and entertainers will
come together to raise the roof, raise awareness about the issue of
secondhand smoke, and raise some money to help Joe and his family.
The past year has been "the most traumatic financial and
roller coaster you could imagine," Maniscalco said.
He was admitted to the hospital about a year ago with pneumonia
a fever of 104 degrees. He stayed in the hospital for a week. Once he
was released, he was treated with steroids, but the cure was nearly
worse than the disease. The steroids led to skin irritation and retinal
tears that caused his eyes to haze over. All this meant more time away
from the stage.
Fran Piggott Harding, Maniscalco's longtime business partner
friend, decided it was time to bring the musical community together to
help him out. Using Facebook, she started a "Friends of Joe" page and
went to work organizing a benefit concert. One of the first people she
turned to was another full-time local musician,
Warren Seaburg. He was
able to relate to what Maniscalco is going through.
"Since about 1991, I've been a cancer
survivor, and the cancer was brought on by the same thing," he said.
Seaburg has worked to bring health care benefits to working
musicians and said he still has to take off four to five weeks a year
because of lasting effects of the cancer. He will be one of the emcees
at the benefit concert, and he helped schedule the hours of musical
"For me, there wasn't even a second thought. I knew I wanted to
help. The support of local musicians has been overwhelming, and it
reminds me of when they had a benefit for me when I had cancer and
couldn't work. It's hard to describe how emotional it is," he said.
Piggott Harding said the benefit concert is really all about
music that has been Joe's life. The all-day event features 17
entertainers, all donating their time. ...
"The brotherhood of musicians is mind-blowing," Maniscalco
"Hampton Roads is coming together with an amazing outpouring of love."
And at the end of the evening, the most love of all will be
directly from Maniscalco. The benefit will end with him taking to the
stage to get back to doing what he does best.
EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot,
lawyers met secretly with Solicitor General Elena Kagan in an effort to
avoid the government's last-ditch attempt to extract billions from
companies that illegally concealed the dangers of cigarette smoking,
The Associated Press has learned.
Four cigarette makers that control
nearly 90 percent of U.S. retail cigarette sales have until Feb. 19 to
persuade the government not to go to the Supreme Court and ask the
justices to step into a landmark 10-year-old racketeering lawsuit.
In 2006, a
judge ruled that the industry concealed the dangers of smoking for
decades. Despite that finding, lower courts have said the government is
not entitled to collect $280 billion in past profits or $14 billion for
a national campaign to curb smoking.
As part of any effort to convince
government that it should skip a trip to the Supreme Court, the tobacco
companies may have to drop plans to ask the justices to overturn the
ruling that the industry engaged in racketeering.
On behalf of the industry,
lawyers Michael Carvin and Miguel Estrada made their pitch against
seeking Supreme Court review in a mid-December meeting at the Justice
Department with Kagan, according to two Washington attorneys outside
the government who are familiar with the meeting in her office.
Carvin and Estrada left the impression the industry might be willing to
end plans to seek a high court appeal of its own, if the Justice
Department would do the same, said the Washington attorneys, who spoke
on condition of anonymity so that they could discuss the private
meeting with Kagan.
The discussion with Estrada and
resulted in an internal department meeting a few days later. At this meeting, department lawyers
discussed the possibility of seeking billions of dollars from the
industry as part of a possible negotiated settlement of the suit,
according to one of the private attorneys who learned about this second
meeting from participants.
The department, the industry or both
could request that the Supreme Court take the case, while at the same
time asking that the case be delayed while the two sides try to work
out a deal.
companies also agreed not to seek an appeal, they would be accepting
the findings of U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler that they engaged in
a scheme to defraud the public by falsely denying the adverse health
effects of smoking, concealing evidence nicotine is addictive and lying
about their manipulation of nicotine in cigarettes to create addiction.
Last May, a federal appeals court upheld the findings. The companies
then pledged to appeal to the Supreme Court.
the companies to make corrective statements about the adverse health
effects of smoking, the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine, the
companies' manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure
optimum nicotine delivery and the adverse health effects of exposure to
secondhand smoke. These statements must appear on company Web sites,
cigarette packages and newspaper and television ads.
If Kessler's findings stand, they
set a precedent that other plaintiffs can use for future suits against
the tobacco companies.
... Charles Miller, a Justice Department
spokesman, declined comment, as did Carvin. Estrada didn't return
telephone calls to his office.
Tobacco company defendants in the
lawsuit are Philip Morris USA Inc. and its parent company, Altria Group
Inc.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; British American Tobacco Investments
Ltd.; and Lorillard Tobacco Co. Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and
Lorillard account for nearly 90 percent of U.S. retail cigarette sales.
A former U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco, Brown &
Williamson Tobacco Corp., merged with Reynolds in 2004.
The way the federal suit has played
out contrasts sharply with state action against the tobacco industry.
The companies have agreed to pay
billion over 25 years to settle suits states brought to recover their
costs of treating smoking-related illnesses in the Medicaid program,
which serves the poor and disabled.
Updated 18 May 2013