General information is provided on
    --  Secondhand smoke
    --  The tobacco industry and its tactics
    --  Related items
    --  The history of Virginia Group to Alleviate Smoking in Public, Inc.,
                Virginia GASP®

[Virginia GASP    logo]

Breathing is still a very popular thing to do!
    No one should be forced into smoking secondhand.  No one.
        No one has the right to hurt another person.  No one.
       And secondhand smoke hurts, and kills!

The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American writer and also an asthmatic, summarize our commitment:    " ... to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."

We hope this general information will be a help to those seeking information on these topics.

Updated 13 June 2013   

Contents Page & Links

2013, 2012, 2011 Newest Entries

Justice Ralph Gants, writing, in decision, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
“We decline to place addictive chemicals outside the reach of product liability and give them special protection akin to immunity based solely on the strength of their addictive qualities,” the court wrote. “To do so would eliminate any incentive for cigarette manufacturers to make safer perhaps the most dangerous product lawfully sold in the market through reasonable alternative designs."

Honoring C. Everett Koop, and noting strategies to end smoking.
Big Victory at Florida Supreme Court is Bad News for Cigarette Manufacturers
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. ...

2013 tobacco company shareholder meetings
    Philip Morris International, PMI, May 8, 2013
    Reynolds American, RAI, May 9, 2013
    Altria [Philip Morris], May 15, 2013

2012 tobacco company shareholder meetings of the Big Three:
Reynolds American, RAI 
Philip Morris International, PMI 
Altria Group, Inc., Altria 
including questions from shareholders, text of the shareholder proposals and the company opposition, and more.

 Newest Entries -- including:
**Electronic cigarette vapor causes terrorist alert -- smoke is dangerous in many ways!
** Altria funding American Legislative Exchange Council and its model legislation sent to Virginia and other states, on voting, and other issues.
** Candy flavored snus poisonous to children, addiction starter to teenagers and student athletes.
** Reynolds American and other tobacco companies may soon be paying billions ... "As Reynolds’ own lawyers have concluded, denial [by the U.S. Supreme Court] of its cert petition is a very big deal indeed,” [Edward L.] Sweda said.
** Dr. Margaret Chan speaking on tobacco versus health at the 15th World Conference on the subject
** Costa Rica has sweeping new laws on not smoking in public

History of No-Smoking legislation in Virginia -- it all began with Virginia GASP

TOBACCO INDUSTRY dollars supporting top political figures
Excerpt from The Center for Responsive Politics, June 2011
Although it's 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 maintaining 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 among all leadership PACs in terms of money received from the tobacco industry.

-- including:

** Excerpts from Stanford University Report, December 12, 2011
about Robert Proctor, author of the new bombshell study, Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition, in which 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?"  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.

Excerpts from Reuters, June 3, 2011:
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 case. ... "Defendants' contention that no reasonable likelihood of future RICO violations exists due to the FDA's regulation is particularly unconvincing when defendants are simultaneously and vigorously challenging, both in a separate lawsuit and in administrative proceedings, many of the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act," she wrote in Wednesday's ruling.

** Excerpts from The Japan Times, March 28, 2011:  "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.

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 Asian nations.

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 children."

** Secondhand Smoke impacts the fetus and later the infant, decreasing cognitive ability; study in  Environmental Research, March 2011. 

** Secondhand Smoke impacts the brains of children and teenagers; study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, April 2011.

**Press Release from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, December 9, 2010

**"The R.J. Reynolds internal documents are spectacular in their deceit," says [Attorney, James] Gustafson ...

** "Everyone should avoid secondhand smoke," said Lizbeth López-Carrillo, 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 does."

**Tobacco companies -- greedy drug dealers -- are reported to be accelerating the disappearance of fruit trees and forests in Uganda, in order to grow and cure tobacco, an addictive and lethal drug.  How much is a life worth, an entire society, an entire world worth to the tobacco executives?

** A recent study revealing that even one cigarette, including the secondhand smoke from it, changes the genes of the lungs, reported in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

** Altria's (aka Philip Morris) increasing the number of people on their board of directors in order to include the appointment of the current President of the University of Virginia, who is also director of the University Research Partnership.  Makes you have lots of faith in that "research" group.

From the press release issued by The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, December 9, 2010

Exposure to tobacco smoke – even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke – 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 - Benjamin’s 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 death.

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 time you inhale causing damage immediately,” Benjamin said in releasing the report.  “Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.”

** Virginia:
2012:  Similar to 2011, the no-smoking in public law was passed in 1990, a major milestone for those who dare to breathe in many public places. 
2012 Virginia -- Legislation
Several bills were entered in both the House and Senate of the Virginia General Assembly to amend the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, including ones regarding no-smoking in vehicles when children are present, and also bills on cigarette litter, and on cigarette taxes, but all bills, including two Senate bills which passed the Senate, were killed, most by a small subcommittee in the House.  The legislative list is provided at the state legislative site, click on Legislative Information, click on Bills, click on Subject, select Tobacco, etc.  This subject listing includes some non-health related bills.

2011 -- Several legislative measures on tobacco vs. health were before the Virginia General Assembly which recently concluded the "short" session this year, January 12 -- February 26, 2011.   The general legislative web site gives a list of the bills offered on no-smoking, amendments to the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act.  All of these failed to be heard by the committee, in most cases the House General Laws Committee.

Earlier in 2011, a small subcommittee in the House once again eliminated cigarette taxes, including the right of any county to impose a cigarette tax, as a way for local and state officials to gain funds.  A memorable quote is from Delegate Bobby Orrock (R) who cautioned that Virginia should beware of taxing tobacco so much that people stop smoking, and said, "You don't want to restrict the chicken so much that she doesn't lay any more eggs." [The Virginian-Pilot Jan. 24, 2011]

Virginia's Governor Robert McDonnell

Information Secondhand Smoke, and links below
** 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 Adolescent Medicine. ... 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.
** Secondhand Smoke impacts the fetus and later the infant, decreasing cognitive ability, study, Environmental Research, March 2011.
** Nicotine in secondhand smoke can react with ozone, including that used to clean the air of hotel rooms and cars, to form secondary organic aerosols that are less than 100 nanometers in diameter and become a source of thirdhand smoke.  Study reported in Atmospheric Environment [online July 2010]

** Dr. Chi C. Leung and others have discovered secondhand smoke is a risk factor for obstructive lung disease and tuberculosis.  Study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine [February 8, 2010]

** Breast Cancer linked -- again -- and again -- to 2ndhandsmoke

** Virginia musicians Joe Maniscalco and Warren Seaburg have suffered from cancer brought on by the secondhand smoke where they have performed.

** Heather Crowe died from secondhand smoke in the restaurant where she worked; another waitress collapsed and died after coming to work in a smoky bar.

**  Also, please see the Contents page.

Virginia's restaurants/bars must be no-smoking.  This amendment to the no-smoking law, as of December 1, 2009 includes prohibiting smoking in all restaurants unless there is a separately ventilated room preferably with an outdoor entrance, and no staff should be required to work there.  A 2010 review of Virginia restaurants revealed that most are obeying the law.  Let's all hope those not obeying the law are not picking and choosing other health rules to obey and which to ignore.

An expensive separate smoking room would still expose employees to deadly secondhand and even thirdhand (particulate matter, nicotine residue, etc.) smoke, and the potential for secondhand smoke related diseases such as cancers, heart disease including strokes, and serious respiratory disease.

Additionally, Please see links on the rest of the no-smoking law in Virginia , on the 2009 Legislative efforts, Legislative News Excerpts during 2009 legislative session, and recent articles on the restaurant/bar amendment, two quotations from that recent article page are below.

August 2010:  It took 20 years, from the 1990 passage of the original Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, to get an agency assigned to check on compliance with this law.   In 2010, 13 were issued citations for violating the law.  Later in 2010, a state survey revealed most restaurants were in compliance with the law, and most did not have a separate smoking room.

Background on the restaurant amendment, From The Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 13, 2009:
... In an interview with The News & Advance of Lynchburg, [former Governor Tim] Kaine said that earlier this year he deliberately pressed for higher cigarette taxes -- aware they would fail -- to force Republicans to make tough choices and seek compromise in a bill to ban smoking in restaurants.

"There was some 'strategery' involved," said Kaine, quoting a phrase from a 2000 debate sketch on "Saturday Night Live." Kaine said he knew federal stimulus money to cover the shortfall would be forthcoming from Washington.

"By putting the cigarette tax on the table, too, I gave every legislator one way to make Philip Morris happy, by voting against the cigarette tax. A lot of [legislators] voted against the cigarette tax and then they voted for the smoking ban."

From The Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 2, 2009:
[Governor Timothy] Kaine said he was not concerned that a subsequent legislative session would repeal the law. If anything, he believes it would be made more strict.

Still the incoming governor does not approve of the law the current governor helped enact.

"The governor-elect does believe this is a matter best left to the free market, and he did not support this measure as it was debated in the General Assembly," said Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell.

Most Virginia restaurants already are smoke-free by choice, Martin said. "However, the legislation passed, and the new law is now in effect. As governor, he will uphold and enforce all Virginia laws."  [more excerpts at this page.]

Philip Morris loses --
Reynolds loses --
Other Big Tobacco Companies lose --
Their customers have been losing their health and lives for long decades.

For up to date information on litigation involving tobacco companies, please see
The Tobacco Product Liability Project.
For background information, also
see Newest Entries for 2012,
and   Newest Entries for 2009 ,
and Newest Entries 2009, 2008 ,   
  and individual listings such as
Patricia Henley and others,
as well as the cases related to the Engle class action suit in Florida.

Worth Repeating:
October 19, 2009
Massachusetts' high court today rewrote state law and ruled that cigarette maker Philip Morris may have to pay for diagnostic chest exams so smokers can get early warning they have developed lung cancer. ...

Justice Francis X. Spina of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in allowing a 2006 lawsuit filed against Philip Morris to move forward, noted, "Our tort law developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries …We must adapt to the growing recognition that exposure to toxic substances and radiation may cause substantial injury which should be compensable even if the full effects are not immediately apparent."

Judge Sarokin comments on tobacco company lawsuit so they can tell the truth to customers:
Judge H. Lee Sarokin, The Irony in the Tobacco Companies Suing So That They Can Tell the "Truth" , Excerpt from, The Huffington Post, September 4, 2009
... the nation's largest tobacco companies have sued to stop a federal law which curtails their marketing and forces them to print graphic warnings on their packages. (NYTimes, 9/1/09) The companies are insisting on their right to communicate truthful information about their products to adults who have the right to receive such information. It is the industry's desire to protect its right to speak the "truth" under the protection of the First Amendment that I find so ironic.

First, I think some disclosures are in order. I was the presiding judge over the first two major tobacco cases -- Cippolone and Haines. After numerous tries, the cigarette companies were finally successful in having me removed from the cases because of the following, single paragraph in one of my many opinions in these cases:

All too often in the choice between the physical health of consumers and the financial well-being of business, concealment is chosen over disclosure, sales over safety and money over morality. Who are these persons who knowingly and secretly decide to put the buying public at risk solely for the purpose of making profits and who believe that illness and death of consumers is an appropriate cost of their own prosperity! As the following facts disclose, despite some rising pretenders to the throne, the tobacco industry may be the king of concealment and disinformation.

The history of tobacco advertising and public relations demonstrates that it was aimed at getting people to smoke by making it appear fashionable and safe; encouraging them to continue by debunking its risks; asserting the ease of quitting and denying the existence of addiction and finally encouraging the young to take it up to replace those who were quitting (with great difficulty) or dying from the product or other unrelated causes.

The companies decry their right to discuss and publicize their potential "reduced harm" products. Most of you are too young to remember when cigarette advertisements proclaimed, by way of someone posing as a doctor, that a particular brand was good for your "T Zone" -- somewhere, as I recall, around your chest and lungs. I don't consider anyone to be a greater advocate of free speech than I. Furthermore, I note that Floyd Abrams represents some of the companies. There is no greater expert nor anyone for whom I have greater respect in this field. I make no prediction as to the outcome of the litigation. But if history is any teacher, I can think of no industry more deserving of scrutiny and strict government regulation consistent with their free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Limits on free speech in the commercial world must be narrowly construed and directly advance a substantial government interest. Those limits should be imposed with great hesitancy, but if ever an industry deserves them based upon prior conduct, it is the tobacco industry.

Ohio judge -- no constitutional right to smoke in public!

What a surprise --   Philip Morris opposed to health care reform?  According to a national article based on PM's own confidential documents, PM apparently masterminded the defeat of the 1990's health care reform, and may be working to defeat current proposals in the USA.

Review of selected entries
-- health vs. tobacco --
for recent years:
Entries for 2010 - 2011
Entries for 2009 
 2008 Entries
Entries for 2007

The Face of Evil

Tobacco Shareholder Meetings
2013, Reynolds American, Inc.

2012, Reynolds American, Inc.
three tobacco company shareholder meetings reports
         2010  May 7, Reynolds American, Report by Edward Sweda
         2010  May 20, Altria/Philip Morris USA, Report by E. Sweda
         2010  May 12, Philip Morris International

**2009 Philip Morris International, Tues., May 5, 2009, New York, NY
Activsts inside and outside the meeting protested the nicotine carel's continued production and marketing of products which addict and kill when used as intended.  Louis Camilleri is the CEO, earning millions for his work.

**2009 Reynolds American, Wed., May 6, 2009, Winston-Salem, NC
        Activsts inside the meeting protested the nicotine carel's continued production and marketing of products which addict and kill when used as intended.  Susan Ivey is the CEO, earning millions for her work.

**2009 Altria/Philip Morris USA, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Richmond, Va

**2008 Philip Morris/Altria, held Wed., May 28

Richmond, Virginia, in the Ballroom of the Richmond Convention Center
No Smoking in meeting
Four health resolutions (PM/Altria opposed):
**Apply Globally Practices Demanded by the Master Settlement Agreement
**Stop Youth-Oriented Ad Campaigns
**"Two Cigarette" Approach to Marketing
**Endorse Health Care Principles
Additionally, two resolutions on executive pay and cumulative voting were on the agenda.

2007 PM/Altria meeting

**2008 Reynolds American held Tues., May 6, 9 am
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in the
    Reynolds American Plaza Building Auditorium
No Smoking in meeting
Three health resolutions considered (Reynolds opposed):
**Human Rights Protocols for the Company and its Suppliers
**Endorsement of Health Care principles
**Two Cigarette Approach to Marketing
The text of the resolutions and the text of the company's opposition is given at the linked web page.

REPORT on 2007
Reynolds meeting
And, earlier Tobacco Shareholder meetings

General information on the history of Virginia GASP®
is in this web site, including the original purpose,
the accomplishments, and that this group has not solicited funding for some years,
and recently closed the corporation folder.

From the beginning, this has been an all volunteer organization. 

Literary references -- Virginia
was featured in
    The Passionate Nonsmokers' Bill of Rights, by Bill Adler, Jr. & Steve Allen;
and mentioned in
    Dr. David A. Kessler's, A Question of Intent:  A Great American Battle With A Deadly Industry.
"... to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived --
           this is to have succeeded."

           R. W. Emerson

[VirginiaGASP]  Updated 13 June 2013

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