[Virginia GASP]     2013, 2012
                    Newest Entries

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? 
    And the life of a child, easily poisoned by secondhand smoke or by eating a candy flavored smokeless "snus"?
Here are excerpts from some 2013 and back to 2010 articles, including
    * a 2013 victory of health over tobacco -- Florida Supreme Court rules for the plantiffs affirming a 2006 decision
    * a 2013 op-ed article referencing the death of former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop,
        and noting some strategies to end smoking 
    * the December 2010 press release from the U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin
    * the Keynote address of Dr. Margaret Chan to the 2012 World Conference on Tobacco or Health, and
    * the speech by Amos Hausner at the United Nations.


EXCERPTS from Boston Herald, June 13, 2013, "Experts:  SJC's tobacco ruling could pave way for suits", by Gary J. Remal.
A first-in-the-nation Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court finding that tobacco companies cannot claim special protection under the law simply because their products are addictive could open the door to a slew of product liability suits, experts said.

The finding is tucked into the 82-page decision written by Justice Ralph Gants, but may be its most significant element, experts said.

“That paragraph jumped out at us as significant,” said Edward Sweda of the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University.

The 2004 lawsuit was filed by the son of Marie R. Evans, 54, who died of lung cancer. The court affirmed a $35 million judgment.

“It’s groundbreaking,” said Ilana Knopf of the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy at New England Law-Boston.

Lorillard Tobacco Co. contended that smokers are addicted to strong cigarettes and would not be satisfied with anything else, so the company should not have to alter its product to offer safer, lower levels of nicotine. But the court found a product’s addictive qualities don’t give it special protection under the law.

“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.” ...

“Few courts appear to have addressed this question, perhaps because the only legally sold product so addictive to raise the question is nicotine,” Gants wrote. The Bay State decision is important because it “could be applicable in other courts,” said Karen Blumenfeld of New Jersey’s Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy.

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 staff.

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.

Proponents of 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.

Corporations 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.

From The Public Health Advocacy 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 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.

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 http://www.phaionline.org/2012/03/26/supreme-court-rejects-key-tobacco-industry-appeal-leaving-massive-liability-with-no-end-in-sight/ ),  the 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 New York 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 start.

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 age.

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 carriageway.

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 bag.

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 unfounded.

"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 a suspect.

"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]  Oliver Kershaw, owner 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 Smoking.

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 them.

“Unlike the Nazis, who were motivated by hate, anti-Semitism and vicious racism, the tobacco companies are motivated by greed,” the jurist said.

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 advertise tobacco.

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 causes annually.

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 year.

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 the 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 Nations web site on the 50th Anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann] 

Transcription of the speech of Amos Hausner, April 23, 2012, from the video at this link, Round-table discussion in video report  with his speech beginning at approximately 00:34:03.
April 23, 2012, United Nations, "to mark the 50th anniversary of the trial and the deliverance to justice of Adolf Eichmann."

Narrator -- Ramu Damodaran, with the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information at the United Nations

Amos Hausner, son of Gideon Hausner, the chief prosecutor in the trial of Adolf Eichmann:
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 of people.

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 [1857], 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 legality.

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 the standards prevailing right there, his conviction was far from being assured.

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 pandemic.

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 these consequences.

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 avoided. 

Thank you.

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 brewer SABMiller.

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 continue.

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 Press.

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, "President signs 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 South America.

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.

“We are very satisfied,” said Teresita Arrieta, of IAFA. “And now we’re waiting anxiously for the implementation of the law.”

The 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.

In a 5-2 decision, the court said the legislation did not contain any procedural errors or articles that could be deemed unconstitutional.

Two magistrates who approved the bill questioned why the Sala IV reviewed the legislation in the first place.

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 into law.

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 the 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 Costa Rica.

In addition, the Sala IV referenced the 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 American countries.

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, regarding U.S. Supreme Court's denial of Reynolds American's petition for certiorari in the case of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Mathilde Martin, No. 11-754.

Tobacco companies face the prospect of having to pay billions 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. 11-754.

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, Jr., 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 long last, Reynolds and the other major tobacco companies 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 billions of dollars of liability.” (emphasis added) Moreover, “the massive liability imposed on the Engle defendants – which currently stands at over $375 million in adverse judgments – will… steadily increase as Engle progeny trials continue with no end in sight.(emphasis added).

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 concluded.

EXCERPTS from March 20, 2012, Singapore, Keynote address at 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, "Galvanizing global action towards a tobacco-free world".

This 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 biggest stick.

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.

Tobacco 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 imperative.

We know that tobacco directly harms the user’s health in multiple ways. We know that tobacco products kill their consumers.

We know that tobacco smoking, like a drive-by 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 parties 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.

We have abundant country experiences that demonstrate the effectiveness of these measures. Evidence also shows how these measures can have a value-added impact.

For example, in a study published earlier this year, researchers demonstrated that smoke-free workplaces actually decrease smoking in homes. These findings soundly refute industry-sponsored propaganda.

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.

And we have an enemy, a ruthless and devious enemy, to unite us and ignite a passionate commitment to prevail.

Unfortunately, this 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 bared.

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.

The 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.

What 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.

Numerous other 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.

Big 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.

It is 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.

In some 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,

We 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.

Shaping public opinion is vital. If tough tobacco legislation wins votes, politicians will back it, and fight back against industry.

Last 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.

When 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.

Ladies and gentlemen,

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, baby.”

Let me turn that around, addressing my own personal 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,

I 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.

This conference is our watershed event. I sincerely hope that this event further damages the health of an industry that aggressively sells a health-destroying addiction.

We can, and must, stop this industry’s massive contribution to sickness and death, dead in its tracks.

I wish you a most productive meeting. Thank you.

EXCERPTS from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 1, 2012, "Occupy Richmond participants 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 Exchange Council.

The demonstration was sparked in part by a report released in January by 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.

The council "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."

Kaitlyn Buss, American Legislative Exchange's director of communications, described her group as an "educational resource" for lawmakers with input from the private sector and employers.

"We feel those are the job creators, the people who stimulate economic growth, and those are things we need more than ever right now," she said.

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 skit 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.

A 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 policy. ...

EXCERPTS from The Billings Gazette, February 29, 2012, "Youth find creative ways to fuel cravings for nicotine", by Cindy Uken.

A Skyview High School wrestler was caught in 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. The 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 smokeless 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 high 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.

The 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.

"The 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.

Stacy Campbell, 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."

Snus, 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 said.

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 minutes.

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.

The 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 those? No!"

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, Campbell said.

The tobacco industry outspends Montana's tobacco prevention program by a margin of four to one, annually spending $33 million marketing tobacco in Montana.

Smokeless-tobacco 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.

A 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.

Cigarettes 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.

An 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 cigarettes.

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 upwind.

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 smoking related.

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.

Cigarettes foul both of these so ought to be forbidden.

EXCERPTS from Stanford University 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, author of the new bombshell study, Golden Holocaust: 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 public."

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 deadly."

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 smoking contributes substantially to environmental damage, even global warming: "When we 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 that "by 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 populations abroad."

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 freedom."

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 or sold."

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 planet."

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 business

CONTRARY to complaints from bar and restaurant owners about lost business due to the smoking ban, a new study shows that in fact more people are going out now that the establishments are smoke-free.

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 the ban, while 18 per cent said they go out more and just 12 per cent said they go out less.

According to the survey - carried out at health centres among 4,000 people including smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers - 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 per cent of smokers say they would be against going back to allowing smoking in bars and restaurants.

The number of smokers attempting to quit ... has continued rising, according to SemFYC's Vidal Barchilón.  "There is no question that the [smoking] restrictions have a positive effect" on quit-smoking figures, he said.

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 bar trade," and the only establishments that may be benefitting are those with outdoor terraces, he said.

EXCERPTS from The Center for Responsive Politics, June 8, 2011, "Tobacco Companies Adjusting Strategies to Remain Prominent Political Players", by Tarini Parti.
... 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 to a mere $3.2 million during the 2010 election cycle. And federal-level lobbying expenditures in 2010 represented less than a quarter of what they were a dozen years before, in 1998, the Center for Responsive Politics' research indicates.

The industry, which includes employees and political action committees associated with tobacco companies, has taken to channeling money through harder-to-track organizations connected to candidates. These include leadership PACs, which members of Congress may sponsor, and 527 groups, which are barred from donating to candidates but may campaign and advertise on their behalf.

As contributions to candidates and committees declined by more than $6 million between the 2002 and 2010 election cycles, contributions to leadership PACs remained fairly consistent, totaling more than $600,000 each year, the Center's research indicates. During the 2010 cycle, the industry gave more than $740,000 to leadership PACs -- nearly a quarter of the amount it gave to all candidates and committees.

The industry has also been generous to 527 committees. During the 2010 election cycle, the tobacco industry gave about $5.4 million to such organizations, according to the Center's research, while its contribution to candidates and other political committees totaled $3.2 million.

And in the wake of last year's Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission ruling, which made it legal for corporations to make unlimited independent expenditures to support or oppose political candidates, critics of the industry believe it will become even harder to track the tobacco companies' political involvement.
Tobacco companies, like corporations in general, may now contribute unlimited amounts of money to non-profit organizations that in turn may advertise for or against political candidates without revealing their source donors.

"One thing the tobacco industry has done is stay out of the public view and disguise its efforts in politics," Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco and director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Control told OpenSecrets Blog. "With the rise of this undisclosed money, it is hard to know what they're doing."

Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told OpenSecrets Blog that tobacco companies' campaign contributions to candidates and federal lobbying expenditures may have declined, but they are dispatching their resources to other places.

"They are always looking for creative ways to exert their influence," McGoldrick said. "The Citizens United decision opened avenues for many groups. You can expect them to take any opportunity they can to influence the legislative process."

Two of the largest tobacco companies in the country, Altria Group and Lorillard Tobacco, declined to comment on their political involvement. Dosal Tobacco declined to comment on the company's campaign contributions and others such as Reynolds American, Cigar Association of America and Commonwealth Brands did not return OpenSecrets Blog's messages.

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 leadership PACs sponsored by the congressmen.

The two highest ranking leaders in the House of Representatives -- Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) -- are among top tobacco industry recipients. During the 2010 election cycle, Boehner received nearly $50,000 from people and PACs associated with the tobacco industry and Cantor received $27,850. The two lawmakers' leadership PACs together received more than $158,000 from the industry.

Boehner, a smoker himself, reportedly called the regulation of the tobacco industry by the Food and Drug Administration, which was approved in 2009, a "boneheaded idea" and 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.

Although the leader of Republican Party has close ties to tobacco companies, a spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel, told OpenSecrets Blog in an email that "Rep. Boehner makes public policy decisions based on what he believes is best for his constituents and the American people."

The offices of both Cantor and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who received the most in contributions from tobacco interests during the 2010 election cycle, did not return repeated phone calls and emails.

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.

"The tobacco industry has a very strong Republican bias, but they give the Democrats enough to keep them shut and keep it from becoming a campaign issue," Glantz said. "They go with who's in power, but they are nicer to the Republicans when they are in power than the Democrats."

Besides campaign contributions, many congressmen have other personal interests in the success of tobacco companies. About 23 members of Congress hold assets in three of the biggest tobacco companies, 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 have 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 recent years, tobacco companies have been directing their lobbying resources to the states, McGoldrick told OpenSecrets Blog.  Their state lobbying 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 numbers and frequently."

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 state level to lobby against a tax hike.

"We have seen an increase -- in Florida at least -- in lobbying by the major tobacco companies," said Mike Huey, government counsel for Dosal.

The companies might be increasing their presence at state legislatures, but many of the federal lobbyists hired by the tobacco industry are Washington insiders. About 78 percent of the lobbyists worked for the federal government prior to becoming lobbyists, according to the Center's research.

And one of the biggest battles facing the industry today remains on the federal level.

The Food and Drug Administration, now responsible for regulating the tobacco industry, is debating a ban on menthol cigarettes, which make up about 90 percent of sales for the third-largest tobacco company, Lorillard.

The industry is ramping up its lobbying efforts in response. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Lorillard spent $900,000 -- nearly half of its lobbying expenditures during the 2010 cycle -- in what may foreshadow a broader lobbying expenditure uptick throughout the year.

EXCERPTS from Reuters, June 3, 2011, "U.S. judge declines to shut tobacco racketeering case", no writer listed.

A court overseeing an extended battle between the Justice Department and an array of tobacco companies declined on Wednesday to shut the case because 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 case.

The companies had argued that she had lost jurisdiction because of a 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco.

The companies also argued that being regulated by the FDA would make it less likely they would commit future racketeering offenses.

Kessler staunchly and tartly disagreed, calling their assertions "simply unconvincing."

"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.

The racketeering case, filed in 1999 by the Clinton administration, sought to force the industry 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 force 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 stop-smoking programs.

"We continue to believe that the FDA is the appropriate agency to regulate tobacco products and we're considering our appellate options," said Steve Callahan, spokesperson for Altria Group.

Defendants named in the original suit include Reynolds American's R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, Lorillard Inc and Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA Inc.

The case in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is no. 99-2496.

EXCERPTS from The Independent, WNTD, May 30, 2011, "The unstoppable march of the tobacco giants", by Emily Dugan.
Despite the known catastrophic effects on health of smoking, profits from tobacco continue to 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. They now kill more people annually than alcohol, Aids, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.

The 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 to 76 per cent in 2009.

An investigation by The Independent on Sunday reveals that tobacco firms have taken advantage of lax marketing rules in 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 the West.

In 2010, the big four tobacco companies – Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco – made more than £27bn profit, up from £26bn in 2009.

The 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 hammering down 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.

A major 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 Lambert & 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 country's anti-corruption bureau has accused tobacco companies of colluding to keep prices paid to farmers for the raw product low. Tobacco auction rooms have become a battleground between government and industry, as a kilo of leaves 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.

Anna 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 West, industry profits are increasing. These companies remain some of the most profitable in the world. This is thanks in part to their endless inventive ways of undermining and circumventing regulation. They're trying to reinvent their image to ingratiate themselves with governments, but behind 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 treaty drawn up by the World Health Organization to ensure public health protection from smoking. Although 172 countries have signed up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control since it was produced six years ago, 20 per cent of them have still done nothing at all to implement its recommendations, and major countries, including the US and Indonesia, are still not even signatories.

In Indonesia alone there are 21 million child smokers. There is little to stop companies promoting cigarettes to young people. In countries such as Nigeria, Ukraine and Brazil, tobacco companies have sponsored club nights or parties aimed at attracting new young users. In Russia, attempts to entice women smokers have included packaging made to look like jewel-encrusted perfume bottles and even selling cigarettes branded by the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.

Dr Armando Peruga, programme manager for the WHO's tobacco free initiative, said: "We need to do more. We need to stop the tobacco industry promoting themselves as normal corporate citizens when they are killing people every day. We are 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 in the court room. In Uruguay, for example, the government had been leading 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 places 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 the 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 were 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 its vast wealth to tie up public health measures in court battles. Win or lose, this has a chilling effect on other governments."

These tricks are by no means confined to the less-regulated emerging countries. In Australia, which will become the first country to introduce plain packaging 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 executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said in 2010 that the smoking ban had severely threatened the pub and bingo industry because of lost jobs and livelihoods, the reality was a little different. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows a net increase in the number of people visiting 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 has continued to grow every year since.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: "In line with our international treaty obligations, the UK government has not only banned advertising and put health warnings on packs, but also committed to protect public health policies from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry. To get round this, 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 shops out of business.

"The next big battle is over putting cigarettes in plain packs. Already the same arguments are being used. The evidence is thin or non-existent, but no matter, the danger is that policy makers will be misled that where there's smoke, there's fire."

The winners...
Louis C Camilleri
CEO of Philip Morris
Made £12.4m last year. Recently told a nurse that cigarettes "weren't that hard to quit".

Nicandro Durante
CEO, British American Tobacco (BAT)
Paid £2.4m last year. Formerly led Souza Cruz SA, BAT's Brazilian unit, and also headed BAT's African and Middle Eastern businesses.

Alison Cooper
CEO, Imperial
Paid £1.9m last year. Former sales and marketing regional director for western Europe.

The losers...
Sean Nicholson, 43
From Jarrow, Tyne and Wear
"I started smoking when I was 11. I worked in the shipyards for 15 years and always smoked. I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at 34, and later on it turned out I had emphysema too. The specialists said I was the youngest case they had ever seen. Soon I couldn't breathe if I walked a few steps. The consultants said I had the lungs of a 90-year-old. Seven weeks ago I had a double lung transplant. Now I can breathe again and I can't stand the sight of people smoking. It took getting new lungs to realise how silly I'd been."

Ryan Gamble, 17
From Chester-le-Street, Durham
"I've smoked for about six years. I started because my friends were doing it and I just kept the habit going. I hated it at first, I choked. I smoke about 10 or 15 a day and it's hard to quit. I work in a chip shop and half of my wages go on that [smoking]. I wish I'd never started. You wake up coughing and you can't run anywhere."

Sharon Gould, 53, and her son Ben, 10
From Whetstone, Leicestershire
"I started smoking when I was 14. I quit when I was pregnant with Ben but then I started again. I used to smoke 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 years ago. It's too late for Ben, but I want to help other parents not make the 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 didn't 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 smoking]. If I had not been a smoker I would have a fantastic life."

EXCERPTS from UPI, May 30, 2011, "Tobacco giant Philip Morris suing Uruguay over ban", no writer stated.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Uruguay in a world tribunal over a smoking ban that it sees damaging its business prospects.

The extraordinary legal action, if successful, will see the state of Uruguay hauled before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a World Bank branch.

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 on major countries in the West that all have legislated with varying degrees 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 in the Western Hemisphere, tobacco use has grown or continues at even levels in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Philip Morris claim against Uruguay argues the Latin American country's laws are damaging the company's commercial interests.

Uruguay began its campaign against tobacco use about four years ago and continued despite change of government. Former Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez banned smoking in public buildings and later government curbs made the ban 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 the manufacturer appeared emboldened by the Latin American country's relative small size and perceived expectation it wouldn't have pockets deep enough to fight the case in an international forum. U.S. lawyer Paul Reichler, an expert on international public law, is expected to lead the defense team.

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 argument 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 public health.

"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.

International health groups said they support Uruguay's decision not to bow to pressure from Philip Morris.

The groups include the American Cancer Society, Framework Convention Alliance, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Corporate Accountability International, InterAmerican Heart Foundation and 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 deter the tobacco industry's use of packages with colors and other symbols substituting brand descriptions such as "light" and "low tar."

EXCERPTS from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 20, 2011 print/online, "Altria: Smoking is addictive", by John Reid Blackwell.

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 regulation 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 former 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 said in response to one activist's question about why his comments contradicted Camilleri's.

"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.
Please Note:  Below is a second article on this topic.  Also, please see article above from The Richmond 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 quit.

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 Gundersen from the University of California-San Francisco, cited 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 harmful."

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 said.

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 successful.

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 2008.

Philip Morris International is the world's largest non-governmental cigarette seller, smaller only than state-controlled China National Tobacco.

EXCERPTS from Money.MSN, May 11, 2011, 2:02 PM, "Cigarettes not that hard to quit?  The top executive at Philip Morris tells shareholders that smokes aren't so addictive", by Kim Peterson.
Please Note:  Please see above article also.
...  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 smokers."

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 quit.

"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 to Reynolds.

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], and possibly other stakeholders.

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 businesses.

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 Corporate Responsibility, said Reynolds is following the path taken by 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 "prove it."

"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 said.

"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 night." ...

Oxfam America, "A state of fear: Human rights abuses in North Carolina’s tobacco industry,
Research Report", Published: May 05, 2011
Publication Summary
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 is a summary of the findings.

EXCERPTS from 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 Adolescent Medicine.

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 closely.

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 prefer pushing tobacco to the 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 English)."

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 present.

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.

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 internationally."

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 developing countries.

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 bodies.

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 Research, 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."

"... SHS [Secondhand 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 system."

"In 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."

"This study shows that the exposure of non-smoking mothers to SHS [secondhand smoke] has a significant deleterious effect on infant cognitive ability."

EXCERPTS from the Associated Press, article in The Richmond 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 Thursday.

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 irrationality."

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. ...

EXCERPTS 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 Gottlieb 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.”

EXCERPTS from The Korea Herald, February 7, 2011, "Smoking to be banned at three Seoul plazas", by Bae Ji-sook.

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 period.

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 year.

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 smoking.

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 said.

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.

EXCERPTS from The News & Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 4, 2011, "Raleigh bans smoking in city parks", by Josh Shaffer.
The 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 for Health in Action, commended the council for reducing trash and limiting secondhand smoke, noting that Raleigh "can be a positive example for the rest of the county."

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 36-12 vote.

The ban is set to encompass pedestrian areas like the one in Times Square.

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 ago.

Smoking is also prohibited in Los Angeles city parks and in Chicago parks with playgrounds.

Several legislative measures on tobacco 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.

EXCERPTS 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.

That means Virginia’s current 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 17 cents.

HB1815, 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.

HB2138, sponsored 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.

“To 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 have 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.

“The Virginia Medicaid budget is facing a fiscal crisis,” Hope told his colleagues on the House floor last week. “We have to do something about it.”

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.

Tobacco interests have given Virginia candidates $433,344 in campaign contributions over the past year, according to the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.

EXCERPTS from Tobacco Info.ca  No. 4 February 2011 (Canada), "WHO study finds passive smoking kills 600,000 worldwide", by Joe Strizzi.

The first ever 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 November 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 cancer.

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 will 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 SHS 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.

“Policy makers 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% smoke-free....

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 Phillip Bantz.
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 & D’Agostine.

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 Kansas City.

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 treat 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 person.”

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 green.

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 that.”

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 and impartial.

“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 for us.”

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 Lorillard.

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 of the U.S. Surgeon General]
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Contact: HHS Press Office
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Report focuses on how tobacco smoke causes disease

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.”

"Over the last two years we have stepped up efforts to reduce tobacco 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 this Administration."

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 chemicals 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 sugar.  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 report finds.

 “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 than 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 order printed copies of these documents, go to http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco 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 there were 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, his son-in-law had a heart attack because of cigarettes and then finally he died," says Gustafson.

    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 switched to 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," adds Gustafson.

EXCERPTS 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 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."

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 estimate 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 smoking, but also passive smoking, will prevent new breast cancer cases in this population."

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 damage?”

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 detect.

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 concluded.

The study was published online this month in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

EXCERPTS 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 Associated Press.

Falls 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.

Falls 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.

Gary 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 in Virginia.

Spokesmen for 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, health inspectors have visited more than 23,000 restaurants, and 97 percent of them have been in compliance with the law, Hagy said.

"Several 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.

Another reason for including asthma on the list of potential health risks posed by secondhand tobacco smoke, especially for non-smokers, has been uncovered. Furthermore, the practice of using ozone to remove the smell of tobacco smoke from indoor environments, including hotel rooms and the interiors of vehicles, is probably a bad idea.

A new study by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) shows that ozone can react with the nicotine in secondhand smoke to form ultrafine particles that may become a bigger threat to asthma sufferers than nicotine itself. These ultrafine particles also become major components of thirdhand smoke - the residue from tobacco smoke that persists long after a cigarette or cigar has been extinguished.

"Our study reveals that nicotine can react with ozone to form secondary organic aerosols that are less than 100 nanometers in diameter and become a source of thirdhand smoke," says Mohamad Sleiman, a chemist with the Indoor Environment Department of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) who led this research.

"Because of their size and high surface area to volume ratio, ultrafine particles have the capacity to carry and deposit potentially harmful organic chemicals deep into the lower respiratory tract where they promote oxidative stress," Sleiman says. "It's been well established by others that the elderly and the very young are at greatest risk."

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 Destaillats and Lara Gundel, also with EETD's Indoor Environment Department, and Jared Smith, Chen-Lin Liu, Musahid Ahmed and Kevin Wilson with the Chemical Dynamics Group of Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division. The study was 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 now, 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 a period of months after smoking ceased. Ozone is a common urban pollutant that infiltrates from outdoor air through ventilation that has been linked 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 surfaces, which can lead to exposures that are likely to be dominated by dermal uptake and dust ingestion. This study suggests a different exposure pathway to aged secondhand or thirdhand smoke through the formation and inhalation of ultrafine particles. Also, our group had previously described the formation of secondary organic aerosols in reaction of indoor ozone with terpenoids, commonly present in household products. But this is the first 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 at ALS Beamline 9.0., which is optimized for the study of chemical dynamics using vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light and features an aerosol chemistry experimental station, the researchers found new chemical compounds forming within one hour after the start of the reaction.

"The tunable VUV light of Beamline 9.0.2's custom-built VUV aerosol mass spectrometer 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 amines, present in the ultrafine particles, made it possible for us to estimate the Asthma Hazard Index for these compounds."

... Says Sleiman, "In addition, we need to do further investigations to verify that the formation of ultrafine particles occurs under a range of real world conditions. However, given the high levels of nicotine measured indoors when smoking takes place regularly and the significant yield of ultrafine particles formation in our study, our findings suggest new link between asthma and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke."

EXCERPTS from The East African, August 16, 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 tobacco leaves.

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 replace them.

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 farmers.

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 million.

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 cover.

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 constructing barns.

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 leaves.

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 its mandate.

This leaves the sector in the hands of private multi billion dollar companies.

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 and other 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 unresponsive.

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 1928.

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 in 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 Wildlife Authority.

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 Gainesville Sun (Florida), March 12, 2010, "Alachua Co. jury awards $17.5M in case against R.J. Reynolds", Diane Chun.
An Alachua County [Florida] jury has awarded a total of $17.5 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 smoking.

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 cigarette smoking.

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 $12.5 million.

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."
Web Editor's Note:  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 release, Tobacco Product 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 [March 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 apportioned responsibility for Charlotte Douglas’ death at 18% for Philip Morris, 5% for R.J. Reynolds, 27% for Liggett, and 50% for Ms. Douglas.   If the verdict is upheld on appeal, the plaintiff will receive $2.5 million. 

Ms. Douglas, who died in 2006, approximately two years after being diagnosed with cancer, smoked various brands.  She also made multiple 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 and months.”

 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 Directors," 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 Secretary of Education from 1982 to 1985, and president of the University of Connecticut from 1985 to 1990.

Mr. Casteen's business career has included service as a director of 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 University Research Partnership, Inc.

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.
President John T. Casteen, III has been elected to the board of 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 from nine 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 release.

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. “It 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 company’s future.”

... In his new position, Casteen will work with another member of the 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 of The Cavalier Daily:

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
Clinical Professor
Family Medicine and Public Health
The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Stan Meyer

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.

Stan Meyer
Greensboro, NC

Glen Allen
Feb 25, 2010, 14:32

I’d like to thank Dr. Houston for his comments–perhaps some members of the UVA medical community will have the courage to speak up about this travesty. Once again, Dr. Casteen has acted in a manner that is detrimental to the better interests of the University and the public. Living in the Richmond area, I am well accustomed to seeing Altria buy public support by devoting a small portion of its huge profits to various community projects. Getting people like Casteen and former Gov. Baliles to serve on its board is, I presume, another part of this strategy to legitimize its trafficking in disease and death for money. If Casteen is that desperate for cash after so many years as a university president, perhaps he could get his buddies in Blacksburg to take up a collection for him.

Edward Sweda
Feb 25, 2010, 14:58

Mr. Casteen says that the company “is committed to change and innovation.” But it is, in fact, a company (Philip Morris) that is an adjudicated racketeer. See U.S. v. Philip Morris, USA, Inc., et al., 449 F.Supp.2d 1 (U.S.D.C. D.C. 2006), affirmed in part and vacated in part by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, at 566 F.3d 1095 (U.S.C.A. D.C. 2009). See also http://www.tobacco.neu.edu/litigation/cases/DOJ/kessler_decision_0806.htm

Anne Morrow Donley 
Feb 25, 2010, 21:22

In response to other comments, please note former Governor Baliles is no stranger to tobacco industry boards, having worked with Dimon Tobacco, and having refused to consider any no-smoking in public regulations while governor of Virginia, 1986 – Jan. 1990.  As to payment of board members, according to annual reports of Philip Morris and Altria, board members, not otherwise working for the company, receive stock plus a yearly salary, $40,000 and up, plus a few thousand for attending each meeting.  A lucrative job, built upon the knowing addiction, suffering, and deaths of millions of people and their families.  The Philip Morris slogan for years has been, “I came, I saw, I conquered”.  The UVA President has joined a company which knowingly manufactures weapons of mass destruction. Philip Morris has already given research grants to UVA in the past. How much is a life, or freedom, worth?

Anne Morrow Donley, http://www.gasp.org/

EXCERPTS from Reuters, February 10, 2010, Secondhand smoke raises TB risk: study. 

Note:  Abstract of study is at
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 disease.

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 1.7-fold higher.

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 advocacy agenda."

Excerpts from The Winston-Salem Journal, January 29, 2010, "Reynolds to pay $150,000 to settle dispute over ads".
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said yesterday that it has agreed 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 Reynolds violated the Master Settlement Agreement with a four-page pullout in the 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 pullout containing cartoon images. The magazine ran four pages of Camel cigarette ads as bookends to five pages of editorial content about indie-rock music.

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 admitted no wrongdoing. ... the company chose not to spend time or resources "to defend a program that ended two years ago."

Excerpts from 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 earn a good, full-time living in Hampton Roads. Guys like Joe Maniscalco are the creative, industrious and fortunate minority.

However, more than 30 years in a workplace 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 just as the smoking ban that took effect in December was well on its way to being passed.

This Sunday, Maniscalco's fellow musicians 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 emotional roller coaster you could imagine," Maniscalco said.

He was admitted to the hospital about a year ago with pneumonia and 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 and 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 entertainment.

"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 the 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 said. "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 coming 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, January, 15, 2010, 1:19 pm EST, AP Exclusive: Tobacco's plea -- no big US payments, by Pete Yost.

Tobacco industry 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 the 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, Washington 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.

In the meeting, 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 Carvin 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.

If the 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.

Kessler ordered 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 will 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 $246 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.

[VirginiaGASP]  Updated 13 June 2013