3 -- Newest Review Entries -- 2006-2007
Special headlines from the past
Group to Alleviate Smoking in Public, Inc.
Updated 14 January
the 2008 Newest Entries, please see this link: http://www.gasp.org/NewestEntries.html
Philip Morris, the media notes,
has launched its new research center to "reduce the harm" from tobacco
products. Let's see -- if your product addicts and kills your
consumers, how would you reduce that "harm"?
Let's see -- if Philip Morris
really wants to reduce the addiction and deaths -- or some might say,
murders -- of consumers, here's
very, very, very obvious
ways to reduce the deaths of consumers world wide:
1. Stop all manufacture of
cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes, bidis, hookah pipes, and
other tobacco products,
2. Stop all
marketing of tobacco products,
3. At least
eliminate nicotine (addictive factor).
But, by having an expensive, very visible "research" center, Philip
Morris presumably can try to deflect the Mafia, gangster image of the
power hungry corporation that apparently stops at nothing to continue
to produce and market its addictive lethal weapons of mass
And presumably they can smile in court and say that they have changed,
when in reality, is it not still evil at work, as usual? When a
corporation's executives agree to continue to manufacture and market a
product which they admit addicts and kills people, wouldn't that fit
the definition of evil -- of being a murderer -- and would they then
deserve to be tried in courts of law as murderers, perhaps before
juries of people who have loved ones who have died from tobacco
Some years ago, scientists who used to work at Philip Morris in
Richmond, Virginia, USA, noted that Philip Morris has a patent
for nicotine-free tobacco plants -- but closed the door on that
research. Philip Morris told scientists that they should find
ways to reduce the cancer causing nitrosamines, but then closed the
door on that research. And according to those scientists, Philip
Morris fired some scientists who were working on "safer"
cigarettes. Now, apparently, Philip Morris is re-playing history,
with much pomp and circumstance. Some people would say one should
put the emphasis on "playing" in the word, re-playing.
Below are excerpts about the 2007 hype for the new research center in
Richmond, Virginia, USA, following on the heels of the closing of the
Philip Morris International buildings in New York City.
EXCERPTS from The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch,
October 19, 2007, headlined "New
Philip Morris research center has special mission; Goal is to develop
tobacco products that are less harmful"; writer John Reid
nothing screams tobacco inside Philip Morris USA's new $350 million
research and technology center in downtown Richmond.
Indeed, the nation's top cigarette company is allowing smoking only
in designated areas of the building, a sleek structure dominating the
skyline in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park. But for the 100
people already working there, and the 400 others scheduled to move
there in the next few months, tobacco and the harm it can cause is a
"The growth of this
company is going to be driven by the development
of innovative new products . . . and the work that we are doing to
reduce the harm related to all of our tobacco products," company
spokesman David Sylvia said yesterday during a tour of parts of the
building for news media representatives. "The goal of building this
facility here was to bring all of those people together so they could
do that work in one place."
The people who are, or
will be, working at the site include scientists, engineers, physicians
and support staff, among others.
The building, attached
to a 900-space parking deck by a skywalk,
includes a fitness center, a cafeteria, a company store, a coffee shop
and lots of common areas to stretch your legs and meet with colleagues.
The company did not allow photography inside the building.
The center's first
floor has a 50-seat lecture hall and a library
designed mainly for electronic research, though its shelves include
volumes on chemistry, neuroscience and cancer treatment and
epidemiology, among others.
The design of the
center and its amenities are aimed at fostering
collaboration, creativity and innovative thought, Philip Morris
officials said. The specifics of their work remains closely guarded.
The company has provided little information about the kind of research
it is doing, or the products it hopes to develop.
The new center will
help Philip Morris USA accelerate its research,
said Richard Solana, the company's senior vice president for research
and technology. He would not comment on the company's research budget
or when it might launch products.
"I am more confident
that there will be a product on the market that
reduces the harm from smoking," Solana said when asked how close the
company is to introducing a reduced-risk cigarette. "Maybe it will be a
cigarette, but maybe it will be something else."
Whatever the outcome,
it is likely to face skepticism from public health groups and the wider
"I think it's good
that they are doing the research," said Thomas
Eissenberg, an associate professor and behavioral pharmacologist at
Virginia Commonwealth University whose research focuses on addictive
substances such as tobacco.
"When they release
research, they don't need to just release
results, but we need to know every detail of the methods," he said.
"That way the results could be replicated by nonindustry researchers."
causes cancer, heart disease and other illnesses,
leading to more than 400,000 premature deaths a year in the United
States. Tobacco companies have made numerous attempts at the so-called
Holy Grail of the industry -- a cigarette that could be less harmful to
health -- but those products have never gained consumer acceptance.
For that reason, some
of the researchers working at the center are
"sensory scientists," who study how consumers react to products. The
building's third floor includes rooms for focus groups and consumer
testing of products, using volunteers that company spokesman Bill
Phelps said are older than 21 and tobacco users.
About one-third of the
building's space is laboratories. Research
also will focus on the health effects of tobacco products, but Phelps
said there are no plans to have research subjects stay at the center
overnight. The center also has the capability to do tests on rodents.
Morris has recently entered the smokeless tobacco market,
which is growing in the United States. It is test-marketing a
traditional moist snuff product and a type of pouch tobacco called
snus. That could suggest the company's research is focused on new
smokeless products, but Solana said it has a "balanced portfolio of
research" between cigarettes and smokeless products.
Latest update on the Engle litigation, October
handed down from the United States Supreme Court, rejecting tobacco
industry pleas to "prevent smokers in potentially thousands of Florida
lawsuits from taking advantage of jury findings against the industry."
26, 2007, and continuing through the end of 2007:
ALERT -- to call/write the
Marriott Hotels re. their decision to
violate their own no-smoking policy by allowing cigar smoking in a New
York City hotel.
The Marriott Hotels had announced in 2006
that all their USA and Canadian hotels would be completely no-smoking,
in rooms, lobbies, banquet halls, everywhere in the hotels.
Quoting from the Marriott's July 2006 news release:
a smoke-free environment demonstrates a new level of service and care
for our guests and associates," said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and
chief executive officer of Marriott International. "Our family of
brands is united on this important health issue and we anticipate very
positive customer feedback."
Wonderful! This new policy has allowed smokers and
nonsmokers, customers and employees, to breathe smokefree air while in
Bill Marriott stated in a February
2007 blog about the clean air move,
"Taking good care of our employees has
been the hallmark of Marriott's success ever since we were founded by
my mother and father 80 years ago this year. We've learned that
when you take good care of your people, they take good care of the
customers, and they keep coming back."
BUT -- then came a full page ad in the New York Times on September 18,
2007, and in later editions, announcing a November 2007 "Big Smoke"
event of a cigar magazine,
to be held in the banquet room of the New York City Marquis Marriott
Contrary to their stated
smoke-free policy, the Marriott WILL allow smoking -- cigar smoking --
in this banquet room for that cigar event on November 20, 2007,
exposing all the Marriott employees, who must serve and clean that
room, to cancer causing chemicals and hazardous particulate matter, and
exposing employees and customers who use that room days and weeks after
Persons who have called the Marriott
have been told that the official policy is that the Marriott has hosted
this event in the past, has a permit from the city of New York to allow
it, and they will have air filter equipment set up. HOWEVER such
equipment is not sufficient to protect employees and customers from
PLEASE, call and/or
write Bill Marriott and the Marriott board of directors
FAX to Bill Marriott:
Please let him and the hotel directors
(1) You appreciate the original act of
going 100% no-smoking in any part of the USA and Canadian hotels, as
this protects the health of all customers and employees,
(2) But, with their decision to make
this recent big exception, they have violated their word, and the trust
established with employees and customers, so that,
(3) Who knows when they will violate
that trust on this OR ANY OTHER ISSUE again?
(4) The Marriott apparently is
knowingly allowing harm to befall all employees who serve and clean
that banquet area, and that room will be a danger to employees and
customers for days and weeks after the cigar event. That hotel
will no longer be smoke-free.
-- Dylan Boeken,
son of Richard Boeken, has won against Philip Morris, which sought to
have a trial on all issues.
from Reuters, June 21, 2007, headlined, "Anti-smoking efforts have big
impact: expert", writer, Julie Steenhuysen.
Aggressive efforts to curb smoking
led to a sharp drop in the number of smokers in New York City in the
past few years, U.S. health experts said on Thursday.
Just 17.5 percent of adults in New York smoked last year, down
from 21.6 percent in 2002, after the city brought in higher taxes,
smoke-free environments and tough-talking educational campaigns,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That followed a decade of no progress in the fight to reduce
New York started its crackdown on smoking in 2002, when it hiked
taxes on cigarettes to the highest level in the United States at the
time, boosting the retail price by 32 percent per pack. In 2003, it
established smoke-free workplaces.
Both measures proved effective and, by 2004, the percentage of
adult smokers fell to 18.4 percent.
When smoking rates stalled a bit in 2005, the city ran a year-long
television campaign to motivate more smokers to quit.
That resonated with men and Hispanics, with smoking rates falling
to 19.9 percent from 22.5 percent among men between 2005 and 2006.
Smoking among Hispanics fell to 17.1 percent from 20.2 percent in that
"These findings confirm the importance of comprehensive
tobacco-control programs and suggest that this intensive, broad-based
media campaign has reduced smoking prevalence among certain groups,"
the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.
By 2006, there were 240,000 fewer smokers in New York City than
there were in 2002, a change that could prevent at least 80,000
smoking-related deaths, the CDC said.
New York's success comes amid a wave of efforts across the United
States to create smoke-free environments such as workplaces, bars and
restaurants that curb exposure to secondhand smoke.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the
United States, with 435,000 deaths, or 18 percent of all deaths, due to
smoking, according to the CDC.
June 11, 2007 U.S. Supreme Court
unanimously decided against Philip Morris -- Lights
cigarette lawsuit must go to state, not federal, courts.
June, 2007 Colorado has a new law to require all
casinos to be 100% no-smoking on January 1, 2008.
Congratulations to GASP of Colorado and all others who worked for this.
Casino employees, as well as customers, deserve the right to breathe
air free from smoke.
EXCERPTS from The Denver [Colorado] Channel ,
June 1, 2007.
official, Colorado casinos will be going smoke-free on Jan. 1
Gov. Bill Ritter signed that bill into law ... Friday afternoon.
Bill 1269 expands the statewide ban to include casinos, which had been
exempt. The bill covers the 44 casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and
Cripple Creek starting Jan. 1. Smoke-Free Gaming Association of
Colorado had pushed for closing the loophole in the smoking ban.
May, 2007, Virginia author Roman
Richards has written a smoking cessation eBook, Forever
The Revolutionary Method for Becoming and Remaining a Nonsmoker.
May, 2007: The Reynolds American 2007
shareholder meeting was held May 11, 2007 in Winston-Salem, North
Carolina, USA, in a no-smoking auditorium. Activists attended the
meeting and spoke out.
In addition: Please
Note: At the 2007 Reynolds
American shareholder meeting
on May 11, 2007, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reported above,
CEO Susan Ivey listed a set of "Beliefs", one of which begins, "We
believe that nicotine is addictive ..." So, while Susan Ivey was
stating the company's "Beliefs", the company lawyers were demanding a
mental health exam be given to an RJR customer who states she was
addicted to RJR cigarettes
which contain nicotine.
May 2, 2007: A California jury
has found Philip Morris and
R.J. Reynolds liable for the wrongful death of Leslie Whiteley from
lung cancer at the age of 40. Compensatory and
punitive damages of $2.5
million have been awarded to the Whiteley family. See http://www.tobacco.neu.edu
April, 2007: The Philip Morris --
Altria -- 2007
meeting was held April 27th 2007, in East Hanover, New Jersey, USA,
in smoke-free surroundings. More than 100 activists spoke out at
the meeting and in demonstrations inside and outside the building.
Three health resolutions were among
the five resolutions presented -- regarding
the legal rights of
children exposed to secondhand smoke, on ineffective campaigns of
Philip Morris to prevent youth from smoking, and asking the company to
get out of the traditional tobacco business by 2010. The
these resolutions, and the Philip Morris response opposing them is
given in this web site, along with questions asked of the CEO.
April, 2007: Virginia
Governor Timothy Kaine has
vetoed the HB 2422 bill of Morgan Griffith. This is good news for
health, since this bill removed part of the protections in the Clean
Indoor Air Act, replacing it only with a requirement to post a Smoking
Permitted sign if smoking in restaurants was allowed by the
owner. Health regulations are not normally left to the whim
of a manager, but are determined statewide in order to protect the
employees and the customers of all ages.
Virginia GASP's Hilton Oliver was quoted:
Daily Press, writer Larry O'Dell, Associated Press:
Oliver, executive director of the Virginia
Group to Alleviate Smoking
in Public, denounced the legislation [HB 2422] as a retreat from
health safeguards of the 1990 Clean Indoor Air Act.
says is we're revoking part of this state law as long as you put a sign
on the door," Oliver said in a telephone interview. "It's idiocy."
Mark Twain, or another fine author,
once said, "When the end of the
world comes, I hope to be in Virginia, because everything happens there
50 years later."
According to The Washington Post, March 15,
2007, in Virginia, the Alexandria city council is considering using a
loophole in the state law, use permits, to require all restaurants and
bars that register in Alexandria to be completely no-smoking. Virginia
state law allows any business to be smoke-free, and has some basic
minimum requirements, but localities are not allowed to make laws
stricter than state law.
smoking ban in Colorado working well
From The Denver Channel, March 15, 2007:
Eight months into Colorado's statewide smoking ban, patrons and staffers say it's changing the look of the "sports bar"
at this popular time of year for the hoop-addicted.
"We sold about 15 percent more food at the restaurant, which is a pretty significant increase for any restaurant,
I would think," said Matthew Brown, manager of the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek North.
"A lot more families (are) coming in now. Which, sometimes smoking would curtail the families from coming in in the past.
And so, it's a welcome environment for everybody now. (It's) Not just the bar crowd."
Excerpts from The Boston Globe,
2007, headlined, "Cancer risk of
those not smoking is calculated," writer, Maggie Fox, Reuters.
Up to 20 percent of women who develop
lung cancer have
never smoked, US researchers found in
a study that suggests secondhand
smoke may be to blame.
Writing in yesterday's [February 9, 2007]
issue of the Journal of Clinical
[Dr. Heather] Wakelee and epidemiologist Ellen Chang said they tracked
of lung cancer in more than 1 million people [in the USA and Sweden]
ages 40 to 79. All had
taken part in various studies of diet, lifestyle, and disease, some
going back into the early 1970s.
Some groups were mostly white women, such
as those in an ongoing
nurse's study, while others included ethnically diverse groups, Wakelee
Among the women who never smoked, the
lung cancer rate ranged from
14.4 to 20.8 cases per 100,000 women a year. In men, it was 4.8 to 13.7
February 2007 -- The announcement has
come that Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, will be smoking in a
stage play in England. This will be harming Radcliffe, everyone
near him, and providing great advertising for the tobacco industry,
possibly luring many young fans into smoking. If he is to
simulate blinding a horse, and simulate intercourse with a young girl,
surely he could simulate smoking as well, since the script calls for
the smoking as a "bond" between him and his psychiatrist.
February 2007: The University of
Virginia has become a "partner" with "adjudicated racketeer" Philip
Morris, accepting a gift
for "medical research" of $25,000,000. Mike Szymanczyk, CEO,
Philip Morris USA, said at the ceremony binding the deal:
Morris USA and the University of Virginia are announcing a $25
million partnership that we believe has the potential to reduce the
harm caused by smoking.
majority of the funds, approximately $20 million, will support
research and projects at the University intended to reduce the harm
caused by smoking, help prevent youth smoking, improve the
effectiveness of smoking cessation efforts and provide support for
independent evaluation of Philip Morris USA programs in these focus
remaining $5 million will support the expansion of Philip Morris
USA’s relationship with the McIntire School of Commerce."
GASP Note: Please note that
if Philip Morris, Altria, really wanted to reduce the harm caused by
smoking, and to keep kids off tobacco, they would do a number of
responsible things, such as eliminate marketing and advertising,
eliminate nicotine and other deadly components of their products, and
be responsible enough to stop making cigarettes and
smokeless tobacco altogether, since, as they have stated, it does
addict and kill
consumers. Research is not independent when funded by tobacco
Also, please note, that, as Edward
Sweda (Tobacco Product Liability Project,) has stated,
page 1478 of Judge Gladys Kessler's August 2006 Final Opinion, Judge
Kessler found that the tobacco defendants, including Philip Morris, and
Reynolds American, "suppressed,
concealed and terminated
scientific research" and "destroyed documents including scientific
reports and studies," over the course of approximately 50 years.
This conduct constituted a separate violation of the Federal
anti-racketeering statute, RICO.
Therefore, it is quite
ironic indeed that the president of a university which is presumably
dedicated to higher learning and valid scientific research, would enter
into a partnership with an
adjudicated racketeer to support "independent" research.
20 February 2007 The U.S.
Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in the Jesse Williams
case, Oregon, overturned the punitive damages award, but did not
address the size of the award or adversely affect punitive damages as a
function of the civil justice system.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Paul Stevens wrote:
A murderer who kills his victim by
throwing a bomb that injures dozens of bystanders should be punished
more severely than one who harms no one other than his intended
victim. Similarly, there is no reason why the measure of the
appropriate punishment for engaging in a campaign of deceit in
distributing a poisonous and addictive substance to thousands of
cigarette smokers statewide should not include consideration of the
harm to those "bystanders" as well as the harm to the individual
plaintiff. The Court endorses a contrary conclusion without
providing us with any reasoned justification.
15 February 2007 The
California [USA] Supreme Court unanimously dismissed "the peculiar
notion that the addiction that usually occurs within weeks of smoking
initiation marks the start of the 2 year statute of limitations for
filing a personal injury claim." Quoting from http://www.tobacco.neu.edu.
We reject the
proposition advanced by defendants, based on Soliman v. Philip Morris, Inc. (9th
Cir. 2002) 311 F.3d 966 (Soliman),
that the statute of limitations should have commenced on the physical
injury claims as soon as Grisham discovered or should have discovered
she was addicted to cigarettes.
17th August, 2006 -- U.S.
District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that
Philip Morris, Reynolds American, and other tobacco companies violated
they deceived the public about the
hazards of smoking, and in future they must not participate in any
racketeering, they must not make health claims for their products, such
as the use of the terms "light" and "low tar", they must publicly
acknowledge the hazards of secondhand smoke, and make documents from
the trial available on their web sites through 2016. For detailed
commentary, please see http://www.tobacco.neu.edu/
Sharon Eubanks, the former head of the United States tobacco litigation
team, commenting on the tobacco companies, was quoted in an Associated Press story
8/17/06: "We won.
It's clear the government won. This is the first time they've
been found to violate the racketeering statute. For crying out
loud, that's significant. They're racketeers."
6th July, 2006 -- Decision
from Florida Supreme Court re.
the Engle case
Statement from the Tobacco Product
Liability Project, and for updates on the Engle case, TPLP:
expected the $145 billion punitive damages award to survive
appeal. Yet the real key to understanding the decision lies in
Court's use of the Latin phrase res
judicata, meaning that the
issue has been judged. The Court's
findings that cigarette manufacturers are negligent and that their
products are defective, unreasonably dangerous, addictive, and the
cause of 16 major diseases will carry over to individual claims for
compensatory and punitive damages by upwards of 100,000 class
At trial, these class members will need only prove individual medical
causation and reliance on any acts of fraud that may be alleged.
We expect tens of thousands of streamlined cases to be filed in Florida
by this time next year."
2nd July, 2006 -- The Difference One Person Can Make
27th June, 2006 -- Release of the new USA Surgeon General's report on
secondhand smoking -- there is no doubt whatsoever that
secondhand smoking will hurt and kill -- all workplaces should be
no-smoking. The web site to access the information is http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/
22nd May, 2006 -- Death of Heather Crowe, only 61, a Canadian waitress
for about 40 years, who died of secondhand smoking from her job.
She became an eloquent spokesperson fighting to be the "last Canadian
to die of secondhand smoking." She had hoped to see the May 31st
beginning of a smoke-free Ontario. Thank you, Heather, for
speaking out to save all our lives.
8th May, 2006 -- On the one hand
R.J. Reynolds, a division of Reynolds American, in April filed suit
against the state of Washington over its new law that prohibits giving
free tobacco samples in adult only places; but on the other hand RJR
has agreed to pay $5 million to the state of California to settle a
lawsuit against RJR for distributing 100,000 free packs of cigarettes
on public property. The trial court had imposed a $14.8
million fine, but RJR appealed. Edward L. Sweda, Jr., senior
attorney with the Tobacco Product Liability Project, noted, "RJR's willingness to pay the $5 million,
including $3.1 million in a civil penalty, is a clear admission of
wrongdoing, notwithstanding its words to the contrary. Moreover,
RJR's intent to engage in business as usual regarding the
marketing and promotion of its deadly and addictive product is further
proven by its attack on [the state of] Washington's newly-enacted
- Dr. K. Heinz Ginzel, in
reviewing the Philip Morris web sites, noted:
situation appears to be totally grotesque, bordering on the obscene, in
that there is a manufacturer who admits its merchandise harms and
kills, yet continues to advertise and sell it at home and abroad, and
to harvest the world's children as customers to secure future
The fact that PM was able to do this with impunity, and by preserving
the status quo of conducting "business as usual" without even the least
objection by government or society, reflects the depth of social morass
and the moral abyss of disintegrating values into which this
civilization has plunged.
Breathing is necessary
is optional -- breathing
is not optional.
breathing is still
a very popular thing
to Alleviate Smoking in Public, Inc., GASP®
non-profit organization, all volunteers
4856 Haygood Road,
Beach, Virginia 23455, USA
to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived --
is to have succeeded."
Updated 14 January 2008
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