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World Health Organisation says Pacific considering cigarette plain packaging

The World Health Organisation says a number of countries across the Pacific are considering following in Australia’s footsteps and introducing plain packaging of cigarettes.

The WHO is set to join governments across the region in a major drive to make the Pacific tobacco free within 10 years.

The WHO Pacific coordinator of non-communicable diseases, Dr Temo Waqanivalu, says the project will be launched in Honiara in two weeks and plain packaging is among the tactics being considered.

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The Case for Banning Cigarettes Entirely, Forever

Doctors in the U.K. will vote on Tuesday as to whether to support a “campaign to ban forever the sale of cigarettes to any individual born after the year 2000.” It’s an appealing thought exercise for public health types: Smoking rates declined steadily in the late 20th century as the health hazards became more widely understood.

So what would happen if children born in the 2000s—those just now hitting their years of tobacco experimentation—were barred from buying cigarettes—not just until they reach adulthood, but forever?

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Tobacco companies have made cigarettes deadlier than ever

Over the last five decades, the tobacco industry has engineered cigarettes to be more addictive — and has also made them more dangerous.

Smokers suffer from higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) todaycompared to 1964, when the very first Surgeon General’s report on cigarettes was issued.

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Plain packaging pushes cigarette sales down

The Australian federal Treasury has entered the debate over cigarette sales, publishing previously secret information that shows sales falling since the introduction of graphic health warnings and plain packaging.

The Treasury collects data on sales per stick in order to levy tobacco excise, but has until now withheld it from publication to protect commercially sensitive information.

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NYC’s cigarette price-hiking regulations ruled legal

A legal challenge to a new law aimed at keeping New York City tobacco prices sky high​ has gone up in smoke.

Manhattan federal Judge Thomas Greisa on Wednesday sided with the city in a lawsuit filed in January by tobacco companies and trade groups representing cigarette retailers.

Greisa in a 36-page ruling said pricing regulations signed into law last November by then-Mayor Bloomberg – which set the minimum price for cigarette packs at $10.50 and prohibited the use of coupons and other promotional discounts to lower that price — pass legal muster and don’t violate free speech rights protected under the First Amendment.

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Electronic Cigarette Executives Get Schooled In Senate Hearing

“I think we have seen this movie before,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “It is called big nicotine comes to children near you and you are using the same kinds of tactics and promotions and ads that were used by big tobacco and proved so effective”

In a hearing Wednesday afternoon that harkened back to the famous congressional Big Tobacco hearings two decades ago, Senators on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee eviscerated electronic cigarette executives Jason Healy, CEO of blue eCigs (owned by tobacco company Lorillard), and Craig Weiss, CEO of NJOY, leaders of the two leading electronic cigarette brands.

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New Jersey Gets $92 Million After Restructuring Tobacco Bonds

New Jersey reached a deal to obtain almost $92 million for its general fund by pledging the remainder of its revenue from the national tobacco settlement to investors. The bolstered payment pledge made trading prices on bonds linked to the agreement more than triple from March 3.

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Real data show that plain packaging IS working in Australia

The Australian’s ‘exclusive’ story on plain packaging is just plain wrong.

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Why big tobacco companies are betting on e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, promoted as a healthier alternative to tobacco, are getting powerful new backers with an unhealthy reputation: big tobacco companies.

The development points to ways Big Tobacco is moving to turn the young e-cigarette market to its advantage. 

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E-Cigarettes May Get Advantage for Not Containing Tobacco

Electronic cigarettes may be closer to smoking cessation devices than regular smokes and regulators are keeping “an open mind” on their potential health benefit, said the top U.S. official overseeing their use.

In comments that may boost the developing $3 billion e-cigarette market, Mitch Zeller, head of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, said the agency is exploring expedited reviews for tobacco products based on risk and toxicity as it prepares its e-cigarette rules.

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Cigarette packaging: Republic of Ireland bid to ban branded tobacco

The Republic of Ireland has become the first country in Europe to try to pass a law banning the sale of branded cigarette and tobacco packets.

The proposed legislation would force tobacco firms to use plain packaging, removing all logos and trademark colours from cigarette packets.

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Child workers in danger on US tobacco farms

HRW documents the shocking conditions on tobacco farms in the US, where child workers are exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides and other dangers.

Human Rights Watch’s recent report, Tobacco’s Hidden Children: Hazardous Child Labor in US Tobacco Farming, documents conditions under which children – ages seven to 17 – work on tobacco farms. Research was done in the four states where 90% of US tobacco is grown: North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.

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U.S. Patent Allowed For 22nd Century Group’s Technology to Regulate Nicotine Levels in Tobacco

22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE MKT: XXII ) today announced that on June 9, 2014 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Allowance to the Company for technology that reduces nicotine in tobacco by suppressing expression of the NBB gene by itself and in combination with other nicotine biosynthesis genes.

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Why Read the ASH Report?

It can be hard for modern Americans to understand the amount of influence and harm US society has suffered as a result of tobacco.  It’s easy to see the disconnect, as it has been over five decades since more than ½ of the men and a 1/3 of the women in the US smoked.  50 years ago, smoking was everywhere, from hospitals to schools. ASH Report 1

There is no doubt that the US has come a long way in combating the death and disease caused by tobacco. Smoking bans have swept the country, tobacco advertisement is limited, and the overall prevalence of smoking has fallen significantly.  For all intents and purposes, it might appear as if the fight against tobacco has been won until we look at the devastating statistics.

  • If you are concerned with health, it is important to note that tobacco is still the number one preventable cause of death. Approximately 18% of adults still smoke in the US, and there are 1 billion smokers worldwide.
  • If you are concerned with saving lives, it is important to note that tobacco kills 480,000 people annually in the US; that’s more than murders, car accidents, and HIV/AIDS combined. 6 million die worldwide each year from tobacco related illnesses, and 100 million were killed in the 20th century alone.
  • If you are concerned with our economic future, it is important to note that the tobacco burden on our economy is approximately $300 billion in indirect and direct costs; and
  • If you are concerned with social responsibility, it is important to note that the tobacco industry has a vested financial interest in maintaining a high level of nicotine addiction.

 

The facts are staggering, but what the ASH “Avoidable Death” report demonstrates is that there are tools available to combat this ongoing epidemic.  The Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recognizes the uniqueness of tobacco, the only consumer product that when used as intended kills.

There is a set of scientifically validated measures contained in the FCTC that represent the collective wisdom of decades of global efforts to reduce tobacco use.  650 million unborn lives can be saved.

There are places in the world right now that have utilized measures from the FCTC guidelines to strengthen their national tobacco control policies.  Countries have recognized the importance of safeguarding their citizen’s health, and it is time for the US to intensify efforts to protect health by following suit.

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Tobacco Firm seeks to say tobacco cuts risk

Smokeless tobacco maker Swedish Match is asking the Food and Drug Administration to certify its General-branded pouches of tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes. 

The company with its North American headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, is filing an application with the FDA to approve the snus (pronounced “snoose”) products as “modified risk.”

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PH a step closer to graphic health warning on cigarettes

MANILA, Philippines – The graphic health warning bill is now one step closer to becoming a law.

The bicameral conference committee on Tuesday, June 10, reconciled the Senate and House of Representatives versions of the bill, which seeks to place graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.

 

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Decision on tobacco sales awaits DoD review

The Navy’s efforts to eliminate tobacco sales on Navy and Marine Corps bases are on hold as a comprehensive Defense Department-wide review of tobacco policies gets underway.

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Rising Tobacco Epidemic in Asia Linked to Elevated Risk of Death

Newswise — A new study estimates that tobacco smoking has been linked to approximately 2 million deaths among adult men and women in Asia in recent years and predicts a rising death toll. The study, published in PLOS Medicine, was led by Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, professor of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, and John Potter, M.D., Ph.D., a member and scientific advisor of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

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Tobacco Apology Ads Will Only Run In 13 Black Newspapers

A ruling has finally been made on the plan submitted by tobacco companies to place ads that apologize for misleading the public about the dangers of smoking.  Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court said that the revised plan can go ahead. Only problem is that only 13 black newspapers were added to the new version of the plan.

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Tobacco Companies Rejected by High Court on Florida Suits

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected efforts by the tobacco industry to derail thousands of Florida smoker lawsuits, leaving intact 11 awards totaling more than $70 million.

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Durbin: Raise Tobacco Tax To Fund Medical Research

Sen. Dick Durbin wants a cigarette tax hike to help pay for basic medical research. The Illinois Democrat made his case Monday in Springfield, before a group of doctors and scientists at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

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Big Tobacco abroad: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the downside to free trade

EXCERPT:

Because the treaty sets minimum standards, Chris Bostic, Deputy Director for Policy at Action of Smoking and Health (ASH), told me that the industry has “gone after any country that has pushed the norm.”

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Tobacco Buying Age to Increase in New Jersey

The age at which a person can buy tobacco could increase if a New Jersey bill passes a state Senate vote. The Senate committee-approved bill to increase the tobacco-buying age would call for merchants to refuse the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 years of age.

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Our New Report Offers a Global Perspective on Tobacco in America

Many Americans believe that the war on tobacco has been won, but the fact is the number of smokers is climbing globally. The World Health Organization estimates that 100 million people died as a result of tobacco use in the 20th century, a staggering figure. But unless we take greater action, the death toll in the 21st century is expected to be 1 billion.

Click Here to View the Report

Click Here to View the Report

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), in partnership with Legacy, recently released a new report; A Half Century of Avoidable Death: A Global Perspective on Tobacco in America” (“Avoidable Death”) which examines U.S. tobacco control efforts in the fifty years since the release of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health – viewed through a global lense. The report comes on the heels of World No Tobacco Day – a day that is intended to draw global attention to the harms associated with tobacco and to advocate for stronger tobacco control policies.

In the mid-1990s, the world began to respond to the growing tobacco epidemic, eventually launching negotiations for the world’s first public health treaty: the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC is unique – it is the only treaty focusing solely on health, and the only one focusing on a particular product, tobacco. This is in recognition of the uniqueness of tobacco – the only consumer product that, when used exactly as intended, kills.

The FCTC treaty includes measures such as taxation, smoke-free air, package warning labels, public education, cessation, and legal liability for the tobacco industry. The FCTC was completed in 2003, and today 177 countries representing about 90 percent of the global population have ratified it. While the U.S. joined in the unanimous adoption of the text in 2003, and signed in 2004, it has never submitted the treaty to the U. S. Senate for formal ratification. The United States has not ratified the FCTC.

The “Avoidable Death” report considers U.S. activities with regard to six articles from the FCTC, all dealing with a different aspect of tobacco control. The report compares U.S. cigarette prices and taxes with those abroad, examines smoke-free air laws in Ireland, discusses plain packaging in Australia, considers point of sale bans in Norway, highlights successful public education campaigns from around the world, and spotlights the recent tobacco “corporate social responsibility” ban in Mauritius.

The intention of the “Avoidable Death” report is to use international examples to illustrate successes in tobacco control around the world and to inspire positive changes in the United States. The report helps to highlight the FCTC in the fight against the tobacco epidemic and highlights how international victories can be considered as case studies for the U.S.

At present, the only true barrier to tobacco control is political will.  Fifty years from now, in 2064, tobacco should be a topic of history.

Read the report here >

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A Half Century of Avoidable Death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Arendt

Office: 202-659-4310

Email: arendtm@ash.org

A HALF CENTURY OF AVOIDABLE DEATH

New Report Offers a Global Perspective on Tobacco in America

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 3, 2014 – A new report entitled A Half Century of Avoidable Death: A Global Perspective on Tobacco in America,” (“Avoidable Death”) released today by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), examines U.S. tobacco control efforts in the fifty years since the release of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health – viewed through a global lense.

Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death and while significant progress has been made, international examples help to illustrate steps that could be taken by the United States. The report comes on the heels of World No Tobacco Day – a day that is intended to draw global attention to the harms associated with tobacco and to advocate for stronger tobacco control policies.

“Many Americans might think that the ‘tobacco wars’ have been won, but in fact the problem is getting worse globally,” commented Laurent Huber, ASH Executive Director. “We need to increase our efforts in the hopes that in another 50 years, tobacco will be relegated to the history books.”

In 2003, the first global health treaty – the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – was completed to address the growing global tobacco epidemic and to date, 177 countries have joined the treaty.  “Avoidable Death” considers U.S. activities with regard to six articles from the FCTC, all dealing with a different aspect of tobacco control. The treaty calls for measures, adopted outside the U.S.,  such as graphic warning labels, total bans on advertising, and limiting tobacco industry influence over health regulations. During the past fifty years, the rest of the world has not been idle as it relates to the issue of tobacco.

The report compares U.S. cigarette prices and taxes with those abroad, examines smoke-free air laws in Ireland, discusses plain packaging in Australia, considers point of sale bans in Norway, highlights successful public education campaigns from around the world, and spotlights the recent tobacco “corporate social responsibility” ban in Mauritius.

“Avoidable Death” uses international examples to illustrate successes in tobacco control around the world and aims to inspire positive changes in the United States. The report helps to highlight the goals of the FCTC in the fight against the tobacco industry and how international victories can be applied as case studies within American borders.

Examples of countries taking tough action to fight tobacco include:

  • Australia, which requires that tobacco products be sold in plain packaging, without colorful branding;
  • Mauritius, which has banned all tobacco advertising, including so-called “corporate social responsibility” schemes;
  • Uruguay, which allows only one variant of each brand, to stop the tobacco industry from using colors to represent misleading claims like “light” and “low”;
  • Norway, which requires that tobacco be hidden behind the counter in stores;
  • And, many countries that now require large, pictographic warnings on tobacco packaging.

 

According to Dave Dobbins, COO at Legacy, “Despite our successes, an astonishing 480,000 Americans lose their lives annually to tobacco. We don’t have another 50 years to wait. In 2064, tobacco should be a topic of history.” Legacy provided support for the development of the report.

Read the full report here >

 

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ACTION ON SMOKING AND HEALTH

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at www.ash.org.

Follow us on Twitter @ASHOrg and Facebook www.Facebook.com/ASHglobalAction

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