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The Bigger Story of Tobacco Sales

Yesterday’s CVS news is the latest chapter in an 20 year story about neighborhoods fighting retail tobacco access.

Click here to learn more>

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CVS Quits: This is the right thing to do

Washington, DC 5 FebruaryIn a statement to Bustle news outlet ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber had the following to say about the recent CVS decision:

I don’t have any insight in CVS’ decision beyond what they have said publicly, but my opinion is that it was made for more than one reason. There certainly has been pressure on drug stores to stop selling tobacco products, ranging from letters from public health groups like ASH to individual’s standing outside entrances with signs. But this pressure should not take away from the accolades due to CVS for making this bold decision. CVS’ desire to end the hypocrisy of a health provider selling tobacco seems genuine, and I applaud them.

This voluntary decision by CVS is in line with what is being done through legislation in other countries, including Alberta, Canada which banned tobacco sales at health care facilities, public post-secondary campuses, pharmacies, and stores that contain a pharmacy in 2009. It follows Target’s decision to stop selling tobacco in the mid 1990s.

In terms of the costs and benefits of the decision, I personally believe that the $2 billion in lost revenue will be more than made up for in other ways. CVS has plans to become a major provider of cessation services. The vast majority of smokers want to quit and most have tried. A drug store that offers nicotine replacement therapy and other cessation help without the temptation of tobacco products will be very helpful for someone trying to beat addiction. It may become the “go to” store for millions of current quitters and former smokers.

The decision has been widely reported in national news, and this will garner CVS widespread good will. Almost everyone has lost a loved one to tobacco. Many people that have a choice may switch their patronage (and their prescriptions) to CVS.

At ASH we will use CVS’ example to pressure other retailers to drop tobacco from their offerings. Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended. It is not a legitimate produce in commerce, and those that sell it bear some responsibility for millions of lives lost each year.

For more information on the CVS decision click here>

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CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco

CVS Caremark is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide as it focuses more on providing health care.

Click here to read the full story.

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Wanna Smoke? It Could Cost You A Tooth, The FDA Warns Teens

When it comes to convincing teenagers not to smoke, you gotta think short-term, the Food and Drug Administration says.

Click here to read the full article>

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50 Years of Tobacco Control

Check out the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s interactive online exhibit  highlighting milestones of the last 50 years in tobacco control since the release of the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health.

View the exhibit here>

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White House to Host Virtual Open House

This Wednesday, the morning after President Obama’s State of the Union Address, White House officials will spend the day answering questions from the public via social media. You can learn more about the event at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/01/24/first-ever-virtual-big-block-cheese-day-white-house-open-questions.

This is a great opportunity to let the President know that you care about the ongoing tobacco epidemic and to ask him what he plans to do about it.

You can communicate your questions through Twitter, FacebookTumblrInstagram and via Google+ Hangout. You can set up free accounts on one or more of those platforms by clicking on the links.

ASH will be posting some sample questions prior to the event, in addition to asking questions throughout the event this Wednesday.

Remember, it’s not about getting the answer we want, it’s about letting our President know that tobacco is an ongoing calamity and that we are looking for his leadership.

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45 State Attorneys General Call for Tobacco Carve Out in the TPP

January 27, 2014

Ambassador Michael Froman
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20208

Dear Ambassador Froman:

The undersigned Attorneys General write to request that the United States

Trade Representative act to preserve the ability of state and local governments
to regulate tobacco products to protect the public health. This request is
prompted by the negotiations currently underway with respect to the Trans-
Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), but it applies generally to all
international trade and investment agreements that the United States is
considering or will consider entering into. In particular, we request that any
such agreement explicitly provide that it does not apply to trade or investment
in tobacco or tobacco products.

While discussion of the TPP’s impact on tobacco regulation has focused
primarily on regulation by federal agencies under such legislation as the 2009
Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, states and localities
also engage in regulation of tobacco products to protect their citizens and their
treasuries from the toll of death and disease that those products cause. Indeed,
a full decade before the Tobacco Control Act, state Attorneys General entered
into the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) (as well as earlier settlements in
four states) with the major tobacco companies, and a number of other
domestic and foreign companies are now also parties to the MSA. As a result
of the MSA, States enacted new statutes and regulations to enforce certain of
the Agreement’s terms. The public health achievements in the MSA should
not be subject to backdoor attacks on the very legislation used to make those

In addition to the legislation relating to the MSA, existing state and local
tobacco regulation includes such areas as tobacco marketing that targets
children; taxation; licensing; the minimum age for purchase of tobacco
products; Internet sales; advertising (including health) claims and promotional
methods; retail display; fire safety standards; minimum prices; and indoor
smoking restrictions. Such regulation is specifically recognized and preserved
by Congress in the Tobacco Control Act, and plays an important role in
combating the health and financial consequences of tobacco use.

An example of this kind of state regulation is the recently settled case that
Vermont brought against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, alleging that
advertisements for the company’s Eclipse cigarette falsely claimed, among
other things, that the cigarette “may present less risk of cancer, chronic
bronchitis, and possibly emphysema.” The trial court held that this claim was
deceptive because it was not sufficiently supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, and therefore violated the MSA and the Vermont consumer fraud statute. The Court enjoined any similar future claims. The parties have settled the case, leaving the trial court’s judgment and permanent injunction in place.

As the chief legal officers of our states, we are concerned about any development that could jeopardize the states’ ability to enforce their laws and regulations relating to tobacco products.

Experience has shown that state and local laws and regulations may be challenged by tobacco companies that aggressively assert claims under bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements, either directly under investor-state provisions or indirectly by instigating and supporting actions by countries that are parties to such agreements. Such agreements can enable these tobacco companies to challenge federal, state, and local laws and regulations under standards and in forums that would not be available under United States law.

A recent example of such a challenge is a NAFTA investor arbitration brought by Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd., a Canadian cigarette manufacturer that challenged certain MSA-related laws in 45 states – laws that have been upheld in every challenge to them in a United States court, including several by Grand River itself. The NAFTA challenge was rejected by an arbitration panel, but only after extensive litigation that consumed significant state and federal time and resources to defend. Other examples include Indonesia’s successful challenge to the Tobacco Control Act’s ban on flavorings as applied to clove cigarettes, and tobacco companies’ challenges to cigarette package warnings in Uruguay, Australia, and Thailand. In sum, provisions in agreements that set forth vague standards and that are left to arbitration panels to interpret can undermine public health regulation by reducing the certainty and stability necessary to such regulation.

Unfortunately, the “Elements of Revised TPP Tobacco Proposal” that the Trade Representative announced this past August would not adequately protect state and local regulation from these potential adverse consequences of the current draft TPP agreement. As we understand from publicly available information, the August USTR proposal has two elements: first, an “understanding” that a general exception in the TPP agreement for “matters necessary to protect human life or health” applies to “tobacco health measures,” and second, a requirement that there be non-binding consultations between the respective public health officials of the concerned parties before formal consultations are initiated with respect to any challenged measure. The USTR proposal, however, fails to recognize the unique status of tobacco as a harmful product; would not eliminate the need for arbitration to determine whether a measure falls within the exception; and in any event would apparently apply only to the TPP trade provisions and thus would have no impact on investor-state arbitration that the tobacco industry uses as a tool to challenge and stymie legitimate measures that countries (including their federal, state, and local governments) adopt to reduce tobacco use.

Based on the history to date with respect to such challenges to regulatory authority, we believe that the only way to avoid the damage to public health posed by a multilateral agreement like the TPP is to carve tobacco out of the agreement entirely, as the Government of Malaysia and others have proposed. Any “slippery slope” argument against such a carve-out should be rejected. Tobacco is the only product that, when used as intended, causes fatal diseases in many of its users without providing any nutritional or other health benefits. It kills 440,000 Americans every year and, at present rates, will kill more than one billion people worldwide in this century. There is no policy justification for including tobacco products in agreements that are intended to promote and expand trade and investment generally.

Read the original letter here>

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Why Kelsey Fights

My parents have always told me that they knew I would become a lawyer from a young age because of my favorite childhood expression- “That’s not fair!” As I got older, I never stopped feeling that some things just weren’t fair. I have a passion for the pursuit of justice, and I became a lawyer because I want to make the world a better place, particularly for those who have been treated unfairly.

Law is a powerful catalyst for social change. Throughout history, laws have been the driving force toward a better, more just society. The Declaration of Independence. The 19th amendment. The Nuremburg Trials. The Civil Rights Act. These laws changed the course of history. The law also can be and has been an exceptional tool in the fight against tobacco. Because of the RICO case, we can prove that tobacco executives know that cigarettes cause cancer. Because of the Master Settlement Agreement, children are no longer exposed to tobacco advertisements on billboards outside their schools. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the world’s first tobacco control treaty) established international guidelines for tobacco control. These laws have all been incredible steps, but there is still so much to do, because the fact that millions of people around the world are still dying from something that is completely preventable is definitely not fair.

I fight because tobacco corporations work laws to their advantage and we should too. I fight because I cannot accept that 1 billion people will die in the 21st century in exchange for corporate profits. I fight because I believe that smoke free air laws, youth access restrictions, stringent advertising and promotion limitations, trade laws, and other laws like them are essential tools in preventing the next generation from becoming addicted. I feel incredibly honored that I get to play even a small part in the legacy of exceptional lawyers and people who have fought and are still fighting the tobacco epidemic, and I plan to fight as hard as I can.

Join me and ASH as we fight the tobacco industry. Become a part of the solution.

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Global Side of SG Report from Today

Washington, DC 17 January – At a White House event today, public health officials and advocates recognized the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. The original report, so groundbreaking that its release was held on a Saturday to minimize the impact on the stock market, revealed to the world the scientific fact that smoking causes disease and death. A new public health initiative was born, both in the U.S. and abroad, culminating in the world’s first health treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

While the 1964 report examined the impact of tobacco on Americans, the rest of the world was listening. The U.S. public health service was and is highly respected globally, and much of the scientific data analyzed by the expert committee came from foreign scientists, particularly in the United Kingdom. The new Surgeon General’s report, released this morning, also includes data from around the world.

“Enough is enough,” repeated Acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak at the White House this morning, calling for a renewed effort to end tobacco use in our lifetime. The rest of the world agrees. When asked for her priorities in improving global health in 2011, World Health Organization Director Margaret Chan responded “Tobacco, tobacco, tobacco. We must fight it.”

Tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. and the world, causing one in five deaths here at home and killing over 6 million per year worldwide. The epidemic has shifted dramatically in the 50 years since the 1964 report. At the time, it was a disease of the rich world. Today it is a particular burden for the poor, especially in developing countries. By 2030, 80% of global deaths from tobacco will be in the poorest countries in Asia, Africa and South America.

While we have seen great progress in addressing the tobacco epidemic, global statistics are sobering:

  • 100 million people died from tobacco-related disease in the 20th century. Unless we take action, 1 billion will die in the 21st century.
  • There are 1.3 billion smokers today. The number is rising.
  • The vector of the disease, the multinational tobacco industry, is richer than ever. If their annual revenue is compared to national gross domestic product figures, they would be among the richest countries in the world, in the G20.
  • In the poorest countries, some families spend 30% of their income on their nicotine addiction, taking money away from food, housing, education, and healthcare.

Fortunately, many countries are taking action, largely under the rubric of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Coming into law in 2005, the FCTC is a blueprint for ending the tobacco epidemic, if fully implemented. The U.S. has signed but not ratified the treaty, and over the past 15 years has lost its primacy in regulations designed to combat tobacco use. Others have forged ahead with proven tactics such as:

  • National smoke-free laws
  • High tax rates
  • Public education campaigns
  • Comprehensive help for smokers who want to quit
  • Complete marketing bans, including advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Large, graphic warning labels (Australia has instituted plain packaging for cigarettes)
  • Banning flavorings that make tobacco more attractive, especially to children

Two countries – New Zealand and Finland – have drafted national plans aimed at ending tobacco use by 2025. Others are sure to follow their lead.

For fifty years, we have been working to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco. There has been much progress, but it would surely be disappointing to 1964 Surgeon General Luther Terry that we have not stopped the epidemic. Leaders in the U.S. and around the world must take action now to ensure that we don’t meet again in 2164 with tobacco still a part of society.


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U.S. surgeon general calls for end of tobacco epidemic

(Reuters) – Fifty years after the first U.S. surgeon general’s report declared smoking a hazard to human health, the tally of smoking-related effects keeps rising, with liver and colorectal cancers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and even erectile dysfunction joining the list, according to a report released on Friday.

The report, the first in more than a decade, found that smoking has killed more than 20 million Americans prematurely in the last half century, and warns that, if current trends continue, another 5.6 million children are at risk of dying prematurely.

Although adult smoking rates have fallen to the current 18 percent from 43 percent of Americans in 1965, each day, more than 3,200 youths under the age 18 try their first cigarette, the report found.

“Enough is enough,” acting Surgeon General Dr Boris Lushniak said in a telephone interview. “We need to eliminate the use of cigarettes and create a tobacco-free generation.”

Lushniak is calling on businesses, state and local governments, and society as a whole, to end smoking within a generation through hard-hitting media campaigns, smoke-free air policies, tobacco taxes, unhindered access to cessation treatment and more spending by state and local governments on tobacco control.

“It’s not just the federal lead on this anymore,” he said. “To get this done, we have to go to industry. We have to go to healthcare providers and remind them that this problem is not yet solved.”

The report, dubbed The Health Consequences of Smoking, 50 Years of Progress, details the growing science showing the diseases and health conditions caused by smoking since Dr Luther Terry issued the landmark report on January 11, 1964, that first confirmed smoking tobacco caused lung cancer.

Read this article at its original location>

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Surgeon General report says 5.6 million U.S. children will die prematurely unless current smoking rates drop

Report also finds cigarette smoking causes diabetes and colorectal cancer

Approximately 5.6 million American children alive today – or one out of every 13 children under age 18 – will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases unless current smoking rates drop, according to a new Surgeon General’s report.

Over the last 50 years, more than 20 million Americans have died from smoking. The new report concludes that cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related conditions. It puts the price tag of smoking in this country at more than $289 billion a year in direct medical care and other economic costs.

Today’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, comes a half century after the historic 1964 Surgeon General’s report, which concluded that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Since that time, smoking has been identified as a cause of serious diseases of nearly all the body’s organs. Today, scientists add diabetes, colorectal and liver cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, age-related macular degeneration, and other conditions to the list of diseases that cigarette smoking causes. In addition, the report concludes that secondhand smoke exposure is now known to cause strokes in nonsmokers.

“Smokers today have a greater risk of developing lung cancer than they did when the first Surgeon General’s report was released in 1964, even though they smoke fewer cigarettes,” said Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H. “How cigarettes are made and the chemicals they contain have changed over the years, and some of those changes may be a factor in higher lung cancer risks. Of all forms of tobacco, cigarettes are the most deadly – and cause medical and financial burdens for millions of Americans.”

Twenty years ago male smokers were about twice as likely as female smokers to die early from smoking-related disease. The new report finds that women are now dying at rates as high as men from many of these diseases, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease. In fact, death from COPD is now greater in women than in men.

“Today, we’re asking Americans to join a sustained effort to make the next generation a tobacco-free generation,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This is not something the federal government can do alone. We need to partner with the business community, local elected officials, schools and universities, the medical community, the faith community, and committed citizens in communities across the country to make the next generation tobacco free.”

Read this release at its original location>

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Surgeon General Tobacco Initiaive

January 11, 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. The 1964 landmark report, released by Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry, was the first federal government report linking smoking and ill health, including lung cancer and heart disease. This scientifically rigorous report laid the foundation for tobacco control efforts in the United States.

In the last 50 years, 31 Surgeon General’s Reports have been released, increasing our understanding of the devastating health and financial burdens caused by tobacco use. We now know that smoking causes a host of cancers and other illnesses and is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing 443,000 people each year.

In 2014, we highlight half a century of progress in tobacco control and prevention, present new data on the health consequences of tobacco use, and introduce initiatives that can potentially end the tobacco use epidemic in the United States in the 32rd Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress.

Visit the Surgeon General’s page here>

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New Surgeon General’s Report Shows Cigarettes Are More Deadly Today than 50 Years Ago

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Jan. 17 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, the new Surgeon General’s report released today shows that cigarette smoking is even more hazardous than previously thought. This report documents that smoking causes even more diseases, kills even more people and costs the nation even more in medical bills and other economic losses – by a wide margin – than has previously been reported. There are three clear conclusions to be drawn from this groundbreaking report:

While our nation has made remarkable progress in the past 50 years and cut smoking rates by more than half (from 42.4 percent in 1965 to 18.1 percent in 2012), tobacco use continues to have a uniquely devastating impact on the health of individual Americans and the nation as a whole. Each year, smoking kills 480,000Americans – causing about one out of every five deaths in the U.S. It costs the nation at least $289 billion in medical bills and lost productivity, which is nearly $100 billion more than previously reported. Without urgent action to reduce smoking, 5.6 million children under age 18 alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease.
Shockingly, cigarettes are more deadly today than they were 50 years ago because of actions taken by the tobacco industry. The report concludes that smokers’ risk of death from all causes, compared to those who never smoked, has gone up significantly over the past 50 years. It also finds that “today’s cigarette smokers – both men and women – have a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes” (Executive Summary, p. 1). The report points to changes in the design and composition of cigarettes as the only reasonable explanation for the increased risk of lung cancer.
All of the deaths, diseases and costs caused by tobacco use are entirely preventable by implementing proven strategies developed over the past 50 years. This report leaves no doubt that we know what to do to end the tobacco epidemic – significantly increase tobacco taxes, enact comprehensive smoke-free air laws in every state, conduct hard-hitting mass media campaigns, fully fund state tobacco prevention and cessation programs, provide tobacco users with access to treatments that can help them quit, and effectively implement the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory authority over tobacco products, including graphic warning labels. We know what to do, but have lacked the political will required to get the job done. It is time to fight the tobacco epidemic with a level of urgency and action that matches the enormous scope of the problem. We cannot afford another 50 years of death and disease caused by tobacco.

 Read the full statement at its original location>

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50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

Click here to read the Surgeon General Report : The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years
of Progress >

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Surgeon general report links more diseases, health problems to smoking tobacco


Fifty years after the U.S. surgeon general first linked cigarette smoking to deadly diseasessuch as lung cancer and heart disease, his successors continue to add to the list of health problems associated with tobacco use.

Smoking is a cause of liver cancer and colorectal cancer, the fourth-most-diagnosed form of the disease in the United States, Acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak found in a report released Friday. In addition, he said, smoking is a cause of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, age-related macular degeneration, erectile dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis. It can impair the immune system, worsen asthma and cause cleft lips and palates in fetuses. And exposure to secondhand smoke can cause strokes.

Smokers today have a much higher risk of developing lung cancers than did smokers in the 1960s, probably because of changes in the design and composition of cigarettes over time, according to the findings.

Friday’s report, the latest of more than 30 such documents issued by surgeons general since the landmark 1964 examination of smoking’s health consequences, offered another round of evidence of tobacco’s potential to harm nearly every human organ.

“The conclusions from these reports have evolved from a few causal associations in 1964 to a robust body of evidence documenting health consequences both from active smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke across a range of diseases and organ systems,” Lushniak wrote of the findings. “A half century after the release of the first report, we continue to add to the long list of diseases caused by tobacco use and exposure.”

There’s little doubt that the decades of public health efforts to educate Americans about the dangers of smoking, as well as a sustained push for tighter tobacco controls, have produced tangible results.

Cigarette smoking has continued to decline among adults, from 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent in 2012. The United States now has more former smokers than current smokers.

All told, anti-smoking measures have spared an estimated 8 million lives in the country over the past 50 years and contributed to longer life expectancies, according to a study released last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association. A far-reaching law enacted in 2009 also gave the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products for the first time.

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Chicago E-Cigarette Ban Advances, Health Panel Sends Proposal To City Council Vote

Chicago took a big step toward becoming the next city to ban the smoking of e-cigarettes indoors on Monday.

The City Council’s Health and Finance Committees voted overwhelmingly — 15-5 — in favor of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to ban the smoking of e-cigarettes wherever the smoking of regular cigarettes is also banned — i.e. inside restaurants, bars and other indoor public spaces, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The plan also calls for e-cigarettes to only be sold behind the counter, a move Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair has argued will help dissuade more people from buying them. A new Illinois law that went into effect on Jan. 1 already bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

“The government has a duty to protect children from ever picking up a nicotine habit. The preventive action Mayor Emanuel is taking right now is a long-term investment in the health and well-being of Chicago’s youth,” Choucair wrote in a HuffPost blog last month.

Some aldermen were still against the plan Monday, arguing the evidence is slim that e-cigarettes — and their associated vapors — are dangerous to bystanders and that the plan will make it more difficult for smokers who use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The proposal, which would make Chicago the second major city to ban e-cigarettes from being smoked in most public places, will next head to the full City Council. New York City already added e-cigarettes to their public smoking ban last month.

Read this article at its original location>

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Should e-cigarettes be considered tobacco products?

Since e-cigarettes hit the market, they have been the subject of intense debate.  Are electronic cigarettes a cessation tool or an alternative smoking device? Should they be subject to the same smoke-free air laws as tobacco products? Should they be taxed at a similar rate as cigarettes?

In Toulouse, France, the courts just took a big step toward answering some of these questions. Recently, a licensed tobacco retailer filed a complaint against an e-cigarette retailer that set up shop nearby. The complaint argued that the e-cigarette retailer was violating French public health laws by selling and advertising the e-cigarettes. Subject to French law, only licensed retailers may sell tobacco products and they cannot advertise them.

The French court ruled that because e-cigarettes are an alternative to a tobacco product, they constitute a “tobacco product” under French law. Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but no tobacco, France’s electronic cigarette stakeholder’s Group (CACE) argues that e-cigarettes are a consumer product, not a tobacco product. Read more here>

In the U.S., the debate continues. The FDA has just begun to deal with the legal issues of electronic cigarettes. Forty attorneys general from across the United States urged the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes the same way they regulate cigarettes. Read the letter here>.  Several states in the U.S. have begun to regulate electronic cigarettes in the same manner as cigarettes, with smoke-free air laws- Utah,  North DakotaNew Jersey and most recently New York and taxes in Minnesota.

Do you think electronic cigarettes and cigarettes should be regulated the same way? 

Please leave a comment below or continue the conversation with ASH on Facebook or Twitter.

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Baucus, Hatch, Camp Unveil Bill to Bring Home Job-Creating Trade Agreements

Finance, Ways & Means Leaders Team Up to Craft Bill to Deliver Trade Deals that Boost U.S. Exports, Create Jobs

WASHINGTON - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) joined together today to introduce legislation that will establish strong rules for trade negotiations and Congressional approval of trade pacts, to deliver trade agreements that boost U.S. exports and create American jobs.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 establishes 21st century Congressional negotiating objectives and rules for the Administration to follow when engaged in trade talks, including strict requirements for Congressional consultations and access to information.  Provided the Administration follows the rules, special procedures apply when moving a negotiated deal that satisfies the objectives through the Senate and House of Representatives.

“The TPA legislation that we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right.  This is our opportunity to tell the Administration – and our trading partners – what Congress’ negotiating priorities are,” Baucus said.  “TPA legislation is critical to a successful trade agenda.  It is critical to boosting U.S. exports and creating jobs.  And it’s critical to fueling America’s growing economy.”

“Every President since FDR has sought trade promotion authority from Congress because of the job-creating benefits of trade.  Renewing TPA will help advance a robust trade agenda that will help American businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers by giving them greater access to overseas markets,” said Hatch. “This bipartisan legislation helps meet the challenges of today’s competitive global economy and will play a key role in getting our nation out of years of economic stagnation by spurring economic growth and greater opportunity. From increasing protections for digital trade and data flows to enforcing strong U.S. intellectual property rights, this legislation will be instrumental to ensuring that our country’s current trade negotiations in Asia and Europe are a success and that these agreements meet the high-standards necessary for congressional approval.”

“The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act will give us the tools we need to move more job-creating trade agreements,” Camp said.  “This legislation will ensure that the Administration is following the rules and negotiating objectives that Congress has set out. In order to achieve the economic growth and job benefits that trade agreements can bring to the U.S., we must first pass strong, bipartisan TPA legislation.  I look forward to working with the Administration and with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enact this bill.”

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 confronts many of the trade challenges facing the U.S. in the global marketplace, including: competition from state-owned enterprises; localization barriers to trade; and restrictions on cross-border data flows.  TPA-2014 updates labor and environment provisions to reflect recent trade agreements, as well as market access priorities for goods and services.  It strengthens oversight by Congress and the public by adding consultation and reporting requirements. TPA-2014 also provides for tougher, enforceable rules against barriers to U.S.  agriculture.  And for the first time, TPA-2014 sets out a clear directive on currency manipulation.

TPA-2014 also provides greater transparency and gives Congress greater oversight of the Administration’s trade negotiations.

Senators Baucus and Hatch and Congressman Camp called TPA a “vital tool” as the U.S. continues Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations as well as free trade agreement talks with the European Union (EU).  The two trade deals offer the U.S. landmark opportunities to boost exports. The TPP countries – which represent many of the fastest-growing economies in the world – accounted for 40 percent of total U.S. goods exports in 2012. And the EU purchased close to $460 billion in U.S. goods and services that same year, supporting 2.4 million American jobs.

In addition, the U.S. is negotiating the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) with 50 countries, covering about 50 percent of global GDP and over 70 percent of global services trade.  This agreement would create many opportunities for U.S. jobs in this critical sector.

Renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, is necessary to successfully conclude these negotiations.

The one page summary can be found here. The bill text can be found here.


Click here to read this article at its original location>

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Why I Fight: Violet Dyer

Violet and her sister

I fight for the health of our future leaders, the children across the world. I do not want any child to grow up with the health struggles that I have had to endure since my early childhood.

People take for granted basics things, such as breathing. As a child, I cannot remember a single time that I could just run without having to be cautious of my breathing rapidly increasing, or gasping for air soon afterwards because I could not take in enough oxygen.

I do not know what it is to breathe clear and free of congestion, or what it is like to not have asthma. I do not know what it feels like to sleep through a night and not wake up gasping for air because I forget to use my inhaler before bed.

Unfortunately, it was too late when my family learned the negative impacts of their smoking and the lies that big tobacco intentionally failed to relay. I fight so that no child will have to endure these injustices at the hand of big tobacco.

I fight so that it will not be too late for future generations.

Join me and ASH as we fight the tobacco industry. Become a part of the solution.


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ASH Holiday Greeting 2013

Thank you so much for your support of ASH throughout 2013. We could not have reached so many of our goals without the moral & financial support that you provided. Please continue helping us work toward a tobacco-free world by donating today!

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Why I Fight: Nichelle Gray

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Top 5 International Tobacco Control Legal Victories of 2013

  • Chile became the 14th Latin American country to ban smoking in public places. Read more about the law here>
  • Bangladesh enacted a new law that strengthens the country’s efforts to reduce tobacco use by banning sales to minors, including pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging and increasing the fine for smoking in public places. Read more about the law here>
  • Latvia’s legislature revised its laws in order to protect a child’s right to grow up in a smoke-free environment. Read about the amendment here>
  • Malaysia proposed full immunity from litigation for tobacco regulations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first such proposal in trade negotiation history. Read more about the carve out here>
  • Russia signed into law a new comprehensive tobacco control act that requires 100% smoke-free indoor public places, restricts tobacco marketing, and limits where tobacco products can be sold. Read more about the law here>

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Top 5 US Tobacco Control Legal Victories of 2013

  • New York City signed into law a bill that prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from buying tobacco products. Read the full article here>
  • Louisiana passed a law that prohibits smoking on the grounds of all Louisiana college campuses. Read about campus smoking bans here>
  • The governors of Oregon and Utah signed laws that ban smoking in motor vehicles in which children are a passenger. Read about smoke free cars here>
  • The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld two Providence, Rhode Island public health laws that prohibit companies from selling flavored products and offering price discounts.  Read the decision here>
  • Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire raised their cigarette taxes.  They are now all above the national average tax for cigarettes. Read more here>

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Action Review: 4th Quarter Edition 2013

Wishing You a Happy and Smoke-Free Holiday!


As I sit to write this message, I cannot believe it has been over a decade since I joined ASH.  So
much has happened both internationally and right here at home, that time just seemed to fly.

In looking back over this past year, I am moved to express my gratitude to the hardworking people who comprise the ASH team.  Our small but mighty staff has fought tirelessly to curb the tobacco epidemic and their work is pushing us toward a smokefree world.  They are working to ensure that tobacco control is included in global plans for economic development, to push for exemptions for tobacco in free trade agreements, to monitor the activities of the tobacco industry to expose its interference with health regulation, and to push for strong implementation of the world’s first public health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Quite a tall order indeed. But if successful these actions could tip the balance in favor of health and against the tobacco industry.

And I would be terribly remiss if I neglected to recognize our amazing donors, because it is their dedication that inspires us and their generosity that supports our daily efforts. Yes, I am referring to every single one of you now reading this newsletter, and I am extending to you my deepest appreciation.

People who work at charitable organizations often say their mission is to eventually work themselves out of a job.  They hope that their work is so effective that it cures the problem and is no longer needed.  We at ASH envision a world free from the devastation, disease, and death cause by tobacco.

We dream that no one ever has to breathe second-hand smoke, that no one ever loses a loved one to tobacco-related diseases, and that low income countries can thrive in the absence of the greed of the tobacco industry.

Yet, even with all ASH has accomplished, there is still much to do. That is why we continue to fight and why your unwavering support is needed more than ever.

I know I speak for everyone here at ASH when I wish you a happy, healthy, and smoke-free holiday season.


Laurent Huber


ASH Key Achievements 2013

ASH is proud of its achievements over the past year and excited to continue our work with our allies, partners and supporters to fight against tobacco in 2014. Below are just a few of the highlights and programmatic achievements from 2013.

ASH and the Tobacco Treaty (The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control)

ASH continues to be instrumental in the development and ongoing implementation of the tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  The treaty has already made great strides in public health and ASH will maintain its work and leadership of the global coalition of hundreds of organizations that ensure that the treaty is as strong as possible and widely implemented. Read more about the tobacco treaty here>

ASH and Global Sustainable Development

ASH was present at the United Nations General Assembly in September to promote the inclusion of tobacco control in global sustainable development.  Tobacco control’s role in sustainable development has not yet been formally recognized, and ASH’s role continues to be critical in ensuring global health for the future.  ASH plans to maintain its presence at the United Nations and to work with key UN Missions, public health and global development allies, and the health cluster of the NGO Major Group to continue pushing for the inclusion of tobacco control regulations as a global priority. Read more about tobacco and sustainable development here>

ASH and Trade

As we do our final edits, negotiators are in Singapore at the last planned round of negotiations, attempting to hammer out a final deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Those of you who have been following us know that in August Malaysia made an unprecedented proposal for a full exemption – or carve-out – for tobacco regulations under the treaty, protecting public health measures from legal attack by the tobacco industry. So far, it has held firm against U.S. pressure to retreat. ASH will continue to arm officials and advocates with legal analysis as we enter the “end game”. Read more about tobacco and trade here>

ASH and Tobacco Industry Monitoring

ASH worked to further expose questionable industry practices by launching the Tobacco Marketing Map, which tracks tobacco industry marketing across the globe.  This project monitors a very specific tactic used by the industry to circumvent marketing restrictions. The industry funds certain charitable causes, then self-promotes and cleverly refers to this marketing as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There are over 60 countries in which the tobacco industry operates its CSR programs specifically to circumvent tobacco marketing restrictions. ASH will continue to monitor industry practices and remain ready to combat industry activities, including corporate social responsibility and political campaign contributions. Check out our Tobacco Marketing Map here>

Video Series: Real Talk Tobacco (RTT)

This year we started a new video series: Real Talk Tobacco (RTT). In this series, our Campaign Coordinator, Shana Narula, expertly and concisely explains all our areas of work at ASH from trade, to global development, to NCDs and more! We are always taking suggestions for new videos. If you want to know about a particular tobacco related topic, contact hq@ash.org and we’ll make an RTT video.


Top 5 US Tobacco Control Legal Victories of 2013

  • New York City signed into law a bill that prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from buying tobacco products. Read the full article here>
  • Louisiana passed a law that prohibits smoking on the grounds of all Louisiana college campuses. Read about campus smoking bans here>
  • The governors of Oregon and Utah signed laws that ban smoking in motor vehicles in which children are a passenger. Read about smoke free cars here>
  • The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld two Providence, Rhode Island public health  laws that prohibit companies from selling flavored products and offering price discounts.  Read the decision here>
  • Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire raised their cigarette taxes.  They are now all above the national average tax for cigarettes. Read more here>

Top 5 International Tobacco Control Legal Victories of 2013


  • Chile became the 14th Latin American country to ban smoking in public places. Read more about the law here>
  • Bangladesh enacted a new law that strengthens the country’s efforts to reduce tobacco use by banning sales to minors, including pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging and increasing the fine for smoking in public places. Read more about the law here>
  • Latvia’s legislature revised its laws in order to protect a child’s right to grow up in a smoke-free environment. Read about the amendment here>
  • Malaysia proposed full immunity from litigation for tobacco regulations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first such proposal in trade negotiation history. Read more about the carve out here>
  • Russia signed into law a new comprehensive tobacco control act that requires 100% smoke-free indoor public places, restricts tobacco marketing, and limits where tobacco products can be sold. Read more about the law here>


4th Quarter TC in the News

 Letters to Obama: State Legislators and Representatives urge Obama to Promote Health

In October state legislators sent a joint letter to President Obama to urging him to implement U.S. trade policy that supports state and federal policies to reduce tobacco use and promote health (Read the letter from state legislators here). This was followed by a letter from Representatives Waxman, Doggett, Capps and over 50 members urging the Administration to strengthen its tobacco proposal in the TPP.  Read the letter from Representatives here>

NY to Raise Tobacco Buying Age to 21

The New York City Council voted with an overwhelming majority to raise the tobacco-purchasing age from 18 to 21.  The recent vote makes New York the biggest city to bar cigarettes sales to 19 and 20-year olds, and one of only a few places throughout the Unites States that has tried to stymie smoking among young people by raising the purchasing age.  Read the full article here>

NYC Officials Eye Electronic Cigarette Regulation

Electronic cigarettes have boomed in popularity over the last couple of years, according to New York City’s health department, but a plan to regulate the plastic devices in the same fashion as their paper counterparts has set up a debate about the untested products. Read the full article here>

Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation

A new Lancet report on global health strongly argues the implementation of tobacco control measures, especially increasing tobacco taxes.

Titled Global Health 2035: a world converging within a generation, the report argues the “returns on investing in health are impressive. Reductions in mortality account for about 11% of recent economic growth in low-income and middle-income countries.” Read the full article here>

Public Health Groups Agree: Carve Tobacco Out of Trade

A letter citing 32 public health organizations was sent to U.S. Ambassador Michael Froman (Office of the United States Trade Representative) from ASH and the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health urging his support of a tobacco carve out from trade agreements.  Read the letter to Ambassador Froman here>


ASH Welcomes Staff Attorney Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy

Kelsey is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where she received a JD as well as a certificate in International and Comparative law. During law school, Kelsey worked as a law clerk for the Office of the Public Defender in Howard County, MD. She was selected to represent the University of Pittsburgh in two international moot court competitions: the Niagara and Jessup International Moot Courts.

Kelsey has been recognized for her legal research, writing, and advocacy. The law school faculty named her to the Order of Barristers, an organization that honors oral advocacy and brief writing skills. She was also awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Legal Research and Writing and won an international writing competition, the M.W. McLean International Law Writing Award.

Kelsey grew up in Columbia, MD and is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park where she earned her BA degree with a double major in Government and Politics and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Go Terps!

In her free time, Kelsey loves the beach, traveling, camping, and spending time with her husband, her family, and her dog, Gatsby. Check out Kelsey’s blog covering various legal issues concerning tobacco control>


Why I Fight

 ASH has started a new blog series entitled “Why I Fight”.    Now is the time to tell the world why we fight, every day, in every language, in every community, and why we won’t give up until every community is tobacco-free and the tobacco industry is only known through history books. Check back periodically as ASH staff members, supporters and other tobacco control advocates share what motivates them to continue the fight against tobacco. We encourage you to share your stories with us!  Write to hq@ash.org and join the conversation.


Double Your Impact!

This year, your support of ASH will make twice the difference thanks to a few very generous donors who will match every donation, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000 until January 1, 2014.  Your generosity will prevent twice as many deaths, will serve as twice the advocacy, and will have twice the impact for the tobacco control movement. Please help us stand with health by combating the tobacco industry, ensuring effective tobacco control measures are in place, and continuing our life saving work. Please stand with health and help us continue our lifesaving work of combating the tobacco industry!

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Big Tobacco Abuses Trade Rules

Tobacco Firms’ Tactics Limit Poorer Nations’ Smoking Laws

Tobacco companies are pushing back against a worldwide rise in antismoking laws, using a little-noticed legal strategy to delay or block regulation. The industry is warning countries that their tobacco laws violate an expanding web of trade and investment treaties, raising the prospect of costly, prolonged legal battles, health advocates and officials said.

The strategy has gained momentum in recent years as smoking rates in rich countries have fallen and tobacco companies have sought to maintain access to fast-growing markets in developing countries. Industry officials say that there are only a few cases of active litigation, and that giving a legal opinion to governments is routine for major players whose interests will be affected.

But tobacco opponents say the strategy is intimidating low- and middle-income countries from tackling one of the gravest health threats facing them: smoking. They also say the legal tactics are undermining the world’s largest global public health treaty, the W.H.O. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which aims to reduce smoking by encouraging limits on advertising, packaging and sale of tobacco products. More than 170 countries have signed it since it took effect in 2005.

More than five million people die annually of smoking-related causes, more than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, according to the World Health Organization.

Alarmed about rising smoking rates among young women, Namibia, in southern Africa, passed a tobacco control law in 2010 but quickly found itself bombarded with stern warnings from the tobacco industry that the new statute violated the country’s obligations under trade treaties.

“We have bundles and bundles of letters from them,” said Namibia’s health minister, Dr. Richard Kamwi.

Three years later, the government, fearful of a punishingly expensive legal battle, has yet to carry out a single major provision of the law, like limiting advertising or placing large health warnings on cigarette packaging.

The issue is particularly urgent now as the United States completes talks on a major new trade treaty with 11 Pacific Rim countries that aims to be a model for the rules of international commerce. Administration officials say they want the new treaty to raise standards for public health. They single out tobacco as a health concern, wording that upset the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, which said that the inclusion would leave the door open for other products, like soda or sugar, to be heavily regulated in other countries.

“Our goal in this agreement is to protect the legitimate health regulations that treaty countries want to pursue from efforts by tobacco companies to undermine them,” said Michael Froman, the United States trade representative, in a telephone interview. The language is not yet final, he said.

But public health advocates say the current wording would not stop countries from being sued when they adopt strong tobacco control measures, though some trade experts said it might make the companies less likely to win. This fall, more than 50 members of the House and about a dozen members of the Senate sent letters to the administration expressing concern.

Tobacco consumption more than doubled in the developing world from 1970 to 2000,according to the United Nations. Much of the increase was in China, but there has also been substantial growth in Africa, where smoking rates have traditionally been low. More than three-quarters of the world’s smokers now live in the developing world.

Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the W.H.O., said in a speech last year that legal actions against Uruguay, Norway and Australia were “deliberately designed to instill fear” in countries trying to reduce smoking.

“The wolf is no longer in sheep’s clothing, and its teeth are bared,” she said.

Read the full article at its original location>

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