Small Cigars a salvation for Tobacco Companies

The tobacco companies who used produced clove cigarettes recently banned by the FDA with other flavored cigarettes (as they are spice-flavored) found a way to save their profits. Shortly after the latest regulation had entered into force, importers and manufacturers of clove cigarettes introduced their new products – small cigars, resembling cigarettes in size and having cherry, vanilla and clove flavors. The cigars are labeled as manufactured totally by had.
For instance, the major importer of clove cigarettes, Kretek International Inc., stared to sell clove tobacco products under Djarum brand. These tobacco products are made in Indonesia and comply with the new FDA ordinances. However, anti-tobacco groups immediately began claiming that the company was simply trying to flout federal regulations that prohibited all flavors in cigarettes excluding menthol, mint and wintergreen. According to public health groups flavored cigarettes had attracted adolescent into taking up smoking, so they secured the ban on these cigarettes, that became valid on September, 22.
Nevertheless, the ban does not cover other flavored tobacco products, including cigars, since they vary from cigarettes. As regards cigar smallcigars, they are wrapped in tobacco leaves, while cigarettes are usually wrapped in special paper. In addition, cigars are produced from a different sort of tobacco, but their ultimate taste resembles that of cigarettes. Small cigars are packed by 12 per pack, and are selling for half the cost of average pack of 20 cigarettes. And last, but not least, while smoking cigarettes is widely considered a nasty habit, cigar smoking is regarded as an essential part of American culture and history.
The ban on the flavored cigarettes is the first implemented provision of Tobacco Control Act, adopted by the Congress and President Obama back in June. The Act provides the US food and Drug Administration sweeping powers to regulate tobacco. Although the Agency is not able to outlaw tobacco products completely, it can prohibit tobacco products like flavored smokeless products and cigars. However, that will not happen in the nearest future.
Amanda Stewart, regional director of an anti-smoking organization states that no matter if the cigars indeed differ from cigarettes or simply are a loophole for tobacco companies to keep selling flavored products under new labels, the FDA should act instantly to ban these products for the sake of children.
Experts name clove cigarettes as the major victim of flavored cigarettes ban, since while the chocolate and apple-flavored cigarettes manufactured by tobacco giants could attract minors into smoking, these spice-flavored cigs were definitely not popular among teens, as they have a rather peculiar taste.
James Davis, Kretek International’s brand development director admitted that the company has suffered from the ban since clove cigarettes had an approximately 1 percent share in the US tobacco market, while other tobacco products containing clove have been more popular among US smokers. He added that those smokers, who preferred clove cigarettes had to switch to other clove products, stoke up for their favorite cigarettes before the implementation of the ban or surf the web to order them.
Recent surveys showed that percentage of cigar smoker has been on the rise during the last couple of years, since smokers turn to cigars because of pleasant prices, large variety of flavors, and high quality.

The smoking gun: Tony Blair accused of betrayal

Tony Blair was accused of a ‘gross betrayal’ of the Queen and Parliament last night after it emerged that the Government’s chief law officer warned him eight months before the Iraq invasion that regime change would be illegal.
In a previously undisclosed memo, described as ‘the most vital piece of the jigsaw so far’, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told the Tony Blair and President Bushthen prime minister that the war would be a blatant breach of international law.
But rather than slow his rush to war, Mr Blair froze Lord Goldsmith out of Cabinet meetings and sent two of his closest allies to menace him into changing his mind.
On March 13, 2003, a week before the invasion, the then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer and Mr Blair’s political fixer Baroness Morgan reportedly launched a ‘pincer movement’ on Lord Goldsmith and ‘pinned him up against the wall and told him what Blair wanted’.
Both peers deny that charge. The explosive secret letter was written in July 2002, six days after a Cabinet meeting at which ministers were secretly told that Britain and the U.S. under President George W. Bush were set on ousting Saddam Hussein.
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Lord Goldsmith wrote a single side of A4 pointing out that war could not be justified solely on grounds of regime change and that Britain could not rely on claims of self- defence to justify war since Iraq was no threat to the UK.
He also ruled out using exisiting UN resolutions and warned that the justification of ‘humanitarian intervention’ was not relevant either.
But his memo was never shown to the Cabinet, to MPs or the Queen, in whose name Britain goes to war.
The letter has been provided to the Iraq War Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot. Mr Blair and Lord Goldsmith will both be interrogated about its contents early next year.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg told the Mail last night: ‘ Parliament, the Cabinet and the Queen were all told that the Attorney General had given the all-clear for the decision to go to war. This is a gross betrayal of all the institutions of the British state.
‘In all the murky dealings in No. 10 in the run up to the decision to go to war in Iraq, this is by far the most devastating evidence that the basic rule of law was altered to suit Tony Blair’s decision to go to war.’
Mr Clegg called for the memo to be published in full by the inquiry.
‘This is one of the most vital pieces of the jigsaw so far,’ he said. ‘The integrity of Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry will be seriously undermined if it is not published.’
Several sources say Mr Blair was furious with Lord Goldsmith about the letter at the time.
One source close to Lord Goldsmith said: ‘He assumed, perhaps naively, that Blair wanted a proper legal assessment. No. 10 went berserk because they knew that once he had put it in writing, it could not be unsaid.
‘Goldsmith threatened to resign at least once. He lost three stone in that period. He is an honourable man and it was a terribly stressful experience.’
It was already known that Lord Goldsmith’s advice to the Government had changed in tone and substance in the run up to war, eventually telling Parliament that the exisiting UN resolution 1441 provided the necessary legal authority for war.
A spokesman for Lord Goldsmith would not confirm the existence of the letter but said he would address the legality issues when called to give evidence to the inquiry.
Relatives of the 179 servicemen killed in Iraq called for the memo to be published immediately.
Reg Keys, of the Military Families Against the War pressure group, said: ‘Tony Blair appears to have bullied the Attorney General into changing his mind.
‘This is just another example of the abuses of power that Blair was prepared to resort to for his grubby little war.’
Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in Iraq, added: ‘This letter should be published immediately then everyone can see it.
‘The more that comes out just reinforces my view that Tony Blair lied. He sent my son to die in a war based on lies.’
A spokesman for Mr Blair said: ‘The Attorney General set out the legal basis for action in Iraq in March 2003. Beyond that, we are not getting into a running commentary before Mr Blair appears at the Committee.’
Growing calls for Blair to face war crimes trial over invasion of Iraq
Tony Blair is facing a growing clamour that he should appear before a war crimes trial for backing the invasion of Iraq.
A 3,500-strong petition demanding that he stand trial was sent to the United Nations last month.
Campaigners want him to join a list of international ogres who have been put in the dock, including Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, Liberian butcher Charles Taylor and Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
They believe Mr Blair is guilty of initiating a ‘war of aggression’ because they claim he knew that Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction were no threat to Britain, which would have given the UK a self-defence justification.
The problem for campaigners is that the International Criminal Court, based in the Dutch city of The Hague, does not have jurisdiction to rule that unlawful aggression was a war crime because ‘war of aggression’ has not been properly defined by the signatories who set up the court.
But critics say Mr Blair could be tried under the much older Geneva Conventions.
They believe he could also be liable under ICC rules for failing to prosecute the war in a ‘proportionate manner’, as cluster bombs and depleted uranium weapons were used. They are known to cause birth defects and cancer, the incidence of which has been rising in Iraq.
The possibility that British officials might end up in the dock was a concern of Britain’s generals in the run up to war.
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce demanded an unequivocal statement from the Attorney General that the invasion was legal under international law.
Brown urged to rethink inquiry rules that keep documents secret
Gordon Brown came under fresh pressure to change the rules of the Iraq Inquiry last night amid fears that the most damning documents will not be made public.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has written to the Prime Minister calling for a change after it emerged last week that Government departments could veto the publication of papers on nine different grounds.
The new revelation that another previously unknown memo by Lord Goldsmith on the legality of the war exists yesterday strengthened calls for key documents on the build up to the invasion to be published.
Mr Clegg stepped up his campaign for transparency a day before Sir David Manning, Tony Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser, testifies today at the Chilcot Inquiry.
Sir David is expected to give evidence about a memo he wrote in January 2003 which makes clear that Britain and America had agreed to go to war regardless of finding weapons of mass destruction.
One of the get-out clauses excludes publication of issues that might embarrass Britain’s allies. That could mean that the original memo is never released, even though details of it have previously leaked.
‘Unless you provide Chilcot with the freedom you claimed he has across the floor of the Commons this week, public trust in the final outcome of this review will be deeply damaged,’ Mr Clegg wrote.
Mr Clegg raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, but Mr Brown said he was satisfied with the status quo.

Indiana has nation's 2nd highest smoking rate

Indiana has the second highest smoking rate in the nation, with more than one in four Hoosier adults lighting up last year, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Indiana, which has no statewide smoking ban, was sixth-worst in the nation in 2007. Though the national rate of cigarette smokers decreased by about 1 percent between 2006 and 2007, Indiana and Illinois each saw increases last year. Indiana’s rates are higher than Illinois, which has smoking bans in place and has the 13th-highest state smoking rate.
“There’s less harassment of smokers in Indiana than there is in other states,” said Samuel Flint, interim dean of Indiana University Northwest’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Indiana has more of a tradition of personal freedoms than public safety. That is what is competing.”
One way to reduce smoking in Indiana could be a state law prohibiting smoking indoors.
“If smoking gets to be more expensive and there are fewer places to do it, it pushes the marginal smoker to quitting,” Flint said.
State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, told The Times he plans to introduce a statewide public smoking ban proposal when the General Assembly convenes in January.
The House approved a smoking ban last session, but the measure died in the Senate. That proposal would have banned smoking in restaurants and most workplaces, but it was amended to exempt most bars, tobacco shops, private clubs and casinos.
Brown said his new proposal will exempt casinos from the beginning in hopes of getting it passed.
“They were the strongest opposers last year. They paid everyone out in the hall to track that for them to make sure nothing went in,” Brown said, describing the lobbying tactics.
In the GOP-led Senate, anti-smoking proponents refused to support a smoking ban with so many exemptions, while other senators were concerned about the effects of a smoking ban on Hoosier businesses.
“Studies have shown a business going smoke-free will not lose any revenue or customers as a result of that,” Brown said. “But that’s the hue and cry here, that we don’t want to negatively impact a business.”
But for Round The Clock restaurant in Schererville, customers were not happy when management discussed making the location smoke-free, said George Guirgus. He is the manager of the Highland location that already has gone smoke-free. The Schererville location kept its smoking and nonsmoking sections.
“Fifty percent of our customers there smoke,” said Giurgus, 42. “We do not like to upset our customers, so we don’t want to change (that) location to smoke-free before the government changes it. If the state changed it, we agree with it.”
The transition from smoking to nonsmoking went smoothly this month for Aurelio’s Pizza in Schererville. Owner David Scheidt, 36, said he lost some business from smokers but also attracted more nonsmokers.
“It’s pretty much evened out,” Scheidt said. “I think in the long run it will serve us better.”
Scheidt said if the state does not pass a smoking ban, cities and towns are going to enact their own bans such as Crown Point did last year. He said he banned smoking in the restaurant because it’s a family dining spot.
“When you have a section where people are smoking 10 feet from an infant, it was pretty much a no-brainer for us,” he said.
But some smokers, including 31-year-old Doug Domberg, say the government should think twice before banning smoking.
“To tell me I can’t smoke in any public place is wrong,” said Domberg, who manages CDO Tobacco in Highland. “(Nonsmokers) can have their section, but they can’t take away all my sections.”
Domberg said the store, which serves about 200 customers each day, opened a smoking lounge last year to offer smokers a place to enjoy cigars and cigarettes indoors.
“A lot of people always complain about having to go outside to smoke,” Domberg said. “You already have restaurants who say you can’t smoke there. (Smokers) can’t smoke unless they’re at their house, and even then their wives will still give them crap.”
The lounge offers wireless Internet service, couches, a refrigerator and television. Domberg deemed it the “coffeehouse of cigars.”
If the state were to ban smoking in public places, Domberg said he would put up a “members only” sign.
“To have that luxury — especially with cigar smokers — they’ll have no problem paying something small so they can sit and smoke their cigar in peace and not get hassled,” Domberg said, describing how many patrons bring coffee or sandwiches to the lounge.
The lounge has a filter that sucks in smoky air and releases clean air, and Domberg said it makes the store air cleaner than unfiltered air in a nonsmoking area.
With or without air filters, Domberg said he has not had any smoke-related health problems in the more than 13 years he has smoked.
“Fast food is going to kill you faster than smoking will,” he said.
Scientific reports on the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke gave states the authority to ban smoking, Flint, the IUN dean said, especially when concerning people who work at smoking establishments.
“Those are the folks who are victimized by allowing smoking in enclosed places,” Flint said. “Employees don’t have the luxury of choice.”
Staff writer Dan Carden contributed to this report.
Indiana Smoking Statistics
26.1 percent of Hoosier adults smoked last year
24.1 percent of Hoosier adults smoked in 2007
55.7 percent of Hoosier smokers had on average 15 to 25 cigarettes a day in 2000
Indiana has no statewide ban on smoking, leaving that decision to local government.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking Health

Most Emirates already curbing the use of tobacco

In the absence of a federal ban on smoking in public places, individual emirates have introduced their own rules, leading to a somewhat disjointed approach to the problem of tobacco use.
Since 2007, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Dubai have introduced partial or full smoking bans.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi and Umm al Qaiwain are waiting for federal legislation to be passed.
The most recent draft, which went before the Federal National Council in February, included rules governing tobacco advertising, tobacco production and smoking in public. The law is still being amended by the Ministry of Health.
The efforts to reduce the number of smoke-friendly public places and boost education drives has not been completely hampered by the lack of a federal decree.
Sharjah Municipality outlawed smoking in public last year and introduced a strict fining system to ensure the rules were followed.
A spokesperson for the municipality said if individuals were caught smoking in malls, restaurants, cafes, public toilets, salons and other public spaces they could be fined Dh1,000 (US$270). Businesses that allow people to smoke in banned areas could be fined up to Dh20,000.
Neighbouring Ajman was the first of the northern emirates to prohibit smoking in public. Those laws were introduced in July 2007 and, according to officials, have been a success.
Rashid al Suwaidi, head of the inspection section at the municipality, said it had issued a circular to all the shopping centres and would follow up on violations.
“We have not found many violators. The good thing in this country is that people are always abiding by the rules set by authorities,” he said. Ajman also set up two government stop-smoking centres, one at the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital and the other in the Humaidiya district.
In October 2008, the municipality in Ras al Khaimah banned smoking in all enclosed public areas. Businesses were warned they could be temporarily shut down or fined more than Dh5,000 if they did not abide by the law.
However, the municipality now says no such ban exists and the rules apply only to certain areas such as food courts in malls. Businesses face a Dh500 fine for violations but no financial penalty exists for people who smoke in government offices, according to the municipality.
“If you take the initiative it’s very difficult to enforce,” said Benoy Kurien, the general manager of Manar Mall. “It took almost six to eight months to stop people from smoking in the food court. As a next step we are going to ban smoking by the shop staff.”
Mr Kurien said the mall management had never been informed of any smoking bans by the municipality and took the decision itself.
Dr Nasir Ali, a public health specialist at the RAK Smoking Cessation Centre, said new regulations were useless if they were not enforced. “Lots of people want to stop but until now there are no punishments regarding people who smoke in offices,” he said.
In May last year Fujairah banned smoking in all closed public areas and warned of Dh500 fines. This policy remains, but as with the rest of the UAE, could benefit from tighter legislation.
Dubai is arguably the strictest of all seven emirates when it comes to smoking. Opting for more of a stick than a carrot approach, Dubai Municipality used tough enforcement in May 2008 to encourage people to accept a ban.
“Usually at the beginning you need to be tough on the enforcement, but after that it becomes a habit where people see a change between the polluted and non-polluted and it becomes easier for them to abide by it,” said Redha Salman, director of public health and safety at the municipality.
Mr Salman hailed the smoking ban as a continuing success, largely due to the phasing-out methods they adopted. Already phase one, which involved targeting indoor populated areas such as hotels and shopping malls, has been completed.
Currently Dubai is working its way through phase two, which includes coffee shops, restaurants, and other areas such as beaches and parks.
“There are four phases in total, and we are still in the second phase,” Mr Salman said, declining to disclose the details of the next two stages.
Fouad Sharaf, the vice president of Mall of the Emirates, said it had worked successfully with the municipality to make the ban work. During the first few weeks there were between 40 and 50 violations but this has been reduced to next to nothing, he said.
“I would say that most of the people got the message clearly.”
Abu Dhabi and Umm al Qaiwain have yet to introduce any sort of emirate-wide ban.
Umm al Qaiwain health officials cite different reasons for the lack of any rules or regulations. They said it does not cause a problem and that a law may be introduced in the future. It would, of course, follow any federal guidelines when and if they were introduced, they said.
Salma Saleh, the head of health education at the emirate’s medical zone said smoking was an “established habit” and most people refrained in places such as malls.
Dr Mariam al Yousef, a member of the government committee charged with drafting Abu Dhabi’s smoking ban, said the emirate was waiting for the federal law. “When I did compare the proposal of the federal law and our proposal at the local emirate, I found that it was almost 99 per cent identical,” she added.
By Mitya Underwood
November 30. 2009

Smoking bans march across region

The District was first to clear the ashtrays from its taverns in 2007. Maryland pushed its smokers outside not long after, in 2008. And on Tuesday, so goes Virginia.
The march of smoking bans in bars and restaurants across the region has made lighting up while dining out a practical impossibility for many people. And Virginia’s ban — which kicks in Tuesday — leaves the Washington area with a only a handful of venues where a customer can hold a drink in one hand and a cigarette in another.
Shelly’s Back Room in Northwest, a cigar bar exempted from D.C.’s ban, is one of them. Exactly what effect the new law will have on Shelly’s and other exempted establishments is not clear. If there’s any spike in customers coming across the Potomac after Tuesday, owner Bob Materazzi expected it to be short-lived.
“We got a surge when they passed the smoking ban in Maryland, we got a surge when they passed the smoking ban in D.C.,” he said. “I’m hoping we get a surge after they pass the smoking ban in Virginia, but I don’t know that. That’s exactly what they are — they’re surges — and things kind of settle down to normal levels after a surge.”
Materazzi said he is opposed to the bans being imposed by the governments, which puts him in the company of many business owners, as well as restaurant and tobacco industry groups who say the decision should be left up to owners. On the other side, anti-smoking advocates and medical professionals point to shifting attitudes about the dangers of secondhand smoke and argue that the time is right to abolish cigarette smoking in public places.
“The tipping point was the discovery of the significant health effects of secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.
Edelman pointed to a range of studies that showed smoking bans causing a dramatic reduction in heart attacks.
Each government has carved out its own restrictions for the bans. Virginia will allow smoking in private clubs and lodges, in patio areas and in separately ventilated smoking rooms. D.C. exempts cigars and hookah bars that rely on revenue from tobacco sales. Maryland allows smoking in tobacco shops and allows businesses to apply for hardship waivers.
In Northern Virginia, the shift may be less than jarring, because most establishments already have gone smoke-free. Health officials have concentrated their outreach efforts in more rural parts of the state.
“We’re headed for a smooth implementation,” said Barry Hawkins, executive director of the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, which had fought the ban but is helping owners prepare for Tuesday. “Over 70 percent of the restaurants out there are non-smoking anyway.”
The choice should be left to the restaurants, argues Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Altria, the Richmond parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris.
“Every restaurant in Virginia has the right to restrict smoking on its own without a government mandate,” he said. “And many have already done that.”
By: William C. Flook, Examiner
November 30, 2009

Restaurants prepare for new smoking law

Loyal customers of The Forest, a neighborhood bar and restaurant in South Richmond, like to stop in for a prime-rib sandwich and a new smoking lawbeer, and often a smoke or two.
At lunch one recent Friday, nearly every customer at the bar or in the dining booths was puffing a cigarette. “We have always been very smoker-friendly,” co-owner Rob Schneck said.
He plans to remain smoker-friendly, even when a state law that takes effect Tuesday puts new restrictions on smoking in restaurants.
The Forest is one restaurant that is making use of some exceptions in the law. Schneck is turning the restaurant’s patio into a nonsmoking area with about 20 seats.
The new law is seen as a major shift for a state with close economic and historic ties to the tobacco industry.
State officials and public-health advocates predict that the law will prompt many more Virginia restaurants to go entirely smoke-free, as they have done in other states.
But public-health advocates also raise concerns about the law’s exemptions and whether the enforcement provisions are strong enough.
The exemptions are needed, Schneck said, because so many of his regular customers smoke. This way, he will continue to allow smoking at The Forest’s existing indoor bar and dining booths.
He is putting up new walls and windows around the patio and plans to install a fireplace.
“We are doing a whole remodeling of the patio in the hopes that it will make our nonsmoking clientele more comfortable,” said Schneck, who has co-owned the restaurant on Forest Hill Avenue with his mother, Joyce, for 16 years.
Still, he considers the smoking restrictions a costly government intrusion into his business. “This is the worst economic time for this,” he said. “It will cost a lot of restaurants in sales, or by having to remodel.”

. . .

The law, passed by the General Assembly this year, was a compromise measure between Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, and the Republican leadership in the House of Delegates.
The compromise came after numerous attempts by tobacco-control supporters to pass a complete ban on restaurant and workplace smoking during earlier legislative sessions.
Those bills usually passed the state Senate but were defeated in a six-member House subcommittee.
The compromise law prohibits smoking in restaurants, but legislators carved out exceptions allowing smoking in non-enclosed outdoor areas.
Restaurants also may permit smoking in indoor areas that are structurally separate — and separately vented — so that secondhand smoke does not circulate into nonsmoking areas.
Outdoor food carts and private clubs such as fraternal organizations also are exempt.
Many public-health advocates had hoped that state lawmakers would pass stricter rules against public smoking. Still, the law’s passage was widely hailed as a historic step for a state with close ties to the tobacco industry.
Altria Group Inc., the Henrico County-based parent company of Philip Morris USA, said the company had no comment on the new smoking law.

. . .

Public-health advocates, while supporting the law, remain dissatisfied with the exemptions.
“We do have concerns about restaurants building smoking rooms,” said Cathleen Smith Grzesiek, director of government relations for the American Heart Association of Virginia. “They do continue to expose workers and customers to secondhand smoke.”
Health advocates also have raised concerns about enforcement.
The health department will make sure restaurants are in compliance as part of inspections, but health officials cannot revoke or withhold a restaurant’s health permit for failure to comply. Local law-enforcement agencies will issue a summons for violations.
The law imposes a $25 civil penalty on people who smoke in nonsmoking areas after a warning. Restaurant proprietors who refuse or fail to enforce the restrictions also face $25 civil fines for each violation.
“A $25 fine may not be enough of a deterrent, so that is a concern,” Grzesiek said. “There is also concern that the health department has no sanction authority.”
But she believes most restaurants will comply willingly and without any issues.
State Health Commissioner Karen Remley said the health department will work closely with law-enforcement agencies to ensure compliance. She said the state agency also plans to post the names of noncompliant restaurants on its Web site for the public to see.
Once the law goes into effect, Remley said, she expects a positive impact on public health.
“We do know that when we ban smoking in restaurants, the number of heart attacks goes down in a community,” Remley said. “For people who have asthma, their incidence of attacks and visits to emergency departments goes down. So I think we are getting ready for a healthier Virginia this winter.”

. . .

Even with the exceptions, the law gives restaurant owners another incentive to go entirely smoke-free, health advocates say.
More than 70 percent of Virginia’s full-service and fast-food restaurants already are completely nonsmoking.
“I think many restaurants in Virginia were looking for a reason to go smoke-free,” Grezsiek said.
State health officials and tobacco-control advocates expect the number to grow, especially as more restaurants go the same route as the Red Door, a downtown Richmond eatery that has allowed smoking for years at several booths in its one-room dining area.
But as of Tuesday, the whole restaurant will be smoke-free.
Its husband-and-wife owners, Joe and Sheila Folley, temporarily closed last week for a major cleanup, hoping to eliminate the residue left by decades of cigarette smoke. Among the improvements: replacing the carpet and scrubbing the walls and floors.
“We have owned the restaurant since 1991, but it has been here since 1979, and it has always had smoking,” Sheila Folley said. “It is just full of smoke.”
But like many other restaurateurs, she was torn between satisfying the nonsmokers and smokers.
The law, she said, “takes me out of the equation.”
“Hopefully the folks that have stopped coming here because of the smoking will be able to come back in and enjoy the Red Door without the effects of the smoke,” she said.

. . .

State officials say it is hard to predict how many restaurants are making changes necessary to continue to permit smoking.
Gary Hagy, director of the department’s division of food and environment services, said he has taken hundreds of questions during the last few months about the law.
“This has generated more interest . . . than anything we have done since I have been here,” said Hagy, who has worked for the Department of Health for 30 years.
Hagy thinks most restaurants will comply, but he has heard some creative attempts to get around it. One restaurant owner, for example, suggested that she might make a phone booth in her place the nonsmoking area.
“I told her that was not going to fly,” he said.
The law requires at least one public entrance from outside the restaurant into the nonsmoking area. The one exception is if the only public entrance as of Tuesday is through an outdoor smoking area such as a patio.
But because the law sets no minimum requirement for nonsmoking seating, it does create the potential for some unusually small nonsmoking areas, Hagy said.
Some restaurants also have asked about becoming private clubs, which are exempt.
Hagy said he is not sure how many restaurants are pursuing that option, but it seems impractical for most. To meet the requirements of a private club, a restaurant would need to have a board of directors or an executive committee that oversees the functions of the club and is elected at an annual membership meeting.

. . .

Other restaurants are going with the outdoor smoking option.
Matt Simmons, director of operations for Capital Ale House, said all four of its restaurants in Virginia will become nonsmoking, except for outdoor patio areas.
“Most of our customers will appreciate a smoke-free environment,” Simmons said.
He disagrees with the exceptions in the law, because many restaurants don’t have the option of creating separate smoking and nonsmoking areas.
Some restaurants have the advantage of a building and floor layout that was already in compliance with the law.
One example is The Beach House Bar & Grille in the Innsbrook Shoppes in Henrico County. Even before the law passed, it had a separate nonsmoking room with its own entrance, bar and restrooms.
Co-owner Chris Stewart said he plans to continue to allow smoking in the rest of the restaurant, though he hopes that customer demand will eventually shift toward an entirely smoke-free environment.
“But that is not the reality we are dealing with now,” he said. “We do have a large number of nonsmoking customers that patronize our establishment once a week or once a month, but we have a larger number of smoking customers who patronize it two or three times a week.”
The White Dog, a restaurant in Richmond’s Fan District, also is going entirely smoke-free on Tuesday.
Owner Barry Pruitt is opening the restaurant to the smoking public tomorrow evening — it is normally closed that day — for a “last gasp” night of cigarettes and cigars.
“We’re going to have dinner and smoke the whole time,” said Pruitt, who changed his policy to allow smoking only after 10 p.m. about a year ago because “the market demanded it.”
JOHN REID BLACKWELL TIMES-DISPATCH
November 29, 2009

US Films with Tobacco

Based on 2008 film data, US states allocate an estimated $830 million to subsidize production of films with tobacco imagery. For comparison, this surpasses the $719 million that states state appropriated in 2009 programs to avert teen smoking initiation. Of the $830 million, $500 million subsidizes youth‐rated (PG and PG‐13) films with smoking. In 2008, youth‐rated films shot in the US delivered about half of all the tobacco impressions encountered by US theater audiences. Another
$330 million subsidizes US production of R‐rated films with smoking.
An estimated 1.3 million current adolescent smokers were recruited to smoke by their exposure to tobacco imagery on screen; about 400,000 of these smokers will ultimately die from tobacco‐induced diseases. Public subsidies for youth‐rated films with smoking are in direct conflict with public policies funded to prevent teens from starting to smoke.
States already place strict requirements on film productions to qualify for public subsidy. To these should be added straightforward eligibility requirements to ensure:
1. Film projects rated G, PG and PG‐13 with smoking do not qualify for public incentives except if the presentation accurately reflects the dangers and consequences of tobacco use or is necessary to represent the smoking of an actual historical figure, as in a biographical film or documentary;
2 Publicly subsidized film projects are not also influenced by the tobacco industry;
3 These programs transparently report the projects granted eligibility, their tobacco status, their progress and the public benefits awarded to each project.
Currently, two public policies are in conflict. There is a national consensus that smoking should not be promoted to youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly cited movie smoking as a major factor in youth smoking rates23 and has made countering media portrayals of smoking a strategic priority. The U.S. Institute of Medicine25 and National Cancer Institute26 have each spotlighted the harm done by movie smoking.
Major national health groups endorse an R‐rating policy to eliminate smoking in future youth‐rated films and the other evidence‐based measures, as have the New York State Department of Health and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Internationally, the World Health Organization supports adultrating future smoking scenes, showing anti‐smoking spots before films with smoking, certifying no payoffs in the film production chain, and ending tobacco brand display on screen.
Meanwhile, other branches of state government are subsidizing youth‐rated movies with smoking with hundreds of millions of scarce taxpayer dollars. Whatever the calculated economic cost‐benefits of competing for film production jobs, no analysis of costs or benefits from film subsidies has considered the national and global health cost of underwriting Hollywood films proven to recruit adolescents to smoke. The modest policy recommendations made here will restructure the incentives for US film producers and studios and reward them to keep smoking out of the movies that kids see most.
tobacco in film 2008tobacco in film 2008
tobacco in film 2008

In tobacco-loving Virginia, bars to quit cold-turkey

RICHMOND, Va. — The bluish haze that has hung over the Third Street Diner’s bar and booths for decades finally lifts next month as a new anti-smoking law takes hold in Virginia, a huge shift for a state whose tobacco habit dates to the Jamestown settlement some 400 years ago.
Starting Dec. 1, Virginia will join dozens of other states that ban smoking in restaurants. Restaurants in Virginia will be allowed to have a smoking area only if they segregate smokers into rooms with ventilation systems separate from those that heat and cool nonsmoking patrons.
For most of its history dating to colonial times, tobacco was Virginia’s premier crop and economic staple. Frescoes of the golden-brown leaf adorn the ceiling of the Capitol rotunda, a short cab ride from the massive factory that supplies the world with cigarette-store.biz/online/marlboro.
Yet this year, strict new curbs on lighting up where food and drink are sold were enacted by lawmakers in Richmond and in Raleigh, N.C., major tobacco capitals where cigarette giants Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds have been accustomed to getting their way.
North Carolina’s law takes effect Jan. 2 and will allow smoking on outdoor patios and in private membership clubs, as does Virginia’s law. Unlike Virginia, North Carolina law will not allow any smoking in restaurants.
Virginia restaurant industry lobbyist Tom Lisk expects only about 10 percent of the state’s restaurants to retain smoking areas.
“A number of them, because of that requirement in the law to create or construct a separate room, don’t have the wherewithal to do it, so they’re just banning smoking altogether,” said Lisk, who last winter opposed the bill.
Some, like Williamsburg blues and jazz nightspot owner Randall Plaxa, decided to go smoke-free well ahead of the deadline.
Others, like the Third Street Diner and the Beatles-themed Penny Lane Pub two blocks away in downtown Richmond, will move their puffing patrons into upstairs quarters that already comply with the law.
To Maher Elmasri, the change is an unfair threat to his authentic hookah restaurant in Vienna. He’s spending thousands of dollars on architects, engineers, builders and ventilation contractors to keep the hookah — a tall, ornate water pipe popular in Arabic cultures — in use at his Middle Eastern restaurant, Lebnan Zaman.
“Am I confident I can stay in business? I don’t know that I am confident. I just know that I have to do this to survive,” said Elmasri, a Palestinian immigrant.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have laws that ban restaurant smoking, according to the American Lung Association. Some of them exempt hookah lounges. But by the time Elmasri learned that Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and legislative Republican leaders were rushing their compromise bill toward passage, it was too late. North Carolina provides no hookah exemption, either.
“It’s like the government going into the Cheesecake Factory and saying, `You can’t serve cheesecake any more,'” Elmasri said.
For the restaurant industry, Lisk argued that allowing separate smoking rooms put small, family-owned places at a disadvantage to large franchise chains. A total ban would be more fair, he said, and many anti-smoking activists agreed.
Now, as the effective date of Virginia’s law approaches, most restaurateurs are relieved it’s here, Lisk said.
“Some of them wanted to ban (smoking) all along, but didn’t for competitive reasons,” he said. Now, Lisk added, they can prohibit smoking altogether knowing that very few competitors will spend the money necessary to offer a smoking area.
“I am counting on that so much,” said Plaxa, who made J.M. Randalls smoke-free on Father’s Day.
He lost the hard-drinking, hard-partying, smoke-’em-if-you-got-’em crowd and saw sales fall nearly $250,000 as liquor and beer orders dropped by nearly half. But food orders are up 44 percent, and wine sales have increased eightfold, Plaxa said.
While he hasn’t fully recouped the money the late-night party animals spent, costs have gone down. Smoke took a toll on his equipment and maintenance budget, it yellowed the walls and drapes, cigarettes burned holes in tabletops and upholstery, and ashes left carpets in ruins, he said. He also sees steady growth in a higher class of customer that may ultimately be even more profitable for his business.
“The more responsible person is a person who doesn’t smoke. These people take care of themselves. They’re in bed by 10 or 10:30 at night and they’re up before sunrise next morning to work out,” he said.
A few restaurants can retain smokers under the new law without making any structural changes. Two — Penny Lane and Third Street Diner — have long had separately ventilated rooms upstairs. Penny Lane has an open-air patio, which can also accommodate smokers under the new law.
“From a business standpoint, we are lucky,” said Lisa O’Neill, Penny Lane’s manager and daughter-in-law of its owner, Terry O’Neill.

Teenage brains and the harm of cannabis

Is the outlawing of marijuana driving people to drink and a fate worse than getting stoned? That is the claim of one liberal pundit teen and cannabisfollowing a recent high-level row in Britain over the legal status of the drug that the British always call cannabis.
It started last year when the government, responding to public concern over links between high-strength cannabis, or “skunk”, upgraded the classification of cannabis from Class C to Class B — reversing what it had done only four years previously. The move went against the recommendation of the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which was also thwarted in its view that ecstasy should be downgraded from Class A to Class B.
This annoyed council chairman Professor David Nutt so much that in July this year he gave a public lecture, and last month published a paper, in which he accused ministers of devaluing scientific research and maintaining an “artificial” separation of alcohol and tobacco from illegal drugs.
The government, understandably, did not take kindly to having its tough line on drugs sabotaged by its own advisory body (which, incidentally, has up to 40 members and must cost a pretty penny to run) so it sacked Professor Nutt. He was followed out the door by several colleagues who resigned in sympathy.
But is the professor — a scientist, after all (a neuropsychopharmacologist to be exact) — right and are the politicians wrong? Are we making too much fuss over relatively harmless drugs and not paying nearly enough attention to the demon drink and that common weed, tobacco?
One expert who has absolutely no time for this argument is New Zealand drug counsellor and educator Trevor Grice. “It’s true that alcohol abuse is bad and needs attention, but let’s not argue about which is worse,” he says. “They both have catastrophic effects on teenagers.”
Grice can tell you a lot about the ways in which alcohol, cannabis and other recreational drugs do their destructive work in the developing adolescent brain: how they are metabolised, which neurotransmitters they deplete, which brain sites they affect and what their acute and long-term side effects are. He has co-written a popular book about it, The Great Brain Robbery, for the information of teenagers, their parents and anyone else who cares.
He could even tell you that, dose for dose, cannabis is more harmful than alcohol because alcohol is metabolised more quickly than cannabis, although both pass through the body of an adolescent more slowly than in an adult. Cannabis, especially in today’s more potent forms, suppresses the short-term memory and makes kids unable to learn or act purposefully. “They are locked in chemical handcuffs.” If they persist in regular use they may wind up schizophrenic.
What Grice really wants to talk about, then, is the kids themselves, and saving them from chemical damage as they enter adolescence. “From the day a girl or boy enters puberty they have a seven-year journey of manufacturing the neurochemistry for adult life. Any interference during those years is a disaster. I know, because I am dealing with 29- and 35-year-olds who are still emotionally 17.”
So the message has to be a strong one, he says: “Don’t do it,” from parents, teachers and the law.
Harm minimisation
But doesn’t Professor Nutt care about teenagers too? Yes he does. And he knows the neuroscience; in fact, he specialises in research on drugs and addiction. But his approach is a little different. In his briefing paper he said: “We have to accept that young people like to experiment — with drugs and other potentially harmful activities — and what we should be doing in all this is to protect them from harm at this stage of their lives.
“We therefore have to provide more accurate and credible information. If you think that scaring kids will stop them using, you are probably wrong.”
Well, it’s true. Kids today are not easy to scare, and we should never tell them lies. But there are ways and ways of telling them the truth, and Grice maintains that Nutt’s way, which he calls “harm minimisation”, gives a mixed message and masks the truth.
“They’ve been following this approach in the UK for more than 20 years. It’s behind the free needles for addicts and methadone maintenance programmes, which cause huge problems — basically, the government is providing the means to keep the drug trade going.”
New Zealand, which, according to Grice, has just replaced Jamaica as having the highest per capita consumption of cannabis, has followed much the same route, he says. He cites a district health board that has just released a harm minimisation brochure advising kids not to sniff a substance like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) straight out of the can, but to use a balloon, and to make sure they are lying down in a well-ventilated area so as not to fall on the concrete… “It’s written by people from the social sciences who think they are teaching children how to use dangerous substances safely.”
As if they would. In the field of sex eduction, this ideology has given the UK the highest teenage pregnancy rates and abortion rates in the whole of Europe — nearly 222,000 and 48,150 respectively in 2007.
The schools go along with this sort of thing, says Grice, with the result that parents are disenfranchised. “The school can counsel them about drugs, or even arrange for a girl to have an abortion, and the parents are not allowed to know.”
The clash of studies
Yet it is not only strategy that is debated — prevention versus harm minimisation. The truth about how much actual harm cannabis does is also contested thanks to conflicting research on virtually every problem linked with the drug. These include cognitive impairment, car crashes, respiratory diseases, depression, suicide, psychosis and use of other illicit drugs. The very idea that the drug has become more potent is disputed.
Professor Nutt contends that there is a very small risk of cannabis causing psychotic illness and he puts last year’s reclassification down to a “skunk scare”. He says skunk has been widely used for about 10 years but there has been no upswing in schizophrenia. To quote the BBC: “He accepts that cannabis can sometimes cause mental illness, but argues that it is safer than tobacco and alcohol and, overall, does not lead to major health problems.”
You might come to the same conclusion about the “overall” harm of the drug from reading a recent Lancet article, “Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use”, based on a review of the research. It summarises the effects thus:
“The most probable adverse psychosocial effect in adolescents who become regular users is impaired educational attainment. Adolescent regular cannabis users are more likely to use other illicit drugs, although the explanation of this association remains contested. Regular cannabis use in adolescence might also adversely affect mental health in young adults, with the strongest evidence for an increased risk of psychotic symptoms and disorders.”
But the study then concludes:
“The public health burden of cannabis use is probably modest compared with that of alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs. A recent Australian study estimated that cannabis use caused 0•2% of total disease burden in Australia—a country with one of the highest reported rates of cannabis use. Cannabis accounted for 10% of the burden attributable to all illicit drugs (including heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines). It also accounted for around 10% of the proportion of disease burden attributed to alcohol (2•3%), but only 2•5% of that attributable to tobacco (7•8%).”
Only 0.2 per cent of the total disease burden in a high-usage country? What on earth are we worrying about?
But what looks modest (“not much to worry about”) from a lofty public health perspective, looks much more significant in light of the fact that cannabis is predominantly a young person’s drug and often the first, the gateway to more harmful drugs and habits. There is also its overlap with other drugs — by suppressing the vomiting command in the brain, for example, it allows much more serious binge drinking — and with general crime. A case in a New Zealand court this week concerns the death of 14-year-old cannabis courier.
Naturally, the boy was from the wrong side of town, as drug offenders and addicts often are. Obviously there is a huge social problem to be addressed in such urban ghettos, but does the harm minimisation school really believe their rationalistic approach (“take precautions”) will help these kids?
Trevor Grice says it all comes back to one question: “Who cares?”
A society that cares, he suggests, will have strong anti-drug messages coming from parents, schools and the law. That’s how Sweden has done it, he notes. It will have proper testing of all the so-called recreational drugs. It will sack the army of civil servants engaged in harm minimisation exercises and appoint in their place a drug czar and drug courts geared to treatment and rehabilitation — in treatment centres built to replace the ones that have been closed.
As for the harm minimisers, Grice says: “They can change the classifications if they like, but the chemistry of the drugs will never be altered by their legal status. They can legalise the drug market and tax it, if they want, but we are still going to deal with what the drugs actually do to people.”
And in the case of cannabis, it’s no small amount of harm.
By Carolyn Moynihan, 27 November 2009
Mercatornet

BAT Korea Looks to Gain Leadership via Localization

When a company makes advances into an oversea market, the rule of thumb is that it has to be woven into the cultural fabric of tobaccothe target country through relentless localization efforts.
If this rule holds true, BAT Korea is doing really well because the subsidiary of British American Tobacco here has won the hearts and minds of customers based on tactics tailored to local tastes.
Ever since BAT Korea ranked first at the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI) among cigarette producers in 2004 for the first time, the Seoul-based outfit topped the podium in five of the past six years.
In particular, the company famous for such brands as “Dunhill” and “Vogue” won the annual accolades in 2008 and again this year, nudging past all of its five competitors, thus demonstrating that it stands out both in brand power and quality.
This boosts the market share of BAT Korea and according to research firm AC Nielsen, BAT Korea carved out 18 percent of the market during the third quarter of 2009, chasing only industry leader KT&G.
The quarterly research found that KT&G is still the run-away leader with a market share of 60.5 percent, but the former state monopoly would not be happy with the result as it accounted for almost all pieces of the market in the past.
“When we first tapped into the domestic market back in 1988, people were not that friendly to foreign entities. That was especially the case when it came to cigarettes,” BAT Korea Corporate Affairs Manager Celine Shin said.
“But we have focused our efforts to meet the needs of customers by attempting to offer made-in-Korea products via seamless localization efforts. Our unique corporate culture also helped achieve fast growth in Korea,” she said.
Localization ― Sacheon Factory
As Shin points out, BAT has pulled out all the stops in its localization initiative here since it first advanced into the country in 1988 as demonstrated by the establishment of its factories in Korea.
The company set up factories in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province midway through 2002, a first among foreign-based tobacco manufacturers in Korea. It currently employs around 270 workers.
The state-of-the-art facilities, which boast the annual capacity to produce 25 billion cigarettes, are touted as one of the best BAT factories in terms of productivity and management among 49 across the world.
Starting in 2005, BAT Korea began exporting cigarettes produced in Sacheon to a host of Asian countries such as Japan, Australia and the Philippines as well as to South America.
The outbound shipments have increased rapidly over the past several years ― last December, the Korea International Trade Association awarded it for its achievement of $10 million in exports.
Last month, the factory’s accumulated production surpassed the 100 billion-cigarette milestone, the exploits showing the efficiency of the Sacheon facilities, according to BAT Korea’s Executive Demand Chain Director Rafael Marquez.
“The record of producing 100 billion cigarettes is quite a significant achievement in a sense that it was reached in a relatively short period of time of less than seven years, which also highlights high productivity,” he said.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Another major pillar of its localization schemes are the brisk activities associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
One of its most notable CSR efforts is to financially support projects for prospective social enterprises by offering as much as 25 million won to each ― along with the Work Together Foundation, the No. 1 foreign tobacco firm in Korea picked up three prospective social enterprises this year.
Shin notes that the program serves society in an unprecedented way.
“By establishing funds that support prospective social enterprises in a systemic way, we hope to contribute to society and believe this is a practical and differentiated way of adding value to the community,” she said.
Lee Kwang-taek, executive director at the Work Together Foundation, praises the long-term effect of the initiatives.
“While most supportive programs are targeted mainly toward registered social enterprises, supporting prospective social enterprises is quite valuable to help them pursue their businesses and eventually to help increasing employment opportunities over a long-term perspective,” Lee said.
In addition, BAT Korea has forged ahead with a variety of CSR programs with the mindset of putting consistent activities on the front burner.
“Instead of offering one-off help, we are attempting to forge a long-term support relationship with the needy. Hence, we have an employees’ voluntary club dubbed Big Love,” Shin said.
“Composed of 24 small units, Big Love carries out periodic activities throughout the year. Interest in the organization runs high because our employees participate in voluntary efforts twice a year,” she said.
The efforts of Big Love have been recognized several times by regional governments or assemblies in areas such as Jeju and South Jeolla provinces.
Unique HR Policy
Another factor that buttresses the early success of BAT Korea is its unique human resources (HR) management, which focuses on openness and global exchange.
For example, BAT Korea braces for a mixture of different cultures because people from various ethnicities work together, from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, Venezuela, Russia, the United Kingdom and Turkey although most of around 1,100 employees are Koreans.
BAT Korea General Manager Stephan Liechti himself is from Switzerland, having taken the helm of the tobacco manufacturer in October last year.
The firm encourages a multi-cultural environment through the “Global Talent Exchange,”’ under which global affiliates of BAT exchange staff members for a certain period of time.
Also of note is its unique talent management system aimed at fostering the cream of the crop.
Under the scheme, new recruits of BAT Korea go through a set of rigorous on-the-job training for two years, which includes cross-functional projects and overseas assignments for about three months.
After finishing the two-year management trainee processes, they will be promoted to an entry-level management position.
“A global leader should not only be functionally strong but also be capable of demonstrating continuous efforts to strive for excellence and lead oneself and his/her team with clear direction,” BAT Korea’s HR Executive Director Anna Dolgikh said.
“It is also important to respect diversity as well as to find opportunities even at difficult times and face challenges in a constantly changing business environment,” she added.
By Kim Tae-gyu, Koreatimes