History of menthol cigarettes

menthol-cigarettes-brands smokers can exhale in relief: their Kools won’t be losing their cool anytime soon.salem menthol
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has declined to recommend a ban on menthol cigarettes, even though the study group conceded that a ban would improve public health. The decision follows a 2009 federal ban on candy flavorings in cigarettes because of their potential allure for young smokers.
The panel’s decision not to recommend a menthol ban is potentially a big victory for tobacco companies, in particular Lorillard Inc., makers of Newport, the country’s top-selling menthol cigarette. Lorillard’s stock price jumped more than 10 percent shortly after a draft of the panel’s report was made public.
The FDA isn’t required to follow the advice of its advisory committees, but it usually does. The panel’s pronouncement makes it more likely that menthol will continue its curious history as the world’s most popular flavor additive in cigarettes. An Ohio man named Lloyd “Spud” Hughes is credited with introducing American smokers to the refreshing taste of menthol cigarettes in 1925. Hughes was working as a cashier in a restaurant when he came up with the idea of adding menthol flavoring to give the illusion of a “cooler” smoke. Thus was born Spud brand cigarettes, the first widely sold menthol smoke in America. By 1932, Spuds had become the fifth most popular cigarettes in the country.
The success of Spud caught the attention of the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, which launched its own menthol brand, Kool, in 1932. Kool was initially targeted to upscale smokers; the brand’s mascot was a cartoon penguin sporting a monocle and top hat. And menthol smokes really took off in 1956, when R.J. Reynolds introduced Salem, the first filter-tipped menthol cigarette.
Neither the filter nor the menthol protected smokers from the harmful effects of cigarettes, but tobacco companies shamelessly promoted menthol cigarettes as being somehow “fresher,” and, by implication, healthier. In the early ’70s, Salem print ads touted the brand’s “natural” menthol. “That’s what gives Salem a taste as soft and fresh as Springtime,” the ads declared. Later, the makers of menthol Newport began a long-running campaign touting the brand as being “Alive with Pleasure.”
Today, about 30 percent of all cigarettes sold in the U.S. are flavored with menthol. (Oddly, only two countries in the world have higher rates of menthol cigarette use¬—the Philippines and Cameroon.) And since the 1960s, menthol cigarette consumption in the U.S. has had a distinctly racial component. Currently, 80 percent of African American smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, and blacks are four times more likely than whites to choose menthols.
No one really knows how African Americans came to prefer menthol cigarettes in the first place. But relentlessly targeted marketing campaigns locked the preference in place, part of what Phillip Gardiner, a research scientist at the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program at the University of California calls the “African-Americanization of menthol cigarette use.”
“Menthol cigarettes have been marketed to some of the most vulnerable segments of the population,” Gardiner says. “For half a century, people with the least resources and the most to lose have been the target of this product.”
Internal tobacco company research in the early 1950s showed a slight preference for menthol Kools among African American smokers, and firms quickly capitalized by marketing menthol smokes directly to blacks. African American baseball player Elston Howard was an early spokesman for menthol Kools in the late 1950s. “You feel a new smoothness deep in your throat,” proclaimed ads featuring Howard, a star catcher for the New York Yankees.
In the late 1970s, the makers of Newport used the James Brown hit “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” to trumpet the message “Newport is a whole new bag of menthol smoking.” Later, the Kool Jazz Festival and hip-hop concerts were used to promote menthols among African Americans. Menthol smokes soon acquired an edgy urban quality—a dangerous smoke. “Smokin’ mad Newports/’cause I’m due in court,” the Notorious B.I.G. rapped on his 1994 hit “Everyday Struggle.” The FDA advisory committee report notes the longstanding popularity of menthol among African Americans, but skirts the issue of how that preference came to be.
In the face of a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, Lorillard, makers of industry-leading Newport, has framed the debate as nothing less than a civil rights issue. One Lorillard promotional ad depicts an African American woman accompanied by the headline “Freedom of Choice for Grown Folks.” The ad notes that “the history of African Americans in this country has been one of fighting against paternalistic limitations and for freedoms” and that adults should have the freedom to choose to smoke menthol cigarettes.
Some black leaders have taken up the mentholated banner. Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, publicly opposed a ban on menthol cigarettes, arguing that it unfairly targeted African Americans. Leaders of two African American police organizations published op-ed pieces contending that a menthol ban would only lead to an illegal market—in effect arguing that eliminating one black market would create another.
In the end, the FDA panel decided not to recommend an outright ban on menthol, even though the panel admitted that it’s “biologically plausible” that adding menthol to cigarettes makes them more addictive. In fact, a 2010 meta-study by two researchers from Ohio State University concluded that while menthol cigarettes aren’t more harmful than regular smokes, the menthol flavoring often makes it harder for smokers to quit. The researchers found lower quit rates and higher relapse rates among menthol cigarette smokers compared to smokers of non-flavored cigarettes.
But for now, lovers of menthol cigarettes can breathe easier—assuming their lungs still function. Menthol cigarettes are likely to be around for the foreseeable future, easily outliving the folks who enjoy them.

Smokeless-tobacco ban for MLB teams

Televisions on Thursday will broadcast the usual iconic images of baseball’s opening day: fans cheering from the stands, umpires Major League Baseballmaking close calls at the plate, and players in the thick of the game, spitting tobacco juice.
With smokeless tobacco use spiking among high school boys – a reported 36% increase since 2003 – public health officials are targeting their role models to set a healthy example, and calling for a ban on tobacco at major league ballparks.
Tobacco use was banned in baseball’s minor leagues in 1993. But a ban in the major leagues would have to be negotiated with the players union during collective bargaining – something Commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday he intends to pursue as talks get under way for a new contract, effective in 2012.
Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who occasionally chews tobacco during games, said he understands the reasoning behind a tobacco ban, but isn’t sure he wants to give up the right to chew.
“I get it,” Fielder said. “I understand what they’re saying. You don’t want kids watching you and doing it. So, I really do get it. But that’s a tough one. I’m sure we’ll talk about it, but (banning tobacco) is a big move. In the off-season, I don’t do it. Just during the season. My kids have never asked me about it. It’s not that it’s not important, but I just don’t know about (banning it).”
Use frowned upon
Major League Baseball discourages the use of tobacco. Clubs provide alternatives such as chewing gum and sunflower seeds, prohibit tobacco companies from providing free tobacco products to players in the clubhouse, and prohibit clubhouse employees from purchasing tobacco on behalf of players. The league also established the National Spit Tobacco Education Program in 1994 to try to curb player use.
Players say they take the health risks seriously. And the players union says it has worked to educate players about the risks of tobacco use, including oral cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, heart disease and gum disease.
But it appears unlikely the players union will agree to a ban.
“I think that would be difficult,” said veteran Milwaukee Brewer Craig Counsell, a member of the players union executive council who chews tobacco on occasion. “We’ve always championed the fact that we’re adults who can make their own choices.”
Top public health officials in 15 Major League Baseball cities – including Milwaukee – earlier this week joined the call to ban tobacco from baseball. In a letter to Selig and Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the health officials wrote, “we know that baseball is important to civic life and that ballplayers are local heroes. They should provide positive role models and not associate themselves with a product that causes disease and death.”
The letter from city health officials followed a call in November by the chief executives of 10 major medical and public health groups, who wrote a letter to Selig and Weiner, seeking to ban use of all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, by players, coaches, managers and other team personnel at all major league ballparks.
“I am personally committed to the fight against smokeless tobacco in baseball,” Selig said Wednesday. “I am proud of our longtime ban on smokeless tobacco in the minor leagues.”
Kids are watching

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a nonprofit advocacy group, contends that too many kids pick up the cancer-causing habit from watching their idols chew and spit. “Baseball players are heroes to kids,” said spokesman Dan Cronin. “I learned how to kick dirt from Billy Martin.”
A spokesman for the players union declined to comment on whether baseball players should be expected to serve as role models of good health.
“We most certainly take the issue seriously and agree there are serious health risks involved with tobacco,” said spokesman Greg Bouris. “That’s why we do what we can to educate players.”
Tobacco use among baseball players has declined significantly over the last 20 years, according to Dan Halem, senior vice president and general counsel for Major League Baseball.
The hope in prohibiting tobacco in the minor leagues “is that players won’t use it anymore,” he said. “The tobacco cessation programs we run definitely are utilized.”
The NCAA and National Hockey League prohibit tobacco use.
By Karen Herzog and Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel

What is holding Up Passage of the Tobacco Control Bill?

The number of tobacco users in Ghana increases by the day, despite the health implications associated with it. Compared to the tobacco plantwestern countries, where most people smoke tobacco due to the excessive cold weather, smokers in Ghana have other reasons for smoking – either for pleasure or to get rid of an excessive nasty smell – which they later get addicted to.
The number of tobacco smokers in Ghana, definitely, cannot be compared to smokers in the west, however, the adverse effects of smoking, unfortunately, does not affect users only, but people who find themselves present during the moment of smokers’ activity.
This, in the long run, increases drastically, the number of people in danger of tobacco-related diseases.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), passive or non-smokers are at a greater risk of getting lung cancer, coronary heart diseases, and even cardiac death.
Over 600 studies undertaken by experts link passive smoking to ill health, and conclude that passive smoking, or the inhalation of tobacco smoke by non smokers, increases the risk of lung cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory disease.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates also show that 200,000 workers die as a result of exposure to passive smoking in the workplace.
According to WHO, at least one person dies every eight seconds due to tobacco-related diseases. About 13,400 people die each day, and 560 people die each hour globally.
By the year 2030, tobacco is expected to be the leading cause of death in the whole world. According to the World Health Organisation, smoking is a greater cause of death and disability than any single disease, as it is responsible for approximately five million deaths worldwide, every year. Tobacco smoking is a known, or probable cause, of approximately 25 diseases.
The danger tobacco users are putting on non-tobacco users, makes it evident that the probability of the nation losing its labour force and future leaders in the future is high. On the other hand, if the government will think it through, and concentrate on passing the Tobacco Control Bill into a law, then the citizen’s fate of getting tobacco-related diseases would be minimised.
Provision of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) makes it mandatory for all signatory countries to formulate legislations that will protect the citizenry from the numerous health hazards associated with tobacco use. Ghana was the 39th country in the world to sign the convention, and the first country in West Africa sub-region to ratify it in 2004.
Despite this, all attempts since then to enact a law to regulate tobacco use in the country, has witnessed several challenges, causing many to doubt the government’s commitment to achieving the set the goals spelt out in the convention.
According to the First Vice Chairman of the Media Alliance in Tobacco Control (MATCO), Jorge Wilson Kingson, by signing on to the Framework Convention On Tobacco Control (FCTC), Ghana had committed itself to, among others, “adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administration, and other measures, and cooperate, as appropriate, with other parties in developing appropriate policies for preventing and reducing tobacco consumption, nicotine addiction, and exposure to smoke.”
In doing so, the country would be achieving the overall objective of the convention, which is “to protect the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environment, and economic consequences of tobacco consumption, and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Why the dalliance
Mr. Kingson noted that in the effort at meeting this demand, the National Tobacco Steering Committee (NTSC) started formulating a National Tobacco Bill in 2005 for the attention of the government.
It is almost six years now since the drafting of the bill was concluded, but, clearly, there is little indication that the bill is yet to get to Parliament for consideration.
He made it clear that a number of reasons had been deduced as the cause of the delay in the passage of the bill.
Among them, is the low level of awareness among stakeholders about tobacco control and FCTC issues, and the in adequate involvement of media, key law makers and public opinion to support the bill.
More importantly, is also the interference of the tobacco industry control policy issues in the country.
Then also, the issue of whether the bill should form part of the general public health bill or be made to stand alone. The public health bill is a consolidation of all existing legislations on the various issues concerning public health.
It includes existing legislation on mosquito control, quarantine, infectious diseases, vaccinations, and food and drugs law.
The rest in the public nuisance bill are the tobacco control bill, the patient’s charter, international health regulations, and ethics in health, among others, he added.
What is the
government doing?
The First Vice Chairman said the general consensus, as gathered from a cabinet source, is that it is okay to make the tobacco control bill a public health issue, thus the public health bill, when it finally comes to Parliament, will include the tobacco control bill. This, in effect, means Cabinet has given approval to the content of the Tobacco Bill.
He indicated that there were uncertainties as to when exactly the government intends to move beyond rhetoric and put its words into action, by forwarding the bill to parliament. The issue is more confusing, now that stakeholders are complaining of having lost track of the exact location of the bill.
Later last year, the out-gone Minister of Health, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, released a statement to the effect that the sector ministry has forwarded the draft document to Cabinet for attention.
A later communication said the bill was with the Attorney General’s Department for fine-tuning and final inputs. Recently, it was learnt that the bill has gotten to Parliament awaiting passage. Checks for the bill in Parliament have however proved futile.
This is what is creating panic among stakeholders in the industry, who fear inconsistencies in the bill at this particular period, could cause further delay in its passage, which may not be in the best interest of the country’s international image.
At a recent meeting in Accra to re-strategise on the way forward in the fight for the passage of a tobacco control bill for Ghana, members of civil society groups, including Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), Coalition Of Non- Governmental Organisations In Tobacco Control (CNTC), Media Alliance in Tobacco Control (MATCO) and the Community Health Support Team (CHEST) among others, expressed deep worry about the latest developments regarding the Tobacco Control Bill,” he added.
According to him, the Ministry Of Health had issued a directive to compel all existing and prospective importers of tobacco products to have their products registered with the Food and Drugs Board (FDB).
The directive, which is in line with the FCTC, is accordingly being observed. To have ratified the FCTC, and gone ahead to prepare a draft bill for the consideration of Cabinet and Parliament, is also no mean achievement.
Mr. Kingson said until recently, health warnings on tobacco packages in Ghana covered only five percent of the packaging. The Food and Drugs Board, the agency currently responsible for regulating tobacco use in Ghana, has since come out with rotational messages covering 50% of the front and back panels of the principal display surface, and a Ministry of Health (MoH) warning at the point of sale covering its specifications.
Tobacco use in Ghana
“Despite the present taxes on tobacco products, cigarettes sold in Ghana are still cheap, affordable, and easily accessible. The government is being urged to further increase taxes on tobacco products to make them expensive, and raise the revenue to finance health-related ailments as a result of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, in accordance with the FCTC.
Ghana’s population is expected to benefit massively and rapidly from the effective implementation of the tobacco directives, and the FCTC and Tobacco Control Bill when passed into law. Structures have been established within the public and private sectors for the implementation of the FCTC, and all legislation emanating from it.
“The FCTC Article 5.2b mandates the government to enact legislations to protect the citizens from the deadly products of the tobacco industry. While Ghana’s bill is pending, or basically missing, the government of Niger has effectively passed legislation on tobacco control.
There is currently a ban on public smoking in Abuja, Nigeria, and the Nigerian Tobacco Bill is at the second stage of reading in Parliament. The governments of Kenya and Mauritius, which have all signed the convention, have passed legislations on tobacco control,” the Vice Chairman noted.
“The swift passage of the Tobacco Control Bill into law will protect present and future generations from lungs, oral, and throat cancer, heart diseases, heart attack, infertility, miscarriage, drugs addiction and poverty.
But the picture is not entirely gloomy, as there has been some success chalked in the various national attempts at controlling tobacco use in the country.
The recently launched Civil Society Shadow Report on Ghana’s implementation of the framework convention on tobacco control highlights some of the successes achieved so far.
“The Shadow Report recommends that government swiftly pass the tobacco control bill into law, with strong provisions, and in full compliance with the FCTC.
“The government must pass the tobacco control bill into law with strong provisions on labeling the tobacco products, and to ensure the enforcement of the pictorial health warning covering 80% of the main surface of the tobacco pack. The FDB must comprehensively enforce the MoH’s tobacco control directives, by introducing pictorial health warnings on tobacco products,” he stressed.
By Helena Selby, Ghanaian-chronicle

Australian Government is Investing its Money in Tobacco Companies

Australia that is known for its plan to implement one of the severe anti-smoking law in the world, invested $147.7 million in shares of australian dollartobacco manufacturers, as for instance British American Tobacco (BAT) in order to pay for the politicians’ retirement.
The government’s Future Fund implemented in 2006 and aimed at covering pensions of retired politicians, lawmakers and government officials held stock of shares in 14 tobacco enterprises as of December 31, 2010.
The stockholdings in producers of tobacco and cigarette companies were acquired by Bloomberg News through an Australian Freedom of Information Act request.
Australia increased tobacco taxes by 25% last year and states it will become the first state to prohibit brand names on cigarette packaging in order to make smokers quit their habit. “It seems absurd that the government is investing its money in enterprises that do not have any prosperous future, and I think that this should be prevented. It does not have any sense when the government has started the toughest anti- smoking policy in the world,” Steve Hambleton, vice president of the Australian Medical Association declared. The Future Fund’s assets as of the end of 2010 constitute $46.4 million invested in London-based British American Tobacco, $36.5 million in New York-based Philip Morris International and $26.1 million in Lorillard.
The Future Fund investments in tobacco manufacturers constitute 0.5 % of its assets in equities. “The given Fund board’s warrant doesn’t direct it in relation to investing in special industries, but indeed establishes an evident financial profit aim,” the Melbourne-based fund declared in an interview.
This board has made clear that is going to consider investment in a large number of activities and companies, declaring that those activities are legal in Australia. The fund was launched as a legitimate authority under the Future Fund Act of 2006.
Legislation that requires plain packaging and would also ban the use of company logos, any imagery or promotional text will be adopted this year. Australia already prohibits placing displays of tobacco product in shops and all cigarette packages have graphic images of smoking related illnesses.
Last year the government raised the tobacco excise by 25% that lead to an increase in the cost of a packet of 30 cigarettes by approximately $2.20 to about $17.70. One cigarette packet currently costs even more than $20 depending on where they are purchased. Small stores and gas stations sell cigarettes on excessive prices.
The Future Fund also invests in Imperial Tobacco Group, which recently declared that it may take a lawsuit action against the government plans. “Plain packaging influences our business and makes difficult for a consumer to identify our brand,” representative of a company declared in an interview. BAT and Philip Morris are also against this move.

Babies Who Sleep With Smoker Parents Exhibit High Nicotine Levels

“Passive smoking is the leading preventable cause of childhood death in developed countries”, Guadalupe Ortega, lead author of the research study and coordinator of the Atencio Primaria Sense Fum programme at the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Cataluna (Catalonia regional government) tells SINC.
The data show that babies who sleep in the same room as their parents exhibit nicotine levels three times higher than those that sleep in another room. These figures show that they suffer from what is known as “third-hand smoke”, in other words the harmful smoke particles that impregnate their parents’ skin, clothes and hair.
Known as BIBE (Brief Intervention in Babies. Effectiveness) “the study highlights exposure to tobacco smoke among this very vulnerable age group in private spaces, where no specific programmes are yet in place”, says Ortega.
The study, published in BMC Public Health, the results of which are currently being studied, involved the participation of 96 primary healthcare centres in Catalonia. The experts interviewed the parents of 1,123 babies (under 18 months of age), who had at least one smoking parent. They analysed hair samples from 252 babies in order to determine their nicotine levels, and carried out follow-up visits three and six months later.
The parents’ statements largely coincided with the results obtained from the hair analysis – 73% of the adults said they smoked or allowed smoking in their homes, while 83% of the hair analysed showed up high nicotine levels.
The myth of ventilation
The hair nicotine analyses also showed that smoke toxins are not eliminated even if parents regularly carry out actions to protect their children’s health. This was the case with ventilating bedrooms after smoking, smoking at the window, or when the baby is not in the house or in a different room. “The only way of keeping the place smoke-free is to smoke outside the house”, the expert stresses.
The study also shows that parents’ influence varies according to their gender. As mothers generally spend most time with babies, it is they who expose their children to the greatest levels of tobacco smoke. They were also found to breast feed for less time than non-smoking mothers.
Anti-smoking law helps children
According to the study, children are most heavily exposed to smoke in private places, such as at home and in cars, as well as in bars and cafés, where smoking was allowed in 2009 (when the fieldwork was carried out).
“The tightening of the law to control smoking is important because of its indirect effect on raising awareness among the public at large”, the researcher explains. In her opinion, the application of this law has led to an increase in people requesting help to give up smoking.
The experts are now preparing a study to identify the factors that most strongly influence children’s exposure to smoke. This information will provide paediatricians with a scale to help them detect the risk of passive smoking in childhood.
Sources: Plataforma SINC, AlphaGalileo Foundation.

Illinois House votes to lift casino smoking ban

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House voted Tuesday to lift a smoking ban in all of the state’s casinos during a debate that pitted the tobacco in Casinohealth of bettors and casino workers against hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues.
The proposal, which passed 62-52 and now moves to the state Senate, represents a significant softening of the state’s 2008 anti-smoking law that banned tobacco use in virtually all indoor public areas.
“Ladies and gentleman, if we’re serious about our budget crisis in Illinois, let’s be real. This is not about the smoking issue. This is about the money,” said Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago), the bill’s House sponsor.
Burke said the smoking prohibition has cost the state $800 million in lost casino-tax revenues since the imposition of the ban and has caused East St. Louis, home of the Casino Queen, to lay off municipal workers.
Burke said getting rid of the ban in the state’s casinos would put Illinois’ gambling venues on par with casinos in neighboring states that allow bettors to smoke. Under his legislation, the ban would be re-imposed if any border states barred smoking in casinos.
But opponents argued that other states have added casinos, which partly accounts for Illinois’ sliding casino tax revenues, and that carving out an exemption for casinos will embolden other businesses, like racetracks, bars and restaurants, to seek furthern exemptions that would weaken the statewide smoking ban.
“It’s a slippery slope,” said Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), who was the chief House sponsor of the 2008 anti-smoking law.
Yarbrough said allowing smoking in casinos will put the health of casino workers at risk.
“Why are their lives any less important than people who work anywhere else?” she said. “I didn’t hear any debate about what kind of increased costs in terms of hospitals and health care costs as a result of going back to what we did before. I hear the argument on one side about this being about the money, but we’ll spend more if we allow this practice,” she said.
A report by the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability characterized the indoor smoking ban as “the biggest contributor” behind a 28-percent decline in casino revenues since January 2008.
That 2010 report also noted casino revenues for Chicago-area casinos dropped by nearly 33 percent since the smoking ban was implemented, while gambling receipts for four neighboring Indiana border casinos fell only .4 percent during that same period.
“We have to provide these legitimate business enterprises a competitive playing field,” Burke said.
After Tuesday’s vote, an American Lung Association official angrily accused Burke of having “blatantly lied” in presenting the bill to House colleagues when he said Indiana had passed an anti-smoking prohibition that exempted casinos. In fact, Indiana has not done so.
“Since when do we lie blatantly during House floor debate to pass a bill in Illinois?” said Kathy Drea, the American Lung Association’s vice president for advocacy.
Burke later said he did not deliberately attempt to mislead House colleagues and that he had been given erroneous information about Indiana from a representative of Illinois’ casino industry.
“I don’t think it was compelling enough to persuade the 62 who voted for this,” Burke said.
By BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau

KT&G rules slim cigarette market with best-selling Esse

What is the best-selling cigarette brand in the world? Most smokers would name one from multinational juggernauts Philip Morris, esse brandBritish-American Tobacco (BAT) or Japan Tobacco.
As far as super-slim cigarettes are concerned, however, Korea’s KT&G dominates with its Esse cigarettes brand, which has steadily remained in the lead.
The country’s largest tobacco manufacturer said Monday that it sold 42.2 billion cigarettes of Esse last year to chalk up a 44.5-percent growth from 2009 when 29.2 billion were sold.
In particular, the Seoul-headquartered outfit almost doubled its exports of Esse from 11.2 billion cigarettes in 2009 to 20.8 billion last year to top the podium in competition with Virginia Slims marketed by Philip Morris and Vogue by BAT.
In 2009, the latest data available, Esse racked up sales of 29.2 billion cigarettes compared to 17 billion for Virginia Slim and 11 billion for Vogue, according to London-based consultancy Euromonitor International.
“Since its inception in 1996, we have nurtured Esse as a global brand. It is currently available in around 40 states and regions including Russia and the Middle East,’’ said Huh Up, who is in charge of the firm’s global businesses.
“In particular, hot-cigs.biz/slims-cigarettes-brands in Iran, Uzbekistan and Indonesia. In Russia it accounts for more than 10 percent in the segment.’’
Huh added that the former state monopoly has tapped into the global markets throughout the past decade as the local market showed saturation.
In achieving its initiative to make Esse a global product, KT&G demonstrated its potential at various events.
Currently, it accounts for 85 percent of the domestic consumption of super-slim tobaccos.
When its sub brand Esse Soun debuted in 2006, it took just eight days to reach the benchmark of selling 10 million packs in the shortest period in the history of the company.
Esse also boasts of other sub brands such as the premium Esse Golden Leaf as well as Esse Edge which targets young smokers.
“On top of exporting Esse to other countries, we have established a set of factories abroad to generate products with local relevance,’’ Huh said.
“In addition to Esse, we are determined to foster a host of globally famous brands through vigorous efforts to become a genuine international player.’’
Indeed, KT&G channeled up to $100 million in order to set up production lines of the Esse products in the Kaluga region, approximately 150 kilometers of south of Moscow, last October.
The factories churn out 4.6 billion cigarettes per year targeting the smokers of the world’s second-largest market in terms of sales, trailing just China.
In addition, the company also operates cigarette factories in Turkey and Iran, both of which opened in early 2008 with a combined annual capacity of 5.6 billion cigarettes.
By Kim Tae-gyu, Koreatimes

Menthol Cigarette Ban May Aid Public Health

Removing menthol cigarettes from sale in the U.S. would benefit public health, members of an advisory panel said in a report that urged more studies.
A yearlong analysis shows the menthol flavor harms the public by luring more people to start smoking and making it harder to quit, outside Food and Drug Administration advisers said in a draft report that must be submitted to the agency by March 23. Lorillard Inc., maker of the top-selling menthol brand Newport, rose the most in more than two years after analysts predicted that regulators will ultimately reject a ban.
The FDA advisers’ non-binding report is required by a 2009 law that restricts tobacco marketing and bars cigarette makers from adding flavors such as clove or strawberry. An FDA conclusion that menthol cigarettes are more dangerous than unflavored versions may lead to a ban.
While panelists favored a ban, the report “doesn’t paint the FDA into a corner,” Patrick Hughes, an analyst with Height Analytics in Washington, said today in an interview. “It has certainly laid out an array of issues for FDA to address before they’re in any position to advance a rulemaking,” he said.
Analysts at UBS AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. urged investors to buy Lorillard shares, saying the committee’s report probably won’t persuade the FDA to pull menthol cigarettes off the market.

‘Legal Challenges’

The recommendations are based on scant scientific evidence and the agency “may not want to face any serious legal challenges,” Judy Hong, an analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York, said today in a research note.
Menthol products account for about 30 percent of the $85 billion in annual U.S. cigarette sales. Newport generates $5 billion a year in revenue for Greensboro, North Carolina-based Lorillard, followed by Marlboro Menthol from Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA unit and Reynolds American Inc.’s Camel Menthol, Kool and Salem, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lorillard, Reynolds and Altria are the three biggest U.S. tobacco companies.
Lorillard rose $8.33, or 11 percent, to $87.11 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, its biggest single-day gain since Oct. 28, 2008. Reynolds, based in Winston- Salem, North Carolina, gained 62 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $33.47, while Richmond, Virginia-based Altria advanced 36 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $24.80.
‘Exhaustive Review’
Panelists held their final meeting on the menthol report today and said substantive changes are unlikely. Five public- health groups supported the findings, saying the recommendations are based on an “exhaustive review” of the scientific evidence.
“The committee’s conclusions leave no doubt that menthol cigarettes have had a profound adverse impact on public health in the United States, resulting in more smoking and more death and disease from tobacco use,” the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Action Network, The American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said today in a joint statement.
While a draft chapter released Feb. 28 found that menthol smokers don’t face more risks of tobacco-related disease than people who use regular cigarettes, the panel said disease risks aren’t the only indicator of menthol cigarettes’ effect on public health.
‘Adverse Impact’
“The availability of menthol cigarettes has an adverse impact on public health by increasing the number of smokers with resulting premature death and avoidable mortalities,” advisory panel member Mark Clanton, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said at today’s meeting. Clanton was lead author of the chapter assessing the public-health effects of menthol.
The panel urged more FDA studies on whether certain concentrations of the additive make cigarettes more addictive, and whether banning sales would increase demand on the illegal market.
“Depending on what directions or actions the FDA may choose to take, then they would need to consider the potential for contraband under those scenarios,” Jonathan Samet, the committee’s chairman and a professor at the University of California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, told reporters after the meeting. “There may be strategies other than a full removal” of menthol from the market.
Panelists don’t plan to change the report other than correcting “typos and other editorial problems” before submitting it to the agency, Samet said.
‘Unsubstantiated Conclusion’
Lorillard disagreed with the panel’s “unsubstantiated conclusion” that removing menthol cigarettes would benefit public health.
The report “is just the first step in what we believe will be a very long process that ultimately does not result in the removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace, especially when contraband and other unintended consequences are seriously considered,” Chief Executive Officer Murray Kessler said today in a statement.
“Any final decision by the agency should be based on sound science,” Jeffery Gentry, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Reynolds, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to provide information and our perspectives on this issue to the agency as it undertakes this process.”
The FDA will issue an initial report on its review of the advisory panel’s findings in about 90 days, said Lawrence Deyton, director of the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products. The agency doesn’t have a timeline for deciding whether to restrict menthol sales, he said.
The advisory committee’s report “does not set FDA policy, does not set FDA actions, and FDA’s receipt of the final report will not have a direct and immediate effect on availability of menthol products,” Deyton said at today’s meeting.
Tax Implications
Tax implications are among the reasons the FDA probably will decide against a ban on menthol, UBS analyst Nik Modi said today in a note. Removal of menthol from the market would reduce U.S. cigarette tax revenue by $5 billion a year while costing states $8 billion in annual tax revenue and $3 billion in yearly tobacco settlement payments, Modi said.
The FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee reviewed decades of published studies and FDA research, along with marketing data submitted by Altria, Reynolds American and Lorillard.
Lorillard and Reynolds have sued the FDA to block the agency from “receiving or relying on” the advisory panel’s recommendations. Three of the eight panel members have conflicts of interest, according to the complaint filed Feb. 25 in federal court in Washington.
The three panelists have served as paid witnesses in lawsuits against the tobacco industry and take money from drug companies that make smoking-cessation aids, Lorillard and Reynolds said in the complaint. Altria isn’t part of the suit.
By Matt Barry, Bloomberg

British American Tobacco Cut From U.S. Racketeering Case

British American Tobacco Plc, Europe’s largest cigarette maker, was dropped from the U.S. government’s racketeering lawsuit after aBAT judge in Washington ruled the U.S. no longer has the authority to hold the U.K. company liable for hiding the health hazards of smoking.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler today said a 2010 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a securities case restricts the U.S. from seeking liability from “what is essentially foreign activity.”
“There is no evidence that Congress intended to criminalize foreign racketeering activities under RICO,” Kessler wrote.
In 2006, Kessler found that the British American Tobacco (Investments) Ltd. unit of British American Tobacco and other cigarette companies violated anti-racketeering laws by conspiring to hide the dangers of cigarettes. Kessler ordered the companies to stop marketing cigarettes as “light” and “low-tar” and to make statements about the health effects of smoking in newspapers and magazines and on cigarette packages.
The Justice Department, in court papers, argued British American Tobacco’s liability can be premised on its conduct in the U.S., including the company’s involvement with an experimental farm in North Carolina.
“The problem with the Government’s argument is that BATCo’s domestic conduct was not the basis for its RICO liability in this case,” Kessler said.
Contribute Payments
Kessler said in her ruling today that British American Tobacco must still contribute payments to cover the government’s legal costs.
Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment.
An e-mail message and telephone message left with British American Tobacco’s London press office after normal business hours weren’t immediately returned.
Earlier this month, British American Tobacco, along with Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA unit, Reynolds American Inc.’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Inc.’s Lorillard Tobacco, asked Kessler to dismiss the 1999 racketeering case, saying court oversight of the industry is no longer needed.
The companies said a 2009 law, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, empowered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to watch over the industry and establish restrictions on the sale, promotion and distribution of tobacco products.
Kessler hasn’t ruled on that motion.
The case is U.S. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., 99-cv-02496, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
By Tom Schoenberg: tschoenberg@bloomberg.net

British American Tobacco Criticizes 'silly' tobacco legislation

British American Tobacco South Africa has named several articles of the local department of public health’ introduced amendments to the lawBAT covering sales of tobacco products as “silly”.
“We don’t understand the objective of the measure. The government has introduced the amendments in the legislation in order to restrict the independence and the rights of the sellers communicate with consumers at the points of sale, said Jerry Gilbert, regulation manage at British American Tobacco.
“Small sellers would be prohibited from selling tobacco products within one meter from any place that could be appealing to adolescents. The reason for that is that children could be attracted into buying tobacco after seeing it,” Gilbert added.
The tobacco industry is one of the most strictly-regulated industries in South Africa and the tobacco companies are banned from advertising their products, although alcohol brands are advertised and sold without any restrictions.
Several months ago, Beke Cele, SA police commissioner declared he was in favor of increasing the legal age for consuming and buying alcohol from 18 to 21 years.
Unfair legislation
British American Tobacco is the second largest cigarette-maker in the world producing such brands as cigs4us.biz/pall-mall-cigarette, cigs4us.biz/lucky-strike-cigarette, cigs4us.biz/kent-cigarette, Dunhill and others.
“Alcohol companies usually claim their glamorous and appealing adverts do not impact on alcohol consumption rates. Well, I think this is a lie. Alcohol ads are so catchy and seem to be sexy and appealing,” Zodwa Ntuli, vice-chairman of the department of trade and industry said, adding that the legislation should be equal to tobacco and alcohol industries.
BAT manager admitted that smoking rates in the developing countries have been growing; however, they have seen a significant drop in the cigarette consumption in South Africa, yet, the stringent laws were not the reason for that, as sales of contraband tobacco have been increasing.
“It is evident that such measures are not effective. Similar laws were implemented in Canada and Ireland, and the volumes of legal sales have fallen sharply, with illegal market seeing a huge growth. Currently each third cigarette sold in Canada is illicit. The South African law will do nothing besides hurting 60,000 sellers and traders”
“We believe the amended legislation is not fair due to the definition of what venues could be included,” stated Mkhululi Nonjola, chairman of Asiye Etafuleni, an advocacy group dealing with development and working with traders.
He added they had introduced proposals to the department of public health but received no response. Nonjola said that while it is vital to restrict cigarette appeal to adolescents, there have been other more effective ways to do that.
British American Tobacco admitted the company has tried to work with the health department.
‘Silly law’
“We have sent our proposals to the health department, but they have not responded. We ttried to warn them about the unintended consequences of the legislation,” said Jerry Gilbert,
He also emphasized that British American Tobacco has not been opposing the tobacco legislation, but it had to react, as “bad measures will not be good just because they are implemented in tobacco industry.”