Lifeline for tobacco farmers

The down and out of tobacco farmers of Krishna district are likely to sell their licenses and switch to other crops in the coming season after the recent decision of the Board of Tobacco to allow the transfer of the license barn farmers in other regions of the country, Karnataka on.

Hardly a year goes by when Krishna farmers must struggle to sell their shares mainly because traders tend to offer low prices referring to the poor quality of the crop. As a result, farmers may sell their shares and they do not give up tobacco farming. And it is due to the presence of pits.

Indeed, Krishna farmers require Tobacco Board compensation for the dismantling of their barns, they can move on to other cultures. After hectic lobbying, tobacco Council gave the green light to transfer the license to shed other regions in a recent meeting of the governing body.

Council’s decision to permit the movement of tobacco barns revived hopes of farmers from the areas and Kesara Kanchikacherla in Krishna district, Tullur in Guntur district and Bhadrachalam in Khammam who also would like to quit tobacco products in accordance with their mounting losses.

It is learnt that cash rich farmers of West Godavari district as well as those from Karnataka are rushing to Krishna district to grab the licenses from local cultivators.

According to initial inputs, nearly 1,800 barns in Kesara, Kanchikacherla, Tullur and Bhadrachalam would be cleared for transfer to other regions.

While the farmers in these areas are desperate to get rid of their tobacco licenses, those in Northern light soils (NLS) region Devarapalli, Koyyalagudem, Gopalapuram, Jangareddigudem in West Godavari seek to increase production, as there is a great demand for their shares in the international market .

In the absence of science policy, farmers in the region will be recognized NLS producing huge reserves without permission they nonetheless unload after paying a fine to the board. After careful study of the whole question, tobacco Chairman G Kamalavardhan Rao urged the council to shift unwanted barns in areas where there is demand for them.

Farmers from NLS belts are now trying to get the barns in Krishna, a move that would allow them to be performed by a stock in the future. Sources said that the farmers of West Godavari offer up to Rs 05.06 crore for the transmission license.

Apart from the cost to have the license transferred to the farmer will also have to pay for the construction of the shed, which can add another Rs 1.5 crore to its expenses. “With a license to put an end to year’s headache pay fines, NLS farmers are willing to pay huge sums for its transmission.

This will help us in a big way to clear our debts and go to other cultures, “said Purnachandra Rao, tobacco farmer Kanchikacherla.

Overall, there are about 42,000 authorized barns in the state and another 21,000 barns in Karnataka. Interestingly, the farmers from Karnakata, is believed to have built about 20,000 barns without permission and refused to remove them, despite warnings from the field. On the other hand, the board officials also failed to act tough against such unauthorized pits due to pressure from the public. Meanwhile, farmers of Krishna district are in no hurry to sell their barns in the hope of getting more awards waiting for some time. They hope to get around Rs.8-10 lakh for the barn, if farmers of Karnataka are also line up for the licenses.

Tobacco industry should not use farmers to fight Baryomunsi bill

The tobacco industry is using farmers as an excuse to oppose tobacco control legislation.

The bill does not prohibit the growing of tobacco; it is aimed at pressing the government to provide alternative crops to tobacco, because tobacco growing is not only time consuming, resulting in child labor, underpaid farmers and their crops.

In most parts of Uganda, especially in the West, tobacco farmers took to the cultivation of rice. The tobacco industry should not be argued that the bill, if adopted, would hurt farmers economically. The bill aims to regulate the sale, supply, use, taxation, advertising and promotion of tobacco and tobacco products.

Among other things, it also aims to verify the interference of the tobacco industry, providing a smoke-free environment and leadership in the field of environmental protection, provide advice on tobacco packaging and labeling.

 Recognise Benedicto Kiwanuka contribution

Many former leaders of Uganda, living and dead, were awarded medals of the independence of the various categories of President Yoweri Museveni last year for their sacrifices to help Uganda achieve its independence. Among the awardees included Dr. Milton Obote, the second Prime Minister of Uganda, and Benedict Kiwanuka, who was the first prime minister, was not recognized.

In addition, the first Prime Minister, Kiwanuka was the leader of the Democratic Party and one of the first people who brought the country to the transition between the British rule and independence. He was killed by the regime of Idi Amin in 1972 for practicing truth and justice. He was a true patriot who always believed in the Constitution.

In March 1961 the Democratic Party won the most votes and Kiwanuka became chief minister in Uganda Legislative Council and as a consequence, the Uganda Constitutional Conference was held in London, which led to the Uganda government, and Benedict Kiwanuka his first prime minister in the new national assembly.

So, what would be observed marking 50 years of independence, Uganda was the result of the efforts of Benedict Kiwanuka. I urge the government of Uganda to return to this issue and recognize Benedict Kiwanuka, not only as a hero, but as the father of the nation.

Burundi’s Prince Rwagasore deserves better recognition

Daily Nation Correspondent Charles Omondi, in his part of Rwanda and Burundi, the first relates to the independence of Burundi, the prime minister, as Louis Gwagasora. The correct name is Prince Louis Rwagasore. This Rwagasore is “unknown” in East Africa says Africans and our history.

We have the right to quote and read the issues that are related to Bismarck, de Gaulle, Hitler, etc., but we do not see our heroes. The last book of Belgian writer focusing on the murder Rwagasore describes him as “Burundais Lumumba.”

I listened to clips Prince Rwagasore voice on the BBC, referring to his countrymen soon after his election, and with the little I’ve read and heard about him and Patrice Lumumba, I believe, two nationalists could not survive the day politics of the region. Will our region geopolitics was different there were two live?

This is a puzzling question that Charles Onyango Obbo delivered after the death of Dr. John Garang, and the fact that Ugandans have been thinking about Benedict Kiwanuka. Do these people are dying too early? Otherwise, Omondi does a good job telling us that the leadership and the general national spirit may mean in the life of the country.

ATAAS can increase our agriculture

The press recently reported Shs 1. 6 trillion agricultural projects, agricultural machinery and agricultural advisory services (ATAAS), which will run for five years. The agricultural sector employs 75 percent of Uganda’s labor force, but it contributes only 20 per cent of GDP.

With ATAAS in place, I believe that the sector will be increased further, leading to increased food security and export earnings. ATAAS will definitely help in creating new jobs, especially in the agricultural sector. I appeal to the offices, who will be responsible for the funds ATAAS work hard to ensure this project is successful, since agriculture is the backbone of our economy.

DRC must sort out their mess.

Having failed in an attempt to sort out their mess for 50 years, the Congolese government of Uganda is now trying to drag it. According to some reports, DRC President Joseph Kabila of Congo accuses Uganda of support M23 rebels who are fighting their government in the eastern Kivu.

This is an old problem can be handled Congolese peace, but the warring parties have rejected each other’s terms and conditions adopted by the war. Allegations that President DRC Ugandan troops were seen in the Congo are false and are not accompanied by evidence. President Kabila has to solve its problems, not blaming anyone to attract sympathy.

On the other hand, Uganda is doing everything possible to prevent the escalation of the crisis, with President Museveni, as chairman of the ICGLR, holding a summit in Kampala this month. Uganda has made it clear that he is not interested in war, but trying to help, partly because we have sustained influx of Congolese refugees into the country.

Manage people

I believe that the current problems of the rapid population growth in Uganda can be solved by extending known population of the less populated areas. The government could focus on ensuring the quality of infrastructure, services and employment opportunities in these areas to attract people.

In addition, rural-urban migration can be checked, if well-paid jobs used in the villages, providing easy access to basic amenities like safe drinking water, electricity, schools, and all weather roads connecting to the medical institutions.

Lead by example

I ask the leaders of Uganda recognize that our integrity as a people descended too low, with high levels of corruption, poor accountability for public funds, lack of medicines in public hospitals, crime, and general loss of respect for each other as human beings.

Thirty years after the NRM came to power, it can not be right that while the level of inequality worsened in our society, coupled with the phenomenal consumption and materialism of the existing side by side with high unemployment rates, we continue to allow state employees and officers to do business with the employer.

It is our individual and collective silence in the face of gross violations of the force that makes a great noise. It is important that government leaders, religious leaders, civil society, etc., to stand up and educate people about morals and principles of law and promoting good values. However, if leaders do not practice what they preach, all this is doomed to failure.


The proposed roil cigar industry

 Moreno said that the tobacco industry gets an unfair taxation and regulation. He is particularly concerned about what will happen to his business as the Food and Drug Administration believes additional rules on the cigar industry.

“We don’t need more regulation. Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. It is on TV 24 hours a day.” Food and Drug Administration, which had been given the authority to regulate tobacco in 2009, family smoking prevention and tobacco control law, can rule this summer on additional restrictions on the cigar.  The Agency may impose restrictions on advertising of cigars and retail. This may require more prominent health warnings. This may dictate the size and shape of cigars that were sold. Regulators can go on and emulate Canada, cigar store where customers can not enter into the humidor. They choose from a list of cigars, which then led to them.

“You take a national treasure, if you limit us.”  Moreno said he was particularly concerned about rules that would restrict the ability of customers to choose cigar humidor. “If we go to such extremes, the cigar industry will drop dramatically,” said Moreno. “People like to look and feel. Picture does not smell. It has no connection. “That’s why we’re still here when you choose you can feel the freshness of the cigar,” he said. U.S. sales last year exceeded 107 billion tobacco dollars, but only 7.8 billion dollars have been selling cigars, according to statistics from Euromonitor International. There are 13300000 cigar smokers in the United States, in accordance with national numbers.

Those in the cigar industry tend to change in the Congress for the protection of premium hand-rolled cigars from the FDA regulate the movement say will protect the 85,000 jobs at small businesses across the country. Resolutions and House of Representatives and the Senate remains in committee. In the House, the resolution presented by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, Republican representing the 15th District in Florida, has acquired more than 200 authors. In the Senate resolution, authored by Sen. Bill Nelson, has more than 10 authors. With regard to regulation, it is the greatest need to “put an end to the production and sale of products that have the greatest appeal to young people,” said Matt Myers, President Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. He singled out the big machine made cigars, cigar wrappers and a little tobacco, which are sold in stores at low prices and in a variety of flavors, like peach and strawberry.

“It’s very fragrant little cigars clearly disproportionate to address young people and has the potential to serve as a starter tobacco products,” Myers said. The new rules may affect smokers like Mike Orlando Lopez and his wife Crystal, all of which are relaxing with a cigar outside the King Corona cigar in Ybor on the last evening.

Mike Lopez said he did not have a problem with health warning labels on the cigar, if that’s what the Food and Drug Administration imposes. This, he said, would not change his custom to smoke a cigar once in two months. “It does not hurt to put a warning sign:” Mike Lopez said. “It’s actually not a limitation. This is a warning.” But he does not want the federal government to adopt rules for the future, he said.

“If you do not like it, you do not have to put the cigar in his mouth,” he said. “I feel like cigarettes are much worse.” Don Barco, who owns King Corona Cigars, said the industry is already doing a good job of regulating itself. He said his store employees “ID who looks younger than 30 years.”

Tobacco farmers need not fear

The letter’s author, “the WHO, tobacco farmers” (Jakarta Post, June 28) includes a lot of false information about the problem, which is misleading in the public. The entry should be set straight with facts.

Indonesia is not a party to the treaty of tobacco, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The Working Group was established in accordance with Articles 17 and 18 of the FCTC, and they consist of a cross-section of tobacco growing countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, the European Union and India,

 This working group has not yet called for a ban on tobacco and it is not aimed at forcing the farmers to do. The purpose of the report is to determine how farmers can receive assistance and to consider alternatives to tobacco, because they are already faced with numerous challenges that keep them in poverty, and must in many cases. Public Health is calling for a ban on tobacco growing, too. If the lie is repeated often enough, it has become a dangerous “truth” in the public consciousness.

There are approximately 65 million smokers in Indonesia who smoke 250 billion cigarettes a year. Currently, farmers can not grow enough tobacco to supply 65 million smokers. A large number of tobaccos leaf and thus imported. In addition, imports increased from 34,248 tones (17 per cent of total consumption) in 2000 to 65,685 tones (51 per cent of total consumption) in 2010. At the same time, tobacco production in Indonesia has decreased from 204,329 tons in 2000 to 135,678 in 2010. The increase in cigarette consumption should increase tobacco production, but in fact it is only an increase in tobacco imports.

The number of teenage smokers has increased by 19 percent, 200 percent more than in 1995 (7 percent our politicians need to do something, because more children in the age of 10 start smoking. All saw the image of a young boy online smoking and worrying, when there are no clear measures to protect our children. Education by itself is useless and ineffective, if tobacco advertising and sponsorship of sports and music is not forbidden. It is a pity that our young people can not enjoy music and sports tobacco-free, like the other kids around the world.

Many of the issues raised by the writer and the charges are identical to the myths perpetuated by the tobacco industry. Tobacco in Indonesia, in fact, some protected by the fact that each year 2 percent of the tobacco excise tax revenue goes directly to help the farmers in the form of excise tax distribution of income, which amounts to Rp 1.4 trillion (U.S. $ 149.8 million) a year.

Beware of tobacco industry interference

On May 31 people around the world celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). This year, WHO has chosen the “tobacco industry” as its theme to emphasize the need to remain vigilant for any attempts of the tobacco industry to undermine the control of production activities, which adversely affects the tobacco drive.

Below is just one example of hidden advertising: During the inauguration of the newly constructed section C at the School of Economics Diponegoro University in Semarang March 22, 2012, executives of the company, Michael Bambang Hartono, said the company spent Rp 13.4 billion (1.5 million U.S. dollars) to build and support facilities for the university. This advertising will “concern» Djarum and “commitment” to improve the quality of education in Indonesia.

Cigarette Company also planted trees on the campus of the University in a clear show of concern for the environment. In his speech of thanks, rector of the university, Sudharto P. Hadi said that “concern for the environment is providing a good education. When we succeed in providing both, a person’s life will be balanced.”

Thus, the dean of the school of the University of Economics, Muhammad Nasir presented Mikhail Dedication to education for the development of the award during the collection of high school graduates.

WNTD should focus on the need to identify and counteract harsh and more active efforts of the tobacco industry to deceive the public, especially young people, students, teachers, trainers and academic supremacy of the serious health risks of smoking. It is true that the contribution of Djarum and other tobacco giants are significant in terms of money value. But in proportion, it may be not so much.

According to Forbes magazine, Djarum tycoons R. Budi Hartono and Michael have accumulated $ 14 billion this year. Construction of the school of economics is only one ten thousandth of their wealth. This “advertising” does not need to display mandatory health warnings, but the company has earned the “Outstanding Academic Award” and has received wide public coverage (Jakarta Post, March 28).

It is now known that the tobacco epidemic kills 6 million people a year. If unabated, by 2030, tobacco-related diseases claim the lives of up to 8 million people, with more than 80 percent of low-and middle-income countries. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, in 2010 approximately $ 229,990,000 was spent on tobacco-related diseases.

Why are so many victims? The answer to this question is: “Because smokers are hooked.” Nicotine is highly addictive substance in tobacco Tobacco is very dangerous. Even the tobacco industry recognizes that, as shown in the warning about the dangers of tobacco smoking contained in advertisements. Because of the addiction to tobacco manufacturers are stronger and richer than ever. They have become a major source of government revenue and major sponsors social events, as well as suppliers of scholarships for students and prospective athletes.

The earlier teens start smoking, the harder it is for them to quit the habit. In 2001 young smokers aged 10-14 years is 9.5 percent of smokers. This number increased to 17.5 percent in 2010, which indicates the success of the industry to attract young people to smoke (Basic Health Survey 2010). In our interaction with the tobacco companies at any time we receive funds, donations, grants, sponsorships, etc., there are three points we should always remember and will have more to remember not to forget them.

First, the tobacco industry are cruel to produce and promote products that are lethal kills more than five million people each year, smokers and nonsmokers alike (WHO 2012). The dead to prove tobacco killed more people than “The Second World War, AIDS, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, car accidents, murders and suicides combined.” Second, the tobacco industry tricks for the creation and development of addictive products, which are fatal, and to bring toxic products contained in cigarettes. Last, the tobacco industry pretends that it is cool by the orientation of young people to replace older smokers when they leave.

As tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death, the World No Tobacco Day 2012, and over the next few years, WHO urges countries to put the fight against the tobacco industry based on their efforts to combat the global tobacco epidemic.

Tobacco getting started in Bluegrass

Tobacco is set around the state.

About 30 percent of the expected crop was planted, but we missed the important part: the rain.
“We need a good rain,” said Andy Bailey, a specialist in the expansion of the University of Kentucky, which focuses on dark tobacco, but also working with Burley, which is common in Central Kentucky.

U.S. Department of Agriculture expects that the national area of ​​tobacco to fall 2 percent on an annualized basis, up to 317,950 acres in 2012. In Kentucky, it is expected that by 4 percent, to 80,700 acres.

Bailey, who works at Princeton in Western Kentucky, said Central Kentucky, where Burley is dominant, is in “great shape, lots of water wise” than in the western part of the state, where the dark tobacco used in snuff and other products is increased.

“The state of the crop still looks good,” Bailey said, warning that irrigation may be required in June, and not typical of early July.

Bob Pierce, the expansion of the UK tobacco specialist in Lexington, said he was concerned about the transplanted tobacco.

“We had a difficult situation with greenhouses. When it was so warm in the early stages, many of our greenhouses simply became too hot, and we had many problems with the uneven growth of plants,” said Pierce.

He said farmers typically receive about 85 percent to 95 percent from the convenience of these plants, but they are probably running 75 percent to 85 percent this year.

“Usually, it’s not such a big deal, because if you come a little short, someone got a few” Pierce said. “But this year, it seems, everything is a little short.

“We have to see how it plays out.”

Kentucky tobacco harvest peaked in 1919 with 648,000 hectares of crops, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Tobacco growing districts to get Rs236m uplift fund

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will spend Rs236.5 million tobacco cess proceeds on development projects in seven tobacco growing districts of the province.

The decision to spend the cess funds on improving infrastructure facilities in the tobacco growing districts was made at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, says a handout on Wednesday.
It said that Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Buner, Nowshera, Malakand and Mansehra districts would get funds in accordance with a resource distribution formula developed last year.
These districts would get funds in accordance with their share in tobacco yield recorded last year.
The meeting reviewed the use of tobacco cess funds generated last year. According to the handout, the chief minister expressed satisfaction over the results of the last year`s tobacco cess-funded development schemes in the seven districts.
Provincial agriculture minister Arbab Ayub Jan and MPAs, including Pervez Khan, Sikandar Irfan, Ahmad Khan Bahader, Qaiser Wali Khan and Syed Rahim attended the meeting in addition to administrative secretaries of finance, planning and development, local government and excise departments.
The handout claimed that the incumbent provincial government had streamlined the use of tobacco cess on development schemes in the tobacco growing districts. It said that previously the funds used to be spent even in non-tobacco growing districts.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister claimed that the provincial government had ensured the funds use on the welfare and development of areas with tobacco yield.
Meanwhile, Mr Hoti expressed satisfaction over the pace of rehabilitation activities to resettle people affected by the last year`s floods.
He was briefed about the rehabilitation activities, reconstruction of infrastructure, funds availability and problems confronted in implementing the development works in the affected areas. The meeting reviewed details of development projects concerning health, education, communication, irrigation and drinking water.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister appreciated the work done for early rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure in the flood-affected parts of the province.

Rules on duty-free tobacco needed

The Legislative Assembly (AL) unanimously passed the new tobacco tax yesterday but several lawmakers urged the government to introduce stricter rules for duty-free cigarettes, similar to those enforced in Hong Kong.
Others said the MOP 6 tax increase is not enough and that Macau still lags behind other regions, while some lawmakers expressed concerns about the risk of tobacco smuggling.
The tobacco tax will increase by MOP 0.5 for each cigarette, in order to be in line with the ban on smoking in public places that comes into effect from January 1. Tobacco packs will increase by at least MOP 6.
In Macau the tobacco tax was last updated in 2009 and is currently at MOP 0.2 per cigarette or MOP 4 per 20-cigarette pack. As soon as the revision comes into effect, the tax will be MOP 10 per pack.
Currently, the average price of a cigarette pack is MOP 20 while in Hong Kong the price is MOP 50 after a 41.6 tax increase enforced in June this year.
The new tax was submitted to the AL in an urgent procedure and all lawmakers expressed their support of the government’s proposal. However they want more to be done in order to control smoking in Macau.
Smuggling fears
Directly-elected lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong warned the government that the “tobacco smuggling market doesn’t seem to be under control” and sellers are worried that it will affect their business. “Does the government have the capacity to fight smuggling?” the pan-democrat questioned.
He also stressed that not only are tobacco prices higher in Hong Kong but that it’s also forbidden to enter the neighbouring SAR with more than 19 cigarettes. In Macau people can enter with as many as 10 packs.
The goal set out by the World Health Organisation is that tobacco tax should be 70 percent or more of the retail cost of a packet of cigarettes. According to the bill approved yesterday, the local tobacco tax duty will only be 38 percent of the retail cost while in Hong Kong it is close to 70 percent.
Ho Ion Sang said that Macau is still far away from that goal. “The government needs to consult the governments of neighbouring regions because there is a large discrepancy in this area. What will the government do to control smuggling? Will the government limit the number of duty-free tobacco?” he asked.
Pan-democrat Paul Chan Wai Chi also warned that “smuggled or counterfeit tobacco affects residents”. He urged more work be undertaken by the Customs Service (SA).
Rule revision
Other AL members questioned whether the SA has the necessary human resources to increase control and inspections.
Most lawmakers urged the government to continue to raise the tax in order to reduce the number of smokers, mainly among the youth.
Chui Sai Cheong added that the anti-smoking act, to be enacted next month, should be revised after the three-year grace period for casinos and bars.
Ho Sio Kam, from the education sector, said that the tax is “not the only way” to prevent smoking. “Awareness and education are also important. Each person can carry 10 packs of duty-free tobacco to Macau. Can you limit that? Otherwise the tax cannot produce the desired effects,” she added.
Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen pledged to strengthen the awareness and punishment of smuggling, as well as to enhance the action of the SA.
“We will promote close contact and communication with mainland China and tackle the smuggling routes,” he pledged.
As for the change of duty-free rules, Tam agreed with lawmakers’ opinions but explained that it requires the revision of the law on foreign trade. He also promised to review the tax-duty in the future.
Yesterday lawmakers also passed the 2012 Government Budget.

2011 in Review: Local Tobacco Issues

NATO executive director looks at issues that have affected retailers at the local level this year.
In 2011, there has been an increase in local governments considering ordinances to further regulate tobacco products, restrict tobacco advertising and impose new local excise taxes on tobacco products. Aside from budget deficits prompting proposals to raise excise taxes, there are two main reasons why local governments have been pursuing more restrictive laws and higher taxes on tobacco products.
First, Section 916 of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the law enacted in 2009 that authorized the FDA to regulate cigarettes, roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco products) specifically states that local governments may “enact, adopt, promulgate, and enforce any law, rule, regulation, or other measure…prohibiting the sale, distribution, possession, exposure to, access to, advertising and promotion of, or use of tobacco products by individuals of any age….” While local governments have always had this implied authority to enact such restrictions, including outright prohibition, the FDA law essentially sanctioned the ability of cities and counties to consider and adopt such regulations and restrictions.
Second, the federal stimulus program passed by Congress and signed into law by President in 2009 included hundreds of millions of dollars in grant funds, being disbursed by such agencies as the Centers for Disease Control. The purpose of these federal grants to local governments is to support adoption of tobacco control measures, obesity awareness programs and other wellness efforts. That is, federal taxpayer dollars are being used by local governments to fund passage of ordinances to regulate and restrict legal tobacco products.
A summary of the major local issues that NATO has been involved in during 2011 are as follows:
Linn County, Iowa sought to adopt an ordinance to ban the sale of dissolvable products and prohibit “buy-one, get-one-free” promotions. The ordinance did not pass.
Worcester, Mass., became the first city to pass an ordinance banning all outdoor and in-store tobacco advertising. NATO, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Philip Morris USA and Lorillard Tobacco Company filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking to overturn the ordinance on First Amendment free speech grounds. A summary judgment motion hearing was held in federal district court on September 8th and a ruling from the judge should be issued soon.
The Philadelphia Board of Health is considering an ordinance to require that graphic image warning signs be placed at each register in retail stores that sell tobacco products. NATO has submitted legal comments to the Philadelphia Board of Health regarding how such a mandate violates constitutional First Amendment free speech protections. And NATO President Andy Kerstein, along with another retailer, testified against the ordinance. Just after a federal district court judge issued a temporary restraining order on November 7th against the FDA’s graphic image cigarette warnings, a copy of the judge’s ruling was sent to the Philadelphia Board of Health since the board is considering essentially the same kind of graphic image requirement. As this point, the Philadelphia Board of Health has not taken any action on the proposed sign ordinance.
The Danville, Va., city council considered adopting a local cigarette tax and tobacco product tax. NATO Board of Director Frank Armstrong and one of his store staff members testified against the proposed taxes. The cigarette and other tobacco product (OTP) taxes were not adopted.
The Boston Public Health Commission passed an ordinance on December 1st that bans single cigar sales, and also requires that cigars be sold in a manufacturer’s package of at least four cigars. The ordinance does allow a retailer to sell a single cigar that has a wholesale price of more than $2 or a retail price of more than $2.50. Also, the ordinance doubled the fines on retailers that violate the ordinance. NATO sent legal comments to Public Health Commission members, opposing the cigar sales restriction and objecting to the doubling of retail violation fines.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners in Illinois passed a budget on November 18th that included new taxes on cigarettes produced by retailers using roll-your-own (RYO) machines and on RYO tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars. The new taxes are as follows:
A tax of $.10 per cigarette on cigarettes produced by retailers operating roll-your-own machines.
Through December 31, 2012, the following taxes apply:
RYO and smokeless tobacco: $.30 per ounce of fraction thereof.

  • Little cigars: $.05 per unit or cigar.
  • Large cigars: $.25 per unit or cigar.

Effective January 1, 2013, the following taxes apply:
RYO and smokeless tobacco: $.60 per ounce of fraction thereof.

  • Little cigars: $.05 per unit or cigar.
  • Large cigars: $.30 per unit or cigar.

NATO opposed these new taxes with legal comments sent to the board of commissioners, activating not only NATO members, but also urging non-member retailers to contact their elected board members to oppose these new taxes.
By Thomas A

Tobacco Shops Under Fire For Offering Customers Automated Cigarette-Making Machines

The Big Cat’s Smoke Shop in Bristol opened seven weeks ago with two roll your own cigarette machines that allows their customers to purchase cigarette wrappers and tobacco and rent their machine to roll 200 cigarettes in 8 minutes at a cost of $39.99. The state is looking into making those machines illegal. Andre Sevigny, Plainville, is a regular customer and here dumps tobacco into the top of one of the machines. In the background is Sharon Catlin, of Berlin one of the partners in smoke shop.
At least four roll-your-own tobacco shops that offer premium cigarettes at half the price of a carton of brand-name cigarettes have opened around the state in the past year. Customers save money by rolling their own cigarettes on an automatic cigarette-rolling machine that produces 200 cigarettes in about eight minutes.
Typically, customers pay about $40 for 8 ounces of loose tobacco, 200 hollow cigarette tubes and the use of the machine. Employees tell customers how to operate the computerized rolling machines.
“We just talk the customers through the process,” said Michael Horak, general manager of the Tobacco Place in Wethersfield, which has two of the machines. Tobacco Place opened two weeks ago.
The machine, which costs about $40,000, automatically fills each tube with tobacco and then ejects the finished cigarette into a collection bin, an eight-minute process that produces the equivalent of a carton of cigarettes —10 packs of 20.
But state officials say operating the machines without a cigarette manufacturer’s license is illegal.
In August, Attorney General George Jepsen, on behalf of Kevin B. Sullivan, state commissioner of revenue services, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Hartford against Tracey’s Smoke Shop and Tobacco LLC for illegally manufacturing cigarettes at its two stores in Norwalk and Orange.
Tracey Scalzi, the stores’ owner, said she owns four of the machines at the two stores, which opened about a year ago.
The Department of Revenue Services claims the machines are commercial cigarette-making machines and retailers who operate them must obtain a cigarette-manufacturing license and pay the associated fees and tariffs, including Connecticut’s cigarette tax, which adds $3.40 to a pack of cigarettes.
“We don’t see ourselves as manufacturers; the customers make them themselves,” Horak said.
The attorney general’s office would not comment on the lawsuit because the matter is pending, awaiting the court’s decision.
If the court finds in the agency’s favor, those who continue to operate the machines could face potential arrest, hefty fines and loss of their existing tobacco sales licenses, DRS spokeswoman Sarah Kaufman said.
Despite the pending lawsuit, two tobacco shops that offer customers the use of the machines have opened in Bristol and Wethersfield.
Store owners say the machines are roll-your-own devices that only produce enough cigarettes for personal use.
“You can go next door to the gas station and buy tobacco. You can buy the [cigarette] tubes, and you can buy the roll-your-own machines — I sell a couple models here, a $49 machine and an $8 machine. The only difference is my machine is bigger,” said Michael Hatzisavvas, who opened Big Cat’s Smoke Shop in Bristol seven weeks ago.
“We don’t do the manufacturing. I don’t touch the machine,” Hatzisavvas said. Like the other stores, Big Cat’s four employees tell customers how to operate the machines.
Hatzisavvas, a former restaurant owner, said he’s aware of the lawsuit, but decided to open a store anyway.
“I am worried. It crosses my mind that they’ll shut me down. But how can they do this? I thought this was a state that liked small business,” Hatzisavvas said. “Why would they want to shut a business that’s providing work for local people?”
The machines, made by RYO Machine LLC, a Cincinnati company, began appearing making a few years ago. Bryan Haynes, an attorney representing the company, which was founded in 2008, said RYO’s machines are not in the same league as commercial cigarette-making equipment.
“The advanced machines used by companies like Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds will produce 20,000 cigarettes in a minute,” said Haynes, a partner at Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders LLP.
“We’re talking about horses and buggies vs. fighter jets.”