House committee rejects alternative to FDA tobacco bill

The House Energy and Commerce committee today rejected a Republican substitute to the FDA tobacco bill by a vote of 13 in favor and 34 opposed.
The Republican amendment was offered by Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana.
Buyer’s amendment would have created a new tobacco harm reduction center within the Department of Health and Human Services. The center would combine smoking cessation programs with industry strategies to reduce the harm from tobacco products, Republicans said.
Aides to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said he may introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has reintroduced a bill that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products. The House Commerce and Energy Committee is addressing the FDA tobacco bill today.
The main intent of the Youth Prevention and Tobacco Harm Reduction Act is:
* Establishing a Tobacco Harm Reduction Center within the U.S. Health and Human Services Department rather than through the Food and Drug Administration.
* Combining smoking-cessation programs with harm-reduction strategies, including increased research on smokeless-tobacco products and educating smokers about the potential reduced risk of harm in using those products.
* Protecting tobacco farmers from potential changes to farming practices.
“Adult tobacco consumers have a right to be fully and accurately informed about the risks of serious diseases, the significant differences in the comparative risks of different tobacco and nicotine-based products and the benefits of quitting,” according to the language in the House bill.
“This information should be based on sound science. Governments, public health officials, tobacco manufacturers and others share a responsibility to provide adult tobacco consumers with accurate information about the various health risks and comparative risks associated with the use of different tobacco and nicotine products.
“Tobacco products should be regulated in a manner that is designed to achieve significant and measurable reductions in the morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use.”
By comparison, the potential FDA tobacco regulation bill does not carve out a niche for harm-reduction tobacco products.
“The Waxman bill simply keeps the same playing field. It keeps Philip Morris and Marlboro dominant,” said Bill Godshall, the executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania.
Analysts have said that Philip Morris USA helped write the language in the proposed FDA tobacco-regulation bill.
“We’re against all tobacco, but where we disagree with Waxman and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in their focusing on kids,” Godshall said.
“We’re focusing on the 45 million people who are smoking today. Our goal is to push smokeless. It is proven to be less harmful than cigarettes, and the public needs to know it. Waxman’s bill treats all tobacco as if they’re equally bad, and that’s just not the case.”

Group will promote exports of tobacco

U.S. tobacco producers are a step closer to creating a new organization focused on increasing the amount of tobacco exported to other countries.
The organization, which would be producer-financed, must be approved by the U.S. secretary of agriculture before tobacco farmers can vote on it.
Larry Wooten, the president of the N.C. Farm Bureau, updated members of Tobacco Associates Inc. of Raleigh on the project during the organization’s 62nd annual meeting held in Wilson on Friday.
Tobacco Associates, which is also producer-financed, promotes U.S. flue-cured tobacco in the world market.
The difference with this proposed organization is it would focus on promoting U.S. produced tobacco in general, not just flue-cured or burley.
Wooten said that a steering committee met in April and August last year. Initial support for the new organization was gained from agriculture officials with the former Bush administration. However, no meetings have been held yet with the Obama administration.
The organization will have a board of directors appointed by the secretary of agriculture and will have equal representation from flue-cured and burley interests. The proposed assessment is 20 to 25 cents per hundred weight of tobacco sold.
Wooten said it would generate a small amount of money, several million dollars a year, but it is a way to get the organization started. If the plan is approved by federal officials, education and outreach efforts to let farmers know about the organization will be done in every state where tobacco is produced.
Wooten pointed to the successful marketing efforts of the sweet-potato commission as an example of how sales of a commodity can be increased through promotion.
Plans to more aggressively market U.S.-produced tobacco come at a time when local tobacco farmers are facing uncertain times. Rick Smith of Independent Leaf Tobacco Co. in Wilson said last week that growers learned contracts they negotiated in January are being cut in terms of the number of pounds of tobacco the companies are willing to buy. Tobacco growers contract with different companies to purchase the tobacco they produce.
Driving the reduction in purchases is the idea that more people will stop smoking because the cost of cigarettes is going up come April 1. On April 1, the per-pack federal excise tax will rise to $1. It is currently 39 cents. Add in state taxes on tobacco products, and consumers will pay more to light up.
The tax increase is supposed to help finance the state child health-plan program. Smith said he doesn’t think one industry should have to pay for it.
Smith said that any farmer with “a good history” can get a contract to sell tobacco. But Smith said that the companies are contracting for what they want and “not a pound more” this year.
Smith said he expects more tobacco than ever before will be grown off contract, meaning growers will go ahead and grow more tobacco than they have a contract to sell.
Smith told the group they can’t afford to not promote U.S. produced tobacco to the fullest extent. Smith said it is time for everybody to do everything possible to grow the export trade.
Source: Journalnow ®

World Health Organisation for complete ban on tobacco advertising

Half measures are not enough. We urge the government of Pakistan to impose a complete ban on tobacco advertising; to withdraw the Statutory Regulatory Order allowing creation of Designated Smoking Areas as a prelude to creation of 100 percent smoke-free environments and to raise tobacco taxation.
The acting representative of the World Health Organisation, Ahmad Shadoul, expressed these views while addressing participants of a ‘Youth Hike for Tobacco Control’ that started from Trail 3 and ended at Gokina on the Margallas here on Sunday.
The hike, which was organised by the Tobacco Control Cell of the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Volunteer Movement of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and WHO, was aimed at sensitising young people about the fact that they are the primary target of the tobacco industry in Pakistan.
The hike also served to awaken the country’s policy-makers from their deep slumber. The Ministry of Health has been delaying withdrawal of the controversial order on DSAs in spite of the existence of scientific evidence, and strong objections raised by WHO, the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, the Coalition for Tobacco Control and other members of the anti-tobacco lobby.
“Youth is the backbone of every nation,” Ahmad Shadoul stated, before moving on to explain how the multibillion dollar tobacco industry targets young people by falsely associating use of tobacco products with qualities such as glamour, energy and sex appeal. “In order to survive, the tobacco industry needs to replace those who quit or die with new young consumers. The industry does this by creating a complex tobacco marketing net that ensnares millions of young people worldwide, with potentially devastating health consequences,” Shadoul said.
The WHO chief said recent studies prove that the more young people are exposed to tobacco advertising, the more likely they are to start smoking. He said “When one form of advertising is banned, the tobacco industry simply shifts its vast resources to another channel.”
Other prominent officials at the hike included Additional Secretary Youth Affairs Naeem Baig; Director General Implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Shaheen Masud, and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan who was on his regular hike but then joined the participants to give visibility to the tobacco menace and the health hazards associated with it.
Naeem Baig called upon the media act as a watchdog and point out the flaws and violations of the anti-tobacco ordinance. He also said that the young hikers will act as role models and anti-tobacco ambassadors. The event started with registration of participants, who also received T-shirts and P-caps. The participants were carrying placards inscribed with slogans like ‘Sheesha smoking is not cool, it’s killing you,’ ‘Protect yourself from secondhand smoke’ and ‘Don’t be duped: Tobacco kills in every form.’
Earlier, Shaheen Masud told young people that tobacco is the only consumer product that kills up to 50% of its regular users when used as intended by its manufacturers. “The tobacco industry spends millions of rupees in the country annually in marketing their deadly products. Their activities are intended to bring young and hopefully lifelong tobacco users into the fold. The transition from high school to college is a critical period to adopt healthy habits and lifestyles. Unfortunately, during this vulnerable period, many of our young people fall victim to aggressive marketing by the tobacco industry and become regular smokers. Almost 1,200 young Pakistanis take up smoking everyday,” Shaheen said.
Sadly, tobacco use among females in Pakistan is also rapidly increasing. The boy-to-girl tobacco use ratio is shrinking at an alarming rate. Shaheen attributed this increase to popularity of ‘sheesha,’ water-pipe smoking of fruit-flavoured tobacco. She also removed the misconceptions about ‘sheesha.’ “It is generally thought that ‘sheesha’ smoking is not hazardous to health because its nicotine content is less than that of cigarettes, and that addition of fruit flavours make it healthier. Another factor adding to its popularity is its social acceptability and portrayal as a symbol of modernization. In reality, the ‘sheesha’ smoker may inhale as much smoke during one session as a cigarette smoker would inhale consuming 100 or more cigarettes and therefore poses a similar threat to health as smoking,” she informed.
Tobacco is a global pandemic infiltrating the poorest nations in the world. It kills 5 million people every year around the world. In Pakistan, there are an estimated 22-25 million smokers. Tobacco use in Pakistan is common and 55% of the households have at least one individual who smokes tobacco. In Pakistan, about 100,000 people die annually from diseases caused by tobacco use, which does not only occur in the form of cigarettes but also includes ‘beedis’ (hand rolled cigarettes), ‘huqqa’, ‘shisha’ and chewing tobacco.

Cigarette consumption decreases in Turkey after ban

Turkish authorities said on Sunday cigarette consumption decreased in Turkey after a ban.
Cigarette consumption was down 1.1 percent in the second half of 2008 over the same period of 2007, Mehmet Kucuk, the deputy chairman of Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulation Agency (TAPDK), told AA correspondent.
“Cigarette sales were down 1.1 percent in the second half of 2008 after the cigarette ban entered into force,” he said.
Last year, a wide smoking ban was introduced in Turkey which was said to be challenging the cliche of “smoking like a Turk.”
Under the new law passed in January 2008, smoking will be banned in all enclosed public places including restaurants and bars as of July 19, 2009.

Philip Morris Int’l profit falls nearly 8 percent

Philip Morris International Inc.’s CEO said Wednesday that the stronger dollar shrank the company’s profit from selling cigarettes in other currencies and it will drag down profit this year again.
When the dollar’s value rises in relation to other currencies, profits from sales in those currencies is diminished as they are translated back into dollars.
The company sells Marlboro, L&M and Parliament cigarettes outside the U.S.
Its stock fell $1.13, or 3 percent, to $37.19 in afternoon trading.
“The (negative) impact of currency is much greater than we previously realized,” Citigroup analyst Adam Spielman told investors. “The underlying business is performing exactly as we had expected, which in this economy is probably a mild positive. But in our view the much greater-than-expected currency sensitivity is a clear negative.”
Philip Morris International’s profit in the quarter that ended Dec. 31 fell nearly 8 percent. It earned $1.45 billion, or 71 cents per share. That’s down from $1.57 billion, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier but well above Wall Street estimates.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters on average expected a profit of 62 cents per share.
The cigarette maker said its fourth-quarter revenue rose 2 percent to $15.22 billion.
Philip Morris International, with offices in New York and Lausanne, Switzerland, is the world’s largest non-governmental cigarette seller, smaller only than state-controlled China National Tobacco Corp.
The company spun off from Altria Group Inc. in March 2008. Altria still owns Philip Morris USA, which sells Marlboros in the U.S.
Philip Morris International predicted its 2009 profit will be between $2.85 and $3 per share, at current exchange rates, including an 80-cent hit per share caused by the dollar’s strength.
“The global economic crisis obviously results in uncertainty, particularly on the currency front, and at current exchange rates we face a steep hurdle,” Chief Executive Louis Camilleri said in a statement.
Camilleri said the bulk of the hit the company took from the strong dollar came in Russia, Turkey, Mexico and Ukraine.
While currency comparisons hurt the company, Camilleri said that all signs were that it will continue to generate strong sales.
“We have not witnessed any evidence of a shift in consumer behavior in emerging markets,” he said on a conference call with investors. “No sign of consumer down-trading has yet been detected. This is obviously good news.”
The tobacco company has even raised prices. In recent months, the company has raised prices in countries around the world, including Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the U.K. and others.
For all of 2008, the company’s net income rose 14 percent to $6.89 billion from $6.04 billion. It earned $3.32 per share. Revenue rose 15 percent to $63.64 billion in its first year as an independent company.
Both Philip Morris companies are pursuing sales of smokeless tobacco products to replace the revenue they expect to lose as cigarette demand continues falling.
Sales volume in the U.S. has been falling due to smoking bans, higher taxes and health concerns.
Philip Morris International said Tuesday it had joined Swedish Match for a global partnership to make and sell smokeless products.
Richmond, Virginia-based Philip Morris USA closed on its $10.4 billion takeover of UST Inc. last month, giving it the market leader and brands such as Copenhagen and Skoal.
Philip Morris International also said it has bought the rights to the Petteroes trademark, a fine-cut brand sold in Norway. During the third quarter, Philip Morris International completed its acquisition of Canadian cigarette maker Rothmans Inc. for $2 billion Canadian dollars.

Philip Morris

Background: The tobacco industry has organized research institutions to generate misleading data on indoor air quality, including secondhand smoke exposure and health effects. . . .
Results: Philip Morris sought to establish a network of air quality laboratories throughout Latin America. In El Salvador, in 1997, through Tabacalera de El Salvador (Philip Morris