Tobacco farmers are ignoring chances

When Roger Bock began trading business in the 1990s, the tobacco trade in Harare, the floors was quiet places, except for the melodious sound of the auctioneer.

Several white farmers, each sale of hundreds of bales of tobacco, arrived in sports cars, check the best hotels in the city, waiting for their big checks should be reduced. During the auction season this year, quite a different scene unfolded under the cavernous roof Paula Bock tobacco auction. Every day, hundreds of farmers arrived in vans and on the back of pickup trucks, many with wives and children in tow. They camped in the open field nearby and rush into the cacophony of sex to sell their crops. This place was lively and crowded; two women gave birth at the auction floor.

The most obvious difference, however, was the color of their faces: one of them was black. “Before, you see only white person here,” said Rudo Boca, Boca’s daughter, who now runs the family. “Now for all. This is a wonderful spectacle.” The government of Zimbabwe began the seizure of white farms in 2000, less than 2000 farmers growing tobacco, the most profitable crop in the country, and most of them white. The success of these small farmers has led some experts to reconsider the legacy of forced Zimbabwe’s land redistribution, even if they condemn its violence and destruction. But amid all this pain, tens of thousands of people have received small plots of land reform farms, and in recent years, many of these new farmers overcome early in the fight for fare very well.

With no other choice but to work the land, small farmers have made a go of it that the production does not coincide with the white farmers whose land they have, but they are far from the disaster many had expected, some analysts and academics. “We can not apologize for the way it was done,” said Ian Scoones, an expert on agriculture at the University of Sussex, who intensively study of land reform in Zimbabwe over the past decade. “But there are many myths that are caught – that land reform was a disaster, that all lands were seized by cronies in the ruling party that it was all a huge mess. It does not matter. Also, there was a resounding success.”

The result was a broad, if not painful, the shift of wealth in agriculture from white commercial producers on large farms to black farmers is much smaller plot of land. In the past year, these farmers have shared $ 400 million of tobacco, in accordance with the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, earning on average $ 6000 rubles, a huge sum for most Zimbabweans. “The money was divided between 1500 large-scale producers at the present time, together with 58 000 producers, most of them are small scale,” said Andrew Matibiri, director of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. “This is a major change in the country.”

New farmers receive virtually no help from the government, which for many years invested in the larger economy is given to the political elite is connected. Instead, farmers are receiving assistance from the tobacco industry, in the form of loans, advances and learning. In order to revive the industry Boca, so the company has invested significant funds to help farmers improve productivity and quality.

Tobacco is a complex culture that requires precise application of fertilizers and careful harvest. It should be treated and evaluated properly to get the maximum price. Recently, Alex Vokoto, Head of Public Relations at the auction, it is desirable to have noticed a few bales of cured tobacco leaves in a honey-colored on the floor and hurried the man who grew them, Stewart Mhavei, the VIP-lounge for a cup of coffee and a chat.

“This man is growing high-quality tobacco, and he only had him for three years,” said Vokoto. So far this season he has earned more than $ 10,000 on the part of a huge farm that once belonged to a white family, investing profits in the truck to transport his tobacco, as well as rent a truck with other farmers. Charles Taffs, chairman of the Union of commercial farmers, said that the industry could be transformed to include more black farmers in a much less destructive manner.

“The tragedy of tobacco in that expansion, if they had the right policies, can be done in the 1990s in connection with the commercial sector”, Taffs said. Instead, hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs and the country suffered huge economic losses as a result.

Tobacco output is still below its peak in 2000, when the harvest hit 236 million pounds.

Big Tobacco vs rules New Zealands rules

A multinational cigarette company began an aggressive cigarette fightback against laws and prices to get people to quit the habit. A series of tax increase – with more on the way – has made New Zealand cigarettes among the most expensive in the OECD countries.

Other measures, such as a simple package are under consideration, and on Monday, stores will have to hide their cigarette displays. But the tobacco giant Philip Morris said that the regulations are going too far. The company, which has the third largest market share in New Zealand tobacco, distributes maps to direct people to the store website, through which smokers can have their say on the rules.

Retailers are asked to send cards to customers to buy Philip Morris products. The site, which was launched yesterday, “was a place where adult smokers may express its views on regulatory issues,” said a spokesman for Philip Morris, Chris Bishop.

“We talked to our customers … and we really got the sense that they wanted to have the opportunity to learn more about these issues and express their concerns about them,” he said. But anti-smoking group said yesterday that the move “reeked of desperation.” “The fact that they emerge from the shadows and begins to be more aggressive … to try to attract the public to lobby on their behalf, shows that they are afraid of things the government is trying to do,” said Action on Smoking and Health director Ben Youdan.

“If your company gets to the point where it can no longer engage constructively with policy makers and begins to attack them through the website, it shows you die.” In April, the tobacco companies a blow against the Cabinet decision to introduce plain packaging, subject to consultation. Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco announced a move would lead to a black market in tobacco.

Mr. Bishop said Philip Morris; consumers would like more information about such matters. He said that the web site and store cards were “in for a while,” but I can not say when it was first proposed. “Obviously, it takes several weeks for the website to get up. This did not happen at night … and it’s not what we planned five years ago.”

Mr. Youdan said the move Philip Morris showed exactly what the company considered its customers. “Smokers are drug addicts to them, who pay money to remain dependent on their products. “But I think they will see through it.”

He said it would be interesting to see how this plan is to deal the cards in the shops would work. “I suspect that they will try to stir up fears of retailers – what it will cost you business -. And use that as a way to intimidate retailers to take action” But Philip Morris says that the card system is voluntary.

The two main supermarket chains yesterday said they would not be handing the cards to customers.


Regulation of tobacco

Menthol Cigarette and graphic warnings: these were the three regulatory UBS senior analyst Nik Modi predicted tobacco tobacco industry will say in 2012. “There’s no real urgency,” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Modi said during last week’s tobacco update CSPNetwork CyberConference about the lack of movement of the agency to regulate menthol.

Although the position to regulate menthol and expected for some time, the only key to thinking the government is still going through their response to the World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint against clove cigarettes. U.S. State Department has justified the prohibition of cloves, menthol, but not because the two are not “like products”.

“What I found interesting about the reaction from the Obama administration was it basically confirmed their concerns to ban menthol,” Modi said. Such problems include the fact that menthol cigarettes clove and attract different consumers – a picture in pink beginners, menthol cigarettes to be popular among smokers created – and the possible emergence of black market menthol cigarettes were banned. The basis of that answer, does not expect Modi menthol decision to come soon.

On the other hand, Modi expects to see a lot of movement on the roll of its own (RYO) regulation. As of last Wednesday, when Modi presented, Arkansas, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming laws were passed, all RYO retail classification of the machine as a producer and Tennessee adopted a law requiring retailers RYO machine operating pay an annual fee for licensing and collecting the state tax excise tax in the store rolled cigarettes.

Only one day later, Tobacco E-News and NATO has learned that Iowa, Washington and Oklahoma have passed all the RYO control over a 24-hour period (see Related Content below the previous coverage, including video-on-RYO).

Modi was quick to note that this is not only the state that go down to the Cigarette, Congress is currently debating a bill that would classify RYO retail operation of the machine as producers, forcing them to pay the $ 1.01 federal tax cigarettes in a package, in addition to State taxes.
“It looks like it is coming to an end,” Modi said the success of large machines Cigarette. “It’s a trend that is likely to disappear.”

 Last on the schedule

Graphic warning labels debate continues to rage on with the FDA with a request for a joint ruling as to the size of warning labels and stimulated calls for the question. While Modi confident this issue will eventually reach the Supreme Court, he pointed out many interesting aspects of this fight.
“I think everyone knows tobacco is a harmful product at this time,” Modi said. “The issue from a legal point of view is” how far is too far? “

Modi referred to Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who went on to record a question: “Can the government mandate of cigarette warning that said” Stop! If you buy this product you idiot? Where is this stop? ” If the graphic health warnings be upheld by the Supreme Court, Modi did not see having a big impact. Countries that have used similar warning labels have not seen significant changes in cigarette sales.

 One possible explanation? “There is a part of the brain (nucleus accumbens) that when a warning about the dangers of tobacco use, in fact, the brain stimulates the desire to smoke,” said Modi. Since the solution is unlikely in the near future, and data from other countries, which indicates a lack of real influence, Modi sees no reason for concern on the graphic warning labels. “I do not think it will happen, but if it happens, I’m not really worried.”

Local Tobacco-Free Parks

In recognition of the impact Butts Day March 21 Chippewa County Health Department, the Su-Tribe Community Gant conversion project, and the Su-Tribe Community Health program, the partners Chippewa County Tobacco-Free Living Coalition united to highlight tobacco-free parks policy in Chippewa County and Su-Tribe seven county service area.
Tobacco litter is poisonous to children and animals, and discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Studies show that cigarette butts are toxic, slowly decompose, and costly to remove. Cigarette butts were found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. Children usually pick them up and try to put in your mouth. In addition, cigarette butts, who do not represent fully, extinguished the fire and burn risk.
“Without tobacco policy for outdoor recreation are very important to protect and promote health and the environment, and growing support for these policies in our society,” said Julie Trotter, chairman of the person life without tobacco coalition. “Passive smoking causes heart disease, respiratory tract, ear infections, and worsens asthma. Children, the elderly, persons with special needs, health, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to health risks caused by passive smoking, even outdoors. Activities for children should mean to play among the cigarette butts or being exposed to secondhand smoke. In addition, tobacco use in outdoor recreation is not the behavior we want to model for children in our society. Studies show that tobacco-free policies can help prevent or reduce youth tobacco use “she concluded.
Steady progress has been made with this initiative at the local level in recent years.
City of Sault Ste. Maria was adopted tobacco-free recreational resolution, which covers more than a dozen recreational areas in the city of Sault Ste. Mary, from August 2010. Su-Seal Recreation Area, Project Playground, Malcolm Park Pond Fishing Kids, Sherman Park beach and playground, and several other areas of the site have been designated as tobacco-free. The resolution also requires the Pullar Stadium and ice rink at the Kane to be free of tobacco.
Su-Tribe Housing Authority adopted a tobacco-free policy for children’s playgrounds in the city of Su-Tribe housing sites from April 2011.
Kinross Charter Township adopted a tobacco-free resolution for the baseball fields, playground, fitness trail around the center and Kinross Leisure, October 2011. Partners in the Delta County worked with the city of Escanaba, as a result of smoke, outdoor air Decree from July 2011. Regulation requires outdoor areas within 100 feet of city buildings, nine playgrounds, ball fields, six, guarded beach, pool, and Webster, two ice rink that smoking.
For these reasons, the WAC and the Su-Tribe Community Health Partners to continue to highlight this important health initiative. Donna Norkoli, Su-Tribe community transformation grant project coordinator, said: “Our first step is to increase tobacco-free, outdoor recreation areas will inspect local government settlement of their interest in the creation of village parks tobacco-free. Su-Tribe will partner with local tobacco prevention coalitions and other community members in this initiative. ”
“We are ready to provide information and assistance to decision makers, and community members at the local level,” said Trotter and Norkoli.

Cook County raises tobacco taxes

The cost of smoking has always been high, but this week in Cook County, prices have risen even higher.
Taxes on cigars snuff and loose smokeless tobacco has increased within the policy carried out on Thursday. Large cigars will levy a 25 percent tax and taxes on cigars will increase by less than 5 cents. Smokeless tobacco will be 30 per cent tax per ounce.
In the County Council approved a tax increase on tobacco products as part of its budget in 2012 and hopes to raise more than $ 9 million. While income is likely to be welcome financial boost for the county, some still complain that more money will not be on the prevention of tobacco use.
“Illinois in a lot of financial problems right now, and in this case, prevention programs are one of the first things that you can cut,” said Lisa Currie, Director of the North-West health and wellness. “It’s sad, but it is not uncommon.”
Although some universities have received government funds for the implementation of measures to prevent smoking, NU did not receive the same assistance from the State of Illinois. Kerry said, because OU is a private university, the state does not directly provide funding for smoking initiatives.
Although NU has not received any funding from the State of Illinois right, Kerry said the state funds allocated to Evanston Department of Health has gone partly to the benefit of OU students who want to quit smoking.
Department of Health Community Intern Lindsey Kreutzer said the department received money from the Illinois Tobacco Free grant. Among the grant recipients to get rid of this habit, a program that provides free nicotine patches for smokers who want to quit smoking, Kreutzer said.
Since the program began in November, Kreutzer said to get rid of the habit of people allowed picking up nicotine patches in Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. However, Curry said NU Health Service works with the EHD to the patches on the Searle Hall.
“We’re still working with the details and we do not have patches in your hands, but I think in the next quarter we will have what happened,” Curry said.
Despite the availability of services to break the habit, Kerry said OU students do not make much use of modern tobacco cessation program of the University, which consists of the six-hour sessions. She added that several students he sees on the verge of completion.
“Many students smoke so rarely that they do not really see this as a problem, but sometimes it won’t really sticks,” said Kerry.
Communication junior Agata Bogucka smokes, but she said that she thinks she will leave the habit, when she finishes college.
“It’s definitely not what I intend to do the rest of my life, so when I’m out there trying to get a real job (I throw),” she said. “As soon as your body starts getting older, he can not handle the same, too. Now I’m young, but after a few years, my lungs begin to hate me.”
But Kerry said the output is usually a difficult feat to achieve and may take six or seven attempts to complete successfully. She said that it was important; the government is doing everything possible to provide funding for prevention programs.
“I think they should always do more, because it is the efforts we’ve seen a lot of success (in) the past two decades,” she said. “There’s still some work to be done, but most people agree that smoking is bad for you. If I had the hands of the people some tools to work in the future, then this is a partial victory, even if they have not given up yet.”

Current Tobacco Rules

A local university doesn’t plan on completely banning the use of tobacco on its territory – at least for now.
Wheeling Jesuit University spokeswoman Maureen Zambito said her school currently is not pursuing a policy aimed at increasing tobacco policies on campus. The problem occurred after it became clear during the recent Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health meeting that the Health Department sent letters to three local colleges, encouraging administrators to the imposition of campus-wide policy of no tobacco. This will include chewing tobacco and cigarettes.
Officials and West Virginia Northern Community College and West Liberty University said they have investigated such a ban before the contact with the health department.
Zambito this week submitted a statement in response to queries about her plans for schools:
”Wheeling Jesuit University is always looking to expand and improve our policies and programs, but we have nothing more to tell at this point and time,” said Jim Holt, vice president of Institutional Advancement.
WJU campus is currently smoking, except in limited designated areas, Holt said.
Administrator Howard Gamble said the health department is ready to help any company or organization to expand its policy of tobacco.
In Ohio, county health department has already prohibits smoking inside buildings and bars. The Council was considering extending its rule to include gaps in the currently released – video gambling parlors, video gambling areas inside the bar, as well as tables and video gaming zones within the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. However, after much public debate, the Council said he did not have enough public support for expanding the rule, ultimately his table for an indefinite period.
We remain in contact with both WLU and WVNCC on their efforts to the Tobacco Free to go. In the near future we will again go to WJU is going to discuss the Tobacco Free Initiative and the assistance we can provide them at the time. (Health Department) works with all three agencies for a variety of issues and will continue to cooperate with them in health and public health,” said Gamble.
According to the American Lung Association, 258 colleges and universities across the country have passed the Tobacco Free, including the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Schools in Ohio, which the Tobacco Free is: Ashland University, Hocking College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Tobacco on the court

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists and experts gathered tobacco policy for the study of potential health risks and benefits of soluble tobacco products.
The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee is meeting this week and advocates from Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among those lining up to make their pitch to the FDA panel.
Soluble, which are made from finely ground tobacco, are not new, but they drew attention to the new last year, when RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris introduced new flavors and varieties in several cities across the country. Some health officials and lawmakers have called flavored melt in your mouth and tongue the balls band “nicotine candy” and complained to the FDA.
Rutgers University law student Gregory Conley was a smoker for eight years, but leave in August. 24-year-old used electronic cigarettes – another smokeless product – quit smoking, and he says, soluble suppress cravings, when he was in his class. He loves tobacco dip a toothpick and says they give him satisfying tingle nicotine hit with mint or Java.
“You just put it in your mouth and hold it as if you were holding a straw between his teeth,” Conley said.
He volunteers, legal director of policy for the consumer advocates for smoke-free alternative to the Association and gave testimony during the meeting of the FDA this week. Conley says the electronic cigarette, smokeless and other soluble alternatives are powerful tools to help smokers avoid the most toxic aspects of cigarettes.
The FDA’s review is to provide soluble in 2009, family smoking prevention and tobacco control law. Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that the advisers will weigh the scientific and report on the health of the population not only at individual smokers.
“The law recognizes the FDA, even if the product is less harmful if it is sold in a way that its main appeal to young people, the end result will be more people become addicted to tobacco,” Myers said.
“The FDA law recognizes that even if the product is less harmful, if it’s marketed in a way that its primary appeal is to young people, the net result will be more people becoming addicted to tobacco,” Myers said.
“What we have seen that colorful way that the solvent have been promoted and say that they have generated has led many people to believe that these products are less harmful – before there was a review of FDA”, Myers said.
Now the government regulates, as well as other soluble smokeless tobacco. They are stocked behind the counter in the store and have the same health warnings on tobacco, as well as chewing. They read “Smokeless tobacco is addictive” and “This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.”
A group of U.S. lawmakers want more stringent rules for soluble. Some public health groups say the products should be removed from store shelves until
the FDA has weighed in on the science. Other supporters are sometimes called “reductionisms harm,” they say smokeless products can reduce disease, disability and death caused by smoking.
Jennifer Ibrahim, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at Temple University, says – done correctly – Harm reduction is a good idea. “I think everyone in the business of giving up smoking is realistic that people can not quit cold turkey, but you do not want to send the wrong message: that nicotine is safe at any level, because it is not,” she said.
“It is absolutely true, nothing is absolutely safe,” said Conley, but he says, smokers die while health officials wait for final proof.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reference one of the five deaths each year from tobacco use, about 440 thousand people. Smoking costs America $ 193 billion per year is estimated for 2000 to 2004. About half of that economic value of direct health care costs, and half of lost productivity.
Tobacco companies can not promote soluble as quit smoking help, but there are a lot of online chatter from individual users, who report that they gave up cigarettes or cigars with soluble.
“To be fair, they are very similar to smoking cessation products that have been on the market for a very long time – a diamond or gum for people who are trying to get out of tobacco,” said psychologist Anna Tobia, director of the smoking cessation program at the Hospital of the University Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia.
Some people fear that the products are called “harm reduction” will actually lead to more health problems. Supporters say the soluble may help smokers to “escape” from nicotine addiction to cigarettes. Opponents say it is not clear how consumers actually use the products and who uses them. Will young people try to soluble develop a taste for nicotine, and then move on to smoking? May keep people hooked soluble, when some ex-smokers would – eventually – to become nicotine free?
Kenneth Warner, the health economist at the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health, says there is no reason to be skeptical about the intention of the tobacco companies in the soluble and are concerned that new products will do.
“The public health community got bamboozled” in the past, he said. When the tobacco makers began selling low-tar nicotine cigarettes, Warner says they were marketed as “mild, mellow,” and safer than regular cigarettes — and it turned out they weren’t.
The FDA advisers are in the marsh to a long discussion, which appears developing and changing ideas about what’s acceptable and what is safe. Health policy expert Jennifer Ibrahim says electronic cigarettes and melt-in-mouth tobacco but the latest in a long line of new products aimed at smokers and people who are trying to kick the habit.
Many are waiting for the FDA to answer the question: Do dissolvable pose a greater or lesser risk to population health?
“I will not let their children about electronic cigarettes, because I just do not know what to VAPS [water vapor] that comes out of them. When some people, although exposure to secondhand smoke was safe and it is clear that this is not true”, Ibrahim said. “I’m not going to subject myself or my family to things that are 10, 15 years later, we say,” Oh, yes, it’s not good for you. ”
“We will do everything to make our patients better and to get them to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke,” said quit smoking expert Anna Tobia.”If it is a good first step, and – perhaps – if they see that they can cope with less nicotine, it would be wonderful.”
Many are waiting for FDA, to answer the question: how are soluble in a particular health risk?

Raising tobacco taxes lead to success

Veteran anti-smoking advocate Prakit Vathesatogkit was recently elected secretary-general of the International Network of Health Bsics. He speaks with APIRADEE TREERUTKUARKUL about their work and problems in development of health promotion activities around the world.
What is the INHPF’s mission?
Prakit: Finance is the biggest battle
The organization was founded in 1999 to improve the effectiveness of health promotion foundations in member countries through the exchange, mutual learning and joint action. The INHPF also mentors and supports the creation of new health founds in member countries and beyond.
It comprises a network of international organizations participating in the financing of health promotion. The interest in this concept is growing after the countries and regions recognized by the advantages of having a sustainable financing for health promotion.
Currently, there are eight full members from seven countries _ Australia, Austria, South Korea, Malaysia, Switzerland, Tonga, Thailand and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
What are your main tasks as the INHPF secretary-general? How do you plan to place anti-smoking experience over the past 20 years in practice?
The pposition for two years and plays has an important role in the control of other countries to create their own foundation of health. My first task is to find two new full members to join the network every year. There are some countries where the fund health promotion, but are not members of the network.
Why is it important for the international community to have a foundation of health promotion, as in Thailand?
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation is a good example for other countries, especially low-and middle-income countries to develop appropriate prevention and health promotion programming. Thailand helped Mongolia and Shanghai to develop their foundation of health.
At first it was difficult to establish an organization to promote health independent of the bureaucratic system, because the new legislation was necessary. However, finance is the biggest problem. It took almost seven years to create the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.
We must understand that the work and responsibilities of Health Promotion Foundation, is completely different from the health ministry. We do not provide health care services.
But there are a large number of people engaged in high-risk activities such as smoking, alcohol consumption and drunk driving. This is necessary for agencies to improve the health to work with these people.
The health system is quite passive and is concerned only with those who are already ill. Expenses for treatment in Thailand are increasing every year. We can not solve the root cause of many health problems by investing only in the existing system..
Many developing countries did not pay much attention to health promotion in the past. They thought it was only the work of rich, developed countries.
However, when they saw Thailand could do it, they changed their attitude. Malaysia came in. Then Tonga and South Korea joined. Vietnam and Laos are in the process of creating legislation on health promotion.
Does the global recession have any impact on attempts to establish a foundation of health in developing countries?
The money spent on health promotion, as a rule, only about 1% of the total health budget. The point is how to spend that 1% wisely to curb the growth of health problems. The fact that we are working to help save money and prevent illness, but it is less a priority. Risk factors are not addressed in other countries, and are liable to INHPF..
Although donations from some rich countries are no more, more money is available in many countries. But their tax systems should be modified to work as a programmer for health promotion. The best way is to increase the so-called tax sin. Politicians should play a role in collecting tax from tobacco and alcohol for supporting a health promotion system. They shouldn’t wait for donations.
The Lancet, Britain’s weekly medical journal, released research during the last UN summit on non-communicable diseases showing tobacco control was the single most important measure contributing to the reduction of non-communicable diseases. An increase in tobacco tax can help countries run their health programmer to achieve their goals.

Lewis: Tobacco heir still battling his legacy

Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate, R.J. Reynolds, says no price increase, no tax increase, will release tobacco’s addictive grip altogether.
A pack of smokes can cost nearly $11 in New York City, and often more than $6 in other parts of the country. Now, the three biggest tobacco makers are raising prices for the second time this year.
Reynolds American Inc. and Altria Group Inc. are going with 5-cent-per-pack increases, and Lorillard Inc. is going with a 6-cent hike.
“Some smokers are entrenched,” Reynolds said in a telephone interview.
“They’re not able to stop. They’re going to go on spending that money on tobacco.”
Typically, the tobacco giants cleverly time their price hikes with cigarette tax increases so customers blame governments more than them, Reynolds said.
This year, such tax hikes have been muted. But tobacco companies raised prices anyway. They have, after all, racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in litigation costs and settlements over the years.
Why not charge $20 a pack? Some studies show that nearly 20 percent of smokers continue their habit even after contracting lung cancer. Anyone willing to pay with their life is willing to pay anything.
Nevertheless, steeply rising prices — thanks in large part to taxes and litigation costs — have helped push the ratio of Americans who smoke to below one-in-five for the first time in decades. In most other parts of the world, it is still one-in-three.
Reynolds has long lobbied for tax increases, smoking bans and advertising that illustrates the health risks. He’s also made his living as a paid public speaker with a life story that has more sins-of-the-fathers themes than Shakespeare.
Reynolds’ father, R.J. Reynolds II, lived fast with the tens of millions he inherited, marrying and divorcing several times. When Reynolds met with his father after not seeing him for years, his father had a sandbag on his chest, hopelessly treating his emphysema.
“He was still smoking, too,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds was disinherited from his father’s will when his father died in 1964.
He did, however, inherit $2.5 million from his grandmother when he turned 21, according to the Associated Press. He eventually sold his tobacco stock, and in 1986 he found himself before Congress advocating for higher tobacco taxes to curb smoking.
“My family gave me some grief, to be sure,” he said. “They didn’t take kindly to my anti-smoking work. Nor did they take too kindly about the book I wrote about my family.”
“The Gilded Leaf,” published in 1989, told the unflattering tales of three generations of the intensely private Reynolds family. “The money twisted, if it did not directly pervert, everything and everyone it touched,” Reynolds wrote.
Reynolds said he is no longer wealthy, and counts himself better off for it.
He knew his family was part of a declining old-money class and not part of the rising business class. He also knew the old money came from a product that kills people.
“They say you find your calling in your deepest wound,” said Reynolds, “just as the ex-alcoholic becomes a good speaker on alcohol, or the ex-drug addict becomes a good speaker on drugs. Losing my father was my deepest wound.”
“When I began, my family said, ‘Oh, you’re going to be an embarrassment. You’ll drive the price of the stock down.'”
“We had some heated discussions,” he continued. “But in the ensuing years, since 1986, the price of the stock kept going up. And as far as being an embarrassment, I received an award from the World Health Organization. I brought honor to the Reynolds family.”
Reynolds says he is now looking for a sponsor for a world tour. He’s already been to Greece to help its government with anti-smoking initiatives. He’d like the rest of the planet to catch up with the U.S. He says at least a billion people are now on track to die from tobacco-related illnesses. “As a Reynolds I have a great platform to make a difference,” he says.
At 63, Reynolds has come to terms with disillusionment over his grandfather’s empire, his anguish about his father, his anger at being disinherited, and his struggles with all the dysfunction that one can imagine in a tobacco-rich family.
His siblings no longer chide him for becoming an anti-tobacco advocate. That’s because, except for one half-sister, they are all dead. His oldest brother, R.J. Reynolds’ III, died, predictably enough, from the family curse in 1995.
“I have a list of all the Reynoldses that died from smoking,” said Reynolds, who has had to kick the habit himself. “I’m only the one who made it.”
By Al Lewis

Cigarette mailing ban on Senecas is upheld

A federal appeals court upheld a ban on the mailing of cigarettes by Seneca Nation businesses Tuesday but left intact an injunction against the collection of taxes on those cigarettes.
The court, in siding with U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, upheld most of a sweeping new federal law prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from delivering commercial cigarette shipments.
The one aspect of the law, known as the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, or PACT Act, that the appeals court rejected, at least for now, is the requirement that companies that engage in out-of-state tobacco sales pay sales taxes on those products.
“This is a positive decision,” Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter said in a statement. “While restrictions on mailing remain in place, the method currently used by Seneca Nation merchants to send product — private shippers other than the major delivery companies — is back open.”
A year ago, Seneca officials decried the law and suggested that it would cripple their mail-order operations and result in hundreds of lost jobs.
One of the exceptions to that doom-and-gloom scenario was the Seneca Smokeshop and owner Aaron J. Pierce, who has been able to find new ways of distributing his tax-free cigarettes.
“He’s still shipping to customers out of state through means other than the U.S. Postal Service,” said Lisa A. Coppola, a lawyer for the company.
Coppola said Pierce, the lead plaintiff, is more concerned about the collection of taxes than the loss of mail service.
Signed into law by President Obama last year, the PACT Act is designed to end a practice that cost governments billions of dollars a year in lost taxes. It also is intended to prevent underage smokers from obtaining cigarettes through the mail.
“We’re happy,” said Michael Seilback, vice president of public policy for the American Lung Association in New York State. “The fact that the law will prevent the shipping of these products through the mail is certainly a win for public health.”
The PACT Act is viewed by both critics and supporters as landmark legislation with billions of dollars in tax revenue and thousands of jobs at stake.
Shortly after the law took effect, Seneca business owners challenged it in federal court, contending that it was unconstitutional and discriminatory.
In July of last year, Arcara upheld the federal government’s right to ban the mailing of cigarettes by Seneca Nation businesses but rejected for the time being the collection of taxes on those cigarettes.
The law also requires cigarette businesses to register with the state where they are headquartered and make periodic reports to state tax departments. It also requires that they check the age and identification of customers who buy tobacco products.
The judge ruled that the collection of taxes may violate the Senecas’ right to due process, or the principle that government must respect the legal rights of individuals.
It is not yet clear whether either side will challenge the U.S. Court of Appeals decision. They have 90 days to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. had no immediate comment on the ruling.
By Phil Fairbanks