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Confusion surrounds Estonia’s proposed new law aimed at protecting fetuses

| September 4, 2013

Estonian Minister of Justice Hanno Pevkur has said that a new bill that would make it illegal for pregnant women to engage in behaviors they know to be damaging to the fetus would not necessarily encompass smoking, according to an Eesti Rahvusringhääling (Estonian Public Broadcasting) story.

Previous press stories had indicated that the law was specifically aimed at women who smoked while pregnant.

While under current law, a person can be held accountable for killing a human fetus, Pevkur said the update of the penal code proposed that knowingly damaging the fetus by taking drugs or strong medicine would be illegal.

“Or if actions result in a disability that only surfaces at birth, and the mother knew that she was damaging the fetus, then that will also be punishable,” the minister said.

He added that that did not mean smoking a few cigarettes would result in criminal prosecution.

But what a lot of people will be asking is could the law be used to prosecute women because they smoke while pregnant.

Sin tax too lenient—and too harsh

| September 4, 2013

Despite the passage of the sin tax law, the prices of cigarettes in the Philippines remain among the lowest in Southeast Asia, an antismoking group said on Monday.

A story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Emer Rojas, president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines, as saying the first edition of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Tobacco Atlas showed that the country continued to have some of the lowest cigarette prices in the region and even in the world.

“For example, local brand Fortune is pegged at 58 centavos and Marlboro at $1.16 a pack,” Rojas said. “But in Singapore, which is one of the Asean countries with good tobacco control policies, a pack of Marlboro is sold at $9.”

Rojas said the Philippines had been lagging behind its Asean neighbors in terms of tobacco control and that even with the sin tax law approved last year, the price increases were not enough for the country to catch up.

“We were only able to achieve a tax burden of 53 percent of the retail price,” he said. “This is still short of the recommended 70 percent tax burden of the World Health Organization.”

Farmers apparently disagree and believe that the new sin tax will have a devastating effect on their businesses, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

“This law will lead to the extinction of the tobacco industry,” Bernard Vicente, vice president of the Philippine Tobacco Growers’ Federation, was quoted as saying.

“Sales of cigarettes will drop drastically and will in turn bring down demand for tobacco by the cigarette manufacturers. They might even close shop.”

Young adults take to menthol cigarettes

| September 4, 2013

A new study on mentholated cigarette consumption in the U.S. has found an increase in menthol cigarette smoking among young adults, according to a Science Daily story. The study is said to conclude that efforts to reduce smoking are probably being thwarted by the sale and marketing of mentholated cigarettes, ‘including emerging varieties of established youth brands’.

“Our findings indicate that youth are heavy consumers of mentholated cigarettes, and that overall menthol cigarette smoking has either remained constant or increased in all three age groups we studied, while non-menthol smoking has decreased,” said lead researcher Gary Giovino, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University at the Buffalo Department of Community Health and Health Behaviors.

Giovino, one of the world’s leading tobacco surveillance researchers, estimated menthol and non-menthol cigarette use during 2004–2010 using annual data on nearly 390,000 persons 12 years old and older who took part in the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. The data included more than 84,000 smokers.

The results, which were published online in the international journal Tobacco Control, were said to have shown that:

• Among cigarette smokers, menthol cigarette use was more common among 12- to 17-year-olds (56.7 percent) and 18- to 25-year-olds (45 percent) than among older persons (range 30.5 percent to 32.9 perent).

• Menthol use was associated with being younger, female, and of nonwhite race or ethnicity.

• Among all adolescents, the proportion who smoked non-menthol cigarettes decreased from 2004 to 2010, while menthol smoking rates remained constant.

• Among all young adults, the proportion who smoked non-menthol cigarettes also declined, while menthol smoking rates increased.

• The use of Camel menthol and Marlboro menthol increased among adolescent and young adult smokers, particularly non-Hispanic whites, during the study period.

“The study results should inform the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] regarding the potential public health impact of a menthol ban,” Giovino says.

“The FDA is considering banning menthol cigarettes, or other regulatory options. This research provides an important view of the trends and patterns of menthol use in the nation as a whole. The FDA will consider these findings and findings from multiple other studies as it goes forward.”

Giovino is particularly alarmed that the findings show young people are heavy consumers of mentholated cigarettes, and the use of menthol is specifically associated with being younger, female and of nonwhite ethnicity.

“This finding indicates that mentholated cigarettes are a ‘starter product’ for kids in part because menthol makes it easier to inhale for beginners,” says Giovino. “Simply stated, menthol sweetens the poison, making it easier to smoke. Young people often think menthol cigarettes are safer, in part because they feel less harsh.”

Smoke-dried tobacco in This Africa

| September 4, 2013

KT&G was due today to put on sale in South Korea the latest version of its This brand of cigarettes, This Africa, according to a story in The Korea Herald.

This Africa’s blend is said to include African smoke-dried tobacco that gives a unique scent and a slight tint of sweetness to the product.

The new product delivers 5 mg of tar and 0.5 mg of nicotine, and retails for KRW2,500 a pack.

British graphic designer Papaboule and fashion magazine Cracker Your Wardrobe are said to have participated in the design of the new product’s pack.

Tobacco industry mourns Marvin Coghill

| September 3, 2013

marvin coghillMarvin Wellons Coghill Jr., who was instrumental in the development of Standard Commercial Tobacco Co., passed away Aug. 18, 2013, at the Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, after several months of illness.

Coghill was born in Henderson, North Carolina, on Sept. 8, 1933.  He attended North Carolina State University (1951) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1952). Following his military service, Coghill joined Elia Salzman Tobacco Co. in England. Salzman soon merged with Standard Commercial Tobacco Co. (now part of Alliance One International), and Coghill served in a number of leadership roles with the expanded company.

In 1963, Coghill was appointed manager of Standard Commercial’s joint-venture factory, Siam Tobacco Export Corp., in Chiangmai, Thailand. He became the company’s Far East regional manager in 1970 and a director of Standard Commercial Tobacco Co. in 1975.

Coghill was named president and chief operating officer of Standard Commercial Tobacco Co. in 1980. Following the acquisition of the wool business, the company split the wool and tobacco divisions in 1993, and Coghill became chairman of the tobacco division, a position he held until his retirement in 2000. Following retirement, Coghill remained as a member of the board of directors until August 2002.

Coghill was involved with many organizations in Wilson, North Carolina. His contributions and leadership were recognized with prestigious awards, such as the Service Above Self Award from the Greater Wilson Rotary Club and the Wilson Rotary Club, the Wilson Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award and the 2010 Wilson-Barton Partnership Leadership Award. He also received the 2011 Excellence in Agriculture Award from the Tobacco Farm Life Museum.




More research needed on menthol: FDA

| September 3, 2013

Mitchell Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said recently that his organization knew that young people who started smoking did so disproportionately with menthol cigarettes.

However, he was reported by Jim McLean of the Kansas Health Institute News Service as saying the agency wanted to do more research on whether menthol made cigarettes more addictive and to gather public input before deciding whether to impose any new regulations. Zeller is scheduled to speak on Sept. 19 to members of the Kansas Public Health Association during its fall conference.

“As a regulatory agency, we can only go as far as the regulatory science will take us,” Zeller said. “So, we are making a major investment in better understanding how tobacco products work and better understanding the role of nicotine in the design and manufacture of tobacco products.”

That research, McLean reported, led the FDA to conclude in a July report that menthol cigarettes posed a greater health risk [than did non-menthol cigarettes], not because they are more toxic than regular cigarettes are, but because they are less harsh, which means people smoke more of them and which makes them a favorite among young smokers just picking up the habit.

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