TOBACCO NEWS ARCHIVE


 

Spanish smokers launch claim against Altadis

 

MADRID, May 31 (Reuters) - A group of more than 4,000 cancer sufferers launched Spain's first class action lawsuit against the country's tobacco industry on Wednesday, a lawyer involved in the suit said.

The claim was directed at Altadis -- a recently merged company combining former Spanish tobacco monopoly Tabalacera and France's Seita -- its distribution unit Logista and smaller Altadis unit CITA, said Jose Angel Manoso.

He is one of four lawyers representing 4,339 smokers and ex-smokers who have been treated for cancer of the larynx.

The lawyers presented the case on behalf of 16 associations of larynx cancer sufferers in 16 different cities, Manoso told Reuters.

The claimants were seeking recognition from the companies that tobacco causes cancer as well as payment of medical costs for physical and psychological injury, he said.

Manoso did not provide estimates for how much the compensation might be worth across Spain but in Barcelona, for example, a local association representing sufferers was seeking 400 million pesetas ($2.23 million) to buy an office plus 50 million pesetas a year to cover medical costs.

Stock market analysts have said the case was unlikely to succeed. Class actions of this type are unusual in Spain and compensation cases tend to drag on for many years. Even so, the publicity could be damaging for the company, they say.

Shares in Altadis, the Spanish-French company formed last year by the merger of Tabacalera and Seita, dropped two percent on Wednesday to 15.68 euros.

Until now there have been only a handful of unsuccessful individual claims against tobacco companies in Spain.

A spokesman for Altadis said he could not comment on the case.

"We are waiting to see details of the claim before we can say anything," he said.

($1=179.10 Peseta)

Source: Reuters, 

             Wednesday, 5/31/00


 

Asian TV firms take tobacco money for Euro 2000 

 

 

by Fran Abrams 

EURO 2000 and other football tournaments are being used to promote tobacco in developing countries despite rules drawn up by the sport's governing body to stop the practice, campaigners have disclosed. 

 

Lord Faulkner, the former vice-chairman of the Government's  Football Task Force, wrote to Fifa, the sport's world governing body, to protest yesterday. He sent Sepp Blatter, president of Fifa, an advertisement from the Malaysian New Sunday Times for television coverage of next month's tournament. It described the event as "Dunhill Euro 2000," linking the event to the tobacco brand owned by BAT Industries.

 

 Although Fifa prided itself on its tobacco-free stance, Lord Faulkner said, it should go further and ensure that "no tobacco sponsorship" clauses were written into contracts between broadcasters and footballing organisations. Both the EU and the British Government have moved to ban tobacco sponsorship but cannot implement new rules because they are being challenged in the courts by the cigarette companies.


The pressure group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said it had already seen a 2002 World Cup T-shirt from Vietnam bearing the Dunhill brand name and made to fit a three year-old. BAT said the T-shirt must be counterfeit as it did  not condone such items.


Other tournaments linked to British tobacco brands included the Bristol Independence Gold Cup in November 1998, involving football teams from Malaysia, India and the Maldives and sponsored by the Bristol brand, which is owned by a BAT subsidiary.


Ash will spend today, which is World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the continuing use of sport to sell tobacco products. Euro 2000 is organised by Uefa, the European regional confederation of Fifa. A Fifa spokesman said Mr Blatter  would respond to Lord Faulkner in due course.

Source: The Independent, 

              Wednesday, 5/31/00

From: Dr J Mackay 



Africa Remains A Viable Market For Cigarette Companies

 

by Peter Masebu 

DAKAR, Senegal (PANA) - Combining beauty, charm and the  ability to speak several foreign languages, Yaya sells stacks of  cigarette packets to delegates at an African regional conference  in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

Her multinational cigarette company is among those reputed for their "generous" sponsorship of sporting events ranging from football, horse racing to wrestling, the most popular sport in Senegal.

The government also endorses it because it pays taxes and creates employment. Senegalese authorities are aware that  cigarettes constitute a health hazard, but they turn a blind eye to the massive sale of cigarettes by beautiful girls like Yaya during conferences, or football matches.

Tobacco smoking advertising has gone down considerably in Senegal over the last decade, but like in many other African countries the rate of smoking keeps on rising.

African tobacco exporting countries cannot wage a viable anti-tobacco campaign because the crop earns them badly needed foreign currency.

Hamstrung by tough anti-smoking regulations in the industrialised West, multinational cigarette companies have turned to the African region as a last resort for their earnings.

They use several lies to dupe African governments into allowing their continued operations and crafty advertisement to attract youngsters to begin "puffing." Without realising it, they became nicotine addicts hooked to the cigarette for life.

The Paris-based International Non Governmental Coalition Against Tobacco (INGCAT) put it bluntly at a recent conference in that the African region "is now the target for profit accumulation by the tobacco industry."

INGCAT's co-ordinator, Dr Karen Slama, warned during the 13th conference of the African Region of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease or IUATLD in Conakry, Guinea, that "tobacco marketing is a vector for tobacco diseases" including cancer and tuberculosis.

But what was more alarming in her presentation during the 24-27 May conference was the revelation that Africa's increase of 3.2 percent per year in tobacco consumption was "the highest in the world."

This consumption is rising dramatically particularly among 15-year olds.

Slama provided startling statistics showing smoking prevalence rates among 15-year old Algerian males at 53 percent and 10 percent for females.

South Africa's rates were 52 percent for males and 17 percent among young females while Mauritania's stood at 47 percent and 4 percent for the two sexes, respectively.

The figure for Swaziland was 38 percent for males and 8 percent for females while Nigeria's stood at 24 percent for males and 7 percent for females.

At the Conakry conference, Slama cited an article published by the London Times newspaper 15 May as being part of the strategy being employed by tobacco companies to maintain their grip on the African market.

The article alleged that tobacco smoking causes "non-infectious diseases (which) pose individual but not public health risks."

It purported that tobacco-use-related diseases "do not require the same degree of international co-ordination as the fight against contagious epidemics," including malaria and AIDS.

But, in a note to PANA ahead of Wednesday's No Smoking Day, Slama affirmed: "This is a tobacco industry lie, but it is not true. Tobacco is a public health problem expected to cause 450 million deaths over the next 50 years."

She also cited a 1988 letter from British American Tobacco (BAT) to the Ugandan health ministry, saying it did not believe "cigarette smoking is harmful to health."

She produced a 1990 BAT internal document, which said: "We should not be depressed simply because the total free world markets appear to be declining. Within the total market, there are areas of strong growth particularly in Asia and Africa."

In 1998, Rothman's representative said in Burkina Faso that "the average life expectancy here is 40 years, infant mortality is high, the health problems which some say are caused by cigarettes just won't be a problem here."

Denouncing the misinformation, Slama told the conference that tobacco was an "urgent problem for Africa today." Some 90,000 deaths were attributed to tobacco in Africa 10 years ago.  Tobacco use caused one in 20 adult deaths a decade ago or one in every 84 deaths.

To curb further tobacco-related deaths, the IUATLD calls for total ban on tobacco promotions, advertisement and sponsorships, disclosure of product development and high taxation to make it out of reach to the majority.

It also calls for restrictions to smoking in public places to protect the population from "the health consequences of involuntary exposure to others' smoking."

Many African governments cannot afford to do away with tobacco use because this brings in money. However, it would be ethical if all smokers are clearly informed that their activity can lead to cancer or tuberculosis.

Source: Panafrican News Agency, 

             Wednesday, 5/31/00

 


 

 

 

Swaziland Prepares Law to Ban Smoking

 

by Vuyisile Hlatshwayo 

MBABANE, Swaziland (PANA) - Swaziland is currently preparing legislation aimed at discouraging smoking in public places and indiscriminate sale of tobacco in the country.

Speaking in Mbabane Wednesday during the launch of World No Tobacco Day, the country's health and social welfare minister, Phetsile Dlamini, appealed to businesses to stop using sports sponsorship to advertise tobacco.

She also appealed to larger countries not to dump cigarettes banned in their respective territory in Swaziland.

She denounced the smuggling of such cigarettes into the country where they
were being sold even to the youth.

"We appeal to everyone not to smoke on 31 May, 2000 and onwards in the new
millennium," she said.

She justified the theme of this year's event, "Tobacco Kills, Do Not Be Fooled." She regretted that although tobacco kills many Swazis, it is over advertised.

She warned Swazis not to be cheated that smoking was trendy and fashionable, highlighting the health hazards it causes.


She said among the many diseases caused by tobacco smoking, were heart diseases and hypertension, cancers of the lung, throat, voice box and mouth, bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema and asthma.

Dlamini also warned that smoking pregnant mothers exposed their unborn baby to nicotine.

"This causes small brain and poor growth rate and general failure to thrive as well as easy infections," she said.

Dlamini added that smoking is also a health hazard to family and friends.

"For this reason we discourage smoking in public which exposes other people. Smoking is an expensive slow suicide," she said.

Meanwhile, Siboniso Mdluli of the Council of Swaziland Against Alcohol and Drug echoed the words of the minister, discouraging the youth from tobacco smoking.

He lamented that the youth still think smoking is trendy and fashionable which has resulted in an increase in the number of youth smokers in the country.

Swaziland's World Health Organisation representative, T. Lesikel, also warned Swazi nationals about the dangers associated with tobacco use.

She singled out rolled tobacco as more harmful than the other tobacco products because it has a higher content of nicotine and tar.

Lesikel also warned the youth not to be fooled by advertisements, which tell them that if they smoke they assume high status, look good, become popular and women feel more independent.

She re-affirmed WHO's commitment in the fight against tobacco by providing technical and financial assistance to the ministry of health and social welfare and its partners in the fight against tobacco.

The ministry of health and social welfare, jointly with the WHO office, would distribute brochure with information on the dangers of tobacco-smoking to people at the various strategic places like bus terminals and shopping malls in the two cities of Mbabane and Manzini.

Source: Panafrican News Agency, 

            Wednesday, 5/31/2000


Copyright (c) 2000 Panafrican News Agency.


 

House panel eyes teens, MPs, monks [in Thailand]

 

A House panel wants strict enforcement of bans on the sale of cigarettes to young teenagers, including controls on the installation of automatic vending machines.

It will also target monks who smoke and push for no-smoking areas in the parliament building.

"Many state officials, politicians and their aides smoke everywhere at the parliament. They must change their behaviour," Ratana Anantanakin, deputy spokeswoman for the committee for youth, women and the elderly said yesterday. Speaking after a meeting at the parliament to mark World No-Tobacco Day, she said the panel would fight against the lenient enforcement of non-smoking regulations.

"Despite the Tobacco Control Act of 1992, violations are rampant such as smoking in state agencies and public places as well as cigarette sales to teens under 18, who can still buy cigarettes from traders and even easier from automatic vending machines at shopping centres and theatres," Ms Ratan said.

The House committee would urge police to tackle traders who sell cigarettes to minors and to strictly control the installation of automatic cigarette vending machines.

It would ask the Education Ministry to launch anti-smoking campaigns in schools and push for restricted smoking zones at the parliament to set a good example for other state agencies.

"The Education Ministry should include smoking in the criteria for the calculation of the grade point average students use in the entrance examination process," Miss Ratana said.

Surinan Ariyawongsophon, an adviser to the panel, said smoking was popular among the youth because they saw their teachers smoke in schools.

The Education Ministry should step up its anti-smoking campaign and restrict the areas where teachers can smoke in school.

Monks who smoke were also violating a basic Buddhist precept and the Sangha Council's rules, and the panel would ask the Religious Department to discipline them.

Source: Bangkok Post, 

             Wednesday, 5/31/00

 


 

 

Bid to extend tobacco advertising ban [in Australia]

 

by Darren Gray

A new law banning tobacco advertising at major sports events will be introduced in Federal Parliament today, World No Tobacco Day.

The proposed law would ban tobacco advertising at all events, such as the Melbourne formula one Grand Prix and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, from October 2006.

A ban on tobacco sponsorship at sporting events exists, but events deemed of international significance can be exempted from the ban. The federal Health Minister must approve exemptions.

The Australian Democrats and Labor said yesterday they would back the law. The anti-smoking group Quit said the ban could not happen soon enough.

Health Minister Michael Wooldridge will today launch the Federal Government's latest anti-smoking commercials. The commercials show the amount of tar smokers inhale and illustrate how smoking can lead to blindness.

Dr Wooldridge will also release a review of the National Tobacco Campaign.

A spokeswoman for Victorian Health Minister John Thwaites said the State Government supported the tougher stand against tobacco sponsorship.

The spokeswoman said the government did not believe the ban would harm attempts to host the race after 2006.

Federal Labor health spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said a report recommended the government adopt a blanket ban covering sports events two years ago.

"It has just taken a ridiculous amount of time to get the bill into the Parliament," she said.


A Democrats source said the law would send a strong message to the international community that Australia did not think it was appropriate to associate tobacco with sport.

Although the main sponsor of the Melbourne Grand Prix is not a tobacco company, some of the racing teams have tobacco sponsorship.

Honda Indy 300 general manager Geoff Jones said tobacco advertising at the race was allowed only on cars.

Source: The Age, 

               Wednesday, 5/31/00


 

Rockefeller launches tobacco control program

 

Bangkok, Thailand - May 31, 2000. On World No-Tobacco Day, observed here in ceremonies by the Royal Thai Government and the Director General of the World Health Organization, the Rockefeller Foundation announces a new initiative to support reducing the health burden of tobacco on the poor in developing countries. By building local research and capacity, this program will help enable developing countries to respond to the threat of tobacco consumption.

Initially the Foundation will concentrate its resources on Southeast Asia, with particular attention to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia.  It is anticipated that the Foundation will provide up to $10 million in support over the next five years through projects related to the "Trading Tobacco for Health Initiative".

This program marks a new chapter in the Foundation's efforts in international health. As Dr. Lincoln Chen, the Foundation's Executive Vice President, remarked, "While we recognize and continue to work on the unfinished agenda for communicable diseases, the international health community cannot ignore the rising toll from the tobacco epidemic in developing countries. To avert tomorrow's tragedy, we must act today."

Drawing upon proven effective practices, the Rockefeller Foundation will support locally-generated research and interventions. The evidence-based strategy will include, for example, efforts to reduce smoking initiation among youth; support for effective adoption of comprehensive tobacco control policies like smoke-free public spaces; and an examination of the impact of tobacco on the livelihoods of the poor.

Between 1990 and 2020, the world death toll from tobacco will rise from 3.0 to 8.4 million per year. Virtually this entire annual increase is expected to occur in developing countries. Now responsible for one in ten deaths, it will claim one in six by 2030 - ten million lives a year. Put in perspective, over the next 30 years, the number of people expected to die from tobacco-related illness exceeds the death totals for AIDS, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, homicide, suicide, and automobile accidents combined.

Reinforcing the Foundation's focus on equity in health, the initiative will emphasize tobacco's impact upon the poor and ways to respond to this disproportionate burden of disease. Tobacco use is more prevalent among the poor and amplifies other health problems. Tobacco-related disease can be a major precipitant of medical impoverishment. And tobacco consumption exacts a high opportunity cost on poor households, limiting resources available for feeding the family.

"By supporting networking, research in the local context and access to expert resources, we can help bridge the lag in globalization between the trade of tobacco and the developing country response to it," said Professor Gordon Conway, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. "With this support, we hope that developing countries will themselves be better positioned to tackle the challenges of tobacco use over the long term and on their own terms."

Conway remarked that globalization -- whose benefits have accrued to a very small fraction of humankind often at the expense of the world's poor -- has accelerated the trade and promotion of tobacco. "Trading Tobacco for Health" is an attempt to redirect the currents of globalization to benefit the world's poor.

"Trading Tobacco for Health" comes just over ten years after several Asian markets, including Thailand's, were forced open to U.S. cigarette imports.  With its passage of strong tobacco control policies and its active non-governmental efforts to reduce smoking, Thailand has lowered smoking prevalence over the past decade. Campaigns to raise public awareness of the health harms of smoking, increased excise taxes on tobacco, and the establishment of a Health Promotion Foundation set an example for the developing world. The program will benefit from the regional expertise this experience has afforded.

The Rockefeller Foundation stressed that this new initiative can only be a small part of the platform of support necessary to reduce tobacco use among the poor in developing countries. In order to achieve substantial and sustainable long-term gains, the Rockefeller Foundation will work to encourage other organizations to make tobacco control an important part of their funding strategies.

About the Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation's approach to current global challenges focuses on poor people's daily existence - their lives and livelihoods - and how the process of globalization can be turned to their advantage. The Foundation's program funding is focused and targeted among four "themes" that reflect the interconnected and intertwined themes of people's lives - their health, food, work and creative expression.

The Rockefeller Foundation has a long history of both creating new knowledge by employing the most up-to-date tools of science and technology and then disseminating that knowledge to ameliorate human suffering. In the Foundation's past this method of using knowledge to focus on the root causes of problems, rather than their symptoms, has led to successes including the eradication of hookworm, the development of a Yellow Fever vaccine, and the modernization of developing country agriculture known as the Green Revolution.

contact: e-mail: ttfh@rockfound.org

Source: Wednesday, 5/31/00



WHO Seeks Global Ban on Tobacco Ads

 

by Matthew Pennington 

BANGKOK, Thailand - The World Health Organization launched a global campaign against the tobacco industry today, accusing the companies of systematically spreading death almost unchallenged.

The organization said it would make a global ban on tobacco advertising a priority in an agreement to be negotiated by its 191 members.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the WHO, marked World No-Tobacco Day in the Thai capital to pay tribute to activists who won a nationwide ban on tobacco advertising in 1992.

About 10,000 people demonstrated in central Bangkok, singing anti-tobacco songs and starting a clock representing one death every eight seconds from tobacco-related disease.

"Tobacco is a communicable disease. It's communicated through advertising, marketing and making smoking appear admirable and glamorous," Brundtland said.

Brundtland accused the tobacco industry of using sports and entertainment figures to market its products to children and create a new generation of smokers.

"It is hard, if not impossible, to find any parallel in history where people who have gone about in such a systematic way perpetuating death and destruction have gone unpunished and unquestioned," said Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway.

Brundtland said 10 million people a year will die from tobacco-related deaths by 2030, more than 70 percent of them from the developing world, an increasingly important market for tobacco companies. Currently, the figure is 3.5 million to 4 million.

David Wilson, regional manager of corporate affairs for British-American Tobacco, which has a 15 percent share of the global cigarette market, denied on Tuesday that children are targeted.

Wilson also complained that the industry was being "locked out" of negotiations on the planned Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which will consider the global advertising ban.

Brundtland said tobacco companies would be given the chance to put their case across to the WHO in Geneva in October.

According to the WHO, about 1.15 billion of the world's 6 billion-plus people are smokers.

China, the world's biggest tobacco producer and consumer, will draw up a national tobacco-control plan to reduce smoking-related health problems and economic losses, the state-run Beijing Morning Post said today.

Brundtland praised Thailand for responding "forcibly" 10 years ago when it came under pressure to open its markets to foreign tobacco. Thailand eventually was forced to open to foreign imports, but the spat created momentum for the anti-tobacco campaign.

Health Minister Korn Dabbaransi said Thailand's action had left it "the loser in trade, but the winner in health."

Source: Associated Press, 

              Wednesday, May 31, 2000


 

Ash Wants Tobacco Taken Off Asean Free Trade List - Retail shops selling cigarettes to minors

 

by Aphaluck Bhatiasevi

Anti-smoking advocates
yesterday urged the government to remove tobacco from the list of products which will enjoy a level of tax exemption by 2003 under the Asean Free Trade Area agreement.

Prakit Vathisathokit, secretary-general of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation (Ash), said since tobacco is a product harmful to health, it should not be allowed to enjoy tax privileges under Afta.

At least two multi-national tobacco companies had moved their manufacturing plants into Asean, to take advantage of Afta, said Bang-on Rithiphakdi of Ash.

Ms Bang-on was referring to the recent shift of the manufacturing plants of Philip Morris and British American Tobacco from Hong Kong to Malaysia.

Judith Mackay of the World Health Organisation's Tobacco-Free Initiative, said though Thailand had done a lot to control cigarette smoking, it needed to take additional steps to keep the number of cigarette smokers from growing beyond 10 million.

More serious enforcement of existing regulations against tobacco consumption is required, said Dr Prakit. He said a random survey conducted last week showed that 90% of retail shops in Bangkok continue to sell cigarettes to minors below 14 years of age, which is against the law.

Source: Bangkok Post, 

             Tuesday, 5/30/00


 

Minister bans all tobacco promotion

 

by Ralph Riegel

Health Minister Micheal Martin dealt the tobacco industry a multi-million pound blow yesterday by confirming a ban on all cigarette advertising and sponsorships from July.

The minister, speaking in Cork as he opened a major campaign against what he termed ``the tobacco epidemic,'' said that all tobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines will be outlawed from July 1.

All tobacco sponsorships of major sporting events will also be outlawed in five weeks' time. And the Government are to work closely with pharmaceutical firms, such as the manufacturers of Nicorette, to co-ordinate support measures for those seeking to quit smoking.

In a sweeping crackdown on the tobacco industry he promised further action including:

* A trebling in fines, from £500 to £1,500, for anyone selling cigarettes to the under-aged.

* Further cigarette price-hikes on top of the 50p imposed on a pack of 20 cigarettes in the last Budget.

* A nationwide schools education campaign.

``The reality is that tobacco-related illnesses kill half of those who use tobacco. I am determined to work towards a tobacco-free Ireland,'' he added.

Under the minister's crackdown, all forms of tobacco advertising and sponsorship will be banned, including high-profile sponsorships in the motor-sport, snooker horse-racing, greyhound-racing and entertainment sectors.

Penalties for breaches of the proposed new Tobacco Act will be extremely heavy, the minister vowed.

He stressed that the campaign will focus on underage smoking and drinking through an historic classroom initiative. This, co-ordinated by the Southern Health Board, is aimed at tackling the alarming findings of the HBSC survey in 1999, which confirmed that children as young as nine have experienced both alcohol and tobacco, some on a regular basis.

The SHB's Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use in Schools is a drive aimed at using education in the classroom to alert children to the dangers of substance-abuse.

The drive is aimed at alerting children as to the dangers of drug abuse at an early age - while making the process easy-to-understand.

The campaign is being co-ordinated to run in conjunction with World No Tobacco Day, which occurs tomorrow.

Last night, the National Newspapers of Ireland said it had absolutely no argument with the health issues which motivated the ban, but warned on the advertising repercussions.

``Advertising is the life-blood of media and there is a very real concern that a ban on tobacco advertising will lead to a domino effect on other forms of advertising,'' it said in a statement.

``Most important for newspapers is the principle of freedom of commercial speech no government should ban the advertising of a product which you can buy legally and use legally.''

Source: Irish Independent, 

             Tuesday, 5/30/00


 

SA Smokers Have One Month To Puff Away

 

Regulations to curb the smoking habits of South Africans would be promulgated by the end of next month or early July, Patricia Lambert, adviser to the health minister, said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Pretoria to mark Wednesday's World No-Tobacco Day, she said the regulations would stop smoking in public places, which included the workplace.

The legislation had to be altered to exclude regulation of smoking in people's homes, Lambert said. However, this presented problems as the constitution included an obligation to protect children.

"It is difficult for children to protect themselves in their own homes against their smoking parents."

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said: "The exposure of children to household tobacco levels has reached critical levels."

Of the five-year-olds living in Soweto, 64 percent were found to live with at least one smoker in the home, she said.

Dr Priscilla Reddy, director of the Medical Research Council's national health promotion and development office, said that according to preliminary findings of a survey conducted among 6 000 children nationwide, 43,6 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds were exposed to tobacco smoke in their homes.

More than 42 percent had smoked at least once in their lives. "That is alarming. That is our nation's tomorrow."

Reddy said 21 percent indicated that the first thing they wanted when they woke up in the morning was a cigarette.

One-fifth of the respondents had smoked for the first time before they were 10 years old, 18 percent currently smoked and 10 percent smoked frequently.

About 35 percent thought it was difficult to quit smoking, she said.

"As the years progress, how much more addicted are they going to be?"

Tshabalala-Msimang said passive smoking could have a particularly harmful effect on the respiratory systems of babies and young children.

A recent study found that women were far more likely to develop cancer after exposure to second-hand smoke than men were. It also indicated that some non-smoking women might be genetically susceptible to second-hand smoke.

In South Africa, 40 percent of men and 12 percent of women smoked.

"How can we stand by and do nothing when we have proof that the smoking of men and a few women is endangering the lives and causing disease amongst most of our women, all of our children and a few of our men?

"We have a duty to protect non-smokers from smokers, and we intend to do just that. We will promulgate our regulations as soon as possible, and in doing so, we will give real effect to people's constitutional right to live in a healthy environment."

For decades, cigarette advertising glamourised smoking, yet failed to inform the public that the products were highly addictive, could kill, or at the least, cause serious illness.

"It is our duty to protect people, especially young people, from this blatantly deceitful and downright dangerous advertising."

Dr Yusuf Saloojee, director of the National Council against Smoking, lashed out at a cigarette advertisement posing the question: "Do I look afraid to take a chance?"

He said it encouraged people to take the risk of smoking. "It's like encouraging people to drink and drive."

Lambert said that within three months of the promulgation of the regulation, smoking rooms, not exceeding 25 percent of the total area of the premises, would have to be designated at workplaces.

Smokers working at a place without a smoking room, would have to go outside to light up. The only place where smoking was not regulated was the open air, because that would have been too difficult, she said.

Asked about the possible intimidation of or discrimination against non-smokers on the grounds of their complaints, Lambert said the Labour Relations Act protected employees against victimisation or threatening.

However, more subtle threats might be difficult to control.

She suggested that a complaint about smoking should be directed to a person in a high position and in written form.

Saloojee said some people saw the legislation as anti-smokers, while the issue was smoking.

"The struggle was against apartheid, never against white South Africans."

Regarding suggestions that the law was painted as unworkable and unrealistic, he said: "This is not true."

Tshabalala-Msimang said she was sure the law and regulations would achieve their objectives.

She said her department would ensure that the regulations were in line with the constitution.

"I'm convinced we are on the right track."

South Africa's tobacco legislation was in line with that of many other countries - including banning tobacco advertising, creating smoke-free workplaces, prohibiting free cigarette hand-outs and reducing tar and nicotine in cigarettes.

"They are doing this for the sake of their vulnerable citizens, and also because tobacco-related illnesses are costing health systems a great deal of money - money that is literally going up in smoke." - Sapa

Source: The Independent Online (IOL), 

             Tuesday, 5/30/00


 

Study recommends 7% ownership limit in privatizing tobacco firm

 

The privatization of the Korea Ginseng and Tobacco Corp. (KGTC) is expected to proceed in a way that prevents any company or individual from gaining a controlling stake.

Unveiling its study on privatizing the tobacco monopoly in a public hearing yesterday, the Korea Development Institute suggested that the ceiling on ownership be set at 7 percent and maintained for 4-5 years.

The rationale behind the idea is to prevent a chaebol group or multinational tobacco giant from emerging as a controlling shareholder.

An official of the Ministry of Finance and Economy said the government will draw up a final privatization plan based on the views presented at the hearing. "But it will not deviate much from the KDI study."

The studay said the ideal form of KGTC after privatization is the separation of management from ownership as is common among U.S. and British corporations.

It opposed the sale of a controlling stake to a chaebol or multinational tobacco firm on three grounds. Firstly, the controlling shareholder is highly likely to put private benefits before maximization of corporate value; secondly, given the characteristics of the tobacco industry, it is more desirable to entrust the management of the company to a competent professional manager than to a chaebol group or foreign company; and thirdly, a chaebol group or foreign firm is unlikely to provide support to domestic tobacco leaf farmers.

Based on these grounds, the study recommended that the present 7 percent ownership limit, which was scheduled to be lifted by the end of this year, be maintained till the professional management system takes roots.

The KDI study also suggested the chief executive officer be selected by a CEO recommendation committee, to be formed by people independent from the government and company management, possibly including representatives of employees and consumers.

The 10-15 person committee will have two thirds of its members filled by outside directors, who are to be recommended by a separate committee.

The study also recommends formation of a committee comprising experts in management, accounting and personnel management to strengthen the role of the board of directors.

A management committee should also be established with a president, vice president and managers of business divisions to carry out committee directives and execute day-to-day operations.

If the government follows the recommendations, the sale of government shares, previously scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, is likely to be delayed depending on market conditions. The government is also likely to review a policy to pay subsidies to farmers which gives up growing tobacco leaves.

The KDI study has drawn keen attention as it is believed to present a model for privatizing other state-invested corporations.

Source: Korea Herald, 

            Tuesday, 5/30/00


 


Study Links Smoking, Gum Disease

 

CHICAGO (AP) - Cigarette smoking may play a major role in more than half of the cases of severe gum disease in adults nationwide, suggesting that one of the main causes of tooth loss could be prevented, a government study shows. 

While it has long been known that smoking can help cause gum disease, this is the first national study to show how widespread the problem is, said Dr. Scott Tomar, a researcher with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Jack Caton, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, called the numbers "staggering" and said the study should "compel even more dental care providers to get involved in tobacco cessation efforts." 

Current smokers were about four times more likely than people who never smoked to have periodontitis, but ex-smokers who had abstained for 11 years faced no increased risk, according to Tomar, whose findings were published in the May issue of the Journal of Periodontology. Overall, 52.8 percent of periodontitis in the study was attributed to current and former smoking. 

Periodontitis, advanced gum disease that destroys the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth, is generally caused by bacteria contained in plaque buildup. 

Researchers believe smoking causes damage that makes the gums more vulnerable to bacterial infection. Tobacco can suppress the body's immune system, impeding its ability to fight infection. It also reduces blood flow to the gums, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients that allow gums to stay healthy, Tomar said. 

"One of the functions of gums is to prevent underlying bone from being destroyed. If you reduce the ability of cells to repair, you will over time lose support for the tooth" and tooth loss may result, said Tomar, who studied government health data on 12,329 people. 

Fifty-five percent of the study subjects with periodontitis were current smokers and 21.8 percent were former smokers. Current smokers of more than 1{ packs of cigarettes a day were nearly six times more likely than nonsmokers to have periodontitis. Those who smoked less than half a pack daily were almost three times more likely to have the disease. 

Smoking and periodontitis were both more common in black men and low-income adults - findings in line with U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher's report last week on a "silent epidemic" of oral disease in minorities and low-income Americans. Tobacco use was one of the factors blamed for the problem in the report. 

Deborah Winn, a specialist in dental disease and oral cancer at the National Cancer Institute, called Tomar's findings "complementary" with Satcher's report. 

She said the study does a good job of outlining yet another reason to quit smoking. 

"Tobacco prevention and cessation will be critical in reducing periodontal disease," she said. 

Source: AP 

            Tuesday, 5/30/00

 


 

Letter: End The Export Subsidy for Big Tobacco!

 

End The Export Subsidy for Big Tobacco!

 

Dear Colleagues:

 

Attached is a letter to President Clinton asking the Administration to eliminate tax breaks for U.S. tobacco company exports. Currently, under the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) program, U.S. tobacco companies can legally avoid paying taxes on a portion of their profits from cigarette exports. This program has been challenged by the European Union at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Administration is trying to devise a replacement program that would comply with WTO rules. We are asking that tobacco companies be excluded from whatever they come up with. 

What You Can Do:

1. Sign-on to the letter to President Clinton by close of business, Monday, June 5th. Please send organizational endorsements to: Judy Glanz, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids,  fax: 202-296-5427. 

2. Contact your Congressional representative and encourage them to sign-on to “the Doggett letter to end taxpayer subsidies for tobacco exports”, which currently has 68 co-signers. A copy of that letter and a list of current signatories is also attached. Congressional endorsements can be sent to Lindsay at Rep. Doggett’s office; tel. 202-225-4865.

Thanks



Dear President Clinton:

As your negotiators seek an agreement with the European Union on their challenge to U.S. export subsidies at the WTO, we are writing to ask you to exclude U.S. tobacco companies from any future program designed to enhance America’s export competitiveness. Currently, tax subsidies for U.S. cigarette exporters under the Foreign Sales Corporation program cost American taxpayers $100 million a year. 

The dangers of nicotine addiction to our children are well-known: three thousand young Americans each day become regular smokers – the leading cause of preventable death in America. But these dangers do not stop at our shores. Globally, the World Bank estimates that between 80,000 and 100,000 kids become addicted to cigarettes every day. With increasing pressure in the United States to stop hooking our kids on nicotine, the big tobacco companies are, with the unwitting support of American taxpayers, trying to addict new generations of smokers overseas. Tobacco-related illnesses kill 4 million people a year around the globe. If current trends continue, by 2030, ten million people will die every year, 70 percent of them in developing countries.

The tobacco industry should not receive any assistance from the U.S. government in their quest to addict new generations of smokers overseas. At a time when your Administration is taking strong action against the tobacco companies for their deception and misconduct in the United States, we ask that they not be rewarded through select provisions of the tax code for their misconduct overseas. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,


cc. Lawrence Summers
Stuart Eizenstat
Lloyd Doggett



May 1, 2000
U.S. will take plan to Europe
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Trying to overturn the worst trade defeat the United States has suffered at the World Trade Organization, the Clinton administration said Monday it has achieved strong bipartisan backing for proposed changes to a tax benefit provided to American exporters. Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat was to present the proposal in discussions Tuesday in Brussels with officials of the European Union. The 15-nation EU successfully challenged the $4 billion annual tax break for U.S. exporters before the WTO, which ruled earlier this year that it represented an illegal export subsidy. Eizenstat told an audience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday that he had discussed the administration proposal with top Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate as well as the U.S. business community.

“We will go (to Brussels) with united support from the business community, from congressional leadership,” Eizenstat said. “That will give us a very strong hand in our discussions.” Eizenstat will have discussions over the next two days with Pascal Lamy, the EU's top trade negotiators, and other European economic officials in Brussels, London and Paris. Eizenstat refused to reveal details of his plan to reporters but he said the proposal was the result of “intensive discussions” the administration has held with tax experts in both the House and Senate.

The United States has until Oct. 1 to comply with the WTO decision that its Foreign Sales Corporation program is an illegal trade subsidy. After that date, the EU could retaliate with higher tariffs on American products. The program, which was created in 1984, allows some 6,000 U.S. companies including Boeing, General Motors, Microsoft and United Technology, to reduce income taxes by up to 15 percent by creating export subsidiaries in tax havens such as the Virgin Islands and Barbados. The intent of the program was to offset an EU tax rebate given to European companies for goods sold overseas. Eizenstat has held discussions with Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee; House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman William Roth, R-Del. Aides said the gist of the administration's proposal is to repeal the Foreign Sales Corporation program entirely and then lower income taxes on the foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to make up the difference. This would avoid European Union charges of unfair trade practices by applying not only to U.S. exports from these subsidiaries but also to products they make overseas and sell back to the United States. No cost estimated was immediately available.

Rep. Doggett’s Letter To End Taxpayer Subsidies For Tobacco Exports


May 10, 2000

The Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Eizenstat:

In your position as the lead Administration official charged with implementing an acceptable response to the adverse World Trade Organization (WTO) decision on Foreign Sales Corporations (FSC), we urge you to provide leadership in terminating any benefit for export of tobacco products. 

As you are well aware, through FSC, US businesses export domestically manufactured goods and shelter a portion of that income from US taxes. Despite earlier estimates that the FSC provision accounts for $2 billion in lost revenues annually, new estimates show that the FSC accounts for at least $4 billion a year, soon to grow to $6 billion annually. The latest available data from the Statistics of Income division at the Internal Revenue Service (Spring 2000 Bulletin, analyzing 1996 tax year) show tobacco products sold through FSC’s accounted for $100 million in lost tax revenue in 1996 (almost $7 billion in gross foreign tobacco sales through FSC’s, providing $285 million in exempt income). There is no justification for compelling American taxpayers to support a $100 million tax subsidy annually for the benefit of US tobacco companies.

The dangers of nicotine addiction to our children are well-known: three thousand young Americans each day become caught up in a nicotine habit ?? our leading cause of preventable death in America. But these dangers do not stop at our American shores. With increasing pressure to stop hooking our kids on nicotine, the big tobacco companies have turned to other people’s kids by peddling nicotine around the globe.

Since 1990, while Philip Morris’s sales have grown minimally in the United States, they have grown by 80% abroad. Smoking currently causes more than 3.5 million deaths each year throughout the world. Within 20 years, that number is expected to rise to 10 million, with 70% of all deaths from smoking coming in the developing countries that are the newest targets in big tobacco’s continued addiction to making money at the expense of human lives. In fact, tobacco will be the leading cause of disease and premature death worldwide -- bypassing communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. There is no reason that the American taxpayer need contribute to this export of death and disease, where the result, intended or otherwise, is more children around the globe smoking.

The legislative history of the FSC provision (formerly DISC) shows exclusion from benefits for certain products for a number of reasons: the domestic supply not adequate to meet domestic demand (1971); products already receiving other government subsidies (1971); natural resources and energy products where cost depletion allowable (1975); products subject to export controls (1975); military products on the munitions list (1976); unprocessed timber (1993). In some cases, the exclusion of products from export benefits promotes congruence with other federal government policies, as with items subject to the Export Administration Act. Other reasons for prohibiting certain items over the years have ranged from difficulty in tax administration (as with intangibles), benefits unnecessary due to high foreign demand (see 1976 House vote eliminating agricultural products), and concern for displacement of US jobs (as with timber). 

As you know, this Administration is pursing legal remedies against the tobacco companies for decades of deception and addiction and has proposed allowing the Food and Drug Administration both to regulate tobacco as a drug-delivery device and to control access to minors. We seek your help to end the contradiction of using the tax code to encourage US companies, which export products that, when used as intended, result in addicting children abroad to nicotine and pushing them down a path to cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. We urge the elimination and exclusion of these products from any new FSC law.


Sincerely,


Current List of Signatories, as of 26 May 2000

Ackerman
Allen
Baldacci
Blagojevich
Bluemenauer
Brown, Sherrod
Capps
Capuano
Conyers
DeFazio
DeLauro
Deutsch
Doggett
Eshoo
Farr
Frank
Ganske
Green
Gutierrez
Hansen
Hastings
Hinchey
Holt
Hooley
Jones, Stephanie Tubbs
Kildee
Kind
Kucinich
LaFalce
Lampson
Lantos
Levin
Lewis
Lofgren
Lowey
Luther
Maloney, Carolyn
Markey
Matsui
McCarthy
McDermott
McGovern
Meehan
Millender-McDonald
Miller, George
Moakley
Nadler
Neal
Olver
Owens
Pallone
Payne
Pelosi
Rivers
Rodriguez
Rothman
Royal-Allard
Sanders
Schakowsky
Serrano
Slaughter
Snyder
Stark
Tierney
Waxman
Weygand
Woolsey
Wu


Source: From the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. 
Please respond to jglanz@tobaccofreekids.org, not to this list.


 

New inside information on tobacco companies released [in Canada]

 

OTTAWA -- Health Minister Allan Rock today released a second round of internal tobacco company documents, thus providing the public with more information on industry products and practices than ever before. The documents build on the insight gained through British American Tobacco Company papers retrieved from the Guildfor  Depository in England and released to the public last fall.

"The first round of documents gave us the key to some of the industry's language, and a thread to follow in fully comprehending its internal objectives," said Mr. Rock.

Health Canada has been working on interpreting the first documents received with the help of special advisor Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, former head of research for the U.S. tobacco company Brown & Williamson. To mark World No Tobacco Day on May 31, Health Canada will be co-hosting, with Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, an international roundtable of experts at the Ottawa Public Library. They will look at the manufacturing, packaging, and promotion of cigarettes in light of information that the documents provide, and Dr. Wigand will deliver a public lecture during the lunch hour.

A key focus of the material released today is the tobacco industry's activities in areas such as environmental tobacco smoke, advertising bans, sponsorship restrictions, and health warning messages. It also sets out industry positions and arguments to use with governments on the effects of advertising and sponsorship bans, as well as extensive work undertaken on how to market the product effectively despite ad bans.

There are also a number of studies on smoker behaviour, including a study suggesting that women may find it harder to quit than men. There are others suggesting that smokers of low nicotine and low tar cigarettes can inhale as much tar and nicotine as full-strength brands through "compensation" – either inhaling more deeply or smoking more cigarettes.

"The studies collected show that cigarettes are a highly engineered product," said Mr. Rock. "Every aspect of the cigarette was studied in order to maximize its effectiveness and acceptability to consumers, from the paper used to wrap it, to the amount of smoke it produces. This information, supplemented by reports on research activity we will obtain through the proposed new reporting regulations, will help us regulate this industry in ways that work, so we can better protect Canadians."

The information from the initial round of documents allowed Health Canada to take a substantial leap forward in understanding the tobacco industry, and focus its own tobacco control program. The documents lend support to federal strategies for youth, targeted public education initiatives, and the need for further measures to reduce tobacco use, including the Government of Canada's proposal for effective new regulations governing the labelling of tobacco products. They also reinforce the importance of Health Canada's proposal for the expansion of industry reporting requirements. Both regulatory proposals are currently before the House of Commons.

The second round of information, or "Guildford II", contains 18,000 pages and 752 separate files. The files are listed by title and number on the National Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health Programs's (NCTH) Internet site. The NCTH provides information and networking services related to tobacco reduction and prevention programs, projects, and resources.

Health Canada experts are currently conducting research at the depository in order to bring back even more extensive information.

Guildford is one of two document depositories established by order of the Minnesota Court prior to the conclusion of that state's tobacco-related health care cost-recovery litigation in 1998. It contains more than six million pages of information related solely to British American Tobacco Company Ltd. and its affiliates and subsidiaries – including Canada's Imperial Tobacco Ltd.

Source: Health Canada, 

             Monday, 5/29/00



Oral Disease Epidemic

Poverty, Lack of Insurance: Oral Health Risk Factors 

 

W A S H I N G T O N, May 26 —Minorities and the poor are suffering from a “silent epidemic” of oral disease, even as most of the nation benefits from healthier teeth and gums, the U.S. surgeon general said in a new report.  “The mouth is a mirror of the body,” Dr. David Satcher, the nation’s top doctor said Thursday as he announced the first surgeon general report on oral health. “And it is critical to overall health and well-being.” 


Thanks to fluoridated drinking water and better dental care, most Americans middle-age or younger can expect to keep their teeth for life. Yet dental diseases still threaten the health of low-income people, who are more likely to lose their teeth, Satcher said. “I believe Dr. Satcher has issued this report because there is increasing evidence which does show the relationship between dental health and the rest of the body, particularly heart conditions,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, a dentist in private practice in New York City.  “If you have an infection in your gums, it’s no different than having an infection elsewhere in your body,” Dorfman
said. “It can easily spread.” 


People may think teeth are inanimate objects, separate from the body, but vessels travel through your teeth and the rest of the body, Dorfman said.  Nearly one in four Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have severe periodontal disease, Satcher said. 

Poor Have Poorer Oral Health


“Those who suffer the worst oral health are found among the poor of all ages, with poor children and poor older Americans particularly vulnerable,” the report said. “Members of racial and ethnic minority groups also experience a disproportionate level of oral health problems. 


The government’s first-ever comprehensive look at oral health in America showed that a combination of social and economic factors — lack of dental insurance, poor diet, tobacco use, a dearth of minority dentists and a lack of awareness of the importance of healthy teeth — contribute to poor oral health. Nearly half of all poor blacks and Hispanics have untreated tooth decay, compared with 27 percent of poor whites, the study showed.


Oral problems begin early — more than a third of low-income children have at least one untreated decayed tooth by the time they are 9 years old, compared with 17 percent of kids living above the poverty line. The disparity gets even greater the older kids get. Over 43 percent of poor kids have tooth decay by age 17 compared to 23 percent of kids who are better off, according to government studies cited in the report. 

Uninsured Also Suffer


Meanwhile, tooth problems often go unchecked because children lack insurance coverage. Uninsured kids are two-and-a-half times less likely to get dental checkups compared with kids with insurance. Experts estimate that as many as 26 million American children have no insurance coverage for dental care. Even poor kids who have dental insurance are not getting the care they need, the report said. The government estimates that 80 percent of Medicaid eligible kids don’t receive dental care because few dentists take Medicaid patients and dental care isn’t a priority for poor families. “Low income kids have very high levels of coverage because of Medicaid, but they have very few dentist visits,” said Burton Edelstein, a pediatric dentist and director of the Childrens’ Dental Health Project in Washington. 

Tobacco, Alcohol Risk Factors 


The report, a combination of clinical and epidemiological studies, also looked at disparities in people suffering from oral and throat cancers, which affect more than 30,000 Americans each year and kill more than 8,000. Tobacco and alcohol use are the primary risk factors for oral cancers. Men are more likely to have these cancers than women, and black men have a much higher rate of oral cancer — 20.8 cases per 100,000 males a year, versus 14.9 cases for white males. Blacks are less likely to have these cancers caught at early stages, so their survival rates are not as good as for whites.


The report calls for more screening for oral cancers and more studies of dental health disparities, as well as anti-smoking and water fluoridation projects in communities that don’t have them. And, of course, it urges Americans to brush and floss daily.

 

Source: The Associated Press and ABCNEWS correspondents
             Jon Bascom and Bettina Gregory contributed to this report.
             May 26, 2000



 

 

Brazil Wants Heavy Cigarette Tax

 

by Peter Muello 

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- In a new offensive against the tobacco industry, Brazil's government announced it will propose a heavy surtax on cigarette sales and a ban on all advertising and sponsorship of cultural and sports events by the tobacco industry.

Health Minster Jose Serra said the goal is to reduce smoking by 40 percent within four years. The new measures will be submitted to Congress next week.

"The ministry starts from the premise that cigarettes are a drug and should be fought as a drug," Serra said in announcing the proposed legislation Wednesday.

One bill would ban cigarette ads from television, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards. Tobacco companies also would be prohibited from sponsoring many events, including an annual jazz festival and the popular Formula One and CART auto races.

In the United States, cigarette advertising is also restricted – including a ban on television ads.

TV ads in Brazil now are allowed late at night and must carry a health warning at the end. But the warnings vary greatly in content, and some are as mild as: "Avoid smoking in the presence of children."

The government hasn't set a rate for the surtax, which also would be levied on liquor manufacturers. But Serra said it could generate $81 million a year, which he said would be spent on health research.

The main target of the campaign is teen-agers, he said.

A 30-second TV spot that began airing on Thursday shows a drug dealer in a Brazilian slum, his face concealed with a ski mask, explaining how he gets clients hooked – on cigarettes.

Health Ministry figures show that smoking-related diseases cause a death about every seven minutes in Brazil, a nation of 165 million people.

Opposition parties, which have submitted five bills with varying sanctions against the tobacco industry, applauded the initiative.


Souza Cruz, a major Brazilian tobacco company owned by British conglomerate BAT Industries PLC, declined to comment on the government proposal.

Brazil, an important tobacco grower that for years ignored the anti-tobacco movement abroad, has stepped up efforts to curb smoking in recent years. Smoking now is banned in public buildings and on all domestic and international airplane flights.

Some Brazilian state governments also have filed suit in U.S. courts against American tobacco companies to recover money spent in treating smoking-related diseases. The states of Rio de Janeiro and Goias are seeking at least $5 billion each.

Source: AP

            Thursday, 5/25/00


 

MEPs vote to enlarge cigarette warnings - Manufacturers may have to increase warning size

 

Euro-MPs have voted for massive increases in the size of health warnings on cigarette packs.

But a UK anti-smoking pressure group fears that the demands by a small number of MEPs could jeopardise a whole raft of different restrictions.

The MEPs want reminders of the risks of smoking to cover 40% of the front of every packet and 60% of the back.

They want the warnings to be printed only in black on a white background to give them more impact, instead of the present system which requires only "contrasting colours" on packets.

And they are calling for cigarette descriptions such as "low tar", "mild" and "light" to be banned.

However, the proposals - which far exceed the 25% pack warning increase originally proposed, have to be agreed by a meeting of all MEPs - and then a committee of EU ministers later next month.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) fears that important tobacco control measures in the directive could be lost if the ministers decide the new pack warning sizes are excessive.

Spokesman Amanda Sandford said: "We would rather sacrifice the big warnings to save the other parts of the directive, like the new limits on the amount of tar and nicotine in cigarettes."

Labour's environment spokesman David Bowe MEP said: "The Commission and many EU governments support the kind of measures we have voted for today and we therefore expect this to go through."

Far stricter

There are already EU rules governing health warnings on packets, advertising, and the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes.

But the existing rules fall far short of what MEPs are now demanding - with health warnings currently required on only 4% of the surface of cigarette packets.

The UK government exceeds this EU minimum, obliging companies to "advertise" the health dangers on 6% of the packet's surface.

In contrast Canada has already made health warnings compulsory on 90% of the surface of a cigarette pack.

After today's vote of the European Parliament's environment committee meeting in Brussels, Mr Bowe said tobacco companies were trying to kill the legislation.

"They are using every trick in the book to put a stop to these new rules.

"Cigarette companies say their products are for informed adults, but existing warnings are obscured by clever colour combinations, striking packaging and tucked behind careful displays.

"Most smokers neither know the full risks nor bear the full costs of their choice."

If passed by EU ministers at the end of June, it will still be several months before the directive comes into force.

It will also force tobacco companies to include much more information about any additives they include in their products.

FOREST, the group which campaigns for equal rights for the smoker, said the whole idea of warnings on cigarette packs was a waste of time.

A spokeswoman said: "People are well aware of the dangers. This is totally pointless. It's a waste of taxpayers' money paying for MEPs to sit around debating this."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We will look at the call from the MEPs but we have been working on this through the European Commission and we are content with the proposal which has been put forward to increase the size of the warning to 25%, or possibly 30% in the case of certain foreign languages.

"The regulations in the UK currently require only 6% of the pack to be used so this would represent a major increase in the size of the warning."

Source: BBC Online, 

            Thursday, 5/25/00


 

Philip Morris Ramps Up Cigarette Production In Russia

 

by Kristina Shevory


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Tobacco giant Philip Morris (MO) expects to produce locally more than 90% of its cigarettes sold in Russia within two years, company spokesman Yuri Galibov said Tuesday.

Philip Morris intends to increase production in Russia as the company's new $330 million factory, Philip Morris Izhora, attains full operating capacity.

The plant, opened earlier this year in the Leningrad region outside St.  Petersburg, will eventually produce 25 billion cigarettes a year, or 10% of the total number of cigarettes produced in Russia. The plant currently produces 5 billion cigarettes a year.

Philip Morris Izhora, the largest of the U.S. company's three Russian factories, brings production of all Philip Morris brands, apart from Parliament and Virginia Slims, to Russia, the company said.

"We expect to reduce imports of our mega-brands as our new factory comes on line. We can't produce 100% of all our cigarettes in Russia, like Parliament and Virginia Slims, since we don't have the specialized equipment to make them," said Galibov.

"It's more cost-effective to import those cigarettes than to bring that very specific equipment to Russia."

The plant is the company's first fully self-contained Russian factory with operations ranging from tobacco processing to cigarette production.

Its smaller and older Leningrad factory, Philip Morris Neva, currently makes cigarettes using processed tobacco provided by the company's Krasnodar facility in southern Russia.

Philip Morris has invested more than $500 million in Russia to date, making it one of the biggest private-sector investors in the country.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, 

              Wednesday, 5/24/00


 

 

Philip Morris to invest $300 M in RP


by Des Ferriols

 

US-based tobacco giant Philip Morris Co., Inc. is putting in $300 million worth of new investments for the development of a new and expanded cigarette manufacturing facility in Southern Tagalog.

Top officials of PMCI's Philippine subsidiary, Philip Morris Philippines Inc., met with Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II yesterday to explore the possibility of tapping government incentives available to export industries.

Hit hard by a dramatic contraction in the increasingly health-conscious markets of Europe and North America, the world's biggest cigarette manufacturer has been moving into Asia and Africa where the markets continue to expand by leaps and bounds.

Philip Morris already has tobacco processing and manufacturing facilities in Remban, Malaysian and Malang, Indonesia.

During his meeting with PMPI managing director George Farrah, Roxas said the company remains upbeat about the prospects in the Philippine market and the Asian market in general.

According to Roxas, the company is planning to put up a new joint venture with its long-time local partner, La Suerte Cigar and Cigarette Factory, which would eventually seek the registration of its project with the Board of Investments.

Philip Morris, Roxas said, intends to close down its existing facility along South Super-Highway in Parañaque and move its operations to Southern Tagalog where it will construct a new and expanded manufacturing facility.

The new facility, according to Roxas will be one and a half times bigger than the company's existing plant and will increase its production capacity from 20 billion cigarette sticks to 30 billion sticks.

"They are planning to export part of their production so they are thinking of registering as an export business," Roxas said. "This would quality them for incentives available to all export industries."

According to Roxas, "They want to continue and expand their business here because of our Western-style of doing business as well as our workforce," Roxas said. "Add to this the fact that the Philippines is the 15th largest cigarette market in the world."

Roxas said Philip Morris plans to source part of its tobacco requirements from local sources. Traditionally, the company imports 60 percent of its requirement for Virginia tobacco while buying the rest from local producers.

Philip Morris' existing joint venture with La Suerte employees 1,200 workers and generated P14.33 billion in sales in 1999 and P251.58 million in profits. PMPI is 19th in the top 100 companies listed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Philippine Star, 

             Wednesday, 5/24/00


 

Philip Morris to Invest $300 Mln in Philippine Cigarette Plant

 

by Dominic G. Diongson

Manila - (Bloomberg) -- Philip Morris Cos., the world's largest tobacco company, said it will spend $300 million on a new factory to triple production of Philip Morris and Marlboro brands in the Philippines to 60 billion cigarettes.

Philip Morris Philippines will own 80 percent of the new plant, with longtime local associate La Suerte Cigar & Cigarette Factory holding the remainder. When the new plant, located about 50 kilometers south of Manila, begins operation in 2003, the partners will close their existing plant in a suburb of the capital.

La Suerte has produced Marlboro and Philip Morris brands under a license for about 45 years. Once the new plant is in operation, Philip Morris will take over production, according to Renato Salud, a spokesman for Philip Morris Philippines. La Suerte wasn't immediately available for comment on the new arrangement.

Salud said the 20 billion cigarettes a year sold under Philip Morris brand names represents about 28 percent of the domestic cigarette market. The Philippines is the biggest nation of smokers in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

The new factory's enlarged output offers export prospects, Salud said.

``Hopefully, we could use it as a base for exporting to other Asean countries,'' he said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which groups the Philippines with nine other countries in the region, is considering lowering tariffs in the future, which could benefit cigarette exports.

In the region, Philip Morris has plants in Malaysia and Indonesia. It also imports some of its brands, such as Benson & Hedges and Virginia Slims, into the Philippines and other Asian countries

Source: Bloomberg News, 

             Wednesday, 5/24/00



Russian parliament rejects anti-smoking bill

 

The Russian parliament has rejected a bill aimed at cutting the health risks of smoking.

Deputies in the lower house, the Duma, voted against a draft law to lower the levels of nicotine, tar and other harmful substances in Russian-made cigarettes.

Opponents of the bill said it would impose huge extra costs on tobacco companies -- which would almost inevitably have forced up the price of cigarettes.

An estimated sixty-five per cent of men and thirty per cent of women in Russia smoke.

A BBC Russian Affairs analyst says that parliament did not want the responsibility for depriving the millions of ordinary Russians who are on the breadline of one of their few cheap pleasures -- albeit one which could kill them.

Source: BBC Online, 

              Wednesday, 5/24/00


 

Beijing to Remove Cigarrete Stalls in 130 Streets


According to the Beijing Municipal Patriotic Health Commission, cigarette stalls are forbidden to be located along the Qianmen Street, Dongdan Yinjie Street and Xidan Beidajie Street.

By the end of May next year, 130 streets in Beijing will not allow people to smoke in public places. Enditem

Source: Tobacco China, 

             Tuesday, 5/23/00


 

Colombia governors sue U.S. tobacco giant


BOGOTA, May 23 (Reuters) - Colombia's provincial governors' said Tuesday they filed suit in a federal court in New York alleging that U.S.-based Philip Morris Cos. Inc., the world's largest cigarette maker, had avoided paying the South American country of billions of dollars in tax and other revenues.

Michael York, lawyer for Wehner & York which represents Phillip Morris, said: ``We're going to defend this vigorously . I absolutely believe we will prevail. The company has acted lawfully.''

``The allegations don't have any factual or legal merit,'' York said.

Jose Manuel Arias Carrizosa, executive director of Colombia's National Federation of Provinces, said a news conference in the capital Bogota that the complaint against Philip Morris, the maker of the top-selling Marlboro brand, was unveiled in a U.S. District Court in New York last Friday.

The suit was filed by New York law firm Speiser, Krause, Nolan and Granito on behalf of Colombia's 32 provincial governments and the capital district of Bogota, Arias Carrizosa said.

The law firm could not be reached for immediate comment.

The National Federation of Provinces initially threatened to sue Philip Morris (NYSE:MO - news) and British American Tobacco Plc(quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: BATS.L) in May of last year, alleging the two companies had conspired with local distributors to illegally under-bill imports of their products to Colombia to avoid paying a hefty 65 percent duty.

Speiser, Krause, Nolan and Granito went much further in a statement released at Tuesday's news conference in Bogota.

The law firm, which credits itself with specialising in landmark cases throughout the United States for over 50 years, made no mention of British American. But it leveled explosive ``racketeering'' charges against Philip Morris.

``The lawsuit ... alleges that Philip Morris defrauded the government of billions of dollars in revenue through a pattern of racketeering offences involving money laundering and other violations of U.S. law,'' it said.

``The suit further alleges that the smuggling scheme was conceived, designed and implemented at the highest levels of the defendants corporations as a means of maximizing sales and profits,'' the law firm said in its statement.

``Cigarette smuggling has become an important avenue for laundering proceeds from illicit narcotics sales and another link in the drug production cycle,'' it added.

Colombia's booming trade in contraband -- involving a whole catalogue of goods ranging anywhere from Scotch whisky to television sets and refrigerators -- has long been cited at one of the leading ways of laundering the proceeds from narcotics sales abroad and funnelling the money back into Colombia.

The Andean country produces an estimated 80 percent of the world's cocaine and is a leading source of the high-grade heroin sold on U.S. streets.

The country of 40 million inhabitants also has a sizable demand for tobacco, estimated at 30 billion cigarettes per year.

Colombia's top cigarette maker, Compania Colombiana de Tobaco, has long alleged unfair competition, saying foreign-made imports to Colombia are often billed at prices well below their retail value in the country of origin.

The bulk of the tax revenues Colombia was reputedly defrauded of by Philip Morris would have been paid into local government coffers to finance health and recreation programmes.

Local spokesman for Philip Morris had declined comment when the suit was threatened last May. Legal problems then temporarily blocked imports of Marlboro cigarettes in the country, but they have resumed long since then.

Source: Reuters, 

             Wednesday, 5/24/00



 

China Drops Ban on U.S. Tobacco

 

WASHINGTON -- China dropped an 11-year-old ban on the importation of American tobacco Tuesday on the eve of the House vote on whether to grant the Chinese permanent normal trade relations.

In a letter to the U.S. trade representative announcing the end of the ban, Chinese Ambassador Li Zhaoxing said "such good news will be conducive to the PNTR legislation in (the) U.S. Congress."

China had claimed that a fungus on U.S. tobacco called blue mold could damage its domestic crop but had recently suspended research on the issue after scientists concluded that the fungus could not reproduce once the leaf is cured.

Supporters of the trade agreement have said that an end to the Chinese ban could increase U.S. tobacco exports by 10 percent.

Under an agreement that the Clinton administration negotiated last year, China is to drop its tariff on U.S. tobacco from 40 percent to 10 percent and on cigarettes from 65 percent to 25 percent.

Several North Carolina lawmakers who represent large tobacco-growing regions have been undecided on the China trade vote. The end of the tobacco ban cemented a "yes" vote from Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C.

"With this development there ain't no question," said spokesman Brad Woodhouse.

Source: AP

            Tuesday, May 23, 2000


 

More on the Colombian smuggling lawsuit

 

By Maud S. Beelman

 

(Washington, May 23) Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco multinational, has engaged in smuggling and drug-money laundering for years in a scheme to avoid taxes and boost sales of its cigarettes, according to allegations in a new racketeering lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court.

The civil lawsuit - filed by a majority of Colombia's governors - claims that Philip Morris Companies, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including Philip Morris International, Inc., defrauded the Colombian states out of billions of dollars in lost tax revenue over a 10-year period. 

Through actions in the United States and abroad, Philip Morris "conceived, directed, controlled, and implemented an international conspiracy to defraud Plaintiffs and deprive them of money and property, in order to increase their profits and market share, enhance the value of their tobacco operations, and expand the worldwide market for contraband cigarettes," the lawsuit claims. 

Employees accused of laundering

The lawsuit alleges that, in some cases, Philip Morris employees themselves laundered drug money as part of the smuggling operation. In other instances, the company created a labyrinthine network of third-party payments and Swiss bank accounts in order to mask the illegality of their actions, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New York. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the heads of 22 Colombian states, called "departments," as well as the city of Bogota, rather than by the Colombian federal government. The greatest part of Colombia's tax revenue from cigarettes and alcohol goes to the states. 

Philip Morris and its named subsidiaries are accused of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, as well as negligence, fraud, unjust enrichment, public nuisance, and "acts of conspiracy." 

The Colombian governors are seeking actual and punitive damages that could run as high as Philip Morris' total tobacco profits for 1999. 

The governors are claiming about $3 billion in damages, which could be trebled under RICO, as well as punitive damages on several of the alleged violations of law, arguing that Philip Morris' "conduct amounts to a fraud on the public." 

Philip Morris reported tobacco profits of $9.8 billion in 1999 -- $4.9 billion in international tobacco sales.

Philip Morris asserts lawfulness

Michael York, an attorney for Philip Morris, said he had not yet seen the lawsuit, but added, "We believe Philip Morris has acted lawfully." According to the lawsuit, Philip Morris sent a Jan. 21 letter to the Colombian governors, attempting to block the RICO action.

This is the second civil RICO action to be filed against a major U.S.-headquartered tobacco company within the last six months, but the first to target the world's largest tobacco multinational, whose Marlboro line is the world's most popular brand of cigarettes.

In December, Canada filed a $1 billion civil RICO lawsuit in U.S. District Court against R.J. Reynolds and its related tobacco companies for alleged smuggling across the U.S.-Canadian border. Several people, including a former RJR senior sales manager, have already been convicted on U.S. criminal charges stemming from smuggling across that same border.

Philip Morris is the third major tobacco multinational to be implicated in alleged smuggling, which allows cigarettes to enter a market untaxed, be sold at a lower price and, therefore, reach a greater number of consumers. The British government is considering an investigation into British American Tobacco after a report by the Center for Public Integrity in January showed that company's involvement in global smuggling.

U.S. Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly told Congress recently that "international cigarette smuggling has grown to a multibillion-dollar-a-year illegal enterprise linked to transnational organized crime and international terrorism. Profits from cigarette smuggling rival those of narcotic trafficking."

According to the Colombian lawsuit, "the Philip Morris defendants have actively engaged in smuggling activities and concealed such conduct through illegal acts, including money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud, and other violations of United States law. Defendants have collaborated with smugglers, encouraged smugglers, and sold cigarettes to smugglers, either directly or through intermediaries, while at the same time supporting the smugglers' sales through the establishment and maintenance of so-called 'umbrella operations' in the target jurisdictions."

"Umbrella operations" refer to an alleged tobacco company practice of using the presence of a small amount of legal imports into a country to justify an advertising campaign that is really aimed at promoting sales of more numerous black-market cigarettes.

'Sophisticated and clandestine smuggling enterprise'

The 74-page lawsuit charges that Philip Morris "created and exploited a sophisticated and clandestine smuggling enterprise that operates throughout the world and within the Departments of the Republic of Colombia. This international scheme has harmed, and continues to harm, the economic interests of many governments, including the Departments of the Republic of Colombia." 

Suspicions about industry involvement in cigarette smuggling have grown since 1997, when researchers demonstrated, by comparing annual global exports with global imports, that about one-third of all cigarettes entering international commerce each year could not be accounted for. But proof remained elusive until last year, when millions of pages of corporate documents, unearthed during numerous health-related lawsuits, became publicly available as part of the tobacco industry's November 1998 settlement with the U.S. states. 

An investigation by the Center's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists showed that British American Tobacco, the world's second-largest multinational tobacco company, had been involved in cigarette smuggling and tax evasion for years in a global effort to secure market share and lure generations of new smokers. The report was based on an analysis of more than 11,000 pages of internal corporate documents. 

That report also cited documents showing that senior executives of BAT and Philip Morris had met on at least two occasions, in New York and in England, to discuss fixing prices on legal and smuggled cigarettes - an allegation repeated in the Colombian RICO filing.

Top tobacco executives said to be involved

"The Philip Morris defendants created a circuitous and clandestine distribution chain for the sale of cigarettes in order to facilitate smuggling within the Departments of the Republic of Colombia," the lawsuit says. "The decision to establish and maintain this distribution chain was made at the highest executive levels of the Philip Morris defendants."


As part of what they termed the "PM Smuggling Enterprise," the Colombian governors accused Philip Morris of earning hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal profits through: 

Selling cigarettes directly to smugglers or to distributors known to sell to smugglers; 
Labeling, mislabeling, or failing to label their cigarettes in such a way so as to facilitate the activities of smugglers; 
Providing marketing information to distributors and smugglers in order to have the most in-demand cigarettes in the market; 
Generating false or misleading invoices, bills of lading, shipping documents, and other documents that expedite the smuggling process; 
Shipping cigarettes designated for one port knowing that the cigarettes will be diverted to another port and then smuggled; 
Making arrangements for the cigarettes to be paid for in a virtually untraceable way, including using Swiss corporations and/or Swiss bank accounts "in an attempt to improperly utilize Swiss banking and privacy laws as a shield to protect the smugglers from government investigations." 

The Colombian lawsuit also contends that Philip Morris "knew that the currency provided to them represented the proceeds of unlawful activity, including trafficking in narcotics and controlled substances and that, by accepting such payments, aided the efforts of the drug traffickers to launder their ill-gotten gains."

In some instances, "employees of the Philip Morris defendants were personally involved in the laundering of the proceeds of illicit narcotics sales," the lawsuit alleges, claiming that Philip Morris employees would bribe Colombian officials not to stamp their passports, so there would be no record of them entering or leaving the country. 

"These employees on multiple occasions received large volumes of cash that they took into their personal possession or these employees would be present when large volumes of cash were turned over to the distributors with whom the Philip Morris employees were traveling. These individuals would then smuggle the cash out of Colombia and into Venezuela, with the cash ultimately being deposited in banks and transferred into the coffers of the Philip Morris defendants," according to the lawsuit. 

'Laundered drug money'

The suit also contends that Miami bank accounts of various Philip Morris cigarette distributors were frozen in the early 1990s by U.S. law-enforcement officials "because funds credited to those accounts were laundered drug money. The freezing of these accounts was well known to Philip Morris."

The lawsuit - plans for which were first reported by the Center in January - accuses Philip Morris of furthering criminality in Colombia through its business practices. A Colombian border-guard station, erected in a main smuggling area in an attempt to halt the contraband, was destroyed by smugglers firing an anti-tank weapon, and several of the station's personnel were killed in the attack, the lawsuit says. 

The Colombian governors also accuse Philip Morris of having "falsely denied their complicity in smuggling activities," citing a company response to the Center for Public Integrity in January.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Philip Morris used the existence of smuggling to successfully argue against higher government taxes, on the grounds that would encourage more smuggling. "The Defendants conduct this public relations and lobbying campaign without disclosing to the public or Plaintiffs their continuing complicity in smuggling." 

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 

            The Center for Public Integrity
            May 23, 2000


Maud Beelman is director of the International Consortium of Investigative
Journalists at the Center for Public Integrity,
in Washington, D.C. Senior Research.
Associate Erik Schelzig contributed to this report.

The URL for this story is: http://www.public-i.org/story_01_052300.htm
The web page contains links to related materials.




Smokers Stopping 

 

David Briscoe

 

W A S H I N G T O N, May 22 — Americans are rejecting the smoking habit at a surprisingly rapid rate, a trend that is going global. But there are signs of increased smoking in poor countries and among teenagers and young women in several countries, and deaths blamed on smoking still are rising worldwide. U.S. cigarette exports are down 25 percent, with 50 billion fewer cigarettes sent abroad in just one year. That is 2.5 billion fewer packs of cigarettes exported each year. 

Decline in Cigarette Sales


The number of cigarettes sold per person in the United States fell a record 8 percent last year, according to government data and to a Worldwatch analysis that also cites per-capita declines in some of the heaviest smoking countries: France, Japan and, markedly, China, whose 1.25 billion people now smoke one-third of the world’s cigarettes.


The anti-smoking campaign credits smoking bans and increased public awareness of smoking’s dangers for the decline. The Agriculture Department cites higher taxes, price increases to offset a $246 billion tobacco settlement with several states, and the cumulative impact of 35 years of warnings from the surgeon general’s office. The industry says the decline is directly related to the rising price of cigarettes — up 80 percent from two years ago.


Smoking has been linked in medical studies to more than 25 diseases, including heart disease, strokes, respiratory illness and several forms of cancer. The World Health Organization plans to seek a treaty to further clear the global air of tobacco smoke and is promoting World No Tobacco Day on May 31. WHO predicts smoking-related diseases will kill 10 million people annually by the 2020s — two and a half times the current toll. 

U.S. Cigarette Exports Fall


But that projection now is challenged by declines in cigarette production, sales and consumption in the United States and scattered parts of the world. Smoking in the United States dropped from 2,810 cigarettes per person annually two decades ago to 1,633 last year, a 42 percent drop, according to calculations by Worldwatch, an environmental research group. Globally, the decline was 11 percent.


Exports for unmanufactured tobacco were down 10.6 percent by weight last year and U.S. cigarette exports dropped from 201.3 billion in 1998 to 151.4 billion, according to the Agriculture Department and the Census Bureau. Some of the decline is due to production shifts by U.S. companies to other countries; global production is believed to be up about 1 percent. With population increases, per capita smoking still fell slightly worldwide, from 929 cigarettes in 1998 to 915 last year.


Lester R. Brown, chairman of Worldwatch, noted the success of advertising in California aimed at demonstrating loss of sexual potency among smokers and the spread of smoking bans and higher taxes. “The land that gave the world tobacco is now leading it away from tobacco,” Brown said. 

  Number of Cigarettes Smoked Per Person  
France: Dropped 19 percent since 1985. 
China: Dropped 8 percent since 1990 
Japan: Dropped 4 percent since 1992 
United States: Dropped 42 percent since 1980 
Source: WorldWatch Issue Brief on Tobacco 

Third World Still Smoking


But not every believes the world is giving up the weed. “That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” said Heather Selin, tobacco adviser for the Pan American Health Organization. She said data is incomplete and the smoking cloud still wafts across the Third World. Pete Burr, tobacco analyst for the government’s Foreign Agricultural Service, said drops in exports are occurring mostly to Europe, possibly because U.S. companies are opening plants in Eastern Europe. Most export markets, particularly Japan, remain strong, Burr said.


WHO describes a “smoking epidemic” among younger women in Asia, In Spain and Sweden, surveys show more 15-year-old girls smoke than boys. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking among young adults, age 18 to 24, has been rising, for the first time, to the level of those age 25 to 44. High school smoking rates are even higher. 

More Women Smoking


Samira Asma, an international analyst at the centers, said smokers are dying younger and women now tend to take up smoking more than men both in developed and developing countries.


Tobacco companies say price increases are almost exclusively responsible for the declines. “There may be other factors, but I don’t know what they would be,” said John Singleton, spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, No. 2 in sales. He said RJR is responding to the drop by pursuing the 75 percent of the market it doesn’t have.


John Banzhaf, head of Action on Smoking, says smoking restrictions are the major reason for the U.S. decline. “Banning smoking in the workplace is a very powerful incentive for people to quit smoking,” Banzhaf said. 

 

Source: The Associated Press.

             May 22,  2000 


 

Study: China Deal May Hurt Deficit

 

by Martin Crutsinger

 

WASHINGTON - Supporters of a landmark trade bill with China have a ticklish problem - the government's major study of the measure indicates it will make America's already huge trade deficit with China worse rather than better.

U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefksy, who requested the review, calls the finished product "a very incomplete study, and to be frank, not much utilized."

But opponents have gleefully seized on the report by the U.S. International Trade Commission to do their own analysis projecting the China deal will result in the loss of 872,000 American jobs over the next decade.

Preposterous, says the Clinton administration, which published its own state-by-state assessment that proclaimed the China deal would "open new export and employment opportunities in all 50 states."

As in the huge debate over free trade with Mexico in 1993, supporters and opponents offer starkly different views of the future if Congress passes legislation that would end the annual congressional review of China's trade privileges.

President Clinton and his economic team contend the China agreement is a no-brainer. All the trade concessions are being made by China. In return for America's support for its bid to join the World Trade Organization, China would dismantle barriers that U.S. corporations and farmers have long complained about.

The trade commission did predict that U.S. exports would rise by 10 percent. The study said the biggest benefits would go to American farmers, especially those producing cotton, tobacco and vegetable oils, and industries making paper, chemicals, plastics and airplanes.

But the trade commission also predicted that imports from China to the United States would rise by 7 percent. Although U.S. trade barriers are not being changed, China's products will become more competitive on world markets as the country's efficiency improves by lowering its own barriers.

Since China already sells $6 in the U.S. market for every $1 American manages to sell in China, the trade commission's projections would mean an increase in America's trade deficit with China.

That deficit hit a record $68.7 billion last year, the largest for any country other than Japan. Chinese imports totaled $81.8 billion, reflecting that it is America's No. 1 supplier of toys, apparel, shoes and consumer electronics. U.S. exports to China totaled just $13.1 billion.

Like the ITC report, a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-supported think tank, called "Labor and the States," projected that over the next decade, U.S. job losses would total 872,091 with every industry suffering. California led all states with 84,294 lost jobs.

"This is a very conservative estimate of job losses," said Robert Scott, author of the EPI study. "It assumes that China will live up to the agreement and not devalue its currency to gain competitive advantage."

The administration, however, contends the job-loss report wrongly assumes that the gains made when the agreement is fully phased in will continue multiplying at the same high rate over the next decade.

Barshefsky also attacked the ITC report's methodology because it focused only on tariff cuts and not the benefits from the removal of non-tariff barriers.

"It is a terribly incomplete study because it only assumes tariff reductions," she told The Associated Press in an interview. "It didn't factor in things like trading rights and rights of distribution."

New York investment firm Goldman Sachs has estimated that by 2005, U.S. exports to China could be $13.9 billion higher, double the current level, with 57 percent of the gain coming from the tariff cuts, 26 percent from the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the rest coming from higher U.S. investment in the country.

But organized labor says rising U.S. investment in China will simply mean more U.S. companies building factories in China to take advantage of cheap wages.

"We've seen a lot of good jobs become bad jobs – 13-cent an hour jobs, child labor jobs, forced labor jobs," says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. "That is the pattern that corporations take when they invest in other countries."

Source: Associated Press
Monday, May 22, 2000

The bills are H.R. 4444 and S. 2277
On the Net: White House site: http://www.chinapntr.gov
AFL-CIO site: http://www.aflcio.org/publ/press2000/pr0222.htm


 

Anti-smoking campaign launched in St.Petersburg

 

ST.PETERSBURG, May 19 (Itar-Tass) via NewsEdge Corporation - The biggest tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, J.T.  International and Reemtsma, have launched a campaign in St.Petersburg with the aim to limit tobacco sale to adolescents.

A special anti-smoking programme will be realised in 63 big cities of Russia where a broad advertisement campaign will be launched to warn visitors of shopping areas about a threat to human health caused by smoking. Tobacco producers are guided by the " Code of the marketing responsibility" which strictly specifies the age of tobacco consumers, proceeding from the general assumption that smoking might be a choice consciously made by a grown-up person only.

According to representatives of tobacco producing companies, the anti-smoking programme has been tested in Moscow where the assigned information was advertised on around 70 shopping areas in the capital. The organizers of the anti- smoking campaign are hoping that salesmen, parents, teachers and the city authorities and broad public circles will pool their efforts to achieve the goal. Russian lawmakers have a subject to think over now; in ninety world countries age restrictions of tobacco consumption have been in effect.

Source: NewsEdge, by (Itar-Tass) via NewsEdge 

            Monday, 5/22/00



Tobacco advertising ban - legal delays so far will cost over 1,300 lives

 

ASH today called on the House of Lords to end the block on the ban on tobacco advertising. Using Government figures, ASH showed that the delay so far (164 days) would ultimately cause the avoidable loss of over 1,300 lives due to the extra smoking driven by continued advertising[1]. The advertising ban [2] has been opposed by the tobacco industry from the start. Having failed in the Appeal Court, it is continuing its legal delaying tactics in the House of Lords today (Monday) [3].


"Their Lordships should understand that this is quite literally a matter of life and death, with thousands of lives at stake. Smoking is so harmful that you don't need big changes in consumption to create huge health effects." said Clive Bates, Director of ASH.

The tobacco advertising directive was agreed in June 1998 and a ban on tobacco advertising forms an important part of the Government's tobacco White Paper, and 1997 election manifesto. The Government had planned to introduce the first phase of the advertising ban on 10 December 1999 but was blocked by tobacco industry legal action. If the procedural and legal delays continue to block the advertising ban, ASH will press Ministers to introduce a comprehensive Tobacco Bill as primary legislation in the Queen's speech this year. This offers the opportunity to block the loopholes in the existing advertising directive and introduce other controls on the tobacco industry - it could even offer a better solution.

Notes to the Editor

[1] The Tobacco (Prohibition of Advertising and Promotion) Regulations 1999 p.16. The Government cautiously estimates that banning tobacco advertising will cause tobacco consumption to drop by 2.5%. The Government concludes "As mentioned earlier, smoking is estimated to kill 120,000 people in the UK each year. A 2.5% reduction in the number killed would mean that about 3000 lives a year could be saved." 3000 lives per year equates to 8.2 lives per day or 1345 lives in the 164 days of delay so far introduced by legal blocking tactics. See the Government assessment at: www.doh.gov.uk/pub/docs/doh/tobacco2.pdf

[2] Directive 98/43/EC see explanation at: www.ash.org.uk/papers/eu-ban1.html and more detailed information at www.ash.org.uk/campaign.html

[3] The tobacco companies are requesting a delay in implementing the advertising ban pending the resolution of their substantive complaint to the European Court of Justice - this is a challenge to the legal base of the Directive. The Advocate General of the ECJ will give an opinion on 15th June and it is unlikely that the Lords will decide before hearing that. The final decision of the ECJ is likely before October this year, and it is possible that the Lords will consider this near enough to justify waiting for the ECJ ruling - even if, like the Court of Appeal, they dismiss the companies' substantive arguments. In that event, the tobacco industry will have secured a delay of about one year.

[4] The tobacco industry has a long and varied history of saying one thing in public, whilst knowing the truth in private:  www.ash.org.uk/papers/tedbates1.html and www.ash.org.uk/papers/tobexpld4.html

Contact Clive Bates, ASH (020) 7739 5902 

Source: ASH London  - Press Release Action on Smoking and Health 

             Monday, 5/22/00

 


 

 

CAP: Impose stricter controls on tobacco use

 

by Jessinta Tan

 

PENANG: The Government should gazette and enforce fatwa (Islamic ruling) 
declaring smoking as haram (prohibited), the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said yesterday.

Its vice-president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the fatwa provided by the state religious committees in Selangor and Kedah in 1995 had not been gazetted.

He said the Government should gazette and enforce the fatwa in view of the serious health threats posed by smoking.

"In drawing up a policy on smoking, the Government should place the health and lives of millions of people before the profits of tobacco companies,'' he said at CAP's Islamic Stand on the Cigarette Industry seminar here yesterday.

He also urged the Government to impose stricter controls on tobacco use.

"Ban all forms of direct or indirect promotions and sponsorship activities by tobacco companies. Register nicotine as an addictive drug and license retail sales of cigarettes.

"Increase taxes on tobacco and put cigarettes beyond the reach of children and the poor,'' he said, adding that Pusat Islam could play a more active role in educating the Muslim community.

Universiti Malaya medical faculty lecturer Dr Nabilla Al-Sadat Abdul Mohsein said claims by the tobacco industry that there were no economically viable alternatives to growing tobacco were constantly being disputed.

She said there were many crops that could grow on land currently used for tobacco cultivation.

"They include the majority of grain crops and vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes, chillies and roselle,'' she said in her paper.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's Dr Mohd Isa Abdul Majid and Dr Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said cigarettes and tobacco use should be banned because they contained an addictive drug.

"Addiction to smoking is the same as addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine and alcohol,'' they said in a working paper.

They said a cigarette contained about 4,000 types of chemicals, including poisonous and carcinogenic substances.

Pollution from the chemicals had an effect on non-smokers and the environment, they added.

Source: The Star (Malaysia)

              Sunday, 5/21/00


 

Mexico's curb on smoking in trouble

 

Enforcement record poor on past efforts

 

by Ricardo Sandoval 

 

MEXICO CITY It's billed as a clean start for anti-smoking efforts in Mexico, where 45,000 people died last year of smoking-related illness and a million more took up the tobacco habit.

But even before it gets onto the books next week, a new rule banning smoking in Mexico's federal office buildings is in trouble.

In a culture in which smokers light up pretty much wherever they please, experts fear Mexican bureaucrats will ignore the congressional edict, and that it won't be enforced.

Guadalupe Ponciano, a cardiovascular specialist at the government-run Manuel G. Gonzales General Hospital in Mexico City, called the congressional move ``the strongest action yet by the government against a group of rampant smokers in Mexico.''

``That it's aimed at the government itself gives the government a moral basis to then protect non-smokers in other areas of Mexican life,'' Ponciano said.

But, as with past rules against smoking, Ponciano fears the new regulation may fail because of a lack of enforcement that's chronic in Mexico.

``Well, you caught me smoking, so what does that say about how I feel about the rule?'' asked Concepcion Garcia, 40, a secretary who was puffing away inside a government office building. ``No one here has told us anything about a new rule against smoking. I'll stop when they force me to and maybe it's a good thing. It could make me quit this ugly vice.''

Garcia is among the estimated 14 million Mexicans who smoke and who are pushing up health-care costs. Percentage-wise, far more Americans smoke, but the trend is static. In Mexico, with a population of 100 million, the numbers of smokers and smoking-related illnesses are growing fast. Public hospitals alone examined more than a million patients with smoking-related complaints last year, according to government figures.

Progress against smoking in Mexico has been gradual.

A decade ago, non-smokers applauded federal rules against smoking in hospitals and airports.

Last year, even San Lazaro, the Mexican Congress's expansive headquarters, was put off-limits to smokers. But only hospitals and passenger jets, it seems, are truly smoke-free.

Source: Lexington Herald-Leader, 

             Friday, May 19, 2000

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE



Studies: Tobacco Targeting Teens

 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Cigarette makers have increased advertising in magazines with large teen readerships since 1998, when they agreed in a court settlement to not target youths in their ads, according to two studies released Wednesday. 

State officials who participated in the $206 billion settlement two years ago said the findings show tobacco companies may be violating the settlement terms. 

Attorneys general from around the country are now in the "discovery" phase of an investigation into cigarette advertising placements, according to Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire. 

Cigarette makers said the studies were misleading. One of the studies was by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the other was done by the American Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit group funded by the settlement. 

"There's nothing that a tobacco company can do that won't receive criticism from the special interest groups that have their own political agenda," said Mark Smith, a spokesman for the Kentucky-based Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation. 

The 1998 agreement settled lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers brought by 46 states to recover the costs of treating sick smokers. 

One section of the settlement forbids tobacco companies from "targeting" persons under 18 in their advertising, marketing and promotions. 

The Massachusetts study compared cigarette advertising expenditures in magazines before and after the settlement, focusing on 19 popular magazines with more than 15 percent of their readership between the ages of 12 and 17. Fifteen percent was the level used by the Food and Drug administration in its efforts to regulate tobacco. Magazines in that category include Rolling Stone, Glamour, Sports Illustrated and Motor Trend. 

Examples included a Rolling Stone issue with teen-age singing star Brittney Spears on the front cover and a full-page Marlboro ad on the back. 

In the first nine months of 1999, cigarette makers spent $119.9 million advertising, much of it on brands most popular with young smokers, in magazines with a significant percentage of teen readers, the study found. That is almost $30 million more than was spent in the same magazines in the corresponding period before the settlement, the study said. 

A similar study by the American Legacy Foundation found more than 70 percent of teen-agers in 1999 had seen cigarette advertisements often enough to notice them and understand their content. 

Advertisements for Marlboro, the favorite brand of young smokers, reached 89 percent of teen-agers, the study found. 

The studies used commercial marketing surveys to assess the popularity of various magazines among young readers. Cigarette makers say those numbers don't represent who really reads the publications. 

Brown and Williamson has pulled all advertising from magazines with a significant percentage of readers under 21, Smith said, basing its decisions on demographic data provided by magazine publishers. 

Philip Morris USA carefully researches publications before choosing to place advertisements where they reach adult smokers but don't bombard youth, said company spokesman Tom Ryan. The company, which makes Marlboro, will no longer advertise on the back cover of any magazine, he added. 

President Bill Clinton used the studies to call on Congress to pass strict tobacco laws. 

"The FDA's hands should not remain tied by Congressional inaction," Clinton said. 

 

Source: The Associated Press

               May 18, 2000

 


 

 

China Lifts Curbs on Tobacco Imports From U.S., Barshefsky Says

 

by Paul Basken

 

Washington, May 17 (Bloomberg) -- China has agreed to drop restrictions on U.S. tobacco imports tied to its claims that the crop is unsanitary because of ``blue mold,'' U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said.

The Chinese government sent a letters yesterday to Barshefsky and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman saying it now believes blue mold ``is not a problem,'' Barshefsky told a agricultural industry coalition.

China already granted deep cuts in tobacco tariffs as part of an agreement it reached in November with the U.S. clearing the way for the country to join the World Trade Organization. That included a cut in its tariffs on cigarettes from 65 percent to 25 percent by 2004, Barshefsky said.

Beijing probably would have been forced by the WTO to drop any restrictions on U.S. tobacco due to blue mold, which causes millions of dollars in crop damage but no known human health problems. Still, its decision to voluntary abandon the issue is significant since it comes as Congress faces a key vote on granting it normal trade ties.

Barshefsky announced the Chinese decision at a breakfast meeting of the Agricultural Coalition for China Trade, a recently formed farm industry group dedicated to lobbying Congress on granting China permanent normal trade relations.

The coalition includes representatives of major commodities producers such as wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, rice, beef and pork, and also major agribusinesses, such as Cargill Inc., Bunge Corp., ConAgra Inc., Kraft Foods and Farmland industries Inc., the U.S.'s largest farmer-owned cooperative.

Boosting U.S. Exports

The Agriculture Department estimates China's entry into the WTO, which would lead to lower tariffs and the elimination of export subsidies, could boost U.S. farm exports by about $2 billion a year by 2005, up from almost $1 billion now.

Current U.S. farm exports worldwide are projected at $49.5 billion for the year that ends Sept. 30.

Supporters of permanent trade privileges for China remain short of the necessary 218 votes in the House, Barshefsky said.

``We're not quite there yet but we think that at the end of the day, the members of Congress will do the right thing,'' said Barshefsky.

The lobby group's leader, Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, called the vote ``essential to the survival'' of many in his industry.

The administration has no plans to seek any delay in the House vote, Barshefsky told reporters after the meeting.

Barshefsky spoke before she's was scheduled to appear before a House Agriculture Committee. Of the 50-member panel, six lawmakers oppose the trade deal, said Mary Kay Thatcher, a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

China's pledge on tobacco could help sway some wavering tobacco-state lawmakers to support the trade pact, Thatcher said

Source: Bloomberg News, 

             Wednesday, 5/17/00


 

Letter: NGOs Question Big Tobacco's Access to WHO

 

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Contact: Judy Wilkenfeld, USA
Juan Almendares, Honduras
Mahamane Cisse, Mali
(cell) 41 79 368-1258

For immediate release-

NGOs QUESTION BIG TOBACCO'S ACCESS TO W.H.O.
TREATY NEGOTIATIONS AND DEMAND OFFICIAL RECOGNITION
TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH

We, as members of the Framework Convention Alliance, strongly object to the involvement of tobacco companies with member nations, as evidenced by industry briefing documents on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). [
SEE ATTACHED DOCUMENTS]

Recently in Africa, British American Tobacco (BAT) held its latest briefing session with delegations to encourage "proactive support" for its interests. BAT called on the delegations to "use British American Tobacco as a source of information and data." Given the industry's record of outright lies and misinformation campaigns, it is unacceptable that BAT be considered a legitimate information resource.

Based on this industry intrusion, we support the inclusion of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the official FCTC negotiations commencing in October 2000. Without broad NGO participation, the most vocal non-governmental voices at the table will be those of the tobacco industry.

It is imperative that NGOs have official observer status in the negotiation debates. While we recognise that NGOs do not and cannot have voting status, NGOs bring first-hand experience with the epidemic and with tactical manoeuvres by the tobacco companies to sabotage public health efforts. From Austria to Zimbabwe, we bear witness to industry subversion of national efforts to end their predatory practices.

We expect that the sovereign member states will strive to protect the interests of civil society by including NGOs as members of their delegations to the official FCTC negotiations. We applaud Malawi for choosing health over death by including Mr. John Kapito of the Consumers' Association of Malawi on their official delegation, and encourage other countries to follow suit.

There is ample precedent for inclusion of NGOs in treaty negotiations.  In 1996, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) issued a resolution describing a broad role for NGOs in UN negotiations. As the Secretary General of the UN stated in 1998, "NGOs have played a very significant and helpful role by establishing bridges between the United Nations and the civil society at large."

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, USA 
SOS Tabagisme, Mali 
German Coalition
Against Smoking 
INFACT, USA 
CONACTA, Honduras 
Consumers' Association of
Malawi 
American Cancer Society


 

China's Tobacco Industry Could Get Smoked by WTO Entry

 

The May 10 Zhongguo Jingji Shibao (China Economic Times) reports that while China is a major tobacco country and taxes on tobacco bring in 10 percent of state revenue, the industry’s long-standing domestic monopoly has not toughened it for international competition, a serious problem if and when China enters the World Trade Organization (WTO).

According to a source from the Economic Research Institute of the State Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, China is the largest tobacco country in the world. Currently, regular smokers in China account for 25 percent of the global total, numbering 310 million.

During 1995-99, China purchased an annual average of 2.2 million tons of tobacco and each year produced 33.4 million cases of cigarettes (one case contains 50,000 cigarettes).

On average, China's annual production of leaf tobacco makes up some 35 percent of the global total while cigarette production and sales account for 32 percent of the global total. In recent years, China has ranked first in the world in terms of the number of smokers, the purchase of leaf tobacco, and cigarette production and sales.

For a country with such a huge population of smokers and such a massive scale of tobacco production, it is self-evident that the tobacco industry plays an important role in the national economy.

In 1999, China's tobacco industry brought in a total of 98.9 billion renminbi (US$11.9 billion) in industrial and commercial tax, or 10 percent of state revenue. It has been the state’s top revenue generator for 13 consecutive years.

China's tobacco industry is massive in scale and its industrial system is relatively complete. It has fostered a number of large enterprises such as Yuxi, Shanghai and Changsha cigarette factories, whose technologies and equipment are world class and whose products are competitive.

However, due to China's long-standing restrictions on tobacco imports and exports, the dependency of China's tobacco industry on foreign trade has been minimal. During 1995-99, China's total imports and exports of leaf tobacco was only about 4.5 percent of domestic purchases on average, and total cigarette imports and exports made up a mere 0.8 percent of domestic output on average. On the international tobacco export market, China's leaf tobacco exports accounted for just 3.5 percent of global exports and cigarettes for only 1.8 percent.

Thus, the development of China's tobacco industry has clearly depended on the domestic market. This does not accord with its position as the world's No.1 tobacco producer and makes it difficult to integrate that industry into the world economy in line with current emphasis on globalization.

Impact of WTO Entry on Tobacco Market

China’s WTO entry will mean that all domestic tobacco products now under the national monopoly will face increasing foreign competition. With the industry’s limited export capacity, the primary impact will be the shrinking domestic market share of practically all tobacco products produced under the monopoly.

I. Losses From Tariff Reductions

1. Leaf Tobacco

In 1999, China imposed a 40 percent import tariff and a 64 percent consolidated tax, which increased the sales price of imported leaf tobacco. For example, leaf tobacco imported from Zimbabwe sold for Rmb 16.25 (US$1.96) per kilogram, while the price of domestic leaf tobacco was Rmb 5 (US$0.60) per kilogram, or one-third that of imports.

The high tariff has made domestic leaf tobacco highly competitive in price. However, if the tariff on leaf tobacco is lowered to 17 percent by 2004 as agreed to by the Chinese government, the price of imported leaf tobacco per ton will be Rmb 10,000 (US$1,208.14)—lower than it is now.

Even though large-scale imports could raise the price of leaf tobacco on the international market, China’s imports are likely to increase sharply due to the lower prices, adversely affecting China's own leaf tobacco production.

2. Cigarettes

China began to slash import duties on cigarettes in 1997 from a high of 150 percent. In 1999, the rate fell to 36 percent. Meanwhile, China’s consolidated tax on imported cigarettes dropped to 218 percent in 1999, down 26 percentage points compared with 1997.

As China had committed itself to a large-margin cut of the average tariff on all imported commodities, a high tariff on cigarettes violates that promise. Consequently, the Chinese government will continue to reduce the import duty on cigarettes during WTO negotiations.

If the rate drops to the average for all imports, i.e. 15 percent in the year 2000, one packet of imported cigarette that sells for Rmb 11 (US$1.33) now (corresponding to Marlboro and 555 brands) will sell for Rmb 2 to Rmb 3 (US$0.24 to US$0.36) less after the tariff reduction. This will greatly enhance the competitiveness of imported cigarettes on the Chinese market.

3. Cigarette Machines and Associated Materials

In 1999, the tariff on imported cigarette machines was 14 percent, on tows it was 12 percent and on bobbins it was 20 percent. There is not much room for reducing these tariffs, so the impact of tariff cuts on these products after WTO entry will be minimal. Most of the impact will come from the relaxation of non-tariff barriers.

II. Losses From Relaxation of Non-Tariff Barriers

Most of the adverse effect of cigarette imports on the domestic market after China’s WTO entry will not come from tariff reductions, but from the relaxation or even abolition of non-tariff barriers. Permitted a long transition period, China's tobacco industry must gradually relax and finally abolish the quota and license controls that are now in force.

Inevitably, a large influx of foreign cigarettes will result. Since there is a huge potential demand for mixed cigarettes, because foreign tobacco enterprises are strong enough to exploit the market and since foreign cigarettes are higher in quality and less harmful to smokers’ health, it is likely that after China joins the WTO, imported cigarettes will attract a large portion of Chinese smokers. Domestic cigarettes could lose 10 percent to 20 percent of their market share within five years.


Net imports of leaf tobacco will also grow rapidly. Imported leaf tobacco, especially that of high quality, will account for some 10 percent of domestic demand. 


The impact on the market for cigarette machines and associated materials will be severe. For example, the China-U.S. WTO agreement stipulates that the tows import quota for China must be 113,000 tons, which equals national demand at present. The agreement also calls for China to abolish its tows import quota by 2001 and cigarette machine import quota before 2002.

Without the protection of non-tariff barriers, not only will the enterprises that manufacture domestic cigarette machines and associated materials have to lower the prices of their products, but also their market share will be greatly reduced. If no effective countermeasures are adopted, the impact on cigarette machine manufacturers could be devastating. The import of associated materials will also shoot up.

Source: China Online, 

             Tuesday, 5/16/00


 

First Damage Suit Filed Over Indirect Smoking

 

by Park Yoon-bae 

 

Parents of a dead 30-year-old female worker from the Pusan branch of the National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation (NACF) launched a court battle over second-hand smoking, claiming that their daughter died of asthma complicated by indirect smoking at her workplace.

The victim's family filed a lawsuit with the administrative court in Seoul on Monday, demanding compensation for her death because it was apparently related with second-hand smoking.

The lawsuit is drawing keen attention because it is the first time a damage suit has been filed over second-hand smoking in Korea.

Currently, a trial on first-hand smoking is under way in a damage suit against the government and the Korea Tobacco and Ginseng Corp. (KT&G).  Thirty-one sick smokers and their family members are demanding 307 million won ($260,000) in compensation.

The woman, identified only as Kim, died of dyspnea, or difficulty in breeding, as a result of complications from asthma in February.

She was reported to have worked for the NACF over the past 10 years.

Kim's parents demanded in the lawsuit that the state-run Korea Labor Welfare Corp. compensate for her daughter's death since her asthma developed into a fatal disease after being exposed to second hand smoke at her workplace.

The plaintiffs claimed that Kim's death should be recognized as an industrial mishap arising from second-hand smoking in the NACF's branch, where both workers and clients are free to smoke anywhere, anytime.


Legal experts said the court battle will focus on the definition of second-hand smoking and the seriousness of its health risks and damage to non-smokers.

They also stressed that Kim's family will have to prove that their deceased daughter was exposed to a fatal level of smoke at the workplace.

In addition, the plaintiffs are expected to meet with a tough task of proving that the death of their daughter had a direct link with indirect smoking.

In the United States, a group of flight attendants won an agreement on a $300 million compensation from the cigarette maker Philip Morris in 1997 in a damage suit over second-hand smoking.

Source: Korea Daily (Hankook Ilbo), 

            Tuesday, 5/16/00


 

Letter: Save Lives on China Trade deal

 

 

May 3, 2000

William J. Clinton
The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our grave concern about the tobacco provisions in the U.S.-China trade deal and the pending vote to  grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR). We believe that the deal would increase U.S. tobacco company access to the Chinese market, increase the companies' political influence in China, undermine tobacco controls in China, result in increased smoking rates and tobacco-related deaths. 

As you know, the agreement contains specific provisions mandating a reduction in tariffs on imported cigarettes, from a base rate of 65 to 25 by January 1, 2004. It also requires China's compliance with the WTO's Trade-Related Investment Measures agreement, which prevents discrimination against imports on the basis of performance requirements of any kind. The agreement excludes tobacco from Chinese concessions on retail and distribution rights. It is unclear if the tobacco category includes cigarettes.

The papers uncovered in the tobacco litigation have confirmed what has long been obvious: breaking into the Chinese market is a top priority for Philip Morris and Big Tobacco, and high tariffs on imported cigarettes are a major obstacle to the U.S. companies gaining a substantial presence in China.

The lowering of tobacco tariffs in connection with the U.S.-China agreement will go a long way to knock down the walls that have kept the U.S. companies out of China. And even if the retail and distribution rights do not extend to imported cigarettes -- a point that is not obvious to us -- the tariff reductions are dramatic in their own right. Moreover, the tariff reductions will give Philip Morris a substantial foot in the door to push for elimination on restrictions on its ability to do business in China.

As you know, the U.S. tobacco companies have a long and sordid history of entering Asian markets with U.S. government assistance. When the U.S. companies have entered these markets, not only have they gained substantial market share, but smoking rates have gone up. In the case of South Korea, after the entry of U.S. companies, smoking rates among teenage boys went from 18 to 29 percent in a single year, according to GAO. The rate among girls more than quintupled, rising to 8.7 percent. That jump in smoking rates was presumably due to the introduction of slick U.S. marketing and advertising techniques. Over the long term, we have seen that the introduction of these techniques leads to a transformation of domestic companies -- faced with competition, they too begin to employ similar promotional techniques.

Perhaps limitations on U.S. corporate activity, or existing Chinese tobacco control regulations, would prevent the jump in smoking rates in China from being as high as they are in Korea and elsewhere in Asia. But given the enormity of the Chinese market, even small up ticks in the smoking rate will lead to a surge in tobacco-related disease and death, probably on the order of hundreds of thousands or more. Mr. Clinton, we know there are many factors at play on the PNTR issue. But we believe the public health stakes involved in the tobacco opening are great enough that they should override other considerations.

Sincerely,

Co-Chairs of SAVE LIVES, NOT TOBACCO: 
The Coalition for Accountability

Cassandra Welch, American Lung Association
Tom Bantle, Public Citizen 
William Godshall, Smoke-Free Pennsylvania