US Government may oversee tobacco, ban cloves
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As of press time, the US Senate was very close to passing
a bill which would give the federal government oversite over tobacco
manufacturing and marketing.
President Obama has pledged to sign the bill. The bill would, for the
first time, give the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) powers to regulate
the content of tobacco products, order the removal of hazardous ingredients,
restrict the marketing and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless
tobacco, clamp down on sales to young people, require stronger warning labels
and stop use of characterizations such as “light” or “low tar” that give
people the impression of lower health risks.
A new office would be set up in the FDA, with administrative costs paid
by a fee on tobacco companies. Cigarette makers would have to register with
the FDA and provide the agency with a list of all the products they make.
Additionally, cloves may be banned as a cigarette flavoring, along with
cherry and chocolate, under tobacco legislation currently working its way
through the Senate. Altria Group Inc., the largest US tobacco company,
backs the measure, which would exempt mint-flavored menthol cigarettes
such as its Marlboro Smooth.
However, the ban is running into opposition from Indonesia, whose 4 mn
clove farmers may lose a market. Indonesia vows to take the matter to the
World Trade Organization if the proposed ban becomes law.
Cloves, native to Indonesia, are a spice taken from the dried flower buds of
a tropical tree. Indonesia is the world's largest producer of clove cigarettes,
known as kreteks, exporting about $500 mn of the product a year, according to
the Indonesian ambassador. The tobacco bill also specifies that the Food and
Drug Administration could ban menthol cigarettes later if it finds them harmful.
Menthol-flavored products account for about 28% of all cigarettes sold in
the US, compared with 0.09% for clove cigarettes, according to the Specialty
Tobacco Council Inc., a trade group in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Bangladesh to increase tax on cigarettes, other tobacco products
DHAKA - The Bangladeshi government
will increase tax on cigarettes and other
tobacco products in the next fiscal year
(starting July 2009) budget, a senior official
said on Sunday. During a recent
meeting with a local research organization
Unnayan Samannay (Development
Coordination), Chairman of the
Bangladesh's National Board of Revenue
(NBR) Abdul Mazid said the purpose of
increasing tax on cigarettes and tobacco
products is not to boost revenue earning
but to protect public health.
EU smoking habits study released
BRUSSELS - European statistical service
Eurobarometer has reported that Greece
ranks first in the EU for the percentage
of adult smokers. The Eurobarometer
poll carried out between December 13
and 17, 2008, where smokers represent
42 % of the adult population. Bulgaria
ranks second highest, where the study
found found that 39% of Bulgaria's
adult population smoke regularly or
occasionally. Slovenia with 22% and
Sweden with 26% of smokers are at the
bottom of the list. A total of three out
of 10 Europeans aged over 15 are
smokers, Eurobarometer data also
showed. About 46% of EU citizens have
never smoked. Over 26,500 randomlyselected
citizens aged 15 years and over
were interviewed for the poll in the 27
EU Member States and in Norway.
The effects of cigarette consumption tax
KINGSTON - One day after Finance
Minister Audley Shaw announced a further
increase in the “Special
Consumption Tax” (SCT) on tobacco
products, executives at the island's largest
cigarette distributor, Carreras Limited,
are meeting to discuss the implications.
Carreras markets and distributes the popular
Craven A cigarette. The SCT on cigarettes
moved from $6,000 per 1,000 sticks
to $8,500 in May. The Jamaican authorities
are projecting to collect $1.4 bn from
the tax measure.
Employees must quit smoking, may require tests to verify
SEOUL - South Korean steelmaker Posco
has sent its employees a tough no smoking
message and may require them to
take blood tests to check if they have
kicked the habit.
Company officials recently said that
CEO Chung Joon-yang wants Posco,
which employs 16,000 people, to be
smoke-free by the end of the year. Chung
says the company may conduct blood
tests to determine whether they have really
given up tobacco. The company's
union and the Health Ministry have welcomed
the campaign. But Noh Hee-bum,
a spokesman at the Constitutional Court,
says the move could violate South Korea's
Constitution, which guarantees the
people's right to seek happiness.
Nicotine may prevent bioterrorism damage
BRIGHTON - British scientists say they've
determined nicotine can delay the effects
of ricin used during a bioterrorism attack.
Jon Mabley and his colleagues at the
University of Brighton found nicotine
works to block the tissue-destroying effects
of ricin—a highly toxic compound
derived from castor beans. The study
was conducted in laboratory models,
but the scientists said nicotine agonists
could potentially be used in patients
exposed to ricin as a stopgap measure
before other treatments take effect.
The British investigators studied the
effect of nicotine on animals exposed to
ricin and found it reduced death and
organ failure. The study appears in the
journal Molecular Medicine.
Tobacco industry in uproar over proposed NC tax
REIDSVILLE, NC - The new governor of
North Carolina took little time after her
inauguration in January to show her
concern for the state’s tobacco community,
asking the legislature to increase
the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack to
generate funds for the state’s budget.
This move set off an uproar among
growers and the industry
"It is a disgrace to continually target
legitimate, adult smokers who choose
to purchase a legal product," said
Anthony Hemsley, Vice President of
Government and Corporate Affairs. "It
is disappointing that states, especially
one like North Carolina which has benefited
from tobacco for so many years,
continue to persecute our smokers to
cover state deficits."
Hemsley chided Governor Bev
Perdue (Dem) for thinking cigarette tax
could rescue the state budget. "State
budget projections based on historical
tobacco sales volumes will lead to
significant shortfalls," he warned.
Smoking may boost “fat-depleting” gene
NEW YORK - Offering clues to why
smokers often gain weight after quitting,
a new study suggests that smoking
enhances the activity of a gene that
helps break down body fat.
Researchers found that compared
with non-smokers, a group of healthy
smokers showed greater activity in a
gene called AZGP1 in cell samples taken
from their airways. Because the gene is
thought to be important in breaking
down fat and controlling weight, the
findings point to one possible reason
that smokers tend to weigh less than
non-smokers—and why people often
put on pounds after quitting.
Dr. Holly Vanni and colleagues at
Weill Medical College of Cornell
University in New York report the findings
in the journal Chest.
Researchers have pointed to various
potential reasons for the weight
gain that often follows smoking cessation.
People who quit may start to eat
more, for example, while at the same
time losing the metabolism boost that
Tobacco International - June, 2009
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