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April 22, 2011

All US states could have smoke-free laws by 2020

All US states could have smoke-free laws by 2020

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Friday, April 22, 2011

No smoking logo
Image: Stefan-Xp.

Government officials have predicted that by 2020, all US states will have bans on indoor smoking in private sector bars and restaurants, the chief sources of secondhand smoke, if the current rate of progress in enacting smoking bans continues.

In a press release issued yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that by December 31, 2010 there were 26 states with broad indoor smoking bans, covering workplaces, bars and restaurants, while an additional 10 states had banned smoking in one or two specific indoor areas. Cumulatively, these restriction cover almost one half of the country’s population, 47.8 percent, while a remaining 88 million nonsmokers are still exposed to secondhand smoke yearly, including half of all children over three years old.

In comparison, in 2000 there were no states that had broad indoor smoking bans.

Some states have enacted less restrictive laws, such as requiring separate ventilation systems for smoking areas. Southern and western states are lagging in implementing smoking bans. Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina have banned smoking in two of the three sectors. Currently there are only seven states having no state wide restrictions on indoor smoking, although some have local ordinances. These are Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

The full report was published in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Secondhand smoke is a known cause of a number of diseases including lung cancer and heart disease. The Surgeon General’s report of 2010 says, “tobacco smoke damages every organ in the body, resulting in disease and death.”

Cquote1.svg Completely prohibiting smoking in all public places and workplaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure. Cquote2.svg

—Ursula Bauer, CDC

In the press release, Ursula Bauer of the CDC, said that secondhand smoke is the cause of 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths yearly in nonsmokers. “Completely prohibiting smoking in all public places and workplaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure,” she said.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC said, “Eliminating smoking from work sites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect nonsmokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives while lowering health care costs associated with secondhand smoke.”

The American Heart Association issued a statement: “We must zero in on those areas that continue to lag despite studies that show smoke-free policies benefit public health and the local economy with lower health care costs.”

Gary Nolan of the Smokers Club, a smoker’s rights group, said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if they prevailed.” He noted that heavy pressure is being applied to bars and restaurants by public health officials to ban smoking. “It’s just a little bit more liberty slipping away at the hands of big government.”



Related news

  • “China plans to ban smoking in indoor public places” — Wikinews, March 25, 2011
  • “Florida prisons ban inmate smoking” — Wikinews, March 16, 2011

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March 25, 2011

China plans to ban smoking in indoor public places

China plans to ban smoking in indoor public places

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Friday, March 25, 2011

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Universal No Smoking Sign

Yesterday the Health Ministry claimed that China issued a national ban on smoking in all indoor public spaces. The ban is included in the government’s 12th Five-Year Plan. Also banned is smoking in outdoor public areas where pedestrians pass. The ban will begin May 1.

China, with a third of the world’s smoking population at 300 million smokers, is the largest cigarette market in the world. Each week approximately 70 percent of non-smoking adults are exposed to second-hand smoke. According the the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco-related illnesses kill over one million people annually. The World Health Organisation says Chinese smoking-related deaths account for one fifth of deaths from smoking world-wide.

The number of deaths are predicted to rise to 3.5 million deaths a year by 2030 if no steps are taken, states a report co-authored by Zhao Ping, deputy director general of the Chinese Cancer Foundation. Further, there is a spike of new smokers in China as increasingly women, young people and the poor become smokers.

The posting of logos is being required to alert people not to smoke. Vending machines selling cigarettes in public places will be banned as will cigarette advertisements and sponsorships. The new regulations include educational measures to inform people about the dangers of tobacco.



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March 16, 2011

Florida prisons ban inmate smoking

Florida prisons ban inmate smoking – Wikinews, the free news source

Florida prisons ban inmate smoking

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cigarettes

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss announced on Monday that Florida’s prisons will become tobacco-free within six months in order to cut health-care costs and make prisons safer. Buss stated that the cost to Florida taxpayers for treating inmates for tobacco-related illnesses such as cancer and emphysema neared US$9 million last year alone.

Inmates will be offered help in quitting smoking, possibly including the use of nicotine patches. Gretl Plessinger, Department of Corrections spokeswoman, said that the department is working with the prison canteen vendors to make the patches available for purchase through the canteens. Last year inmates spent $19 million on tobacco products. Although the prison does make money from tobacco sales, Plessinger said, she noted that other states have not lost revenue by banning tobacco. “Inmates spend the money they have on other products like hard candy,” she said.

Plessinger said that banning smoking will also make prisons safer: “It will reduce the risk of arson. And lighters can be used to melt plastic objects like toothbrushes into shanks.”

Beginning on Sept. 30, cigarettes will be considered contraband, and prisoners caught smoking will face disciplinary proceedings with possible loss of privileges such as visitation rights and loss of gain time.

U.S. Federal prisons already ban smoking as do more than half of U.S. state prisons. Smoking is also prohibited in Florida’s public buildings. For Florida prison employees, designated smoking areas will be provided outside the prison walls.


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April 17, 2010

Tobacco manufacturers and retailers fined over UK price fixing

Tobacco manufacturers and retailers fined over UK price fixing

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lambert & Butler, one of the popular brands that was subject to price fixing.
Image: Wannanone .

Several tobacco manufacturers and retailers in the United Kingdom have been fined a total of £225 million for price fixing. The fines were imposed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) following an investigation lasting seven years. It is the largest penalty ever issued by the OFT for breaches of the 1998 Competition Act, with the case involving two major tobacco makers and numerous British supermarkets.

Together the manufacturers involved, Imperial Tobacco (whose brands include Golden Virginia and Lambert & Butler) and Gallaher Group (who own Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges among others) make almost 90% of all cigarettes and roll-ups sold in the UK. They were fined £112 million and £50 million respectively.

The supermarkets facing the largest penalties were Asda and The Co-operative Group, at £14 million each. Other stores fined were First Quench, Morrisons, Safeway, Shell garages, Somerfield, T&S Stores (now One Stop) and TM Retail. Also taking part in the price fixing were Sainsbury’s, though they received immunity from being fined after alerting the OFT and co-operating with the investigation. Some of the other companies also earned reductions in their fines through co-operation with the OFT.

Similar allegations against Tesco were not pursued due to a lack of evidence.

Imperial Tobacco denied the charges, claiming in a statement that its dealings with the retailers were simply legitimate “promotional arrangements”. They have said they are considering an appeal against the decision.

In a press release the OFT said that the fines would send out a strong message. “Practices such as these, which restrict the ability of retailers to set their resale prices for competing brands independently, are unlawful.” said Simon Williams, OFT Senior Director of Goods. “They can lead to reduced competition and ultimately disadvantage consumers.”

“This enforcement action will send out a strong message that such practices, which could in principle be applied to the sale of many different products, can result in substantial penalties for those who engage in them.”

Full list of fines

Company Fine Notes
Imperial Tobacco £112,332,495 Manufacturer
Gallaher Group £50,379,754 Manufacturer
The Co-operative Group £14,187,353
Asda £14,095,933
Safeway £10,909,366 Now part of Morrisons
Morrisons £8,624,201
Somerfield £3,987,950 Now part of The Co-operative group
Shell £3,354,615
TM Retail £2,668,991
First Quench £2,456,528 Now in administration
T&S Stores £1,314,095 Now One Stop, part of Tesco
Sainsbury’s £0 Granted immunity from fines
Total £224,311,281



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November 9, 2009

Cigarette butts kill fish, scientists complain

Cigarette butts kill fish, scientists complain

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Monday, November 9, 2009

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Chemicals that leach from cigarette butts into water can kill fish, according to Professors Tom Novotny and Rick Gersberg of San Diego State University. They have conducted the first scientific study of the effects of cigarette butts on fish and will present his research today at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in Philadelphia. The SDSU researchers are calling for cigarette butts to be officially reclassified as toxic waste.

Professor Novotny explained, “It’s another way of looking at cigarettes as a societal hazard. If we reframe the butts as toxic hazardous waste, that adds another opportunity to change the social acceptability of smoking.”

Cigarettes are the most frequently littered item in the world. More than 1 million cigarette butts are collected annually in cleanups at United States beaches. Worldwide, several trillion cigarettes get smoked each year.

Cquote1.svg “This is just another attack on smokers and an attack on the entire tobacco industry, including farmers and distributors, in the midst of an economic crisis.” Cquote2.svg

—Robert Best, Citizens Freedom Alliance

Professors Gersberg and Novotny allowed smoked cigarette filters to soak in water for 24 hours, then added fish to the tanks. Within five days half the fish had died. They obtained the same results with fresh water and with salt water at a concentration of roughly 1 butt per liter. Their research was funded by the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project of the California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program.

The regional director of a smokers’ rights group is dismissive of their work. Robert Best of Citizens Freedom Alliance told the press “This is just another attack on smokers and an attack on the entire tobacco industry, including farmers and distributors, in the midst of an economic crisis. We already have littering laws in the state of California that say you cannot throw any trash out on the ground or in the waterways.”

Coastal states in the United States have been enacting bans on smoking at beaches. California and New Jersey have enacted bans to reduce secondhand smoke exposure and reduce litter. The city of San Francisco has added a 20 cent surcharge to each pack of cigarettes sold to cover costs of butt cleanup. A San Francisco litter audit led to an economic study that found the annual cost of cigarette butt disposal was $6 million. Oxford Outcomes spokesman Dr. John Schneider told the press the San Francisco cigarette surcharge was justified.

Cquote1.svg “We have thought for a while that toxic chemicals leach from discarded butts when submerged in water, so it’s good in some ways to see confirmation.” Cquote2.svg

—Bill Hickman, Surfrider Foundation

Robert Barnes of UC San Francisco endorses tobacco surcharges to pay for cleanup. He also supports steeper fines for cigarette litter and advocates lawsuits against the tobacco industry to compensate for cleanup costs. The Surfrider Foundation takes a milder approach. It has run a “Hold Onto Your Butt” litter awareness program for six years. Bill Hickman of the Surfrider Foundation was glad to see scientific validation for the awareness campaign. “We have thought for a while that toxic chemicals leach from discarded butts when submerged in water, so it’s good in some ways to see confirmation.”

Gersberg and Novotny want to perform followup studies to determine which cigarette butt chemicals are most harmful to fish.



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May 16, 2009

Nearly three million contraband cigarettes seized by Canadian and U.S. authorities

Nearly three million contraband cigarettes seized by Canadian and U.S. authorities

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

On Friday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized 1.75 million contraband cigarettes near the Manitoba – Ontario border and in a separate case the New York City Police Department (NYPD) also had a major recovery of 1.17 million cigarettes.

Cigarettes
Image: Geierunited.

Canadian officers seized 150 cases of illegal, unmarked cigarettes, as well as 25 cases of “discount” brand cigarettes during a traffic safety check conducted during National Road Safety Week on the Trans Canada Highway.

The NYPD pulled over a U-Haul truck for a traffic violation, a covered license plate and recovered 58,500 packs of untaxed contraband cigarettes.

“It’s an ongoing problem as the price of cigarettes go up. Obviously, it increases the motivation to go to other states to buy them and bring them back here. We enforce the law in that regard,” said a NYPD Police Commissioner.

“Discount brands of cigarettes … come from countries such as, not only the United States, but India, Native American tribes, the Philippines, Colombia, Mexico and other countries around the globe,” said a representative from the American State Auditor’s Office.

Bootleggers, nicknamed the $5 man, are the new entrepreneurs when taxed cigarettes sell for over US$10 a pack and nearly $100 a carton in some places in the U.S.

Customers satisfying a nicotine addiction provide a hefty income for illegal tobacco traders. The illicit smuggling of tobacco results in thousands of dollars in lost tax revenue to governments. In Manitoba’s bust, it’s estimated that nearly CA$325,000 (US$275,000)are lost in tax revenue from illegal cigarette sales.

On Wednesday, 90,000 contraband cigarettes were seized from Lithuanian travellers at the Dublin Ireland airport. On Monday, in a separate case, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) seized unmarked cigarettes from a Manitoba man for the second time. This time police recovered 160,000 cigarettes. One week ago smugglers hid 3,000 cases of illegal cigarettes in concrete to try to get them through customs in Singapore.

In April American officials shut down a warehouse containing about US20 million dollars in illegal cigarettes.



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November 5, 2008

Children of smokers more likely to go hungry, according to study

Children of smokers more likely to go hungry, according to study

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

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A medical study has identified a previously unknown risk to children of parents who smoke tobacco: hunger. Children who live in households with at least one adult smoker are more likely to be underfed, according to Dr. Cynthia Cutler-Triggs of the New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital.

A new study links smoking adults to undernourished children.
Image: Giovanni Dall’Orto.

Dr. Cutler-Triggs’s study measured food insecurity, a concept used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since the 1990s to measure the frequency of skipped meals and how often people go to bed hungry. Researchers examined data on 8,817 households from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study parsed the survey, which tracked the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States, according to smoking habits and household income.

17 percent of children in low income smoking households suffered food insecurity, compared to an overall food insecurity rate of 11 percent among children. Severe food insecurity occurred among 3.2 percent of children in smoking households.

Only 0.9 of children from nonsmoking households had severe food insecurity. Similar rises in food insecurity occurred among adults from smoking households, but researchers were more concerned about the effects on the health of growing children.

Cquote1.svg We know that there are long-term consequences of food insecurity for children. Cquote2.svg

—Dr. Michael Weitzman

Dr. Michael Weitzman, chairman of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, told The Washington Post, “We know that there are long-term consequences of food insecurity for children. They are more likely to do poorly in school, to have iron deficiency and anemia, and to have behavioral and social problems.”

An estimated 2 percent to 20 percent of smokers’ incomes goes for tobacco, which may compete with the grocery budget in some families. Household income accounted for some but not all of the difference in food security. Dr. Weitzman expressed concern that a continued recession may worsen the problem. “If the economic downturn persists, both food insecurity and adults smoking are likely to increase… [because smoking] is one of the hardest addictions to give up.”



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September 28, 2008

United Kingdom to introduce graphic images on cigarette packets

United Kingdom to introduce graphic images on cigarette packets

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The current warning messages on packets

The United Kingdom is set to become the second European country to place graphic images on cigarette packets. 15 different images are to be placed on the packs of all brands of cigarettes. They will be introduced on October 1. The images will be introduced onto all other forms of tobacco by 2010.

The written warnings were introduced in 2003 and have been deemed a success by the Department of Health. A spokesman said that the written warnings had been a success with research showing more than 90,000 smokers had been motivated to call the NHS quit line because of them.

Despite being the only the second country in Europe to introduce the images several other countries have already placed them onto packets. These include Canada, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Singapore.

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Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: “Written health warnings have encouraged many smokers to stop. These new stark picture warnings emphasis the harsh health realities of continuing to smoke.”

Not everyone is welcoming the new images. The smoking lobby group, Forest, said smokers were being unfairly targeted and called the images intrusive and offensive. Simon Clark, director of Forest, said the group supported education efforts “but these pictures are designed not just to educate but to shock and coerce people to give up a legal product”.

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June 1, 2008

World Health Organization calls for ban on tobacco ads

World Health Organization calls for ban on tobacco ads

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

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The United Nations health agency the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a ban on tobacco advertising and promotion in order to protect the world’s children. The news release from the WHO came on Friday, one day before the annual World No Tobacco Day held each year on May 31.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan
Image: Fabio Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.

This year’s World No Tobacco Day focuses on highlighting the practices of tobacco companies in their efforts to promote their products to young people. According to a WHO press release, studies show that young people are more likely to start smoking if exposed to tobacco advertising. The WHO notes that only five percent of the world population “is covered by comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship”.

“The WHO appeals to member states and policy-makers to require by law a comprehensive ban on all forms of advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa Luis Sambo, in a statement released Saturday in Kampala, Uganda.

Cquote1.svg A ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is a powerful tool we can use to protect the world’s youth. Cquote2.svg

—WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan

“In order to survive, the tobacco industry needs to replace those who quit or die with new young consumers,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. “A ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is a powerful tool we can use to protect the world’s youth.”

The WHO said that tobacco companies are specifically targeting the half billion youth in the Asia Pacific region by tying smoking to the idea of a flashy lifestyle. The agency said the tobacco industry attempts to take advantage of children’s susceptibility to advertising and marketing.

According to the WHO most people take up smoking before they reach age 18, and almost twenty-five percent of smokers worldwide are under the age of 10. The agency said that a survey of 13 to 15 year-olds found that fifty-five percent had seen cigarette ads on billboards in the prior month, and twenty-percent owned something with a cigarette company’s logo.

According to BBC News, in the last ten years female and adolescent smoking in Russia has tripled. Russia does not have many anti-smoking laws. BBC News compared this to Canada, where smoking levels are at their lowest in 40 years and the country has very restrictive laws on smoking advertising.

Cquote1.svg The tobacco industry employs predatory marketing strategies to get young people hooked to their addictive drug. Cquote2.svg

—Dr. Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative

“The tobacco industry employs predatory marketing strategies to get young people hooked to their addictive drug. But comprehensive advertising bans do work, reducing tobacco consumption by up to 16% in countries that have already taken this legislative step,” said Dr. Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative.

A report by the WHO on tobacco use stated that approximately two thirds of the planet’s smokers reside in 10 countries including China, India, Indonesia, Russia, the United States, Japan, Bangladesh, Germany, and Turkey. Reuters reported that companies Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco are among the world’s largest producers of cigarettes.



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February 2, 2007

Smoking in public places banned in France

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,Europe,France,Health,Tobacco — admin @ 5:00 am

Smoking in public places banned in France

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Zwei zigaretten.jpg

The French government has banned the smoking of cigarettes in all public places.

The ban includes no smoking in hospitals, airports, schools, places of employment and any public area that is “closed or covered.” Eleven months from now, the ban will include restaurants and cafes.

Some members of France’s Parliament are surprised to see how quick the ban was enacted.

“Nobody, not even I, thought a year-and-a-half ago that France would abandon tobacco so fast,” said member of Parliament (MP) and an advocate of the prohibiting of smoking, Yves Bur.

Police and other law enforcement agents are required to fine anyone who violates the ban. Fines for smoking in banned areas could be as much as $88.00 [USD]. Employers who do not enforce the smoking ban could be fined at least $174.00 [USD].

At least 15 million people who live in France smoke cigarettes, but a poll conducted by the French government had shown that 76% of the country’s population was in favor of the ban. 74% of the population also backs the restaurant and cafe ban to take place in one year.

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