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Reynolds Should Pay $10 Billion to Smoker, Gary Argues at Trial

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., producer of Camel cigarettes should be punished with paying an award of at least $10 billion to a man who developed cancer and emphysema from smoking, his lawyer, Willie Gary, said in an opening statement at a Florida trial. “We’re going to prove punitive damages over $10 billion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury” Gary said yesterday in state court in Tampa in a suit filed by Leroy Kirkland, 71, a former two-pack-a-day smoker. “You may decide it’s not enough.” Kirkland’s is the first tobacco trial for Gary, 63, who won a $500 million verdict against a funeral-home chain in a contract dispute and $240 million over claims that Walt Disney Co. stole his clients’ theme-park idea. Kirkland, a retired longshoreman from Tampa who began smoking at age … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured

Despite govt ban, sale of tobacco rampant around schools, colleges

Sale and consumption of tobacco may have been banned within 100 yards of the premises of schools and colleges long back, but a series of raids by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that the idea of tobacco-free campus has remained only on paper. An alarming number of vendors were found selling cigarettes and other tobacco products outside schools and colleges across seven divisions of the state. Topping the chart were college campuses in Nagpur, Aurangabad and Pune. Of the over 1,800 shops inspected, more than 1,300 were found selling tobacco within the restricted zone. “Total 1,405 educational institutions across seven divisions of the state were inspected. Of the 1,837 shops and vendors checked, 1,343 were found selling tobacco products within the prohibited zone. A total fine of Rs 2.12 … Read entire article »

Filed under: Youth smoking

Stephen Strasburg attempts to quit smokeless tobacco

Like any other high school kid,Stephen Strasburg wanted to emulate the major league baseball players he watched on television. He mimicked their actions down to the last detail. He rolled his pants up to reveal high socks, wore wristbands at the plate and, during downtime, opened tins of chewing tobacco and pinched some in his lower lip. Years later, having developed a powerful addiction, Strasburg regrets ever trying smokeless tobacco. Last fall, Tony Gwynn – his college coach at San Diego State and one of those players he grew up idolizing – began radiation treatments for parotid cancer, a diagnosis Gwynn blamed on using smokeless tobacco. In the wake of Gwynn’s cancer diagnosis, Strasburg has resolved to quit smokeless tobacco while he recuperates from Tommy John surgery. He doesn’t want to face the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Celebrities smoking

SMOKELESS Tobacco BY THE NUMBERS

There are approximately 40 million smokers in the United States and 7 million smokeless tobacco consumers. While U.S. cigarette consumption continues to decline by about 3 percent or 4 percent a year, sales of smokeless tobacco keep growing by about 7 percent each year. Social stigma, health concerns, per-pack tax increases and anti-smoking laws continue to motivate smokers to quit. But consumer data show that some former smokers are switching to an increasing array of smokeless products, including new flavored varieties. Tennessee ranks eighth in the nation in smokeless tobacco use, with the percentage of youth and young adults who use smokeless tobacco at 12.2 percent, according to data supplied by the Tennessee Department of Health. The national rate is 8.9 percent. Even as other Tennessee manufacturing jobs have vanished — 71,000 and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Smoking effects, Tobacco news

Tobacco industry adapts to world of fewer smokers

By any name or variety you choose — call it snuff, dip, chew or plug — smokeless tobacco is making a comeback, and Tennessee farmers, factory workers and consumers are playing a major role in the renewed buzz. Farmers here and in Kentucky who once made a good living off raising burley tobacco for cigarettes have had to eliminate 40 percent of acreage devoted to that crop as demand has declined, while farmers who cultivate the dark tobacco used for chewing have been able to expand their fields by 22 percent in three years. Now, the massive marketing muscle of the nation’s biggest tobacco companies — Altria Group and its subsidiary Philip Morris USA, which owns the 100-year-old U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. factory within view of the state Capitol, and R.J. Reynolds, … Read entire article »

Filed under: New tobacco, Tobacco news

Battle over Florida tax on cheap cigarettes heats up

A battle could once again be looming at the Capitol about a tax that would affect dozens of cigarette manufacturers but is aimed largely at a South Florida company that sells low-priced smokes across the state. The as-yet-undetermined fee would target so-called “nonparticipating manufacturers” who didn’t take part in Florida’s multibillion-dollar settlement with tobacco companies in the 1990s. Because they are free of the payments into Florida’s agreement, those companies can sell cheaper cigarettes for faamous brands like Winston cigarettes or Parliament cigarettes – and have, driving up their market share as cigarette prices have spiked. The company with by far the most to lose from any tax is Opa-locka-based Dosal, which produced about 16 percent of cigarette shipments in Florida; other nonparticipating firms are responsible for just over 3 percent. A study … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette taxes

Higher Bulgarian tobacco taxes have triggered a huge surge in cigarette smuggling

Sofia. Higher tobacco taxes have triggered a huge surge in cigarette smuggling in Bulgaria, with almost one cigarette out of every two bought on the black market in some regions, new estimates showed Friday,AFP reports. Bulgaria increased its tax on tobacco by 46% at the start of 2010 in order to bring its excise duties in line with the EU. But, in a country where 2.5 million people out of a total population of 6.9 million are habitual smokers, this has led to a steep rise in demand for contraband cigarettes, according to a new customs report to parliament, which has been circulated to the media. And that, in turn, is depriving the government of an estimated 450 million euros (617 million euros) in annual revenues, customs chief Vanyo Tanov calculated. In his report, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette taxes, Smoking effects

Cigarettes Won’t Help Teens’ Depression

Even though some teens use cigarettes to self-medicate, smoking may only increase their depressive symptoms, researchers say.After adjustment, smokers who reported psychobiological benefits from smoking were at higher risk of developing elevated depressive symptoms than never-smokers (HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.8), Michael Chaiton, MD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues reported online in Addictive Behaviors. “The perceived positive benefits may be the result of alleviation of symptoms of withdrawal and craving resulting from abstinence,” they wrote. Self-medication has been one of the main hypotheses to explain the association between depression and smoking in teens. But it isn’t well-known whether using cigarettes to improve mood or functioning is associated with changes in depressive symptoms. So the researchers assessed data … Read entire article »

Filed under: Nicotine dependence

Altria’s Profit Rises on Higher Marlboro Prices, Snuff Demand

Altria Group Inc., the largest U.S. tobacco company, said fourth-quarter profit increased 27 percent, helped by higher prices for Marlboro cigarettes and snuff sales. Net income rose to $919 million, or 44 cents a share, from $725 million, or 35 cents, a year earlier, the Richmond, Virginia-based maker of Copenhagen snuff said today. That matched the average of eight estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Altria raised prices for cigarettes twice in the past year, countering a 7 percent decline in shipments in the quarter. Altria, which became the largest smokeless tobacco company in 2009 with Chief Executive Officer Michael Szymanczyk’s acquisition of UST Inc., also benefited from increasing demand for snuff. Altria fell 3 cents to $24.26 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has declined 1.4 percent this year, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette brands, Featured

Students sought in free cigarette trial

By Jessica Rowe The Student Job Search online ad offered students aged between 18 and 29 $50 each to sample free cigarettes for eight days. Smoke-free organisations are outraged. “It’s telling young people ‘hey it is okay to smoke’, it is telling them ‘we want you to smoke our products, we value our customers so much so that we are going to pay you to try our products’ and I think that is a really dangerous message,” says Ben Youdan of Ash. Students say the ad is irresponsible, while Student Job Search is embarrassed and has removed the ad. “In reflection we don’t believe this job is consistent with student welfare, and we have made a call that it doesn’t fit with our organisational values and we have removed it,” says Paul Kennedy. Under the Smoke … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cigarette brands

Cigarette butt adds to driver’s ticket woes

FORT WORTH — A 44-year-old Grapevine woman learned the hard way not to mess with Texas — especially in view of a police officer. The woman was pulled over Tuesday morning on the East Loop 820 South service road after an officer clocked her 2002 Jeep Liberty traveling 59 mph in a 40 mph zone, according to a Fort Worth police report. The officer watched as the woman rifled through her stuffed wallet for her driver’s license and insurance card, all while holding a lit cigarette in her left hand. Observing that the cigarette was almost finished, the officer closely looked to see how the woman would dispose of it, the report states. From her patrol car, the officer saw the woman flick some ashes out of her driver’s side window and take … Read entire article »

Filed under: Tobacco news

How Do You Really Feel About Smoking?

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has the power to regulate tobacco and is starting to flex its muscles, we wondered how Americans are feeling about smoking. So our pals at Thomson Reuters agreed to ask a slew of questions about smoking and cigarettes as part of their latest nationwide health survey. First, here’s a little bit of info about the more than 3,000 people who responded to the telephone survey. More than half — 56 percent — said they’d never smoked. Slightly more than a quarter are former smokers and about 17 percent smoke now. Now the findings. A little more than half — 54 percent — of people surveyed are in favor of those graphic cigarette labels FDA has proposed to deter smoking. About 24 percent oppose them. Digging deeper, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, Smoking effects