Statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Washington, D.C. — The New York Assembly has protected the tobacco industry at the expense of New York's kids and taxpayers by pushing for a budget agreement that decimates funding for the state's highly successful Tobacco Control Program. This is a truly penny-wise, pound-foolish decision that will cost New York a high price in health, lives and tobacco-related health care costs, which total more than $8 billion a year in New York.
Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee’s Report and Recommendations on the Impact of the Use of Menthol in Cigarettes on the Public Health
Section 907 (e) of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) requires the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) to submit a report and recommendation to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on the public health – including use among children, African Americans, Hispanics, and other racial/ethnic minorities – by March 23, 2011. The report has been received by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is thus considered submitted to the Secretary of HHS.
In addition, FDA has received an industry perspective document on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes from industry representatives who serve on the TPSAC.
FDA Action – The report submitted by TPSAC will undergo a thorough review by experts within the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. The FDA will consider the report and recommendations of the Committee, the industry perspective document, and continue to review all of the available science concerning menthol cigarettes. The FDA will then make a determination about what future regulatory action(s), if any, are warranted.
The Tobacco Control Act does not set a required deadline or timeline for the FDA to act on the recommendations provided by the Committee in the report.
The Committee’s recommendation of “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States” is simply that – a recommendation of the Committee based on their review of the current, prevailing science on the topic of menthol as an ingredient in cigarettes. Any future action(s) taken by the FDA to regulate the sale or distribution of menthol cigarettes or establish a tobacco product standard for menthol cigarettes will require rule making that includes public notice and the opportunity for public comment. Therefore, FDA’s receipt of the final report and recommendations does not have a direct and immediate effect on the availability of menthol products in the marketplace.
Expected Update – The FDA recognizes the strong interest in this issue among all stakeholders and will continue to communicate the steps the FDA is taking as it determines what future regulatory actions, if any, are warranted. FDA intends to provide its first progress report on the review of the science in approximately 90 days from the TPSAC report due date.
Sat, Feb 26 2011
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two tobacco companies went to court against U.S. health regulators on Friday, seeking to block consideration of an imminent advisory panel report that could recommend a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes.
Lorillard Inc and Reynolds American Inc's R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co unit filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration charging there were "conflicts of interest and bias among members" of the FDA advisory panel.
The advisers have been weighing the health impact of mint-flavored cigarettes and are expected to deliver their final report on March 23.
Mentholated cigarettes make up roughly 30 percent of U.S. annual cigarette sales of more than $83 billion, according to Euromonitor International.
The top-selling menthol cigarette is Lorillard's Newport brand. R.J. Reynolds sells the Kool brand and a menthol version of its Camel product.
A 2009 law gave the FDA regulatory power over tobacco products and specifically banned chocolate, fruit and other flavorings that lawmakers said enticed children to start smoking.
The legislation called on the FDA to seek advice from a panel of outside experts before determining whether menthol cigarettes should also be taken off the U.S. market.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accuses three tobacco advisory panel members of having "severe financial and appearance conflicts of interest and associated biases."
The suit says these advisers have received funding for research or consultation work from drugmakers that make smoking-cessation products.
Two others on a panel subcommittee also have biases, according to the suit, because they have served as paid expert witnesses in lawsuits against tobacco companies.
Health advocates denounced the lawsuit as a frivolous attempt to keep the FDA panel's recommendation from coming to light.
"They fear that the committee, having examined the evidence, will recommend effective actions that reduce or eliminate the lucrative market for menthol cigarettes, said Matthew Myers president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Once again, they are putting profits ahead of lives and health."
Altria Group Inc's Philip Morris unit, which is not part of the lawsuit, also sells a menthol version of its Marlboro cigarette.
All three companies have spoken out against any menthol ban since the FDA's panel began holding meetings last year. The advisers are scheduled to meet on March 2 and March 17 ahead of issuing its report.
As with other advisory panels, the FDA is not bound to follow its recommendations. The law did not set a deadline for any action on menthol.
FDA spokesman Jeff Ventura said: "As a matter of general policy, the FDA does not comment on possible, pending or ongoing litigation."
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Carol Bishopric and Tim Dobbyn)
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Dec. 14 2010
Washington, D.C. - It is troubling news for the nation's health that the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey released today shows that smoking rates have stopped declining and may have ticked up slightly among 8th and 10th graders, while youth smokeless tobacco use has increased significantly in recent years. These results come as states have slashed funding for tobacco prevention programs while the tobacco industry continues to aggressively market its deadly and addictive products. The industry's recent tactics have included the introduction of an array of new smokeless tobacco products, many in kid-friendly candy and fruit flavors, and heavy discounting that makes cigarettes and other tobacco products more affordable and appealing to price-sensitive kids.
The Monitoring the Future results, released by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, are consistent with those of other recent surveys. They sound a clear warning to elected officials at all levels that we cannot take continued progress against tobacco for granted and must redouble efforts to implement proven strategies, including higher tobacco taxes, increased funding for tobacco prevention programs including mass media campaigns, strong smoke-free laws and effective regulation of tobacco products and marketing.
It is especially critical that the states quickly increase funding for tobacco prevention programs that have been decimated by budget cuts in recent years. In the past three years, states have slashed funding for tobacco prevention programs by 28 percent to the lowest level since 1999, when they first received funds from settlement of their lawsuits against the tobacco industry. This year (Fiscal Year 2011), the states will collect $25.3 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only two percent of it $517.9 million on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Altogether, the states are providing just 14 percent of the tobacco prevention funding recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The evidence is clear that the more the states spend on tobacco prevention programs, and the longer they do so, the greater the declines in tobacco use. It is no coincidence that the largest youth smoking declines occurred between about 1997 and 2003 when funding for tobacco prevention programs increased, as did cigarette prices, in the wake of the 1998 state tobacco settlement. Since then, states have repeatedly cut funding for such programs, and Legacy has also had to reduce funding for its highly successful truth® youth smoking prevention campaign because most of its settlement funding ended in 2003.
There is some reason for optimism. Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the first ever national Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan. It is critical that the federal government fund and implement this plan, including a national media campaign to prevent kids from smoking and encourage smokers to quit. The Food and Drug Administration must also continue to vigorously exercise its new authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The FDA imposed new restrictions on tobacco marketing and sales to kids in June, but the tobacco industry is challenging even stricter marketing restrictions in court.
The Monitoring the Future survey is another reminder that the United States truly is at a crossroads in the fight against tobacco, the nation's number cause of preventable death and disease. If elected leaders step up their efforts to implement proven solutions, we can accelerate smoking declines and win one of the greatest public health victories in our nation's history. If they fail to do so, progress will stop and even reverse, at great cost in health, lives and health care dollars. Especially in light of the new Surgeon General's report showing how thoroughly destructive smoking is to both individual and public health, there simply is no excuse for failing to fight tobacco use with the political leadership and resources that match the scope of the problem.
There is no question that we know how to win the fight against tobacco. As the Monitoring the Future Survey shows, smoking rates (the percentage who smoked in the past month) have declined by 66 percent among 8th graders, by 55 percent among 10th graders and by 48 percent among 12th graders since peaking in 1996-1997. For the first time, the 12th grade smoking rate has fallen to under 20 percent (to 19.2 percent). However, youth smoking declines have slowed or stalled in recent years. In fact, the new survey finds a small, although not statistically significant, increase in smoking among 8th and 10th graders, a trend that could grow as these younger students age unless prevention efforts are strengthened.
Also troubling is the survey's finding that there have been significant increases in smokeless tobacco use for all three grades over the past several years. Among 12th graders, 8.5 percent used smokeless tobacco in 2010, a 39 percent increase since 2006. Even more alarming, 15.7 percent of 12th grade boys currently use smokeless tobacco.
Nov. 17 2010
Washington, D.C. - The states have slashed funding for programs to reduce tobacco use to the lowest level since 1999, when they first received tobacco settlement funds, according to a report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.
The states this year (Fiscal Year 2011) will collect $25.3 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only two percent of it — $517.9 million — on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The states have cut funding for such programs by nine percent ($51.4 million) in the past year and by 28 percent ($199.3 million) in the past three years.
With the U.S. adult smoking rate stalled at 20.6 percent after decades of decline, the report warns that continued progress against tobacco use — the nation's number one cause of preventable death – is at risk unless states increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The report also calls on states to increase tobacco taxes and, for states that have yet to do so, to enact strong smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces, restaurants and bars.
The report further calls on the federal government to robustly fund and implement the national tobacco prevention strategy unveiled last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including launching a national media campaign to discourage kids from smoking and encourage smokers to quit.
The report, titled "A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 12 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These organizations have issued annual reports assessing whether the states have kept their promise to use funds from the state tobacco settlements — estimated to total $246 billion over the first 25 years — to fight tobacco use.
"We know how to win the fight against tobacco, but we will not win it unless elected officials at all levels step up efforts to implement proven solutions," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Despite their budgetary challenges, the states are collecting huge sums from the tobacco industry and should be spending more of it to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Tobacco prevention is a smart investment for the states that saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."
Other findings of this year's report include:
The report comes as recent surveys have found that smoking declines in the United States have slowed and even stalled. The CDC recently reported that the adult smoking rate in 2009 was 20.6 percent — essentially unchanged since 2004 when 20.9 percent smoked. While smoking among high school students has declined by 46 percent from a high of 36.4 percent in 1997, 19.5 percent still smoke.
"For every step forward in curbing tobacco use among Americans, many states have taken two steps backwards," said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. "The public health community is appalled at the lack of commitment among a vast majority of states to adequately fund comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs with the settlement dollars. As tobacco companies devise new tactics to increase smoking rates among children and adults, it's more important than ever to protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco use and give smokers the necessary tools to reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke and other smoking-related illnesses."
"Fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs stop addiction before it starts and improve the health of our nation's communities," said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. "Given the record low amount that states are allocating to these important programs, they simply must do a better job at properly allocating funding that helps reduce tobacco use and protects the health of children, 4,100 of whom try their first cigarette every day."
Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke kill more than 400,000 people in the United States each year and cost the nation more than $96 billion in health care bills. Every day, another 1,000 kids become regular smokers — one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.
Christina Saull, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, (202) 271-9489
Suzanne Ffolkes, American Heart Association,(202) 785-7929
Mary Havell, American Lung Association,(202) 715-3459
Another half dozen states looking at smokes to plug budget shortfalls
SANTA FE, N.M. -- Cash-strapped states are hitting smokers hard in the pocketbook, raising cigarette taxes to help plug budget shortfalls.
So far this year, legislators have voted to raise cigarette taxes by $1 per pack in Utah and 75 cents a pack in New Mexico, according to a report in USA Today. At least a half dozen other states are considering increases, including tobacco-growing South Carolina and Georgia. In 2009, 14 states and the District of Columbia raised cigarette taxes.
So much action is unusual: This is only the 10th time since 1950 that so many states have raised cigarette taxes at once, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The main motivation at the moment for most legislators is revenue," Pete Fisher of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-smoking group, told the newspaper. "The budget situation has certainly increased the number of states considering them."
The average state cigarette tax is $1.34 per pack. That's on top of the federal tax, raised last year to $1.01 per pack. Rhode Island has the highest state tax at $3.46 per pack; South Carolina's is lowest at 7 cents. About 46 million Americans smoke, the report stated.
Increased taxes will push smokers to buy in states where cigarettes are cheaper or turn to smuggled products, Frank Lester, spokesman for cigarette-maker Reynolds American, told the newspaper. Most smokers have low to moderate incomes and one-quarter of them fall below the poverty line, he said, adding, "People are struggling." Budget woes trumped cigarette-maker influence this month in New Mexico, said state Rep. Gail Chasey, a Democrat, whose previous tax increase proposals fizzled. Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson on Wednesday signed the new 75-cent tax.
Among other states considering tax increases:
For every 10% price increase, cigarette consumption drops by 3% to 4% among adults, and double that among youth, said Terry Pechacek, associate director for science at CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "It is one of the most reliable and effective strategies," he told the newspaper.
Per Capita Cigarette Consumption
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama intends to nominate the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids head William Corr as deputy secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, the transition office said on Tuesday.
"Corr has extensive management and healthcare policy experience both in Congress and at the Department of Health and Human Services," Obama's office said.
Before joining the privately funded Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids organization in 2000, Corr was Tom Daschle's chief counsel and policy director when the former South Dakota senator was Senate minority leader.
President Obama Signs Legislation to allow the FDA to Regulate Tobacco
January 6, 2010
By DUFF WILSON
A federal judge in Kentucky issued a mixed ruling Tuesday in the first significant legal challenge to the new federal law regulating tobacco products.
Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., ruled that companies could be forced to put new, graphic warning labels covering the top half of cigarette packages by 2013. But he ruled they could not be forced to limit their marketing materials to only black text on a white background, saying that was too broad an intrusion on commercial free speech. In a 47-page ruling in Federal District Court in Bowling Green, Ky., the judge upheld the broad authority of the Food and Drug Administration to restrict tobacco marketing and affirmed federal, state, local and tribal authority to impose additional restrictions.
The case is likely to be appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, lawyers on both sides say.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington advocacy group that promoted the landmark regulatory legislation that passed last year, praised the judge’s action as a victory to protect children and public health.
“This clears the path for the F.D.A. to move forward on a broad range of marketing restrictions,” Matthew L. Myers, president of the group, said in an interview.
The ruling also upheld a ban on forms of tobacco marketing that might appeal to youth, including brand-name sponsorships of events like car racing or rodeos, merchandise like caps, T-shirts and sporting goods.
But David P. Howard, spokesman for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco in Winston-Salem, N.C., emphasized the part of the decision favoring tobacco makers.
“Certainly we’re pleased with the judge’s decision in finding that certain provisions of the law are unconstitutional, including what we think was one of the biggest issues of the case, that being the use of color and imagery in our advertising,” Mr. Howard said.….
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
Statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Washington, D.C. - Sounding an alarm that should be heard in Congress and statehouses across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today that the adult smoking rate in the United States was at a standstill for the second year in a row in 2006 after several years of steady declines. The CDC reported that 20.8 percent of U.S. adults smoked in 2006, about the same as the 20.9 percent who smoked in 2004 and 2005. This stall follows a 15.4 percent decline in adult smoking between 1997 and 2004 (from 24.7 percent to 20.9 percent).
Youth smoking declines have similarly stalled in recent years after declining significantly since the mid-1990s, and 23 percent of high school students still smoke, according to the most recent CDC data.
It is troubling news for America’s health that progress has stalled in reducing tobacco use, the nation’s number one preventable cause of death. It is also inexcusable that elected leaders have not done more given the overwhelming scientific evidence of what works to reduce tobacco use among both children and adults. Just this year, landmark reports by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences and the President’s Cancer Panel have agreed on the steps that Congress and the states must take to significantly reduce and eventually eliminate the tobacco epidemic:
According to the CDC report, several factors appear to have contributed to the recent stalling of progress:
Today’s CDC report is a warning that our nation cannot become complacent in the fight against tobacco. Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans and costs the nation nearly $100 billion in health care bills each year. It is time at last for our nation’s leaders to combat the tobacco epidemic with a level of commitment and resources that matches the scope of the problem.
The results of the CDC’s annual adult smoking survey were published in this week’s issue of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Released: October 30, 2007
Zogby Poll: 65% Oppose FDA Regulation of Tobacco
Survey shows 75% are concerned a proposed change could reduce FDA's effectiveness in regulating pharmaceutical drugs and the U.S. food supply
Nearly two in three (65%) are opposed to a current proposal in Congress to have the Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco products, with nearly (47%) who say they are strongly against to the proposed change, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.
Nearly two-thirds (74%) of Republicans oppose the change, compared to 64% of independents and more than half (57%) of Democrats. Those living in Southern states (72%) are most likely to be against the proposal, although majorities in all regions of the U.S. were more likely to oppose than support the proposal. The significant opposition to the proposal was found after respondents were asked a series of questions regarding their feelings on the FDA as well provided with factual information regarding how tobacco products are currently regulated in the U.S. and additional duties of the FDA. Before respondents were given this additional information, nearly half (49%) said they were opposed to the proposal to give the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products. Another 44% said they favored it, while 6% were undecided on the question.
The telephone survey of 1,006 likely voters nationwide was conducted from August 23-27, 2007, and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The survey was sponsored by Lorillard Tobacco.
“These poll results show Americans want the Food and Drug Administration to concentrate not on tobacco, but rather on policing our food supply and our medicines,” said Pollster John Zogby. “This is even more evident given that these poll results came before FDA Chairman Andrew von Eschenbach reiterated his opposition to FDA regulation of tobacco.
At a time when a significant majority of American adults say they are unhappy about the direction of the nation and are questioning the competence of the federal government to carry out its current responsibilities, the poll shows little appetite among informed adults to make big changes to the tobacco regulatory scheme.”
Monday October 15, 10:36 am ET
By Shelia Byrd, Associated Press Writer
As the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi limps along without its $20 million in annual funding, the chairman of the nonprofit group is now at the forefront of another anti-tobacco campaign.
Former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore was recently named chairman of the state's Tobacco Advisory Council, created by the 2007 Legislature to recommend anti-smoking programs to the Mississippi Department of Health.
The irony isn't lost on Moore, a Democrat. He's leading a program approved by Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, who tirelessly fought to terminate the Partnership's funding.
"As hard as Haley Barbour fought to get me out of the tobacco prevention business, I'm now the chairman of the effort again," Moore said.
Still, at $8 million a year, the budget for the new state Tobacco Advisory Council is less than half of what the Partnership spent annually.
Moore holds out hope that the new program can be effective in keeping Mississippians from taking up the habit. But the Partnership is a tough act to follow.
Moore said tobacco use among high school students was reduced by 35 percent and 40 percent among middle school students as a result of the Partnership's work.….
During the 2007 session, Barbour resisted legislators' attempts to steer the money back to the Partnership, said House Public Health Committee Chairman Steve Holland, D-Plantersville.
The money ended up in the general fund and much of it is going toward programs not related to tobacco cessation, Holland said.
Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington, laments the demise of the Partnership, which currently operates with about five employees who participate in community and school activities across the state.
"The challenge is going to be how much (the council) can do with the dramatically reduced funding," Myers said.
Myers also said research suggests the state may already be losing ground on the tobacco fight, referring to the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that showed 25.1 percent of Mississippi adults ages 18-35 were smokers. That's the third highest smoking rate in the nation.
July 11, 2007
By GARDINER HARRIS
WASHINGTON, July 10 — Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional panel Tuesday that top Bush administration officials repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations.
The administration, Dr. Carmona said, would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues. Top officials delayed for years and tried to “water down” a landmark report on secondhand smoke, he said. Released last year, the report concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke could cause immediate harm.
Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings. And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics because, he said, of that charitable organization’s longtime ties to a “prominent family” that he refused to name.
“I was specifically told by a senior person, ‘Why would you want to help those people?’ ” Dr. Carmona said. The Special Olympics is one of the nation’s premier charitable organizations to benefit disabled people, and the Kennedys have long been deeply involved in it.
When asked after the hearing if that “prominent family” was the Kennedys, Dr. Carmona responded, “You said it. I didn’t.”
Dr. Carmona did offer to provide the names to the committee in a private meeting.
Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the administration disagreed with Dr. Carmona’s statements. “It has always been this administration’s position that public health policy should be rooted in sound science,” Mr. Hall said.
Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said the surgeon general “is the leading voice for the health of all Americans.”
“It’s disappointing to us,” Ms. Lawrimore said, “if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.”
Dr. Carmona is one of a growing list of present and former administration officials to charge that politics often trumped science within what had previously been largely nonpartisan government health and scientific agencies.
Bad for business, bad for consumers; NBCC President submits testimony
WASHINGTON, March 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) announced today that it has submitted testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee regarding legislation to increase federal regulation of tobacco products. The bill in question is S. 625, introduced earlier this month by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA).
This legislation, giving the Food and Drug Administration broad new powers to regulate tobacco, would affect millions of business owners around the nation. The NBCC, representing a wide variety of African American business owners, is expressing its concern about this bill's impact on small businesses nationwide.
In his testimony, NBCC President and CEO Harry C. Alford said, "As written, the bill would represent a threat to every small retailer and distributor of tobacco and related products in the country. As you well know, thousands of such small businesses across the country are Black-owned businesses, and like most small businesses, they are struggling every day to survive in an extremely competitive marketplace. One of the greatest threats posed to the success of small businesses is government overregulation, and overregulation is exactly what S.625 seems to have in mind."
Mr. Alford went on to say, "At every turn, S.625 undercuts the honest work being done by small businesses -- user fees that depress wages and encourage job loss, lost revenues, unfair enforcement and application of the rules and regulations. S.625 is a well-meaning bill, but one that will have disastrous effects on thousands of minority-owned retailers around the country, killing jobs and closing businesses in those communities that can least afford to take the hit."
The NBCC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities. 190 affiliated chapters are locally based throughout the nation as well as international affiliate chapters based in Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana and Jamaica and businesses as well as individuals who may have chosen to be direct members with the national office.
SOURCE National Black Chamber of Commerce
“This will be seen as one of the greatest lost opportunities to improve public health in history. Here we are, a decade later, and there’s no regulation of tobacco products. The product is no safer or less addictive. The two largest manufacturers [R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson in 2005] ... launched candy-flavored cigarettes, for God’s sake. This industry continues to behave in the way it has always behaved.”
Matt Myers, general counsel for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, on the tobacco settlement.
The Associated Press March 6, 2007, 12:11PM EST
By ANDREW BRIDGES
Government regulation of tobacco could backfire by inadvertently forcing smokers to light up more and inhale more deeply, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach said that if the FDA reduced nicotine levels in cigarettes, people would tailor their smoking habits to maintain current levels of the addictive drug.
"We could find ourselves in the conundrum of having made a decision about nicotine only to have made the public health radically worse. And that is not the position FDA is in; we approve products that enhance health, not destroy it," said von Eschenbach, a cancer surgeon.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation last month that would give the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco, in part by reducing its nicotine content.
Smoking kills more than 400,000 Americans a year.
Von Eschenbach said repeatedly that the issue of regulating tobacco is a complex one.
"What I don't want to see happen is that we are in a position where we are determining that a cigarette is safe," von Eschenbach said.
In 1996, the FDA moved to regulate tobacco. The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that Congress had not authorized the agency to do so.
U.S. Cigarette Profits Fill Iran Coffers If sanctions don't work, maybe we can just smoke the Iranians to death. That seems to be a key strategy in the U.S. embargo on Iran these days.
To punish Tehran for backing terrorism and going nuclear, Washington has slapped on trade sanctions and gone after its banking industry. But in one area, at least, business between the two nations is booming: cigarettes. Allowed into Iran as agricultural products, U.S. tobacco exports to Iran have grown to $142 million since 2002 and now dwarf those of other American goods shipped there.
The shipments stem from a 2000 U.S. law that eased up on embargoes against Iran, Libya, and Sudan, allowing exports of medicine and agricultural goods. Ironically, the law – the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act – was pushed by interests from food-farming states, not the tobacco industry, but cigarette-makers appear the big winner. While shipments of U.S. smokes to Libya and Sudan never amounted to much, exports to Iran – considered a prize market by tobacco exporters – have ballooned.
From 2002 to 2005, tobacco made up nearly half of the value of all U.S. exports to Iran, according to U.S. Census data. The $50 million worth of tobacco products shipped there in 2005 – the last year for which data are available – is nearly three times that of the next largest category, pharmaceuticals, and over six times the amount of all other farm products.
"It's obviously not what was intended," says Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who chairs the House Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee. Sherman, who has pushed for tougher sanctions on Iran, says the embargo was eased because of concern over deprivation. "That's why it was about food and medicine. It would have been ironic to put in medicine and cigarettes."
Iran is not short of cash – as a top oil producer, the regime makes billions of dollars off its petroleum sales, enough to amply fund the nuclear and missile programs that have Washington on edge. But its leaders are nonetheless making a killing off the tobacco trade, as sales are run by a government monopoly (although many cigarettes are smuggled in). According to Iran's IRNA news service, 50 billion cigarettes are consumed there annually, resulting in some 50,000 deaths each year.
"Maybe we're trying to stop the Iranians by giving them lung cancer," quips one terrorism expert.
Top U.S. Exports to Iran, 2005 (in thousands of dollars)
Tobacco, manufactured 50,317
Pharmaceutical preparations 18,463
Agricultural farming–unmanufactured 8,131
Pulpwood and wood pulp 7,389
Medical equipment 5,444
Washington Post, Lead Editorial
Monday, March 13, 2006; A14
THE NUMBERS ARE dramatic -- and encouraging. Americans smoked fewer cigarettes last year than any time since 1951, when the population was half what it is today. Cigarette sales dropped 4.2 percent in 2005 alone and 20 percent since 1998, according to data based on cigarette sales tax figures and compiled by the National Association of Attorneys General.
The state attorneys general have an interest in proclaiming progress in the war on smoking -- they attribute much of the decline to the effects of the $246 billion settlement the states reached with the tobacco industry in 1998 -- and it's possible that the study didn't capture some cigarette sales, such as those conducted over the Internet or through the black market. But the group's optimistic findings are reinforced by other studies concluding that fewer Americans are smoking and that the ones who do are smoking less. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in November that the smoking rate among adults has been falling steadily, from 25 percent in 1993 to 20.9 percent in 2004. Equally cheering, the proportion of heavy smokers (those smoking 25 or more cigarettes a day) dropped from 19.1 percent of smokers in 1993 to 12.1 percent in 2004. After rising during the 1990s, smoking among high school students dropped from 36.4 percent in 1997 to 21.9 percent in 2003.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer, Stateline.org
Some states punish smokers for their vice, shooing them out of workplaces and public buildings to puff. But states increasingly are relying on smokers to help balance state budgets.
As budget-writing season heats up in state legislatures, cash-strapped states once again are turning to tobacco to fill budget gaps either by tapping their tobacco settlement funds or hiking cigarette taxes. New cigarette taxes are proposed in states like New Jersey and Rhode Island, which already charge the highest tax rates of $2.05 and $1.71 a pack, and even in Southern states like Kentucky and Virginia that grow tobacco.
Relying on tobacco to help fix budget ills has been a welcome remedy, but unfortunately for states, it won't last. Kicking the smoking habit may be good for people's health and states' long-term health care costs, but it' s bad for state revenues in the short run.
The 1998 tobacco settlement involving four major tobacco companies was a windfall for states. In exchange for agreeing not to sue cigarette manufacturers, states so far have reaped $37.5 billion in payments since 2000, according to the National Governors Association. Many expected states to use the money for anti-smoking and health care programs.
But last year 31 states dipped into their tobacco settlement funds-not to address smoking-- but to help balance the books for fiscal 2004, said Lee Dixon, vice president of Health Policy Tracking Service, a web-based organization that is affiliated with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
That's more than double the 15 states that spent tobacco settlement money to fill budget gaps in the previous year. It's too early to tell how many states will turn to their tobacco fund to bail them out for fiscal 2005.
The settlement, which led 46 states to drop a massive lawsuit against cigarette companies in exchange for sharing $206 billion over 25 years, did not require that the money be spent on anti-smoking or health care programs. (Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi and Texas aren't part of the tobacco settlement and negotiated their own deals with cigarette manufacturers worth $40 billion.)
Contrary to expectations, only a handful of states spent all of their tobacco money for health purposes last year, including Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Wyoming, according to Dixon's Health Policy Tracking Service.
Only six states earned "A" grades from the American Lung Association in its 2004 report card for their anti-smoking programs: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine and Mississippi.
© Copyright 2004 Stateline.org
Monday, October 04, 2004, 12:00 A.M. Pacific
By Andrew Garber
Seattle Times staff reporter
Attorney General Christine Gregoire is called tiger lady, the tobacco slayer, the woman who brought the cigarette industry "to its knees" for her role in negotiating a $206 billion settlement between tobacco companies and 46 states in 1998.
More than any other event in her career, the deal made Gregoire a heavyweight in Washington politics.
It's expected to deliver $4.5 billion to Washington over 25 years, with most of the money going toward health insurance for the poor. It also banned cigarette billboards and forbid cartoon ads aimed at children.
Yet six years after the paperwork was signed, a contentious debate over whether the settlement was a victory or a failure shows no sign of subsiding.
Critics, including some prominent public-health experts, say the agreement insulated tobacco companies from potentially crippling lawsuits and made the states dependent on money from cigarettes.
"The settlement agreement has been the absolute worst thing that has ever happened in tobacco control," says Michael Siegel, a physician and associate professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. "Essentially what [Gregoire] did was sign a tobacco-interest bailout."
But Gregoire also has admirers.
"Politicians often take credit for things they don't do," said Matthew Myers, head of the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids. "This is a case where Chris Gregoire in fact was the most influential attorney general in the country in promoting the public-health provisions in the 1998 settlement."
Stanton Glantz, head of a tobacco-control research center at the University of California, says the nation would have been better off without a settlement. "Many people, including me, felt it was a bad idea," he says.
Gregoire has ridden a wave of glowing publicity for her role in forging the agreement and mentions it frequently in her campaign speeches.
It "achieved the largest settlement, it achieved holding [tobacco companies] accountable, it achieved a change in their conduct and it did achieve historic reductions in youth smoking," Gregoire said in a recent interview.
Her campaign has received more than $100,000 from attorneys on both sides of the tobacco war, including law firms that earned millions of dollars from the settlement. The lead negotiator for tobacco companies, Meyer Koplow, held a fund-raiser in New York that Gregoire attended.
January 29, 2008
By VANESSA O'CONNELL
January 29, 2008; Page A1
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Sitting in his office overlooking Lake Geneva, Philip Morris International Chief Executive André Calantzopoulos takes a long drag from an unusually short cigarette. Called Marlboro Intense, the product has been shrunk down by about a half inch, and offers smokers seven potent puffs apiece, versus the average of eight or so milder draws.
The idea behind Intense is to appeal to customers who, due to indoor smoking bans, want to dash outside for a quick nicotine hit but don't always finish a full-size cigarette. Pointing to his lit Intense, the CEO says there are "possibly 50 markets that are interested in deploying it."
WSJ's Vanessa O'Connell and David Pybas do a show and tell with new products for smokers that Philip Morris has created ahead of an aggressive international push for new business
Marlboro Intense is likely to be part of an aggressive blitz of new smoking products PMI will roll out around the globe once the company -- now a unit of New York-based Altria Group Inc. -- becomes a standalone entity. That change will be set into motion tomorrow, when the Altria board is expected to approve a long-awaited decision to split PMI from Philip Morris USA. The move would free the tobacco giant's international operations of legal and public-relations headaches in the U.S. that have hindered its growth.
The separate entity, for example, would be exempt from U.S. tobacco regulations and out of reach of American litigators. Importantly, its practices would no longer be constrained by American public opinion, paving the way for broad product experimentation.