Nov. 30, 2010

Taxes Spurring Smokers to Quit

New research indicates that the recent tax rate rise on tobacco products has greatly increased the number of New Zealanders who are trying to quit smoking.

The number of New Zealanders attempting to quit smoking has risen 93 percent since the April tobacco tax rate increase. This assessment was released on November 17th in new research published by The Quit Group. Paula Snowden, Chief Executive of the Group, commented on the findings, saying, “The majority of smokers wish they had never begun smoking and our survey shows that an increase in tobacco prices provides the trigger some smokers need to begin their quitting journey.”

In the month following the latest tobacco tax increase 4 000 New Zealanders registered with Quitline, a telephone service designed to aid individuals in their attempts to quit smoking. According to the report, the number of callers was almost double that of the same period in 2009. Over 25 percent of those calling claimed that they had never attempted to quit smoking within the previous 12 months, and over 66 percent cited the tax increase as one of the reasons they decided to quit.

Paula Snowden praised the development, and the Government’s upcoming supplementary tax rate increases, but claimed that there were still more work to be done. She urged the Government to accept a proposal mandating the use of plain packaging on all tobacco products and banning the display of any tobacco products.

Nov. 24, 2010

Higher prices mean less smoking, less tobacco production/importation

New Zealanders are smoking 1.3 billion fewer cigarettes a year than ten years ago, according to data produced by Statistics New Zealand for the Smokefree Coalition.
In the last quarter, since tobacco's tax rise, New Zealanders consumed 280 million manufactured tobacco products, and 243 tonnes of loose tobacco.
Smokefree Coalition Director Dr Prudence Stone said last year's fourth quarter result was 757 million or so cigarettes, while this fourth quarter it was 405.5 million.
"That's 351.5 million fewer cigarettes consumed than the same quarter last year."
Dr Stone believes the drop in consumption resulting from April's excise tax increase, has also led to significant drops in production and imports for domestic consumption.
"Consumption looked to be slowly climbing at the end of 2009's financial year with production and imports reaching NZ$3.4 billion (up from $2.8 billion in 2008). The tax increase has nipped that frightening trend in the bud.
"That the last significant drop in production levels occurred in 2000 when tobacco's excise tax was also increased significantly, by 20 percent, shows how effective price is as a tobacco control measure."
Dr Stone says she's confident the next tobacco tax increases scheduled for January 2011 and 2012 will force similar drops in tobacco production and imports over the next two years.

Nov. 19, 2010

FDA Continues Fight to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration has authority to regulate so-called "electronic cigarettes" that vaporize nicotine but do not contain tobacco, a Justice Department lawyer argued today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Last year, a federal judge in Washington ruled the government improperly blocked an inbound shipment of e-cigarettes into the United States, saying that the FDA doesn’t have authority to regulate the product because it is not marketed for therapeutic uses such as to treat smoking addiction.

DOJ’s Alisa Klein of the Civil Division today tried to convince a three-judge appeals court panel to reverse the trial judge’s issuance of an injunction against the FDA. The appeals court stayed enforcement of the injunction pending resolution of the dispute.

Garre_gregory_kagan_#3056D6Latham & Watkins partner Gregory Garre (at left), who chairs the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice group, represented Scottsdale, Az.-based Sottera, which sells e-cigarettes under the brand “NJOY.”

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that resemble real cigarettes. The FDA blocked the importation of e-cigarettes on the ground that they are unapproved drug devices under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Tobacco products are generally exempt from the drug and device provisions of the FDCA.

The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gives the FDA authority to regulate “tobacco products,” a term that was closely scrutinized today by the appeals court panel consisting of Judges Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh and Senior Judge Stephen Williams.

Klein of the Justice Department said the FDA has long regulated nicotine products that include smokeless cigarettes, nicotine lollipops and nicotine inhalers. In 2008, the FDA refused to allow the importation of “Nicogel,” a hand gel made of liquefied tobacco. The FDA said the gel was an unapproved drug.

“If electronic cigarettes are a safe method of nicotine maintenance, that could be approved if the science supports it,” Klein said in court.

Garland questioned what he called the “unique” procedural element of the case. The government’s position in the litigation is established in a blocking order—stopping the shipment of electronic cigarettes—and not in a detailed administrative record. Kavanaugh and Williams examined the extent to which Congress can step in to fill a regulatory void to clarify the scope of FDA regulatory authority.

Garre, arguing for NJOY, said the product is not marketed as a smoking cessation device. He said if the FDA could show that the e-cigarettes are marketed for therapeutic reasons, the injunction against the FDA would not apply.

Nov. 10, 2010

Montana’s teen-led movement against Big Tobacco

All of you are being targeted by the tobacco industry to replace former smokers.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the tobacco industry is spending over $15 billion annually, and over $41 million every day, to promote its products to young customers.

And every day, 4,000 young people try their first cigarette.

The tobacco industry knows that the more you are exposed to tobacco advertising, the more likely you are to start tobacco using tobacco products and become addicted.

So what can you do?

  • Recognize the power you have to effectively take on one of the leading preventable causes of death-commercial tobacco use. If current trends continue, over 6,000,000 children alive today will die as a result of cigarette smoking.
  • Join Montana’s teen-led movement reACT against corporate tobacco.
  • Educate the community about tobacco industry and how they are spending billions of dollars on magazine advertisements, point of purchase advertising, and promotions that make tobacco use appear desirable.
  • Fight to reduce store product placement and marketing efforts through “Store Alert” type projects that help rid retail stores of tobacco clutter.
  • Ask store owners and managers to keep all cigarettes behind the counter, reduce the amount of advertising of interior ads to the areas behind the counter and support stores that are doing a good job of limiting tobacco marketing.

Know this! Your involvement will enhance community-wide efforts to combat pro-tobacco influences, change social norms around tobacco use, and reduce public exposure to secondhand smoke.

Nov. 2, 2010

The Associated Press CARLISLE, Pa. -- Two men are under arrest after police say they were stopped in Pennsylvania driving a tractor trailer carryin

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Two men are under arrest after police say they were stopped in Pennsylvania driving a tractor trailer carrying stolen cigarettes worth $3 million.

Authorities say 37-year-old Juan Almaguer and 52-year-old Alcide Fraguela-Casanova were transporting more than 25,000 cartons of stolen cigarettes when they were pulled over Monday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, near Carlisle. State police say the cigarettes were stolen from a Tennessee warehouse.

Almaguer, of Cedar Park, Texas and Fraguela-Casanova, of Miami, face charges including possession of stolen property and tax evasion. They are being held without bail pending preliminary hearings scheduled for Wednesday.

It was unclear if either man had an attorney.