Category Archives: Interesting to read

FDA Abandons Battle Over Graphic Warnings on Cigarettes

new health warnings on cigarettes in USA

Facing heavy legal challenges from tobacco industry, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has concluded to discard its nine graphic heal warnings for tobacco products and begin from the start again.

The federal body said it will return to the drawing board and develop new warnings rather than keep fighting against the tobacco companies for its present labels, among which are pictures of dead lungs and smoker’s corpse. The agency had a term until Monday, March 18 to request the U.S. Supreme Court to revise a ruling by an Appeals Court that upheld the decision that the requiring graphic labels infringed free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

‘Gangnam Style’ Comes to Canada


“Gangnam Style” is set to hit Canada, however, don’t start looking for tickets to the PSY show

Gangnam Style,’ which become world-known, thanks to a sensationally popular single by Korean super star PSY, is now targeting Canada in a very unusual way.

Smoking While Drinking Leads to Worse Hangover

smoking and drinking results in hangover

People who are used to smoke when they consume alcohol are likely to be at a higher risk to have a hangover next day, concluded a study, to be published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs January 2013.

For those who have ever drunk too much know the feeling of the next-day hangover syndrome, accompanied by headache, fatigue, vomiting and nausea. Yet, some party-lovers may be resistant to hangover symptoms: nearly 25% of people who drink enough alcohol to get hangover usually don’t have it.

Analysts Prefer Altria stock to PMI

A downturn in global business activity is hurting U.S.-based companies, which are reporting the worst business results throughout the last decade. Many leading companies have recently announced lower profits and reduced revenue expectations, and the slowdown in European Union is cited as a key reason for these forecasts. Among the business giants to issue warning estimates are FedEx, PMI and Pepsi.

Altria and Philip Morris logo

This demonstrates that it might be wiser for analysts to underweight multinational companies, inclined to business activity in Europe. The stocks of the largest tobacco companies have also being hit by the latter scenario, which is prompting more experts to lower expectations from Philip Morris International, while raising Altria Group instead.

New Evidence Found for Keeping Menthol Cigarettes Legal

Menthol cigarettes less harmful than non-menthol

A researcher from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has discovered that smokers of menthol cigarettes aged 50 and over are less likely to pass away from lung cancer in comparison to those who smoke regular-flavored cigarettes, said a report published in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Brian Rostron, the scientist at the Center for Tobacco Products run by the FDA, compared data of 6,074 adult smokers between 1987 and 2006, with 1,417 being menthol smokers among them.

The lower likeability of premature death from lung tumor was discovered in all age and sex groups, as well as between black and white smokers.

“These results share the expectations that any relation between lung cancer and smoking of menthol cigarettes would be the most in the age when smokers have accumulated more years of smoking,” Prof. Rostron mentioned in a study published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research Journal.

The latest report could be used as yet another evidence in the heated public-health discussions over menthol-flavored cigarettes that have been the only segment of American cigarette market to post continuous growth, according to the Winston-Salem Journal report.

The Food and Drug Administration started an independent review of scientific base after its Tobacco Products Advisory Panel issued a report recommending to prohibit mentholated cigarettes.

Small cigars: Sales Grow as Smoking Patterns Change

“A fine cigar should be indulged, puffed slowly and enjoyed”, once said Zino Davidoff, a world-famous tobacconist, who stood behind premium Davidoff tobacco products, “the best interval between the puffs in once a minute”, he wrote in his “Guide to Cigar Etiquette” published in 1967.

Small cigars popular in Europe

But nowadays, when people live in rush and every minute matters, smokers don’t want to spend much time on enjoying cigar smoke. Consequently, cigar sales have dropped by 20% over the past half-decade- partly due to the overall drop in smoking rates. However, small cigars and cigarillos are growing. Currently they account for nearly 60% of the United Kingdom’s cigar market, found a research by AC Nielsen.

Large cigars are handmade – made from manually gathered tobacco and wrapped in dried tobacco leaf – and thus, are very expensive. They should be carefully stored in humidors, and even have their vintage years, just like good wine.

Tobacco Companies Could Gain $2 Billion if Signing 1998 Agreement

The largest cigarette producers could compensate $2 billion under an advised deal with attorney general of the State in order to settle a prolonged dispute over payments required by the landmark 1998 tobacco settlement.

Negotiators for Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA and other cigarette enterprises have achieved a provisional deal with officials representing the 46states that signed the 1998 Settlement Agreement.

Tobacco Companies Could Gain $2 Billion

Native American cigarette brands, as for instance Seneca, account for more than 4% of U.S. volume.

The given agreement would permit leading tobacco companies to keep part of the funds they have kept from states or disputed under the 1998 pact, in accordance to which they agreed to pay about $200 billion in order to help states charge the costs of curing sick smokers.

In concordance with the new deal, moneyless states would obtain several billion of the contested dollars. The deals also would review the rules to how states charge fees and taxes from smaller enterprises that haven’t joined the 1998 agreement.

If the deal will be introduced, the main loser could be Native American tobacco companies, which have become powerful competitors with their cheap brands. The deal would require states to introduce rules demanding these enterprises to start paying sate excise duties and fees for sales on tribal lands, which could oblige them to raise prices. Advocates representing Indian cigarette interests are currently threatening legal challenges.

“What the states and companies are doing is not right. All states under the present deal would be disputing tribal economies in order to protect largest tobacco companies’ market shares,” stated Lance Morgan, chief manager of the Ho-Chunk Inc., which distributes tobacco products on tribal lands.

Native American brands as King Mountain, Mohawk and Seneca account for approximately 4% of the U.S. cigarette volumes, according to Morgan Stanley findings.

Altria, Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Inc. refused to comment on the issue.

Several states have adopted laws requiring the nonparticipating enterprises to put money aside in escrow accounts. In 2010, the U.S. market share of nonparticipating enterprises increased to 6.5%, the highest figure since 2004, when it remained at 8.27%.

In order to decrease their annual payment, the largest tobacco companies should demonstrate that their market-share loss is mostly due to the agreement. They successively have observed the condition, according to enactments by independent consultants.

An arbitration committee has started examining the issue in determining how to proceed with about $1.1 billion in disputed 2003 payments.

How much the enterprises would gain through the new agreement depends mostly on how many states participate in it. In case all states and U.S. territories in the 1998 agreement sign on, the tobacco enterprises would gain nearly $2 billion.

Teenagers Prefer Marijuana To Cigarettes

In 2010 21.4 percent of high school students admitted that they had smoked marijuana during the last month, whereas 19.2 percent students said they had smoked cigarettes during the same period of time, showed the annual “Monitoring the Future” report conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This year numbers mark the first time that marijuana exceeded cigarettes in the corresponding age group since 1981.

Teenagers Prefer Marijuana

Some public health groups have already started to hails the results of the survey stating it is a significant victory for the campaigns intended for reducing cigarette smoking among adolescents. However, the federal agency which tracks illegal drug consumption stated it was driven by the growth in teenage marijuana usage noting that it is widespread and would be continued, with even eighth-grade students admitting softer attitudes related to the risks of consuming pot.

Richard Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy at The Obama administration blamed certain medical marijuana ordinances such as California’s Proposition 19 for contributing to the assumption that marijuana is less dangerous for adolescents than tobacco.

“Saying that marijuana is ‘smoked medicine’ is totally wrong,” Kerlikowske declared during a news conference in Washington when revealing the results of the survey. He said that adolescents have got the “wrong message” from the discussions.

In the survey, the percentage of twelve-grade students who reported daily usage of pot constituted 6.1 percent – the highest proportion since the 1980s – and the proportion of 8th- and 10th-grade students consuming marijuana each day also grew, to 1% and 3%, correspondingly. While the younger seniors progress toward graduation, rate of marijuana-smokers will keep growing, scientists said.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Drug Abuse Institute, admitted the increase in daily marijuana consumption is especially alarming, since frequent pot smoking has been demonstrated to be more detrimental to learning skills and memory than infrequent consumption – particularly in adolescents, whose brains are developing. Regular marijuana users are also more likely to become addicted to marijuana and other drugs, Dr. Volkow added.

Attitudes toward the Ecstasy as well became softer among high school seniors and usage climbed. Scientists said the growth is the vivid example “generational forgetting,” when a decline in usage is followed by a growth among teenagers who were not targeted by anti-drug campaigns.

In addition to growing trend of marijuana smoking, researchers also found out that 8 percent of high school seniors reported abusing the prescription painkiller medication Vicodin in 2010. Illegal usage of another painkiller OxyContin was not changed held among 10th-graders. 12th grade students admitted using medications prescribed for attention deficit disorder, as around 6.5 percent admitted using them, and nearly the same number consumed amphetamines.

British American Tobacco Earnings Report for 9 months of 2010

British American Tobacco, the second-largest privately-owned tobacco company in the world, reported that cigarette volume shipments totaled 526 billion within the nine months to September 2010, going down by 1.3 percent versus the comparable period last year.

Dunhill cigarette sales

According to British American Tobacco Report, the company distributed 1 percent fewer cigarettes during the first three quarters of the year than during the nine months of 2009, however revenue went up due to positive currency fluctuation and acquisition of Indonesian tobacco company PT Bentoel last year.

Despite the decline in total volume, sales of the company’s major Global brands – Pall Mall, Lucky Strike, Dunhill and Kent went up by 8 percent. Sales of BAT’s four global brands rose by around 8 percent, a growth that flattered by rising consumer sales in Japan on the threshold of a large price increase caused by excise tax hike.

Organic volumes went down by nearly about three per cent in comparison to the same period a year earlier, driven by market dimensions drop and growth of black market sales in several countries. Sale volumes were as well affected by the ruined sales in Pakistan due to the horrible floods across the country. (Organic growth is growth resulting from a company’s current businesses, in contrast to Inorganic growth, which is based on various mergers and acquisitions.)

Sale volumes in Asia-Pacific region reached 141 billion, going up by 5.2 percent; Volumes in Western Europe fell by 8.2 percent to 90 billion cigarettes; volumes in Eastern Europe lost 2.1 per cent going down to 93 billion; sales in Americas went down by 0.9 percent totaling 110 billion; and volumes in Africa and Middle East region fell by 3.1 percent to 92 billion.

British American Tobacco Chief Executive officer, Paul Adams stated that trading conditions have been challenging, as industry volumes declined in a several important markets such as Romania, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and Germany. In several markets, he said, there was reported down-trading tendency driven by contraband products resulting from the pressure on consumers’ available income, aggravated by significant increases in excise taxes. This especially impacted the low cost segment.

Dunhill sales grew by approximately 21 percent, in major part due to brand migrations in some markets, including Brazil and South Africa; Kent and Lucky Strike sales each went up by around two per cent; and Pall Mall’s sales rose by nearly seven per cent.

“The challenging economic environment, product price increases driven by tax rises and growing rate of unemployment have resulted in some declines in our sale volumes,” stated Paul Adams. “The recession’s effect on consumers is still there and demonstrates signs of diminishing. “However we have managed to increase market share in the most important markets, expanded the major Global Brands and reached good revenue growth.”

Snus – the Most Controversial Tobacco Product in the United States

Snus is the newest kind of dissolvable smokeless tobacco products recently introduced to U.S. tobacco consumers. Originated in Sweden, this moist tobacco product is looking like small teabags, as the tobacco is contained in dissolvable sachets.

Snus - the Most Controversial Tobacco Product

Generally, a portion of snus is put between lip and gum and sucked for up to 20 minutes, and then removed. Snus is marketed as a spit-less product, but this can be achieved only if placing snus in a particular location in the mouth which almost lacks saliva.

In Sweden Snus is a traditional product, consumed by a great part of adult men. Snus is made from air and sun-cured tobacco, which also goes through the pasteurization procedure in order to destroy bacteria. During the storage by the manufacturers or by the sellers Snus is stored in refrigerators under certain temperatures and humidity levels.

In Sweden Snus is covered by the Swedish Food Act, under which the product should correspond with quality standards, named as the Gothiatek system. This system of quality indicators involves manufacturing snus applying a particular system that reduces the levels of tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA), carcinogens contained in tobacco.

Whereas Swedish Snus makers don’t market their products as safe, they are regarded as being less harmful the cigarette smoking because of the lack of tobacco smoke and low levels of nitrosamines. Snus provide high levels of pH, so that the speed of nicotine absorption increases, however the amount of nicotine in snus is similar to that in cigarettes.

Among health risks related to the consumption of Snus there are the following:

• Snus can trigger dental diseases like caries.
• Snus users are more likely to suffer from hypertension compared to non-users.
• The risks of cardiovascular diseases are two-time higher among Long term Snus consumers than among non-users.
• Female Snus consumers may be likely to have the same complications during pregnancy as the cigarette-smokers.
• Snus consumption causes nicotine addiction because these products contain nicotine as well as ordinary tobacco products.

Meanwhile, there is no regulation covering manufacture, sales and marketing of Snus in the United States. And the process of producing Snus and processing tobacco for Snus greatly differs from that in Sweden. Tobacco companies, which make Snus reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Snus is portioned moist tobacco product and the sachets and packages are almost identical to other smokeless tobacco products.

The majority of smokeless tobacco products sold in the U.S. are made from fire-cured tobacco, processed using the fermentation technology that impacts on the levels of tobacco specific carcinogens. U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Snus makers to place the same warnings as on other smokeless tobacco.

According to several public health groups smokeless tobacco products bear the same health risks as cigarettes, However, until smokeless tobacco is not regulated, their manufacturers may state anything they want about these products.