September 28, 2007

PMI files for potential spin-off – Philip Morris International has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission a preliminary registration statement in preparation for its potential spin-off from parent company Altria Group. Altria made the announcement of the filing yesterday. ‘On August 29, 2007, the board of directors of Altria announced its intention to pursue the spin-off of PMI to Altria’s shareholders,’ Altria said in a statement posted on its website. ‘At that time, the Altria board said that it anticipates that it will be in a position to finalize its decision and announce the precise timing of the spin-off at its regularly scheduled meeting on January 30, 2008. The spin-off is subject to final approval by the Altria board and other conditions, including required regulatory approvals.’ (Tobacco Reporter) See related Newsbrief: August 30, 2007.


September 27, 2007

September 27, 2007 – U.S. CONGRESS PASSES CHILDREN’S COVERAGE; SCHIP HEADS TOWARD VETO – Senate passes SCHIP/Healthy Families expansion with veto-proof 69-30 vote; follows House passage of SCHIP, 265-159, a majority but not enough to override veto. ACTION ITEM: Write your Representative about their SCHIP vote. The U.S. Senate on Thursday (9/27/2007) sent to President Bush a bipartisan $60 billion package that would extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for another five years. Even though SCHIP is set to expire on Sunday, September 30th, President Bush has already vowed to veto the measure. See related stories:September 21, 2007 September 19, 2007 July 28, 2007 July 18, 2007 and July 9, 2007.

September 25, 2007

September 25, 2007 – Lorillard Hiking Prices, Too Five-cents-per-pack increase follows other tobacco companies.. NEW YORK — Citing industry contacts, Citigroup tobacco analyst Bonnie Herzog said in a news “flash” late yesterday that Lorillard is following other cigarette manufactures by increasing the prices on its flagship Newport brand. Newport’s wholesale list price will increase by five cents per pack effective September 25, she said, adding, “This pricing action is in line with its main competitors, [Philip Morris USA] and Reynolds [American], who have both essentially taken prices up by around five cents per pack on most of their brands in the past two weeks.” Newport, Lorillard’s top brand, is the No. 1 menthol cigarette brand in the United States; it is the second-largest cigarette brand in the nation. It brings in about 91% of Lorillard’s sales by volume. Other brands include Kent, Max, Maverick, Old Gold, Satin and True. Maverick is the company’s discount brand. (Convenience Store/Petroleum Daily News)

September 24, 2007

September 24, 2007 – Should Smokeless, Spitless Tobacco Be SPITLESS – More and more studies are surfacing that indicate that users are at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. (It should be remembered, as pointed out by Marita Broadstock in her systematic review (Systematic Review of the health effects of modified smokless tobacco products, NZHTA Report, February 2007, Volume 10 Number 1), the number of studies on smokeless tobacco is relatively slight compared to the wealth of literature published relating to smoking.) People who use Swedish moist snuff (snus) run twice the risk of developing cancer of the pancreas. This is the main result of a follow-up study conducted by Karolinska Institutet researchers amongst almost 300,000 male construction workers. The study is published online in the medical journal The Lancet (“Oral use of Swedish moist snuff (snus) and risk for cancer of the mouth, lung and pancreas in male construction workers; a retrospective cohort study”, Juhua Luo, Weimin Ye, Kazem Zendehdel, Johanna Adami, Hans-Olov Adami, Paolo Boffetto, Olof Nyrén.) As stated by Professor Olof Nyren, one of the authors of this paper, “We also have to be certain that an increase in snus marketing will not cause addictions in young people who otherwise wouldn’t have started to smoke.” It’s impossible to make sure this will not happen.  See related Newsbriefs:July 15, 2007 and June 20, 2007

September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007 – Bush Reaffirms S-CHIP Veto – President Bush said at a press conference yesterday (9/20/2007)that he will veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) bill that Democrats in Congress hope to pass that includes tobacco tax increases because he sees the bill as “an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care.” He said that he supports reauthorizing the program, and that his 2008 budget proposed to increase S-CHIP funding by $5 billion over five years, a 20% increase over current funding levels. Democrats reportedly want to pay for the program by raising the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents per pack, to $1 per pack from the current 39 cents per pack. Answering a reporter’s question, “If there is a tax increase on cigarettes to fund the S-CHIP program, is that a tax increase you oppose?”, the President said, “We don’t need to raise taxes.” He added, “The legislation would raise taxes on working people.” Democrats said they have a veto-proof majority in the Senate and that it will pass in the House with some support from moderate Republicans, but concede they may not have a veto-proof margin, reported CNN. (CSP Daily News) See related stories:September 19, 2007 July 28, 2007 July 18, 2007 and July 9, 2007. We have to remember that a vast majority of smokers do not want their children to share their addiction.

September 19, 2007

September 19, 2007 – US edges closer to federal tax hike on tobacco products… Lawmakers in the US’ House of Representatives and Senate are moving closer to an agreement that would use funds from a massive federal cigarette excise increase to expand funding for the State Child Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP), according to a Washington Post report. Under the plan, the federal excise on cigarettes would be increased from 39¢ to $1 a pack to pay a large proportion of a $35 billion increase over the next five years in state programs that provide health insurance for children. (Tobacco Reporter) Renewal of the children’s insurance program, which is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2007 is the most important health care issue facing Congress this year, lawmakers of both parties say. See related stories:July 28, 2007 July 18, 2007 and July 9, 2007. We have to remember that a vast majority of smokers do not want their children to share their addiction. That’s why a slight majority of smokers support higher cigarette taxes — and a strong majority support cessation programs and programs to keep children from smoking (using any tobacco product).

September 18, 2007

September 18, 2007 – One Free Tin of Any Camel SNUS – these coupons are now being passed out to patrons at c-stores in the various cities where Camel SNUS is being test marketed. R.J. Reynolds must be worried that Marlboro SNUS is coming and they need to establish loyal customers now. Tobacco companies are prodding public health officials to come forward and support claims about how safe smokeless tobacco products like SNUS. Certain public health professionals have played right into their hands and have even been outspoken on how safe smokeless tobacco is compared to tobacco smoking. The populations these public health officials are targeting are inveterate (hard-nosed, long established, deep-rooted) cigarette smokers that refuse to consider trying to quit smoking tobacco. For example, Dr. Brad Rodu and William T. Godshall, M.P.H. paper in the December 2006 issue of the Harm Reduction Journal entitled, “Tobacco Harm Reduction: An Alternate Cessation Strategy for Inveterate Smokers,” or Dr. Carol Gartner and colleagues paper in the June 16, 2007 issue of The Lancet concluded that SNUS could produce a net health benefit in inveterate smokers. We have no problem trying to convince inveterate smokers to use SNUS. But it would be impossible to limit distribution of smokeless tobacco products to these inveterate tobacco smokers. Tobacco companies have an entirely different goal in mind – they are already targeting a much younger crowd of young adults and any kids they can entice along the way – witness the tagline for Camel SNUS: “Pleasure for wherever.” Another example: Cathryn Cushing, a specialist with the Oregon’s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, “I see it as a young adult marketing strategy, and we have a lot of hip young adults in this city,” Cushing said. And “if it appeals to a 22-year-old, I think you can assume it will appeal to a 16-year-old. Because what do 16-year-olds want to be? Twenty-two” (The Oregonian, 1/7/2007) Or a comment from Mitch Zeller, health policy consultant who was director of the Office of Tobacco Programs at the FDA during the Clinton Administration, said the web site for Camel Snus “seems aimed at young adult males to get them to start using products.” The site says Reynolds found Snus in Sweden, “home of the world’s best meatballs, massage and blondes.” In Sweden (2004), where SNUS originated, it has been found that the use of snuff decreases with age and was the highest in the age group 18-29 years. Click on images to enlarge.. (