Tobacco News, March, 1994
The Tobacco Newsletter is a compilation of items posted on the Tobacco BBS ©Gene Borio
Smoking & Shoulder Injuries
Smoking & Radiation Treatments
Smoking & TV Watching
Nicotine & Colitis
Tobacco & Oral Cancer
Smoking & Periodontal Disease
Smoking & Ethnic Populations
ETS Kids Repeat Kindergarten More
ETS Damages Hearts in Rats
ETS Increases Radon Hazards, Student Finds
Trial Anti-cancer Agent May Help Smokers' Lung Cancer
Tobacco Action Coalition to Protest
Tobacco Action Coalition Rally
Califano Urges $2 Cig Tax
$1.25 Tax, Cont'd
Anna Quindlen on FDA Letter
Congressional Nicotine Investigations Urged
House Classifies Cigarettes with Drugs
Addiction: The Media Reacts
Federal Workplace Smoking Ban
Asthmatics Testify on Capitol Hill
National Smoking Ban Bill Delayed
Pentagon Bans Smoking
Fire-safe Cig Furor
MA: Churches Organize against Tobacco
NY: Philip Morris Lobby Spends Most $$
NYC Smoking Ban Proposed
NYC Subway Restrictions
MD: Workplace Smoking Ban on Track
MD: Baltimore Bans Tobacco Billboards
VA: Smoking Bans: Potomac Mills Mall
MI: Schools Financed by Sales, Cig Taxes
MI: Billboard Ad Ban?
WA: Statewide Ban Sept 1.
WA: Warning on Stop Smoking Guarantee
CA: Hotel Assn Supports Workplace Ban
CA: New 1994 Smoking Laws
CA: Suit Over Tobacco Tax $ Diversions
CANADA: Added Nicotine Concerns Govt
CANADA: Large Warnings Will Stay
CANADA: Anti-smoking Ads Ineffective
CANADA: Cig Tax Cut Drops Inflation Rate
CUBA: Mystery Epidemic Tied to Diet, Tobacco
MEXICO/CHINA Cigarette Deal
BRITAIN: Most English at Heart/Stroke Risk
BRITAIN: Smokefree Isle Beckons 33
BRITAIN: Smokefree Isle Hailed as Success
BRITAIN: High Taxes Don't Stop Poor from Smoking
DENMARK: US Air Base Cancer Cases Reopened
EU: Tobacco Fraud Rife
UGANDA: Tobacco Production Up
ISRAEL: Kosher Cigs Furor
TURKEY: Murder Over Ramadan Smoking
IRAN: Uproar over Ramadan Smoking
IRAN: Ramadan Smoking on Stage
CHINA: Lung Cancer Soaring
JAPAN: Bullet Train Bans
JAPAN: Smoker Killed at Train Station
PHILIPPINES: Tobacco Tycoon on Tax Hit List
THE TOBACCO BUSINESS
NY Times Magazine Cover Story:
"How Do They Live with Themselves?"
Flight Attendants May Sue Tobacco Cos over ETS
PM Slaps ABC With $10B Lawsuit
Magellan Fund Goes Smokefree
Tobacco Exports Fall
Business Roundup 3/12/94
Brooke Group Settles Shareholder Suit
Monk-Austin to Buy RJR's Tobacco
Dibrell Still Wooing Standard
American Brands To Be Sold Overseas?
Dropouts Risk Health More
Bans Won't Affect Business, Restaurateurs Say
"Loosies" under Attack
Taco Bell Bans Smoking
Jack in The Box Bans Smoking
Building Owners Want Ban
Physicians Fight Tobacco with Postcards
No Smoking in Stadium Cigs Built
Obit: MELINA MERCOURI, 68
Gap Ad Pulls JOHN WAYNE's Cig
Chicago, IL March 8, 1994. Ear infections and ETS at home appear to be the primary risk factors for children who have to repeat kindergarten or first grade, according to a study of 10,000 children.
Other factors weighed were deafness, low birth weight, bedwetting, speech problems, poverty, low maternal education and not living with both biological parents.
Over 700 of the 10,000 children studied had to repeat the grades. Males and African-Americans had the highest repeat rates.
The study, published in the March Pediatrics, said educators should be aware of these risk factors because "a number of extremely common social and child health problems are associated with" early retention. The authors offered no explanation for the correlations.
ETS DAMAGES HEARTS IN RATS
San Francisco, CA March 15, 1994 The presence of environmental tobacco smoke significantly increases heart tissue damage from heart attacks in rats, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco said today.
In the study, 3 groups of rats in a chamber the size of a car's interior were exposed for 6 hours a day to 24 cigarettes' "sidestream" smoke (unfiltered smoke emitted from the end of a burning cigarette) for varying periods--3 days, 3 weeks or 6 weeks.
After the periods of exposure, a heart attack was induced in each rat. Then the researchers measured the amount of heart tissue destroyed and compared each group to 3 control groups of unexposed rats.
The researchers found dose-related tissue damage for each group of rats, up to nearly double the damage for those rats exposed for the 6 week period.
"Thus, passive smoking, including nicotine and carbon monoxide, may contribute to acute myocardial ischemia or sudden death," the authors, Dr. Stanton Glantz, UCSF professor of medicine and Dr. Christopher Wolfe, UCSF assistant professor of medicine, said.
The study, published in the March issue of Circulation, cited previous research showing that exposure to tobacco smoke raises blood pressure and increases the heart rate, and said ETS may not only increase the risk of having a heart attack, but may also increase the severity of damage during an acute attack. The study bolsters previous estimates that ETS may lead to a 30% increased risk of heart attack death.
"Our work demonstrates even short-term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has important detrimental effects on the heart," Wolfe said.
STUDENT FINDS RADON HAZARDS INCREASE WITH ETS
Washington. March 14, 1994. 9th place winner in the 53rd annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search was Massachusetts high school student Margaret Bothner, whose physical chemistry project "indicated that 60 percent of the 29 homes in her local test sample had radon levels above EPA guidelines. She has also demonstrated that the hazards of radon increase when cigarette smoke is present."
SMOKING AND RADIATION TREATMENTS
March 10, 1994. Women smokers who underwent radiation treatment for breast cancer before 1980 are almost 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer as nonsmoking breast cancer patients who did not undergo radiation treatment, according to a study published in the March issue of Cancer.
Non-smoking patients who underwent radiation therapy were found to be 3 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
Dr. Alfred Neugut of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center said, "The radiation therapy done before 1980 was roughly doubling or tripling the lung-cancer risk of a smoker."
Researchers felt the increased rates were due to the fact that the radiation beam at that time would cover the lung as well as the breast.
"The fact that the excess lung cancer was on the same side as the breast that was irradiated and not the lung on the other side strongly indicates a causal relationship and not a statistical fluke, " said Neugut.
SMOKING AND TV WATCHING
Oakland, CA March 18, 1994. A Kaiser Permanente study into TV viewing habits and cardiovascular risk factors found an association between heavy TV watching and factors such as obesity, hostility and depression. It also found that those who watch TV over 4-5 hours a day are more than twice as likely to be smokers and physically inactive compared to those who only watch an hour or less a day.
"These heavy TV viewers were also nearly twice as likely as the lighter viewers to have a high score on a questionnaire measuring hostility, were 71% more likely to be obese, and 54% more likely to have a high score on a questionnaire measuring depression," said a Kaiser representative.
"TV viewing is potentially modifiable behavior that is significantly associated with obesity, adverse habits, and adverse psychological measures," he said.
TRIAL ANTI-CANCER AGENT MAY HELP SMOKERS' LUNG CANCER
Houston, TX. March 17, 1994. A press release from an anticancer agent's manufacturer reports significant responses in tumors in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, a particularly virulent form of lung cancer attributed to smoking, and usually discovered too late in its cycle for effective treatment.
Taxotere (R) (docetaxel) treatment showed a partial response in about a third of the patients in the program. "Taxotere has significant activity against non-small cell lung cancer with an acceptable side effect profile," a researcher concluded. "These are encouraging results with Taxotere in NSCLC, indicating that this therapy may be one of the more effective treatments for this type of lung cancer and may have even greater potential as studies continue."
Side-effects include a decrease in white blood cells, hypersensitivity reaction, dermititis and fluid retention.
Taxotere belongs to a class of anticancer agents called taxoids, which can block a vital part of the cell division process.
Research is being conducted at the university of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Pennsylvania, Texas.
NICOTINE & COLITIS
Boston, MA. March 24, 1994. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis, a painful, difficult-to-treat intestinal disorder, may be relieved by nicotine, British researchers reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the study, partially funded by patch manufacturer Kali Pharmacia, 72 people were randomly given either a nicotine or a placebo patch.
After 6 weeks, half of those wearing the nicotine patch reported complete relief of all symptoms, compared with a quarter of those wearing the placebo.
Some of the patients wearing nicotine patches had trouble in the first week with side effects of nausea, headaches and dizziness. Lifelong smokers were hardest hit. The effects largely disappeared as time went on, except for two people who had to quit the study.
Researchers felt the amount of nicotine each subject received was below addictive levels--about 1/3 what an average smoker would receive. Reuters, however, reported that dosage levels were gradually increased until "the volunteers were getting 15 to 25 milligrams of nicotine per day -- the equivalent of smoking 15 to 25 cigarettes per day."
Reuters quoted the researchers as saying, "Although addiction is a major problem associated with smoking, our patients did not have recognizable withdrawal symptoms after six weeks of treatment with nicotine, although many absorbed doses equivalent to 35 percent of those absorbed by smokers."
"Addiction," the researchers said, "may depend on sharp increases in plasma nicotine concentrations that follow smoking, which are unlike the steady release from trans-dermal patches."
An accompanying editorial in the NEJM criticized the study for relying on patients' testimony, rather than taking a harder measure of nicotine's actual effect on colitis. The editorial by Dr. Stephen B. Hanauer of the University of Chicago also raised the possibility that nicotine's mood-altering properties could be responsible in part for patient's perceptions of relief.
The study was led by Dr. Rupert D. Pullan at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and tends to confirm doctors' observations that ulcerative colitis, an inflammation of the bowel that causes sometimes bloody diarrhoea and which strikes 45 of 100,000 people in the US, is rare in smokers.
Researchers emphasized the need for other studies to confirm the results before nicotine is routinely prescribed.
TOBACCO & ORAL CANCER
Atlanta, GA March 24, 1994. Oral cancer strikes 30,000 times a year in the US, and kills 8,000 people. Five-year survival rates are a only 53% on average, but those odds are considerably increased with early detection. Yet, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Linda Crossett, those most at risk for cancer of the mouth, tongue, throat, voice box or parts of the nasal passage do not get oral exams.
Highest risk groups for oral cancer are smokers, smokeless tobacco users, and heavy drinkers.
In a survey of 12,000 adults, Crossett said only 13% of smokers said they'd had an exam for oral cancer, as opposed to 16.7% of nonsmokers.
Dentists are trained in oral cancer techniques, but seldom do routine examinations for tumors and pre-cancerous sores.
In related news, USA TODAY reports 'The antioxidant beta carotene can reverse pre-cancerous mouth sores," according to a report presented at an American Cancer Society seminar in Tucson last week. However, levels of beta carotene--found in leafy vegetables and carrots--used in the tests were far higher than one could get in a normal diet.
SMOKING AND PERIODONTAL DISEASE
March 25, 1994. USA TODAY reports that researchers at the University at Buffalo released two studies that found smokers "experienced less attachment of tooth to bone and more bone loss around teeth." Periodontal disease results from unchecked infections of bacteria that destroy bone.
SMOKING & ETHNIC POPULATIONS
Blacks and Hispanics suffer disproportionate number of tuberculosis, lung cancer and asthma, according to a report published by the American Lung Association.
Compared to whites, blacks smoke at higher rates, die of lung cancer more, and contract tuberculosis more.
Hispanics, too, suffer higher rates of respiratory problems. From 1985-1990, Hispanic tuberculosis rates rose 55%, while among non-Hispanic whites rates dropped 7.3%. The report also showed higher-than-expected smoking rates among Hispanics.
Asians generally have low smoking rates, though immigrants from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam have astonishingly high rates, from 33-51%.
Dr. Alvin Thomas, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Howard University in Washington and a coauthor of the report, said the results were hardly surprising. He said lower access to health care, poverty and higher pollution exposure all are factors.
The report, he said, emphasized the seriousness of the problems, and their potential for growth, considering the increasing percentage of minorities in the US population. He recommended increased TB testing and programs to keep minority youth from taking up smoking.
"Unless we begin to address the disparity in health care among communities of color," he said, "then we will never realize the true potential of this great nation."
Coincidentally today, the New York Times, in an editorial urging Edolphus Towns of New York City (a member of the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment) to vote yes on the Smoke-Free Environment Act, said 505 per 100,000 African Americans contract lung cancer, compared with 79 per 100,000 whites. Mr. Towns, the editorial said, "ranks fifth among the top 20 recipients of tobacco interest money in the House. . . May Mr. Towns vote his conscience."
Also today, the American Lung Association announced a program aimed at educating blacks and Hispanics on the dangers of second-hand smoke.
TOBACCO ACTION COALITION TO PROTEST
Winston Salem, NC. March 4, 1994 17,000 voters will rally in Washington, DC to protest Clinton's proposal to triple federal cigarette taxes. The protest is set for March 9, and President and Hillary Clinton have been invited to address the group.
"We want the President and his wife to come meet at least some of the 270,000 people who they are trying to put out of work with the proposed tax increase," said Jeff Ellis of TAC. "I think we're due an explanation of how a national, multi-billion-dollar program is going to be funded solely by a tax on one product. And I think those of us who may wind up on the unemployment lines as a result of his tax are owed a personal explanation from Mr. and Mrs. Clinton.
"We will send a message to Congress and to the President: We oppose any health care reform that contains a funding mechanism which will cost hundreds of thousands of people their jobs."
TAC's members are tobacco industry employees, smokers' rights groups, and voters from tobacco-producing states. An estimated 400 buses will converge Wednesday morning at RFK Stadium. Protestors will then move onto the Ellipse for a rally, after which they will break up into teams to visit individual congresspeople.
A recent a Price Waterhouse survey done for RJR found nearly 300,000 jobs are provided by the tobacco industry. A Reynolds projection based on the data found that a $1 per pack increase could cost South Carolina up to 6,840 jobs and $140 million in lost wages, and that the proposed $.75 per pack increase would cost 4,842 jobs and $99 million in wages.
In 1993, over 25 percent of the tobacco crop was purchased by Stabilization instead of the tobacco companies. In 1992, only 16.4 percent had to be sold to Stabilization.
A recent Arthur Anderson report on the economics of tobacco sponsored by the Coalition on Smoking or Health found that while cigarette manufacturing has risen over the last ten years, tobacco-related jobs have fallen, due less to taxation than to the tobacco industry's cost cutting measures, mechanization of factories, use of imported tobacco, and increased manufacture of cigarettes abroad.
The study found that between 1980 and 1991, farmers' share of the retail tobacco dollar fell from 7% to 3%, while the manufacturers' share rose from 37% to 50%.
**Update 3/4/94: The New York Times reports 9000 workers at the Philip Morris plant in Richmond, VA have been given the day off, as have workers at the RJ Reynolds plant in Winston-Salem, NC. The Tobacco Action Coalition, the article says, "describes itself as a grass roots group."**
ANNA QUINDLEN ON FDA LETTER
New York, NY. March 4, 1994. Anna Quindlen in her syndicated column "Public and Private" in the New York Times today praised the FDA's Charles Kessler as a canny operator who "in a single piece of correspondence (his letter last Friday to a member of the American Heart Association). . . took the debate over sale, use and regulation to a different and more honest level than it has been taken by government before."
Remarking that Kessler's "letter came at the end of a week that will surely live in infamy within the tobacco industry," she said he "set a fire beneath one of America's most pernicious public health issues. But," she wrote, "he said Congress must decide how to put the fire out, knowing full well that many elected officials will want only to ignore the smoke and go about their business as usual . . . In saying he seeks advice from Congress on how to proceed, has sent its members a puzzle that defies simple solutions. Like a philosophy problem it unfolds."
The FDA could claim jurisdiction over cigarettes as addictive drugs, Quindlen writes, but were it to do so it would have no choice but to find them unacceptably hazardous, and ban something 46 million Americans are addicted to.
Quindlen concludes, "A pretty problem. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Congress makes of it, or if its members will merely let the fire Dr. Kessler lighted die down again."
SMOKERS' SHOULDER INJURIES WORSE, STUDY SAYS
New Orleans, LA. Feb. 27, 1994. Smokers tend to have worse rotator cuff injuries and suffer more pain from them, according to a study of 57 surgery patients presented today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The rotator cuff consists of 4 muscles that reinforce the shoulder joint. Tears are caused by physical stress on the muscle.
"These findings suggest that smoking may be associated with the development of larger-size rotator cuff tears," said Dr. William Mallon, assistant consultant professor in the Duke University orthopaedic surgery division, Durham, NC. "Smokers had more pain, less range of motion with the shoulder and reduced ability to perform activities of daily living, compared with nonsmokers."
PENTAGON BANS SMOKING
Washington. March 8, 1994. All smoking in all workplaces in all military facilities will be banned in 30 days, the Defense Department announced. The ban will mainly affect military and civilian office workers--including the entire 23,000-person Pentagon--and forbids designated indoor smoking areas, or smoking just outside doorways. Living quarters, clubs and restaurants are unaffected, as are outdoor worksites.
The only exception is made for submarines, where vessel commanders have full discretion to designate a smoking area.
Sherri Goodman, the deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security, said in announcing the new regulation, which also provides for expanded smoking cessation programs, "There is compelling evidence that this policy will result in savings in several important areas, in terms of lives saved, health costs avoided, work hours lost to sickness, and reduced housekeeping and maintenance expenses. . . The bottom line for the department, is a healthy, ready and quality workforce."
Brigitte Greenberg of the AP indicates that one factor in the ban may also be the brass' desire to bring to a halt current battles between smokers and nonsmokers. She quotes a Navy Lt. who claims "he spent a good portion of his time on board ship refereeing arguments between smokers and nonsmokers."
The US military is the world's largest employer, with a workforce of over 3 million, including foreign workers on bases abroad. (Maryland's statewide workplace ban, due to go in effect in 60 days will affect 2 1/2 million workers.)
Cigarettes on military bases are sold cheaply--partly subsidized by the Defense Department--and untaxed.
Military personnel have much higher smoking rates than the US public at large.
FORCE % SMOKERS
Air Force 29%
Rates are much higher among enlisted personnel than among officers.
In recent years smoking and drinking rates have been declining in the military. In 1986, when widescale restrictions were put into effect on ships, aircraft and workplaces in the Army and Navy, 50% of military personnel smoked, compared with 30% of the public. In the early '90s the services banned smoking during an enlistee's basic training period. All services today offer smoking cessation programs.
The latest ban portends a sharp break with the past:
--during the Revolutionary War period, when George Washington wrote, "If you can't send money--send tobacco"
--during World War I cigarettes were virtually given away to the Doughboys--thus addicting an entire generation and changing tobacco use in America forever--and Gen. Pershing said, "You ask me what we need to win this war... I answer tobacco as much as bullets"
--during World War II, when cigarettes were also included with C-rations.
Today, according to Goodman, "the bottom line for the department is a healthy, ready and quality workforce."
According to the assistant surgeon general of the Navy, "By the year 2,000, all the smoking lamps will be out forever."
FIRE-SAFE CIG FUROR
New York, NY. March 8, 1994. The US Department of Justice is conducting an anti-trust investigation to determine if cigarette companies agreed to prevent development of a fire-safe cigarette, according to Eben Shapiro of the Wall St. Journal.
In 1990, cigarettes started 44,000 fires, resulting in over 1200 deaths, 3400 injuries and $400 million in property damage, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Center for Fire Research.
Critics of the industry claim that the technology for such a cigarette has long been available, but that if a fire-safe cigarette were released now, all other cigarettes would be wide open for product-liability suits from those injured as a result of cigarette-caused fires.
A Justice Dept. spokesperson confirmed today that, "The antitrust division is conducting an investigation into the possibility of agreement among cigarette companies to suppress product research and development regarding fire-safe cigarettes."
RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris have confirmed that they each have received what is the Justice Dept.'s equivalent to a subpoena, a "civil investigative demand."
Further to this story, Barbara Saffir of the Washington Post reported Thursday, March 10, that NIST researchers have identified 5 brands that are less likely to start fires.
Saffir writes, 'NIST found that cigarettes with small circumferences, low-porous paper and low tobacco density were less likely to start fires in soft furnishings."
The Tobacco Institute disputed the findings, saying that NIST's tests don't meet real-world conditions.
The 5 brands named by NIST are:
Capri Light 100s
Eve Light 120s
More White Light 120s
Virginia Slims Superslims 100s
CONGRESSIONAL NICOTINE INVESTIGATIONS CALLED FOR
Washington, March 7, 1994. "The allegation that tobacco manufacturers deliberately design and market an addictive product is especially disturbing in light of the obvious attempt by the industry to target the young through advertising." Thus did Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) call today for a congressional investigation by the General Accounting Office into charges by the ABC-TV news program Day One that tobacco companies manipulate the nicotine content of their cigarettes.
"At the very least," he said, "Congress and the American public must be fully informed about the process by which cigarettes are manufactured and the ingredients used in that process."
In addition, Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) has written to attorney general Janet Reno asking for a Justice Department investigation into possible violations of the federal law that requires tobacco companies to provide the government with a list of additives. He said he and his staff had reviewed the list and believed that "the use of nicotine as an additive was not reported."
The tobacco companies have repeatedly maintained that they do not add nicotine, but merely replace a portion of the very nicotine that is lost in processing. Such nicotine, a RJ Reynolds executive has said, "does not come from a different source."
TOBACCO ACTION COALITION RALLY
Washington, March 9, 1994. 16,000-20,000 tobacco workers and sympathizers rallied here today, marching through a cold 34-degree rain and tying up noontime traffic to protest Clinton's proposed 75-cent tobacco tax increase, which they claimed puts 270,000 tobacco industry jobs in jeopardy.
The Tobacco Action Coalition (TAC) protestors, many thousands of whom were given the day off by Philip Morris' and RJ Reynolds' manufacturing plants, and driven to Washington in company-chartered buses, marched past the White House and rallied on Capitol Hill, where they were addressed by TAC leaders, union leaders, and Congressmen.
"The tobacco tax," Senator Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) told the protestors, "is tied to the Clinton health care package. Let me tell you, the Clinton health care package is dead."
"We may need to do something about health care, but we don't need to do it on the backs of the people who have grown tobacco all their lives. Tobacco is a way of life," he said," it's not just a passing fad."
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) said, "Don't blame me. I voted for Bush."
TAC speakers also pointed out the Canadian experience with high taxes and rampant smuggling, and said the only beneficiaries of a high tax would be organized crime.
TAC opposes any cigarette tax increase whatsoever. Tobacco state legislators came under some criticism by Jim Ellis of TAC, who said tobacco's champions in the Capitol--"Charlie Rose, Tim Valentine and Martin Lancaster from North Carolina, and Charles Robb from Virginia have to say 'no' to a tobacco tax. But they're already saying, 'We'll pay something."'
After the rally, protestors split into teams to deliver petitions containing over 800,000 signatures, organized by district, to congresspeople.
The Coalition on Smoking or Health called the rally a "staged tactic," asked Congress not to be misled, and said that job losses were being exaggerated by TAC. "The tobacco industry is scaring its workers to death with misinformation about the impact of a tobacco tax increase," said a Coalition flier.
North Carolina alone--the largest cigarette-producing state in the nation--accounts for 16,000 factory workers, and has 60,000 people working on 20,000 farms. North Carolina provides over $1 billion of the US's nearly $3 billion in raw tobacco sales.
HOUSE CLASSIFIES CIGARETTES WITH DRUGS
Washington, March 9, 1994. Even as 16,000 tobacco workers protested a proposed tax on tobacco, House members voted 353-70 to include tobacco as a drug in school drug and violence prevention programs.
The amendment to a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for 6 more years was sponsored by Richard Durbin (D-IL), who said it allows the school system to "educate children not only on the dangers of alcohol and narcotics but also on the dangers of tobacco."
Cass Ballenger (R-NC) said that the amendment equates tobacco with "an illegal controlled substance. Tobacco," he pointed out, "has never been considered a controlled substance."
CALIFANO URGES $2 CIG TAX
Washington. March 10, 1994. Kids who smoke are many times more likely to move on to harder drugs, and therefore Congress should enact a $2/pack cigarette tax in order to decrease underage smoking, former Carter administration Health Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. told the Senate Finance Committee today.
Calling cigarettes "the drug of entry into the world of hard drugs," Califano said the $2 tax rate "is essential to put cigarettes beyond the means and lunch money of most elementary and high-school students," he said.
Califano heads Columbia University's Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. He cited a recent study by the Center, based on data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, that found that smokers between 12-17 years old are:
--12 times more likely to use heroin
--23 times more likely to use marijuana
--51 times more likely to use cocaine
--57 times more likely to use crack
He said heavy smokers (pack/day) were even more likely to use hard drugs. For example, the following are the rates of heroin use by 12-17 year olds:
nonsmokers smokers pack/day smokers
.01% 1.2% 5.1%
The figures indicate heavy smokers are 51 times more likely to have used heroin than nonsmokers.
"What is startling," Califano testified, "is that children who never smoked are almost certain not to use heroin, cocaine, or crack."
He said a $2 tax would bring in $15-17 billion a year, and cut smoking by 8 million people. Califano's proposal was not connected with Clinton's health plan, though he said it's health aspects were important because of "the combined impact of manufacturers spiking their cigarettes with nicotine to calibrate their addictive power and the fact that just about everyone who smokes gets hooked as a teen."
He said any health care package should cover drug and alcohol abuse treatment, saying the costs would be made up for in both health care and crime and violence rates.
$2 CIG TAX DEATH & REBIRTH IN SUBCOMMITTEE
Washington. March 17, 1994. By a narrow 6-5 vote yesterday, a House Ways and Means health subcommittee put aside an amendment to institute a $2 cigarette tax to pay for health care reforms, but today Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) changed his mind, and subcommittee chairman, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) proposed another $2 tax amendment.
The Wednesday debate was closely watched by tobacco adherent Charley Rose (D-NC).
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)--whose own single-payer "Canadian-style" health care plan includes a $2 tobacco tax--helped convince 2 other democrats and 3 republicans to table the measure, because he didn't like where the revenues were earmarked. "I didn't like what they were doing with the money. They just turned down long term care (in forcing McDermott to withdraw a previous proposal) and they want to give it to medical schools? C'mon, give me a break."
The amendment by Rep. Mike Andrews (D-TX) would have raised an additional $12 billion beyond the Clinton plan's proposed $.75 cent tax. 3/4 of the monies ($8 billion) would have gone to helping small businesses pay for their workers' insurance premiums. The rest would have gone to support academic medical centers, and to public health programs.,
"We're saying to people, 'please smoke more because we want to take care of academic health centers (and) lead paint abatement,'" McDermott said.
The new amendment won't be voted on till next week.
FLASH: March 22, 1994. A new amendment sponsored by Mike Andrews and passed by the subcommittee 6-5 calls for a $1.25 cigarette tax increase, which will bring in $16 million to be used for small business subsidies and community health programs, especially those to combat teen tobacco use. $100 million would go for retraining tobacco farmers. Subcommittee chairman Pete Stark is trying to present the first draft health care plan of any subcommitte this week.
Tobacco stocks dropped today on the news, but analysts don't expect the $1.25 tax to remain in any health care plan. Opponents: tobacco state legislators, state governors wanting headroom to put in their own tax, and possible anitpathy between Stark and House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. According to a study by Dr. Sidney Wolf, Rostenkowski was among the top recipients of tobacco industry contributions.
Washington, March 16, 1994. Confusion reigned in a House appropriations subcommittee hearing when testimony indicated the Defense Department was investigating tobacco companies' compliance with the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1984--the law which requires the companies to provide a list of ingredients to the government.
The eye-opening revelation came during testimony ostensibly on the FDA's budget, and was prompted by a challenge to a Health and Human Services official from Rep. Richard Durbin (D-IL). Durbin said, "You and your agency spend millions of dollars worrying about substances that cause a tiny fraction of the deaths and misery caused by tobacco. It's time for us to throw off the blinders ... and regulate these products to protect consumers nationwide."
In response, Dr. Philip Lee let loose a bombshell, saying no decision about regulating cigarettes would be made until the results were in from a Justice Dept. investigation into the adding of nicotine to cigarettes by tobacco companies.
Lee's aides immediately clarified that the Justice Department was simply asked to review whether tobacco companies should include nicotine as one of the additives it presents each year to the government. "That's short of investigating," said a spokesperson. "I'm afraid I caused a lot of confusion," Lee said.
In other testimony, FDA commissioner David Kessler told the subcommittee that the FDA is "looking at the issue anew," and that should cigarettes be classified as drugs and come under FDA regulation, they would have to be proven safe and effective. "I doubt very seriously that burden could be met," he said, adding that, "There is no greater public health issue."
Further to the addiction issue, the AP's Lauran Neergaard wrote Thursday that the FDA "has documents showing companies can manipulate nicotine so that smokers get more of it in the first puffs of a cigarette than the last."
ADDICTION: THE MEDIA REACTS
New York, March 15, 1994. Prompted by FDA commissioner David Kessler's letter indicating cigarettes may belong under FDA jurisdiction, a New York Times editorial last week cited the manipulation of nicotine content in cigarettes and questioned "whether the tobacco industry is simply selling a dangerous product, as has long been known, or is cynically addicting millions of customers in a crime of unconscionable dimensions."
The editorial--along with a similar opinion column by Anna Quindlen, also published that week--prompted 3 spirited responses, one from a tobacco researcher and 2 highly unusual responses from high-level tobacco company executives.
--Richard Kluger, who is writing a massive "social history of the tobacco industry," pointed out that nicotine manipulation is not news, and has been obvious for 23 years, ever since tobacco companies were required to post nicotine contents, and began promoting "low nicotine" cigarettes.
Kluger says the FDA, Congress or the tobacco companies themselves could, at any time, have limited the quantities of tar and nicotine in cigarettes. "What we have witnessed instead is a protracted exercise of avoidance by all parties," he writes.
The reasos for avoidance? Cigarette manufacturers would have been worried about validating claims against the stronger brands, and tobacco control advocates and the FDA would have feared they were giving the illusion they approved cigarettes with the new yields "as harmless, or at least an acceptable risk." Kluger mentions the industry's influence in Congress as a further block to action by Congress or the FDA.
"But," Kluger writes, "if Congress were to direct Dr. Kessler's FDA to reduce the likely peril of smoking by controlling tobacco smoke yields and, in the same legislation, exempt cigarette companies from liability suits brought because they had not of their own accord previously stopped selling stronger brands, the industry would probably rejoice, the F.D.A. would be freed of a guilty conscience, the antismoking movement could concentrate on getting cigarette advertising banned or truly sanitized, and the public would be served instead of kidded along."
--On the same letters page were the two industry responses. Both executives--James W. Johnston, CEO of RJ Reynolds, and William I. Campbell, CEO of Philip Morris--referred to Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders' statement that over 40 million Americans have quit smoking with no outside help, and cited this figure as "not consistent with the behavior of individuals addicted to drugs like heroin or cocaine."
Mr. Campbell accuses Kessler's letter--and the New York Times editorial--of misrepresenting the facts. He says no nicotine is added to cigarettes, and in fact modern day cigarettes have less nicotine than raw tobacco, and 50% less nicotine, on average, than the cigarettes of 40 years ago.
Mr. Johnston, in rebuttal to the Quindlen column, referred to the "risk factor for various diseases" of cigarettes as elements to take into account by those who "decide whether or not to smoke." As for underage smoking, Johnston cited a former surgeon general who noted, "By the time they reach seventh grade, the vast majority of children believe smoking is dangerous to one's health," and cited peer pressure, not advertising, as the reason young people smoke.
--In other publications, even Time Warner, which has an extremely close relationship with tobacco companies (besides full tobacco ad complements in People, Sports Illustrated and other magazines, Time has combined its mailing database with Philip Morris' in a test program meant to target smoking Time readers with more tobacco ads) addressed the issue. Time magazine of March 6-12 had a long and accurate precis of the last few weeks' developments.
--And Business Week's John Carey, citing recent medical, legal and political events, wrote in the March 14 issue, "Sorry, RJR, it's time for action. The statistics are just too grim."
Carey argues that "The best approach is simply to make it harder for the industry to persuade people to puff in the first place. That means giving the FDA the power to ban ads and promotions, especially those aimed at kids. . . The new regs should also include stronger warning labels and some control over levels of nicotine and potentially dangerous additives. Congress might even consider banning smoking in most public places."
ASTHMATICS TESTIFY ON CAPITOL HILL
Washington. March 17, 1994. Children with asthma testified today in favor of a bill that would ban smoking in all indoor public spaces.
"It feels like someone is strangling you. You just can't breathe, and if you want to know how it really feels, try holding your breath for a long, long time and then put a pillow over your face and try to catch your breath," said one asthma sufferer in testimony before Henry A. Waxman's (D-CA) House Energy and Commerce health and environment subcommittee, which is conducting hearings on Waxman's Omnibus
"I don't think it is fair that I have to leave someplace just because somebody wants to smoke," said another, describing her feelings when someone lights a cigarette near her.
A pediatrician testified that such children are "prisoners of their own tightly controlled home environment, because the stress of ETS may set off an event which may not only be uncomfortable but life-threatening."
But Dr. Chris Coggins of R.J. Reynolds said such concerns were exaggerated.
"Nonsmokers are exposed to minute concentrations of ETS. Thus any effort to ban smoking in all workplaces and public buildings amounts to regulatory overkill, motivated not by sound, objective science but by political considerations of what constitutes correct behavior."
$1.25 TAX, CONT'D
Washington, March 22, 1994. As reported last week, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee voted 6-5 in favor of raising cigarette taxes $1.25, to a total Federal excise tax of $1.49 per pack of cigarettes.
Rep. Mike Andrews (D-TX), sponsor of the amendment, said, "Tobacco is a killer and the tax needs to be raised to offset some of its cost to society."
The increase would raise $16 billion a year, $6 billion over what a $.75 increase would raise.
Andrews gave this account of how the funds would be spent:
--$4 billion for small business subsidies
--$100 million for retraining tobacco farmers
--the rest would go to academic health centers, lead paint programs, essential community providers, anti-smoking and teen pregnancy programs.
The day after the vote, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and heavy tobacco industry funds recipient Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) told a physician's group (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) that health care reform probably will include a tobacco tax increase, but that "whether the figures will be higher or lower than those recommended by the president is a very open question."
"I don't want to put anyone out of business," he said.
Washington, March 25, 1994. While the OSHA bombshell was striking in one part of the capitol, in another highly charged testimony about the tobacco industry's use of nicotine was being made before the House subcommittee on health and the environment, which is looking into whether nicotine should be classified as a drug.
The tobacco industry angrily denied any harmful effects of nicotine. Charles Whitley of the Tobacco Institute said, "We don't think ... (nicotine) does any harm. . . I deny that cigarettes cause cancer and are not safe."
But Commissioner Charles Kessler said the FDA could declare nicotine a drug if it is the tobacco companies' intent to deliver nicotine to smokers. Calling cigarettes "high-technology nicotine-delivery systems," he likened tobacco industry research to drug development, and said, "Cigarette manufacturers may intend that most smokers buy cigarettes to satisfy their nicotine addiction."
While pointing out that the FDA doesn't "yet. . . have all the evidence necessary to satisfy the cigarette makers' intent," Kessler said, "What the cigarette makers say is less important than what they do. ... Some of today's cigarettes may, in fact, qualify as high-technology nicotine delivery systems that deliver nicotine in quantities that are more than sufficient to create and to sustain addiction."
"The issue is how the level is set and why it is set above the addictive level."
Kessler said that the industry's knowledgeable dependence on the nicotine-delivery aspect of cigarettes is evidenced by:
--the fact that nicotine-removal technology exists. "Since the technology apparently exists to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to insignificant levels, why does the industry keep nicotine in cigarettes at all?"
--the fact that cigarette companies hold 17 patents covering technology capable of adding nicotine to cigarettes, sometimes enough to increase total content by 100%. The industry denies any of this technology is in use, but Kessler said the patents could be indictment enough. Dow Jones reports that Kessler indicated some patents cover "the ability to add nicotine to cigarette filters and packaging," and Eben Shapiro, writing in Monday's Wall St. Journal, said Kessler had focused in his testimony on the ability of the industry to add "nicotine to filters and wrappers."
The Wall St. Journal article quoted Kessler as saying, "The number and pattern of these patents leave little doubt that the cigarette industry has developed enormously sophisticated methods for manipulating nicotine levels in cigarettes."
--the fact that the FDA has found some "ultra-low nicotine" cigarettes actually contain more than regular cigarettes.
--the development and marketing of School Bandit, a low-nicotine smokeless tobacco that Kessler said was created for the 15-35 year old market, with advertising encouraging these users to "graduate" to brands with higher nicotine content.
Kessler scolded the tobacco industry for maintaining that nicotine is not addictive, and said "Most smokers are in effect deprived of the choice to stop smoking. " He said 2/3 of adult smokers want to quit, and
17 million smokers try each year, but less than 10% succeed. "Even when a smoker has his or her larynx removed, 40 percent try smoking again."
Kessler shocked his audience--and, says UPI, led Rep. Henry Waxman to infer that the industry had knowledge of nicotine's addictiveness and suppressed the information--when he said the FDA had classified information that an unnamed tobacco company did animal research on the addictiveness of nicotine in the 1980s. Dow Jones reports the unpublished study said nicotine was addictive. Kessler said that he would meet privately with members of the subcommittee to discuss the report.
Asking for guidance from Congress, Kessler said that if he decides to declare nicotine a drug, "millions of Americans would suffer nicotine withdrawal," and a black market could result.
FEDERAL WORKPLACE SMOKING BAN
Washington, March 24, 1994. 6 million workplaces--including all hotels, bars and restaurants--could be essentially smokefree, if sweeping new OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules proposed by Labor Secretary Richard Reich go into effect. The rules ban smoking in all workplaces, and require any non-work oriented smoking areas to be enclosed and separately ventilated.
Saying that "lives will be saved, health care costs reduced and productivity increased," Reich called the restrictions "an investment in prevention."
He said that though the proposal could cost industry $6.6 billion a year, that figure would be compensated for by a savings of $15 billion a year in productivity. "The health risks substantially outweigh whatever burden there may be imposed on American business," he said.
The proposal is part of a federal effort to improve the quality of air in general in the workplace, a response to increasing concerns about "sick building syndrome."
Reich said the decision "was not taken lightly" and resulted from "a complete analysis of all of the research to date linking poor air quality in the workplace to serious illnesses and deaths."
The Washington Post reported that "one of the final acts of former labor secretary Lynn Martin, just days before the Clinton inauguration, was to order OSHA to begin the federal rule-making process for possible regulation of workplace smoking." Reich's proposal has apparently been in process since that time, i.e., for well over a year.
The Building Owners and Managers Association International, while favoring a smoke-free workplace, objected to the imposition of such a ban. "$8 billion (first year cost) is a lot of money," said a spokesperson.
The Tobacco Growers' Information Committee Inc. is also unhappy. "We want the total picture of indoor pollutants to be addressed, not only tobacco smoke," said spokesperson Lisa Eddington.
American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) approved the ban. "Our physician members witness how environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) destroys people's lives and welcome the government's aggressive move to improve worker health," said a spokesperson for the group which represents 7,000 occupational and environmental medicine physicians
It is unclear how the rules would apply to tricky cases such as hotels and bars, but OSHA's Joseph Dear said smoking would be banned in a hotel room whenever an employee is present If restaurants chose to provide a separately-ventilated area for smokers, said Dear, servers could not be required to enter.
The new rule is be subject to a lengthy review and public comment period, but could be finalized by 1996
NATIONAL SMOKING BAN BILL DELAYED
Washington, March 23, 1994. Rep. Henry Waxman unexpectedly postponed the Health and Environment Subcommittee vote on his bill that would ban smoking in all public buildings nationwide.
Waxman's office said the delay was to "give members more time to discuss the issue," but a New York Times item quoted Thomas Lauria as attributing the delay to the Tobacco Institute's lobbying, though, said Lauria, "common sense played a big part, too."
"Members who are on the fence say we're not ready for a federally enforced national smoking ban," Mr. Lauria said. "With all the anti-smoking legislation happening on a local level, there is scarce need for it."
Mr. Lauria, according to the Times article, pointed out that the Tobacco Institute has not lobbied against two school-oriented measures, one that bans smoking in schools (the Lautenberg amendment), and one that would require schools to teach children about the dangers of tobacco, along with other drugs (an amendment to the Improving America's Schools Act).
Mr. Lauria said in regards to the latter amendment, "Is that the best use of Federal dollars, when kids already know at an early age about the health risks linked to cigarette smoking? We find that by age 7, kids overwhelmingly are aware of what parts of the body are adversely affected if you smoke, what your future holds if you smoke."
But the Institute didn't lobby against the amendment because "any lobbying would be perceived as an attempt by us to protect the kiddie market, which is far from the truth, and we're very sensitive to that."
MD: WORKPLACE SMOKING BAN ON TRACK
Annapolis, MD. March 4, 1994. Maryland's efforts to be the first state to use occupational health and safety laws to ban smoking in virtually all indoor workplaces continues. Bars and restaurants have been included, and the proposed regulations have entered a legal process which may place the ban in effect within 60-90 days.
Though a state advisory board recommended against including bars and restaurants, William Fogle, secretary of licensing and regulation, said, "This is a health issue. I can't leave somebody out. How can I say that ... the employees of an ice cream parlor are going to be protected from second-hand smoke and at the same time people who work in bars and restaurants are not going to be cared for."
Bruce Bereano of the Tobacco Institute said that the state doesn't have the authority to use workplace rules to ban smoking, and that the Institute will file suit as soon as the ban takes effect. He also said the ban will devastate the state's restaurant industry.
But the Restaurant Association of Maryland supports the ban.
"No one employee's health is more important than another. If you are going to ban smoking, you should ban it across the board in all businesses," said the Association's Brendan Flanagan.
BALTIMORE BANS TOBACCO BILLBOARDS
Baltimore, MD. March 1, 1994. By a unanimous vote, the Baltimore City Council today banned billboards in almost all city neighborhoods, except on interstate highways and near certain sports facilities.
Though Baltimore has a similar bill banning alcohol billboards, the tobacco bill is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
"We're proud to be the first ... in trying to protect our children from the glamorizing of addictive habits," said city council president Mary Pat Clarke.
The ban also applies to the sides of buildings and to free-standing signboards.
Walker Merryman of the Tobacco Institute said the bill violated free speech, and that the Institute may fight it. He also said ad bans in Scandinavian countries had no effect on smoking rates.
The alcohol bill, passed in December, is being challenged in court by a billboard company and Anheuser-Busch, which has said, "Baltimore won't be able to prove, as it must, that there is a causal relationship between exposure to beer advertising and consumption in general, and under-age consumption in particular."
CA: HOTEL ASSN SUPPORTS WORKPLACE BAN
Sacramento, CA. March 1, 1994. In a major position shift, the Hotel and Motel Association has thrown its support to a tough anti-tobacco bill that would ban smoking in most California workplaces.
The Association helped defeat the bill last summer, but after compromise measures were agreed upon, now says it will support it.
"This leaves the tobacco industry to fight nearly alone against protections for workers and businesses from the harmful and costly effects of second-hand smoke," the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Terry Friedman (D-Encino), said.
The compromise allows hotels and motels to exempt 65% of their rooms, and 1/4 of their lobby space, and will allow smoking in their bars and restaurants for at least 2 years.
SMOKING BANS: POTOMAC MILLS MALL
Prince William, VA. Feb. 28, 1994. The 220-store Potomac Mills Mall announced a ban on smoking inside the mall which will become effective April 4..
"We value all of our customers and employees -- including those who choose to smoke. However, Potomac Mills must do everything possible to maintain the healthiest environment possible for our visitors and employees," said a manager.
Since 1993, Potamac Mills has been involved in health causes in the Prince William community, granting $40,000 to save a pediatric care center, underwriting a mail campaign oriented to new mothers, and helping fund an expansion to the Prince William County Free Clinic.
CHURCHES ORGANIZE IN MASS.
Roxbury, MA March 9, 1994. Massachusetts-based Churches Organized to Stop Tobacco (C.O.S.T.) announced a kick-off rally this Friday night to celebrate its "innovative anti-tobacco programs for communities where tobacco industry messages are omnipresent."
Funded by the Mass. Dept. of Public Health's Tobacco Control Program, its goal is "to reduce the prevalence of tobacco initiation, use and mortality within the Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury communities of color."
NYC SMOKING BAN PROPOSED
New York, NY March 17, 1994. Smoking in New York City would be banned in almost all indoor areas except separately ventilated rooms, if a new bill introduced by City Council leaders goes into effect.
The Smoke-Free Air Act would toughen present restrictions, which were passed in 1988, and specifically ban smoking in all workplaces, stadiums, playgrounds and restaurants seating over 50 people.
--Restaurants seating less than 50 would be exempt from the restrictions, as today.
--Restaurants seating over 50 could permit smoking only in separate--and separately ventilated--enclosed areas not exceeding 25% of the restaurant's indoor seating capacity.
--Outdoor cafes would be required to provide nonsmoking sections.
--Bars making over 40% of their income from food would be subject to the restaurant restrictions.
--workplace smoking would be restricted to only one room per floor.
--Smoking would be allowed in enclosed offices and company cars and trucks only if occupied by one person.
--Smoking would be banned in outdoor areas of child-care agencies, assigned seating playgrounds, concert facilities and sports arenas. Shea and Yankee stadiums and Aqueduct Raceway would be subject to the ban.
The bill stands a good chance of passing, as Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, whose approval would be required after a public hearing, favors smoking restrictions, as does City Council president Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) and several other powerful members.
Giuliani said today, "I generally favor as much restriction as possible on cigarette smoking, particularly since it affects the health of others,"
And Vallone said, "Secondhand smoke represents a serious health risk. We must do all we can do to insure a smoke-free environment for those who want one."
"When we first introduced the Clean Indoor Air Act in 1988 [at the time one of the most restrictive anti-smoking bills in the nation], there was a great deal of skepticism about the health hazards of second-hand smoke," said Environmental Protection Committee Chairman Stanley Michels (D-Inwood). '"the evidence is overwhelming now, there can be no question about it."
Opponents of the bill include the United Restaurant, Hotel and Tavern Association of New York State, representing nearly 2,000 of New York City's 16,000 restaurants. Executive Director Scott Wexler said, "No one had to make restaurants offer decaffeinated coffee or light menus or sugar substitutes. If a restaurant thinks banning smoking is a good thing to do, it will do it." He said the law would alienate smoking customers and cost restaurants too much money to implement separate enclosed sections.
The Tobacco institute has taken notice of the bill and promises a major assault. Thomas Lauria of the Institute said the restrictions amounted to a total ban due to the costs of separating smokers. "This is designed to hassle people into a total ban on smoking. We have to fight it."
And The Institute's Walker Merryman said, "If they believe secondhand smoke is really an environmental health hazard to nonsmokers, they should ban smoking entirely. . . there isn't a single study done in the United States that shows environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace poses a health threat to non-smokers."
NY: PHILIP MORRIS LOBBY SPENDS MOST $$
Albany, NY March 5, 1994. In a record-setting year for total lobbying monies spent, Philip Morris leapfrogged ahead to the #1 spot, reported the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying.
In 1992 Philip Morris didn't even make the top ten list. But the company shot to #1 in 1993, spending $623,637 on mailings, meetings and activities for legislators, just ahead of the New York State United Teachers ($586,352) and New York City ($457,410).
Alexander B. Grannis (D-Manhattan), an anti-smoking proponent, said the company's expenditures had mixed results--it was successful in reducing an increase in the state's cigarette excise tax (now 56 cents/pack) and in helping to defeat two provisions in an anti-smoking bill, but the bill itself, which restricts smoking in schools, passed the Assembly this month.
"They are clearly battling against all reasonable odds," Grannis said, "But their profits are so great that they justify the expenditures of these large sums of money."
The monies recorded by the Commission on Lobbying are primarily for lobbyists' salaries and events in which legislators are courted. By the present definition of lobbying, the amounts represent only that spent influencing pending legislation and rate-setting, not that spent convincing legislators to support or fight the introduction of a bill, nor does it reflect contributions to a legislator's campaign fund.
NYC SUBWAY RESTRICTIONS
New York, NY March 14, 1994. According to the New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer, the restriction on smoking in New York City subways, "goes into effect the minute you set foot on the top steps of a station. The fine is $50, and last year the Transit Police wrote 25,803 summonses for the violation."
MI: SCHOOLS FINANCED BY SALES, CIG TAXES
Detroit, MI March 18, 1994. Michigan's new method of school financing--decreasing dependence on local property taxes and instead using funds from increased state sales- and cigarette taxes--is causing ripples nationwide.
Michigan was in a school financial crisis--which otherwise would have been met by increased income and business taxes--until voters Tuesday elected to increase the state sales tax from 4% to 6%, and to triple state cigarette taxes (an increase of 50 cents/pack). The tobacco industry spent millions fighting the proposal.
Lessening the dependence on local property taxes gives property owners some relief, while making the distribution of funds to schools in poor neighborhoods more equitable. However, putting finances in state hands is considered by many a dangerous practise, considering the many divergent demands on a state budget that could waylay spending on schools.
Critics point to California's Proposition 13, which greatly limited increases in property taxes. At that time, California was in the top 5 in per-pupil expenditures. It is now in the bottom 5.
WA: STATEWIDE BAN SEPT 1.
Seattle, WA. March 16, 1994. Workplace smoking would be banned statewide under a new rule signed by state labor director Mark Brown. Due to take effect Sept. 1, the rule would exempt industrial worksites, bars and restaurants.
"This is a regulation that's not driven by any malice toward smokers at all, but rather in response to the responsibilities I have to protect all workers in the state of Washington," Brown said.
Indoor smoking would be restricted to specially marked rooms that non-smoking employees would have no reason to enter.
Thomas Lauria called the rule "a political move, clear and simple." He cited the fact that half of the estimated 1.2 million workers who would be affected by the ban already work in smoke-free offices due to voluntary measures, and said a state taskforce had determined that studies of the harmfulness of workplace ETS were inconclusive.
"The point is, if business doesn't need or want it and it's not justified by science, where is the basis for this ban?" Lauria asked. The industry may mount a legal challenge.
WA: WARNING ON STOP SMOKING GUARANTEE
Seattle, WA. March 16, 1994. Washington Assistant Attorney General Dave Horn issued a warning to consumers about a stop-smoking program whose radio ads offer a double money back guarantee if attendees at the seminar don't feel they've stopped smoking. The guarantee is only good the night of the seminar, Horn warned. He has asked the Stephen Present "stop smoking" seminars to stop or change the ads.
"Many people have been confused by the language of the current radio ad," Horn said.
CA: NEW 1994 SMOKING LAWS
Sacramento, CA March 14, 1994
Californians rang in the new year with 2 new smoking laws passed in 1993 that are taking effect now.
--Smoking is now banned in all state-owned or leased buildings and cars, including areas within 5 feet of the main entrance of the buildings.
--Smoking is now banned in private homes that function as day care centers.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Stan Statham introduced a bill in Sacramento that would add 2 cents to the state cigarette tax, with the extra $36 million annual income earmarked for prostate cancer research.
MI: BILLBOARD AD BAN?
Michigan Rep. Mick Middaugh of Paw Paw, along with 11 cosponsors, has proposed state legislation to ban billboard advertising of tobacco.
Rep. Tom Alley of West Branch said, the proposed ban is "a statement that the legislature is saying 'no' to advertising to young people."
Thomas Lauria of the Tobacco Institute said the proposed ban would violate Supreme Court guidelines for the Constitutional regulation of commercial speech. "It would be a waste of their time and a waste of the legal efforts to defend the rights of tobacco companies."
CA: SUIT OVER TOBACCO TAX $ MISUSE
Sacramento, March 24, 1994. Charging that California state lawmakers have been swayed by millions of dollars from the tobacco industry to divert cigarette tax income from a successful anti-smoking campaign, a group has sued in Superior Court to bar the diversion of funds from Proposition 99 revenues.
As passed by voters in 1988, Proposition 99 called for a 25 cent tax increase, 20% of which would be earmarked for tobacco education programs. However, in recent years funds have been diverted for other medical programs, even though a recent study has found the anti-smoking programs are extremely successful--smoking in California has declined 28% in the last 5 years, three times the national average.
In fact, the program may be a victim of its own success, as the decline in smoking means there is less money available to go to all the beneficiaries of Proposition 99.
Jeanne Cain, who is Gov. Pete Wilson's deputy health and welfare secretary, said, "We've done nothing illegal. The initiative has provisions to permit flexibility in the use of these funds." In Wilson's proposed 1994-95 budget, the anti-tobacco programs would get 11% of the tax revenues, instead of 20%.
But Michael Pertschuk of the ANR said in no uncertain terms that the legislators are "killing a program that's being funded by a tiny tax on cigarettes, which is saving hundreds of thousands of lives, and killing it because they're in bed with the tobacco lobbyists." He accused lawmakers of "totally dismantling the program."
Tobacco companies spent $2 million in state lobbying activities in 1993, according to one study, but Thomas Lauria of the Tobacco institute said no funds have been spent trying to reapportion Proposition 99 income.
Assemblyman Bert Margolin, D-Los Angeles, who refuses tobacco industry funds and is a member of a committee working on the re-apportionment of the tobacco tax income, said "The letter of the law says we can reorder Proposition 99's priorities by a four-fifths vote of the Legislature, and we have done that. This isn't even a close call. They're clearly wrong about this. The initiative clearly wanted money to go for health care for poor people."
The suit comes on the heels of a prematurely-released report that found the anti-tobacco programs were responsible for a 28% drop in smoking in California in the last 5 years.
The study, an assessment of the $599 million anti-smoking program created by Proposition 99, rated the parts of the program for success, and found that grants to cities and towns to develop workplace and restaurant policies, and statewide TV ads were most effective. School education programs and doctors' counseling were deemed almost useless. 51% of doctors, the report said, didn't even tell smokers to quit.
Yet in the most recent budget, 37% of the tobacco funds go to doctors, and 25% go to school programs.
The report was released prematurely by a tobacco researcher, Dr. Stanton Glantz, who accused state agencies of withholding the report until Proposition 99 funds could be budgeted to benefit the tobacco industry.
"They're taking money that was meant by the voters to be used for tobacco control, and they're giving it to doctors and hospitals. That's very much to the benefit of the tobacco industry, because money given to doctors doesn't affect tobacco consumption."
The California Department of Health Services said the report would be released shortly.
The Health Dept. came under scrutiny recently when Gov. Pete Wilson appointed Kimberly Belshe--the chief Southern California tobacco industry spokesperson in their 1988 campaign against Proposition 99--to be its director.
The report said the percentage of smokers in California declined from 26.5% to 19.1% from 1988 to 1993. Teen smoking has remained level since 1990, which the report ascribed to teens' special receptivity to tobacco advertising.
CANADA: ADDED NICOTINE CONCERNS GOVT
Ottawa. March 2, 1994. Reuter reports that Canada's health department, responding to increased concerns of nicotine manipulation brought on by last week's ABC-TV "Day One" program, is taking a closer look at the tobacco industry.
"We are doing a study as to why nicotine has not gone down to the same rate as tar. One possibility is that nicotine has been added," said a health department spokesperson. "There are other possibilities, such a selective breeding of plants that may have more tar than nicotine."
"The 'suspicions' are completely unfounded," said John McDonald, spokesperson for Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. He pointed out that, unlike in the US, Canadian manufacturers must provide the government with a list of additives used in cigarettes.
"The filings made by our company reflect the fact that no additives, other than menthol in mentholated brands, are used in our cigarettes," he said.
CANADA: LARGE WARNINGS WILL STAY
Ottawa March 3, 1994. Canada's cigarette companies were rebuffed by the Supreme Court of Canada today when it denied their appeal to delay implementation of new cigarette warning labels on the basis that they were too costly.
The 1993 Tobacco Products Control Act requires labels almost1/3 the size of cigarette packs, on both the front and back, with strong health warnings. Some of the warnings say cigarettes are addicting, some say cigarettes can kill. One reads, "Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers."
The manufacturers said implementing the labels by September as required by the law was so costly cigarette prices would have to be increased. The court ruled unanimously that the labels' benefits to society outweighed the benefits of cheaper cigarettes.
The suit was brought by RJR-MacDonald and Imperial Tobacco. The industry is continuing a constitutional challenge to the bill in Supreme Court.
CANADA: ANTI-SMOKING ADS INEFFECTIVE, STUDIES FIND
March 3, 1994. Canada's 2 year, $6 million dollar antismoking ads are seen by teens as "annoying and ineffective," "stupid" and "unreal," 2 recent federal polls found. Worse, they had absolutely no effect on teen smoking.
The surveys found no difference in smoking rates of those who had seen the "Break Free" commercials and those who had not.
A previous 1993 survey showed the ads improved teens attitudes toward smoking, but health officials acknowledge they have had little effect on behavior.
More ads are planned as part of Ottawa's $139 million education and enforcement campaign, announced when federal cigarette taxes were slashed last month to forestall an out-of-control smuggling epidemic.
BRITAIN: SMOKEFREE ISLE BECKONS 33
Lundy Island, Feb. 26, 1994. 33 smokers embark today for a 10 day "cold turkey" vacation on a tobacco-less isle 12 miles off England's southwest coast.
Tiny (pop: 14) Lundy Island's tourist attractions will include one tobacco-less shop, one smoke-free pub, one doctor and nurse who will oversee the strict regimen, and a breath analyzer--which will be used to randomly measure visitors' carbon monoxide levels. Those found smoking will be asked to leave on the next boat.
Dr. Ed Channing said, "There will be group sessions each day, videos showing the dangers of smoking and the advantages of giving it up, meditation, and individual consultations."
TURKEY: MURDER OVER RAMADAN SMOKING
Ankara. Feb. 27, 1994. Huseyin Kara, a 19 year old theological student, was stabbed to death by a 13 year old schoolmate in a fight over Kara's smoking during the Moslem holy month of Ramadan.
Two groups from the school got into a fight over the Kara group's smoking during Ramadan, a month in which pious Moslems refrain from smoking, eating and drinking during the night.
The 13 year old, Ahmet Kip, also seriously injured two other students during the fight in Sivas, a town in central Turkey.
UGANDA: TOBACCO PRODUCTION UP
Kampala. Feb. 28, 1994. Uganda, hard-hit by losses from its main export of coffee, is trying to diversify its economy by moving to other crops such as tea, cotton and tobacco.
Agriculture officials estimated 1994 production at 6,000 tonnes due to increased acreage, with more due should the East African drought end. The yield could bring $10 million in to Uganda's ailing economy.
Uganda exports most of its tobacco crop to Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands.
JAPAN: BULLET TRAIN BANS
Tokyo March 1, 1994. Two Japanese railway companies enacted smoking restrictions at 33 stations along a 745 mile route between Tokyo and Fukuoka, in southwest Japan.
"We are just following the current trend of banning smoking at public places," said a West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) official.
The other company designating smoking areas on platforms and concourses along the route is Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai)
There are 4 other Japan Railway passenger train companies.
CHINA: LUNG CANCER SOARING
Beijing, March 2, 1994. China has 300 million smokers. It is the world's largest consumer of cigarettes. And its lung cancer rates are soaring, especially in the countryside.
Between 1992 and 1993, according to the official newspaper Health News, deaths from lung cancer rose 4.5%, from 14.5 to 15.1 per 100,000 people, and deaths in the countryside rose 10%, from 10.3 to 11.6.
"We should go all out to prevent people from smoking if we consider the population's health as well as the economics," Health News said.
China earns more tax revenue from tobacco than any other industry--despite a booming smuggling trade in foreign cigarettes. Tobacco taxes brought in $30.5 billion in 1992.
Western companies Philip Morris, RJR Nabisco, and Rothmans have contracts to produce cigarettes in China.
BRITAIN: SMOKEFREE ISLE HAILED AS SUCCESS
London. March 8, 1994.. The world has 33 more confirmed nonsmokers, thanks to a ten-day cold turkey excursion on tiny Lundy Island, said Bill Moir, the program's inventor.
The 33 landed back in England today, the day before Britain's national "No Smoking Day," vowing they'd never smoke again.
They were replaced by 12 more people who embarked for the unique "vacation" on the tobacco-less isle.
BRITAIN: HIGH TAXES DON'T STOP POOR FROM SMOKING
London. March 8, 1994. Poor people will continue to smoke despite high taxes, says a report by the Policy Studies Institute in London. "Those least able to afford cigarettes are those most likely to smoke," the report says. The report lays part of the strong tendency of the poor to smoke to economic pressures and unhappiness.
Alan Marsh, coauthor of the study, said raising taxes had reduced smoking rates among the better-off, but "it has no effect on the poorest smokers, except to increase their hardship."
DENMARK: US AIR BASE CANCER CASES REOPENED
Copenhagen, March 7, 1994. Danish workers at a US air base in Thule, Greenland where an American B-52 crashed in 1968, believe their high rates of cancer are due to radiation exposure suffered when they cleared radioactive debris from the crash.
Now that the Cold War is over and secret documents may be more safely opened--and after a series of Danish investigations, the latest of which attributed the workers' 50% higher cancer rates to smoking, drinking and asbestos exposure--the Danish Justice Minister has agreed to reopen the case.
The 180 workers are seeking compensation from the US Air Force and/or Danish government.
IRAN: RAMADAN SMOKING ON STAGE
Teheran, March 10, 1994. Reuters reports that Iranian students have been scandalized by smoking and sex in a stage production of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie." According to a letter written by the students to a Teheran newspaper, two of the actresses and one of the actors smoked cigarettes at a morning performance--a public offense during Ramadan--and then it got worse: "We still had not emerged from shock when an actor and an actress embraced very tightly and uttered a line to the effect that 'We have to censor the kissing'."
CHINA, MEXICO CIGARETTE DEAL
Monterrey, Mexico. March 8, 1994. The dominant tobacco giants of Mexico and China are cooperating to develop a new herb cigarette brand for distribution internationally, UPI reports. La Moderna of Mexico, which controls 56% of the Mexican cigarette market, and China National Tobacco Corp, the near-monopoly which supplies almost all of China's 300 million smokers, said that the deal could be finalized this month.
JAPAN: SMOKER KILLED AT TRAIN STATION
Tokyo, March 10, 1994. A man who refused to stop smoking at a nonsmoking section of a Japanese train station was struck and killed by another man today, Reuter reports.
The smoking 57-year-old furniture maker was shoved and kicked in the face by a 29-year-old businessman, who then boarded the train--unaware his victim had hit his head on the platform so hard that he died shortly after.
PHILIPPINES: LUCIO TAN ON TAX HIT LIST
Manila. March 6, 1994. Tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan joins Imelda Marcos at the top of the Philippine government's "hit-list" of 104 major tax cases, the Bureau of Internal Revenue announced today.
The government announcement ordered speedy prosecution of the individuals on the list. Tan was listed as owing over US$900 million. Imelda Marcos owes a little over US$200 million.
The publicity-shy Chinese immigrant initially came to prominence in the 70s during the Marcos administration, with the success of his Fortune Tobacco Co.. Forbes estimates his present wealth at $1.5 billion, and he owns over a dozen companies, including 67% of Philippine Airlines. A former business associate of Ferdinand Marcos, he has long had difficulties with the present government's tax bureau, and claims he is being persecuted. Some fear the Bureau of Internal Revenue is targeting all ethnic Chinese, and warn of the dangers of the flight of Chinese capital from the Philippines.
CANADA: CIG TAX CUT DROPS INFLATION RATE
Ottawa, March 17, 1994 Canada's yearly inflation rate increase from Feb. 1993 to Feb. 1994 was the lowest (.02%) in 32 years, due to the cigarette tax cuts last Feb., Statistics Canada said today.
Adjusted for the tax cut, the inflation rate would have risen 1.5%. The monthly inflation rate from January to February 1994 actually dropped .8%, largely due to the 38.3% drop in cigarette taxes.
Domestic sales of tobacco products rose over 35% in Feb., 1994 compared to Feb. 1993.
CUBA: MYSTERY EPIDEMIC TIED TO DIET, TOBACCO
Atlanta, GA. March 17, 1994. The mysterious eye disease which has struck over 50,000 Cubans since 1992, causing blind spots, fuzzy vision and even blindness, is linked to a B-vitamins deficiency caused by poverty and a poor diet and life-style, according to an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Cuban health officials. The disease, epidemic neuropathy, became widespread--especially among tobacco workers--in 1992, following the loss of financial support from the disintegrating Soviet Union.
The lack of B-vitamins, the report says, may also exacerbate the effects of cyanide and other chemicals in the root cassava--common in the Cuban diet--and in tobacco. B-vitamins help rid the body of such toxins. Many victims have been helped by treatments of vitamin B.
BRITAIN: NO WAR PENSIONS FOR SMOKING DISEASES
London, March 15, 1994. A war veteran's widow successfully argued before the High Court in January that her husband's smoking, which caused his death, had been prompted by his suffering as a World War II prisoner of war. The decision negated a previous ruling that Grace Hunt was ineligible for a pension because her husband's death was not "due to or hastened by a wound, injury or disease attributable to or aggravated by service." The decision created a great deal of concern in the Department of Social Security, and the Department told Parliament today that regulations regarding compensation eligibility are being amended.
The new rules, to take effect March 28, will specify that compensation will not be granted to a serviceman or widow "for the effects of personal habits such as smoking and drinking."
BRITAIN: MOST ENGLISH AT HEART/STROKE RISK
London, March 17, 1994. A 1992 government survey of 4,000 adults found only 12% of men and 11% of women were free from the 4 major risk factors for heart disease or stroke--smoking, high blood pressure, fat and lack of exercise.
TOBACCO FRAUD RIFE IN EU
Brussels. March 15, 1994. The European Union is suffering major losses because of farm subsidy fraud, especially in the tobacco sector.
European Union Farm Commissioner Rene Steichen, reacting to attacks last month by the Court of Auditors that the Commission and member states are not doing enough to police fraud--especially racketeering in the tobacco sector--said today the Commission had taken action against tobacco fraud; and as a result had cut available tobacco funds by a third, to US$969 million. In addition, he suggested a black list of people and companies swindling funds from the EU's US$41 billion farm budget. Member states would then be obliged to take disciplinary measures.
IRAN: UPROAR OVER RAMADAN SMOKING
Tehrain March 15, 1994. Reuters reports that a theatre manager has been fired for negligence, and 5 actors involved in the daytime presentation of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" have been banned from the stage after scenes of close physical contact and daytime smoking during Ramadan caused an uproar among students at the Islamic Culture and Guidance Ministry.
The Ministry's statement said the actions occurred during a rehearsal, not a performance, and the acting troupe of drama students was not authorized to use the space.
Foreign plays are often staged in Iran, but dress, speech and behavior is modified in accordance with Islamic codes. For example, actresses must cover their hair on stage.
ISRAEL: KOSHER CIGS FUROR
Jerusalem, March 22, 1994. A newspaper advertisement in which a rabbi declared a brand of Israeli-made cigarettes as Kosher for Passover has set off a furor in Israel.
In the advertisement, Rabbi Moshe Blau declared the cigarettes free of leaven (yeast), which is forbidden during Passover, the holiday that marks the Israelites' flight from Egypt.
"It is like giving a kosher certificate to pork," said one Rabbi. Another compared the act to "putting a stumbling block in front of the blind."
THE TOBACCO BUSINESS
MAGELLAN FUND GOES SMOKEFREE
Boston, MA March 1, 1994. The Fidelity Magellan Fund, the world's largest mutual fund, continues to outpace its competitors by a wide margin--without tobacco stocks.
Magellan's assets for its 2 million shareholders reached $30 billion last year, $10 billion more than any other fund, and earned a 24% return.
Jeff Vinik, the new fund manager since early 1993, believes growth is in America and its booming high tech industries, and has turned from international stocks and the huge consumer products companies.
Describing Magellan's modern day portfolio, he said, "Drugs are zero, beverages zero, tobacco zero, the classic food stocks are zero. You're talking 25 percent to 30 percent of the S&P 500 that I don't own any of. Sure, they could have six-month rallies here and there. But I'm concerned about the long-term earnings growth of many of the consumer staple companies."
20% of Magellan's portfolio is in high technology, including computer chip-makers Intel and Motorola.
TOBACCO EXPORTS FALL
Washington. March 1, 1994. Tobacco exports fell 20% in 1993, due to both increased competition from foreign producers like Zimbabwe and Brazil, and to a leveling off of the increases the last few years, reports Robert Green of the AP.
"Much of this decline can be attributed to large international supplies of relatively cheap leaf tobacco," said Agriculture Department analysts.
Exports to Europe declined most, while Japan is the US's largest customer for unmanufactured tobacco. Exports of domestically produced cigarettes fell 5%.
Imports from Brazil, Greece, Thailand, Turkey and Zimbabwe rose 16%, though the imports' actual value rose only 1%, undoubtedly because of last year 's world-wide tobacco glut.
Philip Morris stock prices rebounded somewhat last week from a decline following the FDA's announcement that it may regulate cigarettes. Shares rose on word the health care reform bill's cigarette tax hike may not be as high as $.75 after all, or if that high, may be phased in over a number of years.
Investors are resisting the lure of RJ Reynolds' recent PERCs offering, worried about its dilutary effect, and concerned that the stocks are tied to the company's tobacco--not its food--stocks. In an RJR feat of spectacularly bad timing, the offering was announced the day before the FDA's announcement of its power to regulate cigarettes as a drug. In addition, RJR's previous 1991 offering has lost 30% of its value, and an 1993 attempt to issue shares separately linked to the company's food business failed after a cigarette price war broke out, and chairman Lou Gerstner left the company to head IBM.
Some analysts believe RJR's issuance of the PERCs prefigures an attempt to sell off the tobacco part of the business.
B.A.T. industries, the British financial services and tobacco conglomerate, announced that poor US tobacco performance will seriously pull down that arm's 4th quarter figures. US trading profits fell to 156 million pounds in third quarter 1993 from 380 million pounds the year before. Exports also fell slightly though the company remains confident of its growth potential in the international market.
BAT is the world's second largest cigarette company after Philip Morris. It's Brown & Williamson arm (Kool, Capri, Raleigh, Belair and Barclay) is the third largest cigarette company in the US, after Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds. It's California-based Farmers Insurance was heavily involved in the recent California earthquake.
Universal Corp, of Richmond, VA, the world's largest importer and exporter of tobacco, authorized the buyback of up to 2 million common shares on March 8. That same day the leaf tobacco dealer announced that it "doesn't disagree" with market analysts who predicted Universal's net fiscal 1994 income would be down 35-40% from last year.
On March 11, trading became very active on rumors that a large institutional shareholder was selling its entire stake in the company, amounting to 1.3 million shares, or 3.5% of the company's outstanding shares. The stock's 52-week low of 18 1/2 was reached last Feb. 28.
Universal also deals in sunflower seeds, coffee, lumber and building materials.
NY TIMES MAGAZINE COVER STORY:
"HOW DO THEY LIVE WITH THEMSELVES?"
Sunday, March 19, 1994. This week's New York Times Magazine should be read by anyone interested in tobacco. The cover story contains a series of interviews of Philip Morris executives.
The cover itself features a 4-panel Gary Trudeau cartoon featuring the cartoon cigarette, Mr. Butts:
Panel 1: (Mr. Butts, toting a briefcase, is on the run outside the capitol, smiling cheerily) "Hey, folks! Mr. Butts here! Ever wonder what it takes to be a tobacco industry executive?"
Panel 2. (Close-up) "Well, to begin with, you gotta be absolutely NUTS about freedom. I mean, CERTIFIABLE! And you have to love CHOICE!"
Panel 3. Are there ever dark trials of the soul? Well of course there are!
(A woman points furiously at Mr. Butts) "MURDERER!"
(Mr. Butts, distressed and chagrined, emits a thought balloon) "Yikes . . ."
Panel 4. But they pass!
(Mr. Butts cheerfully holds a wad of dollars in his raised hand) "Oh, Senator! A word, if I may..."
Immediatley below the cartoon is the title of the piece:
"HOW DO THEY LIVE WITH THEMSELVES?"
For a harrowing glimpse into a unique corporate subculture, all interested in this subject should pick up the Sunday Times while it is available.
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS MAY SUE TOBACCO COS OVER ETS
Miami, FL March 17, 1994. A Florida appeals court gave 30 flight attendants the right to file a class-action lawsuit against virtually every major American tobacco company over damage suffered from environmental tobacco smoke in airline cabins.
In overruling and sending the case back to a trial court, the 3-judge panel ruled the flight attendants met the 4 requirements for a class action:
--the group is large enough
--the group questions similar points of law
--the group shares similar claims
--the group would be adequately represented by one set of lawyers.
Since any attendant can be represented if they can show they suffered illness because of on-the-job ETS, the group could grow to as many as 60,000, Michael Rosenblatt, attorney for the attendants, indicated.
In throwing the case back, the appeals court said the trial court must now certify each of the plaintiffs for a class action.
Mr. Rosenblatt called such certification a mere formality, while Philip Morris' attorneys said it was by no means "a foregone conclusion" and that enough plaintiffs could be disqualified to dissolve the group.
BROOKE GROUP SETTLES SHAREHOLDER SUIT
Miami, FL March 18, 1994. To settle a lawsuit brought by shareholders, Brooke Group Chairman Bennett S. LeBow has repaid over $16 million to Brooke and has agreed to tie his future compensation to the performance of the company.
The suit was filed in Feb. 1993, sparked by stock sales and millions of dollars of attractive loans to LeBow and various Brooke officers.
The settlement still must meet the approval of Delaware Chancery Court.
The Brooke Group owns the Liggett Group Inc. (Chesterfield, L&M, Eve and various discount brands) and also has interests in real estate and investments.
The Brooke Group has been in the news this year for a failed Brooke Group anti-trust lawsuit against Brown & Williamson, another discount cigarette producer, over a mid-eighties discount brand price war; for a year-long dispute over the ownership of a cigarette factory outside Moscow; and for the messy plunge in value of its troubled California computer company acquisition, MAI Systems Corporation.
Brooke also owns New Valley Corporation (once Western Union Corporation), and has several joint ventures in Russia.
Analysts have stated that publicity-shy financier LeBow, who has been compared to corporate raiders like Frank Lorenzo, got most of the cash for the $16 million from his share in the spin-off of Brooke's Skybox, a sports and entertainment card distributing company.
MONK-AUSTIN TO BUY RJR'S TOBACCO
New York, Mar. 18, 1994. RJ Reynolds has announced that Monk-Austin, Inc. will supply all its US tobacco auction purchasing needs beginning in 1994. The company's yearly revenue could rise by $200-300 million a year--up to 50% higher than its current yearly revenue--from the deal. The company said its profit margins on the added revenue "will be less than the company's overall margin on its other tobacco business." Monk-Austin shares rose in trading today.
--RJ Reynolds' stock also rose, on rumors its food and tobacco operations would be split--its tobacco arm possibly to be bought by a foreign tobacco company like BAT Industries or Hanson PLC--by the end of the year.
DIBRELL STILL WOOING STANDARD
March 15, 1994. Playing the spurned suitor who keeps trying, Dibrell Brothers Inc. revealed yesterday in a statement that it now owns 6.2% of Standard Commercial Corp.
Standard Commercial is one of world's largest multinational tobacco and wool dealers, operating in virtually every tobacco and/or wool-producing country.
In March of 1993, Dibrell and Standard had agreed in principal to hitch up, but Standard, a largely family owned and operated business, broke off the engagement just a month later.
Dibrell's announcement made clear it felt a reconciliation would be best for both parties, but that it had no plans to submit Standard to a shotgun wedding. Still, it does own 6.2% of its stock, and may buy more should the occasion arise.
PM SLAPS ABC WITH $10B LAWSUIT
Richmond, VA. March 24, 1994. In what promises to be a momentous and lengthy clash of titans, Philip Morris, one of the nation's richest companies, filed a $10 billion libel suit against ABC-TV, claiming its Day One TV program had by "false and defamatory" statements created a "public frenzy" that had seriously harmed and devalued the company.
The suit accuses the network of airing, on two Day One segments, knowingly false accusations that cigarette makers were artificially spiking cigarettes with nicotine "to keep smokers hooked."
Adding insult to injury, "after the false statements were initially broadcast . . . the statements were repeated, again and again."
Bring was referring to repetition Day One's charges on other ABC news programs, including "World News Tonight," "20/20" and "Nightline." He said the "malicious" reports and their repetitions led to an appearance of truth, creating a "public frenzy" that "poisoned the well" of public opinion, misleading the public, the press, FDA chief David Kessler, Congressional legislators and even President Clinton. The suit quotes Clinton as saying the report "really bothered me when I heard that more nicotine was going in to make sure that people were hooked."
The result of the allegations, says the suit, was a devaluation of Philip Morris' market value and "massive harm" to the company.
"Philip Morris does not in any way, shape or form spike its cigarettes with nicotine," said Bring. "These allegations are not true, and ABC knows that they are not true."
Bring said ABC knew that the cigarette manufacturing process actually resulted in less nicotine in modern-day cigarettes than is in raw tobacco or even the cigarettes of 40 years ago, yet chose to ignore the facts. In addition, Philip Morris said ABC was informed of the inaccuracies both before and after the program was broadcast.
The Washington Post reported Friday that PM VP Steve Parrish said, "We gave them two written statements, both pointing out that we do not spike our cigarettes with nicotine. They did not use the statements, nor did `Day One' indicate they had asked us for comment."
The Post quoted an unnamed ABC official who rebutted Parrish's allegation: "We asked them repeatedly to appear for on-camera interviews and they declined. We gave them advance questions and they sent us statements which did not answer our questions."
"As the manufacturer of a controversial product, we well understand the importance of all our freedoms -- including a free press that speaks for and to the diversity of this country," said Murray Bring, senior vice president of Philip Morris. "But we do -- we must -- draw the line at libel."
To prove libel, Philip Morris would have to prove actual malice, that ABC not only made false statements, but did so with full knowledge that it was false, or with a reckless disregard for truth. This is PM's apparent aim, as its press release reads, "the false and defamatory statements contained in Day One's broadcasts were made knowingly, recklessly and with malice."
This, the largest libel lawsuit ever filed, was brought by a company that, though it is one of America's five most profitable companies with $50 billion in sales last year, is increasingly under attack by government, industry, health organizations and the public, and has been suffering a public relations nightmare for the last 2 months.
The suit requested a jury trial and was filed in Virginia State Circuit Court in Richmond, where Philip Morris' domestic tobacco production is centered.
Also named was segment reporter John Martin and producer Walt Bogdanich, and the other ABC news programs which repeated the charges.
Though the Day One program was almost exclusively about Philip Morris' chief domestic tobacco rival, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris said it suffered huge losses.
The $10 billion consists of $5 billion in losses and $5 billion in punitive damages. The losses are calculated partly on the broadcasts' role in sparking FDA and Congressional investigations ("legislative and governmental activities that could impact" PM's business) and on the drop in Philip Morris' stock price, which fell from $58.25 the day on Thursday, just before Kessler's letter--prompted in part by the imminent airing of the segment--was released, to $55.50 at closing March 8, the day after the first airing on Day One.
Since the huge consumer products company has 877 million publicly traded shares, this translates to a loss in the range of $2.4 billion. Looked at another way, each $1 drop in stock price represents a $1 billion loss in the company's value. The stock today, Tuesday 3/29, closed at $50.
Bring said there was no evidence of a drop in actual sales of cigarettes.
According to Business Week, despite a disastrous year for the tobacco industry stemming from "Marlboro Friday," Philip Morris was America's 6th most valuable company, with a value of over $49 billion--below such titans as GE, Exxon and AT&T, but above all other automobile, oil and consumer product companies such as P&G. PM enjoyed $3.6 billion in net profits. In 1992 Philip Morris was number one in sales. Its stock has ranged in the last year from $68/share to a low of $45.
ABC is a unit of Capital Cities/ABC Inc., which was #75 on the Business Week 1000, with a market value of almost $11 billion, sales of 5.67 billion, and net profits of $467 million.
Philip Morris is being represented by Herbert M. Wachtell, senior partner in the New York law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in addition to Hunton & Williams, a Richmond law firm.
SIDE ISSUES OF THE SUIT
Philip Morris was accused by some of timing the suit to coincide with testimony Friday by FDA chief David Kessler to the House, to confuse the issue and to intimidate the press. Philip Morris said the timing was "coincidental."
Bring said the FDA had no jurisdiction over cigarettes because they were neither a food nor a drug nor a cosmetic. He said Philip Morris had just escorted 10 FDA employees--who were sent in place of the invitee, Charles Kessler--on a two-day tour of plants in Richmond and fully briefed them on the cigarette manufacturing process.
At the press conference announcing the suit, Mike Wallace dropped his fire-safe cigarette bombshell, seeming to be begging Philip Morris for yet another fight.
Wallace asked, "You have a "Project Hamlet" [reportedly dubbed "To burn or not to burn"] which seems to indicate that Philip Morris Co. does indeed have a fire-safe cigarette, tested as long ago as 1987."
"Over 1,000 Americans die each year in fires ignited by cigarettes...and it would seem from simple mathematics that in the last 7, 8 years, 8,000 Americans have died because they haven't had access to that fire-safe cigarette," Wallace said.
Bring said, "I'm not familiar with Project Hamlet as you describe it." Bring did say that Philip Morris has been working on a fire-safe cigarette for years and there is a "continuous project" on the product.
"I cannot tell you how far away from completion we are," he said. "We are working on it."
The beleaguered industry seems to feel its troubles come from the top. Chuck Wall, associate general counsel for Philip Morris made mention of the industry's spate of recent travails, and connected them to the Clinton administration: "The industry has been on the defensive in the sense that we're having to respond quite often to events. The atmosphere is helped by the Clinton administration attitude. The Clintons are not friendly to the cigarette industry."
A CLOSER LOOK
Though the program referred many times to the tobacco companies' ability to "manipulate" and "control the level of nicotine" in cigarettes, what appears to be the statements most objected to by Philip Morris came at the beginning of each of the two programs:
March 28, 1994.
"Now, a lengthy Day One investigation has uncovered perhaps the tobacco industry's last best secret--How it artificially adds nicotine to cigarettes, to keep people smoking, and boost profits."
Feb. 6, 1994.
"Last week, Day One reported for the first time evidence that cigarette companies manipulate levels of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, to keep people smoking. We found manufacturers add nicotine in carefully calibrated doses, to fortify the tobacco waste products they insert in cigarettes, and to replenish nicotine lost in processing."
Getting into semantics here, but in a strict sense, even accepting that the industry is simply reinstituting a portion of the nicotine that has been lost in the manufacturing process, at some point in the manufacturing process nicotine is indeed being physically added to the product.
Where misapprehension arises is if the impression is left that the nicotine added is not simply a restitution of lost nicotine, but is beyond that which would normally be found in the tobacco content of a cigarette, or in Steven Parrish's words, "extraneous nicotine."
"Spiking" would be the operative word here--but that word, despite the implication in many news releases where it appeared in quotes, is Philip Morris'--not Day One's.
Philip Morris' Charles Wall said, "We do not manipulate or spike the nicotine to keep people addicted, which is the central charge ABC has leveled against us. We do not quibble with the idea that during the reconstitution process we recombine nicotine with the tobacco sheet, but it is the same nicotine we started with."
Day One's first segment also offered a confusing portion involving a shot of New Jersey docks, where, the program said, "nearly pure nicotine is brought ashore to be combined with alcohol. It is called denaturing. The mixture can then be applied to tobacco during the manufacturing process for among other things, flavoring.
"As these trucking records show, Philip Morris, for example, received thousands of gallons of this alcohol mixture during the 1980s
"The cigarette makers say this mixture leaves only a tiny amount of nicotine on the tobacco."
This segment could leave the impression in those not paying close attention that Philip Morris was adding imported nicotine to cigarettes--didn't have enough here, even had to go outside the country to get it(!)
The suit may hold hidden traps for both sides.
The last time a tobacco company sued a network for libel, Brown and Williamson won a $3 million judgement from CBS in 1987. The court found that anchorman Walter Jacobson of WBBM-TV had libeled Brown & Williamson in three 1981 broadcasts by saying the company's advertising deliberately tried to attract young people to take up smoking.
On the other hand, Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press quoted a former president of the American Trial Lawyers Association as saying, "This lawsuit can very well open up Philip Morris' secrets about the manufacturing process and how they do and can regulate the nicotine content of a cigarette."
AMERICAN BRANDS TO BE SOLD OVERSEAS?
New York. March 22, 1994. Dow Jones reported today that CNBC's Dan Dorfman has stated that American Brands is planning to sell its tobacco arm to an overseas company.
American would not comment.
American Brands' cigarettes include Carlton, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, and a number of discount brands. Their liquor products include Gilbey's and Jim Beam. The company also owns ACCO, Day-Timers, Swingline and Master Lock.
DROPOUTS RISK HEALTH MORE
Atlanta, GA March 3, 1994. High school dropouts are far more likely to smoke cigarettes, use drugs and have sex than their more studious counterparts, a new study says.
The unsurprising results were quantified from a 1992 study of 7,000 teens by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the teens had dropped out of school specifically because of their high-risk health behaviors: drug and alcohol abuse problems, or pregnancy.
Once a student drops out, the CDC says, an even bigger problem then looms--the dropouts then have little opportunity for contact with the very services that could help protect and inform them. The CDC said the report will help to focus development of programs to reach dropouts.
BANS WON'T AFFECT BUSINESS, RESTAURATEURS SAY
New York, NY March 2, 1994. 79% of New York tri-state area restaurateurs believe a total smoking ban will not have a great effect on their business, according to FoodTRENDS '94, a survey of 500 food service executives and restaurateurs. FoodTRENDS covers a wide range of issues about the food service industry each year, and is sponsored by Thomas Food Industry Register and the research company Find/SVP. The latest survey was conducted at The New York Restaurant and Foodservice Show in late February.
TACO BELL BANS SMOKING
Irvine, CA March 14, 1994. Taco Bell announced today that it will ban smoking in all its 3,300 company-owned restaurants starting March 28. Taco Bell president John Martin said the decision was made because of health concerns and customer preference.
"Our move to this new policy is driven by our concern for Taco Bell's customers' and employees' health regarding the dangers of second-hand smoke," Martin said.
"In fact, a recent study released by the U.S. Surgeon General indicates that second-hand smoke can be harmful and hazardous to the health of both our customers and our employees. This is a critical issue, considering that we serve 50 million customers each and every week and employ over 80,000 people in our restaurants . . . in our opinion, going smoke-free is simply the right thing to do."
Martin also said year-long research revealed that 70% of smokers and 84% of non-smokers "found smoking in fast-food restaurants offensive."
The company expects 1,000 of its franchises to join in, which would make Taco Bell the largest smoke-free restaurant chain in the nation.
Taco Bell Corporation is a subsidiary of PepsiCo.
JACK IN THE BOX BANS SMOKING
San Diego, CA March 15, 1994. Fast food chain Jack in the Box announced today that its 758 company-operated restaurants will ban smoking as of April 15.
"We are very enthusiastic about this move to become smoke-free and we are confident that it is in the best interest of our guests and employees," Robert Nugent, president of Jack In The Box said.
"Considering the results of recent studies regarding the dangers of secondhand smoke, we felt it was time for Jack In The Box to join the charge and initiate a company-wide no-smoking policy."
There are another 408 Jack in the Box franchises, of which 40% have banned smoking--including all franchises in Texas.
New York, March 17, 1994. Results of a recent USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll of over 1,000 people on smoking:
73% of Americans are non-smokers
70% of smokers would like to quit
Favor Designated Sections or No Restrictions Favor Smoking Bans
Hotels/Motels 78% 20%
Workplaces 67% 32%
Restaurants 61% 38%
BUILDING OWNERS WANT BAN
Washington, March 17, 1994. The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International asked Congress today to ban smoking in all commercial buildings.
"Secondhand tobacco smoke is a contaminant and -- according to EPA -- a Class A carcinogen. Clearly it does not belong indoors. Since there are no totally effective means of managing smoking indoors, eliminating it as a contaminant is the only course of action," said a representative of BOMA in testimony before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
"You will not see us up here too often seeking regulation -- but we are seeking it now," said the representative. "Opponents of this bill would have you believe that banning smoking is not necessary -- that simply increasing ventilation would achieve the same results. The truth, however, is that increased ventilation will only dilute the smoke, not remove it."
BOMA first called for a ban on smoking in January, 1993.
NO SMOKING IN STADIUM CIGS BUILT
Cleveland, OH. March 17, 1994. March The Cleveland Indians' new stadium--partly financed by a 15-year tax on alcohol and cigarettes--will not allow smokers to light up except in 6 designated areas--which do not have a view of the field, but do have television monitors.
Smokers pay an extra 4.5 cents a pack in taxes for the stadium, which, along with the alcohol tax, will pay for $175 million of the $362 million Gateway sports complex.
Officials said 17 of the 28 major league stadiums prohibit smoking in the stands, and 23 have restrictions.
The complex includes the 42,000 seat stadium and a 20,000 seat arena. The stadium opens April 2.
PHYSICIANS FIGHT TOBACCO WITH POSTCARDS
San Diego, CA. March 21, 1994. Members of a physician's group have agreed to a plan for health professionals to lobby Congress to pass a $2 cigarette tax by sending representatives a postcard every time a patient gets sick or dies from a tobacco-related illness.
The Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology is the first to act of over 150 organizations which have pledged to support The Coalition on Smoking or Health's "Cards to Congress" campaign. The campaign features red-rimmed postcards--each representing a smoker with cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, or other tobacco-related disorders--and will begin in May, to continue through the fall.
"In our profession, we constantly see the direct effects of smoking as we treat cancers, vascular conditions and other problems in smokers," said the president of the 2200 member SCVIR.
OBIT: MELINA MERCOURI, 68
Much-beloved international movie star and passionate Greek partisan Melina Mercouri ("Never on Sunday") died this week. A lifelong and heavy smoker, she once said after a trip to New York, "The American doctors said I should quit smoking, but what do they know. Give me a cigarette, I am back in Greece."
She died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering from complications following an operation last month for lung cancer. Mercouri was 68.
GAP AD PULLS JOHN WAYNE'S CIG
March 15, 1994. In the new ad campaign for the Gap, one picture features John Wayne, on the set of "The Alamo." He obviously was holding something in his outstretched hand, but it was erased.
It was a pack of Camel cigarettes, which was removed with the approval of his son, Michael.
Reuter's Robin Nissim wrote a story on concentration camp survivor Moshe Taube's memories of Oskar Schindler, subject of the Academy Award winning picture, "Schindler's List."
Nissim said Tabe described Schindler as a "burly, handsome man with a red face and eyes bloodshot from drinking," a chain-smoker who though he could do little about smuggling in food for the starvation-rationed inmates, would throw away partially-smoked cigarettes for them.
"Cigarettes were like gold, some people wanted them more than food. He was always watched by the SS. If they saw he would give a cigarette to an inmate, he'd be in trouble. So he would just light one up and throw it away. He was wonderful," Nissim quotes Taube as saying.
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