Category Archives: Tobacco Regulation

Tobacco and cigarette legislation and regulation

Money on Fire

Funding Tobacco Control Programs Has Long-Term Payoff

States feel the economic effects of smoking through increased health and medical costs and lost productivity of its citizens.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that states fund tobacco control programs in order to reduce the economic burden of smoking’s effects.

Some states have been cutting back on the funding of these programs as a cost-saving measure. But a study reveals that it is cheaper for states in the long run to fund tobacco control programs than it is to not.

Economic Examination of Tobacco

The study used data collected between 1991 and 2007. During this time, tobacco control programs were financed using:

  • the tobacco tax;
  • money from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement; and
  • state and private funding.

Money on FireThe CDC recommends a dollar amount that states should be spending in order to make their tobacco control programs successful. The study notes that by 2010, states were spending on average merely 17% of the recommended amount by the CDC. Additionally, in recent years, the taxes consumers pay on cigarettes has become relied on more as a consistent stream of revenue for states.

So which is better economically: increasing revenue raised by selling cigarettes or spending millions of dollars on tobacco use prevention?

More Tax or More Spending?

The study concluded that following the CDCs recommendation would result in a savings for state governments of between 14 and 20% of the cost of tobacco control programs in the future.

These tobacco control programs have been shown to have a long-term effect on the demand for cigarettes and tobacco products. This trend only increases over time as the programs’ effectiveness has an impact and more and more people quit smoking. Tobacco control programs lower the economic costs of medical and insurance payouts for tobacco-related health problems, as well as the cost of lost productivity.

What is the Real Cost of Tobacco?

Watch this short video…

Reference: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/238304.php

Broken Cigarette and Young Woman

Retailers Selling Tobacco Products to Underage Users Receive Warning Letter

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 20% of high school students smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.

The FDA also reports that 80% of adults who smoke started before they were 18 years old.

As part of the FDAs strategy of protecting the health of youth, compliance checks amongst tobacco retailers are done to determine whether or not vendors are cooperating in the enforcement of tobacco control laws.

Violating Tobacco Laws

Broken Cigarette and Young WomanIn June 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This legislation gives the FDA the authority to ensure smoking laws are enforced by undergoing compliance investigations of retailers. The purpose of this act is to ensure minors are protected from the health-crippling effects of smoking and tobacco use.

If retailers are found to be selling tobacco products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, to underage users, the FDA issues a warning letter as part of the violation of tobacco control laws. If a retailer is found to be breaking the law, they may be required to pay a civil financial penalty.

To learn more, please click > FDA’s Warning Letters

Tobacco Control Compliance Investigations

Approximately 30,000 compliance checks have been completed across the country. The FDA has issued over 1,200 warning letters to establishments found violating restrictions of the sale and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The compliance investigations include verifying whether or not the retailer:

  • confirms the customer’s age by asking for photo identification;
  • properly labels and advertises according to law smokeless tobacco products;
  • has for sale single cigarettes;
  • has in place a ban on cigarette products flavored like fruit or candy; and
  • is using vending machines or self-serving cigarette dispensers that have been banned from use.

For more information on the FDAs retailer inspections, please click > Inspection of Retailers

Big 5 Tobacco File Lawsuit to Fight New Warning Labels

On September 22, 2012, all cigarette packaging and advertising must display one of the FDAs 9 pre-approved graphic and text health warnings.

These labels are designed to discourage youths from smoking and to provide greater appeal for quitting to current smokers.

However, on September 21, 2011 a hearing was held in U.S. Federal District Court regarding the constitutionality of these warnings.

Big Tobacco Files Lawsuit

Five major tobacco manufacturers filed a lawsuit against the FDA on August 16, 2011 in hopes of achieving an injunction against the mandatory implementation of graphic and text warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements.

The tobacco manufacturing companies involved with this lawsuit are:

  • R.J. Reynolds
  • Lorillard Tobacco Co.
  • Commonwealth Brands Inc.
  • Ligget Group LLC
  • Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc.

New Cigarette Package Warning LabelsThe tobacco companies’ lawsuit against the FDA was filed on the grounds that the mandatory text and graphic warnings infringed on the constitutional free speech of the tobacco manufacturers. They have asked that the FDAs mandatory implementation be dismissed, and that a new set of warnings that do not threaten their constitutional right be developed. Following this, a new fifteen month waiting period will be set before the new warnings become effective.

The FDA Taken to Court . . . Again

In August 2009, a similar lawsuit was filed on behalf of Discount Tobacco City & Lottery Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Conwood Co. LLC, Commonwealth Brands Inc., Lorillard Tobacco Co., and National Tobacco Co. The purpose was to have it declared the FDAs proposed graphic and text warnings were unconstitutional.

The judge dismissed the suit, and an appeal was filed. A decision is still pending from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on this case.

Tobacco Manufacturers Argue Warnings Are Unconstitutional

What’s at issue with the tobacco manufacturers is whether or not the FDAs nine warnings portray actual health risks as a result from smoking, or whether or not they stem more from an advocacy perspective.

Tobacco use accounts for more than one in five deaths. Smoking remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America.

Judge Richard Leon’s decision on the injunction is expected by the end of October.

Reference: http://www.csdecisions.com/2011/09/22/tobacco-companies-fight-warning-labels/

Book Cover for Ending the Tobacco Holocaust

The Tobacco Holocaust: Actions to Take for a Tobacco-Free World

Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Rabinoff is the author of the award-winning book Ending the Tobacco Holocaust: How Big Tobacco Affects Our Health, Pocketbook, and Political Freedom—And What We Can Do About It (Elite Books).

In this book, Dr. Rabinoff offers readers great detail on every aspect of the tobacco industry as well as how we can easily regain control of our health and economic welfare.

Ending the Tobacco Holocaust also details what we as a society can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to the tobacco industry.

Tobacco: Health and Financial Suicide

Dr. Rabinoff, an avid researcher and writer on the effects of tobacco on health, the economy, and politics, talks about “health and financial suicide” in Ending the Tobacco Holocaust. By detailing the strategies Big Tobacco have to ensure consumers buy and keep buying their brands of cigarettes, Dr. Rabinoff hopes to empower both smokers and non-smokers to save lives from this preventable “holocaust.”

Book Cover for Ending the Tobacco HolocaustDr. Rabinoff was motivated to write this book because he has played witness throughout his medical and psychiatric career to the devastating effects smoking has on the body, the mind, and interpersonal relationships. From witnessing people with cancer and tumors, suffering from strokes and heart attacks, to their loved ones also trying to cope with these preventable smoking-related diseases, Dr. Rabinoff calls the tobacco industry and the act of smoking a “war” that goes on every day. He discusses ways in which people can help fight this war and combat the effects it has on stress and coping levels.

Free Book Offer

Dr. Rabinoff states that he shared his observations, concerns, and tips for action with readers in order to “educate and empower people to take simple actions that will create a better world for everyone.”

Toward a Tobacco-Free World is the e-book version of Dr. Rabinoff’s Ending the Tobacco Holocaust. Anyone concerned for themselves or their loved ones over the health and economic effects of smoking can download this resource and learn what a tobacco-free world will be like.

For your free e-book, please click > Toward a Tobacco-Free World

Dangers of Smoking Label

The FDA’s 9 New Cigarette Health Warnings

September 22, 2012 marks a monumental change in the appearance of cigarette packaging in the United States.

At this time, new warning labels must appear on all cigarette packs. Each warning targets a specific danger of smoking with a graphic color image that communicates the intent of the warning. There were 9 significant warnings decided upon out of the initial 36 proposed in November 2010 when the label revamping ruling selection began. Part of the process included a time of evaluating public comments.

On September 22, 2012 big tobacco manufacturers will no longer be able to distribute cigarettes in the United States unless their package designs display the one of the 9 warning labels.

Graphic Incentives to Quit Smoking

New FDA Cigarette Package Warning LabelThe final selection of 9 FDA cigarette warning labels hope to target youth smokers making them more aware to empower them to never start smoking. The labels also increase awareness of the some of the health risks and diseases related to smoking by providing a graphic incentive to appeal to smokers to get them to quit.

Since research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol and that the frequency of smoking is often what prevents people from quitting, a strong intent behind these graphic labels is that perhaps each time someone picks up a pack, the image could put them over the edge into the say no or quit category.

The 9 cigarette label warnings cover these concerns:

  1. Cigarettes are addictive.
  2. Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
  3. Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
  4. Cigarettes cause cancer.
  5. Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
  6. Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
  7. Smoking can kill you.
  8. Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
  9. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

Along with each of the warnings are corresponding smoking facts that give smokers a lot to think about.

Not Soon Enough for Many

We can’t help but think how many lives would have been different had smokers truly been informed of the dangers of inhaling tobacco smoke before they picked up their habit or exposed others to the toxic fumes. I think only those with a death wish would have started smoking or exposed their loved ones.

Just recently, we received this heartbreaking letter from a caregiver taking care of a parent who developed serious health problems brought on from smoking and died a horrible death. Should we all have the choice of a better quality of life?

Smoking Killed my Mom: 4 Years As A Caregiver

FDA Warning LabelThere are no words to express fully express our condolences to the author of this letter. For their privacy we are not including their name, but the content is published in its unedited form:

Thank you so much for taking the time to express your condolences. I am devastated by the loss of my mother, and I am not handling her death well at all. The fact that it was so senseless makes it that much harder to bear. The fact that she suffered so needlessly…

She had gangrene in her little toe. That’s how it all started. She needed surgery to unblock her right carotid artery. It was discovered that her circulation was completely blocked from her right hip to her foot. The surgeons unblocked the arteries and put stents in. Her toe even healed, but she wouldn’t quit smoking. When she started showing signs of the same problem, I made her quit. We got into huge arguments, but it was already too late. They ended up amputating the entire front of her right foot.

Every day, I had to change her bandage at least twice. I had to flush this gaping, horrific wound, put antibiotic cream over it, then re-wrap it in clean gauze. Every night, I had to listen to her beg me for more pain medication that I could not give her. After three months of hell, the doctors amputated her right leg below the knee. This wound healed, but her independence had been seriously compromised forever. Her ability to breathe was rapidly deteriorating as well.

StethoscopeNear the end of March 2010, she said she needed to go to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe. Five minutes more, and they would have had to intubate her. They put her on steroids to help reduce the inflammation in her seriously damaged lungs. A few days later, they did a bronchoscopy and suctioned a bunch of crap out of her lungs. She was sent to a nursing home to recoup. The steroids raised her blood sugar and made insulin necessary. They also caused her to gain a significant amount of weight, which further hindered her ability to breathe.

Right before she was due to come home, the nursing home sent her to the ER. When my best friend and I arrived, she wasn’t in any distress. Mom really wasn’t sure why they had sent her at all. Unfortunately, sitting on the gurney for so long caused a massive cramp in her hip. She went into respiratory distress and deteriorated rapidly. She wound up staying in the hospital for a week. That’s when her doctor called and told me that there was no way I would be able to handle her care on my own anymore. He ordered her to be placed in a nursing home. You don’t even want to know the hell that the two of us went through with that place. She had pneumonia in December of 2010. When she had sufficiently recovered, they had to amputate her left leg below the knee as well.

The Saturday before she died (she died the week of Easter Sunday), I went to pick up her laundry as usual. She was sleeping, but very restless. She cried out in pain and sat straight up in bed. I asked her if she was okay. She said yes. I asked her why she hadn’t eaten any of her dinner yet (her tray was untouched, unusual for her). She picked up her fork and started pushing the food around. “I’ve been eating” she said. I went to fill her pitcher with fresh ice water. I came back and she was sound asleep again.

I asked the two aides in the room how long she had been like this. They shrugged and said, “She’s been making those funny noises all day.” I explained to them that only once in a while was normal and that they should be a ‘tad more concerned’ (I was being very sarcastic, of course). I went out into the hall to speak with the nurse, who informed me that Mom had been complaining of pain in her right hip, so they gave her (insert name of a narcotic pain pill here). I shook my head ‘no’, and told the nurse that the only pain reliever her doctor had ever approved was regular-strength Tylenol. Narcotic pain pills suppress the breathing too much in people with COPD. She said that’s what the doctor had ordered. Turns out it wasn’t her doctor, but the doctor on call.

Symbol for No SmokingTuesday morning at 6:30 a.m., the phone rings. Mom’s eyes were open, but she was non-responsive. By the time my brother and I reached the hospital she was already gone. To have to see her laying on that gurney just about killed me. I honest to god don’t think I’m going to get through this. I am beyond furious that these companies can literally get away with murder. Nobody you love should have to die the way my mother did. I did everything in my power to make her well. I failed. I don’t think I can live with that, especially since I’m about to lose our house and everything my family ever owned. I am terrified out of my wits. Sorry this is so long…I just needed to talk. There’s so much that I left out of this…so much more. Never have I known a hell like what we had to go through. It just isn’t right.

It is our hopes that you will pass on this article on to others who are enticed to smoke, or your loved ones who do. Sometimes a wake up call like this true story can make a huge difference.

Family Friendly Sporting Events – No More Cigarette Ads

The New Tobacco Laws Are Now Rolling Out

Last year’s Tobacco Control Act was crafted with prevention in mind targeting youth smokers.

But, the new tobacco regulations that became effective in June 2010 may also encourage adults to stop smoking.

I agree with Jeanne Sager of, “The Stir.” She posted on her blog on June 25th that the effects of last week’s legislation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act “will have some major adult effects too.”

Having a law that helps to prevent smoking for all members of a family does not come any time too soon.

Effects of the New Tobacco Law on Adults

Small Packs of CigarettesSager pointed out, “the small packs of ‘twenty’ or less cigarettes” will not be allowed to be sold. This change will hit the pocket book of some smokers who can’t afford to cut into their budget for the larger packs.

No longer can a smoker purchase a few cigarettes when cash is low or if they are young smokers who can only afford to buy a few at a time.

Another change, is the use of the words, ultra light, mild, and low-tar are now banned to clearly dispel any illusions that some tobacco products carry less dangers than others.

Tobacco companies use to offer gifts with purchases to entice young and adult smokers to buy more tobacco products. This incentive will stop with the new tobacco tax codes.

Imagine Sporting Events without Cigarette Ads

One of most far reaching regulations and perhaps one of the most significant will be the absence of all the tobacco ads that are repeated over and over at sporting events.

Like a hypnotic suggestion, the repetitive tobacco ads clearly prompted a smoker to reach for a cigarette just when the game began to get exciting.

Like Sager says, “the temptation is gone.” Now the playing field is more family friendly at sporting events than they have been in years.

Fewer cigarette ads mean less lure for kids to accept that smoking is a part of the typical sporting event experience.

Reference: The Tobacco Act: 4 Reasons it will Make You Quit

Smoking Bans – Smokers Not Hire Ready

Employers are using smoking vs. non-smoking as one of the criteria to hire employees.

Whether a person smokes or not could be a deciding factor even before you have been E-Verified.

For smokers looking for gainful employment, their addiction makes the possibilities even harder than they may realize.

Fair Debate for Smokers and Non-Smokers

Smokers are willing and able to work in smoke-free environments and can put up with it in order to work.

Once that craving hits though, they will sneak outside on breaks to have a few puffs of nicotine until quitting time. The working smoker’s perception is they have the best of both worlds – a smoke-free environment on the inside of the workplace and a chance to smoke on the outside during working hours.

The non-smokers want to work in smoke-free environments. A smoking policy inside an employees place of employment will provide an environment free of second hand smoke … except:

What if the employee who smokes reeks of cigarettes

What if the second hand smoke finds its way through open windows, doors, and hallways from around the building.

What if smokers begin smoking in bathrooms, or stairwells?

Then an environment is not truly smoke free and for employees a non smoking is really non-existent.

The Win/Win/Lose

Hospitals and other smoke-free conscious employers are pulling out the stops for justifying their no smoking policies.

With the current healthcare reform policy, employers are justifying the testing of potential employees.  Nicotine tests similar to random drug testing are qualified and being administered.

If non-smokers are hired it is less likely the employee will be hospitalized for ailments related to lung cancer. Insurance cost savings is the rationale for these tests because they can save on costly medical expenses in the future.

Medical costs will be considerably less because symptoms related to asthma, bronchial infections, and allergies will not exist.  Families will be healthier and have less cause to visit the doctor or fill a prescription.  Insurance premiums will not have to cover as many catastrophic illnesses related to smoking and second hand smoke.

If a ban on hiring smokers is embraced by businesses in all 50 states, a long road of tough economic times will be facing those that smoke if they refuse to quit.  Smokers will feel defeated not because they lack the skills to perform their jobs but lack the skills to quit smoking to gain and keep their jobs.  Being a smoker will have a stigma that has obvious and detrimental consequences.

Quit While You Can

These bans are the sign of the times and smokers need to prepare to move with them.  If you are currently unemployed, be aware that your smoking addiction is a possible criterion as to whether you land the next job.

Still working and smoking? Higher insurance rates especially for smokers and other unnecessary risk takers are certain to be the norm. Cessation Programs may have some provisions that give you a timeline to quit before your insurance rates and premiums are dramatically increased.

An important part of your life may be your career.  Do not let smoking be the thing that ends it.

References:

  1. WHO POLICY ON NON-RECRUITMENT OF SMOKERS OR OTHER TOBACCO USERS
  2. Smokers Not Hired

New Zealand, Clearly Becoming Smoke-Free

If you want to stop smoking then pack your bag and fly over to New Zealand.

While you are there New Zealand tobacco regulatory agencies will offer you the facts on smoking dangers and by 2017 you may have to leave the country to buy tobacco products.

New Zealand is one of the many countries incorporating smoking bans, and like Canada they are banning smoking in your car.

Under the Influence While Driving

In New Zealand now you could be fined for smoking while driving in your car.

If you are a cigarette smoker you may be asking, “Do they fine people if they are not driving, but just sitting by the side of the road with the car ignition off?”

Or you might even ask, “Is there a smoking airbag that will explode if I am smoking in my car?”

Seriously, it does matter if you smoke while driving. You are polluting the air around you with second hand smoke. Windows up, windows down; it doesn’t matter.

Passengers who are riding with you including young children are also subject to your second hand smoke that could lead to potential harm, like contributing to asthma and other bronchial ailments.

It’s a Matter of Respecting Others


Young children are more at risk for these ailment because their lungs, like the rest of their bodies are still in the development stage.

The casual cigarette puff near a crib where an infant may be sleeping has been known to result in Sudden Death Syndrome. Children’s lungs actually take in more air because they breathe faster. They are unable to turn away from the smoke and of course infants do not know how harmful the smoke from tobacco is or even what it is.

A child who is around an adult smoker might draw closer to the lite cigarette because it is something new and their curious minds want to investigate. They do not know any better.

Adults may not want to smell your second hand smoke either. Many people are polite and will tolerate the fumes when they accompany you walking, driving or riding in a car.

Also, think about it. Many friends will endure second hand smoke before offending you. You might ask how you will feel if in time they suddenly fall victim of an unexplained bronchial infection, cancer, and other ailments that are known to be smoker related.

New Zealand’s Stop Regulations and Initiative

If we take the initiative and see what’s working for the people of New Zealand, (we are not saying they are doing everything right) we might learn something. Their smoking rates are considerably lower than those in other countries, including the US.

Why not concentrate on more aggressive efforts to teach our kids not to smoke. How about becoming a good example by not smoking nor exposing our children to friends who still smoke. These three actions would be a good start.

Paying higher premiums for healthcare services could also be a major game changer to help smokers quit.

New Zealand is on the right track to help smoking statistics drop in their country, which will in turn improve the quality of life for everyone. In fact, on September 5th,  2007, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in New Zealand called for the removal of tobacco from sale by 2017.

States are Collecting Back Cigarette Taxes from Online Retailers

Chances are good you will be getting a letter in the mail if you bought cigarettes online trying to avoid paying the high taxes on them.

States including Connecticut are doing just that. According to their web site, “The Jenkins Act requires, that out-of-state retailers report the transactions.”

Yes this means all the retailers that sold cigarettes must share their records so that letters can go out to all customers who did not pay the tax on the products sold.

Tax Revenue Collections on Unstamped Cigarettes

Unstamped Cigarettes Uncollected TaxesThe state of Connecticut is serious about collecting this revenue from unstamped cigarettes that were sold from 2007-2008 along with any interest that has accrued.

File Form, AU-75 is the form to be filled out and filed. If this form is not filed, you will receive a tax bill for the purchases made according to the Department of Revenue Services for the State of Connecticut.

Smoking is a habit that keeps you paying out over and over again. The cost is high and there is no real way to avoid paying the high taxes associated with the habit.

The State of Connecticut is out to collect what is owed. The cost of smoking cannot be circumvented and will boomerang right back to your pocketbook.

The tax on the tobacco products is bad enough, but so is the increase to health insurance, life insurance etc. The negative health risks associated with smoking, the added pressure on your monthly budget, and the social inconveniences outweigh any illusionary gains from the habit.

Credit to: DRS to Bill Online Cigarettes

Will New FDA Regulations Backfire and Lend Big Tobacco a Hand?

Government tobacco regulation has been a topic of discussion for years.

Today, the house approved a bill titled, “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” that would allow the FDA the power to regulate the sale of tobacco products and the ingredients they contain.

For instance, tobacco companies would be banned from adding fruity flavors or additives designed to hook young smokers.

Look Dad, I Can Smoke, Too

pic-candy-ciggysDepending on your age, you may remember the candy cigarettes given to kids. I remember eating them and mimicking my parent’s smoking habits. In those days, the dangers of smoking was downplayed and the uphill battle to expose their risks had not yet kicked in.

Recently, R J Reynold’s Camel No 9 marketing tactics were similar. They aimed their campaign at young women smokers with packaging that is dressed up in pretty pink, a light and luscious slogan, and parties offering gifts. If this bill makes it through congress, perhaps the FDA will take steps to curb actions that attempt to entice young smokers to the negative effects of smoking tobacco products.

We wonder how closely the FDA will view all the harmful additives in cigarettes, and how much of a difference it will make in the end. The FDA does not have a strong track record in keeping toxic substances out of food or personal care products. Therefore, how well will they regulate products we inhale or chew?

Another thing to consider are the existing cigarette ingredients. If they are to be “grandfathered in” like the cheap ingredients found in many personal care products, the FDA could end up allowing more toxic substances in consumer items than they already do.

Imagine the FDA regulation of tobacco products backfiring and thus supporting Big Tobacco’s idea to manipulate FDA regulation by advertising that their products as “FDA Approved.”  This would give people the wrong idea: that there is a safe cigarette.

Hopefully, by the time this bill is approved, it will be well thought out. At least the government is attempting to take the lead in addressing the unchecked power over people’s health that Big Tobacco has had for years.

Times are changing, this is a good thing.