Tag Archives: tobacco industry

Workings Farming Tobacco

The Poverty Trap of Tobacco Farmers in Developing Countries

To keep up with the demand for tobacco, transnational tobacco companies and manufacturers encourage farmers in developing countries to grow the plant.

This crop has been promoted as a solution to the extensive poverty these farmers experience.

Tobacco farmers receive low wages, put in long hours to tend to this intensive crop, and all benefits are had by the tobacco industry.

Intensive Labour Met with Low Wages & Returns

Tobacco is one of the most labour intensive crops. Almost everything, from seeding to harvesting, is done by hand. Farmers in developing countries enlist the help of the entire family to tend to the plants, including young children. As a result, these children miss out on valuable educational experiences that could serve as the key to breaking the poverty cycle.

Workings Farming Tobacco

Hiring extra labour is difficult for the farmers as well, as it is expensive to cover the wages for workers when the work day can last 16 hours or more and the return on investment is very low. Many tobacco farmers are lucky to break even at the end of the year, while others experience very low return for their hard work: for example, one farmer in Vietnam earns $250 US for every $130 US he invests.

Health & Safety Concerns of Tobacco Farming

The potential for tobacco farmers to be diagnosed with Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) is high. GTS occurs when nicotine is absorbed from handling wet green tobacco leaves. Symptoms of this illness include: nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness, cramps, respiratory problems, and blood pressure fluctuations.

These farmers are also exposed to extensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which can lead to skin rashes, dehydration, sleeping difficulties, and lung problems.

Environmental Concerns from Tobacco Crops

Farming tobacco plants creates environmental degradation. The pesticides and chemicals that are applied to the plants pollutes the fields and leeches nutrients from the soil. in the curing process, farmers use coal, a major air polluter, and massive amounts of wood. In fact, approximately 200,000 hectares of wood is used annually in the curing process around the world.

Substitute Crops

The governments of many developing countries are promoting to tobacco farmers other crops to diversify. For example, the Malaysian government has since 2005 offered financial incentives for tobacco farmers to substitute their growing operations with more sustainable, less labour intensive crops that yield higher financial returns, such as:

  • corn, rice, barely
  • kenaf and jathropa
  • dragon fruit, pineapple, sweet potato, and banana

To learn more about this poverty cycle, watch this informational short film.

The Tobacco Trap: Cycle of Poverty

Documentary Film The Tobacco Conspiracy

The Tobacco Conspiracy: Investigative Documentary Challenges Industry Lies

Filmmaker Nadia Collot took three years to dig deep into the global tobacco industry and uncover the major lies and fraud for which it’s responsible.

In The Tobacco Conspiracy (Kuiv Productions and National Film Board of Canada), the network of deceit and lies of the Big Tobacco companies is highlighted, as well as the expanse of this manipulation and corruption.

Featuring interviews with experts and thoroughly researched documentation, Collot delivers one of the most powerful looks at the fraudulent tobacco industry.

Investigation Into Big Tobacco

Collot asks, “Why is cigarette smoking so popular and accepted despite all the information we have?” A former smoker of 20 years, Collot spent three years looking for an explanation to this question. Her discoveries are well-documented in this must-see film.

Documentary Film The Tobacco ConspiracyShe examines various aspects of the fraudulent roles of Big Tobacco, including how the tobacco industry distorts scientific research and even uses bribery of scientists and researchers to manipulate data in order to serve its own interests and purposes. Tobacco companies recognized privately in 1953 that smoking is directly related to cancer, yet they banded together to release The Frank Statement that denied this correlation.

While there have been successes in the fight against Big Tobacco—implementation of graphic warning labels, advertising restrictions, even increased taxation—there is still a way to get around rules. And that’s most often done using lots of money. As an example, this documentary looks into how tobacco companies use hidden product placement as a means of evading advertising regulations. Cigarette companies pay heavily for smoking scenes to be included in television and film.

Tobacco and Government

Because cigarettes are heavily taxed, the government is constantly at war with itself. The taxation provides a heavy and consistent flow of revenue. Yet there are severe health implications that result from tobacco use.

The Tobacco Conspiracy also sheds light on the international smuggling role the industry plays. As smugglers infiltrate poor companies, they distribute free cigarettes to young people with the specific goal of getting them addicted. Once they are, the smugglers then charge money for the smokes. The tobacco companies then approach the poor country’s government and explain how much revenue is lost, and offers to distribute the cigarettes in order to provide a consistent flow of money.

Watch This Documentary for Free

The Tobacco Conspiracy shows viewers endless amount of documentation and information that may astound some as to the lengths the tobacco industry will go to in order to gain new customers and make more money. This hour and half film is available for viewing online at no cost.

The Tobacco Conspiracy

Watch the powerful documentary online now …

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

When Women and Girls Aren’t Pretty in Pink

This last month WHO, the World Health Organization focused more attention on tobacco ads that target women and girls.

Females represent a large market of potential new smokers, especially woman and young females in developing countries.

Take a look at many of the new Big Tobacco’s aggressive campaigns and ads. You will find them linked to fashion, entertainment, and even sports events. Marketing tactics don’t stop at ad campaigns. The latest package designs and the look and feel of many cigarettes are clearly made for “females only.”

“The industry’s market strategy is having its desired impact,” Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO’s tobacco free initiative, said at a news briefing. “More and more girls are starting to light up. This is a serious red flag.”

World No Tobacco Day Released Youth Smoking Survey

In the countries of Chile, Colombia, and Mexico as well as in Eastern Europe teenage girls who smoke is beginning to outnumber teenage male smokers.

Comparing 151 country’s numbers we find girls that are lighting up is now equaling male youth smokers who once dominated younger users.

Pretty in Pink, NOTThe low and middle income country’s tobacco campaigns often use very seductive ads that associate tobacco use with beauty and liberation. Pink is becoming a trendy, smoking fashion statement.

Pink Cigarettes & Fashion Pink Packaging

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize five million people die every year from tobacco-related health problems caused from smoking or second-hand smoke exposure. Two of the three who die from second hand smoke related deaths are women.

Japan tobacco campaigns include pink packs of cigarettes and one cigarette maker in Egypt markets a cigarette pack that resembles a perfume container.

“The industry has studied what makes women tick in both the developed and developing countries,” said Adepeju Olukoya, of the WHO’s gender, women and health department.

Enticing Flavored Cigarettes

Flavored CigarettesAppealing to the market of emotional eaters, taste is another niche to hook new smokers.

The Black Devil Brand comes in an assortment of flavors and colors. Even the name implies you can do something “naughty” and get away with it.

The pink cigarettes are flavored with “Rose” which is one of the most appealing of fragrances in the world. The black package contains chocolate flavored death sticks, one of the most sought after tastes and foods.

By piggybacking on “Chocolate and Roses” the cigarettes mask the reality that their ingredients and harmful, toxic and can shorten one’s life. Praying on the emotions of young people to get them to pick up their first cigarette is a pretty disgusting tactic. Especially, since younger people are the least likely to contemplate mortality and the pain associated with prolonged health problems.

Most of us know how easy it is to become hooked on tobacco when the cigarettes are laced with ingredients that also stimulate the addictive centers in the brain.

Next we may see prescription drug manufacturers doing the same thing.

Reference:
(Editing by Michael Taylor) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE64R1Z420100528?type=marketsNews

FTC Rescinds Guidance On Cigarette Testing

For over four decades the tobacco industry has used machine testing approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to measure tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes.

But in a 4-0 vote, the FTC has now shunned the tests, known as the Cambridge Filter Method, rescinding guidance it established 42 years ago.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that cigarette design changes had reduced the amount of tar and nicotine measured by smoking machines using the Cambridge Filter Method. However, there was no evidence the changes reduced disease in smokers. Furthermore, the machine does not account for ways in which smokers adjust their behavior, such as inhaling deeper or more often to maintain nicotine levels.

The FTC said the test method is flawed, and results in erroneous marketing of tar and nicotine levels that could deceive consumers into believing that lighter cigarettes were more safe.  The move means that future advertising that includes the tar levels for cigarettes will not be permitted to include terms such as “by FTC method.”  “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship,” said FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz.  “Simply put, the FTC will not be a smokescreen for tobacco companies’ shameful marketing practices.”

Using current methods, cigarettes with a tar levels in excess of 15 milligrams per cigarette are typically called “full flavored”, while those with less than 15 milligrams are considered “low” or “light”. Cigarettes with tar levels below 6 milligrams are regarded as “ultra low” or “ultra light.”  “The most important aspect of this decision is that it says to consumers that tobacco industry claims relating to tar and nicotine are at best flawed and most likely misleading,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Reuters.

The commission said that during the 1960s it believed that providing consumers with uniform, standardized information about tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes would help them make better decisions. At that time, most public health officials believed that reducing the amount of tar in a cigarette would also reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer. However, that belief no longer exists.Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation earlier this year that would prohibit companies from making claims based on data derived from the Cambridge testing method.  But the bill did not progress to the Senate for a full vote.  “Tobacco companies can no longer rely on the government to back up a flawed testing method that tricks smokers into thinking these cigarettes deliver less tar and nicotine,” said Lautenberg.

Pamela Jones Harbor, an FTC commissioner, called on Congress to approve the regulation of the tobacco industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a move that would authorize government scientists to monitor, analyze and regulate cigarette components.  Tobacco companies have been clear over the years in saying that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

In a statement by Philip Morris USA, the United States’ largest tobacco company, the company said it is committed to working with the federal government to identify and adopt testing strategies that improve on the Cambridge method.

FTC BuildingThe FTC said that all four major domestic cigarette makers told commissioners the 1966 recommendations should be retained until a suitable replacement test was approved.  Philip Morris told commissioners that eliminating the current guidance could lead to a “tar derby”, in which cigarette makers would employ different methods to measure yields in their cigarettes, leading to greater consumer confusion.

Source:  Red Orbit

Smoking-Related Illnesses Come with Significant Costs

Nicotine dependence is the physical vulnerability to the chemical nicotine, which is potently addicting when delivered by various tobacco products.

Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains thousands of chemicals, including nicotine.

Being addicted to tobacco brings a host of health problems related to the substances in tobacco smoke. These effects include damage to the lungs, heart and blood vessels.

According to the American Lung Association, smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

Vintage Photo Girl SmokingWhen people inhale, they are ingesting a chemical parade that marches through the body’s vital organs. Mayo Clinic.com reviews the negative health effects throughout the body, including:

Lungs. Smoking is the cause of most cases of lung cancer. Smoking also is the primary cause of other lung problems, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.

Heart and circulatory system. Smoking increases your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. If people smoke more than 25 cigarettes daily, they have five times the risk of heart disease compared to someone who doesn’t smoke.

Cancer. Smoking is a major cause of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, throat (pharynx) and mouth and contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, liver, kidney, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias.

Appearance. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can dry and irritate the skin, as well as promote wrinkles. Smoking also yellows teeth, fingers and fingernails.

Fertility. Smoking increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage in women and the risk of impotence and infertility in men.

Senses. Smoking deadens the senses of taste and smell, so food isn’t as appetizing as it once was.For most people, smoking cessation is difficult. In fact, quitting smoking might be one of the most challenging things an individual ever does. A feature on MayoClinic.com explains why smoking cessation matters, what to expect and how to stick with it.

Rochester, MN (PRWEB) October 10, 2008 

About the Mayo Clinic Website

Launched in 1995 and visited more than 15 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.

Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 3,300 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic.

MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as “Symptom Checker” and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions, in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions, 16 healthy living areas including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as “Ask a Specialist” and “Drug Watch.”

Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called “Housecall” which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic.

For more information, visit > The MayoClinic.com – Nicotine dependence

EPA Cites, Fines Vector Tobacco for Pesticide Misuse and Safety Issues

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Vector Tobacco Inc. $65,040 for allegedly misusing six pesticides and failing to comply with federal pesticide worker safety laws, the EPA announced today.

Vector Tobacco, a subsidiary of Vector Tobacco Group of Durham, NC, allegedly misused six pesticides during their application at its agricultural research facility in Kekaha, Kauai, in 2005 and 2006.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during inspections performed in March and June of 2006.

Worker complaints triggered the initial investigation. Since the inspections, Vector Tobacco has shut down the Kekaha facility.

The EPA said that on 93 occasions, Vector Tobacco failed to follow label directions intended to protect workers from exposure to pesticides, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Vector Tobacco also failed to provide its workers and pesticide handlers with required protective equipment, pesticide information, decontamination supplies, safety training, and notification that pesticides had been applied, the EPA said.

Pesticide Misuse in Tobacco IndustryThe tobacco company reportedly failed to prevent workers from entering areas where pesticides had recently been applied, and subsequently denied them prompt transportation to a medical facility after these workers reported averse health effects due to the pesticide exposure.

Source: The Honolulu Advertise

Tobacco Companies Alter Cigarettes to Keep You Smoking

A doctor from the American Cancer Society reports on how large tobacco companies keep you smoking.

By upping nicotine in cigarettes each year and intensifying the concentration smokers stay addicted.

Even though smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the US, the Tobacco industry has no qualms about using nicotine addiction and dependency to line their pockets.

Future of Nicotine Levels in Cigarettes Uncertain

Washington – The Food and Drug Administration may soon have the ability to regulate sales, distribution and advertising of tobacco products, but it would not be allowed to require removal of nicotine from cigarettes.

Nicotine, the most addictive ingredient in a cigarette, increases the level of the dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain.

Dopamine controls many important responses in the brain, such as behavior.

Nicotine spreads in the brain within a few minutes of the first inhalation, creating feelings of reward, which then cause the smoker to continue smoking.

“People may smoke for non-nicotine reasons, but it is the nicotine that is the primary addictive component of cigarettes,” said Dr. Allison Chausmer from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

American Lung Association Graph of Chemicals in CigarettesAlthough the FDA would not be able to get rid of nicotine altogether under the bill being considered by Congress, it would have the power to reduce nicotine levels in tobacco products.

The possible benefits for smokers, just like the bill, remain debatable.

A study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that tapered reduction of nicotine in cigarettes over a four-week span led one-fourth of smokers who were not trying to quit to spontaneously stop smoking after returning to their regular cigarettes.

“If a cigarette has nicotine levels that are below the level that people find rewarding, it may result in a reduced incidence of smoking initiation and/or increased incidence of quitting,” Chausmer said.

Chausmer also said that if the FDA lowers the nicotine content of cigarettes, “Fewer people will become addicted, and those who are addicted may find it easier to quit.”

However, smokers’ behavior varies, and some, if faced with lower nicotine levels in cigarettes, might smoke more to achieve the same nicotine satisfaction. Chausmer noted that smoking more cigarettes would mean spending more money and taking more time away from work or friends because of today’s smoke-free workplaces and restaurants.

The bill that would give the FDA regulatory power was approved by a House committee last week and will move to the House floor in the coming months.

Source: Farah Khan, Medill Reports, Northwestern University

New Report on Global Tobacco Control Efforts

NEW YORK — WHO today released new data concerning tobacco control.

The data show that while progress has been made, not a single country fully implements all key tobacco control measures, and outlined an approach that governments can adopt to prevent tens of millions of premature deaths by the middle of this century.

In a new report which presents the first comprehensive analysis of global tobacco use and control efforts, WHO finds that only 5% of the world’s population live in countries that fully protect their population with any one of the key measures that reduce smoking rates.

The report also reveals that governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts.

It finds that tobacco taxes, the single most effective strategy, could be significantly increased in nearly all countries, providing a source of sustainable funding to implement and enforce the recommended approach, a package of six policies called MPOWER (see below).

“While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more.

These six strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. Dr Chan launched the WHO Report of the Global Tobacco Epidemic at a news conference with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Philanthropies helped fund the report.

“The report released today is revolutionary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rigorous approach to stop the tobacco epidemic and solid data to hold us all accountable. No country fully implements all of the MPOWER policies and 80% of countries don’t fully implement even one policy. While tobacco control measures are sometimes controversial, they save lives and governments need to step up and do the right thing.”The six MPOWER strategies are:

  1. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  2. Protect people from tobacco smoke
  3. Offer help to quit tobacco use
  4. Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  5. Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  6. Raise taxes on tobacco

The report also documents the epidemic’s shift to the developing world, where 80% of the more than eight million annual tobacco-related deaths projected by 2030 are expected to occur.

This shift, the report says, results from a global tobacco industry strategy to target young people and adults in the developing world, ensuring that millions of people become fatally addicted every year. The targeting of young women in particular is highlighted as one of the “most ominous potential developments of the epidemic’s growth”.

The global analysis, compiled by WHO with information provided by 179 Member States, gives governments and other groups a baseline from which to monitor efforts to stop the epidemic in the years ahead. The MPOWER package provides countries with a roadmap to help them meet their commitments to the widely embraced global tobacco treaty known as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force in 2005.

WHO WHO is also working with global partners to scale up the help that can be offered to countries to implement the strategies.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, said the six MPOWER strategies would create a powerful response to the tobacco epidemic. “This package will create an enabling environment to help current tobacco users quit, protect people from second-hand smoke and prevent young people from taking up the habit,” he said.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Only 5% of the global population is protected by comprehensive national smoke-free legislation and 40% of countries still allow smoking in hospitals and schools;
  • Only 5% of the world’s population lives in countries with comprehensive national bans on tobacco advertising and promotion;
  • Just 15 countries, representing 6% of the global population, mandate pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging;
  • Services to treat tobacco dependence are fully available in only nine countries, covering 5% of the world’s people;
  • Tobacco tax revenues are more than 4000 times greater than spending on tobacco control in middle-income countries and more than 9000 times greater in lower-income countries. High- income countries collect about 340 times more money in tobacco taxes than they spend on tobacco control.

Source: Press Release