Tag Archives: tobacco products

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

The Winners and Losers – Largest Tobacco Tax Increase

It wasn’t so long ago that Measure 50 was put before a people’s vote in the state of Oregon.

If it had passed, Oregon would have received 85 cents from each pack of cigarettes sold in the state, with the funds marked for children’s health care programs (and other important programs needing funding in the state).

Unfortunately, Big Tobacco’s manipulative tactics and deep pockets sponsored heavy negative campaigns funded by over 11 million dollars donated from the major tobacco companies. They won by swaying the vote.

Tobacco Tax Increase, Largest in History

Today was a historical day. The government passed the largest cigarette tax increase in the history of tobacco taxes. With the passing of this new tax, Big Tobacco lost and the people won.

Most of the revenue created from the new tax will go toward children’s health care. Values are shifting, and steps are being taken to support our children.

This increase brings the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.01 and it applies to all tobacco products.

Winners and Losers

Lighting UpThe only real loser is Big Tobacco.

Unfortunately, you will hear those who wish to protect Big Tobacco say, “Obama is breaking his promise not to raise taxes.”

Another complaint expressing victimization is: “The majority of smokers are those who are low to middle income. They cannot afford a tax increase in the current economic climate.”

The fact is, people have a choice to smoke or not to smoke. If they don’t want to pay the tax, then they can stop smoking. Perhaps this is just the push they need to finally quit smoking.

Here’s one response to the tax increase quoted in USA Today:

“I’m going to quit,” said Will Hues, 27, smoking a cigarette outside the convenience store. He said prices have gone up so much that “you’re out of your mind to pay it.”

Responses like Mr. Hues’ are some of the best news for those who advocate life. Currently, every eight seconds someone in the world dies from a tobacco-related disease. That is equivalent to twenty-seven 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing every day. Perhaps we will have one less daily crash with this tax increase. The lives saved are not just numbers, but people who will go on to live a better quality life and be able to spend it with their loved ones.

So, if you are one of those who are complaining, then consider moving to South Carolina. The combined state and federal tobacco taxes in SC are only $1.08.

If you have a family member you are trying to get to quit smoking, then you might want to look at relocating to either Rhode Island or New York. These two states have the highest tobacco taxes. Rhode Island’s combined tobacco taxes are $3.47 and New York’s $3.76.

Today is a victory for living a healthy and long life.

Obama Expected To Render Stricter FDA Imports Monitoring

With Barack Obama having been elected the next president of the United States on November 4, Americans are now expecting to see him keep his promise of bringing the change that the nation needs.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is said to begin to both monitor more closely and to instate stricter regulations, as well, where imports are concerned, in order to prevent incidents similar to the recent salmonella outbreak from occurring in the future.

Moreover, since president-elect Obama, who is a former smoker trying to break the habit with the help of nicotine gum, is a sponsor of a legislation that aims to enable the FDA to only control (but not to ban) tobacco products, rumor has it that new institutions would be given the power to ban cigarettes and other products of the like.

Under former U.S. president George W. Bush’s administration, the FDA has come into much criticism, many claiming that it had become too lenient with regards to food and drugs safety measures, giving rise to consumer protection issues.

The first step that Obama is expected to take is appointing a new commissioner for the Administration. For the time being, there are about six people whose names have come up during talks about a new FDA leader, including Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen, former director of the FDA’s women’s health office Susan Wood and Baltimore’s health chief Dr. Joshua Sharfstein.

FDA Badge Furthermore, more inspections of imported food are to be performed by the FDA under Obama’s administration, along with ones concerning foreign drug manufacturing plants, which have been long neglected the time Bush was at the helm of the nation.

In addition, a tracing system for fresh produce is part of Obama’s plan for the FDA, in order to tighten the regulations regarding consumer protection.

As for the tobacco legislation the president-elect has sponsored, the proposal entails that the FDA would be able to request that nicotine products be rendered less addictive and toxic, but not to put a ban on tobacco or nicotine.

Source: By Jenny Huntington,- eFluxMedia

Let’s Not Waste Another 12 Years

The federal government regulates everything from breakfast cereal and hair dye to horse feed and breast implants. The list of items regulated by our government includes just about every consumable product in America from prescription drugs to vegetables.

But there’s one item strangely absent from the list, the one that causes more preventable deaths than any other product. A powerful and well-funded lobby has managed to keep tobacco off the list of federally regulated products for more than 40 years after the first surgeon general’s report linked smoking to cancer. Even today, a simple list of ingredients is not required for tobacco products.

Tobacco companies have taken advantage of this lack of oversight and have shamelessly marketed to underaged recruits through cartoon advertising, nicotine and ingredient manipulation, fruity flavors, free giveaways at rock concerts, and ads in publications with high teen readership.

In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration assumed the authority to regulate tobacco as a consumable product and published rules regarding this regulation. Some basic common-sense approaches were proposed in those rules, including ways to prohibit the sale and marketing of tobacco to children. However, the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress could give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco.

Twelve years later, we continue to wait for Congress to take action regarding this lone unregulated product. We submit to you that this is twelve years too long.

Government RegulatorsCurrently being considered by Congress, the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, S. 625 and H.R. 1108, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products the way drugs, devices, and foods are currently regulated. The American Cancer Society encourages all members of Congress to stand up and be counted on this issue. We cannot afford another 12 years of inaction.

Clanton is chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, High Plains Division, which includes Oklahoma. He is former deputy director for the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Mark Clanton, M.D., The Oklahoman

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

Light and Lucious: Cigarette Ads Marketing to Young Teen Girls and Women

“Camel No. 9 continues a long history starting in the 1920s of tobacco industry marketing that targets women and turns more young girls into smokers.

These marketing campaigns cynically equated smoking with independence, sophistication and beauty and preyed on the unique social pressures that women and girls face.

And Camel No. 9 is carrying on the shameful legacy of targeted marketing that lures young women and girls into a lifetime of addiction and disease.”

Carter Headrick
Director, Grassroots
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Camel No. 9 PackagesClick to view a Slideshow of Camel No. 9 Marketing Tactics and Tobacco Ads

Light and Lucious! Notice the Camel 9 cigarette ad with the girl that looks to be around 18 if that.

Marketing in Magazines: Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle.

Even Direct Mail and Tons of Promotional Gifts

R.J. Reynolds Forms Committee To Oppose Oregon Cigarette Tax Increase

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco on Friday filed with the Oregon state Elections Division to form the “Oregonians Against the Blank Check” committee.

Their goal is to oppose a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to increase the state cigarette tax by 84.5 cents per pack to fund health initiatives, the Oregonian reported.

Measure 50 would generate an estimated $153 million from 2007 to 2009 and $233 million from 2009 to 2011.

Democratic lawmakers this year were unable to secure a three-fifths majority in the state Legislature, which was needed to pass legislation to raise the tax, but there were enough votes to put it on the ballot as a constitutional measure.

The initiative will be on the Nov. 6 ballot (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/14).

Oregon ImageMost of the funding would be used to provide health care for more than 100,000 children in the state.

However, opponents say the initiative also would give lawmakers the ability to spend as much as $68 million on other health programs. J.L. Wilson, a spokesperson for the R.J. Reynolds campaign, said, “Our contention is that it’s not so much about insuring kids as it is about providing blank checks for various interest groups.”

Wilson said he expects the campaign to spend $3 million, but it might spend more. Philip Morris USA also has created a committee to oppose the measure, called the “Stop the Measure 50 Tax Hike” (Oregonian, 8/18).

Smoke and Mirrors

Although the new Camel No. 9 cigarette’s manufacturer seeks to entice women with flavor and style, Sandy Hornung, 62, Olathe, said there is nothing glamorous about smoking-related cancer.

“I’m amazed. I saw this young woman smoking today and I just kind of looked at her like, ‘Are you crazy?'” Hornung said.

When diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer at age 37, Hornung said knowing she might die became frightening. Hornung said she started smoking at 18.

American Cancer Society statistics show 90 percent of adult smokers became addicts by age 18.

Photo of camel PackHornung dealt with hair loss and vomiting during chemotherapy and radiation. As far as the Camel No. 9 campaign, Hornung said people need to decide what they want.

“I’m sure seeing that they may think it’s sophisticated to smoke,” Hornung said. “I think it would be nice (if) they wouldn’t allow it. It comes down to the fact that people have to make their own choices.”

Camel No. 9 comes wrapped in sleek black and fuchsia or black and teal packaging. Heavy cardstock ads in women’s magazines such as Glamour and Cosmopolitan feature delicate flowers and boast about No. 9’s “light and luscious” flavors.

R.J. Reynolds spokesman David Howard, Winston-Salem, N.C., said company leaders held focus group sessions in early 2006 with about 2,000 women smokers to discuss the new cigarette.

“We came up with Camel No. 9 in response to female adult smokers who are asking for a product that better reflects their taste and style,” Howard said. “Ninety-five percent marked it as ‘a product for me.'”
Howard said R.J.

Reynolds wants to expand beyond male smokers. “Camel was underdeveloped with women,” Howard said. “We wanted the opportunity to grow the share of the market amongst adult female smokers.” According to R.J. Reynolds data, 19 million out of 20 million women smokers do not smoke Camels.

“They are smoking a competitor’s brand,” Howard said. “We wanted to come up with a concept that would be clearly, responsibly marketed to that audience.”

Company leaders decided the name Camel No. 9 “evokes positive images.”

“We thought it was very classy,” Howard said. “Like ‘dressed to the nines,’ an image that adult smokers identify with.”

Howard said the campaign does not target underage females.

“We have no interest in communicating to anyone but adult smokers,” Howard said.

In a society where one in five women smokes, Camel’s promotion of No. 9 outrages some health experts, including Kansas City American Heart Association Executive Director Nicole Stuke.

“Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death in the United States,” Stuke said. “With more than 178,000 women dying every year from smoking-related diseases, it’s unsettling that the tobacco industry feels the need to recruit more people to consume their harmful products.

Tactics like these underscore the need for Congress to grant the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products in much the same way they regulate other consumer products on the market.”

Camel No. 9 marketing concerns anti-tobacco lobbyists, including Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids Outreach Director Victoria Almquist, Washington.

“I bought a pack to show the women in my office and they kept saying how beautiful it was,” Almquist said. “It really does look like a box for Chanel perfume. It struck me as very clever marketing and I could see how this would be appealing to young women.”

Almquist called the tobacco company’s appeal to young women and children deplorable.

“Our studies show that most advertising done for Camel No. 9 is point of sale, which means that convenience stores are saturated with pictures and displays for Camel No. 9,” Almquist said. “We found out that 75 percent of teens visit a convenience store once a week; adults don’t go into convenience stores as much as kids do. Point of sale marketing really gets to teens.”

Almquist said she got a call from an alarmed parent who looked through a package her daughter received in the mail. The parent thought the package contained skin care product samples but instead contained a Camel No. 9 promotional kit complete with an offer for a free pack of cigarettes.

Besides direct mail, Camel No. 9 promoters have appealed to women by throwing spa nights and ladies nights at dance clubs. Spa nights included manicures, facials and goody bags.

The Federal Trade Commission reported the company has spent almost $50 million to market the cigarette.

“The tobacco industry targeting women is nothing new,” Almquist said. “It started in the ’30s where they had the ‘Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet’ ads in magazines. Those ads were horrifying.”

Almquist said the government exempts tobacco products from basic health regulations that apply to other products, such as food, drugs and dog food.

“We’re working on bills in the House and the Senate to push for regulation,” Almquist said. “Historically, tobacco products are not regulated products. You know your lipstick and dog food and know what it contains. (Tobacco companies) can change their ingredients all the time and don’t have to tell anyone.”

Almquist said people should write their legislators about how tobacco companies target women.

Rebecca Flann, 23, Overland Park, said she believes the new cigarette targets young women such as herself.

“The way it’s packaged, they are obviously trying to get women to think it’s cool and sophisticated,” Flann said.

After trying Camel No. 9, Flann said she considered the taste lighter than other cigarettes but did not want to buy them.

“I don’t really care about the way it looks that much. A cigarette is a cigarette,” Flann, a smoker, said.

Gino Hernandez, employee at the 125th Street and Quivira Road Phillips 66, said Camel No. 9 sales have roller-coastered.

“They started off really good,” Hernandez said. “We sold about six or seven cartons a week during the first month, but it’s died down.”

Hernandez said a “mainly younger crowd” purchases the cigarettes.

Decloud Studio employee Dayna Schroeder said the cigarette tastes good.

“I like the Turkish tobacco flavor,” Schroeder said. “It’s a lighter taste than Marlboro Lights.”

Schroeder said she would not purchase cigarettes based on looks, but she understands how the packaging appeals to young women.

“I can see how some women may be affected by it,” Schroeder said. “(The packaging) will catch your eye. I’m always drawn to Camel because of the images and I’ve tried the different flavors.”

Tobacco products and women make an unhealthy combination, University of Kansas Medical Center physician Charles Porter said.

“Smoking takes a toll on the entire reproductive process,” Porter said. “There’s an amazing array of bad things that happen to your body when you smoke.

“Smoking reduces placental blood flow and directly damages the infant’s lungs.”

Porter said studies show the death rate for infants becomes three or four times higher when women smoke during and after pregnancy.

He said exposing an infant to secondhand smoke “doubles the risk that the baby will die.”

Hornung said she wished people knew how smoking affects their health.

“I would want them to know that it can happen to them,” Hornung said. “It causes circulation problems and various kinds of cancers. I think the best advice is to never start smoking. It is very addictive behavior.”

Cancer is one of several smoking-related diseases.

“For women, the cancer most associated with smoking is cervical,” Porter said. “Men and women both can get lung and bladder cancer as well as leukemia from smoking.”

Porter said smoking facts contrast with beautiful women featured in advertisements.

“Studies have also shown that premature wrinkles on the face and all over the body can be caused by smoking,” Porter said. “When people smoke, the aging process is accelerated. People can look 20 years older than they are because of it.”

Although cancer-free now, Hornung said cancer changed her life completely and she credits her family, friends and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for her survival.

Almquist said the debate about marketing a disease-causing product will exist as long as the tobacco industry exists.

“Women should be outraged by this. Everyone should be,” Almquist said.

Source: Holly Kramer, Shawnee/Lenexa Sun