Tag Archives: rj reynolds

Reynolds American Adds $304,000 to Fight Oregon Measure 50

Dave Hogan from The Oregonian reported today that:

Reynolds American, the makers of Camel cigarettes, has contributed another $304,000 to the record-setting campaign against Measure 50, which would raise Oregon’s cigarette tax by 85 cents a pack.”

Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has now contributed $4.6 million to the Oregonians Against The Blank Check campaign while Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboros, and its parent company have donated $5.8 million to the Stop The Measure 50 Tax Hike committee.

Those two committees have raised far more money than any other ballot measure campaign in Oregon history.

50.gifIt looks like Reynolds has a major business problem with measure 50! If fewer people can afford to maintain smoking and fewer children pick up the addiction, tobacco profits will plummet to record lows.

In order to profit, a cigarette company needs to always find replacement smokers since the majority of smokers die before their time.

The CDC says that in 2006 tobacco use was the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and that cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about 1 of every 5 deaths, each year. This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure.

Click here to learn more The Oregonian .

Cigarette Companies Light Up More Donations Against Measure 50

In a last-drag effort to defeat Oregon’s 85-cents-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes, the makers of Camel smokes tossed in another $905,000 today against the fight to crush Measure 50.

Today’s donation puts tobacco contributions at a staggering record of $10 million so far.

Reynolds American, the producers of Camel, has now contributed $4.2 million to the campaign against Measure 50.

The other $5.8 million has come from Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro’s.

In case you were wondering what Measure 50 will do, well, allow us to tell you what it will do: Money raised from the tax increase for cigarettes would be used to pay for children’s health insurance and other health programs.

Measure 50 will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, with ballots being mailed next week.

Map of OregonWhile at least 10 other Oregon ballot measure campaigns have raised more than $5 million in adjusted-for-inflation dollars during the past 20 years, only one raised more than $7 million and none raised more than $8 million, the Oregonian reported.

Source: Joseph Friedrichs, New West

Women’s Magazines Should ‘Drop’ Camel No. 9 Cigarette Ads

It is a “big disappointment” that R J Reynolds has “found an ally” in some women’s magazines, which have “sold out the well-being of their readers” by publishing Camel No. 9 cigarette advertisements, Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) writes in a Washington Post opinion piece.

Reynolds in February launched the brand, which several public health organizations and women’s groups say are targeted at young women.

The company — in an effort to increase its market share among female smokers, who made up about 30% of Camel buyers — packaged the cigarettes in a “hot-pink fuchsia” and a “minty-green teal package” and advertised the brand with the slogan, “Light and Luscious.”

An ad campaign for the brand says the cigarettes are now “available in stiletto,” a longer, thinner cigarette.

Reynolds, which is working with the agencies Agent 16 and Gyro Worldwide, has placed ads in magazines — including Cosmopolitan, Flaunt, Glamour, Vogue, and W — and is distributing coupons and give-away packs at nightclubs (Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report

According to Capps, she and 40 other members of Congress wrote letters in June and August expressing their disappointment that 11 women’s magazines were running ads for Camel No. 9 cigarettes. Seven of the 11 magazines have responded, but “none has committed to dropping the ads,” Capps said.

Camel Lipstick Ad“No amount of pretty pink packaging can obscure the fact that lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer among American women,” Capps writes. She concludes that the magazines need to “drop these ads” because the “health of readers, America’s young women and girls, should be more important than the revenue derived from abetting the tobacco industry” (Washington Post)

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Read more about this topic atThe Washington Post

Effects of the World’s Growing Number of Smokers

The past decade has seen a remarkable shift in the way Americans view cigarette smoking.

Since the massive tobacco litigation settlements began in 1997, the federal government has phased out support for tobacco farming, states and cities have enacted public smoking restrictions, and the number of smokers has steadily declined.

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry’s manipulative advertising tactics have become part of the cultural lexicon. In the 2005 big screen satire Thank You For Smoking, the film’s protagonist — a “morally flexible” tobacco lobbyist — admits, “I earn a living fronting an organization that kills 1,200 people a day.”

tobacco.jpgWith Hollywood now taking jabs at its one-time co-conspirator, it’s no wonder that the Centers for Disease Control found that 70 percent of the current 45 million adult smokers in the United States want to quit. While slightly less than half will succeed, the mere desire offers hope that cigarette smoking in America could one-day go the way of trans-fats or MSG.

Such logic, however, does not extend to the tobacco manufacturers themselves. The multinational tobacco corporations have moved their production and marketing efforts overseas, causing experts to predict that by 2010, 87 percent of the world’s tobacco will be grown in the developing world.

Since the ’60s, global production has doubled and 33 million people work cultivating tobacco to serve the world’s 1.2 billion smokers — one-fifth of the world’s population. Meanwhile, according to conservative estimates by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, since 1997 consumption has increased at an annual rate of 1.7 percent in developing countries, meaning people there will smoke 71 percent of the world’s tobacco by 2010.

Deforestation and Land Erosion

Without even factoring in the paper wrapping, packaging and print advertisements — which require as much paper by weight as the tobacco being grown — nearly 600 million trees are felled each year to provide the fuel necessary for drying out the tobacco.

That means one in eight trees cut down each year worldwide is being destroyed for tobacco production.

In South Korea and Uruguay, tobacco-related deforestation accounts for more than 40 percent of the countries’ total annual deforestation. While in Malawi, in a region where only three percent of the farmers grow tobacco, nearly 80 percent of the trees cut down each year are used for the curing process.

Such a rapid depletion of trees in an already semi-arid climate will lead to desertification. Parts of Uganda are currently losing much of their arable land as the topsoil erodes.

Yet farmers in developing countries continue to grow tobacco because of the tremendous financial incentives from multinational corporations like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds. With enticements such as farming supplies or a guaranteed foreign exchange for their crops, farmers are reluctant to use their land for anything else.

Even when some corporations try to boost their green reputation by offering to replant trees on excess farmland, most tobacco farmers use what little land is left to grow food for their families. Moreover, were farmers to stop growing tobacco and only grow food crops — as the Yale University School of Medicine proposed more than a decade ago — 10 to 20 million of the world’s current 28 million undernourished people could be fed.

Aside from land erosion, deforestation also affects the atmosphere, by raising the level of carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming. Scientists affiliated with the climate research group Global Canopy Programme in England have reported that the 51 million acres cut down every year account for nearly 25 percent of heat-trapping gases. By that standard, the 9 million acres being deforested annually for tobacco production account for nearly 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Deadly Litter – Effects of Tossing Cigarette Butts and Packages

In the United Kingdom, people throw away 200 million butts and 20 million cigarette packages every day, some of which end up on the street. According to the Tidy Britain Group, cigarette butts make up nearly 40 percent of litter.

Since the filters found in most cigarettes are comprised of 12,000 plastic fibers, they are not biodegradable and can take up to 15 years to break down. Meanwhile, the leftover tobacco releases toxins into the surrounding environment.

According to Californians Against Waste, cleanup of cigarette litter costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Even more costly are the losses incurred from fires started by carelessly discarded cigarettes. Not only are they a major cause of forest fires — destroying wildlife and ecosystems — but they are the leading cause of fatal fires in the United States, killing more than a thousand people annually. The tobacco industry is fully capable of selling fire-safe cigarettes — wrapped with several thin bands of less-porous paper that act as “speed-bumps” to slow down a burning cigarette — but it only does so when forced by a state government. So far, only four states have such a mandate in place.

Tobacco Cultivation Poisoning the Developing World

The deadly impact of cigarettes as post-consumer waste is one side of the story. Before being rolled and packaged, the tobacco leaf subjects humans and wildlife to numerous health hazards.

Since it is a particularly sensitive plant, tobacco often requires 16 applications of pesticides during the three-month growing period. In developing countries, where environmental laws are absent or not enforced, chemicals like DDT and dieldrin — both banned in the United States — are sprayed on the tobacco.

These pesticide applications often harm animals that live or feed near them, causing loss of biodiversity or genetic mutations. And runoff and leaching during a rainstorm carry the pesticides into waterways and aquifers, thereby contaminating the drinking supply.

Since tobacco farming requires an estimated 3,000 hours of work per year per hectacre — astonishing when compared to the 265 hours needed to produce maize — field workers endure long hours of exposure to these harmful pesticides.

To make matters worse, most farm workers are in subtropical climates, where an extra layer of clothing — even if it’s for protection — could result in heatstroke. It’s no wonder that pesticide poisoning is almost exclusively a problem in the developing world, where an estimated 25 million poisonings occur each year.

Popular pesticides used on tobacco crops, such as acephate, cause twitching, headaches, salivation, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and death. A study conducted by the University of Rio Grande do Sul, one of Brazil’s largest federal universities, found that the suicide rate among Brazilian tobacco workers between 1979 and 1995 was nearly seven times greater than the national rate.

They also discovered that the occurrence of these suicides corresponded with pesticide sprayings, harvests and preparation for the next year’s crop (the study admitted that its findings were not conclusive, as workers’ depression might also stem from their often insurmountable debt).

Even without pesticides, farm workers are getting sick from the nicotine their skin absorbs while handling wet leaves. This condition has come to be known as green tobacco sickness (GTS) and its symptoms include nausea, weakness, abdominal cramps, and changes in blood pressure and heart rates.

While its hard to estimate the number of people suffering from GTS, one study conducted on migrant workers in North Carolina suggests that 41 percent of tobacco handlers get the illness at least once during harvest season.

Exposure to the plant and its chemicals pose a greater threat to children, increasing the risk of cancer as well as damage to their immune and nervous systems. No figures exist on the number of child tobacco workers worldwide, but many tobacco-growing countries have a history of child labor.

The Norway-based Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research is one of the only organizations in the world to investigate tobacco-production. After researching the use of child labor on African tobacco estates — which are strikingly feudal — Fafo found that 78 percent of the children of tobacco workers between the ages of 10 and 14 work either full or part time with their parents, performing all the tasks of tobacco cultivation.

Solving the Crisis – Eradicate Tobacco

The looting of natural resources, the destruction of ecosystems, and the poisoning and enslavement of people are all reasons to end our dependence on a product that is completely unnecessary to humans. Economic alternatives to tobacco production need to be encouraged, with the goal of eradicating tobacco as a cash crop.

According to the London-based Panos Institute, which specializes in development issues, “Many crops can grow in land that is now under tobacco — they include the majority of grain crops and vegetables. Sugar cane, bananas, coconut, pineapples and cotton could all be suitable.”

Since 1999, the Golden Leaf Foundation has used funds from the settlement with cigarette manufacturers to help farmers in North Carolina transition from a tobacco-dependent economy to alternative programs like goat farming. In this respect, other parts of the world could follow America’s lead.

The fight against tobacco consumption can be won with awareness and education. The industry has suffered a massive blow to its U.S. propaganda machine. Such attacks must continue throughout the world until smoking is not just looked upon as a poor personal health decision, but one that has deadly implications for all the world’s inhabitants.

All news and articles on this site are Copyright by their respective owners.

Bryan Farrell is an independent journalist in New York. He can be contacted at www.bryanfarrell.com

Click to learn more about > tobacco farming.

Original Publication date: October 4, 2007
Source:  http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/64222/?page=entire

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).