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Philip Morris Ranks No. 2 In Soft Money Contributions

18 Aug 1999
[ 1 of 5,821 | ai_news/10983 ]

In the first six months of 1999, Philip Morris was the second largest contributor of soft money donations, contributing $411,961, according to data compiled by Public Disclosure Inc. US Tobacco was twelfth with $243,550.

Source: "Businesses Give Far More Than Labor To US Political Parties," BLOOMBERG, August 17, 1999.

West Virginia Benefits From Maryland Cigarette Tax

18 Aug 1999
[ 2 of 5,821 | ai_news/10984 ]

West Virginia retailers near the Maryland border are seeing an increase in cigarette sales since Maryland raised the state cigarette tax to 66 cents a pack July 1. "Our sales have tripled," said Sean Hagenbuch of Hages Market in Ridgeley, W.VA. In front of Hagenbuch's store is a sign thanking Maryland Governor Parris Glendening for the increase. Maryland law forbids residents from bringing more than two packs of cigarettes across the border, but authorities admit they don't target the casual smoker.

Source: "West Virginia Reaps Benefits Of Md. Cigarette Tax," WASHINGTON POST, August 18, 1999, p. B3.

Florida Cities Experience Decline In Tobacco Revenue

18 Aug 1999
[ 3 of 5,821 | ai_news/10985 ]

Smokers bought fewer cigarettes in Florida last year, decreasing the cigarette tax revenue for the cities, according to an article in the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. The state cigarette tax is 34 cents a pack, of which nearly 13 cents is divided among the cities. Figures show that Florida collected $468 million in cigarette taxes in 1997-98, but that figure dropped to $439 million last year. The state expects a further decline to about $404 million in the coming year.

Jim Lacross, a state budget analyst, believes a major factor in the declining cigarette consumption has been the increase in cigarette prices imposed by the tobacco companies. Other factors could be state anti-smoking programs, changing tax rates in neighboring states, and a shift in social attitudes towards smoking. Department of Revenue spokesperson David Burns said, "We don't know what the exact answer is. There's a number of factors, but the state is seeing a decline in cigarette sales."

Source: Chase Squires, "Cigarette Tax Revenue Decreasing," ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, August 18, 1999, p. 1.

Gaithersburg, MD Sues County Over Restaurant Smoking Ban

19 Aug 1999
[ 4 of 5,821 | ai_news/10986 ]

Gaithersburg, MD sued Montgomery County yesterday saying that a restaurant smoking ban should not apply to the city, which is generally exempt from county law. Assistant city manager Fred Felton said the city's dispute was over procedure and not over the substance of the law. In March, Montgomery County passed a law banning smoking in county restaurants and bars, effective Jan. 1, 2002.

Source: "Gaithersburg Sues Over Smoking Law," WASHINGTON POST, August 19, 1999, p. B3.

Brown & Williamson Files Complaint To Stop Gray Market Cigarettes

19 Aug 1999
[ 5 of 5,821 | ai_news/10987 ]

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. filed a complaint Tuesday with the International Trade Commission in an effort to end the sale of "gray market" cigarettes, which are meant for sale overseas, but get re-imported into the United States and sold at a discount. Brown & Williamson spokesperson Stephen Kottak said the company filed the complaint because, "The consumers are not getting the product they expect. We're trying to protect the value of our trademarks and guard against our consumers being confused." The complaint named four cigarette importers: Allstate Cigarette Distributors Inc, R.E. Tobacco Sales Inc., both based in Miami, Prestige Storage & Distribution Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, and Dood Enterprises, based in Los Angeles. Ricardo Hernandez, manger of R.E. Tobacco Sales, said his company is legitimate and pays state and federal taxes. "Smokers can buy it cheaper and what's wrong with that?" Hernandez asked. The International Trade Commission will decide within a month whether to start an investigation.

Source: Bruce Schreiner, "Tobacco Co. Snuffs Out Importers," ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 18, 1999.

Florida Youth Create Anti-Smoking Messages Through Art

19 Aug 1999
[ 6 of 5,821 | ai_news/10988 ]

A new Florida program called Artful Truth is aimed at teaching fourth, fifth and sixth graders about tobacco industry advertising. In what supporters call a "healthy propaganda project," students are exposed to tobacco industry advertising tactics and then create art to convey their own messages about tobacco use. About 2,000 students from 106 schools and youth groups have participated in the program. Projects have included collages, short films and sculptures. "If kids understand manipulation, then they will make better decisions," says Cathy Leff, director of the Wolfsonian Museum, which administers the $1.4 million program. "They won't buy into that smoking is cool, as the ads convey to them." Artful Truth is part of the $70 million Florida Tobacco Pilot Program established to develop ways to prevent underage tobacco use.

Source: Warren Richey, "Kids Create Art With A Message: Don't Smoke," CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, August 18, 1999, p. 1.

Survey Finds An Increase In Smoking Among Young Adults

19 Aug 1999
[ 7 of 5,821 | ai_news/10989 ]

Smoking is on the rise for young adults aged 18-25, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse released yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services. When asked if they had smoked at anytime during the last month, 41.6 percent of respondents in that age group answered yes, up from 40.6 percent in 1997 and 34.6 percent in 1994. "This is a population that was bombarded by Joe Camel," in their youth, said H. Westley Clark, director of the center for substance-abuse treatment at the government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Cigarette advertising continues to follow this age bracket as tobacco companies increasingly focus advertising and promotion in bars and nightclubs. "We are not out there to encourage people to smoke," said Jan Smith, a spokesperson for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc, but instead to compete for the business of legal "adults who choose to smoke." William Novelli, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said, "The tobacco industry has turned young adults into a battleground. They've been fighting like hell to initiate smoking in that age group."

Overall, 27.7 percent of Americans 12-years-old and above smoked in 1998, down from 29.6 in 1997. The percentage of smokers in 1998 is the lowest since the survey was first conducted in 1971. An estimated 4.1 million youths between the ages of 12 and 17, or 18.2 percent, labeled themselves current smokers. This data coincides with the finding that 2.1 million people began smoking cigarettes daily in 1997, with more than half of these new smokers being under the age of 18. Cigar use also increased from 5.9 percent in 1997 to 6.9 percent in 1998.

Sources: Gordon Fairclough, "More Young Adults Say They Smoked, A Survey Finds," WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 19, 1999, p. B18; Edward Walsh, "Teenagers' Use Of Drugs Dipped In '98," WASHINGTON POST, August 19, 1999, p. A1; Irvin Molotsky, "Agency Survey Shows Decline Last Year In Drug Use By Young," NEW YORK TIMES, August 19, 1999, p. A15; Aimee Phan, "Survey Seen As 'Turning A Corner,'" USA TODAY, August 19, 1999, p. A1; Aimee Phan, "Alcohol, Tobacco Lure Teens Despite Drug Dip," USA TODAY, August 19, 1999, p. D8.

Letter To The Editor Supports Federal Tobacco Lawsuit

20 Aug 1999
[ 8 of 5,821 | ai_news/10990 ]

Edward Sweda, senior attorney of the Tobacco Control Resource Center, comments in the USA TODAY letters-to-the-editor section that tobacco manufacturers should be held accountable for the products they make. "What about the idea of people being responsible for the products they make and put into the stream of commerce? The proposed federal lawsuit would hold Big Tobacco accountable for its actions." Sweda notes that only blaming smokers for their illnesses "ignore[s] the industry's internal documents that have shown how, during the past two generations, tobacco companies have targeted children, suppressed scientific research on less-hazardous cigarettes and lied about how deadly and addictive cigarettes are."

Source: Edward Sweda, "Big Tobacco To Blame," USA TODAY, August 20, 1999, p. A14.

Georgia's Tobacco Settlement May Help Rural Economies

20 Aug 1999
[ 9 of 5,821 | ai_news/10991 ]

The state Advisory Committee on Rural Development sees the $4.8 billion tobacco settlement as a way to bolster Georgia's stagnant economy. Governor Roy Barnes said that one-third of the settlement money should help rural counties economically hurt by a decline in the tobacco industry, while the other two-thirds should pay for health care programs.

Source: Alan Judd, "Tobacco Settlement May Fund State Panel's Attempts To Bolster Economy," ATLANTA JOURNAL AND CONSTITUTION, August 19, 1999.

Tobacco Companies Create Trust Fund For Farmers

20 Aug 1999
[ 10 of 5,821 | ai_news/10992 ]

A state court in Wake County, North Carolina approved the establishment of a trust for tobacco farmers to be funded by tobacco companies. The National Tobacco Grower Settlement Trust could receive up to $5.15 billion over 12 years from Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard. The purpose of the trust is to provide financial support to farmers and quota holders - farmers who have been granted tobacco-growing rights by the federal government. Tobacco analysts speculated that the creation of the trust was politically motivated."The Trust will keep tobacco state lawmakers allied with the interests of tobacco industry," said David Adelman, analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Adelman went on to say, "It's one thing if five farmers dominated tobacco farming, but there are tens of thousands of tobacco farmers and quota holders and that is where the votes are. The tobacco industry had to try to appease that constituency and align their interests with tobacco companies - this agreement achieves that goal." The trust is separate from and will not affect the national tobacco settlement.

Sources: Edward Tobin, "Tobacco Grower Settlement Approved," REUTERS, August 19, 1999; "Trust To Be Funded By Tobacco Companies For Growers Is Cleared," WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 20, 1999, p. B7.

Few States Are Using Tobacco Settlement Money For Tobacco Prevention

24 Aug 1999
[ 11 of 5,821 | ai_news/10993 ]

As states begin to deal out their tobacco settlement money, so far only five of the 46 states that signed the Master Settlement Agreement (Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey and Washington) have allocated a significant portion towards tobacco control programs, according to a study released today by the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Heart Association. Instead, states are proposing to spend their settlement on programs like health care, education, transportation and tax cuts. Tobacco control advocates like Mike Moore, Mississippi attorney general, are disturbed by these plans. Moore said, "We fought this battle to protect kids, improve public health and reduce tobacco consumption. It would be a hollow victory indeed if the proceeds aren't spent on what the fight was about." Tobacco companies claim they prefer that the settlement money be spent on youth prevention programs. Jan Smith, spokeswoman for R.J. Reynolds said, "We certainly hope the states will devote a significant portion of their settlement funds to youth nonsmoking programs. This was a major reason for the settlement." Only four states, Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota, and Mississippi are planning spend enough money to meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) minimum requirements for an effective tobacco prevention program. Washington State, depending on how fast it spends its tobacco control money, may also achieve the CDC requirements.

Source: Gordon Fairclough, "States Plan Assorted Uses For Tobacco Settlement," WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 24, 1999, p. A4.

Tobacco Supports Top Lobbying Firms In 1998

24 Aug 1999
[ 12 of 5,821 | ai_news/10994 ]

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, of the top ten lobbying firms, five had tobacco clients in 1998. Verner Liipfert's top three clients were Philip Morris, RJR Nabisco and Brown & Williamson Tobacco. Patton and Bogg's top client was the Smokeless Tobacco Council. Barbour, Griffith & Rogers' had Philip Morris and RJR Nabisco in their top four clients. The number two client of the Washington Counsel was RJ Reynolds Tobacco. Baker, Donelson's top two clients were Philip Morris and RJR Nabisco.

Source: "The Influence Industry," WASHINGTON POST, August 24, 1999, p. A15.

New Hampshire Communities To Get Federal Grants To Fight Substance Abuse

25 Aug 1999
[ 13 of 5,821 | ai_news/10995 ]

New Hampshire Governor Sheehan announced that as many as 18 communities will get $100,000 federal grants over the next three years to fight youth smoking, drinking and drug abuse.

Source: "News Hampshire," USA TODAY, August 25, 1999, p. A10.

Analysts Predict Philip Morris Will Raise Dividend

25 Aug 1999
[ 14 of 5,821 | ai_news/10996 ]

Tobacco analysts are predicting that Philip Morris will raise its dividend by as much as nine percent when its board meets in New York today. The increase will put the company's dividend yield at five percent, compared with the 1.2 percent average yield among companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. According to Salomon Smith Barney Inc. analyst Martin Feldman, "There are investors who own the stock for the yield, and with substantial cash on its balance sheet and strong cash flows, raising the dividend by nine percent is no stretch for the company." Philip Morris stock has fallen about 30 percent this year, the worst performance of any Dow Jones Industrial stock.

Source: "Philip Morris Expected To Raise Dividend Tomorrow," BLOOMBERG NEWS, August 24, 1999.

US Postal Service Pulls Ad Containing Cigarette

25 Aug 1999
[ 15 of 5,821 | ai_news/10997 ]

The US Postal Service has pulled an ad that shows a woman holding a cigarette after receiving complaints that the agency was promoting smoking.The ad, which is for the agency's global delivery services, features a glamorous woman holding a cigarette and a glass of champagne, while shunning a man kneeling at her side. The ad says, "Some things just transcend cultures." The Postal Service said the ad was not meant to promote smoking, but to reflect culture in other countries. Former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration David Kessler commented, "I don't think it's much ado about nothing. It may seem like much ado about nothing, but that's the problem. We have these images in our minds, and that's what needs to be undone."

Source: Glenn Burkins, "Postal Service Ad Burns Up Nonsmokers," WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 25, 1999, p. B4.

Proposed Legislation To Crack Down On Internet Tobacco Sales To Minors

25 Aug 1999
[ 16 of 5,821 | ai_news/10998 ]

US Representative Marty Meehan (D-MA) announced that he intends to introduce legislation to stop tobacco sales to minors over the Internet when Congress reconvenes next month. The legislation would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors, require online tobacco marketers to comply with the same restrictions that apply to print advertisers, and mandate that web sites selling tobacco display the Surgeon General's warning. At a press conference announcing his bill, Meehan said, "Access to cigarettes thorough sources like the Internet is helping to fuel the increase in youth smoking that's taking place in the 90's. The more that we can restrict kids from easy access to tobacco, the less likely the children will be experimenting."

Over the summer, Meehan conducted an informal study of Internet tobacco sales using student interns to search the web for sites that sell tobacco. His interns found 26 web sites selling tobacco, and only half of them had language regarding age requirements for purchasing tobacco products. None of the sites posted the Surgeon General's warning about smoking.

Source: "Meehan, AG Reilly Take Steps To Zap Online Tobacco Sales," BOSTON HERALD (on-line), August 24, 1999.

CDC Says Tobacco Control Programs Work

25 Aug 1999
[ 17 of 5,821 | ai_news/10999 ]

A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that aggressive tobacco control campaigns are working in states such as Oregon and California, while smoking rates are rising in states with few controls, like Kentucky. Figures show California had the second-lowest adult smoking rate in 1997 at 18.4 percent, which the CDC attributes to the nation's oldest anti-smoking initiative, which started in 1989. Utah, with its large Mormon population, had the lowest adult smoking rate in 1997, at 13.7 percent.Oregon's cigarette consumption rate dropped by 11.3 percent since the state started a campaign similar to California's in 1996. In Massachusetts, where voters approved higher tobacco taxes and an aggressive media campaign in 1992, consumption dropped 20 percent between 1992 and 1996. "What we are saying is that from what we've found in our own experience and in the shared experience, here is what works," said CDC director Dr. Jeffrey Koplan. "And we're saying here's the amount that will pay for it. It's the same approach we take with immunization against disease." According to the study, which was presented at the National Conference on Tobacco and Health in Kissimmee, FL, each state should spend between $31 million and $83 million on health and anti-smoking programs. In states with little or no controls on tobacco, smoking rates went up. Kentucky had both the highest adult and youth smoking rates in the nation in 1997 at 30.8 percent and 47 percent, respectively. Amy Barkley, project manager for Kentucky Action, attributes these statistics to the lack of state tobacco control funding as well as its strong dependence on tobacco farming. "It's deplorable that we have the highest youth smoking rate, but understandable given our culture."

Sources: James Pilcher, "Anti-Smoking Campaigns Help Some States Kick The Habit," USA TODAY, August 25, 1999, p. A5; James Pilcher, "CDC: Anti-Tobacco Campaigns Working," ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 25, 1999; "Anti-Smoking Efforts Make A Difference," WASHINGTON POST, August 25, 1999, p. A6; David Stout, "Few States Are Using Settlements In Tobacco Suit To Cut Smoking," NEW YORK TIMES, August 25, 1999, p. A12.

Colorado May Take Tobacco Settlement In Lump-Sum

26 Aug 1999
[ 18 of 5,821 | ai_news/11000 ]

The Colorado state Legislature's Joint Budget Committee appears reluctant to support state Treasurer Michael Coffman's proposal to take Colorado's tobacco settlement in a single $901 million payment. The alternative is to take an estimated $2.7 billion (including inflation) over the next 25 years. Coffman believes a lump-sum payment would eliminate any risk of the tobacco companies declaring bankruptcy in the years to come.

Source: "Colorado," USA TODAY, August 26, 1999, p. A14.

Doctors Want Virginia's Settlement For Sick Smokers, Not Transportation

26 Aug 1999
[ 19 of 5,821 | ai_news/11001 ]

The Medical Association of Virginia is urging Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore III (R) and state legislators to use the state's $4 billion share of the tobacco settlement to pay for treating sick smokers, not transportation projects. Gilmore hinted earlier this week that the settlement money could be used to help the state's transportation problems, but the 7,000 member society representing Virginia doctors says the settlement was intended to pay for future health care needs caused by smoking.

Sources: "Diversion of Tobacco Money Opposed," WASHINGTON POST, August 26, 1999, p. B3; "Virginia," USA TODAY, August 26, 1999, p. A14.

Survey Finds Retail Stores Market Tobacco To Youth

08 Jan 1999
[ 20 of 5,821 | ai_news/10170 ]

A survey of 250 Florida retail stores by Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) revealed that many stores market tobacco in ways that appeal to youth. For instance, SWAT found tobacco ads placed at a 3-foot level in many stores, which makes them more visible to children. SWAT also found that one-third of the stores put tobacco products by the front door, which makes them easier to shoplift. "All we want is for store managers to be more responsible about the way they display tobacco products and advertising," said SWAT chairperson Chrissie Scelsi. "If adult magazines are placed behind the counter and above children's eye level, it makes sense that tobacco products should be, too."

Source: "Teens Find Stores Market Tobacco In Ways Known To Lure Teens," TAMPA TRIBUNE (on-line), January 7, 1999.

Editorial Declares California's Smokefree Bar Ordinance A Success

07 Jan 1999
[ 21 of 5,821 | ai_news/10169 ]

An editorial in the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS looks at California's year-old ban on smoking in bars and considers it a success: "It was a widely held opinion one year ago that banning smoking in bars was a waste of time. Such a ban would be impossible to enforce, critics said.Bartenders would never force people to have their beer without a cigarette. Yet the first year of California's ban has been a qualified success. While a small, vocal group of bar owners and patrons openly defies the law, most bars are smoke-free. Statewide estimates of compliance range from 68 percent for stand-alone bars to 90 percent for combination bar-restaurants. Not perfect, but not bad for a law that was suppose to be unenforceable. . . . But the law doesn't have to put out every cigarette in every bar to be a success. A year ago, it was nearly impossible for non-smokers to sit in a bar or work in one without breathing cigarette smoke. Today, it's the smokers who have to hunt for a place to light up. That's progress."

Source: Editorial, "Smoking Is On The Rocks," SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS (on-line), January 4, 1999.

Colorado Task Force Delivers Recommendations For Settlement Money

07 Jan 1999
[ 22 of 5,821 | ai_news/10168 ]

A task force of state health officials assembled by Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton recommended Tuesday that the state's $2.65 billion share of the national tobacco settlement be spent exclusively on tobacco- and health-related programs. The task force recommended that the state spend 44 percent on children's health initiatives, 27 percent on tobacco-related health programs, 11 percent on strengthening health programs for all Colorado residents, and eight percent on research programs on the health risks of tobacco. Another 10 percent should be committed to an endowment trust fund and the interest should be used to fund specific programs, according to the task force report. The task force also recommended setting up a commission to monitor the success of anti-smoking and health-related programs.

Source: Dan Luzadder, "Programs To Prevent Smoking Get Push," (Colorado) ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (on-line), January 6, 1999.

MN Governor Proposes Medical Research Endowment With Settlement Money

07 Jan 1999
[ 23 of 5,821 | ai_news/10167 ]

A portion of Minnesota's $6.1 billion settlement with the tobacco industry should create a permanent endowment for medical research at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura announced Wednesday. "I want this endowment to be used year after year after year," Ventura said during a state Chamber of Commerce dinner. However, Steve Sviggum, Republican Speaker of the House, wants the first installment returned to taxpayers.

Source: Ashley Grant, "Ventura Proposes Permanent Medical Research Endowment With Tobacco Money," MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE (on-line), January 6, 1999.

Columnist Comments On Tobacco Industry Smuggling Activity

07 Jan 1999
[ 24 of 5,821 | ai_news/10166 ]

DALLAS MORNING NEWS columnist Henry Tatum wrote an op-ed commenting on the news that RJ Reynolds' subsidiary Northern Brands International pled guilty to federal charges stemming from its participation in a cigarette smuggling operation: "[T]he guilty plea should raise red flags in the United States, where the public has watched in wonder while the stakes in the tobacco industry settlement kept getting larger and larger. . . . Federal and state officials should view the federal case against Northern Brands as a valid reason to hold the tobacco industry's feet to the fire on other agreements in the landmark settlement. . . . The illegal transportation of cigarettes into other countries isn't exactly a hot button issue for the average US family. But the illegal sale of tobacco to minors certainly is. If a tobacco company has been found to be complicit in helping smugglers get around high tariffs aimed at curbing juvenile smoking, what else is the industry willing to do to maintain profits? More important than the money in the tobacco settlement is the industry's agreement to reduce teen smoking in America. Companies have pledged to end ads aimed at attracting youthful consumers.And they will help fund programs designed to educate kids about the dangers of tobacco.The promises sound good. But so did the tobacco industry's claims that it wasn't directly involved in cigarette smuggling -- until last month."

Source: Henry Tatum, "Have Tobacco Firms Been Blowing Smoke?" DALLAS MORNING NEWS (on-line), January 6, 1999.

WA's Secretary Of State To Propose Denying Jobs Based On Tobacco Use

07 Jan 1999
[ 25 of 5,821 | ai_news/10165 ]

In the state of Washington, Secretary of State Ralph Munro is seeking to introduce legislation that would give state agencies the ability to reject job applicants based on their tobacco use. Munro announced yesterday that he has spoken with the state Department of Personnel and the Attorney General's Office about his plan. Munro acknowledges the constitutional questions his proposal raises, but stated, "The thought is trying to send a message to young people that this is more than a health issue. This is more than an issue that relates to the cost of a pack of cigarettes. This also could mean you won't get a job."

Source: Hunter George, "Munro Turns Tough On Smoking," SEATTLE TIMES (on-line), January 5, 1999.

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