Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 25, 2012 11:55 AM
The good folks of Australia are battling hard against the world’s powerful tobacco companies and they aren’t getting a ton of support from some of their brethren across the globe. Australia is planning to ban branded packaging for cigarettes and cigars, and big tobacco isn't having any of it.
The word from Reuters is that “the tobacco industry is providing legal advice to Ukraine and Honduras in their challenges to Australia's new tobacco packaging rules at the World Trade Organization.” These two countries are questioning the move purely for trade reasons since neither owns a big chunk of the Australian tobacco marketplace.
"We know that the tobacco companies, because they have admitted it, are providing legal advice to WTO members in order to encourage them to take action against Australia," said Australian Health Secretary Jane Halton to Reuters.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 15, 2012 05:33 PM
The tobacco industry has been looking for some kind of silver lining somewhere for the past few years as cities and countries across the globe have continued to attempt to make it more difficult and more expensive for the world population to sit back and light a few up. From banning smoking in restaurants to replacing brand names on packaging with horrendous images of what could happen to you if you (gasp) inhale, governments of all shapes and sizes have used many strategies to make life more difficult for Big Tobacco.
Now the tobacco industry finally has something it can feel good about. Its product actually has something positive to share. New research from the University of Louisville has it that tobacco “may hold the key to preventing Parkinson’s disease,” according to the Indianapolis Star.
The key component, the paper reports, is something called tobacco mosaic virus, or TMV, which attacks the plants and “may be protective against Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Robert Friedland, a clinical and research neurologist at U of L, the Star reports. The hope is that this discovery will lead to a vaccine against Parkinson’s.
The study was initiated after a number of studies showed that smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s. Indeed, Friedland warned that people shouldn’t use this new research as an excuse to smoke, since tobacco use has been tied to heart disease and lung cancer, which are much bigger killers annually than Parkinson’s.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the largest private funder of Parkinson's Disease research in the world, also cautioned consumers not to raise their hopes about tobacco as a treatment.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 02:11 PM
The obesity debate continues to dominate the public conversation in America. Policymakers and nutritionists and bureaucrats pondered "The Weight of the Nation" at a federal-government conference this week while the four-part HBO series of the same name that debuts on Monday. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are trying to position their brands as part of the solution, via the lobby group where they're the 800 pound gorilla members at any meeting.
The American Beverage Association's "Delivering Choices" campaign has already launched on TV to promote "how America's beverage companies are making it easier to choose the drink that's right for you — with more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels." (The sub-text: consumers have choices, and should take personal responsbility for their weight and health.)
The campaign is now getting more targeted with local marketing in the Big Apple. A New York-centric website talks up the Delivering Choices platform while promoting good works by the ABA's members in the city, such as Dr Pepper Snapple Group funding playgrounds in Brooklyn, and the recent Great Recycle event staged by Coca-Cola's Honest Tea brand in Times Square. Facebook and Twitter marketing are reinforcing the messaging.
Now the ABA is expanding its NYC push to the subway system, with a new campaign placing posters on trains and in the stations — New York being the same market where the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been promoting a healthy agenda, including a PSA campaign depicting their beverages with globs of fat and packets of sugar.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 11:44 AM
While there's plenty of attention given to getting children not to eat junk food, as a countermeasure to childhood obesity many brands are putting substantial efforts into persuading kids to eat healthier. This week two companies — one a veteran of "better-for-you" foods, the other not heralded for nutritious fare — have stepped forward to promote childhood consumption of fruit and vegetables.
McDonald's is the unlikelier player here. McDonald's UK is getting ready to launch a fizzy drink for children as an option with its Happy Meal packs on May 16th that claims to provide one of the recommended five-a-day portions of fruits and vegetables.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 25, 2012 11:56 AM
The tobacco industry spent $10 billion on marketing in 2008, according to the FTC, and a good part of the portion being spent in California was targeted at low-income and African-American youth, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
If you’re an African-American high schooler in the Golden State, you may have noticed the advertising for menthol cigarettes that aren’t far from the school. Researchers that are funded by the state of California found that such ads were more prominently displayed when they were in proximity to a school that served the African-American community, the Union-Tribune adds.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 4, 2012 12:01 PM
America's Food and Drug Administration and city governments are not making life easy for tobacco makers these days. As cities across the U.S. have kicked smokers out into the streets outside of bars and restaurants, the FDA has attempted to make the sale of tobacco products increasingly more expensive and more difficult.
The most recent effort by the FDA is to require tobacco companies to report “the amount of unsafe chemicals in their products and prove their so-called lower-risk alternatives to smoking such as snuff are actually safer,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Back in 2009, the FDA was given the ability to regulate all tobacco products so it is finally moving forward, offering “preliminary guidelines for the industry that it says can educate consumers on exactly what is in cigarettes, such as ammonia and formaldehyde, and police claims that certain tobacco products may be safer than others,” the magazine reports.
“We are forging new territory to ensure that tobacco companies provide accurate information and do not mislead American consumers,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement on the FDA blog. “We are committed to stopping such practices that may cause people to start or continue using tobacco products that could lead to preventable disease and death.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2012 05:12 PM
Frank Zappa once told his fans not to eat the yellow snow. Now a whole lot of folks are deciding not to eat another colorful item: pink slime.
It's a substance that many Americans (well, the few who watched) Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last April would have seen in the series' premiere episode on ABC. That's when the British chef, accompanied by a bovine companion, demonstrated what goes into the 70% of America's ground beef that contains leftover cow parts (a.k.a. "pink slime"), meaning meat that has been treated with ammonia to banish bacteria such as e.coli and salmonella. It's also used to convert the fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for burgers.
Ammonia-treated meat can be found in virtually all U.S. grocery stores, fast food restaurants, many national restaurant chains, and school cafeterias, but a backlash has been forming over fears that it is unsafe — and now the company that produces 'pink slime beef' has suspended operations at three of its four plants.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2012 11:58 AM
When the news came out of the state of California a year ago that the stuff that makes your cola beverage brown has been linked to cancer, there were a number of consumers that likely didn’t put their change into the vending machine that day.
The amount of that compound (4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI) in soda would cause the state to need to put warning labels on all of its cans, NPR reports. This, in turn, led to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to lobby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “ban ammonia-sulfite caramel color,” according to NPR. Coke Clear, anyone?
While the cola companies and caramel manufacturers are obviously stating that there is no validity to these claims, the FDA is also chiming in that this could be much ado about not much. In any event, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which account for almost 90% of the U.S. soda market, have tweaked their formulas in compliance with the Californian law — averting the need to add a cancer warning label.Continue reading...