Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 6, 2012 11:16 AM
Lance Armstrong has beaten cancer. For seven straight years, he beat every top cyclist in the world in the Tour de France. He’s also beaten every drug test he’s ever taken. But he coudn't beat Big Tobacco.
In tandem with the American Cancer Society, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others, Armstrong was a proponent Proposition 29, a proposed $1-a-pack hike in taxes on cigarettes that would have raised millions of dollars for cancer research projects. Except that Californians narrowly voted it down on Tuesday. Naturally, the proposed tax was vigorously opposed by tobacco companies, "who dramatically outspent" supporters of the bill as Forbes notes.
Armstrong leveraged his personal brand and platform as a healthy living advocate (via Livestrong) to help lobby California to hike up its cigarette prices, even changing his Twitter avatar to the "Yes on 29" logo. The Golden State is generally thought of as bastion of liberal politics so it would seem that tobacco would have been a target long ago. But California has lagged behind other states in hiking up the prices that consumers have to pay for their smokes, according to CBS News.Continue reading...
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...
no kidding around
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2012 02:09 PM
The U.S. government's campaign to help smokers quit (and keep kids from starting the nasty habit) has led to calls to quit lines more than doubling. The main mind behind the campaign, Dr. Howard Koh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, has been a force on the anti-smoking front for 20 years. He was involved in everything from the proposal to put highly graphic images on cigarette packaging and the movement to expand health insurance coverage for tobacco cessation.
While he’s been doing that, Australia’s Attorney General Nicola Roxon has also been hard at work trying to end the world’s fascination with cigarettes. While she was Health Minister in Australia, she launched the idea that all cigarette packs in the country should be sold in plain brown paper, which of course sent the legal departments of tobacco companies into a tizzy. As Attorney General, she is requiring that graphic warnings cover the large majority of the packs.
For their efforts, Koh and Roxon are being recognized at event in Washington, D.C. held by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which works to counter tobacco brands' marketing and frowns on advertising such as characters and other kid-friendly touches, such as Camel's pinkalicious print campaign at right.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 5, 2012 02:35 PM
There is a worldwide battle against cigarette marketing going on and the British government has doubled up on rulings in order to keep them out of the eyes of consumers.
Starting April 6th, the UK government stipulates that retailers that runs stores larger than 280 square meters must keep cigarettes hidden from consumers and only expose them while making the sale or cleaning off the shelf that they are on, according to FreshBusinessThinking.com. “Price lists and posters, necessary because customers will not be able to see the products, have to be in a specified font and font size,” according to the Dec. 2011 tobacco display guidelines.
The effort to hide the smokes will cost retailers an estimated £15.6 million ($20.6 million), but there has been an outcry from the British Retail Consortium because the government is also “considering the possibility of plain packaging for tobacco products.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 1, 2012 05:28 PM
After being approved last June, gruesome images of a man exhaling smoke through a tracheotomy hole, blackened lungs, and an unborn baby suffering from smoke inhalation were slated to appear on cigarette packaging across America in September of this year, due to an order from the Food and Drug Administration.
But tobacco lovers were saved the pain of looking at such things by a judge on Wednesday, who said that the “images … violate free speech protected by the Constitution,” according to CBS/AP. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon had already temporarily blocked the requirement back in November, and the government is appealing his decision.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 20, 2011 04:04 PM
Since Australia passed legislation that will force tobacco companies to sell all of their products in brand name-free, plain green packaging with such heartwarming statements as “Smoking causes blindness” or “Don’t let children breathe your smoke” (and are accompanied by equally pleasant images), tobacco companies have been in a bit of snit.
On Tuesday, Philip Morris Asia became the third tobacco giant, along with British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, to file suit in the country’s High Court to try and put a stop to such an effort, Reuters reports.
The new legislation in Australia “is being closely watched by governments considering similar moves in Europe, Canada, and New Zealand,” Reuters notes, which is part of the reason why the tobacco companies are getting all worked up about it. But Philip Morris claims it has other reasons as well.Continue reading...