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Archive for November, 2006

Jesse Williams, a Portland, Ore., janitor who smoked three packs of Marlboros a

November 1st, 2006 at 11:54 am

http://us-cigs.com/News/November-01-2006/CHAPTER0/79-5M-in-p...


Jesse Williams, a Portland, Ore., janitor who smoked three packs of Marlboros a day, died of lung cancer in 1997. His widow, Mayola, sued Philip Morris for fraud and negligence, alleging that any fears her husband had about becoming ill from smoking were eased by the cigarette-maker's publicity campaign that suggested it was safe. Mayola Williams recalled in court filings that when her husband learned he had inoperable cancer, he said, "Those darn cigarette people finally did it. They were lying all the time."


The lawsuit that Mayola Williams filed was among many claims filed against tobacco companies in recent years, but one of the few to lead to a multimillion-dollar judgment. An Oregon jury awarded Williams $79.5 million in punitive damages. Such damages are intended to punish defendants beyond the actual damages they caused and deter future bad conduct.

Williams' award was 97 times greater than the actual — or compensatory — damages awarded by the jury, and according to court records it was based partly on the jury's consideration of Philip Morris' harm to other smokers in Oregon.

Now, Williams' case is before the U.S. Supreme Court and has become one of the most significant tests ever of how far a jury can go in punishing a civil defendant. The question in the Williams case is whether the punitive damages award is so disproportionate to the injury to Jesse Williams that it violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of due process of law.

In its appeal, Philip Morris says the Oregon verdict violated due process because it was so much higher than the actual damages caused to Jesse Williams and because jurors were punishing the company for injuries to smokers who were not part of the Williams case.

Mayola Williams' attorney, Robert Peck, says in court papers that the cigarette-maker's efforts to hide the dangers of smoking were "monstrous" and says that if ever a big award were justified, this is the case.

The dispute, to be argued before the high court on Tuesday, is a new round in the court's struggle to draw the line between permissible and unconstitutional punitive damages awards.

Business groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, say juries improperly use punitive damage awards to "send a message" to corporate defendants. Consumer advocates and trial lawyers counter that punitive damages help bring accountability to businesses that have a history of abuse.

"The tobacco industry has evaded liability for decades ... and the result has been a public health catastrophe," Trial Lawyers for Public Justice says in a court brief filed in the Williams case.

'Court is on the knife edge'

For decades, the Supreme Court considered such jury awards the domain of the states and gave wide latitude to state judges and juries. In recent years, however, the court has begun to rein in awards by setting criteria for punitive damages. The addition of two new justices last term — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, who replaced the late William Rehnquist and the retired Sandra Day O'Connor — could add a wrinkle to the court's approach.

In the justices' most recent ruling on the issue, in 2003, the majority said any punitive damages that are more than 10 times the actual damages for the injury could be presumed to be excessive. Voting 6-3, the court invalidated a $145 million award levied by a jury that had found that the State Farm insurance company acted in bad faith by not settling claims against a policyholder who was involved in a fatal accident.

In the current case, a key question will be whether Philip Morris' conduct was bad enough to justify a punitive damages award beyond the 2003 guideline.

Rehnquist and O'Connor voted with the majority in the State Farm case. Washington lawyer Mark Levy, who follows decisions concerning punitive damages, says that suggests that their replacements, Roberts and Alito, could tip the court's vote either way in assessing whether the award in the Williams case was excessive.

"The court is on the knife edge," Levy says. If Roberts and Alito join the justices who dissented in the State Farm case and want to leave the matter to the states, Levy says, there would be "a sudden and radical change in this area of the law."

1999 award upheld in Oregon court

In her case, Mayola Williams claimed that Philip Morris mounted a fraudulent publicity campaign aimed at minimizing the dangers of smoking. After a month-long trial in 1999, the jury awarded $821,485 in compensatory damages and the $79.5 million in punitive damages.

The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the award. "There can be no dispute that Philip Morris's conduct was extraordinarily reprehensible. (It) knew that smoking caused serious and sometimes fatal disease, but it nevertheless spread false or misleading information to suggest ... that doubts remained about that issue. ... The scheme was damaging the health of a very large group of Oregonians — the smoking public — and was killing a number of that group."

In his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Philip Morris' lawyer, Andrew Frey tells the justices that the Oregon court misinterpreted recent decisions by the high court, particularly the 2003 ruling. He says the State Farm decision does not allow a company to be punished for harm to people who were not involved in the case. Frey says calculating such damages for injuries to outside parties creates an unfair risk of duplicative and excessive punishment.

Peck, Williams' attorney, says the cigarette-maker is seeking to turn "review of punitive damage awards (into) a simple arithmetic exercise," based on the ratio between actual and punitive. He says the Oregon jury's verdict followed proper criteria "to achieve deterrence" and reverse some of Philip Morris' "ill-gotten profit."

$79.5M in punitive damages at core of Supreme Court case

November 1st, 2006 at 11:46 am

http://us-cigs.com/News/November-01-2006/CHAPTER0/79-5M-in-p...



Jesse Williams, a Portland, Ore., janitor who smoked three packs of Marlboros a day, died of lung cancer in 1997. His widow, Mayola, sued Philip Morris for fraud and negligence, alleging that any fears her husband had about becoming ill from smoking were eased by the cigarette-maker's publicity campaign that suggested it was safe. Mayola Williams recalled in court filings that when her husband learned he had inoperable cancer, he said, "Those darn cigarette people finally did it. They were lying all the time."


The lawsuit that Mayola Williams filed was among many claims filed against tobacco companies in recent years, but one of the few to lead to a multimillion-dollar judgment. An Oregon jury awarded Williams $79.5 million in punitive damages. Such damages are intended to punish defendants beyond the actual damages they caused and deter future bad conduct.

Williams' award was 97 times greater than the actual — or compensatory — damages awarded by the jury, and according to court records it was based partly on the jury's consideration of Philip Morris' harm to other smokers in Oregon.

Now, Williams' case is before the U.S. Supreme Court and has become one of the most significant tests ever of how far a jury can go in punishing a civil defendant. The question in the Williams case is whether the punitive damages award is so disproportionate to the injury to Jesse Williams that it violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of due process of law.

In its appeal, Philip Morris says the Oregon verdict violated due process because it was so much higher than the actual damages caused to Jesse Williams and because jurors were punishing the company for injuries to smokers who were not part of the Williams case.

Mayola Williams' attorney, Robert Peck, says in court papers that the cigarette-maker's efforts to hide the dangers of smoking were "monstrous" and says that if ever a big award were justified, this is the case.

The dispute, to be argued before the high court on Tuesday, is a new round in the court's struggle to draw the line between permissible and unconstitutional punitive damages awards.

Business groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, say juries improperly use punitive damage awards to "send a message" to corporate defendants. Consumer advocates and trial lawyers counter that punitive damages help bring accountability to businesses that have a history of abuse.

"The tobacco industry has evaded liability for decades ... and the result has been a public health catastrophe," Trial Lawyers for Public Justice says in a court brief filed in the Williams case.

'Court is on the knife edge'

For decades, the Supreme Court considered such jury awards the domain of the states and gave wide latitude to state judges and juries. In recent years, however, the court has begun to rein in awards by setting criteria for punitive damages. The addition of two new justices last term — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, who replaced the late William Rehnquist and the retired Sandra Day O'Connor — could add a wrinkle to the court's approach.

In the justices' most recent ruling on the issue, in 2003, the majority said any punitive damages that are more than 10 times the actual damages for the injury could be presumed to be excessive. Voting 6-3, the court invalidated a $145 million award levied by a jury that had found that the State Farm insurance company acted in bad faith by not settling claims against a policyholder who was involved in a fatal accident.

In the current case, a key question will be whether Philip Morris' conduct was bad enough to justify a punitive damages award beyond the 2003 guideline.

Rehnquist and O'Connor voted with the majority in the State Farm case. Washington lawyer Mark Levy, who follows decisions concerning punitive damages, says that suggests that their replacements, Roberts and Alito, could tip the court's vote either way in assessing whether the award in the Williams case was excessive.

"The court is on the knife edge," Levy says. If Roberts and Alito join the justices who dissented in the State Farm case and want to leave the matter to the states, Levy says, there would be "a sudden and radical change in this area of the law."

1999 award upheld in Oregon court

In her case, Mayola Williams claimed that Philip Morris mounted a fraudulent publicity campaign aimed at minimizing the dangers of smoking. After a month-long trial in 1999, the jury awarded $821,485 in compensatory damages and the $79.5 million in punitive damages.

The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the award. "There can be no dispute that Philip Morris's conduct was extraordinarily reprehensible. (It) knew that smoking caused serious and sometimes fatal disease, but it nevertheless spread false or misleading information to suggest ... that doubts remained about that issue. ... The scheme was damaging the health of a very large group of Oregonians — the smoking public — and was killing a number of that group."

In his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Philip Morris' lawyer, Andrew Frey tells the justices that the Oregon court misinterpreted recent decisions by the high court, particularly the 2003 ruling. He says the State Farm decision does not allow a company to be punished for harm to people who were not involved in the case. Frey says calculating such damages for injuries to outside parties creates an unfair risk of duplicative and excessive punishment.

Peck, Williams' attorney, says the cigarette-maker is seeking to turn "review of punitive damage awards (into) a simple arithmetic exercise," based on the ratio between actual and punitive. He says the Oregon jury's verdict followed proper criteria "to achieve deterrence" and reverse some of Philip Morris' "ill-gotten profit."

What if cigarettes became the new Prohibition?

November 1st, 2006 at 11:39 am

http://hot-cigs.com/news/November-01-2006/folder0/What-if-ci...



According to a recent survey of registered voters by Zogby International, 45% of Americans would support a federal law making cigarettes illegal in the next five to ten years. 57% of 18-29 year olds were in favor of the idea. These numbers prompt a series of questions: What if cigarettes became the new Prohibition? Could cigarette prohibition really happen? How do drug prohibition regimes come about? What do public health advocates think about banning cigarettes? How unhealthy is smoking?


What if cigarettes became the new Prohibition?

Cigarette prohibition would have some obvious benefits. Millions of American smokers would finally quit, and millions more would never start. Smoking-related death and disease would drop significantly.

But that’s not all that would happen. Many Americans would continue to smoke, and Big Tobacco would be replaced by a violent black market. "Tobacco-related murders" would increase dramatically as criminal organizations competed with one another for turf and markets, and ordinary crime would skyrocket as millions of tobacco junkies sought ways to feed their costly addiction.

Prohibition would pave the way for a costly governmental "war on tobacco" that would put tobacco producers, pushers and users in prison. At the same time, the federal and state governments would lose more than $20 billion per year in tobacco tax revenues.

More information

"Keep Cigarettes Legal"
Nadelmann, Ethan, The Huffington Post. October 26, 2006.

"New Drug Policy Alliance/Zogby Poll Finds 45 Percent Support Making Cigarettes Illegal"
Drug Policy Alliance. October 26, 2006.

"Cigarette Taxes, Black Markets, and Crime"
Fleenor, Patrick. Cato Institute; February 6, 2003.

"Nightmare of Crack Nicotine"
Wheeler, Jack, Washington Times, August 29, 2002.

Ten-Year Revenue Projections for New Federal Cigarette Tax Increases
Lindblom, Eric. National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, June 2003.

"Ethan Nadelmann on Tobacco Prohibition"
Nadelmann, Ethan. YouTube.com, October 26, 2006.

Prisons provide the closest model we have in the U.S. to complete cigarette prohibition. A law that went into effect in 2005 in California outlawed all tobacco products in state prisons.

More information

Letter from DPA California Capital Office associate director Nikos Leverenz to California Department of Corrections
Leverenz, Nikos. Sacramento, CA, October 6, 2005.

"California, Cigarettes and Prisons: Ban Smoking, Not Tobacco"
Rodu, Brad, Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 05, 2004.

"Prison Smoking Ban Likely to Bring a Pack of Changes"
Warren, Jennifer, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2005.

"Tobacco Ban in State Prisons Will Create Black Market, Violence"
Newman, Tony, San Francisco Chronicle, July 13, 2005.

Could cigarette prohibition really happen?

Drug prohibitions tend to be embraced not when a drug is most popular but rather when use is declining, as tobacco use is now. We’ve become accustomed to restrictions on smoking – sale to minors, and bans on smoking in more and more workplaces and public spaces – and on advertising. And we hate the corporations that profit off this deadly product.

More information

A Federal Ban on Cigarettes? Nationwide Survey of 1,200 Registered Voters
Zogby International for Drug Policy Alliance. July 2006.

"U.S. Cigarette Sales Reach Lowest Point in More Than 50 Years"
Cesar Fax, Center for Substance Abuse Research, July 24, 2006.

Health, United States, 2005 with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans
National Center for Health Statistics; 2005: pp. 32-35, 254-258.

The ever higher taxes and broader bans on cigarettes have played an important role in reducing both the number of smokers and the amount they smoke. Persisting with these policies will no doubt lead to further reductions. But there is a point of declining returns at which the costs of such policies begin to outweigh the benefits. It is true that stigmatizing smokers and smoking persuades some to stop and deters others from starting, but demonizing and dehumanizing those who persist is both morally wrong and dangerous.

More information

"Was Weyco Wrong to Fire Smokers?"
Drug Policy Alliance; February 2005.

Other nations have tried complete smoking bans with little success, France and India among them. Recently the European Union decided that employers can discriminate against smokers in making hiring decisions.

More information

"EU says smokers not protected by law"
Associated Press, August 7, 2006.

"The new deviant class: smokers"
Patterson, Patricia, Toronto Star , August 20, 2006.

"The First Nonsmoking Nation" (Bhutan)
Weiner, Eric, Slate , January 20, 2005.

How do drug prohibition regimes come about?

As the number of smokers drops, the dangerous logic of prohibition becomes ever more tempting. But prohibition is not a simple question of public health—it is closely tied to racism and classism.

For example, the first drug prohibition in the U.S. was imposed on opium. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, opium addiction was most common among middle and upper-class white women and was seen as a health problem.

That perception began to shift as opium smoking became associated with Chinese immigrants in the western United States. Fears that respectable white women were being seduced into a life of prostitution and debauchery in opium dens were inflamed by vivid reports. In 1902, the Committee on the Acquirement of the Drug Habit of the American Pharmaceutical Association declared: "If the 'Chinaman' cannot get along without his 'dope,' we can get along without him." In 1909, California outlawed the importation of smokeable opium.

More information

Dark Paradise: Opiate Addiction in America Before 1940
Courtwright, David T., Harvard University Press, 1982.

Perceptions of cocaine use went through a similar transformation. As with opium, cocaine use in the early twentieth century was most common among well-to-do white women.

In 1910 Dr. Hamilton Wright, considered by some the father of U.S. anti-narcotics laws, reported that U.S. contractors were giving cocaine to their Black employees to get more work out of them. A few years later, stories began to proliferate about "cocaine-crazed Negroes" in the South. These stories were in part motivated by a desire to persuade Southern members of Congress to support the proposed Harrison Narcotics Act, which would greatly expand the federal government's power to control drugs. This lie was also necessary since, even though drugs were widely used in America, very little crime was associated with the users.

More information

"The History of Legislative Control Over Opium, Cocaine, and their Derivatives"
Musto, D.F. Dealing with drugs: Consequences of government control. Ed. Ronald Hamowy. San Francisco, CA: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1987. 37-71. Schaffer Library of Drug Policy. 2006. DRCNet.

What do public health advocates think about banning cigarettes?

Public health advocates are on the forefront of efforts to reduce smoking, but they do not necessarily advocate prohibition. Many leading public health advocates who oppose smoking do not see prohibition as a viable solution.

More information

Longtime anti-tobacco advocate Dr. Stanton Glantz does not favor prohibition, instead advocating changing cultural attitudes about smoking.

Former FDA commissioner David Kessler said on PBS, "It's a product that 50 million Americans use. Prohibition won't work. So how do you reduce the use of an unsafe product?"

Matthew Myers of Tobacco-Free Kids had the following exchange with television host Tucker Carlson:

MYERS: Well, it should -- it should be legal because we have 46 million Americans smokers. We know that Prohibition...

CARLSON: Because a lot of people do it, it should be legal?

MYERS: Well, prohibition wouldn't work. It would be bad public policy. It would be bad...

LEVY: Well, how about -- how about illegal for anybody to start smoking (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

MYERS: It would be bad. . . Right now it is illegal to sell cigarettes to kids in this country.

MYERS: No public health person I know is in favor of prohibition. What we're in favor of is some simple rules. . . This industry should have to abide by the same standards as others. If you can make the product less hazardous so you kill fewer people you should do it. Ford had to do it with Pinto. This industry could do it...

How unhealthy is smoking?

Cigarettes are deadly. They lead to premature death for 400,000 people each year in the U.S. Every year, 40% of American smokers try to quit but are unable to do so.

More information

TIPS - CDC fact sheets on the harms of smoking

Stupid - Ontario, Canada's youth anti-smoking campaign

What if cigarettes became the new Prohibition?

November 1st, 2006 at 11:35 am

http://hot-cigs.com/news/November-01-2006/folder0/What-if-c...


According to a recent survey of registered voters by Zogby International, 45% of Americans would support a federal law making cigarettes illegal in the next five to ten years. 57% of 18-29 year olds were in favor of the idea. These numbers prompt a series of questions: What if cigarettes became the new Prohibition? Could cigarette prohibition really happen? How do drug prohibition regimes come about? What do public health advocates think about banning cigarettes? How unhealthy is smoking?


What if cigarettes became the new Prohibition?

Cigarette prohibition would have some obvious benefits. Millions of American smokers would finally quit, and millions more would never start. Smoking-related death and disease would drop significantly.

But that’s not all that would happen. Many Americans would continue to smoke, and Big Tobacco would be replaced by a violent black market. "Tobacco-related murders" would increase dramatically as criminal organizations competed with one another for turf and markets, and ordinary crime would skyrocket as millions of tobacco junkies sought ways to feed their costly addiction.

Prohibition would pave the way for a costly governmental "war on tobacco" that would put tobacco producers, pushers and users in prison. At the same time, the federal and state governments would lose more than $20 billion per year in tobacco tax revenues.

More information

"Keep Cigarettes Legal"
Nadelmann, Ethan, The Huffington Post. October 26, 2006.

"New Drug Policy Alliance/Zogby Poll Finds 45 Percent Support Making Cigarettes Illegal"
Drug Policy Alliance. October 26, 2006.

"Cigarette Taxes, Black Markets, and Crime"
Fleenor, Patrick. Cato Institute; February 6, 2003.

"Nightmare of Crack Nicotine"
Wheeler, Jack, Washington Times, August 29, 2002.

Ten-Year Revenue Projections for New Federal Cigarette Tax Increases
Lindblom, Eric. National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, June 2003.

"Ethan Nadelmann on Tobacco Prohibition"
Nadelmann, Ethan. YouTube.com, October 26, 2006.

Prisons provide the closest model we have in the U.S. to complete cigarette prohibition. A law that went into effect in 2005 in California outlawed all tobacco products in state prisons.

More information

Letter from DPA California Capital Office associate director Nikos Leverenz to California Department of Corrections
Leverenz, Nikos. Sacramento, CA, October 6, 2005.

"California, Cigarettes and Prisons: Ban Smoking, Not Tobacco"
Rodu, Brad, Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 05, 2004.

"Prison Smoking Ban Likely to Bring a Pack of Changes"
Warren, Jennifer, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2005.

"Tobacco Ban in State Prisons Will Create Black Market, Violence"
Newman, Tony, San Francisco Chronicle, July 13, 2005.

Could cigarette prohibition really happen?

Drug prohibitions tend to be embraced not when a drug is most popular but rather when use is declining, as tobacco use is now. We’ve become accustomed to restrictions on smoking – sale to minors, and bans on smoking in more and more workplaces and public spaces – and on advertising. And we hate the corporations that profit off this deadly product.

More information

A Federal Ban on Cigarettes? Nationwide Survey of 1,200 Registered Voters
Zogby International for Drug Policy Alliance. July 2006.

"U.S. Cigarette Sales Reach Lowest Point in More Than 50 Years"
Cesar Fax, Center for Substance Abuse Research, July 24, 2006.

Health, United States, 2005 with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans
National Center for Health Statistics; 2005: pp. 32-35, 254-258.

The ever higher taxes and broader bans on cigarettes have played an important role in reducing both the number of smokers and the amount they smoke. Persisting with these policies will no doubt lead to further reductions. But there is a point of declining returns at which the costs of such policies begin to outweigh the benefits. It is true that stigmatizing smokers and smoking persuades some to stop and deters others from starting, but demonizing and dehumanizing those who persist is both morally wrong and dangerous.

More information

"Was Weyco Wrong to Fire Smokers?"
Drug Policy Alliance; February 2005.

Other nations have tried complete smoking bans with little success, France and India among them. Recently the European Union decided that employers can discriminate against smokers in making hiring decisions.

More information

"EU says smokers not protected by law"
Associated Press, August 7, 2006.

"The new deviant class: smokers"
Patterson, Patricia, Toronto Star , August 20, 2006.

"The First Nonsmoking Nation" (Bhutan)
Weiner, Eric, Slate , January 20, 2005.

How do drug prohibition regimes come about?

As the number of smokers drops, the dangerous logic of prohibition becomes ever more tempting. But prohibition is not a simple question of public health—it is closely tied to racism and classism.

For example, the first drug prohibition in the U.S. was imposed on opium. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, opium addiction was most common among middle and upper-class white women and was seen as a health problem.

That perception began to shift as opium smoking became associated with Chinese immigrants in the western United States. Fears that respectable white women were being seduced into a life of prostitution and debauchery in opium dens were inflamed by vivid reports. In 1902, the Committee on the Acquirement of the Drug Habit of the American Pharmaceutical Association declared: "If the 'Chinaman' cannot get along without his 'dope,' we can get along without him." In 1909, California outlawed the importation of smokeable opium.

More information

Dark Paradise: Opiate Addiction in America Before 1940
Courtwright, David T., Harvard University Press, 1982.

Perceptions of cocaine use went through a similar transformation. As with opium, cocaine use in the early twentieth century was most common among well-to-do white women.

In 1910 Dr. Hamilton Wright, considered by some the father of U.S. anti-narcotics laws, reported that U.S. contractors were giving cocaine to their Black employees to get more work out of them. A few years later, stories began to proliferate about "cocaine-crazed Negroes" in the South. These stories were in part motivated by a desire to persuade Southern members of Congress to support the proposed Harrison Narcotics Act, which would greatly expand the federal government's power to control drugs. This lie was also necessary since, even though drugs were widely used in America, very little crime was associated with the users.

More information

"The History of Legislative Control Over Opium, Cocaine, and their Derivatives"
Musto, D.F. Dealing with drugs: Consequences of government control. Ed. Ronald Hamowy. San Francisco, CA: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1987. 37-71. Schaffer Library of Drug Policy. 2006. DRCNet.

What do public health advocates think about banning cigarettes?

Public health advocates are on the forefront of efforts to reduce smoking, but they do not necessarily advocate prohibition. Many leading public health advocates who oppose smoking do not see prohibition as a viable solution.

More information

Longtime anti-tobacco advocate Dr. Stanton Glantz does not favor prohibition, instead advocating changing cultural attitudes about smoking.

Former FDA commissioner David Kessler said on PBS, "It's a product that 50 million Americans use. Prohibition won't work. So how do you reduce the use of an unsafe product?"

Matthew Myers of Tobacco-Free Kids had the following exchange with television host Tucker Carlson:

MYERS: Well, it should -- it should be legal because we have 46 million Americans smokers. We know that Prohibition...

CARLSON: Because a lot of people do it, it should be legal?

MYERS: Well, prohibition wouldn't work. It would be bad public policy. It would be bad...

LEVY: Well, how about -- how about illegal for anybody to start smoking (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

MYERS: It would be bad. . . Right now it is illegal to sell cigarettes to kids in this country.

MYERS: No public health person I know is in favor of prohibition. What we're in favor of is some simple rules. . . This industry should have to abide by the same standards as others. If you can make the product less hazardous so you kill fewer people you should do it. Ford had to do it with Pinto. This industry could do it...

How unhealthy is smoking?

Cigarettes are deadly. They lead to premature death for 400,000 people each year in the U.S. Every year, 40% of American smokers try to quit but are unable to do so.

More information

TIPS - CDC fact sheets on the harms of smoking

Stupid - Ontario, Canada's youth anti-smoking campaign

Ban on 'light' cigarettes put on hold

November 1st, 2006 at 10:40 am

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061101...



WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court blocked a landmark judgment against the tobacco industry Tuesday, allowing the companies to continue selling "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes until their appeals can be reviewed.


The decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also allows the companies to continue for now the advertising campaigns that a federal judge in August ruled were misleading.
Without comment, the appeals court granted the tobacco companies' request to put Judge Gladys Kessler's order on hold.
In mid-August, Kessler ruled that the companies had violated racketeering laws and conspired for decades to mislead the public about the health hazards of smoking.
The judge ordered the companies to publish in newspapers and on their Web sites "corrective statements" on the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine.
She also ordered tobacco companies to stop labeling cigarettes as "low-tar," "light," "ultra light" or "mild," since such cigarettes have been found to be no safer than others because of how people smoke them.
Kessler's ruling was appealed by Philip Morris USA, Lorillard , Brown & Williamson Corp. and British American Tobacco PLC.
"The company believes the trial court's decision is contrary to the law and facts presented during trial, and looks forward to the opportunity to present its arguments to the appellate court," said William S. Ohlemeyer, vice president and associate general counsel for Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris.
No date has been set for arguments. It could be more than a year before an opinion is released.




Ban on 'light' cigarettes put on hold

November 1st, 2006 at 10:37 am

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061101/...

Tobacco heir speaks out against Issue 4

November 1st, 2006 at 10:28 am

http://verycheapcigarettes.com/N_E_W_S/November-01-2006/Fold...



The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is trying to fool Ohio voters, says the grandson of the tobacco company's founder, and he was in Toledo yesterday, he said, to set the record straight. If Ohioans want to curb tobacco-related deaths, they need to vote against tobacco-company bankrolled Issue 4 and vote Yes on Issue 5, Patrick Reynolds told a gathering at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.


"R.J. Reynolds is funding the Issue 4 campaign. They advertise it as a law to protect nonsmokers, but the truth is, Issue 4 would allow smoking almost everywhere," he said.

Passage of Issue 4, a consti-tutional amendment, would overturn every smoking law in Ohio, including laws in Toledo and Bowling Green. If both Issue 4 and Issue 5 pass, only the less-restrictive Issue 4 becomes law because it is a constitutional amendment.

Issue 5 would prohibit smoking in nearly all public places, including bars and restaurants.


Advertisements for the tobacco-industry-supported Issue 4 "claim it will protect public health," Mr. Reynolds said. "That lie is even harder to swallow than their claim for years that it was never proven that smoking causes disease."

Jacob Evans, a spokesman for Smoke Less Ohio, which supports Issue 4, said the amendment will allow smoking only in businesses that bar minors.

"Very few businesses could put up a sign 'minors prohibited' and expect to stay in business," Mr. Evans said.

Restaurants with enclosed smoking sections, along with bars and bowling alleys could continue to allow smoking, he said.

"That's misleading because children still go into restaurants and bowling alleys," Mr. Reynolds said. "Those aren't necessarily adult places. Issue 4 claims separate smoking sections are going to protect the health of nonsmokers. Well, it's really just a cosmetic measure."

Issue 4 does not require separate ventilation for smoking sections.

Mr. Reynolds, in Ohio as a volunteer on behalf of Issue 5, is founder of the Los Angeles-based Foundation for a Smokefree America.

Although tobacco is what made his family rich, 57-year-old Mr. Reynolds said he divested himself of all his tobacco stock in 1979, before he quit smoking.

"I was uncomfortable owning stock in a company I knew was profiting from the deaths of 420,000 Americans every year." Among those tobacco-related deaths are his father, R.J. Reynolds, Jr., who died from emphysema, and his oldest brother, R.J. Reynolds III, also a victim of emphysema. His surviving brother also suffers from emphysema, he said.

Still, it was six years after Patrick Reynolds got rid of his tobacco stock that he quit smoking, successful finally on his 12th attempt.

For people trying to quit, smoke-free bars and restaurants are a terrific aid, he said.

"When they don't see people light up in public, they are less tempted to light up themselves."

R.J. Reynolds spokesman Craig Fischel said: "While he is entitled to his opinion, the real decision will come from Ohio voters. They will decide what smoking policy is best for the state.

"Somebody has to stand up for rights of smokers so that their voices are heard," Mr. Fischel said. "If we're not going to do it, who will?"

Mr. Reynolds summed up the difference between the two ballot issues.

"Do you trust a company who's profiting off the deaths of 420,000 Americans every year? Or do you trust the American Cancer Society, which backs Issue 5 and first proved the link between smoking and lung cancer?" Mr. Reynolds asked the group at the health department gathering.

Some 50 members of the medical community were on hand to hear Mr. Reynold's discuss the tobacco campaign.

"•'Issue 5 to stay alive' is our mantra in the medical profession," said Dr. Donna Woodson, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Health board.

Dr. John Schaeufele, a pediatrician at Mercy Children's Hospital, said a 2003 study showed 91 percent of children hospitalized at Mercy for respiratory ailments were exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

"Only 30 percent of families smoke," Dr. Schaeufele said. "That's an extraordinarily telling statistic. Children cannot vote. We need to vote for them."

DeKalb snuffs out smokers' options

November 1st, 2006 at 10:17 am

http://oralcigarettes.com/Cigarettes-News/11-01-2006/page_Nr...




Bars and parks in most of DeKalb County could become no-smoking areas under an extraordinarily strict ordinance passed Tuesday that could become law by year's end. Unincorporated DeKalb already had smoking restrictions tougher than the statewide ban that took effect last year. In addition to outlawing cigarettes in parks, the measure removes exemptions for bars and adult entertainment venues. The DeKalb County Commission passed the ordinance 6-1, and it now goes to Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones.



"It's the most comprehensive clean indoor air act in Georgia," said Commissioner Burrell Ellis, the bill's sponsor. Ellis also sponsored the county's existing prohibitions, which banned smoking in restaurants and most other public places when it took effect in 2003.

Anti-smoking groups applauded the new restrictions. Eric Bailey, a manager with the American Cancer Society, said his group had met with Ellis over the past year in hopes of passing legislation that promised "100 percent" smoke-free air. He said the state prohibition that exempts bars is inadequate because it doesn't protect bar workers.

"There should be no exemptions," Bailey said.

Not so fast, Jones said.

He has until Nov. 3 to issue a veto, and he hinted Tuesday evening that he was contemplating one.

Jones said the legislation was "radical" because it applied to so many places, including county-owned parking lots. That could raise enforcement issues, he said. "I'm not going to have my police department to focus on patting down people in the parking lot who are smoking. There are more serious things" for them to do, he said. He said there are uncertainties in the law, like whether it applies to public rights of way at the end of driveways.

County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, who cast the lone vote in opposition, also cited enforcement as a concern.

The restrictions wouldn't apply to the cities in DeKalb, only the unincorporated areas.

The law will take effect 60 days after Jones approves it, if he chooses to do so.

The legislation would increase the fine. Currently, a first offense nets a maximum fine of $50. Under the new legislation, someone caught violating the smoking law could be fined $500 and would face a minimum fine of $100.

The only public places in DeKalb where the county won't ban smoking if this new prohibition becomes law are tobacco stores, property owned by other governments and rooms designated for smoking in hotels and motels. And, of course, people will still be allowed to smoke at home and in their cars.

Even if DeKalb doesn't approve these latest revisions, it will still be among two dozen jurisdictions with smoking prohibitions that exceed the state's. Smoking in restaurants is illegal in the county, but under state law there is an exemption for restaurants that maintain a separate smoking room with an independent ventilation system.

When Ron Wolf, an opponent of smoking bans, was told of DeKalb's latest effort, he said it wasn't possible for the county to be any stricter than it already was. "They already have one of the strictest laws in the state," said Wolf, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association. His response after he heard the details of the latest desired crackdown: "Wow, they really did go all out, didn't they."

Wolf said businesses should get to choose whether to allow smoking on their premises, and he said if there must be a ban it should be consistent statewide, so establishments aren't placed at a disadvantage with competitors in more lenient jurisdictions.

But one critical restaurant and bar owner in DeKalb County shrugged off the latest proposal.

Aaron Melton, owner of the Melton's App & Tap on North Decatur Road, said the county's first foray into anti-smoking legislation nearly four years ago cost him dearly, but said his business adapted and is largely immune to anti-smoking legislation now.

"For me, the damage

has already been done," said Melton, who estimates he lost $3,000

a week in revenue during the first year of DeKalb's smoking ban.

During that time, his smoking clientele drank at Decatur bars instead -- before that city banned smoking, too, he said. Melton said the loss of revenue forced him to close a new App & Tap in Decatur that wasn't yet on its feet. He also re-wrote the menu to attract more families looking for meals.

Melton said he still gets a

few smokers, but most either stay home or go elsewhere, where enforcement isn't an issue.

"Some of them go to bars that will look the other way," he said.

Philadelphia Bans the Sale of Blunts

November 1st, 2006 at 09:57 am

http://no-smoking.org/oct06/10-31-06-2.html


The city’s war on drugs yesterday became a war on blunts.

After a City Council hearing that was more an anti-drug public service announcement, the loose cigars available at most inner-city convenience stores and Chinese takeout joints — typically emptied out and filled with marijuana — may soon become illegal to sell.

Council’s Committee on Licenses & Inspections unanimously approved a bill yesterday to outlaw the sale of “loosies” and other drug paraphernalia, including cigarette wrapping papers. The full Council is expected to approve the measure next month.

“I think it sends the wrong message when you can get a blunt or rolling papers with your Now and Laters or Lemonheads or pretzel sticks,” said Stephen Clay, the medical director at the Gaudenzia drug treatment facility.

Clay said that those coming to Gaudenzia for treatment are asked to write a life story. Many, he said, start their stories at the age of 7 or 8, when they smoked their first blunt.

Activists say the blunts come in more flavors than soda and their easy availability on the streets helps lead to a feeling of “lawlessness.” Blunts are sometimes laced with PCP or cocaine, activists say, for an even greater high.

“It just seems outrageous what’s going on in the city,” said Councilwoman Joan Krajewski. “It is a serious problem plaguing our city.”

According to one major retailer, they would stop selling small packages of blunt cigars if the bill passed. The bill outlaws sales of cigars in packages of fewer than six, except by specialty tobacco shops.

“We have a long history of not selling items of that nature, especially the rolling papers and so forth,” said Lori Bruce, a spokesperson for Wawa. “We certainly will continue to work with City Council and comply with whatever it is that they mandate.”