Daily Archives: March 31, 2009

More and More Tobacco Markets appear in Asia

In Asian countries anti-smoking researchers found a lot of illegal cheap cigarettes advertisings, promotions and sponsorships, and even cigarette firms look to the region for profitable new markets.
Some 60 percent of the world’s population and about 65 percent of young people live in Asia, making it a money-spinning area for tobacco companies who have seen demand fall in developed countries.
Yet despite most countries in the region having ratified a World Health Organization convention on tobacco control, enforcement of advertising bans is patchy, allowing embrasures to be exploited.
Doctor Pankaj Chaturvedi, a Mumbai-based cancer surgeon and member of the Action Council against Tobacco India lobby group, welcomed steps to ban smoking in public places and to outlaw direct advertising by tobacco firms.
But indirect, or “surrogate,” advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco companies for non-tobacco products or events was still a “very big issue” and needed to be implemented, he said.
The practice - such as producing fashion lines under the company name - keeps the tobacco product in the public mind and “legitimises” it, Chaturvedi told AFP at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health.
Chaturvedi called realization and enforcement of laws against obscure tobacco advertising in places like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Greater public awareness about the dangers of smoking was needed, while litigation against illegal tobacco advertising would act as a deterrent to firms trying to flout the law, researchers added.

Cigarette Price Increase

Recently the cigarettes prices were raised. Altria Group Inc raised the price of Marlboro and other cigarettes by 71 cents to 81 cents per pack, in spite of this the cost of the high-end smokeless tobacco brands were lowering.
In February, President Barack Obama signed a law expanding a health program to include 3.5 million uninsured children. The expansion is being paid for by raising the federal tax on cigarettes to $1 per pack from 39 cents per pack. Taxes on cigars and other tobacco products will also rise.
The latest increase comes after Philip Morris, the largest U.S. cigarette maker, raised prices by about 9 cents per pack in February.
The company, which is owned by Altria, is now raising prices by 71 cents per pack on brands including Marlboro, Parliament, Virginia Slims and Esse Slims. Other brands, such as Benson & Hedges and Merit, will see an increase of almost 81 cents per pack.
Altria’s John Middleton cigar business is raising prices by 41 cents per pack for a five-pack of cigars immediately.
Instead of the cigs increases, smokeless tobacco prices will go down. Altria made these changes for to decrease U.S. cigarette markets. For example Altria, which wants its smokeless brands to be seen as a better value versus competitors, is lowering the list price on Skoal and Copenhagen by 62 cents per can and the price of Red Seal by 27 cents per can. However, the lower-priced Husky brand will get an increase of 20 cents per can. Altria is also discontinuing the Rooster brand.

Demographic and smoking related characteristics

Nearly all the Chinese sample (95.2%) were of Han ethnicity. Other sample
characteristics are shown in table 1. The respondents were overwhelmingly male, and
most smoked only factory-made cigarettes (93.8%).
As in China, the vast majority of Thai sample were male, while the proportion of male
smokers was about 54% in both Australia and the US, reflecting the low smoking
prevalence among women in China and Thailand. Young people aged 18-24 were
notably under-represented in both the Chinese and the Thai samples. The age
compositions of the Australian and American samples were comparable. Due to the
differences in economic development and educational systems across the four
countries, only relative levels of income and education were used. The Thai sample
had more roll-your-own smokers especially compared to China and the USA, and the
Thais also smoked fewer cigarettes per day.

Measuring awareness of tobacco advertising and promotional activities

In addition to demographic and smoking related information, relevant questions measuring awareness of tobacco advertising and promotional activities were included. At the beginning of “advertising” section of the survey the respondents were asked about the overall salience of pro-smoking cues: “In the last 6 months, how often have you noticed things that are designed to encourage smoking or
which make you think about smoking?” The smokers were then prompted to recall if they had noticed advertisements in a range of specific locations or media, including 5 common to all countries: on TV, radio, posters/billboards, newspapers and in stores.
The measures used from this were either a total of the 5 where advertising was seen,
or a binary, seen-any variable. Noticing at point of sale was also measured in all
countries. There were also questions about awareness of sports and arts sponsorships
(with a combined measure for noticing either); and an index created from responses to
whether a respondent reported noticing any of the following four types of promotion:
free samples of cigarettes, gifts/discounts, branded clothing or competition. Two
overall indices of awareness across all three types of marketing were computed: ‘total
noticing advertising, sponsorship and promotion in any channel,’ and ‘total number of
channels of noticing’. In addition, smokers were asked to indicate whether they agree
with the following statement: “Tobacco companies should be allowed to advertise and
promote cigarettes as they please.” The survey questions were carefully translated and
back translated and checked to ensure conceptual identity of questions across
languages.

Tobacco Control in China

Banning tobacco advertising and promotion is an important part of the effort to curb the tobacco epidemic. Comprehensive advertising bans reduce tobacco consumption whereas partial bans have little or no effect. Article 13 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) states that each Party to the Convention shall “undertake a comprehensive ban or, restrict tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship on radio, television, print media and, as appropriate, other media, such as the internet”. Some countries have enacted comprehensive advertising bans and positive impacts have been reported. The aim of this study was to compare smokers’ awareness of tobacco advertising and promotion in China, with levels in Thailand and Australia (countries with strong policies), and with the United States (which has weak policies). This provides an indication of China’s relative progress towards eliminating this activity.

Swedish Match Hires Motorbike Champ Rickardsson for East Europe

Swedish Match AB, the Swedish maker of smokeless tobacco, hired former world speedway champion Tony Rickardsson to head its eastern European operations, marrying two of Sweden’s favorite pastimes: snuff and motorcycle racing.

Smoke break gets more expensive with tax boost

However they satisfy their nicotine cravings, tobacco users are facing a big hit as the single largest federal tobacco tax increase ever takes effect Wednesday.

Explain delay in pic warning against tobacco

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on the allegations of an NGO that the government under pressure from the “tobacco lobby” was dragging its feet on issuing statutory pictorial warning on cigarette and tobacco products.

Somali Islamists ban khat and cigarettes

The Islamists authority in Dhobley town at the border between Somalia and Kenya Sunday announced a total prohibition of miraa (khat) chewing and cigarette smoking in the area.