¿Por qué nosotros no? Acción Ciudadana por la Salud y el cambio de la Ley Española de Tabaco


29/04/2012 XQNS

During the dinner celebration at the Palace Hotel, several Bayern Munchen leaders broke the Spanish smoke-free law by smoking inside the hotel:

“Then Franz Beckenbauer had already retired to his chamber. "I need a beer: I've been running 120 minutes," laughing, the honorary president of Bayern at the celebration. There was cold beer, served by waitresses dressed in traditional German Bavarian costumes, but it was a very special night and the executives of Bayern, at the head table, also tried some powerful cigars. Kaiser Beckenbauer gave away smiles, autographs, and photos while smoking a cigar. Also competing in the art of smoking was another German, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Both of them were violating the Spanish smoke-free law, much to the dismay of the hotel servers. “Of course it's prohibited, but some respect that and others do not", repeated one of them. EL PAIS, Spanish newspaper

Facing this fact, health professionals and members of the grassroots movement XQNS in defense of both public health and the Spanish smoke-free law are asking the ...

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... sports institution Bayer of Munich and its leaders to make a public apology, first to the hotel employees of Palace Hotel Madrid, then to all Spanish citizens who are exemplary in complying with this law, and especially Spanish young people who have witnessed a very bad example from Bayern Munich for this behavior.

It is NECESSARY for Bayern Munich and UEFA, a serious reflection and a public explanation for this significant event in such a prestigious football club.


23/04/2012 By Iulia Filip Courthouse News

Monsanto, Philip Morris and other U.S. tobacco giants knowingly poisoned Argentinean tobacco farmers with pesticides, causing “devastating birth defects” in their children, dozens of workers claim in court.

The farmers, on their own behalf and for their injured children, sued Altria Group fka Philip Morris Cos., Philip Morris USA, Carolina Leaf Tobacco, Universal Corporation fka Universal Leaf Tobacco Company, Monsanto, and their affiliates and Argentine subsidiaries, in New Castle County Court.

The farmers grow tobacco on small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell it to U.S. tobacco distributors. Most of Argentina’s tobacco is grown in Misiones, a rural northeastern province.

The farmers claim the tobacco companies asked them to use herbicides, pesticides and other toxic products made and distributed by Monsanto, and assured them the products were safe.

They say the defendants “wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would ...

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... cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”

Birth defects cited in the 55-page complaint include cerebral palsy, psychomotor retardation, epilepsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, metabolic disorders, congenital heart defects, Down syndrome, missing fingers and blindness.

The farmers claim Philip Morris and Carolina Leaf used a tobacco brokerage company, Tabacos Norte, to buy tobacco from the farmers and sell them crop production supplies, including herbicides and pesticides.

Tabacos Norte, based in Misiones, was created by Carolina Leaf and Philip Morris’ Argentine subsidiary in 1984, to produce tobacco fit for the North and South American markets, according to the complaint.

The farmers say the tobacco companies that bought their crops asked them to replace the native tobacco with a new type, used in Philip Morris cigarettes, which required more pesticides.

They say the defendants pushed for excessive use of pesticides and failed to warn them of the dangers or provide them with information or protective gear.

Most farmers in Misiones used Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide made by Monsanto, to kill weeds and clear tobacco fields, according to the complaint.

Monsanto and Philip Morris told them to use glyphosate frequently and in quantities beyond that necessary for effective weed control, the farmers say.

“Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers in Misiones, including the instant plaintiffs, lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup,” the complaint states.

“What is more, at all relevant times Tabacos Norte, the Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants did not recommend protective measures to farmers and their families in Misiones. In fact, aforementioned defendants actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides.

“At all relevant times, defendants were on direct and explicit notice that fruits, vegetables and farm animals designated for family consumption would be contaminated with pesticides including Roundup if contract farmers followed the defendants’ aggressive chemical application specifications for tobacco cultivation.”

Monsanto’s pesticides contaminated the farmers’ non-tobacco crops, water wells and streams meant for family use, exposing their families to the toxic substances, the farmer say.

“The plaintiff tobacco farmers’ lack of training and instruction on the safe disposal of unused Roundup and other pesticides caused further exposure,” the complaint states. “Leftover pesticides were discarded in locations where they leached into the water supply.”

The farmers claim their exposure to the pesticides caused their children’s birth defects.

They claim that Monsanto and the tobacco companies, “motivated by a desire for unwarranted economic gain and profit,” ignored health risks associated with pesticides.

The farmers seek compensatory and punitive damages for negligence, product liability, breach of warranty, ultra hazardous activity, aiding and abetting, willful and wanton misconduct and violations of Argentine laws.

Their lead counsel is Ian Connor Bifferato.



New Zeland moves to plain packs for cigarettes

21/04/2012 The Sydney Morning Herald

The New Zealand cabinet has agreed in principle to introduce plain packaging for all tobacco products in New Zealand, following a similar move in Australia.

The packaging will display only health warnings and the contact details for Quitline - the government-funded service helping smokers stub out, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says.

"Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable death and disease in New Zealand and we must be prepared to take bold steps towards achieving our goal," Mrs Turia said on Thursday.

"We have banned the open display of cigarette and tobacco packs in all dairies and other shops with effect from July 23 this year. Plain packaging is the next step to ensure that once they are in the hands and homes of smokers, the packs don't promote anything other than our serious health warnings and quit messages."

There will be a public consultation process on the proposed change, she added.

In December Australia will become the first country in the world to enforce plain packaging of tobacco products.

Lawyers ...

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... for British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philp Morris and Imperial Tobacco Australia told the High Court in Australia this week that plain packaging would extinguish their brands and logos.

US: NY: Bloomberg Calls for Residential Smoking Rules

20/04/2012 The New York Times

The owners of residential buildings would have to adopt smoking policies and disclose them to prospective apartment buyers and tenants, under a law proposed Wednesday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has made curbing smoking a cornerstone of his public health policy.

The bill would require buildings with three or more apartments — whether rental, condominium or cooperative units — to disclose whether smoking is allowed in all indoor and outdoor locations, including inside apartments, on balconies and rooftops and in courtyards.

Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference on Wednesday that he was proposing the bill because New Yorkers wanted to be protected from secondhand smoke. He insisted that the disclosure requirement would be strictly informational, and not a backdoor attempt to pressure landlords and buildings to ban smoking.

“We protect people from hurting themselves if they’re trying to jump off a bridge, we restrain them,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Should you really do it with smoking? We’re not going to do it with smoking, but we this is ...

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... purely an informational thing.”

The proposal, which calls for $100 fines for violators, received guarded but positive reviews on Wednesday from the real estate industry. Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said many rental buildings already had smoking policies, but that they usually applied to common areas like laundry rooms, not to apartments.

But Mr. Spinola said that by compelling buildings to come up with smoking policies, the bill raised issues that still had to be clarified, like who would be responsible for enforcing the rules and paying the fines, and whether the rules could be enforced.

“If somebody in management says to the person, ‘You’re not allowed to smoke here,’ and the person ignores it, what do you do?” Mr. Spinola wondered. “What is the role of the management of the building, or the owner or co-op board or condo association?”

Mr. Spinola said that preventing people from smoking in their own apartments would be particularly fraught. “I’m told there’s a gray legal issue as to whether or not you can impose that, and you probably can’t impose it on somebody who was already living in that apartment,” he said. “I’m told there’s never really been a precedent by a judge as to what you can and cannot do. There’s always been a legal settlement.”

The city’s 311 complaint hotline got 2,363 calls complaining about secondhand smoke in residences from July 15, 2011, through Sunday, city officials said. The draft bill says that more than 50 percent of adults living in apartment buildings in New York City have reported being exposed to secondhand smoke from neighboring apartments creeping through cracks and ventilation systems.

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, said Wednesday that she had not yet seen the bill, but that it would be sent to the appropriate committee for review.

The mayor’s statement compared the bill to laws already in effect requiring landlords to disclose lead paint hazards, or a history of bed bugs.

Australia: World watching tobacco case

19/04/2012 The Australian

As cigarette giant British American Tobacco said today's proceedings would act as a "test case" on the validity of the legislation, Ms Roxon said she was "very confident" the laws would stand up in court.

"We are very conscious that we are being watched around the world on this," Ms Roxon told ABC Radio.

"But ultimately this is a deliberate policy decision and we are following through with that by defending strongly the claims that are being made against tobacco companies in the High Court today."

She told the Seven Network: "I think big tobacco are just throwing everything at it because they are scared (plain packaging legislation) will be successful and they are scared it will be copied around the world".

Australia's landmark legislation will from December 1 force all cigarettes to be sold in olive-brown packets with no company logos.

Speaking outside the High Court before the proceedings began Ms Roxon said it would be an “interesting couple of days”.

“It is now in the hands of the High Court,” she said.

Ms Roxon said the ...

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... government stood by its legislation, and that it was “absolutely necessary” due to the massive toll smoking took on Australian lives.

“We have 15,000 Australians who die every year from tobacco related diseases,” she said.

“Tobacco is the only legally sold product in Australia that when it is used as recommended it kills.”

The legal challenge to the laws, which passed last November, is being mounted by tobacco giants British American Tobacco, Phillip Morris, Imperial Tobacco Australia and Japan Tobacco International.

They say the legislation breaches the Australian Constitution because it seeks to acquire property - in the form of brand names - without providing compensation.

"As a legal company selling a legal product we have continually said we will defend our property on behalf of our shareholders as any company would," BAT spokesperson Scott McIntyre said yesterday.

"We're very grateful that the High Court has facilitated the hearing to occur so quickly after we commenced proceedings in December 2011."

The government insists it is restricting the use of brand names and logos, not taking them over.

In submissions filed to the High Court earlier this month, the government rejected the tobacco companies' main argument.

"The argument is unsustainable," the commonwealth said.

"What an owner gains by registration of a trademark is relatively no more than a monopoly right to exclude others from using the mark without the owner's authority."

The submissions rebuked BAT Australia for downplaying the harm of tobacco.

The Coalition today said they supported plain packaging legislation however believed tobacco companies were free to make whatever challenge they saw fit.

Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis told Sky News: "We've made it clear that we support mandatory plain packaging".

"But that having been said the tobacco companies are perfectly entitled to assert their intellectual property rights in the High Court.''

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott later echoed Senator Brandis’ comments.

The Australian Online revealed earlier this month that Honduras and the Ukraine had both filed disputes against the government’s plain packaging laws to the World Trade Organisation.

In separate submissions, Honduras and the Ukraine - both tobacco exporters - complain the Australian laws are an unnecessary obstacle to trade.

They have requested consultations with the government over the legislation.

UK: Cigarette packet branding to face consultation

17/04/2012 BBC News

The government is considering plans to strip all branding from cigarette packs sold in England in a bid to make smoking appear less attractive.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the Times the government did not work with tobacco companies as it wanted them to have "no business" in the UK.

He said 5% of 11 to 15-year-olds were regular smokers and the habit led to nearly 100,000 deaths in the UK yearly.

The government is to launch its consultation on the issue on Monday.

Vending machine ban

In a statement, Mr Lansley said: "Smoking remains one of the most significant challenges to public health.

"Each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease.

"That is why the health ministers across the UK have a responsibility to look closely at initiatives that might encourage smokers to quit and stop young people taking up smoking in the first place.

"Through the forthcoming consultation we want to hear as many views as possible about whether tobacco packing ...

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... should remain unchanged, plain packaging should be adopted or a different option should be considered."

A ban on tobacco displays in large shops started earlier this month, and smaller shops will have to follow suit by 2015.

The move comes after bans on vending machine sales, increasing the age at which a person can legally buy cigarettes and the ban on smoking in public places.

'Attractive' packaging

Australia is currently the only country which has so far agreed to plain packaging.

Its ban starts at the end of this year, although it is subject to a legal challenge by manufacturers.

Packets will be a dark olive green, after the public was asked what the least attractive colour was.

Research published in Australia has suggested that cigarette packets have increasingly become an important marketing tool as restrictions on advertising and sponsorship have been brought in.

Mr Lansley told the Times he was open-minded, but that he believed attractive packaging helped recruit smokers from a young age.

More than 300,000 children aged under 16 in England try smoking each year, according to government figures.

The consultation will also examine if plain packaging could lead to a rise in cigarette packets being sold on the black market.

Mr Lansley said the tobacco companies used certain colours to trigger memories and their brands constituted a type of advertising.

"We don't want to work in partnership with the tobacco companies because we are trying to arrive at a point where they have no business in this country," he added.

Counterfeiting 'risk'

The consultation document is expected to suggest that branded tobacco packets create "smoker identity", with certain brands seen as "cool" and "popular", the paper reported.

It is also expected to say that tobacco firms use colours and logos to boost their profits.

The Tobacco Manufacturers' Association said it "welcomed" the consultation.

But Jane Chisholm-Caunt, secretary-general of the TMA, said: "There is no reliable evidence plain packaging will reduce rates of youth smoking.

"Smoking initiation in children is actually linked to a complex range of socio-economic factors including home life, peer pressure and truancy and exclusion from school."

And she warned plain packaging would only serve to make counterfeiting cigarettes easier.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest which runs the "Hands Off Our Packs" campaign, added: "The consultation on plain packaging threatens to be a farce.

"Andrew Lansley says he is open minded yet he clearly supports plain packaging even before the consultation has begun."

Smoking rates have fallen significantly since the link with cancer was established beyond doubt in the 1950s.

But it recent years the decline has slowed with the number of adult smokers hovering above the 21% for some time.

Ministers have promised to reduce this to 18.5% by 2015.

Disappointment on new spanish tobacco taxes

17/04/2012 Spanish Tobtaxy Group

On 30rd of March spanish government announces an increase on tobacco taxes. On factory-made cigarettes, the specific tax is increasing to EUR19.0 per mille from EUR12.7 per mille, but the ad valorem element of the duty is being reduced to 55% from 57%. Duty on pipe tobacco is being normalized with Fine Cut Tobacco and there are no changes proposed on the duty rate or structure on either Fine Cut or cigars.

As for my assessment, it's a rather dissapointing reform from the point of view of tobacco control. It's impact will be felt mostly on premium brands (i.e. brands for which the existing minimum tax of 116,9 € per 1000 cigarettes is not binding). Essentially this forces the less expensive brands in the premium tier to converge towards the more expensive brands within the tier (i.e Marlboro). This is reflected in a recent report from Morgan Stanley estimating that "all major brands will now retail for €4.00 or more compared with the prior situation where PM’s Marlboro was the only major brand selling for more than €4.00".

In my view cheap ...

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... cigarette brands will not be necessarily affected, since the 116,9 € per 1000 minimum tax has not been changed. Most importantly, no changes have been introduced to fine cut tobacco, so RYO remains as a cheap alternative for price sensitive consumers.

This reform is completely driven by industry lobbying. In December, a BAT executive called for a reform that reduced the ad valorem component and increased the specific component (leaving the rest of parameters unchanged) for cigarettes. This is exactly what the government has done. In a budget that seeks to restore public finances balance, it's very odd that the government has not raised the minimum tax on fine cut tobacco (taking now more than 5% of total tobacco sales). I think that the industry may have been effective in raising the ghost of smuggling fears (not by chance El Pais printed a long report on the smuggling activities around Gibraltar on the 23rd of March, days before the budget was announced).

Finnally the most popular cigarette brands increases their final price only 5% on average ( about 20 - 25 cents). So we´re afraid that the recommendations from the Spanish Tobtaxy group have not been taken into account.

The tobacco atlas of the world

11/04/2012 The guardian

Published by the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation, the tobacco atlas, looks at key indicators of the tobacco industry from cigarette consumption to the illicit share of the total cigarette market by country.

See how each country compares by clicking on the drop-down menu to view different indicators

More information


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