More Severe Steps Help to Reduce Smoking Rate

Monday, June 21, 2010
Usually cigarettes makers try to target youth into starting smoking with their advertisings. But recently a group of targeted youth has brought good results in aiding to reduce the smokers’ number in South Dakota to a matchless low of 17.5 percent, according to a recent study from the South Dakota Department of Health.

“We are actively educating the young children in our institution. Recently, the high school has received grants of $20,000 to supply anti-smoking programs in the schools. The Yankton Tobacco Coalition attempts to help out more as a method going into the Boys and Girl’s Club every month to help informing more children to say NO and to learn how to say NO,” declared Joan Hochstein, Yankton Tobacco Coalition chairperson and pulmonary and respiratory therapist.

Hochstein argued that the highest growing parts of new smokers in the state are young people — some of them are as young as fourth and fifth grade.

Health experts observed that each day more than 4,000 people under 18 try the taste of their first cigarette. They explained that the tobacco company needs to supply 5,000 new young smokers every day for to maintain the whole number of smokers.

But the Department of Health and Human Services showed that 90 percent of smokers start smoking before age 20, and 50 percent of smokers try their first cigarette by age 14, and 25 percent begin their smoking habit by age 12.

“When we speak to the kids, they confess that they have seen peers smoking — they know it is going on. The tobacco companies are making a big effort to try to get the kids as young as they can because the younger they start their smoking habit, the harder it is to quit, because as it is know nicotine is an addiction and it takes both time and more money for to quit,” she added.

In general, a quit smoking attempt is considered successful once 12 months have lived without cigarettes. Statistics show that only approximately 5 percent of people who quit on their own are still abstinent a year later.

“Tobacco prevention and control is a priority in our country, and it’s paying off. So, fewer people who smoke mean fewer people suffering or even dying from smoking-related illnesses. Also state anti-smoking programs will save millions of dollars in future health care costs,” said Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health.

Researchers concluded that the adult smoking rate in South Dakota has decreased more than 21.5 percent since the Department became the lead agency for state tobacco control efforts in 2001.

America to Stop Tobacco Smuggling

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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As cigarettes taxes are larger-than-life and smokers are trying to save every dollar they have in difficult times of economic downturn, tobacco traffic is spreading with giant speed. However, officials aspire cracking down illicit sales to generate revenue for cash-strived budgets, the Financial Times wrote.

New York, Florida, Rhode Island, Maryland and Virginia joined forces to launch new and drastic law-enforcement measures to halt smuggled cigarette sales and collect additional revenues.
stop smoking

Researches demonstrate that state budgets are missing almost $6 billion each year in lost taxes due to bootleg cigarette sales, according to Adrian Owen, deputy head of the tobacco-diversion department of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explained to the Financial Times.

Rhode Island Head of Taxation Division Mark Walker said that his state lacks millions in lost taxes each year and added that they want local smokers to comply with state laws.

With states looking at sin taxes to help balancing budgets and avoid closing or cutting programs, authorities are not simply trying to halt bootlegging, but also are considering amending current regulations or approving new laws, which would require online cigarette sellers to add excise taxes to their tax-free cigarettes.

Speaking about cigarette smuggling schemes, officials suspect gangs, organized crime and even multinational syndicates. Therefore, majority of states are cooperating with federal agencies to track and halt smuggling. The division that tracks retail cigarette stores to guarantee compliance with laws and correct tax collection admitted that during the last six months it has performed confiscations at 160 stores, what is three times more than during the same period in 2008.

The difference between cigarette taxes among the states contributed to smugglers purchasing smokes on a legal basis in states with lower taxes and then smuggling cigarettes and reselling them in areas where taxes are much heftier, making also counterfeit tax stamps and cigarettes.

During a recent investigation in Virginia, ATF agents and local police officers detained two individuals and accused them in compact with an undercover police agent to exchange cocaine for untaxed, smuggled cigarettes. The ATF reported that the charged men wanted to smuggle cigarettes to New York and sell them there. New York is home to the nation’s highest cigarette taxes, making up $4.25 per pack.

According to ATF, smugglers use water, air and land vehicles to transport cigarettes from Virginia and North Carolina to northern states with the highest taxes.

A new smoking ban in Greece

Monday, July 6, 2009

Greece is the Europe’s biggest smoking nation which attempt to ban smoking in public places many times. And that’s why Greece will impose a tobacco ban in public places on July 1st in its third attempt in a decade to stamp out the bad habit.

Smoking Ban sign

Smoking was already prohibited in hospitals only but it was not prohibited in public places. The attempt to cut down on public smoking is the third this decade, after legislation passed in 2002 and 2003 outlawing smoking in public places was largely ignored. Greeks are the biggest smokers in Europe and smoking is deeply integrated into their social life.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Greek Health Minister, explained: ''There will be ups and downs in Greece with this law and we don't want to hunt smokers but the habit of smoking. We want smokers on our side".

He added: "Our society is more ready than ever to embrace this new anti-smoking legislation". Statistics show that about 20,000 Greeks die as a result of smoking each year. Researchers found that approximately 40 percent of Greek adults smoke daily, the highest rate in Europe where the overall average is 30 percent.

Under the new regulation, individuals that smoke in public places can be fined up to 500 Euros (about $700 USD). Bar owners face fines ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 Euros ($1,400 to $28,300 USD), and risk losing their operating licenses for a fourth violation.

George Dimolianis, scuba descend instructor and former smoker said that: "It’s very good and they should have done it earlier … Non-smokers can’t go anywhere because everyone smokes and there are no places for non-smokers."

Evagalleia Tsampani, a smoker and owner of hotel, said that she thinks no Greek will succeed the law and she doesn’t believe that anyone is going to come to check on her business. A 2007 survey found the number of smokers in Greece had risen 10 per cent in a decade while other developed nations were kicking the habit.

Smoking Ban Could Kill the Bar Owners Business

Monday, June 22, 2009
Anti-smoking researchers consider that smoking cigarettes is as a kiss of death. But for bars owners the kiss of death is smoking ban, because it could kill their business.

For example a bar owner, Saul Lemke invested a large part of his retirement in opening Bucky's Grill and Pub this spring. Now, he is afraid he will lose it all because of the new smoking legislation.
Smoking Ban and bar owners
His customers like to smoke cigs while they drink, so Westfield's proposal to prohibit smoking in all public places could kill his business, he explained.
Mr. Lemke added: "We may be the shortest-lived business in the history of Westfield."

But for every person who agreed with Lemke, there were two who did not, according to City Council President Ken Kingshill's conversation.

"My interpretation is that the great response in the community has been for a comprehensive ban," said Kingshill, the ordinance's sponsor.

About 70 people were in the audience, they came for to decide the smoking cigarettes fate. About 20 people spoke, a number Kingshill considers low. The City Council, which received close to 200 e-mails about the ban, will likely debate the issue again at its next conference. It has not set a date to vote on the proposal.

Four of the seven council members opposed the new legislation when Kingshill introduced it last month. They thought banning smoking in places such as restaurants, bars, offices and eight of every 10 hotel rooms were imposing too much government.

Other members said that they would support a ban if the public wants it.
Some suggested that a less limited ban, "people could still smoke in bars that serve people over 21", will be better for smokers and bar owners who want to increase their business.

Kingshill said the ordinance was designed to protect those who work in smoke-filled businesses. Having the right to make their own choices was a key point for people on both sides of the issue.

Mary Ake, a city inhabitant who supports the ban explained: "There will still be a choice for people in Westfield. You can go outside, and you can smoke in your home."
She added that smokers take away nonsmokers' right to enjoying activities, such as going to a concert at a bar.