April 2012 | Cigarettes for Sale Online | Premium Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

States could see more tobacco payments this year

States are estimated to receive about 1% more in annual payments from tobacco companies this year than in 2011, offering more money will be available to return billions of dollars of municipal bonds, tobacco payments.
It is expected that the state will receive about $ 6.1 billion from tobacco companies this year, according to figures released by the National Association of Attorneys General. Last year they collected about $ 6.03 billion. Payments are made according to the 1998 settlement, the States agreed health-related claims against tobacco manufacturers.
Tobacco companies should make their annual payments on April 15, but will make their April 16 this year because April 15 falls on a Sunday. The amount actually collected may be somewhat different if some companies are unable to make payments in the past year, the default is 20 million dollars. Payments are based on U.S. consumption of cigarettes in the previous calendar year.
Cigarette consumption has declined faster than expected over the past few years, forcing Virginia, Ohio and California, to use the reserves last year to pay the investors who own tobacco bonds. It was not clear whether the slight tick in payments will be sufficient to capture the state of their reserves again.
Cigarette consumption fell by 3.5% in 2011 after declining by 3.8% in 2010 and 8.6% in 2009, according to industry research group Department of Science Associates. The companies that signed the 1998 agreement may hold some payments if they lose market share to other producers who have not yet signed. Companies are not required to hold a so-called “non-participating manufacturer adjustment,” but last year the three original signatories – Reynolds American Inc (RAI), Lorillard Inc (LO) and Altria Group Inc (MO) – continued, the money from the state.
Although the fee for that year was founded in 2011, cigarette consumption, not participating manufacturer adjustment of the three original signatories based on 2009 sales. Adjusting this year is about $ 780 million less than the approximately $ 825 million in the previous year, according to the Attorney General. Even if the consumption of cigarettes continues to decline, the less this year, the adjustment helps states with a small tick in the tobacco payments. Approximately $ 6.1 billion in tobacco payments is estimated this year includes setting.
The market share of signatories continues to grow. Their combined share amounted to 84.71% in 2011, the most since 2007, when the figure was 84.77%, in accordance with the Attorney General. The market share for companies that have not signed an agreement in 1998 was 5.65%, the lowest since at least 2003, according to the Attorney General.
Vikram Rai, a credit strategist at Citi, said that a small tick in the actual payments this year will be a plus for tobacco bonds, despite the short-date bonds could rally more. Furthermore, if the original signatories to continue to recover market share from companies that have not signed an agreement to adjustments in the future should be lower. Cautious investors have traditionally avoided because of the risk of tobacco bonds, while others were brought to their high yields. Tobacco bonds are generally more volatile than other municipal bonds, as well as offer juicy returns, although they also have the potential to outperform.
Later take into account the relationship of tobacco consumption is declining in more recent years, to turn to a more risk-averse investors. For example, Ohio, listed in a study in 2007 bond prospectus, which is estimated at 1.8% per annum reduction in cigarette consumption.
Forty-six states signed the 1998 agreement, and there is about $ 30 billion of tobacco bonds in circulation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Raising taxes on tobacco products could damage its export”

“Ray of Hope” in the bleak economic conditions in the country seems to be the most taxed agricultural products – tobacco – which showed a surprising almost 300 per cent increase in exports over the past two years.
Statistics published in the annual report of the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), shows that tobacco exports increased from four million pounds is phenomenal in 2009 to 14 million kg in 2011. There was also a marked increase in 2010, when exports rose to five million pounds, bringing foreign currency revenues of $ 36 million of the government. But he went spiraling up in 2011, when tobacco is the country’s exports totaled $ 105 million, a record increase in the export of PTB was established back in 1968.
Agricultural and trade experts expressed the view that the “key” for this extraordinary increase in tobacco exports was a “competitive price” of tobacco production in Pakistan.
However, they warned that any extravagant price increases on tobacco products in Pakistan will have serious negative consequences for the country’s exports of tobacco and can see the change of export potential of this new crop of tobacco country. “If prices go beyond a certain point, the yield would be uncompetitive and export of the peak,” they warned. Experts dealing with the theme of the harvest of tobacco and tobacco exports, when they wrote the opinion, said that as far as the domestic tobacco farmers, then they win because this is exported.
“These farmers are under the protection regime established pursuant MLO PTB-487, which is in place since 1985. Tobacco enjoy four unique protection under these rules, which guarantee that they will always receive the price of their products or equal to the previous year, or above, that “they pointed out.
“Now this is a unique provision of the law and has no analogues in any other product, industry or agriculture. Do short or excess production, the price of tobacco crop is not affected, and they continue stable and continues to grow every year,” they added. They also noted that tobacco is a unique culture, because the cigarette manufacturers to disclose and publish the requirements for the harvest season in October. This gives a clear idea of the farmers, most of the crops they should grow up in December, and they can manage their land holdings, respectively, changing crop pattern in accordance with their requirements.
“This phenomenon is healthy, because when properly handled this change in the structure of the harvest can always lead to the preservation and improvement of soil fertility,” agricultural experts. “Harvest Commissioner does declare that” the minimum price for tobacco, but almost always that we get 10 or sometimes even 15 percent more than a set of “minimum price” the government from tobacco companies, “said representatives of the manufacturers.
Another assurance that the Government proposes that these tobacco growers in the fact that 100 percent of its products must be purchased in the tobacco industry. “In this culture is perishable, farmers are forced to shift their product as fast as they can. But unlike the producers of other crops, which, if it hits the market access and the price gets destabilized, tobacco growers, do not bother to to run and find buyers because it is stipulated in the law that cigarette manufacturers are required by law to purchase all the surplus crops from farmers. Thus, it is a very comforting situation for us, “said representatives of tobacco manufacturers.
Now, according to economic experts, the price of tobacco products in Pakistan is comparable to regional and competitive prices in the international market. This pricing mechanism puts farmers here in Pakistan for the benefit of export crops as well. And that is why such a dramatic increase in tobacco exports has witnessed over the past three years, while tobacco exports have tripled over the next five years.
He was apprehended, that any change in pricing patterns can make a non-competitive prices, which could lead to a reduction in domestic consumption and exports. In the current scenario of any move to abolish the existing pricing mechanism only a disaster for tobacco growers, and will be hard to tip the scales created and maintained a successful system of pricing for the past many years.

Big Tobacco to pay the state $ 6.5 billion

The three largest U.S. companies, tobacco, said Monday they have paid a total of $ 6.5 billion this year in the states of the United States, unchanged since 2011, the 1998 national agreement, which obliges companies to help cover the health bills of patients smoking .
Altria (in MO.N) Philip Morris paid $ 3.5 billion, but the Marlboro-maker contests the $ 206 million of this amount and put the money on deposit. The national settlement, which involved the majority of states, is intended to equalize between the two companies which have signed it, and those who did not. Thus, payments to the signing of the companies reduced the amount of market share they lost to firms that did not participate in the settlement.
However, the participating tobacco companies for years have argued reductions were not large enough, and large companies have the amount they are challenged in the transaction. Reynolds American Inc (RAI.N), which makes Camel, had paid $ 1.9 billion and put $ 469 million it is dispute in the transaction.
Lorillard (LO.N), known for its Newport brand, said it paid $ 1.1 billion to $ 98 million of that amount to put into storage. States, counties and the city sold about $ 40 billion of bonds secured more than $ 200 billion of payments that cigarette manufacturers agreed to with the passage of time.
The National Association of Attorneys General last week estimated that the cigarette manufacturers would pay claims of $ 6.1 billion, compared with $ 6.03 billion last year. This figure does not include the disputed amount, and refers to the payment of all tobacco companies.
Last year, the top cigarette manufacturers, Philip Morris, Reynolds American and Lorillard, paid $ versus $ pure 5649000000 5727000000 in 2012. Nevertheless, the prospects for U.S. municipal bonds are only slightly better than tobacco, because sales of cigarettes decreased less steeply than expected, and the tobacco companies should pay a little more of in the national agreement.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Richard Larkin, Iselin, New Jersey director of credit analysis to HJ Sims, noting that the risk that cigarette sales could fall more in the next year. In addition, tobacco companies can win the right to preserve some of the billions of dollars they say they do not have states. The National Association of Attorneys General, whose members negotiated the 1998 settlement of a cigarette, said that the number of cigarettes sold fell only 2.9 percent compared with the expected decline of 3.5 percent.
In 2010, cigarette sales fell much steeper: 6.37 percent, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. In 2009 sales fell 9.3 percent, he said. California, Ohio, Virginia can get In contrast to the general sector respect of tobacco, however, the debt is sold in three states should benefit from the latest data.
This is because, Ohio, California and Virginia all have been identified in the reserves last year to pay off the bonds and higher payments this year may help to minimize the extent to which these three states will have to tap reserves, according to analysts.
Ohio sold $ 5.2 billion of tobacco bonds in the past year to bring about $ 8 million from the reserves, he said. This year, Ohio could avoid pushing reserve. Virginia has sold more than $ 1 billion in tobacco bonds, and this year, Larkin said that the conclusion is likely to be less than $ 1 million.
California has sold two bond issues of tobacco. Over $ 4.4 billion question, he had to leave about $ 7.7 million of stock last year. This year in California, probably still have to use reserve funds to make payments on these bonds – but only about $ 1.8 million, according to Larkin.
California has also sold another $ 3.1 billion of tobacco bonds, but this debt with the support of public spending so that its withdrawal from reserves of $ 5 million last year, was not so alarming, said Larkin. But Blake Anderson, managing director of the San Francisco group of high-Mesirow Financial, in warning that any market benefits are not sure what you need for tobacco bonds of these three states.
“Somehow, the market comes to realize that this is another factor entirely.” This is because the market of tobacco bonds and illiquid debt is so complex that significant research is needed to select the winners and losers, analysts said.
So far this year, tobacco bonds have largely been met as well as other high-yield municipal bonds, will benefit some growth in investor risk disappointment with the low yields offer a safe investment, analysts say. But these spotted, because prices vary depending on the size of the block, and the bid / ask spreads are usually wide. This makes the identification of trends.
The specific transaction, however, show high yields, which can be obtained with such a duty – and some of the recent tight spreads on AAA-scale data compiled by Municipal Market, part of Thomson Reuters.
For example, $ 1 million block of Golden State Tobacco Securitization California debt traded at a yield of 7.13 percent on April 16, according to EMMA, the database is created municipal securities rulemaking board. The issue, which matures in 2033, has a 5 percent coupon. December 15, 2011 block of 10 million dollars has changed to 8.06 per cent yield.
A similar pattern was observed with a certain debt of Virginia. $ 1 million blocks of tobacco bonds with a maturity of Virginia in 2047 and to 5 percent coupon traded on April 13 at 7.78 percent yield on EMMA. In contrast, more than $ 23 million block trading at 8.635 per cent return on December 7, 2011.

Batavia Downs adds 2nd smoking room despite state's anti-tobacco campaign...

One branch of New York state government is continuing its war on smoking this year while two other state-sanctioned entities have recently provided smokers with a gambling haven, complete with free, self-serve beverages.
The apparent hypocrisy has left anti-smoking advocates dumbfounded.
“I’m somewhat surprised and really alarmed. To have any part of our government involved in expanding smoking areas is mind-blowing,” said Michael Seilback, vice president for public policy and communications for the American Lung Association in New York.
In the current New York fiscal year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo budgeted for the state to spend $41 million to continue an anti-smoking campaign.
Meanwhile, Batavia Downs Casino in Genesee County recently spent $100,000 to provide smokers with a larger, nicer room in which to puff and gamble at the same time.
Batavia Downs is owned by Western Region Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. The casino’s 640 video gaming machines — including a total of 121 in two county-approved smoking rooms — are operated by the New York State Lottery.
Michael Kane, president and chief operating officer of Western OTB, said expanding one of the smoking rooms was simply a business decision that makes dollars and sense.
“You try to cater to your clientele,” Kane said. “As a former smoker I agree that it’s best if smoking is eradicated. The fact is, a lot of people still enjoy it.”
And those people who smoke and also like slot machines push the button faster on the gaming devices than non-smokers.
“Machines in the smoking rooms average 2½ to 3 times the play,” Kane said. “There’s no question the demand is there.
“We want to give people an option instead of going to Native American casinos where there are non-smoking areas but it’s the same air.”
The dollars and cents part of the equation is significant. Batavia Downs hauls in money for the state and the 15 counties within Western OTB’s region, plus the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Over the past 10 months, net revenues from gaming machines has averaged $3.35 million per month. From that $1.37 million went into the state education fund.
The more times a button is pushed on lottery gaming machines, the more money the state makes.“They’re trying to make people as comfortable as possible because they don’t want a smoker to go into nicotine withdrawal and then leave,” said Nelson Acquilano, executive director of the Counsel on Alcoholism and Addiciton of the Finger Lakes.
“The rule of thumb for any casino: keep them playing as long as possible,” Acquilano said. “The more they play, the more they lose. Anything combining smoking and gambling, from a public health perspective, is absurd.”
Anti-smoking advocates say providing a haven for smoking gamblers means it will be even more difficult for those people to kick the habit, should they choose to try.
“People who tend to have a compulsion are the least likely to quit,” said Patrick Reynolds, founder of The Foundation For A Smokefree America. “People who gamble have failed repeatedly at quitting smoking.
“In reality, the state is actually enabling them to continue to smoke, which will, in the long run, cost the state more money in health care costs.”
Officials for the New York State Lottery say Batavia Downs’ management is solely responsible for the smoking rooms. Lottery spokesperson Christy Calicchia, director of communications for the agency, declined to comment on the matter and referred all questions to Western OTB.
Of nine “racinos” in New York, only Batavia Downs has indoor smoking facilities. In 2003, the state banned smoking in the workplace, but the Clean Indoor Air Act gives each county health department the right to grant exceptions to the rule. Where there is no full-service health department, such as Ontario County, the state Health Department would make the decision.
Batavia Downs has received two of the 14 variances approved by the Genesee County Health Department. State law says a business must present a “compelling” need for a smoking area, such as an inability to survive without it.
“Our local board of health, for whatever reason, decided to allow waivers,” said David Whitcraft, acting Genesee County health director. “We’re a small county and people who own businesses do have a voice in government.”
Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack is in Farmington, Ontario County. While its gaming floor has nearly twice as many video slot machines as Batavia, approaching 1,200, there is no indoor smoking area.“The way the law is written, I don’t qualify in any way, shape or form,” said Chris Riegle, president and general manager of Finger Lakes Casino, referring to the requirement to demonstrate a compelling need.
There is no casino in Rochester, and Monroe County authorities won’t issue any waivers. Authorities say no one has been able to prove a real “need” for smoking.
In Genesee County, each waiver lasts two years, and then must be renewed. The Stumblin Inn in Elba, Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen and the Elk’s Club in Batavia are among 12 other businesses that have been granted a waiver.
At each business, the smoking area must be fully enclosed, and the pressure gradient must ensure smoke is filtered out through the exhaust system and will not flow out of the room when a door is opened.
Genesee County does benefit from the existence of the the OTB-owned casino and race track; the live harness racing season runs from late July into early December.
Genesee County received approximately $100,000 from OTB in 2011 from a surcharge on wagers as well as net revenue from operations.
The county also received $120,000 from the state from video slot proceeds to help pay for costs associated with “the incidental effects of gambling,” said county manager Jay Gsell.
Batavia Downs has had a county-approved smoking room since 2002. Today there are two rooms, the original space near the escalators at the main entrance with 61 gaming machines, and the new room at the rear of the gaming floor with 60 machines, Kane said.
Patrons on the non-smoking gaming floor are offered free coffee and soda from servers. To ensure no employee is required to enter the smoking rooms against their will, the new area has coffee and soda available inside.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tobacco group denounces 'Orwellian' restrictions

THE High Court hearings into the challenge against plain pack cigarettes have concluded with a tobacco industry lawyer describing the Government's defence of its measures as ''Orwellian''.
The new law excising trademarks and brand colours from cigarette packets at the end of this year has stirred anxieties in the tobacco industry about the blackout spreading worldwide.
Yesterday the New Zealand government said it planned to introduce plain packaging based on Australia's laws.
In the High Court, Gavan Griffith, QC, counsel for the makers of Camel cigarettes, alluded yesterday to George Orwell's novel 1984 - where Big Brother says ''love means hate'' - in accusing the Government of ''doublespeak'' over its edict to remove trade marks from cigarette packets.
While the plain packaging law would require the removal of trade marks from all cigarette packets, the Government has argued the prohibition on use would not weaken the companies' exclusive ownership of the trademarks.
But Dr Griffith said the plain packaging legislation established a ''fiction'' that the companies retained the rights to ownership of their registered trademarks, even though the law stopped the companies from using those trademarks.
The Commonwealth submitted the plain packaging act stated that the ''statutory assurance of exclusive use [of tobacco company trade marks] is not eroded.
''It is the freedom to use the trade marks that is reduced.''
The Commonwealth argues the law prevented ''this reduced usage undermining potential or continued registration [of trade marks] … ''
But Dr Griffith said such provisions, including the Commonwealth claim that in prohibiting the use of the trademark it had not removed an existing right to property, was empty.
''On our analysis, everything has been taken,'' he said.
Government sources are optimistic the legislation will survive the High Court case, saying the companies have failed to land a killer legal blow.
A decision on the measure may be months away.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Electronic Cigarettes May Help Smokers' Memory While They Kick the Habit

Electronic cigarettes -- battery-operated devices that provide nicotine via inhaled vapour -- may help the memory as well as ease cravings as smokers quit their habit. These are the findings of research presented April 18 at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference, held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London (18-20 April 2012).
Dr Lynne Dawkins of the University of East London conducted the research on 85 regular smokers (men and women). They were randomly given an e-cigarette with either nicotine or a placebo, or told to just hold the e-cigarette without using it. After five minutes of using the 'cigarette' as much as they wanted, participants completed a cravings and mood questionnaire. They repeated the questionnaire a further 20 minutes after using the e-cigarette. In addition, 60 of the participants completed a working memory task 10-15 minutes after using the e-cigarette.
The results showed that the e-cigarette with nicotine helped men more than women in terms of reducing their craving and improving their mood. The placebo e-cigarette was just as good as the nicotine e-cigarette for women. Those tested for working memory revealed that e-cigarettes with nicotine helped both men and women maintain working memory compared to those in the other groups.
Dr Dawkins said: "We were interested in exploring the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as relatively little research has been done. In terms of reducing cravings it is interesting to note the difference in effectiveness for men and women.
"Perhaps more significantly, we found that e-cigarettes with nicotine help maintain working memory in smokers who have not smoked for an hour or two. People who choose to stop smoking without using a nicotine substitute may therefore suffer a period during which their working memory levels dip until their bodies adjust to the reduced levels of nicotine. E-cigarettes seem to be effective at reducing this problem for men and women. However, in this study we did not look at the issue of whether people feel self-conscious about using the devices in public."
The Electronic Cigarette Company provided e-cigarettes for this research. It did not provide financial sponsorship or incentives for the research, other than a small grant to allow the researchers to travel to the conference to present these findings.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oklahoma's tobacco-using military veterans will be urged to quit ... but they don't have to

Tobacco-using veterans living at one of the seven state-run centers in Oklahoma will be asked to give up their habits in the near future but likely won't be forced to leave their residences if they don't quit, according to a letter sent on behalf of Gov. Mary Fallin to the War Veterans Commission.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said several veterans called the governor's office after they learned that all state facilities would become tobacco-free by early August. The governor signed an executive order Feb. 6, declaring that all state-owned properties would become tobacco-free within six months.
That includes veterans centers, where roughly 20 percent of the residents smoke or use other forms of tobacco.
Many of them started smoking while they were in the military. Many claim they were encouraged to smoke to remain vigilant and slender while they served. And many claim they were given cigarettes in their rations by the federal government.
‘Special circumstances'Weintz said these “special circumstances” have led to a clarifying of the executive order, which he says is supposed to give different state agencies more leeway when it comes time to implement the changes.
“There has certainly been some confusion about the governor's executive order,” he said. “The governor's intent is certainly not to kick veterans out of these centers or do anything unreasonable.
“We also know that many of these veterans started smoking while they were in the service, and that's certainly something we're sensitive to.”
A letter from the state's general counsel, Steven K. Mullins, tells the commission exactly what is expected over the next three years.
According to the letter, the War Veterans Commission has until the end of the year to submit a plan to implement Fallin's tobacco-free executive order.