Beware Secondhand Rhetoric on Cigarette Taxes

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. tobacco industry enjoyed tremendous success in beating back tobacco tax increases at all levels of government. But as the industry becomes ever more reviled and the economy goes further in the tank, raising cigarette taxes has become a much easier political proposition. Twelve states raised their cigarette tax in 2007 and 2008, with proposed legislation to do the same in 17 more states, as of February 2009. The federal government recently approved a tobacco tax increase of almost 62 cents per pack. When it goes into effect on April 1, it will bring the total federal tax on a pack of cigarettes to $1.00, to help fund the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Before Blackwater Had Xe, PM Had NewCo

First of all, we want our name changed from 'cockroach' to 'companion beetle.'After years of bad press over no-bid contracts and massacres of Iraqi civilians, the private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide has changed its name to the cryptic "Xe" (pronounced "Zee"). In an eerily similar move, disgraced sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide announced that its new name is the smooth-sounding "Bank of America Home Loans." Rounding out the triumvirate of chameleons, Baghdad's Abu Ghraib Prison, made infamous worldwide for the torture and abuses perpetrated inside its walls by both Saddam Hussein and the U.S. government, is changing its name to "Baghdad Central Prison."

Kids Who Watch R-Rated Movies More Likely to Smoke

A four-year study of more than 1,200 youngsters performed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that children whose parents let them watch R-rated movies are more likely to smoke. Participants were in sixth grade when they started the study, and researchers interviewed them a total of eleven times over the course of the study. They were asked questions about the availability of cigarettes in their home, whether smoking was allowed in their home and whether their parents let them watch R-rated movies and videos.


Thin Veil of "Patriotism" May Extinguish Chinese Cigarette Billboards

Pedestrians pass by "Love our China" cigarette billboard (from Shenzhen Daily)Patriotic billboards around Shanghai, China carry the Chinese expression for "Love our China." The message, however, uses a variation for the word China, "Chungwa," which happens to be identical to the name of a


Thank You for Using Our [Fill in Name of Dangerous Product Here]

Happy hourThe Australian alcohol industry is taking a leaf from the tobacco industry and has promised to voluntarily devote ten percent of its advertising space to promoting web sites that discourage binge drinking, particularly among youth.



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