Walmart Correctly Stops Selling Cigarettes In Several States

One does not often find Caffeinated Politics saying anything positive about Walmart. But even here, it needs to be noted when that company promotes a positive policy.

I was delighted to learn that Walmart is no longer selling cigarettes, or soon to be no longer selling these cancer sticks, at select stores in Arkansas, California, Florida and New Mexico. As I write it could not be confirmed the number of stores to be impacted by this healthy move or the time frame in which it will occur. But this is a sign of where they are heading nationally.

I firmly believe retailers need to stop selling tobacco products, so this news from Walmart is a good sign of progress being made due to public pressure.

When I first read about this story it was noted in the newspaper that Walmart had decided to use the space more efficiently at stores no longer selling cigarettes. (I await the perfect line to place here as a suggestion.)

I come from the perspective that the nation’s largest (regrettably) retailer simply needs to set higher standards as it interacts with those who shop their stores. It is not credible to sell known cancer-causing items while on the other end the giant stores also offer pharmacy services. I get it that some of their customers would never pick up on the hypocrisy of such sales, but it is not lost on those across the nation who weighs in with a judgment call.

And those social voices are making an impact.

Just as they did when pushing Walmart–repeatedly–to stop selling tobacco products to customers under the age of 21.  Walmart correctly made the call to end those sales several years ago. The drift of young males in certain socio-economic groups to chewing tobacco has also been a growing concern. But here, too, Walmart did the right thing by no longer carrying smokeless tobacco.

Such positive news for better health and lower medical costs for those who would be likely impacted by a wide array of ailments from tobacco can not be overstated. The steps Walmart is taking–though slow and stodgy–still is a positive move in the only direction we can head.

And so it goes.

Way To Go CVS–No More Cigarette Sales In Their Stores

This is the type of news I like to wake up to in the morning.  Can you just hear the wailing of the tobacco lobby??  HA!

CVS is kicking its cigarette habit, stubbing out a rich and addictive source of revenue in hopes of finding healthier returns elsewhere. The company announced that it would stop selling all tobacco products in all its 7,600 or so stores by October, saying the products conflict with its goal of helping people stay healthy. It won’t even sell e-cigarettes, which are purported to be less harmful than traditional smokes.

“Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose,” CVS Chief Executive Larry Merlo said in a statement. By the company’s estimate, the decision to drop tobacco means it will forgo about $2 billion in annual revenue, around 1.5 percent of total sales.

Cigarette Butts Are Litter, Illinois To Crack Down With Hefty Fines


One thing more than any other nags at me.  When driving the sight of a cigarette butt being tossed from a car window makes me urge to honk my horn at the offenders, or when walking around the city the flick of a butt onto the sidewalk from a smoker makes me want to turn and ask if that is how his/her parents instructed them to act.  There is no other group more inclined to litter than cigarette smokers, and frankly for the majority of people who do not smoke we think it time for this to end.

That is exactly what Illinois hopes to have happen when a new law goes into effect on January 1st.   Tossing a butt on the ground in Illinois will be considered littering, and hefty fines will follow if you’re caught.  As it should be.

In the new year tossing a butt the first time is a class B misdemeanor, complete with a fine of up to 15 hundred dollars.  The second time, the fine’s the same but the charge is bumped up to a class A misdemeanor.  The third time you could do one to three years in jail and pay up to 25-thousand dollars.
No one should expect to get away with littering, but smokers feel they are somehow separate from the rest and continually toss aside their cigarette butts for others to pick up.  That must end, and I am really glad that not only did Illinois pass a law, but put some teeth into it so to make it mean something.
Not  only are butts unsightly but also contribute to costs for local units of government.
The nonprofit Keep America Beautiful indicated cigarette butts are the most common type of litter and accounted for 40 percent of all roadway litter in 2009. In a 2011 study, the journal Tobacco Control estimated small-city costs for removing cigarette butts is nearly $3 million a year; for larger cities and urban areas, the cost jumps to $15 million annually.

Bob Schieffer Tackles Herman Cain Over Smoking Ad “It Sends The Signal That It’s Cool To Smoke”

It was an admirable performance by Bob Schieffer  this morning on “Face The Nation” when the CBS host took off after Herman Cain for one of the most unsettling ads that has been foisted on the American public this election cycle.  Someone needed to confront Herman Cain and tell him that smoking is a dreadful health hazard, costs untold millions of dollars in health care each year, and claims far too many lives due to a whole host of diseases.

I am shocked Cain is not aware of this already.  But from Cain’s campaign ad that was released last week it is clear the candidate needs more information.

Bob Schieffer delivered the news to him this morning.

CBS host Bob Schieffer on Sunday made no secret of his distaste for the Herman Cain web ad that has gone viral, upbraiding the Republican presidential candidate on “Face the Nation” for celebrating smoking.

Cain refused to take the ad down when Schieffer pressed him, but under pressure from the moderator the former pizza baron encouraged those watching not to smoke.

Schieffer started off the testy exchange by demanding to know the point of the ad.

“One of the things within this campaign is, let Herman be Herman,” Cain said. “Mark Block is a smoker, and we say, let Mark be Mark. He doesn’t deny that he’s a smoker.”

Schieffer asked if Cain smokes.

“No, I’m not a smoker,” he said. But I don’t have a problem if that his choice…This wasn’t intended to send any subliminal signal whatsoever.”

But it does,” Schieffer told him. “It sends the signal that it’s cool to smoke.”

“No, it does not,” Cain shot back. “Mark Block smokes. That’s all that ad says. We weren’t trying to say it’s cool to smoke.”

Cain said he admires Block, who is his campaign chief of staff, for not smoking around him or anyone else in the office. He said he always goes outside to smoke.

“He smokes on television,” Schieffer said, refusing to let up. “Was it meant to be funny?”

“It was meant to be informative,” Cain said.

“Let me just tell you, it’s not funny to me,” Schieffer said, noting that he is a cancer survivor. “I don’t think it serves the country well, and this is an editorial opinion here, to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. You’re the frontrunner now, and it seems to me as frontrunner you would have a responsibility not to take that kind of a tone in this campaign. I would suggest that perhaps as the frontrunner you’d want to raise the level in the campaign.”

“We will do that, Bob, and I do respect your objection to the ad,” Cain said. “Probably about 30 percent of the feedback was very similar to yours. It was not intended to offend anyone. Being a cancer survivor myself, I am sensitive to that sort of thing.”

Schieffer asked Cain if he’s thought about taking the ad down: “Why don’t you take it off the Internet?”

“Once you put it on the Internet, it goes viral,” Cain said. “It’s nearly impossible to erase that ad from the Internet.”

Schieffer asked Cain if he would tell people it is not cool to smoke.

“I will have no problem saying that,” Cain said.

“Well, say it right now,” Schieffer said, pressing him.

Cain looked to the camera.

“Young people of America, all people, do not smoke,” he said. “It is hazardous and it’s dangerous to your health.”

“Don’t smoke. I never smoke, and I have encouraged people not to smoke,” he added.

“And it’s not a cool thing to do,” Schieffer said, prodding him along.

“It is not a cool thing to do,” Cain said. “That’s not what it was trying to say.”

Herman Cain As Washington Lobbyist Was Ally Of Cigarette Makers, Fought Lowering Blood-Alcohol Limits, Opposed Minimum Wage Increase

I find the closer scrutiny of Herman Cain interesting.  Now that the media is starting to ramp up the coverage of the back-story concerning Herman Cain the public doubts will set in, and his poll numbers will start to move south.   Cain was once able to fly under the radar–but no longer.  That is the nature of press attention to candidates who start to trek upwards in the polls.

When Mr. Cain took the helm of the restaurant association, anti-drunken-driving groups were waging a campaign to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent — a change that restaurant owners feared would hurt liquor sales. In an opinion article in his local newspaper, The Omaha World-Herald, Mr. Cain called instead for stiffer penalties for drunken driving — an argument that drew a pointed rebuke from Diane Riibe, a board member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.       

“Mr. Cain and those he represents are in the business of selling alcohol,” Ms. Riibe wrote, “not saving lives.”       

Anti-tobacco groups were also upset with positions he advocated. Because the cigarette makers had a less than stellar image, they often built lobbying partnerships with other industries.       

Under Mr. Cain’s leadership, the restaurant association opposed higher taxes on cigarettes and the use of federal money to prosecute cigarette makers for fraud — positions that Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said had little to do with the restaurant business.       

And Mr. Cain argued vociferously that the decision about whether to go smoke-free was the province of individual restaurant owners, not the government. “The restaurant industry literally became the alter ego of the tobacco industry during that period of time,” Mr. Myers said in an interview.       

The restaurant association relied heavily on R. J. Reynolds for financial support, records show. Mr. Meyne, the Reynolds senior director of public affairs, served on the restaurant group’s board, and Mr. Cain served on the board of Nabisco, which had earlier merged with Reynolds.       

Cutting Down On Smoking In Iraq?

Good for them.

But following the lead of New York, London, Paris and scores of other Western cities, Iraqi lawmakers are now trying to push smoking to the margins of public life here, to the frustration of many of their constituents.

On Sunday, they are set to consider a law that would ban smoking from schools, universities, government offices and a wide range of private businesses, including restaurants and cafes. Billboards advertising cigarettes, which wallpaper commercial districts of Baghdad, would be outlawed. And cigarette companies would be forced to print harsher warning labels.

“This is an important issue,” said Jawad al-Bazouni, a member of Parliament’s Health Committee, which is pushing for the restrictions. “The citizen can complain to the smoker. He will get the law on his side, and it will be reflected in the public health.”

Wisconsin Needs A Smoking Ban In Workplaces

Smoking in a public place is like peeing in a motel swimming pool.  There just is no reason to do it.  There is also no way to contain the ‘ick’ from the offenders.

It is only proper that Wisconsin take the next step that many individual communities have done, and prohibit smoking in workplaces.  Those of us who live in places like Madison where smoking is not allowed in bars and restaurants fully appreciate the smoking ban.  The dire consequences that so many loudly projected about economic doom and gloom never came to pass.  Instead what we learned  was that those establishments with poor business practices and shaky balance books needed to re-examine the rationale for staying in business.  Blaming the lack of smokers coming to their business may have felt good, but it was not an honest appraisal of why they floundered.

Various states have made the correct decision and decided to place the health of residents over that of the tavern leagues and business organizations who have a more myopic point of view.  It is time that the Wisconsin Legislature keep the train running on the fast track in regards to placing a statewide smoking ban in place.

There is a never a good time to take any action that runs counter to the wishes of the Wisconsin Tavern League.  They will make every effort to delay and modify a tough no-nonsense anti-smoking  bill into a thin watery gruel of meaningless legislation.  It is imperative that the smoke ban proponents not relent or blink.  The state residents are ready for the ban, and it appears that the State Legislature has the backbone to do what is needed.

Lets roll!  (But not a cigarette.)