Cigarette-smuggling: The urge to smurf | The Economist

November 26, 2012
THE busy interstate highway that zips through Richmond, Virginia, and up to the crowded cities of the north-east has long been a conduit for handguns bought wholesale in Virginia and sold to drug-dealers in New York. Now I-95 is siphoning northwards another form of contraband: black-market cigarettes.

Because Virginia’s tobacco tax is the second-lowest in America, gangsters buy cigarettes there in bulk and sell them at enormous profit in New York and other high-tax states. At a minimum, they pocket a big chunk of the difference between what Virginia adds in tax—30 cents a packet—and the higher rates imposed elsewhere. New York’s tax, at $4.35 a packet, is the highest in the country.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that sales of illegal cigarettes cost government—local, state and federal—nearly $10 billion a year. For the smugglers, profits are better than those from cocaine, heroin, marijuana and guns, according to a report in September by the Virginia State Crime Commission. Moreover, the penalty for doing it—a maximum of five years in jail, under federal law—is considerably lighter than for selling drugs. If the smugglers were trafficking in heroin, they would face life in prison.
The growth of the cigarette-resale racket, known to police as “smurfing”, appears tied to a growing government appetite for cash. Since 2007 at least 27 states have raised their cigarette taxes, often to erase deficits or to cover sharp increases in health-care costs. This spurs the smugglers on. In New Jersey, where a packet of cigarettes carries a tax of $2.70, about 40% of all cigarettes are smuggled in from other states, according to the New Jersey Treasury Department. Maryland, Virginia’s neighbour to the north, reported a fourfold increase in seizures of illegal cigarettes between 2010 and 2012, though one official described the haul as the tip of the iceberg.
Virginia, a big tobacco state since colonial times, has recently declared it illegal to buy and possess, with intent to sell elsewhere, more than 5,000 cigarettes. That may sound a lot, but they are easy to miss. Smugglers can niftily get 600 cartons (that is, ten packs of 20 cigarettes) into a car, and 12,000 into a large van. When gun-running was at its peak, I-95 was known as the “iron highway”. Now it is the new Tobacco Road.


Chinese Primary Schools Sponsored by Tobacco Firms

September 21, 2011
(Libra Bunda) THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: More than 100 primary schools in China are now sponsored by tobacco companies on the hunt for the next generation of smokers, according to antismoking campaigners.

The schools often bear the names of Chinese cigarette brands, such as Zhongnanhai or Liqun, over their gates and in some cases have slogans in the playground.

“Talent comes from hard work – Tobacco helps you become talented,” says one slogan, in foot-high gilt letters, on the front of the Sichuan Tobacco Hope Primary School.

The school, which was built by the local tobacco company after a deadly earthquake in 2008, also bears the green leaf logo of China Tobacco, the country’s all-powerful state-controlled monopoly, on its parapet.

China Tobacco is the world’s largest manufacturer of tobacco products, with over 900 brands, and is owned by the Chinese government. China is the world’s largest tobacco market and as many as 60 per cent of its men smoke.

Regulations to prevent smoking in public places, including schools, have been widely ignored and the World Health Organisation estimates that two million Chinese will die each year of smoking-related diseases by the end of the decade – accelerating the need to find more young smokers. » | Malcolm Moore, Shanghai and Stephen Adams | Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scientists Discover Why Smokers Tend To Be Thinner

June 13, 2011

smokingIT’S TOBACCO. IT’S ONE OF THE HEALTHIEST THINGS FOR YOUR BODY. NOW GO AHEAD. via Sleeper by Woody Allen ….. …… … . .. . ….. .. ….Sun is bad for you. Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat… college. via Annie Hall by Woody Allen

U.S. scientists have figured out exactly how nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant in the brain, a finding that could one day help in the fight against obesity, researchers said Thursday.
Smokers tend to be thinner than people who don’t smoke, and the study led by Yale University and published in the journal Science describes how nicotine activates certain neurons in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Those neurons tell the body when it’s had enough to eat, according to senior author Marina Picciotto, a professor of neurobiology and pharmacology at Yale.
“Many people say they won’t quit smoking because they’ll gain weight. Ultimately, we would like to help people maintain their body weight when they kick the habit and perhaps help non-smokers who are struggling with obesity.”
Researchers made the discovery by studying mice, but are hopeful that similar receptors can be isolated in humans, too.
A research scientist in Picciotto’s lab was studying nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are on the surface of neurons, to see if an experimental drug to treat depression would have any effect.
“He noticed that mice given the drug ate less than those not on the medication,” said the study, which led to a wider investigation with researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and the University of Hawaii.
A series of experiments showed that the drug could turn on a certain nicotine receptor which then told a subset of neurons in the hypothalamus — called pro-opiomelanocortin or POMC cells — that dinner time was over.
The receptor was also independent of the ones that trigger the craving for nicotine in smokers.
“This suggests it is possible to get the effect of appetite suppression without also triggering the brain’s reward centers,” Picciotto said.
“Identifying this receptor is important for the understanding of the mechanisms related to addiction, weight and smoking.”
{Newsmax Health/ Newscenter}

I also saw another study that said that smokers were less likely to get Alzheimer’s Disease.  The health fascists are just another form of social engineers… no better then feminists.