April 13, 2016
By Michael E. Kraft Most of us recognize the value of science in dealing with complex problems that pose significant risks to public health and well-being. Thus we expect reputable science to be reported and used in helping us make difficult policy choices, such as what to do about climate change. Scientific findings and associated uncertainties should be scrutinized carefully and debated vigorously within the scientific community and among the public. However, denying the best scientific evidence we have could lead to greater societal harm than if we had taken sensible action when reliable knowledge was first available.
April 12, 2015 |
Commonwealth Court on Friday upheld a year-old lower-court decision that restored $125.8 million in tobacco-settlement money to Pennsylvania. The money had been stripped from the state's share of a 2003 payment under the landmark 1998 agreement by major tobacco companies to compensate states for their health-care costs related to smoking. "We are very pleased with the Commonwealth Court's decision, which ensures the terms of the [master settlement agreement] are followed by the arbitration panel and that Pennsylvania is fairly treated under the terms of the agreement," Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said in a statement.
July 14, 2014 |
TWO PHILLY legislators yesterday called on the leaders of the nation's two largest tobacco companies to meet about their lobbying against a cigarette tax to fund the city's public schools. State Sens. Anthony Williams and Shirley Kitchen sent letters to Martin Barrington, CEO of the Altria Group, and Susan Cameron, CEO of R.J. Reynolds, asking for a sit-down with them and their Harrisburg lobbyists. The Daily News reported Thursday that those lobbyists had pushed for a five-year "sunset provision" to be inserted in pending legislation that would put a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes sold in Philadelphia.
July 11, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Philadelphia was one Senate vote away from winning its $2-per-pack cigarette tax in the General Assembly on Tuesday. But after a late-hour lobbying effort by tobacco manufacturers, the senators jammed in a provision setting a five-year expiration for the tax. So, despite the prospect of delayed public school openings and hundreds of layoffs, the bill was sent back to the House, which had departed for its summer break and may not...
July 2, 2014
ISSUE | LESSONS Fit for a crusade Although University of Pennsylvania trustees refused to divest stock in tobacco companies on the grounds that these companies' enterprises do not qualify as engaging in a "moral evil," the current history of tobacco control actually shows that the most effective strategies (domestic and worldwide) are those that make the issue a moral imperative. It is well documented that tobacco companies have been engaged in decades of deception in the growing, production, marketing, and sale of their products.
June 22, 2014 |
A proposal for the University of Pennsylvania to divest its $7.7 billion endowment from tobacco stocks died Friday without a vote by the board of trustees. Board chairman David L. Cohen said tobacco does not qualify as a "moral evil" - a criterion for divestment under Penn's policy - even though it causes serious health problems. "Let me be clear," Cohen said on the floor of the trustees meeting on campus Friday, "I am no friend of tobacco. I don't use tobacco products. I've never used tobacco products.
June 21, 2014 |
Few would argue that tobacco has any redeeming qualities, but is it a "moral evil"? That's the question members of the University of Pennsylvania's board of trustees likely will grapple with Friday when they consider a proposal to prohibit the investment of university endowment funds in tobacco products. The discussion follows an open letter signed by 530 senior Penn faculty members, urging divestment from tobacco companies, and a 17-page proposal authored by Penn professors and several others.
March 28, 2014 |
E-DICULOUS. That's what vapers are calling a bill passed unanimously by City Council yesterday that adds e-cigarettes to Philly's existing ban on smoking. Council also approved a sister measure that bans the sale of e-cigs to minors. Councilman Bill Greenlee's proposal to regulate the product has been under fire for several weeks from advocates of e-cigs who've said the little electric invention has been a godsend. Greg Conley, a volunteer with the nonprofit research group National Vapers Club and an e-cigarette lobbyist, said e-cigs weaned him off smoking for good and probably saved his life.
March 9, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA A ruling last year that potentially stripped Pennsylvania of hundreds of millions of dollars it was getting as part of the sweeping settlement with tobacco companies was legally flawed, attorneys for the state told a Philadelphia judge Friday. Lawyer Robert Loeb said the arbitration panel of retired judges that made the decision last year was "bamboozled" by tobacco company attorneys who contended that Pennsylvania failed to enforce laws for collecting tobacco taxes and other payments.
November 9, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on Thursday asked a Philadelphia court to overturn a ruling that stripped the state of nearly $170 million in tobacco settlement payments. In a motion filed in Common Pleas Court, Kane argued that an arbitration panel's ruling last month that penalized the state for failing to "diligently enforce" laws requiring the collection of taxes and other payments from tobacco companies was unfair. "The arbitration panel's decision penalizes Pennsylvania for factors the panel clearly allowed for other states," Kane said in a statement.