Smoking & Tobacco Articles

Tobacco related articles and smoking regulation in the USA. Interesting facts on cigarette smoking. Top tobacco news.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tobacco Sales to California Minors

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The results of the California Department of Public Health's annual cigarettes online sting are in, and this year fewer stores sold discount cigarette online to minors than last year. Only about six percent of stores surveyed did so in 2011, down two percent from 2010. It was the lowest rate ever in the 15-year survey.

To collect the data, the health department sent a team of youth decoys to buy cigarettes store from more than 700 stores statewide, according to the state's Tobacco Control Program.

The health department found that some types of stores are more likely to sell cigarettes to teens. In the sting, about 12 percent of deli and meat markets broke the law, while just 1 percent of liquor stores did.

Retailers who sell cheap cigarettes products to kids are subject to fines ranging from $200 to $600.

While it may be getting harder for teens to buy cigarettes, smoking cigarettes is also down among adults in the state. California ranks second in the nation behind Utah for the lowest number of adult online cigarettes users, with only about 12 percent of the population lighting up.

Despite this significant decrease over the last 25 years, Calfornia still has more smokers than any other state, because of the its large population. Approximately 3.6 million Californians smoke, and about 200,000 of those are young people.

Note: you can try these Red&White out.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Bowman v.s. R.J. Reynolds

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"Michael Bowman was just 12 years old when he first started to smoke," plaintiff attorney Robert Shields (Doffermyre Shields) told the jury in closing argument. Bowman eventually became a 2-3 pack a day smoker -- he smoked Pall Mall, Camel, and Lucky Strike -- but in 1984 and 1985 he quit smoking cigarettes and drinking entirely. Nonetheless, ten years later at the age of 56, he contracted terminal esophageal cancer, and died three years later at age 59.

Quoting a 2010 Surgeon General report, Mr. Shields told the jury that nicotine addiction was the fundamental reason that individuals persist in using cigarettes online products. "People quit cocaine, people quit heroin," said Mr. Shields. "The fact that you can quit doesn't mean you weren't addicted. It doesn't mean it wasn't extremely difficult to quit smoking cigarettes."

Michael Bowman

Mr. Shields identified three key reasons justifying the imposition of punitive damages. First, the Tobacco companies do not produce a less addictive cigarette, even though doing so would save lives. Second, the Tobacco companies had actively concealed the dangers of cigarette smoking cigarettes for fifty years. Third, the Tobacco companies had engaged in youth marketing. "The truth is," said Mr. Shields, "that R.J. Reynolds has always targeted children as their principal clients for starting to smoke. At about the time Mike was starting to smoke, their ads clearly were focused on kids," as shown by a cigarette ad Mr. Shields showed the jury that depicted a smoking cigarettes teenager holding a prom ticket.

For R.J. Reynolds, Ben Reid (Carlton Fields) suggested to the jury that the cause of Mr. Bowman's esophageal cancer was alcohol and choice, not addiction. "[Mr. Bowman] was actually aware of the risks, and there is nothing that the plaintiffs have been able to demonstrate that Mr. Bowman was not aware of regarding smoking cigarettes and health."

The best evidence that addiction did not cause Mr. Bowman to smoke, said Mr. Reid, was that Mr. Bowman quit, cold turkey, with no immediate signs of withdrawal. "Does that sound like someone who was so captured by nicotine, a person who just had no control over their decisions?...One of his daughters testified that he told her he did not want to quit," and that if nicotine patches had been available Mr. Bowman would not have used them. "That ought to end the case," said Mr. Reid.

On the issue of punitive damages, neither punishment nor deterrence was warranted, according to Mr. Reid. Punishment was not warranted because RJR had not behaved as badly as depicted by the plaintiffs -- for example, RJR's denial of the addictiveness of cigarette smoking cigarettes were made in the context of changing definitions. Moreover, the plaintiffs had failed to show that the behaviors that allegedly warranted punishment had an impact on Mr. Bowman. Deterrence was not warranted, said Mr. Reid, because R.J. Reynolds was a different company today than it was when any bad decisions were made. In fact, Reynolds had spent perhaps $1B attempting to create a safer cigarette, and these efforts continued even today.

In his closing rebuttal, with respect to punitive damages, Mr. Shields said, "Mr. Reid told you that they had changed, that they are not the same company. Reailly?...They continue to assert that they made no misrepresentations in the 1950's. They continue to assert that their conduct in the 1960's was reasonable, and they did not misrepresent the evidence. They continue to assert that their conduct in the 70's was reasonable and appropriate. And you heard it in closing argument. They continue to manipulate the levels of nicotine. The evidence in this case is they have done nothing to reduce the addictiveness of cigarettes. They continue to assert that nicotine, while it may be addictive, is of no public health significance. Think about it. Surgeon General says the fundamental reason people continue to smoke cigarettes is nicotine addiction, and that continuing to smoke cigarettes causes the diseases which will kill 40% of smokers. No public health significance? If there was ever a justification for punitive damages, that alone is the justification."

The jury found that Mr. Bowman was addicted, that cigarette smoking cigarettes was a legal cause of his esophageal cancer, that RJR was liable for Mr. Bowman's death on negligence and products liability theories (but not fraudulent concealment or conspiracy to conceal theories). The jury assigned 70% of the fault to Michael Bowman and 30% to R.J. Reynolds, and awarded Patricia Bowman compensatory damages of $1.5M. The jury found that punitive damages were not warranted.

Bowman was Doffermyre Shields' second Engle case tried to a verdict (Warrick and Bowman), and the fourth case for Carlton Fields (Buonomo, Koballa, Reese, and Bowman). Peculiarly, juries have pinned exactly 70% of the fault onto the plaintiff in three of the four cases tried by Mr. Reid.

Todays Note: Bond special info.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cuts In Cigarettes Programs

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State budget officials expect Kansas in the next fiscal year will get between $15 million and $20 million less than this year from its ongoing legal settlement with the nation's major cheap cigarettes companies.

That reduction in state revenue could mean cuts get passed along to a variety of programs intended to benefit children.

The cigarettes online money - the state's share of a national settlement that compensate states for the costs of medical care for sick smokers - for the past several years has helped fund about 20 programs overseen by the Kansas Children's Cabinet and administered by the state's health, education and welfare departments.

The programs range from parent training and child care to newborn health screenings.

Forecasting fewer buy cigarettes dollars, state budget officials have already instructed agencies to reduce their tobacco-funded children's budgets by 20 percent for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2012.

The anticipated reduction in tobacco settlement dollars is driven by an ongoing legal dispute between the states and the tobacco companies over the so-called Master Settlement Agreement that established the formula for how much the companies would pay Kansas and 45 other states.

Note of the day: OK web.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Health Rankings Go Up In Smoke

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Reasons for Indiana to adopt a comprehensive ban on smoking cigarettes in public places keep on coming.

Study after study has documented the health and financial impact of laws and programs that reduce smoking cigarettes and its lethal secondhand effects. Just last June, the American Cancer Society estimated that Indiana could save $74 million over five years in medical care and lost productivity by prohibiting smoking cigarettes in the workplace.

Now comes the likewise authoritative Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, crediting smoking cigarettes declines for progress against the worst killer among cancers. Nationally, that is. Indiana did not make the cut, smoking cigarettes-wise or cancer-wise.

In a report issued Thursday, the CDC said a look at the period 1999 to 2008 showed lung cancer steadily declining among men and beginning to decline among women, who started smoking cigarettes at high rates later than men.

The prime reason for the good news? Less smoking cigarettes. The states that scored highest against cancer? Those with the strongest mix of anti-cigarettes strategies, including taxation, education and broad smoking cigarettes bans.

Indiana languished in the worst 20 percent of states in terms of lung cancer incidence and smoking cigarettes rates among men. For women, the smoking cigarettes rank was equally poor and the cancer standing only slightly "better."

For both groups, the so-called "quit ratio" gauging smoking cigarettes cessation was on the lowest tier.

While Indiana's own figures show some improvement in overall smoking cigarettes rates in 2010, the state remains well above the national median even by that reckoning.

Meanwhile, Indiana trails the nation when it comes to what the CDC says works. Its cigarette taxes are below average, its take from the national cigarettes for sale suit settlement has been mostly siphoned away for uses other than smoking cigarettes prevention, and it can't find the political will to join the 23 states with sweeping anti-smoking cigarettes laws.

The General Assembly probably will take another stab in 2012. Gov. Mitch Daniels has said he would sign such a bill. This should not be a matter of moving mountains. The mountain, as in evidence, should be the mover.

Todays Note: Temp official source.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are lawmakers smoking out Cigarettes brands?

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Australia faces some imposing legal hurdles in its attempt to ban cheap cigarettes trademarks. However, as Matt Packer writes, this has not stopped other countries from thinking about extinguishing them.

First statement: Tobacco is not good for you and is best avoided if you are interested in pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

Second statement: Intellectual property (IP) is a fundamental asset in enabling manufacturers to fully exploit their products, and should be safeguarded.

From a lawmaking viewpoint, is it possible to believe that both of those statements are true without becoming horribly conflicted? It's a complicated question and it looks as though it will take a lawsuit, and more, to answer it.

In Australia, the quandary has been brought into sharp relief by legal action against the government launched on 27 June by Philip Morris Asia (PMA) parent company of Philip Morris Ltd, which serves the Australian market. Both companies are divisions of the powerful industry leader, Philip Morris International. In its suit, PMA is aiming to block plans spearheaded by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to enforce plain packaging across all cigarettes online products sold in the country: part of a wider drive to boost public health.

However, PMA argues that the government scheme is legally flawed on two counts: i) it flies in the face of time-honoured provisions for trademark protection contained in Australia's IP laws; and ii) it flouts the terms of a major trade treaty between Australia and Hong Kong that enforces mutual support for all bilateral exports. Crucially, PMA is headquartered in Hong Kong, putting its relationship with Philip Morris Ltd firmly under the treaty's jurisdiction.

While this battle plays out, there are signs that it could, in the near future, migrate to the European Union (EU) and the UK. With that in mind, this article looks at cigarettes-brand developments in each region starting with a more detailed look at the Australia-Hong Kong treaty.

Australia

That 1993 document known in full as the Agreement Between the Government of Hong Kong and the Government of Australia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments has three main clauses that are critical to the lawsuit between PMA and Australia:

Article 2(ii) states that investments and financial returns of each contracting party shall, at all times, be accorded fair and equitable treatment, and shall enjoy full protection and security in each party's area. Neither contracting party shall, without prejudice to its laws, in any way impair by unreasonable or discriminatory measures the enjoyment or disposal of investments in its area by the other party.

Article 6(i) provides that each party shall not deprive the other of investments, nor subject it to measures with effects equivalent to such deprivation except i) under due process of law; ii) for a public purpose related to internal needs; iii) on a non-discriminatory basis, and iv) with compensation. That compensation must amount to the value of the investment immediately before the deprivation, or before the impending deprivation became public knowledge whichever was earliest.

Article 10 holds that any dispute between an investor of one party and the other that has failed to reach an amicable settlement shall after a period of three months from written notification of the claim be submitted to such procedures for alternative settlement as may be agreed between the parties. If no such procedures have been agreed, the parties shall be bound to submit it to arbitration under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

Wayne Condon, principal at Australian IP law firm Griffith Hack, told NewLegal Review: 'An "investment" is defined to include IP Rights including trademarks, trade names, know-how and goodwill. No doubt PMA will seek to rely upon article 2(ii) of the Agreement by suggesting that Australia has by promulgating the plain cigarettes online packaging legislation impaired the use and enjoyment of PMA's investment in PML.'

In addition, there are interesting points in Article 6(i) on laws enacted for public purposes according to internal needs, which chimes with Gillard's health mission the catch being that a mandatory compensation payout from Australia would appear to be required. This leads to Article 10: the compulsory, three-month discussion period that has already been triggered by PMA's lawsuit and which is set to expire in late September.

According to Condon, issues that the parties are likely to discuss include:

Whether the plain-packaging legislation which has been announced, but not yet formally introduced is unreasonable or discriminatory;

Whether the legislation is saved from contravening the Agreement by the 'without prejudice to its laws' exception in Article 2(ii);

Whether the plain packaging legislation has been proposed 'for a public purpose related to the internal needs' of Australia; and

Whether PMA's use and enjoyment of its investments in PML have, in fact, been impaired.

Europe & UK

Legal smoke signals

While the EU and UK have yet to feel the onset of a PMA-style lawsuit, both are taking a serious look at how cigarettes store is marketed, with a heavy emphasis on health effects. This year, the European Commission launched a consultation on the potential for revising Europe's Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC), which aims to assist single-market support for the cigarettes industry while protecting public health. In light of current trends, this could see the health part of the directive taking priority. Results of the consultation and details of forthcoming work on the topic are due in early 2012.

Meanwhile, the UK government has weighed in with its cigarettes-control plan, Healthy Lives, Healthy People, published in March this year. This suggests a number of steps for the practical implementation of relevant clauses in the Health Act 2009, which provided for a ban on the display of cigarettes products in large stores from April 2012, and smaller stores from April 2015. The government has also announced that it will examine whether plain packaging would be of use for preventing young people from taking up the habit, and for encouraging long-term smokers to quit. A consultation on these matters is likely to be launched this autumn.

So how would EU manoeuvres on cigarettes branding affect the legislative independence of the UK? John Noble, director of the British Brands Group a non-profit membership organisation for brand holders told NewLegal Review: 'The UK legislation would focus on reducing the number of young people taking up smoking and on helping adults to quit. As such, the UK would be able to legislate alone. However, were it to do so, there may be practical implications such as illicit imports from Europe that may reduce the effectiveness of the policy.'

Lingering effects

There are numerous other consequences to consider, not least of which is whether such legislation would actually stimulate imitative products. Condon is not convinced that it would. 'It has been suggested by some commentators that the move to plain cigarettes packaging may, paradoxically, increase the prospect of cigarettes counterfeiting,' he said. 'This seems to be somewhat fanciful, based upon a proposition that potential counterfeiters are more likely to be motivated to copy plain-packaging get up than they are to copy logo marks. There appears to be no objective basis for the proposition that cigarettes counterfeiting is likely to be encouraged by a move to plain cigarettes packaging.'

Noble acknowledges Condon's view, but doesn't rule out de-branding as a potential stimulant for counterfeiting. 'Certainly, plain packaging isn't going to make it more difficult to counterfeit cigarettes packaging,' he said. 'Intuitively, you would think that plain packaging would be much easier to copy effectively although some counterfeiters are already sophisticated in their ability to copy complex packaging designs. The key point is that plain packaging will make it much harder for consumers to differentiate and distinguish one product from another be it between one brand and another, or between genuine and fake.

'Counterfeiters are opportunists, who counterfeit whatever sells,' he added. 'They may find that counterfeit plain packs arouse less suspicion among consumers, and are less easy to detect by authorities both of which will encourage counterfeiting.'

Good intentions, bad habits?

For Noble, much of the EU and UK progress on cigarettes packaging will depend upon circumstances. 'If the UK is the only market in the EU with plain packaging,' he said, 'and packs carrying logos are as attractive as the government maintains, there may be an increase in illicit imports of branded packs from other EU markets whether they are counterfeit, or genuine, but non-duty paid, products.

'Were plain packaging introduced,' he stressed, 'we believe there is a real risk that competition and innovation would be reduced and the market will become increasingly price led. Were price competition to strengthen, bringing lower prices, the policy would have the opposite effect to the one intended, with potentially more people smoking more. These factors mitigate against plain packaging as an effective policy measure in any sector, unless there is very clear evidence that a particular market works counter-intuitively.'

In April, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) advised the Australian government: 'By eroding the means of asserting IP Rights, the measure[s] proposed would restrict trade, hamper consumer choice and safety, subvert trademark laws and increase counterfeiting and illicit trade while encouraging lower-priced legal and illegal commerce in cigarettes products.' Noble agrees with the ICC. 'We see that as a succinct summary of the implications of plain packaging,' he said. 'We urge governments to give full weight to these factors in weighing up the pros and cons of plain packaging as an appropriate regulatory tool.'

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Irene leaves N.C. crops in ruins

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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. Before Hurricane Irene smacked his tender cheap cigarettes plants sideways, David Parker was headed for a terrific crop, maybe his best in 32 years of farming.

Now, as Parker rushes to save a few acres of shredded leaves before they rot on the dying stalks, the math looks different.

"I've never had a year I didn't make money farming, but I think this will be the one that gets us there," he said Wednesday, driving up a dirt road between a beaten-down cotton field and a 17-acre patch of dejected-looking cigarettes.

The green-gold cigarettes online leaves which normally this time of year would be spread wide, waiting to be plucked, dried at a careful pace and taken to market were hanging straight down, shriveled, with the stalks leaning the way that the wind had pushed them.

That's what this agricultural disaster looks like: wilted leaves, angled stalks, a tangle of cotton plants with fat bolls that had looked unusually promising but now might not open. Subtle stuff to everyone but the hundreds of farmers who, like Brown, now face what may be their worst losses ever.

"That's not vacation cottages. It's these people's whole way of making a living, and the impact will spread throughout all the people and businesses that rely on farmers," said Graham Boyd, executive vice president of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina.

"It's a tragedy, just terrible, terrible stuff."

State and federal officials say it will be at least weeks before the full extent of the farm losses are known, but the effect on cigarettes, which is grown in much of the area where the storm punched hardest, is extensive.

"Most of the counties I cover, pretty much any cigarettes online still in the field is going to be close to a 100 percent loss," said Dianne Farrer, a regional agronomist for the state who works in more than a dozen eastern counties, including some of the state's biggest cigarettes store producers.

"I've talked to several growers, and they're just disheartened," she said. "If it's leaned over or knocked over, they can't harvest mechanically, and if they don't get in and harvest what's left by hand, by the end of the week it will be lost."

Cotton damaged

Many cotton growers often farmers who are also growing cigarettes could also take big hits. However, it will take awhile for them to be able to tell how badly the plants were damaged, unlike the cigarettes that's knocked over and tattered, Farrer said.

Farmers can get federally backed crop insurance, and many are covered for losses of 70 percent or 75 percent of their harvest last year, Boyd said. Most, though, expected a bigger crop at better prices this year, so the gap between real losses and the insurance payments could be huge.

It's only designed as a safety net to help farmers pay the bills they piled up planting a year's crops, not cover their expected profits, he said.

Farm crews usually make about four harvest-time passes through cigarettes fields. First, they take the lowest leaves, which ripen first, then work their way up as the leaves turn gold, taking a few leaves with each round. The later rounds are the most valuable.

This year, drought had slowed the harvest. When the storm hit, many including Parker had done only one full round and part of the second. The real money was left vulnerable on the stalks.

Some of Parker's friends were calling around Wednesday, sharing what they had heard from their insurance adjusters. Parker's told him to send his crew out in the fields to straighten up the stalks and pack the soil down around their roots so they will stay upright and recover.

That works if plants are pushed over by an early-season storm while they're still growing. But it's a waste of time and labor this late in the season, Boyd said.

"That's throwing good money after bad," he said. "And if they order them to go out and harvest this stuff, a lot of it is going to be such poor quality they won't get anything for it anyway."

Parker told the adjuster it made no sense to dump $100 or $200 an acre pushing the plants up but that he'd do his best to harvest whatever might be salvageable.

He and his son, Josh, spent much of Wednesday morning shoulder to shoulder with their crew of about a dozen workers, yanking freshly cured cigarettes that had been harvested before the storm out of a metal curing barn, then filling the barn with the first of the salvaged leaves to cure. In a few days, they'll know how it turned out.

After the barn was loaded, Parker took a visitor on a ride to look at the battered cigarettes and cotton fields across the highway from the barns. They were part of the collection of several small fields he farms that add up to 100 acres of cigarettes the real money-maker plus 180 of cotton and 300 of corn that was badly stunted by drought.

These crops have to support Parker, his wife, a daughter in college, Josh, their work crew and, to a degree, the land owners he rents from, Parker’s propane supplier, the people at the transfer station where he takes the cigarettes and everyone else he does business with.

The storm had been gone for three days, but the fields were still so muddy that his pickup quickly sank in up to the rear axle. He shook his head and climbed out: one more problem in a week of nothing but.

"It was the kind of crop you hope for, a real vintage year," he said walking along, not even glancing at the battered plants on either side. "My experience of farming is you never get there, though. It gets pulled out from under you somewhere along the line."

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Upward trend in marijuana use, smokeless Cigarettes

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Alcohol use by Indiana sixth- through 12th-graders has declined, but findings from the 21st Annual Survey of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use also revealed a continuing increase in marijuana and smokeless cheap cigarettes use.

The survey, conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington and funded by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction, questioned 168,801 students in public and private schools. Researchers found that the reported use of marijuana is on the rise for grade seven as well as grades nine through 12. Marijuana use among youth in grade eight has decreased, which signals the end of an upward trend that occurred from 2008-2010 in monthly marijuana use.



“Unfortunately we are seeing a continuation of an upward trend in both monthly and lifetime use of marijuana since 2008 in grade seven and grades nine to 12. It should be noted the rate of past month marijuana use among Indiana’s eighth-grade youth is higher on average than the 2010 national prevalence rate reported in the Monitoring the Future survey,” said Ruth Gassman, director of the IPRC, which is part of IU’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. “Among some grade levels, marijuana use did not increase significantly this year compared to last year, however, when the rates are examined over a four-year period (since 2008) the continuation of an upward trend is apparent.”



Tobacco: Lifetime use of smokeless cigarettes online increased for 12th-graders

The survey revealed an upward trend in smokeless cigarettes online for lifetime and past month use among 12th-graders since 2007, with the largest increase found in their lifetime use, which registered an increase of 4.2 percentage points from 2007-2011.

“This is a concern because although rates of cigarettes store use among high school students continue to decline, smokeless cigarettes use still exposes youth to the harmful carcinogenic elements of cigarettes,” Gassman said. “It is even worse for students who are using both cigarettes and smokeless cigarettes concurrently because this increases an individual’s exposure to nicotine, which is the addictive agent in all cigarettes products.”



Tobacco companies target younger consumers with a variety of new products that come out yearly. Items such as cigarettes strips and orbs contain finely ground cigarettes and are easy for youth to use without being detected. The packaging of smokeless cigarettes products is often very appealing to young consumers. These products are also advertised as being lower in chemicals and as tools for quitting smoking. Gassman said it is important to remember that cigarettes in any form is dangerous.

Alcohol: Lifetime use is on the decline for youth in grades 6-12

Another important finding from the survey shows that lifetime use of alcohol in grades six-12 is decreasing. In 1993, rates of lifetime alcohol use were 37.8 percent for sixth graders and 85 percent among 12th-graders. Those rates are now at 17.4 percent and 65.4 percent, respectively.

“We are pleased to see that lifetime alcohol use has gradually declined since 1993. Unfortunately, we have seen few reductions in binge drinking among youth in recent years,” Gassman said. “Binge drinking is defined as five or more alcoholic drinks for males and four or more for females in one sitting in the last two weeks. Binge drinking is very dangerous and among youth is associated with unintentional injuries such as car crashes, intentional injuries such as sexual assault, and with alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy.”



Reasons for drinking

Among youth who were surveyed, the top reasons given for drinking alcohol were “to have a good time with friends,” “to experiment,” “because it tastes good,” and “to relax or relieve tension.” The majority of adolescents in sixth to ninth grades reported no consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Gassman said it is important to understand why adolescents are turning to alcohol so that risk and protective factors can be evaluated and used to implement programs aimed at continuing to reduce alcohol consumption among minors in Indiana. Risk factors refer to situations or conditions that increase chances for involvement in substance use among youth while protective factors are conditions in an adolescents life that protect against negative influences associated with risk factors. There are four areas of risk and protective factors in youth socialization: community, family, school and peer-individual.

The IPRC provides substance abuse prevention resources and services for those working with youth in schools and communities throughout Indiana.

Todays tip: see this Dunhill page.

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