Newport It's Not

Call it a case of not following the "letter of the law." Lorillard Inc., the maker of Newport cigarettes, won a trademark suit and attorneys' fees against two brothers who sell a legal synthetic drug under the brand "Newprot," reported the Courthouse News Service.

Spice is a form of synthetic drug that is legally marketed in Virginia as herbal incense, the news agency said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared several synthetic ingredients illegal, but the creative labels of herbal incense, potpourri or bath salts make the industry a difficult one to police. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported a surge in the number people sickened by such drugs.

Majdi and Mohommad Abujamous advertised and sold spice labeled as "Newprot" at their three Tobacco Zone stores in Richmond, Va. The product was sold in pouches that mimicked Newport cigarette packaging, said the report.

U.S. District Judge John Gibney Jr. found that the Abujamouses acted in bad faith and their product infringed on Lorillard's trademark. "Only minor, trivial differences exist between the instant marks such that they are virtually indistinguishable," Gibney wrote.

"Both the parties' marks are also used in connection with smoking products and sold in similar channels of commerce," he added. "While Newprot is not a cigarette (and may or may not qualify as synthetic marijuana), it is a smoking product."

Despite their familiarity with the Newport brand, the Abujamouses "still chose to trade upon the goodwill and prestige Lorillard had established in Newport by advertising, distributing, and selling their product under a virtually identical guise," according to the court.

Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard can collect attorneys' fees because the infringement was deliberate, Gibney wrote, noting that Mohommad Abujamous admitted the similarity between Newport and Newprot's packaging.

"These were not acts of negligence, but rather deliberate decisions to trade on the popularity and widespread recognition of Lorillard's established brand," the ruling said. "The evidence in this case is clear and convincing that the defendants deliberately used the Newprot mark to infringe the plaintiffs' mark."

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Philip Morris International Expands its Portfolio

Philip Morris International, the largest tobacco company in the world recently announced yet another stream of revenue growth. With more regulation threats being imposed on tobacco companies and smokers, Philip Morris is looking to explore alternatives, according to a contributed column on Seeking Alpha.

Governments globally have been attempting to regulate how and if cigarette companies can advertise. In addition, governments have hiked tax rates on cigarettes in an attempt to break people's addictions by robbing their wallets. Philip Morris , producer of Chesterfield cigarettes and Marlboro Gold cigarettes has responded by beginning to seek revenue through electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff.

Though Philip Morris' smokeless effort is minimal right now compared to the tobacco industry, the company does have revenue coming from their joint venture with Swedish Match AB in 2009. The smokeless products from this joint venture are currently being marketed and sold in Russia and Canada. Revenues are expected to grow significantly too, as this is only the beginning of their marketing campaign, the column states.

Philip Morris is also looking to follow in the footsteps of competitor British American Tobacco and begin marketing electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes offer a somewhat healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes because when you smoke them, you inhale water vapor mixed with nicotine rather than harmful smoke. This is easier on your lungs, although the nicotine still has its normal effects. With consumers becoming more aware of the consequences of smoking, some have looked to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to help preserve their lung function.

Long-term Philip Morris believes that electronic cigarettes will expand its revenue opportunities worldwide, the writer states. Philip Morris has the highest EPS growth rate among the tobacco sector for the next fiscal year; it's estimated to be 11.2%, ahead of Lorillard, Altria Group and Reynolds American. Its revenue growth for next year is also expected to triumph in its sector by growing by a projected 5.51%. Philip Morris yields 3.3% at its current price.


The Brain's Response to Nicotine

Hi, my name's Sara Bellum. Welcome to my magazine series exploring the brain's response to drugs. In this issue, we'll investigate the fascinating facts about nicotine. Some of this information was only recently discovered by leading scientists.

For centuries, people have chewed and smoked tobacco, which comes from the plant nicotiana tabacum. The reason tobacco is used by so many people is because it contains a powerful drug known as nicotine.

anti-smocking-ad-campaign-24.jpegWhen tobacco is smoked, nicotine is absorbed by the lungs and quickly moved into the bloodstream, where it is circulated throughout the brain. All of this happens very rapidly. In fact, nicotine reaches the brain within 8 seconds after someone inhales tobacco smoke. Nicotine can also enter the bloodstream through the mucous membranes that line the mouth (if tobacco is chewed) or nose (if snuff is used), and even through the skin.

Nicotine affects the entire body. Nicotine acts directly on the heart to change heart rate and blood pressure. It also acts on the nerves that control respiration to change breathing patterns. In high concentrations, nicotine is deadly, in fact one drop of purified nicotine on the tongue will kill a person. It's so lethal that it has been used as a pesticide for centuries.

So why do people smoke? Because nicotine acts in the brain where it can stimulate feelings of pleasure.