Bulgaria - NO decrease in cigarette excise tax..

June 19, 2010 - Bulgaria’s finance minister has made it clear that a decrease in cigarette excise duties by the end of the year is out of the question.

“The increase in cigarette excise duties hit the market in April and the assessment of its effect is yet to be done. This is the reason why a decrease in excise duties can not be expected before the end of the year,” Minister Simeon Djankov told journalists in parliament on Thursday, June 17th. Asked whether the decrease has been planned for next year, Minister Djankov said this is a possible, but highly unlikely scenario.

The statement comes a day after Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov hinted that a decrease in excise duties for Bulgaria-made cigarettes may be on the agenda of the cabinet this year.

Following the tax hike from the beginning of the year, cigarette smuggling increased and the flow of revenues from excise duties to the budget marked a sharp fall. Finance Minister Simeon Djankov defended firmly his decision, attributing the boosted smuggling to the economic crisis.

Bulgarian smokers had to swallow a raise in excise duties on cigarettes and their prices as of April 1, as the government struggles to curb smoking and relieve the health care system. The new prices were introduced at the beginning of the year, but the grace period for cigarettes with old excise labels expired on April 1. (Bulgaria - grace period over, increase in tobacco tax starts Thursday, April 1, 2010..)

Under a decision that the parliament took at the end of November, a BGN 101 excise duty for 1000 cigarettes is introduced instead of the previous BGN 41, while the proportional tax is 23% of the sales price instead of 40,5%. The latter affects mostly expensive cigarette brands. The tax for tobacco for pipes and cigarettes is set at BGN 100 per kg. (Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..)

The new duties increased the price of a pack of cigarettes anywhere between BGN 1,10 and 1,40 making the price of the best-selling “Victory” brand BGN 4,60 instead of the current BGN 3,60. (Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..)

Bulgaria has the second highest percentage of smokers in Europe, but has recently abandoned plans to ban smoking in all public spaces. (Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban..)

Reference: Bulgaria FinMin: Cigarette Tax Hike Here to Stay, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 6/17/2010.

Bulgaria - related news briefs:
Bulgaria - tobacco growers again mass protests over unpaid subsidies..;
Bulgaria - govt no more tobacco growers protests over subsides..;
Bulgaria - were the cigarettes contraband or not..Moldova says NO..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding sales jumped by 15-20 percent..;
Bulgaria - full smoking ban in force for 3-days officially abolished..;
Bulgaria - confusion over which public smoking ban is in force..;
Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, just added minors can't be in disco clubs after 10pm..;
Bulgaria - final vote delayed on weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, second reading..;
Bulgaria - commission tightens smoking ban a little..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac buyer may be chosen by end of year..;
Bulgaria - prime minister not happy with giving tobacco growers subsidies..;
Bulgaria - to loosen smoking ban to start June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - finance minister comments may be good news for tobacco farmers..;
Bulgaria - parliament debates proposal to water down smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - majority of all Bulgarians - 78% are against the smoking ban delay..;
Bulgaria - every increase in excise duty on cigarettes consumption goes down..;
Bulgaria - grace period over, increase in tobacco tax starts Thursday, April 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Italian authorities arrest 2-Bulgarians smuggling cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - tractor trailer loaded with contraband cigarettes seized in Ancona, Italy..;
Bulgaria - cigarette consumption down, cigarette tax collection up, seeking funds for technology to intercept contraband goods..;
Bulgaria - justifying why smoking ban won't go into effect on June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Citigroup chosen as consultant for sale of Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - ruling party may delay smoking ban until 2011..;
Bulgaria - Finance Minister Djankov, "Less Smoking Is Good for Economy..";
Bulgaria - govt to weaken full smoking ban to be effective June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - do producers support contraband cigarettes??;
Bulgaria - sale of Bulgartabac coming - selection of a consultant..;
Greek Farmers Renew Bulgaria Border Blockade..;
Bulgaria - leadership of tobacco fund to be replaced..;
Bulgaria - illegal trade in cigarettes will reach 40% of total trade in 2010..;
Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..;
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..;
Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac stays in the economy ministry, sold by middle of 2010, starting price 100,000,000 euro..;
Bulgaria - tobacco producers propose Bulgartabac transfer..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;
Bulgaria - start of steps leading to the privatization of the state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - police hold smoking protest over lack of bonuses..;
Bulgaria - police busts major cigarette contraband ring..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding” will be privatized in 2010..;
Bulgaria - MPs Impose Hefty Fines on Cigarette Sales Violators..;
Bulgartabac Chief - cigarette tax increase as of January 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria Bulgartabac Holding Sells 23% of Shares to Mutual Funds..;
Bulgaria - more than 70% of smokers want to quit..;
Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..;
Bulgaria - chair of the economic committee in parliament disapproves of planned raise in excise duties on cigarettes..;
Bulgaria and others - smoking ban, increased cigarette taxes, smuggling..;
Bulgaria - Cigarette excise duties will be increased next year..;
Bulgaria - cigarette contraband, government loses BGN 920M yearly..;
Bulgaria - one third of the tobacco products sold are illicit..;
Bulgaria - new government to speed-up Bulgartabac sale..;
Bulgaria - Fake Victory Light cigarettes..;
Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..;
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..;
Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..;
EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..;
Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke..;
PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..;
Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..;
WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...
Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgarian Communist Party which led to the crumbling of the communist regime..


Bulgaria - tobacco growers again mass protests over unpaid subsidies..

June 19, 2010 - Tobacco growers from the Bulgarian regions of Silistra, Plovdiv and Blagoevgrad begin Wednesday, June 16th long-term mass protests over unpaid subsidies in the amount of BGN 116 M (85.45 M USD).

The above amount was promised by the cabinet of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party and is a compensation for the 2009 tobacco crop.

The organizers say the rallies will be peaceful. Anywhere between 7 000 and 10 000 people are expected to demonstrate in the Danube town of Dulovo, 5 000 in the southern town of Gotse Delchev, and about 3 000 in the southern town of Parvomay. Many of the tobacco growers have threatened to also go on hunger strike.

The organizers further say they will continue the protests until the Agriculture Ministry fulfills the clauses of the agreements and pays the subsidies, which were supposed to be received in March. The next deadline was slated as June 23, but the tobacco growers are weary because the revised budget would not be approved by then. The statement of Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, who said the budget would not need to be updated if the State stopped giving money to tobacco producers stirred even more tensions. (Bulgaria - govt no more tobacco growers protests over subsides..)

Mihail Velkov, Executive Director of the Milk Producers’ Association has stated that a number of the Bulgarian tobacco farmers, whose employment is problematic as the state is planning to cut their subsidies, could turn to sheep breeding for a living because of the great potential of this sector. (Bulgarian Farmers Hope to Export Sheep Milk to China, Saudi Arabia, Novinite.com, 6/30/2010)

Reference: Bulgarian Tobacco Growers Begin Mass Protests, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 6/16/2010.

Bulgaria - tobacco farmers related news briefs:
Bulgaria - govt no more tobacco growers protests over subsides..;
Bulgaria - finance minister comments may be good news for tobacco farmers..;
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;


Letter from US Senators (2) to tobacco companies..

June 17, 2010

Dear Tobacco Company:

We write to urge you to comply fully with the requirements and intent of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Public Law 111-31) by using truthful cigarette packaging and advertisements. Specifically, we are concerned by news reports indicating that cigarette companies intend to use colors and other methods to circumvent the law's ban on labeling cigarettes as "light" and "mild" and mislead customers to believe they are buying safer products.

When Congress passed this landmark legislation last June, we included a ban on using descriptors such as "light," "mild," or "low" in cigarette labeling or advertising beginning on June 22, 2010, one year after the date of enactment of the law. This prohibition was put in place to protect public health and prevent consumers from being misled to erroneously believe that products labeled with these terms are less harmful than "regular" or "full-flavor" cigarettes.

Research has definitively shown that although smoke from "light" cigarettes may feel smoother or lighter on the throat and chest, in fact these cigarettes are not less harmful than regular cigarettes. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has concluded that light cigarettes provide no benefit to smokers' health, as people who switch to light cigarettes from regular cigarettes are likely to inhale the same amount of hazardous chemicals and remain at high risk for developing smoking-related cancers and other diseases.

NCI researchers have also found that the strategies used by the tobacco industry to advertise and promote light cigarettes are intended to reassure smokers, to discourage them from quitting, and to lead consumers to perceive filtered and light cigarettes as safer alternatives to regular cigarettes. However, there is no evidence that switching to light or ultra-light cigarettes actually helps smokers quit.

The lower tar and nicotine content figures used to advertise light and ultralight cigarettes are also misleading. These numbers come from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cigarette testing method, which uses machines to "smoke" every brand of cigarettes exactly the same way. As brought to light by a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in 2007, the smoking machines do not really tell how much tar and nicotine a particular smoker may inhale because people do not smoke cigarettes the same way the machines do. In fact, smokers may inhale more deeply; take larger, more rapid or more frequent puffs; or smoke a few extra cigarettes each day to consume enough nicotine to satisfy their craving. This practice of "compensating" means that smokers using these products inhale more tar, nicotine, and other harmful chemicals than the results of smoking machines suggest.

Given the compelling evidence that light cigarettes are no safer than ordinary cigarettes, we included a ban on the use of these descriptor terms in cigarette labeling and advertising in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in order to improve public health and reduce false perceptions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance this month to aid industry in understanding the prohibition on the use of these terms. We are aware that to comply with this ban, you will be required to change the packaging of your cigarettes.

However, we are concerned by recent news reports suggesting that cigarette companies are planning to replace the use of words such as "light" and "mild" with colors designed to evoke the terms used previously. Additionally, we understand that cigarette makers have included inserts in packs and displays at retail locations telling customers to "In the Future, Ask For Marlboro Silver Pack 100's or Camel Blues." Such packaging and inserts clearly circumvent the intent of the law by insinuating or implying that certain products are healthier or lower risk or that they are a continuation of a product that allegedly carried less risk in the past.

The use of color shapes perceptions of risks on all products. For example, many food products such as mayonnaise and soda use lighter colors on their packaging to distinguish between diet, light and regular products. Additionally, research on tobacco products specifically shows that smokers and nonsmokers perceive white and light colors on packages as an indication that a product is healthier.

When we passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, our unambiguous intention was to make cigarette labeling as transparent as possible. We urge you to be honest and forthright with your consumers after the new labeling requirements take effect. Consumers deserve to know the truth about the safety of your products, and attempts to mislead consumers into believing that certain products are safer than others will not be tolerated. We will be watching how you handle this transition and will not be silent if you perpetuate the myths about "light" cigarettes using new methods.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

Frank R. Lautenberg
United States Senator


U.S. Senators warn tobacco companies not to engage in misleading cigarette advertising..

June 19, 2010 - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) urged four major tobacco companies not to engage in any effort to mislead customers to believe they are buying safer cigarettes. Last year, Congress passed landmark legislation that banned using descriptors in cigarette labeling—such as "light," "mild," or "low-tar"—which insinuate or imply that certain products are healthier or lower risk than regular cigarettes.

Related news briefs:
FDA CTR - demanding that PM USA turn over research on how consumers are reacting to changes in the Marlboro Lights package..;
PMUSA store sign Marlboro 'New Look Same Famous Flavor"..
Despite the ban on these terms, recent news reports have suggested that cigarette companies are planning to replace the use of these words with creative packaging and inserts that clearly circumvent the intent of this law, the senators said.

Durbin and Lautenberg sent letters to the following companies: Altria Group (Philip Morris USA), Reynolds American (R.J. Reynolds), Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group.

"The new law sends 'Light' and 'Low Tar' cigarettes into the trash bin of history, but the tobacco companies are trying to continue using smoke and mirrors to market 'healthier' cigarettes," said Lautenberg. "It was exposed years ago that for many people, smoking so-called 'Light' cigarettes was even more dangerous for them than regular cigarettes. Big Tobacco wants to prolong the myth of 'safer' cigarettes and continue deceiving smokers, but they do so at their own legal peril. Senator Durbin and I are working to ensure smokers understand the major health risks posed by all cigarettes, and prevent a future generation of smokers from getting hooked in the first place."

Reference:: Senatorial Scolding Durbin, Lautenberg warn tobacco companies not to engage in misleading cigarette advertising, Convenience Store/Petroleum (CSP) Daily News, 6/18/2010.

The FDA should also listen to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) when he urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pull the dissolvable tobacco products – namely Camel’s Orbs, Sticks, and Strips – from stores until the agency could conduct a study of their effects on children and teenagers. (U.S. - senator urges FDA to pull dissolvable tobacco products from test market sites..)

PMUSA store sign Marlboro 'New Look Same Famous Flavor"..

June 19, 2010 -

Click on image to enlarge..

Pertaining to news brief of Friday, June 18th..
FDA CTR - demanding that PM USA turn over research on how consumers are reacting to changes in the Marlboro Lights package.. From a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. According to a letter the FDA sent to Philip Morris today, June 17th the company has attached "onserts" to its Marlboro Lights packs that state, "Your Marlboro Lights pack is changing. But your cigarette stays the same. In the future, ask for 'Marlboro in the gold pack.'"

We have not been able to find the "onserts" that the FDA describes in any c-stores that we monitor. We have found the sign above in a couple of grocery stores but not at any c-stores.

We have been informed that the "onserts" have be found on packs of Marlboro cigarettes in the Boston, MA area.

PAPER: Main risk factors for stroke - hypertension and smoking..

June 18, 2010 - A Canadian-led study suggests about 90 percent of the risk of having a stroke is preventable through lifestyle changes.

PAPER: Risk factors for ischaemic and intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke in 22 countries (the INTERSTROKE study): a case-control study, Dr Martin J O'Donnell et al., The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 18 June 2010, ABSTRACT..

Dr. Martin J. O'Donnell and Dr. Salim Yusuf of McMaster University in Hamilton and colleagues analyzed data from 3,000 stroke patients and 3,000 controls without stroke of the same age and gender in 22 developed and developing countries from March 2007 to April 2010.

The contribution of various risk factors to the burden of stroke worldwide is unknown, particularly in countries of low and middle income. The authors aimed to establish the association of known and emerging risk factors with stroke and its primary subtypes, assess the contribution of these risk factors to the burden of stroke, and explore the differences between risk factors for stroke and myocardial infarction [heart attack].

"Our findings suggest that 10 risk factors are associated with 90 percent of the risk of stroke," the study's authors concluded. "Targeted interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy diet, could substantially reduce the burden of stroke," the study added.

High blood pressure was the most important for stroke, increasing the risk by 2.64 times, compared with having no history of hypertension.

10 stroke risk factors

* High blood pressure.
* Smoking.
* Waist-to-hip ratio or abdominal obesity.
* Diet.
* Physical activity.
* Lipids or fats.
* Type 2 diabetes.
* Alcohol intake.
* Stress and depression.
* Heart disorders.

World Heart Federation: Facts - Figures on Using Tobacco..

Reference: Nearly all stroke risk preventable: study, CBC News, 6/18/2010.

FDA CTR - demanding that PM USA turn over research on how consumers are reacting to changes in the Marlboro Lights package..

June 18, 2010

The following is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Tobacco Products (CTR) today, June 17th took strong, quick action against Philip Morris USA (PM USA) to prevent the tobacco company from evading the new ban on promoting cigarettes as "light," "mild" or "low-tar" that takes effect on June 22. The ban on these deceptive terms is a key provision of the new federal law giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. It seeks to end a decades-long tobacco industry fraud that has falsely promoted some cigarette brands as less harmful and sought to discourage smokers from quitting.

According to a letter the FDA sent to Philip Morris today, June 17th the company has attached "onserts" to its Marlboro Lights packs that state, "Your Marlboro Lights pack is changing. But your cigarette stays the same. In the future, ask for 'Marlboro in the gold pack.'"

The FDA letter states, "FDA is concerned that the statements included in the onserts attached to the individual packs of Marlboro Lights may perpetuate the mistaken beliefs associated with your "light" cigarettes when marketed as Marlboro in the gold pack. By stating that only the packaging is changing, but the cigarettes will stay the same, the onsert suggests that Marlboro in the gold pack will have the same characteristics as Marlboro Lights, including any mistaken attributes associated with the "light" cigarettes."

The FDA is correctly demanding that the company turn over all market research it has conducted or possesses on how consumers react to changes in the Marlboro Lights package, including their perceptions about the new gold packs. This will give the FDA the information it needs to take additional enforcement action if Philip Morris does not pull the onserts. Under the law, tobacco companies may not use any marketing that explicitly or implicitly suggests a cigarette brand is less harmful than others.

In addition to the onserts, Philip Morris and other tobacco companies are using lighter-colored packaging for light brands and switched to terms such as "gold" and "silver" to replace "light" and "ultra-light" to circumvent the ban.

We applaud the FDA's action as a crucial first step toward keeping the tobacco industry from continuing the "light" and "low-tar" deception. We call on Philip Morris to go beyond the actions called for by the FDA and immediately stop using these onserts. In fact, all tobacco companies and retailers should cease any activity that communicates to consumers that "light" or "low-tar" brands are still available. Any activity that misleads consumers into believing that certain cigarettes are safer and discourages smokers from quitting is harmful to public health.

Reference: FDA Acts to Prevent Philip Morris from Evading New Ban On Promoting Cigarettes as 'Light' or 'Low-Tar', SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, PRNewswire-USNewswire, 6/17/2010.

Plymouth, England - children could be banned from movies if smoking is seen..

June 17, 2010 - Under a plan put forward by the Plymouth City Council by health officials children could be banned from watching films in which characters are seen smoking. An 18 certificate - usually reserved for movies with violent and sexual content - would be attached to any film release which features the unhealthy habit, in attempt to prevent it from appearing glamorous.

Movies such as 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio, Peter Pan and numerous James Bond classics would all be considered adult-only movies. More recent productions including Titanic and Lord of the Rings would also be affected.

NHS statistics show 27 percent of adults smoke in Plymouth compared to the national figure of 21 percent - and 63 percent of children are smoking by the age of 16. In the most deprived areas up to 54 per cent of adults smoke - more than twice the national average.

Russ Moody, manager of Plymouth NHS Stop Smoking Service, said: 'This plan is about shaping the culture that surrounds the use of tobacco. He added: 'The driving force behind the long-term strategy is protection of young people.

Other proposals being considered by the Conservative-led council include giving out nicotine patches in schools, introducing blanket bans at outdoor public events and banning smoking in cars with children.

Editorial: Assigning an ‘18’ rating to movies with tobacco imagery is essential to reduce youth smoking, Christopher Millett1, Stanton A Glantz, Thorax 2010;65:377-378, Abstract..

More: People in Liverpool are being asked to give their opinion over plans to give films featuring people who smoke an automatic 18 rating.(Liverpool, England - plans for 18 certificates for smoking films shown in Liverpool suffer setback..)

Reference: Films featuring smoking could be given 18 certificate in bid to stop children taking up habit by Luke Salkeld, DailyMail.co.uk, 6/14/2010.


Reynolds American Inc. - cigarette ads in magazines returns..

June 17, 2010 - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. back on November 27, 2007 had said it will not advertise its cigarette brands in newspapers and consumer magazines. (RJR drops print ads..).

Reynolds American is the parent company of R.J Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Santa Fe is now running a 2-page ad in at least one magazine again. The ad below appeared in the July 2010 issue of InStyle Magazine. InStyle magazine targets women between the ages of 25-39 years old. It is interesting to note that the theme of the WHO World No Tobacco Day 2010 was to draw attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls.

Click on image to enlarge..

Recently Santa Fe Natural has been in trouble for alleged misleading marketing. Attorney General Secures Agreement with American Spirit Cigarettes Maker over Alleged Misleading Marketing of Organic Tobacco Products..

Western Australia - strict anti-smoking laws come into effect on September, 22, 2010..

June 17, 2010 - Authorities are already looking at implementing even stricter measures to target smokers. The next step could be forcing addicts to get their cigarettes on prescription, said Western Australia's (WA) first Director General of Health and prominent anti-smoking advocate, Dr. Mike Daube.

Laws passed by the state government last year, which come into effect on September 22, have tightened restrictions in WA. Bans include: tobacco product displays in retail premises (with exemption for specialist tobacco retailers); smoking in outdoor eating areas (with some exemptions; smoking in cars with children under 17 years present; smoking near children's playground equipment; smoking between the flags at the beach; forcing staff to work in designated smoking areas

Professor Daube, an expert on health policy from Curtin University, said anti-smoking groups will let those bans "settle-in" before setting new targets. "Over the next five to 10 years I think the question we have got to be asking is when do you phase out the commercial selling of cigarettes?,'' he said.

Professor Daube, who is also the Australian Council for Smoking and Health president, said smoking was still killing 1200 West Australians each year and 100,000 had died since the dangers of lighting up became apparent in 1952.

"If you put together the new laws we have here and the new federal activity, my view is we are the best performing state in the best performing country in the world," he said.

"Smoking is declining quite dramatically, we are down to 15 percent adult smokers and under 5 percent of 12- to 17-year-old smokers. When you consider that at one stage 70 per cent of men were smoking it's a big step."

Reference: The noose tightens around public smoking,

Western Australia related news briefs:
Smoking during pregnancy - potentially negative effect on reproductive health in the next generation..;
Australia - social cost of smoking $31 billion to economy..;
Western Australia - kids no longer interested in smoking..;
Western Australia - added sweetners make cigarettes easier to tolerate..;
Western Australia - major tobacco companies were worried about tobacco controls...

US AMA policy - e-cigarettes FDA should treat as a drug delivery device..

June 17, 2010 - New policy adopted today, June 14th by the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) be classified as drug delivery devices, subject to the same FDA regulations as all other drug delivery devices. Additional policy adopted supports prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes that are not FDA approved.

The importation of e-cigarettes will be banned indefinitely as the result of a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals on February 3, 2010 which provides strong support for the FDA's position. (U.S. - federal appeals court, import of e-cigarettes on hold again..

The FDA had seized shipments of e-cigarettes beginning in 2008 as illegal drug-delivery devices. The FDA maintains that such devices are illegal because -- unlike other products which administer nicotine such as gums, patches, inhalers, and sprays -- e-cigarettes have not been submitted to the FDA with proof they are safe and effective.

AMA Board Member Edward L. Langston, M.D.: "Very little data exists on the safety of e-cigarettes, and the FDA has warned that they are potentially addicting and contain harmful toxins. Our new policies can help ensure that e-cigarettes are properly classified and regulated."

Click to enlarge..
E-cigarettes are smokeless devices that deliver nicotine to the user. They consist of three integrated parts: the nicotine cartridge, the vaporizer and a lithium ion battery. The battery powers the cartridge and releases the nicotine by heating, rather than burning like a conventional cigarettes. They are available in fruit and candy flavors. Little independent research has been conducted into their ingredients and health impacts, but they are commercially promoted by vendors as a safe alternative to cigarettes.

"Because e-cigarettes have not been thoroughly tested, one cannot conclude that they are less harmful or less dangerous than conventional cigarettes," said Dr. Langston. "The fact that they come in fruit and candy flavors gives them the potential to entice new nicotine users, especially teens."

The AMA's new policy is a result of a report looking at the current regulations and potential health impacts of e-cigarettes discussed this week at the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Electronic cigarettes - study finds not an effective nicotine delivery system..;
E-cigarettes need to establish efficacy and safety - FIRST..

We don't understand why these electronic cigarette devices continue to be sold in the United States while there is a ban on the sale of these imported products.

Reference: AMA: Electronic Cigarettes are Drug Delivery Devices and Should Be Subject to FDA Regulations, SOURCE American Medical Association, PR Newswire, 6/14/2010.

Australia - Anne Jones, CEO of ASH chosen to receive Medal of the Order of Australia..

June 17, 2010 -

Anne Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia has been chosen as a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to community health through roles with Action on Smoking and Health Australia (Date granted: 14 June 2010). The formal presentation will take place in September.

Anne previously won a President’s Award from the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2004 - for concerted efforts in controlling tobacco use.

For more information on Ms. Jones..


Australia - Anne Jones activities June 2010..

Chief Executive Officer
Action on Smoking and Health Australia Pty Ltd
Tel: 02 93341876, Fax: 02 93341742, Mobile: 0417 227879
Email: annej@ashaust.org.au


Anne Jones has been Chief Executive Officer of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia since 1994.

Founded and funded by the Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation, ASH is a well known media advocacy organisation committed to improving government policies to reduce deaths, chronic diseases and social costs caused by smoking and smoke exposure.

ASH has helped increase capacity for tobacco control with the formation of Smokefree Australia coalition (11 partners) in 2002 – see SmokeFree Australia; and the Protecting Children from Tobacco coalition (40 partners) in 2006 – see Protectong Children from Tobacco.

From 2006 Anne has worked for approximately three months a year in China, Vietnam and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, working for the WHO and as a Technical Adviser in Tobacco Control for the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease as part of the Bloomberg Initiative to reduce the tobacco epidemic worldwide.

She has consistently prioritised the rights and needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable – particularly lower income nations, children and youth, Indigenous and CALD communities, low-income and low-security workers, and people with disabilities.

Anne has used a range of strategies for achieving tobacco control aims - including seeking meetings for political advocacy, making submissions to reviews and inquiries, media releases and alerts, organising public rallies, demonstrations and other events, shareholder advocacy, building NGO coalitions, creative collaboration with journalists/photographers/graphic designers, creative website development, networking through various media, working with tobacco-affected individuals to bring relevant personal experiences to media and decision-makers’ attention, making complaints to health and consumer authorities and to businesses and media, devising satire and street theatre events, developing hard-copy and online resources, and more.

For examples of Anne’s creative ideas, see ASH’s Tobacco-free Campus survey and resource project at Campus Survey and the Protecting Children from Tobacco coalition and resources at www.ashaust.org.au/lv3/action_POS.htm.

Anne has been the personification of persistence throughout her fifteen years’ fulltime work at ASH - and she began her contribution to tobacco control before that, as an adviser to a NSW MP. She has worked long hours, contributing an enormous amount of her personal time and energies, making herself available at all hours for media comment.

She has followed through consistently – for example, from making the first “Light/Mild” complaint to the ACCC in 1998 to achievement of the terms being banned in 2005; and from being involved in the start of the campaign for smokefree pubs and clubs in NSW as far back as the mid-90s to advocating long and hard in all jurisdictions until total indoor bans were in force – NT expected to be the last in January 2010. Anne continues to advocate for 100% smokefree workplaces, indoors and out.

She is now demonstrating the same persistence in achieving out-of-sight retail legislation – starting with advocacy in SA in 2006, through a pivotal role in the first deadline set by Tasmania in 2007, through intense advocacy in achieving NSW and ACT deadlines, and contributions to Victorian, WA, Queensland and NT reviews. She has similarly followed through from the beginnings of the campaign to make smoking in cars carrying children smokefree to this being enacted in most jurisdictions.

During Anne’s 16 years at the helm of ASH, she has worked tirelessly on a shoestring budget and with minimal staffing (no subordinate staff for the first seven years, one for the next eight). She has contributed to numerous legislative reviews, taskforces, working parties and committees in all Australian jurisdictions.

She has helped to achieve enormous legislative reform in Australia - Federally and in all states and territories; as well as making a sizeable contribution to combating tobacco in the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide.

She has worked closely with, and often co-ordinated the efforts of, diverse groups and individuals to help achieve a common goal in politically sensitive environments.

She has a track record of advising and influencing national, state and territory governments and contributing to the development of tobacco control strategies within the region. She has raised the profile of tobacco control in media, helping to obtain extensive media coverage of tobacco and health and public interest issues and raising the profile of these issues with opinion leaders and the general public. She has presented papers at international conferences and participated as an expert in forums in China, Singapore, New Zealand and Washington.

Policy improvements that Anne and ASH have contributed to include: tobacco tax reform in 2000 and again pending in 2009; initiating government action against, and finally ending, “light” and “mild” descriptors; hard-hitting graphic warnings; smokefree totally enclosed areas of licensed venues in all but one jurisdiction; smokefree dining areas (some jurisdictions, more pending); putting tobacco out of sight in retail outlets (most jurisdictions legislated or pending); cars carrying children smokefree by law (most jurisdictions legislated or pending); a reorientation of federal health policy towards preventing diseases based on evidence; and development and Australian ratification and implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Anne has done all this with unfailing patience, calm and positivity, and with self-effacing respect and consideration for her colleagues.


1994 to date: Chief Executive Officer, Action on Smoking and Health Australia
Implemented the ASH vision for a smokefree Australia including improved policies for:
Raising community awareness of harm caused by tobacco and benefits of quitting, Increasing government investment in tobacco control programs, Improving legislative controls to reduce illegal sales and illicit trade, Ending tobacco advertising and promotion - including getting tobacco out of sight in retail outlets, and 2010 government commitment to mandating plain packaging by mid-2012, Reforming tobacco excise duties, Ending smoky workplaces including bars, clubs and public dining areas, Ending misleading conduct by the tobacco industry, Protecting children from smoke exposure and tobacco promotion.

Member of:
· SmokeFree Olympics Taskforce for Sydney 2000
· UICC’s Global Smokefree Partnership for smokefree sports policy
· The Cancer Council Australia Tobacco Issues Committee
· The National Heart Foundation Tobacco Committee
· Working Group for development of guidelines for managing nicotine dependency in health care settings
· NSW Government taskforce on Passive Smoking
· NSW Government Working group on Tobacco Action Plan
· Taskforce to reform political donations

Key role in:
· Protecting Children from Tobacco coalition
· SmokeFree Australia (workplace) coalition

Anne previously won a President’s Award from the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2004 - for concerted efforts in controlling tobacco use.

Philip Morris International to appeal Colombia's rejection of proposed Protabaco acquisition..

June 16, 2010 - Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) plans to appeal a Colombian regulator's decision to deny its $452 million bid to acquire privately owned cigarette maker Productora Tabacalera de Colombia, or Protabaco.

Background: Back on Friday, July 10, 2009 PMI said it would pay $452 million to buy privately owned Protabaco, a Colombian cigarette maker expanding its presence in the South American continent. (Protabaco manufactures and sells cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars either in our own brands or private label.)

Protabaco is the second largest tobacco company in Columbia with about 32-percent market share and registered a turnover of around $108 million in 2008. The company has three cigarette plants in Columbia and its leading brands are Mustang, Premier and President.

The purchase of Protabaco needs regulatory approval and is expected to be completed within six months, New York-based PMI said on July 10th.

PMI to buy Columbia cigarette maker - Protabaco..
As PMI looked to expand in Latin America, it was disclosed Tuesday, June 15th in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the Colombian competition authority didn't approve the acquisition and said it would seek to commence a reconsideration process.

The Colombian antitrust watchdog said the acquisition would hamper competition in the local market. The merged company would control almost 80% of the Colombian cigarette market, the watchdog said in a statement Tuesday, June 15th. The acquisition would erect obstacles for the entry of new competitors in a shrinking market, the regulator added. "These circumstances would provoke a negative effect on consumers, who would be exposed to possible price increases and fewer alternatives in a market where one competitor would control a wider portfolio of brands and flavors," the regulator said.

The regulator said after a merger, PMI would become almost the sole buyer of tobacco leaves and would be able to impose purchase conditions on tobacco growers.

In 2005 and 2006, Philip Morris acquired Colombia's largest cigarette maker, Coltabaco, for a little more than $300 million.

Reference: UPDATE: Philip Morris To Appeal Rejection Of Colombia Takeover by Inti Landauro, Dow Jones Newswires, The Wall Street Journal, 6/15/2010.

PAPER: Scotland Unhealthy risk factors those with lack of education/ low income..

June 15, 2010 - David Conway, from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, worked with a team of researchers to study data from 6574 participants in the Scottish Health Survey 2003. Conway, "Our analysis shows that around two-thirds of the Scottish population is overweight or obese, a similar proportion are not sufficiently physically active, and most people have a poor diet, - it is just that it is not the same majority for each factor. The most important determinants of multiple risk factors were low educational attainment and residence in our most deprived communities".

PAPER: Is the Scottish population living dangerously? Prevalence of multiple risk factors: the Scottish Health Survey 2003, Richard Lawder, Oliver Harding, Diane Stockton, Colin Fischbacher, David H Brewster, Jim Chalmers, Alan Finlayson and David I Conway, BMC Public Health 2010, 10:330doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-330, ABSTRACT (provisional), PDF (provisional).

The prevalence of multiple behavioural risk factors was high, with 86% having at least two risk factors; 55% having three or more risk factors; and nearly 20% having four or all five risk factors. Furthermore these risk factors are strongly associated with low socio-economic circumstances. The researchers caution that, as the behaviours were self-reported, the real situation may be even worse than these figures suggest. According to Conway, "Respondents might tend to give answers that would convey more favourable behaviours. This was confirmed for alcohol consumption by an analysis comparing self-reported alcohol intake in the Scottish Health Surveys with alcohol sales estimates, which suggested that surveys may understate alcohol consumption by as much as 50%".

"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..

Scotland has taken significant steps forward in making changes in public health; for example in being one of the first countries in the European Union (EU) to ban smoking in public places. The ban took effect in March 2006. (UK Public Health Association (UKPHA) Scotland..

Reference: Scottish People 'Living Dangerously', Source: Graeme Baldwin BioMed Central, Medical News Today, 6/11/2010.

Scotland - related news briefs:
Scotland - renewing efforts to stop pregnant women from smoking..;
Scotland - cigarette smoking quit attempts increase by 35%..;
Scotland - retailers can provide input on future to ban the display of tobacco..;
Scotland - campaigners want more to be done to protect young people from passive smoking..;
Scotland - government no plans to ban smoking in cars and public places used by children..;
Scotland - smokers will be banned from fostering or adopting children, comments from Professor Banzhaf..;
Scotland - parliament votes to ban retail cigarette displays and vending machines..;
Scotland - health minister urges smokers to quit..;
Scotland - some men beginning to lead a healthier lifestyle and therefore living longer..;
Scotland - self-reporting of smoking by pregnant women underestimates true number of pregnant smokers..;
Scotland - tobacco firms claim proposed display ban is unnecessary..;
"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..;
Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..;
Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..;
Scottish politicans most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..;
Scotland - small businesses given extra 2-years to remove tobacco displays..;
Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..;
Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..;
Bar workers who smoke also benefit from smoking ban..;
17 countries in the world ban indoor smoking - ENFORCEMENT..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
Definite Health Benefits of Smoking Bans..;
Northern Ireland raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18 joining the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries..;
Scotland proposes to implement more measures to discourage tobacco use including the banning of tobacco displays..;
Raise Age to 21 to Purchase Tobacco Products...

Namibia - ready to implement the Tobacco Products Control ACT..

June 15. 2010 - Namibia Health and Social Services Minister Richard Kamwi hinted at a new law during the commemoration of ‘World No Tobacco Day’ in Gobabis on Monday, May 31st. The new law would essentially prohibit sponsorship of any Namibian event, however charitable, by tobacco companies or distributors of tobacco products.

According to a 2008 World Health Organization survey Namibia was the leader in Southern Africa with a startling 36 percent of men smoking - 29 percent on a daily basis. (Smoking in Africa, VOAnews.com, 11/302009)
Kamwi said smoking among the young, especially women, is going up, hence the urgency to curb demand for tobacco in the country. Once in force, the Tobacco Products Control Act No 1 of 2010 will black out marketing and promotion of tobacco products in the country, and restrict tobacco vending machines to restricted areas with an 18-year age limit. “Plans are underway to invite all [concerned] to inform them on how we will enforce this law, including not smoking in public places,” Kamwi said.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba has signed the Tobacco Product Control Act, thus paving the way for its enforcement. The National Assembly adopted the Tobacco Products Control Bill with one amendment on Thursday, October 8th.

This puts a total blackout on advertising, promotion and any public relations activities around tobacco products or companies whose names are directly associated with tobacco products. In addition, the Act also prohibits tobacco companies and distributors of tobacco products from sponsoring an event in Namibia to ostensibly promote tobacco brands through such events.

Figures from the Ministry of Health and Social Services single out two specific regions, Omaheke and Hardap, as having the highest average number of women smokers. In Hardap, the average is 24 percent, which the health ministry says “tops the list of women smokers countrywide”. Interestingly, that average percentage also exceeds the estimated number of women smokers worldwide, at 20 percent of the total number of smokers. In Omaheke, women smokers are estimated at 5 percent. “The number could increase as the [tobacco] industry sees opportunities for business, especially among women and the youth,” warns the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

The Act also mandates the establishment of a fund from levies on sales of tobacco and other sources. The fund would partly use the money to pay for treatment of tobacco-related illnesses. The Act aligns the Namibian health system with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Attempts to get comment from various tobacco companies in Namibia on the future effect of the Act were futile.

This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) commemorated World No Tobacco Day under the theme “Gender and Tobacco, with emphasis on marketing tobacco to women”.
Today young people, especially young women, are the target of tobacco companies, and the health ministry wants all Namibian women to “adopt healthy lifestyles free of tobacco smoking and alcohol”, Kamwi said.

References: Government tightens screws on smoking by Desie Heita, NewEra.com.na, 6/3/2010; Namibia: Smoking Habits a Growing Concern, Alvine Kapitako,
NewEra.com.na, 6/1/2010; Namibia must demarket tobacco by Rosalia Ndafuda,
NewEra.com.na, 4/23/2010.

Namibia - related news briefs:
Namibia - Tobacco Products Control Bill passes National Assmebly..;

Republic of Namibia signed (29 January 2004) and ratified (7 November 2005) the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.


Malaysia - best way to get teenage girls to stop smoking is through education..

June 15, 2010 - The percentage of teenage girls who smoke, which is higher than of teenage boys, is worrying, especially when there are girls who started smoking even before reaching the age of 10, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said yesterday. (The Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Parliament) was told on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 that the increase in the number of women smokers was worrying.

The second National Health Morbidity and Mortality Survey (NHMS11) conducted in 2003 found that 28.8 percent of teenage girls smoked, more than double the figure for boys, which was 14.1 percent. Rosnah said teenage girls picked up the smoking habit mainly due to the influence of advertisements which associated smoking with physical beauty and weight loss. “There is no beauty or sophistication in smoking. There is only ugliness and threat to health,” she said. Rosnah said smoking also increased the risk of miscarriage and premature delivery of babies.

Hence, she hoped parents, parent-teacher associations and non-governmental organisations would work closely in organising awareness and educational campaigns on the dangers of smoking.

She said it took more than parents’ attention to tackle the smoking habit among teenagers as most of their time was spent at other places and with their peers. She said punishing the teenagers would only cause them to be rebellious.

“There is no good in punishing or even suspending them from school. The best way to tackle the problem is by using educational materials and specific advertisements,” she added.

Reference: Rising Trend Of Teenage Girls Smoking Worrying - Rosnah, Bernama.com, 6/11/2010.

Malaysia - some related news briefs:
Malaysia - ban on 14-stick cigarette packs delayed worry about increase in illicit cigarettes..;
Malaysia - slight decrease in illicit cigarettes; JTI Malaysia q1 2010 market share increases..;
Malaysia - Health Ministry's proposal to ban the sale of 14-stick cigarette packs beginning June 1, 2010..;
Malaysia - increase in number of women smoking..;
Malaysia - new strategy to penalize retailers who sell contraband cigarettes..;
Malaysia - youth and student smokers may not receive aid from government..;
Malaysia - two tobacco control regulations starting January 1, 2010..

Malaysia - about 368,000 teenager smokers in the country, 50-60 added per day..;
Malaysia - sale of cigarettes in packets of less than 20 prohibited as of June 1, 2010..;
Malaysia - stepping up efforts to curb the trade in illicit cigarettes..;
Malaysia - BAT plans to dispose of a parcel of industrial land..;
Malaysia - ban on cigarette sponsorship for sports will not be withdrawn..;
Malaysia - cigarette-shaped sweets packaged like cigarettes;
Malaysia - Penang consumer group ban cheap cigarettes and increase price on premium..;
Malaysia - Kelantin State Government may not promote staff who smoke..;
Malaysia - excise duty increased on tobacco - another increase could be coming this month..;
Malaysia - smoking limits your quality of life..;
Malaysia - smoking civil servants in Penang to receive free nicotine treatment..;
Malaysia - illicit cigarettes, BAT wants government to slow excise duty increases..;
Peninsular Malaysia - one of three cigarette packs is either contraband or fake..;
Komtar, Penang, Malaysia smoking ban strictly enforced..;
Malaysia student forced to smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours..
Malaysia - PSD and Cuepacs are at odds over the no-smoking rule at government de­­partments and agencies..;
Malaysia: Are tobacco control measures working? - WHO thinks so...;
Malaysia - slowdown in cigarette consumption..;
Malaysia - January 1, 2009 pictorial cigarette warnings..;
Malaysia to hike cigarette prices..;
Malaysia - 25% of all cigarettes sales are illegal...Peninsular Malaysia - one of three cigarette packs is either contraband or fake..;
Komtar, Penang, Malaysia smoking ban strictly enforced..;
Malaysia student forced to smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours..
Malaysia - PSD and Cuepacs are at odds over the no-smoking rule at government de­­partments and agencies..;
Malaysia: Are tobacco control measures working? - WHO thinks so...;
Malaysia - slowdown in cigarette consumption..;
Malaysia - January 1, 2009 pictorial cigarette warnings..;
Malaysia to hike cigarette prices..;
Malaysia - 25% of all cigarettes sales are illegal...

Canada - farmers not given fair price for tobacco sent to the U.S, and then returned to Canada..

June 15, 2010 - The cigarette industry is facing a novel new claim for compensation over its 1990s smuggling spree, which has already led to heavy civil and criminal penalties against four tobacco companies.

Canada - tobacco firms settle cigarette smuggling case..;
Canada Tobacco Firms Smuggling Settlement Too Low.., 9/17/2008;
Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling.., 7/31/2008;
Farmers have filed $150-million in class-action lawsuits, alleging that the [tobacco] firms paid them the lower, export price for tobacco that was initially sent to the United States, but then smuggled back — tax-free — for the Canadian market. They say they should have received the higher, domestic price for that tobacco, and are demanding the companies now pay them the difference, plus other damages.

The smuggling operation has been decried as a corporate plot that undermined anti-smoking efforts by flooding the country with cheap cigarettes. The lawsuit, though, is about farmers getting what they are owed — not profiting from the episode, said Harvey Strosberg, the Windsor, Ont., lawyer handling the case.

Eric Gagnon, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco, one of the three companies being sued, said he could not comment on detailed allegations in the case because it is before the courts. He said the company will vigorously defend itself, though, and chided growers for even launching legal action. “The lawsuit is clearly a cash grab attempt by an industry that is having difficult times, mainly due to illegal tobacco in Ontario,” said Mr. Gagnon. “It might be of more benefit for the growers to put their efforts towards requesting that governments put an end to the illegal-tobacco trade ... instead of engaging in long and costly litigation.”

The illegal trade he was referring to is a new type of contraband cigarettes — mostly produced on aboriginal reserves in Canada and the United States — that has swamped the country in recent years. (Canada, Ontario and Quebec - illegal cigarettes greater than 40% of consumption..)

In the 1990s, millions of cigarettes from a different source were smuggled into Canada and sold tax free on the black market. It turned out the industry was deeply involved. The federal government laid charges in the mid-2000s against the four major tobacco companies, alleging they deliberately “exported” product to the United States, knowing it would be secreted back across the border, and saving billions in taxes.

Imperial and Rothmans, Benson and Hedges settled the case in 2008, paying a total of $300-million in fines after pleading guilty to a violation of the Excise Act. They also agreed to hand over more than $500-million to resolve civil cases filed by the governments. JTI-Macdonald and R.J. Reynolds reached similar settlements this April.

The farmers’ suit stems from the two-price system they worked under until recently. In 1986, for instance, growers were paid $1.84 per pound for tobacco to be sold domestically, and $1.11 for tobacco used in products destined for export, according to their statement of claim.

As the smuggling operation picked up steam, the percentage of tobacco the companies bought for export soared four-fold from 3% in 1986 to 14% in 1993, the document indicates. Since the firms knew the tobacco would end up back in Canada, they should have paid growers the domestic price, the suit charges.

Imperial, though, has given legal notice that it believes the farmers’ claims are covered under the $350-million civil settlement it reached with federal and provincial governments in 2008. Imperial says it will withhold some payments under that deal until the farmers’ class action is resolved.

The Ontario government has responded with its own court application, arguing the 2008 settlement did not apply to the farmers or their marketing board.

Reference: Cigarette industry hit with novel claim for compensation, Tom Blackwell (tblackwell@nationalpost.com), National Post, 6/14/2010.

Brunei - smoking ban looks like it will work - ENFORCEMENT STRONG..

June 15, 2010 - A total of 72 people were caught smoking in prohibited public areas yesterday, an offence under Chapter 14, Tobacco Order 2005.

In the operation conducted by the Enforcement Unit of Tobacco Control Section, Ministry of Health at two shopping centres in Gadong, 62 of those caught, including six local women, were compounded $150 per person. The other 10, who were youths under the age of 18, will be enlisted into counselling programmes with the help of their parents and guardians.

The Ministry of Health reminded the public again that if anyone is caught smoking in public areas such as shophouse sidewalks, shopping centres, markets, food stalls, bus stations, bus stops, restaurants and government buildings will have to pay a compound of $150 (107.5 USD) for the first offence, $300 (215 USD) for the second offence. For subsequent offences, the offender will be brought to court and fined up to $1,000 (717.6 USD) if convicted.

In addition, failure to display the no-smoking signs in shops selling tobacco is an offence under Chapter 11, Tobacco Order 2005. Any shop owner that fails to do so will be fined up to $10,000 (7,166.31 USD) if convicted. The ministry will continue to carry out such operations and take action according to the laws set and fine anyone caught for the offence under the Order and its rules.

Reference: 72 caught for smoking in public places, The Brunei Times, 6/14/2010.

Related news briefs:
Brunei - An imam blasts tactics to keep people addicted to nicotine..;
Brunei - smoking top cause of cancer death..;
Brunei - national tobacco control panel to create smoke-free society..

EU Court - two anti-smoking cases could lead to ban on sales of tobacco products..

EU Court of Justice..
June 15, 2010 - The European Union (EU) Court in Luxembourg has lodged two anti-smoking cases which could, in theory, lead to a ban on the sale of tobacco products across the EU.

The two complaints, entitled "Rossius C267/10" and "Collard C268/10," lodged in Luxembourg on 28 May, call for the EU to ban the sale of cigarettes and the collection of excise duties on tobacco products in Belgium.

They also ask the court to examine if the sale of tobacco products goes against the Lisbon Treaty, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UN's 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Baudouin Hubaux, a Belgian anti-smoking campaigner and a judge at the regional court in Namur, Belgium, who referred the cases to Luxembourg, told Belgian press that the best outcome would be for the court to ban cigarettes across the union or, at the least, to set out the financial liability of tobacco companies for damages to people's health.

Mr Hubaux' statement of reasoning, as submitted to Luxembourg, was published in the Belgian daily, La Derniere Heure, on 3 June. Future historians who will explore the 20th century will surely be surprised at the timidity of measures against smoking," it says. "If we fail to reduce consumption, smoking will kill 520 million people worldwide between 1950 and 2050, 10 times more than the Second World War."

The EU tribunal will now consider whether the case is admissible. If it goes ahead, the court will appoint a rapporteur and advocate general and table hearings leading to a judgment some 17 months down the line.

The Lisbon Treaty recently clarified existing case law that the EU court has primacy [first and foremost] over member states' legislation.

The Brussels-based lobby firm, EUK Consulting, said its client, British American Tobacco (BAT), is "urgently" looking into the case but is unwilling to make a statement based on media reports only. BAT itself has a large office in Brussels.

Another Brussels-based lobbying outfit, BXL Consulting, reacted negatively. "It's much more complex than just to expect that a ban would materialise and be implemented and would not on the other hand contribute to illegal trafficking, production and so on. Such a measure does not have a chance to succeed," the firm's founder, Pavel Telicka, told this website. Mr Telicka, the Czech republic's former EU health commissioner, pointed out that BXL Consulting does not represent BAT, but said that he has in the recent past "mediated and facilitated a dialogue between BAT and stakeholders, including the [EU] institutions."

A senior contact at a major Brussels-based PR firm told this website that tobacco sector lobbying is part of normal life in Brussels, but is a more sensitive matter in Luxembourg.

"The rule is to avoid being perceived by the Court as 'wanting to use the court of public opinion' instead of their sacred office," the PR contact said. "'Strategic communication' is employed, with the objective of never bothering the Court actually. It is very hard to achieve. One way is to get credible third-parties to discuss your case in a variety of countries, media and events."

The EU commission, which has in the past launched a number of soft anti-smoking initiatives, such as a ban on advertising, estimates that smoking costs the EU economy €2.5 (3.07 USD) billion a year in terms of healthcare and productivity losses and brings in €67 (82.18 USD) billion a year in terms of tobacco industry revenue.

Reference: Belgian judge seeks EU-wide ban on cigarette sales, ANDREW RETTMAN, EUObserver, 6/7/2010.


Singapore - new stricter tobacco legislation - smoking..

Singapore Coat-of-Arms..
June 14, 2010 - We have been waiting for a change in the tobacco legislation to address smokeless alternatives, which would include strips, lozenges, snus and nicotine candies. (Singapore - tobacco dissolvables now infesting this health conscious country..)

Singapore has introduced new tobacco legislation regarding smoking cigarettes that requires manufacturers to include health warnings on both of the main faces [both sides] of their cigarette packs. And it has introduced two additional warnings: 'Smoking kills' and 'Smoking harms your family'.

Restaurants, supermarkets, museums, libraries, indoor sports arenas, theaters, public transportation and government offices are all off limits for smokers.

Establishments or people caught selling to minors face fines of S$6,300 (4,510 USD)

Singapore is also hard on teens that smoke. Fines of S$30 (21.5 USD)are imposed on anyone under the age of 18 carrying cigarettes in public, whether or not they were actually smoking. A fine of S$60 (42.95 USD) is assessed for the second and all subsequent offenses. It's the parents' responsibility to see that the fines are paid. If not, parents are subjected to spending a night in jail. Teachers are also required to fine students who break the law.

Members of the armed forces smoking in public while wearing their uniforms will be fined and disciplined.

Reference: Yes sir, no sir, Tobacco Reporter, 6/14/2010; Three cheers for Singapore on smoking bans, BY ROBERT WALLACE write to him c/o The Post-Tribune, 1433 83rd Ave., Merrillville, IN 46410, 6/10/2010.

Singapore - some related news briefs:
Singapore - tobacco dissolvables now infesting this health conscious country..;
Singapore - illicit cigarette trade down by 37 percent..;
Singapore - e-cigarettes are illegal..;
Singapore - record number of smuggling attempts for 1st part of 2009..;
Singapore - new measures to discourage smoking among the young..;
Singapore - more people were smoking in 2007 than 2004..;
Singapore - Smoking increase despite public ban, price hike..; Singapore - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband...

England - heart attack admissions fall after smoking ban..

June 14, 2010 - In the year after smoke-free legislation was introduced in England, there were 1,200 fewer emergency heart attack (myocardial infarction) hospital admissions -- a 2.4 percent decrease, a new study shows. The smoke-free law, enacted on July 1, 2007, prohibits smoking in all public places and enclosed workplaces. The researchers analyzed emergency department admissions for patients aged 18 and older from July 2002 to September 2008.

PAPER: Short term impact of smoke-free legislation in England: retrospective analysis of hospital admissions for myocardial infarction, Michelle Sims, Roy Maxwell, Linda Bauld, Anna Gilmore (a.gilmore@bath.ac.uk), BMJ 2010;340:c2161, ABSTRACT..

VIDEO - Dr. Gilmore..Heart attack admissions fall after smoking ban by Clare Murphy Health reporter, BBC News, 6/9/2010..

Earlier news brief on the same subject: England - ban on public smoking results in a fall in heart attack by 10%.

While the decrease may seem small, many public places and workplaces were already smoke-free when the legislation was introduced, the researchers noted.

Click to enlarge..

Smoking Bans = Fewer Heart Attacks? Up To A Point, Lord Copper, Alex Massie, Spectator.co.uk, 6/9/2010

The findings show that banning smoking in public places can reduce hospital admissions for heart attacks even in countries that already have other anti-smoking regulations. This can have an important public health benefit given the high rates of heart disease worldwide, said Dr. Anna Gilmore, University of Bath, and colleagues, in a BMJ News Release.

References: Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free, Robert Preidt, MedicineNet.com, 6/9/2010; Heart attacks fall after smoking ban, NHS Choices, 6/9/2010.