Archive for September, 2012

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Bureaucrats look to dictate the seasons when tobacco can and cannot be grown

| September 28, 2012

Tobacco growers belonging to the Philippine Tobacco Growers Association (PTGA) are urging President Aquino not to agree to proposed guidelines of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

PTGA vice president, Asuncion M. Lopez, said the proposed guidelines that had been recommended for adoption by the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the FCTC would “devastate” the livelihoods of tobacco farmers.

The fifth session of the CoP is due to be held atSeoul,South   Korea, starting on November 12.

“Bureaucrats with no real farming experience are actually trying to mandate the seasons when tobacco can and cannot be grown,” said Lopez during the media launch of the ‘Save our Farms’ campaign, which was held in Manilaon Tuesday.

The campaign is being spearheaded by theAsiachapter of the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA).

Lopez, who is also a spokesperson for the ITGA, said the proposed guidelines, relating to Articles 17 and 18 of the FCTC, represented a real threat for tobacco- producing communities,” said Lopez, who is also a spokesperson for the ITGA.

The PTGA estimates that about 2.7 million people depend on the local tobacco industry.

Santa Catarina and Paraná look forward to exporting leaf to China

| September 28, 2012

Chinais expected this year to approve imports of tobacco from the Brazilian states of Santa Catarina and Paraná, according to a Macau Hub story relayed by Tobacco China Online.

The director of the Vegetable Hygiene Department of the Brazilian Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock and Supplies, Cósam Coutinho, said on Wednesday that the exports were expected to be approved by Chinese health and hygiene authorities.

At a meeting of the Tobacco Sector Chamber held in Brasilia, Coutinho said that the results of laboratory tests on the tobacco in the two states were similar to those of tobacco produced in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which already exports to China.

“China is interested in the tobacco leaves from the southern region of Brazil, and so the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná are expected to be authorised to export tobacco following a visit by a mission of the Chinese health authorities due to take place this year,” he said.

It was announced at the end of August that an agreement had been signed that would provide for the export of leaf tobacco from the Brazilian states of Alagoas and Bahia toChina.

The agreement, which followed official recognition that Alagoas and Bahia were free from the fungus that causes blue mould disease in tobacco, was said to make way for the annual export of US$200 million of leaf tobacco and the creation of 50,000 jobs inBahia.

Beware of Taiwanese ministry officials transporting smoking gifts

| September 28, 2012

Anti-smoking activists inTaiwanyesterday blasted government bodies for sending lawmakers cigarettes as Mid-Autumn Festival gifts, according to a story in The China Post.

The Tung Foundation said it was ‘absurd’ that the Transportation Ministry’s liaison officials to the legislature were using tax-payers’ money to buy lawmakers harmful gifts for the upcoming festival.

Transportation Minister, Mao Chi-kuo, said he had known nothing about the gifts until he read about them in the news.

He agreed that the cigarettes were improper gifts and said he had already instructed everybody in his department to avoid offering such gifts in the future.

The foundation said the gift blunder clearly showed that the government had not taken anti-smoking policy seriously.

Smokers unwelcome in Vancouver’s tallest residential tower

| September 28, 2012

The property manager of the tallest all-residential tower inVancouver,Canada, Ken Armstrong says he receives as many as 20 complaints a month from residents upset about second-hand smoke; of those, about five or six usually relate to marijuana smoke.

But this problem should dissipate soon. According to a story by Mike Hager for the Vancouver Sun, about 70 strata members of the 42-storey, 237-unit Melville building voted to fine residents caught smoking, while about nine opposed the bylaw.

Strata president, Renu Bakshi, said that, once the bylaw was approved by the city, any resident caught smoking in the building would be given a warning. And on each subsequent time they were caught they could be fined $200, which would go towards the strata’s funds.

“Most of the population does not smoke,” said Bakshi. “Every citizen has a right to clean air, especially in their home. The two biggest complaints in condo living are cigarette smoke and noise, both of which penetrate numerous units. We have a right to fresh air and we have a right to live in peace in our homes.”

Two cigarettes a day enough to hook young people on nicotine

| September 28, 2012

Teenagers who start smoking are fooling themselves if they think they can easily quit, according to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur story relayed by Tobacco China Online.

A study, the story said, had concluded that smoking just two cigarettes a day was enough to hook 13-to-17-year-olds on nicotine.

The study, which was apparently carried out by the University of California, was said to have found that the brains of adolescents who smoked as little as two cigarettes a day responded with as much pleasure to images of smoking as did the brains of ‘heavily addicted’ adult smokers.

The story gave advice from addiction counsellor, Matthias Brockstedt, on how parents should try to dissuade young people from smoking.

Name changes made to differentiate tobacco products in Australia

| September 27, 2012

Tobacco-product names are being modified in Australia ahead of the December 1 imposition of plain packaging, according to a story by medical editor, Cathy O’Leary, for The West Australian.

From the beginning of December, all Australian tobacco products must be sold in packs designed at the behest of the government to look ugly. All brand names will appear in the same size and font.

Among the reported name changes, Winfield’s Optimum Night cigarettes are being called Crush Blue, while Dunhill’s Fine Cut is becoming Fine Cut Burgundy

An anti-smoking campaigner has accused tobacco companies of “sexing up” their product names to make them more appealing. Australian Council on Smoking and Health president, Professor Mike Daube, said tobacco manufacturers were introducing dozens of extended brand “descriptors” to meet the December 1 deadline.

Daube said too that there seemed to be a move to menthol branding on products, which he believed was because menthol made the taste of cigarettes smoother and more palatable, particularly to younger smokers.

Manufacturers say the new names will help retailers find the right product faster for their customers.