Archive for November, 2012

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Developing countries under-represented at FCTC international meetings

| November 20, 2012

About 80 countries from the developing world could find themselves unable to afford to send representatives to future meetings of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), according to a story in MNT (Medical News Today).

The FCTC is reportedly considering cutting its funding for delegates from poorer countries to attend meetings.
MNT said that a study led by the University of Edinburgh had indicated that the cuts, apparently supported by the EU, Canada, and Australia, would undermine the representation of those countries most heavily burdened by the problems caused by tobacco use.

High income countries such as those in Europe were currently experiencing a nine per cent decline in smoking-related deaths each year, whereas in low and middle income countries smoking-related deaths were expected to double from 3.4 million in 2002 to 6.8 million by 2030.

The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, found that despite bearing the greatest burden of smoking-related deaths, developing countries were already under-represented in global governance of tobacco control.

Seoul meeting elects Korean president of FCTC’s Conference of the Parties

| November 20, 2012

Moon Chang-jin, president of the Korea Health Promotion Foundation, has been elected president of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Conference of the Parties (CoP), according to a Korea Herald story relayed by the TMA.

Moon, who was elected during the CoP5 meeting inSeoul,South Korea, last week to succeedUruguay’s Ricardo Varela, will head CoP6, which is to be held inMoscow,Russia, in 2014.

“The Korean government promises its full support as a chair country for the next two years,” said Lim Jong-kyu, director general of healthcare policy at the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare. “We will take full responsibility to push ahead with tobacco-related policies.”

On the first day of the meeting inSeoul, delegates adopted a protocol aimed at reducing the illicit trade in tobacco products.

They agreed to require tobacco companies to disclose their products’ toxic substances so as to help accelerate scientific research on tobacco toxins.

And they made policy recommendations, including proposals to raise taxes on tobacco products.

Delegates discussed alternatives to tobacco growing, smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes, but decided to finalize their discussions at the next session.

US consumers warned off e-cigarettes, steered towards pharma products

| November 20, 2012

The US Department of Health and Human Services has launched a website aimed at offering the ‘best and most up-to-date tobacco-related information from across its agencies’. is said to provide information on tobacco, federal and state laws and policies, health statistics, and evidence-based methods on how to quit.

‘The site’s social media dashboard, “Say it – Share it”, provides real-time updates from HHS’ tobacco-related social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Infographics, podcasts, and Tumblr,’ the website’s announcement said.

One section of the website ( seems aimed at discouraging people from using e-cigarettes and promoting the use of nicotine gum, nicotine skin patches, nicotine lozenges, nicotine oral inhaled products, nicotine nasal spray, Zyban and Chantix.

MEP asks to see all provisional versions of the proposed tobacco directive

| November 20, 2012

The European Commission has been asked to provide the European Parliament with all drafts of the proposed new tobacco products directive.

In written questions, the Dutch MEP, Kartika Tamara Liotard, asked, ‘Can the Commission – upholding the principle of Commission transparency – forward to Parliament the new Tobacco Directive or a draft thereof, in the form in which it existed when [health and consumer affairs] Commissioner [John] Dalli resigned?’

She asked also, ‘How many previous provisional versions of the Tobacco Directive were there, and can the Commission also, as a matter of urgency, forward these previous versions to Parliament?’

JT share price boost as government delays selling part of its holding

| November 20, 2012

The Japanese government has decided to delay selling part of its 50 per cent stake in Japan Tobacco Inc, according to Japan Daily Press and Agence France Presse stories.

The decision was taken in the light of turbulent market conditions and next month’s Lower House elections.

The government is said to be looking to reduce its ownership to around 33 per cent and, in doing so, raise more than ¥500 billion to boost the country’s reconstruction budget in the wake of last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

On news of the delay, JT’s shares increased in value on theTokyostock exchange on Monday, closing the day at ¥2,411, or 6.53 per cent higher.

Questions over EU Commission’s oriental production intentions will not go away

| November 19, 2012

The European Commission seems to have missed an opportunity to reassure EU oriental tobacco growers about whether or not they will be allowed to continue to grow oriental tobacco.

In September, the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture warned that the Commission, with its proposed revision of the tobacco products directive, intended to ban the use and production of oriental tobacco within the EU.

The ministry’s warning was widely reported but it was generally thought that there was no direct threat of a ban on oriental production.

The misunderstanding arose apparently because oriental tobacco is an aromatic tobacco and the Commission was known to be considering proposing revisions to the EU’s tobacco products directive that would see a ban on the addition of certain ingredients, including aromatic ingredients – basically flavors.

So there was a theoretical threat that in the case that all cigarette ingredients were banned in the EU, it might become impossible to manufacture acceptable American-blend cigarettes in the EU and, therefore, that demand for licit versions of these products, which include oriental, would disappear within the EU.

Unfortunately, according to a Bulgarian National Radio report, also in September, Frederic Vincent, spokesperson for the then Commissioner for health and consumer policy, failed to close the door on the issue when he said that ‘currently’ the Commission was not planning to examine the ‘issue’ of oriental tobacco.

And earlier this month, the Commission had an opportunity to clear up this matter without divulging its directive revisions by answering the first of three written questions posed by Antonyia Parvanova and Stanimir Ilchev, both Bulgarian representatives in the European Parliament:

1          ‘Has the Commission officially communicated to the Member States an intention to ban the use and production of oriental tobacco in the EU?

2.         ‘Could the Commission clarify whether an EU ban on the use and production of oriental tobacco is currently considered as one of the provisions in its future proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive?

3.         ‘In the view of the Commission, would a ban on plant production and cultivation fall within the scope of its future proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive?’

But the Commission’s reply seems bound to leave doubt in the minds of some:

‘The Commission is aware of the media reports inBulgariarelating to the upcoming revision of the Tobacco Products Directive,’ it replied.

‘The Commission is preparing the impact assessment preceding any legislative proposal. The purpose of this impact assessment is to identify the economic, social (including employment) and environmental impacts of any new measure on all potential stakeholders concerned. The concerns put forward by tobacco growers that certain measures could discriminate against certain types of tobacco as some additives are essential for restoring the palatability of American blended tobacco, were carefully considered in this respect.

‘At this stage, no final decision has been made on the content of the proposal.’