Ireland’s Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, has received approval from his coalition colleagues to introduce standardized packs for tobacco products, according to a number of local and Australian media stories.
So far, Australia is the only country to have imposed such packs, which are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, from which trademarks and graphics are banned, and on which brand names have to be included in a small, specified font.
Reilly said he was confident the move would save lives and help the “enormous burden of illness and mortality” smoking placed on society.
Opponents of the move said there was no evidence that the introduction of standardized packs would reduce smoking significantly, and they warned that it was likely to boost the illicit trade in tobacco products.
However, the announcement has received a lot of support and, in part, the story demonstrates that a week is a long time in politics. Last week, the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, and two of his senior ministers (Reilly was not one of them) were under fire for holding a meeting with representatives of the tobacco industry and for not making public immediately the fact that the meeting had taken place.
On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, British American Tobacco has posed the question: ‘What would a world with no legal tobacco industry really look like?’
And it has provided an answer. ‘The reality is that people will continue to smoke,’ said group head of corporate and regulatory affairs, Kingsley Wheaton, in a statement posted on the company’s website. ‘But instead of buying legal taxed cigarettes, made by legitimate tobacco companies and sold by reputable retailers, they’ll turn to black market sources to get what they want.
‘The tobacco industry is highly regulated, sells a legal product and we have a legitimate business. We conduct our business in a professional and responsible way, abiding by the laws in all the countries we operate in, often going above and beyond our legal obligations.
‘Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the sophisticated network of criminals ready and waiting to step-in and take over if the legitimate tobacco industry didn’t exist.’
The note then went on to say that the ‘global black market for tobacco accounted for 660 billion (Framework Convention Alliance) cigarette sales in 2012, making it roughly equivalent in volume to the world’s third largest multinational tobacco company. It is not a victimless crime. Illegal tobacco is sold by well-organised criminal gangs, some of whom have recognised links to terrorism.’
The full text is available at: http://www.bat.com/group/sites/uk__3mnfen.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO986MNA
And BAT’s vision of what the world would look like without a legal tobacco industry has been ‘brought to life’ in a series of pictures that can be found at: www.bat.com on Flickr and on YouTube.
Banning ‘nicotine propaganda’ from cinema screens and television would be a powerful tool in helping to end the ‘destructive business of tobacco’, according to a story in the Tehran Times.
Well-documented reports, the story said, showed that global tobacco companies earned hundreds of millions of dollars annually because consumers were impressed by the sight of superstars smoking, and because cartoon characters provided smoking models for youngsters.
Meanwhile, reports showed also that 52 per cent of young adults and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 would not take up smoking if the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting company instituted a widespread ban of scenes displaying tobacco smoking.
Psychologists and social workers believed that children could not resist tobacco-company messages put out through the mass media. Therefore, by banning tobacco propaganda it would be possible to help young people avoid trying such products and becoming the next generation of smokers, the story added.
Effohi, left, accepts an award from one of the judges.
One of Imperial Tobacco’s businesses in Ivory Coast has won two occupational health and safety awards in a government-run employee well-being competition.
The 3I printing facility in Abidjan, which supplies eight of Imperial’s factories in Central and West Africa, was judged to have the best working conditions in the country.
3I was recognised also in the safety at work category following the implementation of group-wide health and safety standards.
The criteria for the awards included the level of risk assessment carried out by companies and the training provided for employees to ensure greater awareness of health and safety issues.
“We’re very proud to have received this recognition,” said Parfait Effohi, 3I’s operations manager. “This will encourage us to continue our efforts to achieve our main goal of zero accidents.
“These awards confirm the ability of the 3I team to implement and maintain the Group Health and Safety policy in the workplace by taking the necessary preventive actions.”
Altria is due to host a webcast at www.altria.com of its Investor Day in New York presentation from about 09.00 hours to about 12.00 hours Eastern Time on June 11.
The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will feature presentations by Altria’s chairman and CEO, Marty Barrington, and other members of Altria’s senior management team.
Pre-event registration is necessary at www.altria.com, where an archived copy will be made available.
Bulgaria seems once again to be questioning whether it should transform its enclosed-public-places tobacco-smoking ban into a restriction, the Focus News Agency has reported.
At present, the proposal seems little more than an idea thrown up by MP, Spas Panchev, though, according to the Focus report, Panchev claims to have the support of Prime Minister designate, Plamen Oresharski.
But Bulgaria has been here before. In December, Bulgaria’s then-Prime Minister, Boiko Borissov, hinted that he would not oppose a move under consideration by his ruling party MPs that would have seen the country’s public-places tobacco smoking ban eased to allow people to light up in restaurants and bars after 22.00 hours.
But the Health Minister, Desislava Atanasova, stood firm against the proposed amendment to Bulgaria’s anti-smoking law.
Bulgaria’s ban on smoking in enclosed public places came into effect at the beginning of June 2012.
The ban replaced previous restrictions that allowed restaurants and bars to set aside smoking areas with separate ventilation systems.