Archive for June, 2013

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Gutkha banned? Never mind, try this mixture of tobacco and pan masala

| June 25, 2013

The sale of pan masala and tobacco has gone up ‘several fold’ in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh since the manufacturing and sale of gutkha was banned in the state from April 1, according to a story by Brajendra K. Parashar for the Hindustan Times.

The reason for this isn’t hard to fathom. Gutkha is basically a mixture of pan masala and tobacco; so consumers are simply buying these two ingredients and mixing them themselves.

And the evidence is plain to see. Government tax revenue from sales of pan masala rose from Rs45 million during the first two months of the 2012-13 financial year (April and May 2012) to Rs140 million during April and May 2013. At the same time, the revenue from sales of tobacco rose from Rs15 million to Rs40 million.

Meanwhile, gutkha manufacturers whose plants have been closed since April are expected to seek fresh registrations with the Central Excise Department for the manufacture of tobacco and pan masala – separately, of course.

Zambia and Malawi meet to tackle illegal cross-border tobacco trade

| June 25, 2013

Zambia and Malawi are continuing to suffer the effects of illegal cross-border trading in tobacco, despite counter measures that have been taken, according to a story in the Zambia Daily Mail.

The Tobacco Board of Zambia and the Tobacco Control Commission of Malawi recently held a meeting aimed at addressing the illegal trade between the two countries, which is said to have become ‘rampant’.

Malawi’s Agriculture Minister, Peter Mwanza, who officiated at the meeting, said the illegal trade was perpetrated by vendors who acted as middlemen for buyers by establishing buying points along the borders.

In some cases, vendors provided inputs to tobacco farmers.

The illegal cross border trade in tobacco continued along every border, and efforts put in place to combat it had not been effective, he said.

The minister called for concerted efforts that included border patrols and reviews of the regulatory frameworks of the two countries.

Mwanza underscored the importance of involving tobacco associations, growers, and security personnel in the fight against the illegal trade in tobacco if meaningful results were to be realised.

German youngsters shun tobacco

| June 25, 2013

The prevalence of smoking among young Germans dropped from 27.5 per cent in 2001 to 12.0 per cent last year, according to stories in The and the International Business Times quoting a study by the FederalCenter for Health Education.

The study found, too, that last year 71.7 per cent of young people – those aged between 12 and 17 – had never tried a cigarette, up from 40.5 per cent in 2001.

The average age at which youngsters start smoking rose from 13.6 years to 14.4 years during the same period.

Among the 18-to-25 years age-group, the percentage of smokers dropped from 44.5 per cent in 2001 to 35.2 per cent last year.

EU Council in favour of menthol ban

| June 24, 2013

The Council of the European Union has agreed with the Commission that a new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) should include a ban on menthol cigarettes.

On Friday, the Council agreed a general approach to a revised draft TPD aimed at making tobacco products less attractive by strengthening the rules on how they can be manufactured, presented and sold.

The agreement, which was reached on the basis of a compromise proposal from the Irish presidency, includes:

* A ban on the use of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavors such as fruit, chocolate or menthol, and on those products containing additives that increase addictiveness and toxicity. The Council said that this initiative was ‘to make sure that tobacco products taste and smell like tobacco products’.

* An obligation for combined picture and text health warnings to cover 65 per cent of the front and the back of packs of smoking-tobacco products.

* A ban of any misleading labelling (such as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’). [Since misleading labelling would be covered by other regulations; this item presumably bans such descriptors in respect of tobacco – even though they might be factually correct – on the grounds that consumers might misinterpret them as meaning ‘more healthy’.]

* The extension of the scope of the directive to:

+ novel tobacco products (products that are placed on the market after the entry into force of the directive) which would require a prior notification before being placed on the market;

+ nicotine containing products (such as electronic cigarettes); these products would be allowed on the market below a certain nicotine threshold provided they featured health warnings; above this threshold such products would be allowed only if authorised as medicinal products (e.g. nicotine replacement therapies);

+ herbal products for smoking which would have to carry health warnings.

* Introduction of a tracking and tracing system, together with safety features in order to strengthen the fight against the illicit trade and falsified products;

* Member states may decide to ban cross-border distance sales of tobacco products;

* Member states may introduce more stringent rules on additives or on packaging of tobacco products (such as plain-packaging), subject to certain conditions (such as notification to the Commission).

The Council said that its general approach would enable the incoming Lithuanian presidency to engage in discussions with the European Parliament on the TPD.

Meanwhile, the committee for environment, public health and food safety of the European Parliament, the lead committee in respect of the TPD, is expected to vote on the draft amendments in July.

Committees line up against menthol ban

| June 24, 2013

The European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture (AGRI) has rejected the European Commission’s proposals to ban menthol and slim cigarettes in the EU as part of a revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) put forward at the end of last year, according to a Europolitics story.

In a non-binding opinion adopted with 36 votes in favour, four against and two abstentions, MEPs argued that the new TPD rules should not lead to the decline of the tobacco growing sector in the EU because there was no direct link between tobacco cultivation and the number of smokers.

AGRI’s opinion will now be submitted to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the lead committee on the TPD, which will vote on the draft report on July 10.

Meanwhile, Europolitics reported too that the committees on Legal Affairs (JURI) and on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) had also rejected the Commission’s proposals to ban the use of menthol and slim cigarettes.

In addition, the JURI committee spoke in favour of prolonging the phase-in period for the entry into force of the new directive, and the ITRE spoke against introducing plain packaging – proposed by the Commission as an optional provision.

And, according to a Bulgarian News Agency story, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee is also opposing the ban on the production and sale of menthol and slim cigarettes.

Parliament’s plenary session is scheduled to vote on the TPD revisions during the first half of September.

Studying e-cigarettes’ quit potential

| June 24, 2013

AucklandUniversity is carrying out a study into the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as a quit-smoking aid, according to a TVNZ story.

More than 650 people are participating in the study comparing electronic cigarettes with the commonly-used nicotine patch.

Participant, Luis Paraha, who was said to have twice previously tried to quit, believes she has cracked the problem by combining exercise with electronic cigarettes.

“I just used the e-cigarette and then three weeks later, that was it – stopped,” she told ONE News.

University of Auckland researcher, Chris Bullen, said bodies such as the World Health Organization were asking what to do about the devices, but no-one had the answers because no-one had done a study until now.