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Archive for August, 2013

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Cigarette warnings ruling to be appealed by Thailand’s Public Health Ministry

| August 28, 2013

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry is planning to file an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court so that its requirement for bigger graphic health warnings on cigarette packs can be imposed as planned, according to a story in The Nation.

The Administrative Court on Monday suspended the ministry’s plan under which tobacco companies would have had to have increased the size of the warnings on the front and back of packs from 55 percent to 85 percent.

“I will consult with legal experts to find out about the appeal procedure,” the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Narong Sahametapat, was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nopporn Cheanklin, deputy director of the Disease Control Department, said the proposed regulation would not create any burden on the tobacco companies.

But it would prevent young people from becoming addicted to smoking, he added.

Dr. Hathai Chitanont, director of the Thailand Health Promotion Institute, said he backed the ministry’s attempt to control tobacco consumption and to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

He suggested that the ministry should collect evidence to prove that making the warning graphics bigger on cigarette packs would reduce the number of smokers and prevent nonsmokers from taking up the habit. However, he said he wasn’t aware of any research proving these assumptions.

Tobacco-farm child labor down to poverty

| August 28, 2013

The use of children as tobacco-farm workers is common in at least some regions of Tanzania, according to a story by Ludovick Kazoka for All-Africa.com.

Kazoka quoted the Urambo District (Tabora Region) senior community development official, Sabala Rukonda, as saying that most tobacco farmers opted for children because they were readily available to satisfy agriculture’s huge “manpower” demand. “These children use dangerous tools, are exposed to pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and carry heavy loads,” he said.

The story does not describe the age of the children working on tobacco farms, but the Sikonge District acting education officer, Ernest Simbamwene, was quoted as saying he was concerned about the poor attendance at most rural primary schools during the farming season. “Many children tend to abscond because they are being used as laborers by tobacco farmers,” he said.

Sikonge District Commissioner Hanifa Selengu said the government had taken note of the bad practice and had introduced committees tasked with tackling the problem at the ward level. Parents or guardians whose children were absent from school were being summoned for questioning before legal procedures were instituted.

But, according to the International Labour Organization, the causes of the worst forms of child labor in Tanzania’s tobacco plantations are linked to poverty. Eighty-four percent of the parents of children working on these farms come from poor and very poor socioeconomic backgrounds.

The full story is at http://allafrica.com/stories/201308270335.html.

Closing time called on early opening

| August 28, 2013

The early opening time of one of Vienna’s traditional coffee houses, Café Drechsler, has fallen victim to a tobacco smoking ban, according to a story in the Vienna Times.

Café Drechsler has been forced to introduce a full smoking ban because of the combined effect of its own architecture and the country’s smoking regulations; so it is no longer opening its doors at 3 a.m., but at 8 a.m.

Manager Manfred Stallmajer was quoted as saying that most of the people who visited coffee houses late at night were smokers, and therefore a smoke-free coffee house didn’t work.

“It is a real shame as now this 90-year-old tradition has been forced to come to an end,” he said.

The full story is at http://viennatimes.at/news/Panorama/2013-08-27/29615/Smoking_Law_forces_change_in_Cafe_Drechsler_opening_hours.

Pressure mounts on India’s oral products

| August 28, 2013

The Maharashtra State Food and Drug Administration (MSFDA) commissioner, Mahesh Zagade, has called on his counterparts in India’s other states to consider enforcing bans on the manufacture and sale of gutkha and pan masala, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala newsletter.

At the same time, Zagade has reportedly written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India urging it to convene a meeting of all of the FDAs in the country to ensure “proper implementation of the law on smokeless tobacco products, and to follow the leaf of the [Maharashtra] state and outlaw all processed and packaged [smokeless] tobacco in whatever form.”

The state recently became the first to impose a blanket ban on all chewing tobacco (zarda, khaini, kharra, masheri, mawa, etc.) and scented supari (pan masala and supari mix). It has moved to shut down all manufacturing units within the state and to stop these products entering the state from outside.

Teenagers run rings around smart cards

| August 28, 2013

About half of Japan’s underage smokers have admitted to having bought tobacco products illegally using a borrowed Taspo card, the age-verification smart card used to purchase cigarettes from vending machines, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun story quoting the results of the research.

The findings were reported by Takashi Oida, the professor at Nihon University who headed up the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry research team.

The Taspo card, which is issued only to adults, was introduced in July 2008 to help prevent underage smoking.

And though the number of underage smokers is on the decline, the team’s survey shows that teenagers often borrow Taspo cards from adults.

The research group distributed a questionnaire on smoking to 140,000 students at 264 middle and high schools, and 100,000 of them in 179 schools responded.

The results showed that 2,851 students, or 2.8 percent, had smoked within the previous month.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said that price hikes had affected their purchase of cigarettes, while 44 percent said the introduction of Taspo cards had made it difficult to purchase tobacco from vending machines.

However, the survey found that 49 percent of the students who had smoked in the previous month had purchased cigarettes using a Taspo card belonging to someone else. Fifty-six percent of those who had used a Taspo had borrowed the card from someone outside their family; 21 percent had borrowed a card from a family member; while 14 percent had used a card that had been left at home.

Altria to host presentation webcast

| August 28, 2013

Altria is due to host at altria.com a webcast of its business presentation to the Barclays Back-To-School Consumer Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on Sept. 3, starting about 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will feature a presentation by Executive Vice President and CFO Howard Willard.

Pre-event registration is necessary at altria.com, where an archived copy of the webcast will be made available.