Archive for September, 2013

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Call for tobacco ad ban in Indonesia

| September 19, 2013

A survey conducted by Indonesia’s National Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) has found that at least one in 10 of the country’s children decided to smoke after being exposed to tobacco advertisements, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

The commission believes that tobacco advertisements should be banned.

The KPAI questioned 10,000 students aged between 13 and 15 in 10 provinces: Bali, Bandar Lampung, Central Sulawesi, East Java, Jakarta, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, West Java, West Nusa Tenggara and West Sumatra.

The survey, conducted in April, found that 96 percent of the students said they received “extensive and rapid information about smoking” from advertisements.

Fifteen percent of those exposed to tobacco advertisements said they had decided to light up because of the advertisements.

Ninety percent of respondents said they knew about cigarettes from television, 50 percent from billboards, 38 percent from pamphlets displayed on cigarette kiosks and 5 percent from radio.

Some students said they tried smoking when attending music concerts or watching sports or even participating in educational events sponsored by tobacco companies.

“Cigarette ads are everywhere,” KPAI Chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said in announcing the results of the survey.

Low entry requirements for smokers’ club

| September 19, 2013

Recent U.S. health-care reform allows insurers to adjust premiums for tobacco users, which could cost them up to 50 percent more than the cost to otherwise similar non-tobacco users, according to a story by Robin Erb for the Detroit Free Press.

Tobacco use is the only habit for which an insurer can penalize a consumer under the federal law, so the important question is: Who is a tobacco user?

Erb writes that you’re considered a tobacco user if you’ve used the product on an average of four or more times per week within the past six months.

But an insurance company cannot take tobacco use into account to set premiums if the tobacco user is younger than 18.

And insurers cannot penalize people for tobacco used for religious or ceremonial purposes.

If an insurer discovers that someone lied about his or her tobacco-use status, it cannot drop coverage but can charge for additional premiums retroactively.

Smokers can take some heart from study

| September 19, 2013

Among patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia after a cardiac arrest, smokers had better outcomes than nonsmokers, according to a story by Todd Neale for MedPage Today, citing a single-center study.

Jeremy Pollock, M.D., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, and colleagues reported that half of smokers survived to hospital discharge with a good neurological outcome compared with only 28 percent of nonsmokers.

The difference remained significant after adjustment for numerous potential confounders, the team reported online in Resuscitation.

“Despite the findings of our study, we do not want the public to take from this that they should go out and start smoking to protect them from a future cardiac arrest,” Pollock was reported to have said in an email to MedPage Today.

“We hope,” he said, “this will spur on further thought and discussion in regards to the etiology of the smoker’s paradox,” a previously observed phenomenon in which smokers are more likely than are nonsmokers to have an acute coronary syndrome, but are less likely to die from an acute myocardial infarction.

PM Investments ups Medicago holding

| September 19, 2013

Philip Morris International said yesterday that its affiliate, Philip Morris Investments, had acquired 11,348,266 common shares of Medicago for C$13,163,989.

Following this transaction, PM Investments holds 109,957,066 common shares in Medicago, representing 40 percent of all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Medicago.

The other 164,935,599 common shares of Medicago, representing 60 percent of the total, are owned by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation and one of its subsidiaries.

PM Investments’ most recent acquisition of Medicago shares was said to have been made for investment purposes.

Call for 10-year endgame in Hong Kong

| September 18, 2013

A study has concluded that Hong Kong should set itself the goal of a total ban on tobacco sales before 2022, according to a Tobacco Control report.

A telephone survey was conducted among 1,537 randomly-selected residents in 2012 to assess their support for a total ban on tobacco sales, usage and possession.

Backers of “some form of a total ban” on tobacco were said to have included 75.3 percent of the never smokers, 63.9 percent of the ex-smokers and 48.9 percent of current smokers.

A total ban on tobacco sales was the most popular option among the three groups, with 64.8 percent of all respondents supporting a ban within 10 years.

Current smoking and higher educational attainment were associated with less support for a total ban on tobacco sales.

Among current smokers, having quit intentions and attempts to quit were associated with support for a total ban.

The study, which was first published online yesterday, was carried out by researchers at the School of Public Health, University of Hong Kong; the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, US; and the School of Nursing, University of Hong Kong.

An abstract is available at

Call for tobacco endgame in Taiwan

| September 18, 2013

The Taiwan Medical Alliance for the Control of Tobacco has called on the government to follow the lead of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative and set an agenda gradually to end tobacco use, according to a story by Alison Hsiao for the Taipei Times.

Ending tobacco use was the theme of this year’s International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st century, at which anti-tobacco activists suggested setting target dates for the reduction of tobacco use to less than 5 percent of the population.