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Lebanese growers looking to expand production

| August 27, 2015

Tobacco growers operating in the Akkar district of Lebanon are calling on the government to allow them to expand their harvested areas while increasing the weight of tobacco authorized per permit from 330 kg to 500 kg, according to a story on Al Bawaba.com.

“We also ask the government to increase the price of 1 kg from LL10,000 to LL12,000 to help farmers in covering their living expenses,” said Abdel Hamid Sakr, head of a syndicate of tobacco farmers in the north of the country.

Sakr said farmers in Akkar were relying on tobacco to make up for their losses after the export of other agricultural products was blocked with the closure of the Nassib border crossing in April. Nassib was the last functioning border crossing between Jordan and Syria.

“Tobacco farming is our only hope for the time being, but it costs us a lot because it needs special pesticides and the cost of irrigation is too high, in addition to the elevated cost of labor,” farmer Youssef Ahmed was quoted as saying.

According to Wikipedia, the name Akkar is derived from the Syriac word, Akkare, meaning farmers.

Myanmar gears up for graphic health warnings

| August 27, 2015

Cigarette packs sold in Myanmar will shortly carry graphic health warnings, according to a story in The Myanmar Times quoting Health Minister U Than Aung.

“We have drawn up a notification to include health warnings in pictures and text covering 75 percent of a cigarette package on both sides, in accordance with international agreements,” U Than Aung said at a national-level conference on tobacco packaging on Monday.

U Daw Nan Naing Naing Shein, deputy director of the Basic Health Division under the Public Health Department, said the notification had been amended based on suggestions from the Attorney General’s Office and was in the final stages of preparation.

“The notification has been sent to the Ministry of Health and could be enacted after the ministry approves it,” she said.

“We would like it to be approved by the end of this month, but if not then by the end of the year.”

U Daw Nan Naing Naing Shein said the notification would be enacted within six months of approval, which, she added, would give ample time for the graphic images to be distributed to cigarette factories.

Big fall in tobacco smoking among Scotland’s adults

| August 27, 2015

The number of Scots who smoke has fallen to one in five of the adult population, according to a BBC online story citing a Scottish government survey.

The Scottish Household Survey for 2014 found that 20 percent of adults smoked (22 percent of men and 19 percent of women), down from 23 percent in 2011.

The Scottish government and campaigners welcomed the figures as a step towards a ‘[tobacco] smoke-free Scotland’.

But the survey showed far more people smoked in the most deprived communities than in the least deprived areas.

It showed that 34 percent of adults in the most deprived communities smoked, down from 39 percent in 2013, while nine percent of those in the least deprived areas smoked.

The results showed also that 48 percent of those who were permanently sick or disabled and 46 percent of those who were unemployed and seeking work were current smokers.

The survey’s overall findings were said to represent the sharpest year-to-year decline in smoking rates since 1999.

The government’s target is to cut the proportion of smokers to five percent or under by 2034.

Altria to webcast business presentation

| August 27, 2015

The Altria Group is due to host a webcast of its business presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, starting about 09.45 Eastern Time on September 9.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will feature a presentation by Billy Gifford, Altria’s CFO.

Directions for the necessary pre-event registration are posted at www.altria.com/webcast.

An archived copy of the webcast will be made available on altria.com or through the Altria Investor App. The free app is available for download at www.altria.com/irapp or through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Ministry of Agriculture does not support tobacco

| August 26, 2015

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture has said that it does not support tobacco production, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

Rather, it supports tobacco control.

And in a written reply to the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation, which is examining proposed changes to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, it has said that it has no objection to the imposition on tobacco products of graphic health warnings covering 85 percent of the display area.

The comments were part of a consultation undertaken by the committee on proposed government amendments to the tobacco act.

Meanwhile, in opposing the government’s bid to impose 85 percent warnings, the Karnataka Virginia Tobacco Growers Association has criticized the agricultural ministry’s endorsement of the proposal.

The association said that the ministry had not considered fully the welfare of tobacco growers before agreeing to bigger graphic warnings on cigarette packs.

The ministry had suggested that tobacco growers switch to sugarcane, soya beans, maize and groundnuts.

But tobacco growers were not able to switch to other crops, it said.

Sugarcane plantations needed a lot of water, and the other crops suggested earned less than did tobacco.

The ministry’s suggestions were totally unscientific, the association said, before adding that the Agricultural University of Bengaluru had confirmed that no other crop was suitable for production in the Mysuru region where tobacco was grown.

The association said that farmers in general were currently struggling due to a drought, but that tobacco growers were better off because they required less water for their crop.

Electronic cigarettes coming out of the cold

| August 26, 2015

Electronic cigarette use among adults in Alaska is on the rise as tobacco use is falling, according to a story by Suzanna Caldwell for Anchorage Daily News citing state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) data.

An Alaska Division of Epidemiology bulletin released last week said that electronic cigarette use among Alaska’s adults had risen from one percent in 2014 to four percent in 2013.

That increase came as the percentage of adult tobacco smokers fell from 24 percent in 1996 to 21.9 percent in 2013.

These figures are part of the data gleaned from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a continuing survey of Alaska’s adults.

Andrea Fenaughty, deputy section chief for chronic disease prevention and health promotion under the DHSS, said the increase in electronic cigarette use might seem small, but that it represented a significant increase over a short period of time.

The survey found, among other things, that five percent of women and three percent of men use electronic cigarettes, and that seven percent of people aged 18 to 29 were vapers.

Eighty five percent of electronic cigarette users reported being current cigarette smokers, while 72 percent of them reported using electronic cigarettes in place of combustible cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool or when cigarette smoking was not allowed.