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Smoking and exercise down, drinking and obesity up

| April 8, 2015

South Korea’s smoking incidence, which has been trending down since 2009, fell by 0.2 of a percentage point to 24.0 percent last year, according to a story in The Korea Herald, quoting a survey by the Ministry of Health and Welfare among 220,000 adults nation-wide.

At the same time, the smoking rate among men dropped by 0.5 of a percentage point from 45.8 percent to 45.3 percent.

But the rate of drinking among the country’s adults, which is based on those who drink at least once a month, rose to a record high of 60.8 percent last year, up from 59.5 percent in 2013

Drinking rates have been increasing since figures were first compiled by the ministry in 2008.

Obesity rates were up, too, from 24.5 percent in 2013 to 25.3 percent last year.

The only thing apart from smoking that trended down was the number of people taking exercise.

Those who took a 30 minute walk at least five times a week fell from 40.8 percent in 2013 to 37.5 percent last year.

Curing energy concerns with solar tobacco dryers

| April 8, 2015

The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund of Croatia has said it will invest 6.5 million kuna (US$926,200) to install about 200 solar tobacco dryers in the county of Virovitica-Podravina, according to a Croatian Newsmonitor story relayed by the TMA.

The initiative is aimed at encouraging tobacco growers to use renewable sources of energy for tobacco curing.

The fund will pay 80 percent of the costs involved, while 20 percent will have to be paid for by the growers.

Growers will be able to apply for the funds from next month, according to the Newsmonitor story.

Nu Mark launches website for adult vapers

| April 8, 2015

Nu Mark, which as part of Altria develops innovative tobacco products, said yesterday that it had launched Vaper Rights (, ‘a website for adult vapers who are interested in information and advocacy on public policy issues related to e-vapor products’.

‘Nu Mark believes that it is important for adult vapers to make their voices heard on issues that affect them,’ according to a note posted on Altria’s website.

‘Vaper Rights offers adult vapers information, tools and resources to help them get informed, involved and active on e-vapor legislative and regulatory issues.’

Hong Kong cigarette warnings should be ‘scarier’

| April 8, 2015

The undersecretary of the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, Sophia Chan Siu-chee, has said that the bureau expects later this year to propose that cigarette health warnings, which are said currently to cover about 50 percent ‘of the pack’, should be increased in size and made ‘scarier’, according to a story in the South China Morning Post relayed by the TMA.

The proposal would be presented to the Legislative Council along with others; one of which would seek to expand no-tobacco-smoking areas.

Another proposal would look to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes.

Chan said the existing cigarette-pack health warnings had been in place since 2006 and that the government believed it was time to update them, though the story did not go into details about what had led the government to come to this belief.

The proposed revised health warning labels would include messages that specifically targeted women smokers, Chan said, because the number of women who smoked had risen by nearly 73 percent between 1990 and 2012: from 56,100 to 96,800.

The new health warning labels would highlight too the health risks that children faced from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and “third-hand” smoke.

A cigarette tax increase would be considered during the next fiscal year.

Electronic cigarettes part of the UK election debate

| April 8, 2015

Electronic cigarettes are having a small positive space created for them within the UK’s general election debate.

Recently, Totally Wicked announced that it had launched a number of General Election E-liquids ahead of the elections due to be held on May 7.

The promotion is said to allow voters to register their political preference by choosing their favourite party political e-liquid, of which there are five: one each for the Conservative, Labour, Liberal, UKIP and Green parties.

Now, Max Pemberton, writing in the online Telegraph, has said that he hopes that after the election Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, and Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberals, use whatever power they have to ensure that the electronic cigarette industry is not regulated out of existence.

‘The evidence is clear: tobacco kills, nicotine doesn’t,’ Pemberton wrote.

Pemberton mentioned Farage and Clegg because the former had started using electronic cigarettes as a way of cutting down on the number of traditional tobacco cigarettes he smoked, and the latter had made the switch to vaping completely.

India could apply for anti-tobacco fighting funds

| April 8, 2015

In the event that a decision by the Indian government to increase the size of tobacco-product health warnings leads to a challenge by tobacco companies, the government will be able to seek technical and financial help from a recently-established fund, according to a story in the Economic Times relayed by the TMA.

The government issued notification last year that it intended to require tobacco companies to increase the size of tobacco-product warnings from 40 percent to 85 percent, but implementation did not occur on schedule, on April 1.

India’s Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation recommended that the Ministry of Health defer the implementation of the notification until the government examined the economic impact of the measure on tobacco farmers.

Bloomberg Philanthropies (BPh) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) said on Wednesday they were creating a $4 million fund to help governments defend their tobacco control policies.

BPh and BMGF said countries with limited resources should not be bullied into making bad health policy choices.

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