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Health minister backs quitting with e-cigarettes

| January 23, 2015

The health minister of Canada’s Quebec province, Gaétan Barrette, has come out in favour of using electronic cigarettes as a way to quit smoking, according to a story by Geoffrey Vendeville for the Montreal Gazette.

“Electronic cigarettes are a means to quit smoking that is clearly extraordinarily efficient,” he told reporters after a legislative committee meeting on Tuesday, on the occasion of the Quebec Tobacco-free Week (January 18 to 24).

Quebec was expected soon to clear up the legislative “grey zone” covering e-cigarettes, he said, but a spokesperson for the minister assigned to public health, Lucie Charlebois, couldn’t say when a bill would be tabled.

Meanwhile, the borough of Montreal North and the Société de Transport de Montréal have gone their own way.

Those who vape in municipal buildings in Montreal North are liable to be fined $50 for a first offence and $100 the next time.

“I’m not against e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking,” said borough mayor Gilles Deguire. “In that sense, I say go for it.

“But I don’t see why anyone has to puff in a municipal office building, library, community center or arena.”

Imperial to put US assets acquisition to shareholders

| January 23, 2015

Imperial Tobacco is due to hold its Annual General Meeting on January 28.

And, following the conclusion of the AGM, a general meeting will be held to seek shareholder approval for the proposed acquisition of assets in the US.

The presentation transcripts and slides from both meetings will be available on the company’s website following these events.

Latest Beijing tobacco smoking ban to be enforced

| January 21, 2015

Beijing residents have been assured that a tobacco smoking ban due to come into force later this year will be enforced, according to a Global Times story quoting the Xinhua news agency.

The Beijing municipal legislature in November passed an anti-smoking bill banning smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces, and on public transport. It is scheduled to take effect in June 2015.

But the public is skeptical about whether the smoking ban will be taken seriously because smokers are still seen puffing away in restaurants, schools and other public spaces in Beijing, despite previous smoking bans in these places.

In response to the public’s doubts, Zhong Dongbo, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, said the local government would increase law-enforcement teams and launch tip-off hotlines to make sure the new regulation was implemented effectively.

“Local departments will take measures when illegal smoking is reported, and reports from the public and how these reports are handled will be recorded,” Zhong said.

Balcony smoking scene likely to have long run

| January 21, 2015

People in Germany who smoke on the balconies of their homes could be sued in the future if their smoking is deemed to be ‘excessive’, according to a story in the Electronic Telegraph.

Germany’s supreme court has ruled that Germans can sue their neighbours for excessive smoking on their balconies.

The court did not define what was excessive, but ruled only against the amount of smoke the ‘average person’ would find bothersome.

However, in the case before the court, a couple had complained that their balcony was rendered unusable in the afternoons and evenings because their new downstairs neighbours smoked 20 cigarettes a day on their balcony.

The Telegraph quoted Wolfgang Janisch, who, writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, warned that the verdict could ‘pave the way for countless other cases’.

Smokers crowd into Korea’s last smoking refuges

| January 21, 2015

Since the extension on January 1 of South Korea’s tobacco smoking ban to include all bars, restaurants, coffee shops and Internet cafés, smokers have been flocking to the only places where they can still smoke: small-scale indoor sports venues, The Korea Times has reported.

There are about 15,000 billiard halls and 7,000 screen golf venues across the country, according to health ministry figures, but a ministry official warned that there were mounting calls for the ban to reach out and include these venues by 2016.

In a billiard hall in Sinchon, Seoul, a smoker surnamed Ha, 38, was said to have told the Times that the smoking ban had forced him to go there.

“Now, it looks like this is the only place where I can smoke and hang out with friends,” Ha said.

“This place is crowded. I saw a couple of groups leaving because the room is too full.”

Tobacco flood-damage being assessed in Malawi

| January 21, 2015

Malawi’s Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has started assessing the damage that has been caused to tobacco crops by the floods that have followed heavy rains in recent months.

CEO Bruce Munthali told the local press that the heavy rains and floods had caused leaching of fertilisers, and made it difficult for farmers to control weeds and cure their tobacco.

He said the heavy rains had led also to the outbreak of tobacco diseases that were affecting the production of the crop.

It will take the commission two weeks to come up with a detailed damage assessment report.

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