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Four things not to do in Singapore

| March 17, 2014

Singapore is considering forming a volunteer corps of individuals who would be empowered to fine people who litter, spit, urinate and/or smoke in places where such activities are prohibited, according to a TODAYonline story.

Initially, the idea, put forward by the Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, was to form an anti-litter volunteer corps of people who would be trained and given the same authority cards as enforcement officers from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

But it could now be expanded to include other “public health offences.”

The suggestion that the scope of the scheme should be expanded came after the NEA received feedback from volunteers targeting litter and from other members of the public.

The NEA said it was exploring the feasibility of recruiting voluntary enforcement officers and would announce more details when the scheme was firmed up.

Danish smoking rate down to 17 percent

| March 17, 2014

Danish people are smoking—and drinking—less than they previously were, according to an Icenews story quoting a report based on new research from the country’s health department.

Sundhedsstyrelsens Nationale Sundhedsprofil, the national health profile division of the health department, said the number of Danes who admitted to smoking on a daily basis had fallen to 17 percent from 21 percent in 2010.

Health department spokesperson Jette Jul Bruun said that between 13,000 and 14,000 Danes died each year as a result of smoking-related illnesses, while 3,000 died from drinking-related illnesses.

The report said also that there were “issues” concerning diet, obesity and exercise in the country.

Such problems were greater, it said, among the financially less well-off and less educated.

Malaysia steps up illicit trade battle

| March 17, 2014

Malaysia’s fight against smuggled cigarettes has gone into full swing with the Royal Malaysian Customs Depart­ment conducting raids nationwide since the beginning of the month, according to a story in The Star.

The raids, conducted under the Ops Outlet name, are part of renewed efforts by the department to curb the sales of smuggled cigarettes that are said to be costing the government about MYR1.9 billion in uncollected taxes annually.

Customs deputy director-general (enforcement) Datuk Matrang Suhaili said that while 2014 was the fifth year in which Ops Outlet was being carried out, this was the first time the department was pushing for more drastic measures.

“We are looking for harsher punishment for offenders, such as compulsory jail time for those who would usually be slapped with just a fine,” he said. “This issue is serious and we are treating it as such.”

So far, 44 dedicated Ops Outlet strike teams involving 200 members have been formed to conduct checks on outlets suspected of selling illicit cigarettes.

Anger over tobacco place at rules meet

| March 14, 2014

Anti-tobacco campaigners have protested against the involvement of tobacco companies in drafting Bangladesh’s Smoking and Tobacco Product Usage (Control) Rules 2014, according to a story in The Financial Express.

The advocacy group Progga, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance jointly registered the protest, saying there was no scope for involving the tobacco industry in enacting the rules.

And they supported their contention by quoting Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The campaigners voiced concerns specifically about the presence of two representatives each from the Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers’ Association and the Bidi Shilpa Malik Samity at a meeting held at the law ministry on Wednesday to review the draft rules.

The Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division of the ministry had invited the tobacco representatives to the meeting.

JT’s domestic sales ahead in February

| March 14, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc.’s domestic cigarette sales volume during February, at 8.9 billion, increased by 3.7 percent on that of February 2013, 8.6 billion, according to preliminary figures issued by the company today. The February 2013 figure was down by 3.2 percent on that of February 2012.

Volume during April 2013–February 2014, at 107.4 billion, was up by 0.9 percent on that of April 2012–February 2013, 106.5 billion, which increased by 8.3 percent on that of April 2011–February 2012.

JT’s market share stood at 61.5 percent during February, at 60.8 percent during April 2013–February 2014, and at 59.6 percent for the full year to the end of March 2013.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during February, at ¥49.0 billion, was increased by 3.6 percent from its February 2013 revenue, ¥47.3 billion.

Revenue during April 2013–Febuary 2014, at ¥589.4 billion, was increased by 0.6 percent on that of April 2012–February 2013, ¥586.1 billion.

Nonsmoking establishments certified

| March 14, 2014

The King Hussein Cancer Foundation and the King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC) is due to start issuing “smoke-free zone” certificates to institutions that ban smoking in all their indoor facilities, according to a story in The Jordan Times quoting a KHCC official.

The certification program aimed to highlight the efforts of institutions committed to the Public Health Law, which prohibited smoking in public areas, said Rasha Bader, head of planning and project management at the KHCC’s Cancer Control Office.

The program aimed also to create “positive incentives” for others.

Participation in the program is open to restaurants, cafés, schools, hospitals and companies with a minimum of 80 employees, in addition to commercial complexes and malls, according to Bader.

Eligible institutions should be smoke-free since their establishment or for a minimum of nine months from World No Tobacco Day, which is marked annually on May 31.

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