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Relatively low incidence of tobacco use among Africa’s pregnant women

| September 2, 2014

Africa has the lowest incidence of tobacco use among pregnant women, according to a Ghana News Agency report citing a study of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) published in the September edition of the Lancet Global Health Journal.

The study, which was said to be the largest to provide contemporary evidence on tobacco use during pregnancy, uses nationally representative samples from 54 LMICs. It was conducted during 2001-2012.

According to the study, about one in every 30 pregnant women in LMICs uses tobacco, but there are wide variations in prevalence within and between regions.

Southeast Asia, for instance, has the highest regional prevalence of tobacco use among pregnant women. In 21 of the 54 countries researched, smokeless tobacco was the primary form of tobacco use among pregnant women.

Passengers to be compensated because of “extremely dangerous” smoking stunt

| September 2, 2014

An airline passenger in China has been filmed throwing a lighted cigarette on to the apron and stepping on it while standing by the steps of the aircraft on which he had arrived, according to an story.

China United Airlines yesterday agreed to offer an apology and compensation to some of the passengers on the flight because of incidents in which six people were said to have been caught smoking on or just outside a plane.

‘The passengers evaded airport security checks and brought matches and cigarettes onto the plane,’ the airline said in a statement. Matches are banned on aircraft but are difficult to detect in airport security checks.

A male passenger was found smoking in one of the plane’s toilets an hour after the aircraft took off from Chengdu, at which time the flight attendant asked him surrender the matches and cigarette.

Two hours later, after the plane was diverted to Taiyuan City in Shanxi Province because of bad weather in Beijing, five passengers were seen smoking on the stairs while the aircraft was parked on the apron, according to a passenger whose name was given as Bai.

“It was extremely dangerous,” said Bai, who took a short video of the incident. The fuel tank was beside the smokers.

And though the flight attendants stopped them, one of the smokers threw his butt on the ground and stepped on it.

Danish army has arboreal smoking zone

| September 2, 2014

If Danish army recruits smoke a cigarette, their commanders try to humiliate them while they do so, according to a story by Lucie Rychla for the Copenhagen Post citing Metroexpress.

Some soldiers have been told to climb trees or stand on one leg, while others have been forced to stand in a puddle or lie down with their knees over their head. A spokesperson for Danish Defence has called the practice “unacceptable”.

“During our last inspection, we discovered a number of incidents in several barracks where smokers were mistreated,” said Andreas Søndergaard Holt from Danish Defence.

According to Rychla, the rituals ‘contravene an anti-mobbing law introduced 10 years ago after several ludicrous initiations were reported involving vomit and urine’.

‘Some of them made their way onto video thanks to troops at the Grønnedal barracks in Greenland,’ she added.

US trade body seeks more information on Reynolds’ planned Lorillard acquisition

| September 1, 2014

Reynolds American said on Friday that it and Lorillard had each received a request for additional information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in connection with Reynolds’ proposed acquisition of Lorillard and divestiture of some brands to Imperial Tobacco.

‘The second request was issued under notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the “HSR Act”) and is a normal part of the regulatory review process,’ Reynolds said in a note posted on its website.

‘The effect of the second request is to extend the waiting period imposed by the HSR Act until 30 days after Reynolds American and Lorillard have substantially complied with the request, unless that period is extended voluntarily by both parties or terminated sooner by the FTC.

‘Reynolds American and Lorillard will continue to co-operate fully with the FTC as it conducts its review of the proposed acquisition and divestiture.

‘In addition to the expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act, both the Reynolds American acquisition of Lorillard as well as the Imperial transaction remain subject to shareholder and other approvals, as well as other customary closing conditions.

‘The companies continue to expect the transactions to close in the first half of 2015.’

Australia ups cigarette excise steeply

| September 1, 2014

The Australian government today increased cigarette excise by 13.7 per cent, the second of four big increases that were set in motion last year by the previous government, according to a story in the Whitsunday Times.

The government has increased the excise on a pack of 20 by A$1.12 to A$9.25 and that on a pack of 40 by A$2.25 to A$18.51.

The former Labor government announced in the middle of last year a series of four increases with the first of 12.5 percent on December 1 2013 to be followed by three more on September 1 of each of the following three years.

Australian Council on Smoking and Health president Mike Daube said his organization estimated that about 800 million fewer cigarettes would be smoked in Australia and about 60,000 smokers would quit their habit just as a result of the latest increase.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said price control through excise was the most effective public health measure to bring down smoking rates.

“Research shows the tobacco excise increase in 2010 caused smoking rates to decline by about 11 per cent,” Clift said.

Cuba aiming to boost tobacco output

| September 1, 2014

Cuba’s vice president, Jose Ramon Machado, on Thursday urged the country’s tobacco farmers to increase output, according to a Xinhua News agency story.

“Cuban tobacco is the world’s best,” the official daily Granma quoted him as saying during a visit to the western province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s tobacco-growing center… “It is an advantage that we cannot afford to waste, so we have to have a strong output.”

According to the Xinhua story, another 15,940 ha of tobacco, or about 70 percent of the current national total, are to be planted in the province during the next season.

Tobacco is Cuba’s fourth biggest source of foreign trade revenue, bringing in more than $400 million dollars a year.

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