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A gentler approach to smokers and quitting in Jordan

| February 19, 2015

In calling recently for more attention to be paid to the smoking ‘epidemic’, the president of the Jordan National Anti-smoking Society, Mohammad Shreim, ruled out a struggle against smokers. “…we want them to quit because we love them,” he was quoted as saying in a story carried by The Jordan Times.

Smoking was an ‘epidemic’ that was not yet listed among the health priorities of the local and regional community, said Shreim. The habit was not receiving enough attention as a major threat to health and quality of life.

“There is a dire need for a comprehensive set of cultural, educational and legislative measures that further educate the public on the dangers of smoking and enforce the Public Health Law,” he said.

Increasing the prices of tobacco products alone would not curb smoking among adults if such measures were not accompanied by an “effective” set of regulations.

But he called for engaging smokers in the fight against tobacco. “It is not a struggle against smokers… we want them to quit because we love them,” Shreim said; adding that membership of the society was open to smokers and non-smokers alike.

German pensioner’s smoking did not disturb peace

| February 19, 2015

Germany’s Federal Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that gave a landlady authority to evict a pensioner whose smoking was said to be offensive to neighbors, according to a BBC Online story.

The Supreme Court ruled that a Düsseldorf court that had backed the landlady’s complaint must now re-investigate the matter.

Friedhelm Adolfs, 76, had appealed against the lower court’s 2013 ruling.

He argued that his flat was not completely sealed and he could not help it if smoke seeped under the door to public areas.

The landlady had said that the pensioner, who has lived in the flat for 40 years, must go because the smoke from his flat was offensive to neighbours.

But the Supreme Court judge said she doubted the Düsseldorf court’s finding that the pensioner’s smoke was bad enough to have ‘disturbed domestic peace’ in the building.

German ZDF television said Adolfs had become a hero for many smokers in Germany. He was now known as Germany’s second most-famous smoker after former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

KT&G fined over ‘unfair’ business practices

| February 19, 2015

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined KT&G WON2.5 billion ($2 million) for encouraging retailers not to sell the cigarettes of ‘foreign competitors’, according to a story in The Korea Times

At the same time, KT&G was ordered to correct its ‘unfair’ business practices. The FTC said the company had offered cigarettes at discounted prices to retailers that carried only its products.

And it had signed contracts with eight convenience store chains under which KT&G products had to account for up to 70 percent of the cigarettes on display.

The Times quoted an FTC official as saying that KT&G had clearly violated the nation’s anti-trust law by forcing retailers to deal with its products only.

“The company deprived its competitors of opportunities to market their brands to consumers,” the official said. “Its practice also stripped consumers of a chance to buy competing products.”

The official said the FTC would make sure KT&G stopped unfair business practices. “We will take steps to normalize the country’s monopolistic cigarette market and promote competition among cigarette makers to benefit consumers,” the official added.

KT&G said it had already taken steps to correct some of its ‘unfortunate’ practices. ‘We will organize a series of lectures to better inform our employees of the country’s fair trade rules,” the company said. ‘We will do everything else to abide by the anti-trust law.’

Hon Lik to speak at Global Forum on Nicotine

| February 19, 2015

Hon Lik, the inventor of the modern electronic cigarette, is due to speak at the second Global Forum on Nicotine, which is scheduled to be held at the Warsaw Marriott, Poland, on June 5 and 6.

Abstracts for the science and policy update session and proposals for satellite sessions are due by February 28.

And poster submissions have to be made by March 31.

The forum program is at; and the list of speakers is at:

If you can stand in the sand, you may drink

| February 19, 2015

Smoking and eating have been banned on beaches at Phuket Island, Thailand, according to a story in the Phuket Gazette.

The bans were apparently announced during a press conference called to clarify an earlier ban on beach chairs.

Governor Nisit Jansomwong had called the conference following tourists’ protests about police officers asking them to remove their beach chairs from the sands.

But the governor had some good news. “Despite smoking and eating being banned, people will still be able to drink on the beach,” he said.

Ireland threatened with plain-packs legal action

| February 18, 2015

JTI Ireland has told the Irish government to halt immediately standardized tobacco packaging legislation in the Dáil (lower house of parliament) or face a High Court claim for damages, according to a story in the Irish Times.

The company is said to have told ministers Dr. James Reilly (Children and Youth Affairs) and Dr. Leo Varadkar (Health) that it will take legal action if they fail to promise by Friday that no further steps will be taken to enact the draft law.

Reilly introduced the Public Health (Standardized Packaging of Tobacco) Bill last year when he was minister for health. He retained command of the file when he became Minister for Children and Varadkar took over the health portfolio.

The firm’s legal threat to the two ministers was said to have been copied to Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny.

In what the Times referred to as ‘sweeping assertions to a sovereign government’, JTI was said to have claimed the state had no right to enact the draft law and – in effect – instructed the ministers to halt its parliamentary passage while a British case in Europe’s highest court continued.

‘For these reasons, please undertake to us as soon as possible and, in any event, on or before 20 February 2015 that no steps will be taken to enact the Bill pending the outcome of the reference to the Courts of Justice of the EU by the High Court of England and Wales,’ the letter was quoted as saying.

‘If this undertaking is not forthcoming, JTI proposes to issue proceedings challenging the competence of Ireland to enact this legislation and, in the absence of an appropriate undertaking in relation to the legislation pending the outcome of these proceedings, will seek such relief as is appropriate from the High Court.’

In a statement to the Times, Reilly said there was no justification for delaying the legislation further. “As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, my responsibility is to progress measures that will protect children and stop them from taking up smoking in the first place,” he said. “It is not to protect the profits of tobacco companies.”

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