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‘Cigarettes are eating you alive’

| February 24, 2014

A media campaign launched last week in The Gambia will include the warning ‘Cigarettes are eating you alive’, according to a story in The Daily Observer.

The ‘National Mass Media Campaign on Tobacco Control has been set in motion by the Health and Social Welfare Ministry, which will spearhead the campaign together with the World Lung Foundation.

It is designed to discourage the use of tobacco in The Gambia and, eventually, to make the country a ‘smoke free nation’.

The tobacco smoking warnings will be broadcast on the radio and included on billboards throughout the country for eight weeks.

Progress in face of tobacco ‘epidemic’

| February 24, 2014

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is urging Caribbean countries to speed up the adoption of laws to control what it refers to as the tobacco ‘epidemic’, according to a story in the Jamaica Observer.

The PAHO was quoted as saying that despite progress in the countries of the Americas the epidemic continued to grow. Presumably this is an indication that the so-called epidemic is growing more slowly than it was previously.

In a new report, the PAHO, a regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), said applying at least six measures could help prevent one million tobacco-related deaths annually.

The six measures comprised the imposition of large, graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging that effectively informed consumers; protecting young people from aggressive tobacco industry marketing; banning all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; monitoring the use of tobacco products; protecting people from exposure to second-hand smoke; offering help to those wanting to quit smoking; and raising taxes on tobacco products.

‘These are the six practical, affordable, and achievable measures recommended by WHO to help countries implement specific measures in the Convention [WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control],’ PAHO was quoted as saying.

Inter-tabac to be postponed

| February 23, 2014

Messe Westfalenhallen Dortmund has decided to postpone its Inter-tabac Asia trade fair, originally scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Bali, Indonesia.

The company insists it had obtained the required permits for the event, pursuant to the provisions of the Indonesian Ministry of Industry and Trade, which regulates international fairs and conferences in the country.

Despite this, Bali police instructed Messe Westfalenhallen Dortmund that Inter-tabac Asia could not proceed as planned. The notice came less than a week before the event’s scheduled start.

Messe Westfalenhallen’s attempts to resolve the matter were unsuccessful. The firm is currently seeking a new venue for Inter-tabac Asia.

EU Tobacco Products Directive on track

| February 21, 2014

The EU’s new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is inching towards the finish line.

The European Parliament (EP) meeting in plenary session is due to vote on February 26 on the text of the directive, which has been subjected to various technical and legal-linguistic corrections.

The TPD is expected to be adopted during a European Council meeting on March 14 and the legislative act is expected to be signed by the President of the EP, Martin Schultz, during an EP plenary session due to take place on April 2-4.

Given the above timeline, the act will be published in April or May.

China pressurized by anti-tobacco lobby

| February 21, 2014

China could prevent nearly 13 million tobacco-related deaths by 2050 by fully implementing a set of neglected anti-smoking policies it had already agreed to, researchers said on Wednesday.

The estimated number of lives saved would result from a smoking rate 40 per cent lower than that projected on current trends, according to a story in the Intern Daily quoting a paper published in the British Medical Journal.

Without any change, it said, China risked suffering more than 50 million deaths attributed to tobacco between 2012 and 2050.

But the toll could be reduced by more than a fifth through measures that included higher tobacco taxes, legislating for smoke-free areas and stricter advertising bans.

‘The consequences of inaction are considerable,’ warned the researchers, who used computer modelling to predict the potential health benefits of a set of policies China had agreed to when it joined the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003.

Lagos’ smoking ban seen as balanced

| February 21, 2014

A law banning tobacco smoking within enclosed public places in the Nigerian state of Lagos has been commended by British American Tobacco Nigeria.

The law, which was passed by the Lagos State House Assembly in January and signed by the state governor on Monday, prohibits tobacco smoking in public places such as libraries, museum, public toilets, schools, hospitals, day-care centres, public transportation and restaurants.

But the law requires that the owners of such public places provide smoking areas, though presumably this requirement does not extend to at least some forms of transport.

BAT’s director of corporate and regulatory affairs in West Africa, Freddy Messanvi, said the state government had provided a good example of how to create a balanced and effective law.

According to Messanvi, the process leading to the signing of the bill into law was a transparent one that gave consideration to all relevant views.

He described the new law as “neither excessive nor discriminatory”.

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