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Call for smoking ban in private homes

| March 6, 2014

An anti-smoking activist and community-health specialist has urged the Hong Kong government to ban tobacco smoking in cars and homes so as to protect children’s health, according to a story by Emily Tsang for the South China Morning Post.

Professor Lam Tai-hing was speaking after a new study indicated that secondhand smoke could make children prone to heart attacks and strokes later in life.

Such conditions were in addition to other known risks such as lung cancer, middle-ear disease and respiratory disease.

Lam, professor of community medicine at the University of Hong Kong, said that while smoking in cars when children were present had been banned in some countries, so far no authorities had made a similar ruling for private households.

“Smoking in front of children should be seen as poisoning and abusing them,” he said.

Lam said Hong Kong so far had no legislation specifically to protect children from secondhand smoke.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, said data from 2,401 people in Finland and 1,375 in Australia showed passive smoking led to a thickening of children’s artery walls, ageing blood vessels by 3.3 years by adulthood.

Taiwan announces open-air smoking ban

| March 6, 2014

Smoking tobacco will be banned outside of designated areas in Taiwan’s national parks and scenic areas from the start of next month, according to a story on Focus Taiwan News Channel.

Not all parks and scenic areas will have designated smoking areas, in which case no smoking will be allowed anywhere.

Under the new policy, announced yesterday by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, smoking will be banned also at outdoor concerts.

Subjecting people to secondhand smoke was a violation of their basic human rights, the ministry was quoted as saying.

Those caught violating the new regulations will be subject to fines of between TWD$2,000 (US$68) and TWD$10,000.

Some smoking advocates claim that the regulations announced yesterday are unconstitutional.

E-cigarettes factor in smoking decline

| March 6, 2014

Figures published last week by France’s national drugs watchdog showed that the number of cigarettes sold in France fell by 7.6 percent last year, according to a Naharnet story.

Sales of hand-rolling tobacco continued to rise but, at 2.6 percent, more slowly than in recent previous years.

And for the first time since 2005, the overall value of tobacco-product sales shrank in 2013.

One survey was said to have put the proportion of adults who smoke every day at about 27 percent, down from more than 33 percent in 2010.

Health experts were quoted as saying it was too early to say if a corner had been turned. Survey results varied and the line between regular (daily) and occasional smoking was hard for researchers to assess accurately.

But the Naharnet story said it seemed that the combined impact of recent price hikes—at a time of economic stagnation—and the “phenomenal success” of e-cigarettes might be encouraging millions of French smokers to reassess their habit.

Rains disrupt Cuba’s tobacco season

| March 6, 2014
Workers carry tobacco leaves to the curing barn on a plantation belonging to one of Cuba’s many co-operatives. Picture: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Workers carry tobacco leaves to the curing barn on a plantation belonging to one of Cuba’s many co-operatives.
Picture: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Excessive rain has hit Cuba’s leaf tobacco harvest, with the important growing districts of San Juan y Martínez and San Luis being severely affected, according to a story by Ivet González for Inter Press Services.

González reported that San Juan y Martínez and San Luis, which between them provide about 86 percent of the tobacco used in manufacturing Havana cigars, had suffered from too much rain since the season started in November.

The excessive rain has meant that some farms have had to replant their tobacco three times, so planting deadlines have had to be moved, causing delays to other aspects of the production process.

The full story is at http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/03/untimely-rains-hit-cuban-tobacco-harvest/.

Manufacturing a bond with retailers

| March 6, 2014

France Imperial pic2More than 1,000 retailers have gone behind the scenes at one of Imperial Tobacco’s factories during the past 18 months as part of a trade partner initiative in France.

The latest event took place at the company’s cigarette factory near Nantes, with local tobacconists being given a guided tour of the Carquefou site (pictured).

The factory visit was part of an ongoing initiative by Seita that started in 2012 to help retailers learn more about Imperial’s brands.

The tobacconists were said to have been shown every aspect of the manufacturing and supply chain process and then to have been given the opportunity to quiz factory manager Sébastien Depierre.

“Most had never been inside a tobacco factory and were naturally curious to know more about a product they sell every day,” said Depierre.

Zimbabwe district council gets tough on tobacco growers and contractors

| March 5, 2014

All tobacco companies operating in Zimbabwe’s Hurungwe district will be required from the next tobacco growing season to sign with Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regulating their operations, according to a story in The Herald.

This follows concerns that tobacco contractors and farmers have not been complying with council bylaws and the tenets of corporate social responsibility.

The HRDC chief executive officer, Joram Moyo, said that tobacco farming was having a negative impact on the district’s environment and, in particular, on its forests as wood was cut for curing leaf.

In part, the MOU will require farmers to use coal for curing their tobacco or to establish a woodlot as a curing resource.

Meanwhile, Hurungwe District Administrator Tsana Chirau said that though contractors were raking in huge profits, they were not forthcoming in fulfilling their corporate social obligations.

She said that despite the fact that farmers were exposed to dangerous chemicals, contractors had not come up with programs to assist the area’s clinics, some of which were facing drugs and equipment shortages.

According to the Herald, the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board puts the number of registered tobacco growers in Hurungwe at more than 22,000.

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