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Public places bans backed by environmentalists

| December 30, 2014

Environmental experts have called for strict implementation of India’s ban on tobacco smoking in enclosed public places as a way of restricting where cigarette butts are discarded, according to an IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) story.

The non-biodegradable nature of a cigarette butt, which comprised a hazardous solid waste, meant that it was challenging to deal with, environmentalist M.K. Prasad was quoted as saying in a statement.

The butts contained dangerous chemicals such as cadmium, arsenic and lead.

‘Stricter implementation of laws on public smoking will not only improve public health but also restrict environmental damage,’ said Prasad.

‘Developed countries have woken up to this fact and have undertaken steps to identify the enormity of the problem. According to one estimate, the overall littering rate for cigarette butts in America is 65 percent.’

Cigarette price hike triggers violence in South Korea

| December 30, 2014

As the clock ticks towards the end of December, some smokers in South Korea are becoming increasingly agitated about the tax hike due to come into effect on January 1.

A story by Lina Jang for Korea Bizwire has described how a few smokers have become violent when faced with empty shelves and government-imposed guidelines limiting the number of cigarettes they can buy.

The main trigger for such lawlessness has been the government’s decision to increase the prices of cigarettes hugely after 10 years without increases.

As was reported here yesterday, with the increase in place, KT&G’s brands such as Esse, The One and Raison will retail at WON4,500, up 80 percent from WON2,500 now. Lower-tier cigarettes including This, Hallasan and Lilac will retail for WON4,000, up 100 percent from WON2,000 now.

The Bizwire story said that growing numbers of smokers were rushing to nearby convenience stores with the apparent aim of building stocks of cigarettes as a cushion against the January 1 price hike.

New anti-smoking campaign concentrates on rot

| December 30, 2014

Public Health England (PHE) yesterday launched a new campaign to highlight how ‘smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process similar to rotting’, according to a GOV.UK press note.

The note said the campaign was starting as a new expert review commissioned by PHE had highlighted the multiple impacts that toxic ingredients in cigarettes could have on the human body.

While many smokers knew that smoking caused cancer and harmed the lungs and heart, the new report highlighted how it damaged also: bones and muscles; the brain; teeth; and eyes.

The campaign is said to tackle also some common misconceptions around hand-rolled tobacco.

The consumption of hand-rolled cigarettes had increased significantly, the note said. In 1990, 18 percent of male smokers and two percent of female smokers said they smoked mainly hand-rolled cigarettes, but by 2013 these figures had risen to 40 percent for men and 23 percent for women.

New figures showed that 49 percent of smokers who only smoked hand-rolled cigarettes wrongly believed these products were less harmful than were manufactured cigarettes. ‘In fact, hand-rolled cigarettes are at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette,’ the note said.

Digital and print billboards will show a hand-rolled cigarette full of decaying tissue, while an online viral will see a father casually rolling a cigarette formed of rotting human flesh.

These images are supposed to demonstrate that ‘every cigarette rots you from the inside out’.

The full press note is at:

Smoking ban repealed as councillors vote for Liberty

| December 30, 2014

Liberty city council members have voted 5-1 to repeal a city-wide public places smoking ban that was passed narrowly in November, according to a story by Larry Rowell for The Casey County News.

Liberty is a community of about 2,200 people in Kentucky, US.

The law was to have gone into effect on January 1.

Some people supported the ban on health grounds, and one likened tobacco smoke in public places to sewage in water suppliers.

Others who attended the council meeting took a more libertarian view.

Bangladesh government told to halt tobacco growth

| December 29, 2014

Tobacco cultivation is increasing in Bangladesh and anti-tobacco campaigners want the government to intervene, according to a story.

The campaigners were said to have cited figures from the Directorate of Agricultural Expansion showing that tobacco cultivation had increased from 70,000 ha during the 2012-13 growing season to 108,000 ha during the 2013-14 season.

Lawmakers, researchers, activists and journalists at a policy dialogue organised by the Anti-tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) said tobacco companies lured poor farmers into cultivating tobacco.

MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who is also an anti-tobacco campaigner, said tobacco farming was posing a threat to food security as well as to public health.

Additionally, it destroyed forests and damaged the environment and ecology.

Chowdhury said farmers should be induced to cultivate alternative crops on land currently under tobacco and adopt a policy of gradually phasing out tobacco farming.

Earlier this month, The Financial Express reported that tobacco growers had urged the government to support them in producing alternative crops.

The farmers were said to have made these ‘demands’ at a press conference entitled Voice of victims: Non-profitable tobacco farming, allurement to harmful profit held at the National Press Club.

The ATMA was said to have taken the initiative to support the farmers in placing their demands.

Korea cigarette tax hike predicted to slash sales

| December 29, 2014

KT&G said on Thursday that the prices of all its cigarettes sold on the South Korean market would increase by WON2,000 (US$1.80) starting on January 1, according to a Korea JoongAng Daily story. The increase is in line with the government’s increase in tobacco taxes.

With the increase in place, KT&G’s brands such as Esse, The One and Raison will retail at WON4,500, up 80 percent from WON2,500 now. Lower-tier cigarettes including This, Hallasan and Lilac will retail for WON4,000, up 100 percent from WON2,000 now.

KT&G initially considered adding an extra WON200-500 on top of the required tax increase in an attempt to offset the predicted decline in the value of its sales. ‘We expect decreases in sales volume and revenues due to the price increase, but we placed only the minimum increase because of concerns for any negative effects that the price increase will have on households with lower incomes,’ KT&G was quoted as saying in a statement.

The government defended its decision to raise taxes in the wake of a backlash from the public, saying that the measure was meant to discourage tobacco use.

It estimated that the WON2,000 rise will cause a 34 percent decrease in annual sales of cigarettes, with tobacco companies losing out on WON940 billion in sales.

Korea has among the lowest cigarette prices of nations within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), while the proportion of Korean men who smoked stood at 44 per cent during 2013, which was among the highest smoking incidences in OECD countries.

Opposition politicians and critics have accused the government of attempting to plug holes in its tax revenues by squeezing ordinary citizens while maintaining tax cuts for the wealthy.

Others have questioned why the authorities in Korea, where cigarette prices have not been increased for 10 years, have suddenly decided to impose an increase so huge that it is likely to destabilize the market.

Meanwhile, Philip Morris was said to have decided to raise its prices by WON2,000 while Imperial Tobacco was going for a WON2,200 increase.

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