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Smoking reduction plan goes awry

| March 25, 2014

The government of Malaysia’s bid to contain smoking by raising taxes on tobacco products is being undermined by illicit cigarette sales, according to a story in the New Strait Times.

And this is hardly surprising given that illicit cigarettes sell for as little as MYR3 per pack, while licit products retail for between MYR10 and MYR12 per pack.

Despite an attempted nationwide crackdown, the sale of illicit cigarettes is said to be rampant, especially in rural areas.

According to the Times story, many low- and middle-income earners have switched from premium- or lower-priced brands to “kretek (clove cigarettes) and other illicit cigarettes brands.”

UAE bans sales of e-cigarettes

| March 25, 2014

The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health has rejected requests from shop owners for permission to sell e-cigarettes and electronic shisha pipes, according to a story in The National.

Officials told The National’s Arabic-language paper, Al Ittihad, that a number of municipalities had referred store owners to the ministry for advice on applying for licenses to sell e-cigarettes.

However, officials at the ministry said the sale of e-cigarettes had been banned after the products had been examined and found to be harmful to health.

Apparently, the officials dismissed claims that e-cigarettes could help people quit smoking.

They said that such products had not been proved to be safe, so their sale could not be allowed in the UAE.

The ban was said to be part of the ministry’s efforts to fight all forms of smoking and tobacco.

NDC appoints new president

| March 25, 2014

Drew Cheshire has been appointed president of NDC Infrared Engineering.

Cheshire joins NDC from Scott Fetzer (a Berkshire Hathaway company), where he was the general manager of Meriam Process Technologies.

Prior to that, Cheshire held senior management roles with Ronan Engineering, Teledyne, Jay Industrial Technologies and Emerson Process Management.

Cheshire replaces Dr. Bromley Beadle, who recently retired from NDC as president following 18 years with the company.

Not taxes—’public health contributions’

| March 24, 2014

A French Senate committee has called for the government to rename its “behavioral” taxes so as to make them appear to comprise more than just a revenue grab.

According to a Tax News story, the committee said the government should look to link these levies and value-added taxes to health sector targets.

And the term “behavioral taxes,” it added, should be referred to as “public health contributions.”

The committee pointed to the high number of parliamentary and governmental initiatives submitted during the past few years for new taxes, such as the sugary drinks tax, and increases to existing indirect taxes on tobacco, beer and spirits.

Tobacco retail concessions go begging

| March 24, 2014

Just 127 retail tobacco sales concessions were awarded in Hungary in the latest government tender, which comprised 992 in all, according to an MTI story quoting the Vilaggazdasag daily.

The National Tobacco sales Non-profit company (NDN) said 567 valid applications had been submitted in respect of the tender, the fourth such tender called since Hungary introduced a state monopoly on retail tobacco sales last year.

The successful stores are required to sign 20-year concession contracts by April 11.

Data from the tax office show 5,922 shops have a customs license for tobacco sales at present.

Vilaggazdasag said a fifth tender was likely to be called for the remaining concessions, mostly for tobacco sales in villages, where business prospects are limited by small populations.

Quitting tobacco? It’s child’s play

| March 24, 2014

Children in a Nepalese village are making money from tobacco and liquor—but they’re not selling it, according to a story in The Himalayan Times.

Just the opposite, in fact, because the children, from ward number four of Laxmi Nagar Village Development Committee (VDC) in Doti, have started a campaign to make their village liquor- and smoke-free.

They have initiated a scheme whereby if anyone is found smoking or consuming alcohol he or she is fined NPR10.

To date, 1,750 violations have been recorded; so NPR17,500 has been deposited in the children’s fund.

However, the money won’t be spent on sweets, the consumption of which might be the subject of a fine imposed by adults. It will be given to children to buy stationery.

The campaign seems to be working. Locals, who used to make fun of the children, are said now to be helping them to reduce the sale and consumption of liquor and cigarettes in the village.

Parents are said to have ditched their bad habits following pressure from the children.

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