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WHO says own target tax not enough

| February 24, 2014

Hong Kong is expected to increase tobacco tax by between about 11 and 24 per cent on Wednesday, according to a story in the South China Morning Post.

Financial Secretary, John Tsang Chun-wah, is expected to increase the flat HK$34 duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes by between HK$4 and HK$8, meaning that the tax rate would be above the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of 70 per cent on all brands.

But this is not enough for some.

Meeting the recommended international standard for tobacco tax was not enough for Hong Kong: it could and should go further, a WHO official was quoted as saying.

Dr. Carmen Audera-Lopez, acting team leader of the WHO’s tobacco-free initiative in the Western Pacific region, said the expected increase in tobacco tax would make up only for inflation since the last rise in 2011.

Tenants banned from using e-cigarettes

| February 24, 2014

Tenants at an apartment complex in the US have been told that they ‘are not allowed to use electronic cigarettes’, according to a story by WHSV-TV3 Channel 3.

Presumably, this means that they will not be allowed to use electronic cigarettes in their apartments.

Tenants of the Harrisonburg [Virginia] Redevelopment and Housing Authority recently received a notice with details of a tobacco smoking ban due to be imposed on July 1.

But, according to the notice, tenants living in the J.R. Polly Limeweaver Apartment complex also ‘are not allowed to use electronic cigarettes’.

The story said that the reasons given for the imposition of the ban on electronic cigarettes included ‘an effort to decrease health effects’, maintenance costs, the risk of fire and the cost of fire insurance.

‘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.

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