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Balcony smoking scene likely to have long run

| January 21, 2015

People in Germany who smoke on the balconies of their homes could be sued in the future if their smoking is deemed to be ‘excessive’, according to a story in the Electronic Telegraph.

Germany’s supreme court has ruled that Germans can sue their neighbours for excessive smoking on their balconies.

The court did not define what was excessive, but ruled only against the amount of smoke the ‘average person’ would find bothersome.

However, in the case before the court, a couple had complained that their balcony was rendered unusable in the afternoons and evenings because their new downstairs neighbours smoked 20 cigarettes a day on their balcony.

The Telegraph quoted Wolfgang Janisch, who, writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, warned that the verdict could ‘pave the way for countless other cases’.

Smokers crowd into Korea’s last smoking refuges

| January 21, 2015

Since the extension on January 1 of South Korea’s tobacco smoking ban to include all bars, restaurants, coffee shops and Internet cafés, smokers have been flocking to the only places where they can still smoke: small-scale indoor sports venues, The Korea Times has reported.

There are about 15,000 billiard halls and 7,000 screen golf venues across the country, according to health ministry figures, but a ministry official warned that there were mounting calls for the ban to reach out and include these venues by 2016.

In a billiard hall in Sinchon, Seoul, a smoker surnamed Ha, 38, was said to have told the Times that the smoking ban had forced him to go there.

“Now, it looks like this is the only place where I can smoke and hang out with friends,” Ha said.

“This place is crowded. I saw a couple of groups leaving because the room is too full.”

Tobacco flood-damage being assessed in Malawi

| January 21, 2015

Malawi’s Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has started assessing the damage that has been caused to tobacco crops by the floods that have followed heavy rains in recent months.

CEO Bruce Munthali told the local press that the heavy rains and floods had caused leaching of fertilisers, and made it difficult for farmers to control weeds and cure their tobacco.

He said the heavy rains had led also to the outbreak of tobacco diseases that were affecting the production of the crop.

It will take the commission two weeks to come up with a detailed damage assessment report.

Most long-term users want to quit NRT products

| January 20, 2015

A study has found that 88 percent of long-term users of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products want to quit NRT because of the cost of the products, because they are tired of feeling addicted, and because of fears of adverse health consequences, according to a story on 7th Space Interactive citing a study published in Harm Reduction Journal.

The majority of these users were said to have had moderate to high nicotine dependence.

The study was conducted in Denmark where 92 long-term NRT users were recruited through advertisements in three national newspapers.

The subjects were asked to answer a short questionnaire about their basic characteristics, health status and satisfaction with using NRT.

A modified version of the Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) questionnaire was applied to estimate nicotine dependence. Scoring on the modified HSI scale was 22.0 percent low dependence, 68.0 percent moderate and 9.3 percent high.

Of the respondents, 67.0 percent used NRT within 30 minutes after waking.

The study recommended the introduction of better counselling for chronically-dependent, long-term users on the benefits of using NRT rather than cigarettes.

It recommended, too, that support should be given to those long-term users wishing to quit NRT.

The story is at:

China’s tobacco revenue up steeply last year

| January 20, 2015

China’s tobacco industry generated Yuan1.05 trillion ($169.7 billion) in profits and taxes during 2014, up 10.02 percent year-on-year, according to a story in the Global Times citing data from the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration.

Last year also the industry provided the government with revenues of more than Yuan911.03 billion in profits, taxes and fees, a figure that was increased by 11.63 percent year on year.

In 2013, the industry handed over to the government Yuan816 billion, which accounted for 6.3 percent of the government’s revenue that year.

Electronic cigarette imports soar in South Korea

| January 20, 2015

Tobacco cigarette imports into South Korea fell between 2013 and 2014 but, at the same time, electronic-cigarette imports rose sharply as smokers tried to kick their habit before the imposition of a huge, tax-induced price increase on January 1, according to a story in The Korea Herald citing customs office figures.

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said that the value of cigarette imports had dropped by 14.4 percent between 2013 and 2014, from US$18.57 million to $15.90 million.

Volume imports were down by 15.4 percent from 973 tons to 823 tons.

Singapore was the source for 33.2 percent of Korea’s cigarette imports and Germany was the source of 21 percent; while Lithuania, Switzerland and Malaysia made up the other countries in the list of the top five suppliers.

Meanwhile, the value of electronic-cigarette imports increased by 342 percent year on year to $10.14 million.

At the same time, the volume of electronic-cigarette imports increased by 348.2 percent to 138 tons.

The customs office said that of the electronic cigarettes imported last year, 75.4 percent were brought into the country during the fourth quarter, when the government’s taxation plans were made public.

Ninety six percent of the electronic cigarettes imported into Korea originated in China.

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