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Anti-smoking campaign starting to work in China

| January 6, 2015

China’s anti-smoking campaign made significant progress in 2014 because relevant legislation was brought in at both the national and local levels, according to a China Daily story.

Health experts were said to have agreed during a health forum held at Kunming, Yunnan province, that the country’s growing emphasis on the rule of law had advanced tobacco control legislation, though the implementation of the laws and regulations was still subject to obstacles.

Li Xiaoliang, director of the Pioneers for Health Consultancy Center in Yunnan, said that since China had ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, the Chinese government and grassroots organizations had joined hands to promote the anti-smoking cause.

However, tobacco control legislation still lacked solid public support because a large number of the country’s smokers and passive smokers were not fully aware of the damage tobacco caused to health and social development, Li added.

In January 2014, a circular issued by the government called on officials to take a lead in the campaign by not smoking in public.

In November, the Beijing municipal legislature passed an anti-smoking bill aiming to ban smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces, and on public transport. The bill is scheduled to take effect in June.
And also in November, China’s State Council’s legislative affairs office released a draft regulation for public comment.

The regulation would ban smoking in indoor public places and outdoor spaces, including schools and hospitals; it would ban all forms of tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion; and it would prohibit smoking scenes involving minors in films and on television.

Nova Scotia consulting on flavors strategy

| January 6, 2015

The government of Nova Scotia, Canada, is due to consult this month and next on what flavors should be banned from inclusion in tobacco products, and whether any bans should be extended to include electronic cigarette liquids, according to a CBC News story.

In November, a proposed law that would have extended a ban on tobacco flavors to e-juice came under fire from members of the public, and the government quickly backtracked.

Members of the law amendments committee were said to have heard or received emails from dozens of Nova Scotians opposed to the ban on flavoured e-juice.

Subsequently, the Liberal party members of the committee voted to delete the sections of the bill that would have banned flavoured tobacco and e-juice.

Korea’s cigarette price hike gives boost to fine-cut

| January 6, 2015

South Korea’s government can probably claim some initial success in that its January 1 tax-induced cigarette price hike has forced more smokers than previously to attend quit-smoking clinics, according to a Korea Bizwire piece.

One clinic, which used to see about 150 smokers a month, now has to cope with more than 100 a day.
But some smokers are turning to fine-cut tobacco and some to electronic cigarettes, while others have reinvigorated the demand for single cigarettes – loosies – that was high during the 1980s and 1990s.

The switch to fine-cut makes sense for committed smokers. The price of cigarettes rose from about WON2,500 to WON4,500 on January 1, but hand-rolling fine-cut tobacco can cut a smoker’s costs considerably since a 40 gram pack of tobacco, from which 80-100 cigarettes can be made, sells for WON6,000-8,000.

Loosies, which sell for about WON300 each, make no sense from a smoking-cost point of view, but these are said to be bought often by people who are ‘cheating’ during attempts to quit smoking.

Imperial provides more funds to help fight Ebola

| January 6, 2015

Imperial Tobacco says that it is giving health workers a further £57,000 to help them tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The money will be used to provide items such as protective clothing, disinfectant equipment and observation rooms in Mali.

The current Ebola outbreak has resulted in the deaths of almost 7,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and it has now spread to neighbouring Mali.

The non-profit organization, the Altadis Foundation, is sending the funds to the region after a request from Imperial’s subsidiary in Mali, SONATAM.

Taking into account the £7,000 – £1,300 of which was raised by Imperial’s head office employees – donated before Christmas, the company has now provided £64,000 to help tackle the Ebola virus.
“This outbreak has claimed thousands of victims across West Africa and we wish to show our fullest support for those involved in Mali,” said Ines Cassin, general manager of the foundation.

China lifts leaf tobacco price controls

| January 5, 2015

China has announced that purchase prices for leaf tobacco are to be set by supply and demand rather than by the government, according to an (the official English-language website of the China News Service, CNS) story.

Quoting a government statement, CNS said that tobacco companies were now free to set purchase prices independently, ‘based on companies’ revenues and demands’.

“Tobacco companies have formed long-term common interests with tobacco farmers, and it will be more reasonable to allow them to set prices,” said Wang Shengmin, an official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The lifting of tobacco-price controls was not expected to cause much change in the retail prices of cigarettes because, Wang said, tobacco accounted only for about 5-10 percent of the price of the final product.

The tobacco-price controls announcement was made by the NDRC and China Tobacco Co, and was said to mean that, now, no agricultural product was the subject of such controls.

However, while China has lifted strict controls on agricultural prices, the government has put in place minimum purchasing prices for key crops, such as rice and wheat, and has been willing to step in with purchases and storage for products such as corn and rapeseed to protect the interests of farmers.

Meanwhile, Li Guoxiang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying that the government-dominated pricing system had led to high inventories and overcapacity in leaf tobacco output.

But while the new market mechanism is expected to help establish reasonable prices, observers noted that tobacco companies needed to build an auction mechanism or set up regular meetings with tobacco farmers so as to keep the average price of leaf tobacco stable and to protect the interests of farmers, most of whom lived in poor areas.

Although China produces annually about 2.5 million tonnes of tobacco with a total value of roughly Yuan100 billion ($16.1 billion), tobacco accounts for only a small portion of the country’s total agricultural output.

North Carolina’s tobacco smoking ban a non-issue

| January 5, 2015

Five years after North Carolina (NC) banned tobacco smoking in restaurants and bars, the ban has been embraced to the point where it has become a non-issue for most restaurant operators, employees and the public, according to a story by Richard Craver for the Winston-Salem Journal.

Although the ban was touted as a game changer for the tobacco-producing state, the complaints figures seem to tell a different story. In the first month after the ban began on January 2, 2010, 537 complaints were filed and 282 businesses cited as possibly having violated the new law, according to the NC Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch.

By mid-2011, the number of complaints and businesses cited had dropped to a weekly average of 20.

And in the past year there were several weeks when no complaints were filed state-wide; and when there were complaints, often there were just one or two.

About 24,000 establishments are covered by the smoking ban. Cigar bars, country clubs and fraternal organizations are exempt.

One restaurant owner said that the ban had been accepted because it had been introduced state-wide, while another made the point that now most people didn’t give it a second thought.

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