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More people smoking now than in 1980

| January 8, 2014

Worldwide population growth has meant that more people smoke today than was the case in 1980, according to a story by Kerry Sheridan for Agence France Presse, quoting figures from a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

China had nearly 100 million more smokers in 2012 than it had three decades ago, even though its smoking rate fell from 30 percent to 24 percent during that time, said the study findings published  in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study was published as part of a series of tobacco-related articles to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. surgeon general’s report on the risks of smoking.

“Since we know that half of all smokers will eventually be killed by tobacco, greater numbers of smokers will mean a massive increase in premature deaths in our lifetime,” co-author Alan Lopez, of the University of Melbourne, was quoted as saying.

The study, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, measured data from 187 countries.

It found that the global smoking rate among men was 41 percent in 1980 but has since declined to 31 percent.

Among women, the estimated prevalence of daily tobacco smoking was 10.6 percent in 1980 but 6.2 percent by 2012.

The most rapid decrease began in the mid-1990s, but, since 2010, smoking has been rising again among men.

Plans to impose indoor tobacco smoking ban nationwide in China by year’s end

| January 8, 2014

China’s health authorities are aiming to roll out a nationwide tobacco smoking ban in enclosed public places by year’s end, according to a story by Zhuang Pinghui for the South China Morning Post.

Zhuang said this was the first time that the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) had set a target date to meet its commitment to cut down on indoor tobacco use.

NHFPC spokesperson Mao Qunan reportedly said the agency was working on the regulation with the State Council. A ban had been on the agenda of China’s cabinet since last year.

Mao said the commission was also trying to have the National People’s Congress pass a law aimed at containing the harm caused by tobacco use.

The announcement represents the closest that Beijing has come to a timetable for meeting its pledge to create a smoke-free indoor environment as part of its obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Meanwhile, according to an story, the NHFPC has said that “over 1 million Chinese people die of smoking-related diseases every year, and 100,000 people die of diseases caused by passive smoking.”

‘Rehabilitation programs’ see 5,000 Saudis quit tobacco smoking habit

| January 8, 2014

At least 5,000 Saudi men and women became nonsmokers last year after taking part in “rehabilitation programs” across the country, according to an Arab News story.

Throughout 2013, the Makkah Kafa Society, tasked with raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and drug use, was in contact with more than 800,000 people, Abdullah Al-Othaim, the organization’s chairman, reportedly told the Saudi Press Agency.

The number of people who quit smoking and became more aware of the dangers of narcotics had doubled over the past few years.

“The Kafa society’s activities included various programs targeting youth gatherings and associations, children’s theatres and exhibitions, and mobile clinics that toured the Makkah region,” Al-Othaim said.
“Makkah is the holiest city on earth [according to Islamic beliefs] and must be smoke-free,” he said.

The Kafa Society, which has branches in Jeddah, Al-Leeth and Qunfudah, asked on
its Twitter account that parents monitor their children carefully during exam times because they could fall prey to peer pressure to use cigarettes and drugs.

Imperial’s factory helps demonstrate the potential for businesses in Madagascar

| January 8, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has staged a tour of its Antsirabe factory in Madagascar to help attract potential new investors from France to the Indian Ocean nation.

The visit was organized at the request of the local authorities to demonstrate investment opportunities for manufacturing in the area.

The SACICEM plant is seen as one of the most advanced sites in the highland region of the country.

The invitation to visit the site was taken up by 30 people, including politicians and economic partners from France as well as representatives of the French embassy.

General Manager Jean-Claude Starczan helped lead the tour and outlined Imperial’s ongoing commitment to Madagascar.

“The added value that is created in the country by our operations here, especially from the SACICEM team, is an example for others to follow,” he said.

“The French community is very important to the economic development of Madagascar, which we are delighted to help support.”

China expert joins BAT board

| January 8, 2014

Savio Kwan has joined the board of British American Tobacco as a nonexecutive director.

During his extensive career, Kwan, who was said in a note posted on BAT’s website to have “significant business experience of Greater China and Asia,” has worked “broadly in technology for General Electric, BTR PLC and Alibaba Group, China’s largest internet business, where he was chief operating officer and later, a nonexecutive director.” He is a founding partner and CEO of A&K Consulting Co. Ltd., advising entrepreneurs about start-up businesses in China.

Born in Hong Kong, Kwan speaks fluent Mandarin and English. His international career has seen him live in China, the U.S., Singapore and the U.K. He is a visiting professor at Henley   Business School, U.K., and a regular lecturer on Chinese business strategy and leadership.

“I warmly welcome Savio to the board of British American Tobacco,” said chairman Richard Burrows. “I have no doubt he will bring his profound commercial approach, international orientation and deep knowledge of China and Asia to bear, further strengthening British American Tobacco and the board.”

JTI’s UK chief joins debate about duties

| January 7, 2014

Jorge da Motta, the U.K. chief executive of Japan Tobacco International, believes Scottish ministers would think again about bringing in anti-tobacco policies if the Scottish government received directly the duty levied on tobacco sales in Scotland, according to a story by David Maddox for The Scotsman.

Da Motta was said to have told Scotland on Sunday that he believes control over duties would make members of the Scottish parliament think again over bringing in anti-smoking measures such as the display ban in shops, plain packaging and the banning of smoking in publicly accessible buildings.

He believes that these measures are harming small businesses in Scotland and that his comments reflect concern in the industry that Holyrood, the Scottish parliament, is leading the way on tobacco control and then being followed by Westminster, the U.K. parliament.

Da Motta made it clear he was not taking sides in the debate on the Scottish independence referendum due to be held on Sept. 18, but argued that even in the event of a no vote, further devolution should see duties delivered to Holyrood.

“In post-referendum Scotland, whether it is devo-max [maximum devolution] or independence, a new era of responsibility could see Edinburgh collecting tobacco duty, and with that Holyrood will have to quickly learn about the unintended consequences of regulation draining the public purse of much-needed money,” he said.

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