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Engle progeny cases major burden on Florida courts

| December 23, 2014

Tobacco cases are taking their toll on Florida’s court system, according to a story in Northwest Florida News.

The Florida Supreme Court has called on state lawmakers to fund three additional circuit judge positions next year, including one in Northwest Florida.

Robin Wright, the administrator for the First Judicial Circuit, said need for another circuit court judge existed even though caseloads in Northwest Florida had decreased in recent years.

“The caseloads are trending down, but the cases are more complicated,” Wright said.

Particularly draining had been the tobacco cases that had arisen out of a 2006 court ruling.

Eighty tobacco cases had been filed in the First Judicial Circuit since the ground-breaking decision in Engle v. Liggett, and the 10 [so-called Engle progeny cases] thus far tried had taken a minimum of three weeks to complete.

African leaf producers to protest against plain packs

| December 23, 2014

Zimbabwe and other Sadc (Southern African Development Countries) leaf tobacco producers plan to lobby at a forthcoming World Health Organization (WHO) convention against the imposition of standard tobacco-products packaging, according to a story in the Zimbabwe Standard.

The countries say the move to standardized packaging prejudices their economies and promotes the sale of illicit cigarettes.

Since December 1, 2012, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous Labor government to be as ugly as is possible. Packs are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, are otherwise a standard olive color, have no logos or other design features, and have brand and variant names in a standardized font and position.

Several other countries are considering imposing standardized tobacco packaging, though some are awaiting the outcome of challenges to the Australian regulations currently before the World Trade Organization.

The Standard said that Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry employed thousands of people and that tobacco accounted for 10.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Last year, Zimbabwe had accounted for 44 percent of all leaf tobacco exports from Sadc, while Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi had accounted for 15 percent of global leaf tobacco exports.

Blending, production impact carcinogen exposure

| December 23, 2014

Differences in tobacco blends and cigarette manufacturing methods could be impacting the incidences of smoking-associated cancers, according to research published on line yesterday by Tobacco Control.

The researchers measured urine concentrations of metabolites of nicotine, the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites (PAHs) in 238 Chinese and 203 US daily smokers.

Comparing the Chinese smokers with the US smokers, daily nicotine intake and nicotine intake per cigarette smoked were found to be similar.

‘When normalised for cigarettes per day, urine NNAL excretion was fourfold higher in US smokers, while the excretion of urine metabolites of the PAHs fluorene, phenanthrene and pyrene metabolites was 50 percent to fourfold higher in Chinese smokers (all, p<0.0001),’ according to an abstract of the research and findings. ‘Similar results were seen when NNAL and PAHs excretion was normalised for daily nicotine intake.’

The researchers concluded that the differences in carcinogen exposure most likely reflected country differences in cigarette tobacco blends and manufacturing processes, as well as different environmental exposures.

The abstract is at:

Hookah and vapor products together at Frankfurt Fair

| December 23, 2014

The International Hookah and Vapor Fair 2015 is due to be held at Frankfurt, Germany, on May 2-3.

HookahFair, a smoking-product event that was held for the second time this year, spawned VaporFair, a vaping-product event, and the two will be held together next year.

The organizers say that the hookah and vapour businesses have ‘several interfaces and thus can benefit from each other’.

A brochure of the Frankfurt Fair is at :

Tobacco tax rise in Indonesia set to reduce smoking

| December 22, 2014

The Indonesian government is due on January 1 to increase tobacco excise from 56 percent to 65 percent as part of moves to discourage smoking, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

Indonesia has more than 62 million smokers who make up about 25 per cent of its population.

The Post story said that smoking lowered life expectancy by 10 years on average and reduced in six out of 10 households the amount available for spending on other items.

It said that quitting would halve the risk of heart disease within one year, while the risk of stroke would decline to that of a non-smoker within 15 years.

Quitting would translate also into an 11.9 percent increase in the amount of household income available for health plans, education and nutrition.

The World Health Organization has recommended that a cigarette excise rate of 70 percent be imposed, which, in Indonesia, would raise prices to Rp18,000 per pack.

However, according to Abdillah Ahsan, senior researcher and vice-director at the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, the ideal price for discouraging cigarette consumption would be Rp50,000 per pack, which would still be below the prices prevailing in Singapore or Australia.

UAE’s Young shifting to cruder forms of smoking

| December 22, 2014

With stricter checks in place on the use of traditional forms of tobacco, especially cigarettes, young people in the United Arab Emirates are ‘rapidly shifting to cruder and more dangerous forms of smoking such as dokha to get their daily buzz’, according to a story in the Khaleej Times citing a study published in Tobacco Control.

The Times said that dokha was an Arabic term meaning ‘dizzy’. It described the product as a blend of finely shredded tobacco mixed with other leaves, bark and herbs that was consumed in a pipe called a midwakh.

The study, carried out in the United Arab Emirates, said that many alternative tobacco products, such as hookahs, had grown in popularity and were used beyond the locale of their origin.

In the process, they had become a significant global public health concern.

This dissemination posed challenges to tobacco control efforts in the region, according to the study entitled, Midwakh/dokha tobacco use in the Middle East: much to learn.

“These products are cheap and easily available,” said Dr. Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the National Tobacco Control program at the UAE’s Ministry of Health. “The regulations are not as well enforced as we would like them to be,” she said.

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