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Trade agreement in need of health check

| October 28, 2014

Health professionals say a comprehensive health impact assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement must be carried out to protect the health of New Zealanders, according to a story in Scoop.

The health professionals say leaked information suggests international big business, such as the tobacco and alcohol industries, could sue the New Zealand government if it puts health-based policies in place that threaten these industries’ profits.

And clauses designed to protect the intellectual property rights of the pharmaceutical industry would make medicines more expensive in New Zealand by preventing PHARMAC from purchasing cheaper generic drugs.

Members of ten health organizations are calling on Trade Minister Tim Groser to bring in health experts to give the proposed TPP an independent and comprehensive health check-up.

In an article in NZ Doctor published online the health experts say the health-check results should be made public for full discussion, well before New Zealand commits to the trade deal.

“The negotiations are all being carried out in secret, and the little that has leaked out is very worrying,” says Dr Joshua Freeman, a spokesperson for the health organizations.

Industry slams Indian health warnings

| October 28, 2014

The Tobacco Institute of India (TII) has reacted angrily to the national government’s decision to increase significantly the size of health warnings on tobacco packs, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

It is unhappy, also, because the tobacco industry was not consulted before the decision on the new warnings was made.

Under a recent gazette notification from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, from April 1 tobacco products will have to be sold in packs that include warnings occupying 85 percent of both the front and back faces – up from the current 40 percent. The graphic element of the warning will take up 60 percent of the surface and the written warning 25 percent. The graphic images will have to be rotated every 12 months.

“The proposed warnings are unreasonable, drastic, unwarranted and impractical to implement and enforce,” TII director, Syed M. Ahmed, said in a statement.

The existing health warnings were adequate to inform and caution consumers.

Even in countries such as the US, Japan and China the textural warnings were not disproportionately large, he added.

Industry stands accused in Indonesia

| October 28, 2014

An anti-tobacco activist has said that young people in Indonesia remain vulnerable to cigarette marketing because tobacco companies frequently sponsor youth sporting events, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

The head of the education and community empowerment division of the National Commission on Tobacco Control, Fuad Baradja, said the impact of smoking ran in complete opposition to the purpose of sporting activities.

Fuad said Indonesia was one of the countries making the slowest progress in prohibiting the advertisements, promotions, sponsorships and corporate social responsibility activities of cigarette companies, which were aimed at bolstering their public image, with youth as their main target.

Government tobacco-control regulations, which allowed cigarette advertisements, promotions and sponsorships via all types of media in Indonesia, had made children the targets of exploitation by cigarette companies’ marketing activities.

“Children have become a marketing target of the cigarette industry because they are potential consumers that will probably remain tobacco-addicts for life, preserving the existence of the industry,” said Fuad on the sidelines of the Handball Bogor Open in Bogor, West Java, on Saturday.

Universal to webcast results conference

| October 28, 2014

Universal Corporation is due to webcast a conference call from 17.00 Eastern Time on November 6 following the release of its results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2015 after market close on that date.

The conference call will be hosted by Candace C. Formacek, vice president and treasurer.

A live webcast of the conference call will be available on a listen-only basis at and a replay will be available at that site until February 5.

A taped replay of the conference call will be available from 20.30 on November 6 through November 19 at (855) 859-2056. The telephone replay identification number is 24066410.

WHO won’t rest with cigarette taxation

| October 27, 2014

The drive toward global governance and taxation is a disturbing sign of much more to come, according to an editorial in the Washington Post commenting on decisions taken at the recent meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

‘The world, or a good part of it, struggles to cope with Ebola, and the United Nations continues to be obsessed by tobacco,’ the editorial said. ‘The World Health Organization, meeting in Moscow [COP6, October 13-18] came up with a treaty imposing a global tax on cigarettes and delegates of 179 nations signed it.

‘The United States isn’t a party to the agreement, but the drive toward global governance and taxation is a disturbing sign of much more to come.’

Later, the editorial made the point that decisions to balance risks and benefits can be made best by individual men and women without the heavy hand of legislative bodies.

‘Ceding such decisions to unaccountable international bureaucrats is ceding freedom,’ it said.

‘The global prohibitionists won’t rest with a cigarette tax. They’re not interested in good health so much as controlling the lives of everyone.’

The editorial is at:!

Azerbaijan closes doorway on smokers

| October 27, 2014

Anti-smoking advocates and health experts have hailed recent government proposals that aim to cut the number of smokers in Azerbaijan, according to an Azer News story.

Few details of the proposals were given, but Musa Guliyev, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, was said to have ‘underlined the necessity of adopting a law restricting smoking in public places along with the law “On tobacco and tobacco products”, which was adopted in Azerbaijan in 2001’.

Guliyev apparently suggested that fines should be imposed on people who smoke at home near children and in the doorways of houses.

Most of Azerbaijan’s smoking population comprises men, about 50 percent of whom smoke daily.

Forty percent of male smokers are said to smoke ‘at least one or two packs of 20 cigarettes per day’.

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