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FlexLink opens office in South Africa

| June 9, 2014

FlexLink has opened a sales and engineering facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, to support customers in the Sub-Sahara region.

In addition to selling and engineering of new installations, the new unit will provide aftermarket support for installations using FlexLink technology in Sub-Saharan Africa.

FlexLink currently has operating units in 30 countries and works with partners in 60 countries.

Hauni opens office in South Africa

| June 9, 2014

Hauni Maschinenbau has opened an office in Cape Town, South Africa, to support customers throughout Africa. The office will be housed on the premises of Reitech, which provided support services for Hauni’s Sub-Saharan customers in the past. Reitech will continue to assist Hauni with its customer support.

The new Hauni team will be led by Kenji Guenta, general manager for sales and services. A Brazilian national, Guenta is well-acquainted with the region’s challenges and opportunities, having supported Hauni’s customers in North Africa for many years.

China planning tobacco tax increase

| June 9, 2014

The authorities in China are planning to increase the national tobacco tax in the hope of persuading more smokers to quit their habit, according to a Want China Times story quoting the Chinese-language Beijing News.

The story said it was likely that the authorities would follow recommendations set by the World Health Organization, which says the excise tax on tobacco should be at least 70 percent of the retail price.

Cui Li, deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, confirmed the central government was planning to introduce measures that would include increasing taxes in an attempt to prevent the nation’s younger generation from becoming smokers.

Figures from the commission suggested there were about 300 million smokers in China, and about 740 million nonsmokers at risk from secondhand smoke.

About 1.2 million to 1.4 million people died of smoking-related diseases each year in the country.

Echoing Cui, Yang Gonghuan, a professor at Peking Union Medical College, said increasing the tobacco tax was the easiest and most efficient way to curb tobacco consumption. While most Chinese smokers were not suffering from any financial problems, increasing the tax would have the effect of getting them to cut back on their habit, he said.

However, Li Baojiang, director of the Tobacco Business Research Institute’s Policy Research Department, said the tax-raising policy would encourage more tobacco smuggling and result in more counterfeit cigarettes that would be even more harmful to smokers’ health than were genuine products.

E-cigarettes included in official quit-smoking guidance in Scotland

| June 9, 2014

E-cigarettes have been included for the first time in official NHS (National Health Service) Scotland guidance aimed at helping smokers quit their habit, according to a story by Lyndsay Buckland for The Scotsman.

The new advice is said to recognize the increased popularity of these devices among people wishing to cut down their use of more harmful tobacco products.

It says that while those using NHS smoking cessation services should be strongly encouraged to adopt licensed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches and gum, those wanting to use e-cigarettes should not be told to stop if there was a risk they would return to tobacco.

Buckland said that it was believed that in the past some services had turned away those wanting to use e-cigarettes as part of their attempts to quit smoking, meaning they were denied other forms of support offered by the NHS, such as group counselling.

E-cigarettes currently have to meet consumer-product regulations but, under rules agreed by the European Parliament, from 2016 those products for which health claims are made will have to be regulated as medicines, while others will face controls on nicotine content.

“The new guidance in Scotland, produced for those running smoking cessation services by the special health board NHS Health Scotland and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland, focuses on harm-reduction among tobacco users on the road to stopping use of nicotine ­entirely,” the Scotsman story said.

The guidance says there is little evidence currently available on the quality, safety or effectiveness of e-cigarettes. However, it adds, current expert opinion on the limited evidence available suggests that e-cigarette usage is likely to be considerably less hazardous than is tobacco smoking.

Big flue-cured volume sold in Zimbabwe

| June 9, 2014

Zimbabwe’s flue-cured sales, which are still in progress, have already seen more leaf sold than was traded during the whole of the 2013 sales season, according to a story in The Independent quoting Tobacco Industry Marketing Board figures.

After 68 weeks of trading so far this year, 173 million kg of flue-cured had been sold at auction and under contract.

That figure was up by 31 percent on the 132 million kg that had been sold after 68 weeks of the 2013 season.

It was up also—by about 11 percent—on the sales level for the whole of the 2013 season, 156 million kg.

Smoking causes 40 percent of cancers

| June 9, 2014

More than 12,000 people in Saudi Arabia suffer from cancer every year, and tobacco smoking remains the cause of 40 percent of cancer cases there, according to an Arab News story quoting local media and data released by the World Health Organization.

About 40 percent of the cancer cases could be prevented, the story said, with the provision of a smoke-free environment and through exercise, a balanced diet, avoiding obesity and keeping away from direct sunlight.

Besides being a cause of cancer, smoking was a major contributor to gum disease and tooth decay.

Additionally, smoking caused mouth and gum cancer, said Dr. Khalid Al-Qahtani, of Dallah Hospital.

Based on global statistics, lung cancer cases among smokers were 14 times higher than those among nonsmokers, Al-Qahtani said.

“It has been proved that smoking is the major cause of cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, liver, bladder and pancreas,” he added.

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