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Smoking stops created along bus route

| December 30, 2013

Taipei’s Department of Health has designated 27 bus stops along the Xinyi Road, one of the city’s busiest, as areas where tobacco smoking is due to be banned from next month, according to a story in the Taipei Times.

The bans are said by the TaipeiCity government to be in accordance with the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act.

They will be backed up with fines of between NT$2,000 and NT$10,000 for those who are found to have ignored them.
Department commissioner Lin Chi-hung was quoted as saying that while the law prohibited tobacco smoking in most indoor public places, outdoor places such as sidewalks and bus stops had not been listed as non-tobacco-smoking areas.

However, later in the story it was said that tobacco smoking was banned in 33 outdoor areas of Taipei and on 20 sidewalks.
The department was said to have included bus stops in the list of non-tobacco-smoking areas because it had received a growing number of complaints from passengers waiting for buses.

“We have joined with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation to promote the non-smoking movement at bus stops because we want to create a smoke-free environment in Taipei,” Lin said.

UAE readies for far-reaching tobacco law

| December 30, 2013

As the United   Arab Emirates prepares to implement its Anti-Tobacco Law on January 21, one health official has said that she has been in talks with the National Media Council (NMC) to prevent indirect promotion of tobacco through newspaper articles, according to a story in the Khaleej Times.

Dr. Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the National Tobacco Control Committee at the Health Ministry, said she was in talks with the NMC to prevent indirect promotion of tobacco through newspaper articles. “According to the law and bylaws, direct or indirect promotion of tobacco is prohibited…,” she said.

The law bans the growing or manufacture of tobacco for commercial purposes, and it sets out technical standards, including those to do with large front-of-the-pack health warnings, that have to be met by imported tobacco products.

It bans tobacco-product advertising and it prohibits tobacco products from being displayed near sportswear, health products, food, electronic products and any items aimed at young people. And it bans the sale of tobacco products within 100 meters of places of worship, and within 150 meters of kindergartens, schools, universities and colleges.

Shisha cafés will have to be at least 150 meters away from residential areas and their opening times will be restricted. Shisha cafés will not be allowed to serve customers younger than 18 years, and they will be forbidden from delivering shishas to apartments.

Wedad said that the Sharjah Municipality had already started implementing the law and had recently banned the sale of cigarettes in grocery stores. “Sharjah is the only city in the world that does not have shisha cafes,” she said.

Meanwhile, Wedad said that it would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior to enforce a law on smoking in cars carrying people under 12 years of age. “In New York, a person is fined even if caught smoking in a car with only a child seat present,” she added.

Big fines for high-speed train smokers who fail to toe the line in China

| December 27, 2013

Anyone caught smoking tobacco on China’s high-speed trains will be fined up to Yuan2,000 ($330) as of January 1, according to a story by Wang Fan for Ecns.cn, quoting a railway safety regulation issued by the State Council.

But smokers won’t be the only people in the firing line. Fines of up to Yuan2,000 will be imposed also on people who, for instance, throw garbage from trains, walk on railway lines and jump off moving trains.

The penalties are said to be aimed at ensuring normal and safe operation of the railway system as China readies for its annual challenge of coping with an expected 258 million passenger journeys during the 40-day Spring Festival travel season.

Last year, the report said, a high-speed train travelling from Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, to Dalian, a port city in the province, had been forced to slow from 200 km per hour to 120 km per hr because the fire alarm had been triggered by a passenger’s smoking.

Suo Chao, spokesman for the Chinese Association of Tobacco Control, said lighting up on trains put other passengers’ health at risk and should be strictly prohibited.

“The rights of non-smokers have been long-ignored,” he said.

January finish for Karnataka sales

| December 27, 2013

The Tobacco Board of India has reverted to an earlier estimate and again announced that flue-cured auctions in Karnataka are likely to be finished by the end of January, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The Board previously had suggested that the auctions would end in January, but earlier this month changed that estimate to the end of February.

At the time of the latest announcement, growers in Karnataka had sold more than 60 million kg of leaf for an average of Rs137.35. At the same point of last season’s sales, they had sold 50 million kg for an average of Rs121.20 per kg.

Bright grade leaf was selling for about Rs168.00 per kg, while medium grade is fetching about Rs146.00 per kg.

Karnataka is thought to have produced about 100 million kg of flue-cured this year.

Meanwhile, flue-cured tobacco auctions in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh are expected to start on February 15.

Ireland restricts duty-free allowances

| December 27, 2013

New rules that will come into force on January 1 will restrict the number of cigarettes that may be brought into Ireland for personal use by people traveling from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, according to a story in the Irish Independent.

From that date, travelers from those countries will be allowed to bring only 300 cigarettes into Ireland without the payment of further excise duty.

The changes do not apply to other tobacco products brought in from these EU member states, as long as those products are for personal use and not for commercial purposes.

Currently, people traveling to Ireland from other EU countries can bring in 800 cigarettes without paying any additional excise duties.

Israel signs anti-illegal trade protocol

| December 27, 2013

Israel has joined an international protocol aimed at preventing the illegal trade in tobacco products, according to a story by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich for the Jerusalem Post, quoting the Health Ministry.

The country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, signed the protocol, which is an adjunct to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Israel is the 42nd country to have signed the anti-illegal trade protocol.

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