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Smokers should not exhale while driving in Taiwan

| December 24, 2014

People in Taiwan caught smoking while driving on ‘busy roads’ will be liable to a fine of NT$600 under a package of amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act due to come into force next year, according to a story in The China Post.

The sequence of actions involved in smoking while driving, such as lighting a cigarette, exhaling smoke and holding a cigarette, are all punishable acts under the new rules.

The Post said that according to the text of the amendments, the critical point was whether others were affected by these acts, which were most applicable to busy roads. The penalties were to be applied only when other people were in close proximity to the smoking driver because the object of the exercise was to protect other road users.

Meanwhile, the United Evening News reported that the dangers the Department of Railways and Highways had in mind when designing the measures to protect other road users included ash floating into the eyes of pedestrians.

Additionally, it was thought that people who were near a smoker might be burnt by the sparks flying off a cigarette, and that traffic safety might be impacted by the smoke.

The department was said to have made the new rules after receiving ‘several’ complaints from the public. The date for the imposition of the new rules has not been set but it is expected to fall sometime in the first half of next year.

Foreign buyers would ensure good prices at auction

| December 24, 2014

The Indian Commerce Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has agreed to consider favourably a request to allow foreign buyers to participate directly in tobacco auctions, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The belief is that the presence of foreign buyers would ensure that growers were paid a ‘good price’ for their tobacco.

At present, foreign buyers obtain their leaf needs through partnerships with local merchants.

The Mysuru-Kodagu (Karnataka) MP, Pratap Simha was quoted as saying that the minister had agreed to set up the necessary services to facilitate the participation of the foreign buyers.

The MP led a delegation to the ministry on behalf of tobacco growers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The delegation included also the Tobacco Board chairman, K. Gopal, and MPs from Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the minister reportedly said that requests that foreign direct investments should be allowed in the tobacco sector would be explored.

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: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2014/12/22/tobaccocontrol-2014-051945.abstract?papetoc

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 : https://gallery.mailchimp.com/1dbd986ba2f83625401377d32/files/brochure_A4_2015_H1_web.pdf?utm_source=Vaporfair&utm_campaign=df9f4cee47-vaporfair_eu12_16_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8619e42561-df9f4cee47-270434125.

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