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Bill proposes banning tobacco firms from lobbying Ireland’s politicians

| December 16, 2013

Three Irish senators are due to bring forward a bill banning tobacco companies from lobbying politicians, according to an Irish Mirror Online story.

Jillian Van Turnhout, John Crown and Sean Barrett are those pushing the new law.

Senator Crown described the tobacco industry as a “pernicious and evil trade”. “Fewer than half of those who ever take up smoking will quit, more than half of those who want to quit will never manage to,” he said.

The three senators are due also to push forward next week with plans to ban tobacco smoking in cars carrying young people.

Meanwhile, the tobacco advisor to the Department of Health, Fenton Howell, has claimed that Ireland will be a cigarette-free country by 2025.

According to the Mirror story, he said many believed the smoking ban was a pipe dream, but it was ‘now a reality’.

Study finds no link between secondhand tobacco smoke and lung cancer

| December 13, 2013

A large-scale study has found no clear link between secondhand tobacco-smoke exposure and lung cancer, undercutting the premise of years of litigation including a Florida case that yielded a $350 million settlement, according to a story by Daniel Fisher for Forbes.

Fisher cites an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that provides the results of a study of 76,000 women over more than a decade.

The study found a link between smoking and cancer, with lung cancer 13 times more common among current smokers and four times more common in former smokers than in nonsmokers.

But the study found no statistically significant relationship between lung cancer and exposure to passive smoke.

The full story is at http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2013/12/12/study-finds-no-link-between-secondhand-smoke-and-cancer/.

Legal strategies block tobacco laws

| December 13, 2013

Tobacco companies are pushing back against a worldwide rise in anti-smoking laws using a little-noticed legal strategy to delay or block regulation, according to a story by Sabrina Tavernise for the New York Times.

Tavernise quotes health advocates and officials as saying the industry is warning countries that their tobacco laws violate an expanding web of trade and investment treaties, raising the prospect of costly, prolonged legal battles.

The strategy is said to have gained momentum in recent years as smoking rates in rich countries have fallen and tobacco companies have sought to maintain access to fast-growing markets in developing countries.

Industry officials were quoted as saying that there were only a few cases of active litigation, and that giving a legal opinion to governments was routine for major players whose interests would be affected.

But tobacco opponents, according to Tavernise, say the strategy is intimidating low- and middle-income countries from tackling one of the gravest health threats facing them.

Tavernise’s story is at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/health/tobacco-industry-tactics-limit-poorer-nations-smoking-laws.html?emc=edit_tnt_20131213&tntemail0=y&pagewanted=all&_r=0.

JT’s domestic sales down in November

| December 13, 2013

Japan Tobacco Inc.’s domestic cigarette sales volume during November, at 9.5 billion, fell by 0.9 percent on that of November 2012, 9.6 billion, according to preliminary figures issued by the company today. The November 2012 figure was down by 0.8 percent on that of November 2011.

Volume during April-November, at 79.3 billion, was up by 0.3 percent on that of April-November 2012, 79.1 billion, which was increased by 12.8 percent on that of April-November 2011.

JT’s market share stood at 60.9 percent in November, at 60.7 percent during April-November, and at 59.6 percent for the full year to the end of March.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during November, at ¥52.0 billion, was down by 1.1 percent on its November 2012 revenue, ¥52.6 billion.

Revenue during April-November, at ¥435.1 billion, fell by 0.1 percent on that of April-November 2012, ¥435.4 billion.

Australia failing to stand with other nations on standardized packaging

| December 13, 2013

Australia has been accused of failing to defend its standardized tobacco packaging legislation, with one report from regional talks in Singapore describing Australia as a “constant stumbling block” to other nations’ attempts to secure the right to follow suit, according to a story by Peter Martin in the Sydney Morning Herald.

A report from an unnamed observer at the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks was said to have spoken of efforts to “have language adopted to ensure that any nation that adopts strong tobacco control legislation is not sued or at risk.”

“Australia is and has been a constant stumbling block,” the report said. “I totally understand the desire to avoid language that implies that Australia’s position under current law is weak or language that implies additional protection is needed.

“But what I am really trying to understand is … Australia’s resistance to any language on tobacco, and its seeming lack of interest in working on language that would protect Australia and others from future tobacco trade-based litigation.”

The full story is at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-fails-antitobacco-bid-20131212-2zaml.html.

EU stepping up fight against illicit trade

| December 13, 2013

EU Ministers of Economy and Finance have adopted council conclusions on stepping up the fight against cigarette smuggling and other forms of illicit trade in tobacco products in the EU, according to a Wired-GOV report. The council conclusions are at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/jha/140011.pdf.

“The conclusions underline the need to enhance the fight against cigarette smuggling, which has considerable negative impact on health and causes substantial negative financial impact on the budget of the EU and the member states, estimated annually at over 10 billion euros,” said Rimantas Šadžius, Lithuanian finance minister and chair of the economic and financial affairs council.

The report (at http://www.wired-gov.net/wg/wg-news-1.nsf/0/3BED6583627CF31D80257C3E00447C97?OpenDocument) said an effective response to the threats posed by the illegal trade in tobacco products could be ensured by co-ordinated and concerted efforts at national and European level, and in close co-operation with third countries and international organizations.

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