The World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) is set to meet this week for an update on issues raised by the Philippines over Thailand’s compliance with a ruling about taxes imposed on imported cigarettes, according to a story in The Philippine Star.
A notice posted on the WTO’s website showed that a status report from Thailand on its treatment of cigarettes from the Philippines is part of the agenda of the DSB’s meeting due tomorrow.
In 2011, the WTO ruled that Thailand’s taxes on imported cigarettes from the Philippines violated global trading rules.
The ruling followed a complaint filed by the Philippine government on behalf of Philip Morris Philippines against Thailand before the WTO in 2008.
In October last year, the Philippines posed questions to the Thai government about its decision to prosecute Philip Morris Thailand for alleged under-declaration of customs value on cigarette imports from the Philippines between 2003 to 2007.
The Philippines’ trade undersecretary, Adrian Cristobal Jr, said earlier this month that while Thailand might have complied with recommendations of the DSB, his government wanted to make sure the recent development did not go against the WTO’s decision.
A self-proclaimed ‘ordinary old man’ has politely asked the chair of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health whether she would mind leaving him alone.
At the start of a whimsical piece published in the comments and letters section of the South China Morning Post, Lee Lung-wing, of Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong, introduced himself as being – as well as being an ordinary old man – a smoker.
‘I have lived for 70 years and spent much of my youthful time on the mainland during the Cultural Revolution,’ he wrote.
‘Ms Lisa Lau, chair of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, resembles the admirable and well-intentioned revolutionaries of my time. She wrote [a letter] pleading for public support to save my life by increasing tobacco tax (“Raising tobacco tax is a guaranteed measure to save more lives”, February 19).
‘Thank you, Ms Lau. I cannot commend your cause more. However, as a smoker for nearly half a century, I have come to the conclusion that it is my choice to be a smoker and it is my life that is at stake. Would you mind leaving me alone? I am old and my life might not be worth your effort saving.’
Lee’s piece, which goes on strongly to support efforts to stop young people smoking, is at: http://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/1432605/war-smoking-will-achieve-same-result-war-drugs.
Hong Kong is expected to increase tobacco tax by between about 11 and 24 per cent on Wednesday, according to a story in the South China Morning Post.
Financial Secretary, John Tsang Chun-wah, is expected to increase the flat HK$34 duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes by between HK$4 and HK$8, meaning that the tax rate would be above the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of 70 per cent on all brands.
But this is not enough for some.
Meeting the recommended international standard for tobacco tax was not enough for Hong Kong: it could and should go further, a WHO official was quoted as saying.
Dr. Carmen Audera-Lopez, acting team leader of the WHO’s tobacco-free initiative in the Western Pacific region, said the expected increase in tobacco tax would make up only for inflation since the last rise in 2011.
Tenants at an apartment complex in the US have been told that they ‘are not allowed to use electronic cigarettes’, according to a story by WHSV-TV3 Channel 3.
Presumably, this means that they will not be allowed to use electronic cigarettes in their apartments.
Tenants of the Harrisonburg [Virginia] Redevelopment and Housing Authority recently received a notice with details of a tobacco smoking ban due to be imposed on July 1.
But, according to the notice, tenants living in the J.R. Polly Limeweaver Apartment complex also ‘are not allowed to use electronic cigarettes’.
The story said that the reasons given for the imposition of the ban on electronic cigarettes included ‘an effort to decrease health effects’, maintenance costs, the risk of fire and the cost of fire insurance.
A media campaign launched last week in The Gambia will include the warning ‘Cigarettes are eating you alive’, according to a story in The Daily Observer.
The ‘National Mass Media Campaign on Tobacco Control has been set in motion by the Health and Social Welfare Ministry, which will spearhead the campaign together with the World Lung Foundation.
It is designed to discourage the use of tobacco in The Gambia and, eventually, to make the country a ‘smoke free nation’.
The tobacco smoking warnings will be broadcast on the radio and included on billboards throughout the country for eight weeks.
The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is urging Caribbean countries to speed up the adoption of laws to control what it refers to as the tobacco ‘epidemic’, according to a story in the Jamaica Observer.
The PAHO was quoted as saying that despite progress in the countries of the Americas the epidemic continued to grow. Presumably this is an indication that the so-called epidemic is growing more slowly than it was previously.
In a new report, the PAHO, a regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), said applying at least six measures could help prevent one million tobacco-related deaths annually.
The six measures comprised the imposition of large, graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging that effectively informed consumers; protecting young people from aggressive tobacco industry marketing; banning all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; monitoring the use of tobacco products; protecting people from exposure to second-hand smoke; offering help to those wanting to quit smoking; and raising taxes on tobacco products.
‘These are the six practical, affordable, and achievable measures recommended by WHO to help countries implement specific measures in the Convention [WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control],’ PAHO was quoted as saying.