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India has reduced smoking among men

| January 9, 2014

India has made progress in reducing the prevalence of daily smoking among men, according to a Times of India story quoting from a new study led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the U.S.

The study, Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 countries, 1980–2012, found that smoking among Indian men decreased from 33.8 percent to 23 percent between 1980 and 2012.

During the same period, smoking among Indian women was almost unchanged at 3.2 percent.

The study was published on Jan. 8 by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mighty tax payment reflects market share

| January 9, 2014

A senior executive at the Philippines-based cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. has said that the tax payment the company made for last year should put to rest false accusations that it had not been paying the correct level of duties and taxes, according to a story in the Manila Bulletin.

Mighty Corp. was said to have paid excise tax of PHP8 billion for the year 2013, up from PHP300 million the previous year.

“The tax we paid for the year 2013 reflects the jump in our market share and our fair share in the increased taxes on ‘sin’ products during last year,” said Oscar Barrientos, the company’s executive vice president.

Barrientos, a retired regional trial court judge, said that despite charges made in the news media and by some members of Congress against the company for non-payment of taxes, no case had been filed in court.

He said Mighty Corp. had paid PHP300 million in 2012 when its share of the local cigarette market was just 3 percent.

However, the company’s market share had shot up since the government put into effect Republic Act 10352, otherwise known as the sin tax law.

More people smoking now than in 1980

| January 8, 2014

Worldwide population growth has meant that more people smoke today than was the case in 1980, according to a story by Kerry Sheridan for Agence France Presse, quoting figures from a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

China had nearly 100 million more smokers in 2012 than it had three decades ago, even though its smoking rate fell from 30 percent to 24 percent during that time, said the study findings published  in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study was published as part of a series of tobacco-related articles to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. surgeon general’s report on the risks of smoking.

“Since we know that half of all smokers will eventually be killed by tobacco, greater numbers of smokers will mean a massive increase in premature deaths in our lifetime,” co-author Alan Lopez, of the University of Melbourne, was quoted as saying.

The study, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, measured data from 187 countries.

It found that the global smoking rate among men was 41 percent in 1980 but has since declined to 31 percent.

Among women, the estimated prevalence of daily tobacco smoking was 10.6 percent in 1980 but 6.2 percent by 2012.

The most rapid decrease began in the mid-1990s, but, since 2010, smoking has been rising again among men.

Plans to impose indoor tobacco smoking ban nationwide in China by year’s end

| January 8, 2014

China’s health authorities are aiming to roll out a nationwide tobacco smoking ban in enclosed public places by year’s end, according to a story by Zhuang Pinghui for the South China Morning Post.

Zhuang said this was the first time that the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) had set a target date to meet its commitment to cut down on indoor tobacco use.

NHFPC spokesperson Mao Qunan reportedly said the agency was working on the regulation with the State Council. A ban had been on the agenda of China’s cabinet since last year.

Mao said the commission was also trying to have the National People’s Congress pass a law aimed at containing the harm caused by tobacco use.

The announcement represents the closest that Beijing has come to a timetable for meeting its pledge to create a smoke-free indoor environment as part of its obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Meanwhile, according to an Ecns.cn story, the NHFPC has said that “over 1 million Chinese people die of smoking-related diseases every year, and 100,000 people die of diseases caused by passive smoking.”

‘Rehabilitation programs’ see 5,000 Saudis quit tobacco smoking habit

| January 8, 2014

At least 5,000 Saudi men and women became nonsmokers last year after taking part in “rehabilitation programs” across the country, according to an Arab News story.

Throughout 2013, the Makkah Kafa Society, tasked with raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and drug use, was in contact with more than 800,000 people, Abdullah Al-Othaim, the organization’s chairman, reportedly told the Saudi Press Agency.

The number of people who quit smoking and became more aware of the dangers of narcotics had doubled over the past few years.

“The Kafa society’s activities included various programs targeting youth gatherings and associations, children’s theatres and exhibitions, and mobile clinics that toured the Makkah region,” Al-Othaim said.
“Makkah is the holiest city on earth [according to Islamic beliefs] and must be smoke-free,” he said.

The Kafa Society, which has branches in Jeddah, Al-Leeth and Qunfudah, asked on
its Twitter account that parents monitor their children carefully during exam times because they could fall prey to peer pressure to use cigarettes and drugs.

Imperial’s factory helps demonstrate the potential for businesses in Madagascar

| January 8, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has staged a tour of its Antsirabe factory in Madagascar to help attract potential new investors from France to the Indian Ocean nation.

The visit was organized at the request of the local authorities to demonstrate investment opportunities for manufacturing in the area.

The SACICEM plant is seen as one of the most advanced sites in the highland region of the country.

The invitation to visit the site was taken up by 30 people, including politicians and economic partners from France as well as representatives of the French embassy.

General Manager Jean-Claude Starczan helped lead the tour and outlined Imperial’s ongoing commitment to Madagascar.

“The added value that is created in the country by our operations here, especially from the SACICEM team, is an example for others to follow,” he said.

“The French community is very important to the economic development of Madagascar, which we are delighted to help support.”

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