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Hardly any of India’s 275 million tobacco users intent on quitting their habit

| October 22, 2013

At least 94 percent of tobacco users in India have no intention of quitting, according to a Times of India story quoting a recent report by the Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project India (TCP India project).

The TCP India project is part of the International Tobacco Control Project, a multicountry initiative to evaluate the impact of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The report’s researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with 8,000 tobacco users and 2,400 non-tobacco users across four states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra), focusing upon one city and its surrounding rural district in each state.

It found that current tobacco use among adults aged 15 years and older ranged from 23 percent to 47 percent.

Smokeless tobacco was the most common form of tobacco product used in all four states, with at least two out of five adults using smokeless tobacco.

According to the report, there are about 275 million tobacco users in India.

Iggesund’s parent company in top 100 sustainable businesses index

| October 22, 2013

Holmen, the forest industry group to which Iggesund Paperboard belongs, has been rated as one of 100 world leaders in business sustainability.

The United Nation’s Global Compact has set up a new global stock index (Global Compact 100 – GC 100) that takes into account the sustainability of a business and its financial performance.

Holmen is one of five Swedish companies, and the only forest industry company based in Sweden, to be included in the list of top 100 companies best at creating good returns through sustainable business practices.

“Naturally we’re delighted and proud to be included in the new GC 100 index,” said Lars Strömberg, Holmen’s director of sustainable and environmental affairs.

“The UN Global Compact is an important platform for companies committed to sustainable development, and the GC 100 index is a welcome addition.”

Since 2007 Holmen has been a member of the UN Global Compact, in which companies report their operations under 10 principles covering human rights, social conditions, the environment and anti-corruption. The GC 100 combines these results with a profitability requirement.

Ten-fold hike in tobacco retailer fees

| October 21, 2013

Most retailers in Ireland are to be forced to pay fees increased by ten-fold if they want to keep selling tobacco products, according to a story in The Irish Examiner.

As part of budget 2014, Finance Minister Michael Noonan will tell shop owners he is increasing the fee from €50 to €500, though slightly lower rates will apply to small stores.

The increase, which is due to be brought in next year, is expected to deliver an additional €5 million a year into government coffers.

The new fees will require specific legislation, but that is expected to be in place by the start of next year.

Scots to go it alone on standard packs

| October 21, 2013

The Scottish government has said that it will press ahead with plans to require that cigarettes are sold in unattractive packs, according to a story in The Times.

It is understood that Scottish ministers want cigarettes to be sold in standardized packs along the lines of those found in Australia.

Since Dec. 1, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous 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.

Earlier this year the U.K. government decided to hold off on any similar moves, but the Scottish government has said it will do what it needs to do, regardless of the situation elsewhere in the U.K.

BMA cries foul over e-cigarettes

| October 21, 2013

Medical leaders have urged Scotland’s Celtic and Rangers football clubs to reconsider their links with an e-cigarette company amid concerns that such links will damage efforts to reduce smoking, according to a story by Lyndsay Buckland for The Scotsman.

Last month the E-lites brand said it had become partners with Celtic, allowing its products to be sold at the stadium and smoked in designated areas. A similar link-up with Rangers was revealed shortly afterward.

But the British Medical Association’s board of science has written to the clubs, raising its fears over the impact of allowing the products to be sold and used on their grounds.

In the BMA’s letter, general practitioner Dr. Andrew Thomson said sport was a health activity and clubs such as Celtic and Rangers “should be leading by example to encourage healthy living rather than advertising a smoking product, which contains the addictive substance nicotine.”

The doctor said the BMA wanted e-cigarettes to be included in the ban on smoking in public places, and encouraged organizations to prohibit their use.

Companies including ScotRail, Starbucks and the Wetherspoons pub chain were said by Buckland to be among those that had already announced bans on e-cigarettes.

Breathing kills

| October 21, 2013

The air people breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and should be classified as carcinogenic to humans, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency said last week, according to a Reuters News story.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited data indicating that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution.

There was convincing evidence also that such pollution increased the risk of bladder cancer.

In a statement released after a weeklong meeting of experts reviewing the latest scientific literature, IARC said both outdoor air pollution and “particulate matter—a major component of it—would now be classified among its Group 1 human carcinogens.

That ranks them alongside more than 100 other known cancer-causing substances in IARC’s Group 1, including asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.

Air pollution, however, poses a unique problem in that is the only cancer-causing substance among the above list that individuals are not able to avoid to some degree.

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