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Dog sniffs out illicit tobacco in Scotland

| June 3, 2014

Shops selling illicit tobacco in the Mearns, Scotland, are being hounded out of town by a new council recruit.

According to a story by Martin Dalziel, Dixie the sniffer dog was used by the Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards Office, supported by the police, in a two-day operation targeting businesses where police intelligence had indicated illicit tobacco products were being sold.

In the recent operation, Dixie was able to detect tobacco hidden behind a false wall at one business.

Further smoking curbs in force in Russia

| June 2, 2014

The second part of Russia’s anti-tobacco law came into force yesterday, extending public-places tobacco smoking bans to include, for instance, restaurants, hotels and railway platforms, according to an ITAR-TASS story.

Ashtrays and hookas are due to disappear from cafés and bars and their places to be taken by no-smoking signs.

People caught smoking in a café will face a fine of RUB500–1,500. Individual restaurant owners will face fines of RUB30,000–40,000, while commercial owners could be fined RUB50,000–90,000.

“In fact, we are only starting to live according to civilized anti-tobacco laws which work in many other countries,” said State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Timchenko. “But we already have the first results. Sociological surveys show that for the first time in post-Soviet years, Russia’s tobacco consumption has been on the decline.”

The first part of the anti-tobacco law came into force on June 1, 2013, when tobacco smoking was outlawed in a large range of enclosed and nonenclosed public places, including office buildings that did not have special rooms equipped for smoking.

According to the deputy head of the Russian State Duma Committee for Public Health, Nikolai Gerasimenko, the introduction of the anti-tobacco law reduced cigarette sales in the first quarter of 2014 by 16 billion packs.

“About 30,000 penalties for the violation of anti-tobacco laws have been imposed in Moscow since Nov. 15, 2013,” he said. “The figure for Russia is about 100,000 penalties.”

Japan to finesse cigarette retail system

| June 2, 2014

Japan’s Finance Ministry is expected to change the regulations governing the opening of new cigarette outlets in a bid to avoid “excessive competition” among retailers at a time of falling sales, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun story.

“After seeking public opinion, the ministry plans to introduce the new regulation in August,” the story said.

If the new regulations come into force, they will represent the first change in cigarette shop regulations in 16 years.

Under the current regulations, new cigarette shops may not open within a certain distance of existing outlets.

However, a new outlet may open near an existing shop with only weak cigarette sales, and it is this exception that the ministry is reviewing.

The ministry plans to designate an outlet in an urban area a weak one if it has average sales of fewer than 15,000 cigarettes a month over a six-month period. The current weak-sales threshold is 25,000.

Tobacco users harangued in Nagaland

| June 2, 2014

A village in India’s Nagaland state has been declared the country’s first “tobacco-free village,” according to a story in the Hindustan Times.

The declaration was made by principal secretary R Benchilo Thong on Saturday at the Gariphema village hall.

Tobacco-free status came about as the result of an initiative by the Gariphema village council, Village Vision Cell and Village Students’ Union, Thong said.

A resolution had been adopted by the village that those found to be selling alcohol and tobacco or those who became drunk and disturbed the peace would be hit with a fine of INR1,000. Additionally, it was decided, those found to be consuming alcohol, bidis, paan masala, betel nut or smokeless tobacco on the street and other public places would be fined INR500.

Thong said Gariphema had shown a great example not only to villages in Nagaland but also to other regions of the country.

He urged the villagers strictly to follow the declaration.

At the declaration, the deputy director of the National Tobacco Control Programme, MC Longai, said that tobacco was consumed by 67.9 percent of men and 28.1 percent of women in Nagaland.

New plugwrap disperses fast in water

| June 2, 2014

UK Essentra picEssentra Filter Products has launched a plugwrap material that disperses in water at least three times faster than standard materials.

The new plugwrap, which enables the manufacture of more environmentally friendly filters, can be used with a number of Essentra’s existing filter products.

“With the launch of our new water dispersible plugwrap, we are taking another major step towards a more degradable future where environmentally friendly cigarette products are the norm,” said Patrick Meredith, innovations director.

In a press note, Essentra said that in recent years the widespread adoption of public smoking bans had led to a significant increase in the number of cigarette butts discarded “in the environment.”

“As public concerns over the degradability of cigarette butts have increased, developing more environmentally friendly filters has become a key focus for the tobacco industry,” the note said. “With this in mind, Essentra has launched a new dispersible plugwrap material that can increase the degradability of any standard single segment filter or segment to be used as part of a combined filter.

“Under scientific testing within a certified laboratory environment, Essentra’s new plugwrap material was seen to disperse in water within 30 minutes, at least three times faster than the standard alternative, which showed no signs of dispersion after 90 minutes.”

The new dispersible plugwrap can be used to support the increased degradability of a number of Essentra filters that offer an alternative to the use of standard cellulose acetate tow. One is the Infused (Advantage Range) filter, which consists of mono paper that is treated with liquid additive(s) and degrades and biodegrades more rapidly than filters constructed with cellulose acetate.

Another is the BiTech™ (Advantage Range) single-segment filter, which, by replacing half the cellulose acetate with a more degradable paper alternative, offers a potentially more environmentally friendly filter.

A third is the Ochre (Earth Tones Range) Ochre filter, which consists of high-quality unbleached paper compressed to the desired parameters. The Ochre filter degrades three times faster than industry-standard cellulose acetate filters degrade. It uses no chemical adhesives to bond the fibers.

And a fourth one is the Randomly Orientated Acetate™ (ROA) (Advantage Range) filter, which uses a reduced amount of tow. The ROA filter is manufactured by an innovative, patent-pending process using high-quality crimped cellulose acetate fibers that are bonded in a non-uniform, random construction. The use of ROA reduces both cellulose acetate use and weight without affecting the smoking experience or filtration.

Essentra said it was currently working on further developments in order to provide for an even wider range of environmentally friendly offerings.

Further information about Essentra’s dispersible plugwrap is at

Health specialists point up vital role of new products in harm reduction

| May 30, 2014

Fifty-three specialists in nicotine science and public health policy have written to the World Health Organization expressing their concern that the strategy of tobacco harm reduction seems to have been overlooked or even marginalized in the run-up to the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The specialists are believed to have been alerted to the problem by the contents of a leaked document from an FCTC preparatory meeting ahead of the COP6 meeting in Moscow in October.

In a letter dated May 26 and addressed to the WHO’s director general, Dr. Margaret Chan, the specialists said that because of the toll of death, disease and misery attributed to tobacco by the WHO (up to one billion preventable tobacco-related premature deaths this century), it was necessary to be relentless in the search for all possible, practical, ethical and lawful ways to reduce this burden.

“We have known for years that people ‘smoke for the nicotine, but die from the smoke’: the vast majority of the death and disease attributable to tobacco arises from inhalation of tar particles and toxic gases drawn into the lungs,” said the specialists in their letter that was copied to the FCTC Secretariat, Parties to the FCTC and WHO regional offices.

“There are now rapid developments in nicotine-based products that can effectively substitute for cigarettes but with very low risks. These include for example, e-cigarettes and other vapour products, low nitrosamine smokeless tobacco such as snus, and other low-risk, noncombustible nicotine or tobacco products that may become viable alternatives to smoking in the future.

“Taken together, these tobacco harm reduction products could play a significant role in meeting the 2025 UN noncommunicable disease (NCD) objectives by driving down smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption. Indeed, it is hard to imagine major reductions in tobacco-related NCDs without the contribution of tobacco harm reduction.

“Even though most of us would prefer people to quit smoking and using nicotine altogether, experience suggests that many smokers cannot or choose not to give up nicotine and will continue to smoke if there is no safer alternative available to them.”

The specialists went on to suggest 10 principles that should underpin the public health approach to tobacco harm reduction, with global leadership from the WHO.

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