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10 countries have 10 percent of smokers

| September 20, 2013

The 10 ASEAN countries are home to 10 percent of the world’s 1.25 billion adult smokers, according to an (TV 5—Philippines) story quoting a statement by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

Based on figures in the 2013 ASEAN Tobacco Control Atlas, 30 percent of the adults in the region are “current smokers.”

“Despite adopting various tobacco control policies and laws, many countries still face numerous challenges in decreasing tobacco consumption to minimize the health and economic burden from tobacco use,” said SEATCA Director Bungon Ritthiphakdee.

[Tobacco companies] “are continually expanding their business in ASEAN countries, planning to sell more cigarettes, targeting more boys and girls for addiction and interfering in all levels of tobacco control policy development and implementation,” she said.

The report showed that male smoking prevalence was highest in Indonesia at 67.4 percent and lowest in Singapore at 23.7 percent.

The female smoking rate was said to be “particularly high”—more than 5 percent—in Myanmar, the Philippines and Laos.

Call for FDA regulation of e-cigarettes

| September 20, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been urged to act quickly to regulate electronic cigarettes.

Four Democratic representatives wrote to the FDA commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, quoting a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that had found the percentage of adolescents using electronic cigarettes was growing rapidly.

CDC data was said to have suggested also that electronic cigarettes could serve as a gateway product to nicotine addiction.

Grant for risk-perception study

| September 20, 2013

Officials at Georgia State University (GSU), USA, say an assistant professor has been awarded a grant to study how young adults perceive the risk of smoking flavored cigarillos and cigars, according to an Associated Press Newswires story.

Dr. Kymberle Sterling, a public health professor, has been given a two-year, $275,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute “to study perceived risks associated with the products which aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Sterling is due to work with researchers at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and the University of Maryland College Park to develop a tool that identifies risk perception and predicts susceptibility to smoke from flavored cigars.

GSU officials say the use of flavored cigarillos is growing among young adults, especially those from minority ethnic groups.

Imperial scores high on CR scale

| September 20, 2013

Imperial Tobacco said today that its “continued progress as a responsible business has been recognized by external investment consultants with our highest score to date.”

“RobecoSAM highlights businesses that demonstrate strengths in managing their economic, environmental and social issues for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a key reference point for investors and analysts,” Imperial said in a note posted on its website.

“This year Imperial Tobacco achieved a record score of 79 percent—compared to 76 percent in 2012—beating the 60 percent sector average.

“We scored highly in many of the criteria and achieved full marks for our efforts to combat illicit trade and our environmental management policy and systems.”

Meanwhile, Imperial’s senior CR engagement manager, Kirsty Mann, said it was “great to see our collective efforts across the group being externally recognized by this respected and important benchmark.”

German court rules electronic cigarette nicotine not a pharmaceutical product

| September 19, 2013

A court ruled on Tuesday that the sale of electronic cigarettes could not be restricted in Germany because the nicotine-based liquid used in these devices is not a pharmaceutical product, according to a story in The Local.

But the ruling could be overturned by Brussels.

Münster’s administrative court decided that, unlike nicotine plasters, electronic cigarettes could not be treated as a pharmaceutical product designed to help smokers quit.

Therefore, they would not be included in laws limiting the sale of over-the-counter medication.

But this ruling could be overruled if provisions of a proposed European Commission Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that seek to regulate electronic cigarettes as medicinal products are accepted.

The European Parliament is due to vote on the TPD next month.

Electronic cigarettes have divided opinion in Germany since their popularity boomed in 2011, but, according to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, an estimated 2 million Germans now use them.

Call for tobacco ad ban in Indonesia

| September 19, 2013

A survey conducted by Indonesia’s National Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) has found that at least one in 10 of the country’s children decided to smoke after being exposed to tobacco advertisements, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

The commission believes that tobacco advertisements should be banned.

The KPAI questioned 10,000 students aged between 13 and 15 in 10 provinces: Bali, Bandar Lampung, Central Sulawesi, East Java, Jakarta, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, West Java, West Nusa Tenggara and West Sumatra.

The survey, conducted in April, found that 96 percent of the students said they received “extensive and rapid information about smoking” from advertisements.

Fifteen percent of those exposed to tobacco advertisements said they had decided to light up because of the advertisements.

Ninety percent of respondents said they knew about cigarettes from television, 50 percent from billboards, 38 percent from pamphlets displayed on cigarette kiosks and 5 percent from radio.

Some students said they tried smoking when attending music concerts or watching sports or even participating in educational events sponsored by tobacco companies.

“Cigarette ads are everywhere,” KPAI Chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said in announcing the results of the survey.

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