So far, 28,835 people have been caught smoking in Macau in places where smoking has been banned since the implementation of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Law in January 2012, according to a story in the Macau Daily Times.
During that time, law enforcement inspectors have carried out 874,876 inspections at various establishments. These inspections have been aimed at ensuring also that other aspects of the law are being observed, including those to do with pack labelling and retail sales.
But smoking in public places seems to be the main area of concern. So far this year, 4,683 cases have been brought, 4,650 of them to do with smoking in public places, 27 to do with pack labeling and six to do with retailers failing to obey the law.
Of the cases concerning people smoking in public places this year, Health Bureau figures show that 92.7 percent concerned men and that 62.3 percent concerned Macau residents.
Otherwise, 33.1 percent of the cases involved tourists and 4.6 percent non-resident workers.
The ‘top’ locations at which public-places smoking offences occurred were cybercafés, 20.1 percent, followed by parks, gardens, and recreational areas, and then commercial stores and shopping centers.
Paris, France, has launched a major campaign against cigarette butt pollution and litter in general, according to a France24 story.
After unveiling 30,000 new litter bins equipped with cigarette extinguishers this spring and after distributing 15,000 free pocket ashtrays over the summer, city officials have tried to drive the message home in recent days by handing out fake fines to offending smokers.
Policemen have been issuing flyers to Parisians caught dropping cigarette ends in the street, warning them that, as from October1, those who create litter will be liable to fines of €68, up from €35 currently.
“Our city must become a lot tidier,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in an interview with the daily Le Parisien. “This is an issue for everyone… so there are going to be sanctions.”
It is not only smokers who are being targeted. Those who urinate in public or who allow their dogs to foul pavements will also face the prospect of being fined €68.
An estimated 350 tonnes of cigarette litter is discarded on the streets of the French capital each year, according to official figures.
The Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will no longer require cigarette packs intended for export to have tax stamps affixed, according to a story in the Philippine Daily Enquirer.
The BIR has ordered that, in lieu of the tax stamps, all tobacco products manufactured for export must have labels stating clearly that they are strictly for sale in the country of destination for which they were manufactured.
These labels must not be similar in any way to those affixed to products sold locally.
And cigarette companies must provide proof that the products intended for export were shipped to the country in question.
The BIR said cigarette packs for export would still be provided with a range of unique identifier codes, for which exporters would have to pay P0.03 per UIC.
India’s tobacco manufacturers are urging the government to adopt new policy initiatives aimed at reducing the illegal sale in cigarettes, according to a story by Writankar Mukherjee for the Economic Times.
They feel that current efforts directed at surveillance and the imposition of harsher penalties cannot curb the trade.
Syed Mahmood Ahmad, the director of the Tobacco Institute of India, which represents tobacco manufacturers, said that in its representations the Institute had emphasized that, given the huge and compelling threat posed by the illegal cigarette trade in India, there was an urgent need for the government to have tobacco regulation and taxation regimes that were not counter-productive; that did not promote the illegal trade in tax-evaded cigarettes or the sale of low-quality cheaper forms of tobacco.
The domestic cigarette industry is said to be under huge pressure due to successive increases in cigarette taxation.
Sales volume has declined by as much as 15 percent during the past two quarters, with the prices of ‘affordable’ sub-65 mm length cigarettes having gone from Rs2 to Rs3-4 per piece, and the prices of regular, long and king-size cigarettes having gone up by about 13-15 percent this year.
As a result, some consumers have shifted to foreign, tax-evaded brands, mainly those from China and countries of Southeast Asia, which are sold at Rs1 per piece.
Some tobacco manufacturers are said now to be focusing more on the mid-to-premium segment and launching variants to protect their margins.
A recent report by UBS Securities India said that while the cigarette volume decline would continue as consumption dropped in the price-sensitive segments, the king-size segment remained the most promising.
The tobacco control organisation Clean Air Nederland (CAN) has said that it is going to court to force the Dutch government to impose a total ban on smoking in cafés, bars and clubs, according to a DutchNews story.
Currently, cafés can allow smoking if they have a suitable sealed-off area.
Clear Air says this goes against the letter of the law and contradicts all the agreements the Netherlands has entered into.
“It is now time that the health and welfare of all café and restaurant guests is taken seriously,” Tom Voeten, chairman of CAN was quoted as telling broadcaster RTL news.
“The concentration of cancer causing substances is unacceptably high in almost all smoking areas.
“Every year, 3,000 non smokers die because of being unwitting passive smokers.”
Tobacco products sold in Bangladesh will have to carry graphic health warnings from March 19, according to a story in The Financial Express quoting an official of the Health Ministry.
A program officer at the National Tobacco Control Cell, M. Mir Nabin Ekram, told a workshop on Friday that the pictures for the graphic warnings had been chosen.
The Smoking and Usage of Tobacco Products (Control) (Amendment) Act 2013 was said to stipulate that graphic health warnings on tobacco products should cover at least 50 percent of a pack’s surface.