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Weighing the health cost of continuing to smoke

| July 14, 2015

People who quit smoking gain an average of 4.1 kg in body weight over about five years, which is 2.6 kg more than that gained by continuing smokers, according to a story by Megan Haggan for the Australian Journal of Pharmacy citing a recent study carried out at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research.

Researchers Jing Tian and Dr. Seana Gall analysed data from 63,403 quitters and 388,432 continuing smokers.

They found that the weight gain was greater in women quitters than in men quitters, and that it was greater in North America than in Asia.

Fear of weight gain is a commonly cited reason for not quitting smoking, despite evidence that quitting will result in better overall health.

“We don’t want our findings interpreted as an incentive to keep smoking,” said Gall, a cardiovascular epidemiologist.

“Other studies suggest that this small amount of weight gain does not offset the many health benefits of quitting smoking.

The study, using a systematic review and meta-analysis, was published recently in the journal Obesity Reviews.

Nano-catalyst filter more effective against ETS

| July 14, 2015

Scientists working in South Korea have developed equipment that can decompose elements of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) more effectively than can equipment based on more traditional technology, according to an Indo-Asian News Service story relayed by the TMA.

The new air-cleaning equipment, developed by Dr. Jongsoo Jurng and Dr. Gwi-Nam Bae of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul, uses a filter coated with a manganese oxide-based nano-catalyst powder, which generates oxygen radicals.

The new equipment is said to be able to decompose elements of environmental tobacco smoke more effectively than can filters that use activated charcoal.

Operating in a 30 square-meter room where 10 people are smoking simultaneously, the new equipment is reported to be capable of purifying more than 80 percent of ETS within 30 minutes and 100 percent of it within an hour.

Activated charcoal-based filters did not remove materials such as acetaldehyde, the story said, and their performance decreased quickly in a closed area such as a smoking room; so they had to be replaced at least every other week.

The nano-catalyst filter was found to decompose more than 98 percent of harmful substances.

“If the new equipment can be simplified and is economically feasible, it will be an important tool for keeping smoking room pleasant and clean,” Jurng said.

There was no mention of whether the technology could be adapted for use in cigarette filters.

Reynolds donates laboratory building

| July 14, 2015

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company said on Friday that it had donated a laboratory building in the Whitaker Park complex to WPDA, a non-profit corporation created by Winston-Salem Business, the Winston-Salem Alliance and Wake Forest University.

WPDA is said to be pursuing opportunities to lease the approximately 87,000-square-foot building and the nearly four-acre lot on which it sits to stimulate economic development in the complex.

“The gift of the Toxicology Building by R.J. Reynolds to WPDA is the first step in our goal to re-purpose Whitaker Park into a mixed-used development,” said Don Flow, chairman of WPDA.

“We will be working closely with Winston-Salem Business Inc. to market the space to companies on our target list.”

Earlier this year, Reynolds entered into an agreement to donate a significant portion of the Whitaker Park manufacturing buildings and certain surrounding properties to WPDA.

The Whitaker Park plant and remaining properties within the scope of the donation agreement will be transferred to the group by the end of 2016.

The Whitaker Park manufacturing plant opened in 1961 and initially covered about 14 acres, including 615,295 square feet of floor space.

Andhra flue-cured target slashed by 30 percent

| July 13, 2015

The 2015-16 authorized flue-cured crop for the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has been cut by 30 percent from that of 2014-15, according to a story in the New Indian Express.

The Tobacco Board, at a meeting in Hyderabad on Friday, decided – based on indications given by the Indian Tobacco Association (representing tobacco manufacturers, dealers and exporters) – to fix the crop size for 2015-16 at 120 million kg as against 172 million kg for 2014-15.

The board resolved to form a committee comprising representatives of the association, growers and the board to recommend a price range for the 2015-16 Andhra crop.

It decided also to limit the production strictly to the authorized crop size by dealing ‘sternly’ with excess production; so as to ensure fair and remunerative prices to growers, according to a board press note.

Whether it will be able to limit production in this way has to be in doubt, especially given the enormity of the crop-size reduction. It has certainly proved difficult to impose such limits in the past. Much will depend on the timing of any elections and on what crop-size reduction is imposed in the other flue-cured state – Karnataka.

It was reported that the board had reduced the size of the crop for 2015-16 after taking into consideration the gloomy situation on the world market, the presence of carryover stocks, declining demand for tobacco on the domestic market and growers’ demands for ‘remunerative prices for their produce’.

This season’s flue-cured auctions have been sluggish, but, apparently, the trade has said that it will buy the remaining 135 million kg before the end of September.

Tobacco firms say cannot pay Quebec court award

| July 13, 2015

Canada’s biggest tobacco companies say they don’t have enough cash to make a $1.13 billion payment by the end of the month to Quebec smokers who won a landmark class-action suit, according to a story by Sidhartha Banerjee for The Canadian Press.

Lawyers argued in court on Thursday that a provision in the $15.6 billion judgment obliging the three companies to provide an initial payment of $1.13 billion within 60 days of the ruling should be overturned.

The payment is due on July 26.

All three companies have appealed against the decision that saw a Quebec judge rule that Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and JTI-Macdonald must pay $15.6-billion to smokers who either fell ill or couldn’t quit the habit.

On Thursday, lawyers for all three firms told a Quebec Court of Appeal hearing they didn’t have the funds to cover the $1.13 billion payment, which they argued could in any case cause irreparable harm to their ability to appeal and even put them on the brink of bankruptcy.

They argued that Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan, the trial judge, erred in granting the provisional sum and in ruling that the amount would not be recoverable if the tobacco companies won on appeal.

But lawyers for the plaintiffs said the tobacco companies were bluffing and that they were capable of finding the necessary money from their parent companies based outside Canada or from elsewhere.

Austria to ban public-places vaping and smoking

| July 13, 2015

The Austrian parliament has decided to impose a ban on vaping and tobacco smoking in pubs and restaurants starting on May 1, 2018, according to an APA story.

A partial ban on tobacco smoking has been in place since 2009.

Pub and restaurant owners are being ‘encouraged’ to impose full bans on their premises by July 2016, and are being offered tax relief for rebuilding as an incentive.

The latest ban includes the use of electronic cigarettes.

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