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Egypt looks to reduce its smoking incidence

| August 6, 2015

Twenty four percent of Egyptians are smokers and 12 percent of the country’s smokers are under 15 years of age, according to a story in the Cairo Post quoting the Health Ministry Undersecretary Amr Kandil.

The ministry was reported to have signed a protocol with the Consumer Protection Agency to support quit-smoking activities and thereby reduce the rate of smoking.

President Abel Fatah al-Sisi raised taxes on local and imported cigarettes and alcoholic beverages by up to 200 percent in July last year.

And a presidential decree of February 22 this year raised sales taxes on both local and imported cigarettes by 50 percent.

Turkey nets record haul of illicit cigarettes

| August 6, 2015

Turkish police have seized 3.5 million packs of cigarettes hidden on trucks arriving from Georgia, according to an Agence France Presse story.

Five trucks loaded with the cigarettes were seized at the Black Sea border post of Sarp on Tuesday following a three-month undercover operation, the customs ministry said in a statement.

‘When the smuggled cigarettes were seized in the operation, the largest shipment of smuggled cigarettes in Turkey’s history was prevented,’ it said.

The illicit cigarettes were said to have been worth an estimated Lira22 million (US$7.9 million).

Fifteen suspects, including five customs officers, drivers and dealers were arrested.

Japan’s flue-cured gets clean bill of health

| August 6, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that Japan’s flue-cured tobacco had been tested and found to be free of radioactive contamination.

The Company has been conducting a number of tests for radioactive materials at each stage of the production process of Japanese domestic leaf tobacco in order to allay consumer concerns that arose following the accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.

‘Prior to this year’s Japanese domestic leaf tobacco harvest, the company has again been conducting radioactive material testing on leaf tobacco before purchase, with the support of tobacco growers,’ JT said in a note posted on its website.

‘Testing of this year’s flue-cured Virginia tobacco has now been completed, showing none of the leaf tobacco tested exceeded the JT standard value (Radioactive cesium: 100Bq/kg). ‘Further, JT will continue with its scheme of testing domestic leaf tobacco after purchase, and testing and monitoring a number of times at each stage of its production process.’

JT said that testing of the remaining native and Burley tobaccos was scheduled to be held from September.

The results of the upcoming tests would be included on the corporate website:

Austrian court finds in favor of vapor shops

| August 5, 2015

A constitutional court in Austria has overturned a planned amendment to tobacco laws that would have limited the sale of most electronic cigarettes to officially licensed tobacco shops, according to a Reuters story published by

Reuters reported that the government had proposed that sales of electronic cigarettes be limited to licensed tobacconists from October ‘to protect young people and for public health reasons’.

Retailers specializing in electronic cigarette objected because, under the amendment, they would have been allowed to sell only re-usable devices, but not the liquid to fill them or disposable products.

The court ruled on Monday however, that the proposed amendment was unconstitutional.

It said that the health arguments put forward were not solid enough to justify blocking the retailers’ right to trade freely.

And it said that electronic cigarettes should not be treated in the same way as tobacco products were treated.

“We are relieved that we can carry on our business and don’t have to shut up shop,” said Thomas Baburek, head of the electronic cigarette association, VFFED, and owner of an electronic cigarette shop.

Austrian tobacconists responded by saying that electronic cigarettes should not be allowed to be sold in an uncontrolled manner, according to comments reported by the APA news agency.

Smoking among young: “still much more to be done”

| August 5, 2015

A survey of more than 125,000 15-year-olds in England conducted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre has found that 24 percent have tried smoking at least once, according to a story in The Guardian relayed by the TMA.

Twenty eight percent of 15-year-old females and 21 percent of 15-year-old males were found to have tried smoking.

And eight percent of all 15-year-olds were current smokers.

Eighteen percent of 15-year-olds were found to have tried electronic cigarettes at least once and three percent currently use them.

Fifteen percent have tried other tobacco products.

Those in the most deprived areas had a higher rate of ever smoking, 27 percent, than those in the least deprived areas, 21 percent.

Electronic cigarette use, too, tended to be higher in more deprived parts of England.

And whites were more likely than were minority ethnic teens to try or regularly use cigarettes or electronic cigarettes.

The use of other tobacco products, including hookah, was higher among minority ethnic teenagers.

Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health was quoted as saying that since one in 12 young people were smoking by the time they are 15, “there is still much more to be done”.

Artist uses paperboard to shine light in dark places

| August 5, 2015

Asylum, an installation by the artist Nils Olof Hedenskog has gone on display at the Industrial museum – the Old Iron Mill – of Iggesund, Sweden.

As was described here on June 9 (Exploring visions of security through paperboard), Hedenskog worked during the spring using Invercote paperboard from Iggesund, which had offered him the opportunity to be artist in residence.

“For me there exists a tension between the limitlessness of art and the fact that I am in a strict, production-oriented environment where everything is based on rationality,” he said earlier this year. “I have six months to create something that represents this tension.”

Hedenskog’s installation comprises six paperboard towers enclosing a space. Viewers can look into the space but not enter it. On the outside the towers are not coloured; their structure together with the lighting creates nuances of grey. On the inside they are painted in fluorescent and non-fluorescent colours, which create light that radiates out between the towers and through peepholes.

“I’m creating a reflection of the current situation in Europe – with hundreds of thousands of refugees who want to get inside but who most often only get a glimpse of what is inside Europe’s walls,” Hedenskog said.

Hedenskog used 7.2 tonnes of Invercote and six months of his time to finalise the project.

Asylum, the installation by Nils Olof Hedenskog. Photo: Joakim Brolin, Kulturbild

Asylum, the installation by Nils Olof Hedenskog.
Photo: Joakim Brolin, Kulturbild

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