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Thailand looks to raise tobacco-buying age to 20

| May 27, 2015

Increasing to 20 the minimum age for buying cigarettes is one of a number of measures contained in a tobacco-control bill endorsed by Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday, according to a story in The Bangkok Post.

In a move hailed by anti-smoking activists, the cabinet approved in principle legislation that would outlaw also the sale of individual cigarettes.

In addition, the bill would ban manufacturers and importers from sponsoring social activities and models from promoting tobacco products.

Deputy government spokesman Major General Sansern Kaewkumnerd said on Tuesday that the draft bill would be sent to the Council of State to check that it adhered to guidelines issued by the World Health Organization.

If approved, the bill would replace the current tobacco-control and health-protection laws, which have been in effect since 1992.

Attempts to raise the minimum age of cigarette buyers began in 2011 in a move spearheaded by the Public Health Ministry.

Essentra adds dedicated e-cigarette test laboratory

| May 27, 2015

Essentra Scientific Services (ESS) has increased the capacity of its laboratory at Jarrow, UK, with the addition of a new facility dedicated to testing electronic cigarettes.

‘The new laboratory complements Essentra’s full-service e-cigarette offering, and ensures it can continue to respond to the industry’s growing demand for reliable and high quality testing and analysis,’ Essentra said in a press note.

Commenting on the opening of the new facility, the director of scientific development, Mike Taylor, said the investment in the new laboratory reflected Essentra’s commitment to help customers stay at the forefront of industry trends and meet the latest regulatory and product quality requirements.

“Essentra Scientific Services has over five years’ experience in the field of e-cigarette testing and, as demand for these services grows, separating our facilities in order to create a new, purpose-built laboratory specifically for smokeless nicotine devices was the logical next step.”

ESS’ laboratory in Jarrow is said to operate a range of industry leading research and testing equipment, including a gas chromatography machine with a triple detector system. ‘Used exclusively for e-cigarette testing, the machine enables measurement of multiple analytes from a single vaping test,’ the press note said. ‘A thermal conductivity detector measures the sample for water, while a second detector analyses it for propylene glycol and glycerol, and also measures the nicotine level. The third detector uses mass sensitive detection to analyse the sample for diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which are compounds that can be present in e-cigarette vapour, but should not be.

‘The scope of Essentra’s UKAS accreditation has recently been extended to include e-liquids, and the new laboratory also offers analysis using a wide variety of puff volumes, frequencies durations profiles as well as catering for flavoured e-cigarettes. Testing for a comprehensive range of compounds can also be carried out, or bespoke methods developed on request.

In addition to its improved e-cigarette testing service, ESS, which is part of Essentra plc’s Filter Products business, has more than 50 years’ experience in the analysis of traditional tobacco products.

Essentra Scientific Services’ new laboratory is dedicated to testing electronic cigarettes.

Essentra Scientific Services’ new laboratory is dedicated to testing electronic cigarettes.

Bangladesh looks to break tobacco tax dependency

| May 26, 2015

The draft of a national tobacco tax policy prepared by Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue provides for a shift away from ‘dependency on tobacco for internal revenue collection’, according to a story in The Financial Express.

The proposed policy, which includes a time-framed action plan, is said to be aimed at keeping a tight rein on tobacco consumption.

It features also strategies aimed at reducing the illegal trade in tobacco products, the deployment of a health development surcharge and a ban on the sales of ‘bidi or loose cigarettes’.

Recently, Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith hinted that Bangladesh could introduce cigarette tax changes that were in line with practices used in other countries. According to the country’s tax officials; 54 countries apply specific tax, 37 apply ad valorem, 57 use a mixed-system and 19 have no excise duties on cigarettes.

But Muhith vowed not to be involved in the micromanagement of the price slabs of cigarettes, saying the market should fix its own prices.

Meanwhile, MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who is president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, has suggested doing away with tobacco-product price slabs for the coming financial year.

The government was not getting revenue from the inflated prices of tobacco; so excise duty could be imposed on these “health hazardous items” at a fixed rate, he said.

MEPs concerned over influence of 30,000 lobbyists

| May 26, 2015

Two French MEPs have asked the European Commission whether or not it intends in the future to allow itself to be influenced by pressure groups, including those representing tobacco-industry interests, ‘at the cost of democratic transparency’.

They put the number of lobbyists in Brussels representing all interests at about 30,000.

In a preamble to their question, Sophie Montel and Dominique Bilde said that a recent NGO report by Transparency International had criticised the role of lobbies in the EU and the failure of European institutions to ensure the traceability of political decisions and monitor lobbying activities.

‘Conflicts of interests are apparently arising in connection with moves from the public to the private sector and failure to keep the two separate, thereby encouraging the adoption of financial and other measures likely to favour certain lobbies and revealing the predatory characteristics of the State,’ they said.

‘Given that the number of lobbyists in Brussels in fields such as pharmaceuticals, food, tobacco and alcohol is estimated at around 30 000, does the Commission still intend to allow itself to be influenced by pressure groups at the cost of democratic transparency?’

Indonesia’s electronic cigarette ban not set in stone

| May 26, 2015

Indonesia seems to be having second thoughts on imposing an outright ban on electronic cigarettes – but then again, perhaps not.

A story in The Jakarta Post at the beginning of last week had the Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel saying that sales of electronic cigarettes would be banned in line with concerns voiced by the Health Ministry.

Then, at the end of last week, the Health Ministry secretary-general Untung Suseno Sutarjo was quoted by another Post story as saying that the consumption of electronic cigarettes could help to reduce tobacco consumption though it would not eradicate it.

But he then went on to say that while electronic cigarettes would help to reduced consumption, the ministry had found that “that the impact on health is the same”.

Meanwhile, the health ministry’s head of health promotion, Lily S. Sulistyowati, said the implementation of the regulation would be discussed with the trade ministry. “We will discuss the regulation, Lily said. “The health ministry understands the impact of e-cigarettes, but the product is still permitted to be sold at the moment.”

Next week’s nicotine forum expected to attract 250

| May 26, 2015

Hon Lik, the inventor of the electronic cigarette, is scheduled to address the 2nd Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland, next week.

The Forum is due to be held at the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, on June 5 and 6, though an awards ceremony is scheduled to take place during the Forum’s Pre-conference Vape Meet and Party, which will be held on June 4.

The organizers say that the forum is expected to attract about 250 people, including consumers, scientists and researchers, regulators, parliamentarians, policy analysts, manufacturers and renowned experts in the field of tobacco harm reduction. The theme of the conference is ‘A different kind of endgame’ – a reference to safer nicotine products bringing about an end to smoking. Program highlights include:

* Derek Yach, senior vice-president, Vitality Institute, ‘Why nicotine needs to be taken out of tobacco control’;

* Katherine Devlin, president, Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association, and Alberto Simeoni, European Committee for Standardization, ‘New standards for e-cigarettes’;

* Riccardo Polosa, University of Catania, ‘E-cigarettes and harm reversal’;

* The Rbutt site launch – a rapid rebuttal website aiming to give journalists rapid critiques of new e-cigarette research.

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