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Latest Beijing tobacco smoking ban to be enforced

| January 21, 2015

Beijing residents have been assured that a tobacco smoking ban due to come into force later this year will be enforced, according to a Global Times story quoting the Xinhua news agency.

The Beijing municipal legislature in November passed an anti-smoking bill banning smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces, and on public transport. It is scheduled to take effect in June 2015.

But the public is skeptical about whether the smoking ban will be taken seriously because smokers are still seen puffing away in restaurants, schools and other public spaces in Beijing, despite previous smoking bans in these places.

In response to the public’s doubts, Zhong Dongbo, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, said the local government would increase law-enforcement teams and launch tip-off hotlines to make sure the new regulation was implemented effectively.

“Local departments will take measures when illegal smoking is reported, and reports from the public and how these reports are handled will be recorded,” Zhong said.

Balcony smoking scene likely to have long run

| January 21, 2015

People in Germany who smoke on the balconies of their homes could be sued in the future if their smoking is deemed to be ‘excessive’, according to a story in the Electronic Telegraph.

Germany’s supreme court has ruled that Germans can sue their neighbours for excessive smoking on their balconies.

The court did not define what was excessive, but ruled only against the amount of smoke the ‘average person’ would find bothersome.

However, in the case before the court, a couple had complained that their balcony was rendered unusable in the afternoons and evenings because their new downstairs neighbours smoked 20 cigarettes a day on their balcony.

The Telegraph quoted Wolfgang Janisch, who, writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, warned that the verdict could ‘pave the way for countless other cases’.

Smokers crowd into Korea’s last smoking refuges

| January 21, 2015

Since the extension on January 1 of South Korea’s tobacco smoking ban to include all bars, restaurants, coffee shops and Internet cafés, smokers have been flocking to the only places where they can still smoke: small-scale indoor sports venues, The Korea Times has reported.

There are about 15,000 billiard halls and 7,000 screen golf venues across the country, according to health ministry figures, but a ministry official warned that there were mounting calls for the ban to reach out and include these venues by 2016.

In a billiard hall in Sinchon, Seoul, a smoker surnamed Ha, 38, was said to have told the Times that the smoking ban had forced him to go there.

“Now, it looks like this is the only place where I can smoke and hang out with friends,” Ha said.

“This place is crowded. I saw a couple of groups leaving because the room is too full.”

Tobacco flood-damage being assessed in Malawi

| January 21, 2015

Malawi’s Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has started assessing the damage that has been caused to tobacco crops by the floods that have followed heavy rains in recent months.

CEO Bruce Munthali told the local press that the heavy rains and floods had caused leaching of fertilisers, and made it difficult for farmers to control weeds and cure their tobacco.

He said the heavy rains had led also to the outbreak of tobacco diseases that were affecting the production of the crop.

It will take the commission two weeks to come up with a detailed damage assessment report.

Most long-term users want to quit NRT products

| January 20, 2015

A study has found that 88 percent of long-term users of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products want to quit NRT because of the cost of the products, because they are tired of feeling addicted, and because of fears of adverse health consequences, according to a story on 7th Space Interactive citing a study published in Harm Reduction Journal.

The majority of these users were said to have had moderate to high nicotine dependence.

The study was conducted in Denmark where 92 long-term NRT users were recruited through advertisements in three national newspapers.

The subjects were asked to answer a short questionnaire about their basic characteristics, health status and satisfaction with using NRT.

A modified version of the Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) questionnaire was applied to estimate nicotine dependence. Scoring on the modified HSI scale was 22.0 percent low dependence, 68.0 percent moderate and 9.3 percent high.

Of the respondents, 67.0 percent used NRT within 30 minutes after waking.

The study recommended the introduction of better counselling for chronically-dependent, long-term users on the benefits of using NRT rather than cigarettes.

It recommended, too, that support should be given to those long-term users wishing to quit NRT.

The story is at:

China’s tobacco revenue up steeply last year

| January 20, 2015

China’s tobacco industry generated Yuan1.05 trillion ($169.7 billion) in profits and taxes during 2014, up 10.02 percent year-on-year, according to a story in the Global Times citing data from the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration.

Last year also the industry provided the government with revenues of more than Yuan911.03 billion in profits, taxes and fees, a figure that was increased by 11.63 percent year on year.

In 2013, the industry handed over to the government Yuan816 billion, which accounted for 6.3 percent of the government’s revenue that year.

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