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Ignore the violence, just ban the smoking

| July 9, 2014

Tobacco control campaigners in China on Monday protested against smoking scenes in the movie Transformers, according to a Xinhua Newswire story, which said that the film had broken the country’s box office record.

In a letter to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the campaigners complain that Hound, a major character in Transformers: Age of Extinction, is seen with a cigar in his mouth, something that has had a bad influence on audiences, especially teenagers.

Nongovernment organizations, including Think Tank, Nature University and the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC), were among those who raised the issue.

The campaigners asked the administration to “examine and limit” the number of smoking shots in the movie, and to require all cinemas to run anti-smoking advertisements before it starts.

In 2011, the administration released a circular on smoking in movies and television plays. Since then, the CATC has made Dirty Ashtray awards to the movies and television plays featuring the most smoking.

NRT to go on general sale in Ireland

| July 9, 2014

A nicotine replacement product is to be allowed to go on general sale in Ireland for the first time following a decision to relax the rule that has confined the availability of such products to pharmacies, according to a story by Paul Cullen for The Irish Times.

The initiative by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (formerly the Irish Medicines Board) is likely to drive down the cost of anti-smoking aids as they become available in supermarkets and other retailers.

The decision by the authority to switch Nicorette from “pharmacy only” status to “general sale” status followed an application from the manufacturer.

“This will be the first NRT [nicotine replacement therapy] product range available for general sale in Ireland, and will result in these products being more widely accessible by people wishing to seek assistance to reduce or quit smoking,” the authority said.

It is expected that such products will become available at retailers from late August.

The decision does not affect the sale of e-cigarettes.

The authority said that where e-cigarettes were promoted as an aid to giving up smoking, they were considered to be a medicine requiring marketing authorization. Where no medicinal claim was made, they fell outside the remit of the authority.

Smokers getting younger in Egypt

| July 9, 2014

Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity said yesterday that the age at which people started to smoke had dropped to 10, according to Ahram Online quoting Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website.

It wasn’t clear from the report whether 10 represented an average age or the minimum age at which people were taking up the habit.

Nor was it mentioned what the average/minimum age had fallen from.

Ghada Wali said during an Anti-Addiction Conference that the incidence of cigarette smoking in Egypt had risen by five percentage points since 2009 to 24 percent in 2013.

The minister was quoted as saying that more than 60 percent of smokers were young adults “who have just begun their careers.”

She said the average personal spending on smoking in Egypt amounted to nearly EGP200 ($28) per month.

Pre-budget cigarette shortages the norm

| July 9, 2014

Cigarettes are in short supply in Nepal as traders hoard tobacco products in expectation that their prices will go up after the budget, according to a story in Republica.

The budget is scheduled to be brought down in the middle of this month.

Retailers say that since the government generally raises taxes on tobacco products through the budget speech, wholesalers are hoarding cigarettes so as to make a quick profit.

Wholesalers, however, rebut the allegations. They say it is the manufacturers and distributors who have reduced supply and that there is nothing wholesalers can do about it.

And manufacturer Surya Nepal is blaming the wholesalers and retailers for the shortage. Some big wholesalers and retailers were receiving increased supplies of cigarettes but were hoarding them, it said.

“Shortage of tobacco products before budget speech has become a usual phenomenon for the past few years as traders know prices of tobacco products will increase after the budget speech,” said Ravi KC, vice president of Surya Nepal.

Altria to host results webcast

| July 9, 2014

Altria is due to host a live audio webcast beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern Time on July 22 to discuss its 2014 second-quarter business results, which will be published in a press note about 7 a.m. on the same day.

During the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode at altria.com, Chairman and CEO Marty Barrington and Executive Vice President and CFO Howard Willard will discuss the results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

Pre-event registration is necessary and directions are posted at www.altria.com.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available on altria.com.

Paris to trial park tobacco smoking ban

| July 8, 2014

A park in Paris is due to ban tobacco smoking as part of a trial that, if it proves to be popular, could pave the way for smoking to be banned in all public parks, according to a story in The Local France.

In making the announcement, Mayor Anne Hidalgo reportedly said Paris was going to roll out a pilot tobacco ban in one of the City of Light’s parks with the intention of “teaching the public about addictions.”

Hidalgo refused to say in which park the trial would be conducted.

Talk of the trial follows a suggestion by a Paris municipal councilor that smoking should be banned in all the neighborhood’s playgrounds.

And it comes after Health Minister Marisol Touraine said she would like to see cigarettes banned on all beaches, in public parks and on pavements outside schools.

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