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Tobacco growing a wealth creator in Karnataka

| March 17, 2015

A study carried out in Karnataka, India, has suggested that tobacco-producing districts are wealthier than those not producing tobacco, according to a Press Trust of India story relayed by the TMA.

The Indian government is considering implementing Articles 17 and 18 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that aim to phase out tobacco cultivation by 2020.

The study, ‘Tobacco economics in India: The voice of farmer and other stakeholders’, was conducted jointly by the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India and the think-tank, Thought Arbitrage Research Institute.

It was said to have shown that wealth indicators such as per capita income, monthly per capita expenditure and gross district domestic product of the tobacco growing districts of Mysuru and Hassan were significantly superior to those of non-tobacco producing districts. Mysuru and Hassan together account for about 75 percent of tobacco output in Karnataka.

The study said that the likely immediate economic impact of a decline in the tobacco industry in these districts would be substantial because farms there tended to be small, production costs were high, and relatively few alternatives were available to tobacco producers.

A drastic reduction in tobacco growing in these districts might lead to dramatic changes in the structure of farming overall, employment, income and the socio-economic balance of the districts, it added.

England opts for £12 billion plain packaging gamble

| March 17, 2015

The UK’s upper house has approved a bill that will require cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco to be sold in England only in standardized packaging from May 2016, according to a Newsweek story relayed by the TMA.

The approval sets the UK government on a collision course with tobacco companies, which have threatened to sue.

One well-positioned observer has said that UK taxpayers, who have already suffered years of austerity, could be forced by the courts to hand over £12 billion to the tobacco companies.

Imperial Tobacco’s spokesperson Simon Evans said his company had “no choice” but to defend its rights in court.

Evans said there was no credible evidence that standardized packaging would meet its objectives. The standardized packaging law in Australia, the first country to introduce such a requirement, had resulted in consumer down-trading and an increase in illegal trade.

Swedish Match AGM set for April 23

| March 17, 2015

Swedish Match is due to hold its annual general meeting in Stockholm next month.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 16.30 Central European Time on April 23 at Citykonferensen, Stockholm.

The agenda is at:

Study recommends raising tobacco purchase age

| March 16, 2015

A study presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 12 supports the theory that raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 from 18 will substantially reduce the number of 15- to 17-year-olds who start smoking and decrease the number of early deaths and low birth weights due to smoking.

Conducted by an Institute of Medicine committee, the study—titled “Public health implications of raising the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products”—reviewed existing information about tobacco use initiation as well as developmental biology and psychology.

Results of the study indicated that, if the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products were increased to 19, smoking prevalence would decrease by an estimated 3 percent by the time today’s teenage users become adults. Additionally, the study found that a 12 percent decrease would occur if the minimum age of legal access were raised to 21, and a decrease of 16 percent would take place should the minimum age be raised to 25.

The committee that conducted the study was chaired by Richard Bonnie, a law professor at the University of Virginia, and researchers used the SimSmoke and CisNet cigarette smoking models to gather information. Researchers also concluded that increasing the minimum age of legal access to 21 would result in 45,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, 249,000 fewer premature deaths, 438,000 fewer babies born with a low birth weight, 286,000 fewer pre-term births, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost among those born between 2000 and 2019.

Report calls for regulation of vapor products

| March 16, 2015

The Canadian House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health has released a report asking the federal government to establish new legislative framework for the regulation of vapor products.

The report, titled “Vaping: Towards A regulatory framework for e-cigarettes,” includes provisions to regulate e-liquid content; prohibit e-liquid flavorings that are “specifically designed to appeal to youth”; require child-resistant packaging for e-cigarettes and refill containers; ban the use of vapor products in public places where use of traditional cigarettes is already banned; restrict advertising and promotion of vapor products; and prohibit the sale of vapor products to anyone under the age of 18.

Health Canada indicated that it would respond to the proposed regulation in “due course,” but no specific timeframe regarding its implementation was given.

Daily smokers fall to 12.8 percent in South Australia

| March 16, 2015

The South Australian Health Omnibus Survey of 2,700 people has found that 15.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as smokers during 2014, down from 19.4 percent during 2013, according to a story in the Adelaide Advertiser relayed by the TMA.

Last year, the smoking prevalence among men stood at 18.6 percent while that among women stood at 12.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the proportion of daily smokers decreased from 16.2 percent during 2013 to 12.8 percent last year.

And smoking prevalence among people aged 15-29 declined from 19.5 percent to 14.8 percent.

University of Adelaide Associate Professor John Glover said that almost all smokers started smoking before the age of 18; so it was a good sign that more teens were avoiding the habit.

And Cancer Council SA chief executive Professor Brenda Wilson said that targets set by the state government as part of South Australia’s Tobacco Control Strategy, which were introduced during 2011, were clearly working.

“[One of its aims] was to reduce smoking rates in young people to below 16 percent by 2016,” she said.

But while welcoming the results of the survey, Wilson warned South Australians against “becoming complacent in the fight against smoking and the damage it causes”.

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