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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”.

Outdoor smoking not a health issue

| March 16, 2015

A councilor with the City Council of Banks, Oregon, has made the point that banning tobacco smoking in public parks is about preference not public health, according to a story by Samantha Swindler for The Oregonian.

When a ban was last discussed in September, councilor Mark Gregg was one of its most vocal opponents.

But by the time that the council had revisited the issue this month he had softened his stance.

He said he could support a ban if that’s what residents wanted, but he wanted references to outdoor smoking as a ‘public health risk’ stricken from the ordinance.

“If our citizens want it, I’m fine with it. I just want to remove saying this is [about] public health,” he said.

Hungary moves to save tobacco farm jobs

| March 16, 2015

The Hungarian Agriculture Ministry said on Friday that it would allocate HUF5 billion (US$17.2 million) in subsidies to tobacco growers during the next two years, according to a Hungary Around the Clock story relayed by the TMA.

The subsidies are part of an effort being made to sustain nearly 20,000 jobs in the sector, especially in the counties of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and Bács-Kiskun.

The ministry plans to disburse HUF3.5 billion (US$12 million) this year and HUF1.5 billion (US$5.2 million) during 2016.

Direct EU subsidies for the production of tobacco have been phased out.

The EU Commission is on record as saying that it cannot pursue policies that encourage leaf tobacco production, while at the same time aiming to protect citizens from the hazardous effects of tobacco consumption.

Does illegal trade agreement have discharge clause?

| March 16, 2015

The EU Commission has been asked whether a 2010 agreement between British American Tobacco (BAT) and the EU includes a discharge clause releasing the company from ‘any civil claims arising out of past conduct relating to the illicit trade’.

The question, which in the normal way of things will be the subject of a written answer by the Commission, has been posed by Bart Staes, a Belgian politician and MEP for Flanders.

In a preamble to his question, Staes said that on July 15, 2010, BAT had signed an agreement with the EU to combat the illegal trade in tobacco.

‘A press release from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in the UK suggests that the BAT agreement has a discharge clause that releases the company from past liability for smuggling, noting that “the manufacturers (BAT) are released from any civil claims arising out of past conduct relating to illicit trade”,’ Staes said.

‘On the OLAF website no information is provided on the existence of such a clause.’

Staes asked the Commission to confirm or deny that such a clause exists in the 2010 tobacco agreement concluded between BAT and the EU.

Tobacco Or Health conference about to kick off

| March 16, 2015

The World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) is due to start in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

This, the 16th WCTOH, has been billed as a five-day scientific conference for the presentation of the latest developments in tobacco control and global efforts to reduce tobacco use in all its forms.

It is scheduled to be held on March 17-21.

Reemtsma Liberty Award goes to radio journalist

| March 16, 2015

Reporter Martin Durm has been presented with the 2015 Reemtsma Liberty Award for his coverage of the civil war in Syria.

Now in its ninth year, the award, presented by Imperial Tobacco’s German subsidiary, recognizes foreign correspondents working to sustain freedom of the press under harsh conditions.

The decision to present the award to Durm was made by a jury of prominent German journalists and media experts.

Durm, a journalist with Germany’s SWR2 radio station, won praise from the jury for his feature ‘Syrian Inferno – a civil war escalates’.

The award was presented by German television presenter Ingo Zamperoni at a gala ceremony in Berlin, which included a keynote speech by Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Durm receives his award at an event in Berlin.

Durm receives his award at an event in Berlin.

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