A plan by the Namibian government to lease 10,000 ha of land to a Chinese company to grow tobacco has run into opposition, according to a story by Tuyeimo Haidula for The Namibian.
Namibia Oriental Tobacco, which has Ng Yung listed as its only director, plans to use the land to grow tobacco and maize.
Last week, the Ministry of Land and Resettlement ran a public notice announcing the names of the seven applicants who had applied to receive leaseholds for various activities, and the Zambezi Communal Land Board asked that objections be lodged within seven days.
The suspended Swapo youth leader Job Amupanda issued a statement saying he, together with two other youth leaders, George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, would make a submission to government objecting to the awarding of the land to the Chinese.
Amupanda, Kambala and Nauyoma started the Affirmative Repositioning movement which seeks to help address the country’s land issue. The three formed the group last year, saying they wanted to build their own houses because they were tired of paying high rents.
Amongst the five listed objections, Amupanda said it could not be correct that “our most fertile land is used to produce drugs and not food”.
He said it was alarming that the government was distributing land to foreigners even in villages. Although the government spoke about banning foreign ownership, “politicians are awarding land to foreigners under the table,” he added.
“We take this principled action on realizing that our country is speedily and scandalously being sold while the future generation is tricked into singing songs and clapping hands, waiting for a fictional year called ’2030′ where all our problems will apparently be solved; probably by ghosts only known to the political elite,” he said.
The Irish government has been accused of double standards in its fight against tobacco after it emerged that the state has multimillion-euro investments in the tobacco industry, according to a story in the Irish Examiner.
The finance spokesman for the opposition Fianna Fáil party, Michael McGrath, made the charge on the basis of figures showing that the state has €50 million invested in firms operating in the tobacco, defence, and alcohol industries.
In a written response to McGrath, Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed that the state, through its Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, has €9.6 million invested in tobacco-industry companies; €27.1 million invested in alcohol-industry companies, and €14.1 million invested in the aerospace and defence industries.
Parliament last week passed legislation requiring that cigarettes be retailed in standardized packaging. The bill must now be signed by President Michael D. Higgins.
The legislation has put the government on a collision course with companies in the industry, some of which have threatened to sue.
A recent study by Credit Suisse on the best equity market performers over the very long term shows that nothing beats tobacco and alcohol stocks.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made yet another attempt to fight tobacco smoking by saying that a social landscape should be created to put pressure on smokers, according to a story in the Hurriyet Daily News.
“We must create a social landscape where smokers are condemned,” he was quoted as saying.
“When I see someone smoking, I try my best to take their packets from them. I feel happy when I make someone quit smoking, as if I have helped their rebirth,” Erdoğan said at a Green Crescent Society (Yeşilay) event in Istanbul last week.
The president, who has often spoken out against smoking, mentioned that until 2008 it was legal to smoke everywhere in Turkey, including on airplanes and trains, and even at sports centers. The government then passed a law banning smoking indoors.
In addition to fighting the smoking habit, Erdoğan claimed responsibility also for fighting against other habits, such as drugs and alcohol.
Yeşilay, which is an organization that endeavors to fight ‘harmful habits’, recently created a stir when, in an attempt to attract more government funding, it added ‘prostitution, technology and gambling’ to its list of harmful habits.
Yeşilay has traditionally restricted its work to the struggle against tobacco, alcohol and drug addiction.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in England are denying medical treatments to high numbers of people who are obese or smokers, according to a story by David Millett for GP Magazine.
Eighty three percent of CCGs restrict access to surgery and treatments based on a patient’s BMI [body mass index], and at least one blocks all routine surgery for obese patients unless they lose weight.
Sixty two percent will not allow patients to receive certain treatments based on their smoking status.
The General Practitioners Committee deputy chairman Dr. Richard Vautrey condemned the “rationing of services” as unfair, unethical and unacceptable. He said CCGs hid behind “spurious clinical reasons” to discriminate against some groups to cut costs.
One CCG was quoted as saying that, given the limited resources available to the National Health Service, the CCG considered it would not be appropriate for some treatments to be routinely available to all patients.
Another said it applied restrictions to ‘ensure that limited resources available to the CCG are applied to those with most health need’.
More than 100 CCGs would only allow non-smokers to access fertility treatments and IVF. Many said their decision was underpinned by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance, but the guidance recommends only that patients ‘should be informed that smoking is likely to reduce their fertility’, not that they should be denied treatment.
“It’s blatant rationing,” said Vautrey. “CCGs should be open and honest. If we’re going to ration a service we should ration it for all people, not just those in particular groups and pretend it’s for clinical reasons.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has expressed its strong opposition to a bill that would exempt ‘traditional large and premium cigars’ from regulation by the Food and Drug Administration under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, according to an American Family Physician story.
The bill would reportedly amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to exempt from FDA oversight certain cigars, including some machine-made products that retail for $1. It could allow also some flavored cigars to qualify for exemption.
‘No tobacco product should be exempt from regulation – and certainly not inexpensive and flavored cigars,’ said a February 25 letter that was written by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and signed by about 30 health care and public health-related organizations, including the AAFP.
‘Tobacco manufacturers have a history of modifying their products to avoid public health protections or attain lower tax rates.
‘We are concerned that the number of cigars covered by H.R. 662 [the bill in question] would increase over time as cigar manufacturers modify their products or change their manufacturing processes to qualify for the exemption.’
The bill is awaiting review by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.
A Senate companion bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Two new United States surveys have found that 15-21 million U.S. adults used e-cigarettes regularly in 2013-2014; 3.2-4.3 million e-cigarette users no longer smoked cigarettes on a regular basis; and approximately 90 percent of regular e-cigarette users were/are regular cigarette smokers. The studies—which were presented in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, from Feb. 25-28 at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco—lead their authors to note that regular cigarette smokers were more likely to switch to regular use of less-harmful e-cigarettes than regular e-cigarette users were to transition to combustible cigarette use.
The first study analyzed 30,136 people from the National Tobacco Behavior Monitor survey. Results indicated that 8.7 percent of U.S. adults reported regular use of e-cigarettes, of which nearly 90 percent reported regular use of combustible cigarettes. More than 97 percent of those surveyed in the first study reported regular e-cigarette use after regular cigarette smoking; 23.7 percent indicated that they no longer use combustible cigarettes on a regular basis; and only 1.3 percent of those who use e-cigarettes regularly reported transitioning to current regular use of combustible cigarettes.
The second study—which analyzed data from the Total Tobacco Migration Tracker—involved 11,173 people and indicated that 6.1 percent of U.S. adults identified themselves as current, regular e-cigarette users, with more than 91 percent of those e-cigarette users reporting regular use of combustible cigarettes. More than 97 percent reported regular use of e-cigarettes after regular use of combustible cigarettes; 24.5 percent of those who regularly used e-cigarettes no longer reported regular smoking of traditional cigarettes; and only 1.7 percent of current, regular e-cigarette users reported switching to regular use of combustible cigarettes.
The results of this study lead its authors to determine that smokers of traditional cigarettes were 13.5 times more likely to transition to current, regular use of e-cigarettes than current, regular users of e-cigarettes were to transition to regular use of combustible cigarettes.
The studies were funded by RAI Services Co. and conducted by a team led by the company’s senior director of regulatory oversight, Geoffrey Curtin.