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Diggers reject mine sites smoking ban

| May 14, 2013

A call by the Cancer Council for smoking to be banned at all West Australian (WA) mines sites has been rejected, according to an Australian Associated Press report.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) has said that a ban would cause resentment.

WA’s Department of Mines and Petroleum data show smoking rates in the mining sector are almost double the national average.

The CME’s manager of occupational health and safety, Richard Wilson, was quoted as saying that public health campaigners needed to design strategies to improve the health of the whole population, not target specific industries.

“Singling out one sector above others just causes resentment amongst people in that industry and fails to improve health outcomes across the population,” Wilson said.

Demand drives crop size increase

| May 14, 2013

The Tobacco Board of India has increased Karnataka’s authorized 2013–14 crop size by about four percent on that of 2012–13, according to a report in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The crop size has been set at 102 million kg, up from 98 million kg in 2012–13 and 100 million kg in each of the previous two years.

The increase is said to have been driven by international demand for the crop.

Traders had sought a crop of 112 million kg and growers one of 105 million kg at a recent board meeting, the report said.

Reynolds agrees to more farm labor talks

| May 14, 2013

Reynolds American Inc. has agreed to resume discussions with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) about ways to address alleged farm-worker abuse, according to a story by Federico Martinez for The Blade (Toledo, Ohio).

Reynolds was said to have agreed to resume the meetings after the farm-labor union and advocacy group staged a protest outside the tobacco company’s annual shareholders meeting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.

“It appears that there is some interest on their part,” said FLOC president Baldemar Velasquez, who added that he hadn’t heard from Reynolds’ officials since December. “Whether or not they are sincere about addressing the concerns is another issue.”

Velasquez and other critics say they want Reynolds’ officials to address several issues, including the human trafficking of workers from Mexico and Central America, and the numerous human-rights abuses from which they say tobacco-industry laborers frequently suffer.

FLOC’s primary mission was to persuade the tobacco company to support farm workers’ efforts to form a union, said Velasquez.

Many tobacco farm workers lived in labor camps with inadequate or non-functioning toilets or showers and other substandard conditions. They also suffered from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides, he added.

Reynolds’ spokesman David Howard said the two sides hadn’t met since December but they had communicated by phone and email.

“We’ve had a series of discussions since December,” Howard said. “They are ongoing and we will continue meeting and having dialogue.”

Turkey to toughen tobacco laws

| May 13, 2013

The Turkish government wants to toughen the country’s laws on smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a Trend news agency story quoting a Sabah newspaper report.

The report said that a new bill would be put before parliament, though it did not indicate when that would happen.

Under the bill, smoking, already banned in enclosed public places, would be forbidden in open public spaces.

The bill would ban smoking by public transport drivers, presumably only while operating their vehicles.

And it would increase the penalties for violating smoking bans.

Supreme Court denies cert in cig labeling case, FDA plans new rules

| May 10, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari filed by the tobacco companies challenging the advertising regulations promulgated pursuant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act.

While the Court’s cert denial allows a previous 6th Circuit decision to stand, the contested rules may never be enforced. The Solicitor General declined to file a writ of certiorari in the D.C. Circuit case and in a letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. noted that the FDA plans to engage in “new rulemaking consistent with the Tobacco Control Act.”

Because the FDA has indicated that it plans to engage in new rulemaking, the tobacco companies have effectively avoided compliance with the stringent new rules.

The tobacco companies made two separate challenges to the rules. In the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and Liggett Group, among others, sought an injunction against the enforcement of the new requirements. The U.S. District Court agreed that the “mandatory graphic images unconstitutionally compel speech” and that the tobacco companies would “suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief pending a judicial review of the constitutionality of the FDA’s rules.” The FDA appealed, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

At the same time, another group of tobacco companies filed a facial First Amendment challenge to the rules in their entirety – and got an entirely different result. A federal court judge in Kentucky upheld the rules, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that “the Act’s warnings are reasonably related to the government’s interest in preventing consumer deception and are therefore constitutional.”

The defendants then filed cert with the U.S. Supreme Court, which the justices denied in late April.


Smoking goes airside at Aberdeen airport

| May 10, 2013

The establishment of an airside smoking shelter at Aberdeen International Airport in Scotland is expected to help reduce the number of full terminal evacuations caused by people smoking in areas where smoking is banned, according to a story by The Scotsman.

The shelter, which is adjacent to the main departure lounge, will provide passengers who have been processed through security and are waiting for their flights with somewhere to have a cigarette before takeoff.

The smoking shelter was erected after more than 400 people who took part in a survey last year said they would like to see an airside facility installed at the airport.

“It is designed to reduce the number of full terminal evacuations,” an airport spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

Many such evacuations, which cost thousands of pounds, were caused by passengers lighting up in prohibited areas, activating smoke alarms and causing major disruption and delays, she said.

“Interestingly, even 61 percent of non-smokers who took part in the survey said they supported an airside smoking shelter,” the spokeswoman added.