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Smoking rate continues to decline, survey shows

The latest Canadian Community Health Survey shows a 0.4 percentage point annual decline in the smoking rate and a nearly nine per cent drop since 2000-2001, the Canadian Press reported.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Smoking_rate_continues_to_decline_survey_shows.54156.0.html

Some 17.7 per cent of the population 12 years and older smoke daily or occasionally in 2015, compared with 18.1 per cent the year before, the news agency said. The rate was 26 per cent in 2000-2001. About 5.3 people smoke, of which about 3.8 million are daily smokers, Canadian Press said. Male smokers at 20.4 per cent represented a larger group than females at 15 per cent of the population in the latest survey.

Tobacco control measures found to be cost-effective, says WHO report

A report (link is external) from the National Cancer Institute in the US and the World Health Organisation has found that tobacco control measures are highly cost-effective, but under-used in some countries.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/news-report/2017-01-13-tobacco-control-measures-found-to-be-cost-effective-says-who-report

The report also states that tobacco control doesn’t harm economies, and reduces the impact smoking has on poorer communities.

“Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the world” – George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK

Tobacco control measures include tax increases, bans on advertising, including health warnings on packages, policies to restrict where people can smoke and programmes to help them quit.

“This valuable report highlights the substantial financial cost of tobacco,” said George Butterworth, tobacco policy manager at Cancer Research UK. “It’s good to see that the most cost effective measures – tobacco tax and price increases – are being called for as part of comprehensive tobacco control strategies.”

Smoking accounts for 1 in 4 UK cancer deaths and nearly 1 in 5 of all cancer cases.

“The human cost of the tobacco industry is enormous,” said Butterworth. “Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the world, killing almost 6 million people worldwide and 100,000 people in the UK each year.”

The report states that, while effective measures to reduce smoking rates are available, they don’t yet cover the vast majority of the world’s population. And where taxes are used, the money is rarely invested in health programmes.

The report also finds that people in poorer communities stand to benefit most from tobacco control measures, due to the proportion of income spent on tobacco and negative health effects it causes in these areas.

In the UK, a ban on smoking in public places as well as tobacco advertising restrictions, including picture warnings of health issues and standardised packaging, are all in place.

“Cancer Research UK’s ambition to see a Tobacco-Free country by 2035, where less than 5 per cent of adults smoke, is in line with the UK’s commitment to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” Butterworth added.

But Stop Smoking Services across England are facing ongoing budget cuts after 6 in 10 local authorities were forced to reduce their funding in the last year.

Illegal trade, and the fact that 5 tobacco companies account for 85% of the global cigarette market, were both highlighted by the report as challenges for future control efforts.

The report also warns against relaxing the progress made across the world in controlling tobacco, and calls for continued research and use of evidence-based policies.

Dr Robert Croyle, Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, said: “The global scale of suffering, death, and disease from tobacco use is staggering. Millions of early deaths can be prevented if nations adopt evidence-based tobacco control policies.”

4 Tobacco Stats That Will Blow You Away

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/4-tobacco-stats-that-will-blow-you-away-cm727871

Investors in Altria Group (NYSE: MO) , Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI) , and other tobacco companies around the world understand the risks inherent in investing in the industry. Cigarettes have been demonstrated to have negative health impacts, and even big tobacco companies like Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) have started to respond to these potential harms by looking at alternatives to traditional cigarettes that carry reduced risks for consumers.

When you look at the numbers that government agencies, consumer advocates, and other anti-smoking groups provide, it’s easier to understand some of the challenges that cigarette makers face in sustaining their businesses. Let’s look at four particularly noteworthy statistics.

1. Potential international growth of 45% in two decades

Even advocates who are trying to stamp out smoking admit that they’re losing ground on a global scale. There are about 1.1 billion smokers in the world currently, according to the nonprofit group Action on Smoking & Health, and that number is expected to grow to 1.6 billion over the next 20 years.

In part, those numbers reflect the sluggish pace of regulation in areas where smoking is most likely to rise. Only a small fraction of countries have provisions like smoke-free laws, government services to support those seeking to quit smoking, and bans on advertising on tobacco products that are most likely to keep smoking rates down. As a result, those tobacco companies focusing on the international market have plenty of potential for growth.

2. Cigarette smoking kills 480,000 Americans annually

Tobacco use has long been the single largest preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that more than 480,000 Americans die each year from smoking, with 41,000 of those deaths coming from the effects of secondhand smoke.

Most people think of lung cancer as the key cause of death related to smoking, but the practice has been linked to a host of other diseases — including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes — and other adverse health effects. Government health advocates are convinced that the costs of encouraging smoking cessation are worth the savings those efforts produce.

3. The staggering economic costs of smoking

In addition to the number of deaths, the amount of money and resources that goes toward caring for those with smoking-related illnesses is surprisingly high. The CDC estimates that the direct costs of medical care in the U.S. for adults who need it because of tobacco products add up to almost $170 billion annually. In addition, lost productivity from workers who take time off due to smoking-related ailments brings the total cost above the $300 billion mark.

Smoking is a big enough cause of economic damage that the insurance industry makes smoking one of the key factors in determining premiums for life insurance.

Moreover, the difficulty of quitting smoking makes cessation products an extremely lucrative market, adding to potential revenue for businesses related to the practice.

4. Tobacco is still big business, despite downward pressures

Even with falling smoking volume in the U.S., the sheer amount of tobacco in the market is impressive. More than 24 billion cigarettes were produced in the U.S. market in October, the most recent month for which data from the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau were available. So far in 2016, 233 billion cigarettes have been produced, along with almost 5.4 billion cigars, 100 million pounds of snuff, and roughly 50 million pounds of tobacco for chewing, pipe, or roll-your-own use.

Believe it or not, those figures are actually down considerably from year-ago figures. Cigarette use has dropped by about 10 billion units this year compared to this time last year; although smaller cigars have seen volumes rise, the bigger large-cigar market has seen drops of nearly 10%. That has resulted in sales-volume declines among large producers, but their ability to succeed speaks to the experience they have fighting such trends.

Tobacco companies have managed to overcome statistics like these and still produce growing profits over time. However, given the severity of some of these numbers, it’s understandable why even industry stalwarts are looking closely at reduced-risk alternatives in an effort to try to put some of these statistics behind them once and for all.

Beijing public smoking ban sees significant effect

A newly released report shows Beijing has seen a significant drop in the number of smokers by 200 thousand since the city brought in a strict smoking ban less than two years ago, The Paper reports.

http://english.cctv.com/2016/12/30/ARTIdBzgQ8OF7DnrmDC0Z11L161230.shtml

According to a report on tobacco use among adults, the smoking rate this year went down to 22.3 percent, compared with 23.4 percent in 2014, even though only about 30 percent of adults were said to understand the serious risks to disease caused by smoking.

The report also indicates that 16.8 percent of adults attempted to quit smoking this year, an increase of 1.9 percent compared with 2014.

Meanwhile, the report also shows that smoking in public spaces and second-hand smoking indoors has also been declining.

An earlier report shows that Beijing has established the most transparent law-enforcement system for smoking control in the country, with over 1,400 people among every 10,000 receiving smoking-quit services.

Hong Kong leads mainland in war to cut smoking

http://www.ejinsight.com/20161209-hong-kong-leads-mainland-in-war-to-cut-smoking/

When a person goes to buy a packet of cigarettes in Hong Kong, he or she faces two obstacles. One is the price — Double Happiness at HK$43 and Marlboro at HK$57 — the result of a tobacco tax up to 68 per cent of the price.

The other is the hideous image on the packet of the worst consequences of smoking.

A survey by the Economic Intelligence Unit earlier this year ranked Hong Kong as the eighth most expensive city in the world for a packet of branded cigarettes, at US$7.48.

Top was London with US$14.30, followed by New York with US$13.67 and Singapore with US$9.15.

These two measures, along with the creation of smoke-free areas in public and work places, have been effective in cutting the number of smokers.

According to government figures, the percentage of daily cigarette smokers aged 15 and above in Hong Kong in 2015 was 10.5 percent, down from 10.7 percent in 2012 and 23.3 per cent in the early 1980s.

The mainland, the world’s largest tobacco market with 316 million smokers in 2015, has only recently started to learn the lessons of Hong Kong.

Since 2010, the number of smokers has increased by 15 million and cigarette production risen by 35 per cent.

The health warnings are written, not visual, and appear modestly at the bottom of the packet. They would not frighten any first-time user.

In 2015, China increased the tobacco tax to 40 per cent. Consumption tax from tobacco in 2015 was 536 billion yuan, an increase of 60 billion from a year earlier. The recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that the tax should be 70 per cent of the retail price.

“There is certainly room for future tobacco tax increase,” said Jian Shi, director of the information office of the Taxation Research Institute at the State Administration of Taxation in Beijing.

“In some western countries, the tobacco tax rate has reached 70-80 per cent. The room for the increase needs to be considered based on the development goal of the industry and the condition of national revenue.”

Health professionals argue that increasing the tobacco tax is the quickest and most effective way to cut smoking — by both preventing young people from starting and encouraging smokers to quit.

According to WHO figures, each increase of 10 per cent in the price will cause 3.7 per cent of adults and 9.3 per cent of teenagers to stop smoking.

Antonio Kwong Cho-shing, chairman of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Public Health, said that selective or modest hikes would not make much of an impression on smoker numbers in Hong Kong.

“Only a 100 per cent increase in tobacco tax would induce people to quit smoking,” he said. If the government accepted this proposal, an average pack would cost HK$119.

The Department of Health has proposed an enlargement of the health warning.

It said on Nov. 23 that the area of the graphic health warning shall be of a size that covers at least 85 percent of the two largest surfaces of the packet or the retail container and that the number of forms of health warning should be increased from six to 12.

The situation in the mainland is years behind. The biggest obstacle is that the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA), the world’s biggest manufacturer of cigarettes, is also the industry regulator.

This is despite years of lobbying by China’s health professionals, the WHO and the norms practised around the world. They argue that the two must be separate institutions.

According to WHO figures, 1.2 million die each year in China from smoking-related diseases; this number will double by 2025.

Jian Shi put it succinctly. “The major difficulty lies in that the related departments have quite different views on this matter, and it is difficult for them to reach agreement on this matter. That will cause obstruction to policy making and implementation.”

The STMA opposes graphic health warnings and higher taxes because they would hurt its sales and profits. Yet, simply due to global population expansion, there will be more smokers in 2040 than there are today, so it is difficult to believe that this concern is genuine.

The health lobby has had some success, in the modest increase in tobacco tax and restrictions on smoking in indoor public areas and workplaces and some outdoor areas introduced in Beijing in June 2015. Other mainland cities have taken similar measures at different times.

On Dec. 6, the Beijing Commission of Health and Family Planning said that more than 2,700 people had been fined for violating these restrictions, with total fines of 142,500 yuan, as of Nov. 30 this year.

Professor Dr Judith Mackay, based in Hong Kong and Asia’s leading anti-tobacco campaigner, said that the price of cigarettes in China is still extremely low.

“The latest small tobacco tax increase, while laudable, will not have a serious, sustained effect on reducing smoking. It is time to review the whole tobacco tax structure in China, significantly increase the price of cigarettes and thus protect the health of the Chinese people.

“In Australia, there is a regular increase of 12.5 per cent tobacco excise tax every year. The cost of a packet could soon rise to A$40 (HK$230). Hong Kong and China should both consider long-term tobacco tax planning in this way, so that tobacco control proceeds in an orderly form, and immense energy and time is not wasted year by year in campaigning for a tax increase. Otherwise, thousands will die.”

In Greece’s tobacco culture, passive smoke a serious problem

http://www.ekathimerini.com/214387/article/ekathimerini/news/in-greeces-tobacco-culture-passive-smoke-a-serious-problem

Nearly two-thirds of Greeks are inhaling someone else’s tobacco smoke on a daily basis, making Greece the worst nation in the European Union in exposing its people to the health risks of passive smoking.

The European Union’s statistical office Eurostat said Wednesday that 64.2 percent of Greeks suffered daily exposure to tobacco smoke indoors. Second in the EU is Croatia with 44.7 percent, followed by Bulgaria with 40.5 percent. At the other end, Sweden best protects its people from secondhand smoke with only 5.9 percent exposed, even better than Finland with 6.3 percent.

In a tally of EU smokers aged 15 and over, Bulgaria tops the rankings with 34.7 percent, ahead of Greece with 32.6 percent. Sweden only has 16.7 percent who smoke, with Britain the second-lowest with 17.2 percent.

1 in every 4 persons aged 15 or over in the European Union is a smoker

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One quarter of people living in the EU smoke tobacco, new statistics reveal

New statistics published on Wednesday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, reveal one quarter of people living in the EU smoke tobacco.

http://www.euronews.com/2016/12/07/one-quarter-of-people-living-in-the-eu-smoke-tobacco-reveal-new-statistics

In addition to those who smoke themselves, one in every five are passively exposed to tobacco smoke.

The new report measured how much those aged over 15 years old smoke. The data represents people’s habits in 2014. It was compiled between 2013 and 2015 and was extracted from the European Health Interview Survey.

Its findings indicate that nearly 24 percent of people in the EU smoke, when including those who only smoke occasionally. It also shows the share of men who smoke, is significantly higher than that of women.

The report, part of the European Health Interview Survey, adds that tobacco consumption is one of the largest avoidable health risks in the EU: many forms of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are linked to tobacco use.

How it compares

The 2014 figures, when compared with the last time the EU looked at tobacco consumption in 2010, suggests a decreasing trend in tobacco usage among EU citizens.

Six years ago, 29 percent of people living in the EU considered themselves active smokers, nearly five percentage points higher than in the EU’s current evaluation.

The report also shows a drop in the percentage of smokers in the countries which previously had the highest population of tobacco users.

In Greece, 42 percent of those aged over 15 said they smoked in 2010. That number has dropped to 32 percent.

While still in the top two countries for tobacco consumption, this drop is significant and now places Greece below Bulgaria.

Sweden remains the country with the lowest percentage of smokers, with a consistent 16 percent of the population admitting to tobacco use in both surveys.

Here is a breakdown of the 2016 report data:

Smoking EU-wide: As percentage of population

smoking-habit

smoking-exposure

Percentage of population by country aged at least 15 years old…

Non-smoking/ Current smokers

current-eu-smoker-percentage

Daily exposure to tobacco smoke indoors within EU countries

percentage-population-plus-15

Total smoking in the EU according to gender

eu-daily-smoker

eu-non-smoker

eu-occasional-smoker

eu-smoker

FTC Releases 2014 Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing Expenditures Reports

http://military-technologies.net/2016/11/28/ftc-releases-2014-cigarette-and-smokeless-tobacco-sales-and-marketing-expenditures-reports/

The number of cigarettes sold by the largest cigarette companies in the United States to wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. declined from 256.7 billion in 2013 to 253.8 billion in 2014, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report.

The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion decreased from $8.95 billion in 2013 to $8.49 billion in 2014, due mainly to a decrease in spending on price discounts (discounts paid to cigarette retailers or wholesalers in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers).

Spending on price discounts decreased from $7.64 billion in 2013 to $6.76 billion in 2014. The price discount categories (retail and wholesale) were the two largest expenditure categories in 2014, accounting for 79.7 percent of industry spending in 2014. For the first time, this year’s report breaks out the retail ($5.56 billion) from wholesale ($1.20 billion) price discounts. Price discounts had been the single largest expenditure category every year since 2002.

According to the 2014 Smokeless Tobacco Report, smokeless tobacco sales declined slightly from 128.0 million pounds in 2013 to 127.8 million pounds in 2014. The revenue from those sales increased, however, from $3.26 billion in 2013 to $3.42 billion in 2014.

Spending on advertising and promotion by the major manufacturers of smokeless tobacco products in the U.S., which had increased from $435.9 million in 2012 to $503.2 million in 2013, further increased to $600.8 million in 2014. As with cigarettes, price discounts made up the two largest spending categories, totaling $357.2 million – or 59.4 percent of all spending in 2014, up from the $287.7 million spent in 2013. As with the cigarette report, this year’s smokeless tobacco report breaks down price discounts provided to retailers ($257.3 million) and to wholesalers ($99.8 million).

The Commission has issued the Cigarette Report periodically since 1967 and the Smokeless Tobacco Report periodically since 1987.

The Commission vote to issue the reports was 3-0. (FTC File No. P114508, the staff contact is Michael Ostheimer, 202-326-2699)

Myanmar ranks last in ASEAN tobacco control study

With out-of-date policies, cheap access, and ubiquitous usage, Myanmar ranks last in tobacco control, according to a survey of the region released last week.

http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/23722-myanmar-ranks-last-in-asean-tobacco-control-study.html

The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) study measures each of the ASEAN countries’ implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) framework for tobacco control. Myanmar scored 45.7 out of 100, falling just behind the Philippines and Laos. Singapore topped the list with a score of 80.5.

Myanmar adopted the Control of Smoking and Consumption of Tobacco Product Law on May 4, 2006, to reduce the number of people using tobacco and tobacco-related products. The law contains rules on non-smoking areas and regulations to control the sale, production and advertising of tobacco products.

However, according to the SEATCA survey, Myanmar lags behind other countries in its banning of smoking in indoor workspaces, including bars and restaurants, and indoor public places. It is the only country that has not regularly updated its tobacco control policy and strategy, according to the study.

While it falls in the middle of the pack for taxation of tobacco products, Myanmar stands alone as the only country in the region that does not spend any public money on tobacco control, according to the study. And, despite the taxation, cigarettes are still fairly cheap: K2000 for a pack of Regular Marl¬boros and K800 for a pack of Red Ruby, the most popular brand in the country. Red Ruby’s are the cheapest cigarettes in the region.

The country is also middling in its ability to provide education or cessation programs.

According to the report, the government does not allow tobacco industry officials to sit on government committees or advisory groups that are deciding health policy.

However, the government does give preferential treatment to the tobacco industry, according to the report.

Like many of the other countries in the region, regulation of tobacco advertising and sponsorship goes unenforced in many mediums. Tobacco ads are banned in television, movies, print media, and billboards but there is no enforcement of tobacco advertising bans on the internet.

Regulations on the packaging of tobacco products, on the other hand, are fairly strong when compared with other countries in the region. A majority of the packaging is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of using tobacco.

In February, the government announced that new regulations would go into effect on September 1, requiring that health warnings and graphic photos illustrating the dangers of tobacco use must appear on all brands of cigarette and other tobacco products manufactured in Myanmar.

However, the tobacco companies asked for a six-month reprieve. The Department of Public Health told The Myanmar Times that following appeals from the companies – which cited a lack of awareness among retailers that they could face punishment if they sell incorrectly packaged products – the rules would not go into effect until February 2017.

Once the new law is in full effect, anyone involved in the production, distribution or sale of tobacco products that do not contain a graphic warning label could be subject to a fine of between K10,000 (US$7.95) and K30,000 for a first offence.

According to a 2014 survey, the rate of tobacco use in Myanmar is 26.1 percent of the population, including 43.8pc of men and 8.4pc of women.