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Health Ministry sued over soft treatment of iQOS

Dubek, a manufacturer and importer of tobacco products, sued the Health Ministry for showing favouritism by allowing Philip Morris International to skirt advertising restrictions in marketing iQOS, the Jerusalem Post said.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Health_Ministry_sued_over_soft_treatment_of_iQOS.54143.0.html

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman reportedly is waiting to see how US regulators deal with the tobacco heating device. In the meantime, iQOS is being sold and marketed without restriction in Israel. In its complaint to the High Court of Justice, Dubek said this discriminated against its tobacco products, which face restrictions, the Post said.

Commentary: Smoking is an archaic habit with no place in modern society

The move to raise the legal age for smoking gives a much needed boost to Singapore’s efforts at reducing the prevalence of smoking among youths.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/commentary-smoking-is-an-archaic-habit-with-no-place-in-modern/3584938.html

Shocking as it sounds, many doctors used to smoke.

The groundbreaking study which first confirmed the link between smoking and lung cancer was carried out on British doctors in the early 1950s. UK Medical Research Council member Sir Richard Doll, who conducted the study chose doctors as his research participants because many of them smoked, and it would be easier to observe what happened to them as a result of smoking.

Within three years of observation, 37 died from lung cancer. All were smokers. The number of deaths rose to 70 after five years. His work provided strong evidence of the dangers of smoking and laid the groundwork for future public debates about smoking

Since then, governments around the world have put in place policies and programmes to stop people from picking up the habit and help smokers kick theirs. For instance, the United States introduced the tobacco advertising ban and tax in the 1960s.

Singapore became the first Asian country to ban tobacco advertising in 1971, followed by the banning of smoking in various public places. The Singapore Government has also dramatically increased the excise tax on tobacco since 1983.

The impact of such combination of measures was visibly evident. The proportion of smokers among male Singaporeans aged 18 and above declined from 42 per cent in the late 1970s to 24.3 per cent in 2010, and the per capita consumption of tobacco decreased from 2.36 kilograms to 0.77 kilograms in a short span of 30 years. The incidence of lung cancer also halved from around 60 per 100,000 in the 1980s to 30 per 100,000 today.

Nonetheless, the decline in the proportion of smokers has since hit a plateau over the last ten years, hovering around 23 to 24 per cent in males, and 3.5 to 4 per cent in females, and has not budged since. What this effectively means is that the number of new smokers now equal those who have died from or quit the habit. To lower the proportion of smokers, more aggressive efforts will be required to prevent Singaporeans from picking up the habit.

WILL RAISING THE MINIMUM LEGAL AGE REALLY HELP STEM THE HABIT OF SMOKING?

Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor, announced recently on Thursday that the legal age for smoking and buying tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 21.

This will be a much needed boost to Singapore’s efforts at reducing the prevalence of smoking among youths.

Raising the minimum legal age (MLA) makes it harder for them to get tobacco products either directly or through their social networks. More importantly, it contributes toward de-normalising smoking.

95 per cent of smokers in Singapore had their first puff before age 21. Increasing the legal smoking age to 21 reduces youth exposure to tobacco products during their adolescence – a critical stage of life where they are more susceptible to peer pressure, where their psycho-social maturity, including sensation seeking, impulsivity, and future perspective taking, are still not fully developed.

Detractors may question the rationale for raising the MLA.

Some critics argue that raising the legal smoking age is simply delaying initiation into the habit. But the fact is that those who do not pick up smoking by age 21 are unlikely to ever begin. There is evidence that the younger the adolescent is when he starts smoking, the higher the level of nicotine dependence, and the greater the probability of him becoming a long-term, heavy smoker.

Others may make invidious comparisons. After all, if an 18 to 20 year old can legally marry, drive, consume alcohol or serve national service, why is he not allowed to smoke?

Tobacco smoking is clearly very different from and far outweighs the aforementioned activities when it comes to fatalities. It is deliberately designed to be addictive and is known to cause disease and disabilities in both the smokers, as well as those breathing in secondhand smoke. There is no moderate level of consumption at which tobacco smoking is safe – for the smoker and those around him. It is a unique product that kills its user when used as instructed.

Another objection is that raising the MLA may lead to the emergence of a black market peddling tobacco products to underage smokers. To deal with that, law enforcement efforts can be intensified, and harsher penalties imposed on the sellers. For instance, New York City stepped up its enforcement and increased penalties for supply of illegal tobacco products when it raised the MLA.

Of course, even with these efforts, it is impossible to entirely curtail a black market. However, future generations of youths will be discouraged from smoking, disease will be averted and lives saved albeit with this negative “side effect”.

ADOPT AN APPROACH THAT IS SYMPATHETIC, EDUCATIONAL AND SUPPORTIVE

In meting out consequences for underage smokers, we ought to bear in mind that they too are victims of Big Tobacco advertising strategies directed at the aspirations of impressionable youth.

Our best defence would be to adopt an approach that is sympathetic, educational and supportive of their efforts to quit the habit. To successfully curb smoking initiation in our youths, we would do well to ensure adequate enforcement of the MLA on retailers who sell tobacco to minors.

The debate over the Government’s move to raise the minimum legal age is a reminder that no single silver bullet to reduce smoking prevalence exists. The MLA is only but one of the existing and additional future measures for effective tobacco control. Singapore has banned electronic cigarettes which tobacco companies intentionally market as “safer” to youths. They also claim that heated cigarettes are safer but studies have shown that they have the same nicotine content as traditional cigarettes.

There are other measures that we can consider in the fight against smoking. First, there is evidence that increasing the size of graphic health warnings (GHW) on the cigarette packaging prevents youth smoking initiation, boosts motivation to quit, reduces smoking among adults and sustains smoking cessation. Expanding the size of the GHW is a highly cost-effective control measure that we should consider implementing.

Second, several countries like Australia, France and UK have augmented their GHW with standardised packaging. Also known as “plain packaging”, this requirement removes all branding elements such as colour, image, trademarks, logos and text, and only allows the brand name to be printed in a standardised font, size and location on the pack. This reduces the appeal of the pack, weakens any branding power each product might have, and strengthens the impact of the GHW.

Australia was the first nation in the world to adopt plain packaging in 2012. Even though the health impact of the policy will take years to be fully seen, a post–implementation review published in February 2016 reported that the policy has reduced smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke, and is expected to continue doing so.

Third, price and taxes are effective tools for tobacco control. According to the World Health Organisation, a 10 per cent increase in tobacco prices will reduce consumption by about 4 per cent in high-income countries. We should raise tobacco taxes further as part of our suite of enhanced control measures, if we think that smoking remains a serious issue even after the MLA has been raised.

Last, internationally, there is a movement to go beyond conventional tobacco control strategies and adopt fundamentally different strategies that aim to eliminate smoking altogether. These are broadly classified as “Endgame Strategies”. Singapore should begin thinking about eliminating smoking completely. We would not be the first country to endorse and adopt this approach. New Zealand, Finland, Canada, Sweden and France have all endorsed the goal of achieving a smoke-free society in the next eight to 23 years.

Smoking was introduced commercially in the 1880s. It is an ancient and archaic habit, and has no place in our modern and progressive society.

Professor Chia Kee Seng is Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.

Slovenia adopts plain packaging

Congratulations to SFP Coalition Partners No excuse Slovenia and Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control for their tireless advocacy to support this legislation in the last year.

http://www.smokefreepartnership.eu/partner-news/item/slovenia-adopts-plain-packaging

On 15 February the Slovenian Parliament adopted the draft law proposed by the government without a single vote against. Plain packaging is expected to enter into force in 2020.

Briefly, the new Slovenian Tobacco law includes:

– Plain packaging (65% coverage with health warnings and quitting information)
– Introduction of license for selling tobacco products,
– Total display and Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) ban
– Prohibition of selling tobacco products with aromas and other additives
– Prohibition of smoking in cars with a minor present
– Prohibition of smoking indoors including E-cigarettes
– Mystery shopping/test purchasing by underage,
– Measures of prevention of illicit trade

Morley: The cigarette brand that doesn’t exist… even though it’s in every TV show

This made-up brand has a long history, from Lost to the X Files to the Dick van Dyke Show

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-01-18/morley-the-cigarette-brand-that-doesnt-exist-even-though-its-in-every-tv-show

Look closely at a smoker in any of your favourite TV shows and there’s a good chance their cigarette of choice is a Morley.

But you won’t find that brand in your local corner shop, because Morley doesn’t exist – and never has.

So why does everybody on screen smoke the same made-up brand? This informative video explains how Morley became a dominant force in TV history.

It all comes back to the early days of television in America. Cigarette companies could essentially advertise their wares through product placement, but if none of the cigarette companies agreed to pay to put their brand in a TV show, producers would instead insert a pack of Morleys. That way no one got free advertising.

But then! As the dangers of smoking became more and more apparent, cigarette companies were banned from paying for their products to be included in TV shows. It was time for Morley to make a comeback.

After a comprehensive re-brand to the packaging (now red and white), Morleys again became ubiquitous. They’re in Orange Is The New Black, Gun Shy, Californication, Gun Shy, Burn Notice, American Horror Story…

So next time you spot someone having a fag on the telly, you never know: it might just be a Morley.

Global tobacco control

Download (PDF, 7.46MB)

Metro TV welcomes plan to ban cigarette ads

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/14/metro-tv-welcomes-plan-to-ban-cigarette-ads.html

Metro TV news director Suryapratomo said Friday that the private TV station welcomed lawmakers’ plan to ban cigarette advertisements on television and radio, saying that a ban would not significantly affect its revenue.

“Lawmakers have the right to make any regulation. But I hope the House of Representatives carries out comprehensive discussion before making a final decision,” Suryapratomo told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

He added that a ban would have minimal impact on Metro TV, as cigarette ads contributed only a small portion to the company’s revenues.

“So please do ban [cigarette ads on TV] if you want. Metro TV does not make much from cigarette ads. We also don’t air cigarette ads frequently on our TV station,” Suryapratomo emphasized.

TV stations are currently allowed to air cigarette ads only after 10 p.m. However, the government may issue a total ban on cigarette ads on TV and radio, with a draft bill comprising stipulations of a ban awaiting deliberation at the House.

The House is expected to start deliberations this month and has assured that it will include various stakeholders in the discussion to gain comprehensive insight.

Cigarette ad ban aims to protect children, lawmaker says

The House of Representatives’ plan to ban tobacco companies from advertising their products on television and radio aims to protect young audiences, says a lawmaker.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/13/cigarette-ad-banaims-to-protect-children-lawmaker-says.html

Lawmaker Elnino M. Husein Mohi argued that cigarette advertisements could be easily viewed by children.

“Broadcasting companies run the industry using state-owned frequency, which is supposedly used to help build good character,” Elnino told The Jakarta Post on Friday, adding that smoking did not help build positive character. “The plan to ban cigarette advertisements is basically meant to protect youngsters from the campaign”.

The politician from the Gerindra Party explained the House had included stipulations to ban such advertisements in a draft bill on broadcasting to amend a prevailing law passed in 2002. The current draft was initiated by the House.

Elnino, a member of House Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information, however, ensured that Commission I would open the deliberation process to the public to include relevant stakeholders in the discussion.

“We are aware of the complexity of the issue. Therefore, deliberations will later invite insights from various stakeholders, including the broadcasting industry, so that we can obtain a comprehensive understanding before passing the bill into law,” he emphasized. (dmr)

Indonesia may ban cigarette advertisements from TV, radio

The government may completely ban tobacco companies from advertising their products on television and radio in the future, according to a tobacco watchdog.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/12/indonesia-may-ban-cigarette-advertisements-from-tv-radio.html

The National Commission on Tobacco Control (Komnas PT) said on Thursday that the latest draft of the broadcasting bill stipulated that the content of a broadcast advertisement was prohibited from promoting alcohol, cigarettes, and other addictive products. The bill is a revision of Law No. 32/2002 on broadcasting.

“The banning of [tobacco] advertisements, promotion and sponsorship in the bill is a policy by the House of Representative that is progressive and conforms to the Health Law and several Constitutional Court rulings,” Komnas PT law and advocate department member Muhamad Joni said.

Joni pointed out that the latest draft of the bill indicated the country was showing progress in tobacco control efforts as previous drafts did not contain such stipulations.

“The House has proven to be in favor of tobacco control and the public’s protection. Therefore, the bill must be secured in its deliberation process until it is passed,” Joni said. (dan)

Swedish anti-cigarette billboard ‘coughs’ when smokers walk by

https://www.rt.com/news/373325-anti-smoking-billboard-sweden/

cough

Nicotine addicts who find themselves mindlessly smoking through the streets of Stockholm are being reminded that the habit isn’t healthy – but not by a doctor. Instead, a billboard equipped with smoke detectors is ‘coughing’ as they pass by.

The electronic sign featuring a black-and-white picture of a man seems usual enough upon first glance and for non-smokers it will continue to appear ordinary. However, smokers will see a different side of the billboard when they walk by, as the man on the sign begins coughing in reaction to their secondhand smoke.

A video that the pharmacy posted online shows the mixed reactions of passersby, ranging from confusion to amusement. One man looks at the sign while continuing to puff on his cigarette, while a woman starts laughing after realizing she was the one who triggered the coughing.

The billboard ends with an advertisement for nicotine gum products from various manufacturers.

The pharmacy said the sign is “just in time for the New Year” and aimed at helping people “live a longer and healthier life.”

Although the billboard has apparently been placed in an area “where people smoke a lot,” Sweden actually has the lowest smoking rate of all European Member states, just 13 percent, according to a 2012 report by the European Council

Cigarette makers using devious ways to advertise to children, bypassing anti-tobacco law

Cigarette makers have resorted to devious ways to advertise, bypassing a law that bans promotion of tobacco products.

http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2016/12/24/cigarette-makers-using-devious-ways-to-advertise-to-children-bypassing_c1477557

Advocates say the firms are now enticing children as young as seven years old to smoke, thus frustrating the full implementation of the Tobacco Control Act.

International Institute for Legislative Affairs chief executive Emma Wanyonyi said the industry is openly advertising cigarettes through conspicuous shop displays at the eye-level of young children.

“The industry is not only advertising their products, but also displaying products to children due to lack of enforcement,” she said.

Wanyonyi said even though one local company has started printing the graphic warnings as demanded by the Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014, the industry is already in court challenging those regulations.

The regulations seek to operationalise the 2007 Tobacco Control Act.

The sale of single stick cigarettes is also widespread, close to schools, although it is illegal, she said.

Wanyonyi challenged the Agriculture ministry to come to the rescue of farmers, who are still dependent on tobacco for them to have alternative crops.

“Tobacco growing depletes soil but researches that have been done show that there are alternative crops that can be grown,” she said.

Tobacco is the biggest known preventable cause of cancer and other non-communicable diseases.

Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance member Achieng Otieno said tobacco industries are so powerful as they have in the recent past compromised a section of MPS.

“The fact that the industry is well resourced has been a challenge in the implementation of the new law,” he said, adding that it has taken the country nine years to come up with new regulations.

Ochieng said even though they have written to EACC concerning bribery allegations by industry to MPS with the view of influencing some of the policies, EACC is yet to respond to them, one year later.

The World Health Organisation says last year, Kenyans smoked eight million cigarette sticks, compared to 6.5 million in 2013.

Tobacco industry in the country is vehemently opposed to new regulations regulating the manufacture, sale and advertising of tobacco products.

The regulations demand that pictures of dead babies, throat cancer and rotten teeth should appear on cigarette packets next month.

They include pictures of punctured throats and cancerous lung.

The regulations require both pictorial and text health warnings printed on the packets.

Also known as plain packaging, the move aims at dissuading current and potential smokers by giving them information on the harmful effects of nicotine and tar.