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Raise Hong Kong tobacco tax to protect youth against lifelong addiction

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ENDs products no safer than cigarettes- generate dual users – designed to keep youth and adults addicted to nicotine

Dear Panel members,

the enhanced addictiveness of RECON used exclusively in iQos HEETS

iQos Heets use cast leaf technology aka RECON (reconstituted tobacco)

The veins, stalks and stems, leaf dust (named OFFAL) from the cigarette production process are mixed with chemicals in a slurry to create a Recon sheet.

https://startobacco.biz/reconstituted-tobacco/

The manufacturer can fine tune the addictiveness of the RECON product and using a smaller amount of RECON.

http://www.jeffreywigand.com/theinsider.php

see The Insider Dr Wigand’s expert report under –‘Testimonies’ – ‘Dr Wigand’s WHO Expert Report’

Search the report for ‘Recon’

The Report is eye opening and informatory.

For your ease of reference I attach some sections on RECON from the WHO Expert report:

Quote:

“The use of RECON is the one of the principal methods of introducing acid base ammonia  chemistry and other additives into the USB non-menthol cigarette blend. RECON can be  considered a chemical-additive delivery system in addition to the casing process of tobacco.  Ammonia chemistry is utilized for several reasons; 1) to scavenge nicotine from each blend  component; 2) to equalize the concentration of nicotine in the tobacco column rod; and 3) to modify pH such that nicotine becomes a free base.

Free nicotine, which is controlled by smoke pH, is a more potent form of nicotine that is in the gas phase rather than bound nicotine that is in  the particulate phase.  The extensive use of ammonia chemistry in RECON converts the salt  linked or protonated nicotine into “free” nicotine that has a higher potency than its salt/protonated form.  Free nicotine it is not detected by the smoking machine analysis of tar and  nicotine since it is in the gaseous state not in the particulate state of matter.

The primary importance of RECON is neither the utilization of manufacturing waste nor  the enhancement of economy of manufacture.  Rather, RECON is important because it  introduces a significant amount of additives into the cigarette blend. These additives accomplish  two distinct purposes: 1) they increase the addictive capacity of the cigarette and 2) they facilitate the ease of smoking by ameliorating the effects of inhaling smoke.

 RECON tobacco comprises about 20-30% of a USB cigarette’s blend formulation on a  w/w basis.  It is a chemically manipulated material using abundant additives, such as glycerol, licorice, cocoa, honey, polyethyleneglycol (PEG), simple sugars, invert sugars and ammonia based additives such as ammonium hydroxide, urea and diammonium hydrogen phosphate  (DAP). The ammonia based additives in RECON play a key role in the manipulation of nicotine.

The finished product is a highly energized chemical matrix which forms the basis of many of the  chemical reactions occurring in the tobacco rod column, such as nicotine scavenging, generation of free nicotine, smoke pH manipulation, and formation of some flavor reaction products.

  1. Raw material components and composition of RECON

RECON is produced utilizing by numerous by-products of the cigarette manufacturing process.  There are three (3) distinct RECON types; Paper I, Paper II and band cast. The raw material used to make RECON contains the following components:

1) Offal or the tobacco dust generated in either the Green Leaf Trashing (GLT) plant or in the Primary manufacturing process.  The GLT Plant strips and removes the veins of the tobacco leaf into large strips of lamina and produces a by-product called stems.  Stems can be utilized either as a cigarette blend component or as one of the sources of raw material for RECON.

 

2) The primary portion of the manufacturing plant produces the fines and winnowers when tobacco, a moisture sensitive biomaterial is moved rapidly through the

manufacturing process, either pneumatically or via high-speed conveyor belts. This aspect of the manufacturing process causes dehydration and brittleness of the tobacco material, and therewith the formation of tobacco fines and dust (offal).

3) Stems produced at the GLT Plant

4) Tobacco fines or winnowers

5) Product Reclaim.  Finished product that is collected from the distribution channel is returned to the manufacturing plant for reprocessing.  This includes the finished goods that, due to moisture content loss, are deemed unsuitable for smoking due to increased irritation, harshness and the fact that they pose a fire hazard.

 6) Unique tobacco cultivars are used either to augment nicotine content or to augment or enhance flavor attributes of the final RECON product.

 7) Cellulosic material from wood pulp added for fiber content

 3. Band cast reconstituted tobacco (Dark RECON)

Band cast uses the same starting raw materials but differs fundamentally from the paper  making RECON process. Unlike the paper process, band cast is made by adding the stock raw  tobacco materials (see list above) and prescribed chemical additives into one reaction vessel. 

The tobacco material is then pulverized with the additives forming a thermally and chemically reacted slurry mixture.  The sheet is made by pouring the slurry into a “doctor blade” which  regulates the amount of slurry that is applied to a moving S/S non-perforated belt.  The basis weight can be controlled at this point.

The slurry mixture then goes through three separate heating zones where the water content is reduced forming a solid sheet.  This solid sheet is then cut into irregular pieces and boxed in a similar manner to the paper RECON.”

 

See also

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-smoking-and-covid-19

Kind regards,

James Middleton

Chairman

Clear the Air NGO

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Promptly enact a total ban on all alternative smoking products

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Driver held over HK$3.6m illicit cigarettes

Customs said today they have seized about 1.3 million illicit cigarettes, worth about HK$3.6 million, at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point yesterday and arrested a 52-year-old male driver.

Officers intercepted an incoming truck declared as carrying assorted goods at the control point last night. After inspection, they found the batch of illicit cigarettes inside 79 cartons mix-loaded with other goods on the truck.

ISO Test methods for cigarette tar and nicotine content Out Of Date – Clear The Air

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Summary of Tobacco Control Measures submitted to HK Government by Clear the Air

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Bluffing on ciggy ban next

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=201105&story_id=50022661&d_str=20181012

Opponents of Carrie Lam’s policy to soon ban e-cigarettes have challenged the government to outlaw traditional cigarettes as well.

Lam’s response: she would not rule out doing so in the long run.

Speaking on radio, Lam said the government’s go-to measure to reduce the smoking population has always been raising the tobacco tax.

But she said she does not need the tobacco tax at all and would not mind a total ban on all cigarettes.

A caller asked: “We all know that cigarettes are harmful to health, but why didn’t you also ban traditional cigarettes? People using e-cigarettes will now turn to traditional cigarettes.”

Lam said since traditional cigarettes have been around for a long time, there are established measures to regulate them.

She added a bold idea like having a timetable to ban traditional cigarettes is possible “because I am relatively bold.”

However, Tsang Kwok-hang of the Asian Vape Association said the policy is like banning air guns but not real guns and said it would wipe out the small and medium-sized e-cigarette enterprises in Hong Kong.

“It’s like taking a step back. The tobacco market is dominated by several companies and this policy would force smaller companies and e-cigarettes stores to close down,” he said.

A dozen newspaper vendors also voiced their concerns, saying they are worried the ban would drive smokers to purchase heated tobacco products from illegal channels.

The group submitted a petition to lawmakers, hoping the government would drop the ban and regulate heated tobacco products, so vendors would not suffer from a loss of sales.

Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee said the government changed its plan from mere regulating to banning e-cigarettes because it saw a huge backlash from the medical and education sector.

“We also saw studies from the US, Italy and Japan – countries that have not banned but have regulated e-cigarettes – showing that regulation would make it easier for teenagers to try the product,” she said.

Asked if she was worried the ban would force e-cigarette users to turn to traditional cigarettes, Chan said in her experience control policies have been effective in encouraging smokers to quit.

Higher taxes show way to cut smoking in Hong Kong

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Ban unlikely to push smokers back to tobacco: govt

http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/video-gallery.htm?vid=1422496

The Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, on Thursday played down fears that a ban on e-cigarettes could turn people using them to traditional tobacco products instead.

Chan said the people who raise such fears do not have actual proof to back up the claim.

The secretary said that whenever a new anti-smoking policy was introduced in the past, many people quit smoking. But she didn’t offer any figures for this.

Chan said the proposal to ban e-cigarettes was made after data from surveys conducted in recent months found that many local children are into the products.

She stressed that e-cigarettes have been branded as less harmful in order to attract young smokers, making them unaware how dangerous they can be.

The original plan was to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but Chief Executive Carrie Lam proposed an outright ban on importing, selling and promoting such products during her Policy Address on Thursday.

The ban was supported by many in the medical and education sectors, with both sectors’ lawmakers calling for such a move on Tuesday.

Sofia Chan scoffs at fears of switch to nicotine fix

The Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, does not believe e-cigs users will move on to cigarettes because of the ban.

The Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, today played down fears that a ban on e-cigarettes could tempt people using them on to traditional tobacco products instead.

Chan said the people who raise such fears do not have evidence to back up the claim, RTHK reports.

Chan said that whenever a new anti-smoking policy was introduced in the past, many people quit smoking. But she did not offer any data on those who quit.

Chan said the proposal to ban e-cigarettes was made after data from surveys conducted in recent months found that many local children favor the products.

She stressed that e-cigarettes have been branded as less harmful to attract young smokers.

The original plan was to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but Chief Executive Carrie Lam proposed an outright ban on importing, selling and promoting such products during her Policy Address.

The ban was supported by many in the medical and education sectors.