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Stub it out: Smoking challenge for hospitals in Wales

On a crisp afternoon a group of school children stand outside Prince Charles Hospital holding their handmade no smoking posters.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-38692344

“Please don’t smoke outside our hospitals”, they shout in unison.

As ambulances pull up outside the Merthyr Tydfil A&E department, the 10 and 11 year-olds watch as patients and visitors light up, puffing smoke into the air.

“We’ve seen a number of people smoking next to no smoking signs”, their teacher Kelly-Anne Crane said.

In the last six months alone 783 smokers at Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan hospitals, in Llantrisant, have been asked to stub it out by security guards.

Cwm Taf University Health Board – who manage the sites – say they are doing everything they can but people have a “total disregard” to the signs plastered across their NHS grounds.

And they are not alone. While all seven health boards in Wales have smoke free policies in place they say they are “powerless” to stop people lighting up, as they are not yet backed by legislation and so smokers are not breaking any laws.

The Public Health Wales Bill – which is currently going through the Assembly for the second time – would make it illegal to smoke on hospital grounds, giving the board’s the much needed legal backing to issue fines to smokers flaunting the rules.

The Welsh Government said the bill will “build on existing voluntary smoking bans in order to aid enforcement”.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – who manage hospitals across north Wales – said the public “do not respect” requests to not smoke on their sites.

They said that without legislation to back them up they had to rely on the “courtesy and consideration of smokers” not to light up, and despite extensive signage and recorded messages triggered a cigarette is sensed nearby, people still ignored their policy.

A spokesman said: “We do encourage members of staff to challenge smokers who are causing a nuisance but unfortunately this can provoke a negative or aggressive reaction, which understandably makes busy colleagues reluctant to continue asking people to put out their cigarettes or move away from entrances.”

It is not just the contradictory image of patients in dressing gowns smoking outside the place they are being treated which concerns health boards and bodies like the British Medical Association (BMA).

Health boards have concerns about smoke drifting through windows into wards, passive smoking, and the impressionability of the growing number of young people receiving treatment on their sites.

Cwm Taf are now hoping the words of children will make people think twice about smoking outside their buildings.

Local school children like those from Cyfarthfa High, have designed special posters detailing the dangers of smoking.

If the posters fail the board is considering introducing push-button tannoys – which staff, patients and visitors can trigger if they spot someone defying the rules – which could use children’s voices to tell smokers to stub it out.

Dr Chris Jones, chair of Cwm Taf, said: “Hospitals are for people who are sick and smoking causes illness.

“I don’t think the health board is enforcing anything, we are encouraging people do to the right thing.

“We offer support and advice: it is not about being oblivious to the fact that giving up is difficult, but there is evidence that adults listen to children.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board already has a push-button system at the entrances to their acute hospitals, but said it has not stopped some people.

A spokesman said: “Everyone has the right to breathe fresh air, especially when visiting a healthcare facility, and we regularly receive complaints about people smoking on our sites.

“We understand that visiting a hospital can sometimes be a stressful experience but we expect smokers to adhere to our smoke free policy and they should anticipate being asked to leave our hospital sites if they wish to continue smoking.”

Cardiff enforcement officers challenged 6,708 smokers outside the University Hospital of Wales and University Hospital Llandough, in two years.

Trina Nealon, principal health promotion specialist for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said hundreds of people were challenged every month.

While there have been no reported cases of verbal or physical abuse against staff challenging smokers, the board said it knows some staff feel uncomfortable challenging visitors and patients who are dealing with stressful situations.

“We are not taking away anything from anyone,” Ms Nealon said, adding that patients were given support to try and quit smoking on admission.

“How we see it is smoking is an addiction, and we are giving people an opportunity to actually give up that addiction.

“Generally speaking people are receptive and they put out their cigarette, understanding that they are in a hospital where people are there to get better and are there to get treated.”

‘Culture change’

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said that while there had been a significant reduction in smoking at their hospitals “disappointingly there are some people who will continue to smoke despite all the messages.”

Powys was the only health board who said they had little difficulty with smoking – “possibly as a result of only having community hospitals”

While there is hope that the new legislation would help health boards to challenge smokers, they appear to be under no illusion that the threat of fines will stub out the problem for good.

“It may not stop them smoking. We are hoping that it will lead to a culture change and people will accept that smoking in a hospital setting shouldn’t be allowed,” said Ms Nealon.

Reducing Smoking Prevalence through Tobacco Taxation in Ukraine

Modeling the Long-Term Health and Cost Impacts of Reducing Smoking Prevalence through Tobacco Taxation in Ukraine

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Don’t head to Finland if you fancy sitting out on a veranda with a beer and a smoke.

https://www.joe.co.uk/fitness-health/one-major-european-country-looks-set-to-be-completely-cigarette-free/108228

The European country looks set to be the first in the world to become completely cigarette-free. The country originally proposed a goal of being smoke-free by 2040 but new legislation today says the goal can be achieved by 2030.

According to the Nordic version of Business Insider, the government looks set to achieve the health goal by coming down hard on smokers and retailers.

Housing associations can now enforce a smoking ban on balconies and yards belonging to the housing complex. Capsule cigarettes that activate a taste such as menthol or blackcurrant when squeezed are getting banned outright.

Retailers are charged fees for selling nicotine products and the hike in costs means selling smokes is verging on non-profitable.

Finland is the first country in the world to enforce such stringent legislation on smokers. It has been committed to reducing smoking since 1978 when it first banned the advertising of nicotine products. Smoking at the workplace has been banned since 1995 and in bars and restaurants since 2007.

According to Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare, smoking statistics have consistently decreased over the past 20 years. Only 17% of the population consider themselves smokers.

Up in Smoke: Finland on the Way to Completely Eradicating Tobacco Use

Finland has stepped up its efforts to completely ban tobacco smoking within its borders. A new law calling for tobacco smoking to be ended entirely by 2030, has introduced several new regulations on smokers and tobacco retailers.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201701191049745363-finland-smoking-tobacco-eradicate-law/

The most recent regulations allow housing associations to ban smoking on lawns and balconies that they own. Cigarettes with flavor capsules embedded into their filters have been banned entirely. The fees that municipalities can charge on retailers selling tobacco has been drastically increased, as much as €500 per point of sale.

Some stores in Finland’s second largest city of Espoo have seen increases in fees in excess of 1,800 percent, and even 2,600 percent. Many retailers have claimed that the fee increases have made it unprofitable for them to sell cigarettes, and they would cease retailing the product entirely if smokers did not also buy food items alongside tobacco.

The Finnish smoking ban is so strict that it even extends to “imitation products” that do not contain tobacco or nicotine. Lakupiippu is a popular Finnish candy, a stick of liquorice shaped to look like a smoking pipe. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) has banned the pipes from being used in retailer loyalty programs as they “promote smoking.” Valvira’s opinion on candy cigarettes is unknown.

Finland has long led the world in banning and regulating smoking. The country banned advertisement of nicotine products in 1978, smoking in the workplace in 1995, and smoking in bars and restaurants in 2007.

The number of Finns who are smokers has steadily declined over the last 20 years, likely due to the costs and difficulties of the habit. A study with the Finnish Cancer Registry claims that “practically all Finnish men… born before the 1930’s practiced smoking.” Reports show that 18.6 percent of Finnish adults were smokers in 2009. That dropped to 17 percent in 2014 and 16 percent in 2015.

Finland is neck-and-neck with fellow Nordic country Denmark, who announced in 2016 their intention to create “the first smoke-free generation” by 2030 with a $334 million program to end smoking and other cancer risks to Danes.

What About Smoke Free EO?

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Beijing’s Smoking Ban Cuts Nicotine Fiends, Though 22 Percent Still Toke

https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2016/12/30/beijing-butts-out-smoking-ban-results-200000-fewer-smokers

While Beijing residents accustomed to smoky restaurants, bars, and other hazy interiors doubted that the city’s latest ban on lighting up would have any effect, it’s actually been a slow but steady success: Most F&B venues report good compliance with the rules, and state media recently reported that 200,000 fewer Beijingers are lighting up these days.

Based on findings jointly released at the end of 2016 by the Beijing Patriotic Health Campaign Committee and the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, the percentage of local adult smokers has gone down from 23.4 percent in 2014 to 22.3 percent this year.

Stricter smoking restrictions were announced in 2014, and put into effect citywide in 2015, barring anyone from puffing at eateries, workplaces, public transport and other public places. However, skeptics assumed that those rules would be less than successful, seeing as a 2011 ban did little to rid the capital tobacco haze (though, according to the BBC, those rules were more vague).

Such doubts were quickly dispelled in the summer of 2015, however, when the rules began to be earnestly enforced. State media says more than 127,000 restaurants, bars and other businesses were inspected since June of last year, leading to 5,300 people being forced to at least stub out their cigarettes, while of those 2,719 people in violation of puffing had to pay fines, which totaled RMB 142,500 (USD 20,700) between June 1 and November 30 last year.

Longtime F&B blogger and renowned man-about-town Jim Boyce vividly recalls just how different a night out in Beijing was before the ban. “Eating, drinking, and smoking were the trinity of activities for people going out back then,” he recalls. “I remember a night at places like First Floor, The Den, or Fubar would leave your clothes reeking of smoke — but that was also true of many bars and restaurants.”

Many Beijigers would argue that the capital’s livehouses were the smokiest of all local joints. I can recall the popular Wudaoying livehouse School Bar being so ashy on New Years Eve 2012, when indie troop Hedgehog drew such large throngs of cigarette-puffing fans that one member of my party opted to leave mid set, complaining her eyes were stinging so bad she could hardly see the band.

School Bar owner Felix Liu says such smoke-adverse patrons breathe easier at the livehouse now. “Most people follow the rule and smoke outside and in our yard, because no one actually wants to stay in a hazy room. But we still have some guests that smoke indoors, and we have to get our staff to stop them.”

Other venue owners say the new clear-air era of Beijing’s public spaces went easier than expected. Pink, manager at Temple Bar, says the stricter smoking ban has been successful. “Most customers are happier about the air quality inside our bar now, and smokers are understanding about the rule and go outside to smoke.”

Tristan Macquet, co-owner at Cafe de la Poste, attributes such compliance to the ban’s financial consequences, saying past capaigns “used to be words without actions, but this time [the authorities] really went all out. Fines for smokers and the restaurants were an incentive. Asking for people to report smokers has its pros and cons but it proved effective. We saw it at the time even in Chinese restaurants on Guijie: smokers were asked to go out to have their cigarette.”

Macquet says Beijing’s bar scene has boded well after the ban, adding: “for Café de la Poste, I definitely believe it was the right thing to do. Of course smokers groaned a little at first, but not for long. And the whole atmosphere of the restaurant got better afterwards. Soon it was as if it had always been like this. I think that air quality is such an issue now, especially in term of awareness, that customers really prefer it this way.”

One of the proprietors at Bungalow Tiki Bar says venue owners had just as much, if not more, to gain from the ban. “You reduce table surfaces getting burned, ash on the floor, and, when you have a small place like ours, you avoid the smell. Our bar would be a smoke pit if we’d been open before the smoking ban. It’s changed the whole Beijing nightlife scene. I know a few bars where you can still smoke inside, and now when I go in it’s quite horrible.”

And while the general acceptance, along with assertive enforcement, both seem promising for those opposed to tobacco, not all of the findings in the Patriotic Health Campaign Committee and Municipal Health Commission study were positive. CCTV, for instance, notes that a mere 30 percent of the capital’s adults said they understood the ill effects caused by lighting up. But at least 16.8 percent of them put in the effort to give up the cigs in 2016, a 1.9 percent uptick compared to 2014. We would have been equally interested, however, to learn just how those strong willed Beijingers gave up smoking. Vapes? Tobacco patches? Nicorette gum? Or did they go cold turkey?

Hopefully the next report will clear the air in that regard.

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.

Born in Russia after 2014? You might never be able to buy cigarettes.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/born-russia-2014-might-never-able-buy-cigarettes-195105247.html

If Russia’s Ministry of Health gets its way, the country’s youngest citizens will never be able to buy cigarettes. On Monday, Russian media reported that the agency’s 2017-2022 antitobacco plan includes a ban on cigarette sales to any Russian born in 2015 or later, according to Radio Free Europe, a US government-funded publication.

Currently, Russians may legally purchase cigarettes at the age of 18. The Ministry of Health’s proposal – which still requires government approval – would take away this option beginning in 2033, when those Russians born in 2015 will turn 18.

This proposal comes on the heels of a report from the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization, which found that 33.8 percent of adult Russians smoke daily. Smokingrelated mortality cost the country’s economy $24.7 billion in 2006.

Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia?

Russia’s Ministry of Health clearly views this situation as a problem. But its proposal to ban future generations from buying cigarettes breaks with conventional wisdom on how to reduce smoking.

“Government efforts to reduce cigarette consumption by restricting supplies have been largely unsuccessful,” researchers wrote in a 2001 report published on behalf of the World Bank, World Health Organization, and the Human Development Network. “Banning tobacco is unrealistic and unlikely to work.”

Sixteen years later, most policymakers still aren’t talking about bans. Instead, US experts credit a “winning combination” of policies, including cigarette taxes and graphic warning labels, with bringing the number of smokers to a record low. Similar techniques have also been used in Russia. A 2009 anti-smoking campaign plastered graphic anti-smoking ads around Moscow, and the country declared the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics “smoke free.” The Ministry of Health’s most recent proposal would also increase restrictions on where Russian smokers may light up, banning smoking in cars with children. Public health measures like these may already be showing results:

According to the World Bank, the percentage of Russian men who smoke dropped from 67 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2012.

But some want those numbers to drop faster, and see a birth-year ban like Russia’s as the best path forward. Barring those born after a certain date from buying cigarettes was first proposed by Jon Berrick, an Australian-born mathematician who teaches at the National University of Singapore.

In a 2013 article published in the journal Tobacco Control, Berrick noted that “More than 80% of smokers start by age 18, and virtually all by 26. Therefore, preventing youth initiation may be the key to ending the tobacco epidemic.” He argued that simply restricting cigarettes to 18 – and-up consumers undermined this goal. Instead, this practice created a “rite-of-passage effect” that linked smoking with adulthood in the eyes of teenagers, and encouraged those near the age of 18 to light up.

Citing evidence that “smoking initiation predominantly occurs in the company of same-age peers,” Professor Berrick proposed that governments take cigarettes off the table for all those born after a certain date, a plan he calls “Tobacco-Free Generation.” Activists have pressed for this policy in Singapore, Britain, and the Australian state of Tasmania – all cited by the a Russian Ministry of Health representative in explaining their proposal. In January 2016, Balanga City in the Philippines became the first – and, so far, the only – jurisdiction to implement the policy.

Could a tobacco-free generation emerge in Russia? Matthew Meyers, the president of the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Kids, thinks so.

“Russia faces one of the most serious tobacco problems in the world and is to be commended for the strong steps it has taken in recent years,” he writes in an emailed statement to The Christian Science Monitor. “We believe it is appropriate for countries like Russia, which are facing a crushing burden from tobacco use, to explore innovative and multifaceted approaches to rapidly reduce tobacco use like the current set of proposals now being considered in Russia.”

But others see challenges ahead. Smokers’-rights activist Olga Beklemishcheva told Russian media that “there will be a black market” for cigarettes if the ban goes through, pointing to the trade in currently banned drugs.

Berrick, the first proponent of such a ban, has previously downplayed the possibility that a ban would fuel illegal trade.

“By avoiding forced cessation among existing users,” he wrote in 2013, “the measure creates no new denied addicts needed to fuel a black market.” Officials in Russia’s Ministry of Health seem to agree.

Vladimir Putin announces plan to ban smoking in Russia by stopping anybody born after 2015 from EVER buying cigarettes

New smokers face being cuffed by police simply for buying a packet of fags

VLADIMIR Putin wants to kick smokers’ butts by introducing the most harshest cigarette laws ever conceived by a government.

The clean living fitness freak loathes people smoking around him and wants everyone in his country to snub out their filthy habit.

Under plans to rid Russia of the demon weed once and for all, anyone born after 2015 would be banned from buying cigarettes.

In fact it will be deemed as bad as buying illegal drugs.

But while Putin‘s measures seem harsh, desperate measures are perhaps called for.

About 43% of the Russian population lights up – down from 60% last year – compared to 19% people smoking in the UK.

Despite tax rises, fags are cheap compared to Western Europe, with a packet of Marlboro Reds costing just £1.10.

Nikolai Gerasimenko, a member of the Russian parliament’s health committee, said: “This goal is absolutely ideologically correct.”

But Mr Gerasimenko also admitted he was uncertain whether such a ban would be enforceable.

Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told The Times the proposed ban would require serious discussion.

He said that other ministries would need to be consulted before it was approved.

Although Putin is a non-smoker known for his love of judo and topless horseback riding, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, is a chain smoker.

The top diplomat once opposed an attempt to introduce a ban on smoking at the UN headquarters in New York.

The smoking ban has sparked debate in Russia, with warnings that the move could lead to a rise in black market cigarettes.

“Counterfeit tobacco could lead to even more harm to people’s health,” said Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, a member of the Russian public chamber, which advises the government on social policy.

Proposals to ban smoking in cars carrying children

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-38531586

Plans to ban smoking in private vehicles carrying children are to be discussed, the health minister has announced.

Michelle O’Neill said it was “inconceivable that we continue to allow children to be exposed to such harm”.

In February 2016, Assembly members voted in favour of introducing the ban.

Similar legislation came into force in England and Wales in October 2015 and in Scotland in December 2016.

In the Republic of Ireland, a ban took effect last year.

The consultation will run from 6 January 2017 to 3 March 2017.

The draft regulations propose that the existing legislation, as set out in the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, will be extended so that it will be an offence to:

• Smoke in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present
• Fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present

‘Range of illnesses’

The minister said: “The health impact of exposure to second-hand smoke has long been recognised and indeed was the motivating factor behind the introduction of legislation to ban smoking in all indoor public and work places in 2007.”

The World Health Organisation recognises that second-hand smoke is a significant threat to health, particularly amongst children, who are more likely to suffer from range of illnesses.

The consultation will seek views on the proposed new offences, suggested exemptions and “views on how the new measures will be enforced”.