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March 10th, 2008:

How Many Cigarettes Do Your Kids Smoke?

Confession of the Tobacco Companies

Smoking Ban Spurs One In Four To Cut Tobacco Use

MORE than one in four Scottish smokers have cut down on cigarettes since the introduction of the smoking ban in public places, new research suggests.

In the survey by YouGov ahead of No Smoking Day tomorrow, 27 per cent of respondents said they were smoking less since the smoke-free legislation came into effect in March 2006.

The poll also showed that 18 per cent of smokers across Scotland planned to stop smoking on No Smoking Day, with the ban proving a key factor in triggering attempts to quit.

The research suggested that more than 2.25 million smokers (19 per cent) would take part across the UK, making it the biggest No Smoking Day for years.

Dan Tickle, the chief executive of No Smoking Day, said: “If you’re ready to quit, there’s never been a better time.”

The Scotsman newspaper – 10 March 2008

Officials Urged To Curb Social Smoking

Reuters in Beijing – Updated on Mar 10, 2008

Government employees should be banned from offering or receiving cigarettes on social occasions, a member of parliament said, a move that would reverse an entrenched tradition and is unlikely to see the light of day.

Premier Wen Jiabao promised in 2004 that August’s Beijing Games would be “smoke-free”, but there has been no announcement of Olympic restrictions with just months to go until the opening ceremony.

Beijing banned smoking in taxis last October, and in 1995 the city designated hospitals, schools, theatres, libraries, banks, shops and all public transport as smoke-free areas, a ban that is commonly ignored.

“Government departments and their employees are responsible for taking the lead in China’s tobacco control,” Xinhua news agency on Monday quoted Yan Aoshuang, a Beijing deputy to the National People’s Congress, as saying.

Mr Yan said government employees should not be allowed to accept cigarettes for free or at discounted prices from tobacco companies.

“Besides, all government offices should ban smoking in the workplace to ensure a smoking-free environment,” she said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

Mr Yan also said the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and Ministry of Culture should draft regulations to ban disguised tobacco adverts and smoking scenes in films and on television.

China is the world’s largest cigarette producer and Chinese are the world’s most enthusiastic smokers, with a growing market of about 320 million making it a magnet for multinationals and focus of international health concern.

Mainland cigarettes are also among the cheapest in the world, with a packet costing as little as US$0.08 (HK$0.62). Business deals are commonly signed in a pall of smoke and cigarettes are commonly offered as gifts.