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October 17th, 2008:

Croatia Bans Smoking In Most Public Places

Associated Press | 17 October 08 ZAGREB, Croatia – Smoking in most indoor public places in Croatia will soon be prohibited.

Croatia’s parliament approved a government bill Friday prohibiting smoking in offices, bars, restaurants, schools, hospitals and cafes. The ban has one exemption – psychiatric clinics. The government did not provide a reason why it gave them an exemption.

The Health minister is reported as saying smokers are all nuts anyway.

The ban will be enforced in schools and hospitals later this month, while restaurants and bars will be given time to adapt until April.

About 30 percent of Croatia’s 4.5 million people are believed to be smokers.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press

Addicted To Nicotine Gum

JANE SYMONS – The Sun Newspaper | 17 Oct 2008

RUBY WAX gave up smoking 12 years ago but remained hooked on nicotine for another ten years.

The nicotine replacement gum that should have been the solution to her addiction became a bigger problem than cigarettes ever were.

Ruby admits: “I was really addicted. I used the chewing gum for about ten years.

“I was chewing it even though I had sores in my mouth and it was doing terrible things to my stomach.”

Ruby ignored the instructions to chew the gum a couple of times then leave it in the mouth to slowly release nicotine.

Instead, she chomped through piece after piece, demolishing two packs of gum a day -the equivalent of 48 cigarettes.

Health experts recommend using no more than 15 pieces of nicotine replacement gum a day and advise quitters to try to wean themselves off it within three months.

But Ruby, who is about to start filming a new sitcom in Kenya, ignored the warnings and developed the secrecy and sneakiness that often go hand in hand with an addiction.

She admits: “I would buy it from different chemists so they didn’t realise how much I was using. It was so hard. If I had one, I would eat the whole pack.

“It cost me just as much as cigarettes and it was just as dangerous -you still get cancer, just a different type of cancer.”

Ruby found it easy to keep her nicotine addiction secret.

There was no telltale smell of stale smoke and the constant chewing became part of her sassy American image.

Not even her own children realised she was hooked. Ruby finally conquered her gum habit with the help of counsellors from Allen Carr’s Easyway.

But she says: “It still lurks around the corner. If I’m in a pharmacy I’ll notice the gum, like an old lover.”

The HK Broadcasting Authority’s Public Consultation on Provisions on Advertising of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Products (WC2/2008)

Dr Judith Mackay – World Lung Foundation/Bloomberg Initiative – Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control – 17 October 2008


The harm caused by smoking is immediately reduced and can be virtually eliminated over time after smokers quit. This is true even for lifelong smokers.

Many people have little trouble kicking the habit, while others struggle through a difficult cycle of personal change.

While most smokers quit on their own (“cold turkey”), there are an increasing number of programmes and aides are helping to liberate smokers from their addiction. Nicotine replacement therapies (gum, patch, and inhaler) are available, with or without prescription, in most countries. Pharmacologic agents, such as bupropion and varenicline, are widely approved for use in smoking cessation.

Cessation programs not only change individual lives, they also reshape social norms and community values, fostering a world where children are less likely to casually experiment with cigarettes, and the confidence of adults in their ability to quit is strengthened.


NRT is a product entirely designed and marketed to encourage smokers to quit. NRT is pure nicotine. It is nicotine for which smokers smoke, so NRT satisfies smokers’ craving for smoking, yet delivers a much safer product. NRT therefore does not contain any of the cancer-producing elements, or thothat cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nicotine has an effect on the arteries, but this single component is infinitely safer than the thousands of dangerous chemicals in tobacco.

NRT doubles, if not trebles the quitting rates, if used properly, with support. It behoves the health authorities to support and promote the use of any product that saves lives to this extent.

There is no evidence that NRT encourages youth non-smokers to start smoking

In practice, the pharmaceutical industry puts funds into promoting NRT, and this amplifies any health promotion that the health departments and organisations are producing.

I do not know of any circumstances where the marketing of NRT has been in conflict with the messages of the health authorities.

HK Consultation document

Section 5 a, b:

I am not convinced that the advertisements for NRT need to comply with the advertisements for tobacco itself. The latter is in a uniquely different category, killing 50% of its users. NRT is designed to save lives.

Clauses 5 c,d,e are sensible and acceptable.

In addition to the relaxing of the advertising of NRT, the issue of allowing broadcasting of other proven tobacco cessation products cannot be ignored, and should be considered. I am not proposing a free for all, but only those approved by a medical licensing authority, or approved by WHO.

Finally, World Health Organisation is fully in favour of Public-Private partnerships, such as with the pharmaceutical industry, as it is realised that tobacco use cannot be reduced by the public sector alone.

Dr Judith Mackay, SBS, OBE, FRCP(Edin), FRCP(Lon)
Director, Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control
Riftswood, 9th milestone
DD 229, Lot 147
Clearwater Bay Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2719-1995
Fax: +852 2719-5741