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July 5th, 2009:

Smokers face A$20 cigarette packs

The Government is being urged to slash smoking rates to 9 per cent within a decade. (Reuters: Charles Platiau, file photo)

The Cancer Council says it would welcome any proposal for an increase in the price of cigarettes.

The Federal Government is currently analysing a series of recommendations aimed at reducing smoking rates put forward by the National Preventative Health Taskforce.

Newspaper reports say the yet-to-be-released recommendations suggest increasing the tax on cigarettes to more than $20 a packet and a move to plain packaging.

Cancer Council Australia chief executive Professor Ian Olver says increasing tobacco prices is the best way to reduce smoking rates.

“If you put up the price by 10 per cent per pack, you can actually drive down a country’s smoking rate by 4 per cent, which is an enormous impact on health care,” he said.

“But Australia has been lagging behind over many years in increasing that price.”

The taskforce has urged the Government to slash smoking rates over the next decade to 9 per cent.

It believes the price rise could convince 306,000 adults to quit and prevent 183,000 children from eventually taking up the habit.

Alarmed tobacco companies claim the measures could be unlawful.

Under the changes, cigarette packets would be generic and plain with larger graphic health warnings taking up about 90 per cent of the front and 100 per cent of the back.

Newspaper reports say tobacco companies also face a blanket ban on all sponsorship, internet sales, public relations activities and corporate responsibility donations.


Give Me Five


Presenter : Andrew Dembina
Lively local and international personalities pick five pieces of music that have impacted their lives.

James Middleton, chairman of the Anti-Tobacco Committee of Clear the Air shares his five musical favourites with Andrew Dembina.

Hoteliers lash out at Chinese tourists

Lee Ying and Lin Hsiu-tzu, Taipei Times

Taiwan’s travel industry is being forced to deal with many negative consequences — from damaged hotel equipment to delayed payments — coming from the influx of Chinese tourists, hotel operators and travel agencies said.

One year ago yesterday, Taiwan allowed the first Chinese tourist groups to enter the country on direct cross-strait flights. However, one year later, Taiwan’s hotel and tourism operators have more to complain about than to praise regarding their guests from across the Strait.

Although Chinese tourists did increase occupancy at hotels and boarding houses, they have also caused a lot of trouble, hotel and boarding house operators said at a meeting with Taipei County Tourism and Travel Bureau Director Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) earlier this week.

One hotel operator in Taipei County said that after his hotel stopped providing ashtrays following the January ban on smoking indoors, Chinese tourists began smoking in their rooms and putting their cigarettes out on the carpet and wooden tables, or use its bathroom cups as ashtrays.

Another hotel operator said that although his hotel provides ironing boards in the rooms, Chinese tourists often iron their clothes directly on the floor, burning the carpets.

He said that he had even found a missing alarm clock in the electric water boiler in the room one time after guests from China left.

Other hotel operators said that while it was not news that guests often steal towels and slippers, they still found it quite shocking that Chinese tourists would take shoe brushes, shoe horns, hangers and even closet door knobs away.

Hotel and tourism operators said that some of the other complaints they often receive about Chinese tourists include littering, walking around wearing only underwear in public areas and spitting.

Chin said that hotel operators could ask Chinese tourists to leave a deposit when they check in. However, representatives from the Tourism Bureau and travel agencies were opposed to it, saying there was no legal basis for requiring deposits and that it may make Chinese tourists feel that they are targets of discrimination.

China, on the other hand, suggested that hotels should ask travel agencies to pay for damage inflicted by their customers.

Meanwhile, travel agencies complained in a separate meeting that their partner travel agencies in China often write checks payable only after three to six months, causing them tremendous financial pressure.