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December, 2011:

WHO imposes Rs 250-cr tobacco tax on India

WHO imposes Rs 250-crore tobacco tax on India
Anindita Dey / Mumbai December 31, 2011, 0:53 IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has imposed a Rs 250-crore tax on India, for non-compliance of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) by the WHO.

Official sources said, the tax called as “solidarity tobacco tax” has been imposed on 43 countries for not complying with the proposed anti-tobacco measures in 2008-09.

The amount is an annual tax to be paid for each year, since 2009, till it fully complies. Countering the move, the Union ministry of commerce and ministry of health have questioned the validity of WHO as a body to put a tax on any country. It can advise and recommend measures and countries could do their best to comply after taking into account their specific issues and problems, said a senior official source.

The ministry of health , however, has conveyed to the WHO, steps taken by it for cutting down tobacco usage. India has ratified the WHO — FCTC in 2004 and as on date 173 countries, representing 87.4 per cent of the world’s population, are parties to the treaty. In the light of the tobacco-control treaty, it is proposed to reduce the area under tobacco cultivation in India , particularly the non-exportable types of tobacco, from the present 0.45 million hectares to 0.20 mha by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan. There would be then a targeted production of 250 million kg of exportable types of tobacco viz, Flue-cured Virginia (FCV), Burley and Oriental only.

The Union commerce ministry is also of the view that it is not easy to cut down production immediately, as around 36 million people in the country depend on tobacco production, processing and marketing. Across value chain, farmers, workers have to be assured alternate and remunerative crops and jobs.

Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry has already started the process of cutting down the production. It would identify viable alternative crops to be grown instead of tobacco and fix the remuneration to be given to farmers for winding up cultivation, of one of the most valuable cash crops. This would be done in co-ordination with the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI) and the health ministry, the nodal ministry for tobacco production control.

On the employment side, the commerce ministry is co-ordinating with ministry of rural development to run tobacco-employment schemes in processing industry under other government employment-guarantee schemes.

In India, tobacco enterprise contributes Rs 20,000 crores annually, through foreign exchange earnings and internal excise revenue.

CTRI has suggested various sets of alternative crops to the ministry for this programme. Officials said, farmers would have to grow two sets of crops in place of one to make good the loss they might incur on account of not growing the cash crop.

They added, farmers could grow one kharif and one rabi crop to get the same value. In Karnataka, tobacco farmers could switch to kharif/rabi mix of ragi/wheat, while in West Bengal, the mix could be potato/wheat. In Tamil Nadu, the mix could be drumstick/chilli or vegetables, jowar, sunflower, or even banana. Now bamboo, another high value cash crop has been suggested to the farmers. Ends

Glitzy adverts encourage young to smoke

IT'S PLAIN TO SEE ... Ailsa Rutter of Fresh is backing the BHF's call.

IT’S PLAIN TO SEE … Ailsa Rutter of Fresh is backing the BHF’s call.

Published on Saturday 31 December 2011 09:00

YOUNGSTERS in South Tyneside are being hoodwinked by glitzy cigarette adverts, say anti-smoking campaigners calling for plain packaging to be introduced.

More than 13 per cent of 12 to 25-year-olds surveyed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) say they believed a branded cigarette pack was less harmful than a plain one – despite the reality being that the contents of both packages are as dangerous as each other.

Findings from the BHF’s report have been published ahead of a Government consultation on whether the UK should adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.

The report revealed that 79 per cent of young people in the North East thought selling cigarettes in ‘plain packs’ – with no colourful branding or logos, and larger health warnings – would make it easier for people to smoke less or quit.

Almost a fifth (18 per cent) said they’d consider the pack design when deciding which cigarettes to buy.!image/2914864755.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_215/2914864755.jpg

Betty McBride, director of policy and communications for the BHF, said: “As informed adults, we know that smoking is a deadly addiction.

“But young people are not always fully aware of the risks, and the power of branding holds more sway. Tobacco advertising is rightly banned in the UK.

“Yet glitzy packaging clearly still advertises tobacco on the cigarette box. It’s an absurd loophole the tobacco industry takes full advantage of to lure in new young smokers.

“We must act if we really want to protect younger generations from taking up this fatal habit.”

Eighty-five per cent of those questioned in the North East thought plain packs were less attractive than branded ones, and 63 per cent of those surveyed agreed that cigarette packaging was a form of advertising.

Ailsa Rutter, director of tobacco lobbying group Fresh, said: “We are fully supporting the call for plain tobacco packaging as branded packaging is one of the tobacco industry’s leading promotional tools, recruiting children and young people to a lifetime of addiction.

“The majority of North East smokers start around 15-years-old and we are particularly seeing smoking become prevalent among young women, who are being targeted by the tobacco industry with new slimline cigarettes in a bid to exploit and encourage an obsession with fashion and staying slim.

“Glamorous packaging helps to attract new customers. If it didn’t the tobacco industry wouldn’t spend millions of pounds developing new designs.”

In November, the Australian Government agreed cigarettes need to be sold in standardised plain packs of the same colour without any logos or branding imagery. They will also include large picture health warnings on the front and back of the packs, which will be mandatory from December next year.

The British Government is now due to launch a public consultation on whether the UK should adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.

The BHF will be asking for a plain packaging bill to be introduced into Parliament, and for ministers to seek amendments to the EU Tobacco Products Directive, enabling large front-of-pack picture health warnings.

The charity is sending copies of its report to all MPs inside Australian-style plain cigarette packets in the new year, and is asking members of the public to register their support for plain packaging at

Tobacco price hike to kick in

New Zealand – a packet of cigarettes now costs HK$ 83 in NZ versus HK$50 in Hong Kong and HK$ 72 in Singapore

Tobacco price hike to kick in (Source: ONE News)

Cigarettes on display in a shop – Source: ONE News

Vowing to give up cigarettes may be a New Year’s resolution for more smokers than usual this year as the tax on tobacco increases from the first day of 2012.

The last of the three-tiered tax increase will push the cost of the most popular brand of cigarettes to $13.80 for a 20 pack (HK$ 83) and to $31 for a 30g pack of loose tobacco.

Quitline Chief Executive Paula Snowden said January is a notoriously busy time of year and the tax increase will only increase the number of smokers looking for support.

“80% of smokers wished they’d never started smoking and we expect the January tax jump will be a trigger for many to quit,” said Snowden.

“Those who use Quitline support are up to five times more likely to succeed than going it alone.”

Snowden said the tax hike will mean smokers can look forward to saving $4500 in 2012 if they give up in time for the New Year.

“For a family with one adult smoking one packet a day, that equates to a tank of petrol a week.

“Over a month it’s an average week’s rent or a car payment -serious money out of the family budget,” said Snowden.

In January 2011, 9,383 people quit smoking with the help of Quitline – almost double the number who used the service in January 2010.

Anyone wanting support can call Quitline for free on 0800 778 778 or visit for online support.

BA City bars and restaurants now 100% smoke-free

The City of Buenos Aires put forth the steps to become 100% smoke-free, after amendments were made yesterday to the anti-tobacco laws, totally prohibiting the use of smoking areas in restaurants and bars in the capital.

The City Government put forward the measure in a bid to ensure all closed public areas in the Capital be completely smoke-free.

The amendments were finalised late last night, to the law that was voted in December 2010, bringing vast changes to Buenos Aires cafe culture, as those who smoke will now have to go outside.

Plainly, sites that constructed special smoking areas within bars and restaurants as early as 2005, when article 21 of law 1799 insisted tobacco controls be put in place – will now be left slightly astray due to the new measures taken by the Macri administration.

According to official sources, most downtown bars and restaurants already closed these areas –that put other customers and moreover, café/bar staff at risk of secondhand smoking- after the anti-tobacco laws were passed last year. However for those that hadn’t, now will be their time to do so in the latest move by the City government to crackdown on smoking.

Anti-smoking measure comes before council

ORLAND — After several lengthy discussions, the Orland City Council is getting ready for its third “first read” of a new ordinance that would put limits on where people could smoke in public.

The topic has been up for discussion five times since October, after students involved in the SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) group brought forward a petition about smoking and the suggestion for rules similar to those some other cities have adopted.

Over several meetings, councilors have heard from the public and some people have voiced concerns about new regulations, whether people at work could find places to smoke, whether police have time to enforce new rules, and whether business owners would be faced with approaching people.

Each discussion has included changes to the proposed rules.

At the last meeting in December, new Mayor Wade Elliott and Councilor Bruce Roundy seemed to be in favor of the latest write-up, which will be discussed Tuesday night.

As it looks now, people would be prohibited from smoking within 20 feet of the main entry way of businesses in Orland. Back doors would be OK.

Smoking would also be limited in playgrounds, sporting fields and picnic areas in local parks.There would also not be smoking in outdoor cafes.

The city would put up signs where smoking is allowed and business owners could put up signs only if that’s what they wished. The fines would be $25 to $100, enforced by local law enforcement.

Students from

the high school who are members of the SWAT group have stated in several different ways that this is a public health issue.

Sharon Lazorko, Glenn County Public Health coordinator, has been working with the students on the project, and attending the public meetings since October.

Ordinances are easier to pass when they originate from the city, and this one has gone through many changes as concerns have been raised by the public, she noted.

“The students have been very courageous and engaged. They have not given up,” she said.

While many cities have adopted rules for public smoking, it is often more difficult in rural areas because there is a “resistance to government intrusion,” Lazorko said. Yet, this is a public health issue, she said.

The first reading is scheduled for Tuesday. If there are no additional changes, the second meeting and a vote could take place in late January.

Staff writer Heather Hacking can be reached at 896-7758 or

Public meeting

The Orland City Council

7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Carnegie Hall

912 Third St

Wrexham Maelor To Install Loudspeaker Alarms To Stop Smoking

WrexhamMaelorHospital Wrexham Maelor To Install Loudspeaker Alarms To Stop Smoking

Loudspeaker alarms are set to be installed outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital as of next week to stop people smoking outside its entrances.

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board announced the measures, which will include new signs outside the hospitals main entrances and maternity units, as part of its Smoke Free Policy.

The alarms will be activated if any patients, staff or visitors smoke in these areas and a bilingual message issued telling them to stop.

They will also be installed outside Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor and Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan.

It is estimated that around 1,300 deaths are caused every year across North Wales by smoking and it is the number one cause of avoidable premature death and ill health in Wales

Professor Matthew Makin, Chief of Staff for the Cancer and Palliative Medicine Clinical Programme Group and Tobacco Champion for the Health Board said: “Visitors who might not be aware of the policy and who persist to smoke on our grounds will be told politely, but firmly, that they are contravening the new policy and will be asked to stop smoking, or to do so off health board grounds.

“People smoking at the entrances to our buildings or on grounds give a very poor impression and means that those entering and leaving the buildings have to pass through tobacco smoke.

“I’m in no doubt that the vast majority of staff, visitors and patients want a smoke free environment and agree that people smoking outside hospital entrances is unacceptable. That is why we are ensuring that for staff and patients who smoke, we do everything we can to support them to give up.

Andrew Jones, Executive Director of Public Health for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “As a practicing public health organisation, we want to practice what we preach.

“We are committed to our comprehensive tobacco strategy and action plan which includes smoking cessation support for pre-operative patients, pregnant women and their partners and for people with mental health needs or chronic health conditions.

“The new Smoke Free Policy also highlights our commitment to supporting our staff to quit smoking by providing a maximum of six hours paid time off over a period of eight weeks to attend Stop Smoking Wales or Smoke Free England sessions.”

Treating smoking related illnesses costs the NHS in Wales an estimated £1million every day and also accounts for 22% of all adult hospital admission costs and 13% of GP consultation costs.

Latest data shows that approximately 76% of the adult population in North Wales do not smoke, this means that almost eight out of ten visitors, patients or staff on any NHS site are non-smokers.
Read more about Wrexham Maelor To Install Loudspeaker Alarms To Stop Smoking | by null


Central PA Health Care System Will No Longer Hire Smokers,0,5773276.story

Revolution in smoking aims to stub out cigarettes – with the help of tobacco firms–with-the-help-of-tobacco-firms-6283415.html

New substitutes deliver a hit of nicotine and mimic the sensation but without the lethal effects

Jeremy Laurance

Saturday 31 December 2011

Revolution in smoking aims to stub out cigarettes – with the help of tobacco firms

Britain is on the brink of a revolution in smoking which aims to eradicate the cigarette.

Click here to view a graphic explaining how the ‘e-cigarette’ works

Companies, including some of the biggest names in tobacco, are poised to launch a generation of devices that mimic the experience of smoking without the lethal effects.

One, being developed by a 29-year-old Oxford graduate, has attracted the attention of BAT, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, which has bought the rights to market it. A profusion of electronic and other devices has appeared in the past year, thanks to a legal loophole which allows them to be sold freely so long as they do not make any health claim .

An estimated 10 million “e-cigarettes”, which are shaped to look like the real thing and simulate smoking by heating nicotine to produce an inhaled mist, have been sold worldwide. Other devices, similar to asthma inhalers, deliver the nicotine as a vapour or powder drawn directly into the mouth or lungs.

UK regulators are considering ways to bring the new devices within the law but campaigners are insisting on “light touch” controls which could make it legal to market them in newsagents and supermarkets alongside cigarettes. Pure nicotine, though highly addictive, has few side effects and a low risk of overdose – it is the tobacco in which it is contained that is lethal.

But the idea has caused alarm among some experts, who say it is wrong to promote nicotine dependency. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which licenses medicines, has begun a programme of research following a consultation exercise on the risks to consumers from the products and the impact of regulation. It is due to make a final decision on how to regulate them by spring 2013.

The Royal College of Physicians has called for the devices to be made more widely available. In a 2007 report, the college argued for a “harm reduction” approach which aimed to move smokers on to safer substitutes, to supplement the existing therapeutic approach using nicotine patches and gum to help smokers to give up. The Cabinet Office’s behavioural insight team has backed the new technology. In its report in September, the unit said: “If alternative and safe nicotine products can be developed which are attractive enough to substitute people away from traditional cigarettes, they could have the potential to save 10,000s of lives a year.”

John Britton, professor of epidemiology and director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham, said: “There are very few areas where the UK leads the world, but we do on this. We have a government that is considering changes to the way nicotine is sold and marketed which has the potential to save thousands of lives in this country and millions worldwide. No other country is doing this – but a lot are watching.”

Responses to the MHRA consultation mostly supported a form of “light touch” regulation which would ensure the devices were safe but would not deter companies by requiring them to conduct expensive trials as for medicines. But some organisations, including local authority regulators, the Trading Standards Institute and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health warned that e-cigarettes were “bypassing all legislative controls” and posed a safety risk to users and a danger to children.

The Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services called for e-cigarettes and similar devices to be licensed as medicines, like nicotine patches and gum. Experts say this would effectively amount to a ban, as manufacturers would not pay for the necessary clinical trials.

Others warn that making the devices widely available could lead to non-smokers becoming addicted or act as a “gateway” to tobacco for children.

Most e-cigarettes are made in China. A survey for Ash, the anti-smoking charity, found one smoker in 10 had tried them and 3 per cent had continued to use them. A spokesman for Ash said: “E-cigarettes have taken off in the last year. Companies are taking the opportunity to market them while they are unregulated. We think light touch regulation is a sensible way forward. Compared to smoking, they are not nearly as harmful. But there is still too much uncertainty about their safety.”

Case Study: Ex-Tesco boss backs new ‘safe’ cigarette

Alex Hearne believes he has cracked the problem that has defied efforts for 50 years – developing a safer, satisfying substitute for the cigarette.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur and inventor, who studied classics at Oxford University, claims to have discovered how to deliver medicinal nicotine into the lungs in a way that does not risk smokers’ health.

He says his device, similar to an asthma inhaler, provides “all the psychological cues and sensations of smoking.”

He is backed by Sir Terry Leahy, ex-boss of Tesco. His company, Kind Consumer, has sold the marketing rights to British American Tobacco, which has set up an arms length firm, Nicoventures, to boost the device. Nicoventures aims to apply for a licence to allow the device to be marketed as a “treatment” for smokers, like nicotine gum or patches

The tobacco market is worth some £12.5bn a year. Yet spend on nicotine substitutes is £100m and fewer than one in five smokers like the products. Mr Hearne says: “The thing that sets our invention apart… is not just the fact it mimics the psychological rituals and routines of smoking cigarettes, but that it is designed to match the physiological effects of nicotine in-take by smokers.”

NYC To Casual Smokers: Quit Or Die!


Smoking, Nanny Bloomberg likes to remind us, will kill you. But don’t think that your “I only smoke bummed ciggies at parties” routine makes you safe. Oh, no. The Department of Health wants you to know YOU COULD STILL DIE. So they’re launching a print and TV campaign to help “light smokers” become “nonsmokers.” Because you don’t want to die, do you?

According to the city “light smokers” (who smoke less than 10 a day) make up 34 percent of the city’s smoking population. But:

Like heavier smokers, light smokers are at an increased risk of smoking-related death and disease, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and some cancers. Adults who smoke even one to four cigarettes per day have nearly three times the risk for heart disease than that of a non-smoker. Another study in Tobacco Control found that women light smokers, ages 35 to 49, are five times more likely than nonsmokers to develop lung cancer. Men have 3 times the risk. Research also points to an increased risk of mortality for light smokers compared with non-smokers. Among women, in fact, light smokers had a 4- to 6-year average loss of life compared to non-smokers.

You hear that ladies? Those casual puffs are especially killing you. But it doesn’t have to be so (if you don’t want it to). So, through January 15, the city is doing one of its regular free patch and gum programs, this time aimed at the light smoker set. To get yours, call 311 or go click here. Beyond the print ads, the DOH made another commercial for this campaign (not yet online), anyone seen it yet?

Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

By Garth Johnston in News on December 30, 2011 1:27 PM

Acute pulmonary effects of using an e-cigarette: impact on respiratory flow resistance, impedance and exhaled nitric oxide

Constantine I. Vardavas, MPH, PhD,

2. Nektarios Anagnostopoulos, MD,

3. Marios Kougias, MD,

4. Vassiliki Evangelopoulou, MD,

5. Gregory N. Connolly, DMD, MPH and

6. Panagiotis K. Behrakis, MD, PhD

+ Author Affiliations

1.   Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development & Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA and Smoking and Lung Cancer Research Center, Hellenic Cancer Society, Athens, Greece (Dr Vardavas, (;
2.   Smoking and Lung Cancer Research Center, Hellenic Cancer Society, Athens, Greece and Laboratory of Respiratory Physiology, Department of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece (Dr Anagnostopoulos( and Dr Kougias (;
3.   Smoking and Lung Cancer Research Center, Hellenic Cancer Society, Athens, Greece (Dr Evangelopoulou(;
4.   Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development & Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA (Dr Connolly (;
5.   Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development & Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA and Smoking and Lung Cancer Research Center, Hellenic Cancer Society, Athens, Greece and Laboratory of Respiratory Physiology, Department of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece (Dr Behrakis

1.   Corresponding author:
Dr. Constantine I Vardavas, Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development & Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA Email:


Background: Debate exists as to the scientific evidence for their claims that e-cigarettes have no health related ramifications. Our aim was to assess whether using an e-cigarette for five minutes has an impact on pulmonary function tests and exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) among healthy adult smokers.

Methods: 30 healthy non smokers (ages 19-56, 14 male) participated in this laboratory based experimental vs. control group study. Ab lib use of an e-cigarette for 5 minutes with the cartridge included (experimental group n=30) or removed from the device (control group n=10) was assessed.

Results: Using an e-cigarette for 5 minutes was found to lead to an immediate decrease in exhaled FeNO within the experimental group by 2.14ppb, (p=0.005) while not in the control group (p=0.859). Total impedance (Z5Hz) in the experimental group was found to also increase by 0.033kPa/(L/s) (p<0.001) while flow resistance at R5Hz, R10Hz and R20Hz also statistically increased.). Regression analyses controlling for baseline measurements indicated statistically significant decrease in FeNO and an increase in impedance by 0.04kPa/(L/s), (p=0.003), resistance at R5Hz by 0.04kPa/(L/s), (p=0.003),at R10Hz by 0.034kPa/(L/s), (p=0.008), at R20Hz by 0.043kPa/(L/s), (p=0.007), and overall peripheral airway resistance (beta: 0.042 kPa/(L/s), (p=0.024), after using an e-cigarette.

Conclusions: E-cigarettes assessed in the context of this study were found to have immediate adverse physiologic effects after short term use that are similar to some of the effects seen with tobacco smoking, however the long term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown but potentially adverse and worthy of further investigation.

Copyright © 2011 American College of Chest Physicians