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May 26th, 2012:

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Kids suffer long-term from parents smoking study

The News International – 1 day ago

Children exposed to their parents’ cigarette smoke are at greater risk of suffering serious cardiovascular health problems later in life, a study showed

Smoking parents an ill wind for children’s health‎ Herald Sun
Parental smoking damaging children’s arteries‎ ABC Online
Kids suffer long-term from parents’ smoking: study‎ AFP

A smoke-free country? New Zealand taxes aim for it

A smoke-free country? New Zealand taxes aim for it

Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 7:01 pm | (0) Comments

Brett Phibbs

In this Jan. 18, 2012 photo, a smoker puffs on a cigarette in the central business district in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand’s government on Thursday, May 24, 2012, squeezed smokers more than ever by announcing a 40 percent hike in tobacco taxes over the next four years. Officials hope higher taxes and new restrictions will bring the nation of 4.4 million closer to a recent pledge to snuff out the habit entirely by 2025. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Brett Phibbs)

There are smoke-free bars, smoke-free parks, even smoke-free college campuses. But a smoke-free country?

New Zealand’s government on Thursday squeezed smokers more than ever by announcing a 40 percent hike in tobacco taxes over the next four years. Prices here are already among the highest in the world, and by 2016 they will top 20 New Zealand dollars ($15) a pack on average.

Officials hope higher taxes and new restrictions will bring the nation of 4.4 million closer to a recent pledge to snuff out the habit entirely by 2025. Other countries have lauded the idea of trying to wean their populace off tobacco, but few, if any, have been willing to put a date on it.

Health officials here are so serious they recently considered hiking the cost of a pack of cigarettes to 100 New Zealand dollars ($75). Although that idea was dismissed, another measure, which will force retailers to hide cigarettes below the counter rather than putting them on display, will come into effect in July.

Smoking rates among New Zealand adults have fallen from about 30 percent in 1986 to about 20 percent today. Cigarette sales have fallen more sharply, suggesting that even people who haven’t quit cut back as prices rose.

People who are still smoking aren’t happy about where prices are going.

Chris Hobman said the cost is “horrendous” and could drive some low-income people to commit crimes to support their habit. He said the government needs to provide more support and alternatives to smokers if it’s serious about making them quit.

Wellington resident Hayley Mauriohooho, who has smoked for about 20 years, said that although it would be good if more people quit, higher taxes won’t stop her.

“It’s quite ridiculous for the government to be concentrating on that,” she said. “They have bigger things to worry about.”

New Zealand’s Cancer Society reacted to Thursday’s announcement by sending out a press release titled “Thumbs Up!”

Michael Colhoun, a spokesman for the anti-smoking lobby group ASH, said the fact that a higher percentage of low-income people smoke will mean the tax increases will force many to cut back or quit entirely because they simply won’t be able to afford their habit.

The New Zealand branch of cigarette company British American Tobacco says the tax increases will force consumers to turn to the black market.

“Consumer demand is far better served by legitimate companies than by the illegal operators that will surely grow as the government makes it increasingly difficult for people to buy their product of choice,” wrote Susan Jones, head of corporate and regulatory affairs, in an email.

So far, New Zealand officials have seen few cases of illegal tobacco sales.

The South Pacific nation’s smoking statistics are similar to those in other developed countries. According to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization, about 20 percent of adult New Zealanders smoke. That compares to about 16 percent of adults in the U.S., 17 percent in Australia, 23 percent in China and 27 percent in France.

New Zealand already charges more than 70 percent tax on cigarettes, compared to 41 percent on average for China, 45 percent on average for the U.S., 64 percent for Australia and 80 percent for France.

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South Korean smokers to feel the heat

May 26 2012 at 01:53pm
By Nam You-Sun

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Copy of cigarette jan

File Photo

Seoul – After decades of indifference, big businesses and the government are turning up the heat on smokers in South Korea, a nation with one of the developed world’s highest male smoking rates.

Some firms are pressing workers to kick the habit or miss out on promotion and the health ministry will toughen warnings on cigarette packs.

Seoul council plans eventually to make one fifth of the city’s total area smoke-free. Even the military is getting in on the act:

army draftees undergoing basic training will get advice from a clinic on ways to quit.

But successive national governments – fearful of an electoral backlash – have held back from raising the tax on cigarettes.

About 44.3 percent of South Korean men smoked in 2009, according to the latest available data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This compares to an average among all member nations of 26.5 percent for men.

The smoking rate among Korean women is low due to social taboos.

Samsung Electronics, the country’s largest employer, is at the forefront of efforts to cajole workers to quit smoking.

Executives of its Device Solutions (DS) department, which employs 35,000 people out of a total of 101,970 Samsung Electronics staff in Korea, recently called on staffers to join a non-smoking programme.

A company spokesman said almost all DS employees had made non-smoking pledges as part of what it called a “well-received” voluntary programme.

The department “considers employees as the company’s most valuable asset, and their health and well-being are a top priority. The recent smoking cessation programme is an extension of that belief,” a statement said.

The spokesman said the company as a whole was considering strengthening anti-smoking policies.

“Certain consequences for smokers are under consideration. They haven’t been finalised nor enforced,” he said, adding smoking could be a factor affecting promotion prospects.

The Woongjin Group, which has wide ranging businesses, has also tightened its policies. It said promotions made in February took smoking into account and all new employees must sign an anti-smoking pledge.

“The announcements were made prior to the promotion process, so there weren’t any complaints from those who didn’t get promotion,” said its spokeswoman.

Woongjin conducts random hair and urine tests on a large number of employees at irregular intervals.

Media reports say some other major companies employ similar tactics, even though they publicly deny pressuring employees. Some employees say they don’t object.

“At first, I had negative feelings about the policy because it was too forceful. But as I followed along, I began to think it was good for me,” said Che Young-Jin, 31, who recently quit smoking.

Outside the workplace, Seoul city government has banned smoking in plazas and parks and near bus stops and schools. Offenders face a 100,000 won (about R700) fine.

“We caught 240 cases last year at main plazas and parks and this year, our 23 officers are going to random spots and catching about three to five smokers every day,” said Song Yo-Sang, a manager at the city government.

By 2014, the city plans to make 21 percent of its total area a non-smoking zone. It is considering a blanket ban on smoking in all public areas except for some designated spots.

The health ministry will increase the size of warning messages on cigarette packs from 30 percent of the surface area to 50


“Two more messages, which are a counselling hotline number and a message that inhalation of tar depends on smoking habits, will be printed with the original message,” said Song Myoung-Jun, a ministry deputy director.

The ministry also plans to use graphic warning pictures, such as diseased lungs, on packs although it may take time to amend laws to permit this.

But officials are still hesitant to raise the cigarette tax, the lowest among OECD nations. A pack of Marlboro costs just 2,700 won ($2.31).

Song acknowledged the price was low but said a rise “requires social consensus”.

Some smokers say South Korea’s new-found zeal is excessive.

“Conducting tests and constantly pressuring employees to quit smoking even after work clearly violates human rights,” said Hong Sung-Yong, director of the Korea Smoker’s Association.

“People shouldn’t make smokers look like barbarians when smoking is legal and we pay the rightful amount of taxes,” he said, calling on Seoul city to designate public smoking areas.

“Prohibiting smoking is like pushing smokers off the brink and merely shows that they don’t care at all about smokers’ rights,” Hong said. – Sapa-AFP

Lord’s smoking alert after Sky complains about MCC members’ cigars during England versus West Indies Test

And the Lord said, thou shalt not smoke…………………old chap.

MCC is reviewing its smoking policy after complaints from Sky Sports over members smoking cigars close to its cameramen.

Lord's smoking alert after Sky complain about MCC members' cigars during England versus West Indies Test

Taking a puff: MCC is to look into the placing of smoking areas at the ground Photo: GETTY IMAGES

By Nick Hoult

8:11PM BST 22 May 2012


The broadcaster wrote to complain during the Lord’s Test and the MCC moved one of the cameras away from the smoking area on the final two days of the match.

But the cameraman was moved to an area not usable when the ground is full as it would obstruct the view of paying spectators, leaving the club with a problem before the one-day international against Australia on June 29.

Lord’s is the only Test ground in England which has designated smoking areas in the stands and moves to ban it would be unpopular with some members, who are unlikely to be calmed by the use of health and safety regulations as an explanation.

But a stand-off between the club and English cricket’s host broadcaster, which props up the game to the tune of nearly £100  million per year, could follow if the matter is not resolved.

“Smoking is allowed in 10 percent of seating on the lower concourse of the pavilion and a small area in the upper balcony as well,” said an MCC spokesman.

“We will review the placing of these smoking areas and will do so before the next major match. We are a members club so if a small percentage of members want an area in which to smoke we have to take that into account but we will review our smoking policy as we always do on an annual basis.”

Unpaid smoking fines put bar licenses in jeopardy

Area liquor permits at risk over fines from smoking violations. Ohio’s anti-smoking law gains traction.



The Froggy Blues Café in Monroe owes $34,000. Staff photo by Gary Stelzer

GARY STELZER/MBR The Froggy Blues Café in Monroe owes $34,000. Staff photo by Gary Stelzer

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By Beena Raghavendran, Staff Writer 12:56 AM Saturday, May 26, 2012

A number of area drinking establishments are at risk of losing their liquor permits if they don’t pay smoking fines levied against them, health officials said.

Ohio’s Smoke-Free Workplace Act gained more teeth this week when it was ruled constitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. The court rejected a Columbus tavern owner’s case that said requiring establishments to pay the smoking fine was an illegal taking of property. The law, passed in 2006, makes smoking in most public places illegal. Easy’s in the Village has the most unpaid fines from smoking violations in Butler and Warren counties, according to hundreds of Ohio Health Department records examined by the Middletown Journal.

Owners of Easy’s in the Village did not returns calls for comment. The Hamilton bar owes $245,000 in unpaid smoking fines from the past five years. It’s one of several bars and pubs that still owe thousands of dollars in fines.

Unpaid smoking fines in area businesses add up to $34,000 at Froggy Blues Café in Monroe, $16,600 at Towne Pub in Hamilton and $11,500 at Scotty’s Pub in Fairfield, according to Ohio Department of Health invoices.

A bar’s first violation of the smoking ban is a warning from the Ohio Department of Health and a $100 fine; the second is a $500 fine; the third is a $1,000 fine; and the fourth and each subsequent offense is a $2,500 fine, according to ODH spokeswoman Shannon Libby.

State records show $3 million in fines have been issued in the past five years, but almost $2.3 million remains unpaid.

Ohio health officials say they hope collections improve now that the Supreme Court has declared the law constitutional and removed one of the justifications some businesses have used to withhold payment of fines.

However, budget cuts, a bad economy and the difficulty of collecting fines for offenses that are, legally speaking, the equivalent of parking tickets all play a part in the low collection rate.

“We have had some difficulty collecting,” said Amanda Burkett, chief of the Ohio Department of Health’s indoor environment section. “It’s not like you have a huge stick to get people to pay fines.”

The Butler County Health District has 57 smoking ban violations at or over the fourth offense, the fourth highest in Ohio, state records say. The county has had 1,810 reports and has undergone 862 investigations since the ban was enacted — the 11th highest number in the state.

Five Ohio establishments that have refused to pay could face revocation of their liquor licenses, said Ohio Attorney General spokesman Dan Tierney.

However, several area bars have continued to violate the ban and not pay, Libby said, and those that don’t pay risk not having their licenses renewed.

Jim Coffman, owner of Scotty’s Pub, said because the bar business is slow in the summer, many establishments cannot pay.

“If there’s a bar that says, ‘We’re not going to smoke anymore,’ they’re just going to go to another bar,” Coffman said.

The manager at Froggy Blues Café refused to comment, and the manager at Village and Towne Pub could not be reached.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Uphill battle to curb tobacco giants


The state-owned tobacco monopoly is undermining national anti-smoking efforts, according to campaigners and health experts on the mainland
Zhuang Pinghui
May 26, 2012

Anti-smoking campaigners and health experts have outlined eight tactics they say the mainland’s tobacco monopoly is using to undermine national efforts to curb the spread of the addictive product.

But they are fighting an uphill battle as the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, the government agency responsible for policy and enforcing regulations, such as warnings on packaging, controls the China National Tobacco Corporation, a state-owned monopoly and the largest single manufacturer of tobacco products in the world.

“China’s tobacco industry has taken advantage of its integration with a government agency to interfere and counter efforts to honour China’s commitment to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” said Dr Yang Gonghuan , director of the National Office of Tobacco Control.

A report, released on Thursday by the Think Tank Research Centre for Health Development, the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control and Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, listed eight key tactics tobacco firms use to counter anti-smoking efforts.

For instance, companies refuse to incorporate an image into the warnings on cigarette packaging, and have undermined the drive to raise tobacco taxes and prices, misleading the public into thinking that cigarettes with less tar are less harmful.

The report also criticises the industry for downplaying the treaty’s legal obligations, and whitewashing the health threat smoking and secondary smoking poses.

With 40 per cent of the world’s tobacco consumed on the mainland, cigarette sales have been the nation’s top source of tax revenue since 1987. Those earnings have grown at a double-digit pace since 2003, which is often why authorities are resistant to activists’ efforts to curb smoking.

Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, re-elected this week as head of the World Health Organisation, denounced the tobacco industry in March as a “ruthless and devious enemy” that used its deep pockets to stymie efforts to curb smoking.

WHO has made industry interference the theme of this year’s “World No Tobacco Day”, which will fall on Thursday.

China ratified a framework convention in September 2005, but missed its deadline last year to ban smoking in all indoor public areas.

The requisite legislation has not even been drafted, after which it is usually submitted for public consultation before heading to the National People’s Congress.

Some cities have passed laws that are close to fulfilling the convention’s obligations. For example, Harbin , in Heilongjiang , banned smoking in all public indoor areas, including workplaces.

“Tobacco companies use a wide rage of tactics, legal and illegal, to introduce, promote and sell their products,” said Dr Susan Henderson, a technical adviser for the Tobacco Free Initiative with WHO.

“For instance, they falsely legitimise themselves as a responsible corporate citizen, often through sponsorships. In China, it was demonstrated by the sponsorship of schools after the earthquake in Sichuan.”

Some local tobacco corporations have also established scholarships for impoverished pupils.

The report accused the China National Tobacco Corporation of misleading the public by trumpeting research that “Chinese-style” cigarettes, mixed with Chinese herbs, reduced the associated health damage.

The tobacco administration has ignored years of appeal by advocates to include images on the warnings on packaging, the report says.

The warnings that do appear are written in tiny letters and fail to specify the harm smoking causes, falling far below what the convention requires. The same brand of cigarettes, such as Chunghwa and Double Happiness, sold in overseas markets come in packaging that carries dramatic warnings that include images.

Anti-smoking advocates say the administration has hampered their powerful weapon of preventing young people from taking up smoking in the first place, by avoiding price increases and blunting the effect of tobacco tax increases by the Ministry of Finance.

Miao Wei , the minister of industry and information technology which administers the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, said in March that the ministry was still working on whether and how to increase tobacco products tax and price, and change the warnings on packaging.