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January 3rd, 2013:

Government ‘plans to increase tobacco excise regularly’

THE price of a packet of cigarettes is likely to continue to rise with Federal Government plans released this week revealing the tobacco excise should be regularly increased.

While state and territory governments agreed to the National Tobacco Strategy in November, documents detailing the specific plans were not released publicly until this week.

The top three priorities for the strategy were to continue the fight against big tobacco, including the new plain packaging laws, a wider anti-smoking advertising campaign and further tax rises on the tobacco products.

Various studies of anti-smoking initiatives have shown tobacco price rises as having the biggest effect on helping consumers’ quit the habit, especially within the key lower socio-economic group of smokers.

Moves to continue tax increases on tobacco come after the Federal Government increased the excise by 25% in April 2010 – or about 7 cents per cigarette, or nearly $82/kg for tobacco products.

The national strategy reveals the government plans to “continue to implement regular staged increases in tobacco excise as appropriate, to reduce demand for tobacco

China nat’l tobacco control legislation

Xinhua | Agencies
Published on January 03, 2013 09:56

China’s top legislature is considering the country’s first national tobacco control law, according to a report released Wednesday.

It is “quite necessary” to enact laws to control the dangers of smoking, says the report adopted at last Friday’s closing session of a bimonthly meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, adding that such laws should be included in future legislation work plans after proper preparation.

China is the world’s largest tobacco-producing and -consuming country, with more than 300 million smokers and another 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke, according to official statistics released in May.

However, only a few provinces and cities have enacted local legislation on public smoking bans, and no special law has been adopted at the national level.

During the NPC’s plenary session in March, 90 NPC deputies submitted three bills on drafting a law on the prevention and control of tobacco hazards, according to the report from the Education, Science, Culture and Health Committee (ESCHC) of the NPC.

It also specifies that 139 deputies put forward another four bills calling for new laws on smoke-free public areas.

The ESCHC suggested that central administrative authorities in charge of related issues carefully study the bills and promptly carry out the research and investigation work necessary for drafting, it says.

China ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, pledging measures to curb tobacco use.

The central government has pledged to introduce a public smoking ban in its 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015) period.

Cigarette cover-up under investigation

Cigarette cover-up under investigation


January 3, 2013

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Rachel WellsRachel Wells

Consumer Affairs Reporter for The Age

A plain cover for cigarette packets being distributed by Tobacco Station Group. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

Australia’s largest tobacco franchise could be in breach of state tobacco laws by giving away free cardboard covers designed to cover the graphic imagery on plain cigarette packs.

The Tobacco Station Group, with more than 300 stores nationally, is offering covers which feature the company’s logo and website address free of charge to customers who purchase tobacco products in their outlets.

The federal Department of Health and Ageing is launching an investigation to see if the products breach federal tobacco laws and has advised its state and territory counterparts to do the same.

Under NSW’s Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008, tobacco retailers are not permitted to provide gifts or other benefits to people who buy tobacco or non-tobacco smoking products.

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“State and territories have enacted legislation prohibiting promotional schemes for tobacco products, that is, offering gifts, prizes . . . in association with the sale of tobacco products. It is therefore a matter for consideration by states and territories,” a spokeswoman for the federal department said.

The Tobacco Station Group has confirmed the covers are available at all TSG outlets and were designed to “enable customers to express their identity with their cigarette packs”.

“TSG are of the opinion that the cases comply with the new Australian plain packaging legislation,” a spokeswoman said.

It is not the first time the federal government has investigated a product designed to hide the shocking, graphic health warnings on plain packs, which are three times larger than the previous images.

In December, a Gold Coast sticker manufacturing company launched a range of custom stickers that wrap around cigarette packs. The Box Wrap stickers with the marketing slogan, “It’s your box, it’s your choice,” feature a range of images including the Australian flag and scantily-clad men and women.

In this instance, the department found the company was not in breach of federal tobacco laws.

Under the legislation, tobacco companies are prohibited from selling cigarette packs with slips or covers that hide the plain packs and promote smoking or tobacco products. However, it is not an offence for a company to sell a cover or case if it is sold separately to the cigarette pack and not applied at the time of supply and does not contain any tobacco product branding or advertisements.

The Australian Medical Association’s president, Steve Hambleton, has condemned TSG’s decision to offer free cigarette covers and said he would support any move by the government to prohibit any company from trying to diminish the effectiveness of plain packs.

“This is a tobacco group virtually saying ‘we think this (plain packaging) is going to work so we are going to go out and try and defeat it’,” he said. “I would not underestimate the government’s resolve to make sure this kind of thing is outlawed.”

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the emergence of such products demonstrates the effectiveness of the plain packaging laws, which came into effect on December 1.

“People who make a living selling tobacco are aware just how powerful plain packaging and graphic health warnings are at turning smokers off,” she said. “We will continue to watch closely and make sure no laws are broken.”

At a press conference on Thursday, Ms Plibersek said the government would “use every legal means to prevent” industry members who try to circumvent plain packaging legislation.

She said the government had so far received 15 complaints about retailers, mostly small shopkeepers, who had been flouting the regulations.

“The Department of Health and Ageing is investigating the complaints and has found some to be unsubstantiated. Where evidence suggested non-compliance, warnings were issued and educational material about the legislation was made available,” she said.

The founder of Australian Cigarette Cases, an online retailer which offers a range of cigarette cases as “an attractive alternative to the grotesque imagery and dull packs which have been forced upon us” says business has boomed in the past two months. “I’ve been operating for almost 18 months and I did two-thirds of my total sales in the past couple of months,” Jamie Sargeson said.

“There is no question the plain packs have driven a lot of that increase . . . people are seeking an alternative to seeing those hideous images,” he said.

With Jonathan Swan

Read more:

Change in anxiety following successful and unsuccessful attempts at smoking cessation: cohort study


1.    Máirtín S. McDermott,

2.    Theresa M. Marteau,

3.    Gareth J. Hollands,

4.    Matthew Hankins and

5.    Paul Aveyard

+ Author Affiliations

1.    Máirtín S. McDermott, PhD, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London; Theresa M. Marteau, PhD, Gareth J. Hollands, PhD, Psychology Department (at Guy’s), Health Psychology Section, King’s College London; Matthew Hankins, PhD, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton; Paul Aveyard, PhD, Primary Care Clinical Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK.

1.    Correspondence: Máirtín S. McDermott, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, James Clerk Maxwell Building, 57 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK. Email:

Declaration of interest

P.A. has done consultancy and research on smoking cessation for pharmaceutical companies.



Despite a lack of empirical evidence, many smokers and health professionals believe that tobacco smoking reduces anxiety, which may deter smoking cessation.


The study aim was to assess whether successful smoking cessation or relapse to smoking after a quit attempt are associated with changes in anxiety.


A total of 491 smokers attending National Health Service smoking cessation clinics in England were followed up 6 months after enrolment in a trial of pharmacogenetic tailoring of nicotine replacement therapy (ISRCTN14352545).


There was a points difference of 11.8 (95% CI 7.7–16.0) in anxiety score 6 months after cessation between people who relapsed to smoking and people who attained abstinence. This reflected a three-point increase in anxiety from baseline for participants who relapsed and a nine-point decrease for participants who abstained. The increase in anxiety in those who relapsed was largest for those with a current diagnosis of psychiatric disorder and whose main reason for smoking was to cope with stress. The decrease in anxiety on abstinence was larger for these groups also.


People who achieve abstinence experience a marked reduction in anxiety whereas those who fail to quit experience a modest increase in the long term. These data contradict the assumption that smoking is a stress reliever, but suggest that failure of a quit attempt may generate anxiety.



This study was funded as part of a grant from the Medical Research Council, UK (Risk communication in preventive medicine: Optimizing the impact of DNA risk information; G0500274; principal investigator: T.M.M). M.S.M was funded by Cancer Research UK as part of a Cancer Research UK Studentship (Ref: C4770/A7173). P.A is funded by a personal award from the National Institute of Health Research UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS). Funding from British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, and the Department of Health, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.

Royal College of Psychiatrists

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