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April 25th, 2013:

Indian film-goers exposed to 14 billion images of tobacco use


iconimgThursday, April 25, 2013

Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, April 23, 2013

First Published: 12:53 IST(23/4/2013)
Last Updated: 12:56 IST(23/4/2013)

Indian film-goers exposed to 14 billion images of tobacco use

Indian cinema-goers are exposed to 14 billion images of tobacco use in Bollywood films each year, says a study, calling for measures to deal with this exposure. The study, undertaken by Delhi-based NGO HRIDAY in collaboration with Imperial College London, involved content analysis of 44 top grossing Bollywood films screened between 2006 and 2008.

The study also found that half of the youth think Bollywood films contain tobacco imagery.

Strong evidence exists to support the fact that depiction of tobacco use in films leads to tobacco use, especially among children and adolescents, estimated the study Tobacco imagery in Bollywood films: 2006-2008 published in the Heart Asia Journal.

It said many teenagers light their first cigarette or use their first tobacco product after watching tobacco use onscreen.

“The popularity of Bollywood films and their outreach to a large Indian population, including children and adolescents, does highlight the need to regulate this exposure, to protect the young and vulnerable minds from being influenced by tobacco use shown onscreen,” said Monika Arora, one of the co-authors of the study.

“Fourteen billion impressions each year is a startling number and this study points towards the need for a dialogue and policy response to address this concern,” she added.

The World Health Organization recommends that films with tobacco content should be given an adult rating.

Indian government issued a notification in September 2012 which requires films to include warnings about the dangers of tobacco use but provides no guidance on ratings.

According to Gaurang Nazar, lead author on the study: “Restriction of youth access to films depicting tobacco imagery by reconsidering the Indian film rating system would complement other tobacco control measures in India.”

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (India) conducted in 2009 reveals that nearly 15 percent of youth currently use tobacco in India.

© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Two tonnes of tobacco seized in Sydney | SBS World News

Five men are accused of smuggling and possession offences after two tonnes of tobacco turned up in Sydney, hidden under bamboo blinds.


Future Fund drops tobacco investment

Five men have been charged after two tonnes of illicit tobacco was seized from a Sydney cargo facility.

Customs and Border Protection said in a statement officers at the Sydney Cargo Examination Facility on Monday found 2250 kilograms of tobacco concealed within bamboo blinds in a shipping container sent from Indonesia.

On Wednesday four men were arrested and charged over importation and possession offences.

Customs and Border Protection officers later arrested a fifth man and charged him with importing tobacco products with the intent to defraud revenue.

The smugglers are accused of trying to evade $996,997.50 in duties.

“This result highlights the seriousness of the offence and should serve as a warning to all involved in the illicit tobacco trade,” Customs national investigations manager Kingsley Woodford-Smith said in a statement on Sunday.

“It doesn’t matter if you smuggle, possess or convey these goods, if caught you face a serious fine and up to 10 years in gaol.”

Recent amendments to the Customs Act have increased the maximum penalty for smuggling illicit tobacco products.

If caught, criminals now face up to 10 years prison or a fine equalling five times the duty evaded, or both.


Tobacco Control and Govt’s BS reply

LCQ13: Tobacco Control

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by the Hon Christopher Chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (April 24):


I have recently received complaints from members of the public about the ineffective enforcement of the tobacco control legislation by the Tobacco Control Office (TCO) under the Department of Health. Regarding the enforcement of the tobacco control legislation, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)of the number of fixed penalty notices/summonses issued to smoking offenders in each of the past five years, broken down by law enforcement agency in Annex 1;

(b)whether there is any difference between TCO’s procedure for handling complaints about smoking offences received during office hours and outside office hours; if so, of the details; of the criteria adopted by TCO for deciding whether or not to send their officers to the scene to look into a complaint;

(c)of the mode (unannounced or regular) and frequency of inspection by TCO’s officers on the black spots of smoking offences and other no-smoking areas;

(d)of the number of complaints received by the authorities from members of the public in the past three years about the ineffective enforcement of the tobacco control legislation by TCO, and the top five situations with most complaints about the ineffectiveness in law enforcement; whether they have assessed the effectiveness of TCO’s law enforcement work; if they have, of the details; if not, whether they will conduct such an assessment;

(e)how TCO follows up those complaints with evidence of smoking offences (e.g. photographs as well as information about time and places) and complainants’ contact information attached;

(f)of the measures taken by the authorities to tackle the situations where the venue managers condone smoking offences in their venues and disregard related complaints;

(g)of the current number of TCO’s law enforcement officers and whether the authorities have assessed if it is adequate; if the assessment outcome is in the negative, whether they have plans to increase the manpower in the short term; and

(h)whether it is an offence to smoke electronic cigarettes in no-smoking areas?



The Government has been taking a progressive and multi-pronged (CTA: BLUNT and outdated) approach in its tobacco control policies (CTA: BACKWARDS) , comprising legislation, enforcement, publicity, education, smoking cessation and taxation, with a view to minimise the harmful effects of tobacco on the public and the community. To further enhance tobacco control, the Department of Health (DH) established the Tobacco Control Office (TCO) in 2001 to promote a smoke free culture.TCO promotes smoking prevention and cessation through publicity and education programmes, and operates a Smoking Cessation Hotline to coordinate the provision of smoking cessation services in Hong Kong. China is also a signatory of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and the relevant aspects have been extended to Hong Kong since 2006.

My reply to Hon Chung’s question is as follows:

(a)The number of fixed penalty notices and summonses (in brackets) issued by various law enforcement agencies in relation to smoking offence in the past five years is set out in Annex 2.

(b)Tobacco Control Inspectors (TCIs) of TCO are mainly responsible for frontline enforcement work, which includes handling enquiries and complaints about smoking, and inspections and prosecutions under the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance. As the act of smoking usually lasts for a short period of time, and given the larger number of public areas and indoor workplaces designated as no smoking areas designated in various districts, it is impossible for TCIs to inspect the concerned venues immediately upon receiving reports of smoking offence.TCO follows up on all complaints about smoking offences received during and outside office hours according to established procedures, and contacts complainants for the details of each case, including the time and location of the smoking offence. Based on the information received in a complaint, surprise inspections on these premises may be conducted at specific time in the future.

(c)Besides during office hours, TCIs also conduct inspections on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays as well as at night time and in the early morning. In premises where smoking offences are prevalent, TCO takes vigorous enforcement actions and initiates more frequent inspections. From time to time, TCO conducts joint inspections and enforcement actions with other law enforcement agencies such as the Police. In 2012, TCIs received about 18 000 complaints on smoking offences, conducted more than 26 000 inspections and issued over 8 000 fixed penalty notices and about 180 summonses.

(d)The number of complaints received by TCO in relation to enforcement in the past three years (i.e.

2010 to 2012) is shown in Annex 3.

The major areas of complaints include inadequate manpower of TCO, failure for TCIs to arrive immediately at the venue concerned in a complaint and demand for expansion of no smoking areas.

The Administration monitors closely various statistics and indicators relating to tobacco control. The proportion of daily smokers (people who have a habit of smoking daily) among the population aged 15 and above dropped steadily from about 23.3% in the early 1980s to 11.1% in 2010.The declining trend in smoking prevalence is a useful indicator on the effectiveness of the progressive and multi-pronged approach in tobacco control and the sustained efforts by the community as a whole.

(e)Upon the receipt of a complaint on smoking offence from the public, TCO will contact the complainant for information and inspect the locations concerned to collect evidence in accordance with established procedures. Where there is sufficient evidence, TCO will take prosecution action.

(f)The Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance empowers (CTA: BUT SHOULD LEGISLATE) the manager of no smoking areas to enforce the relevant law to ensure that no person smokes in the premises he manages. The manager may (CTA: THE LAW SHOULD BE CHANGED TO ‘MUST’) call for police assistance if necessary. To enhance the knowledge of tobacco control legislation of managers of no smoking areas and to provide them with procedures and practical tips on implementing smoke free policy, TCO has drawn up a series of guidelines on implementing smoke free policy and organised regular talks on tobacco control legislation. Moreover, TCIs also disseminate these messages to venue managers when conducting inspections. Members of the public may express their views to TCO by telephone, facsimile or email.TCO follows up and carries out investigation on every case, and arranges for TCIs to inspect and take enforcement action on the premises concerned.

(g)The number of TCO staff carrying out frontline enforcement duties is 99.The Administration will review the manpower establishment from time to time to cope with needs. (CTA: TOTALLY INADEQUATE)

(h)Smoking of electronic cigarettes in a no smoking area is also an offence. If TCIs witness an offence, they will prosecute in accordance with relevant legislation and established procedures.


Source: HKSAR Government

ASH Daily News for 25 April 2013


Lancet Oncology: Editorial in support of plain packaging

An editorial in The Lancet Oncology comments on the series of advertisements by Japan Tobacco International against plain, standard tobacco packaging. The journal notes that the inferences in the ads are fallacies as there is very clear evidence that branding of cigarette packages makes them more appealing to young people. The article concludes:

“The cynical lobbying of the tobacco companies—and their renewed attempts to sway public opinion with misleading advertising—to continue to market a substance that is known to be a leading cause of cancer should not be tolerated. Enough is enough, it’s time to quit.”

Source: Lancet Oncology, 25/4/2013

Cigarette packets: the case for a new law

Peter Kellner, President of pollling company YouGov, explains why he believes there is a case for standard tobacco packaging.  He concludes:

As in the past, the [tobacco] industry has been highly imaginative in trying to link their opposition to arguments about civil liberties, intellectual property rights, tobacco smuggling, free trade and unemployment. The bottom line is that, as for the past half century, they have been fighting a rearguard action to defend their right to kill their customers.

In the next few weeks we shall find out whether the ministers find the pro- or anti-arguments more persuasive.

Source: YouGov blog, 25 April 2013

Plain cigarette packaging ‘puts women off smoking’

Women get less satisfaction and enjoyment when smoking cigarettes that come in plain packaging, Scottish research suggests.

A study by researchers at Stirling University involved 187 young female smokers who used plain brown packs.

The women said they were more embarrassed about smoking from plain packs and felt more negative about it, even though they were using their usual brand.

They also reported smoking fewer cigarettes, stubbing out cigarettes early, smoking less around others and thinking more about quitting.

Source: The Scotsman, 25 April 2013

Call for plain packaging to cut toll of young Rotherham smokers

An estimated 952 young people in Rotherham have taken up smoking in the last year.

MP Kevin Barron has again urged the Government to commit to plain cigarette packs as Cancer Research UK’s figures were revealed.

A public consultation on packaging was launched 12 months ago but the Government has yet to issue a response.

Mr Barron, who represents Rother Valley, said: “It is appalling that so many children are being tempted into taking up smoking.

“Cigarette packs are designed to make smoking look cool and attractive yet the reality is a life-time of addiction, illness and premature death.”

Source: Rotherham Advertiser, 24 April 2013

Café in Hendon fined for allowing customers to smoke shisha in cellar

The former manager of a shisha bar in Hendon, north London, has been prosecuted for breaking the smokefree law. .

Meysan Ebra has been ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £1,347.58 for allowing customers to smoke shisha pipes in a downstairs cellar at Casablanca Café in Queens Parade.

The prosecution was brought after Barnet Borough Council’s environmental health inspectors visited the café on several occasions where they issued warnings to the management and owners requiring them to stop serving shisha inside the premises.

Source: Hendon & Finchley Times, 24 April 2013

India: West Bengal smoking tax to aid ‘duped investors’

The leader of India’s West Bengal state has announced a new tax on cigarettes to raise money for thousands of investors allegedly duped by a private company into losing their savings.

Mamata Banerjee said a 10% tax on cigarettes would help set up a special fund for them. Businessman Sudipto Sen, who ran the investment company, has been arrested.

India has over 100 million smokers and the government says smoking kills nearly a million people a year.

Ms Banerjee apologised for the 10% tax increase on cigarettes and “all kinds of tobacco products”. But she said the money raised would be put towards a good cause.

Source: BBC News India, 25 April 2013