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June, 2013:

Governments weaken EU tobacco curbs to secure agreement

Governments weaken EU tobacco curbs to secure agreement


Fri, Jun 21 2013

By Claire Davenport and Ilona Wissenbach

BRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union health ministers agreed on Friday to ease tough planned restrictions on tobacco products to overcome opposition from some governments to the draft rules.

The ministers rejected a ban on slim cigarettes proposed by the bloc’s executive, the European Commission, but said they should be sold in normal-sized packets to reduce their appeal. They also agreed to outlaw menthol cigarettes and other tobacco flavourings.

The bloc’s health commissioner said that, despite the need for compromise in order to reach an agreement, the spirit of the Commission’s original proposals has been retained.

“The main thrust is that tobacco should look like tobacco – not like perfume or candy – and that it should taste like tobacco as well,” the Maltese commissioner Tonio Borg told a news conference in Luxembourg after the ministerial talks.

Cigarette sales in the 27-nation EU bloc have fallen sharply in recent years but – at about 33 percent – Europe still has a higher proportion of smokers than any other region of the globe, according to data from the World Health Organization.

The Commission proposed a crackdown on attractive tobacco branding in December, saying such branding was designed to recruit a new generation of younger smokers to replace the estimated 700,000 Europeans who die of smoking-related illnesses each year.

The discussions pitted western European nations that favour tough tobacco controls against a group of central and eastern member states led by Poland – one of Europe’s top cigarette producers – who fear the impact on tobacco industry jobs.

The Commission’s proposal that graphic visual and written warnings should cover 75 percent of the surface of all cigarette packets in future – leaving just 25 percent or less for the brand – was weakened to 65 per cent by ministers on Friday.

Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic did not support the compromise, but their opposition is not enough to prevent the law from being adopted.

Irish Health Minister James Reilly, who led Friday’s talks, dismissed economic arguments against tougher tobacco controls.

“It can never be – never – a choice between jobs and lives,” he told reporters.

Holding up a slim metallic cigarette packet designed to look like a lipstick, Reilly said: “That is advertising. That is entrapment of young people.”

In 2010, the world’s four leading tobacco companies – British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, and Philip Morris – produced more than 90 percent of the cigarettes sold in Europe, the Commission said.


Last month, Ireland became the first European country to agree a ban on all branding on cigarette packs in favour of plain packaging and uniform labelling, following the example of Australia.

While the EU proposals stop short of a full ban on branding, ministers agreed that countries such as Ireland should be free to impose plain packaging if they choose.

The proposals must also get the approval of the European Parliament before becoming law, and the lawmaker leading the debate in the assembly has called for a total ban on branding.

Friday’s agreement means the rules could be finalised before the start of European Parliament elections next May, allowing them to enter force in 2016.

The draft rules have been in development for more than two years and were the focus of intense lobbying by the tobacco industry.

They played a part in the October resignation of former EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, after one of his associates was accused of seeking bribes from Swedish Match, a producer of moist oral-snuff known as “snus“, in return for lifting a sales ban on the product outside Sweden.

Under the agreement, the sale of snus would remain illegal across the EU except in Sweden. But a proposal that would have forced snus producers to reformulate their products to remove distinctive flavourings was dropped.

As concerns grow over the unregulated use of increasingly popular electronic cigarettes, ministers tightened proposed controls by agreeing that those containing 1 milligram (mg) of nicotine or more would be classified as medicinal products requiring prior EU marketing approval.

That also applied to e-cigarettes containing 2 mg or more per millilitre for those that mix nicotine with water.

(Writing by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

Ratification of illicit trade pact nears halfway mark

Ratification of illicit trade pact nears halfway mark

19 Jun 2013. Ratification of the World Health Organisation’s protocol to combat illicit tobacco trade neared the halfway mark on 18 June when Qatar became the 19th country to sign the pact, according to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Forty countries must sign the protocol agreed to at last year’s FCTC general session in Seoul, Korea, for it to become international law. The protocol will remain open for signature until 9 Jan, 2014. Countries that have signed the protocol include China, France, Turkey, the Republic of Korea and South Africa

International trade law, plain packaging and tobacco industry political activity: the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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International trade law, plain packaging and tobacco industry political activity

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Life a drag at Hong Kong’s first non-smoking jail

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Life a drag at Hong Kong’s first non-smoking jail

Life a drag at Hong Kong’s first non-smoking jail

Sunday, 16 June, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


John Carney

Many prisoners would consider it tougher to get through the day without a cigarette than spend their nights behind bars – but at one prison that is now the new reality.

The Tung Tau Correctional Institution at Stanley is the city’s first non-smoking prison, the latest bid to end smoking in jails.

But the Correctional Services Department says smokers will not be forced to give up – those determined to continue will be sent elsewhere, while those who want to quit will be given counselling and support.

Smoking has been banned in most indoor public spaces since 2007. Prisons have adapted by installing ventilated smoking booths in workshops and dormitories. The department also encourages and supports inmates to give up smoking through education, counselling and quit courses.

Tung Tau, a minimum-security institution opened in 1982, first trialled a no-smoking zone in 2011 to encourage inmates to give up and clear the air for non-smokers.

There are no plans to extend the ban, but quit programmes and nicotine replacement therapy have been trialled at Stanley Prison and Lo Wu Correctional Institution.

“All inmates eventually committed to stop buying cigarettes and smoking,” a department spokesman said.

But bans on smoking in prisons have not proved popular elsewhere in the world.

Britain was to implement its first smoking ban at Exeter Prison in March, but postponed it because of fears it would spark an uproar among inmates.

British authorities now hope to implement the ban within the next two years, with prisoners given nicotine patches or electronic cigarettes.

Smoking in British jails has been restricted since the general ban in enclosed public places came into force in 2007, but inmates can smoke in their own cell because they have been designated “their permanent or temporary home”.



Correctional Services

Tung Tau Correctional Institution


Source URL (retrieved on Jun 16th 2013, 10:04am):

Geneva gets tough with smoking ban scofflaws

The canton of Geneva is cracking down on nightclubs and restaurants flouting a ban on smoking by increasing fines 60-fold and threatening to shut down uncooperative establishments

The cantonal government this week approved raising the maximum financial penalty to 60,000 francs (HK$ 504,960) , up from the previous maximum of 1,000 francs.

“We realize that certain establishments don’t care at all about the law banning smoking,” said Pierre-François Unger, Geneva health minister, in defending the new get-tough policy, the Tribune de Genève reported.

A handful of nightclubs, in particular, have openly violated the smoking ban with employees lighting up as well as customers.

The Java Club, a popular hangout for young people in the Hotel Kempinski, became the focus of controversy earlier this year over reports that it habitually allowed patrons to smoke.

The canton introduced a law in July 1, 2008 banning smoking in enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants.

The law followed an initiative supported by 80 percent of Geneva voters.

But some restaurant and nightclub operators have been reluctant to accept the regulations.

ASH Briefing for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health

Download PDF : ASH_835


Download PDF : 00398204

Introduction effects of the Australian plain packaging policy on adult smokers

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2013 Scotland SF cars Hume LD MSPs

Hume proposes new bill to protect children from passive smoking in carsJim Hume

2 April 2013

MSP for South Scotland, Jim Hume, has announced his intention to consult on a proposal for a Member’s Bill which would ban smoking in cars with children. There are a number of countries which have legislated to ban smoking in vehicles while children are present, including Australia, Canada, South Africa and others.

Despite the volume of smoke-free legislation that has taken place over the past decade or so, private vehicles remain one of the few places where children can legally be exposed to passive smoking. Research carried out by the Royal College of Physicians has revealed that children exposed to passive smoking are more likely to start smoking than those growing up in smoke free environments.

Research has also indicated that the negative health effects associated with a child’s exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke include increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, coughing and wheezing, asthma and lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Commenting on his plans, Mr Hume said:

“Scotland faces an enormous challenge in changing our relationship with tobacco. By banning adults from smoking in their cars whilst children are present, we can build a fairer society which gives every child the best start in life.

“It doesn’t seem fair that children should suffer from passive smoking during the school run. It doesn’t seem fair that any child should have to be swallowed up in a cloud of tar and nicotine on their way to football or dance classes. Nowadays attitudes towards smoking have changed dramatically and most parents and grandparents would think twice before smoking around their kids.

“But even one child being affected by an illness they didn’t ask for due to passive smoking is a scar on our society. I am proud that Scotland has led the way in efforts to curb the scourge of tobacco in our communities. The Scottish Government’s decision to support standardised tobacco packaging is a progressive step in the right direction.

“Following on from other ground breaking initiatives such as the ban of smoking in public places, I hope that people of all parties and none will contribute to the consultation in due course. They will be joining a host of other organisations which already include British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

“This is about guaranteeing that children in Scotland have the freedom to go on and lead healthy lives if they choose to. And that starts with removing barriers such as smoke-filled cars.”