Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

June 4th, 2013:

Malaysia to tighten tobacco controls

Malaysia to tighten tobacco controls

The Star, Asia News Network June 4, 2013 1:00 am

Tar levels to be halved, seductive promotion stubbed out: minister

A slew of reforms will be introduced to tighten Malaysia’s tobacco control, including banning direct and indirect promotion of tobacco products and reducing the nicotine content in cigarettes by 2015.

Malaysia’s Health Minister S Subramaniam said the graphic health warnings on cigarette packets would also be replaced with new and bigger images which would take up half the front panel.

He said discounts on cigarette prices to customers would also be prohibited.

“We will also tighten our definition of no-smoking buildings. Smoking will be forbidden in all roofed areas, including covered walkways,” he told reporters after launching World No Tobacco Day on Friday.

Subramaniam noted that tobacco companies were very innovative in using sales as an indirect promotion gimmick, including employing attractively dressed girls to sell cigarettes.

“So it is an indirect attraction, but the intention is the [sale of] cigarettes. We want to differentiate between promotional intentions and sales intentions.”

He said large cigarette displays in convenience stores, which served as indirect advertising, would also be an area the ministry would look into.

Subramaniam discouraged any party, including non-governmental organisations, from getting direct or indirect sponsorship from tobacco companies.

He said tobacco companies should not be allowed to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes as a tool to promote their brand.

“The sponsorship may be for a noble cause but we don’t agree with the source,” he said.

Subramaniam said the reduction in tar and nicotine content would be done in two phases – January 2014 and June 2015.

The current maximum allowable tar and nicotine content is 20mg and 1.5mg per cigarette respectively and will be dropped to 10mg and 1mg by 2015.

He said the ministry would make the necessary amendments to the Tobacco Control Rules and Regulation 2004, which is under the Food Act, and added that he hoped to have it gazetted by year end.

Subramaniam said he would also reopen negotiations with the Malaysian Council on Tobacco Control regarding the passing of a standalone bill on tobacco control.

Regarding the issue of cigarette smuggling, he said the ministry would work with the Customs Department and relevant agencies to tackle the problem collectively.

Malaysia’s 2011 Global Adult Tobacco Survey revealed that smoking prevalence among adults aged 15 and above were 23.1 per cent or some 4.74 million people.

Malaysia is a party to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and is legally-bound to implement its articles. The WHO’s representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, Dr Graham Harrison, lauded the new measures as a further step to reduce the number of smokers and smoking-related fatalities in Malaysia

Customs swoops on illicit cigarette smuggling case in Lok Ma Chau

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs swooped on an illicit cigarette smuggling case at Lok Ma Chau Control Point and seized about 1 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes on board a cross-boundary lorry today (June 3).The total value of the cigarettes was about $2.5 million with a duty potential of about $1.7 million.In the operation, one 42-year-old male driver was arrested and the lorry used in the smuggling of illicit cigarettes was seized.

At about 9am, Customs officers at Lok Ma Chau Control Point intercepted a cross-boundary lorry declared to have 450 boxes of furniture, plastics and glassware on board.After X-ray examination and thorough inspection by Customs officers, about 1 million sticks of illicit cigarettes were found in 83 carton boxes, mix-loaded with other goods and concealed in the rear of the lorry.

Hong Kong Customs will continue to carry out stringent enforcement action against the smuggling of illicit cigarettes at boundary control points to protect government revenue.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Members of the public are urged to report suspected illicit cigarette activities by calling the Customs’ 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Source: HKSAR Government

LETTER OF THE DAY – Tobacco smokescreen!

Published: Tuesday | June 4, 2013 0 Comments


It is with dismay and bemusement that I feel compelled to respond to the curious question asked in Friday’s full-page ads from Carreras Limited: ‘What would a world with no legal tobacco industry really look like?’

The points contained in that missive are buttressed by an even more disturbing video on YouTube from British American Tobacco (BAT) titled ‘World With No Legal Tobacco Day – Be Careful What You Wish For’ online at:

Carreras Ltd is a subsidiary of BAT.

It seems very clear from the pronouncements from the minister of health and the experience of other countries in terms of tobacco control that there are no plans to ban the sale of tobacco. Hence, these what-ifs are nothing more than disingenuous scare tactics from the tobacco industry.

A more relevant question would be, ‘What would the world look like with effective tobacco-control legislation?’ Here’s the scenario:

Smoking rates would decrease, more persons would quit, leading to fewer deaths and disability.

With bans on advertising sponsorship and promotion, fewer persons would start smoking, especially our youth.

Banning of smoking in public places would save many deaths annually since non-smokers are at risk from second-hand smoke.

The need for illicit trade in tobacco would be reduced because of reduced demand.

The tobacco taxes that governments receive would decline. However, so would the cost of treating tobacco-related diseases.

Governments would be able to offer better health care to their citizens and less funds would be spent on treating the health effects from smoking.

The funds used to buy tobacco could be utilised in a more effective way, entering the household income to buy food, take care of children, etc. (a pack-a-day smoker in Jamaica spends up to J$250,000 per year).

The environment would benefit tremendously from reduced smoking rates. Worldwide, it is estimated that 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts end up as waste in landfills each year. Cigarette butts are the most common toxic waste and the toxins can leach off into water courses, contaminating local water supplies.

The smoke from tobacco affects the greenhouse gases and leads to climate change

In countries that are well advanced in implementing comprehensive tobacco legislation, this scenario is already becoming a reality! Let us move forward with passing the eagerly awaited tobacco-control law in Jamaica.


YouTube – Videos from this email

ASH Daily News for 04 June 2013

Telephone: 020 7404 0242


Smoking parents warned of damage to children

Public Health England has launched a mass media campaign to increase awareness of the hidden dangers of smoking in homes and cars.

[includes video]

Source: Sky News – 04 June 2013

Smokers cost their employers an extra £4,000 a year each, finds research

Smokers cost their employers the equivalent of around £4,000 more each year compared to non-smokers, according to new research, conducted in the USA.

The study, published in the Tobacco Control journal, found that several factors linked to the habit including absenteeism and smoking breaks resulted in greater costs to businesses.

Source: Wales Online – 04 June 2013

Surrey council to continue tobacco investment

The Surrey Pension Fund Board has decided to continue with the council’s current strategy of investing in tobacco companies where the fund currently has just over £11.1 million in equities and £1.5 million in fixed income corporate bonds, totalling £12.6m.

Source: This is Surrey Today – 31 May 2013

Thieves switch from metal to bulk cigarettes

Stealing cigarettes in bulk has become the crime of choice for hardened criminals as metal theft goes out of fashion according to the Daily Express.

See also:
– Rise in cost of cigarettes blamed as criminals target supermarkets, This Is Nottingham

Source: The Daily Express – 02 June 2013

Cambridgeshire: Police free to puff on e-cigarettes at work

Cambridgeshire police will allow tobacco craving officers to ‘smoke’ e-cigarettes at work, as long they don’t do so in public.

Source: Cambridge News – 04 June 2013

Industry survey of GPs reveals that many identify nicotine as a harmful cigarette-smoke component

A small survey of GPs in the UK and Sweden, commissioned by British American Tobacco, revealed that some hold the view that one of the greatest health risks from smoking is nicotine.

The online survey sought to assess the knowledge, perceptions and attitudes to tobacco and nicotine products of healthcare professionals in the UK and Sweden and to understand what types of advice in relation to the use for alternative nicotine products are being offered to smokers.

Source: BrightSurf – 03 June 2013

Canada: Ontario wins important victory in $50bn lawsuit against tobacco firms

The Ontario government has won an important victory in a $50-billion lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers after the Ontario Court of Appeal refused to let international parent companies out of the court battle.

The province is seeking damages dating back several decades in relation to medical treatment costs for lung cancer patients.

Source: The Globe and Mail – 30 May 2013

Australia urges world to stand up to tobacco industry

Australia’s health minister, Jane Halton, during a session of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has urged governments around the globe to stand up to the tobacco industry, saying it was confident of victory in a new legal battle over its landmark plain packaging rules.

Source: Expatica – 31 May 2013

WNTD does not apply in HK licensed premises Owners have no onus on them to enforce the law This MUST change

· scmp_15jun11_ns_smoke3_k_y7569_22504289.jpg

Hong Kong’s smokers still lighting up in bars

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Hong Kong’s smokers still lighting up in bars

Online Comment: dynamco Jun 4th 2013 12:10am

Macau has 75 inspectors for 576,000 population. HK has 99 spread over two shifts for 7 million population plus 133,000 visitors per day mostly from the Mainland (60% of male Mainlanders smoke) How many tourists got a ticket ? they have 21 days to pay ! the average tourist stay is less than 5 days. They last increased tobacco tax 3 years ago. A pack of Marlboro in Brisbane is HKD 139 HKD 80 in London HKD 85 in Norway, HKD 76 in Singapore and just HKD 50 here. So kids will keep on smoking as it remains affordable.
Ko Wing Man should hang his head in shame.
Liquor licenses compel landlords not to serve drunken people and
‘7. The licensee shall not permit any person to occupy or use any portion of the premises for any immoral or illegal purpose.’
which part of ‘illegal’ is not clear ?

Hong Kong’s smokers still lighting up in bars

Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am

News› Hong Kong


John Carney

Fear of fines is not enough to make cigarette fans stub out their habit, and many bars turn a blind eye to the practice to keep customers happy

You would have thought that having a smoking ban in Hong Kong would mean that World No Tobacco Day would be a big success. But yesterday, people were still happily puffing away in bars.

In 2007, the city implemented a smoking ban that applied to all indoor public places to rid the city’s bars and restaurants of cigarette smoke. Meanwhile, yesterday’s World No Tobacco Day was intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption across the globe. Each year. tobacco use leads to 5.4 million deaths worldwide.

But neither the legislation nor the occasion had any effect on many of the city’s bars, whose owners blatantly ignored the ban.

Smoking legislation in Hong Kong, unlike jurisdictions elsewhere in the world, punishes smokers, not bars, for breaches. Rather than having bar-owners face the loss of their licences for failing to stop patrons from smoking, it is the individual smoker who faces prosecution. This means many bars are allowing smoking to continue.

The ban was first imposed at the start of 2007 for statutory no-smoking areas. A blanket ban on smoking in all indoor public places was introduced on July 1, 2009.

“We follow up all complaints about smoking offences received and arrange inspection to the concerned premises,” a Tobacco Control Office spokesman said.

But bars in Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay were letting customers and staff smoke freely yesterday. One owner of a TST bar was happy to let people smoke because he was not breaking the law.

“I only tell my customers that if they are caught smoking they could be fined. But by law we are doing nothing wrong. If I told my customers they couldn’t smoke, we would have to close. No one would come here,” he said.

A Causeway Bay bar owner said it was part of Chinese culture to smoke.

“No one is going to complain about smoking in here. Everyone does it,” he said.

Some bars in popular areas flout the smoking ban. In places such as Central and Wan Chai, smokers stand outside premises, but even inside these places people are lighting up because the owners are happy to turn a blind eye. This often happens in establishments above ground level.

Instead of going down to the street, customers are allowed to smoke in corridors or out of windows to save the hassle of going outside.

The Tobacco Control Office spokesman said in 2012, 600 inspections were conducted in bars and 242 fixed-penalty notices and summonses were issued to offenders. The office has 99 tobacco control inspectors to enforce the smoking ban. People caught smoking must pay a HK$1,500 fine within 21 days.


World No Tobacco Day

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 4th 2013, 12:18am):