Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

November 28th, 2014:

BAT fined GBP 650,000 by HMRC

17 Nov 2014.

Tax officials levied a GBP 650,000 (EUR 813,000) fine against British American Tobacco (BAT) for oversupplying a low-priced market outside the UK, a practise which encourages smuggling, the Observer reported.

It was the first time HM Revenue and Customs fined a tobacco company for shipping volumes in excess of reasonable legal demand of that market, although HMRC is monitoring other manufacturers, according to the newspaper. BAT allegedly oversupplied low-priced Belgium with fine-cut tobacco, some of which was returned to the UK as untaxed illicit product. BAT plans to appeal the ruling, the newspaper said.

Draft regulations seeks first nationwide ban on smoking at indoor public spaces

25 November, 2014

Zhuang Pinghui

National regulation, if adopted, would be huge step forward to honour pledge to WHO

The government is seeking public opinion on the first nationwide smoking ban in public spaces, which if implemented would be a big step towards honouring an international commitment to reduce tobacco use.

The Ordinance on Restricting Smoking in Public Spaces, released for public consultation yesterday by the State Council, bans smoking at all indoor, and some outdoor, public spaces.

Yang Gonghuan, a professor at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and former director of the National Office of Tobacco Control, welcomed the move.

“I am very pleased with the articles of the ordinance, even if it might be a transitional one to higher-level legislation on a smoking ban in indoor public spaces. Let’s hope these articles will stay when the ordinance is officially issued,” Yang said.

She said China was the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer and consumer, with more than 300 million smokers. Some 740 million people, including 180 million children, are affected by second-hand smoke.

The ordinance, if adopted, would be the closest Beijing has come to meeting its pledge to create a tobacco-free indoor environment under the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

China ratified the convention in 2005 but missed the deadline to honour it in 2011.

The draft regulations stop short of full legislation and a tobacco control law has yet to appear on the agenda of the National People’s Congress. But Yang said it would be good enough if the State Council’s ordinance were issued and well implemented.

The draft law requires tobacco manufacturers to print verbal health warnings and graphics that cover at least half the packaging. Such warnings are not required at present.

All kinds of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship would be prohibited, according to the draft, a far cry from the situation today that even allows schools to be named after tobacco companies.

Tobacco control advocates had lobbied the NPC for years without success to pass tobacco-control laws to enable the country to honour its pledge to the WHO anti-smoking convention. Several cities have passed such legislation individually.

E-cigarettes contain 10 times the carcinogens of regular tobacco – study

Electronic cigarettes contain up to 10 times more cancer-causing substances than regular tobacco, according to the latest study by Japanese scientists. A team of researchers from the Japanese Health Ministry examined the vapor, finding carcinogens like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The former was found in quantities exceeding traditional cigarettes by 10 times.

“Especially when the… wire (which vaporizes the liquid) gets overheated, higher amounts of those harmful substances seemed to be produced,” researcher Naoki Kunugita said. Kunugita wanted to raise awareness about the fact that “some makers are selling such products for dual use (with tobacco) or as a gateway for young people” to start a smoking habit. E-cigarettes are largely represented as a safe way of smoking, not harmful to one’s health. The report was submitted on Thursday by Kunugita and his team at the National Institute of Public Health, AFP reported. Japan’s Health Ministry stated that it is examining the results to develop ways to regulate e-cigarettes. The researchers analyzed several kinds of e-cigarette fluid, using a special ‘puffing’ machine that inhaled 10 of 15 puffs of vapor.

E-cigarettes work by heating flavored liquid, which often contains nicotine, and creating a vapor.

Since they appeared in 2003, invented by a Chinese pharmacist in Beijing, their use has skyrocketed into a market worth about $3 billion. Bloomberg Industries say sales of e-cigarettes will exceed those of traditional cigarettes by 2047. Japan, like many other countries, doesn’t regulate electronic cigarettes, so they can easily be bought online, but are not available in shops sometimes. In August, the World Health Organization urged the governments to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, saying the devices represent a “serious threat” to unborn babies and young people. The WHO also called to ban e-cigarettes in indoor spaces. A month later, France introduced a ban on smoking electronic cigarettes in schools, on public transport, and in enclosed workplaces. E-cigarettes have just been banned in Punjab, India, in an attempt to curb smoking, especially in educational institutions. Earlier this year, US health authorities said that the number of young people who have tried e-cigarettes tripled from 2011 to 2013.