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April 9th, 2015:

LETTER: Raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine looks at the public health implications of raising the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products. Thanks to this report, we can add another evidence-based strategy to the toolbox of strategies cities and towns in Massachusetts can use to prevent youth from becoming addicted to nicotine.

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine looks at the public health implications of raising the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products. Thanks to this report, we can add another evidence-based strategy to the toolbox of strategies cities and towns in Massachusetts can use to prevent youth from becoming addicted to nicotine.

Experts at the Institute of Medicine conducted a rigorous review and concluded that increasing the minimum legal access age from 18 to 21 will have a positive impact on reducing youth initiation of tobacco use, particularly in adolescents aged 15 to 17. The report brief states, “Raising the MLA to 21 will mean that those who can legally obtain tobacco are less likely to be in the same social networks as high school students.”

According to the report, if the minimum legal age was raised to 21 now, by the time today’s teenagers are adults, we would see a 12 percent decrease in smoking rates. Many municipalities in Plymouth County have worked tirelessly to adopt a variety of policies – like eliminating the sale of single cheap cigars, limiting the number of new tobacco sellers and removing flavored tobacco from stores that minors frequent – that, when taken together, can have real impact on youth tobacco use.

It’s encouraging to have another evidence-based strategy to employ.Most of the policies cities and towns use to prevent youth tobacco use are aimed at reducing the tobacco industry’s influence. Without local regulation, the tobacco companies target young people with products that are cheap, sweet and easy to get. While raising the minimum sales age to 21 helps reduce youth access, it alone does not eliminate the sales to minors or impact other access channels. For this reason, the strategy of raising the minimum sale age to 21 is just one of several key strategies to be used by municipalities to reduce youth smoking.

The goal of Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program is to de-normalize youth tobacco use. Using a variety of approaches to reduce youth access to tobacco, we can reduce the influence of the tobacco industry in places frequented by young people. With a comprehensive approach, over time, smoking-related disease and mortality could become so low that tobacco would no longer be a public health challenge.

We know how to achieve a tobacco-free generation and, with coordinated actions and investments, we can get there.

– Kathleen Wilbur, program director, Southeast Tobacco Free Community Partnership

Prohibition on Showing Tobacco in Little Shops in Scotland Emerges Into Power

A boycott on tobacco and cigarette showed in little shops in Scotland has come into power.

The latest Scottish Government enactment, which was originally set up for expansive general stores, has now likewise been forced on little stores.

The boycott is aimed for diminishing youngsters’ introduction to cigarettes and tobacco items in shops all over the country.

A legitimate offer to have the boycott upturned by tobacco multinational firm,” Imperial Tobacco”, was brought in the eyes of the Preeminent Court.

The organization contended that the boycott was out with the locale of the Scottish Parliament item security and deals which are held matters. But unfortunately, the lawful case was rejected by judges.

Martine Stead, representative executive at the Establishment for Social Advertising based at the College of Stirling, said: “It’s well established that exposure to tobacco advertising encourages people to take up, and to continue, smoking. “At the point when promoting was banned in the UK in 2003, one of the couple of manifestations of advertising left to the tobacco business was the mass of appealing packs behind the counter in the corner shop.

“The decently supplied, brilliantly lit tobacco gantry has, essentially, been a substantial publicizing hoarding. Behind the counter, at client eye level, clients have seen it each time they purchased a daily paper or a parcel of desserts, strengthening the thought that cigarettes are an ordinary regular buy.”

Hazel Cheeseman, chief of approach at Cinder, said: “The display ban will work hand in hand with standardized packs, which will be introduced in May 2016, to further protect children from glitzy tobacco packaging.”

A representative for the Tobacco Retailers’ Collusion, said: “The presentation of the showcase boycott into bigger shops hasn’t even been assessed, so how would we know it will function in littler shops? Obviously retailers will need to agree to the law yet this is a further superfluous measure that will hit little organizations. “There will be genuine troubles around its application, including longer exchange times, and the expenses of usage, for example, the establishment of new gantries. Going ahead top of plain bundling, it is a pointless weight on shops officially battling with formality.

“There are other more viable methods for preventing youngsters from taking up smoking.”

Garfield, N.J. Expected to Increase Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

It appears that the city of Garfield, N.J. will be raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 19 to 21 at its April 14 meeting.

The proposal was introduced on March 24 when a group called the Global Advisors on Smoke-Free Policy gave a presentation to the city council on the matter. A report on called described adoption of the change to be expected.

Smoking in city parks and facilities has been in place since 2013, while an ordinance was passed in 2014 that limits all tobacco retailers to a zone on Route 46 and prohibited them from being located within 1,000 feet of a church or school.

Several cities in New Jersey have already raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, including Bogota, Englewood, Sayreville and Teaneck. Princeton is also close to approving a similar age increase.

Court challenge to plain tobacco packaging looms next week

The Irish Courts will next week begin hearing the first case of its kind taken against the State over plans to introduce plain tobacco products.

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has instigated legal action in a bid to detail the proposals, which are being spearheaded by Children’s Minister James Reilly.

The proceedings are scheduled to begin in the Commercial Court on Monday.

Details of arguments being put forward by the State and JTI will be heard during the case, which will be open to the public.

Politically, the Government is taking a gamble in taking on the powerful tobacco giants.

Dr Reilly is adamant the measures will reduce cancer-related deaths.

“Unprecedented” Assault Against Tobacco

Sacramento, CA — Some Democratic California lawmakers are introducing legislation that would increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products, and raise the tax.

One of the lawmakers, Senator Ed Hernandez claims, “This unprecedented assault on tobacco is long overdue.”

Hernandez is proposing to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21. He says by prohibiting that age group from legally purchasing tobacco, it would result in fewer smokers. He cites that 90% of current smokers started in their teens.

Senator Richard Pan is proposing to increase the tobacco tax by US$2 per pack. Some of the proceeds would go into a research fund to fight smoking related diseases.

Senator Mark Leno has authored a bill calling for the regulation of electronic cigarettes to the similar standards of tobacco products.

Senator Tony Thurmond is calling for a ban on chewing tobacco at California ballparks.

The group “Save Lives California” has been advocating for the series of legislation. The group is a coalition comprising the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and others.

Isle of Man tobacco display ban plans heard in Tynwald

Proposed new laws banning tobacco displays in Isle of Man shops have been heard by the Manx parliament.

The 2015 Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill – designed to reduce “impulse smoking” – has had its first reading at a session of Tynwald.

The legislation, introduced in the UK in 2012, aims to protect children from exposure to products and advertising.

The selling of cigarettes from vending machines would also be outlawed if the proposed legislation is passed by MHKs.

It has been introduced to the Manx parliament after a public consultation was launched on the island last year.

MHK Alfred Cannan said: “This move is a positive step forward as it restricts the visibility and availability of tobacco products and will help to reduce the appeal of smoking and impulse buying of tobacco.”

Upper Arlington may hike age to buy, sell tobacco to 21

After approving a public ban on smoking and on the sale of electronic cigarettes, the Upper Arlington City Council is now being asked to raise the age limit for buying and selling tobacco and other nicotine products to 21, from 18.

Councilman Kip Greenhill requested the change, calling it “the single most-effective intervention we can use against tobacco.”

Councilmen David DeCapua and Mike Schadek indicated initial support for such a measure, but council Vice President Debbie Johnson and Councilman Erik Yassenoff were hesitant. Johnson said she wants to find out more about how raising the age limit would affect local businesses and law enforcement. Yassenoff said he supports uniformity of regulations among neighboring communities and would prefer the issue be addressed with other communities or, possibly, at the state level.

The council took no action on the request at its meeting on Monday but is expected to consider a formal ordinance seeking the higher age limit at a future meeting.

Parties Unite to Pass Strict Tobacco Control Law

The ruling CPP and opposition CNRP made a rare show of fraternity Wednesday morning in unanimously passing the country’s first tobacco control law—which bans sales to minors, smoking in public and most advertising—in a bid to combat related illnesses.

Passed with 89 votes at the National Assembly, the Law on Tobacco Product Control has been years in the making and imposes fines—and in some cases prison time—on violators.

More than 9,000 Cambodians die every year due to smoking-related illnesses, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A 2014 study commissioned by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the U.S. found that more than 40 percent of Cambodian men were daily smokers, that the habit contributed to 7 percent of all premature deaths in the country and could kill 1.2 million people over the next 30 to 50 years if no additional measures were taken.

A sub-decree banned some forms of tobacco product advertising in 2011. But CNRP lawmaker Ke Sovannaroth, who heads the Assembly’s health commission, said after Wednesday’s legislative session that the new law would let the government mete out penalties.

“In some cases, punishment will be imposed if tobacco distributors know that the person they are selling tobacco to is under 18 years old,” she said.

The law states: “Any act of selling or distributing all types of tobacco products to persons aged under 18 years or to pregnant women whose pregnancy is obvious or is realized must be punished with six days to one month in prison and a fine of 100,000 riel [about $25] to 1 million riel [about $250].”

The law also bans almost all forms of tobacco product advertising and imposes a fine of up to $10,000 on violators. Tobacco product producers who refuse to reveal the chemical composition of their wares during inspections will be fined up to $5,000, double if they refuse a second time.

The law does not set any parameters for setting or adjusting the tax on tobacco products. During the hour-and-a-half discussion that preceded the vote, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said the law merely states that taxes will “be in line with the circumstances.”

CNRP lawmaker Khy Vandeth said the current tax on cigarettes, at 22.26 percent, was far too low and suggested raising it in stages up to 70 percent.

“If we can raise the tax rate to a high level, we can prevent [consumption] very much,” he said.

Yel Daravuth, technical officer for the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative in Cambodia, said he was happy to see the Assembly finally pass the law, which he had helped with.

He said it hit all the major points of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Cambodia has signed on to: advertising bans, warning labels on packaging, increased taxes, and smoke-free areas.

“These four areas, if you implement them, will encourage people not to smoke, and for smokers, it will encourage them to quit, so this is good,” Mr. Daravuth said.

“The next step is to work on enforcement,” he said, adding that the tobacco industry “always looks for a loophole” and that sub-decrees addressing enforcement and other details left out of the law were in the works.