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May 12th, 2015:

Former lawmaker Lo Wing-lok dies; wanted yearly cigarette tax hikes of 5pc



Former legislator, Lo Wing-lok, has died at the age of 60. He had lung cancer.

Dr Lo represented the medical sector between 1998 and 2004.

He was once a member of the League of Social Democrats, but quit in 2008 due to differences with the then chairman Raymond Wong.

He also stood in the 2012 Legco polls as an independent.

Lo Wing-lok wants yearly cigarette tax hikes of 5pc

17 December, 2003

The government should increase tobacco tax by 5 per cent a year if it is to successfully lower the number of people smoking, the head of the Medical Association said yesterday. Legislator Lo Wing-lok, who also represents the medical sector, said raising the tax was the most effective means of stopping more people falling victim to smoking.

EU court rules against Maltese ex-commissioner Dalli


The EU’s top court has dismissed a case brought by Maltese ex-Commissioner John Dalli against the European Commission in which he sought compensation.

Mr Dalli left his job as EU health commissioner in 2012, accused of improper links to tobacco lobbyists.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that he resigned voluntarily. He had argued that ex-Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso had asked him to resign.

Mr Barroso said Mr Dalli had put the Commission’s integrity at risk.

Tobacco furore

A statement from the court said that, when Mr Barroso met Mr Dalli on 16 October 2012, Mr Barroso “decided… that Mr Dalli should leave the Commission”.

Despite Mr Barroso’s decision, he did not utter a “clearly formulated” request for his resignation, according to the Luxembourg judges.

“Since the existence of that request… has not been established, the Court dismisses the action as inadmissible. The court also rejects Mr Dalli’s claim for compensation,” the ECJ statement said.

EU anti-fraud agency Olaf had earlier delivered a report asserting that Mr Dalli had held unauthorised secret meetings with tobacco industry representatives.

According to Olaf, a Maltese entrepreneur had sought a “considerable” payment from a Swedish producer of oral tobacco, called snus, after which Mr Dalli would lift an EU ban on the product.

Sweden has an exemption from the ban, but it cannot export snus to other EU countries. Mr Dalli denied any knowledge of such an approach by the entrepreneur.

If the ECJ had supported his allegation of unfair dismissal he could have been entitled to compensation for loss of earnings.

Study of health behaviour and mental health in adolescence and later receipt of medical benefits

Medical benefits in young adulthood: a population-based longitudinal study of health behaviour and mental health in adolescence and later receipt of medical benefits



To examine the extent to which smoking, alcohol, physical activity and mental health problems in 15–16-year-olds are associated with receipt of medical benefits in young adulthood, after adjustment for confounders.


Prospective population-based cohort survey linked to national registers.

Participants In the ‘Youth studies’ from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, 15 966 10th graders in 6 Norwegian counties answered a health behaviour and mental health questionnaire; 88% were linked to National Insurance Administration Registers (FD-Trygd).

Outcome measure

Time to receipt of medical benefits, based on FD-Trygd. Follow-up was from age 18 years until participants were aged 22–26 years.


We performed Cox regression analyses to examine the extent to which variations in health behaviour and mental health problems during 10th grade were associated with receipt of medical benefits during follow-up.


Daily smoking at age 15–16 years was associated with a significant increase in hazard of receiving health benefits at follow-up compared with not smoking for boys, HR (95% CI) 1.56 (1.23 to 1.98), and for girls 1.47 (1.12 to 1.93). Physical activity was associated with a decrease in hazard compared with inactivity from 23% to 53% in boys and from 21% to 59% in girls, while use of alcohol showed a mixed pattern. The hazard for benefits use rose with increasing levels of emotional symptoms, peer problems, conduct problems and hyperactivity–inattention problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) at 15–16 years among both genders.


Health behaviour and mental health problems in adolescence are independent risk factors for receipt of medical benefits in young adulthood.