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July 30th, 2016:

Big hikes in tobacco seller’s licence fee and fines for selling to underage smokers

PLANS to increase tobacco lic­ence fees in Tasmania will disadvantage small retailers and could lead to a growth in black market sales, a business community advocate has warned.

Operators caught selling cigarettes to children will face the equal highest penalties in the nation and shopkeepers will have the cost of licence fees tripled under a State Government plan.

But Tasmania’s Small Business Council has warned the measures could drive tobacco sales underground.

Under the proposal, an increase in licence fees for retail workers will help to pay for a anti-smoking awareness campaign. The fee increase will be phased in over a two-year period, rising to $731.34 on January 1 next year and to about $1090 from January 1, 2018.

Anybody selling tobacco products must have a tobacco seller’s licence or be an employee of someone who holds a tobacco seller’s licence.

Business council executive director Robert Mallett supports an increase in the licence fee but says the Government has gone too far.

“To triple the fee is ridiculous and will kill a significant number of businesses,” he said.

“Government is addicted to tobacco taxes and sales. But, if the Government are going to be half-way serious, they need to fund the education campaigns out of the millions of dollars in taxes people pay on tobacco products.”

Mr Mallett said the fees would not hit major players such as a grocery giants Coles and Woolies but would have a significant impact on small businesses. “The chop-chop and black market will grow,” he said.

Mr Mallett also warned of an increase in thefts of tobacco.

Tasmania Health Minister Michael Ferguson said a $6.4 million preventive health plan would focus more Quit advertising and at pregnant women who smoked, and match the highest penalties in the nation for those supplying tobacco products to children — presently $18,120.

“As part of our bold plan, we will invest $1.8 million over four years to increase smoking control, education and targeted interventions,” he said.

“The government has set a bold target to reduce the number of Tasmanians smoking to 10 per cent by 2020, and down to 5 per cent by 2025.”

Mr Ferguson announced last week the Government would not pursue a proposal to increase the smoking age to 21 or 25.

Mr Ferguson said the largest investment the government will make is to provide $3.5 million “to support and incentivise communities and individuals to make positive health changes in their life through better nutrition and more physical activity”.

“A key focus of this will be children and students, with schools set to be supported through the Student Health Initiative,” he said.

“Through this, $2 million will be spent over four years on ensuring our youngest citizens learn healthy habits which will put them on a trajectory for a longer, healthier life.

“This initiative will help us achieve generational change.”

Tobacco retailers slugged under new Tasmanian plan to curb smoking

The Tasmanian Government will triple the licence fee charged to tobacco retailers in a bid to tackle high smoking rates.

The Government has released its final Healthy Tasmania five-year strategic plan, which was put out for public consultation in December last year.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the $6.4 million plan contained 24 actions, mainly targeting smoking and obesity.

“We will be tripling the cost of tobacco seller licence fees, increasing compliance and enforcement, we will be providing options for more information to help people make the decision to quit even at the point of sale and we will be regulating the sale of e-cigarettes,” he said.

It is estimated $1.8 million will be raised over four years by increasing the licence fee to $731 next year and about $1,100 by January 2018.

The funds will go towards a social media quit campaign, and employing more education and compliance officers.

Mr Ferguson said he was not worried about a backlash from tobacco retailers.

“Along with the sale of tobacco it comes with the responsibility to fully fund the enforcement of tobacco legislation in this state,” he said.

“We will also be increasing the maximum penalty for providing tobacco to a young person.”

On Thursday, the Government backed away from its controversial move to lift the legal smoking age to at least 21,

“We believe at this point in time this is the appropriate balance,” Mr Ferguson said.

Anti-smoking groups welcome strategy

The Cancer Council’s Penny Egan has welcomed the plan.

“We’ve always said that the smoking age is just one of many strategies and so we’d rather focus on a whole range of things,” she said.

The plan has also included measures to help communities and individuals make healthier lifestyle choices.

The Heart Foundation’s Graeme Lynch said preventative health had been underfunded in Tasmania and welcomed the focus on smoking and obesity prevention.

“We hope that we can really turbo charge the activity around addressing the poor uptake of fruit and vegetables in Tasmania,” he said.

Stunning discovery: Marijuana may be harmful

Bad news, marijuana users: a new study claims that the drug isn’t as safe as you might think it is — and in one very key way is just as bad as tobacco smoke. The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, states that second hand marijuana smoke is just as harmful as tobacco smoke on blood vessels, so you might want to think twice before you toke up.

In fact, it was actually a lot worse. Scientists exposed rats to both pot and tobacco smoke for one minute. Their blood vessels narrowed and it took 90 minutes to widen again for rats exposed to tobacco smoke — it took three times as long for rats exposed to marijuana smoke, according to the study.

The researchers decided to conduct this study because of what they felt was a lack of attention on the dangers of the actual smoking of marijuana versus just the drug itself. The study showed that, just like tobacco smoke, chronic marijuana smoking can narrow and harden your arteries which can lead to potentially deadly cardiovascular complications.

Berkeley Labs study suggests ‘Vaping’ brings new kind of cancer to smokers

Vaping is seen as one of the common alternatives for smokers these days though new research claims it is still unhealthy. Harmful chemicals are induced to the body and may be cancerous.

Vaping is something that smokers are turning to these days to alleviate smoking. Initially seen as better, the chemical compositions from e-liquids are now being singled out as unhealthy.

The whole idea behind vaping is for people to find an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. It was initially seen as a good alternative for smokers to avoid lung cancer. That was until researchers stepped up to dispute that claim. In fact, they now singled out the chemicals used in e-liquids as a culprit.

A study made by researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory singled out the chemicals inhaled as being equally cancerous. Among the harmful components identified are propylene glycol and glycerin which lead to emissions of toxic chemicals like acrolein and formaldehyde, according to the Environmental Science and Technology journal.

Vaping has been a growing trend for smokers, particularly the young children. But the problem is that unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes lack the proper research and study to determine if they are truly healthy or bring some alternative form of health risk.

Berkeley Lab hopes to get to the bottom of all that and it all boils down to the liquids used when vaping. The liquids are not normal liquids and are mixed with some form of flavoring or nicotine levels. As far as the cancer-related angle, it is these components that are being categorized as cancer-causing elements.

Aside from the e-liquids, Berkeley Labs also singles out the e-cigarette coils responsible for vaporizing the liquid that is smoked. They claim that carcinogens are also present in e-cigarettes.

“They found that as the voltage increased, both the amount of e-liquid consumed per puff and the vapor temperature were higher,” according to the lab’s release. “In the case of acrolein and formaldehyde, the amount formed at the highest voltage of 4.8V was an order of magnitude higher than the amount at the lowest voltage of 3.3V.”

When lined up against people who smoke cigarettes or tobacco, vaping looks like a safer option. Unfortunately, more information is needed to support the ‘healthier’ claim.

As mentioned on, cigarettes are considered ‘super unhealthy’ while e-cigarettes are allegedly just ‘unhealthy’.

The video below covers the two harmful carcinogens tied up to e-cigarette vapors.


Investigating a toxic risk (self-inflicted)

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