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January 2nd, 2017:

Tax hike tipped to result in more smokers quitting

More Northland smokers are expected to give up after the latest 10 per cent hike on tobacco products kicked in yesterday. Northland health officials hope the latest 10 per cent rise in the cost of tobacco products will see more smokers try to kick the habit and say there is help for those who want to quit.

The Government’s latest tax hike on tobacco kicked in yesterday, with more scheduled on January 1 on each of the next three years.

Bridget Rowse, Northland DHB Smokefree Advisor, is urging smokers to beat the price increase and consider quitting this summer.

“Every year thousands of Kiwis escape their working lives for a few weeks for a summer holiday – epitomised by journeys to the beach, families and feasting, and of course the tradition of New Year’s resolutions,” Ms Rowse said.

“We’re encouraging everyone to make giving up smoking their resolution this New Year. It’s a great opportunity to begin that journey to a smokefree life.”

She said the aim was to put a stop to whanau dying needlessly from smoking-related diseases and while the cost of smoking has gone up, the cost of quitting hasn’t. An eight-week supply of nicotine patches, gum and lozenges costs as little as $5. By using patches, gum or lozenges smokers will double their chance of quitting for good.

Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are safe, and contain only a minimal amount of nicotine, and come packaged without any of the 4000 chemicals – many of which are harmful – found in cigarettes.

“We know that most smokers would love to quit. Increasing tobacco tax is one of the best ways to reduce smoking.”

Previous tobacco tax increases have reduced tobacco consumption per capita by around a quarter and prompted thousands of smokers to quit.

“Some people may feel targeted, but the tax hikes send a clear and consistent message that, in the long-run, New Zealand was committed to drastically bringing down smoking rates,” Ms Rowse said.

Tax hikes are part of a number of measures designed to move New Zealand towards the Government’s goal of a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025 – reducing smoking prevalence to less than 5 per cent of the total population.

More than 19,986 people in Northland aged 15-years and over smoke regularly – 19.1 per cent – compared to 15 per cent nationally.

To get help to stop smoking, talk to your doctor, midwife, Maori health provider or call Quitline on 0800 778 778.

mCig On Track For Best Quarter In Its History

mCig Inc., (OTCQB: MCIG), a diversified company servicing the legal cannabis, hemp, and CBD markets announced today that it is on track to deliver the “best quarter on record” to its shareholders. In the recent shareholder conference call held December 19, 2016 the company covered many key points of the business operations culminating in the fact that MCIG has surpassed last quarter’s historical earnings statement, by exceeding the total revenue for the previous quarter half way through our current quarter. With January’s projected revenue numbers, MCIG is scheduled to deliver its best quarter in its history. Some of the key points made by management during the shareholder update call include:

– All three operating segments, construction, wholesale, and retail were profitable, self sustaining and projected to maintain upward trend.

– Construction/consulting division has become MCIG’s most profitable division, with expectations of a continued trend as Nevada Cultivators scale operations to meet recreational demand within the state.

– Our wholesale e-Cig and CBD segment is still robust, profitable and positioned exceptionally well in international & US markets.

– Established a new wholly owned subsidiary, Grow Contractors Inc., to oversee construction segment with Rob Kressa, a 10 year cannabis industry veteran appointed as the CEO of Grow Contractors Inc.

– MCIG in negotiations to acquire Medical Marijuana Establishment (“MME”) licenses in Nevada.

– MCIG currently has over $10 million in order/contract backlog

– MCIG, in joint venture with Sangreen International, to launch a new “Build your own greenhouse website” at in the next few weeks, along with corresponding mobile app.

– MCIG model considers acquiring, growing, incubating, operations in the cannabis space, with the ultimate intention to spin-off as it did with VitaCig, now Omni Health, Inc.

– OMHE investment is currently valued at over $1.5 million, which MCIG expects to be an appreciating asset over time or as a read to use reserve for the company mandates.

– VitaCig e-Cig division continues its domination of the international e-Cig business. Its recently expanded operations in Europe with plans to penetrate South Africa, and South America.

About mCig, Inc.

Headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, mCig Inc. (OTCQB: MCIG) A diversified company servicing the legal cannabis, hemp and CBD markets via its lifestyle brands. MCIG has transitioned from a vaporizer manufacturer to industry leading large scale, full service cannabis cultivation construction company with its Scalable Solutions division currently operating in the rapidly expanding Nevada market. The company looks forward to growing its core competencies to service the Ancillary legal Cannabis, Hemp and CBD markets, with broader expansion to take place once federal laws change. For more information visit

Safe Harbor Statement

Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on current expectations, but are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. The factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the Company’s ability to develop, market and sell products based on its technology; the expected benefits and efficacy of the Company’s products and technology; the availability of substantial additional funding for the Company to continue its operations and to conduct research and development, and future product commercialization; and the Company’s business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies.

I’ll say it again: E-cigarettes are still far safer than smoking

Despite evidence suggesting e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking, more people than ever believe them to be just as harmful. Professor Linda Bauld discusses the evidence

January is a time for New Year’s resolutions and if you’re one of the world’s one billion smokers, your resolution may be to stop smoking. For some people, this year’s quit attempt might involve an electronic cigarette, and a recent study in England, published in the BMJ, suggested that these devices helped at least 18,000 smokers to stop in 2015 who would not otherwise have done so. That’s very good news, but will there be as many quit attempts in 2017 as there have been in the past with e-cigarettes? I’m not so sure.

Since I last wrote about e-cigarettes in this column one year ago, headlines about the dangers of these devices have continued to appear and show no sign of abating. The result is clear. More people believe today, compared with a year ago, that e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking. In fact these incorrect perceptions have risen year on year, from fewer than one in ten adults in Great Britain in 2013 to one in four this past summer. Surveys of smokers show similar patterns, with an increasing proportion believing that e-cigarettes are more or equally harmful than tobacco.

Yet we know that these harm perceptions are wrong. There is now very strong evidence, from a range of studies, that vaping – inhaling nicotine without the combustion involved in smoking – is far less risky than smoking cigarettes. Just a few months ago this body of evidence was brought together by the Royal College of Physicians who published an authoritative report analysing dozens of studies and concluded that the hazard to health arising from long term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco. The RCP, and since then other UK doctor’s organisations such as the Royal College of General Practitioners, have made clear that it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, along with other non-tobacco nicotine products (like Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as gum or inhalators) to smokers who are trying to quit. The work of these organisations is underpinned by a consensus statement endorsed by many of the main health charities and public health bodies in the UK. They agree that vaping is safer than smoking, and while these products are not risk free and should not be promoted to children or never smokers, they have a legitimate and positive role to play in tobacco control.

But this consensus is not shared around the world. The regular stream of media scare stories driving harm perceptions often originates in other countries where there is no such view about relative risks. Some media headlines are driven by poor science but others originate from reports by credible organisations who focus on the absolute risk of any e-cigarette use without comparing it to smoking (which is uniquely deadly and kills one in two regular users). 2016 saw at least two major reports of this kind.

In September the World Health Organisation published a report that set out a series of steps on e-cigarette regulation for countries signed up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a global public health treaty. These options were primarily about banning or severely restricting the sale, distribution and marketing of e-cigarettes. The WHO report was comprehensively critiqued by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, but its findings mean that e-cigarettes will continue to be unavailable to millions of smokers in many countries who have banned these devices or are considering doing so.

December 2016 saw the publication of a review authored by the US Surgeon General, which focused on e-cigarette use in young people. This described e-cigarette use as a public health concern, arguing that e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product amongst US youth and that nicotine use in any form is unsafe for young people and also pregnant women. While some of the science in the report is accurate, the conclusions endorsing heavy regulation of e-cigarettes were not. The report did not compare the risks of smoking and vaping, failed to make clear that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products, and drew conclusions about nicotine that would also apply to Nicotine Replacement Therapy – which is safe and licensed for use in pregnancy and by young smokers. It also endorsed policies which could deter current smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. American scientists have critiqued data from the USA that provided the basis for the Surgeon General’s report, but it is likely that this publication will contribute to public perceptions that e-cigarettes are dangerous.

These two reports largely ignore the fact that there are already measures in place in many countries (including all of the EU) to protect the public from any risks from e-cigarettes. These include policies like age of sale, limits on advertising and child- and tamper-proof packaging – all important to protect children while still allowing sales to adult smokers and ex-smokers. Concerns about exploding batteries and nicotine poisoning can also be dealt with by following simple safety rules, such as those set out by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

I believe that e-cigarettes have huge potential to save lives by providing an alternative to smoking. Yet this can only be realised if we address negative harm perceptions and communicate honestly with the public. Ongoing research can help with this, and 2016 has seen the start of important studies, many commissioned by Cancer Research UK, which will tell us more in the future. We also need to keep our eye on new technology, such as heat not burn tobacco products, which are emerging and about which we know little. Only time will tell whether the UK’s positive approach towards e-cigarettes strikes the right balance between risks and benefits. For now, however, we must do all we can to encourage smokers to try to stop at New Year or any other time. For those trying with e-cigarettes, this is a positive choice that should be supported.

Linda Bauld is Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling, Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and holds the CRUK/BUPA Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK. She is a former scientific adviser on tobacco control to the UK government and chaired the NICE guidance group on tobacco harm reduction.

10-year roadmap to a tobacco-free city: What’s next?

The Government is considering expanding the scope of smoke-free areas to busy outdoor areas, hoping to reduce the smoking prevalence to single digit. After expanding statutory no smoking areas about 10 years ago, the demographic characteristics and habits amongst smokers have changed significantly. It may be time to evaluate current tobacco control measures.

The full version of the commentary is in Chinese only.

Key points

  • The current tobacco control legislation does not cover most of the public areas outside designated no smoking areas, nor does it prohibit people from smoking while walking.
  • After consulting the affected residents, building and businesses owners, some of the laneways in Melbourne’s CBD are now smoke-free areas.
  • Most of the smokers in Hong Kong started smoking before the age of 30, 67% of them had their first cigarette between 10 and 19, more than doubled when compared with those who started between 20 and 29.
  • The ratio of female smokers remained 3% to 4% over the years, and the female smoking population increased from 92,000 in 2010 to 103,000 last year.
  • At least 13 countries, including Singapore, Thailand and Brazil, have imposed a complete ban on e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarette retailers use Pokémon Go to market products

Download (PDF, 2.52MB)

Austrian Families Minister wants smoking ban for under-18s

Austria’s Minister for Families, Sophie Karmasin, wants to ban smoking for young people under the age of 18. Currently, smoking is legal in Austria from the age of 16.

Austria has one of the highest rates of smoking among teenagers and young adults in Europe, with 52 percent of men aged 18 to 28 smoking, and 34 percent of women.

Only Greeks, Bulgarians and Latvians smoke more than Austrians, according to a 2012 Eurobarometer study.

Austria is one of the last countries to allow smoking from the age of 16. Karmasin told the Austria Press Agency that she has already been in talks with Austria’s provincial governors on changing the law as part of the Youth Protection Act.

A survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 27 percent of Austrian 15-year-olds smoke at least once a week, more frequently than any other children in the OECD area – something Karmasin said was “unacceptable”.

She said that a ban on smoking for under-18s would send an important signal, although she didn’t elaborate on what the consequences would be for those who break the law.

Austria is one of the countries in western Europe where cigarettes are cheapest. The country has a deeply entrenched smoking culture, and a general ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants doesn’t come into force until May 2018. Meanwhile, there is a ban on vaping products for people under 18.

Karmasin tried to bring in a smoking ban for under-18s two years ago, but it was shot down by Vice Chancellor and ÖVP head Reinhold Mitterlehner. He said such a measure was “not necessary”. However, Karmasin is optimistic that she can get the backing for a ban this year, and said that the “health argument” trumps all others.