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March 3rd, 2009:

Electronic Cigarettes On Sale On Internet

Hong Kong Digest – Updated on Mar 03, 2009 – Ming Pao Daily

Surge of tobacco duties by 50 per cent recently has led to the re-emergence of “electronic cigarettes” for sale on the internet. Claiming the product to be tax and tar – but not nicotine – free, a vendor said stocks of “electronic cigarettes” had been sold out since many smokers were turning to the product for financial reasons. He said the “smokeless” cigarettes contained no tobacco and could be used indoors without violating the law. The Department of Health declined to comment if internet advertising of “electronic cigarettes” was against the law.

One In Four Women Quit Smoking Under Centre’s Programme

Fox Yi Hu – Updated on Mar 03, 2009 – SCMP

One in four women taking part in a programme to help them stop smoking have managed to kick the habit.

Those who were not successful at least had the satisfaction of reducing their cigarette consumption.

A success rate of 24.1 per cent has been achieved by women at the Smoking Cessation Centre run by the University of Hong Kong’s department of nursing studies and department of community medicine.

The programme was launched in November 2006 for adult women. Up to last December, 274 smokers had taken part in the programme and undergone a three-month follow-up. Participants were on average 35 years old, and 93.7 per cent had received secondary education.

Sixty-six successfully quit smoking, accounting for 24.1 per cent of participants. Among those who failed to give up smoking, the average number of cigarettes they consume has dropped from 14 a day to seven.

The rate of participants describing their health as good has increased to 86 per cent from 70 per cent.

Lam Tai-hing, head of the university’s department of community medicine, said the 50 per cent increase in tobacco tax announced last week was a highly effective motivation for people to quit smoking.

“If a smoker spends HK$40 per day on cigarettes, he or she will save about HK$15,000 a year [by quitting smoking], which is good money that can be spent on many other things.”

Daily calls to the centre’s hotline have doubled since Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced the tax increase last week.

“The figure of 50 per cent increase in tobacco tax should remind smokers about the serious mortality risk due to smoking,” Professor Lam added. “Research studies from HKU and elsewhere have shown that 50 per cent of smokers who continue to smoke will be killed by tobacco.”

Sophia Chan Siu-chee, head of the department of nursing studies, said it was a good time for women to take advantage of the centre’s service and quit smoking. “To celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday, smart female smokers should give themselves a precious gift.”