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March 9th, 2010:

GE plans new American export: outdoor smoking ban

GE smoking ban

First published: March 4, 2010

Source: Reuters

General Electric Co is known for exporting American products like washing machines and jet engines, and the biggest U.S. conglomerate is getting ready to ship out another American trend – the outdoor smoking ban.

The world’s largest maker of jet engines this week told employees that it plans to ban smoking on all GE property – both indoors and out – worldwide starting in March 2011.


Tobacco control efforts targeting young people

say no

First published: March 5, 2010

Source: HKSAR Government

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (March 3): Question: The Financial Secretary announced a 50% increase in tobacco duty in the Budget for the last financial year. The Secretary for Food and Health later told the media that he hoped that the increase in tobacco duty would encourage smokers, particularly young smokers, to quit smoking, with the aim of reducing the number of smokers by 10% to 20%. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers and percentages, in the past three years, of the people in the groups listed below who smoke, and the average number of cigarettes smoked by each smoker per day, together with a breakdown of such figures by gender:

(i) the population in Hong Kong; (ii) those aged 11 to 18 of the population; and (iii) those aged 10 or below of the population;

(b) whether it knows at which locations and through what channels underage smokers obtain cigarettes; what measures the Government will adopt to prevent them from obtaining cigarettes from those locations and channels, and whether it will increase the penalties for the offence of selling cigarettes to underage persons; and


Youth tobacco-control measures effective

teen smokerFirst published: March 3, 2010

Source: Hong Kong’s Information Services Department

The percentage of smokers in the 15-19 age group in Hong Kong dropped from 3.5% in 2005 to 2.4% in 2008, showing the tobacco-control measures aimed at young people have been largely effective, Secretary for Food & Health Dr York Chow says.

He told lawmakers restricting access to cigarettes solely by legislation will not produce significant effects because young people can still get cigarettes from multiple channels including their friends and family.

Progress Up in Smoke?


First published: March 5, 2010

Source: Bangor Daily News

For the first time in more than a decade, Maine’s youth smoking rate has gone up, according to a statewide survey. Anti-smoking advocates make a persuasive case that raising the cigarette tax would stop this trend. Lawmakers must be persuaded that a one-year increase is a trend and they must be committed to using the extra tax revenue — $26 million — for smoking cessation, not to help fill the state’s budget gap before they consider raising the tobacco tax.

In 1996, Maine has one of the highest teen smoking rates in the country when 39 percent of high school students said they were smokers. Through a variety of steps, the rate was cut by more than half to 14 percent.

Plain packs: tobacco industry bares its butts to bluff Rudd

plain cigarette packSource: Croakey

Kevin Rudd has foreshadowed an imminent major announcement about prevention. The “P” word has featured in almost every speech on health since Labour took office and the three-volume Preventive Health Task Force report provides a wish list of policies that are causing high anxiety in the junk food, alcohol and tobacco industries. In other words, policies that move beyond “prevention” being a motherhood confection to be liberally sprinkled over political health-speak, and into the realm of making a difference.

A key, cost-free recommendation in the tobacco sub-committee’s report is that Australia should become the first country to require “plain”, unappealing cigarette packs. Packs would all look the same, except for the garish health warnings, being distinguished only by their brand names.

Clear The Air’s Anti-Tobacco crusader questions Financial Secretary in phone-in

rthk phone-inJames Middleton, head of the Anti-Tobacco committee at Clear The Air, questions Hong Kong SAR’s Financial Secretary John Tsang about the 2010 budget,  just after 9 am (9:11) in RTHK’s phone-in program.

Fast forward the audio 6 minutes 38 secs into the 26.58 section to hear the exchange.

Hear the audio here.