Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

August 13th, 2012:

Smoker jailed for attacking tobacco inspector

A 32-year-old man was sentenced to two months’ jail in the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts today upon conviction of assaulting a Tobacco Control Inspector.
He was also fined HK$1,500 each for obstruction of public officers in the exercise of their duty and for the smoking offence.
The assault took place in Chik Fu Street Rest Garden in Shatin on June 7, as the man attacked a tobacco control inspector during an inspection. He was arrested by police subsequently.

Seoul prepares for international forum to curb smoking

Below are

–        an August 3, 2012 news item about COP5 on the occasion of 100 days before COP5

–        an August 6, 2012 news item regarding the intention of the South Korean government to require picture warnings on packs, and to ban “light” and “mild” descriptors; the requirements have not been finalized, but the intention is to have the requirements come into effect as early as in 2013

–        a June 29, 2012 Ministry of Health and Welfare news release re advance notice of legislation that would prohibit smoking in restaurants in 2015


Seoul prepares for international forum to curb smoking

August 3, 2012

About 1,000 world health experts and policy makers from 170 countries will gather in Seoul in November to discuss transnational collaboration in curbing smoking rates and tackling illnesses that stem from tobacco consumption.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Friday that the 5th Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be held at COEX in southern Seoul from Nov. 12-17.

“The conference will put Korea among the leading countries of the anti-smoking campaign,” said Han Sang-kyun, a ministry official.

The WHO FCTC was adopted by the World Health Assembly on May 21, 2003, and entered into force on February 27, 2005, in response to the globalization of the tobacco consumption epidemic. It is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The act has also become effectuated in Korea in 2005.

University students participating in anti-smoking campaigns form the number 100 to mark the upcoming World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control conference outside the Seoul city hall on Friday. (Yonhap News)

At the meeting the parties will discuss guidelines for the implementation of Article 6 of the WHO FCTC: “Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco” and regulations of the contents of tobacco products and regulation of tobacco product disclosures. Delegations will also study economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing and ways to control and prevent the use of smokeless tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

Ahead of the largest international congress on health policy to be held in Korea in recent years, the government is gearing up to raise public awareness.

In order to mark the D-100 of the event that fell on Friday, about 200 university students appointed as official supporters of anti-tobacco campaigns held a performance promoting the FCTC meeting in front of Seoul Station. They also handed out leaflets about the event at COEX and other major spots in the capital.

The organizing committee also receives supporting messages with photos via Selected senders will receive a new iPad, gift vouchers or Starbucks gifticon, a coupon used on smartphones.


August 6, 2012 18:48, Korea Times

Photo warnings to be put on cigarette packs

By Kim Rahn

Photos of body parts afflicted by smoking related diseases will replace the current written warning on cigarette packs from as early as next year.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Monday that it was seeking to revise the National Health Promotion Law to curb the nation’s high incidence of smoking.

Currently cigarette packs have the warning labels on them because tobacco growers and cigarette companies are strongly against the adoption of photos or other graphic warnings.

The photographs will be put on cigarette packs to show the physical damage caused by smoking _ a measure currently used in over 40 countries including the United States, Britain, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“After discussion with related ministries, we plan to announce the revision plan within the month and collect opinion from the public and experts,” said a ministry official.

“If the revision process goes smoothly at the National Assembly, the new rules are likely to take effect early next year,” he added.

The ministry has long been advocating the use of graphic warnings. Several lawmakers proposed bills related to the practice over four times during the 18th Assembly but faced opposition from interest groups, which claimed it would not effectively curb the smoking rate and would decrease the incomes of tobacco farmers.

The 18th Assembly closed in May without passing the bills, which were automatically scrapped.

“We believe the graphics are effective. In Canada, the smoking rate was 24 percent in 2000 when the country adopted the measure, but it dropped to 22 percent in 2001 and keeps falling,” the official said.

Besides the graphic warnings, tobacco companies will be banned from using words such as “mild” or “light,” which the ministry regards as inducing people to smoke.

Promotional activities such as street events to commemorate the launching of new cigarette products will also be prohibited at places other than designated cigarette selling booths.

The ministry is also seeking to force tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in their products.

Such a disclosure is based on the Law on Tobacco Business, governed by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. According to the law, companies should put the names of six key ingredients on cigarette packs such as nicotine and tar, but don’t need to do so for the other hundreds of ingredients including additives.

“All ingredients need to be made public for the right of consumers to know and for public health,” the official said.

“We’ll discuss the issue with the finance ministry and other related groups to reach an agreement. We believe the Assembly will acknowledge the purpose of the revision, because society is moving to reduce damage from smoking.”


Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea

June 29, 2012

Smoking will be prohibited at all restaurants from 2015.

– Advance notice of the legislation of the amended enforcement regulation of the National Health Promotion Act –

– Expansion of non-smoking areas and stronger warning signs on tobacco packages, etc. –

Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Rim, Chae Min) issued an advance notice (28 June

~ 26 Aug.) of the legislation of the amended enforcement regulation of the National Health

Promotion Act which is expected to come into effect on 8 Dec.

This amendment is for implementation of the National Health Promotion Act revised in

June 2011 and it contains the standards for areas of general restaurants that will be

entirely designated as non-smoking area, public facilities that are being newly added as

non-smoking area, and details regarding stronger warning signs against smoking, etc.

Major details of the amendment are as below.

<Expansion of non-smoking areas>

Currently, more than a half of the inside of the business areas of general restaurants,

eateries, and bakeries larger than 150㎡ are to be designated as non-smoking area but

from now on the entire areas of the facilities shall be designated as non-smoking area.

This will be applied to the area of the business place larger than 150㎡ from 8 Dec. 2012,

to larger than 100㎡ from 1 Jan. 2014 and to all the businesses from 1 Jan. 2015*.

* Status: 76 thousand places (larger than 150㎡), 77 thousand places (150~100㎡) , 528 thousand places (less than 100㎡)

This has partially incorporated a suggestion from a local government body that saw the

urgent need to designate the entire business area as non-smoking area since the damage

caused by indirect smoking at small restaurants is really serious.

Furthermore, public-use facilities that are being newly added as non-smoking area along

with the revision of the enforcement regulation are expressway service areas and

designated cultural heritages.

The buildings and attached facilities (including roofless building corridors, pathways and

staircases, etc.) that are located on national expressways are being newly designated as

non-smoking area in accordance with the Road Act. There are as many as 180 places

falling under this category nationwide.

In this regard, the management authorities, etc. will be advised to design and run separate

smoking areas within the sites of the service areas to let smokers to smoke while

minimizing the damage to the non-smokers.

The designated culture heritages and their protected areas according to the Cultural

Heritage Protection Act will all be designated as smoking area except for residential

structures and an request from the Cultural Heritage Administration has been fully

incorporated into this provision.

* (Cultural heritage category) ① Designated or registered cultural heritages, ② Tangible (books and paintings, etc.), intangible (plays and music, etc.), monuments (historical sites, and animals/plants, etc.), folklore cultural heritages (clothes, etc.)

In the meantime, when revising the Act, the National Assembly recommended to the

government that billiard saloons be designated as non-smoking area in the subordinate

decree but due to a systematic problem*, this was not included in this amended Act. Ways

to amending the Act later by collecting opinions will be looked at.

* Sports facilities that can accommodate more than 10 million people are designated as

non-smoking area in the revised Act. Therefore, the amendment is needed to include the

billiard hall, a sports facility that mostly accommodates fewer than 10 thousand people, as

non-smoking area.

<Strong warning sign against smoking>

According to the amended Act, the phrase that “the amount of tar differs by the smokers’

smoking habits” and the phone number of the counseling line for quitting smoking run by

Ministry of Health and Welfare will be added to the existing warning signs indicated on

tobacco packages.

The warning phrase covering 30% of the area of the front and back sides of the tobacco

package will also appear on the side of the package, covering 30% of the section.

In the meantime, Ministry of Health and Welfare added that Korea’s non-smoking policy

needs to be reinforced given that the pattern of smoking reduction in the nation is at a

standstill and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control General Meeting is

scheduled to be held in Seoul in Nov. 2012.