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July, 2013:

Four 12.5 per cent tobacco tax hikes planned


Four 12.5 per cent tobacco tax hikes planned

01 Aug 2013. The tobacco excise tax will be increased 12.5 per cent on 1 Dec and by the same percentage in each of the next three years, said Treasurer Chris Bowen.

A joint statement with Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said additional tax revenue would amount to AUD 5.3 billion (EUR 3.6 billion) over four years. The additional funds are to be used to help balance the budget, deter young people from smoking and pay for cancer and stroke care. Subsequent increases after December are planned for 1 Sept, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

This is a significant public health measure that will also help to build on the government’s record investment of an extra AUD 4.1 billion for world class cancer care here in Australia since 2007,” the statement says.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the tax hikes will increase the price for a Winfield Blue 20-pack by AUD 0.98 from December and AUD 5.25 in 2016.

British American Tobacco enters electronic cigarette market in Britain with the ‘Vype’


British American Tobacco enters electronic

cigarette market in Britain with the ‘Vype

Sanchez Manning

Monday, 29 July 2013

British American Tobacco has become the first tobacco company to launch an electronic cigarette in the UK, raising fears that it could eventually boost its profits with public money should the NHS begin prescribing ecigarettes as a smoking-cessation tool.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced earlier this year that it plans to regulate the products as non-prescription medicines from 2016, at which point they would be considered as a treatment option for the NHS. At present the market is dominated by smaller manufacturers who could struggle to thrive in a heavily regulated marketplace.

BAT confirmed on Monday that the firm’s new ecigarette, known as Vype, will be available to buy online from Tuesday, and will then be brought into shops from September this year.

A spokesman for the company said: “The ecigarette is currently available in a disposable format, with plans to supplement the product range with a rechargeable version.

“The development of inhaled nicotine products, which includes ecigarettes, is a natural extension of British American Tobacco’s approach to tobacco harm reduction which has been evolving over a number of years.”

Electronic cigarettes use an “eliquid” containing pharmaceutical-grade nicotine, giving users their hit of the addictive substance and providing a vapour for the smoking experience. Around 1.3 million Britons now use ecigarettes, up from 700,000 last year. But ecigarettes’ long-term effects are as yet unproven and some doctors argue their popularity could undermine anti-smoking efforts. As the market has grown established tobacco brands have moved in, including BAT, which markets Dunhill, Benson and Hedges and Lucky Strike; Imperial Tobacco, the company behind Gauloises and Davidoff, and Altria (formerly Philip Morris), which makes Marlboro and Chesterfield.

The MHRA said the market needed to be regulated because existing ecigarettes were not good enough, with contaminants found in some products and nicotine levels varying widely. Once ecigarettes are licensed, manufacturers will have to prove the quality of their products and demonstrate that they deliver the correct amount of nicotine, although they will not need to do clinical trials.

Cigarette plain packaging increases desire to quit smoking, says study

Cigarette plain packaging increases desire to quit smoking, says study


July 22, 2013

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Lucy Carroll

Cigarette plain packaging.

‘Encouraging results': Plain pack smokers were 81 per cent more likely to have thought about quitting.

Plain packaging has had a major effect on smokers, making cigarettes less appealing and increasing their desire to quit.

In the first study released since plain packaging was introduced in December, plain pack smokers said they were more likely to think their cigarettes were poorer in quality, less satisfying and to rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives.

The primary focus for plain packaging was always to reduce smoking among children.

Health experts hailed the find-ings as encouraging and likely to push other countries to follow Australia’s lead.

<em>Illustration: Rocco Fazzari</em>

Illustration: Rocco Fazzari

The research, funded by Cancer Council Victoria, surveyed 536 smokers during the roll-out of the plain pack legislation in November, when branded packs were still on sale.

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It found that 30.6 per cent of smokers using plain packaging said that their cigarettes were of lower quality than a year earlier, compared with 18.1 per cent of those using branded packs.

Plain pack smokers were 26.2 per cent less satisfied by their cigarettes than they were a year earlier, compared with 14.9 per cent of brand pack smokers.

The research also found that those using plain packaging were more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day in the last week, and almost 70 per cent were seriously considering quitting in the next six months.

”The results are really encouraging. They are consistent with the objectives of the plain packaging act,” said Kylie Lindorff, acting executive director of Quit Victoria. ”That smokers are more likely to think about quitting is really important because other research tells us that the more frequent thoughts you have about quitting, the more likely you are to make a quit attempt.”

She said it was likely to give great confidence to governments in Ireland and New Zealand. Both countries have announced they will adopt plain packaging.

It may also prompt British Prime Minister David Cameron to review his stance on plain packaging after he backed away from plans to bring in new legislation, claiming there wasn’t ”sufficient evidence” to adopt the policy.

In December, Australia was the first country in the world to introduce the tough packaging laws, which banned branding and required graphic health warnings to cover 75 per cent of the package.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said smokers’ feedback was that cigarettes seemed to taste worse since plain packs were introduced, despite tobacco companies not changing the formula.

“Plain packaging of tobacco is as much about stopping our kids from taking up smoking as it is about encouraging existing smokers to quit,” she said.

Professor Mike Daube, president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, said the research was tremendously encouraging.

”Plain packaging provides smokers with that extra incentive to quit,” said Professor Daube. ”This makes the British government’s wait-and-see approach even more deplorable.

”It is clear that they have simply caved in to the tobacco lobby – a marked contrast to Australia, where plain packaging has had all-party support.”

A British American Tobacco spokesman, Scott McIntyre, said there had been no initial impact on tobacco sales after the move to unbranded packs. ”The tobacco market has remained stable. Consumers have not changed their purchasing behaviour,” he said.

Lynton Crosby: David Cameron’s Lizard of Oz

Download PDF : LizardofOz

Revealed: tobacco giant’s secret plans to see off plain cigarette packets

Download PDF : GuardianBigTCrosby

Reilly wants tobacco-free Ireland within 12 years

Reilly wants tobacco-free Ireland within 12 years


Health Minister Dr James Reilly

Lyndsey Telford – 25 July 2013

HEALTH Minister James Reilly has declared war on smoking, saying he wants a tobacco-free Ireland by 2025.

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The minister, whose father and brother died from smoking-related illnesses, said the battle against tobacco is one the Government cannot afford to lose.

“It’s the only product I know that is legally, freely available that will kill you if you use it, according to the manufacturers and so on,” Dr Reilly said.

“It’s a fight that we cannot turn away from and that we can’t afford to lose. It’s a battle that will continue until it’s won and it will be won.”

He revealed that a document had been passed by Government, entitled Tobacco-Free Ireland, which aims to have less than 5% of the population smoking within the next 12 years.

Ireland’s smoking population is currently 29% – well above the average among OECD countries at 21%.

Dr Reilly is to meet a string of campaign groups later today – including the Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society, Barnardo’s and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland – to discuss “the dreadful damage” of smoking.

“I have very strong professional and personal feelings about this particular industry,” the minister said.

Dr Reilly has been touched personally by the suffering caused by smoking after his brother died of lung cancer and his father went blind following a stroke.

Both were smokers and, like Dr Reilly, both were doctors.

The Health Minister, in his quarterly meeting with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, said he also wants to extend the smoking ban.

Ireland became the first country to stop smoking in bars and restaurants with the workplace smoking ban in 2004.

This was followed by an end to the sale of 10-packs in 2007, a ban on retail displays and adverts in 2009, and picture health warnings on packets this year.

An extension of the smoking ban could extend from the workplace to public areas such as parks and beaches.

Dr Reilly added that he has officially begun the process of introducing plain cigarette packaging across the country.

He first announced Ireland’s plans to become the second country in the world – after Australia – to clamp down on the industry with plain packaging two months ago.

The standardised packaging will see all forms of branding, trademarks, logos, colours and graphics removed from tobacco products.

“Plain packaging is one of a number of measures that are required to denormalise smoking in our society,” he said.

“Education and awareness, cessation services and extending the smoking ban to other areas are just some of the other measures which I am currently progressing.”

Around 5,200 people die every year from tobacco-related diseases – one in two of all smokers will die from their addiction, according to the Department of Health.

Exchanges now sell e-cigarettes, but military officials haven’t sorted out all the rules

Patricia N Kime, MilitaryTimes

Jon Bunte started smoking when he turned 18, a habit picked up from a friend that appeared to ease his chronic headaches.

He continued to smoke when he joined the Air Force, but about midway through his first enlistment, searching for a less dirty way to satisfy his nicotine cravings, he tried an electronic cigarette, or e-cig. Even though experience was wholly unsatisfying, sending him scrambling for a pack of Marlboro Menthol Lights, he tried again this past March, for the same reason.

And according to Bunte, he hasn’t smoked a tobacco cigarette since.

“Smoking was affecting my health. It made running difficult, and waking up coughing up phlegm is no way to start a day. … Vaping gives you all of the effects of smoking without the nasty bad ones,” Bunte says.

Once a curiosity at mall kiosks, e-cigs are popping up on tobacco shelves, in smoke shops and at military exchanges, which began carrying the battery-powered devices within the past two months. Since May, sales of e-cigs in the Army and Air Force exchanges alone topped 28,600.

Celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Lindsay Lohan have been spotted vaporizing, or “vaping,” in Los Angeles, and major tobacco companies like R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard have waded into the market.

But as e-cigs grow in popularity, government regulators and the military services are sorting out what rules should apply to these accessories, which turn a nicotine-infused liquid like propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine into an inhalable vapor.

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to impose rules on e-cigs but has said it likely will add them to the list of tobacco products regulated by the agency sometime this year.

The military services already treat them as if they are tobacco products, restricting their use to designated smoking areas.

Among the concerns the FDA has about the gadgets are long-term health consequences, quality-control issues and marketing, especially questions over whether children and teens may be drawn to them. The e-cigs are available not only in tobacco and menthol flavors but in popcorn, chocolate, caramel machiatto and one of Bunte’s favorites, strawberry vanilla cupcake.

Vapers and manufacturers say they are much safer than cigarettes, but no studies have been done on their long-term health effects, mainly because they’re relatively new to the market.

A German study published in late June found that some liquids used in e-cig cartridges contain volatile organic compounds, acetone, formaldehyde and other chemicals. The German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg also found that they produce secondhand vapors that may affect nonusers.

Still, users say they feel better after having switched from traditional cigarettes to electronic ones.

Bunte, for example, says his teeth are cleaner, he sleeps more soundly and no longer wheezes or coughs during exercise.

“They aren’t branded as a [smoking cessation tool], but I feel they are a great tool for it,” Bunte says.

In the coming months, consumers will have more choices for vaping as the large tobacco companies jump into the e-cig market. Altria, maker of Marlboro, will launch MarkTen this summer in Indiana in preparation for a national rollout.

Lorillard, which manufactures Newport and Kent cigarettes, purchased Blu Ecigs in 2012 and has been expanding its availability at retail stores.

And this month, R.J. Reynolds, maker of Winston and Pall Mall cigarettes, will introduce its Vuse e-cigarette in Colorado, also eyeing a national expansion.

Company believe their U.S.-made e-cig will be an industry game-changer, offering such a consistent experience that smokers who try one will continue using it.

“In studying the market, there is high trial of electronic cigarettes but low adoption. There have been quality-control issues. These are things we wanted to address,” says Richard Smith, communications manager for Reynolds American.

Bunte says smokers often don’t stick with e-cigs because they try inexpensive disposable brands that often don’t deliver consistent vapor or smoking experience.

Only time and research will tell what the long-term health effects of vaping are, but the devices appear to be here for the long haul. According to some estimates, the market could top $1 billion in sales in the coming years, and the social stigma of smoking appears to be influencing smokers to find alternatives.

“No yellowed teeth, no disgusting smells on me, no accidental cigarette burns in the car. It basically removes all of the negative effects of smoking,” Bunte says.

Patricia Kime is the health reporter for Military Times. She can be reached at

Menthol has firm grip on smokers

Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Sofia Mitra-Thakur

It is harder for people to give up the cool and mint-flavoured cigarettes, shows a study

Smokers of menthol cigarettes in Hong Kong are likely to find it harder to quit than if they smoked regular cigarettes, according to a new study.

But they may be forced to ditch the minty tobacco if Hong Kong follows Europe’s lead by banning them altogether.

These may be a gateway for people who want to try smoking, but don’t find the taste of normal cigarettes all that pleasurable. Flavoured cigarettes make it easier to get addicted

The mint-flavoured cigarettes do not appear to be linked to a higher risk of disease, but they are likely to pose a higher public health risk than non-menthol ones, said a review of scientific data by a US government agency.

The findings could lead to tougher regulations on menthol cigarettes in the United States. The European parliament approved a ban on menthol and strongly flavoured cigarettes as part of measures aimed at curbing smoking in the European Union.

In Hong Kong, menthol cigarettes have 26 per cent of the market share, according to a survey, while other surveys show more women than men prefer menthol cigarettes. Low tar menthol cigarettes attract a higher proportion of young adult women.

Researchers discovered that menthol cigarettes were appealing to women who wanted cigarettes with less tar, a weaker tobacco taste and smell.

In Hong Kong, the number of smokers dropped in the past two decades, hitting a low in 2010 when only 11.1 per cent of the people smoked daily.

Lisa Lau Man-man, chairwoman of the Council on Smoking and Health told the South China Morning Post she welcomed the review by the US Food and Drug Administration.

She said that menthol and fruit flavoured cigarettes were targeted at, and popular with, the young and women.

“These may be a gateway for people who want to try smoking, but don’t find the taste of normal cigarettes all that pleasurable,” she said. “Flavoured cigarettes make it easier to get addicted.”

Lau said the anti-smoking group would welcome a ban on menthol cigarettes as it would make it harder for the target groups to start smoking. “We want the public to know there are no safer cigarettes. Just because a cigarette has a lower tar content or a fruit flavour does not make it less harmful.”

The US findings could have larger implications on the mainland. China is the largest consumer of tobacco in the world, according to the World Health Organisation’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

About 28.1 per cent of mainland adults, mainly men, were smokers in 2010, and of these, 85.6 per cent lit up daily.

According to the FDA’s independent review of scientific literature, menthol smokers are more likely to smoke their first cigarette within five minutes of waking, suggesting that the mint flavour is linked to “increased dependence”, it said.

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 25th 2013, 8:41am):

Menthol Cigarettes

Menthol Cigarettes

Menthol is a flavor additive widely used in consumer and medicinal products; however, its use in tobacco products is not currently regulated. It has a minty taste and aroma, and may have cooling or painkilling properties – which can reduce the irritation and harshness of smoking when used in cigarettes.

Inviting Public Input on Menthol in Cigarettes

Menthol cigarettes raise critical public health questions. The FDA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to take public input on menthol in cigarettes. Specifically, the FDA is requesting information to inform its thinking about potential regulatory options such as:

  • tobacco product standards;
  • sale and distribution restrictions; and
  • other regulatory actions and considerations.

The FDA also conducted a preliminary independent scientific evaluation of existing data and research on menthol cigarettes. The Preliminary Scientific Evaluation of the Possible Public Health Effects of Menthol Versus Nonmenthol Cigarettes addresses the association between menthol cigarettes and various outcomes, including:

  • initiation;
  • addiction; and
  • cessation.

More than 40% of  youth smokers and 30% of all adult smokers report smoking menthol cigarettes in the United States.

The preliminary scientific evaluation, along with other relevant scientific information on the topic of menthol, is included in the docket for the ANPRM to give all interested parties an opportunity to comment on these materials. The ANPRM will be available for public comment for 60 days.

Submit Your Comments, Data and Research

Do you have data, research, or other information related to menthol in cigarettes? The FDA wants to hear from you.

Learn More About This Commenting Opportunity >>>

Supporting New Research

The FDA is committed to a science-based approach that addresses the public health issues raised by menthol cigarettes. To further the FDA’s understanding of the likely public health impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes, the FDA plans to support new research on the differences between menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes, including:

  • menthol’s likely impact on smoking cessation;
  • menthol’s likely impact on attempts to quit; and
  • the levels of menthol in cigarette brands and subbrands.

The agency is also funding three menthol-related studies:

  • a study to look at genetic differences in taste perceptions in tobacco use, which may further the understanding of why certain racial/ethnic populations are more likely to use menthol cigarettes;
  • a study to examine the effects of menthol in cigarettes by assessing human exposure to smoke-related toxins and carcinogens by comparing cigarettes that are the same except for the levels of menthol in them; and
  • a study to examine the effects of menthol and nonmenthol compounds in various tobacco products on both tobacco addiction and toxicants of tobacco smoke.

Information received in response to the ANPRM, as well as new scientific research, will help the agency make the best decisions about possible regulatory actions.

Resources for You

Menthol cigarettes may be harder to quit, raising regulation questions

Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 10:43am


Staff reporter and Agence France-Presse

Menthol cigarettes are harder to quit than regular cigarettes, according to a new review of scientific data.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Tuesday that although the mint-flavoured cigarettes do not appear linked to a higher risk of disease, they likely pose “a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes”. The US agency said it was considering regulations that could affect sales.

The news may be of particular significance in mainland China and Hong Kong, where a high proportion of people smoke.

China is the largest consumer of tobacco in the world, according to the World Health Organisation’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey [1]. An estimated 28.1 per cent of adults in China (52.9 per cent of men and 2.4 per cent of women) were smokers in 2010, and of those, 85.6 per cent lighted up daily.

Menthol smokers appear to be more nicotine dependent than non-menthol smokers

FDA Review

A US study [2] in 2004 found that menthol cigarettes had a 26 per cent market share in Hong Kong, with other surveys indicating that smoking menthol cigarettes is more common among women than men.

Japanese and US researchers [3] reported in 2010 that low tar menthol cigarettes attracted a higher proportion of young adult women in markets where there were increasing numbers of young adult female smokers, including Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

They discovered that menthol cigarettes were appealing to female smokers who wanted low tar cigarettes with less of a tobacco taste, and reduction in odours affecting their hair and clothing. Brands were targeted to women using “feminine” attributes including slim, light and mild.

Smoking in Hong Kong has declined in the past two decades, according to the Census and Statistics Department, hitting a low in 2010 with daily smokers accounting for 11.1 per cent of the population.

However, among daily smokers surveyed in 2008, one year after Hong Kong implemented a ban on smoking in public spaces, 55.5 per cent said they had never tried nor wanted to quit.

Rates of hard-core smokers, defined as daily smokers over 26 who smoked at least 11 cigarettes per day and said they did not want to quit smoking, actually increased by 6 per cent from 2005 to 2008, suggesting a “hardening” of the smoking population in Hong Kong in response to the legislation.

In the US, the FDA stopped short of recommending proposals to restrict or a ban menthol cigarettes and said it was “seeking additional information to help the agency make informed decisions about menthol in cigarettes”.

The European parliament has already approved a ban on menthol and other strongly flavoured cigarettes as part of a series of measures aimed at curbing smoking in the European Union.

According to the FDA’s own independent review of the available scientific literature, newer smokers “substantially” prefer menthols.

Menthol smokers are more likely to smoke their first cigarette within five minutes of waking, suggesting the mint flavour is linked to “increased dependence”, it said.

Menthol smokers, particularly African Americans, had a harder time quitting than people who smoked regular cigarettes.

“This is consistent with the observation that menthol smokers appear to be more nicotine dependent than non-menthol smokers which can be an important factor in smoking cessation success,” said the FDA review.