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December 20th, 2013:

CTV: Ontario plans to ban smoking on patios, playgrounds and sports fields

from Keith Leslie of the Canadian Press:

Ontario’s Liberal government plans to amend legislation to ban smoking on all restaurant and bar patios as well as at playgrounds and sports fields, Health Minister Deb Matthews announced Wednesday.

Restaurant and bar owners know that the majority of people don’t want to be exposed to second-hand smoke on patios, Matthews said as she announced a series of measures to lower Ontario’s smoking rate.

“I think they understand that this was coming,” she said. “About 70 per cent of Ontarians actually want to ban smoking on patios because they’re people like me. I love to sit outside on a patio, but I don’t like being surrounded by smoke.”

The Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association complained the government didn’t consult the sector before announcing the patio ban, and said there was a real “fear” among some business owners that they will lose customers, and money.

“Smokers will still go outside near the patio and they will puff cigarettes at passersby who are not expecting a puff of smoke,” said association CEO Tony Elenis. “Under the existing regulations, which we are happy with, customers and businesses make a choice.”

The New Democrats were worried the Liberals wouldn’t have the resolve to stand up to the expected opposition to the smoking ban on patios.

“You have to be ready to defend this to a lot of people who will push back, and my experience with them is when there is a push back they disappear into the woods,” said NDP health critic France Gelinas.


Examiner: Tax increases ‘could stop 250,000 smoking’

by Emily Baker of the Examiner:

The Cancer Council believes a progressive increased in tobacco prices set to begin next month could stop 250,000 people from smoking.

The tax on cigarettes will rise 12.5 per cent each year for four years from December 1.

This year  smokers will pay $2.50 extra for a packet of 20 cigarettes – by 2016, it will be an extra $5.25.

The tax is in addition to increases occurring as a result of indexation arrangements and was introduced by the former federal government.

Cancer Council chief executive Penny Egan applauded the move.

“Australia falls below the World Health Organisation best practice for tobacco tax, which is set at a minimum of 70 per cent of the total price,” she said.

“In Australia, tobacco taxes make up less than 60 per cent of the final price, so these increases will put Australia closer to the WHO targets for public health outcomes.

“Tasmania has the highest smoking rate of any state in Australia at 21.7 per cent, and increasing the price of tobacco is the single most effective way to reduce smoking prevalence.

“A 10 per cent increase in the price of cigarettes will result in a reduction in consumption because more adult smokers will quit, less young people will start smoking and others will reduce their daily cigarette intake.

“It is estimated that the tax increases starting on December 1 will result in 210,000 fewer Australian adults and 40,000 less teenagers smoking.”

Civil Liberties Australia state spokesman Richard Griggs didn’t believe the tax would have such a strong impact.

“In an ideal world, increasing taxes would see a reduction in smoking, but really we don’t live in a perfect world,” he said.

“Some people, no matter what the price, will keep smoking.

“The government needs to potentially reassess whether it’s penalising people for something they do legally in their own homes.”

8 Nov 2013

ABS-CBN: Tobacco giant admits losing market share in PH

from ABS-CBNnews:

Higher “sin taxes” appear to have dampened demand for Marlboro and Fortune cigarettes this year, as Philip Morris International Incorporated (PMI) said its sales volume in the Philippines fell 21% in the first nine months.

PMI, Lucio Tan’s partner in PMFTC (Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco), said it saw a bigger drop in sales volume in the first 9 months of the year, compared to the industry’s 6.7% decline, as smokers reduced purchases or switched to other brands.

“(This is) primarily reflecting the unfavorable impact of the disruptive excise tax increase in January 2013,” PMI said.

The Sin Tax Reform Act, which sets higher levies on tobacco and alcohol products, took effect on January 1, 2013.

The tobacco firm also noted its market share has fallen to 77.2% as of September, from 90.8% a year ago.

“PMI’s market share in the [third] quarter decreased by 13.6 points to 77.2 percent primarily due to downtrading to competitors’ brands,” it added.

PMI said its market share of its premium brand Marlboro dropped by 5.9 points to 15.3%, while share of low-priced Fortune fell by 22.6 points to 27.5%.

The company said the decline of Marlboro and Fortune’s market share was partially offset by gains from its other low-priced brands.

2 Dec 2013