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January 1st, 2014:

Tobacco health warnings in China


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Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs

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Plain packaging of tobacco products: measures to decrease smoking initiation and increase cessation

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The Plain Truth about Plain Packaging: An Econometric Analysis of the Australian 2011 Tobacco Plain Packaging Act

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National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013

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Daily Mail: ‘E-cigarette smokers inhale MORE nicotine and toxins than regular smokers': Experts say ‘users are unknowingly inhaling’ a host of dangerous chemicals

from the Daily Mail:

They are marketed as being healthier than conventional cigarettes, but experts are warning that people who smoke electronic cigarettes could still be inhaling a host of dangerous chemicals.

People who smoke e-cigarettes may inhale higher concentrations of nicotine and of other toxins,say U.S researchers.

Nicotine is both addictive and, in large quantities, toxic – and some of the other chemicals found in e-cigarettes are believed to be carcinogenic.

Experts say people who smoke electronic cigarettes instead of traditional ones might be unwittingly inhaling a host of dangerous chemicals. (Daily Mail)

Researchers at New York University say that due to the ‘frequency of puffing’ and ‘depth of inhalation’ e-cigarette smokers absorb higher levels of harmful chemicals than those who smoke traditional cigarettes.


Liberty Voice: Tobacco committed to limiting smoking laws globally

written by Alex Durig and published on the Guardian Liberty Voice:

Believe it or not, Big Tobacco is still committed to limiting and preventing anti-smoking laws globally. They have set out to deter global anti-smoking laws by citing trade and investment treaties that are currently in effect, and would imply costly court battles for all parties concerned. This is the strategic response from Big Tobacco to a rising trend in anti-smoking legislation the world over, according to an article in today’s New York Times.

In 2012, Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the W.H.O., delivered the keynote address at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore. In that speech, titled “Galvanizing global action towards a tobacco-free world ,” Dr. Chan alleged that legal actions taken against Uruguay, Norway and Australia had been “deliberately designed to instill fear” in countries trying to reduce smoking.

Yet, here we are, more than a year later, and the World Health Organization cannot make a dent in the agenda of Big Tobacco. We live in a world where there seems to be a toss-up when it comes to tobacco.

On the one hand, if you are in California, you cannot even light a cigarette if you are sitting at a restaurant table outside on the sidewalk. The state believes research indicates smoking is bad for our health.

However, in Kentucky people still smoke like it was going out of style. Of course, the state has always been the proud home of Big Tobacco in many ways.

So, which is more important: the freedom to live how people want to live, or the freedom to die how they want to die?


ABS-CBN: Philip Morris eyes selling cheaper Marlboro cigarettes in Philippines

from the ABS-CBNnews:

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is planning to introduce low-priced Marlboro cigarettes in the domestic market, in an effort to stem its declining market share.

The Lucio Tan-controlled Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) wrote a letter to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), seeking a permit to register Marlboro Original, Marlboro Gold Lights, Marlboro Menthol, and Marlboro Black Menthol in the low-price category.

If the BIR grants the permit, Marlboro cigarettes will be sold cheaper and will compete against Champion, Fortune and Jackpot, other low-priced brands also owned by PMFTC.

PMFTC president Paul Riley said PMFTC will still maintain original Marlboro products in the premium category and its flagship brand, Philip Morris, will not be produced in the low-price category.

The new excise tax law states that the BIR should implement low and premium tax rates for cigarettes from 2013 to 2016.

By 2017, a single rate of P30 per pack will be implemented.

Riley said PMFTC’s production volume dropped from 92 billion sticks in 2012 to 68 billion in 2013. By 2014, volume may go down further at 48 billion sticks.

“This is why we need to do something to reverse the current trend. What is more worrying, we expect the down-trading to continue, with the Marlboro volume further decreasing to 7.9 billion sticks in 2014,” Riley said.

Riley said the decrease in production and sales was due to the shift to lower-priced cigarettes.

The implementation of the Sin Tax Law has allowed Filipino-owned brand Mighty Corp. and British American Tobacco to gain momentum as cigarette consumption shifted to the cheaper brands.

Industry estimates showed that 25 percent of premium and sub-premium smokers have switched to the P1 per stick brands since the law took effect in 2012.

“To prevent this dire development, the company is willing to significantly cut its margins by introducing new Marlboro products with Net Retail Selling Prices (NRSPs) of below P11.50/pack,” Riley said.

“The company is hoping to get an additional volume of 8.9 billion sticks in 2014 which, in turn, can help the BIR collect more revenues from cigarettes,” he added.

The BIR, meanwhile, is looking into reports of under-declaration by Mighty Corp. following complaints from other cigarette industry players.

12 Dec 2013

The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress

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Indonesia: court upholds tobacco tax to fund health

Good news on tobacco control from Indonesia is rare. Recently, however there was a victory in the area of tobacco tax.

On 1 January 2014, Law No. 28 of 2009 on regional taxes was introduced, which allows local provinces in Indonesia to charge a local tax to cigarettes. The tariff is 10% of cigarette excise.

This tax collectively amounts to about USD 796 Million, a significant sum. Following successful international examples for funding tobacco control, a minimum of 50% of the funds raised from the tax are to be used for health promotion, in particular through public anti-smoking campaigns and enforcing smoke free public spaces. This means local governments have the authority to decide on strengthening tobacco control measures for their provinces and cities.

Unfortunately, five smokers challenged this cigarette tax policy in the Constitutional Court, calling for its abolition. Their argument was that the policy harms the constitutional rights of cigarette smokers as consumers by requiring them to pay both excise tax and local cigarette tax. They argued this amounts to double taxation, which is prohibited by the tax law and is unjust.

However public health won, and the suit was rejected by the Constitutional Court in May 19, 2014. In the judgment, the Court stated that in accordance with Law No. 11/1995 on Excise Tax, the subject of excise tax is manufacturers, distributors, and importers, while its object includes cigarettes, cigars, tobacco leaf and tobacco strips. In the provisions of Articles 26 and 27 of the Local Tax Law on the other hand, the object of local cigarette taxes is consumption of cigarettes and the subject of this tax is cigarette consumers. “Thus, there is a difference between the object and the subject of excise tax in comparison to the object and subject of local cigarette tax,” said one of the Constitutional Judges.

The Court ruled that the cigarette excise tax paid together with local cigarette tax is the “politics of taxation” to increase state revenues as well as provide compensation on the negative health impacts of smoking. According to the judge, “Simultaneous excise tax and local cigarette tax have positive impact on reducing cigarette consumption and improve society’s health.”

Several benefits will arise from the Court’s rejection of the suit and implementation of the tax. The first is that the local cigarette tax will increase cigarette prices, thereby making cigarettes less affordable, and in turn likely direct reducing smoking uptake among children. The second benefit is local governments will receive increased funds as revenue to go towards local development and increased living standards. A third benefit is the increased funding available to be used exclusively for health promotion and law enforcement. This includes anti-tobacco campaigns and strengthened enforcement of tobacco control regulations such as non smoking areas.

Together, these measures will change the scenario of tobacco control at the local level and enhance local government efforts to better protect children and the poor from the harms of tobacco. It represents a welcome step forward in a country that has been dubbed a paradise for tobacco companies due to lax regulation.