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March, 2015:

World Pollutionwatch: Bans that benefit millions

Starting with Berkeley, California in 1997 cities, regions and whole countries have banned indoor smoking in public places. Ireland introduced the first nationwide ban in 2004 and various types of restrictions are now in place in 92 countries from Albania to Zambia. This year’s planned indoor smoking ban in China will mean a huge increase in the global population covered.

Initially prompted by concerns about second-hand smoke and lung cancer risks these bans have yielded far greater benefits than the first campaigners can have anticipated.

As a tool to improve indoor air pollution, smoke free legislation has been very effective. Airborne particles decreased by an average of 86% in Scottish bars. In Spain, urine samples from non-smokers showed less tobacco smoke exposure, especially on Fridays and weekends. But it is the decrease in heart attacks that is most striking. Studies in 47 locations show that indoor smoking bans were followed by an average 12% decrease in heart attacks. In Scotland this was 17%. The English figure was less at 2%, with the biggest changes seen in men under 65. England was the last part of the UK to introduce smoke free legislation and the lower figure was perhaps due to many restaurants and workplaces already being smoke-free but a 2% decrease meant 1,200 fewer heart attacks in the first year.

Other studies have shown 15% fewer hospital admissions for childhood asthma. Despite fears, there is no evidence of increased smoking in cars or homes; in Scotland smoking in homes with children decreased.

What You Should Know About E-Cigarettes & Cancer

E-cigarettes are hugely popular right now, appearing to be a trendy new social activity that appeals to smokers and non-smokers alike. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they do contain nicotine from tobacco plants. This is designed to aid smokers in working towards quitting their use of cigarettes.

As more research surrounding e-cigarettes becomes available, it becomes increasingly clear that there are dangers associated with their use, and that at this point, they can be seen as an uncontrolled experiment on consumers.

Negative health effects should be considered for both users and those taking in second-hand smoke. Instead of releasing cigarette smoke, which many know the dangers of, e-cigarettes release an aerosol (commonly but inaccurately called vapor) that many believe isn’t harmful.[1] But the more we learn about what exactly is in that aerosol, the more cause we have for concern.

The Positives of E-Cigarettes

There have been many clear signs of reduction in smoking as a result of using e-cigarettes. If used properly, one could effectively cut down their cigarette use and even kick the habit altogether.

While this is certainly not the only way to quit smoking, it may be a good short-term option for some people. However, it is also important to note the health effects e-cigarettes can have on everyone involved – for both direct users and those inhaling second-hand smoke.

One could also decide to make there own juice for use in their e-cigarette which can cut down greatly, or even completely, the harmful chemical intake.

The Negative Effects of E-Cigarettes

A study done by The German Cancer Research Center outlined key pieces of information we should consider with regards to the use of e-cigarettes.

It was found that e-cigarettes and their emissions are not as safe as originally thought and that they contain cancer causing substances like volatile organic compounds, acetone, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzopyrene as well as silicate and various metal particles.[2]

While this might still be seen as a step forward for those looking to quit smoking, it’s important to be aware of the dangers, and also to keep our minds open to other options for quitting.

The German Cancer Research Center states: “Until proof is provided that the products do not involve any health risks, their sale is an uncontrolled experiment, possibly at the cost of consumers’ health.”

As outlined in their study:

“The liquids contain ingredients that on short-term use irritate airways and may lead to allergic reactions and which may be harmful to health when inhaled repeatedly over a prolonged period of time.

The aerosol of some liquids contains harmful substances (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, diethylene glycol, nickel, chromium, lead).

The functionality of electronic cigarettes can vary considerably (aerosol production, nicotine delivery into aerosols).

Adverse health effects for third parties exposed cannot be excluded because the use of electronic cigarettes leads to emission of fine and ultrafine inhalable liquid particles, nicotine and cancer-causing substances into indoor air.”

Furthermore, according to the CDC in a recent statement, “If you only cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke by adding another tobacco product, like e-cigarettes, you still face serious health risks… Smokers must quit smoking completely to fully protect their health – even a few cigarettes a day are dangerous.” [3]

What Else Can You Do To Quit Smoking?

There are a number of routes one can take to quit smoking that are entirely safe and effective. Each person is unique and thus various methods will work for different people. GreenMedInfo has put together a great list of options including the research and evidence that goes with their efficacy. You can check out their list on how to quit smoking naturally here.

Delhi government to ban sale, purchase of chewable tobacco from Monday

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government will put a ban on sale, purchase and even storage of all forms of chewable tobacco including “guktha, khaini and zarda” in the national capital from Monday.

“We have decided to come up with a notification to ban chewable tobacco in all forms from Monday in Delhi. Under this, no one will be allowed to sell, purchase or store chewable tobacco,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain told PTI.

He said enforcement teams of Delhi Police as well as the Health Department have been asked to conduct surprise inspections across the city to ensure that the ban is implemented. “The teams have been told to be active on this,” Jain said.

However, no such ban will be enforced on cigarettes. Health Department officials said that there was a Delhi government notification in September 2012 which was in pursuance of series of directions from the Supreme Court to ban gutkha in the city.

But since the ban mentioned the term “gutkha”, the tobacco retailers started selling the components of gutkha (betel nut and raw tobacco) in separate pouches. So, the purpose of banning gutkha was not served.

Therefore, the health department last year started with a new proposal to ban all the raw chewable tobacco products in Delhi, a senior official said.

According to officials, gutkha is also being supplied to retailers in Delhi from neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Stepping up its efforts towards tobacco control, the Health Department has also launched an innovative drive, creating a ‘Tobacco Aware Citizens’ Directory’ to spread the word about its harmful effects.

European Tobacco Products Directive

Robert Sykes, Commercial Development Director at Essentra, explains how the European Tobacco Products Directive may impact on the packaging industry and what is already being done to protect consumers and fight the illicit trade in counterfeit and smuggled product.

1) What is the European Union Tobacco Product Directive and its objectives?

The World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Protocol requires the implementation of systems to track and trace tobacco products throughout the supply chain. As a result of this the European Commission has recently revised its Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and is currently drafting implementing and delegated acts for Article 15 – Tracking & Tracing and Article 16 – Security Feature.
How Article 16 is implemented in particular will have an ongoing effect on the packaging industry. If the commission goes ahead and defines the very specifics of visible and invisible security features on the packaging in implementing acts, given both visible and invisible security feature technologies evolve with unprecedented speed, the status quo would be cemented for years.

2) Why is the illicit tobacco trade such a concern?


Illicit tobacco is a crime that’s significance is often underestimated. It’s seen as something that only hurts the industry. Yet that pack of cigarettes bought in the pub is part of a criminal trade that, according to KPMG, accounts for up to 12% of the global cigarette market and more than 58 billion cigarettes in the EU alone. A single lorry of illicit cigarettes can net more than €1.3m for the criminal gangs that are largely behind this trade. Part of annual profits estimated at €5bn each year, these proceeds are often used to fund other illegal activities such as people trafficking, drugs and even terrorism. Not only do the criminals profit, but Treasuries, and public spending, lose out, as smugglers don’t pay excise duty.

3) What options are being considered regarding changes to packaging?

A number of security measures are being considered, from solutions built into the pack, such as invisible inks, digital codes and forensic technology to paper-based stick-on authentication stamps. The commission is also considering whether or not to mandate features according to a set of open standards or whether to stipulate one proprietary system.
The worry of mandating a one-size-fits all, EU-wide, security feature is the risk of giving counterfeiters a specification for them to copy; particularly is that is a relatively easy to forge stamp based solution. Furthermore, even genuine paper based stamps can be removed, stolen or diverted and reused on other products to legitimise an illegal product.

4) When will decisions be made and the laws come into force?

The European Commission included tracking and tracing (Article 15) and product authentication (Article 16) in its Tobacco Products Directive, which came into force on 19 May 2014.
The European Commission is still considering the best way to implement this Directive. The implementing acts directives will be determined by early 2017.

5) Why is the legislation relevant to the packaging industry?

The security feature mandated by Article 16 will be incorporated into and attached to the packaging, affecting the manufacturing process. Packaging already plays an essential role in the fight against counterfeit tobacco products and there are a range of security solutions and technologies in the market to enable this.

6) Would this affect current packaging?

In consumer goods, from alcohol and pharmaceuticals to cigarettes, the issue of the illicit trade in potentially harmful counterfeit and contraband products is being tackled by a wide variety of innovative covert, overt and forensic solutions within packaging to authenticate genuine products. And this variety of supply of solutions and suppliers is an essential part of staying ahead of counterfeiters and enabling packaging companies to deliver continued value in protecting brands and products for companies.
Dependent on the solution or solutions mandated by the directive the packaging industry could have to adapt to a specified proprietary solution which would stifle competition and prevent new innovative authentication measures being implemented.

7) What is the industry’s preferred solution?
We fully support the objectives of Article 16 of the EU TPD, in terms of improving efforts to tackle the illicit trade. However, based on our experience, we would urge the EU to include two principles that we believe are key in relation to ensuring the effectiveness of Article 16
i. Specification of a standard, not a prescribed technology
In our opinion, prescribing a single solution as the security feature within Article 16 runs the risk of providing counterfeiters with a ‘recipe’ for manufacturing illicit tobacco products, as much as it helps to protect genuine ones. Were the technology to be compromised – either through direct counterfeiting or ‘passing off’ – then there would be no accepted alternative solution to counter this, nor to provide a mechanism by which consumers could validate a product’s authenticity.
ii. Make the security feature an intrinsic part of the pack
We believe that the implementing act should also ensure the security feature takes a multi-layered approach, combining instantly recognisable visible features together with hidden covert and forensic elements as an intrinsic part of the pack, rather than having to be separately applied.

In this way, the security device cannot be removed or reused, and the feature therefore verifies the authenticity of the pack – and not just the security feature itself. Taggant technology for example, is directly integrated as part of the packaging and immediately demonstrates through the use of simple readers if the pack is genuine, ensuring highly effective product authentication.
By taking these key principles into account the implementing act should ensure – even in the event of a technology being compromised – that there are other available options and, importantly, that there are a range of authorised suppliers which are able to provide a range of credible alternative security solutions. Also by integrating technology directly onto the packaging this ensures the product can be authenticated as genuine and not just the security feature itself.

8) Why would this be favourable to the packaging industry?

Defining a standard, not a prescribed technology, ensures the ability to use a variety of security features within packaging to protect against counterfeit and benefits a number of packaging technology providers not just one, ensuring competiveness as well as security.

9) Are these solutions being implemented in any other markets?

While Europe looks at blanket solutions for the TPD, Member States like the UK are already leading the field in implementing authentication technology from digital codes and unique identifiers to the use of secure covert technologies such as taggant inks. It is this layered approach that works best, whether it’s illicit cigarettes or other products facing similar challenges at the hands of counterfeiters, like alcohol and pharmaceuticals.

10) What will be the impact of proposals in to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products in the UK and Ireland?

While we do not know what the results will be in these markets, it is likely the introduction of standardised packaging could offer an opportunity for criminals to more easily create counterfeit products. As such, the requirement to use integral, covert and overt authentication measures becomes more pressing as consumers and authorities will not be able to use packaging designs as a visual identification of a product’s authenticity. It should be noted that plain packaging is not part of the EU TPD.

11) What is the industry doing to ensure its voice is heard in Brussels?

Companies are engaging with European political representatives to ensure the voice of the packaging industry is heard in the debate around and creation of the implementing acts.
The illicit trade isn’t going away; and if anything the criminals are getting ever more sophisticated. The European Commission has the ability to implement standards across the region that make it much harder for counterfeit and contraband to slip through the net, but it must be careful not to prescribe a ‘recipe’ for criminals in this fight against counterfeit products. Open standards keep the industry innovating, a prescribed solution makes it easier for the criminals to catch-up.

All tobacco displays to be covered

An example of the plain packaging that will be used

An example of the plain packaging that will be used

FROM Monday, April 6, newsagents, pubs, clubs and small shops will have to stop displaying tobacco products.

Large businesses have had to cover their tobacco displays since 2012, but small businesses have been given extra time to prepare.

The ban is aimed at reducing the uptake of smoking among young people in particular by removing eye-catching tobacco displays.

Smokers will still be able to buy their cigarettes and tobacco from small shops and the new rules will not limit availability.

Deputy Minister for Health Vaughan Gething said: “Young people in particular can be influenced by seeing cigarettes on display and they can also tempt adults who are trying to give up. This legislation will make an important contribution to protecting the future health and wellbeing of children and young people in Wales.”

GUEST COLUMNIST: Big tobacco has surprising friends

At the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi last week, the latest grim statistics shocked even veteran anti-smoking advocates.

In spite of the growing number of nations that have banned smoking in public places and have prohibited or restricted cigarette advertising and marketing, the annual death toll from cigarette smoking keeps rising. A mind-
boggling 6.2 million people will die in 2015 from the ravages of smoking, including more than 480,000 in the U.S., where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in five deaths in the U.S. — and fully a third of all deaths from cancer — is caused by cigarette smoking.

Over the 50 years since the publication of the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, the percentage of adults who smoke has been cut in half in the U.S. to less than 20 percent. But the actual number of smokers is almost the same, and the decline in smoking in the crucial 18 to 34-year-old age group — the lifeblood of Big Tobacco — has stalled. Ominously, too, smoking is on the rise in many countries.

The assumption of the more than 2000 public health professionals from over 100 countries at the conference is that the tobacco industry is the villain, wielding enormous economic and political clout.

But it’s not just the cigarette companies who benefit from smoking. Without its business allies, the tobacco industry couldn’t exist. These include retailers such as the major chain supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. Then there are the suppliers of packaging, chemicals, paper and the very machines used to manufacture cigarettes.

Take Siemens, a global engineering and electronics corporation that cultivates an image of a health-care company in advertisements in major magazines and newspapers, and that runs a science competition for high school students. Chances are that anyone undergoing diagnostic testing for cancer will have blood analyzed — or one’s entire body scanned — in a machine made by Siemens.

But Siemens also has a division unknown to the health community and the public — its “tobacco segment,” which provides technical know-how for the largest international cigarette makers such as Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and British American Tobacco. Siemens boasts on its website of helping them produce hundreds of billions of cigarettes each year throughout the world. One Siemens machine operates “at speeds of 4,000 to 20,000 cigarettes per minute.”

So it was dismaying to see in advertisements for Public Broadcasting Service’s new film “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” (to air on PBS stations over three nights March 30-April 1) that one of its major sponsors is Siemens.

During the six-hour documentary, a single Siemens machine will produce 7,800,000 cigarettes.

Siemens also helps fund the national telethon Stand Up To Cancer, which happens to be the lead sponsor of the PBS film. Stand Up To Cancer also partners with several companies that either sell, promote, or otherwise derive income from the sale of cigarettes, including Safeway Stores’ foundation, the Steve Tisch Foundation (with funding derived in part from family-owned Lorillard Tobacco, maker of Newport) and the publishers Conde Nast and Time Inc., which continue to advertise cigarettes in their magazines.

When asked about these cigarette-related sponsors of their film about cancer, director Barak Goodman and producer Ken Burns declined to comment. Their public relations spokesman explained that they “were not involved in the funding selection for this film and cannot speak to your inquiry.”

The Washington, D.C., public television station WETA, which solicited the money for the film, explained that “for the project ‘Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,’ funding was provided by an unprecedented number of public and private entities, non-profits and corporations, including Siemens. And, of course, funders had no editorial input whatsoever.”

WETA said that in presenting the film, it wants to start a national dialogue on cancer. That conversation ought to have begun with a commitment on its part to decline funding from companies and organizations that benefit from the manufacture, sale or promotion of the leading preventable cause of cancer, cigarettes.

But why not take the money from Siemens? For that matter, why not hit up the cigarette companies for cash, too? Surely nobody wants a cure for cancer more than they do. After all, they lose more of their best customers to this disease than does any other business. And if there were a magical miracle cure for lung cancer, then their customers could continue smoking to their heart’s content. Well, perhaps not. Cigarette smoking is also the leading preventable cause of heart disease.

Alan Blum, M.D., is the Gerald Leon Wallace, M.D., Endowed Chair in Family Medicine at the University of Alabama, where he directs the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society. Readers can email him at

Hollywood and Tobacco: New Spotlight on Smoking At The Movies

Launch of Revamped UCSF Website Ranks Actors, Directors, Top 10 Movies by Their Use of Tobacco

UC San Francisco is launching a revamped Smokefree Movies website that offers the public unusual insight into Hollywood’s role in the global tobacco epidemic, projected to kill one billion people this century.

Updated every week, the site ranks film producers, directors, writers and actors by their on-screen tobacco footprint based on a database of more than 2,000 films released since 2002.

The site currently lists the five “smokiest” actors, directors, and producers since 2002 as:


Additionally, the website’s “Now Showing” feature reveals the tobacco content of the top ten movies in theaters and on DVD each week. It also provides information about film companies. For example in the last three years, Time Warner accounted for 22% of all the tobacco impressions in top grossing films. That was the same amount for independent producer-distributors (22%), followed by Sony (17%), Fox (14%), Viacom (Paramount) (11%), Comcast (Universal) (8%), and Disney (6%).</p> <p>Smoking in movies, encouraged for decades by tobacco company cross-promotions and product placements, leads to thousands of new young smokers every year, according to federal health officials.

“The major media companies and the Hollywood studios they own have known since at least 2002 that smoking in movies causes kids to smoke and eventually die from a long list of tobacco diseases,” says Stanton Glantz, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, which created the movie website. “By looking at top-grossing movies and putting all the key health information in one place, the website gives everyone from parents and public officials to film critics and Wall Street analysts an inside look at the tobacco choices Hollywood producers are making now.”

The website:

Traces the history of commercial collaboration by U.S. tobacco and film industries;

Summarizes scientific research in a dozen countries supporting the U.S. Surgeon General’s conclusion that exposure to on-screen smoking causes kids to smoke;

Offers evidence-based policy solutions based by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other leading health authorities;

Monitors in real time the progress or failure of specific media companies and their movie studio subsidiaries to safeguard young audiences worldwide by reserving smoking for their R-rated films.

U.S public health officials for years have warned that exposure to on-screen smoking causes young people to start smoking. The CDC has decried the movie industry’s failure to protect impressionable young viewers, and in 2012 the Surgeon General reported that because of the onscreen exposure, “6.4 million children alive today will become smokers, and 2 million of these children will die prematurely from diseases caused by smoking.”

A significant number of the movies depicting smoking were rated PG-13, the Surgeon General reported.

“The CDC reports that R-ratings on movies with smoking can prevent a million future tobacco deaths among American kids alone,” Glantz says. “The media company chiefs could easily direct their trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America, to add smoking to the voluntary R-rating standard, alongside the non-lethal content it already rates R. The longer they delay, the more kids worldwide will be addicted to cigarettes by the smoking in the movies Hollywood makes and exports.”

The Smokefree Movies website uses data collected by UCSF partner Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!, an ongoing project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails. Since 1995, more than a thousand volunteers between the ages of 14 and 22 have been trained to analyze tobacco content in all films grossing more than $1 million in the domestic market.

Historical resources for the Smokefree Movies website include the 82 million-page Legacy Tobacco Documents Library housed at UCSF. Other information is gathered from film industry sources. UCSF’s Smoke Free Movies receives foundation support for its policy research and education projects.

UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

Indonesia Is Facing a Childhood Cigarette Addiction Crisis

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If you’re worried about your 6-year-old’s mac-and-cheese or Minecraft addiction, take heart in the fact that he’s not fixated on cigarettes. According to Business Insider, nicotine addiction is a growing problem in Indonesia, where cigarettes are cheap (about $1 a pack) and advertising is prevalent, leading children — as young as 2 — to turn to cigarettes when their peers around the world are seeking out pacifiers.

The site tells the tale of 6-year-old Dihan, who now smokes five cigarettes a day. If that sounds crazy, how about the fact that he was going through two packs a day, but when he started coughing a lot, the child’s doctor ordered him to quit? Dihan’s father is a tobacco farmer who keeps a year’s worth of tobacco under their front porch, but that’s not where the tot got his first cigarettes. While his parents thought he was buying candy with his pocket money, he was actually buying tobacco.

“If I grabbed the cigarette from him, he would just start crying,” his dad said.

Now, Dihan and his father often roll their cigarettes and smoke together. And if he wants another one, Dihan visits his local newsstand, where he can purchase an individual cigarette for about 5 cents. While activists are calling for more government involvement in the awareness of tobacco addiction, their work is falling on deaf ears. It was five years ago that video of a smoking toddler in Sumatra (pictured above) went viral, and very little has changed.

In fact, the number of children ages 5 to 9 who smoke has tripled over the past 20 years.

It makes your child’s sugar addiction sound downright healthy, doesn’t it?

Good News from the Global War on Tobacco Use

Last week, I participated in the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) in Abu Dhabi–a scientific event where the latest developments in tobacco control were presented.

While there was general agreement that the World Health Organization 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)–the first global treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization–is an effective tool for tobacco control, there was concern that implementation at the national level has fallen short of objectives.

I prefer, however, to see the glass half full rather than half empty. Let me explain why.

It should be clear to all of us that the WHO FCTC is a global framework that commits countries that have ratified it to move forward on tobacco control. This is in itself a tremendous achievement. To help make this a reality, WHO introduced MPOWER, a package of effective policies and interventions to assist countries in reducing the demand for tobacco. The MPOWER package includes: Monitor for tobacco use; Protect people from tobacco smoke; Offer help to quit tobacco use; Warn about the dangers of tobacco; Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and Raise taxes on tobacco products.

As shown at the conference, MPOWER is increasingly being implemented worldwide. WHO estimates that 2.3 billion people in 92 countries – one-third of the world’s population – are now covered by at least one MPOWER measure, up from 1.3 billion people in 48 countries in 2007.

More specifically, the 2012 WHO data show that:

2.8 billion people in 54 countries (40% of the world’s population) are covered by effective tobacco use surveillance;
1.1 billion people in 43 countries (16% of the world’s population) are covered by complete smoke-free legislation;
1 billion people in 21 countries (15% of the world’s population) are offered appropriate cessation support;
1 billion people in 30 countries (14% of the world’s population) are exposed to strong graphic health warnings;
694 million people in 24 countries (10% of the world’s population) live in countries with complete tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans; and
530 million people in 32 countries (8% of the world’s population) live in countries with sufficiently high taxes on tobacco products.

More importantly, according to WHO 2014 estimates, the implementation of the WHO FCTC over 2005-2015 has contributed to reduce smoking prevalence among males and females aged 15 years and older, from 40% to 35% , and from 9% to 6%, respectively. And, as documented in a recent study, evidence from 41 countries show that the effective implementation of MPOWER measures can help avert 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050.

Substantial and regular increases in tobacco excise taxes that raise prices and make tobacco less affordable have been shown to be the most cost-effective measure, since prince increases are estimated to lead to a reduction of 7 million smokers and to 3.5 million smoking-attributable deaths averted.

To highlight the tangible progress being made in tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries, the winners of the 2015 Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control announced at the conference reflect good practices and results achieved in each of the MPOWER categories:

• Monitoring: Brazil Ministry of Health and National Institute of Statistics implemented the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in 2008, the first country to do so in the Americas, and the subsequent introduction of MPOWER measures into their existing national survey, creating strong technical capacity to monitor tobacco control.
• Protecting: Regional Advocacy Life Center (“LIFE”) of Ukraine led and coordinated support for the 2012 countrywide smoke-free law and comprehensive anti-tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship bill.
• Offering help to quit: Uruguay’s Ministry of Health has been a leader in global tobacco control for nearly a decade. In 2008, the new Tobacco Control law mandated that all health care providers offer cessation support.
• Warning: Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population passed a comprehensive law comprised of large, graphic health warnings, bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorships, and a smoke-free law, all while facing immense pressure from the tobacco industry.
• Enforcing: KONFOP, a Russian NGO, was a leader in the passage of 2013 tobacco control legislation in Russia, which is among the strongest comprehensive tobacco control legislation in the world.
• Raising tobacco taxes: The Philippines Department of Finance and Department of Health played a critical role in passing the Sin Tax Law in 2012, which made it more efficient to raise the tobacco tax by simplifying the country’s tax structure and channeling the revenue to help expand universal healthcare across the country.

Also at last week’s conference, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates launched a US$4 Million Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund to help governments that pass tough anti-smoking laws defend against international trade suits and increase public awareness of legal threats from the tobacco industry. And one of the most inspiring sessions addressed Australia’s move to mandate plain or standardized packaging for tobacco products in 2012, in spite of strong opposition from the tobacco industry. There were also a lot of discussion on how to best support agricultural diversification and end tobacco crop dependence.

While tobacco control remains a difficult challenge in a large number of countries (about 1 billion people are current smokers), I left the conference convinced that significant inroads have been made in the first 10 years of the WHO FCTC toward the 2013 World Health Assembly target of reducing tobacco use prevalence globally by 30% by 2025. But, as I noted in my presentations at the conference, reaching that target will require that we continue working on tobacco control across the world as a moral and development imperative. If we do that, we will also be able to honor the legacy of loved ones who have suffered and died prematurely due to lung cancer or other tobacco-related diseases.

UK Department of Health awarded American Cancer Society “Exemplary Leadership” award for tobacco policy achievements

March 19 2015

In the week that the standardised tobacco packaging regulations passed into law, the UK Department of Health has been recognised as an International Tobacco Control Leader by the American Cancer Society.

During the 2015 Luther L. Terry Awards ceremony at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health taking place in Abu Dhabi, the Department of Health will receive the award for Exemplary Leadership in Tobacco Control.

The Luther L. Terry Award recognises outstanding global achievement in the field of tobacco control in six categories: outstanding individual leadership, outstanding organization, outstanding research contribution, exemplary leadership by a government ministry, distinguished career, and outstanding community service.

This prestigious triennial award by the American Cancer Society honours the UK as a world leader in tobacco control, alongside previous award winners such as Australia, Uruguay, South Africa and the Republic of Ireland. It is the commitment shown by successive UK governments, supported by Parliamentarians, which provides the foundation for this award.

Over the past decade, the Department of Health has steered through important tobacco control legislation including smokefree public places, stopping smoking in cars with children, ending tobacco displays in shops and standardised packaging of tobacco products.

Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy for ASH said:

“The steady decline in smoking in England is a tribute to the commitment of the Department of Health to tackle the biggest preventable cause of disease and premature death.  The UK is now acknowledged as one of the world leaders of tobacco control.  We hope this well-deserved award will inspire the next Government to commit to a new, and even more ambitious, tobacco control strategy.”

John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society said:

“Tobacco-related diseases are the most preventable cause of death worldwide, responsible for the deaths of approximately half of all long-term tobacco users. We are pleased to recognize these exemplary individuals and organizations who carry on the noble and incredibly important work of ending the deadly spread of tobacco around the globe.”

Clear the Air says :

When can we expect the Hong Kong Government to catch up with the rest of the world on tobacco control and follow the guidelines of the FCTC  and Mpower?

When can we expect tobacco excise tax increase to be annual, regular and in excess of inflation , which is currently running at 4.1% per year ?