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May 29th, 2016:

Celebs join no-tobacco event with 2,000 youths in Ho Chi Minh City

A number of Vietnamese celebrities took part Saturday in an event in Ho Chi Minh City, calling people to say no to tobacco.

The event, taking place at the Youth Cultural House in District 1, was aimed to celebrate the World No Tobacco Day (May 31) and the National Anti-Tobacco Week.

The ceremony attracted nearly 2,000 youths, hailing from citywide universities and colleges, besides such public figures as film directors Le Hoang and Dinh Anh Dung, actress Lan Phuong, and local singers Duc Tuan, Van Mai Huong, Noo Phuoc Thinh and Quoc Thien.

The celebs treated the young audience to various performances, then joined them in discussions meant to encourage abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption.

Singer Duc Tuan sent his message through a song named “Moi ngay toi chon mot niem vui,” which means “every day I choose a joy.”

“We can choose a meaningful thing to do when a new day arrives, but please never choose tobacco,” he told the audience.

When she was on stage, actress Lan Phuong was asked to comment on a common conception that smoking makes men look manly and stylistic.

“Manliness and maturity of a man are expressed via his behavior and manner, not the tobacco,” she replied.

The actress also hoped that a law that ban smoking in eateries, bars, coffee shops, and other public places, even in film studios, will soon be imposed.

The event wrapped up with a flash mob performed by many young people, followed by bicycle parade to encourage people to give up smoking.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling on all countries to get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products.

Plain packaging is an important demand reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labeling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings, WHO said on its website.

For the World Tobacco Day 2016, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health has also launched a campaign called “Life without smoke.”

Thailand to mark World No Tobacco Day on May 31

BANGKOK, 28 May 2016 (NNT) – World No Tobacco Day which falls on May 31st will be celebrated in Thailand as the Ministry of Public Health is preparing for the upcoming event.

Dr. Amnuay Gajeena, the Director-General of the Disease Control Department under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health, said World No Tobacco Day celebrations will be held at Future Park Rangsit.

It’s hoped the event will raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, among Thai youth. According to a survey conducted in 2014, more than 353,000 youngsters aged between 15 and 18 smoke cigarettes, while the number of smokers between 19 and 24 years of age is as many as a million people. The shocking statistics also suggest that up to 70 percent of Thai youths smoke cigarettes, while Thailand sees around 200,000 – 250,000 new smokers take up the dangerous habit, on a yearly basis.

He said the ministry will push for a law that forbids manufacturers from putting logos on cigarette packs. The move is intended to discourage people from smoking.

Marlborough health workers applaud tobacco tax increase

A Springlands man who smoked 100 cigarettes a day and now suffers from a debilitating lung conditions says a tobacco tax hike does not go far enough.

Upping the cost of cigarettes has been applauded by Marlborough health workers, although some convenience store workers are wary of a spike in thefts following the move.

The cost of a packet of cigarettes will rise to about $30 in the next four years after the Budget delivered a 10 per cent a year tax rise.

Springlands resident Jerome O’Malley​ is living with the effects of a smoking habit that he kicked more than 30 years ago.

O’Malley, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said it was a great move to increase the tax on cigarettes.

“Cigarettes cause a huge amount of distress. It kills people.

“In my view it wouldn’t do any great harm to ban them completely.”

Asthma Marlborough respiratory educator Karen Vis said the cigarette price hike was good news.

“I know it’s hard for people to give up smoking but it has been proven that substantial increases in price do help people to quit.”

Smoking caused a lot of damage and long term health issues, Vis said.

There was good support in Marlborough for people who wanted to quit smoking.

“We’ve had some really good drops in our smoking rates.

“We’re on the right track and people are being really good about trying to give up.

“The most important thing is that they do keep trying .”

High St Dairy and Takeaway shop assistant Pei Chin said she was worried that the number of cigarette thefts at the store would increase when the price of cigarettes went up.

She had several customers who had asked her about price hike after the Budget announcement.

“A lot of the customers who have been smoking for 40 or 50 years are very worried about it.”

Scott St Dairy manager Sukhjinder Singh said while Blenheim was reasonably safe, he was concerned that tobacco theft would increase following the price increase in other parts of the country.

“We are lucky that we are in a good area.”

There were 40 listings nationally for tobacco seeds and tobacco plants on Trade Me on Friday, including a listing for tobacco seeds posted by a Nelson resident.

Marlborough police community constable Russell Smith said he had not heard of anyone attempting to grow their own tobacco in Marlborough.

The type of people who were committed enough to grow their own tobacco were unlikely to be the ones who were priced out of buying cigarettes, Smith said.

Crime around stealing tobacco products was at a low level in Marlborough, Smith said.

Marlborough Primary Health Organisation community health services manager Amaroa Katu​ said as the price of cigarettes continued to rise, there was a national increase in the number of people who were seeking support to quit smoking.

“Raising the cost is one of the leading factors for people to quit smoking or reduce smoking.”

There would be some people who would continue to smoke regardless of how high the price of cigarettes rose because of the extent of their addiction, Katu said.

Staff at Marlborough general practices could provide support for patients to stop smoking, while there was a Quit Coach based at Wairau Hospital.

There were also two separate programmes encouraging people to quit smoking that were targeted at Maori and Pacific populations in Marlborough.

Wairau Bar resident Jason Kingi, who has smoked for the past 20 years, said he was unsure whether increasing the cost of tobacco products would stop people from smoking.

“I think a lot of people are so addicted that their families will go without.

“Every time they hike the price they say they want people to give up but it actually just makes poor families poorer.”

The results of the New Zealand Health Survey for 2011-2013 show 16.7 per cent of Marlborough residents were smokers.

The 10 per cent tax rise on tobacco will raise an extra $425 million in tax revenue for the Government over the next four years.

World No Tobacco Day 2016: WHO urges for plain packaging of tobacco products

According to the World Health Organization, for this year’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31, various countries have been called upon ‘to get ready for plain (standardized) packaging’ of tobacco products.

“Plain packaging refers to “measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style,” stated WHO.

It added that the plain packaging was an important demand reduction measure since it ‘reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warning’.

Every year, WHO recognizes individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. This recognition takes the form of WHO Director-General Special Recognition Awards, World No Tobacco Day Awards, and in 2016, two WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Certificates.

The recipients of this year’s most noteworthy awards called ‘WHO Director-General Special Awards’ are Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, France; and Jane Ellison MP, Member of Parliament for Battersea, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, stated the WHO on its website.

Alliance member advocates raising legal smoking age

The legal age for smoking should be raised and packaging laws changed to discourage young people from smoking, Taiwan Medical Alliance for the Control of Tobacco members said yesterday.

“Many students enter college wanting to demonstrate that they have escaped parental control and they do this by riding motorcycles, getting a girlfriend and smoking — but if the legal age was raised to 21, they would not try it,” said Lee Meng-chih (李孟智), superintendent of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taichung Hospital.

The legal age for purchasing cigarettes is 18.

China Medical University professor Wen Chi-pang (溫啟邦) said that more than 90 percent of smokers become addicted before they are 21, adding that based on the experience of other nations, raising the legal age would push the smoking rate down by about 3 percent over three to five years, with an additional 5 percent drop possible if packaging laws were altered to increase the size of cautionary images so that they cover most of cigarette boxes.

“The pictures on boxes are too timid — they should be much more graphic,” Wen said, calling for packaging changes to compensate for the nation’s relatively low cigarette taxes.

“The average smoker looks at a cigarette box at least 20 times per day, so if you make the images more graphic, it would increase their incentive to quit,” he said. “However, if all a smoker sees is a pregnant stomach, that is not going to have any effect.”

He said that smoking rates are about 30 percent for men and 5 percent for women, with the national rate decreasing by an average of 0.5 percent per year.

Scientists trying to cure cancer have pensions invested in tobacco industry



Scientists funded by are among thousands of academics with pensions invested in the tobacco industry, it has emerged.

The pension fund for university staff owned £211 million in British American Tobacco as of March 2015, its fifth biggest equity holding.

Cancer Research UK ensures that its employees’ pension funds free of tobacco industry investments.

Many people would be shocked to learn that their pensions are invested in tobacco company sharesGeorge Butterworth, Cancer Research UK

However, the charity funds many full-time academic posts at British universities whose pensions are invested through the Universities Superannuation scheme (USS), worth £49 billion in 2015.

Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors and principals, said the USS was a responsible investor, but public health campaigners argue it is not possible to reform the tobacco industry and have called on investors to dump their holdings.

The tobacco investment has come as a shock to many researchers, academics and staff, many of whom have spent their working lives searching for cancer cures.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, said: “The tobacco industry’s deadly products are responsible for one in four cancer deaths.

“Many people would be shocked to learn that their pensions are invested in tobacco company shares – especially those striving to develop cures for diseases caused by this lethal industry.

“To help make it easier for organizations’ pension schemes to opt out of tobacco shares, we’re now funding the UK arm of Tobacco Free Portfolios to encourage investment funds to divest form tobacco stocks.”

However, Universities UK defended its pension strategy.

“USS, as part of its investment duties, takes into account wider social, ethical, and environmental and governance issues, so long as that ensures that the assets of the scheme are invested in the best financial interest of members and their beneficiaries,” said a spokesman.

“USS is also a responsible and engaged investor.

“They have for example, undertaken engagement with tobacco companies on marketing approaches and regulations around e-cigarettes.”