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January 1st, 2017:

Controlling corporate influence in health policy making

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The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control

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Consultation Summary: “Plain and Standardized Packaging” for Tobacco Products

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Tobacco tax increase comes in today

Smoking gets more expensive from today: the tax on tobacco is going up by 10 percent.

The cost of a packet of cigarettes is currently about NZ$20.

It’s the first of four consecutive 10 percent rises coming into force on 1 January each year until 2020.

Roughly 15 percent of adult New Zealanders, or 550,000 people, are estimated to smoke daily, and smoking-related illnesses kill up to 5000 a year.

The cost of a packet of cigarettes is currently about NZ$20.

Quitline chief executive Andrew Slater said it was likely more people would stop smoking because of the price rise.

“Money and financial reasons is one of a number of reasons that people quit, and so we’re seeing an increase that the government announced last year that comes into effect today. And so that certainly motivates people to pick up the phone and start their quit-smoking journey.”

Mr Slater said he expected the number of calls to Quitline to double throughout this month and next.

Meanwhile, Quitline’s lastest freephone help service statistics show that nearly half of the people who gave up smoking in 2016 did so to improve their health.

Quitline says 45 percent of those who used its services to quit wanted to better their health, while 13 percent said they just did it for themselves and another 11 percent quit because it was too expensive.

Mr Slater said the proportion who quit for family reasons jumped to 9 percent.

“We’re seeing family, whanau and role-modelling for children increasing as a reason for people to quit and also just I think having children provides a great prompt for people to think about their health and make sure that they’re going to be healthy to see their children grow up.”

Over a third of pregnant smokers who contacted Quitline cited the need to be a role model for their children as the main motivation to quit, with improving health coming in second.

The Māori Party says stopping Māori women from smoking is on the government’s work programme for the year ahead.

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox said the goal is that by 2025 fewer than 5 percent of people will be smokers.

“There are many parts of New Zealand that have already reached that goal, one of the biggest areas that we need to look at though is Māori smoking, Māori women smoking and looking at the trial introduction of e-cigarettes and vaping as forms of cessation.”

Ms Fox said a change to the tobacco laws was being considered, to formally include e-cigarettes as part of quit-smoking moves.

RMB30,000 Fines Under Shenzhen Smoking Ban

Shenzhen smokers: take it outside.

That’s the message from the government today after the city’s already far-reaching smoking ban was extended into the indoor areas smokers favor the most, namely private KTV rooms, bars and massage parlors.

Individual smokers face fines between RMB50-500, while establishments that allow smoking indoors may be slapped with fines up to RMB30,000, according to a report carried by the Shenzhen Daily. Ouch.

The smoking ban was originally introduced in 2014, but a grace period was extended to areas that smokers traditionally favored to give the establishments a chance to begin enforcement.

Internet cafes, in particular, have failed to do so, with the rate of smoking increasing since 2014. Shenzhen’s Center for Chronic Disease Control and Prevention found smoking in 75 percent of Internet cafes recently, according to the same Shenzhen Daily report, a jump from 51 percent in 2014.

Queries submitted to the official anti-smoking WeChat account (szkyws) on Friday revealed establishments that continue to allow smoking will first be warned and later may face fines, with the onus on the businesses to stop smokers from lighting up indoors.

This is what happens to your body in the days, weeks, months and years after you quit smoking

Many people will be giving up smoking as a New Year’s resolution, and here’s the motivation to help you see it through

As the reality of all the New Year’s resolutions people have adopted sinks in, there is one habit that you’ll never want to go back to.

Smoking – a condition that causes smokers to die younger, smell terribly and all at a huge cost to your wallet.

But taking a look at what happens to a smoker’s body when they give up is enough to keep you off the fags and sticking to your New Year’s resolution for good.

Quitting smoking is the best thing any smoker can do for their health.

It’s a fact that around half of long-term smokers will die from the deadly addiction, The Newcastle Chronicle reports.

We know that “we all die eventually”, but smokers die on average 10 years earlier, and tragically from much more painful and debilitating illnesses, such as lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

The sooner smoking is given the boot, the sooner the body can begin to repair itself.

Any amount of time smoke-free gives the body – especially the lungs and bloodstream – time to “breathe” again and take in the clean air needed to recuperate.

Some damage caused by smoking which will never go away, but if you say goodbye to smoking you’ll live a much healthier, longer, richer life.

One of the scariest aspects of quitting smoking can be the unknown of what will happen and this often puts people off trying to be smoke-free in the first place.

What happens to the body

The human body is an amazing thing. Just 20 minutes after that last cigarette, it begins to recover.

Nicotine, the addictive chemical in smoking, acts as a stimulant and gives that all-important ‘kick’.

Not long after the last puff of smoke, heart rate and blood pressure return to normal following this high.

Eight hours

This is the testing time when most smokers reach for another cigarette.

The effects of withdrawal are strong as nicotine leaves the bloodstream and cravings start to happen.

One day

Anxiety and ‘stress’ levels peak. The feeling of stress associated with quitting smoking isn’t usually stress – it’s a sign of withdrawal.

That’s why it’s untrue that smoking de-stresses, it’s just feeding a craving.

In fact, research shows non- and ex-smokers feel less stressed than smokers.

Two to three days

If you decide to go ‘cold turkey’ there’s no nicotine left in the body but it’ll take a while to adjust to this new feeling. Using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum, patches or e-cigarettes supplies the body with nicotine and allows smokers to wean themselves off smoking gently, making it easier to quit cigarettes.

Taste and smell receptors are given the chance to heal, meaning food will never have tasted so good!

One week

Making it one week smoke-free means quitters are over the worst of it.

It’s perfectly normal to think about smoking regularly – it’s now a case of mind over matter as the body no longer physically craves tobacco.

Many quitters experience a nasty cough, but this is perfectly normal – it’s the lungs’ way of clearing themselves as much as they can.

Two weeks

Blood circulation, especially to the gums and teeth, returns to normal levels, the same as a non-smoker.

Now that the mouth isn’t being bombarded with smoke, tissue damaged by gum disease can recover.

One month

Withdrawals can range from anger, anxiety, insomnia and mild depression, but by month one these feelings should have subsided. If not, a trip to the GP is recommended.

Quitters who make it to four weeks smoke-free are five times more likely to stay smoke-free for good.

Two months

The risk of heart attack risk has started to drop. With lung function improving too, climbing the stairs gets that little bit easier each day.

Three months

Walking long distances is a lot easier now. Any bad coughs should have disappeared, but if not, being seen by a doctor is imperative as it can be a sign of something more sinister.

Six months

Any tiredness and shortness of breath will be a thing of the past.

Cilia, air sacs in the lungs, have re-grown and healed some of the damage caused by smoking, but the lungs will never be 100% healthy.

One year

Ex-smokers are 50% less likely to have a heart attack, heart disease or a stroke within just one year of quitting.

Five years

Diabetes is an illness long-term smokers can develop. Make it five years smoke-free and the risks of it occurring are the same a non-smoker.

Five to 10 years

Amazing! The risk of having a stroke is now the same as that of a non-smoker. Smoke makes blood sticky and hard to move around the body and that’s why smokers are much more likely to have a stroke.

10 years

Lung cancer is the biggest risk to a smoker’s life. Within 10 years of quitting, the chance of death from lung cancer is half that of a smoker. The risk from other cancers such as mouth and pancreatic have reduced significantly.

Post-10 years

When smoking, the heart works harder to pump smoke-ridden blood and this leads to increased risk of heart attacks and disease. After 10 years smoke-free, the risk of heart disease is the same as a non-smoker

Smoking with children in the car is liable to €50 fine from today

As from today, anyone caught smoking in a private car when accompanied by children under the age of 16, will be liable to a fine of €50.

Malta is the sixth country in the European Union to bring in these regulations. This legislative measure protects children and young people from the damaging effects of secondhand smoke.

Children are at particular risk from the effects of passive smoking because they have an increased risk of developing chest infections during their first five years.

Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke are also at a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is also known as cot death. As well as making children more vulnerable to ear infections, such as otitis media, passive smoking makes children more likely to develop asthma.

Levels of toxins from smoking in cars can reach high counts very quickly. This new law has found full support in Maltese society including that of the Tobacco Industry Advisory Council.

The Government said that this ban will apply to all tobacco products including e-cigarettes. The driver of the car will always be held responsible and is liable to a fine of €50. Any passenger caught smoking in a car in the presence of minors will also be liable to a fine of €50.

In Malta smoking was already restricted in all enclosed public spaces in April 2004. It was one of the first EU states to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. This new legislation will continue to build on the drive to protect the public from secondhand smoke.

As part of its remit to promote a smoke-free society, the Health Promotion and Disease Directorate in collaboration with the Primary Health Care Department provides free one-to-one counselling services for persons who want to quit smoking.

These sessions are available every Wednesday evening at the Floriana and Mosta Health Centres from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

For further information, please contact the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on 23266000 or call the quitline on 80073333.

Further information on enforcement can be obtained from the Environmental Health Directorate on 21322306 or 21337333.

300 smokers call it quits after tobacco tax hike

Smoking cigarettes and tobacco just got a lot more expensive with a 10% tax increase coming into force this morning.

That means, the average cost for a packet of cigarettes is around NZ$25. (HK$ 134.5)

While some Smokefree agencies are supportive they say government measures don’t go far enough.

Andrew Slater, CEO Quitline says, “So, so far today we’ve had over 100 people call us by lunchtime looking to enrol and get support for quitting smoking. We’ll expect to see that sort of hit around 300 people by the end of today.” The Māori tobacco advocacy service says while the law change seems unfair to Māori families it is for their benefit. Zoe Hawke, General Manager – Tobacco Advocacy Service, Hāpai Te Hauora says, “Having your health will be more financially beneficial in the end. You don’t want to be mauiui, you don’t want to end up in hospital with your whanau suffering and being sad that you’re sick.” But Hāpai Te Hauora claims the tax increase doesn’t go far enough. They’re pushing for a 20 percent increase.

Hawke says, “When it’s 20 percent, it may be at odd times during the year so people aren’t preparing for it then the shock of it helps people then to start planning for being smokefree.” But, the rising cost of tobacco isn’t the key reason why many are opting to quit the habit. Slater says, “What we know from our research over the last 12 months is around 45% of people actually quit smoking for their health followed by family and cost was the third reason.” Berdie Milner, Quitline Advisor says, “It deteriorates your health as well as the health of your family. It’s time to fix it and we can help you.”

The 10 percent tax increase will apply each year until 2020 in order to fulfil the government’s goal of a smokefree New Zealand.