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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Trade ministry pokes holes in Tobacco Bill

The Ministry Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has called for a balance between health and economic interests within the proposed Tobacco Control Bill 2014 before it is passed into law. The ministry noted that the tobacco industry greatly contributes to the economy with approximately Shs56 billion going directly to farmers’ pockets annually.

Mr Oule Epyanu, the senior commercial officer at theministry, said the Bill is biased on the consumption of tobacco and its health risks and does not provide any guidelines for the financial implications on the tobacco industry, thus calling for a total ban on the industry.

“Certainly, there is a need for control and regulation of the sector. It should, however, be done in a way which strikes consensus between health and trade concerns”, Mr Epyanu said, while addressing a focus group meeting organised by Uganda Human Rights Commission in Kampala last week.

He emphasised the need to respect the Tobacco (Control and Marketing) Act 1967, which was enacted to regulate tobacco production and marketing because the crop is unique in relation to other crops.

Two weeks ago, a group of 50 tobacco farmers, under the Uganda Tobacco Growers Association, petitioned Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over the Bill.

The farmers cited Clause 49 as their main concern in the Bill, saying it will leave them vulnerable to exploitation from the tobacco companies once the Bill is passed in its current form.

At the same meeting, Terego County Member of Parliament Kassiano Wadri asked the government to provide alternative crops for tobacco farmers to enable them to transit from the crop.

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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Smoking Ban Will Boost Population Growth

The ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants has been in force in Russia for several weeks now. There are several reasons for the current anti-smoking ban. The first is the problem of “passive smoking” — a situation where nonsmokers are forced to inhale tobacco smoke, with all its harmful toxins, merely because they are close to someone smoking. A law was obviously needed to protect everyone’s right to clean air.

However, passive smoking is not the real problem in Russia. After powerful air conditioners and ventilation systems were created, the division of public spaces into smoking and nonsmoking areas effectively eliminated ambient secondhand smoke. The problem is that smoking is a health hazard to the smoker himself: numerous scientific studies have shown that smoking significantly increases the risk of cancer and shortens life expectancy. And in Russia, a country with a growing number of smokers and an already low life expectancy, smoking poses a particularly serious threat.

In addition to restricting tobacco’s use, the government has also been trying to make smoking less attractive, and for some time has placed ghastly images of the effects of smoking on cigarette packs. The authorities argue that the money spent on battling addictive behaviors is justified when considering that it ultimately saves taxpayers money otherwise spent on medical care. Of course, if the goal is to make smoking less attractive, the government could simply and profitably impose higher taxes on cigarettes, thereby creating almost the same negative incentives as the current smoking ban. But it is much easier to enforce a ban than to collect high taxes. However, when taxes on cigarettes start growing, smokers buying cigarettes online.

Still, even considering the ease with which the ban is enforced, it is not yet clear how long the results of any of these efforts will last. Tobacco companies are legendary for their powerful lobbying efforts and their use of public initiatives and even scientific organizations to advance their agendas. College textbooks on management even cite tobacco companies for their organizational prowess. The more excessive measures such as eliminating rooms for smokers in airports actually play into the hands of those who advocate lifting the ban. After all, it is far more difficult to avoid a long stay in the airport than in a cafe or restaurant. In general, it is unclear how the authorities can justify making life so much worse for smokers.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Syracuse bans smoking in city parks

Smoking will be banned as of Oct. 1 in all city parks, including downtown public areas such as Clinton Square and Columbus Circle. The Common Council voted 7-2 today to impose the ban, and Mayor Stephanie Miner plans to sign it.

Sponsors of the measure, Councilors Bob Dougherty and Khalid Bey, said they delayed implementation until October to give Clinton Square festival organizers time to adapt. Beginning next year, it’s likely that festival-goers will be directed away from Clinton Square onto surrounding streets if they wish to smoke, Bey said.

The fine for violations will be $50, but councilors said they expect police to issue more warnings than tickets. Most of the enforcement likely will occur through “peer pressure,” Dougherty said.

Two councilors opposed the new ban. Councilor-at-Large Helen Hudson, who smokes, said cigarette smoke is an insignificant source of outdoor air pollution.

“Until we can find a way to limit all the toxins that are transmitted throughout our city and throughout our country — by vehicles, buildings, smokestacks — I think it’s a little short-sighted to target cigarette smokers,” Hudson said.

Councilor Chad Ryan, who does not smoke, said he does not think the city should tell people where they can smoke outdoors. “We do you draw the line?” he said.

Bey, an ardent non-smoker who has respiratory problems attributed to second-hand smoke, said the right to smoke should be constrained to limit the effects on non-smokers.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to legislate to cause people to be courteous,” Bey said. “Just as a smoker has a right to smoke, which they do, those who don’t smoke have a right to breathe clean air.”

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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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No sale of tobacco in Delhi on last day of every month

Delhi government plans a ‘dry day’ for smokers. There will be no sale of tobacco or related products on the last day of every month.

This is being projected as a drive against tobacco use, and a campaign to generate awareness about tobacco’s harmful effects. The government has also decided to take up the issue of enhancing tobacco taxes with the state-empowered committee, an official said, adding that the decision was taken in a meeting of the state-level coordination committee for tobacco control headed by chief secretary S K Srivastava.

“This concept started in 2013 when we asked vendors not to sell tobacco and related products on the last day of every month as a voluntary effort,” said Dr N V Kamat, director, health services. He hoped that this way, Delhi will be a tobacco-free state.

Tobacco consumption is increasing at an alarming rate in Delhi. As per the Global Adults Tobacco Survey 2010, about 40.9% men and 3.7% women use any form of tobacco products in the city. About 30% men were found to be smokers as compared to 1.1% women. The average age of initiation of tobacco use was found to be 19 years and three months.

Srivastava has ordered for strict implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003, and to curb the growth of hookah bars and sale of tobacco.

On Friday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan will flag off a rally of 200 schoolchildren from Nirman Bhavan to commemorate ‘World No Tobacco Day’, which is on May 31.
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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