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Pub smoking still widespread despite ban

The German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) surveyed nearly 3,000 eating and drinking venues in 10 major cities and found that smoking womencomplex and numerous exemptions are being widely exploited to allow smoking to continue.

“People who want to drink a beer in the evening must in many areas search around if they don’t want to be exposed to passive smoking,” the centre said in a statement. “The same applies to gambling venues.”

In the largest ever study into the effectiveness of state smoking bans, the centre found that smoking still went on in more than 90 percent of gambling halls. And 8 percent of restaurants also still allowed smoking, generally in clear breach of state laws.

“The state laws on anti-smoking protection must be regarded as having failed,” said Stefanie Seltmann of the DKFZ.

Non-smokers were still being exposed to passive smoke, the centre said. The survey also found that smoking clubs are for most part not properly signposted and often even a notice saying the club is restricted to people aged over 18 is missing.

Since August 2007, laws have been gradually introduced in all German states to protect people against passive smoke. However many exemptions exist.

Düsseldorf had the most smoking bars and also the most breaches of the law compelling drinking venues to post signs saying the allow smoking. There, 41 percent of all hospitality venues – from restaurants to gambling halls – are filled with blue haze.

Munich came out on top. A general smoking ban has been in force there since August 2010. Yet even here, 17 percent of bars make use of the single exception that is still possible in Bavaria – that smoking is permitted in private clubs or associations.

“The large number and complexity of the exemptions have led to a situation in which adherence to the smoking bans in the hospitality sector is barely controlled,” the DKFZ’s Ute Mons said.

The DKFZ is calling for uniform regulations against smoking across the country.

The centre surveyed nearly 3,000 drinking venues during February and March in major 10 cities: Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hannover, Kiel, Mainz, Magdeburg, Schwerin, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden.

Hungary passes airtight smoking ban

Parliament’s approval on Tuesday of a ban on smoking in public places indoors is a successful step in the fight against the “epidemic” of smoking, Tamas Heintz, a deputy of the ruling Fidesz party and a proponent of the bill, told a press conference.

Heintz said that the new law was the first milestone in a public health strategy based on a preventive approach.

The deputy insisted that the ban would not cause “practically any economic drawbacks” for the catering industry.

Heintz could not answer questions about the future utilisation of Parliament’s smoking room, but said that supporters of the ban would try and convince as many of his peers as possible to stop smoking.

Tobacco producers, however, are not so optimistic. Illes Benyei, head of the national federation of producers, said that the new ban would impact 25,000 families employed in the industry. He warned that the majority of those people had no other skills and lived in the most neglected north-east of the country.

The honorary head of the trade organisation of Hungarian caterers said the ban would not reduce the number of smokers significantly, however, bars and restaurants will have fewer customers, which could heavily weigh on small, family-operated businesses. Tamas Haber said the new law was ill-considered, and that his organisation was ready to participate in talks aimed at refining details.

The smoking ban in all public locations indoors, including workplaces, restaurants and pubs, seeking protection of non-smokers was approved with 271 votes in support, 37 against and 14 abstentions earlier in the day.

The ban will be in force in all public institutions, on public transport vehicles, at stops and stations, underground pedestrian passages and in playgrounds.

The law does not allow designating indoors areas for smokers in public institutions, workplaces or trains. However, it will be allowed to smoke in open-air sections of restaurants and pubs.

Public education, childcare and health care institutions, however, will be banned from designating areas for smokers both indoors and outdoors.

Kenton County smoking ban in effect

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. – The stogies are extinguished at the Montgomery Inn in Fort Mitchell. The Kenton county smoking ordinance went into effect at midnight Friday morning.

“I think its probably the most ridiculous thing to ever happen in Kenton county,” said Ken Collova of Lexington.

Collova enjoyed the Montgomery Inn’s cigar bar when he drives up for business. He has little time for those who object to second hand smoke.

“Tell them to go somewhere else, seriously, tell them to go to McDonalds,” said Collova.

The Montgomery Inn’s general manager, Stan Thomakos, has researched the subject extensively.

“From what I’ve read we may lose business initially but it should rebound actually better than it was,” said Thomakos.

He does worry that business will head towards the counties that still allow smoking in such restaurants.

“The people of Kenton county now are going to be able to go the other counties that are adjacent to us and go there which may be a factor in our business,” said Thomakos.

Fines for non-compliance Thomakos says go up to $250.00.

Tobacco ban for Hartsville city parks gets first OK

HARTSVILLE – Hartsville City Council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that makes city parks tobacco free.City-Ban-Smoking

The measure, which council approved unanimously on first reading Tuesday, bans smoking as well as the use of other tobacco products in all of the city’s public parks and other outdoor facilities owned by the city. The ordinance also provides for a $25 fine for violations.

The city already prohibits smoking and other tobacco use in city-owned buildings and vehicles. Several council members said they wanted to see that ban extended to parks.

The measure is aimed at reducing exposure of citizens to second-hand smoke.

Initially, the ordinance prohibited only smoking in parks. Mayor Mel Pennington said that since city policy bans all tobacco use in city buildings, that policy should also apply for parks. Council agreed and voted to amend the language of the ordinance to reflect that.

“The intent of this is to protect the environment for our children,” Pennington said.

Pennington stressed that the city is not at a point at which officials are prepared to consider a ban on smoking in private businesses such as restaurants. Council members have pointed out repeatedly that many of Hartsville’s restaurants already prohibit smoking.

“This is a bold move for Hartsville,” said Councilwoman Wanda James.

During the discussion of the ordinance, Pennington opened the floor for comments from citizens present. Hartsville resident Clayton Richardson asked how the ordinance would be enforced. And resident Pecolia Grove thanked council for extending the measure to include other forms of tobacco.

The ordinance will come up for a public hearing and a final vote on second reading on May 9.

In other business, council also gave first-reading approval to an ordinance rezoning 10 pieces of property currently zoned industrial (M1) to other zoning designations more compatible with current uses of other surrounding properties. The zoning changes came as a recommendation from the Hartsville Planning Commission.

The properties include the former Hartsville Oil Mill Warehouse property on Coker Avenue and adjoining smaller storage building, which will be rezoned to professional (P1). The old oil mill warehouse building is being torn down. Other properties include the former Wyndham Warehouse property on First Street currently owned by Coker College, which will be rezoned to campus (CA); seven properties owned by Milliken & Co. that front Railroad Avenue and Jordan Street, adjacent to the Oakdale neighborhood, that will be rezoned to residential (R2).

The manufacturing uses of those properties has long since passed, said Planning Commission Chairman Richard Boiteau. The changes in the zoning designations will help ensure that future uses of those properties are compatible with existing surrounding uses, he said. “These changes are in keeping with changes in and around the downtown area,” he said.

Final approval of that ordinance is also expected at council’s May meeting.

Council gave final approval to an ordinance implementing a program to charge mitigation rates for the deployment of emergency services by the Hartsville Fire Department for services rendered by the department. The measure is aimed at helping meet the rising cost of providing emergency services, officials said.

In other business, council:

* Approved a resolution accepting a $95,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance to firefighters to help purchase communication equipment, turnout gear and a GPS accountability system for the fire department. The city will provide $10,660 in matching funds.

* Accepted a bid of $26,700 for cleanup of nuisance lots in the city. The winning bid came from CommScapes LLC of Hartsville.

* Approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Natalie Zeigler to negotiate with Bank of America for the possible purchase by the city of the former Bank of America on the corner of Fifth Street and East Carolina in downtown Hartsville. Bank of America closed the branch in March, and city officials want to buy the building and use it for a new city hall.

* Approved a resolution to apply for a $439,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to pay for phase two of a water line upgrade project in the South Hartsville area. Last year the city received a $474,000 CDBG to pay for the first phase of the project. If the new application is successful, the city will have to provide at least 10 percent of the total cost of phase two in matching funds.

* Agreed to change the date of council’s regular meeting in May from May 10 to May 9 because May 10 is a city holiday.

By Jim Faile

Smoking Cabins in all Bahrain Indore Places

Smokers who were driven away from stores and workplaces may again find relief as the government is planning to introduce smoking smoking-cabinscabins.
One indoor smoking cabin was already installed at Bahrain International Airport’s waiting room and is planned to install one more for arrivals, according to representative of the Bahrain-based Abdullah Al Derazi Company.
It is planned to install such cabins in malls, banks, ministries, restaurants and other places.
The given company is promoting this trend in Bahrain after becoming the country’s first distributor of Plymovent, Netherlands smoking cabins after signing an agreement with regional suppliers Gulfmate Solutions.
“At present a lot of people smoke in the toilets, because it is not allowed to smoke inside the buildings, so namely these cabins are the best solution,” Mr. Al Derazi stated.
“Many workers go outside to smoke thus there are a lot of time lost in productivity, they even may light up two or three cigarettes at the same time. Very often you may see people in high positions smoking outside the building and even their guests have to do the same. Also the most important factor is that there is always a mess outside the building, so these cabins will help to keep the area clean,” he added.
There are different cabins, some of them can hold from 2 to 20 smokers at a time. All smoking cabins have a filtering system that occludes the smoke and gives out fresh air. Smoking cabins are already very popular in many Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries and it is expected that soon they will be spread in Bahrain.
“There are many smokers in Bahrain and we have to deal with them. We want to protect non-smokers and live in a healthy environment,” development manager, Nihal Grero, stated in an interview.
“Since tobacco products are still selling and people are buying them, there is need in a solution. It was found that there are more than one billion smokers, so we should think about non-smokers and find a way to keep them away from tobacco smoke,” Mr. Grego said.
“We also distribute air purifiers that can remove tobacco smoke, dust, viruses and other bacteria. These purifies are good for those people who work in polluted environments or have some asthmatic problems,” Mr. Grego stated.
“Smoking cabins should be away from the children sight and I think that it should be a secret place. I am in favor of these cabins only if they would be placed in concealed locations,” Bahrain Anti-Smoking Society member Dr Kadhem Al Hawaji declared at a press-conference.

Belgium expands smoking ban to all cafes, casinos

BRUSSELS – Belgium’s top court decided Tuesday to widen the country’s smoking ban in public spaces to cover all cafes and the smoking in cafekingdom’s nine casinos from July 1.

Smoking has been banned in work places, restaurants and pubs that serve food since 2009, while temporary exemptions had been granted to casinos and cafes that only serve snacks such as crisps and peanuts.

The law had called for the exemptions to end sometime between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2014, but the Flemish Anti-Cancer League asked Belgium’s constitutional court to strike them down.

The court decided to lift the exemptions but gave establishments until June 30 to “adapt to the general smoking ban.”

The judges ruled that the government failed to prove that pubs would be harmed by a general smoking ban, saying that drawing distinctions between establishments was actually harmful to competition.

The court also stated that the protection of the health of employees and non-smokers should apply to casinos even though they serve a “specific” clientele.

Smokers will still find a corner to light up: Special smoking rooms equipped with air vents in restaurants and other public buildings are still permitted since smokers are not supposed to use them, the judges said.

Cigarette ban on minors intensified

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Palawan’s provincial legislative body, passed recently a resolution urging the Department of Trade & Industry, Department of Health, local government units and other concerned agencies to strictly enforce the law against selling of cigarettes and intoxicating drinks to minors.

The resolution authored by Provincial Board Member Ernesto Llacuna seeks to put some teeth into the law particularly sections 9 & 10 of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. Based on reports he has been receiving, cigarettes are still being sold to minors and there are minors seen smoking.

The resolution which was unanimously approved and signed by Palawan Governor Baham Mitra, recommends the review of the implementation of the law in the local scene and the strengthening of its enforcement.

The goal of Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 is to regulate the use, sale and advertisements of tobacco products to promote a healthful environment and protect the citizens from the hazards of tobacco smoke, and at the same time ensure that the interest of tobacco farmers, growers, workers and stakeholders are not adversely compromised. This includes protection of the youth from being initiated to cigarette smoking and tobacco use by prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors.

Government bans plastic packs for tobacco

The highly popular small plastic sachets would no longer be allowed to be used for packaging gutkha, pan masala and other tobacco products, the government ordered on Monday while notifying new rules for regulating the use of plastics and managing plastic waste.

The new rules, called the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, also prohibit the use of recycled plastics for storing, carrying, or packaging food stuff.

The government, however, refrained from putting a complete ban on the use of plastics, as demanded by many environmental groups, saying that it was not only impractical but also undesirable. “It is impractical and undesirable to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic all over the country. The real challenge is to improve municipal solid waste management systems. In addition to the privatisation and mechanisation of the municipal solid waste management systems, we must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of lakhs of people involved in the informal sector,” Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

Plastic, though extremely popular in a variety of uses, is composed of toxic chemicals and is mostly non-biodegradable, making it a major pollutant. Many states have already banned its use and some others regulate its usage.

While arguing against a complete ban, Jairam had earlier said elimination of plastics would lead to a greater demand for paper, thereby resulting in more cutting of trees which is not an environmentally sound option. The new rules notified by the Environment Ministry on Monday stipulate that plastic carrybags must not be less than 40 microns thick. Earlier, the minimum thickness required was 20 microns. The thinner the plastic used, the more difficult it is to dispose.

In addition, plastic carrybags will be mandatorily white or contain only those colourants or pigments that are in conformity with the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

In a bid to further discourage the use of plastics, the new rules say that plastic carrybags cannot be made available to consumers free of cost. The municipal authorities have been asked to determine suitable price for these bags.

The only exception to the rules are carrybags manufactured exclusively for export purpose.

Indiana House passes state smoking ban

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House has passed a measure that would ban smoking at every restaurant in the state.

The House voted 68-31 on Monday to enact what began as a comprehensive public smoking ban but was watered down with amendments exempting bars, casinos, tobacco retailers and more. House Bill 1018 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Rep. Charlie Brown, the Gary Democrat who is the bill’s author and who has advocated a smoking ban for years, walked to a podium in the House with a fake cigarette in his mouth Monday as he urged fellow lawmakers to endorse the ban.

He said since studies show that about 24 percent of Hoosiers smoke, the ban is in the interests of the other 76 percent.

“Basic math would tell you that those small businesses that think that they’re going to lose business will stand a better chance of gaining business,” he said.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion, noted that smoking bans are in place in some form in more than 30 states.

“Employees have the right to work in an environment that does not harm their health. That’s really the bottom line,” he said.

The only detractor to speak on the House floor Monday was Rep. Phil Hinkle, R-Indianapolis.

“With this bill, nothing will change,” he said.

The House has passed variations of a smoking ban several times in recent years, but those bills have all died in the Senate.

This year, though, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, says he will give the bill a committee hearing, as long as it still includes an exemption for casinos so that the state doesn’t lose gambling tax revenue.

“We’re going to hopefully rely upon the Senate to remove some of the exemptions so that we can have a true smoking ban in Indiana,” said Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has said if a smoking ban reaches his desk, he will sign it into law.

Full Smoking Ban in Bulgaria On Hold until 2014

The full smoking ban in Bulgaria has been postponed for January 1, 2014, the private TV Channel bTV announced.

The agreement has been reached during a meeting between Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov and representatives of hotel and restaurant owners, who are quoted saying they were deeply grateful to Borisov for the “pleasant surprise” and vowed to “be ready” by 2014.

The full smoking ban was voted by the previous Parliament and was supposed to become effective on July 1, 2010, but the new majority of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party amended the ban and adopted new rules providing for partial smoking restrictions.

The restrictions became effective in December 2010, and owners of small establishments were supposed to decide if the facility would be smoking or non-smoking while those of larger ones were mandated to have separate smoking and non-smoking spaces. Just days ago, the Health Ministry announced the full smoking ban for small establishments would be introduced in the summer.

The series of postponements are explained with allowing owners to make gradual expenses to upgrade the facilities and include ventilation equipment and non-smoking areas.

According to cabinet experts, the measure would lead to the bankruptcy of 10% of restaurants and coffee shops, to BGN 550 M less in annual turnover and would leave 15 000 employees on the streets. Losses for the State amount to BGN 94 M in unpaid Value Added Tax (VAT), BGN 11 M in unpaid corporate tax, BGN 23 M from unpaid insurance contributions for laid-off workers and BGN 8 M for unemployment compensations.

Results from the December 2010 partial ban, show the turnover of facilities with separate smoking and non-smoking areas went down by 30%.

Greece to police ignored smoking ban more strictly

ATHENS, – Greece said on Tuesday it will enforce a largely ignored smoking ban with hundreds more inspectors, the third time in recent years it has tried and failed to stop the EU’s heaviest smokers flouting the ban.

“The Greek state cannot continue to be made a laughing stock,” Health Minister Andreas Loverdos told reporters. “We are starting tomorrow — the ban will be fully implemented.”

Most cafes and restaurants had shrugged off the latest, Sept. 1 ban and taxi drivers smoke with impunity while driving.

Loverdos said the government would launch a fresh campaign against smoking and hire hundreds of additional inspectors to slap fines on business owners and smokers.

Inspectors can impose up to 10,000 euros ($13,350) in fines on bar and restaurant owners tolerating smoking and up to 500 euros for smokers who break the law. But only a handful of penalties have been imposed despite widespread violations.

Most restaurants have kept ash-trays on their tables despite the ban or put them back after losing costumers to more smoker-friendly places. Some organised street protests against the ban, saying applying it would drive customers away at a time when business was already hit by recession.

“This decision comes at a time when the economy is in deep recession, it will lead to shutting down thousands of businesses and at least 80,000 jobs will be lost,” said Yiorgos Kavathas, general secretary of the Greek restaurant owners federation.

Smoking-related health costs are two billion euros a year, health ministry data says, about 60 percent of total tobacco tax revenues in 2009.

Greece has increased excise tax and VAT on tobacoo to 23 from 19 percent as part of EU and IMF austerity steps.

By Ingrid Melander and Renee Maltezou

Spain’s smoking ban begins

Madrid – Spain’s reign as the last Western European haven for smokers ended Sunday as a new law came into effect banning smokingprohibido fumar in enclosed public places.

Those caught smoking indoors or even in some open spaces like playgrounds will now have to pay a 30 euro ($40) fine and as much as 100,000 euros ($134,000) after being caught three times. Restaurant and bar owners failing to impose the new law will pay between 60 euros ($80) and 100,000 euros for each violation.

In Madrid’s historical centre, bars and restaurants were packed for breakfast and for lunch on Sunday in spite of the new rule. But no customers were smoking. In cold but sunny weather, cafes with outdoor terraces, where smoking is permitted, were doing brisk business.

“We have a lot of customers today, but it’s only the first day and we have to see what will happen,” said the Txacolina bar manager, Pedro Ayllon. “But I don’t think the new law will hurt us.”

He welcomed the new law after seven years working in smoke-filled bars.

At the nearby Taberna del Capitan Alatriste restaurant, manager Antonio Pino said lunch reservations were normal for a Sunday.

“It’s a fair law as it’s the same for everyone, so there will be fewer problems,” he said.

Until now, Spains anti-smoking law banned smoking in the workplace, on public transport and in shops. But it allowed owners of bars, restaurants and cafes to decide whether to ban smoking or not. Most, faced with a drop in business, naturally chose to permit their customers to light up.

A statistical battle

The debate over the issue here has become a statistical battle. Anti smoking groups say at least 1,000 lives will be saved every year without any negative economic impact, while bar and restaurant owner associations say they will lose $8 billion a year and more than 100,000 will be laid off.

A series of anti tobacco laws that allow most establishments to choose whether or not to ban smoking started going into effect four years ago. Yet they have all but been ignored. In fact, some regional governments, including that of Madrid, opposed central government efforts, allowing for numerous exceptions.

But the new law that went into effect today closed all loopholes and smokers have been all but banned.

“This is horrible,” says Natalia, a Madrid resident who didn’t want her last name used. “They couldn’t have done this at a worse time, with the [economic] crisis and all. I’m not going to quit smoking over this, I can guarantee you, but I won’t go out to eat or to bars as much.”

Health concerns

Spain has its fair share of smokers, something the country’s health ministry has been increasingly concerned about.

Almost 35 percent of Spaniards older than 16 are regular smokers, a record in the European Union, according to government figures. Some 40 percent of women between 15 and 25 are addicted, a threefold increase in 20 years.

North Carolina Smoking Ban Reaches First Year

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —After a full year of North Carolina’s indoor smoking ban, many restaurants report business has remained smoking ban NCmostly the same.

Air quality in North Carolina restaurants has improved 89 percent since smoking was banned, state department of public health officials said.

“It’s important because it’s creating a new environment and helping the air which is better for lungs, especially for children,” Destiny Sanders, with the TRU Tobacco Youth Advisory Council in Forsyth County, said.

Steven Hondos, owner of Jimmy the Greek’s restaurant on University Parkway, said his wait staff is healthier, his customers are happier, and business is just as good.

“There are fewer colds because of it, so that’s a good thing. I like the atmosphere a lot better. A lot of people like it better,” Hondos said.

“It seems like the food tastes better, you know,” Charlie Jenkins, customer of Jimmy the Greek’s, said.

More than 70 percent of people going to bars said the law made no difference to them, a state department of public health survey reported.

Despite things remaining normal at the restaurant, Hondos said he wouldn’t have banned smoking if the law hadn’t been enacted, mainly because of RJ Reynolds sitting across the street.

Some state business owners are challenging the law in court. Don Liebes, who owns Gate City Billiards in Greensboro, is one of them, saying he would lose his business if he went completely smoke-free. Liebes allows smoking on special occasions.

An owner of three bars in Greenville is also challenging the law. Only 37 complaints were received by the state in November for establishments still not complying with the law.

Copyright © 2010, WGHP-TV

Michigan smoking ban linked to lower liquor sales?

Liquor by the glass and lottery sales in bars and restaurants declined in the five months after Michigan banned smoking in michigan smoking banworkplaces, but it’s too early to know whether the impact will be deep and lasting, according to a report released Monday from the state Department of Treasury.

Sales tax collections also declined in neighborhood taverns, by 1.57% in 2010 after the ban took effect May 1, the report said, while overall sales tax collections in restaurants and bars were up 2.84%

It appears the smoking ban “may have reduced the activity at taverns,” according to the report. But because the ban went into effect during a period of economic turbulence and its affect on customer behavior is still unfolding, its long-term impact is unknown, the report found.

Advocates for the ban said the report is evidence that concerns about an adverse economic impact from an indoor smoking ban were exaggerated.

“This is far from a ‘sky is falling’ scenario,” said Matt Phelan, of the American Cancer Society. “I think what this shows is that there is no significant (economic) impact from the smoke-free law.”

A spokesman for a Lansing-based trade group that represents hundreds of local taverns disagreed.

“It is completely wrong to say (the ban) is having little or no effect,” said Lance Bioniemi, of the 2,500-member Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.

The smoking ban has been especially hard on smaller establishments that rely heavily on sales of liquor, not food, he said.

According to the treasury’s data, sales tax revenues at family restaurants and cafeterias increased 4.24% in the same period that taverns reported a decline. The sharpest change measured in the report was in lottery games such as Keno. Sales of the club games were relatively flat from the same period a year earlier (up 0.3%) in the months before the ban, but down 13.7% in May-September of this year.

Vietnam smoking ban

Nguyen Thanh Binh, a journalist based in Ho Chi Minh City, says with sense of irony that he is virtually unaware of any smoking ban.smoking ban in Vietnam

“When the ban came into force a year ago, everyone kept talking about it. But since then we’ve seen no enforcement or sanction, so what’s the point of observing it?” said the 25-year-old scribe who smokes 15 cigarettes per day on average.

A Vietnamese government decree effective January 1 this year prohibits smoking indoors in public places. But little headway has been made since.

“We have to admit that enforcement and compliance are [still] poor,” said Pham Hoang Anh, Vietnam director of HealthBridge Canada, an international NGO which seeks to work with partners worldwide to improve health and health equity through research, policy and action.

“[It is] due to the weak level of sanctions, unclear enforcement mechanisms, low public awareness of the regulation and of the hazards of secondhand smoke, and high social acceptability of smoking.”

Expats are none the wiser about the ban.

“Australia banned smoking in bars while I was living in Vietnam. Moving back home and having to leave your drink with a security guard was very strange but it did inspire a kind of camaraderie amongst the smokers,” said an Aussie expat in Hanoi who declined to be named.

“Here [in Vietnam] that’s less necessary as most expats already know each other. I’ve never seen the smoking ban enforced. No one even knows there is one.”

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010, the international standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators, shows that currently around 15.3 million people actively smoke in Vietnam and an estimated 46.8 million are exposed to secondhand smoke.

“[These facts] provide strong evidence that the tobacco epidemic continues throughout the country,” said Jorge Alday, a spokesperson for New York-based NGO World Lung Foundation.

Smoking caused around 40,000 deaths in Vietnam in 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates. This figure could surge to 70,000 by the end of 2030 if drastic measures are not taken, the UN agency warns.

Internationally, second-hand tobacco smoke kills upward of 600,000 people every year, nearly a third of them children, according to the first-ever global assessment published last month in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Big brother

It is not just the ban that has been ineffective.

Anti-tobacco groups have criticized tobacco companies for capitalizing on legal loopholes in Vietnamese laws to launch aggressive marketing campaigns to promote the habit and the product.

Vietnam ratified in 2005 the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an international treaty which requires countries to restrict tobacco publicity. Vietnamese laws also ban direct and indirect advertising, sponsorship and promotions, even at sales outlets.

Under the regulations, cigarette companies are not supposed to display more than one pack of a cigarette brand at any sales point. But companies and retailers have circumvented this rule by displaying different varieties of the same brand like menthol, lights or regular, anti-tobacco groups say.

They add that this strategy will lead to brands creating a variety of flavors or types so that, as in Vietnam, certain brands can dominate a large section of the display, while using just one pack of each kind.

As for indirect promotions, Alday of the World Lung Foundation says, “In Vietnam as in many other places, direct advertising has been replaced by more subtle promotional techniques such as corporate social responsibility projects. Examples include funding education or youth projects across the country or even providing disaster relief.”

Anh of HealthBridge Canada adds, “The aim of these activities is to manipulate the public’s attitude toward their reputation and send the message that they are looking out for the public’s best interest.”

Vietnam’s amended Trade Law 2005 bans all forms of sponsorship by tobacco companies. But the law stopped short of completely prohibiting sponsorship of philanthropic activities.

So far this year, British American Tobacco–Vinataba (BATVJ), a joint venture between the London-based British American Tobacco company and the Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation, has been in the news for providing five Vietnamese provinces with 22.5 million seedlings totaling VND1 billion ($51,300). BATVJ is also being investigated for cooking its books between 2006 and 2008, police in the southern province of Dong Nai, where the joint venture is based, said in October.

The Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation (Vinataba) had also, through media channels, announced pledges of VND5 billion to support poverty alleviation efforts in Bac Ai District in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan.

But the Bac Ai District government said in a recent report that they had received nothing from Vinataba and asked the state-owned tobacco giant to honor its “corporate social responsibility.”

Anti-tobacco groups have urged Vietnamese legislators to clearly define advertisement to prevent any circumventing ploys by the tobacco industry.

The government has been drafting a comprehensive tobacco control law since 2008 but the bill is set to be submitted to the National Assembly, Vietnam’s legislature, for reviewing and passing early next year.

“There are plenty of gaps that can be filled in this issue… Vietnam should follow the WHO guidelines on the protection of public health policies from commercial and other vested interests belonging to tobacco industry,” said Anh.

Vietnam plans to impose heavy environment taxes on tobacco from 2012 onwards. Currently, cigarettes are taxed at 32 percent. With a tax increase of 20 percent, retail prices would increase by about 10 percent and government tax revenues will go up by VND1.9 trillion, the WHO estimates.

“The tobacco epidemic has had severe health and economic consequences for individuals and the society,” said Nguyen Thi Xuyen, deputy minister of Health. “To protect Vietnamese from tobacco use’s related burdens, the Ministry of Health has strongly supported policies for implementing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

‘What will be, will be’

Journalist Binh said he is not afraid of any health consequences of tobacco. This gung ho attitude towards smoking impacts worries anti-tobacco groups the most. They say that as long as there is little awareness of the health dangers, smoking will remain socially acceptable.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010, 47.4 percent of Vietnamese men currently smoke. At a conference in HCMC last week, the Tumor Hospital filed a report pointing out that the southern economic hub records around 6,000 new cancer cases every year. So far this year, the hospital has admitted over 14,000 cancer patients compared with 13,200 last year. Lung and liver cancer accounted for the highest percentage among the male patients, the hospital report said.

But Binh said he saw no reason to worry. “What will be, will be. I have been smoking in all the places that I used to smoke.

“The ‘ban’ here is [almost] nothing. As far as I can see, changes are too subtle to be noticed.”

Summerville bans indoor smoking

SUMMERVILLE – A ban on indoor smoking passed first reading Wednesday, seven months after Town Council tabled the volatile summerville, Soude Carilinaordinance. The 4-1 vote was more decisive than council’s sentiments.

Councilman Ricky Waring flatly opposed the law as overreaching and detrimental to business. Two other councilmen, Bob Jackson and Aaron Brown, voted in favor after hearing support from most of the constituents who spoke to them, but they had concerns with it. Their concerns echoed Waring’s. Councilman Walter Bailey was absent.

“People are tired of big government, and I agree with them. Now here we are getting down to telling businesses what to do. They’re struggling, and here we add one more thing (to the struggle),” Waring said.

The ban would need one more vote to become law.

The vote followed a public comment session during which more than a dozen people spoke.

Two of every three favored the ban, ranging from medical doctors to an 11-year-old who didn’t like the smell or how exposure to smoke left her brothers wheezing.

They supported the law based on health and aesthetic concerns. Others opposed it as a violation of property owners’ rights.

Banning smoking “may or may not affect our business,” said Bob Brittingham, who owns Montreux, a downtown restaurant, but he knows it won’t affect competitors outside town limits, he said.

He listed more than $140,000 per year in taxes and fees the restaurant pays, and listed its civic contributions. “We would like to retain control of the decision to allow or not allow smoking in our business,” he said.

The serious tone of the debate was broken by Summerville resident Joe Christie, who said that with surrounding towns passing similar laws, “that leaves Summerville as a smoker’s oasis. I don’t want smokers coming into Summerville and turning us into the armpit of the region.”

The proposed law would fine violators and establishment owners between $10 and $25 per incident. It would allow exceptions, such as private residences and tobacco stores. It “grandfathers” existing cigar bars.

Similar laws have been passed in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Ravenel, among other communities in the state.

Council tabled the proposed law in May after a similar comment session, when council members said then they had concerns it was overreaching.

The ban has been pushed by two anti-smoking groups, the Smoke Free Lowcountry Coalition and the South Carolina chapter of the African American Tobacco Control Network.

Union City approves smoking ban

UNION CITY — Smokers must refrain from lighting up at public events and in outdoor restaurant and bar spaces starting next month.

The new law, which also will beef up penalties for selling tobacco to minors and ultimately ban smoking in all apartments, takes effect Dec. 23. The City Council unanimously approved the anti-smoking ordinances last week.

The apartment ban, which will take effect in February 2012 to give landlords time to comply, will affect all rental dwellings of two or more units, including market-rate apartments, affordable apartments, senior facilities and duplexes on one lot. It does not apply to single-family homes, mobile home parks, condominiums with units owned individually, or duplexes on two lots.

The city earned a D grade in a January report by the American Lung Association, which ranked cities and counties based on three policy areas that the group considers most effective in combating the negative effects of tobacco at the local level.

Sixty-seven percent of jurisdictions statewide flunked.

Council members received an overview of the association’s report in July and directed staff members to prepare changes to the law in those three areas — smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing and reducing sales of tobacco products — to raise the city’s grade to an A.

The new ordinances also will:

  • Maintain the restriction on indoor common areas of multiunit housing.
  • Require apartment landlords to disclose to potential tenants information about the smoking restrictions at the property.
  • Declare secondhand smoke exposure a nuisance.
  • Prohibit smoking in recreation areas such as parks and trails, and unenclosed areas primarily used by children or for physical activity.
  • Maintain the existing restriction on smoking in entryways and service areas.
  • Prohibit sampling of tobacco products.
  • Establish a local retail tobacco license, to be renewed annually, that could be revoked for selling to minors. The penalties would begin with a warning for the first offense in a five-year period. For a second violation, the business’s license would be revoked for 60 days; a third offense, one year; and a fourth violation, five years.
  • Maintain the requirement for a conditional-use permit to establish a retail tobacco store.

By Rob Dennis
Oakland Tribune

Tobacco companies may be forced in UK to use plain brown packs

children being attracted to smoking

The government is considering forcing tobacco companies to package their cigarettes in plain brown wrappers in a bid to de-glamorise smoking and stop young people taking up the habit.

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, is investigating the viability of introducing what would be one of the most radical public health measures ever implemented in the UK.

Senior doctors welcomed the potential ban on colours and logos on packets and said it could prove as effective as the 2007 public smoking ban. However, ministers are likely to face a legal challenge if they go ahead.

“We have to try new approaches and take decisions to benefit the population. That’s why I want to look at the idea of plain packaging,” said Lansley. “The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It’s wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets.”

Lansley stressed that the need to prevent children from starting to smoke in the first place was his main motivation for taking seriously a policy which the tobacco industry fears would be hugely damaging. “We would prefer it if people did not smoke, and adults will still be able to buy cigarettes [even if plain packs come in], but children should be protected from the start,” he said.

The health secretary indicated that some further restrictions on smoking are likely. They could be unveiled in his white paper on public health, which is due within days. “The levels of poor health and deaths from smoking are still far too high, and the cost to the NHS and the economy is vast. That money could be used to educate our children and treat cancer,” said Lansley.

His readiness to countenance such draconian action against cigarette manufacturers drew praise and delight from leading medical organisations. “We are very pleased that the health secretary supports the plain packaging of cigarettes. There is clear evidence that young people find packaging appealing,” said a spokesman for the British Medical Association. “And we know that the tobacco industry spends huge amounts on this clever marketing to enhance their brands and increase sales.”

Professor John Britton, chairman of the tobacco advisory group at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which represents hospital doctors, said: “The RCP is glad that the government is considering the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.”

“Putting tobacco in plain packs would be a historic step for public health and an amazing centrepiece for Andrew Lansley’s promised public health strategy,” said Martin Dockrell, spokesman for Action on Smoking and Health (Ash). “Marketing men have become increasingly pushy with pack design, making it a 21st-century billboard, identifying this brand as ‘cool’ and that brand as ‘feminine’.” According to Ash, two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 and in England one in seven 15-year-olds is a regular smoker.

Australia is set to become the first country in the world to introduce plain packs in 2012, although tobacco manufacturers have mounted legal action to try to stop the measure. The European Union is considering a ban.

Lansley’s move is a surprise. The Conservatives opposed plain packets when Gordon Brown’s Labour administration undertook a consultation on the idea. But this fresh examination may help to allay fears among medical chiefs at the direction of the coalition’s public health policies after, for example, Lansley criticised Jamie Oliver’s campaign to improve school lunches in England.

The BMA, RCP and Ash all called on the government to press ahead with implementing the planned ban on shops selling cigarettes openly, irrespective of whether it introduces plain packets. Under legislation passed under Labour, the point of sale ban is due to be phased in from next year, but the coalition has still not decided whether to honour their predecessors’ commitment.

“We need to protect children from any kind of tobacco advertising, and as the legislation to ban point-of-sale display has already been passed, it should be implemented as soon as possible, not postponed or repealed,” said Britton.The tobacco industry tonight said it rejected the whole idea of plain packets. It said there was no evidence to back the policy and claimed that it would lead to increased tobacco smuggling. “Whilst there are currently no specific government proposals for plain tobacco packaging, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association is strongly opposed to the principle and would expect a genuine consultation and regulatory impact assessment if the government decides to pursue this further,” said the TMA’s chief executive, Christopher Ogden.

“The TMA does not believe any plans for plain packaging are based on sound public policy, nor any compelling evidence. Moves to prevent tobacco companies from exercising their intellectual property rights would place the government in breach of legal obligations relating to intellectual property, international trade and European law,” Ogden added.

“Plain packs are also likely to lead to yet further increases in the smuggling of tobacco products, and plain packs would make it so much easier for a counterfeiter to copy than existing branded packs, making it even more difficult for a consumer to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit products.”

By Denis Campbell
Guardian

Cigarette branding faces Scottish ban to cut smoking rate

Plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes have led to calls for Westminster to transfer the power to control tobacco to Holyrood.

The SNP is closely following moves by Australia to bring in plain packaging for cigarettes, which the party is keen to emulate in Scotland.

However, any attempt to force tobacco companies to sacrifice individual branding in favour of plain wrapping and bigger health warnings would face a major hurdle, as it is still a matter reserved to Westminster.

Critics and the tobacco lobby have warned that standardised packaging could be counterproductive, leading not only to a price war resulting in increased smoking rates thanks to cheap cigarettes but also a rise in counterfeiting.

Last night, an SNP spokesman said the party supported the idea of using plain packaging as a further attempt to reduce smoking rates in Scotland.

He said: “The SNP is favourably disposed to this idea, and if Westminster will not do it then the powers should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

“The SNP Government has already acted to end cigarette displays in shops and increase the age of purchasing tobacco to 18, and it is important that we have the powers to do more in the interests of public health in Scotland.”

In April, Australian lawmakers confirmed the country would become the first nation to ban brand images and colours on cigarette packages.

Promotional text would be limited to product names in standard colour, position, type style and size.

The World Health Organization praised the action, but tobacco firms claimed there is no evidence the measures would reduce consumption.

Overall smoking rates in Scotland have fallen from 31% in 1999 to 24% in 2009, but are still as high as 45% in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

As well as banning displays in shops and cigarette vending machines, MSPs have also raised the smoking age.

However, Dr Enrico Bonadio, a law lecturer at the University of Abertay, warned that plain packaging could provoke a price war, driving down costs and increasing smoking rates.

“If the UK adopts plain packaging, a price war is a probability,” he said. “If there was a price war and the price goes down, the number of smokers would go up in Scotland. By reducing price, you stimulate consumption. It would be a boomerang effect.

“With no logos, it would also be easier for counterfeiting by companies and criminals. That’s an argument used by opponents of plain packaging. It could be a problem. We need to consider the knock-on effects if plain packaging is brought in.”

Dr Crawford Moodie, of the Institute of Social Marketing at Stirling University, who gave a presentation to the European Commission on plain packaging, said the plan in Australia for dark brown packaging has been shown to increase the numbers quitting smoking.

“Even if there was a price war,” he said, “plain packaging is still a major deterrent.

“Scotland has always been a champion for the UK and if it was in our capacity to introduce plain packaging or larger pictorial warnings, I think Scotland would likely introduce that.”

Anti-smoking group ASH Scotland last month published 33 recommendations, including plain packaging. A spokeswoman said: “We would like Scotland’s political parties to have a manifesto commitment to a tobacco-control strategy for Scotland … as part of that strategy we would like to see the Scottish Government call for Westminster to introduce standardised, unbranded packaging of tobacco products.”

The UK Department of Health reiterated its view, given in a June 2010 parliamentary answer, that more evidence is needed on the impact of plain packaging.

Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, said: “The TMA is strongly opposed to the principle of plain packaging. Moves to prevent tobacco companies from exercising their intellectual property rights would place the Government in breach of legal obligations relating to … international trade and European law.

“Plain packs are also likely to lead to further increases in the smuggling of tobacco products and plain packs would make it so much easier for a counterfeiter to copy than existing branded packs – making it even more difficult for a consumer to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit products.”

By Tristan Stewart-Robertson
Heraldscotland

Bulgarian Cabinet Approves Indoors Smoking Restrictions

Smoking restrictions in public spaces in Bulgaria are going to become effective in the beginning of 2011, according to amendments of the Health Act, dating from the beginning of 2010.

The cabinet approved Wednesday the Health Ministry’s order about rules for indoor smoking in public and work spaces.

The previous, Socialist-led Three-Way Coalition cabinet passed a full smoking ban that was to become effective on July 1, 2010, but it was postponed by the current cabinet of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party.

Smoking spaces inside restaurants, coffee shops and bars, in commercial and administrative buildings and in railroad stations, and airports, must have walls and tight-closing doors and good ventilation equipment.

Owners of coffee shops and restaurants with less than 50 square meters have the right to decide themselves if the establishment will be a smoking or entirely non-smoking space. In case smoking is allowed, individuals under the age of 18 would not be admitted as they are banned from smoking in all indoors spaces.

In larger establishments, at least 50% of the space must be dedicated to non-smokers.

In night clubs, smoking will be allowed at all times regardless of how large they are.

After January 1, 2011, open-space coffee shops and restaurants inside shopping malls would become non-smoking facilities.

Owners face fines for inadequate ventilation and lack of sings designating the non-smoking sections and the smoking ban for those under 18.

The checks of health inspectors will begin as soon as the new rules become effective. Fines for owners range from BGN 500 to BGN 10 000.

Individuals, who violate the ban, would also face fines, but only if they agree to provide their ID card.

Banning Smoking In Car When Children Inside

It is something usual for all buildings to have special legislations against smoking inside, but in Central Ohio City now was enforced a new ordinance that would ban cigarettes smoking in cars when kids are inside them. This is the main cause why between high school government class started new active discussions.

Lauryn Robinson and Logan Justice are still in their teenage years, yet they could be just a few months far from getting an idea that was raised in their Washington Senior High School AP Government class become new regulation in Washington Court House.
The idea of a new law started when the class was thinking of plans for their class group action programs.

“We were just pliable of all sitting around and we’re thinking what without any doubts makes us mad when we drive through town and see a lot of new and old things and someone confess ‘I hate seeing parents smoke cigs in the car with their children.’ So we kind of exactly took that new idea and then ran,” Robinson declared.
They gathered requests, leaded investigation on similar anti-smoking legislations and then showed their sample to council members in May.

Teenagers even mailed a video on the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Web site displays how fast the air inside a car with a smoker can become harmful. But according to the American Lung Association, only few minutes of smoking in a car can extend ten times the levels allowed by the EPA for outdoor air pollution.

“I suppose that someone will look at this propose as a way to protect young children who, their parents may not think that they damage their health if they continue to smoke in the car,” argued Washington Court House Council President Dale Lynch.
Health experts declared that smoking in car with kids, it is like enclosing somebody up and blowing toxic water in their face.
However, a lot of inhabitants told that they’re against this proposal, reporting that if they can’t smoke in their car this year, then next year they could not smoke even in their house.

Indian smoke tax ban continues

BUFFALO — Rulings by two federal judges will continue to prevent the state from collecting taxes on some Indian cigarette sales while tribes continue their legal fight against an issue that has caused tension for decades.

But Gov. David Paterson’s administration said Friday the state is closer than ever to settling the issue after one of the judges confirmed the state’s right to tax reservation cigarette sales to non-Indian customers and said doing so would not infringe on tribal sovereignty.

“It’s time for decades of court battles to come to an end,” Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said.

U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara on Thursday denied the Seneca and Cayuga Indian Nations’ request for a preliminary injunction against the tax, saying it was unlikely that the western New York tribes could substantiate their claims that it would overburden them and impinge on their sovereignty.

Arcara, in a separate order, granted a delay in the start of collections to give the tribes time to follow through on a promised appeal of his ruling. A temporary order was set to expire Friday.

A Utica judge’s decision in a separate case brought by the Oneida Indian Nation was less favorable to the state.

Unlike his counterpart in Buffalo, Judge David Hurd agreed with arguments that the state’s plans to require wholesalers to pre-charge tribal retailers the $4.35-per-pack tax are unconstitutional and granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement against the central New York tribe.

Hurd noted that the Oneida Nation would have $3.5 million tied up in prepaid taxes at any given time because it maintains an inventory of 80,000 cartons.

“The harm from permitting the state to enforce its new tax law will be irreparable to the Oneida Nation,” he wrote.

He also granted the Oneidas’ request to send the case to mediation in hopes of a quicker final resolution.

Arcara, in extending his temporary ban on taxing Seneca and Cayuga sales, cited the possibility of layoffs among the 3,000 employed in 172 Seneca Nation smokeshops and said he did not believe the state would be hurt by the delay.

He also noted predictions by both sides that there could be violence if the tax takes effect and said it was in the public interest to suspend the plan.

The last time the state tried to collect the tax, in 1997, protesters lit tire fires and shut down a 30-mile stretch of the New York state Thruway that bisects Seneca land near the Pennsylvania line. Since then, governors have followed a policy of “forbearance” allowing tax-free sales to continue despite state law saying the tax should be collected.

Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. said the 7,800-member tribe is disappointed its request for an injunction was denied but will continue to fight the state’s plans. Nation leaders say the state tax would interfere with the tribe’s own internal taxing scheme which generates revenue for health and education programs.

“We are thankful that (Arcara) granted our motion for a stay pending appeal and the state still cannot enforce their unlawful and improper tax scheme against the Seneca people,” Snyder said in a statement late Thursday. “The fight is far from over.”

Seneca and Cayuga attorneys have indicated they will challenge Arcara’s decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The St. Regis Mohawk tribe in northern New York and Poospatucks of Long Island also are challenging the taxation of sales to non-Indian customers in cases pending before Arcara.

State tax officials had planned to begin collections on Sept. 1 as a way to generate $110 million in revenue this fiscal year and $200 million a year after that. Wholesalers would be required to prepay the sales taxes before supplying Native American stores, forcing them to pass along the charge to tribal retailers, who in turn would have to raise their prices and lose their competitive edge over off-reservation convenience stores.

Cigarette makers sold 24 million cartons of non-native-brand cigarettes to tribes in New York in 2009, with the Senecas buying the most at 10.2 million, the state Department of Taxation and Finance said. Tribes also sell millions of cartons of American Indian brands.

Chesnee passes tobacco ban in city’s businesses

Chesnee City Council unanimously voted Monday to adopt a no-smoking ordinance, banning the use of tobacco products in restaurants, bars or any workplace within the city limits.

The ordinance originally included only restaurants, but council added bars and other businesses to it before its final reading.

It is the first ban of its kind in Spartanburg County.

Council members said they drafted the ordinance at the request of residents concerned with the health hazards of secondhand smoke. It makes it illegal for people to use any tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco dip or snuff in city businesses.

“We had a lot of people asking for it,” Chesnee Mayor Max Cash said. “The effects of secondhand smoke have proven to be very harmful. We’re happy to be able to give people what they want. We’re citizens too, and it will be nice for us to be able to go into a place and not have to deal with the smoke.”

Cash said the city chose to include bars in the ordinance even though it doesn’t have any.

“It’s just in case we get any in the future,” he said.

The Chesnee police department will enforce the new ordinance. A police officer or code enforcement officer will inspect businesses randomly to make sure they are in compliance.

Any person violating the provisions of the ordinance will be subject to a civil fine of not less than $10 or more than $25.

Chesnee’s John and Carrie Rhymer were eating dinner with their two children Monday night at the Bantam Chef. The restaurant was one of only two in the city limits that has a smoking section, including Turner’s Family Restaurant.

The Rhymers said it will be nice to bring their daughters out to eat without having to worry about them breathing in smoke.

“I don’t like to smell (smoke) when I eat, but it’s different when you’re a parent because you worry about what it’s doing to your kids,” Carrie Rhymer said.

“I’m glad to hear that (council) passed the ordinance,” John Rhymer said. “I think it’s good for our city.”

Chesnee resident Linda Jennings is a smoker. She said she doesn’t mind the ban, but that’s only because she doesn’t smoke indoors.

“I just don’t do it … not even in my house,” Jennings said. “It’s probably going to affect some people, but I think it’s a good thing. I’ve tried to quit (smoking) but I can’t. I just decided that I’m not going to do it around my grandbabies.”

In South Carolina, five counties and 25 towns or cities have passed smoke-free ordinances, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Concerned residents in Spartanburg have tried to convince local leaders to enact a comprehensive countywide or citywide ban on smoking, particularly after the city of Greenville passed its own ordinance in 2007.

About 30 percent of the state’s population is covered by a smoking ban, according to DHEC. The agency said a smoke-free ordinance in Spartanburg would bump that number up to 50 percent.

Rethink smoking ban

ust over half of Ohio residents want to let tobacco back in the state’s bars, a new statewide poll finds, though support remains strong for continuing a smoking ban in restaurants and workplaces.

Voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that banned smoking in indoor public spaces, including workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Since then, there’s been discussion of revising the law.

The Ohio Health Issues Poll, conducted on behalf of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, found that 53 percent of adults surveyed favored repealing the ban in bars.

But while most Ohioans want to have a smoke with their beer, they’d like to keep their jobs and meals out smoke-free, said Jennifer Chubinski, director of health data improvement for the Health Foundation.

The survey found 77 percent of respondents favored continuing the smoking ban in workplaces, and 78 percent favored continuing it in restaurants.

Support for the ban in those locations remained strong even among current smokers, results showed: 60 percent of smokers favored continuing smoke-free workplaces, while 62 percent favored smoke-free restaurants.

There’s also been talk around the state about increasing the state’s cigarette tax. Supporters say a 40-cent hike per pack will generate more revenue for the cash-strapped state and reduce smoking rates, especially among teens.

The Health Foundation’s poll found 48 percent of Ohio adults support the tax increase.

Not surprisingly, support is highest among adults who’ve never smoked – 65 percent – and lowest among current smokers – 14 percent.

Chubinski was surprised to see anyone in favor of increase.

“It’s a tough time to ask people to increase taxes on anything,” she said.

Ohio’s cigarette tax is $1.25 per pack, compared to 60 cents a pack in Kentucky and 99.5 cents in Indiana. Nationally, cigarette taxes range from 17 cents a pack in Missouri to $4.35 in New York.

Russian tobacco producer pushes for licensing versus sales bans

British American Tobacco Russia (BATR), the largest cigarette producer in Russia, has suggested introducing licensing to sell tobacco products, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Alexander Lyuty said BATR works closely with the legislative and executive branches of the Russian government, and said the company could work more effectively in curbing violations in tobacco sales, namely illegal sales to minors.

The Russian government has been pushing to remove tobacco sales from kiosks and street vendors as a means of restricting the sale of tobacco and tobacco products to minors. Tobacco would only be sold in large supermarkets.

Lyuty said if licensing would be in effect, then those kiosks and street vendors would have to register with the Tabakprom Association, of which BATR is a member.

He said that in order for small businesses to sell tobacco, the distributors of tobacco products, for example BATR, would see to it that companies complied with the legal sales of tobacco. If the business sells cigarettes to minors, then BATR would receive a heavy fine and then revoke the business’s license to sell cigarettes in the future.

Small businesses, in particular kiosks, sell some 40% of tobacco in Russia.

Lyuty said if the government removes the right for kiosks to sell tobacco, “part of the market would fall into uncontrollable hands” with people selling tobacco on the streets and on the black market.

Big Tobacco veryquiet on smoking ban

Bill Johnson predicted calamity if the City Council extends the smoking ban to his little bar at the corner of Babcock and Callaghan. “I will close the doors. I’ll have no choice,” he said, leaning a little into the microphone.

He was one of the dozens — many of them tavern and pool hall workers — who tore into the proposed ordinance at a June 10 public hearing.

Johnson also is one of three principals behind the San Antonio Mixed Beverage Association, a nearly memberless organization that exists solely to fight the strengthening of San Antonio’s ban. Indeed, political organizer JoAnn Ramon’s handiwork, paid for by SAMBA, accounted for some of the turnout of opponents that night.

Wildly controversial PR consultant T.J. Connolly wasn’t in council chambers, but he’s also working for the association, handling its communications.

Lobbyist Ken Brown, who stood off to the side of the standing-room-only crowd, helped incorporate SAMBA as a nonprofit a year ago. The organization is one of his firm’s clients. Reynolds American, an arm of tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, is another.

So there’s a haze hanging over this scene.

It’s a strategy Big Tobacco commonly uses in its never-ending fight against “smoke-free” ordinances: Find common cause with tavern owners.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with coalition-building. Proponents are doing the same thing, and they, too, have their lobbyist and communications and political strategists.

But if tobacco companies stand behind the opposition — so far behind that they’re invisible — that’s a problem. Unless you’re a fan of hidden agendas.

Councilman Justin Rodriguez, who introduced the ordinance in April, suspects that tobacco is bankrolling SAMBA. “Who’s going to be impacted the most? Tobacco companies,” he said. “They don’t want their fingerprints on it. But, come on, it’s not rocket science.”

Johnson said there’s no tobacco money flowing through SAMBA, and that he, his wife-business partner and another bar owner are the sole principals behind the group.

When I asked how, as owners of small taverns, they could afford their own campaign, Johnson answered: “I drive a Corvette, my wife drives a Cadillac and we own a 2008 Tundra.”

Johnson isn’t new to these kinds of fights. He testified in the Legislature in 2007 and 2009 when lawmakers toyed with a statewide smoking ban.

Brown, too, is a veteran of the tobacco war. Reynolds American hired him in 2008 to fight a similar smoke-free proposal in Corpus Christi. One of his jobs was to coordinate with bar owners. That fight also featured an opposition group that materialized for the occasion: the Corpus Christi Bar Operators’ Association.

The ordinance passed anyway and went into effect last year. Nevertheless, Johnson said he hired Brown after hearing good reviews of his work from friends in Port Aransas and Corpus Christi.

Brown sees his job now as nearly the same one he performed in 2008: helping to stitch together a campaign to stop the proposed ban.

Apart from the bar owners, the opposition includes the San Antonio Restaurant Association — and presumably M. Edward Lopez, a lobbyist representing Fast Eddy’s pool halls in San Antonio and an arm of Philip Morris USA in Austin.

“We have regular conference calls with someone from the restaurants, someone from the bars, someone from — whoever wants to join our coalition, we’re happy to have them,” Brown said. “I just don’t think anybody would be surprised that businesses are trying to protect their business, just like the bars, just like the tobacco companies.”

Just don’t expect to see Big Tobacco when it’s time to step up to the microphone.

By Greg Jefferson
Mysanantonio, 26 Iuni 2010

Cigarette Mail Ban Hitting NY Tribe’s Businesses

SALAMANCA, N.Y. – A new law taking effect Tuesday will ban the shipment of cigarettes through the mail and no one will feel the effects more than western New York’s Seneca Indian Nation.

Seneca-owned businesses dominate the discount mail-order cigarette industry. Tribal leaders say the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act will gut the nation’s $100 million a year tobacco economy and eliminate 3,000 jobs held by workers in and outside the tribe.

Already, mail-order businesses in Salamanca were shutting their doors.

Supporters see the PACT Act as a way to limit teenagers’ access to cigarettes and stop smokers from dodging state taxes. But opponents say it’s an attack on tribal sovereignty and a ploy by big tobacco to regain market share being lost to native brands.

Meanwhile, New York smokers were facing a huge hike in the tobacco tax. The state tax on a pack of cigarettes will jump to the highest in the country.

Gov. David Paterson used an emergency spending bill to force legislators to approve the huge tobacco tax hike. The tax on a pack of cigarettes will skyrocket from $2.75 to $4.35, and the tax on cigars and chewing tobacco will climb from 46 percent of the retail price to 75 percent.

In a region where people can easily travel from New Jersey to New York to Connecticut, a higher tax here may encourage smokers to buy their cigarettes elsewhere. New York’s tobacco tax will be much higher than the $3 per pack in Connecticut and the $2.70 per pack in New Jersey.

“I think people will find other ways, go out of state and stuff to buy cigarettes,” said Parkchester Resident Tiffany Barnwell.

Or they could decide to kick the habit. The American Lung Association predicts the tax will encourage many smokers to quit.

“About 15 percent decrease in teen smoking will result as initiation of this tax, and a 5 percent adult smoking decrease from the tax itself,” said Scott Santarella, CEO of the American Lung Association New York.

For the hardcore smokers, even a breathtaking tax hike won’t stop them. “You can tax us. We’ll always keep smoking, because we’re smokers, you know what I’m saying?” said White Plains resident Drew Davis.

The new tax takes effect September 1.

Paterson said the hike, combined with a plan to collect sales tax on cigarettes sold by Native American tribes, will raise more than $400 million a year.

Wcbstv, Jun 28, 2010

Senate votes to ban smoking in future casinos

Gambling? Maybe. Smoking? No.

That’s the message from the Massachusetts Senate, which voted 24-15 today in favor of an amendment to expanded gambling legislation that would ban smoking in casinos. The vote was a rare rebuke for Senate leaders who wanted to allow smoking in one-fourth of the floor space at the casinos.

As the Senate took up a host of amendments on the second day of debate on the bill, leaders warned that the state will lose as much as $94 million in gambling revenue if it does not allow smoking in its casinos. They pointed out that Connecticut’s casinos allow smoking.

“Only in Massachusetts would we have a casino bill and try to build a politically correct casino,” said Richard R. Tisei, the Senate Republican leader and candidate for lieutenant governor, urging his colleagues to reject the amendment. “Have any of you people ever been to a casino and understand what it takes for a casino to be successful and to draw people in?”

But supporters of the amendment said second-hand smoke will put casino workers’ lives at risk. They pointed out that Massachusetts banned smoking in most workplaces six years ago and that a Harvard School of Public Health study has shown the ban saves 600 lives a year.

“I thought we were trying to create jobs here,” said Susan C. Fargo, a Lincoln Democrat who urged her colleagues to approve the amendment. “Why create jobs for people who will sicken and die? This is the most hypocritical thing I’ve seen in my 14 years in the Senate.”

The bill being considered by the Senate would license three casinos in the state.

If the Senate approves a plan to expand gambling, it will have to be reconciled with a bill passed by the House in April, which calls for two casinos and slot machines at the state’s racetracks.

By Michael Levenson
Boston, June 24, 2010

Smoking banned at airports

JEDDAH: The Council of Ministers urged the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to ban smoking at all airports and their facilities in the Kingdom on Monday. It also advised GACA to impose a fine of SR200 on people who violate the new regulations.

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, approved the recommendations of the 150-member Shoura Council.

Although the Kingdom passed anti-smoking regulations in August 2003, the habit is growing among its population. There are six million smokers in the country who puff away SR8 billion every year. According to one report, smoking-related diseases kill at least 33 people in the Kingdom each month.

Saudi Arabia ranks fourth in the world in terms of cigarette consumption and 41st in terms of population. As many as 13 billion cigarettes are imported into the Kingdom every year.

About 10 percent of the Kingdom’s total smokers are women and 19.3 percent are teenagers. Studies have shown that 13 to 15 percent of young men and women live with smokers and are subjected to passive smoking.

The Cabinet meeting reviewed the current foreign tour of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and hoped his visits to Canada, the United States, Morocco and France would produce results.

The Cabinet referred to the launch of Ghazal-1, the first Saudi car designed by King Saud University students, adding it boded well for the Kingdom’s decision to invest in a knowledge economy.

The Cabinet decided to sign an accord with South Africa for the repatriation of convicts and accused in criminal cases.

It also approved the contracts that were signed to carry out a major housing project in Jazan, accommodating people displaced as a result of attacks by Yemeni intruders last year. The project includes 6,000 housing units, 31 mosques, 35 schools, five health centers and infrastructure facilities.

By ARAB NEWS
Jun 21, 2010

World Cup ban on shisha cafes

FUJAIRAH – Shisha cafes in Fujairah will be asked to move permanently to the outskirts of the city before the World Cup finals kick off on Friday, in a move aimed at reducing noice nuisance.

The municipality says now is the perfect time for shisha cafes to make the move – although owners who do not will not face penalties for the time being.

The ban on shisha cafes in residential areas was part of the Federal National Tobacco Law issued this year, which also specified a two-year grace period.

“We will try to organise them to relocate to the beginning of Fujairah city where it will not bother any non-smokers,” said Mohamed al Afkham, the head of the municipality.

“The World Cup is coming and a lot of shisha cafes will be open in the day and late at night.”

Some in the city remained unaware today of the official encouragement to move.

Fujairah Media is erecting a tent beside Fujairah Tower – which is located in the heart of the city – that will serve shisha tobacco and show World Cup matches.

“It will open from four o’clock in the afternoon until four o’clock in the morning,” said Sufian al Aqrabawi, the company’s chief engineer.

“Noise won’t be any problem. Everybody likes to to watch a football match or a movie with shisha,” he said.

“There are so many cafes here.”

A daily smoker of double apple-flavoured tobacco, Mr al Aqrabawi said he would continue his habit even if it was banned from the city centre.

“In the end I will take it in my home,” he said.

Others welcomed the move. Major Ahmed Ibrahim, the managing director of the Fujairah International Marine Club, said it was “perfect”.

“It is a noise problem, number one. Number two, it is insecure for the family to have 50 or 60 bachelors sitting there,” he said.

“Women passing by don’t feel comfortable, and besides, it’s unhealthy to have the shisha. Smokers should have an area only for smoking.”

Noise from the cafes near his home is a constant problem during sporting events, he said. “They make a demonstration, they drive in the car, they make too much noise, they shout and scream at shisha,” he said of customers.

Fujairah’s Arabian Drive-In Cinema, where shisha will delivered to customers’ vehicles, will not be affected by the city ban because it is located out of doors.

In January, the Ajman Municipality stopped issuing new licences for shisha cafes in residential areas. Cafes were given two years to relocate, as per the law.
Shisha cafes in Ras al Khaimah expect business to double each night during the World Cup.

“For Brazil and Egypt [matches] we always get more customers, but in the World Cup every seat will be taken, every table will be full,” said Yassir Mahdi, 33, a worker at the Manhattan Cafe, which has more than 270 seats. Profits during the World Cup could leap from Dh750 a night to more than Dh4,000, he said.

Shisha cafes in Ras al Khaimah will remain open at night as long as there are customers to serve, say their owners.

Musaab al Mahi, 23, from Sudan, said there was no better place to watch football. “We go to shisha for football because we like to sit with our friends,” he said. “It’s better than sitting alone in my house.”