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March, 2008

Turkish President approves smoking ban

Ankara - Turkish President Abdullah Gul approved a law in mid-January banning smoking in restaurants and bars in a move aimed at bringing the nation of hardened smokers into line with much of the rest of Europe.

The ban will not take full effect for 18 months, but has already led to a delay in plans to sell Turkish firm Tekel Cigarette as investors assess the implications. British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco are among foreign firms analysts expect to bid for Tekel, which has about 40% of the domestic market.

Turkey is the world’s eighth biggest cigarette market, with Turks smoking 103 bn cigarettes a year. The new ban will include cigars, pipes and the traditional water pipe, a popular attraction for tourists in Istanbul and Turkey’s coastal resorts as well as for locals. Many Turks doubt that the ban will be properly implemented in a country where rules and regulations are regularly flouted.

Aussie state bans fruit-flavored tobacco
Sydney - The New South Wales state government has banned tobacco products containing fruit-flavored additives to curb youth smoking as of mid January. The fruity cigarettes are mostly imported from Asia and Europe. New South Wales Assistant Health Minister, Verity Firth said the cigarettes appeal to children and teenagers because they are marketed to look and taste like confectionery. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corp: “They’re often called peach something or strawberry something ... they glow in the dark under disco lights, so it’s an incredibly targeted marking agent toward a young demographic, and that’s the reason we are banning their sale.”

Indian Health Minister to Bollywood stars: more singing, less smoking
Mumbai - Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have been told by India’s health minister to stop setting a bad example by smoking in public.

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who has been campaigning for a ban on smoking on screen, said he was “very concerned about (the) alarming rise of incidences of young people getting addicted to tobacco.”

Both Bachchan and Khan, currently Bollywood’s most popular leading man, have been hauled up on different occasions by an anti-smoking group for lighting up in public in violation of a 2004 ban (which also banned advertising for tobacco products).

In October, the National Organization for Tobacco Eradication slapped a legal notice on the 42-year-old Khan asking him to explain his actions after he was spotted smoking at a cricket match and at a media conference. Veteran superstar Bachchan also had to apologize for appearing with a cigar on film posters.

Iran bans smoking in public
Tehran - Iran has implemented a smoking ban in all public places. According to the new law, smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, including hotels, restaurants, tea houses, and coffee shops.

Police officers have reportedly been told that, in the first instance, they should issue warnings to the proprietors of premises where the law is broken. The next step is to close the premises temporarily, and, the final step, in the case of repeated infringements, is permanent closure. Smoking of traditional water-pipes is included in the ban.

United Arab Emirates
UAE to impose new rules on tobacco companies
Abu Dhabi - By 2010, all tobacco companies in the UAE will have to carry health messages with appropriate graphic images, according to Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the Smoking Cessation Committee, Ministry of Health.

The overall aim is to reduce the incidence of smoking among all people living and working in the UAE, she said after a program focusing on smoking cessation held in Dubai.

She expressed concern for the non-smokers when commenting on the effects of passive smoking: “We are hoping that it will have a knock-on effect on smokers,” she added.

United Kingdom
Call for “papers” cannabis warning
Bristol - Charities say there is growing evidence that the health risks associated with cannabis use require a similar approach to that taken with tobacco.

Comments made in its report into cannabis use are directed at companies such as Imperial Tobacco, which manufactures the best-selling brand of cigarette papers in the UK, Rizla. Rizla is criticized for the sale of its king-sized papers, which the charity claims are “generally accepted” as more suitable for use with cannabis than with tobacco.

The report states that warnings to smokers on cigarette packets have had a dramatic effect, it follows that rolling papers are the most obvious place for text warnings targeting cannabis users.

An Imperial Tobacco spokesperson said, “We manufacture and sell rolling papers for the use of adult tobacco smokers. We recognize that rolling papers can be used in association with cannabis but this is not their intended purpose and we do not endorse this.”

Smokers to be excluded from UK health service
London - Smokers - in addition to heavy drinkers and the obese - will be banned from National Health Service (NHS) treatment in the UK under a recently-announced plan, according to a report by Macer Hall for the Daily Express. Unnamed ministers were said to believe that withholding treatment from people with unhealthy lives could potentially save the NHS bns of pounds a year, though, presumably, this saving would be offset to some extent as the NHS lost the contributions of those excluded from its provisions.

United States
California bans smoking in a car with minors.
Los Angeles - A new California law prohibits adults from smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars in vehicles while minors are present. Under the “Smoke-Free Cars with Minors” law, fines up to $100 can be imposed if a smoker is caught smoking in a car with minors, regardless if the car is moving or not. The imposition of this law, the first law of its kind to be enacted in the nation, comes 10 years after the enactment of a law which enforced smoke-free bars in California, also the first of its kind in the US.

Tobacco International - March, 2008

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