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March, 2010

Essentra

EU to seek a “100% smoke-free” Europe?

Brussels - The EU wants to eliminate cigarettes with a “smoking police,” ashtray bans, and high-publicity legal processes against celebrities who enjoy a puff according to a dossier with recommendations for the 27 member states has been released by the EU. The objective: a “100 per cent smoke free environment.” Health ministers proposed the paper and the EU parliament has approved it. Member countries now have three years to bring the recommendations into their own legal systems.

The new 31-page document makes recommendations for drastic measures to ban smoking in all workplaces, public buildings and facilities: In particular, the dossier recommends fines for anyone who breaks the ban will receive a fine. The penalties are intended to be high enough to act as a deterrent. Companies will be threatened with higher fines than individuals and if necessary may even be threatened with the temporary withdrawal of their business permit. The plan calls for “Smoking police” set up by individual EU states to enforce the smoking ban, including a system of prosecution. The use of inspectors and enforcement officials is recommended. They will also carry out random spot checks. They actually want an ashtray ban, stating that it will be the responsibility of all companies and public services to ensure that there are no ashtrays in the building.

The document states that if individuals in the public eye have deliberately disregarded the law and this is publicly known, the authorities will demonstrate their commitment to and the seriousness of the legislation by reacting with rigorous and speedy measures, attracting the widest possible public attention.


India
National Tobacco Control Program becomes law
New Delhi - The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved the National Tobacco Control Program to “facilitate the implementation of tobacco control laws and to bring about greater awareness of tobacco’s harmful effects.” The program will be implemented at the national, State, and district levels for creating public awareness and behavioral changes, establishing tobacco product testing laboratories and mainstreaming the program components as part of a health delivery mechanism within the National Rural Health Mission framework.

Indonesia
Govenment plan to limit production
Jakarta - The Indonesian government plans to limit domestic cigarette production as of 2015 to total only around 260 bn pieces in line with its 2007–20 Tobacco Product Industry (IHT) roadmap, an official said.

Taiwan
Green tea could modify smoking’s lung cancer risk
Taipei - Drinking green tea could modulate the effect of smoking on lung cancer. Results of this hospital-based, randomized study conducted in Taiwan were presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, held in early January.

Researchers enrolled 170 patients with lung cancer and 340 healthy patients as controls.

Among smokers and non-smokers, those who did not drink green tea had a 5.16-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day. Among smokers, those who did not drink green tea at all had a 12.71-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.


United Arab Emirates
Age limit for tobacco sales to be increased to 20
Abu Dhabi - The UAE is likely to revise the minimum age limit set in the federal law for sale of tobacco products from the current 18 to 20, according to officials. While announcing details of the National Anti-Tobacco Law that has already come into force, a senior health official said that though the law has set the minimum age limit for sale of tobacco products at 18, it was likely that the limit will be changed in future to 20 as is being followed by Dubai.

Nearly all countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Yemen have similar laws except Saudi Arabia that has a tobacco control program. Egypt, Jordan, and Syria are expected to enact similar laws soon.


United Kingdom
Black market ciggies flood market
Hartlepool - Plans to cut the number of people smoking are being hit by cheap tobacco supplied by smugglers. National Health Services (NHS) bosses have now joined forces with police, trading standards, and customs and excise staff to tackle contraband cigarette bootleggers who are flooding the nation for a quick profit. Regional figures have shown a third of teenagers and a fifth of adults buy illegal tobacco products. Local NHS branches have received funds from the Department of Health to spend on smoking cessation and tackling the illicit tobacco trade. An estimated 58 mn cigarettes and three tons of illegal tobacco were seized in custom’s operations in the North East of the country alone in 2008–09.

United States
Tobacco plants can be solar cells
Berkeley - Tobacco plants could help wean the world from fossil fuels, according to scientists from the University of California, Berkeley. In a paper in the journal ACS Nano Letters, Matt Francis and his colleagues described a way to turn tobacco plants into solar cells. The technique could be more environmentally friendly than traditional methods of making solar cells and could lead to cheap, temporary and biodegradable solar cells.

“Over billions of years, evolution has established exactly the right distances between chromophore to allow them to collect and use light from the sun with unparalleled efficiency,” said Francis. “We are trying to mimic these finely tuned systems using the tobacco mosaic virus.”

Synthetic solar cells don’t just grow on tobacco plants. They have to be programmed to grow on tobacco plants. Reprogramming every cell of a mature tobacco plant would be a massive undertaking for human scientists. For the tobacco mosaic virus, however, reprogramming adult tobacco cells to produce tiny structures the plant normally would not make is what the virus does best. The scientists tweak a few genes in the virus, spray it over a crop of tobacco plants, and wait.

Using live organisms to create synthetic solar cells has several environmental advantages over traditionally-made solar panels. Growing solar cells in tobacco plants could put farmers back to work harvesting an annual crop of solar cells.


Vietnam
Government fails to curb smoking in public ban
Hanoi - Many Vietnamese are still smoking in public places despite the government’s ban on smoking in public places, which supposedly took effect on January 1st this year, according to a recent report from the Vietnam news agency.

Eight of 10 interviewed smokers at the Saint Paul Hospital in Hanoi said that they did not know about the ban while the other two said that they did not care about the ban and will continue to smoke. Saint Paul Hospital is one of thousands of hospitals and health clinics that fall under the list of public places where smoking is prohibited. According to the ban, people are not allowed to smoke in public places such as schools, health clinics, cinemas, and stations. Violations of the ban can be met with a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 VND (between US$2.70 to US$5.40).


Tobacco International - March, 2010
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