Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 1

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58 tobaccoasia CLOSING NEWS 卷尾新闻 China PM's Brother Removed as Head China recently removed Li Keming, a vice director at the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration as deputy head of a state tobacco monopoly, eliminating a potential conflict of interest, said the country's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in a statement on its website. Other officials involved in a comprehensive reshuffle were also listed. Li Keming is the younger brother of Premier Li Keqiang and had been in the post at the monopoly since 2003. He had become a target for anti-smoking activists who accused the government of cozying up with the State Tobacco Monopoly, which controls 98% of China's huge cigarette market. According to the ministry's state- ment, Li had been appointed to a new post as chairman of a supervisory committee focused on large state-owned enterprises, without elaborating further. The tobacco monopoly is considered very powerful as it provides an estimated 7-10% of government revenue or as much as CNY816 billion (US$130.72 billion) in 2013. There appears to be no indication that the government is getting ready to weaken the tobacco monopoly. In spite of attacks from anti-smoking activists, the director of the monopoly administra- tion said they should not take an "absolutist" or "expansionist" view because the habit had hundreds of years of history behind it. Farmer Lights Up on Flight A Chinese farmer's flight whose holiday was meant to be free – a gift from his niece – turned into an expensive nightmare after he lit up a cigarette in-flight. Xu Miaoqing, 61, from mainland China, made headlines after being caught smoking in the toilet on a Cathay Pacific flight from Bangkok on Christmas Day. In mitigation, the court heard that a steward on flight CX708 went to the toilet cubicle after an alarm sounded. Xu was inside and there was a strong smell of smoke. A cigarette butt was found in the bowl. On arrival, he admitted to the police that he had been smoking. However, Xu's lawyer told the court his client was illiterate and did not know smoking on planes was illegal. He was hit with a HK$2,000 (US$258 dollars) fine after pleading guilty in Tsuen Wan Court in Hong Kong to a charge of smoking in an aircraft. Besides the fine, the court heard that Xu had to give up his travel documents during the investigation, and the period he had spent in Hong Kong had cost the Shanghai man a quarter of his income for the year. Hong Kong Cooking with Tobacco Not many people are aware that tobacco can also be used as a spice rather than something you smoke. While tobacco is certainly not a common spice, it has been successfully used in sweet and savoury dishes, including ice cream and chocolate truffles, and in a sauce for pigeon, which contained the bird's blood. There are different ways to get the tobacco flavor into food. You can burn it by mixing the chopped up tobacco with uncooked rice, rock sugar, and aromatics, before placing the ingredients in a wok that's been lined with alumini- um foil. (The food should be pre-cooked before you do this, because smoking it will only add flavor.) Let the food smoke over the smouldering ingredients but not for too long, or the flavor will be acrid rather than subtly smoky. Another method is to let the tobacco infuse in cream, sugar syrup, or alcohol. Chop the tobacco and add it to the liquid cream or syrup then put the ingredients in a pan and set it over a low flame until the mixture simmers, because heat will help to draw out the tobacco flavor. But don't try to heat alcohol, because the fumes might ignite. Just put the tobacco in the bottle and let it infuse over time. Of course, there are some health concerns when consuming tobacco. Even as a food, tobacco does contain high amounts of nicotine, which can be toxic in large doses. With desserts and savoury dishes, though, the amount you're consuming is very small. Natu- rally, it is best avoided if you're very young, very old, have health problems or are pregnant. Syria ISIS Beheads Smokers ISIS, a.k.a. ISIL or simply Islamic State, takes a hard line on alcohol and smoking, and IS extremists now behead anybody caught smoking. The reason for this punishing stance is a ruling of the self-proclaimed Sheikh of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who pronounced smoking as a type of slow suicide, and suicide is forbidden in the Koran. Smoking is usually allowed under Islam, and in fact, smoking shisha is deepy ingrained into the Arab culture, but ultra conservative interpretations of the Koran, like that used by Islamic State, condemn the habit as a type of suicide. More beheadings are likely to occur because approximately half of Syria's male population smokes cigarettes and traditional water pipes. Those struggling to give up smoking are having to go beyond the boundaries of the Caliphate on the Turkish border. An Islamic State official was quoted as saying: "Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobey- ing God. All tobacco quantities will be burned and the seller will be punished according to Sharia." Those who violate the smoking ban face a minimum penalty of 40 lashes with a whip, but repeat offenders will be severely punished with prison time or even execution. Switzerland New GM for Davidoff AG Oettinger Davidoff AG, the worldwide leading manufacturer of premium cigars, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland,

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