Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 3

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66 tobaccoasia CLOSING PAGES 卷尾新闻 Pakistan PMPL fights SRO on ads The Pakistani federal government's recent statutory regulatory order (SRO) in the Sindh High Court (SHC) concern- ing a total ban on tobacco advertising is being challenged by Philip Morris Pakistan Limited (PMPL), according to the company's recent press release. Issued by the Federal Ministry of Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, the SRO 1086 (1) 2013 prohibits advertising of any and all tobacco products. Currently, tobacco manufacturers are permitted to advertise cigarette brands on the facade of tobacco shops as long as the ads do not exceed the currently set legal limit of 1 m 2 , but even such ads would be banned under the new regulation." PMPL issued an official statement in which it stated its intent to challenge the legality of the SRO, since the authority to regulate health issues falls under the domain of provincial authorities rather than the federal government. The company's statement also said that PMPL supports all other regulatory measures or restrictions on tobacco advertising already in place. Thailand Curb on e-cigarettes Thai health officials are calling for legal restrictions to curb the sale of electronic cigarettes in the country. According to Prakit Vathesatogkit, executive director for Action on Smoking and Health Promotion, the majority of electronic cigarettes sold in Thailand are illegally imported. He was also quoted as saying that "e-cigarettes are not covered by any measures under tobacco laws of Thailand." Today, all tobacco products are regulated under the Tobacco Products Control Act of 1992, which covers "products composed of tobacco leaves or the nicotiana tabacum plant", but electronic cigarettes simulate smoke from a liquid mix of propylene glycol, glycerin, high-concentrate nicotine, and flavorings and do not contain any leaves or plants, so they do not fall under that category. As there is no law relating directly to e-cigarettes, the government is forced to use customs and consumer protection laws to control the import of untaxed and unlabelled e-cigarettes, said Dr. Pantip Chotbenjamaporn, director for the Bureau of Tobacco Control at the Public health Ministry. The Public Health Ministry announced plans to amend the Tobacco Products Control Act to cover new tobacco products, although process is still in its public hearing stage. Despite the mounting evidence to the contrary, Vathesatogkit claims that e-cigarettes make "smokers who want to quit smoking unable to really quit. Some smokers become addicted to both e-cigarettes and cigarettes." Philippines Senate approves warnings On its third and final reading, the Senate in the Philippines approved the new bill mandating Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) on cigarette packs. Because both chambers of the parliament have to ratify the bicameral report first, lawmakers will now have to prepare for the final phase – the bicameral conference committee where the Senate and the House of Representa- tives will have to finalize the measures the anti-smoking measures. The bill is expected to be passed into law on June 11, before the Congress adjourns sine die. In the House version of the bill, the graphic health warning will cover less than 40% of a cigarette pack and be placed at the bottom. Under the new bill, cigarette pack- ages are forbidden to carry "any descrip- tors or numbers such as, but not limited to 'low tar', 'light', 'ultra-light', or 'mild' or 'extra', or 'ultra', and similar terms that claims or misleads a consumer to believe that a tobacco product or variant is healthier, safe or less harmful." According to Senator Pia Cayetano, imported cigarette products would also have to comply with the new packaging requirements. The Senator also stated that she believe the GHW requirement would not be considered a non-tariff barrier to trade under the World Trade Organiza- tion (WTO) and the Japan-Philippines Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) to which the Philippines is a party. US Addiction a genetic mutation Research published in the the journal Molecular Psychiatry indicates that large segments of the population apparently have a genetic mutation that affects their response to nicotine's effects. According to the results of the study this genetic mutation can produce changes in an individual's level of tobacco/nicotine intake that substantially boost the chances that he or she will become a nicotine addict. Like a whole range of other legal and illegal substances, nicotine has addictive properties because it produces short- term feelings of pleasure in its users and also results in long-term changes in the brain's levels of neurotransmitters. But unlike other substances, which produce their pleasurable effect for anywhere from minutes to hours, nicotine only exerts its maximum effect for a few seconds at a time. In addition to certain risk factors, like being raised by parents who smoke, having teen or preteen peers who smoke, starting tobacco use in preteen years, and having a mental illness like schizophrenia or major depression, researchers from France's Pierre and Marie Curie Univer- sity and the French National Center for Scientific Research have identified several genetic factors that may increase a person's chances of developing a nicotine addiction, including inherited or sponta- neous changes in the way the presence of nicotine alters normal brain function. Specifically, the researchers looked at the impact of a relatively common genetic mutation, which impairs the normal function of the receptors that give nicotine access to the brain and make it harder for those individuals to experience the pleasure normally associated with tobacco/nicotine use. Also it seems logical that a reduced susceptibility to the pleasure-producing impact of nicotine might result in a decrease of tobacco/nicotine use, apparently, the opposite is true. In some cases, the increase in nicotine consump- tion exceeded 200% of the intake of those not affected by the genetic mutation. Although the research was conducted on mice, this practice is useful because many of the critical organ systems in these animals function in essentially the same way in humans. Since the mutation for nicotine receptor impairment found in mice also occurs in humans, the authors of the study concluded that people affected by this mutation likely have considerably heightened nicotine addiction risks and, in fact, may appear in the vast majority (close to 90%) of those individuals who smoke heavily.

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