Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 2

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12 tobaccoasia FRONT PAGE NEWS 卷首新闻 US New Data Show Tobacco Drop According to the results of an annual Centers for Disease Control and Preven- tion (CDC) survey of 22,000 students around the US, the number of middle and high school students using electron- ic cigarettes tripled between 2013 and 2014, and the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers has eclipsed the use of traditional cigarettes and all other tobacco products. Anti-smoking advocates argue that the rise in the popularity of e-cigarettes stems in part from aggressive, largely unregulated marketing campaigns. But advocates of e-cigarettes say the worries expressed by public health officials are premature and not backed up by data. The use of conventional cigarettes sank to its lowest levels in years. According to CDC, 9.2% of high school students and 2.5% of middle school students reported smoking a cigarette over the past month. Cynthia Cabrera, executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association said there's no definitive evidence e-cigarettes are a "gateway" to using traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. On the contrary, many teens who have tried e-cigarettes in the past already were smokers. "We need to not lose perspective about the potential these products have to eliminate harm from combusted tobacco," she said. "I suspect teens experiment with a lot of things. And I suspect anytime someone is not smoking a cigarette, that's a good thing." "The CDC should really be jumping for joy at the fact that smoking rates are declining," added Michael Siegel, a professor and tobacco control specialist at Boston University's School of Public Health. "This is a huge success. Instead, they are using this as another opportu- nity to demonize e-cigarettes." Siegel said he agrees that minors shouldn't have access to any tobacco product. But he said CDC numbers suggest that rather than serving as a gateway to cigarette smoking, e-cigarette use might be diverting teens from traditional cigarettes [and that's] a good thing," he said. China WHO Urges Ad Ban The World Health Organization (WHO) and other tobacco control organizations on Thursday called on China to ban all tobacco advertising. The move came days ahead of the third review of a draft amendment to China's advertisement law by the nation's top legislature. Though anti-tobacco groups support the wider ban of tobacco ads, the amend- ment is criticized for exempting advertising at points of sale. "All forms of tobacco advertising, in all settings, including at retail points of sale, should be banned," said Angela Pratt, head of the Tobacco Free Initiative at WHO's China office. She said that "China has a legal obligation to implement policies contained within the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control", forgetting that the only binding instrument under the FCTC is the Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The global tobacco control treaty advises a total ban on tobacco advertising. The bill is expected to be proposed to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the third reading at its bi-monthly session next week. Current laws ban direct tobacco advertising, but major loopholes allow "stealth" marketing such as charity campaigns or via social media. Kenya BAT Fights New Law Cigarette maker British American Tobacco (BAT) has challenged a directive by the Kenyan ministry of health banning it from putting brand names or trademarks on cigarette packages and wrappers. The new Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 (TCR) requires cigarette packages to carry health warnings and pictograms on the front and back respectively. In an application filed at the high court yesterday, BAT asserts the order is unconstitutional. The regulations were published by the ministry last year and are expected to come into force on June 5. A pictogram is required to be printed in full color, contrasting with the background to ensure noticeability and the health warning messages must be printed in black and white. According to the regulations, tobacco manufacturers and importers will have to pay a levy of 2% of the value of tobacco products manufactured or imported annually into a compensatory contribution fund. In its suit BAT says the health warning in the regulations are wide and vague. They say the rules constitute an unnecessary and unjustifiable limitation and threat to BAT's right to benefit from its intellectual property. BAT says the cost of complying with the new regula- tions is enormous and places players in the tobacco industry at risk of shutting down. It wants the court to find the TCR 2014 null and void. The manufacturers say the regulations will have a huge impact on the petitioners' business and tobacco industry as a whole unless the enforcement is stopped by court. China Calls for E-cig Ban in HK The Hong Kong government yesterday said it would consider a ban on electronic cigarettes after the city's anti-smoking watchdog called for "personal vaporizers" to be banned. Hours after the Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) presented its survey results, secretary for food and health Dr Ko Wing-man said the government was "inclined to agree" with the council's request due to some "proven health risks". "There is also a risk that youngsters would pick up smoking cigarettes after they begin smoking e-cigarettes, which is why we are inclined to accept COSH's recommendations," said Ko. He added that detailed studies would be required before they could proceed with legisla- tion. A University of Hong Kong telephone survey of 2,400 local residents

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