Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 3

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tobaccoasia 61 CLOSING NEWS 卷尾新闻 US CA Follows Hawaii California recently became the second state in the US to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a series of measures in May that sought to further reduce smoking rates, including a new law that limited the use of electronic cigarettes in public spaces. California's efforts to control tobacco use come months after Hawaii raised its minimum age to 21 in January. The Institute of Medicine estimated that raising the minimum purchasing age to 21 nationwide could decrease tobacco use among adults by 12%. But some health advocates said states should go further and raise taxes on tobacco products. This November, Californians will get their chance to do so when they vote on a ballot initiative that would increase the state's cigarette tax from US$0.87 per pack to US$2.00. Some say the tax could be very effective, but others disagree. "We found that a 10% tax increase would reduce smoking by around 0.5%," said Robert Kaestner, a University of Illinois at Chicago economics professor who has studied state tobacco taxes. "People are already paying a lot of money," he added. "People who love smoking, they have a strong preference. Everybody knows smoking is terrible for you, yet people still smoke." California's Budget and Policy Center estimates the proposed tobacco tax will raise more than a billion dollars a year. That money will be distributed to Medicaid programs and tobacco prevention services. Mauritius Govt Commits to Plain Packaging "Government is committed to imple- ment plain packaging not only because we believe in its effectiveness but we are also sure that the trend worldwide would reduce the number of people getting hooked on smoking," stated the minister of health and quality of life, Mr Anil Kumarsingh Gayan recently. The minister was speaking at the opening of a one-day workshop focusing on strengthening the Mauritius tobacco control policies. The 2016 theme was "Get Ready for Plain Packaging". The minister dwelt on the measures that have been taken to stand the consumption of tobacco in Mauritius such as the ban on smoking in public places, advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products. Commenting on figures released by the national non-communicable diseases survey carried out last year, which show that the prevalence of smoking in Mauritius has decreased from 21% in 2009 to 19% in 2015, the minister said that a drop of 2% in 5 years is not significant. Records from the Mauritius revenue authority also show that the import of cigarettes has decreased from just over 1 billion in 2009 to just under 1 billion in 2015. This means that the per capita consumption in the country was 986 cigarettes per person. N. Korea Kim Can't Kick Habit The leader of North Korea was left red-faced this week while out on an anti-smoking drive – after he was snapped with a cigarette in his hand. Kim Jong-un was seen flouting the government's advice in a picture published by state news agency KCNA. The country's "supreme leader" was visiting the remodeled Mangyongdae Children's Camp in the capital Pyong- yang when he was seen lighting up, the first time in public since March 15, when Kim was seen puffing while attending a test of a home-grown North Korean rocket motor. The country is in the midst of a campaign to stamp out smoking, as KCNA announced in May that state- sanctioned cigarette makers were required to put health warning notices on packaging. They have also stated that non- smoking research stations are being established in provincial capitals. The country has seen the broadcast of a 40-minute documentary entitled The Extra Quality Favorite Item Threatening Life in order to quash the mainly male habit – in which women scolded male smokers, calling them "imbeciles who upset their surroundings", according to the BBC. But it seems Kim's missed out on the message. Indonesia Environmental Initiatives As a global enterprise that simultaneously maintains deep community roots, Djarum Foundation is keenly aware of the need to protect and preserve its surroundings, for the continuity of life and benefit of future generations. Djarum's obligations to this planet run parallel to its long term objectives of creating real value for all stakeholders involved. Starting with Kudus, Djarum's hometown, through its environmental initiatives program, the company practiced good environmental steward- ship since 1979. Its initial efforts blossomed into a massive tree planting initiative in Central Java with the purpose of re-greening, preserving local ecosystems, preventing erosion, creating shade, and helping water catchments. The equatorial tropics absorb more CO2 than any other climate zone due to its massive vegetation cover and to fight global warming, Djarum has planted 1 million trees throughout Indonesia over the last 30 years. These trees comprise thousands of plant species, including fruit trees that generate income for local communities while also slowing erosion and flooding problems. Not stopping there, in 2010 the Djarum Trees for Life (DTFL) program began planting rain trees (Trembesi) along the 1,350 kilometers-long Central Java Pantura North coastal highway, with the goal of reaching enough trees by 2014 to absorb up to 685 million kilograms of CO2 each year. These rain-absorbing trees will also provide cooling shade, improve air quality by giving off oxygen, and improve water catchment in the area. In addition, Djarum actively preserves endangered Indonesian plant species by cultivating them in a con- trolled environment. Intensive research, cultivation, and care are invested to save these endangered plants for the benefit of the planet.

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