Monday, May 25, 2009

First licensee prosecuted for flouting the smoking ban

THE NEW head of Scotland's leading anti-smoking charity has called for cigarettes to be taken off shop shelves as part of efforts to dissuade the next generation from taking up the habit.
In her first interview as chief executive of Ash Scotland, Sheila Duffy also warned plans to expand smoking cessation services were at risk because of inadequate government funding levels.
And she cautioned tobacco should not be seen as a "done and dusted" health issue following the implementation of the ban on smoking in public places.
Duffy, who took up her new post this month after the retiral of previous chief executive Maureen Moore, told the Sunday Herald one idea which should be examined is the selling of cigarettes "under the counter".
"Some countries have experimented with the idea of taking tobacco off the open shelves, so you are not just going and buying it like you would buy bread and milk," she said.
"In the longer term, I think it is something we should seriously consider because this product is so dangerous it would never be allowed to be sold openly if it came on to the market today."
The legislation on smoking in public places - which came into force in Scotland in March 2006 - has been followed by further measures aimed at curbing the nation's nicotine habit. In October last year, the legal minimum age for buying tobacco was raised from 16 to 18, bringing it into line with alcohol.
Other plans which may soon come under consideration include a licensing system for shops selling tobacco, proposed by SNP MSP Christine Grahame.
Last month the government pledged £11 million a year for smoking cessation, to allow health boards to continue services and develop new ones in settings such as workplaces and social clubs.
But Ash Scotland has raised concerns that - taking inflation into account - this level of funding will represent a reduction of nearly 6% by 2010. And, while the overall budget for tackling smoking has increased by £2.5m to £13.8m, Duffy argued it was still inadequate.
"Alcohol is receiving three times as much funding as tobacco control," she said. "We are not saying don't tackle alcohol abuse - you need to tackle alcohol - but tobacco is no less dangerous."
Her comments yesterday met with a mixed reaction from politicians and campaigners. The British Medical Association has also called for a ban on displaying cigarettes at the point of sale. A spokeswoman for BMA Scotland said the practice "normalised" cigarettes, especially when they are placed next to every day items.
"Research has found young children become more aware of tobacco brands when cigarettes are on display and they are more likely to express an interest in buying named brands," she said.
Labour's health spokeswoman, Margaret Curran, pointed out tobacco was still a major killer in Scotland and added: "It would be a disaster if the good work of encouraging thousands of Scots to quit tobacco was damaged by a lack of investment."
Mary Scanlon, health spokeswoman for the Conservatives, agreed cessation services and support were vital, but said selling cigarettes "under the counter" was a simplistic approach that would have little impact. "It is not the display of cigarettes that makes you want to buy them, it is because you are addicted to smoking," she said.
Neil Rafferty, of pro-smokers' rights group Forest, argued: "Cigarettes are a perfectly legal product and as long as they are a legal product then adults should be able to make a normal consumer choice."
He added: "It is typical anti-smoking hypocrisy. We are told in Scotland that alcohol is doing our country enormous damage, but no-one is going to suggest alcohol be hidden under the counter."
The Scottish government is due to publish a five-year smoking prevention action plan this year, which will draw on 31 recommendations made by experts in a report published in 2006.
Public health minister Shona Robison said: "Proposals for under-the-counter sales will be considered within this action plan.
"I am confident the £11m a year I announced last month for smoking cessation will allow boards to continue existing services and develop new ones."

Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Bill against Smoking in Croatia

Smoking was banned in public places in many states except Croatia. But today Croatia is set to implement a public smoking ban, including bars and restaurants.
"A six-month temporary period for bars, restaurants and the tobacco industry is expiring Today and the law restricting the use of tobacco will be fully implemented," Health Minister said.
Statistics showed that in Croatia smoke 68 percent pf the population. That’s why ministry believes that the new anti-smoking legislation will protect non-smokers and will decrease the smokers’ number.
The legislation allows a six month transitory period for bars, restaurants and the tobacco industry to conform to it.
After this period, smoking at bars will only be allowed out on terraces, while restaurants can allocate a separate room for smokers where they can’t serve food or drink in these areas.
Fines of up to 2,100 euros (2,800 dollars) for individuals and up to 21,000 euros for employers will be imposed on those violating the smoking ban.
The health ministry considered that tobacco kills 10,000 people every year while an additional 3,000 die from passive smoking in Croatia.
Croatia already had laws banning smoking in health and education facilities, and marking out separate smoking areas in other public spaces.
But these rules have often been ignored, especially in bars, restaurants and offices. Because bar and restaurant owners, in particular have protested strongly, claiming it will seriously affect their business.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More actual smokers would decide to give up the habit

That fact brings major joy to local health advocates as they state that the higher the cost of cigarettes is the fewer minors would buy them and start smoking and the more actual smokers would decide to give up the habit.

Although the aim of Illinois lawmakers is rather laudable, some opponents like Rep. Frank Mautino stated that taxes should be raised only to collect additional revenue and by no means to force people to do or not to do something.

"May be we would also tax Cheeseburgers, soda or pizza, because we think they are not healthy for Illinois residents? That is simply ridiculous,” declared Mautino.

Another thing that brings fears to the lawmakers is the expected loss of revenue, since smokers would look for options when trying to get a puff. They could either go to neighboring states or order cigarettes online, or even use illegal black market that is blossoming nowadays.

Even if smokers remain in Illinois, they would buy fewer cigarettes, admits Joseph Elfish, manager of Illinois Association of Convenience Stores and Petroleum Marketers.

Although experts predict around 15 percent drop in tobacco products sales, Illinois Association of Convenience Stores’ analysts anticipate almost 25 percent decrease. That would force owners of small shops to get out of business.

It would leave thousands people jobless and without source of livelihood. People would be especially thankful to the government for their relentless efforts to improve people’s health, when they are fired.