Monthly Archives: January 2012

Brunei mulls plain tobacco packaging

Jan 13, 2012

Brunei is currently reviewing the pictorial health warnings in use, and is considering amending the size of the health warnings to be carried on tobacco product packagings, the deputy permanent secretary (Professional and Technical) at the Ministry of Health said in her key note address yesterday.

Addressing the participants of the workshop on Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products, Dr Hjh Norlila Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil said that tobacco control in Brunei has been identified as one of the top priorities in its strategic framework of action, the National Health Care plan (2000-2010).

“Through further review of the Ministry of Health’s vision and strategy to move ‘Together Towards a Healthy Nation’, a new strategic framework was also launched in 2010 which further identified tobacco control as pivotal in embracing a healthy lifestyle.”

She highlighted that tobacco has “devastating consequences” not only in terms of its direct impact on health but also on “its indirect impact on the economy and productivity of a country”.

“Tobacco is known to be the leading cause of multiple chronic non-communicable diseases and is the world’s leading preventable cause of death,” she said.

“It affects the economic status of a nation through the cost of treating diseases related to tobacco smoking. This includes costs of treatment, medication, hospital admissions as well as loss of workers’ productivity and loss of income due to inability to work.”

She further said that tobacco killed people at the height of their productivity, depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy working force.

“Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, out of whom, more than five million are users and ex-users.”

“In addition, it also kills more than 600,000 non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke,” she said, adding that unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll resulting from tobacco could rise to more than eight million by 2030.

The “Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products” workshop held at the Rizqun International Hotel was conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Among the objectives of the two-day workshop, was to learn from the pioneering work of Australia as the first country in the world to successfully introduce plain packaging on tobacco products.

The workshop included discussion on the evidence for plain packaging of tobacco products, and reccomended actions to further support plain packaging.

Those present during the workshop comprised experts on tobacco control from the ministries of health, senior policy-makers, legislators and government champions for the ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship; were last night feted to a welcoming dinner.

The dinner was hosted by Health Minister Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof at Jerudong Park Polo & Riding Club.

Source: The Brunei Times (January 11, 2012)


India: Bid to scuttle tobacco warning

Jan 13, 2012

NGOs have claimed that recent reports suggesting that one of the pictorial warnings for tobacco products resembles footballer John Terry could be an attempt by the manufacturers to scuttle the pictorial warnings once again.

In a recent RTI filed by the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), the issue was brought to the notice of Union health ministry earlier in November by Philip Morris, manufacturer of the leading cigarette brand Marlboro. “However, digging the issue once again now could be a deliberate move by the manufacturers to put the warnings in trouble.” According to the representatives of the VHAI, even as the letter by Philip Morris mentioned that pictures notified by the government for smoking form of tobacco products “bears a close resemblance to English soccer player John Terry, the ministry had clarified then itself that pictures for the health warnings were being developed by Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) in consultation with them and the pictures were mere sketches and did not relate to any person living or dead.”

“Further the cigarette company has the option to choose any one picture out of the set of four each of lung and oral cancer. Since the images are blurred and sketchy such resemblance can be attributed to scores of people,” the RTI said.

Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, VHAI executive director, said, “The tobacco lobby is trying to create unnecessary confusion to derail the process of implementation of the new pictorial health warning. More than a month has passed since the warnings have come into effect but most of the leading brands have not printed the new pictures.”

Source: Deccan Chronicle (January 11, 2012)


South Korea: New superslim cigarettes

Jan 12, 2012

KT&G Corp., Korea’s largest tobacco producer, plans to release a new version of its popular Esse brand on Wednesday to cater to growing demand for premium, ultraslim cigarettes.

The Esse Sense, the latest in the 17-model lineup, is designed to give a refreshing taste with its space at the tip of the filter to screen out tar and nicotine, the company said Monday.

Since its 2002 launch, the Esse has rapidly penetrated markets overseas to become the world’s top seller in the segment as low-tar, superslim cigarettes come into vogue across the age spectrum.

“Superslims are a global trend and have been the key design innovation of the last five years, with particular appeal to female smokers but also ‘cross-over’ appeal in a number of markets such as Korea where men have been receptive to the style,” said Euromonitor International, a research firm.

In the domestic market, the Esse pipeline alone commands about 25 percent share, while KT&G boasts an overall 60 percent stake.

The Seoul-based company currently exports the brand to 40 countries with a focus on the Middle East, Russia and other Eastern European states, officials said. It also runs plants in Turkey and Iran.

Esse Edge comes in two types, containing 1 milligram and 5 milligrams of tar. It costs 2,800 won a pack ($2.40).

Source: The Korea Herald (January 9, 2012)

Japan: Popular slim menthol cigarette brand redesigned

Jan 12, 2012

Japan Tobacco is to launch redesigned versions of seven of its popular Pianissimo brand of cigarettes in mid-January.

Pianissimo is the top-selling brand in Japan’s 100mm slim menthol category and has proven particularly popular among female smokers for what Japan’s largest tobacco company says is a “smooth, unassertive and refreshing menthol flavour and aroma.”

Smoking rates are declining in Japan, although they remain higher for both men and women than in Europe and North America.

The government raised the tax on tobacco products by 30 per cent in late 2010, which contributed to a decrease in the number of domestic smokers, while there have also been suggestions more recently that another tax hike will be required as the government seeks ways to pay for the reconstruction of parts of northeast Japan that were badly damaged in the natural disasters of last March.

As part of its campaign to win new customers – as well as retaining its existing consumers – Japan Tobacco revamped its Cabin collection in September to make it a “cigarette brand for sophisticated adults.”

Now it is the turn of seven Pianissimo products to be repackaged, while four will be given new names.

Pianissimo One is to be renamed Aria Menthol, “an operatic term signifying an airy melodic solo,” the company said, while the new white packaging and waterlines are meant to symbolise the “gentle, soft character of the product.”

The Pianissimo Super Slims Menthol One is to become the Precis Menthol, due to the concentrated menthol sensation, while the Icene Menthol brand will become the Icene Crista to emphasise the “chilling sensation of the menthol.”

The brand was first launched in Japan in 1995 and the latest addition to the range – the Pianissimo ViV Menthol – was in November 2011. A pack of 20 retails for Y440 (RM17.90).

Japan Tobacco is by far the dominant player in the domestic market and smokers will be waiting to see how other companies, particularly foreign firms such as British American Tobacco, respond.

Japan Tobacco’s products are sold in more than 120 countries and it controls Benson & Hedges as well as the Mayfair, Winston, Camel, Silk Cut and Glamour brands. At home, it has a two-thirds share of the domestic market and its flagship brands include Seven Stars, Peace, Caster, Hope and Mild Seven.

Japan Tobacco statistics indicate that 24.95 million Japanese smoke, out of an adult population of 104.4 million. A recent study by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare showed that the smoking rate among men has fallen to 36.8 per cent – the lowest level since such surveys were started in 1986 – while the figure for women came to 9.1 per cent, below the 10 per cent threshold for the first time since 2001.

Source: The Malaysian Insider (January 8, 2012)

Ireland: Images to be added to tobacco packs

Jan 4, 2012

Plans to introduce graphic photographs on tobacco products highlighting the dangers of smoking have been approved.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly today signed regulations which will force tobacco firms to include such images on their products from February 1st 2013.

Packaging currently carries text warnings only, but the images to be included in future aim to provide a further deterrent to tobacco consumption.

“We should never lose sight of the health consequences of smoking which remains the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ireland, killing over 5,200 people a year.” said Dr Reilly. “Every year, premature deaths caused by tobacco use in Ireland are far greater than the combined death toll from car accidents, fires, heroin, cocaine, murder and suicide.”

“If, by introducing these graphic images on cigarette packs, some people are shocked into considering how smoking is impacting on them and their families then the warnings will have achieved their objective,” he added.

More than one billion people in 19 countries are now covered by laws requiring large, graphic health warnings on packages of tobacco and research shows that such warnings can be move effective in encouraging people to stop smoking.

According to research from the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 50 per cent of smokers in Canada said the introduction of graphic images on tobacco products in 2000 led them to smoke less around other people while in Australia, 38 per cent of smokers said they felt motivated to quit after similar warnings were introduced in 2006.

The new legislation is the latest in a long line of regulations introduced over the past decade including a ban on advertising and displaying tobacco products in retail outlets in 2009.

The national smoking ban was introduced in March 2004 by then minister for health Micheál Martin. Its aim was to protect people from second-hand smoke but it had also been hoped that the ban would provide an incentive to help smokers quit.

Dr Reilly recently said he intended to introduce new legislation to ban smoking in cars within the next year.

A WHO report from 2009 said that some 29 per cent of Irish people still smoke. Smoking is estimated to cost the Irish economy at least €1million a day in lost productivity and smoking-related illnesses costs the State about €2 billion a year.

Source: The Irish Times (December 21, 2011)