Tag Archives: Smoking Ban
New York celebrated 10th anniversary of smoking ban public places such as bars and restaurants
On March 27, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrated 10th anniversary of smoking ban public places such as bars and restaurants.
“Ten years ago when New York City banned smoking in restaurants and bars, many forecasted the end of the hospitality, restaurant and tourism industries,” Bloomberg stated.
Critics of the step anticipated smoking ban would harm the restaurant and bar earnings, but the Health Department review said there are now some 6,000 more restaurants and bars in New York than there were ten years ago.
The New York’s Smoke-Free Air Act became operative a little over a year into Bloomberg’s first term as mayor in 2003 and banned smoking inside bars, restaurants and most office buildings.
The following year, New York began offering free nicotine replacement therapy to smokers attempting to stop smoking and in 2011 extended the smoking ban to the New York’s parks and beaches.
As outlined by the review unveiled on March 27, the percentage of adult smokers decreased by about a third to 13% in 2011 from 19 % in 2002. The review, published by the city’s Health Department, also said the percentage of youths aged 18 who smoke slipped by about half to 9%.
Bloomberg’s period, which will end in 2013, has been marked by his efforts to boost New Yorkers’ health by trying to stimulate them to eat less salt, trans fats and calories in general, among other actions.
A week later, Bloomberg released his strategy to demand stores to hide cigarettes and tobacco products from tobacco displays, reasoning that would protect youth from advertising efforts.
Some store proprietors and tobacco companies have criticized the strategy as unnecessary extra regulation that would break the free speech provision of the U.S. Constitution.
Bloomberg also suggested a minimum price of $10.50 for a cigarette pack in order to some smokers would find smoking too costly to keep. The two bills are now before the city council.
Ronald Bayer, a professor of public health at Columbia University, called Bloomberg’s health projects a “major achievement” and said his attempts to make smoking less socially appropriate were an effective and legitimate use of his office.
He said it remains at question how much further government could go to discourage smokers to stop smoking.
After several smoking ban laws in the last decade have been frequently forgotten about by Greeks, who use tobacco products more than any other European country, the government has promised yet another attack and said it will introduce stricter checks in public areas.
The Health Ministry’s General Secretary, Christina Papanikolaou has released a circular calling for the improvement of checks at public places by inspectors responsible for the enactment of the law launched in 2010 that was quickly broken almost everywhere with no enforcement.
The new trend of inspections is predicted to deal with opposition from entrepreneurs who argue that the smoking ban will affect business amid the ongoing financial crisis, the same arguments they make every time Greece passes alleged smoking bans.
In November 2012, the Council of State decided that the ban was in line with Greek law and the Constitution, after 150 business owners and the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions filed an appeal against it.
In spite of that, the law remains broken and non-smokers have no alternative when they go into public places, including hospitals, where people pretty much smoke anywhere they want.
Public workers, such as those in post offices and government buildings, as well as police, doctors, and bus drivers also light up without be concerned about being checked or fined. Members of Parliament also freely use cigarettes in the building where they passed the ban, neglecting their own law. There was no word on whether inspectors would try to stop smoking, check on them, or fine them at the same time those in other public places could be fined.
Smoking will be banned in restaurants, bakeries, coffee stores and bars with a surface place of 150 square metres or larger in South Korea beginning from December 8, the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Indoor as well as outdoor places of public buildings such as hospitals, libraries, government offices and commercial complexes will as well be specified as smoke-free zones, the ministry stated.
The modification to the National Health Promotion Act was supported at the Cabinet meeting.
“The government has determined to enforce stricter regulations on smoking as it identified limits in defending the public health with the existing laws,” the ministry stated.
Starting from December 8, about 80,000 restaurants should announce themselves as smoke-free eatery areas and determine a separate area for smoking customers. For those who breach the law, the government will enforce fines varying from 1.7 million (US$1,560) to 5 million won depending on the amount of breaks.
Not only restaurant keepers but also clients will be fined 100,000 won if they light up outside specified smoking places, officials said.
Smokers may have to look for smoking areas whenever they enter public buildings as the new legislation bans smoking even in their parking lots, rooftops and gardens.
The new legislation requires building keepers to set up a smoking area outside and 10 metres away from the entrance of their buildings.
The new smoking ban also contains prohibition of the use of names mentioning flavours added to cigarettes. Cigarette makers should take away words like menthol, mojito, cherry, aroma, coffee and apple mint from tobacco products, also as of this Saturday. Cigarette makers in Korea said they got tips from the Ministry of Health in November and changed the names of current flavoured tobacco products.
“We will adopt the government’s new law by modifying the names of flavoured tobacco products,” stated an official at KT&G.
Among mounting calls for bettering public health and a clean environment, the Korean government has been broadening smoking-ban guidelines in recent years, while preserving the price of cigarettes considerably lower than other developed countries.
The government intends to prohibit smoking in small restaurants with areas larger than 100 square metres in 2014 and to all restaurants, irrespective of size, in 2015.
Smoking in internet cafes will also be banned starting in June 2013.
A smoking ban is on the order-paper anew. An amendment to the Tobacco Act that could become operative starting with January 2013 is being prepared by the Ministry of Health. Prime Minister Petr Nečas, parliamentary health committee chairman Boris Šťastný and Health Minister Leoš Heger agree to this measure.
Gradually, the Czech society has approved anti-smoking legislation.
According to the survey of Charles University and the Ipsos agency, 78 % of respondents approved that the smoking ban should be accomplished. A research conducted by the Median agency last autumn revealed that 70 % of Czechs agree. It is 20% more than four years ago and 35% more than in 2005.
The number of Czechs who take stand in favor of smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes is increasing and more than half of the Czech population wants this smoking ban to be implemented at such areas completely, a survey led by the Median agency for the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) has found.
The figures differ significantly from another survey made by the Eurobarometer agency half a year ago. At that time only one third of Czech public agreed to smoking ban in restaurants.
Smokers, on the other hand, disapprove this measure because they do not want to go out of the restaurant to smoke. Only 13 % of smokers maintained a ban of smoking in restaurants.
The fact that the Czech public changed opinion is not unexpected. In accordance with the latest research, the main and frequent complain among Czechs visiting restaurants, bars and cafes is cigarette smoke. 64 % of the adult Czech population are smokers and 61 % admit that smokers subdue the freedom of non-smokers, who suffer from cigarette smoke only because they feel they have no choice.
Announcing the results of the research, Ipsos head Radek Jalůvka noticed that the Czech Republic was among the last European Union countries not to establish smoking ban in restaurants while Great Britain, France and Germany are among those fully accustomed to the smoking bans. Such measure as smoking ban has also been enacted in Greece and Turkey where smoking rates are higher that in the Czech Republic.
A frequent reasoning not to impose smoking bans is the fear that restaurants will loose their common income. In conformity with Jalůvka, this fear is groundless in the long term; while a small primary decrease of perhaps 3% can be expected in the first few months, later the number of owners will increase by at least 6% — in accordance with the joint study with Charles University, in which 8,488 respondents took part. That is similar to a Kč 6 billion grow in yearly turnover.
Illinois lawmakers are considering loosening the Smoke Free Illinois Act, which prohibits smoking in all indoor public places since being passed in 2008.
If the ban is loosened, individual bars, restaurants, and other facilities hosting events with tobacco products will be able to apply for a smoking license that would exempt them from the no smoking ban.
“We think this is a terrible idea,” Katie Lorenz, American Lung Association communications manager, said.
“The Smoke Free Illinois Act promotes public health and protects workers from disease and death caused by secondhand smoke,” Lorenz added.
This new legislation would require all public places applying for a smoking license to have an air filtration system, which is not always effective at eliminating smoke.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, it was estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills at least 65,000 people a year in the United States who do not smoke, including 2,900 in Illinois.
“The effects of bystanders can be similar to the effects on smokers themselves, depending on the amount of exposure,” Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director of Student Health Services, said about the detrimental health effects of secondhand smoke.
“Smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke can trigger asthma attacks, increase the risk of bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and other respiratory illnesses,” she added.
Since the smoking ban came into effect in 2008, the American Lung Association has reported a 4.4 percent decline in smoking rates by 2010.
In order for a smoking license to be issued, a local liquor commission must be approved by an ordinance. The idea of a smoking license is to give businesses a chance to choose, not to promote smoking.
According to Lorenz, any exemption made for any reason puts people’s lives at risk.
“Millions of workers across Illinois are able to enjoy a smoke free workplace and avoid deadly secondhand smoke exposure as a result of this law,” Lorenz said.
“Second hand smoke kills and no one should be exposed to it in order to earn a living,” she added.
Swearingen said that over long term exposure, secondhand smoke can even lead to more serious health problems including cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
The legislation returns to Springfield on Jan. 31 for the legislative session.
Bulgaria will ban smoking in closed public spaces in the summer of 2012, the country’s Health Minister Stefan Konstantinov has declared.
There is enough political support in place for passing the necessary amendments, Konstantinov has told the local Darik radio.
Bulgaria’s cabinet recently issued an official proposal to introduce a full smoking ban for closed public areas on June 1, 2012.
The Health Minister stated that he was not bothered by the deputy head of the parliamentary commission on agriculture being against the full smoking ban, adding that he hoped to convince the MP to change his stance.
Such a measure was to be enforced in 2010, but was postponed by the government with the argument that it might harm the country’s tourism.
According to the latest data, approximately 39% of Bulgarians are smokers. Some 60% are said to be in favor of the introduction of a full smoking ban in closed public spaces.
Bali’s provincial legislature passed a new anti-smoking bylaw yesterday that bans smoking in all tourist destinations or tourist support facilities, including hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars, according to a story in the Jakarta Globe.
Additionally, it bans smoking in places of worship, health facilities, schools, children’s playgrounds and public places, such as markets and airports.
Public buses will also be smoke-free zones, as will all government offices, including police and military offices.
In addition to banning smoking, the bylaw forbids the sale of cigarettes and tobacco advertisements at these locations.
Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, said officials might have trouble enforcing the regulation in public facilities such as the DPRD building (the Bali legislative council building), where the bylaw was passed.
“Every time I am invited for a hearing at the DPRD, members smoke in the meeting room,” he said. “But I don’t think we will have a problem from tourists.”
MPs who received thousands of pounds worth of hospitality from one of the world’s largest tobacco companies opposed a new law banning smoking in cars.
The parliamentary register of members’ interests shows Japan Tobacco International, which produces Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut and Camel cigarettes, spent £23,000 entertaining 20 MPs in the past six months.
Almost half of them voted against a Private Member’s Bill banning smoking in cars carrying children.
The MP behind the Bill, Labour’s Alex Cunningham, has asked Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon to investigate.
In May, seven Tory MPs accepted tickets from JTI to the Chelsea Flower Show, costing at least £1,100 each for themselves plus a guest.
Less than a month later they voted against the Bill, which passed the first stage of the parliamentary process by 78 votes to 66 on June 22.
The seven were Therese Coffey, Richard Ottaway, Christopher Pincher, Alun Cairns, Stephen Metcalfe, Laurence Robertson and Michael Ellis.
In August Labour MP Simon Danczuk and Tory Andrew Rosindell watched the England versus India Test match at the Oval courtesy of JTI. They had also voted against the anti-smoking Bill.
Mr Danczuk received hospitality to the value of £1,389 and Mr Rosindell was given £1,447 worth. Both attended the game with a guest.
The MP behind the bill – Labour’s Alex Cunningham – is now demanding an investigation by John Lyon the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
Mr Cunningham said: ‘I’m really quite amazed that MPs would put themselves in such a vulnerable position by taking this stand on proposed legislation around the same time they were receiving such lavish entertainment from the tobacco industry.
‘I’ve asked John Lyon to look into it.’
The tobacco industry fears Mr Cunningham’s bill could be the first step in a total ban on smoking in cars, seriously affecting its profits.
It is keen to lobby MPs to limit new regulations from the health campaigners that have already led to a ban on smoking in public places.
In May, seven MPs, all Conservatives, accepted tickets from Japan Tobacco International to the Chelsea Flower Show costing £1,132 for themselves plus a guest.
They were also given lunch at the horticultural event.
Less than a month later they voted against the anti-smoking Bill which passed the first of the Parliamentary process by 78 votes to 66.
Between them, the nine MPs who voted against the Bill were treated to £10,778 of entertainment by JTI.
Mr Cunningham’s Private Members Bill is due to be voted on again on Friday.
Very few Private Member’s Bills become law but they stimulate debate and can lead to more powerful legislative efforts.
The Department of Health is already planning a publicity campaign next spring warning of the dangers of smoking in cars and at home.
Existing rules on lobbying make clear that MPs must not place themselves under any financial obligation to outside individuals or organisations and must not act as a paid advocate in any parliamentary proceedings.
They should not take payment to speak in Parliament, to vote a certain way, to introduce legislation, to amend legislation or to urge others to do so.
The lobbying industry is under increasing pressure after the resignation of former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox over his relationship with friend Adam Werritty.
But the Prime Minister has delayed plans to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists despite warning last February that: ‘lobbying was the next big scandal waiting to happen.’
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said: ‘It is odd that these MPs are so keen to genuflect towards the tobacco industry and worrying that they are so easily accessible to it.
‘Given David Cameron’s very strong words about lobbying being the next scandal to hit the political class you would think that MPs would be more cautious in their approach.’
A spokesman for JTI said: ‘Like other businesses or bodies, we invite politicians and their parliamentary staff to our events, and this exchange of views has helped bring more balance to an otherwise one-sided debate.’
Four U.S. senators and health officials from the cities hosting the World Series are urging the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera.
The senators, including No. 2 Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, and health officials from St. Louis and Arlington, Texas, made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals begins in St. Louis Wednesday night.
“When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example,” the senators wrote to union head Michael Weiner. In addition to Durbin, the signers were fellow Democrats Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senate health committee chairman of Tom Harkin of Iowa.
The senators noted that millions of people will tune in to watch the series, including children.
“Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products,” they wrote. Smokeless tobacco includes chewing tobacco and dip.
With baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expiring in December, the senators, some government officials and public health groups like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids want the players to agree to a tobacco ban in the next contract.
“Such an agreement would protect the health of players and be a great gift to your young fans,” the senators wrote.
Commissioner Bud Selig endorsed the ban in March, but the players union hasn’t committed to one. Weiner, who said in June that a “sincere effort” will be made to address the issue, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Some baseball players interviewed by The Associated Press last month were receptive to the idea, but others viewed a ban as an infringement on their freedom.
Meanwhile, the health officials from St. Louis and Arlington wrote in a letter to Weiner that with tobacco companies banned from advertising on TV, they “literally could not buy the ads that are effectively created by celebrity ballplayers using tobacco at games.”
The officials, Dr. Cynthia Simmons, the Public Health Authority for Arlington, and Pamela Walker, the St. Louis interim health director, urged players in the World Series to voluntarily abstain from using tobacco, in addition to calling for a permanent ban.
The Centers for Disease Control says that smokeless tobacco can cause cancer, oral health problems and nicotine addiction, and stresses it is not a safe alternative to smoking. Despite the risks, the CDC’s most recent survey found that in 2009, 15 percent of high school boys used smokeless tobacco — a more than one-third increase over 2003, when 11 percent did.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths says Wales will consider legislative action if children’s exposure to second-hand smoke does not start to fall within the next three years.
She was commenting after a report by Wales’s top doctor which said life expectancy in the country continues to increase but lifestyle choices such as drinking to excess and smoking are impacting on the quality of life of many.
In his 2010 annual report, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell , notes that overall health in Wales is good and continues to improve. There has been a reduction in rates of premature (under-65) deaths from cancer and circulatory diseases.
The report says that despite the trajectories for life expectancy improving, there are concerns that Wales may be slipping compared to other parts of the UK with gaps growing wider between the healthy and the unhealthy.
There are also areas of deterioration such as an increase in deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
Dr Jewell said:“Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and ill health in Wales, acting as a driver for health inequities. We’re working to reduce the harm of second-hand smoke, particularly on children, and encouraging people to quit smoking.
“I am pleased to report a decrease in the number of younger people taking up smoking and drinking. This is a welcome trend and one we must sustain.
“This year the Welsh Government looked at the possibility of a ban on smoking in cars containing children and I would like to see more done to discourage children from taking up smoking.
“The implementation of a ban on cigarette vending machines in Wales will help, as evidence shows they have been a source of tobacco for young smokers. Removing logos from packaging at a UK level would be a step in the right direction that the UK government could take towards making smoking less attractive to young people.
“One of the best ways to protect children from smoking and deter them from taking it up is by not smoking in the home and I would recommend parents to think of their children’s health before lighting up.
“NHS hospitals are also the right place to set a good example with smoke-free buildings and grounds and I am looking to NHS staff to lead the way by not smoking at work.
“While many people enjoy alcohol responsibly, others put their health at risk by drinking to excess and bingeing. Wales performs poorly in drinking in young people surveys internationally and this is a concern. Parents must set an example and this is one of the key recommendations made in the guidance I issued in You, Your Children and Alcohol.
“I would like to see a higher minimum price per unit introduced for alcohol, however the powers to introduce such measures lie with the UK Government. While their plans for a ban on the sale of alcohol at below cost price are a step in the right direction, I believe the case for introduction of a minimum price remains strong.
“Some might argue that these behaviours are culturally ingrained but it is no excuse, people are capable of making their own decisions. Smoking and drinking increases health inequalities and widens the gap between the most and least deprived.
“Healthy lifestyle choices will lead to improved quality of life in the long-term and equitable health gains for the Welsh population and we will continue in our work to make healthy choices easier.”
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said, “Wales was the first UK country to vote in favour of a ban on smoking in public places and if necessary we will not shy away from considering the introduction of progressive legislation to further protect children from second-hand smoke.
“We will mount a renewed campaign to tackle smoking alongside other interventions such as quit programmes, but will consider pursuing legislative options if children’s exposure to second-hand smoke does not start to fall within the next three years.”