tobacco

Government moves to legalise e-cigs

The government has made a smart move for once, they’ve decided to make e-cigs legal.

The Government has unveiled plans to make e-cigarettes legal, in a bid to claw back lost ground on the ambitious target to make New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner has announced the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid will be made legal and will likely come into force late next year.

“Scientific evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes is still developing but there’s a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,” she said.

“This is an opportunity to see if restricted access to e-cigarettes and e-liquid can help lower our smoking rates, reduce harm and save lives.”

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Victim blaming and justifying crime from Tariana Turia

Former government minister and Maori party leader appears to condone robbery and violence simply on the premise that shop owners deserve it because they sell tobacco products.

The politician who rammed through cigarette price increases says dairies have a simple solution to prevent increasingly violent robberies – stop selling them.

Dame Tariana Turia told The AM Show on Monday that the death of 5000 people a year due to smoking-related illnesses is too high a price to pay, and her solution is simple. Stop selling cigarettes.   Read more »

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I told them, I warned them…now watch them come for sugar and fat

Health activists hailed the decision on legal liability, saying it could set a precedent for holding other industries accountable for environmental damage or public health harms they could cause.

I have spoken at a few conferences, warning attendees that their industries were next under the gun from health busy-bodies and that one of the weapons they will use is legal processes.

I’m in the front line of this, with three health busy-bodies attempting to silence me, Carrick Graham and the Food and Grocery Council. They are using very expensive legal processes, probably well funded by a vested interest, to sue us and attempt to silence us.

The reason is we take the fight to them.Where this is will head is easy to predict. Whatever is perceived as a successful attack on tobacco will be used against sugar, alcohol and fat.

They are coming for your business as we speak…and they have always started with tobacco.

The latest development is to sue

A global conference on tobacco control has pledged to hold the tobacco industry legally liable for health consequences of smoking and protect public health policies from the influence of tobacco companies.

Representatives from around 180 countries participating in the World Health Organization’s global tobacco control treaty negotiations on Saturday adopted a declaration in which they also vowed to prohibit or regulate the sale of e-cigarettes.   Read more »

Sam’s tax increase has sparked a crime wave

Sam Lotu Iiga was all proud as punch when he beefed up tobacco taxes.

Perhaps he won’t be so pleased as a crime wave sweeps across the nation all because of increased taxes.

Dairy owners are fortifying their businesses as the lucrative black market for tobacco fuels a wave of commercial break-ins.

Burglars have targeted up to 20 cigarette retailers – predominantly dairies and service stations – in about the last fortnight in Christchurch, making off with thousands of dollars worth of tobacco products.

Police have launched an investigation dubbed Operation Smoke as they try to catch those responsible. They are yet to make any arrests, but have some suspects.

A dairy owner, who did not want to be identified, said thieves smashed through the wooden backdoor of his business in south Christchurch, about 1.30am on September 24.

They used a crowbar to open a locked cabinet inside and stole about $10,000 worth of tobacco products.   Read more »

No surprises here, black market tobacco is growing

A few years back I attended a symposium in Singapore on Illicit Tobacco and how to combat it.

At the conference, we heard from law enforcement and customs people about the effect taxation had on illicit tobacco imports. Basically the more you tax the product the better the return for criminals to enter the illicit tobacco market.

So, it was no surprise to me to read this:

For smokers, the habit is getting increasingly expensive as the Government ups its tax to discourage smoking and recoup some of the health costs.

A pack of 20 cigarettes is expected to cost about $30 by 2020. A 50g packet of premium loose tobacco, used in roll-your-owns, currently costs about $78.

That is big money for hard-up smokers who are turning to the black market to buy stolen cigarettes and illicit loose tobacco.

Customs estimates the market for illegally manufactured or smuggled tobacco represents 2 to 4 per cent of consumption and is “not a significant problem”. Its figures are based on a 2013 report by Action Smoking and Health (Ash), which excludes stolen tobacco products.

Police believe the black market is fuelling armed robberies and burglaries, with criminals targeting dairies and stealing tobacco products for resale rather than for personal use.

King says: “There’s going to be people shot over it [tobacco]. Someone is going to get killed.”

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Instead of plain packaging legislation, this solution would be much better

In stark contrast with the stupidity over plain-packaging there is actually some scientific evidence to support legalisation of vaping.

Thousands of New Zealand smokers’ lives could be saved by legalising domestic sales of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine, a leading vendor says.

The claim by Cosmic, which is selling the devices despite the current legal ban, comes as submissions close today on a legalisation plan and has some backing from public health experts, both here and overseas.

Public Health England, which has helped to revolutionise official views on e-cigarettes in New Zealand, has said the nicotine delivery systems can help smokers quit, and they carry only a small fraction of the risk of smoking tobacco.

Auckland University’s Professor Chris Bullen, who led the world’s first high-quality trial to compare the quit-smoking rates of e-cigarettes and nicotine patches, said: “I don’t think they are a magic bullet.

They’re not the sole thing that’s going to get us there [to the Smokefree 2025 goal], but I think they will help some population groups where we haven’t seen a breakthrough before.

“There could be some real potential for Maori smokers.”   Read more »

Plain packaging pointless shows Australian experience

Sam Lotu Iiga is a tool, one who caved to his advisors and their wooly and wonky thinking over plain packaging.

Did he not stop to think of several obvious things. Firstly that cigarettes are NOT on display in shops. They are hidden behind cabinets and cupboards, so packaging is kind of moot anyway. Secondly, we have had plain packaging for years…in supermarkets. They are called store brands and the prices are lower because of lower packaging costs. They are exactly the same products and name brands, just in store brand packaging. So if it worked then surely supermarkets, who are the most rapacious bastards known to man would have ditched it long ago due to lack of sales.

The third reason is that there is no evidence at all that it works. Take Australia for instance…

A bill which will mean cigarettes can only be sold in bland brown or green packaging passed its final reading in Parliament this week.

The bill means mandatory health warnings will cover at least three quarters of the packet and tobacco company logos will be removed.

It’s taken three years for the legislation to pass after tobacco companies tried to sue the Australian government.

That legal battle failed last year, and even though the law was still facing challenges, such as by the World Trade Organisation, with other countries also introducing plain packing, legal action was less likely.

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Agreeing with Soper twice in a week

It is a red letter day when I agree with Barry Soper twice in a week.

Today he lambasts the government for their plain packaging nanny-statism:

There was a time that Parliament resembled an opium den, so thick was the smoke around the place. It was virtually compulsory to smoke everywhere, the debating chamber, select committee rooms and Bellamys was always acrid with smoke.

But suddenly smoking became untrendy. There were howls of derision when the final bastion of the butt, Bellamys was declared smoke free and the smoking stalwarts were forced into the Wellington wind to try and strike up. In recent weeks even that’s been banned, from the front forecourt of Parliament anyway.

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Government’s shameful move on plain packaging. They’ll come for fat and sugar next

Despite no evidence to support the initiative the gutless cowards in the government have caved to the health troughers and brought in plain packaging for cigarettes.

Watch for international retribution, particularly from Indonesia, but also watch for calls for plain packaging for sugar and fat and anything else these wowsers want to control.

Cigarettes will start appearing on the shelves next year in drab packets with a big health warning plastered on the front.

Parliament on Thursday passed the plain packaging bill which has been in the works since 2014.

“There’s no other product which is so widely used and poses such a high risk as tobacco,” Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga said.

“This is the next significant step in reducing the devastating harm.”   Read more »

I predicted this would happen

A couple of years back I attended a conference in Singapore on Tobacco Control and learned some interesting things.

One was that there is a point at which taxation levels on tobacco reaches a level where there is a significant upside for criminals to enter the market and start selling illicit tobacco.

I gave evidence to a select committee, where one tobacco control activist sat behind me as I gave evidence and called me a fat bastard and a racist and every other name under the sun, and it was the same select committee where Hone Harawira invited me to step outside so he could smack my head in.

The evidence that I was giving was about the levels of taxation and funding to anti-tobacco groups and how it was ineffective and reaching the point that criminals would find selling tobacco more lucrative than selling cannabis. At one point I offered to have a 40-foot container delivered to the select committee, full of illicit tobacco products if only they would guarantee the payment for the goods. It is that easy to get hold if.

With the most recent tax increased implemented by this dopey government what I predicted has come to pass. Criminals are now distributing illicit tobacco and other criminals are raiding stores to get their hands on the product.

A lucrative black market for cigarettes is fuelling an increase in armed robberies, with criminals targeting dairies and stealing tobacco products to order.   Read more »

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