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Japan's Lower house passes bills on smoking controls, casinos

Japan's Lower House chamber
© Kyodo
The Lower House chamber passes a bill during its plenary session on Tuesday that establishes a framework for integrated resorts that include casinos.
The Lower House on Tuesday passed a bill that will allow casinos to open in Japan, despite concerns over gambling addiction and casino-related antisocial behavior.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has sought to introduce casinos within "integrated resorts" that include hotels, conference rooms and event facilities, claiming that the new casinos will attract more overseas visitors and spur regional economies.

The ruling bloc, led by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, aims to promptly begin the bill's deliberations in the Upper House and ensure its enactment by extending the current Diet session beyond Wednesday, the scheduled close of the current 150-day ordinary session.

But opposition parties, including the leading Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, is set to step up their efforts to block deliberations on the bill in the House of Councilors.

Comment: See also: Japan gives up on total indoor smoking ban despite coercion ahead of Olympic games in 2020


Smoking

'Pretty coercive': Alaska legislature expands smoking ban to include bars, restaurants, and taxis

No smoking
© Reuters
The Alaska Legislature approved a bill that would prohibit the use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes in privately owned spaces such as bars, restaurants, and taxis

Senate Bill 63 would expand the state's ban on tobacco use in government-owned spaces to include the interior and immediate exterior of many businesses.

The Alaska Senate approved S.B. 63 in March 2017. The state's lower chamber approved the bill in May 2018 and sent it to Gov. Bill Walker for consideration.

Lost in the Smoke

Ninos Malek, a professor of economics at De Anza College, says the rights of property owners typically get ignored in debates about smoking bans.

Arrow Down

Homeowners on edge after large sinkhole opens in Atlanta, Georgia

Sinkhole
A massive hole is causing concern for first-time homeowners in Grant Park. In a matter of weeks, they went from missing a few bricks in their walkway to having a 10-foot hole.

"We are very concerned about our safety," said homeowner Christina Ambrose.

She and her husband, Thomas, said it started two weeks ago with the onset of the nonstop rain.

"More and more of our pavers fell in and the hole gets larger and wider," Christina Ambrose said.

The Ambroses called their councilwoman and watershed came out to inspect.

"They said, 'Yes, it is caused from the sewer they were able to do some testing,' and they said, 'We'll be taking care of it this is our responsibility," Christina Ambrose said.


Smoking

Dutch health minister under fire for suggesting smoking ban on cafe terraces

Dutch smoking ban
© Anne Lakeman
Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis has come under fire both inside and outside parliament for saying he wants to ban smoking on cafe terraces.

Blokhuis said on Thursday that the Netherlands had a long way to go before it had caught up with the US, where smoking rules are much stricter. He is working together with social organisations, centres of expertise and the health sector to reduce smoking and says a ban on smoking on terraces should be part of a national agreement.

But MPs have now called for a debate with the minister and the hospitality industry lobby group Horeca Nederland said Blokhuis is 'taking the nanny state to extremes'.

'A ban on smoking on cafe terraces is going too far in our eyes,' Christian Democrat MP Anne Kuik said in a reaction. 'It is up to cafe owners themselves to decide whether or not to be smoke-free,' Kuik said.

Smoking

The war on smoking continues: Bangladesh aims to make its country tobacco-free by 2040

Fascist anti-smoking journalists
© UNB
Stressing the importance of proper enforcement of law to reduce tobacco consumption in Bangladesh, speakers at a programme here on Sunday said the young generation needs to be made aware to make Bangladesh a tobacco-free country.

Speaking at a programme titled 'Tobacco Control Journalism Award-2018' organised by Progga at the Cirdap auditorium ahead of the World No Tobacco Day to be observed on May 31, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said anti-tobacco awareness needs to be created among the new generation so that they do not get habituated to it and pressure others to quit tobacco.

Mentioning that topics like anti-terrorism and anti-drug messages have been included in school textbooks, the minister promised that there will be clear message against tobacco in the textbooks from 2020, aiming to create awareness among children.

Comment: See also: Lies, Damned Lies & 400,000 Smoking-related Deaths: Cooking the Data in the Fascists' Anti-Smoking Crusade


Smoking

Israel expands smoking ban to include parks and government sponsored events

No smoking sign
© Zest Magazine
The Knesset's Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee on Wednesday morning approved the Order to Prevent Smoking in Public Places and Exposure to Smoking, which expands the list of places in which smoking is prohibited.

Likud MK Yehuda Glick's suggestions were added to the order proposed by Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ). In all of these locations, smoking is prohibited except in a defined area located at least ten meters (32.8 feet) away from the building's entrances and exits.

Smoking will also be forbidden at all events organized by the Israeli government and which take place in a defined area. This includes events organized by government bodies such as courts, rabbinic courts, local councils, and religious councils.

Comment: See also:


Smoking

Use of anti-smoking app expands in Turkey

Anti-smoking app in Turkey
© Daily Sabah
The head of the Green Crescent, which focuses on combating tobacco and alcohol addiction, said the Green Detector application they developed allowed concerned citizens to notify relevant authorities about the use of cigarettes at banned locations.

Şavaş Yılmaz said they viewed smoking as the most dangerous addiction to chemicals. "In the past year, 100,000 people died due to diseases linked to smoking," he said, adding that the figure for the world was closer to six million.

"I came out and said something cost 100,000 lives a year; whether it be terrorism, natural disaster an accident, there would be a huge reaction. However, when it comes to cigarettes, we just ignore it."

Comment: See also:


Microscope 1

Protein found in tobacco plant has potential to fight infectious diseases

Tobacco peptide
© La Trobe University
A team of scientists from Melbourne's La Trobe University has shown a protein found in a tobacco plant has the potential to fight life-threatening infectious diseases.

The scientific discovery, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, could lead to the development of a new class of antibiotics and meet the challenge of rising antibiotic resistance.

Dr. Mark Hulett and Dr. Marc Kvansakul from the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science said their team had demonstrated the peptide NaD1 found in the flowers of the ornamental tobacco plant Nicotiana alata has infection-busting qualities.

"Infectious diseases are a major global health problem, accounting for more than one in eight deaths and mortality rates are predicted to skyrocket over the next 30 years," Dr. Hulett said.

Smoking

Republic of Georgia imposes 25 smoking fines in one week

No smoking sign
© Zest Magazine
12 individuals and 13 legal entities were fined in a week by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for violation of the new tobacco regulations which entered into force on May 1.

On May 5, two persons were arrested in a bar in Georgia's western town of Kutaisi for refusing to obey the law.

A total of 46 calls were made to the MIA regarding violations of the smoking ban from May 1 to May 8. Up to 2000 police officers have been assigned to monitor the execution of the law.

Smoking of tobacco, including electronic cigarettes and hookah, is prohibited in all enclosed areas, with the exception of houses, psychiatric clinics, penitentiary facilities and casinos.

Smoking

Ireland smoking ban to be extended to outdoor areas where food served

Ireland smoking ban
© Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
The Government is to extend the ban on smoking where food is served to include outdoor areas.

Fine Gael Senators have tabled a private members motion calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to change legislation or issue directions via a statutory instrument to address the gap in current legislation.

Mr Harris is to ask for Cabinet approval at Tuesday's meeting to accept the proposal.

The initiative was spearheaded by former minister for health James Reilly, who has said it should no longer be acceptable for people to smoke where others are eating.