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International News In Brief

Published:Thursday | June 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
  • PAHO calls for hike in tobacco taxes


The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is calling on Caribbean countries to raise taxes on tobacco to encourage users to stop and to prevent other people from becoming addicted to it.

Based on 2012 data, PAHO estimates that if all countries increase tobacco taxes by 50 per cent, they could reduce the number of smokers by 49 million within the next three years and ultimately save 11 million lives.

"Every six seconds someone dies from using tabacco, which kills up to half its users," PAHO said in a statement.

"It also incurs considerable costs for families, businesses and governments. Treating tobacco-related diseases like cancer and heart disease is expensive. And as tobacco-related disease and death often strike people in the prime of their working lives, productivity and incomes fall."

PAHO said several countries in the Americas have made progress in implementing tobacco price and tax measures.

Nevertheless, "much work needs to be done in the region, where few countries have met the recommended 75 per cent tax level on the final price of tobacco products recommended by PAHO and WHO (World Health Organization)," said Adriana Blanco, PAHO adviser on tobacco control.

  • Tropical Storm Boris weakens


Tropical Storm Boris weakened into a tropical depression, but continued to drench southern Mexico yesterday.

The US National Hurricane Center said the storm was likely to leave rainfall totals as high as 20 inches (500 millimetres) during its passage across Oaxaca and Chiapas states. Almost 8.5 inches (213 millimetres) had already fallen on the coastal town of Tonala.

The Hurricane Center in Miami said Boris was centered about 85 miles (140 kilometres) east of Salina Cruz early yesterday, and it was moving north at about 5 mph (7 kph) with maximum sustained winds of about 35 mph (55 kph).

The center predicted the storm would begin weakening once ashore and said it probably would largely dissipate by this morning after cutting across the narrow Tehuantepec isthmus towards the Gulf of Mexico.