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HEALTH

Pack of cigarettes to cost more than €5

Smokers will not only pay for their habit with their health in 2012 – prices are increasing too, with a pack of 19 cigarettes topping €5 for the first time.

Pack of cigarettes to cost more than €5
Time to quit? Photo: DPA

New year resolutions to give up smoking could be strengthened on January 1 when prices rise due to a increase in the tobacco tax of between four and eight cents per pack. And cigarette makers are passing the increased costs directly onto their customers.

Reemtsa/Imperial Tobacco said it would also be rounding the price up on its brands which include West, JPS, Gauloises, Davidoff and Peter Stuyvesant. Industry insiders say other manufacturers will also increase their prices, bringing the cost of a pack of 19 top brand cigarettes over the €5 mark.

British American Tobacco, which makes Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes, has said it would not be increasing its prices at the start of the year. The picture for rolling and pipe tobacco is mixed, with some firms planning to hike prices and others not.

The tobacco tax is due to increase by between four and eight cents a year until 2015.

Cigarette advertising is also likely to be further restricted in 2012, with a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection saying this week that plans were being drawn up to remove it from cinemas and from posters. The distribution of free cigarettes as part of marketing campaigns will also be banned. Tobacco advertising is already banned from printed media and the internet in Germany.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/hc

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HEALTH

Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens ‘among new infections’

Two teenage boys between the ages of 15-17 have reportedly been infected by monkeypox, as the number of cases in Germany continues to grow.

Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens 'among new infections'

German news site Spiegel Online first reported the new cases – which are an anomaly for a virus as it has mostly affected gay men – following an inquiry to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

They are among a total of 2,677 people who are confirmed to have contracted the virus in Germany to date. There have not been any fatalities.

Out of these, only five cases were women, according to the RKI. The public health institute said that it does not release information on individual cases.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany wants to contain the monkeypox

The disease – which is not usually fatal – often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of a contaminated person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels.

Many of the cases known so far concern homosexual and bisexual men. However, affected people and experts have repeatedly warned against stigmatising gay communities.

How fatal is the disease?

The first monkeypox cases were reported in Germany on May 20th, as the disease continued to spread in West Europe.

At the weekend, the first two deaths outside of West Africa were reported in Spain.

READ ALSO: WHO warns ‘high’ risk of monkeypox in Europe as it declares health emergency

The RKI has urged people returning from West Africa and in particular gay men, to see their doctors quickly if they notice any chances on their skin.

According to the latest estimates, there are 23,000 monkeypox cases worldwide, and Europe is particularly affected with 14,000 cases.

There have been 2,677 monkeypox cases in Germany as of August 2, 2022. Photo: CDC handout

About eight percent of patients in Europe have been hospitalised so far, reported the World Health Association on Monday, mostly due to severe pain or additional infections.

In general, the mortality of the variant currently circulating in Europe is estimated to be low.

READ ALSO: More cases of monkeypox ‘expected’ in Germany

Will a vaccine make a difference?

Since July, a vaccine has been authorised in 27 EU member states and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination against monkeypox in Germany for certain risk groups and people who have had close contact with infected people.

So far, the German government has ordered 240,000 vaccine doses, of which 40,000 had been delivered by Friday. 

Around 200,000 doses are set to follow by the end of September. 

The German Aids Federation (DAH) on Friday called for one million vaccine doses, stressing that the current supplies will fall short of meeting need.

“The goal must be to reduce the number of infections as quickly as possible and to get the epidemic permanently under control,” explained Ulf Kristal of the DAH board in Berlin on Friday.

But this is only possible, he said, if as many people at risk of infection as possible are vaccinated.

“We don’t assume the epidemic will be over when the doses available so far have been vaccinated,” Axel Jeremias Schmidt, Epidemiologist and DAH Consultant for Medicine and Health Policy, wrote in a press release.

As long as there are monkeypox infections, he said, people who are at risk must be offered vaccination. 

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