The measures Bulgaria has taken to fight cigarette smuggling are yielding results, according to a story by Svetla Dimitrova for the Southeast European Times quoting the national Customs Agency.
A total of 80 million contraband cigarettes were said to have been seized since the beginning of this year, but there was no mention of whether this figure was up or down on that of the previous year.
And the agency reported that a total of 691 pre-trial proceedings were launched between January and October 2012, but again there was no mention of whether this was up or down on the figure recorded during the equivalent period of 2011.
There was a 7.5 per cent year-on-year increase in revenues from the excise duty on tobacco products and this, the agency said, showed that the measures the customs administration had taken in the fight against the illicit cigarette trade had been effective. There was no mention, however, whether the rate of tobacco excise duties had been increased during the period under consideration.
‘Regular meetings with big manufacturers and traders of tobacco goods’ were said to have comprised one of a host of measures initiated by the customs administration as part of an increased effort in the fight against cigarette smuggling.
And nearly 900 staff members, or a third of customs personnel, had been dismissed during the past three years, while up to 700 new staff had been hired through an open and transparent procedure.
More than 500,000 Bulgarians said in a June survey that that they bought contraband cigarettes, and would continue to do so.
This is not surprising. A 67-year-old pensioner who has been smoking for nearly five decades was quoted as saying that he bought contraband cigarettes because he could not afford licit ones.
A new agreement has been signed with the government of Slovakia to strengthen Imperial Tobacco’s continuing joint efforts to tackle illicit trade, the company says.
‘The Memorandum of Understanding with the Financial Directorate of Slovakia builds on existing co-operation and a previous agreement dating back to 2002,’ Imperial said in a note posted on its website.
‘It also reflects the conditions for mutual co-operation set out in the agreement signed between Imperial and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
“We recognise the importance of working together in the fight against contraband and counterfeit tobacco products,” said Frantisek Imrecze, the president of the directorate.
“The illegal trade in tobacco cause financial losses for government and also harms the interests of legitimate businesses.”
Meanwhile, Robert Beres, Imperial’s market manager forSlovakia, said mutual co-operation could significantly contribute to the success in defeating the illicit trade in tobacco products.
“The Codentify pilot project running jointly with the Slovak government demonstrates our efforts in finding new ways to combat illicit trade and tax evasion,” he said.
Electronic cigarettes are less toxic than are traditional cigarettes but it is not possible at this time to say that they are ‘totally innocuous’.
This is the view ofRoberta Pacifici, director of the Italy Observatory on Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Use at the National Health Institute, who worked on a recent report by the Italian Ministry of Health on electronic cigarettes that was the subject of a story by Phobe Natanson and Ed Lovett for ABC News.
“We have to have a prudent approach towards this product as we know little about its worth in stopping people smoking or how toxic it is,” Pacifici told the Italian news agency ANSA.
Pacifici was quoted as saying that should the electronic cigarette’s efficacy as a means of curbing smoking be proven, it should be treated like all the other nicotine substitute products – as a medical device.
Her institute has recommended that electronic cigarettes should be sold with detailed health information.
For now, these products include warnings that they should not be sold to under-16 year olds and that they should be kept away from children.
China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration has issued a plan for water resources projects to be carried out by the tobacco industry during 2013-2015, according to a Tobacco China Online story.
The plan seeks to increase significantly the number of such projects and to help establish the tobacco industry’s image as a responsible industry.
The projects will be undertaken in key tobacco-growing regions nationwide, with investment expected to reach Yuan15 billion by 2015.
They will comprise mainly the construction of small reservoirs and irrigation systems that will gradually be amalgamated to form comprehensive systems.
One of the aims of the projects is to help tobacco growers to increase their incomes.
But they are aimed also at helping localities to guard against the dangers of natural disasters.
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to get your hands on a bottle of Aalborg Jule Akvavit in time to welcome in the New Year; so here, courtesy of Iggesund Paperboard, is a picture of one, which might bring some virtual cheer.
In fact, Aalborg Jule Akvavit is a Christmas aquavit that has been produced by the Danish distiller, Danske Spritfabriker (now owned by France’s Pernod Ricard), for the past 31 years, and that is now sold in numbered bottles to underline its limited edition status.
For the second year in a row Aalborg Jule Akvavit has been packaged in a carton made of Invercote from Iggesund Paperboard. Last year the Danish company chose to use Invercote Duo Metalprint, while this year it went with Invercote Duo Aluprint.
The converters are Frontpac, of Lund, Sweden.
‘This year’s edition of Jule Akvavit comes in a new and beautiful blue bottle of a unique design,’ said Iggesund Paperboard in a press note. ‘The elegant shape was inspired by the aquavit itself and is called “The Drop” in an obvious reference to the liquid’s clear drops.
‘Pernod Ricard says Jule Akvavit has become a highly prized collectors’ object around the world. The company receives many phone calls all through the autumn from would-be purchasers who are impatient to see what the latest bottle will look like.’
For the second year in a row the carton for Aalborg Jule Akvavit is made of Invercote. Photo by Rolf Andersson
People in the UK are due to be exposed to a nine-week, £2.7 million propaganda campaign that will focus on a cigarette that develops cancerous tumors.
They will be told that 15 cigarettes cause a mutation that can lead to such tumors.
The Department of Health (DoH) says that the new theme represents a return to hard-hitting health campaigns.
‘The new ads – featuring a tumour growing on a cigarette as it is smoked – are the first shock adverts since the “fatty cigarette” ad eight years ago,’ according to a note posted on the DoH’s website. ‘They aim to encourage people to quit over health concerns, by making the invisible damage visible.
‘The campaign comes in response to statistics that show more than a third of smokers still think the health risks associated with smoking are greatly exaggerated.
‘Designed to show that every cigarette is potentially harmful, the campaign will send a tough message about the dangers of smoking to a new generation of young people – many of whom will never have seen such hard-hitting messaging since they took up the habit.
‘The campaign is supported by a variety of charities including Cancer ResearchUK.
‘Since the last campaign, focusing on the health harms of smoking in 2004, it is estimated that:
* ‘More than 3 million people are estimated (sic) [to] have been admitted to hospital with a smoking related disease – that’s more than 1,000 people each day; and
* More than 570,000 people are estimated (sic) to have died because of a smoking related condition – that’s 195 people each day.’