Archive for December, 2012

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Some relief from rain for Andhra growers

| December 21, 2012

The Indian state government of Andhra Pradesh has increased the input subsidy for a number of crops, including tobacco, affected by recent flooding, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

Chief minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, said in a statement to the Legislative Council that funding for tobacco would be increased from Rs6,000 to Rs10,000 per ha.

Legal team’s work recognized in Poland

| December 21, 2012

Imperial Tobacco’s legal team in Poland has been named as one of the country’s best in-house legal operations.

Companies were asked to rank their legal teams against set criteria with the scores independently verified by the Polish Society of In-House Lawyers and the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Imperial was ranked third nationally.

The legal team worked closely with their corporate affairs colleagues to support the development of legislation to end the sale of untaxed raw tobacco leaf, which is due to come into effect next month.

“I’m delighted our legal team was ranked so highly and the fact that Imperial has been recognised as a great employer in this way is also very satisfying,” said Elżbieta Kurasińska, legal affairs manager, who accepted the company’s award at a ceremony inWarsaw.

“This external recognition from other lawyers has added extra impetus to our work and we will strive to maintain our standards going forward.”

But you have to worry whether too much minty nutrition could make you obese

| December 21, 2012

A lot of comments have been made already on the European Commission’s proposed revisions to the tobacco products directive and a lot more will follow, but none has cut to the heart of the matter as incisively as one by Naomi McAuliffe.

Writing on the Guardian’s Comment is free page, McAuliffe asks a question about a hitherto neglected but vital aspect of the Commission’s attack on menthol cigarettes: ‘They may not be cool, and they may even kill, but how would I meet my nutritional needs if the EU bans such minty goodness?’

And it gets better at:

Forest Christmas card is a cracker

| December 21, 2012

Forest’s Christmas card this year combines its usual festive cheer with a light-hearted, seasonal dig at the proponents of plain packaging.

The card shows a pile of wrapped presents roasting round an open fire, two of which bear the message ‘Hands off our presents’, a warning that echoes the organization’s high-profile ‘Hands off our packs’ campaign.

And the back of the card shows a Christmas cracker with a message that could have been read straight from a cracker joke: ‘Plain packaging?’; ‘They must be crackers’. Come on, altogether: “Groan”.

Commission sticks to ‘quit-or-die’ policy with TPD revision proposals

| December 20, 2012

The European Commission seems once again to have come down in favour of a quit-or-die approach to tobacco consumption, rather than a harm reduction approach.

Its proposed tobacco products directive revisions, issued yesterday, leave snus banned outside of Sweden and seek to discourage the use of electronic cigarettes.

Many people, including some tobacco control advocates, believe that snus and electronic cigarettes are far less harmful than are cigarettes. And they believe that many cigarette smokers could be persuaded to switch to these products, given the right circumstances.

At the same time, at least one tobacco analyst has commented that the revisions seem unlikely to have more than a marginal effect on traditional cigarette consumption.

And other commentators have made the point that revisions banning products with characterising flavors, including menthol, are likely to encourage further the trade in illicit products.

The Commission’s legislative proposal will now go before the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, the institutions responsible for adopting binding legislation.

Ideally, the Commission would like to see the new directive adopted by no later than 2014 and to come into effect from 2015-2016.

Under the proposals, nicotine delivery products such as electronic cigarettes containing less than 2 mg of nicotine would be allowed on the market, but they would have to carry health warnings. As was described in a report here yesterday, most electronic cigarettes contain more than 2 mg of nicotine and these would be allowed onto the market only after exhaustive pharmaceutical-type testing.

The ban on snus outside ofSwedenwould be maintained and all smokeless tobacco products would have to carry health warnings.

New types of tobacco products would have to comply with the directive and would require prior notification before being placed on the market.

The Commission’s proposals would include a ban on cigarettes, roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco products with characterising flavors, including menthol, and a ban on products with additives that increase toxicity and ‘addictiveness’.

Swedenhas already suggested that there would be a problem if the revisions kept the ban on snus outside of that country but tried to dictate the product’s ingredients.

Pipe tobacco, cigars and cigarillos would be the subject of less stringent rules. There would be no ban on characterizing flavors and no requirements for graphic health warnings in respect of these products.

On the other hand, all cigarette and roll-your-own packs would have to carry health warnings that included a graphic element, and those warnings would be increased in size so as to cover 75 per cent of the front and back surfaces. Certain aspects of the packs would be standardized, but the revisions propose leaving decisions about plain packaging to individual countries.

It is estimated that about 30 per cent of a pack’s total surface would remain for branding.

The revisions include also requirements for retailers engaging in cross-border distance sales and they ‘foresee’ a tracking and tracing system and security features for cigarette packs.

Philip Morris International yesterday welcomed the publication of the proposals though not some of the detail.

“PMI is pleased that the Commission has finally issued its proposed Tobacco Products Directive so that it now may be reviewed and debated in an open, transparent, objective and constructive manner by all concerned in the coming months,” said the company’s vice president, communications, Julie Soderlund.

“An initial reading of the proposal suggests that many of the recommended measures will not achieve the Commission’s public health goals and will result in numerous unintended adverse consequences which appear to have been disregarded by its authors.

“The proposed Directive explicitly prohibits products that account for approximately 10 per cent of the European Union cigarette market, and in some member states more than 30 per cent of the market, despite the fact that there is no credible scientific evidence that these products are more harmful than others or that taking them off the market will reduce smoking rates. At a time when Europe can least afford it, the Commission’s proposal ignores the massive black market for tobacco products which already costs member states 10 billion euros annually, but advocates measures that will undoubtedly fuel its further growth.

“In addition, the proposal would significantly limit consumer access to, and information about, products that have the very real potential to reduce the harm caused by conventional tobacco products. In doing this the Commission has chosen not only to stifle innovation but also to ignore the potential these products have to improve public health.

“We trust that the hostility of some towards our industry will not blind them to the important economic, legal and societal issues that this proposed Directive raises. We believe that its numerous flaws need to be addressed to ensure that the EU implements a regulatory framework for tobacco products in Europe that is fair, science-based and effective in reducing the harm caused by smoking without imposing unnecessary burden on the economy. Europe deserves nothing less.”

BAT buys Creative company to help with evolving harm reduction policy

| December 20, 2012

British American Tobacco said today that it had acquired CN Creative Ltd, a UK based start-up company that specialises in the development of e-cigarette technologies intended to offer smokers a less risky alternative to cigarettes.

BAT says that CN Creative, which has its own research and development facilities, currently has several e-cigarettes on the market and new, innovative e-cigarette technologies in the development pipeline.

“Our core business is, and will remain in, tobacco but we’ve always made it clear that our goal is to provide those adult smokers who are seeking safer alternatives to cigarettes with a range of reduced-risk products that will meet their varying needs,” said Kingsley Wheaton, director of corporate and regulatory affairs at BAT.

“And we believe the innovative e-cigarette technologies that CN Creative has been developing over the past few years will help us move closer to achieving this goal.”

The acquisition of CN Creative, BAT says, is a natural extension of its approach to tobacco harm reduction that has been evolving over a number of years.