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Archive for January, 2013

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Securing tobacco supply lines by evolving track and trace systems

| January 29, 2013

British American Tobacco says that this year will see the evolution of track and trace systems that monitor and secure products across the supply chain.

In a note published on its website, the company’s head of anti-illicit trade, Pat Heneghan, said that, according to the World Health Organization, illegal tobacco trafficking cost governments at least US$40 billion in lost taxes last year.

“Our industry loses billions in revenue too,” Heneghan was quoted as saying. “As the illicit ‘industry’ grows, so will these mammoth losses.

“Society also suffers. Those who sell illegal tobacco do not care about regulation – they will sell their wares to children and, as they’re not regulated, their customers don’t know what they are buying.

“Interpol claim proceeds can be traced back to organised criminal gangs and terrorist organisations who are also responsible for trafficking people, drugs, guns and alcohol.

“The reality is illegal tobacco traffickers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in order to stay one step ahead of law enforcement and the legitimate industry.”

This year’s World Customs Organisation’s International Customs Day was due on January 26 to focus on innovation and Heneghan said technology had a vital role to play in catching the 21st century tobacco trafficker.

“We’ve invested heavily in innovative track and trace solutions, which monitor and secure products across the supply chain,” he said.

“However, this year we will see the evolution of these types of technology solutions.

“These state-of-the-art tools will become more user-friendly for customs officials, they’ll be able to handle increasingly sophisticated data, and enable governments to exchange information quickly and easily across borders.”

But Heneghan made the point that technology alone was not enough. He said increased collaboration between the industry, governments and law enforcement agencies was key to stopping criminals who sold more than 660 billion cigarettes a year – 12 per cent of the global market.

“We saw an important step in this collaboration in South Korea last November when 176 countries signed a major WHO protocol vowing to work together to stop this highly dangerous multi-billion dollar trade,” he said.

“We are closing in on the traffickers and they know it. Time is running out. Working together we believe we can make important progress in 2013.

But that will only happen if we all play our part. Together.”

Vietnam cracks down on illicit trade

| January 29, 2013

One hundred Vietnamese officials and representatives from relevant ministries and agencies met on January 25 at Ha Noi to discuss how to implement a new government circular on handling the illicit trade in cigarettes, according to a story in Vietnam News.

The circular sets out strict penalties for trading, transporting and storing smuggled tobacco.

People who are found attempting to smuggle 1,500 to 4,500 packs are liable to criminal prosecution and may be imprisoned for between six months and three years.

Those who attempt to smuggle between 4,501 and 13,500 packs face the prospect of imprisonment for between three and seven years.

And those who try to smuggle more than 13,500 packs are liable to be incarcerated for seven to 15 years.

The seminar was told that Jet and Hero cigarettes had been smuggled into the country for 15 years and that the quantity of smuggled cigarettes had increased significantly year by year.

‘These cigarettes are produced by Sumatra Tobacco Company in Indonesia, but are rarely used by Indonesians,’ the story said. ‘The cigarettes are imported legally into Cambodia due to its preferential tax policy and then exported illegally into Viet Nam.’

The story implied that the scale of the smuggling was such that domestic agriculture had suffered and that 180,000 people formerly employed by the tobacco sector were now unemployed.

Cigarette manufacturing, packaging, printing and box production had all been badly affected.

Smuggled cigarettes account for about 20 per cent of the Vietnamese market.

Dhaka journalists take sides on tobacco

| January 29, 2013

The public debate over a bill to amend Bangladesh’s 2005 tobacco products control act seems likely to be one sided.

Ruhul Amin Rushd, convenor of the Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance, a journalists’ platform said to represent all media outlets in Dhaka, was reported by bdnews24.com to have said that his organization was demanding tough laws to curb tobacco use.

It wanted the amending bill to be passed during the current session of parliament, which started on Sunday.

If the bill is passed, tobacco companies will have to include pictorial warnings covering 50 per cent of the two major faces of tobacco packs.

At the same time, smoking would be banned in certain public places, though provision would be allowed for designated smoking sections.

As was reported here yesterday, however, anti-tobacco lobbyists are calling for this provision to be ousted from the bill.

They don’t want any provision to be made for smokers.

Playing the color card

| January 29, 2013

Researchers in Japan have suggested that Asian women might be discouraged from smoking if it could be shown that smoking were associated with a darker skin color.

An abstract of the paper was published by Tobacco Control at: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2013/01/25/tobaccocontrol-2012-050524.abstract?papetoc.

In a paper that seems to court controversy, the authors said that having a lighter skin tone was highly valued among many Asian women. ‘If skin colour is affected by smoking, women may be motivated to avoid tobacco or quit smoking,’ it said.

Information on smoking habits was said to have been obtained through a self-administered questionnaire completed by 939 Japanese women aged 20–74 in Gifu, Japan, during 2003–2006. Skin colour was examined on the inner side of the upper and lower arm and on the forehead using a narrow-band reflective spectrophotometer, which expressed results as a melanin index and erythema index.

The results were said to have shown that current smokers had higher melanin indices than never-smokers and former smokers for all measured sites. ‘The number of cigarettes smoked per day, the years of smoking and pack-years were significantly positively associated with melanin indices for all measured sites after adjustments for age, body mass index, lifetime sun exposure, and room temperature and humidity,’ the abstract said. ‘Smoking was also significantly associated with erythema indices on the inner upper and lower arms.’

Ferrary to manage Rhodia Acetow

| January 28, 2013

Olivier Ferrary is taking over from Gérard Collette as general manager of Rhodia Acetow, which in 2011 became part of the Solvay Group.

A former manager of SDU Special Chemicals, Ferrary has held various responsibilities relating to chemicals and plastics within the Solvay Group. Collette will take over the management of Solvay’s industrial function and move to the company’s headquarters in Brussels.

During his tenure, Collette initiated projects to improve efficiency and diversify the company’s portfolio, which contributed to growth. Ferrary intends to continue this course.

Coinciding with the Solvay Group’s 150th anniversary in 2013, the company also released a new logo. The logo symbolizes the integration process, aimed at merging the two companies into a global player in sustainable chemistry.

Solvay offers a broad range of products in a variety of industries. Headquartered in Brussels, the group employs about 31,000 people in 55 countries and generated net sales of €12.7 billion ($16.82 billion) in 2011.

Rhodia Acetow is the world’s third-largest producer of cellulose acetate tow for cigarette filters. It has four production sites on four continents.

ChristenUnie party trying to resurrect smoking ban in the Netherlands

| January 28, 2013

Smoking is back on the political agenda in the Netherlands with the opposition party, ChristenUnie, planning to launch a new effort to have smoking banned in all cafés and bars, according to a DutchNews.nl story.

The Netherlands banned smoking in cafés, bars and clubs in 2008, but since then bars smaller than 70 square metres and with no employees were exempted following a high court ruling. The ruling said, in part, that since the smoking ban was introduced to protect staff, it did not apply to cafés that had no employees.

Health ministry research is said to have found that the ban is ‘widely’ flouted, with smoking accepted in 43 per cent of the country’s bars and 39 per cent of its discos, though it wasn’t clear whether the 43 per cent of bars included those that were exempt.
Now ChristenUnie is trying to have the blanket ban re-imposed, the Telegraaf reported on Saturday.
The paper says a slim majority of MPs support a total ban on smoking, though the ruling VVD opposes the move.

Parliament is to discuss smoking policy at the end of February.