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Archive for February, 2013

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Possible conflict of interest for new director of FDA’s CTP

| February 26, 2013

Prof. Michael Siegel, of BostonUniversity’s School of Public Health, believes that Mitch Zeller J.D. will likely take “a much more hard-line approach” in his dealings with the tobacco industry than did his predecessor, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal relayed by the TMA.

Siegel was commenting on the appointment of Zeller as the new director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, effective March 4.

Siegel expressed concerns that Zeller’s work in recent years with consultants Pinney Associates, where he advised pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, represented a conflict of interest as the FDA considered how to regulate electronic cigarettes.

Siegel said that many researchers viewed electronic cigarettes as being far less harmful than were traditional cigarettes, and a potential rival to the FDA-approved pharmaceutical smoking cessation aids.

TFWA’s China conference one week away

| February 26, 2013

More than 330 delegates have registered so far for the TFWA’s (Tax Free World Association) two-day conference due to be held at Beijing on March 5-7.

The conference theme is, ‘China’s Century: The Fast Pace of Change in China Duty Free & Travel Retail’.

The event, which will start on March 5 with cocktails at the Chinese capital’s historic Imperial Ancestral Temple Tai Miao, is said to have attracted many of China’s leading airports and travel retailers.

‘They will be joined by brands, landlords and retailers from around the world,’ according to a note in the association’s publication TFWA Evoice.

Details of the conference program is at: http://www.tfwa.com/duty_free/Programme.233.0.html

Row over JTI Red Cross donations

| February 26, 2013

The Geneva-based International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum says it wants to return a donation made to it by Japan Tobacco International, but JTI says it won’t take the money back, according to a Swiss Radio International report.

In November, international anti-smoking and health advocacy groups protested at the museum’s decision to accept a donation from JTI, saying that it did not fit well with the organization’s mission ‘to protect life and health and respect human beings’.

And last week, museum director, Roger Mayou, said his organization had made a mistake in accepting tobacco industry money for their $20 million renovation. JTI had pledged $150,000 to the project.

However, according to Saturday’s edition of the Tribune de Genève newspaper, JTI said in a statement that it refused to take back the donated money.

JTI was quoted as saying it “does not accept this unilateral termination or repayment of the amount allocated for the construction of the new museum, [an] amount given and accepted in good faith and at the express request of the Museum Foundation’.

The funds are currently blocked in an account overseen by the museum’s lawyer, and the museum has formally ended its partnership with JTI.

Meanwhile, the Geneva Red Cross, which had also accepted funding from JTI, in November saw no reason to ‘discriminate against a perfectly legal organisation’.

However, its president, Guy Mettan, told the Tribune de Geneve that the organization was considering terminating its partnership with JTI.

But he added that it would take the time to find other sources of funding in order not to have to lay off staff.

Re-christen cigarettes cancerettes?

| February 26, 2013

A UK clergyman has launched a new front in the war on smoking – by suggesting that cigarettes are renamed cancerettes, according to a story in the Coastal Scene newspaper.

The Rev Charles Mugleston, from Witnesham in the county of Suffolk, has launched a petition on the 10 Downing Street website and could have the issue debated in parliament if he gets 100,000 signatures within the next year.

“Having recently taken a burial service for a very fine man whose body was destroyed by lung cancer and seeing his wife, children and friends devastated – suffering much agony which could have been averted – I reflected on the situation,” he was quoted as saying.

“I came up with an idea which may help lessen the 100,000 – Statistic from Cancer Research UK – people who die every year in this country because of tobacco inhalation leading to lung cancer.

“The idea is very simple, and hopefully will prove effective. It is simply to rename cigarettes cancerettes – in the hope that it will make people think twice before they light up.”

Mugleston accepted that there was a steep hill to climb before he could get the petition debated – but hoped that the case would be taken up by smoking charities.

Imperial hosting investor event

| February 26, 2013

The Imperial Tobacco Group was due to host in London today an investor event focusing on the company’s strategies for sustainable growth and ‘delivering quality sales growth supported by cost and cash optimisation’.

Imperial said that, during the presentations, it would state its intention of growing dividends by at least 10 per cent a year in the ‘medium term’.

‘As announced in our Interim Management Statement on 30 January we are currently accelerating a cost optimisation programme designed to fund investments to support profit growth,’ Imperial said in a note posted on its website. ‘The presentations will also include an outline of this cost programme, which will realise some benefits in our current financial year. From October 2013 the programme will deliver further savings of around £300 million per annum by September 2018.’

Imperial said it would release its half yearly results on April 30 and confirmed that its full year results remained in line with its expectations.

MEPs call for stronger anti-tobacco measures in products directive

| February 25, 2013

Three members of the European Parliament have called for a more forceful Tobacco Products Directive than the one that will come into being if proposed revisions to the directive are put into effect, according to an Agence Europe story.

The three MEPs are: Cristian Silviu Busoi, of Romania, co-president of the MEP Heart Group; Alojz Peterle, of Slovenia, the chairperson of MEPs Against Cancer (MAP); and Nessa Childers, of Ireland, the vice chairperson of MAC.

The European Commission published its proposed revisions to the directive in December.

The European Parliament’s position in first reading is expected after the summer break.