Archive for February, 2013

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New director appointed for US FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products

| February 25, 2013

The US Food and Drug Administration is replacing the head of its tobacco governance group with a former associate commissioner with ties to an anti-smoking advocacy group and a pharmaceutical company, according to a story by Richard Craver for the Winston-Salem Journal.

Mitch Zeller J.D. is due to become director of the Center for Tobacco Products on March 4, replacing Dr. Lawrence Deyton, who is stepping down to become a professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University.

The FDA began regulating tobacco products and marketing in June 2009.

Parliamentarians ignore their own law on banning smoking in public places

| February 25, 2013

Five laws banning tobacco smoking in public places have been introduced during the past 10 years only to be largely ignored by Greek smokers; so the government has vowed to impose yet another crackdown, according to a story in the Greek Reporter quoting a Kathimerini newspaper report.

The Health Ministry’s general secretary, Christina Papanikolaou, has issued a circular calling for the intensification of checks at schools, hospitals, restaurants, bars and nightclubs by inspectors in charge of the implementation of a law introduced in 2010.

The new wave of inspections is expected to meet with opposition from entrepreneurs who argue that business, already hit by the financial crisis, will be further affected if the smoking ban is enforced strictly.

In November 2012, the Council of State ruled that the ban was in keeping with Greek law and the Constitution after 150 entrepreneurs and the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions filed an appeal against it.

Despite that, the law continues to be ignored. Public workers, including those in post offices and government buildings, as well as police, doctors and bus drivers continue to smoke without the fear of their being fined.

Members of parliament also openly smoke in the building where they passed the ban, ignoring their own law.

Unified Patent Court will ensure uniform applicability of patent law

| February 25, 2013

The international agreement for establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC), which was signed last week in Brussels, is expected to ensure the uniform applicability of patent law throughout the EU’s signatory countries.

According to a press note issued on behalf of the EU Council, the new court will avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states.

‘This will also prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues,’ it said. ‘It will also reduce costs of patent litigation.

‘The UPC will be a court common to the contracting member states and thus subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court.

‘It is an international agreement concluded outside the EU institutional framework…’

All EU member states signed up to the agreement, with the exception of Bulgaria, Poland and Spain. Bulgaria was preparing to sign once internal procedures had been completed, while Poland and Spain could sign at a future date.

Following the signing of the agreement, the ratification process by national parliaments can start. At least 13 member states will have to ratify the agreement for it to enter into force.

‘All the necessary decisions (designation of committees, budget, appointment of judges and president, recruitment of staff, facilities, etc.) should be adopted in a timely manner so as to enable the first registration of a European patent title with unitary effect in spring 2014,’ the press note said.

‘The Central Division of the Court of First Instance will be located in Paris (France) with specialised sections in London (United Kingdom) and Munich (Germany).

‘The UPC is the third element of the “patent package”. The two regulations establishing enhanced co-operation for unitary patent protection and its translation arrangements were adopted on 17 December 2012…

‘The establishment of a unitary patent system valid across the EU will contribute to an

increase in patent activity, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises. It will also contribute significantly to lowering the costs associated with obtaining a patent in the EU.’

Fight breaks out over extent of illicit tobacco trade in Ireland

| February 25, 2013

Ireland’s revenue commissioners have rejected as inaccurate a survey claiming that the consumption of illicit cigarettes in the country rose to 28.2 per cent during 2012, up from 24.5 per cent during 2011, according to a story by Marie O’Halloran for the Irish Times.

The commissioners said the survey did not distinguish between illicit products and cigarettes legally imported by people arriving from abroad.

The latest available figures from Revenue and the Tobacco Control Unit of the Department of Health put consumption of illicit cigarettes at 15 per cent of total cigarette sales during 2011, about the same level that applied in 2010.

The survey, conducted by market researchers MS Intelligence for Irish tobacco manufacturers, showed Waterford had the highest level of illegal sales with one-in-three cigarettes being non-Irish duty paid.

The survey was conducted by collecting about 10,000 empty packs from 22 towns and cities between April 15 and May 5 2012, and again between October 26 and November 10.

The figures were weighted to reflect the national population, according to a statement by the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers’ Advisory Committee.

The committee said the ‘shocking reality’ was that one third of tobacco consumed in Ireland during 2012 completely avoided excise and VAT.

The committee claimed the upsurge in the illicit market was a result of budget increases in December 2011.

Government prepares for JT shares sale

| February 25, 2013

The Japanese government is expected to offer for sale 333,333,200 of Japan Tobacco Inc’s common stock, according to a press note included on JT’s website earlier today.

This secondary offer comprises 141,666,600 international and 191,666,600 Japanese shares.

However, the final decision on the number of shares to be offered will be made by the shareholder, the Minister of Finance, on the pricing date, which will be between March 11 and 13.

The disposal of the shares was approved as part of the 2012 budget.

Meanwhile, JT’s board of directors today resolved to repurchase up to 118,000,000 of its common stock (6.20 per cent of the total issued shares, excluding treasury shares), or shares worth up to ¥250,000,000,000, through the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s off-auction, own-share repurchase system between February 27 and March 8.

The number of shares in each of the international and Japanese secondary offerings may be reduced in the event that JT decides to go ahead with the repurchase.

New Brazilian marketing deal agreed

| February 25, 2013

NewCo and Tabacos Venus (previously Interfumos) have signed a co-operation agreement for the marketing of all of the Brazilian tobaccos contracted by Tabacos Venus.

Interfumos changed its name to Tabacos Venus when it started negotiating to sell its factory at Venâncio Aires. The name of the factory’s new owner is due to be announced shortly, according to NewCo.

Tabacos Venus is to retain the farmer contracts and tobaccos of Interfumos, and the processing of tobacco will continue at the factory at Venâncio Aires.