Archive for March, 2013

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Mild Seven morphs to Mevius in Korea

| March 21, 2013

The rebranding of Mild Seven to Mevius, currently being carried out around the world, was announced yesterday by JT International Korea, according to a story in the Korea Joongang Daily.

“Since Mild Seven is mainly sold in Asia, we changed the name in order to capture markets such as Europe and the United States,” said Park Pyung-kee, the company’s general manager, during a press conference in Seoul.

The name Mild Seven would seem to run foul of legislation in some countries that ban the use of descriptors such as ‘light’ and ‘mild’.

In any case, the Joongang Daily story made the point that the name change would make little difference to sales of Mild Seven/Mevius in Korea because of government proposals to increase steeply the tax on cigarettes – perhaps from about WON2,500 per pack to WON5,000 per pack over time – and because of boycotts aimed at Japanese goods.

In the meantime, the price of Mevius will remain the same as that of Mild Seven: WON2,700 per pack.

Sadi Bruegger, regional communications director at JTI Korea, said the company understood that tax increases had to be imposed in order to reduce smoking in Korea. “However, what we wish for is a transparent, predictable and moderate increase that will not disrupt the market,” Bruegger added.

Responding to the question of boycotts of Japanese products, the JTI Korea communications manager, Christie Kang, said sales had hardly been affected. “Korean consumers are mature enough to consider quality and service over political issues when it comes to spending,” Kang said.

FDA goes back to the drawing board after warnings legal battle abandoned

| March 20, 2013

The US government has abandoned its attempts to require cigarette manufacturers to include on their products the big graphic warnings designed by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a number of news reports.

The FDA introduced its graphic warning requirement in 2011, but some of the country’s cigarette manufacturers successfully sued on the grounds that the warnings violated the companies’ First Amendment rights.

The FDA said yesterday that it would look into new rules consistent with the Tobacco Control Act, the 2009 law that requires the agency to find ways to reduce the annual death toll attributed to tobacco use.

But it did not indicate how long it might take to introduce new warnings.

Relighting cigarettes more prevalent in difficult economic times

| March 20, 2013

Researchers at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, US, have found that a trend of smokers relighting cigarettes is related to economic factors, according to a Science Daily story.

The results of the study by the researchers were given at a poster presentation during the 19th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco held last week in Boston.

The story said that ‘in these difficult economic times’ increasing numbers of smokers were smoking fewer cigarettes per day but were relighting the end portion of the cigarette that is typically discarded.

Investigators explored this behaviour among a cross-sectional sample of 496 smokers seeking treatment from the Tobacco Dependence Program (TDP).

The researchers found that 46 per cent of the sample reported relighting cigarettes. This group was found to smoke on average fewer cigarettes per day – 16 versus 20 – than the group that did not relight.

Science Daily said that while a reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked per day might sound positive, there was more to the story, according to Michael Steinberg, MD, MPH, FACP, a member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and director of the TDP, who was the senior author of the research.

“Despite those engaging in the relighting practice smoking fewer cigarettes, there is no estimated reduction in their exposure to toxins,” Steinberg was quoted as saying. “In fact, smokers who relight cigarettes may be at higher risk of lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. That is something of which policy makers need to be aware.”

Significantly higher rates of relighting were found among females, African-Americans, and smokers who were divorced, widowed or separated. The behavior was more prevalent also among smokers who started at a younger age, smoked fewer cigarettes per day, smoked menthol cigarettes and woke up at night to smoke. Other factors significantly related to relighting included being unemployed, sick or disabled, or having a high school degree or less.

“While the relighting of cigarettes is a relatively unexplored smoking behavior, it was anticipated that certain economic characteristics, such as lower education and lack of employment, would be related to a higher level of relighting,” said Steinberg.

“We were, however, surprised that women are more likely to engage in this practice than men. This needs further study.”

The practice of relighting cigarettes is thought to have implications for tobacco dependence treatment.

Ban on cigarette sales ignored

| March 20, 2013

Shops in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah (Mecca) are selling tobacco products despite a ban by local authorities, according to a story in the Saudi Gazette quoting local residents.

In fact, residents said more than 80 percent of shops in the city’s Al-Otaibiyah neighborhood sold cigarettes.

The residents said that the ban was not being monitored by the local authorities but a source at the Makkah municipality denied this.

He asked residents to inform the municipality of any shops that were violating the ban.

International Women’s Day marked

| March 20, 2013

Imperial Tobacco’s business in Morocco this month celebrated the contribution made by its female employees with an event to mark International Women’s Day.

About 80 women who work for Société Marocaine des Tabacs (SMT) were invited to attend the event hosted by general manager, Paul Leggat, and his senior managers.

Women currently make up about 12 per cent of SMT’s workforce and 23 per cent of its management roles.

The aim of the event was to encourage more women to seek positions in areas of the business where they are currently under-represented, such as in the commercial and industrial departments, and also to recognise their achievements.

As part of the event, sociologist, Professor Soumaya Naamane Guessous, gave a talk on the evolution of the status of women in Moroccan society.

Meanwhile, Leggat said that he was proud of the work being done by SMT to bring more women into the workplace and to promote gender equality.

Swedish Match to hold AGM

| March 20, 2013

Swedish Match is due to hold its annual general meeting of shareholders at 16.30 hours Central European Time on April 25 at the Hotel Rival, Stockholm.

The board of directors is proposing a dividend increased to SEK7.30 per share.

The proposed record date for entitlement to receive a cash dividend is April 30.