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Archive for April, 2013

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BAT benefits from reduced illicit trade, says CEO

| April 22, 2013

British American Tobacco (BAT) is benefitting from the gradual deflation in the illicit trade of cigarettes locally due to the improved regulatory environment in Malaysia, according to a story posted on The Star Online.

Managing director Datuk William Toh said the illegal buying and selling of cigarettes had declined last year by 1.6 percent compared to 2011.

“We saw a slight reduction in illicit trade to 34.5 percent of (overall) volume last year.

“Due to this, we are seeing a 0.24 percent growth in legal volume, which is the first time in many years where we have enjoyed volume growth,” Toh said at a briefing after the company’s AGM.

“This is good news and we hope the Government will continue to put in more effort into this area. Illicit trade at 34.5 percent is high by any standards.

“It is a difficult challenge as we have long coastlines with neighbouring countries where smugglers can easily enter,” he added.

BAT attributed the reduction in illicit trade to the sustained excise duties for two consecutive years and the increased role by the various enforcement agencies such as the Customs and border patrol in nabbing smugglers.

Supreme Court declines to hear cigarette label case

| April 22, 2013

The legality of placing graphic warnings on cigarette packages appears to have been settled when the U.S. Supreme Court declined today to hear an appeal on the labels from a group of tobacco manufacturers, according to a story in the Winston-Salem Journal.

However, it remains unclear what the warning labels will look like or when they will debut.

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled in March 2012 to uphold parts of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which restricts how tobacco products may be marketed. The FDA’s labels would cover the top half of cigarette packs.

The manufacturers, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Inc., petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in October to review that case. Reynolds did not have immediate comment today on the decision.

The nine labels – which include images of dead bodies, diseased lungs and gums, and cigarette smoke drifting around an infant — were chosen by the FDA in June 2011. The labels had been slated to debut last September.

Where there’s smoke, there’s still profit

| April 22, 2013

When the three major U.S. tobacco companies report their first-quarter results this week, investors can find comfort in two themes that have remained consistent for years: Cigarette volumes will fall, but profits will rise, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal.

For the past three years, cigarette volumes have dropped around 3 percent to 4 percent annually, and analysts who follow the sector expect that trend to continue as more Americans quit smoking. But market leader Altria Group Inc. and smaller rivals Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Inc. keep posting higher core profits.

Analysts expect both trends will continue as all three companies are projected to report modestly higher earnings for the first quarter, though volume could decline more steeply than historical trends, due to higher payroll taxes and still-high unemployment.

The tobacco industry’s ability to consistently raise list prices and aggressively buy back shares have been the greatest drivers to their profitability gains. Smokeless tobacco products, including snuff and snus, have seen higher demand to help offset declining demand for traditional cigarettes. Lorillard and Reynolds are also in the early stages of selling e-cigarettes, which both have said offer potential for long-term growth. Battery-powered e-cigarettes turn heated nicotine-laced liquid into a vapor mist, and come in several flavors.

Tobacco magnate Cartes wins Paraguay presidential poll

| April 22, 2013

Horacio Cartes, a Paraguayan tobacco magnate, faced various challenges during his presidential bid, which he won decidedly last week. He was pressed to explain why antinarcotics police officers apprehended a plane carrying cocaine and marijuana on his ranch in 2000; why he went to prison in 1989 on currency fraud charges; and why he had never even voted in past general elections.

Still, voters across the country seemed ready to give Cartes the benefit of the doubt, handing him a solid victory in Paraguay’s presidential election on Sunday. He took 46 percent of the vote against 37 percent for his main opponent, Efraín Alegre of the ruling Liberal Party, with about 80 percent of the voting stations reporting. Electoral authorities declared Cartes the winner, according to an article in The New York Times.

Cartes’s victory returns the presidency to the conservative Colorado Party — which held a tight grip on power for six decades, until 2008 — and opens a new phase of international scrutiny of Paraguay, the landlocked nation with a long reputation as a haven for smugglers.

Cigarette addiction saves lives

| April 22, 2013

David Henneberry, an avid boater and member of the Watertown Yacht Club, walked outside to smoke a cigarette just after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick  lifted the curfew on Boston, MA, USA, residents at 6 p.m. Friday, April, 18.

Puffing away, Henneberry noticed the tarp that covered his rare, 22-foot  pleasure cruiser—a white Seahawk with blue trim and a fiberglass hull, reported  the New York Daily News—wasn’t on correctly, according to a story posted on on the talk radio station WBZT’s website.

“Then he saw that one of the straps was hanging loose,” his stepson Robert Duffy told the Daily News. “He picked it up and saw it had been cut. He  found it incredibly odd.”

Henneberry got a small ladder, climbed up to reach the boat deck, and flipped back his tarp “and saw a pool of blood,” Duffy added. “And then he saw what he thought was a body.”

Henneberry jumped off the ladder and ran inside, dialing 911 as he went. The “body” was the second Boston bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar  Tsarnaev — alive.

Within minutes, Duffy said, police arrived and moved his stepdad and mother to a neighbor’s house.

The entire city had been on lockdown all day as police embarked on a massive manhunt for Tsarnaev who’d escaped a shootout around 1 a.m. Friday and was nowhere to be found since.

Apparently shots were exchanged at some point when police moved in, Duffy  said.

Not in spots Henneberry apparently appreciated: “I just heard they wound up  shooting a couple of rounds through his boat,” Duffy told the Daily  News. “He’s not going to like that, he’s real anal about it.”

E-cig company gets green certification

| April 22, 2013

ProSmoke is the now the only company in its industry to be certified by the Green Business Bureau. This award is only given to companies that are both environmentally responsible and commercially beneficial to the environment and society, according to a story on PRNewswire.com.

The Green Business Bureau certifies businesses as environmentally friendly organizations in order to increase the credibility and visibility of that company and to foster environmental awareness. The green practices that ProSmoke has implemented over the years have earned the company the classification of being a certified business by the Green Business Bureau. The businesses that are certified by the Green Business Bureau also save on energy and material costs, in addition to being environmentally friendly.

In addition to already preventing millions of cigarette butts from polluting the environment, ProSmoke has implemented practices such as minimizing product packaging, offering environmentally friendly shipping materials, using green approved PET recycled materials with their disposable e-cigarettes and including a page on the website for green advocacy, education, information, and other resources. The company states it is dedicated to providing customers, and the rest of the industry, with an environmentally friendly option for manufacturing and using tobacco alternatives.