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Archive for July, 2013

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E-cigarette tax hike abandoned—for now

| July 25, 2013

The Italian government has abandoned a proposed tax hike on electronic cigarettes after fierce opposition from shop owners and consumers, according to a story in The Local Europe, quoting La Stampa.

Campaigners successfully argued that the 58.5 percent increase would have threatened about 5,000 jobs and the 2,000 electronic cigarette shops that have opened in recent years.

The government had planned to use the €35 million tax-hike revenue to avoid cutting prison jobs.

The National Association of Electronic Smoking (Anafe) welcomed the news, though it warned that the tax might be introduced at a later date.

“We will continue to protest,” said Anafe President Massimiliano Mancini in statement. “This tax is unjust and unbalanced and we ask the government to look at possible alternatives that allow it to make up the necessary revenue.”

“The alternative is the death of a sector that was growing,” he added.

Ice-like menthol sensation retained

| July 25, 2013

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it is redesigning the packaging of its Pianissimo Icene Crista and Pianissimo Icene Gracia cigarettes.

The new designs are due to be rolled out across Japan from late August.

The Pianissimo Icene brand, which is described as having a smooth taste and delivering a refreshingly ice-like menthol sensation, is said to have been well received by consumers, so the flavor and aroma of the Crista and Gracia versions will be unchanged.

“The new designs are simple and cool,” said JT in a note posted on its website. “The base tone is black and white, but the opening tape and inner frame are accented with pink, creating a consistent feel for the Pianissimo Icene line. The overall look embodies a mature sophistication and the coldness of ice.”

Assam moves to ban all chewing tobacco

| July 25, 2013

Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has tabled a bill in the state assembly seeking to outlaw the manufacture, storage, sale and consumption of all smokeless tobacco products within the state.

The bill, if passed, would likely be the first in the country to cover all chewing tobacco products.

As much of the rest of the world has come to realize that tobacco’s main danger derives from the chemicals produced in burning it, and therefore that some noncombustible products (including some oral tobacco products) are less risky than are combustible ones, such as cigarettes and bidis, India has moved to banning many of its noncombustible products while retaining its combustible ones.

PM USA’s cigarette volume down sharply in second quarter despite share increase

| July 24, 2013

Philip Morris USA’s domestic cigarette shipment volume during the three months to the end of June, at 33,819 million, was down by 6.7 percent on that of the three months to the end of June 2012.

Marlboro shipments fell by 7.2 percent to 29,119 million; shipments of other premium brands fell by 10.9 percent to 2,040 million, while shipments of discount brands rose by 3.9 percent to 2,660 million.

PM USA’s share of the domestic retail cigarette market during the three months to the end of June, at 50.7 percent, increased by 0.3 of a percentage point on that of the three months to the end of June 2012. Marlboro’s share, at 43.7 percent, was unchanged, while the share of its other premium brands was down by 0.2 of a percentage point to 3.1 percent, and the share of its discount brands was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to 3.9 percent.

Middleton’s cigar shipment volume during the three months to the end of June, at 298 million, was down by 8.0 percent on that of the three months to the end of June 2012. Black & Mild brand shipments fell by 7.8 percent to 294 million, while shipments of other brands dropped by 20.0 percent to 4 million.

Middleton’s share of the domestic retail cigar market during the three months to the end of June, at 30.0 percent, was down by 0.5 of a percentage point on that of the three months to the end of June 2012. Black & Mild’s share was down by 0.5 of a percentage point to 29.8 percent, while the share of other brands was unchanged at 0.2 percent.

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. and PM USA’s combined, domestic, smokeless-products shipment volume during the three months to the end of June, at 200.5 million cans and packs, was up by 4.6 percent on that of the three months to the end of June 2012.

Shipments of Copenhagen were up by 8.8 percent to 106.7 million; those of Skoal were up by 1.8 percent to 73.8 million, while those of other brands were down by 5.2 percent to 20.0 million.

USSTC and PM USA’s share of the U.S. domestic market for smokeless products during the three months to the end of June, at 55.0 percent, was unchanged from that of the three months to the end of June 2012. Copenhagen’s share was up by 1.6 percentage points to 29.0 percent; Skoal’s share was down by 1.0 percentage point to 21.7 percent, while the share of other brands was down by 0.6 of a percentage point to 4.3 percent.

Meanwhile, PM USA’s cigarette shipment volume during the six months to the end of June, at 63,320 million, was down by 6.0 percent on that of the six months to the end of June 2012.

Marlboro shipments fell by 6.4 percent to 54,554 million; shipments of other premium brands fell by 11.7 percent to 3,822 million, while shipments of discount brands increased by 4.8 percent to 4,944 million.

Middleton’s cigar shipment volume during the six months to the end of June, at 571 million, was down by 12.4 percent on that of the six months to the end of June 2012. Black & White brand shipments dropped by 12.3 percent to 563 million, while shipments of other brands fell by 20.0 percent to 8 million.

USSTC and PM USA’s combined, domestic, smokeless-products shipment volume during the six months to the end of June, at 376.2 million, increased by 4.0 percent on that of the six months to the end of June 2012.

Copenhagen shipments were up by 8.8 percent to 200.2 million; Skoal shipments were up by 0.8 percent to 138.2 million, while shipments of other brands were down by 6.7 percent to 37.8 million.

The Altria Group yesterday published its second-quarter and first-half results for 2013. Its second-quarter reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) increased by 5.0 percent to $0.63, and its second-quarter adjusted diluted EPS, which excludes the impact of special items, increased by 5.1 percent to $0.62

Altria’s first-half reported diluted EPS increased by 10.9 percent to $1.32, and its first-half adjusted diluted EPS increased by 7.4 percent to $1.16.

“Altria delivered solid financial results for the second quarter and first six months of 2013,” said Chairman and CEO Marty Barrington. “The company’s diverse business model delivered adjusted diluted earnings per share growth of 5.1 percent for the second quarter and 7.4 percent for the first half of the year.”

“All three of our reportable segments delivered adjusted operating companies income and margin growth in the second quarter and first half.

“Altria’s companies also continue to innovate with new products for adult tobacco consumers. Nu Mark’s plans for introducing MarkTen e-cigarettes into a lead market in August of this year are on track.”

FDA maintains glacial pace on menthol

| July 24, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set the stage to restrict—or possibly ban—menthol cigarettes on the grounds that they are more appealing to new smokers, more addictive to longtime smokers and pose a greater threat to the public’s health than do unflavored cigarettes, according to a story by Melissa Healy for the Los Angeles Times.

In releasing a comprehensive review of research on menthol’s effects as a tobacco additive on Tuesday, the FDA conceded that adding peppermint oil extract to cigarettes probably didn’t make them more likely to cause diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema. But its 153-page report concluded that menthol in tobacco was linked to “altered physiological responses to tobacco smoke.” Those altered responses, in turn, might contribute to tobacco’s highly addictive qualities and drive up disease by sustaining smoking behavior.

Healy said that the release of the report opened a 60-day public comment period that could set the groundwork for new tobacco restrictions.

“[The] FDA’s actions today on menthol reflect our commitment to explore all potential options, including the establishment of product standards,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, was quoted as saying.

The FDA acknowledged that the weight of any changes it might order would disproportionately affect minority communities. Menthol cigarettes are the choice of nearly 75 percent of African American smokers and roughly 30 percent of Latino smokers. By contrast, just over 20 percent of non-Latino whites smoke menthol cigarettes.

The FDA said it would sponsor three new studies of menthol as a tobacco additive, one of which would explore whether genetic differences in taste perception might explain the striking patterns of menthol cigarette use.

Meanwhile, Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities, welcomed the fact that progress was being made on menthol.

Herzog said she believed it was unlikely that menthol would be banned, though she said it would probably be a long time until a final resolution of the issue came about.

But the view was very different from Legacy and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK).

“Two years ago, the FDA’s own scientific advisory committee found that removing menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States,” said David Dobbins, CEO at Legacy in a statement issued through PR Newswire. “The FDA does not need more information on this issue. It needs to remove menthols from the market.”

And Matthew L. Myers, president of CTFK, said, also in a statement issued through PR Newswire, that the FDA’s strong scientific conclusions regarding the harmful impact of menthol cigarettes on the nation’s health should prompt it to move as quickly as possible to ban menthol cigarettes in the U.S.

‘The FDA today [Tuesday] took the first step in the regulatory process by inviting public comment to inform its decisions about what action to take regarding menthol cigarettes and announcing that it is funding additional research relevant to regulating menthol cigarettes, the statement said. “It is critical that these actions be part of a serious and expeditious regulatory process that leads to a ban on menthol cigarettes and not part of an effort to delay action. The key is not what the FDA announced today, but how quickly the agency acts to develop a formal rule banning menthol cigarettes based on the powerful scientific evidence in the report it released today.”

More Andhra farmers turning to tobacco

| July 24, 2013

Farmers in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, India, are gearing up for a major shift from chickpea to flue-cured tobacco production, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

Such a shift, it is said, would nullify recent efforts to restrict flue-cured growing.

Tobacco sowing in the district could go up by 30,000 to 40,000 acres and production by 40 percent; so that production could cross the 100 million kg mark in Prakasam during the coming season.

The Indian Tobacco Association has projected the Andhra crop requirement at 175 million kg for 2014.