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Archive for August, 2013

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ITM service center in Dominican Republic.

| August 27, 2013

ITM Group has opened a new service center, GTS-SCM, in the Dominican Republic. The facility supplies machinery and spare parts to the cigar industry in the Caribbean and Latin America. GTS-SCM’s experienced and well-trained technicians also provide maintenance and services.

Measuring more than 3,000 square-meters, the service center holds a vast stock of used cigar machinery as well as spares to minimize delivery times to customers in the region.

Drawing on the considerable experience of GTS-SCM partners Daniel Nunez and Modesta Fondeur—both of whom are former top executives at General Cigar—the service center also provides tobacco consultancy services in agronomy, blending, purchasing and other fields.

 

PM welcomes court’s suspension of new Thai health warning requirement

| August 27, 2013

Philip Morris (Thailand) (PMTL) has welcomed Friday’s decision by the Bangkok Central Administrative Court to suspend the implementation of a Ministry of Public Health requirement for enlarged graphic warnings on cigarette packs until the case against this measure has been heard.

“We welcome the court’s recognition that this regulation should be suspended until this case is considered on its merits, and we are grateful to the court for listening to our concerns,” said Onanong Pratakphiriya, manager communications and external affairs for (PMTL). “This is a welcome departure from the Ministry of Public Health, which willfully, and in violation of Thai due process requirements, ignored the voices of thousands of retailers, manufacturers and many other impacted stakeholders when it first issued this notification. Today’s decision now clears the way for us to show the court that this measure is not only illegal but also unnecessary, given that the health risks of smoking are universally known in Thailand.”

PMTL took legal action against the health ministry on June 26, asking the court to invalidate the ministry’s notification that would increase the size of graphic health warnings from 55 percent to 85 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs.

“PMTL claims that the Ministry acted beyond its legal powers and failed to consult with thousands of impacted stakeholders in violation of Thai due process requirements,” according to a note posted on Philip Morris International’s website. “It also claims that the measure substantially impairs the ability of manufacturers and importers to use their trademarks to differentiate their products from competitors’ products and is unnecessary given that the risks associated with smoking are known universally in Thailand. In addition to the lack of credible evidence to prove the effectiveness of such large health warnings, the notification exempts cheap, roll-your-own tobacco, which already makes up half of the Thai market, and is likely to boost smuggled products from outside Thailand, which often have smaller health warnings, no warnings at all, or are counterfeit.

“The Administrative Court based its decision on its finding that the notification was potentially illegal and that allowing enforcement before a full decision on the merits could cause irreparable harm to PMTL.

“While today’s decision was related to the Philip Morris filing specifically, others have also taken legal action against this unnecessary and illogical regulation, including the Thai Tobacco Trade Association (TTTA), representing more than 1,400 retailers across Thailand, an individual retailer and a wholesaler.

“The request for an injunction was the first step in a process that is expected to take more than one year.”

Meanwhile, according to a Bangkok Post story, during the court hearing, the ministry argued that the regulation was in line with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which supported the use of health warnings to prevent the young and nonsmokers from trying tobacco products.

And the ministry pointed out that the National Tobacco Control Board had said that on-package health warnings were the most effective means of reminding consumers of the dangers of smoking.

Changzhou gives out portable ashtrays

| August 27, 2013

Urban patrol officers in Changzhou, China, have started to distribute portable ashtrays in an attempt to reduce the number of cigarette butts littering streets, according to a China Daily story quoting the Modern Express Daily.

The first 5,000 portable ashtrays were distributed free of charge on Friday in Nandajie, the city’s busiest commercial street.

More than 3,000 cigarette butts are said to be dropped daily in a 600-meter stretch of Nandajie.

But while many people think the portable ash trays could help protect the environment and reduce fire hazards, some have questioned whether they encourage smoking in public areas.

Hi-Lite products change allegiance

| August 27, 2013

In what seems to be a pre-emptive strike against possible future product descriptor limitations, Japan Tobacco Inc. is bringing two of its Hi-Lite products under the Winston brand name.

In many markets, though not in Japan, words such as “mild” and “light/lite” have been banned from use in respect of tobacco products and, in what was a bold move, JT changed the name of its Japan-market flagship brand, Mild Seven, to Mevius earlier this year.

JT said yesterday that Hi-Lite Inazma Menthol 8 Box and Hi-Lite Inazma Menthol One Box, which had been very popular for their super strong menthol sensation, would be re-launched in early December as Winston XS Inazma Menthol 8 Box and Winston XS Inazma Menthol One Box, with the same flavor and aroma.

“First launched in the United States in 1954, Winston is sold in over 100 countries including Japan, making it the world’s second-largest brand,” the company said in a note posted on its website.

“The XS series, launched by Winston in 2009, has enjoyed rapid growth in many markets worldwide, with its stylish and modern designs being well-received by consumers.

“The current Hi-Lite Inazma Menthol series will become part of the global Winston brand and be re-launched as Winston’s XS series, making its first appearance in Japan.”

EU Commission believes cigarette pack regulations will not boost illicit trade

| August 27, 2013

The European Commission believes that its proposed new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will not increase the illicit trade in cigarettes.

In the preamble to a written question, Slovakian MEP Monika Flašíková Beňová said that, according to the commission, the review of the TPD was aimed at finding ways to reduce the volume of cigarette sales and thus the health risks facing the EU’s population.

“Standardization of packaging, however, in the opinion of some experts, creates a massive incentive for smuggling and counterfeiting of cigarettes from neighboring countries,” she said.

“In many cases, illegal cigarettes do not comply with applicable health standards, and so they represent a huge health risk to our citizens.

“Cigarette smuggling also has, of course, a negative impact on the national budgets of Member States.”

The MEP then went on to ask: “Is the commission aware of the immense health risks caused by contraband cigarettes?

“If so, how does it wish to prevent such threats to the health of EU citizens?”

The commission replied that effective measures against the illicit trade were in the interests of tobacco control policy, because illicit products undermined the regulatory efforts of tobacco control legislation and increased the affordability of tobacco products.

“Prior to making its legislative proposal, the commission carried out a thorough analysis of the economic, social and health impacts of all its policy measures,” the commission said.

“The proposal is not expected to increase the illicit trade, an analysis that is shared by many experts including many law enforcement experts.

“In addition, the proposal foresees the introduction of measures against the illicit trade, in particular a full tracking and tracing system and visible security features.

‘The commission is strongly committed to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and recently adopted a Communication on Stepping up the fight against cigarette smuggling and other forms of illicit trade in tobacco products – A comprehensive EU Strategy is accompanied by an Anti-smuggling Action Plan to this effect.

“One important element of that plan is the rapid adoption of the Tobacco Products Directive with its provisions to address illicit trade.”

Finally, the commission said it had recently proposed a council decision authorizing the commission to sign, on behalf of the EU, the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, further underlining the commission’s commitment to the fight against illicit trade.

Karnataka crop down by 10 percent

| August 27, 2013

Unhelpful weather is expected to cause flue-cured production in Karnataka, India, this season to be down by about 10 percent on that of the previous season, 2012–2013.

The Tobacco Board had fixed a crop size of 102 million kg for 2013–2014, up from 98 million in 2012–2013.