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Archive for September, 2013

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Court finds for PM USA in ‘lights’ case

| September 25, 2013

A California Superior Court judge yesterday issued his final decision in favor of Philip Morris USA in a 16-year-old class-action “lights” cigarette case (Willard R. Brown, et al. v. The American Tobacco Co., Inc. et al.).

According to a note posted on the Altria website, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ efforts to impose as much as a billion dollars in liability against PM USA and ruled that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any relief.

“The plaintiffs failed to prove they suffered any loss by purchasing ‘lights’ cigarettes,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. “In fact, the court concluded that Marlboro Lights were worth what consumers paid for them,” Garnick added. “We have had substantial success in defending these cases on a variety of legal grounds.”

“The plaintiffs claimed in this lawsuit, originally filed in June 1997, that PM USA violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law by using the terms ‘lights’ and ‘lowered tar and nicotine’ on cigarette packages,” the Altria note said. “Plaintiffs sought to recover a portion of the money paid by California smokers who purchased Marlboro Lights between 1998 and 2001.

“In his decision, Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager said that, “based [on] the totality of the evidence including real world market data and the extensive absent class member testimony, this court concludes that the restitution value is zero.”

“In rejecting plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, the court stated: ‘Plaintiffs failed to present any specific evidence entitling them to injunctive relief. To the contrary, the evidence established that the descriptors on which the plaintiffs base their case have been removed and, because of changes in the law, these descriptors can never be used again. Since there is little likelihood that the conduct giving rise to this case will reoccur, the claim for injunctive relief is moot.’”

Hasty electronic cigarette regulation would be problem, not solution

| September 25, 2013

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is urging President Barack Obama to advise the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take the time needed to develop science-based regulations that will serve the interests of public health. CASAA is concerned that last week several organizations wrote to the president asking him to order the FDA promptly to assert authority over all tobacco products not currently under its jurisdiction.

CASAA is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure the availability of low-risk alternatives to smoking and to provide smokers and nonsmokers alike with truthful information about such alternatives.

“In 2009, four of the organizations that signed last week’s letter—the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Heart Association—jointly pressured the FDA to remove electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from the market,” CASAA said in a press note. “The FDA tried to do so until a federal court judge ruled that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated (and thus banned) as a drug unless therapeutic claims are made.”

“Had these organizations succeeded in their efforts to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes in the U.S.,” said CASAA President Elaine Keller, “hundreds of thousands of former smokers would still be lighting up. Almost all e-cigarette consumers are former smokers who tried to quit by using some or all of the products and methods these organizations tout and kept relapsing. The option to switch to a low-risk product that is a satisfying substitute for smoking has made a smoke-free life possible for those who had almost given up all hope of ever being able to quit smoking.”

In their letter to the president last week, the organizations cited the recent report on youth use of e-cigarettes by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as proof that students in grades six through 12 were taking up use of e-cigarettes at an alarming rate. But CASAA said this misrepresented the findings.

“Only 2.1 percent of the youth had taken so much as one puff from an e-cigarette recently,” said the CASAA note. “As far as we know from that survey, none of them are using e-cigarettes daily, in contrast with the millions of youth who are known to smoke. The CDC did not report the daily use statistics for e-cigarettes, or even whether the e-cigarettes being tried contain nicotine.

“How do these statistics compare to recent smoking of conventional cigarettes? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Finding. According to the SAMHSA report, past month cigarette use among youths aged 12 to 17 fell from 9.1 percent in 2009 to 6.8 percent by 2012 for males and from 9.3 percent to 6.3 percent for females. Furthermore, the rate of initiation of smoking among youths in the same age group fell from 6.3 percent to 4.7 percent for males and from 6.2 percent to 4.8 percent for females.

“Those who want to ban e-cigarettes make up any claim they can think of, regardless of whether there is evidence to support it,” said CASAA’s scientific director, Dr. Carl V. Phillips. “If e-cigarette use really caused kids to start smoking and there really was an alarming use of e-cigarettes by youth, we would see an increase in kids smoking, the opposite of the actual trend.

“Someone who would try an e-cigarette but would avoid smoking presumably is motivated by avoiding the risk of smoking. The only reason I can see for someone to make the unfortunate transition from e-cigarette use to smoking would be if e-cigarettes were to become less accessible or deliberately made less attractive, which, ironically, could be the result if the type of excessive regulations urged by these organizations is enacted.”

NDC appoints regional sales manager

| September 25, 2013

David Paprocki (pictured) NDC Dave Paprocki 08-2013has joined NDC Infrared Engineering as regional sales manager for the Asia Pacific region.

Paprocki will be working from NDC’s Singapore office and will be responsible for sales of NDC on-line gauges and at-line NIR analyzers into the region’s tobacco industry.

Paprocki has lived for more than 20 years in Asia, where he has been involved in the management of distribution channels/direct sales for the process control/instrumentation and consumer product industries.

He previously worked in international sales, marketing and distribution from the U.S. and Canada.

Free app available for TFWA event

| September 25, 2013

The organizers of the TFWA World Exhibition are offering a free app, which they say will improve participants’ experience of the exhibition.

In all, 470 exhibitors have confirmed their participation at the event, which will be held in Cannes, France, on Oct. 25–26.

The TFWA app, which is available to download at the App Store, App World or www.tfwa.com, will allow users to:

* view the event’s programs, including those of the exhibition, conference and workshops, and social events;

* view the list of exhibitors and stand locations;

* view exhibition floor plans for all “villages”;

* view the index of on-site services and facilities.

Indonesia joins challenge to Australia’s standardized packaging regulations

| September 24, 2013

Indonesia has made a formal request to the World Trade Organization for consultations on Australia’s imposition of standardized tobacco packaging regulations, according to stories by Agence France Presse and Reuters.

Such a request is said to be the first step toward a possible trade dispute.

Indonesia is the fifth country—behind Ukraine, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Cuba—to challenge Australia at the WTO.

Since Dec. 1, 2012, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous government to be as ugly as possible. Packs are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, are otherwise a standard olive color, have no logos or other design features, and have brand and variant names in a standardized font and position.

The plaintiff countries maintain that Australia’s law breaches international trade rules and intellectual property rights to brands—arguments rejected by Canberra, and by Australia’s High Court following a case brought by tobacco companies.

The WTO challenges are not expected to be resolved swiftly.

In the meantime, the regulations are in force.

14 ‘tobacco centers of regulatory science’ created by two US agencies

| September 24, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded up to $53 million “to fund tobacco-related research in fiscal year 2013 to create 14 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS),” according to a note posted on the NIH website.

“A new, first-of-its-kind regulatory science tobacco program, TCORS is designed to generate research to inform the regulation of tobacco products to protect public health,” the NIH said.

“Using designated funds from [the] FDA, TCORS will be coordinated by [the] NIH’s Office of Disease Prevention, directed by David M. Murray, Ph.D., and administered by three NIH institutes—the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. …

“The TCORS program brings together investigators from across the country to aid in the development and evaluation of tobacco product regulations. Each TCORS application identified a targeted research goal.

“Taken together, the TCORS sites will increase knowledge across the full spectrum of basic and applied research on tobacco and addiction.

“The program also provides young investigators with training opportunities to ensure the development of the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists.”

The NIH piece is at http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2013/od-19.htm.