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Vapor-product regulations sought in Malaysia

| September 29, 2015

A petition urging the government of Malaysia to regulate vapor products in the country has attracted 50,000 signatures, according to a Bernama story citing the Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entities (MOVE).

MOVE’s president, Samsul Kamal Arriffin, said the group wanted the government to ensure that the manufacture, sale and distribution of the products were managed in a systematic, safe and structured manner because the group had received “a lot of feedback saying that vape is more detrimental to health compared to smoking”.

“Generally vape consumers want the use of vape and the vapor to be regulated like tobacco,” he said. “This is because vaping is gaining in popularity in Malaysia and some people are willing to change their lifestyle by choosing vape as an alternative to smoking.”

Umno (United Malays National Organisation – Malaysia’s largest political party) Youth vice-chief, Khairul Azman Harun, who was handed the petition, said Umno Youth was against a ban on vaping but wanted the government to regulate vape products because studies had shown that vaping could reduce nicotine addiction among heavy smokers by up to 80 percent.

He said that electronic cigarette entrepreneurs, who first introduced the products in Malaysia in 2011, should adopt good manufacturing practice so that the products currently used by 400,000 consumers, would not be a health hazard.

Cork tip: High taxes encourage illegal trade

| September 29, 2015

The illegal trade in cigarettes is rife in County Cork, Ireland, according to a UTV (Ulster Television) story.

During the past two weeks, 595,000 illicit cigarettes have been found in Cork, which figure represents about one cigarette for every resident of the county.

In the most recent incident, the third haul in two weeks, a joint operation by Revenue and the Gardaí uncovered 20,000 unstamped Aroma cigarettes and 15 kg of unstamped Flandria tobacco.

The find, made in the village of Glanmire on Saturday was said to have been worth €15,500 at retail, ‘with a potential loss to the Exchequer of around €12,000’.

The 77 percent tax rate implied by these figures probably goes some way to explaining the high incidence of illicit cigarette sales.

Plan to save tobacco products rubbish from tip

| September 29, 2015

Japan Tobacco International is backing an initiative aimed at recycling the UK’s cigarette butts into plastic products, according to a BT story.

The initiative will allow smokers to prevent some of the billions of non-biodegradable butts and other cigarette waste from ending up in landfill or as litter, the recycling company behind the scheme, TerraCycle, said.

The ‘Cigarette Waste Brigade’ allows groups, workplaces, councils and individual adults to collect butts, ash, used and unused filters, rolling paper, inner foil packaging and outer plastic packaging, and send them for recycling using free shipping labels.

Collected cigarette waste will be turned into plastic delivery pallets, with tobacco and paper being composted.

Smoking related rubbish is said to be the most common form of litter, found at 73 percent of sites surveyed by anti-litter campaigners. It makes up 35 percent of the items of waste that have been dropped.

JT keen to complete Santa Fe deal this week

| September 29, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc. is in the final stages of negotiations to buy Reynolds American Inc.’s Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company subsidiary, possibly excluding the US rights to the Natural American Spirit brand, according to a Nikkei Asian Review (NAR) story relayed by the TMA.

JT is said to be aiming to reach an agreement on the deal, thought to be worth about US$5 billion, sometime this week.

The NAR said that JT was hoping to accelerate its global growth by obtaining the marketing rights for Santa Fe’s Natural American Spirit.

JT has used acquisitions to start and expand its overseas cigarette business, starting with the 1999 purchase of RJR Nabisco’s non-US operations.

The Santa Fe deal would be JT’s biggest acquisition since its 2007 purchase of the UK-based Gallaher Group for US$14.7 billion.

Exporters walk away from tobacco with volcanic ash

| September 28, 2015

Thousands of tobacco farmers in Jember, East Java, have been struggling to market their tobacco this year after their plants were completely or partly damaged by the recent eruptions of Mount Raung, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

Suwarno, a farmer of Na Oogst tobacco in Balung district, was quoted as saying that previous harvests had fetched Rp80,000 (US$5.42) per kg.

But this season, 2,000 kg of newly harvested tobacco from Suwarno’s one-ha field lie in his barn while buyers stay away.

“I was lucky that I still could harvest the tobacco, even though no one’s bought it,” he said. “Other farmers just let their tobacco rot in their fields because they couldn’t afford to harvest it.”

Suwarno, who leads the Jember branch of the Association of Indonesian Tobacco Farmers (APTI), said he had spent about Rp75 million on planting and maintaining his tobacco before Mt. Raung, located on the border between the Jember, Bondowoso and Banyuwangi regencies, erupted several times between early July and late August.

Meanwhile, Abdurrachman, a Vor Oogst tobacco farmer from Pakusari district, took a sample of his tobacco to a local cigarette company, which told him that every three kg of his tobacco contained about 300 g of volcanic ash.

A recent meeting involving local authorities, farmers and exporters ended, according to Suwarno, in deadlock after the exporters that usually bought tobacco from the growers decided not to buy Na Oogst tobacco and only to buy Vor Oogst tobacco under strict conditions.

Abdurrachman has asked the government to intervene by, for example, providing compensatory aid to farmers, whom he said could be considered victims of natural disaster.

“We ask the government to be fair,” he said. “Most of the farmers depend on this year’s yield for next year’s production costs. Without compensation or aid, how will they survive?”

Plight of Andhra growers ‘extremely grave’

| September 28, 2015

The plight of tobacco growers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has been described by two leading tobacco growers’ associations as ‘extremely grave’, according to a Webindia story.

The Kondepi Tobacco Growers’ Association and the Kaligiri FCV Tobacco Growers’ Association were quoted as saying that they were disturbed by the ‘growing number’ of suicides among tobacco growers in the state.

They said that the government should examine grower livelihoods before embarking on ‘extreme regulations’.

‘There is no alternative to tobacco farming in our area because of the soil and climatic conditions,’ they said.