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Category: Breaking News

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Holograms to grow in 2015, says association

| December 19, 2014
Ian Lancaster

Ian Lancaster

The hologram industry is likely to see further growth as the pace at which anti-counterfeiting technologies combine to provide multi-layered solutions continues to quicken.

And while security applications remain the most valuable for the industry, 2015 is also expected to see substantial growth in the production of holographic optical elements (HOEs) for use in automotive displays and lighting, as well as for general lighting control.

Ian Lancaster, the general secretary of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), says his industry is meeting end-user needs due to the technology’s adaptability and capacity to push the boundaries of innovation and add value.

However, the key to future success will be the ability of holograms to become an intrinsic part of flexible, multi-functional security solutions. These will provide brand owners with the effective ‘weapons’ to battle the counterfeiters and criminal gangs producing hundreds of millions of fake products each year.

Holograms will gain increasing traction with other layered technologies in 2015 and beyond says Ian Lancaster, adding:

“Anti-counterfeiting technologies will grow as the criminal masterminds get more sophisticated every year, and the security printing industry needs to expand capabilities using multiple technologies to remain ahead.”

Product counterfeiting is a trillion dollar a year problem, which represents about 5 – 7% of all global transactions, so the long term outlook for anti-counterfeiting technologies is good.

“There will be growth in all markets but those countries with an emerging middle class will probably see the highest,” says Ian Lancaster. “This includes economies such as India where there’s continued expansion – and our industry in India will reflect this with growth of up to 20%.”

He also predicts that increasing collaboration between holograms and other security and traceability technologies is likely to lead to industry consolidation.

“We may see larger companies offering authentication solutions acquiring niche security and security printing hologram producers to offer customers single source authentication solutions.”

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated in ISO’s 12931 standard, on authentication solutions, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits coming out of China. Even those that carry a “fake” authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

Turning to the very-different field of HOEs, which takes advantage of holograms’ ability to control light, the growth of LEDs is stimulating the adoption of holograms to provide better control of their emitted light. HOEs are being used to diffuse and “smooth” the light from arrays of LEDs as now being used in display and domestic environments, while they are also being used to focus and shape the light.

Similarly, with LEDs in use as vehicle rear lights and brake lights HOEs are also being used to enhance the emitted light. Meanwhile, HOEs also have an important role in vehicle instrumentation and improving the image on small and large format LCD and OLED displays.

US relaxes slightly embargo on Cuban cigar imports

| December 19, 2014

A new policy announced by President Barack Obama means that importing into the US Cuban tobacco products worth up to $100 will be legal, according to a story by Ben Geier for Fortune Magazine.

Under the new rules, US visitors to Cuba will be able to return with goods worth $400 including tobacco and alcohol worth up to $100.

Meanwhile, a Reuters News report made it clear that the new rules concerned personal consumption; not retail or commercial operations.

Writing for The Guardian, Dan Roberts, of Washington, and Rory Carroll, of Los Angeles, said that Obama and Cuba’s President, Raúl Castro, had spoken simultaneously on Wednesday ‘to confirm the surprise reversal of a long-running US policy of isolating Cuba, detailing a series of White House steps that will relax travel, commercial and diplomatic restrictions in exchange for the release of Americans and dissidents held in Havana’.

‘Though a formal end to the US trade embargo requires legislation in Congress, both Obama and Castro said they believed that such executive action was sufficient to significantly open up relations between the two countries and allow travellers and trade to flow relatively freely,’ Roberts and Carroll wrote.

Japan to abolish tax discount for low-income workers

| December 19, 2014

Japan’s government plans to abolish a lower tax rate that traditionally has been applied to a number of tobacco products popular among the elderly and low-income workers, according to a story in The Japan News.

The tax advantage will be phased out over several years from fiscal 2015.

Six brands owned by Japan Tobacco Inc, including Wakaba, attract only about half the level of taxes applied to other products.

Because these brands are popular among the elderly and low-income workers, their special tax treatment has been seen in the past as a social policy.

But consumption of the six brands has grown sharply since a tobacco tax hike in 2010, and purchases by people other than long-time users have been increasing, a health ministry official was quoted as saying.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s tax panel has given approval to the plan to abolish the concession to the elderly and the financially less well off, and the LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, will include the abolition in a fiscal 2015 tax reform outline it aims to adopt on December 30.

E-cigarette quit role noted but age limit to apply

| December 19, 2014

The UK government announced on Wednesday that it was conducting a consultation on draft regulations that would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to those less than 18 years of age.

The regulations would make it an offence also for an adult to buy electronic cigarettes for a person younger than 18.

They would apply to ‘nicotine inhaling devices’, which are taken to include electronic cigarettes, nicotine refill cartridges and nicotine liquids.

Products that are licensed as medicines by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) are not included.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said that while the government recognized the role that electronic cigarettes could play in helping adult smokers quit, it wanted to protect young people and children from the harmful effects of addiction to nicotine, which most electronic cigarettes delivered.

There was a risk that electronic cigarettes could be appealing to children as use and awareness of these products increased.

The new regulations, which would bring electronic cigarettes into line with other age-restricted products such as tobacco and alcohol, were supported by responsible electronic cigarette manufacturers and retailers.

Electronic cigarette manufacturers, retailers and public health professionals had called for a minimum age of sale to be introduced, the minister said.

Cigarette companies hit by chilly winds from Russia

| December 19, 2014

Companies that sell cigarettes, food, alcohol, and beauty products to Russians are increasingly feeling the effects of the country’s economic downturn, according to a story by Joe Miller for BBC Online.

Miller said that Philip Morris, which accounted for almost a quarter of all the cigarettes sold in Russia, had seen its shares decimated in the past month.

But Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities, said that she believed the recent pullback in the stock had been overdone.

Herzog said that PM’s valuation was attractive based on its dividend yield.

PM was in solid shape to fund dividend increases and share buy-backs despite greater foreign exchange headwinds.

Meanwhile, a Reuters report on Wednesday said that Japan Tobacco Inc shares had tumbled.

‘Japan Tobacco, which is highly exposed to crisis-hit Russia, dived 7.8 percent on heavy volume and contributed a hefty negative 10 points to the Nikkei,’ the Reuters report said. ‘It was the fourth most traded stock by turnover.’

Goldman Sachs was quoted as saying that Russia contributed 20-25 percent of JT’s operating profits and that a one percent rouble depreciation reduced its profit by almost ¥3 billion.

The rouble had fallen 20 percent since the start of the week and more than 50 percent this year, Reuters said.

FDA holds key to tobacco related animal testing cut

| December 18, 2014

Guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration could reduce the number of tests currently carried out on non-human animals in support of tobacco product applications.

This was one of the messages that came out of a workshop sponsored by the FDA and intended to identify in vitro models and assays for tobacco toxicity testing.

The workshop, which was held last week, was attended by representatives of the FDA, industry, academia and NGO’s, including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

They met, in part, to discuss the modern and humane in vitro models that are available to replace crude and inaccurate animal tests for evaluating the role of tobacco exposure in causing lung disease, specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“Some of the models discussed included 3-D human airway cell cultures, which can be exposed to whole cigarette smoke to measure its effect on cell functioning, and tissue cultures derived from precision-cut human lung slices,” said Joseph Manuppello, PETA’s International Science Consortium advisor.

“Julia Hoeng, a researcher with Philip Morris Products SA, cited public comments on FDA guidance from PETA as evidence of the rapid advancement of the field in recent years,” he added.

Workshop participants agreed that guidance from the FDA specifically on in vitro test methods would likely reduce animal testing conducted in support of tobacco product applications.

A report from the workshop will be presented at a Society of Toxicology ancillary meeting on March 23 in San Diego, California.