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Plaintiff awarded $21 million by Engle progeny jury

| November 20, 2014

After more than two days of deliberations, a jury has awarded Diane Schleider $21 million in her Engle progeny wrongful death suit against tobacco manufacturer R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, according to a Courtroom View Network (CVN) story.  

In giving its verdict, which rejected a claim for punitive damages, the jury apportioned 70 percent of the responsibility for Andrew Schleider’s death from lung cancer to Reynolds and 30 percent to Andrew Schleider.

Andrew Schleider, a smoker of Reynolds-brand cigarettes for decades, died of cancer in 1997, leading Dianne to sue Reynolds, claiming the company’s concealment of smoking’s dangers led to her husband’s nicotine addiction and ultimately caused his cancer.

The CVN story explained that Engle progeny cases arise from a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision decertifying Engle v. Liggett Group Inc., a class action suit originally filed in 1994.

‘Although the state’s supreme court ruled Engle cases must be tried individually, it found qualifying Engle progeny plaintiffs could rely on certain jury findings in the original case, including that tobacco companies sold a dangerous, addictive product,’ CVN said.

‘However, to qualify for the Engle findings, plaintiffs must establish that they are members of the class, which includes proving manifestation of a smoking-related disease by November 21, 1996.’

License issued for new cigarette factory in Morocco

| November 19, 2014

A United Arab Emirates company plans to build a cigarette factory in Morocco in partnership with local investors, according to an Emirates 24/7 story quoting the ‘Hespress’ Arabic language daily.

The Dubai-based Al Rashideen trading company was said to have set up a joint venture with Moroccan investors under the name of the UAE-Moroccan Manufacturing and Distribution Company.

The plan was to take advantage of the high level of domestic consumption.

The newspaper reported that the new venture had obtained permission from the Moroccan industry ministry to set up the factory at Tangier.

‘The factory will be built on an area of six hectares (60,000 square metres) near the port in Tangiers,’ the report said.

It said the ministry’s licence allowed the new venture to set up storage units in more than 20 Moroccan cities and nearly 38,000 sale points for its products.

‘Smoker riots’ possible as cigarette prices rise again

| November 19, 2014

The Moscow Times has said that trouble could be brewing over the price of cigarettes in Russia.

A story by Alexey Eremenko said the government was struggling to explain the economic downturn as the country ambled toward recession.

So far, the authorities had been inclined to blame external factors, an approach that was clearly working since President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings were ‘comfortably above 80 percent’.

But as the economy nosedived, the public mood threatened to plunge right alongside it. And some of the Kremlin’s more questionable economic moves might come back to haunt the people who had made them happen.

At the end of his piece, which was largely devoted to matters other than tobacco, Eremenko said that the State Duma last week had approved a new increase in tobacco excise tax, the second in two years.

Quoting a Kommersant newspaper story, he said that cigarettes consumed by 80 percent of smokers in Russia would become about 10 rubles ($0.20) more expensive per pack.

‘While modest, the hike may prove to be the final straw as far as public patience is concerned,’ Eremenko said.

‘In a country where the average salary is 22,000 rubles ($460) and half of the male population is smoking, “smoker riots” are undesirable but possible.’

Could ‘vapo’ catch on in Australia? – give us a break

| November 19, 2014

Vape is Oxford Dictionaries’ international word of the year for 2014, according to a story by Julian Drape for The Age newspaper.

Software that scours the Internet indicated that the use of the word vape doubled between 2013 and 2014.

“That’s a steady and sizeable growth,” senior editor Fiona McPherson was said to have told the Australian Associated Press.

“But it’s nothing like ‘selfie’ – that was so ridiculously phenomenal.” Selfie was the 2013 word of the year.

Drape’s story tells how the earliest known use of the word vape was made in a 1983 UK magazine article on smoking in which Rob Stepney described a hypothetical device as: “an inhaler or ‘non-combustible’ cigarette, looking much like the real thing, but delivering a metered dose of nicotine vapour. (The new habit, if it catches on, would be known as vaping.)”

And since Drape’s story was written for an Australian newspaper, it almost inevitably starts with speculation about whether or not the word ‘vapo’ will supplant ‘smoko’ as a term for a break in the working day.

But perhaps that’s unlikely since it’s illegal in Australia to sell electronic cigarettes with nicotine.

Drape’s story is at: http://www.theage.com.au/world/vape-oxford-dictionarys-international-word-of-the-year-for-2014-20141118-11pbve.html.

JT adds E-Lites to innovative-product portfolio

| November 19, 2014

The JT Group has completed the acquisition of Zandera Ltd, which is known for the E-Lites brand of electronic cigarettes.

Japan Tobacco Inc, which announced on June 11 that it had concluded an agreement to buy Zandera, said today that the investment in Zandera provided the JT Group with an excellent entry-point into the fast-growing electronic cigarette category.

‘With E-Lites’ well-established brand and product portfolio, the Group is able to offer adult consumers another important extension to its growing range of emerging and innovative products,’ JT said in a note posted on its website.

‘In the international tobacco business, the Group remains committed to strengthening Japan Tobacco International’s … business foundations with an overall strategy to foster growth.’

JT said the acquisition was expected to have a minor effect on the Group’s consolidated performance and cash flows for the fiscal year 2014.

Lorillard declares quarterly dividend

| November 19, 2014

Lorillard yesterday declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock of $0.615 per share.

The dividend is payable on December 10 to stockholders of record as of December 1.