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Category: Breaking News

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Cigarettes in plain packaging seen as more harmful

| July 27, 2015

New Irish research published on BMJ Open has found that people aged 16-17 see standardized packs as being less attractive than packs with EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) warnings, which include graphics and text covering 65 per cent of a pack’s main surfaces, according to a story in the Irish Times.

And they perceive that the cigarettes contained in standardized packs are more harmful than those in TPD-style packs.

The Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland (TFRI) conducted a nation-wide survey of 1,378 secondary school students to test attitudes towards standardized and TPD packs. Students were asked to compare packs on the basis of attractiveness and perceived health risk.

The Times story said that, in all instances, ‘cigarettes in EU TPD packs were thought to be more attractive and less risky than cigarettes in standardized packs – including the Silk Cut, Marlboro, and Benson and Hedges brands’.

Dr. Kate Babineau, postdoctoral research fellow with the TFRI, said that while it might seem obvious that young people preferred branded packs to standardized packs, many continued to argue that packaging was irrelevant.

“These findings are in line with dozens of international studies which prove that packaging elements do influence young people’s perceptions of products,” she said.

In March, Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins signed into law standardized tobacco packaging legislation under which cigarette manufacturers will be required, from May 2016, to produce cigarettes for the Irish market in standardized packaging.

From May 2017 only cigarettes in standardized packaging will be allowed to be sold on the Irish market.

Ireland was the second country after Australia to bring in such legislation. In Australia, standardized packaging has been a requirement since December 2012.

Also in March, the Japan Tobacco group initiated a High Court action against the Irish government aimed at blocking the requirement that cigarettes should be sold in standardized packs.

RAI to make investment presentations in NY, London

| July 27, 2015

The management of Reynolds American Inc. and its operating companies will discuss the companies’ performances and plans during presentations to the investment community in New York on July 31 and in London on August 3.

The presentations will be webcast from about 09.00 local time on both days.

The webcasts will be available online on a listen-only basis at ww.reynoldsamerican.com after registration at the Investors section, Events & Presentations.

A replay will be made available on the website.

Canadian firms overturn C$1.1 billion court order

| July 24, 2015

Imperial Tobacco Canada, British American Tobacco’s Canadian subsidiary and the Canadian subsidiaries of Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International, yesterday had their request to cancel a C$1.1 billion provisional execution order granted by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Three Quebec Court of Appeal judges unanimously cancelled the order after Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, and JTI-Macdonald had argued that there was no legal basis for the provisional execution order.

BAT, in a note posted on its website, said the provisional execution order had been imposed by the Superior Court of Quebec as part of a C$15.6 billion judgement in two class action cases issued on June 1.

“We are pleased to see Imperial Tobacco Canada’s arguments prevail so convincingly with the cancellation of an unprecedented and legally unjustified provisional execution order,” said Jerome Abelman, BAT’s group director, Legal & External Affairs.

“Imperial Tobacco Canada will now focus on its appeal at the Quebec Court of Appeal against the original Superior Court of Quebec Class Action judgement issued on 1st June 2015 which the company argues ignored the reality that both adult consumers and governments have known about the risks associated with smoking for decades.

“Imperial Tobacco Canada has informed us that it is concentrating on continuing its appeal against the substantive elements of the original ruling and that the team is confident its legal arguments will ultimately prevail.”

BAT, which was not a party to the proceeding and is not a party to the original judgement, said the Court of Appeal process was expected to conclude within the next two-to-three years, though there could be a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Indonesia urged to commit all tobacco tax to health

| July 24, 2015

The Indonesian Finance Ministry is being urged to earmark all tobacco tax revenue for the health budget because the health sector is said to be heavily burdened by tobacco-related medical issues, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

Health Ministry secretary-general Untung Suseno Sutarjo was quoted as saying that such a policy would be ‘immensely beneficial for the promotion and development of health’.

“If possible, all tobacco taxation, including tax and excise, should be used only for health promotion because cigarettes make people sick,” Untung told The Jakarta Post.

“If we could receive all income from tobacco taxation; that would be enough to cover our annual health budget.”

The government has been struggling to make people aware of the risks associated with smoking. Graphic cigarette-pack warnings are now mandatory, but consumption has yet to decline and cigarettes remain Indonesia’s second-most consumed product after rice.

The Post said that the tobacco industry in Indonesia had succeeded in expanding its market by nearly nine percent a year, and that the country had become the world’s fourth-largest cigarette market in 2013.

Meanwhile, Amelia Anggraini, a member of the House Of Representatives’ Commission IX overseeing health, claimed that the proposal to earmark tobacco taxation to the health budget had been initiated by lawmakers.

“The majority of House Commission IX agreed,” she said. “The idea actually came from us, but we haven’t talked about it in detail because we’re currently in recess. After the recess ends, there will be further and more comprehensive discussion with the Health Ministry.”

WHO chief congratulates Turkmen president

| July 24, 2015

Turkmenistan is the country with the lowest proportion of smokers, eight percent, according to a Geo News (Pakistan) story quoting the World Health Organization’s director general, Dr. Margaret Chan.

“Recently a WHO overview showed that in Turkmenistan only eight percent of the population smokes,” Chan told the country’s President, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

“This is the lowest national indicator in the world. I congratulate you on this achievement,” she said at a health forum in the capital Ashgabat.

Chan noted that the country had ratified the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2011, by which time it had already banned smoking in public places.

Also speaking at the forum, Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the Convention Secretariat, challenged the country to drive smoking down to five percent.

In 1990, 27 percent of Turkmen males over 15 and one percent of females smoked.

In April, the country held a month of public exercises and sporting events under the slogan ‘health and happiness’.

Union pressure over Essentra’s UK factory closure

| July 24, 2015

Following Essentra’s announcement that it is planning to close its UK filters factory on South Tyneside by the end of this year, the Unite union has said it will leave ‘no stone unturned’ in its bid to save jobs, according to a Shields Gazette story relayed by the TMA.

Unite’s regional officer, Mark Sanderson, said that industrial action would be launched if needed so as to protect as many jobs as possible and to enhance the redundancy packages for the union’s members who might be made redundant.

Sanderson said that suitable jobs were few and far between in Jarrow, where the factory is located.

Unite was said to represent about 40 workers at the company.

Essentra announced earlier this year that it planned to close the Jarrow factory with the loss of about 200 jobs.

It is planning to move production to Hungary.

On making the closure announcement, the company said that it had begun a 45-day consultation period to discuss the site closure with those affected, though there was no suggestion that the discussions would reduce the number of job losses.

At the time of the initial announcement, Essentra Europe managing director Hugh Ross was quoted as saying that cigarette volumes in Western Europe had declined by almost 30 percent during the past 10 years.

Consumer demand was shifting from ‘mature Western countries to the more dynamic, developing markets in Eastern Europe’.

Cigarette companies that bought filters from Essentra had responded to this trend by relocating production to Central and Eastern Europe.

Only a small percentage of the current filter production at the Jarrow facility was destined for the UK market.