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2015 Golden Leaf Awards announced

| September 18, 2015

Tobacco Reporter has announced the winners of the 2015 Golden Leaf Awards. During a ceremony at the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum in Bologna, Italy, the winners accepted awards for their accomplishments in five different categories.  The Golden Leaf Awards are exclusively sponsored by BMJ.

SCM/TDC won a Golden Leaf Award in the ‘Most promising product introduction’ category for its Genesis e-cigarette machine.

Currently the vast majority of e-cigarette hardware is made manually in China, with mixed levels of quality.

As regulation takes effect, quality and safety requirements will become much stricter, and many of the handmade products will fall short of the new standards.

SCM/TDC has developed a machine—the Genesis—to automate parts of the production process and bring production quality up to the high level that is common in the tobacco industry.

The machine is built modularly so that it can accommodate future product design changes, which are likely, given the fast development of e-cigarette technology.

One of the most vital parts of the production process is testing the cartridge or disposable. The Genesis subjects every unit to a smoke test or resistance check. Quality control is carried out quickly and with great accuracy.

This way, only products of the highest quality will end up in the hands of customers, and e-cigarette manufacturers will be able to comply with the strictest regulatory requirements.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, SCM and TDC are members of the ITM Group.

U.S. Tobacco Cooperative received a Golden Leaf Award in the ‘Most outstanding service to the industry’ category for its contributions to the sustainability of U.S. flue-cured tobacco production.

Whereas the major leaf suppliers will return a dividend to their shareholders and investors, USTC reinvests most of its profits back with its contracted tobacco growers.

Since 2010, USTC has declared patronage dividends of $37.9 million to its grower members, including $19.8 million in cash.

Volume and pricing predictability are essential for growers’ viability and the sustainability of their flue-cured crop. As global and domestic demand fluctuates according to sales of manufacturers’ smoking products, USTC’s patronage dividend helps growers offset the impact of supply/demand cuts in contract volumes and is paramount in their ability to invest in growing high-quality, compliant flue-cured tobacco.

The patronage dividend is not a premium, bonus or subsidy and it does not increase the cost of the tobacco to the end user—it is purely the distribution of profits made by USTC from its sales and leaf and related products back to its grower members.

SPV received a Golden Leaf Award in the ‘Most exciting newcomer to the industry’ category.

Headquartered in Shanghai, China, the company was established in 2014 to provide the most consistent and reliable e-liquids, e-cigarettes and accessories, as well as snus, with world-class customer care service.

The company’s mission is to dramatically enhance customers’ experience with new tobacco products.

Backed by the expertise and resources of Huabao International Holdings, SPV has an unparalleled global supply chain, allowing it to secure the world’s best quality raw materials and processing them into finished goods and distributing them around the world.

SPV is also the first massively promoted e-cigarette brand in China. The company is looking to expand internationally and is currently looking for strategic partners in the EU and the U.S.

Alliance One Tobacco Malawi received a Golden Leaf Award in the ‘Most impressive public service initiative’ category for its reforestation program in Malawi.

In Malawi, tobacco provides jobs for 430,000 people and contributes 60 percent of the country’s foreign exchange.

But while Malawi’s “Green Gold” provides substantial economic benefits, the production of tobacco also consumes natural resources. Farmers use wood to cure tobacco and construct barns.

Eager to address the environmental impact of tobacco growing, AOI’s local affiliate, Alliance One Tobacco Malawi, has worked hard improve the success rate of its forestry program. In partnership with customers, it is now growing trees on commercial plantations. Beginning with the 2013-2014 crop season, Alliance One Tobacco Malawi started delivering firewood to contracted farmers, reducing pressure on unsustainable and indigenous wood.

Alliance One Tobacco Malawi’s holistic approach to wood resource management resulted in remarkable success in the 2014-2015 crop season. The company provided its customers with tobacco that is grown from 100 percent sustainable sources. It distributed 5,707,119 seedlings and planted almost 6 million trees across smallholder farms, commercial farms and government plantations.

Customers have been pleased with the progress of the program and Alliance One looks forward to continue partnering with them on various forestry projects.

Universal  Leaf  Tobacco  Co. received a Golden  Leaf  Award  in the “BMJ  most  committed  to  quality”  category for  its  commitment  to  quality  and  excellence  throughout  the  tobacco  supply  chain  as  demonstrated  by  various  projects  and  initiatives .

As  the  world’s  leading  leaf  tobacco  supplier,  Universal  has  long  been  a  vital  link  in  the  global  tobacco  supply  chain.  For  tobacco  production  to  thrive,  the company  believes  that  the  supply  chain  must  be  preserved  and  improved  through  sound  production  and  processing  techniques  and  conducting  business  according  to  ethical  standards  that  protect  and  serve  growers, employees,  communities,  the  environment,  customers  and  shareholders.

Those  at  the  beginning  of  the  chain—the  tobacco  growers—must  be  able  to  sustainably  produce  and  profit  fairly  from  their  crops.  At  the  other  end  of  the  supply  chain,  tobacco  product  manufacturers  are  increasingly  demanding  not  only  quality  leaf,  but  quality  compliant  leaf.

Universal’s manages to  simultaneously  satisfy,  in  a  competitive  manner,  these  vastly  different  yet  interdependent  stakeholders , through its investments in cutting edge extension services, good agricultural practices, research, training and social responsibility initiatives.


European WHO members to make ‘tobacco a thing of the past’

| September 17, 2015

Health ministers from the 53 European member nations of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sept. 16 agreed to a plan to make “tobacco a thing of the past” within the next decade.

The member nations—who convened at the WHO’s 65th session of the Regional Committee for Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania—intend to realize this goal by enforcing a series of smoke-free laws and bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and by implementing new educational initiatives. In addition, the roadmap calls for an end to portrayals of smoking in the entertainment industry as well as training to teach health care and family support workers to deliver smoking-cessation interventions.

The WHO has urged European governments to set national targets for significant reductions in tobacco use by 2025. Ireland, Scotland and Finland aim to have smoke-free populations by 2015, 2034 and 2040, respectively.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said, “The generation growing up now cannot comprehend that people used to smoke on airplanes, buses, in restaurants or in offices,” and that “the dream of a Europe where tobacco control has succeeded is not unrealistic.”

Disposable shisha pipes mandatory in Dubai

| September 17, 2015

The Dubai Municipality has implemented a new hygiene rule making it mandatory for shisha outlets in Dubai to use disposable pipes in place of traditional shisha hoses. The rule, which was issued in accordance with the articles of the federal law number 15 of 2009 on tobacco control, is aimed at protecting shisha smokers from coming into contact with infectious diseases.

The municipality’s Public Health and Safety Department has issued a circular to cafes and restaurants that serve shishas, asking them to replace traditional shisha pipes with disposable ones for one-time use by Oct. 15.

According to the department’s director, Marwan Al Mohammed, recent studies have found that shared use of shisha pipes can lead to a spread of several fungal, viral and bacterial infections, including herpes simplex virus-1, hepatitis B, bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases.

FDA orders R.J. Reynolds to pull major brand off the market

| September 16, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds to pull their Camel Crush Bold cigarette brand off the market. The FDA acted under a key provision of the 2009 law that requires prior FDA review and authorization before tobacco companies are permitted to market new or changed products.

The decision, which was announced on Sept. 15, marks the first time the agency has ordered a tobacco company to remove a major cigarette brand from the market since it was granted regulatory authority over tobacco products by the 2009 law. This move sets an important precedent that could apply to other brands as the FDA works to prevent the introduction of tobacco products to the market that may be more appealing to youth, more addictive or more harmful.

The 2009 law prohibits the introduction of a new or changed tobacco product unless the manufacturer proves to the FDA that the product is either “appropriate for the protection of public health” or “substantially equivalent” to a product already on the market. Manufacturers must also prove that the product “does not pose different questions of public health.”

In addition to Camel Crush Bold, the FDA also issued orders that will stop the further sale and distribution of three other cigarette products currently marketed by R.J. Reynolds: Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13 cigarettes. The FDA determined that these products were not substantially equivalent to existing products.

The FDA found that R.J. Reynolds failed to demonstrate that these products do not “raise different questions of public health,” particularly because of the higher levels of menthol, the addition of sugars and other sweeteners, a new method of delivering menthol, and increased levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents.

Camel is one of the three most popular cigarette brands among youth smokers, with 15.1 percent preferring Camel, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Camel Crush is an extension of the brand with a capsule in the filter that releases menthol when crushed.

Pax Labs expands vaporizer line to U.K., Germany

| September 15, 2015

Pax Labs, leaders in vaporization technology, announced Sept. 15 that the company’s Pax vaporizers are now available in the U.K. and Germany. The devices are available at and local retailers.

Since introducing its portable, loose-leaf Pax vaporizer three years ago, sales have grown by 200 percent. In March, Pax Labs introduced Pax 2, an enhanced version of the original Pax vaporizer that offers a more intelligent, high-performance smoking experience. The release of Pax vaporizers in the U.K. and Germany follows the company’s recent $46.7 million Series C funding round and is part of Pax Labs’ aggressive global expansion plan to bring its best-selling vaporizers to customers around the world.

“With the growing demand in the vaporization category, consumers have high interest in innovative products,” says James Monsees, CEO and co-founder of Pax Labs. “The timing is perfect for us to introduce Pax in the UK and Germany.”

According to Pax Labs CMO Richard Mumby, “Both London and Berlin are cultural hubs for technology innovation, cutting-edge fashion, global contemporary art and music. With our Silicon Valley approach to innovation, best-in-class technology and thoughtful design, we’re confident consumers across Europe will receive the product as favorably as we’ve experienced in the United States and Canada. Our connection with the fashion, art and music worlds will help us connect with consumers in these diverse and cultural markets. Forward-thinking, trendsetting and socially active consumers continue to be drawn to the PAX products across geographies.”

Pax has distinguished itself as a premium vaporizer brand through its collaboration with fashion, music and art. This year, Pax secured its first fashion retail partnerships with lifestyle boutiques, including Opening Ceremony New York and American Rag Los Angeles. The company also participated in Fashion Week events, collaborating with designer Richard Chai at “New York Fashion Week: Men’s” and the 2015 New York Fashion Week with Opening Ceremony and 11 by BBS. Pax has integrated its brand and products into the prolific art and music scene through artist showcases, event sponsorships and consumer engagements.

“We know that consumers connect with Pax through not only our product design but also our distinct brand identity,” says Mumby. “We’ve redefined our category, and we’re always challenging ourselves to find resonant ways to connect with our fans, often through experiential partnerships and collaborations. From speakeasies, warehouse parties and music festivals, to prolific street art, galleries and fashion shows, the U.K. and Germany are two vibrant and influential European markets. London and Berlin are two cities at the leading edge of innovation, creativity and style.”

Pax 2 is an evolved product building on the original Pax. Pax Labs further integrated new hardware and software into Pax 2, making it smaller, faster, smarter, more robust, longer lasting on a single charge, and more straightforward to use. Pax 2 is the most pocketable and premium loose-leaf vaporizer available. The device heats loose-leaf material, instead of burning it, releasing active ingredients and natural oils into a subtle vapor. This process produces no combustion and no smoke, making it optimal for social settings.

Pax 2 retails for 199 pounds in the U.K. and 259 euros in Germany. The company now has distribution in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Germany from its online store,, and at select retail locations.

South Korea’s tobacco tax revenue expected to soar next year

| September 15, 2015

Tax revenue from cigarette sales in Korea is expected to reach more than 12.68 trillion won ($10.72 billion) next year, nearly double the increase from 2014, according to a report shown Monday by the independent Korea Federation of Taxpayers.

The Korea Federation of Taxpayers said in its report that the increase is attributable mainly to the sharp tax hike early this year but little reduction in sales volume. The tobacco tax hike was introduced as part of the government’s strategy to reduce the smoking rate in Korea.

The government raised a total of 6.74 trillion won in tobacco tax revenue in 2014 before the tax hike took effect on Jan. 1. This year, it is estimated that the government will collect 11.17 trillion won, up 4.42 trillion won from the previous year. The government had predicted that the tax revenue would increase only by about 2.78 trillion won this and next year, respectively, as sales were expected to drop due to the price hike.

Once the new cigarette pricing went into effect, the price of cigarettes increased to 4,500 won, up 80 percent from the previous 2,500 won. From January to June, the government collected approximately 4.3 trillion won in tax revenue from tobacco sales, up 1.2 trillion won from the year before. During the same period, cigarette sales decreased by 28.3 percent due to the tobacco tax hike.

Although tobacco sales plunged early this year as a result of the sharp price hike, sales have begun to show signs of recovery.

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