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Regulators shouldn’t disfavor e-cigarettes

| November 5, 2014

Strict regulation of electronic cigarettes isn’t warranted based on current evidence, according to a HealthDay News story quoting a new study and reproduced on the HealthFinder.gov section of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

On the contrary, allowing electronic cigarettes to compete with regular cigarettes might cut tobacco-related deaths and illness, the researchers concluded after reviewing 81 prior studies on the use and safety of the nicotine-emitting devices.

“Current evidence suggests that there is a potential for smokers to reduce their health risks if electronic cigarettes are used in place of tobacco cigarettes and are considered a step toward ending all tobacco and nicotine use,” said study researcher Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Although the long-term risks of using electronic cigarettes remained unknown, the new study concluded that the benefits of using these devices as a no-smoking aid outweighed potential harms.

The study, partly funded by the US National Institutes of Health, was published on July 30 in the journal Addiction.

The full story is at: http://healthfinder.gov/News/Article.aspx?id=690268.

Singapore to ban sales of shisha

| November 5, 2014

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) intends to prohibit the import, distribution and sale of shisha from later this month, according to a Channel News Asia story.

The Parliamentary Secretary for the MOH, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, was said to have announced the proposed ban in Parliament yesterday.

According to the National Health Survey 2010, 7.8 percent of young adults aged 18-29 years smoke shisha at least occasionally, compared to 1.0 percent among older adults.

Meanwhile, the Student Health Survey found that the proportion of students who used alternative tobacco products, including shisha, had increased from 2.0 percent in 2009 to 9.0 percent in 2012.

Dr. Faishal said that in view of the health risks associated with shisha smoking, and to prevent the proliferation and entrenchment of shisha smoking in Singapore, the ban would be imposed later this month.

“However, as a transitional measure, existing licensed tobacco importers and retailers who import or sell shisha tobacco will be allowed to continue importing and retailing shisha tobacco until Jul 31, 2016,” he said.

Alliance pays lower tobacco prices but seeks to improve social responsibility

| November 5, 2014

The prices paid for farmers’ tobacco by Alliance One International during the second quarter of this financial year were generally below those of ‘last season’.

In announcing the company’s second quarter results to the end of September, CEO Pieter Sikkel said that the challenging conditions identified at the end of fiscal year 2014 had continued during the first half of this year. “These included adverse weather in some regions during growing and harvesting that delayed purchasing tobacco from suppliers and building global oversupply,” he said. “Market prices paid for tobacco from suppliers remains generally below last season resulting in a reduction in cost per kilo this quarter of approximately 2.1 percent to $4.60 per kilo.

“As anticipated, the slow start to buying reduced first quarter sales versus last year and has had the same impact through the second quarter. For the second quarter, kilos sold reduced 16.7 percent to 107.1 million and revenues declined 15.8 percent to $589.8 million versus last year, which are in line with internal expectations. Our internal forecast for the full year estimates similar revenue and improved core income before taxes and other items.”

For the quarter, it was stated that income before taxes and other items improved $45.6 million to $8.4 million and included a $5.5 million reserve for customer receivables and lower cost or market adjustments on inventory. Last year’s results had included $55.6 million of debt retirement expense mainly related to Alliance’s refinancing.

“Tobacco markets, globally, are in oversupply and we are well positioned with a controlled quarter end inventory level of $976.4 million, down $8.4 million compared to last year,” Sikkel said. “Our net debt this year also decreased $130.6 million to approximately $1,230.7 million and we plan to work on further year-over-year reductions as we move forward.”

Sikkel said Alliance would continue to invest carefully where appropriate returns were achievable, incorporating further improvements to sustainability and social responsibility initiatives. “Many key customers value these global initiatives and are beginning to monitor how we measure our success and areas for improvement,” he said.

“Developed sustainability and social responsibility programs are becoming requirements to be a leaf supplier for many manufacturers. As such, controlled investment in these core areas with focus on our customers’ longer term requirements should improve our results and increase shareholder value.”

Don’t get sniffy about these detectors – although more research is needed

| November 5, 2014

Portable devices are expected to be used in the Netherlands to take from cafés air samples that will later be analyzed to help inspectors determine whether the national tobacco smoking ban has been broken, according to a story by Janene Van Jaarsveldt for nltimes.nl.

The strategy, which is based on research by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), is aimed at reducing the number of ban violations that, it is estimated, occur in as many as a third of the country’s cafés.

The samplers, which would be operated by representatives of the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), take air samples that can be analyzed in laboratories.

The RIVM is recommending that further research be carried out to determine how the sampling method might best be applied in practice.

Forest celebrates 35 years of standing up for smokers, widens freedom horizons

| November 4, 2014

The UK smokers’ group Forest is today marking its 35th anniversary with a special smoker-friendly party in London.

Two hundred guests are expected to attend the event, Forest@35, including several members of parliament.

The event, at Boisdale of Belgravia, will be attended by long-standing supporters, among them Trevor Baylis OBE, inventor of the clockwork radio, and musician and singer-songwriter Joe Jackson (‘It’s Different For Girls’, ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him?’).

“We’re delighted to reach this milestone,” said Forest’s director, Simon Clark.

“The war on tobacco has been going on for a long time now. We accept that society has changed and smokers are now in a minority but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have any rights or representation.

“The recent call for a ban on smoking in parks and squares was a step too far. Tobacco is a legal product and adults must be allowed to smoke somewhere without finger-wagging or worse.

“If politicians and campaigners don’t want adults smoking in front of children they should review the smoking ban and give proprietors the option of installing well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and bars.

“The freedom to smoke is not a human right but the state shouldn’t force people to quit.

“Unfortunately recent legislation, including the smoking ban and plain packaging, is designed to denormalise and stigmatise the consumer in the hope they’ll give up.”

The evening will feature also the launch of a new campaign, Action on Consumer Choice, which will cover food, drink and smokeless tobacco including e-cigarettes.

“Since Forest was founded in 1979 Britain has changed from a benign nanny state to a censorious bully state that demands people change their lifestyle, whether it be eating, drinking or smoking,” Clark said.

“The attempt to over-regulate e-cigarettes suggests the battle is not about health, it’s about control.

“Forest’s role is to defend freedom of choice and promote personal responsibility. We’ll continue to do that in the knowledge there are millions of people who share and support our views.”

 

Zimbabwe urged to add value to exports

| November 4, 2014

Zimbabwe last year lost about US$6 billion through exporting unprocessed tobacco rather than finished tobacco products, according to a New Zimbabwe story quoting policy analyst Butler Tambo.

Tambo, who was addressing an ‘Ideas Festival’ organized by the lobby group, Bulawayo Agenda, said Zimbabwe’s young people should be mentored in a way that encouraged them to venture into value addition and import substitution, on which the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation blueprint could be anchored.

For instance, while unprocessed tobacco sold for an average of $3.66 per kg at the auction floors, threshed tobacco was priced at about $7.30 per kg and cigarettes were priced at about $30.50 per kg, he said.

In monetary terms, he added, the 166 million kg of unprocessed tobacco exported last year had earned $608 million, but Zimbabwe could have earned as much as $6.08 billion from finished cigarettes.

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