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Vector declares quarterly dividend

| December 2, 2014

The Vector Group yesterday declared a regular quarterly cash dividend on its common stock of $0.40 per share.

The dividend will be payable on December 30 to shareholders of record as of December 12.

The Vector Group is a holding company that, among other interests, indirectly owns the Liggett Group, Vector Tobacco and Zoom E-Cigs.

Britain’s smokers under 20 percent of population

| December 1, 2014

The incidence of smoking among Great Britain’s adult (16 years of age or older) population fell from 20 percent during 2012 to 19 percent last year, according to a recently-released report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The incidence of smoking among men was unchanged at 22 percent, but the proportion of women smokers fell from 19 percent during 2012 to 17 percent last year.

Great Britain has seen a long-term, gradual decline in smoking with the overall incidence having fallen from 46 percent during 1974.

According to the ONS, not only have fewer people been taking up smoking, but more smokers have been quitting.

The proportion of adult cigarette smokers is highest among unemployed people, people working in routine and manual occupations and those with lower educational qualifications: all factors associated with poverty.

But unmarried people are almost twice as likely as are married people to be cigarette smokers.

Meanwhile, the ONS said that electronic cigarettes were almost exclusively used by smokers and ex-smokers. ‘Almost none of those who had never smoked cigarettes were e-cigarette users,’ it said.

Cigarette price hike tentatively agreed in South Korea

| December 1, 2014

South Korea’s ruling and opposition parties have tentatively agreed to raise the tax on cigarettes by WON2,000 ($1.80) per pack next year, according to a story in The Korea Herald.

Under the agreement, cigarette prices would be pushed into a range that rose from about WON4,300 to about WON5,000 per pack.

The government announced in September that it would push to raise cigarette prices by 80 percent by January as one of its measures aimed at decreasing the country’s smoking rate among adult males to 29 percent by 2020.

The Health and Welfare Ministry has said that, in addition to the tax and price hike, it would like to see the introduction of a pricing system under which cigarette prices increased in line with inflation.

The most recent previous price hike was in December 2004.

Fining manufacturers not way to tackle illegal trade

| December 1, 2014

The UK’s Revenue & Customs department has privately told British American Tobacco that fining tobacco companies for breaching anti-smuggling legislation might be less than helpful in the fight against the black market in tobacco products, according to a story in The Times citing the leaked minutes of a meeting.

BAT was penalised last month for oversupplying tobacco products to Belgium amid concerns that licit tobacco sold in lower-priced markets was being brought into the high-tax UK illegally.

BAT, which was the first company to be penalized under the legislation, was fined £650,000; and it could have its executives called before MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

HMRC said last month that it was keeping rival tobacco companies ‘under review to ensure they comply with the rules’.

However, in draft minutes of a meeting between BAT and HMRC in London in March, which have been passed to The Times, the tax agency said that fining tobacco companies could reveal the shortcomings of the legislation.

India moving to cut off tobacco-company goodwill

| December 1, 2014

The Indian government is considering a raft of new anti-tobacco measures; one of which would ‘discourage’ tobacco manufacturers from earning goodwill through their corporate social responsibility activities, according to a story by Ritika Chopra for The Economic Times.

At the same time, the new measures, amendments to the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), would extend the ban on tobacco promotion to media platforms such as mobile phones and the Internet.

And they would disallow restaurants, hotels and domestic airports from creating designated smoking areas.

The new measures were said to include a clause to reduce interference by tobacco companies in the conception and implementation of anti-tobacco policies, a provision to create special courts to try offences under COTPA, and a plan to set up a new monitoring authority called the National Tobacco Control Organization.

The ministry wants, also, to introduce a new section empowering the government to suspend or cancel the licenses of tobacco manufacturers, importers, suppliers, distributers or sellers for violating COTPA provisions relating to the sale of cigarettes to minors or to those concerning bans on advertisements and the inclusion of health warnings on cigarette packs.

The government said the health ministry had accepted most of the recommendations made by an expert panel on curbing tobacco consumption, and that the ministry was preparing a cabinet note on the final amendments to COTPA, which was due to go before the cabinet in four or five weeks.

Indonesia minister sees no need to ratify FCTC

| November 26, 2014

Despite calls by health advocates for the Indonesian government to ratify the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Industry Minister Saleh Husin said on Nov. 19 that the government “does not need to adopt and ratify [the FCTC], ” according to a report Antara. Husin said existing regulations are adequate to monitor and control the national cigarette industry.

Husin said his ministry is currently formulating a roadmap for the tobacco industry to estimate cigarette production in 2015-2019. He expressed hope that the roadmap would “serve as a reference for related ministries, such as the ministry of agriculture for the formulation of a strategy for tobacco and clove production, the finance ministry for excise, and the ministry of health for matters related to public health”


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