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France aims for plain packs by 2016

| October 13, 2014

France is due to introduce standardized packaging for cigarettes in 2016, according to an Agence France Presse report citing an announcement by Health Minister Marisol Touraine on Wednesday.

In the wake of the introduction of standardized tobacco packs in Australia, Touraine initially announced a raft of measures last month to tackle smoking.

One of the main planks of the strategy was standardized packaging, which “should be in tobacconists at the beginning of the year 2016″, the minister told French radio.

Potentially reduced risk products now in production at PMI plant near Bologna

| October 13, 2014

Philip Morris International on Friday officially opened its first pilot plant for the production of potentially reduced-risk products (RRPs).

The pilot plant, at Zola Predosa about 11 km west of Bologna, Italy, is now in operation.

Meanwhile, PMI’s first manufacturing facility for larger scale production of RRPs, which is currently under construction in Crespellano, about 15 km west of Bologna, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016.

‘Together the factories represent an investment of up to €500 million and the creation of 600 jobs,’ PMI said in a note posted on its website. ‘Combined annual production capacity is expected to reach up to 30 billion units.’

“This is a historic milestone in PMI’s strategic commitment to harm reduction by bringing to market potentially reduced-risk products,” said CEO André Calantzopoulos. “Our decision to invest in Bologna and in Italy reflects our confidence in the potential of our new technologies and our belief that these innovations represent a potential paradigm shift for our industry, public health and adult smokers.”

Eugenio Sidoli, president and MD of Philip Morris Italy said that with this investment in Bologna PMI was further expanding its long-standing presence in Italy and re-affirming its commitment to the local economy. “I am confident that with the great infrastructure available in the region, and above all, the exceptional talent and commitment of our employees, Italy will continue to be a significant pillar of PMI’s success.”

‘The pilot plant inauguration and the progress on construction of the new factory were celebrated during an event held in Zola Predosa, attended by more than 200 guests, including Prime Minister Renzi and other government representatives, Members of Parliament, representatives of regional authorities and employees,’ the PMI note said.

‘The event opened with the “signature of the first stone” by Prime Minister Renzi, André Calantzopoulos and Eugenio Sidoli. The stone will become part of PMI’s first factory in Crespellano which will produce potentially reduced-risk products on a larger scale for Italy and for other markets around the world.

‘The pilot plant, which was built in less than a year, has resulted in the creation of approximately 50 new jobs to date and will serve as the production facility for pilot city tests and initial market launches. It is now fully operational and has already completed the first production cycle that will supply PMI’s first pilot city tests in Milan, Italy and Nagoya, Japan later this year.’

European Court agrees with Yesmokes

| October 13, 2014

The European Court of Justice on Thursday rejected Italy’s application of higher excise duties on cheaper cigarettes, according to an AGI (Agenzia Giornalistica Italia) news agencystory.

The ruling ends the legal action initiated by the Italian tobacco group Yesmokes, which sells cigarettes in Italy at lower prices than the most popular brands.

Italy has since 2012 imposed on cheaper cigarettes a higher excise duty set at 115 per cent of that levied on the best selling brands.

The Court ruled in favour of the appeal by Yesmokes, saying the increased duty was contrary to European rules.

E-cigarettes to move out of TV shadows

| October 13, 2014

Electronic cigarettes may be shown in UK television advertisements from November 10, according to a BBC news story quoting the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).

Ruling for the first time specifically on electronic cigarettes, the CAP said advertisements must not target under-18s or non-smokers, and must not show tobacco ‘in a positive light’.

While the advertising of electronic cigarettes on television is already allowed, currently the device itself must not appear on screen.

The committee said the new rules would be reviewed after a year.

COP6 delegates in Moscow

| October 13, 2014

The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was due to start at the World Trade Center Moscow today.

COP6 is expected to close at lunchtime on October 18.

UK’s smoking population at record low

| October 10, 2014

The proportion of smokers among the UK’s adult population has fallen to its lowest level since recording started in the 1940s, according to a story in The Guardian.

Official figures suggest that the habit’s prevalence among over-18s fell from 19.8 per cent during 2012 to 18.7 per cent last year.

Government ministers were said to have welcomed the figures but statisticians were far more cautious, pointing to the different ways in which data have been collected over the years.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that men (21.1 per cent) are still more likely to smoke than are women (16.5 per cent).

A third of the population claims to be ex-smokers and nearly half claims never to have smoked.

Tobacco industry figures in the 1940s showed well over half of the UK’s over-16s were smokers, with the proportion rising to nearly two-thirds of men.

When the ONS started collating figures in 1974, 45 per cent of the UK’s population smoked, including 52 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women.

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