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Overseas sales to overtake domestic sales at KT&G

| March 17, 2015

KT&G’s overseas sales are expected this year to surpass its domestic sales for the first time, according to a story in The Korea Herald.

The company said in an e-mail interview with the Herald that because various factors, including a fall in the number of smokers, had taken their toll of the domestic market, it was seeking stronger overseas sales.

‘The experts inside and outside KT&G agree that this year will be KT&G’s turning point for its overseas sales to top the home sales,’ the company was quoted as saying.

There will have to be a considerable shift in emphasis because last year KT&G’s domestic-to-overseas sales ratio stood at 6:4.

However, the value of its cigarette exports, WON533.1 billion, was up by 30.2 percent on that of 2013.

Currently KT&G’s focus is on the Indonesian market, which has a cigarette market twice the size of South Korea’s.

Indonesia was said to be experiencing economic growth and to have an open market policy.

At the same time, some markets in the Middle East were described as more challenging because of their political instability.

KT&G said it planned to set up additional overseas operations and facilities, potentially in Africa and Central and Latin America, where it does not have local bases yet.

Regulating electronic cigarettes for maximum benefit

| March 17, 2015

A US legal scholar and tobacco control expert says he has developed a research-based roadmap that allows for the immediate regulation of e-cigarettes.

Writing in the March issue of Food and Drug Law Journal, Eric N. Lindblom, JD, senior scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, said his proposal would minimize the threats that electronic cigarettes posed to public health while still enabling them potentially to help reduce smoking.

‘This approach could help to heal the current split in the public health community over e-cigarettes by addressing the concerns of both sides,’ Lindblom said.

‘We already know that using e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking, but more harmful than not using any tobacco or nicotine at all, and that’s enough to figure out how to regulate them both to protect and promote the public health.’

Lindblom’s piece ‘Effectively Regulating E-Cigarettes and Their Advertising – And the First Amendment’, was relayed by at:

Tobacco growing a wealth creator in Karnataka

| March 17, 2015

A study carried out in Karnataka, India, has suggested that tobacco-producing districts are wealthier than those not producing tobacco, according to a Press Trust of India story relayed by the TMA.

The Indian government is considering implementing Articles 17 and 18 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that aim to phase out tobacco cultivation by 2020.

The study, ‘Tobacco economics in India: The voice of farmer and other stakeholders’, was conducted jointly by the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India and the think-tank, Thought Arbitrage Research Institute.

It was said to have shown that wealth indicators such as per capita income, monthly per capita expenditure and gross district domestic product of the tobacco growing districts of Mysuru and Hassan were significantly superior to those of non-tobacco producing districts. Mysuru and Hassan together account for about 75 percent of tobacco output in Karnataka.

The study said that the likely immediate economic impact of a decline in the tobacco industry in these districts would be substantial because farms there tended to be small, production costs were high, and relatively few alternatives were available to tobacco producers.

A drastic reduction in tobacco growing in these districts might lead to dramatic changes in the structure of farming overall, employment, income and the socio-economic balance of the districts, it added.

England opts for £12 billion plain packaging gamble

| March 17, 2015

The UK’s upper house has approved a bill that will require cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco to be sold in England only in standardized packaging from May 2016, according to a Newsweek story relayed by the TMA.

The approval sets the UK government on a collision course with tobacco companies, which have threatened to sue.

One well-positioned observer has said that UK taxpayers, who have already suffered years of austerity, could be forced by the courts to hand over £12 billion to the tobacco companies.

Imperial Tobacco’s spokesperson Simon Evans said his company had “no choice” but to defend its rights in court.

Evans said there was no credible evidence that standardized packaging would meet its objectives. The standardized packaging law in Australia, the first country to introduce such a requirement, had resulted in consumer down-trading and an increase in illegal trade.

Swedish Match AGM set for April 23

| March 17, 2015

Swedish Match is due to hold its annual general meeting in Stockholm next month.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 16.30 Central European Time on April 23 at Citykonferensen, Stockholm.

The agenda is at:

Study recommends raising tobacco purchase age

| March 16, 2015

A study presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 12 supports the theory that raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 from 18 will substantially reduce the number of 15- to 17-year-olds who start smoking and decrease the number of early deaths and low birth weights due to smoking.

Conducted by an Institute of Medicine committee, the study—titled “Public health implications of raising the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products”—reviewed existing information about tobacco use initiation as well as developmental biology and psychology.

Results of the study indicated that, if the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products were increased to 19, smoking prevalence would decrease by an estimated 3 percent by the time today’s teenage users become adults. Additionally, the study found that a 12 percent decrease would occur if the minimum age of legal access were raised to 21, and a decrease of 16 percent would take place should the minimum age be raised to 25.

The committee that conducted the study was chaired by Richard Bonnie, a law professor at the University of Virginia, and researchers used the SimSmoke and CisNet cigarette smoking models to gather information. Researchers also concluded that increasing the minimum age of legal access to 21 would result in 45,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, 249,000 fewer premature deaths, 438,000 fewer babies born with a low birth weight, 286,000 fewer pre-term births, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost among those born between 2000 and 2019.

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