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Ban on e-cigarettes with nicotine “frankly bizarre”

| March 11, 2015

New Zealand’s ban on electronic cigarettes with nicotine has come under fire from a visiting health professional from Australia, where a similar ban is in place.

According to a story by Josh Fagan for, University of Queensland Professor Wayne Hall, who is due to make a presentation at an electronic cigarette symposium at the University of Auckland tomorrow, will join other experts in calling for the prohibition to be lifted.

Hall was quoted as saying that the law created an “absurd situation” where people were resorting to the black market to buy products that delivered nicotine in a less harmful way than did normal tobacco cigarettes.

“You can buy cigarettes wherever you like but you’re not allowed to buy something that’s probably a great deal safer, at least in the short term,” he said. “It does seem a pretty silly policy.”

Hall said the government needed to acknowledge the widespread use of electronic cigarettes by reversing the ban and regulating these products to ensure their safety.

The Ministry of Health’s senior tobacco control advisor, Brendon Baker, said the ministry was “stuck in the middle somewhat” between wanting to encourage people to quit smoking, but not having enough evidence to recommend electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative.

University of Auckland associate professor Chris Bullen agreed that more research was needed but said the current law was “frankly bizarre”.

“It’s not a particularly logical or helpful policy,” he said.

Nepal standing firm on 90 percent health warnings

| March 11, 2015

Nepal’s Minister for Health and Population Khaga Raj Adhikari said yesterday that the government had no plans to reverse a directive requiring cigarette manufacturers to increase the size of pack health warnings from 75 percent to 90 percent, presumably of the two main faces.

According to a story in the Himalayan Times relayed by the TMA, the government was standing firm in the face of ‘lobbying from various quarters’.

The new warnings are made up of graphic images taking up 70 percent of the surface area and written warnings in Nepali on 20 percent.

They are due to come into effect on May 16.

New cannabis users outnumber new tobacco users

| March 11, 2015

The number of Spaniards who said they started using cannabis in 2013 outnumbered those who said they took up smoking cigarettes, according to an Agence France Presse story citing a government study released last week.

About 169,000 Spaniards began using cannabis in 2013 compared to about 142,000 who started smoking tobacco, according to the latest annual health ministry study of drug use in Spain.

The number of cannabis users overall was slightly down but the number of people who use the drug on a daily basis increased.

‘The figures confirm the extension of the problematic pattern of consumption of this substance [cannabis],’ the head of the government’s National Drugs Plan, Francisco Babin, said in a statement.

The figures might suggest also that it is not wise to use taxes to render tobacco cigarettes unaffordable without allowing a substitute, such as electronic cigarettes, to take their place.

Ireland’s plain packaging rules signed into law

| March 11, 2015

Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins has signed into law the country’s standardized tobacco packaging legislation.

According to an RTE story relayed by the TMA, cigarette manufacturers will be required, from May 2016, to produce cigarettes for the Irish market in standardized packaging.

From May 2017 only cigarettes in standardized packaging will be allowed to be sold on the Irish market.

Ireland is the second country after Australia to bring in such legislation.

In Australia, standardized packaging has been a requirement since December 2012.

Tobacco manufacturers have threatened to take the Irish government to court over the new requirements.

PMI to host webcast of conference presentation

| March 11, 2015

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at of a presentation and question-and-answer session by CFO Jacek Olczak at the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe (CAGE) conference in London, UK, starting about 10.15 local time on March 17.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will provide live audio of the entire PMI session.

The audio webcast will be available also on iOS or Android devices by downloading PMI’s free Investor Relations Mobile Application at

An archived copy of the webcast will be available at until 17.00 US Eastern Time on April 16.

Presentation slides and script will be available at

PMI declares regular quarterly dividend

| March 11, 2015

Philip Morris International’s board of directors today declared a regular quarterly dividend of $1.00 per common share, payable on April 10 to shareholders of record as of March 26.

The ex-dividend date is March 24.

Meanwhile, PMI announced that Carlos Slim Helú was due to retire from the board of directors at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in May.

“Carlos has served on the board since our spin-off in 2008, and for many years prior to that on the board of our former parent company,” said Louis C. Camilleri, chairman of the board.

“We have benefited tremendously from Carlos’ dedicated service and invaluable advice. We are indebted to him and he leaves with our most heartfelt gratitude.”

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