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Plain packs report disregards evidence

| April 4, 2014

In its response to the Chantler Report and the U.K. government’s statement on standardized packaging, Philip Morris International said Sir Cyril Chantler had chosen to disregard the evidence on standardized packaging from Australia—the only country to have implemented it. (In November, Chantler, a pediatrician, chairman of University College London Partners and nonexecutive chairman of the Quality and Clinical Risk Committee of NHS [National Health Service] England, was asked by the government to undertake an independent review of the public health evidence for standardized tobacco packaging.)

“Instead he has based his conclusions exclusively on the same questionable research that failed to make the case for plain packaging when the government found insufficient evidence to proceed with the policy last year,” PMI said.

“Plain packaging has failed to cut smoking rates, has not deterred youth smokers and has been accompanied by a dramatic growth of the black market. In Australia, legal tobacco sales actually rose in the year following the introduction of plain packaging.

“As the government today made clear, Sir Cyril Chantler’s review looked only at one element of the potential impact of plain packaging. The prime minister and the government have committed to look at the wider evidence on the economic, legal and crime impacts of plain packaging.

“The government should not rush to proceed without holding the full impact assessment they have promised.”

Secondhand smoke in perspective

| April 4, 2014

The mayor of Santee, California, USA, has enraged anti-smoking activists by playing down the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke, according to a report by Natasha Zouves for 10 News.

Santee recently received a failing grade from the American Lung Association for allowing people to smoke in city parks, but Mayor Randy Voepel was unabashed.

“Here’s the deal—I’m not a smoker,” he was quoted as saying. “I might smoke one cigar every month, but cigarette smoking is especially stupid. And if you want to be stupid, you have the freedom to be stupid in Santee.”

But Voepel said he didn’t see secondhand smoke as a “serious” issue.

“You will suck in more carcinogens on your daily commute in the morning than you ever will smelling some faintly wafting secondhand smoke.”

The full report is at http://www.10news.com/news/mayor-of-santee-f-stands-for-freedom.

Spitting image given makeover

| April 4, 2014

An inventor has come up with a portable spittoon and is now offering to license or sell it to manufacturers or marketers through InventHelp.

The SPITTY is said to provide a convenient place to spit while chewing smokeless tobacco, eliminating the need to carry empty cans and cups.

The invention is lightweight, portable, easy to use and easy to clean, according to an InventHelp press note.

It is said to be sanitary—it helps prevent spills—and discreet, and it is producible in design variations.

There are further details about InventHelp’s Invention Submission Services at www.inventhelp.com.

Snus gets another clean bill of health

| April 3, 2014

Swedish researchers who two years ago reported that snus use was not associated with heart attacks have now concluded it is not associated with stroke, according to professor Brad Rodu writing on the R Street Institute website.

Rodu is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville (UofL), USA. He holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research and is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL.

The new study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, is the product of a collaboration of scientists from the Karolinska Institute; Sweden’s Umeå, Uppsala and Lund universities; and the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy.

“It is well known that nicotine does not cause cancer, but its role in cardiovascular diseases has been difficult to determine,” said Rodu.

“Studying users of Swedish snus, who consume large quantities of smoke-free nicotine over decades, the Swedish researchers concluded that nicotine was unlikely to be a contributor to heart attacks or strokes.

“Smokeless tobacco and nicotine have been demonized for no valid scientific reasons. The Swedish findings are vitally important to all consumers of nicotine and tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”

Unlike tobacco cigarettes, which are said to account for 700,000 preventable deaths each year in the EU, snus is banned in the EU outside of Sweden.

The R Street Institute piece is at http://www.rstreet.org/2014/04/01/no-stroke-risk-with-snus/.

Indonesia stands up for tobacco growers by standing firm against FCTC pressure

| April 3, 2014

The World Health Organization is putting pressure on Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to ratify the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) despite the fact that the president has expressed specific reservations about doing so.

According to a story on en.tempo.com, Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said the latest “push” had been made by Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general, during a speech at a meeting on Tuesday at the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.

And the WHO’s Geneva-based regional director was quoted as saying that Indonesia needed to be a world leader in preventing diseases caused by cigarettes.

But according to a story last month in the Jakarta Post, the president has no plans to ratify the FCTC and will not rush to do so.

Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam told reporters at the state palace that Yudhoyono had not said anything about ratifying the convention.

He added that his office, through which legislation, conventions and other bills were channelled before going to the president for signature, had not received anything on the FCTC from the Health Ministry or the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.

The cabinet secretary stressed that Yudhoyono was “in no rush” to ratify the FCTC because of the impact it would have on the country’s tobacco growers.

“Tobacco farmers needn’t be overly concerned or start holding protests just yet,” he said. “I don’t believe the president is in any rush to ratify this convention.”

JT to make Pianissimo brand changes

| April 3, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it was redesigning three of its Pianissimo products—Pianissimo Lucia Menthol, Pianissimo Pétil Menthol One and Pianissimo Fram Menthol One—though no changes were being made to their flavors and aromas.

The three cigarettes are said to share a smooth, unassertive menthol flavor and light, gentle aroma.

And it is their aroma that has inspired the new design, which is intended to increase the appeal of these products and Pianissimo brand loyalty.

“The new design is based on the current color scheme but will feature a soft pearl sheen and color gradations to represent the light, gentle aroma of the products,” JT said in a note posted on its website.

“The design imparts a look of consistency among the three products, adding a greater sense of presence to the lineup.”

The new design is due to be rolled out across Japan from early May.

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