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Philippines’ sin taxes cut smoking, boost revenues

| June 16, 2015

A tobacco (and alcohol) tax regime that was signed into law by the President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino in December 2012 is said to have cut smoking sharply while boosting government revenues, according to an AFP story.
The number of cigarette packs placed on store shelves by retailers had fallen by nearly a third between 2012 and 2014, said revenue chief Kim Henares.
At the same time, cigarette-tax revenue had risen from 32.16 billion pesos in 2012 to 74.33 billion pesos last year.
Under the law, a portion of the revenues from the so-called ‘sin taxes’ are allotted to finance government health programs, including anti-smoking campaigns.
A Department of Health survey in 2009 found that more than 28 percent of the country’s adult population were smokers.

Tobacco advertised near Indonesian schools

| June 16, 2015

More than 30 tobacco brands are advertised or promoted in areas where schools are situated, according to a story in The Jakarta Post citing a recent survey.
The survey was carried out in 360 schools in five major cities including Jakarta, Bandung in West Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi. It was conducted from January to March jointly by Lentera Anak Indonesia, the Children Media Development Foundation and Smoke Free Agents.
The survey found that tobacco advertisements were present in shops ‘around’ 85 percent of all the schools observed, though the Post report did not define what it meant for a shop to be ‘around’ a school.
Billboard advertisements, meanwhile, were said to have been found ‘near’ one out of three schools surveyed.
“We even found in Bandung that a videotron tobacco advertisement was placed right in front of a junior high school,” a researcher from the Communications Department of the University of Indonesia and a survey member, Hendriyani, said during the release of the survey report on Monday.
The researcher warned that tobacco advertisements around schools impacted children’s tendency to smoke. “An estimated 70 percent of children start smoking after seeing advertisements and continue to smoke because of the advertisements as well,” she said.
Based on Global Youth Tobacco Survey data, smoking among Indonesia’s school-age children increased from 12.6 percent during 2006 to 20.3 percent during 2009.

Smoking down by 16-17 percent in Russia

| June 15, 2015

Russians are smoking less because of the implementation of an anti-tobacco law, according to an Interfax report quoting the Rospotrebnadzor press service.

‘The measures taken to implement Russian legislation on public health protection from the impact of tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco smoking have helped reduce tobacco consumption by 16-17 percent,’ the press service was quoted as saying. There was no indication in the version of the report that TR saw of when the decline in consumption occurred.

Nevertheless, Rospotrebnadzor said the implementation of the anti-tobacco law had helped make ‘a significant contribution to the reduction of the death rate from illnesses associated with tobacco consumption such as cardio-vascular illnesses, lung diseases, and cancer’.

Lorillard becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of RAI

| June 15, 2015

Reynolds American (RAI) on Friday completed its acquisition of Lorillard and, in doing so, ‘significantly strengthened, balanced and diversified’ its brand portfolio.

As a result of the acquisition, Lorillard is now a wholly owned subsidiary of RAI, and former Lorillard shareholders will own about 15 percent of RAI’s common stock.

In a note posted on its website, RAI said its operating companies now had key brands across major industry categories: Newport, Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit in combustible cigarettes; Grizzly in smokeless tobacco; and VUSE in the vapor market.

‘In the acquisition, former Lorillard shareholders will receive $50.50 in cash and 0.2909 of a share of RAI common stock for each share of Lorillard common stock they owned,’ RAI said. ‘In the related divestiture transactions, subsidiaries of RAI have sold the KOOL, Salem, Winston, Maverick and blu eCigs brands, and other assets and liabilities, to ITG Brands, LLC, a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco Group, PLC, for total consideration of approximately $7.1 billion in cash.

‘Additionally, British American Tobacco p.l.c. maintained its approximately 42 percent ownership in RAI through an equity investment of approximately $4.7 billion.’

“As a result of this acquisition, Reynolds American has a significantly strengthened, balanced and diversified portfolio of iconic brands across all key categories – the most balanced in the industry,” said Susan M. Cameron, RAI’s president and CEO.

“The transaction supports RAI’s efforts to lead the transformation of the tobacco industry. The synergies, improved operational efficiencies and higher sales volumes generated by this combination will better position RAI’s operating companies to fuel continued investment in brand building, R&D and innovation for the long-term future of the company.”

Papastratos exports up ‘significantly’

| June 15, 2015

Philip Morris International’s Greek subsidiary Papastratos said recently that the company’s exports rose ‘significantly’ last year, partially offsetting the decline in the domestic cigarette market, according to a story by Anestis Dokas for Kathimerini, relayed by the TMA.

Chairman Nikitas Theofilopoulos said the company’s plant at Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, exported to more than 30 countries.

The company announced in December that it was investing €25 million for the installation of seven new production lines and for a new tobacco processing unit.

Theofilopoulos said the company was also reorganizing and improving its distribution network in Greece for the first time since 1950.

He said the target was to have soon the most modern and most reliable distribution network in the country, the only one that would be able to distribute products to 25,000 sales points across Greece on a daily basis.

JT publishes sustainability report

| June 15, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc. has published the JT Group Sustainability Report FY2014, outlining its sustainability initiatives and performance for the year ending 31st December, 2014. The report is available at http://www.jt.com/csr/report/index.html.

JT said the report contained Standard Disclosures from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. However, it was not yet ‘in accordance’ with the Guidelines. But it was aiming for its FY2015 report to be in accordance with the GRI G4 ‘Core’.

“We are only at the beginning of our journey and we recognize that there is much more to do,” said Mitsuomi Koizumi, president and CEO of JT.

“We must – and will – make further strides on sustainability if we are to continue our success.

“As we implement improvements in the years to come, we look forward to an even more prosperous future that will benefit not only the Group but society in general.”

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