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And now smokers are telling fibs – whatever next

| January 30, 2015

At least some medical doctors in the UAE are skeptical about the results of a survey that apparently showed tobacco smoking was ‘falling out of favor’. They believe that some respondents lied to those conducting the survey.

A story by Anam Rizvi and Jennifer Bell in The National Newspaper did not mention who carried out the survey and gave few details of the results, but it said that 76 percent of respondents had said they did not smoke cigarettes or shisha.

And of those who did admit to smoking, few admitted to smoking every day: 16 percent in the case of cigarette smokers and only three percent in the case of shisha smokers.

It is possibly little wonder then that doctors find the survey results hard to swallow – and it’s possibly even less surprising that, given the stigma attached to smoking, smokers resorted to the odd fib.

“People may deny smoking in a general survey but they don’t lie in front of a doctor,” Dr. Sajeev Nair, a specialist pulmonologist, was quoted as saying.

“Smoking is very prevalent in the UAE. My colleagues and I often discuss whether more people are smoking nowadays compared to earlier, and we think that it is increasing slowly among the younger people.”

Nair estimated that between 70 and 75 percent of his patients were smokers.

Eighty percent warnings to be given statutory footing

| January 30, 2015

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved legislation to compel tobacco companies to include on their cigarette packs health warnings taking up 80 percent of the packs’ surface [presumably the front and back surfaces], according to a number of local reports.

The law is due to be enacted by Parliament during the 100 day program of the new government.

In May last year, while dismissing a challenge filed by the country’s leading tobacco-products manufacturer against the government’s requirement for the inclusion of graphic warnings on cigarette packs, a court reduced the size of the warnings from 80 percent to 50-60 percent.

Speaking at a weekly Cabinet press briefing yesterday, Health Minister and Cabinet spokesman, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, said that the earlier decision about the size of the health warnings had been made by the former health minister, and, therefore, the court had been able to nullify that decision.

This time, he said, the government would ensure that the legislation requiring 80 percent pictorial warnings would be legitimized through parliament, in which case no court would be able to strike it down.

PMI to webcast results discussions

| January 30, 2015

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at from 13.00 Eastern Time on February 5 to discuss its 2014 fourth-quarter and full-year results, which will be issued mid-morning the same day.

During the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, CEO André Calantzopoulos will discuss the company’s results and the outlook for 2015, and, with CFO Jacek Olczak, answer questions from the investment community and news media.

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

Slides and script will also be available at, while an archived copy of the webcast will be available until 17.00 on March 6 at

Punch Rare Corojo returns with two new frontmarks

| January 29, 2015

General Cigar’s Punch Rare Corojo will make its annual return to retail on Feb. 16. The seasonal collection will welcome a new frontmark and a limited-edition size available exclusively this year.

The 2015 release of Punch Rare Corojo marks the addition of El Diablo, a 6.5” x 66 cigar, as a permanent new item in the collection. El Diablo will be packaged in the brand’s traditional wooden cabinet-style box and will sell for $8.25 per cigar.

In addition, the brand will launch a limited-edition cigar called Rare Lapiz. The 6.75” x 56 tapered smoke will come in a sleek, 10-count box. Rare Lapiz will only be available to retailers through a special trade deal and will be sold until May 15, or whenever the allotment is depleted.

Punch Rare Corojo is made with a Sumatra wrapper cultivated in the mountains of Ecuador. Grown only in limited quantity, these rare, reddish leaves give Punch Rare Corojo its uniquely smooth taste. Bound with hearty Connecticut broadleaf, the cigar features a spicy blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Dominican tobaccos for a uniquely-flavored, complex smoking experience.

“Punch Rare Corojo started the trend of seasonal cigars, and each year, we’re pleased with the response to this annual collection,” says Ed McKenna, senior brand manager for General Cigar’s Punch brand. “Given the range of frontmarks and the addition of Rare Lapiz to this year’s lineup, we are confident that Punch Rare Corojo will sell out quickly.”

Birch to head sales at Parkside

| January 29, 2015

Paula Birch has been promoted to head of sales at Parkside Flexibles ( Europe and Asia).

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Parkside Flexibles is an innovative flexographic printing, specialized laminating and packaging manufacturer.

Chinese video more effective than plain pack images

| January 29, 2015

A story in The Independent has suggested that China could show the rest of the world how to do anti-tobacco campaigns.

The newspaper made the point that smoking was still an ever present habit despite numerous campaigns such as public smoking bans.

And it cited the differences of opinion currently being aired in the UK over the proposed introduction of standardized cigarette and fine-cut tobacco packaging.

But the writer was clearly horrified and impressed in equal measure at a video aired on the Chinese television channel CCTV last week.

The video apparently showed a series of images of damaged lungs, ‘highlighting the long-term damage smokers and passive smokers face from tobacco smoke’.

‘One particularly frightening sight shows a pair of lungs with black spots dotted all over them, almost like they are covered in tiny chocolate chips, a grim reminder of the horrible effect of the habit,’ the writer said. ‘It certainly puts many of the health warning images that adorn cigarette packages in the UK to shame: the abnormal look of one’s lungs is sure to be more effective than a picture of a sagging cigarette representing the danger of impotence.’

It wasn’t mentioned in the story whether the writer was a smoker or a non-smoker, a factor that would have affected her or his reaction to the images.

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