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U.K. visa revoked over cigarette haul

| March 21, 2014

A businessman from Jiangsu Province, China, has been deported from the U.K. after trying to take 35 undeclared cartons of cigarettes into the country, according to a Global Times story quoting a press note put out by the Shanghai Airport Frontier Inspection Station.

The U.K. authorities were said to have seized the cigarettes and revoked the businessman’s two-year business visa.

The businessman, identified only by his surname, Wu, is a commercial representative who often traveled to the U.K.

He said he had intended to give the cigarettes as gifts to clients because of the high taxes they had to pay for tobacco in the U.K.

Before departing for the U.K. from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Wu was said to have ignored airline staff who warned him that he wasn’t supposed to take so many cigarettes into the U.K.

Because of his deportation, Wu, who arrived back in Shanghai on Wednesday, would be expected to have trouble getting another visa to the U.K.

Colorado rejects smoking-age increase

| March 21, 2014

Lawmakers in Colorado, USA, have overturned a proposal that would have raised the age at which people could buy tobacco from 18 to 21, according to a CBS4 report. Colorado is the third state this year to consider but reject the higher age.

The House Finance Committee rejected the proposal on a 7-6 vote, a breakdown that wasn’t along partisan lines.

The Democrat who cast the deciding vote against the measure said that 18-year-olds were adults who should be persuaded not to smoke, not banned from smoking.

Altadis signs up to diversity charter

| March 21, 2014

Imperial Tobacco’s business in Spain has put its name to a charter that is in line with Imperial’s commitment to supporting diversity.

Altadis is amongst a number of leading Spanish companies to have signed up to the Charter de la Diversidad 2014.

The charter sets out a code of practice that guarantees a commitment to promote equality in the workplace and the wider community.

A ceremony recognizing Altadis as a signatory took place at the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality in Madrid.

“It’s very important for us to demonstrate our respect for a code of practice that promotes responsibility in terms of equality,” said Ángel Morales, who is HR operations manager in Spain and who attended the event.

“This helps to reaffirm our reputation as a good company to work for in Spain, and I was delighted to sign this charter on behalf of Altadis.”

Tobacco duty rise will fuel illicit trade

| March 20, 2014

The director of the U.K. smokers’ group Forest, Simon Clark, has criticized yesterday’s budget increase on tobacco duty, which was 2 percent above the rate of inflation.

“Recent history shows that increasing tobacco duty above inflation fuels illicit trade and costs government money,” he said.

“The treasury loses billions of pounds to illicit traders every year. A further increase in duty will merely encourage more people to take advantage of the huge savings available on the black market.

“Law-abiding consumers are being penalized while poor and elderly smokers will be hardest hit.”

The tobacco tax increase is expected to raise the retail price of a pack of 20 cigarettes by about 28 pence.

The chancellor delivered some good news, however. His budget measures will cut the price of beer by 1 pence a pint, so those pack-a-day smokers used to downing 28 pints of beer a day will break even during their short, happy lives.

Qatar arrests Asian sweika sellers

| March 20, 2014

Qatar’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested nine “Asians” involved in the production, packing and sale of “sweika,” an illicit product based on chewable tobacco, according to a story in the Gulf Times.

About 6,000 packs of sweika were seized.

The arrests came after the department received a tip-off about activities at a house in the Wukair area.

The suspects were referred to the South Security Department for what was described as “further legal procedures.”

The CID has urged people to report any person suspected of producing and dealing with sweika, which was described as a threat to human health.

Illicit traders face fines and lecture

| March 20, 2014

Five shopkeepers in Malaysia were recently fined for selling illicit cigarettes, according to a story in The Star.

The fines seemed to be set at more than 10 times the “value” of the illicit cigarettes in their possession.

But these were not the Mr. or Mrs. Bigs of the illicit trade.

One of them admitted to having untaxed cigarettes worth just MYR73.76 (US$22.24) at her shop.

She was fined MYR1,000.

And, according to the news story, she, along with other offenders, had to “endure a lecture by magistrate Nik Habri Muhammad.”

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