The U.K. smokers’ group Forest, which campaigned against revisions to the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, has questioned the need for standardized packaging of tobacco after the European Parliament voted yesterday to adopt the revised directive.
The directive will force EU member states to increase the size of health warnings to cover 65 percent of the front and back of the pack.
“If health warnings are going to be even more prominent, dominating both sides of the pack, why on earth do we need plain packaging?” said Simon Clark, director of Forest, which ran the No Thank EU campaign.
“At the very least the government should wait and see what impact the larger warnings have before introducing standardized packs which are opposed by so many people.”
Clark attacked also other aspects of the directive.
“Banning menthol cigarettes and 10-packs is a serious attack on consumer choice that will do little to stop children smoking,” he said.
“The revised directive is typical of the nanny-state mentality that is prevalent not just in Brussels but also in Westminster.”
The Altria Group’s board of directors yesterday declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.48 per common share, payable on April 10 to shareholders of record as of March 14.
The ex-dividend date is March 12.
The European Parliament endorsed the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) on Feb. 26, solidifying an agreement reached with the council last December. The council will now have to approve the TPD for it to take force.
The endorsement of the new TPD strengthens the current European regulation on tobacco in several ways. Among other measures, it increases the size of pictorial and text health warnings to cover 65 percent of tobacco packages and bans flavored cigarettes and features on packaging that play down the health risks of smoking.
The new TPD also aims to make tobacco packages less attractive to women and children. In addition, the directive will also ensure the product safety and quality of nicotine-containing products, including e-cigarettes. It attempts to ensure that they remain accessible to smokers while ensuring that they are unappealing and inaccessible to minors.
EU member states will retain the possibility to adopt more stringent measures to regulate tobacco products, such as standardized packaging.
Lorillard is banning all animal testing unless it is necessary to meet future regulatory requirements.
The introduction of the new policy follows several years of discussions between Lorillard and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and a shareholder resolution submitted by PETA in December 2013 requesting the policy and highlighting the effectiveness of non-animal testing methods. PETA withdrew its resolution last week after reaching the agreement with Lorillard.
Lorillard’s new policy, which was posted on its website on Friday reads, in part: “It is the policy of Lorillard Inc. not to conduct or commission research involving animals and will in good faith otherwise not use animals unless necessary to meet regulatory requirements. In order to eliminate animal testing, Lorillard R&D will use scientifically accepted or validated alternative test methods and technologies that avoid the use of live animals. Such methods and tests may include in vitro cell culture tests, advanced chemistry tests and computer modeling programs.”
“Lorillard’s progressive new policy banning tests on animals establishes it as an industry leader that is embracing modern science instead of traditional animal testing,” says PETA director Justin Goodman. “PETA is actively urging other tobacco companies to follow Lorillard’s lead.”
In introducing its new policy, PETA said that Lorillard had become the biggest tobacco company in the U.S. to have ended tests on animals and the second largest in the world, after Imperial Tobacco.
“PETA also filed resolutions this winter with R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris International and Altria (the parent company of Philip Morris USA), which have conducted tests in recent years in which animals were forced to inhale cigarette smoke, eat tobacco and have cigarette tar painted on their bare skin,” PETA added.
“These tests have continued, despite not being required by federal regulations, their inapplicability to human smokers, and the existence of superior non-animal testing methods.”
There is more at PETA.org.
The Food and Drug Administration of Maharashtra (MFDA) state, India, has issued a warning against the sale and use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes in the state, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.
MFDA officials said that e-cigarettes were being sold widely without the approval of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
While nicotine-containing tobacco-cessation products such as nicotine gum and lozenges had been approved by the DCGI, the use of nicotine in e-cigarettes and cigars had not been sanctioned.
The story indicated that the MFDA was concerned that e-cigarettes were being promoted as tobacco-cessation devices.
The government in Zimbabwe is developing legislation under which it will be able to govern contract tobacco farming and curb undesirable practises that have become “rampant,” according to a New Zimbabwe story quoting Agriculture Minister Joseph Made.
“The ministry is already collecting views and information to be used in drafting a legal framework to guide contract farming and entice both farmers and markets to switch to such arrangements,” Made said in a speech read at the official opening last week of the 2014 tobacco marketing season.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chairperson, Monica Chinamasa, said contractors were supporting more than 54 percent of registered growers and funding 72 percent of the area planted to tobacco this season.
During the previous season, contractors had accounted for 68 percent of all tobacco purchases, up from 64 percent during the previous year.
But there is room for improvement.
Chinamasa said the TIMB had instituted systems to evaluate the performance of contractors in respect of the cost of inputs and the timeliness of the disbursement of those inputs to farmers.
And the TIMB had threatened to withdraw licenses from those that failed to honor their obligations.
At the same time, farmers were being urged to fulfil their contractual obligations and to deliver their tobacco as agreed.
“Our message to all growers is to refrain from side-marketing,” she said.