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Sporting chance of Tokyo smoking ban

| November 7, 2014

Some people within the Tokyo government are pushing for a tobacco smoking ban in line with those in force in some western nations, according to a PRESS TV story.

Such a ban was attempted in Yokohama but failed due to strong business opposition.

However, some people believe the time is now right and there are a number of factors that are working in their favor.

Smoking in Japan has been in long-term decline and now 63 percent of the Japanese population is said to favor a ban.

In addition, Japan is due to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Some people point also at the Japanese government’s direct interest – or lack of it – in Japan Tobacco Inc. Its shareholding has been reduced gradually over the years, most recently to just over 50 percent in 2004 and to about 33 percent in March 2013.

But it is by no means certain that such a reduced shareholding would be linked in inverse proportion to the imposition of anti-tobacco policies.

Universal says new PMI leaf supply deal will help address US farm labor issues

| November 6, 2014

The Universal Corp subsidiary, Universal Leaf North America (ULNA), is set to increase its direct purchases of US flue-cured and Burley tobaccos as part of a new leaf supply agreement with Philip Morris International.

In making the announcement, Universal Corp’s chairman, president and CEO, George C. Freeman III, said PMI’s decision to adopt a new leaf buying model for its US operations (see PMI announces new U.S. tobacco purchasing model story, November 5) provided for a transition from a direct farmer contracting model to purchasing processed grades of tobaccos through two global leaf suppliers in the US. The transition was expected to provide important supply chain efficiencies and was said to be indicative of PMI’s and Universal’s strong commitment to grower communities, and of PMI’s intent to remain a major purchaser of US-grown leaf tobacco.

The change is due to be effective for the 2015 crop and will include the assignment of certain grower contracts and the use of receiving station operations.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to meet the evolving needs of one of our longstanding global business partners, while broadening our leaf purchasing and grower support activities in the United States,” said Freeman.

“As the global leader in the supply of leaf tobacco, we are well positioned to continue our support of Good Agricultural Practices, and are committed to the expansion of the Agricultural Labor Practices code (ALP) across our full US grower base. ALP is designed to further our corporate goals and the goals of our customers of progressively addressing and eliminating concerns found in agriculture with child and other labor issues, and achieving safe and fair working conditions on all farms from which we source tobacco.”

Meanwhile, Clayton G. Frazier, president of ULNA, said that the expansion of direct contracting by Universal would provide procurement synergies and economies of scale and would promote efficient leaf utilization of packed grades of US tobaccos supplied to PMI and ULNA’s other customers.

“In addition, we look forward to expanding our relationships and services to further strengthen our grower communities,” said Frazier.

“These positive developments, in conjunction with our recently announced entry into the sweet potato juicing and dehydration business, Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients, Inc., illustrate the continued strong commitment of Universal to tobacco growers in the United States. The production of sweet potatoes provides many tobacco farmers with an important and economically viable crop grown in rotation with tobacco.”

Modest price rise for Japan’s growers

| November 6, 2014

Japan’s Leaf Tobacco Deliberative Council today announced the area on which domestic leaf would be grown next year and the prices that would be paid to farmers.

In a note posted on its website, Japan Tobacco Inc. said the council had been in general agreement with a proposal put forward by JT earlier in the day and had determined that the domestic tobacco cultivation area should be set at 8,662 ha, down by 2.7 percent on that of 2014, (8,901 ha).

Flue-cured will be grown on 5,679 ha in 2015 (5,761 ha in 2014), Burley will be grown on 2,975 ha (3,116 ha) and local leaf varieties will be grown on eight ha (24 ha).

Meanwhile, grower prices will be set at ¥1,920.1 per kg, an increase of 0.71 percent on those of this year.

E-cigarette outlets plummet in Spain

| November 6, 2014

The number of shops selling electronic cigarettes in Spain has fallen by 90 percent during the past 12 months, according to a story in The Local quoting the country’s electronic cigarette industry association, ANCE.

A year ago there were about 3,000 shops selling electronic cigarettes in Spain but now there are about 300.

“There has been a very intense attack by pharmaceutical companies which has generated bad publicity in the media,” ANCE vice president, Alejandro Rodríguez, was said to have told Spain’s El Confidencial newspaper.

The Local said that the ANCE comments had followed a leak of e-mails from GlaxoSmithKline showing that the company had been lobbying for tougher regulation of electronic cigarettes.

According to the leaked emails, the company wants the products to be regulated as medicines; so that they would have to compete with products such as nicotine gum.

Spain does not have such regulations but it has banned the use of electronic cigarettes in public places such as hospitals and schools.

Rodríguez conceded that part of the problem was down to the fact that too many shops had opened in Spain in too short a period. Many of the staff had been inexperienced and didn’t know how to advise their clients, he said.

UAE to outlaw tobacco smoking in public

| November 6, 2014

A nationwide ban on tobacco smoking in enclosed public places in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is due to come into force from early next year, according to a story in The National quoting a Ministry of Health announcement.

The ban will include public places such as universities, hospitals, public transport, theatres, cinemas, playgrounds and pitches.

At the same time, the ministry says it is stepping up efforts to encourage people to quit smoking. “The ministry decided to open eight new clinics for those who wish to quit smoking with primary healthcare centres in Dubai and in Fujairah,” said Dr. Waddad Al Maidoor, head of the ministry’s National Anti-Tobacco Program.

“Nine other existing clinics will play a greater role in that field as they will be refurbished and equipped with the necessary medications.”

The UAE Vision 2021 plan has a target of reducing smoking levels to 16 percent nationally, from the current 26 percent.

PMI announces new U.S. tobacco purchasing model

| November 5, 2014

Philip Morris International is adopting a new leaf buying model in the United States. The company will transition from directly purchasing tobacco through contracts with U.S. growers to purchasing through two suppliers, Alliance One International Inc. (AOI) and Universal Corp. This new purchasing model will take effect on April 1, 2015.

“Moving to a new system for leaf purchasing in the U.S. will help us achieve important supply chain efficiencies while remaining a major purchaser of U.S. grown tobacco,” said Nicolas Denis, vice-president leaf, PMI.

“While we are changing our approach to buying tobacco in the U.S., PMI’s commitment to improving farm labor conditions on the farms from which we source tobacco has not changed. We require our suppliers to adhere to our practices, principles and standards, including our leading Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program. Through supplying leaf to PMI in many markets around the world, AOI and Universal are key partners in our efforts to implement our ALP program on the farms where we source tobacco. With these new U.S. supply agreements even more U.S. tobacco growers will come under PMI’s ALP standards,” said Denis.

As a result of this transition, approximately 35 PMI employees based out of Richmond, Virginia, will be impacted.

“It is unfortunate that this decision will impact some of our employees and it is our priority to provide them with the best possible support and assistance during this transition,” said Denis.




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