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New Winston-Salem role for Reynolds’ Whitaker Park

| January 8, 2015

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company said yesterday that it had agreed to donate a significant portion of its Whitaker Park manufacturing plant and surrounding properties to a local redevelopment group, WPDA.
WPDA is a non-profit corporation created by Winston-Salem Business, the Winston-Salem Alliance and Wake Forest University to undertake economic and redevelopment projects.

As part of the agreement, R.J. Reynolds is due to donate a laboratory building to WPDA early this year. The Whitaker Park plant and other properties will then be transferred to the group over the next 12-24 months.

The laboratory, a 70,000-square-foot building on about four acres of land, is being donated first because of its potential for near-term economic development.

The donation will include also about 120 acres of prime commercial and industrial land, along with buildings totaling about 1.7 million square feet.

“We’re pleased that a local group has stepped forward and committed resources towards repurposing this great and historic plant and its surrounding properties,” said Mark A. Peters, senior vice president and chief financial officer of R.J. Reynolds. “We’re confident these properties will play a key role in the economic development and transformational growth of Winston-Salem and the greater Triad region.”

The Whitaker Park manufacturing plant was opened in 1961.

Call for privatization of cigarette-butt clean-up costs

| January 7, 2015

UK MPs want tobacco companies, takeaway restaurants and chewing-gum manufacturers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to clean up the mess created when their products and packaging are carelessly discarded, according to a story by Mark Leftly for The Independent.

They are said to be furious that managing litter in England alone costs the state £1 billion a year, much of it in council tax, at a time when the government is trying to balance the country’s precarious finances.

The most frequently littered items are cigarette butts – six billion are said to be discarded every year in London’s Square Mile financial district – and chewing gum, which is particularly costly to remove and accounts for around a quarter of all litter. Nearly three percent is fast-food related.

Leading figures from the Wrigley Company, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, and McDonald’s are due to face the House of Commons’ Communities and Local Government Committee this week.

MPs are considering whether it would be effective to impose litter taxes on companies that produce products frequently discarded on Britain’s streets.
Committee chairman Clive Betts said the taxpayer should not be expected to bear the full cost. He said it was too soon to judge what financial burden could be transferred to the private sector, but a committee source said these businesses could “absolutely” end up footing a significant part of the current £1 billion clean-up costs.

Keep Britain Tidy has estimated that indirect costs, such as the impact on health, property values, and crime, cost the economy an additional £3 billion annually.

Follow the story here.

Health fears stop smokers from using e-cigarettes

| January 7, 2015

A just-released survey on tobacco habits and attitudes in the US has found that most college graduates have never tried a cigarette.

This is one of the findings of a national poll of more than 1,000 US American adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Swedish Match, a Sweden-based tobacco company that is advocating a world without cigarettes.

The survey found that 21 percent of US Americans said they were current smokers, with 23 percent declaring that they had quit the habit and 42 percent replying that they had never had a cigarette, a figure that jumps to 54 percent among college graduates.
Only 12 percent of those who completed college said they smoked.

The highest rates of smoking were among 18-34-year-olds (23 percent), just ahead of 35-54-year-olds (22 percent) and much higher than those 55 and older (17 percent).
Among those who quit smoking, 56 percent said they did so due to health fears, while 32 percent said they gave up cigarettes because of their price.
Smokers are largely transparent about their tobacco use. Only 15 percent of those who do or did smoke said they hid/hide the habit from their co-workers, though among 18-34 year-old smokers this percentage rises to 36 percent.

“This survey underscores the significant generational and educational differences in Americans’ attitudes toward smoking,” said Chris Lemmon, senior brand manager at Swedish Match.
“Curiously, the smoking rates among Millennials – the generation that has grown up with anti-smoking messages – are actually higher than [among] older age groups, and yet one in three of them hide their cigarette use at work, which likely speaks to the stigma still associated with smoking.”

Meanwhile, attitudes toward electronic cigarettes seem to be evolving. While 58 percent of smokers surveyed said that there was no stigma associated with electronic cigarette use, 37 percent of smokers said they didn’t use electronic cigarettes because their health impacts were still unknown. Another 18 percent of smokers believed electronic cigarettes were just a fad.
Twenty eight percent of the smokers surveyed said they used electronic cigarettes.

Belarus sets cigarette production quotas for 2015

| January 7, 2015

The Belarusian government has set the quota for cigarettes produced for sale during 2015 on the domestic market at 30.0 billion pieces, the same quota as that of last year, according to a Belarusian Telegraph Agency report.

The Belgospishcheprom Group has been given a quota of 23.0 billion cigarettes, of which 18.9 billion are filtered products (Kronon, Magnat, Minsk, Premier, Fest, Credo, Matrix, NZ, Portal and Queen).

And Minsk (the joint venture Tabak Invest) has been granted a quota of 7.0 billion pieces, of which 1.4 billion are filtered (Korona and Fort).
The quotas can be adjusted during the year, but only by the government.

Turkish smokers hit with double price whammy

| January 7, 2015

Smokers in Turkey have been hit with a double whammy as some tobacco companies have taken the opportunity of a tax hike to increase their own prices, according to a story in the Daily Sabah.

Tobacco companies increased the tobacco prices on Monday in response to the tax increase, which came into effect on January 1.
And mostly they put prices up by TL0.50 a pack when the tax increase – from 82 percent to 83 percent – was TL0.40.

But it is the Turkish Finance Ministry that will make the highest profit from the increased prices.
Based on the level of cigarette sales in 2014, the ministry will collect nearly TL1.9 billion from the imposition of the new tax.

With the increases in place, the retail price of the cheapest cigarette on the Turkish market is TL5.00, while that of the most expensive product is TL10.50.

Chowdhury namedpartner at Keller and Heckman

| January 6, 2015

azim-chowdhuryE-cigarette expert Azim Chowdhury has been named partner in Keller and Heckman’s Washington DC law office. Chowdhury advises corporations in matters of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and international regulatory

Specifically, he assists corporations in establishing clearances for food and drug additives in the U.S., Canada and the European Union, with an emphasis on indirect additives used in food-contact chemicals.

Chowdhury has extensive expertise in tobacco product regulation and spearheaded the FDA tobacco practice at Keller and Heckman. He represents tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturers, suppliers and trade associations in matters of FDA regulatory and corporate compliance.

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