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Snus gets another clean bill of health

| April 3, 2014

Swedish researchers who two years ago reported that snus use was not associated with heart attacks have now concluded it is not associated with stroke, according to professor Brad Rodu writing on the R Street Institute website.

Rodu is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville (UofL), USA. He holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research and is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL.

The new study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, is the product of a collaboration of scientists from the Karolinska Institute; Sweden’s Umeå, Uppsala and Lund universities; and the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy.

“It is well known that nicotine does not cause cancer, but its role in cardiovascular diseases has been difficult to determine,” said Rodu.

“Studying users of Swedish snus, who consume large quantities of smoke-free nicotine over decades, the Swedish researchers concluded that nicotine was unlikely to be a contributor to heart attacks or strokes.

“Smokeless tobacco and nicotine have been demonized for no valid scientific reasons. The Swedish findings are vitally important to all consumers of nicotine and tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”

Unlike tobacco cigarettes, which are said to account for 700,000 preventable deaths each year in the EU, snus is banned in the EU outside of Sweden.

The R Street Institute piece is at http://www.rstreet.org/2014/04/01/no-stroke-risk-with-snus/.

Indonesia stands up for tobacco growers by standing firm against FCTC pressure

| April 3, 2014

The World Health Organization is putting pressure on Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to ratify the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) despite the fact that the president has expressed specific reservations about doing so.

According to a story on en.tempo.com, Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said the latest “push” had been made by Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general, during a speech at a meeting on Tuesday at the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.

And the WHO’s Geneva-based regional director was quoted as saying that Indonesia needed to be a world leader in preventing diseases caused by cigarettes.

But according to a story last month in the Jakarta Post, the president has no plans to ratify the FCTC and will not rush to do so.

Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam told reporters at the state palace that Yudhoyono had not said anything about ratifying the convention.

He added that his office, through which legislation, conventions and other bills were channelled before going to the president for signature, had not received anything on the FCTC from the Health Ministry or the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.

The cabinet secretary stressed that Yudhoyono was “in no rush” to ratify the FCTC because of the impact it would have on the country’s tobacco growers.

“Tobacco farmers needn’t be overly concerned or start holding protests just yet,” he said. “I don’t believe the president is in any rush to ratify this convention.”

JT to make Pianissimo brand changes

| April 3, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it was redesigning three of its Pianissimo products—Pianissimo Lucia Menthol, Pianissimo Pétil Menthol One and Pianissimo Fram Menthol One—though no changes were being made to their flavors and aromas.

The three cigarettes are said to share a smooth, unassertive menthol flavor and light, gentle aroma.

And it is their aroma that has inspired the new design, which is intended to increase the appeal of these products and Pianissimo brand loyalty.

“The new design is based on the current color scheme but will feature a soft pearl sheen and color gradations to represent the light, gentle aroma of the products,” JT said in a note posted on its website.

“The design imparts a look of consistency among the three products, adding a greater sense of presence to the lineup.”

The new design is due to be rolled out across Japan from early May.

Entries invited for packaging awards

| April 3, 2014

Pro Carton is inviting entries for its 2014 ECMA Award, which is said to be open to the whole supply chain, from the carton-board and carton industries to designers, brand owners and retailers.

The last date for entries is June 6.

The presentation of awards is due to be made during a gala evening of the ECMA Pro Carton Congress in Sorrento, Italy, on Sept. 18.

Further details are available at www.procartonecmaaward.com.

PM to close Australian factory this year

| April 2, 2014

Philip Morris Limited (PML) said today that it was to stop cigarette manufacturing in Australia by the end of this year.

The manufacture of cigarettes for the Australian market will be moved to PML’s affiliate in South Korea.

Currently, about 180 people are employed at PML’s factory at Moorabbin, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.

“This is an extremely difficult decision, and devastating news for all of our employees,” said John Gledhill, managing director, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

“Philip Morris Limited has a proud history of nearly 60 years of manufacturing in Moorabbin, being the first Philip Morris affiliate established outside of the United States, and many of our employees have been with the company for a significant part of that journey,” said Gledhill.

“With the Australian market in gradual decline over the last decade, in 2006–2009 PML substantially invested in the Moorabbin factory to capitalize on export opportunities across the region,” said a note posted on Philip Morris International’s website. “However, these forecast export opportunities have not been realized due to Australian government reduced-fire risk requirements introduced in 2010 on all locally manufactured cigarettes that do not match consumers’ preferences in other markets in our region.”

“Despite the introduction of plain packaging and the continued growth in illicit trade, PML’s volumes were stable in 2013,” said Gledhill. “However, with any significant export opportunity restricted by Australian government regulations, our Moorabbin factory is significantly under-utilized, operating at less than half of its currently installed capacity.

“Our operations team [has] led the PMI business in terms of quality, and set numerous records for productivity and performance. However, regrettably factors beyond our control prevent us from fully utilizing the facility, and accordingly it’s been identified for closure.”

Gledhill said about 180 employees directly involved in manufacturing would be impacted by the planned closure, and that extensive support would be provided to all employees, including redeployment where feasible, counseling and coaching, career transition and outplacement support, and financial and retirement advice.

Ireland ranks highly on illicit trade table

| April 2, 2014

Ireland was the third highest on a list of EU countries for non-duty-paid tobacco (NDP) in 2013, according to a Sunday World story, which did not include the source of its figures.

It came behind Latvia and Lithuania.

But both of the Baltic states have decreased the level of their NDP tobacco sales significantly since 2012, while Ireland’s remains the same, at 28.3 percent.

Ireland has the EU’s second-highest average price for a pack of 20 cigarettes, €9.40, with the U.K. slightly ahead on €9.94.

The U.K. had nevertheless managed to decrease its NDP level from 21.5 percent in 2012 to just 15.6 percent last year.

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