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New rules to govern growing contracts

| February 26, 2014

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.

Study: hookah not harmless

| February 25, 2014

A new University of Florida, USA, study shows that patrons leaving hookah cafés had carbon monoxide levels more than three times higher than patrons exiting traditional bars.

Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to tissues, and long-term exposure has been linked to cardiovascular disease. The UF study results appeared in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The social nature of hookah smoking, which is often shared in groups, makes it appealing to young people, said lead researcher Tracey Barnett, an assistant professor in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ department of behavioral science and community health.

“There is also a common misperception that hookah smoking is a harmless alternative to cigarette smoking,” she said.

Hookah pipes are composed of a head, where lit charcoal and tobacco sit, a body with water bowl and a hose. Air is drawn through the tobacco and into the pipe body where it passes through the water before being inhaled through the hose.

A study led by Barnett showed that 11 percent of Florida high school students and 4 percent of middle school students surveyed in 2007 had tried hookah smoking. It is especially popular among college students. A University of Memphis study estimated that 10 percent to 20 percent of some young adult populations are current hookah users.

The new UF study is the first to measure carbon monoxide levels of hookah smokers “in the field.”

Karnataka auctions drawing to a close

| February 25, 2014

Tobacco farmers in the Indian state of Karnataka have so far this season sold more than 94 million kg of flue-cured for an average price Rs131.65 per kg, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

Farmers are thought to have harvested about 100 million kg of flue-cured and the Tobacco Board is hoping to complete the auctions by the end of this month.

Bright grades have fetched an average price of Rs163 per kg, up from Rs144 per kg last season.

Medium grades have this season sold for Rs145 per kg and low grades for Rs88 per kg.

Smokers given chance to pop a monster

| February 25, 2014

KT&G is due to launch in South Korea a cigarette with a ‘monster’ capsule in the filter, according to a story in The Korea Herald quoting a company statement of yesterday.

The new product, Bohem Shake, is said to contain a capsule that is about 4.5 mm in diameter, the biggest on the market and such that it can be heard if a cigarette containing it is shaken.

When popped, the capsule releases a strong menthol flavour.

Bohem Shake, which is due to go on sale tomorrow, delivers 6 mg of tar and 0.5 mg of nicotine.

It is priced at WON2,700 (US$2.50) a pack.

Partnering in Ireland to fight smuggling

| February 25, 2014

Imperial Tobacco’s business in Ireland is helping to support a high-profile initiative to highlight the impact of illicit trade on the nation’s economy.

A campaign has been launched by the Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) group with the backing of Imperial’s John Player brand to raise awareness of the level of unpaid duty on tobacco and fuel.

‘The Stop Smuggling campaign’s website includes a ‘debt clock’, which calculates how much revenue is being lost in real time and urges the public to help by reporting any illegal sales,’ according to a note posted on Imperial’s website.

“Illicit trade poses a serious threat to the livelihoods of our trade partners so it’s important for us to help support worthwhile initiatives such as this,” said Deirdre Healy, corporate affairs manager in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Benny Gilsenan, of RAS, said that Ireland lost more than €390 million a year to smuggling.

“These activities fund criminal gangs and deprive Ireland of much needed money at a time when our country can ill afford it,” he added.

Cigarette seizures in Ireland plummet

| February 25, 2014

Retail groups and opposition politicians in Ireland have said that not enough is being done to clamp down on criminal gangs responsible for smuggling up to one billion cigarettes into Ireland every year, according to a story in the Irish Independent.

Figures released by the Department of Finance last week showed that 40.8 million cigarettes were confiscated last year, fewer than half of those seized during 2012 and 80 per cent down on the 2010 figure.

Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS), which represents tobacco-sellers in Ireland, said smugglers were continually developing new ways to transport cigarettes into the country.

Meanwhile, retailer groups in Ireland are said to be concerned that government plans to introduce standardized packaging for licit cigarettes will increase smuggling.

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