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Smokers given cigarette price guidance

| February 4, 2014

Egypt’s Ministry of Finance has produced a cigarette price list and consumers are being asked to inform the country’s tax authority if they are asked by retailers to pay more than the list prices, according to a story in the Daily News Egypt.

There would seem to be a discrepancy between some of the prices of cigarettes declared to the authority for the calculation of taxes and the prices charged to consumers.

The head of the tax authority, Mamdouh Omar, said the authority had recently noticed increases in cigarette selling prices that ranged from E£0.5 and E£2 per pack.

About £3 billion in profits from the sale of cigarettes were going directly to retailers without the relevant taxes being paid, he added.

Omar said that there were to be no increases in the retail prices of cigarettes. And he added that manufacturing and import companies would be responsible for setting the selling price and informing the tax authority to determine the taxes due, which amounted to 50 per cent of the selling price plus E£1.25 per pack.

Smoking bans move step closer in Lagos

| February 4, 2014

The Lagos State House of Assembly recently passed a bill seeking to make illegal tobacco smoking in enclosed public places within the state, according to a story in the Vanguard.

The bill is now before Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, who has to sign it before it becomes law.

If signed, the new law will make it illegal to smoke in public places, including libraries, museums, public toilets, schools, hospitals, day-care centres, public transportation and restaurants.

Better youth tobacco prevention program

| February 4, 2014

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co has improved its tobacco prevention program aimed at young people.

In a note posted on its website, the company said that its free, evidence-based youth tobacco prevention program, Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free (RDRN), now offered more website features, including Spanish-language posters and parent brochures, smart board activities, improved navigation and optimized videos for easier downloading.

‘RDRN educational materials – readily available via computers and smart boards – are used to teach middle-school students about the risks of using tobacco products,’ it said. ‘The program is designed to empower students to make good decisions, including the decision not to use tobacco, and to give them the knowledge to live a healthy lifestyle.

‘More than 20,000 middle schools across the country have used the RDRN program since it was independently developed more than 20 years ago. The program is also used by community groups such as Boy Scouts of America; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and the Crosby Scholars Program.’

The note quoted Laura Leigh Oyler, a public-policy director involved in R.J. Reynolds’ youth tobacco prevention efforts, as saying that the improvements to RDRN made the program more user-friendly for the modern classroom and beyond. “RDRN is part of our company’s long-term initiative to transform the tobacco industry,” she said. “Over the past 20 years, youth tobacco prevention efforts and programs have had a big impact on reducing teen smoking, now at a historic low, and we are actively working on ways to accelerate the decline in youth tobacco use.”

Altria acquires Green Smoke

| February 3, 2014

Altria Group’s NuMark subsidiary has acquired the e-vapor business Green Smoke for $110 million in cash plus up to $20 million in incentive payments, reports Wells Fargo Securities.

Posting $40 million revenue in 2013, the majority of Green Smoke’s sales are online in the U.S. The company’s retail sales in convenience stores were $3.9 million last year, according to Nielsen, representing a 0.8 percent market share.

According to Wells Fargo, Green Smoke presents an opportunity for Altria to develop a portfolio of e-vapor brands to complement its existing MarkTen e-vapor product. Green Smokes products are bigger and have stronger batteries than MarkTens, and they don’t look like traditional cigarettes.

Wells Fargo believes Altria can leverage its sales force, retailer relationships and marketing expertise to quickly bring broader distribution to Green Smoke.

Warning straight from the horse’s mouth

| February 3, 2014

A number of Chinese health organizations are asking people not to send cigarettes as gifts nor offer them to guests during the current Spring Festival, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

The festival, which takes in the Chinese New Year, started on Friday and is due to end on Thursday.

The organizations, including the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association and the Chinese Medical Association, made the plea just prior to the arrival of the Year of the Horse.

They are trying to dissuade people from encouraging others to smoke, and to persuade smokers not to indulge their habit at public venues.

They want medical workers to disseminate the idea that smoking is harmful and might lead to cancer, heart disease, lung disease and death.

Zambia: Africa’s best investment option

| February 3, 2014

Zambia has been described by the managing director of Japan Tobacco International Leaf Zambia as the best investment destination in Africa, based on the stability of the country’s economy during the past 10 years.

According to a Times of Zambia story, Robert Royle told a Zambia-Japan Trade and Investment Promotion event in Lusaka last week, that his company was investing K12 million on inputs and out-grower schemes for tobacco production during the current growing season, up from K11 million during 2013.

Royle said JTI was working with more than 15 commercial farmers in Eastern, Central and Western provinces of Zambia. It was providing inputs and financial support to farmers to ease the challenges of limited access to finance.

He said access to finance for farmers was limited because most banks were not giving loans to farmers – a situation that was impacting negatively on the growth of the agriculture industry in general.

At the same time, he urged the government to consider putting up a policy framework to reduce the challenge of land acquisition in the country.

But despite the challenges, he said Zambia stood out as the best investment destination in Africa, looking at the stability of the country’s economy during the past 10 years.

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