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India’s growers asked to stick to quotas

| January 29, 2014

Tobacco growers in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been asked to comply with flue-cured crop targets so as to ensure good prices at auction, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The Tobacco Board of India chairman, K. Gopal, said growers should exercise discipline in sticking to the flue-cured quotas of 102 million kg for Karnataka and 172 million kg for Andhra Pradesh.

“It is of the essence that the crop in the principal states should not exceed 270-275 million kg,” he said.

“Then farmers can expect remunerative prices on the floor.

“The trade should also support the farmers,” he added.

Over-production of flue-cured has been endemic in the two states, where farmers are generally financially impoverished and the opportunity to earn extra cash from tobacco is irresistible.

Meanwhile, two more auction platforms are being built in Karnataka and one more in Andhra Pradesh.

Forest riled by car smoking ban plan

| January 29, 2014

The smokers’ group Forest has come out strongly against the UK Labour Party’s plans to ban smoking in cars with children.

“Legislation is completely unnecessary,” said Forest director, Simon Clark.

“Most adult smokers accept that smoking in a car with children present is inconsiderate and the overwhelming majority choose not to.

“Banning smoking in private vehicles is a serious invasion of privacy.

“Education, not legislation, is the way forward.

“Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places, including privately run pubs and clubs.

“Now they want to prohibit smoking in private vehicles.

“What next? A ban on smoking in the home if children are present?”

The Labour Party is currently the main opposition in the UK parliament, for which elections are due to be held in 2015.

US business group lobbies against plain cigarette pack imposition in Ireland

| January 29, 2014

The Washington-based US Chamber of Commerce is lobbying against proposals by Ireland’s Department of Health to standardize the design of cigarette packs, according to a story by Tom Lyons for the Irish Times.

In doing so, the powerful lobby group has joined other business interests resisting the proposed change, including employer representative Ibec and the Law Society.

In a letter obtained by the Times, the world’s largest business federation with three million business members said it had ‘deep concerns’ about what it called the ‘proposed destruction of trademark and branding rights in the tobacco sector’.

‘We do not believe this initiative is well founded and we urge it to be reconsidered,’ said Myron A Brilliant, the chamber’s head of international affairs in writing to the Oireachtas [parliamentary] Committee on Health and Children, which is considering the issue.

‘The notion that the Irish Government is contemplating measures that would destroy any industry’s legitimate and legally sanctioned trademark protection and branding causes concern in the US business community and extends into many different sectors of our membership.’

RAI to host website results conference

| January 29, 2014

Reynolds American Inc. is due to host a conference call and webcast at 09.00 hours Eastern Time on February 11 following the release of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 financial results before the market opens.

Daniel M. Delen, president and CEO, Thomas R. Adams, CFO, and Morris L. Moore, vice president of investor relations, will participate in the conference call and webcast.

The RAI webcast will be available on a listen-only basis at www.reynoldsamerican.com, at which address registration is available and a replay will be made available.

The conference call will be available too on (877) 390-5533 (toll-free) and (678) 894-3969 (international).

‘Budget issues’ behind insurer’s cigarette manufacturer damages suit in Korea

| January 28, 2014

The decision by South Korea’s National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) to sue cigarette manufacturers operating in the country has been described by a tobacco industry group as a misguided attempt to solve budget issues, according to a Yonhap News Agency story.

In an English-language statement, the Korea Tobacco Association (KTA) said it was disappointed with the tentative decision by the state-run NHIS to file a suit against tobacco manufacturers.

The suit had ‘little legal merit’ and wasn’t in the best interest of taxpayers, it added.

The NHIS’ board decided on Friday to file a damages suit against KT&G and other tobacco companies seeking up to WON333 billion.

But the Ministry of Health and Welfare opposes the suit and warned that, based on overseas experiences, the NHIS’ chances of winning were low.

It warned too that the cost of the action could be a financial burden to the NHIS.

No decision has been made on when the suit will be filed, but an NHIS official has said that it will be done “as soon as possible”.

In its statement, the KTA noted that the NHIS was ignoring a government directive on how public corporations should not file lawsuits unless the reasons for such suits and the amounts claimed are made clear in advance.

“Litigation against a lawful and highly taxed industry is a reckless attempt to solve NHIS’ budget problems by forcing smokers to pay more than their fair share in health care costs,” Brian Kim, the KTA’s chairman, was quoted as saying.

“Instead of reaching further into the pockets of smokers and exposing Korean taxpayers to years of costly litigation, the NHIS should learn from the failure of similar attempts by other governments and focus on finding a real solution to their budget woes.”

Coffee-house culture under fire in Jordan

| January 28, 2014

The Jordanian government is coming under fire for planning to enforce fully, by the end of this year, an anti-tobacco law passed in 2008, according to an Associated Press report published in The Tampa Tribune, Florida, US.

Enforcement would see the government this year revoke the licenses of all 6,000 coffee shops that serve shisha.

Business owners and smokers are criticizing the push, saying it goes against the culture of a country.

“We are caught between a rock and a hard place whereby the government is trying to force a closure of our businesses,” Mazen Alsaleh, who owns 14 coffee and hookah shops around the country, was quoted as saying.

“I am not defending the hookah or smoking, but we must defend our investments.”

But Health Minister Ali Hyasat, who is spearheading the effort to enforce the smoking ban, said the measure was meant to “save lives, not businesses”.

Hyasat said that smoking was costing lives and more than $1 billion annually in health care programs to treat smokers.

Enforcement started in 2009 with shopping malls and Amman’s QueenAliaInternationalAirport first enacting the smoking ban. They were followed by fast food restaurants.

The law bans smoking in hospitals, schools, cinemas, libraries, museums, government buildings, public transportation and other places to be determined by the health minister.

It prohibits, too, sales of tobacco products to those under the age of 18.

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