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Ireland to follow Australia’s lead

| June 11, 2014

Ireland looks set to implement standardized packaging for tobacco products following approval by the Cabinet of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2014, according to a story in the Irish Examiner.

If enacted, the new law will ban from packs logos and trademarks, along with brand colors, designs and graphics. Product names will be included but in a uniform typeface on a plain background, and packs will be dominated by graphic health warnings.

According to the Examiner story, the Department of Health said the objective was to make packs look less attractive, to make health warnings more prominent and to reduce the risk that people, especially children, would be misled about the harmful effects of smoking.

“The introduction of standardized packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland,” said Health Minister James Reilly. “Cigarette packets will no longer be a mobile advertisement for the tobacco industry.”

Court rejects tobacco companies’ appeal

| June 11, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected efforts by the tobacco industry to derail thousands of Florida smoker lawsuits and left intact 11 awards totaling more than $70 million, according to a story by Greg Stohr for Business Week/Bloomberg.

Units of Altria Group, Reynolds American and Lorillard had asked the Supreme Court to intervene, saying they weren’t being afforded an adequate chance to mount a defense.

The justices, without comment, turned away 10 appeals affecting 11 cases.

The tobacco companies had said in court papers that they faced the prospect of billions of dollars in damages in more than 4,000 pending lawsuits.

The cases had already produced more than $450 million in liability, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco told the high court.

JT to relaunch Winston products in Japan

| June 11, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. is to relaunch two Winston products in Japan in the Winston XS format, which, it says, offers a smoother, finer flavor with a subtly sweet aftertaste, while maintaining the distinctive and balanced taste characteristic of the brand.

XS products are said to incorporate, too, LSS (less smoke smell) technologies, which are present in a number of products sold in Japan, where the technology has long been referred to as D-Spec.

Winston Lights 6 Box and Winston Ultra One 100s Box will be relaunched as Winston XS 6 Box and Winston XS One 100s Box respectively.

They will be made available across Japan from the middle of July.

JT said that Winston was the world’s second biggest cigarette brand (Euromonitor 2013 data) and was available in more than 100 countries.

Imperial to float Logista

| June 11, 2014

Imperial Tobacco said yesterday that it intended to float its European logistics division, Logista, on the Spanish stock market, according to a story by Paul Sandle for Reuters.

Imperial said its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Altadis would sell a portion of shares in Logista to institutional investors in an initial public offer.

The company said in February that it was reviewing Logista as part of a focus on its core cigarette business.

PMI declares quarterly dividend

| June 11, 2014

The board of directors of Philip Morris International today declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.94 per common share, payable on July 11 to shareholders of record as of June 26.

The ex-dividend date is June 24.

Call for minimum tobacco pricing

| June 10, 2014

An Australian independent senator is pushing for the introduction of minimum pricing for cigarettes to counter British American Tobacco’s launch of what is said to be the lowest priced licit cigarette on the market at A$13 for a pack of 25, according to a News Interactive Network story.

‘Senator Nick Xenophon has accused the tobacco giant of circumventing laws to discourage people from smoking,’ the story said.

Xenophon’s concern seems to be that BAT is using pricing as a way of keeping people smoking even though they are faced with the graphic images of the standardized tobacco packs introduced in Australia in December 2012: that the fear invoked by the terrible images is assuaged by a lower price.

He plans to ‘consult with public health experts on the most effective disincentive price but wants to see a minimum of $20 for a 25-pack’.

This was the best option to combat a “deeply cynical” campaign aimed at boosting the ranks of younger smokers, he said.

BAT was quoted as saying that it was simply seeking to remain competitive as sales of cut-price cigarettes soared.

It was clear when the idea of standardized packs was mooted that the removal of one competitive weapon, pack design and appeal, would lead to the sharpening of another – price.

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