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Korea prepares for price-driven smuggling surge

| December 9, 2014

South Korea’s customs office said Monday that it would crack down on tobacco smuggling ahead of a cigarette price hike that is expected to hit smokers from the start of next year, according to a story in The Korea Herald.

The government is set to raise tobacco prices by WON2,000 (US$1.78) per pack, or about 80 percent in respect of the average per-pack price.

The South Korea Customs Service (KCS) has said that it will strengthen its monitoring of shipments of duty-free cigarettes that could be routed back to the domestic market using fake documentation.

It has said that it will keep a close watch on those believed to be involved in tobacco smuggling and tourists suspected of purchasing more cigarettes than the government-imposed 10-pack ceiling for duty free.

And it said it will co-operate with police and the prosecution service to prevent the sale on the domestic market of duty-free cigarettes supplied to US soldiers stationed in Korea.

The KCS is concerned that the price hike could lead to a repeat of the surge in smuggling that occurred about a decade ago, when the most recent previous price increase came into force.

According to the agency, it intercepted cigarettes worth about WON1.7 billion being smuggled into Korea during 2004, and this figure jumped to WON11.2 billion during 2005.

Even without any price rises, the value of intercepted cigarettes has surged in recent times: to WON43.7 billion last year and to WON66.8 billion during this year to November.

There was no indication of why this surge had occurred: whether it was down to increased smuggling, better detection, increased values being applied to seized products or a combination of all three.

Kenya strikes at smoking with mass-media campaign

| December 9, 2014

Kenya’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Lung Foundation and tobacco control organizations has launched a Mass Media anti-tobacco campaign, according to a story put out by the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KTCA).

The campaign, which goes under the name, Smoking Kills, was officially launched in Nairobi last week.

It is aimed largely at educating the public about the consequences of smoking tobacco, and implementing the provisions of the country’s Tobacco Control Act 2007.

There was no mention of what media would be used or how it would be used.

But Joel Gitali, chairperson of the KETCA, said the mass media campaign would be the most effective way to encourage people to change their behaviour: to encourage smokers to “quit the vice”.

“Civil societies and the respective ministries need to work together to ensure the fight against the tobacco menace is won,” Gitali said.

Imperial puts up £7,000 to fight Ebola in West Africa

| December 9, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has donated more than £7,000 to help support those involved in the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

Employees in the company’s head office at Bristol, the UK, raised nearly £1,300 in cash donations for the appeal, a total that the company matched.

A further £5,000 was donated by Imperial’s non-profit organisation, the Altadis Foundation.

In a note posted on its website, Imperial said the funds, which had been sent directly to the international charity Action Against Hunger to tackle the disease in Guinea and Sierra Leone, would pay for disinfection kits and clean equipment for hospitals and health centres.

It would help, too, in training health workers.

“This appeal clearly struck a chord with our people, who happily donated to support such a worthwhile cause,” said corporate responsibility executive, Sharon Cameron.

Altria identified as community-minded company

| December 9, 2014

Altria was recognized yesterday as one of the US’ most community-minded companies in The Civic 50, an annual survey that identifies companies for their commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, conducted the survey in partnership with Bloomberg LP.

“Altria and its family of companies have a deeply-rooted heritage of contributing to organizations that enrich the communities where our employees live and work,” said Jennifer Hunter, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Altria Client Services.

“At Altria, our support for communities goes beyond just writing a check. Our employees contribute their time and talents to help our non-profit partners serve their communities even more effectively.

“We are proud to be recognized as one of the Civic 50 companies.”

‘Of the $47 million in cash and in-kind contributions that Altria and its tobacco companies donated to charitable organizations in 2013, nearly $20 million benefited about 275 non-profits in Virginia focused on arts and culture, the environment and Altria’s Success 360° education and youth development initiative,’ according to a note posted on Altria’s website.

Exclusive snus sold in gold-plated pewter containers

| December 8, 2014
General Kardus Selection 2015 is packaged in handmade, gold-plated pewter containers in which the snus continues to mature. Optimal flavor is achieved after about eight to 12 weeks, but the snus can be enjoyed long after that.

General Kardus Selection 2015 is packaged in handmade, gold-plated pewter containers in which the snus continues to mature. Optimal flavor is achieved after about eight to 12 weeks, but the snus can be enjoyed long after that.

Swedish Match says that it took more than two years to develop its most exclusive snus ever, General Kardus Selection 2015, which was launched on Saturday and which goes on sale at about 95 selected retailers around Sweden today.

Four thousand individually numbered containers have been manufactured with a recommended store price of SEK799 (about US$106) each.

‘Uncompromising quality and perfection in every detail has been the guiding light in every aspect in the production of General Kardus Selection 2015,’ said a note posted on the company’s website. ‘From the selection of seeds that grow into the harvested tobacco plants, to how the tobacco has been meticulously cut to 0.72 millimeters, to how the finished product is finally packaged and presented. General Kardus Selection 2015 is Swedish Match’s tribute to its 200-year history highlighting the sensory snus experience.’

SM said that it had selected the very best crops of what it believed to be the foremost tobacco varieties in the world: ‘Green River from Pennsylvania, One Sucker from Guatemala, Criollo from Argentina and Malawi Western from India’. “Two are sun cured and two are air cured,” said Carl Egeberg, product manager of General. “These varieties have been selected to merge with each other in a balanced mixture of pure tobacco flavour.”

The tobacco plants were harvested whole, but only the middle leaves were used because ‘they have a more mature and filling flavor’, the note said. ‘This gives General Kardus Selection 2015 an experienced and more rounded character without being sharp. After harvesting, the stalks and nerves are removed, giving a unique concentration of pure tobacco. The tobacco is cut precisely to a width of 0.72 millimeter, with the cut surface releasing more flavor and more nuances than normal ground tobacco. The flavor also lasts longer for increased indulgence.’

Lars Öberg, product developer at SM advised those who had the opportunity to experience the General Kardus Selection to start by inhaling the fragrance of the snus. “Look for a fruity scent with an element of nutmeg,” he said. “When inserting the portion you might feel a strong tobacco flavor characterized by shades of dried apricots and raisins. Some people also experience a taste of lemon and rose hip.”

To maintain the high-quality feel of the product, SM performed most of the manufacturing process by hand. “As a result, we produced only 4,000 unique containers,” said Egeberg. “Our objective has been to achieve the highest possible quality and a sensory experience that has never been offered before. We are incredibly proud to be able to share this experience.”

Studies on plain packaging impacts industry-linked

| December 8, 2014

The tobacco industry is financially linked to the majority of studies showing negative impacts of standardised packaging, according to a Press Association story quoting a Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) study funded by Cancer Research UK.

Academics with the University of Bath say that more than half the evidence tobacco companies relied on to claim that standardized packaging would have negative economic impacts comprised either company-commissioned reports or the opinions of those financially connected to the industry.

The TCRG was said to have reviewed 74 pieces of evidence cited by tobacco companies to argue that standardised packaging would have detrimental economic and illicit trade impacts.

Of these it found there were no independent, peer-reviewed pieces of evidence that supported the companies’ position and that 47 percent were industry-connected, comprising reports commissioned by tobacco companies and other evidence from third-parties financially connected to a tobacco company.

The University of Bath is part of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, a network of 12 UK and one New Zealand universities that is funded by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, which builds on the work of its predecessor, the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies.

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