Indonesia has decided to ask the World Trade Organization to establish a single panel of trade and legal experts to process its challenge to Australia’s law on standardized packaging for tobacco products, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.
Since December 1, 2012, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous Labor government to be as ugly as is possible. Packs are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, are otherwise a standard olive color, have no logos or other design features, and have brand and variant names in a standardized font and position.
Indonesia filed its request for a WTO-panel hearing in September last year.
The Ministry of Trade’s director general for international trade co-operation, Iman Pambagyo, said on Wednesday that the formation of a single panel to tackle Indonesia’s challenge separately from those of four other countries — Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ukraine — was considered more likely to be effective.
The director general said Indonesia’s annual cigarette exports to Australia were not sizeable, but that such a measure as had been introduced by Australia could be taken up by other countries, thereby negatively affecting Indonesia’s sales on a wider scale.
“Plain packaging is adopted without scientific evidence or analysis and if we ignore that, this can be a precedent for any country to adopt a restrictive policy without a scientific base,” he said.
Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at www.pmi.com/webcasts from 09.00 hours Eastern Time on April 17 to discuss its 2014 first-quarter results, which will be issued about 07.00 hours on the same day.
During the webcast, CFO Jacek Olczak will discuss the company’s results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.
An archived copy of the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will be made available until 17.00 hours on May 16, also at www.pmi.com/webcasts.
The presentation slides and script will be made available at www.pmi.com/earnings.
The Altria Group is due to host a live audio webcast at www.altria.com from 09.00 hours Eastern Time on April 24 to discuss its 2014 first-quarter business results, which will be published in a press release about 07.00 hours on the same day.
During the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, chairman and CEO, Marty Barrington, and vice president and CFO, Howard Willard, will discuss the company’s results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.
Directions for pre-event registration are posted at www.altria.com, where an archived copy of the webcast will be made available.
Volunteers from Imperial Tobacco’s factory at Radom, Poland, recently gave up a Saturday to plant trees and shrubs in a community forest as part of the factory’s ‘We Can Help’ program.
A group of more than 40 employees and their families took part in the event in the MarculeForest near Radom.
Saplings were donated by Imperial in support of the ‘SOS for Earth’ campaign.
About 50 trees and shrubs were planted in the arboretum area as part of new botanical woodland created by local forestry workers.
Employees have previously been involved in other conservation initiatives that have included feeding animals in the forest and planting trees in a city park.
“As with other ‘We Can Help’ projects our aim is to support the community in which we operate,” said factory manager, Katarzyna Wolińska.
“I’m especially pleased that we carried out another project that was initiated by our employees wanting to give something back to society.”
In rejecting today the final legal appeals for a group of ailing smokers seeking compensation from the South Korean government and KT&G, the country’s top court said there was no causal connection between smoking and lung cancer, according to a Yonhap News Agency report.
Upholding a lower court’s ruling and ending a 15-year legal battle, the Supreme Court threw out two damages suits brought by 30 lung cancer patients and their families against the government and the former tobacco monopoly.
“Lung cancer is not a disease solely caused by smoking but a disease that is caused by a host of exterior reasons such as physical, biological and chemical factors,” the court said in its ruling.
“It is difficult to acknowledge a causal relation between smoking and lung cancer just based on the fact that certain smokers developed the disease,” the court said. “Environmental factors should be taken into account.”
Seeking WON474.7 million (US$454,700) in compensation, 36 people initially launched the suit in 1999, arguing that long-term smoking had caused lung cancer and that the company had not fulfilled its duty of informing them of the dangers of smoking.
The plaintiffs claimed also that the company defrauded the public by falsely denying the adverse health effects of smoking, concealing evidence that nicotine was addictive and lying about their manipulation of nicotine in cigarettes to create addiction.
KT&G rebutted the causal relationship between smoking and the plaintiffs’ diseases, citing a lack of scientific evidence.
And the company argued that it did not violate its obligation because it had included a warning message on its cigarette packs.
E-cigarettes can change gene expression in a similar way to that of tobacco, according to a story by Daniel Cressey for Nature quoting one of the first studies to investigate the biological effects of the devices.
Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in San Diego, California, USA ,the research looked at human bronchial cells that contained some mutations found in smokers at risk of lung cancer. The cells were immortalized, grown in culture medium that had been exposed to e-cigarette vapor and their gene expression profiled.
The researchers found that the cells grown in medium exposed to the vapor of e-cigarettes showed a similar pattern of gene expression to those grown in a medium exposed to tobacco smoke.
The changes were not identical, said study researcher, Avrum Spira, who works on genomics and lung cancer at Boston University in Massachusetts. But “there are some striking similarities,” he said.
The researchers are now evaluating whether the alterations mean that cells behave more like cancer cells in culture.
The work is at a very early stage and therefore cannot establish that e-cigarettes can cause cancer in vitro, let alone in vivo.
Spira said that the use of e-cigarettes might be safer than the use of tobacco cigarettes, but that the researcher’s preliminary studies suggested that the use of the former might not be benign.