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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.

Helping people ‘opt’ for a healthier life

| February 3, 2014

Tobacco is one of the focuses of a public-health action-plan being put forward by the Danish government, according to an Esmerk Danish News story.

The plan includes seven national targets for reducing smoking and drinking among Danes, but looks also at reducing obesity among children and encouraging more people to take exercise.

The government will earmark DKK120 million to so-called strategic partnerships between private companies and society at large, in the guise of, for instance, sports associations, housing associations and trade unions.

The money will be used ‘to help citizens opt for a healthier life style’, though the action plan is said to put strong emphasis on personal responsibility.

Sri Lanka aims to be free of tobacco

| February 3, 2014

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry has dedicated this year to building a society free of tobacco and alcohol, and a presidential task force is being set up to tackle the issues of smoking and drinking.

Addressing a World Cancer Day 2014 seminar at the Health Education Bureau, the Minister of Health, Maithreepala Sirisensaid, said a cabinet paper, approved by the President, had been submitted to the government asking it to implement countrywide tobacco and alcohol control programs.

The minister said that cancer could be controlled by controlling the use of tobacco and alcohol, and he said the media had a major role to play in the eradication of the use of these products.

World Cancer Day falls on February 4 and the theme of the event this year is ‘Debunk the myths’.

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