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Doubt cast on illicit tobacco trade claims

| January 16, 2014

Research in South Africa has cast doubt on previous claims about the extent and effects of the illicit cigarette trade in South Africa.

In the conclusions to a research paper published yesterday by Tobacco Control, professor Corné van Walbeek of the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town said that, other than in 2010, there was no evidence that the illicit trade was significantly undermining government revenue.

And claims that the illicit trade had consistently increased during the past 15 years, and had continued its sharp increase since 2010, were not supported.

Van Walbeek indicated that the research had been undertaken after tobacco industry claims that the illicit trade in cigarettes had increased sharply since the 1990s and that government had lost substantial tax revenue.

He set out to determine whether cigarette excise tax revenue had been below budget in recent years, compared with previous decades, and to determine trends in the size of the illicit market since 1995.

The research found that cigarette excise revenues were 0.7 percent below budget for 2000–2012 on average, compared with 3 percent below budget for beer and 4.7 percent below budget for spirits.

It found that there was no evidence that the illicit trade in cigarettes in South Africa increased between 2002 and 2009, though it found that there was a substantial increase in 2010, which probably peaked in 2011.

And it found that in 2012 tax-paid consumption of cigarettes increased by 2.6 percent, implying that the illicit market share decreased an estimated 0.6 percentage points.

The research is published as an open access paper at http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2014/01/15/tobaccocontrol-2013-051178.full.pdf+html.

US legislators concerned about impact of trade deals on tobacco regulation

| January 16, 2014

Six members of the Iowa House and Senate have written to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and attorneys general in 22 other states, asking whether new international trade deals will affect the ability of states to legislate in the public interest—for instance in respect of tobacco.

According to a story in the Des Moines Register, the letter refers to deals being negotiated by the U.S. trade representative, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is intended to enhance trade and investment in the nine participating countries.

Thirty-seven legislators from other states have also signed the letter, which they said seeks insight into agreements they believe are being developed in a shroud of secrecy. The letter is addressed also to the National Association of Attorneys General.

One of the Iowa signatories, Chuck Isenhart said he had concerns whether Iowa’s continued support for the biofuels industry could come under outside attack under provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition, questions had been raised about the defensibility of tobacco prevention policies and consumer protections, he said.

Geoff Greenwood, a spokesman for Miller, said Miller shared concerns about how the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could, for example, impact Iowa’s ability to regulate tobacco products. “We will review the concerns that several state legislators have brought to our attention, and we look forward to discussing them,” he said.

Bommidala takes cut tobacco award

| January 16, 2014

Bommidala Enterprises, part of the BBM Bommidala Group, has won the award for being India’s top exporter of cut tobacco during 2013.

The group, whose business interests include unmanufactured tobacco, cut rag, cigarettes and duty-free goods, has now won the Certificate of Excellence for cut tobacco exports for seven consecutive years.

The award was presented at the Tobacco Board of India’s Formation Day, which was celebrated on Jan. 3.

The day saw awards presented, also, to tobacco growers, to the best unmanufactured tobacco exporter and the best packer, and for the company buying at auction the highest quantity of flue-cured tobacco.

The board has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming.

Logical move

| January 16, 2014

E-cigarette company Logic Technology has opened its new corporate headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, USA.

It was previously based in Livingston, New Jersey, USA.

In a press note, Logic said its new headquarters would help it meet the growing adult smoker demand for its products.

“The new facilities will house the executive team as well as a sophisticated warehouse infrastructure for receiving and shipping product domestically and internationally,” it said.

According to Nielsen, Logic accounts for 22.6 percent of the e-cigarette market in the U.S.

American Grizzly supports conservation

| January 16, 2014

American Snuff Company, which is part of Reynolds American and manufactures Grizzly moist snuff, has awarded donations totaling a quarter of a million dollars to two nonprofit outdoor conservation organizations.

Through the Grizzly Outdoor Corps promotion, the company is donating $130,000 and $120,000 to the Boone and Crockett Club and the FishAmerica Foundation, respectively.

Reynolds said in a note posted on its website that registered, age-verified adult Grizzly consumers had voted via the brand’s website, mygrizzly.com, on which organization should receive the larger donation.

“This is a way for Grizzly consumers to show support for organizations that value the outdoors,” said Sean Kinder, director of marketing for American Snuff.

New Brunswick store owner takes stand on legality of e-cigarette sales

| January 15, 2014

A store owner who sells e-cigarettes is fighting an order from Health Canada to stop, according to a CBC News story.

Ryanne Pineda, whose business at Fredericton, New Brunswick, also produces e-liquids, says he has a growing clientele of more than 2,000 local and online customers for vaping kits, which are sold for between $25 and $200.

Health Canada, which has not approved e-cigarettes for sale, has ordered Pineda to stop such sales, but the store owner is standing firm.

“We actually refuted back, saying that the law states that under Schedule F of the Food and Drugs Act, nicotine is directly exempt with a dose of under four milligrams, from being classified as a new drug or a drug delivery system,” said Pineda, who has not received a reply from Health Canada.

Pineda was quoted as saying that his business imported e-cigarettes under the appropriate regulations, knew what was going into these products and applied quality control.

“We also have the ability to test each part of the product through an independent lab called Enthalpy Analytical Inc.,” he said. “They’re actually Health Canada-accredited; that’s why we use them.”

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