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‘Rehabilitation programs’ see 5,000 Saudis quit tobacco smoking habit

| January 8, 2014

At least 5,000 Saudi men and women became nonsmokers last year after taking part in “rehabilitation programs” across the country, according to an Arab News story.

Throughout 2013, the Makkah Kafa Society, tasked with raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and drug use, was in contact with more than 800,000 people, Abdullah Al-Othaim, the organization’s chairman, reportedly told the Saudi Press Agency.

The number of people who quit smoking and became more aware of the dangers of narcotics had doubled over the past few years.

“The Kafa society’s activities included various programs targeting youth gatherings and associations, children’s theatres and exhibitions, and mobile clinics that toured the Makkah region,” Al-Othaim said.
“Makkah is the holiest city on earth [according to Islamic beliefs] and must be smoke-free,” he said.

The Kafa Society, which has branches in Jeddah, Al-Leeth and Qunfudah, asked on
its Twitter account that parents monitor their children carefully during exam times because they could fall prey to peer pressure to use cigarettes and drugs.

Imperial’s factory helps demonstrate the potential for businesses in Madagascar

| January 8, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has staged a tour of its Antsirabe factory in Madagascar to help attract potential new investors from France to the Indian Ocean nation.

The visit was organized at the request of the local authorities to demonstrate investment opportunities for manufacturing in the area.

The SACICEM plant is seen as one of the most advanced sites in the highland region of the country.

The invitation to visit the site was taken up by 30 people, including politicians and economic partners from France as well as representatives of the French embassy.

General Manager Jean-Claude Starczan helped lead the tour and outlined Imperial’s ongoing commitment to Madagascar.

“The added value that is created in the country by our operations here, especially from the SACICEM team, is an example for others to follow,” he said.

“The French community is very important to the economic development of Madagascar, which we are delighted to help support.”

China expert joins BAT board

| January 8, 2014

Savio Kwan has joined the board of British American Tobacco as a nonexecutive director.

During his extensive career, Kwan, who was said in a note posted on BAT’s website to have “significant business experience of Greater China and Asia,” has worked “broadly in technology for General Electric, BTR PLC and Alibaba Group, China’s largest internet business, where he was chief operating officer and later, a nonexecutive director.” He is a founding partner and CEO of A&K Consulting Co. Ltd., advising entrepreneurs about start-up businesses in China.

Born in Hong Kong, Kwan speaks fluent Mandarin and English. His international career has seen him live in China, the U.S., Singapore and the U.K. He is a visiting professor at Henley   Business School, U.K., and a regular lecturer on Chinese business strategy and leadership.

“I warmly welcome Savio to the board of British American Tobacco,” said chairman Richard Burrows. “I have no doubt he will bring his profound commercial approach, international orientation and deep knowledge of China and Asia to bear, further strengthening British American Tobacco and the board.”

JTI’s UK chief joins debate about duties

| January 7, 2014

Jorge da Motta, the U.K. chief executive of Japan Tobacco International, believes Scottish ministers would think again about bringing in anti-tobacco policies if the Scottish government received directly the duty levied on tobacco sales in Scotland, according to a story by David Maddox for The Scotsman.

Da Motta was said to have told Scotland on Sunday that he believes control over duties would make members of the Scottish parliament think again over bringing in anti-smoking measures such as the display ban in shops, plain packaging and the banning of smoking in publicly accessible buildings.

He believes that these measures are harming small businesses in Scotland and that his comments reflect concern in the industry that Holyrood, the Scottish parliament, is leading the way on tobacco control and then being followed by Westminster, the U.K. parliament.

Da Motta made it clear he was not taking sides in the debate on the Scottish independence referendum due to be held on Sept. 18, but argued that even in the event of a no vote, further devolution should see duties delivered to Holyrood.

“In post-referendum Scotland, whether it is devo-max [maximum devolution] or independence, a new era of responsibility could see Edinburgh collecting tobacco duty, and with that Holyrood will have to quickly learn about the unintended consequences of regulation draining the public purse of much-needed money,” he said.

The full story is at http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/tobacco-chief-fires-up-debate-over-duty-1-3256130.

New law said to herald end of smoking

| January 7, 2014

In bringing in strict new anti-tobacco regulations on Jan. 21, the UAE is, in some respects, leapfrogging the policies of many countries that would normally be regarded as being fiercely anti-tobacco.

The UAE will from that date ban smoking in private cars containing people under the age of 12 years, and it will introduce penalties for underage smoking, according to a story in The National, Abu Dhabi.

In addition, the law will ban the growing or manufacture of tobacco for commercial purposes.

It will ban tobacco-product advertising and prohibit tobacco products from being displayed near sportswear, health products, food, electronic products and any items aimed at young people.

And it will ban the sale of tobacco products from vending machines, within 100 meters of places of worship and within 150 meters of kindergartens, schools, universities and colleges.

It sets out technical standards, including those to do with large front-of-the-pack health warnings, which have to be met by imported tobacco products.

Shisha cafés will have to be at least 150 meters away from residential areas and their opening times will be restricted. Shisha cafés will not be allowed to serve customers younger than 18, and they will be forbidden from delivering shishas to apartments.

Dr. Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the national tobacco control committee at the Ministry of Health, believes the strict controls on where cigarettes may be sold, point-of-sale policies and the ban on tobacco advertisements will mean smoking will eventually die out.

Settlement made over Eclipse claims

| January 7, 2014

The U.S. state of Vermont has recovered $8.3 million in penalties under a settlement with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco over deceptive advertising, according to a VTDigger.org story quoting a statement from the attorney general’s office.

The settlement is the result of a 2005 lawsuit over the company’s marketing of its Eclipse brand of cigarettes.

A Vermont judge in 2010 ruled that Reynolds had intentionally misled customers through direct mail marketing, print and Internet advertisements, and advertisements on the cigarette packs that touted Eclipse as a reduced-risk cigarette.

One message said that because the tobacco in Eclipse was heated rather than burnt, the product produced less toxic smoke than did other cigarettes. That “may present less risk of cancer, chronic bronchitis, and possibly emphysema,” Reynolds claimed in advertisements.

Such unsubstantiated claims were found to have violated Vermont’s consumer protection laws and the state’s 1998 consent decree pursuant to the Master Settlement Agreement.

Reynolds was said to have made its deceptive “less risk” claims in print advertisements placed in nationwide publications, on a website promoting the product, in direct mail materials sent to Vermont consumers and on Eclipse packs sold in Vermont.

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