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Big fines for high-speed train smokers who fail to toe the line in China

| December 27, 2013

Anyone caught smoking tobacco on China’s high-speed trains will be fined up to Yuan2,000 ($330) as of January 1, according to a story by Wang Fan for Ecns.cn, quoting a railway safety regulation issued by the State Council.

But smokers won’t be the only people in the firing line. Fines of up to Yuan2,000 will be imposed also on people who, for instance, throw garbage from trains, walk on railway lines and jump off moving trains.

The penalties are said to be aimed at ensuring normal and safe operation of the railway system as China readies for its annual challenge of coping with an expected 258 million passenger journeys during the 40-day Spring Festival travel season.

Last year, the report said, a high-speed train travelling from Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, to Dalian, a port city in the province, had been forced to slow from 200 km per hour to 120 km per hr because the fire alarm had been triggered by a passenger’s smoking.

Suo Chao, spokesman for the Chinese Association of Tobacco Control, said lighting up on trains put other passengers’ health at risk and should be strictly prohibited.

“The rights of non-smokers have been long-ignored,” he said.

January finish for Karnataka sales

| December 27, 2013

The Tobacco Board of India has reverted to an earlier estimate and again announced that flue-cured auctions in Karnataka are likely to be finished by the end of January, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The Board previously had suggested that the auctions would end in January, but earlier this month changed that estimate to the end of February.

At the time of the latest announcement, growers in Karnataka had sold more than 60 million kg of leaf for an average of Rs137.35. At the same point of last season’s sales, they had sold 50 million kg for an average of Rs121.20 per kg.

Bright grade leaf was selling for about Rs168.00 per kg, while medium grade is fetching about Rs146.00 per kg.

Karnataka is thought to have produced about 100 million kg of flue-cured this year.

Meanwhile, flue-cured tobacco auctions in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh are expected to start on February 15.

Ireland restricts duty-free allowances

| December 27, 2013

New rules that will come into force on January 1 will restrict the number of cigarettes that may be brought into Ireland for personal use by people traveling from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, according to a story in the Irish Independent.

From that date, travelers from those countries will be allowed to bring only 300 cigarettes into Ireland without the payment of further excise duty.

The changes do not apply to other tobacco products brought in from these EU member states, as long as those products are for personal use and not for commercial purposes.

Currently, people traveling to Ireland from other EU countries can bring in 800 cigarettes without paying any additional excise duties.

Israel signs anti-illegal trade protocol

| December 27, 2013

Israel has joined an international protocol aimed at preventing the illegal trade in tobacco products, according to a story by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich for the Jerusalem Post, quoting the Health Ministry.

The country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, signed the protocol, which is an adjunct to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Israel is the 42nd country to have signed the anti-illegal trade protocol.

JTI set to match worldwide employee donations to Philippines relief effort

| December 27, 2013

Japan Tobacco International employees worldwide have been asked to make donations to a fund set up to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines early in November.

JTI has agreed to match any donations made by its employees.

Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as it is known in the Philippines, made landfall there on November 8, bringing record winds and causing huge sea surges.

The typhoon caused massive damage and casualties in nine regions of the Philippines. It affected almost 15 million people and displaced about four million.

In an announcement posted on the Japan Tobacco Inc. website yesterday, JTI Philippines was said to have organised volunteers from among its employees to work in the affected areas.

In addition, the employees had donated P1 million in aid and P1 million in relief goods.

The JTI Foundation, an independent charitable organization registered under Swiss law and financially endowed by JT International SA, which specializes in providing aid to victims of disasters, is partnering with Habitat for Humanity International to support a recovery project worth about US$224,000.

Meanwhile, the foundation will continue to support two ongoing disaster preparedness programs in the Philippines: a family saving initiative for the poor and a project to prevent post-disaster human trafficking.

There is more information at: www.jtifoundation.org.

De Labouchere’s JTI departure unsung

| December 24, 2013

Pierre de Labouchere last week resigned with immediate effect as president and CEO of Japan Tobacco International, according to a story by Mark Kleinman for Sky News.

Kleinman quoted a statement issued on Friday by a JTI spokesman as saying that de Labouchere had decided to resign as of December 18.

The statement said that de Labouchere had been replaced by Thomas A. McCoy.

‘JTI declined to comment on the reasons behind Mr de Labouchere’s sudden departure but insiders said that another senior executive responsible for the company’s mergers and acquisitions activity had also quit in recent days, suggesting some kind of strategic disagreement,’ said Kleinman.

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