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Flood of submissions on Ireland’s proposed standardized packs bill

| December 9, 2013

An attempt is being made to bury Ireland’s Department of Health in paper so as to frustrate efforts to introduce standardized packs for cigarettes sold in the country, according to a story in The Irish Examiner.

The department’s chief medical officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, told the committee on health and children that the department had received 6,000 submissions in recent months. “This is part of the tactical game to drown us in paper,” said Holohan, who claimed the submissions had originated from a number of sources.

Health Minister James Reilly introduced a standardized packaging bill at the committee meeting.

Holohan said some of the submissions made reference to the bill on standardized packaging, as well as the EU’s new tobacco products directive.

Meanwhile, Reilly has said that standardized packaging will help police tackle the illegal trade in cigarettes.

He said the introduction of standardized packaging would not help the illegal tobacco trade, as some had forecast.

Malawi appoints NewCo manager to Tobacco Control Commission

| December 9, 2013

NewCo’s country manager for Malawi, Robin Saunders, has been appointed to the board of the Malawi Tobacco Control Commission (TCC), where he is expected to serve until Sept. 9, 2016.

The TCC is responsible for, among other things, advising the government on tobacco-related matters, regulating the production, processing and marketing of tobacco, and promoting the sale of Malawi’s tobacco.

Saunders has been asked to represent both tobacco merchant companies and tobacco estate growers.

Last tango in New York

| December 9, 2013

New York state lawmakers are urging people to sign petitions in favor of a long-stalled bill that would ban public assistance from being spent on alcohol, lap dances and cigarettes, according to a story by Kate Briquelet for The New York Post.

The Public Assistance Integrity Act would also ban welfare recipients from using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at liquor stores, casinos and adult-entertainment venues.

“We’re talking about . . . putting food on the table and not frittering away [benefits] on things like alcohol and cigarettes,” said Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, a Republican in western New York state.

The bill passed the Senate twice but is said to be stalled in the Assembly by Democratic leaders.

And the clock is ticking. According to a federal mandate, each state must pass welfare reforms by February 2014 or lose out on federal funding—$125 million in the case of New York.

But the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, has said he has had assurances that the ban can be passed administratively. “We know we’re up against a deadline in order to adhere to the federal guidelines,” he said. “I have assurances that it’s being done.”

China struggling with smoking rules

| December 6, 2013

Health and law experts say that regional anti-smoking regulations in China lack the teeth to protect nonsmokers from secondhand tobacco smoke, according to a story in the China Daily.

China is said to be looking at a national ban on tobacco smoking in enclosed public areas. Currently, more than 10 cities have smoking regulations, all of which ban smoking in such areas.

“But implementation of the law is unsatisfactory, mostly because there is a lack of enforcement and awareness of the law,” said Wang Qingbin, associate professor with the China University of Political Science and Law, at a symposium staged by the Beijing-based tobacco control campaign ThinkTank and the Tobacco Control Office of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The municipal-level rules mainly targeted public businesses such as restaurants, Internet bars, hotels and movie theaters, but did not focus on individual smokers, he said.

New head of JTI Korea appointed

| December 6, 2013

Japan Tobacco International has appointed Anastasios Sitsas as general manager of its Korean operation, according to a story in The Korea Herald.

Sitsas began his career as a consumer and trade marketing expert in 1990 at the British tobacco manufacturer Gallaher.

After Gallaher was acquired by JTI in 2007, he headed JTI’s regional operations in Central Asia, including those in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.

Prior to taking over at JTI Korea, he led the strategic marketing of Sobranie, Glamour, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut from JTI’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“I plan to effectively leverage the diverse experience that I have gained while working in various countries across the globe to offer high-quality products and services that satisfy the needs of Korean consumers,” Sitsas said.

Altria on The Civic 50 list of companies

| December 6, 2013

Altria was recognized yesterday as one of the U.S.’s most community-minded companies when it was included on The Civic 50, an annual initiative that identifies and recognizes companies for their commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where they do business.

The survey was conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light, the nation’s definitive experts on civic engagement, and published by Bloomberg News.

“Altria and its family of companies have a long history of contributing to organizations that enrich and improve the communities where our employees live and work,” said Jennifer Hunter, Altria Client Services’ senior vice president, corporate affairs.

“We work to develop strong partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations with proven-effective programs.

“Over the past 10 years, Altria’s companies have donated more than $1.1 billion in cash and in-kind contributions to improve the communities where we operate.

“In addition, our employees give their time, talents and resources to organizations through volunteer service in the community and our Altria Companies Employee Community Fund.

“We are pleased to be recognized for this work and the difference corporations and citizens can make in our communities when we work together.”

Michael Weiser, chairman of the board for the National Conference on Citizenship, and Neil Bush, chairman of the board for Points of Light, said in a joint statement that the results of this year’s Civic 50 survey had shown that even the most civically engaged companies were doing more to make community engagement a top priority and a permanent aspect of their business strategy.

“These 50 companies are showing others in the private sector how to boost the bottom line and make the world a better place.”

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