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PM celebrates 50 years in Switzerland

| September 15, 2014

Philip Morris International on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of Philip Morris Products (PMP) at its factory in Serrières, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, during an event attended by cantonal and local officials from Neuchâtel and Vaud.

“We are extremely happy to celebrate 50 years in Switzerland, notably here in Neuchâtel, where the PMP SA factory was founded in 1964,” said André Calantzopoulos, CEO of PMI.

“I am particularly grateful to our employees, business partners and the communities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne, who have always been an integral part of our success.

“We are proud of this track record which we look forward to continuing in the future. “Few companies can take pride in such a history, growing from the family-owned Fabriques de Tabac Reunies founded in 1925, to a manufacturing facility at the forefront of technology, production quality, industrial development and innovation, now standing next to our global R&D Center.”

With manufacturing and innovation in Neuchâtel, and at its global Operations Center in Lausanne, PMI in Switzerland employs more than 3,000 people representing roughly 50 nationalities.

Since 2008, the company has invested about CHF700 million in Switzerland, primarily in its global R&D Center.

On an annual basis, PMI’s activities in Switzerland represent an economic impact of more than CHF1.4 billion in terms of human resources expenditures and the purchase of goods and services, in addition to CHF1 billion in excise tax on tobacco.

“The 50th anniversary of Philip Morris in Neuchâtel highlights the heritage of one of the largest international companies in our region – proof that Switzerland and, particularly, Neuchâtel offers a positive environment for economic development,” said Alain Ribaux, president of the State Council of Neuchâtel.

“I would also like to commend the company for its excellent integration and economic, social and cultural participation in our Canton.”

General Cigar acquires Toraño Brands

| September 12, 2014

General Cigar Co. has acquired the Toraño Family Cigar Co. brands. The company says the acquisition will strengthen its market position and enhance its product mix to deliver greater value and innovation. It will also allow General Cigar to expand its portfolio.

Spanning almost 100 years, Toraño Cigars has a long history that encompasses every area of the cigar industry, from growing though manufacturing to brand creation. Toraño’s portfolio, including the popular Exodus, Reserva, Casa Toraño, Vault and Master Collections will remain unchanged under the new owners.

“The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio,” says Dan Carr, president of General Cigar. “Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years and I look forward to working with Charlie Toraño on plans to celebrate the upcoming centennial and to carry forward the vision, passion and innovation that is synonymous with the Toraño name while also leveraging our resources to bring even greater excitement and reach to our trade partners and consumers.”

“There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba,” says Toraño president Charlie Toraño. “There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise.”


RAI in sustainability index

| September 12, 2014

Reynolds American has been awarded membership in the 2014-2015 Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, effective Sept. 22, 2014.

Reynolds American is one of only 149 North American companies on the index, which is used by many investment portfolio managers when making investment decisions. Previously, the company was a member of the index from 2009 through 2013.

Companies are selected based on an extensive evaluation of many criteria, including corporate governance, risk management, energy consumption, climate change strategies, supply chain standards and human resources development.


Korean smokers brace for price hike

| September 12, 2014

The South Korean government wants to increase cigarette prices by 80 percent next year. Under the proposal, a KRW2,500 ($2.42) pack would cost KRW4,500 come Jan. 1. The government would also start adjusting cigarette prices to inflation rates, which would result in more frequent cigarette price rises in the future. Cigarette prices in Korea have been flat since 2004.

The government hopes its proposal will increase revenue and reduce smoking. At 44 percent in 2013, South Korea’s male smoking rateis the highest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. The government wants to reduce that figure to 29 percent by 2020.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance expects the price hike to cause a 34 percent drop in overall sales of tobacco products and generate an additional KRW2.8 trillion in tax revenues.

Korea’s cigarette prices are currently among the lowest in the world, while its tobacco tax rates are below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 70 percent.

Tobacco companies cautioned that the measure would encourage smuggling from countries such as China, where tobacco prices are much lower. It also warned of an increase in consumption of illegally produced, low-quality cigarettes, which may be more harmful to health than higher-quality varieties.

Regulatory authorization for nicotine inhaler

| September 12, 2014

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has granted a product license for general sale to Kind Consumer’s Voke nicotine inhaler. The company will now submit a variation to the license to support full-scale commercialization by its commercial partner, Nicoventures.

“We are pleased to announce that the Voke Inhaler has been licensed in the U.K. as a medicinal product after a detailed review process by the MHRA,” says Chris Moyses, chief medical officer, Kind Consumer.

“It is a great achievement for the team to have successfully navigated the process to marketing authorization during which we have satisfied all questions raised by the MHRA. The technology contains no electronics, heat or combustion and will rival e-cigarettes and nicotine-replacement therapies when launched.”

Voke is licensed for use to relieve and/or prevent craving and nicotine-withdrawal symptoms associated with tobacco dependence. It is indicated to aid smokers wishing to quit or reduce prior to quitting, to assist smokers who are unwilling or unable to smoke, and as a safer alternative to smoking for smokers and those around them.

The marketing authorization application comprised pharmaceutical, non-clinical and clinical data on the Voke Inhaler, including a clinical pharmacokinetic study comparing the Voke Inhaler with a commercially available pharmaceutical product. In addition, the Voke Inhaler includes a CE-marked medical device.

“It took over a decade to design and develop Voke, combining strict pharmaceutical safety standards while retaining the real consumer experience of the product,” says Alex Hearn, chief product officer, inventor of the technology and founder of Kind Consumer. “This invention, promises to make a real difference in offering smokers a safer alternative to smoking.”

“Achieving the first authorization for the Voke Inhaler as a licensed medicine is a major milestone for the company,” says Kind Consumer CEO Paul Triniman. “The Voke Inhaler will be commercialized by Nicoventures Ltd., now engaged in ensuring that automated manufacturing capacity will be in place, as well as the marketing plans to bring this advance in nicotine technology to smokers.”

High taxes mean high times for the illicit tobacco trade in Hong Kong

| September 11, 2014

One out of three cigarettes smoked in Hong Kong last year was illicit, according to a story in the South China Morning Post citing a study by two overseas think tanks.

The displacement of licit by illicit cigarettes was said to have cost the government more than HK$3.2 billion in ‘lost tax revenue’.

The multi-state Illicit Tobacco Indicator study conducted by UK-based Oxford Economics and the US-based International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) suggested that the illicit cigarette consumption rate in Hong Kong accounted for up to 33.6 percent of the 1.8 billion cigarettes smoked there last year.

Of the 14 countries studied, Hong Kong had the third highest consumption rate after Brunei and Malaysia, which ranked first and second, respectively.

The findings were contested by the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health. A study carried out by the council and the University of Hong Kong showed the illicit-cigarette consumption rate during 2012 was between 8.3 percent and 14.0 percent.

The report by ITIC and Oxford Economics for the same year suggested the figure was 35.9 percent.

ITIC president, Daniel Witt, was quoting as saying the high rate of illicit-cigarette consumption last year was caused by substantial tax increases on cigarettes, which had forced smokers to seek a cheaper alternative. He said cigarette taxes had risen by 50 percent between 2008 and 2009.

Witt was said to have ‘shrugged off’ suggestions that the study could be biased because it was partly funded by Philip Morris International.

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