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Prosecutors raid KT&G over alleged corruption

| October 5, 2015

Prosecutors announced on Oct. 2 that they have raided the headquarters of KT&G, South Korea’s leading tobacco maker, due to allegations that the company created slush funds in the process of taking over other companies, according to The Korea Herald.

The office of Min Young-jin, the former head of KT&G Corp., as well as that of his secretary, were included on the list of raids, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said. Prosecutors confiscated from the state-run tobacco firm accounting books and transaction information regarding KT&G’s business partners. They suspect Min created secret funds while taking over and managing a local cosmetics company and a bio venture company that has become KT&G’s affiliate.

Min resigned in July, when prosecutors launched the investigation.

Greek cardiologist supports e-cig use

| October 5, 2015

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist from Greece, has argued that e-cigarettes should be made available to smokers who want to stop using combustible cigarettes but don’t want to give up nicotine, according to Mayalsia’s The Star.

Farsalinos, who is a cardiologist and researcher at the University of Patras’ Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, has indicated that e-cigarettes play an important role in tobacco harm reduction. “Most smokers do not want to go to the doctor,” he said in a media briefing initiated by the Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity.

Farsalinos also quoted studies that said current nicotine-replacement therapies had a success rate of less than 6 percent, while oral medications had a success rate below 20 percent. He argued that e-cigarette use was a more acceptable method for smokers to reduce smoking, saying e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes.

Malaysia’s health minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, on Aug. 13 announced that the country’s ministry of health was in discussions with various agencies and parties about the effects different methods of smoking have on an individual’s health. He urged the public to stop using e-cigarettes until comprehensive findings on the risks involved in vaping were released.

Of the 400 Malaysian smokers aged 18 and above surveyed online by Ipsos from June 3 to June 17, 82 percent believed that “e-cigarettes represent a positive alternative to today’s [combustible] cigarettes,” and 75 percent would “consider switching to e-cigarettes if they were legal, met quality and safety standards, and were conveniently available like regular tobacco products,” according to John Boley, co-founder of the consumer advocacy group

Haia cracks down on smokers in Saudi Arabia

| October 5, 2015

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) is cracking down on people smoking shisha in public places, according to a story in the Arab News.

Arab News recently visited a public park in Wadi Namir, Dariyah region, and found numerous people smoking shisha. This irritated many people who were at the park with their families and feared the shisha they were being exposed to was harmful to their health.

After authorities received numerous complaints about shisha smoking in the park, members of Haia visited the park to prevent people from smoking. The organization confiscated shisha pipes and required smokers to sign written statements saying they would not smoke shisha in public.

According to reports, it costs an estimated SR80,000 to SR250,000 to treat a person with cancer caused by smoking, and treating tobacco-related diseases has cost the Kingdom SR10 billion over the past 25 years.

Sixteen percent of Finns smoke, one percent vape

| October 5, 2015

bout 16 percent of Finns aged 15-64 smoke daily, a figure that comprises 17 percent men and 14 percent women, according to an Esmerk story citing Finland’s National Institute of Health and Welfare.

Eleven percent of 16-year-olds smoke.

Less than one percent of the country’s working-age population vape electronic cigarettes daily, though seven percent of women aged 15-24 vape occasionally.

Meanwhile, according to Customs department tax statistics, 4,317 million cigarettes and 117 million cigars were consumed in Finland last year.

Cigarette consumption during 2014 was said to have been down from that of 2013, but the story did not say by how much.

Four hundred and seventy million duty-free cigarettes were imported by private individuals during 2014.

‘Educational’ approach to car smoke ban

| October 5, 2015

Motorists who break a new law that bans tobacco smoking in cars while children are inside are unlikely to be prosecuted or fined, according to a story in The Daily Telegraph.

Since the beginning of this month, any driver caught smoking in a vehicle carrying someone under the age of 18 has been liable to a fine of £50.

But while the police will now have the power to stop drivers and issue on the spot fines, chief officers have indicated that they will focus on taking a ‘non-confrontational’ approach.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said drivers would be “educated” rather than prosecuted.

“As the existing smoke-free law extends to vehicles, police forces will be following guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health by taking an educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach when enforcing the new legislation,” the spokesman said.

RAI to consolidate Vuse manufacturing

| October 1, 2015

circuitReynolds American is consolidating the manufacturing operations for its Vuse digital vapor cigarette. Currently, production is split between R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s factory in Tobaccoville, North Carolina, USA, and a contractor in Kansas.

Going forward, all production of Vuse will occur at Tobaccoville, pursuant to a services agreement between R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and RJR Vapor Co.

“Vuse is currently the top-selling electronic cigarette in the convenience store channel, and we are very pleased with its success to date,” said Susan M. Cameron, president and CEO of Reynolds American. “As the vapor category continues to develop, we need to make sure our manufacturing operations are efficient and cost-effective in meeting anticipated demand.”

In May of last year, Reynolds American announced a multimillion dollar investment for higher-speed, more efficient e-cigarette manufacturing equipment at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco’s Tobaccoville manufacturing center. The new equipment is now online, enabling the company to consolidate Vuse manufacturing, reducing its manufacturing footprint and generating cost efficiencies.

As a result of the consolidation, in the third quarter Reynolds expects to take asset impairment and exit charges of approximately $100 million on a pretax basis.

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