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Brazil joint venture delivering leaf tobacco to China

| April 1, 2014

Alliance One International said yesterday that its Brazilian subsidiary, Alliance One Brasil Exportadora de Tabacos (AOB), and China Tabaco Internacional do Brasil (CTIB), the Brazilian subsidiary of China Tobacco, had formed the joint-venture company China Brasil Tobacos Exportadora (CBT) in Brazil.

Fifty-one percent of the joint venture is owned by CTIB and 49 percent by AOB.

The joint venture’s administrative, buying and processing functions operate out of Alliance One’s facilities in Venancio Aires.

CBT, which has operated as an independent subsidiary of AOB for the past two crops, currently contracts with 9,500 integrated growers.

“We are honored that China Tobacco selected Alliance One for its first international joint venture in the tobacco leaf supply segment,” said Pieter Sikkel, Alliance One’s CEO and president.

“China Tobacco is a highly valued partner, and we are pleased with our combined efforts to grow CBT over the last two crops and see a very bright future.

“China’s cigarette market is the largest in the world, and our joint venture has been established to provide high-quality, sustainably grown Brazilian tobacco to its cigarette manufacturing groups.

“Our partnership aligns Alliance One’s strategy of profitable growth with meeting customers’ unique individual requirements through our sustainable model.”

PMI reports progress in program of tackling tobacco-farm labor abuses

| April 1, 2014

Philip Morris International yesterday released its second progress report on implementation of the company’s Agricultural Labor Practices program (ALP).

The program aims progressively to eliminate child labor and other labor abuses on the 490,000 farms (the vast majority of which are small-holder farms) where PMI buys tobacco worldwide.

“With our ALP program, we have implemented an operating culture and practices code that allows us to address this complex matter in a determined, systematic and effective manner,” said PMI’s CEO André Calantzopoulos.

“We are mindful that certain behaviors are deeply ingrained in the economic, socio-political and cultural fabric of many tobacco-growing countries and that we cannot be successful alone.

“We combine our own hard work and perseverance with strong engagement with governments and local communities, as well as partnerships with nonprofit organizations specialized in this field and the internationally renowned expert Verité.

“We all know this is a long-term journey but are pleased with the results already achieved.”

The progress report is at http://www.pmi.com/eng/media_center/documents/pmi_progress_report_final_not_watermarked_low_res_0328.pdf.

Imperial’s material development in France

| April 1, 2014

Imperial Tobacco’s factory in Nantes, France, has been awarded a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate for the use of sustainable materials in its product packaging.

The international certificate serves as a guarantee for consumers of responsible forestry management of the base material for cigarette packaging.

To achieve Chain of Custody Certification, the factory had to demonstrate that its packaging suppliers sourced only FSC-approved materials.

“This enables production of FSC labelled products as part of our increased use of renewable materials and eco-friendly packaging,” said Christophe Grard, quality and process manager at Nantes.

Imperial’s other FSC-certified sites are at Radom in Poland and Wilrijk in Belgium, which is a Rizla plant.

Lorillard elects new board member

| April 1, 2014

Lorillard has elected Jerry W. Levin to its board of directors, effective immediately.

The board is now composed of nine members, eight of whom are non-executive independent directors.

Levin serves as executive chairman of the creative consumer products company, Wilton Brands, a position he has held since 2009. He served as CEO of Wilton Brands from 2009 to 2014.

Levin served as chairman and CEO of JW Levin Partners, a management and investment firm that he founded in 2005.

And prior to that, he served as chairman and interim CEO of Sharper Image Corp., chairman and CEO of American Household and chairman and CEO of Revlon International Corp.

Levin serves also on the boards of directors of US Bancorp and Ecolab.

Funding sought for quitting device

| April 1, 2014

The designer of a new smoking cessation device is seeking funding through the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, according to a press note issued through PRNewswire.

Mynus is said to be a “small, sleek-looking device” that “will allow anyone to once and for all wean themselves off of cigarettes, while eliminating virtually all humanly detectable second and third-hand smoke and odor.”

The note said that users placed a cigarette into the device and inserted also one of the Ten Disk System metering disks, which control the amount of smoke and nicotine that is inhaled while smoking.

“The disks allow smokers to adjust their intake anywhere from 100 percent to just 10 percent of the smoke produced by the cigarette,” the press note said.

“Smokers incrementally reduce the amount of smoke and nicotine they inhale by changing discs over time—increasing the ratio of fresh, outside air being mixed with the smoke.

“When they are down to inhaling only 10 percent of a cigarette’s smoke, the next step is quitting altogether.”

There is more information at www.mynus.com.

Illicit trade warnings over plain packs dismissed by antis as scare stories

| March 31, 2014

A tobacco control group has accused tobacco companies of having encouraged scare stories predicting that the introduction of standardized packaging for tobacco products would boost cigarette smuggling, according to a story by Jamie Doward for The Observer (U.K.).

A new study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, claims such arguments must be viewed skeptically.

“We found that from early 2008 until early 2011 there were absolutely no media stories citing industry data on illicit sales of tobacco, despite levels being far higher then than they are now,” said professor Anna Gilmore of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath. “Then suddenly, just after the possibility of plain packaging was announced, we saw an increase in such stories, which have continued since. This, and the fact that leaked documents show that illicit trade was to be one of the industry’s key arguments against plain packs, suggests this is a deliberate strategy.”

There was no attempt in the story to try to explain the seeming conflict between there having been “absolutely no media stories” and there having been an “increase in such stories,” and Gilmore went on to say that industry claims that the use of illicit cigarettes in the U.K. was sharply increasing were “wholly inconsistent” with historical trends and recent independent data.

The study apparently also states that there was growing evidence tobacco companies were still involved in the illicit trade. “There is evidence of significant overproduction of cigarettes in markets such as Ukraine and Belarus and we know these excess cigarettes end up in the illegal market,” the study said.

The full story is at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/30/tobacco-cigarette-smuggling-scare-plain-packs.

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