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Website glitch delays Ploom launch

| December 13, 2013

Technical difficulties have forced Japan Tobacco Inc. to cancel the launch of online sales of Ploom vaporizers, which, according to a Nov. 28 press note, were scheduled to start yesterday.

Sales through the Ploom Online Shop, operated by JT Creative Services, are now due to go ahead once the Internet site’s technical difficulties have been overcome.

The new launch date will be announced on the JT’s corporate website.

The Ploom vaporizer is a pocket-sized smoking alternative device that heats tobacco contained in pods to a constant temperature, vaporizing nicotine and flavors without burning the materials or producing smoke.

In December 2011, Japan Tobacco International and the San Francisco-based Ploom announced that they had entered into an exclusive, long-term cooperation agreement under which JTI would commercialize Ploom’s new generation of ‘smoking alternative products’ outside the U.S.

Ploom was launched—outside the U.S.—in Austria in May, since when JT International has introduced it also in Korea and Italy.

The product is being made available in Japan in two colors, slate (black) and pearl (white), while pods, which are categorized as pipe tobacco by Japan’s Ministry of Finance, will be available in six blends: Gold, Orchard, Cooler, Lugano, Mevius and Pianissimo. Also available will be the multipack with a 12-piece assortment of two pods of each blend.

Each pod can be used for about 10 to 15 minutes.

NZ smoking prevalence at 15.1 percent

| December 12, 2013

The prevalence of smoking in New Zealand has fallen by more than a quarter in six years, according to a story by Martin Johnston for the New Zealand Herald.

Data from this year’s census showed that 15.1 percent of people aged 15 or older smoked daily, down from 20.7 percent in the previous (2006) census.

The Quitline called this a monumental reduction and Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said it was a huge decline.

Statistics NZ data indicates that the smoking prevalence among Maori declined to 32.7 percent last year, from 42.2 percent in the previous census.

Among non-Maori, it fell to 12.6 percent this year, from 17.8 percent in 2006.

Otago University public health expert, associate professor Nick Wilson, said the overall reduction in the number of smokers seemed credible given the decline in national tobacco sales. Sales fell by 20 percent, to 2.07 million kg between 2006 and 2012.

The government’s official target is that New Zealand will be substantially smoke-free by 2025: subsequently smoke-free being defined as a prevalence of less than 5 percent.

The mid-term target is 10 percent by 2018.

Imperial in new anti-illicit trade compact

| December 12, 2013

Imperial Tobacco says that it has signed a new agreement with the customs authorities in Belgium to help combat illicit trade.

“Belgium is an important country for the movement of illicit tobacco products by criminals due to its location and communication links,” the company said in a note posted on its website.

“The signing of this memorandum of understanding (MoU) builds on existing joint efforts taking place to tackle the problem.

“It renews an existing MoU and also reflects the mutual co-operation set out in the EU-wide agreement signed between Imperial and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in 2010.”

Kris De Baets, legal and CORA manager for Belgium and Luxembourg, said the illicit trade and especially transit through Belgium was of great concern.

“This agreement enables the authorities to work with us to further tackle the problem,” he said.

Annual survey said to overestimate illicit cigarettes in some European countries

| December 12, 2013

Researchers say that an annual study overestimates illicit cigarette levels in some European countries and suggests that Philip Morris International’s supply chain control is inadequate, according to a paper published online by Tobacco Control (TC).

Following a legal agreement with the EU, PMI has commissioned from the global accountancy firm KPMG a yearly report, known as Project Star (PS), on what TC described as the European illicit cigarette trade.

The researchers say that PS “overestimates illicit cigarette levels in some European countries and suggests PMI’s supply chain control is inadequate.”

“Its publication serves the interests of PMI over those of the EU and its member states,” they say.

“PS requires greater transparency, external scrutiny and use of independent data.”

The researchers were Anna B. Gilmore, Andy Rowell and Michelle Sims of the Department for Health and U.K. Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Bath, U.K.; Silvano Gallus and Alessandra Lugo of the Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy; and Luk Joossens of the Association of the European Cancer Leagues and Foundation Against Cancer, Brussels, Belgium.

The open access paper can be accessed at http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2013/12/11/tobaccocontrol-2013-051240.full.

Keeping smokers comfortable outdoors

| December 12, 2013

Paris, France, is set to launch a sustainable alternative to the environment unfriendly café heaters currently used to keep smokers warm outside, according to a story by Elisabeth Braw for Guardian Professional.

And as well as providing heat, the solar-powered parasols will apparently absorb cigarette smoke.

The parasols are being supplied by the U.S. company, Amorphica, whose spokeswoman, Leemor Chandally, said they had been designed to provide comfortable and interactive urban spaces year-round.

“For example, it can be easily affixed to existing urban fixtures, such as bus stops, to improve the experience of waiting for a bus during the winter by providing a warm semi-enclosed space,” Chandally said.

Braw’s story is at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/solar-power-parasol-paris-smokers.

Pianissimo ups the menthol volume

| December 12, 2013

Japan Tobacco Inc. has said that it intends to launch Pianissimo Icene Spike, a product that will offer the strongest menthol sensation of the Pianissimo brand.

The new product will go on sale across Japan from the middle of next month.

The Pianissimo Icene range is said to offer a smooth taste and a refreshingly ice-like menthol sensation.

To achieve the strong menthol sensation and a satisfying smoking experience, Pianissimo Icene Spike will have a regular diameter format, so it will be larger than the other slim-sized Icene products.

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