Breaking News

Nepal goes for 90 percent pack warnings

| November 3, 2014

The government of Nepal decided on Thursday to make it mandatory for tobacco companies to devote ‘at least 90 percent’ of their packs to health warnings, according to a story in The Kathmandu Post.

It wasn’t clear from the report whether the warnings will have to cover 90 percent of the front, 90 percent of the front and back, or 90 percent of the whole pack.

At present, health warnings take up 75 percent of the front and back surfaces.

A group of tobacco companies challenged the May 2011 legislation that brought in the 75 percent warnings, but that challenge was quashed by the Supreme Court in December 2013.

The challenge was made on the grounds that 75 percent far exceeded the requirements in neighboring countries.

In opting for 90 percent, Nepal has once again moved ahead of countries such as India and Thailand, where the requirement is for warnings to cover 85 percent of packs.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, 70 percent of the new warnings will include pictures, while 20 percent will be taken up with statutory warnings in Nepali.

BAT: farmers ‘valued business partners’

| November 3, 2014

British American Tobacco has launched its latest Sustainability Focus Report, Supporting Farmers’ Livelihoods: The Opportunity, which highlights what it says is ‘the important role’ played by the 100,000 tobacco farmers who supply the company.

According to a note posted on its website, BAT says the report proposes a new approach to agricultural policy decision making that will help governments ensure farmers can ‘continue to thrive’.

“We have a long and proud history in agriculture, working directly with farmers around the world,” said chief executive, Nicandro Durante.

“Tobacco leaf is the most essential part of our product, so the farmers who grow it are absolutely crucial to the success of our business.”

In recent years there had been considerable debate about the social, environmental and economic impact of tobacco growing, the note said. And governments were right to look at the impacts of growing tobacco or any other commercial crops.

The report proposes five new core principles which BAT believes can help guide governments’ approach to future policy decision making:

* ‘Evidence-based – driven by market dynamics and based on sound research and scientific evidence;

* ‘Holistic – adopts a broad approach, understands tobacco is part of a mixed agricultural system and acknowledges initiatives already underway to avoid duplication;

* ‘Respectful of livelihoods – prioritizes farmers and their communities, ensures farmers continue to be free to choose which crops they grow;

* ‘Inclusive – allows the whole tobacco growing supply chain to participate in decision making, is consultative and does not restrict the tobacco industry’s existing support for farming communities;

* ‘Locally relevant – considers local political, economic and environmental factors, gives precedence to local implications or priorities and finds practical, workable solutions.’

“The farmers we work with are valued business partners,” said Durante. “We want them to feel confident about their future and to be self-sufficient and prosperous…

“This is a pragmatic, commercial approach to securing our supply chain and ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers. I’m committed to a future where all our farmers have the resources they need to be successful and to ensuring farming communities can thrive.”

British American Tobacco buys more than 400,000 tonnes of tobacco each year from more than 100,000 contracted farmers and third party suppliers around the world.

Cigarettes still ITC’s profits milch-cow

| November 3, 2014

Despite being a conglomerate that runs luxury hotels and sells notebooks and clothing, as well as cigarettes, ITC’s bread and butter continues to be the tobacco business, according to a story by Kiran Kabtta Somvanshi for The Economic Times of India.

Its performance during the quarter to the end of September continued to display this trend as the bulk of its profits – as much as 85 percent – came from the company’s cigarette business, while its hotels and consumer goods businesses continued to bleed.

‘Though it posted a healthy 15 percent growth in revenues, its net profit rose a mere nine percent – the lowest quarterly growth in the past six years, the Times’ report said…

‘What should worry investors is the looming threat of regulatory clamps on the company’s cash cow. Since cigarettes are a major tax source for the government, it is unlikely [to] do anything that could threaten the very survival of the industry.

‘But faced with a vocal antismoking lobby, the government may increasingly make it difficult to market cigarettes – forcing ITC and others to find new ways to do business.’

Tax rise would close 1,000 tobacconists

| November 3, 2014

French MPs have approved, against the opinion of the government, two amendments that would raise the tax on cigars and cigarillos in line with that imposed on cigarettes, according to a story in Le Figaro.

The cigar suppliers’ association, Association des Fournisseurs de Cigares en France (AFCF), said that, if the amendments were confirmed, a pack of the country’s best-selling cigarillos would increase by €10.00 to €17.60.

AFCF warned that the measure would cause a drop in cigar sales next year that would translate into a fall in tax revenue of €158 million.

Meanwhile, the tobacconists’ union president, Pascal Montredon, said the price hike would lead to a decrease in revenue for tobacconists specializing in cigars and cigarillos.

If the price increase were applied, about 1,000 tobacconist shops would close down next year, in addition to the 1,000 shops already forecast to close this year.

MP Michele Delaunay, who presented the amendment, was quoted as saying that the main priority was health, ‘because tobacco is the first cause of death worldwide’.

Russia’s smoking laws under scrutiny

| November 3, 2014

Russia’s parliament, the Duma, is due to consider revising the country’s anti-smoking laws by reintroducing smoking rooms and special outdoor smoking areas at the country’s airports and train stations, according to a RIA Novosti report quoting a Rossiyskaya Gazeta story.

But the proposals for alterations to the country’s anti-smoking laws, which have come into effect during the past two years, are not only aimed at their liberalization.

Further restrictions, which have also been proposed, would make it illegal to smoke around bus stops, in pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, and in the corridors and kitchens of the communal apartments still inhabited by about 7-10 percent of the Russian population.

Proposed bill would increase minimum purchase age by one year every year

| October 31, 2014

A politician in Tasmania, Australia, plans to introduce to the state’s upper house a private member’s bill that would restrict the sale of tobacco products to people born in or after 2000, according to a story by Andrew Drummond for the Australian Associated Press.

“It will not make it illegal for them to smoke, but it will make it illegal for them to buy the product,” said the Launceston-based independent MP Ivan Dean.

“If we have a bill that’s to say they can never smoke, it would be unlikely to get support.”

Dean is working on the basis that if it’s difficult to source cigarettes, it is less likely people will smoke.

Due to be tabled in parliament on November 18, the bill is still a work in progress though, for obvious reasons, it would not come into effect until 2018.

“So far I’ve only had positive feedback about the bill and even the [state] health minister has indicated he will look at the detail,” Dean said.

And support is coming from the US, where Dick Daynard, professor of law in public health at Boston’s Northeastern University, is throwing his weight behind the proposed legislation.

The full story is at:

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