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France primed for public vaping ban

| May 2, 2014

E-cigarettes could be banned from enclosed public places in France after the country’s health minister recently reiterated her desire to tighten the laws around the use of these devices, according to a story in The Local.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine has previously given hints that she intended to introduce a law to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, but now she has made her intentions clear.

“I am favorable to the banning [of e-cigarettes] in a certain number of public places where there are many people or where there are children or young people present,” Touraine said.

The minister said also she wanted certain outdoor public spaces to be declared completely tobacco-free by local mayors.

Her proposals will become clear when they are included as part of the next public health bill, set to be published this summer.

Currently people can use e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants, where traditional smoking is banned.

And employers have discretion as to whether or not to allow the use of e-cigarettes by employees in the workplace.

England seeks safe use of e-cigarettes

| May 2, 2014

Health officials have considered banning the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places in England, according to a story in The Independent quoting “documents from a recent board meeting.”

The suggestion, said to have been one of a number of options raised at a Public Health England (PHE) meeting in February, proposed prohibiting e-cigarette use in “workplaces, educational and public places to ensure their use did not undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing and normalising smoking.”

But PHE says that it has not called for a ban, and is still considering options.

“We have not called for a ban on e-cigarette use in public spaces,” said professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s national director health and well-being.

“PHE is working with our partners to consider the options for supporting safe use of e-cigarettes to reduce harm and support smokers to quit, some of which were discussed by our board in February.”

BAT Philippines wants more competition

| May 2, 2014

British American Tobacco Philippines has joined calls for the passage of a competition law that would curb monopolies and unfair trade practices in the country, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

“We support the call recently aired by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and other business groups urging Congress to give priority to the enactment of these laws, which have been pushed in previous congresses, but unfortunately have not been approved,” BAT general manager James Lafferty was quoted as saying.

“As a relatively new entrant and currently still small player in the tobacco industry, we recognize the importance of a robust competition law that can protect the interest of small players. This is true not only for tobacco but across all industries,” he added.

Lafferty concurred with the PCCI’s position that the proposed law, when implemented, would spur further growth in the local economy and attract more foreign investment into the country.

Draft FDA e-cigarette regulations said to be a solution in search of a problem

| May 1, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s draft regulations on e-cigarettes are an example of a government imposing a “solution” and then looking for a problem, according to the president of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), Julie Woessner, J.D.

In a press note issued through PRNewswire, CASAA said the regulations offered little benefit. However, it believes that should the FDA finalize the regulations in their current form, they will inflict devastating harm on consumers.

“This is a classic case of government imposing a ‘solution’ and then looking for a problem,” said Woessner. “The regulations do nothing to address real concerns, and instead are a slow-motion ban of the high-quality e-cigarettes that have helped so many smokers quit. The rules would mostly require busywork filings that impose huge costs with little apparent benefit.”

CASAA’s scientific director, Dr. Carl V. Phillips, said the proposed regulations were based on a faulty understanding of the science. “[The] FDA has cherry-picked the available evidence,” said Phillips, “blindly accepting any assertion that favors aggressive regulation and ignoring the overwhelming evidence about the harms that these regulations would cause.”

In its press note, CASAA said that though the regulations did not openly ban the refillable devices that were preferred by experienced users, they imposed a costly registration and approval process that would effectively eliminate them. “Such registrations offer minimal benefits, but ensure that only a few large companies who mass-produce small and disposable products would be able to afford the necessary filings,” the note said. “Additionally, while the regulations do not immediately ban the variety of popular flavors for e-cigarette liquid, they signal an intention to do so in the future.”

Leaf tobacco prices down in Malawi

| May 1, 2014

Malawi earned MWK15 billion (about US$38 million) from tobacco sales during the first five weeks of the 2014 marketing season, according to a Star Africa story quoting figures issued by the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) on Tuesday.

TCC chief executive Bruce Munthali said about 28 million kg of tobacco had been sold so far over the auction floors, an increase of about 49 percent on sales during the same period of last year, 18.8 million kg.

Munthali said the increase in earnings had been realized on the back of firm prices offered by buyers.

“We are happy with the way our tobacco is being sold at the market, and we are hoping that as the market goes on the prices will increase …,” he said.

It would seem, however, that prices so far have been down on those of last year, because while volume sales increased by 49 percent, according to the TCC, earnings increased by only 38 percent.

Karnataka crop target up by 4 percent

| May 1, 2014

The Tobacco Board of India has increased Karnataka’s authorized flue-cured crop size to 104 million kg for the 2014–2015 season, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

For the past two seasons, the board has targeted the state’s production at 100 million kg.

The increase follows the production of a good-quality crop in 2013–2014.

The board has warned that it will continue to take action against unauthorized production.

However, board officials were quoted as saying that the area committed to tobacco was set to rise from 75,000 ha to 85,000 ha, a 13 percent increase.

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