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Graphic warnings bill reaches Senate

| March 4, 2014

The Philippines Senate yesterday started deliberations on a bill that, if passed, would require graphic health warnings to be included on tobacco packs, according to a story on GMA News Online.

In his sponsorship speech, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the graphic health warning bill was of “vital importance” because of the rising number of Filipino cigarette smokers.

“The bill is necessary in order to strengthen the government’s efforts to discourage smoking among our citizenry,” he said. “Smokers have to be informed and made fully aware of what will happen to their health every time they pick up a cigarette pack.”

The Philippines is a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which obliges countries that have ratified the treaty to pass laws requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.

But so far, the Philippines has not passed any laws on graphic warnings, and the House version of the bill now before the Senate is still only at the committee level.

The GMA story said that the Department of Health had issued in 2010 an order requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, but that tobacco companies had challenged the move in court and obtained a temporary restraining order.

Nigerian court upholds cigarette seizures

| March 4, 2014

A federal high court in Abuja has upheld the right of Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to impound cigarettes that do not conform to packaging regulations, according to a story in ThisDay.

Creation Commercial Ventures Ltd. (CCV), said to be the sole distributor of Superkings cigarettes in Nigeria for Imperial Tobacco, had challenged the CPC’s powers to confiscate cigarettes imported into the country.

In its application, the company had sought a court order for the immediate release of the 3,000 cartons of cigarettes seized and an injunction restraining CPC from further seizing and detaining its products.

The company sought also NGN300 million in damages from the CPC.

The CPC argued that the seizures were within its powers.

It said that the health warning on the Superkings packs did not conform to the requirements of the Nigerian Industrial Standard and that the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor were not legibly marked on each side of the packs, as was required.

Justice Evoh Stephen Chukwu held that the right to property was not absolute.

He found that the CPC had shown that the cigarettes in question were not in conformity with the laws and regulations of the country, and he dismissed CCV’s application.

Nicolites expanding into Poland

| March 4, 2014

The U.K. e-cigarette supplier Nicolites is expanding into Poland, according to a story in The Grocer.

The move follows an increase in demand from Polish customers visiting the Nicolites website.

Nicolites was said to have secured listings with retailers and distributors to stock its products across the country.

At the same time it is setting up a dedicated Polish website.

Nicolites already has a presence in the Republic of Ireland and Portugal.

RAI to webcast conference presentation

| March 4, 2014

Reynolds American Inc. will host a webcast at of the remarks made by CEO and President Daniel M. Delen during the 2014 RBC Capital Markets’ Consumer and Retail Conference in Boston starting about 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 12.

Registration for the webcast, which will be relayed on a listen-only basis, is available at, where a replay will be available.

Indonesia fights over warnings deadline

| March 3, 2014

Four months before the planned implementation in Indonesia of a regulation requiring pictorial warnings on cigarette packs, efforts to comply with the rules seem to be at a standstill, according to a story in The Jakarta Post quoting a health expert.

Widyastuti Soerojo, of the University of Indonesia’s School of Public Health, said the slow progress proved the government had a lack of commitment to solving the country’s tobacco problem.

“The deadline is approaching and yet there are no pictorial health warnings,” she said. “There is no strong commitment from the government to protect its citizens.”

Widyastuti said the government might have bowed to demands from the tobacco industry, but she nevertheless called on cigarette manufacturers to make a start on the new packaging; not only to meet the deadline but also to support the campaign on the dangers of smoking.

“We are hoping the tobacco industry understands that it has a moral obligation to provide customers information on products that they consume,” she said.

The new regulations require cigarette manufacturers to include warnings taking up at least 40 percent of the front and back of packs and showing images of diseased lungs, mouths, throats or larynxes.

The deputy health minister, Ali Ghufron Mukti, said the government continued to push and promote the regulation to cigarette manufacturers.

Ghufron said that the ministry was now working with the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency to step up the campaign to boost compliance among cigarette makers.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Cigarette Manufacturers Association secretary-general, Hasan Aoni, said cigarette manufacturers would comply with the new regulation, though he acknowledged that it would be difficult for them to meet the June deadline because of a lack of clear guidelines.

There was conflicting information, he said, from relevant agencies, including the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission, which had stated recently that images of cancerous mouths or lungs might be too grotesque for some. (While the new regulations include also restrictions on advertising, they allow television advertisements between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.)

“We want clarification from the government so we can implement the regulation,” said Hasan. “They have to understand it is not easy to prepare the new packaging.”

EU tobacco directive moving ahead

| March 3, 2014

The European Commission’s Tobacco Products Regulatory Committee is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the new Tobacco Products Directive, which was adopted by the European Parliament on Feb. 26.

One of the items on the draft agenda is the presentation and discussion of new health warning images.

Under the new TPD, health warnings will have to cover 65 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs.

The meeting will include too a session on the organization of future work under the new TPD, including “ongoing studies/service contracts; secondary legislation; and future organization of the regulatory committee.”

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