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Smokers to pay for revenue shortfall

| September 5, 2014

A below-expected cigarette production level during the first half of this year was partly responsible for Indonesia’s revenue falling below target, according to an story.

During a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Agung Kuswandono, director general of Customs and Excise, said two factors had conspired to reduce the targeted revenue. The first was a ban on raw mineral exports since the enactment of the Mineral and Coal Law.

The second was down to the lower-than-expected cigarette production level that had caused cigarette tax revenues to fall below target. Customs and Excise had initially predicted cigarette production would reach 358 billion by the middle of the year.

However, production reached only 353 billion. “In terms of health, reduction in cigarette production is a good thing,” Agung told the Committee. “However, in terms of excise revenue, it certainly has a different meaning.” The upshot of the revenue shortfall is likely to fall on to the shoulders of smokers.

Agung said that his department had delivered a plan to the Budgeting Board of the House of Representatives for an increase in tobacco excise amounting to 10.2 percent.

No reason to believe in gateway effect

| September 5, 2014

The US-based Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has dismissed a study released on Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine in which it was reportedly claimed that electronic cigarettes could cause cocaine use.

‘In reality, the study shows no such thing, and the authors and journal are just trying to score political points based on an unimportant technical study of mice with no real-world implications,’ the CASAA said.

‘The study results only suggest that mice dosed with nicotine one day react differently, biologically, to cocaine the next day compared to those who are not.

‘They do not suggest that nicotine use will cause people to seek out or use cocaine.’

Carl V. Phillips, scientific director of CASAA said that the study said little about human biology and nothing at all about real-world behaviour.

“It does not even measure mouse behaviour,” he said.

“The study provides no evidence there is a gateway effect, and there is no reason to believe there is one.

“Even if there were, this would merely be one hypothesis about why it happens, and tell us nothing about the real world.”

The CASAA response is at: ttps://

Health bodies cave in to fear of unknown

| September 5, 2014

Denmark’s board of health, cancer society, lung association and heart foundation have warned against the use of electronic cigarettes, according to a story by Lucie Rychla for the Copenhagen Post, citing the scientific magazine, Videnskab.

Although the health consequences of using electronic cigarettes are not known, these health authorities are apparently recommending that the 150,000 Danes who are using them ‘consider carefully’ whether they should continue to use them.

It was not clear from the story whether or not the authorities were recommending that users of electronic cigarettes who had quit smoking or cut down on smoking by switching to electronic cigarettes should consider returning to smoking or returning to smoking full time. But given the apparently highly-addictive nature of nicotine and the poor quitting record offered by other products and systems, smoking would seem to be the only alternative to vaping.

The researchers were said to fear that electronic cigarettes containing nicotine could lead to addiction and be a step to smoking tobacco cigarettes.

They apparently worry that vaping, in addition to presenting a health hazard (though that health hazard is acknowledged to be unknown), might lead to an increased number of smokers.

Smokers’ loss is tobacco stores’ gain

| September 4, 2014

The share prices of South Korea’s convenience stores are on the rise on expectations of tobacco price hikes, according to a story in The Korea Economic Daily.

As was reported here yesterday, Korea’s Health and Welfare Minister, Moon Hyung-pyo, said on Tuesday that he hoped to see cigarette prices nearly doubled during the next six years so as to reduce the country’s smoking rate.

Moon said prices should be raised to at least WON3,300 ($3.24) per pack immediately, partly to reflect the general rise in consumer prices, and to WON4,500 by 2020.

The Daily reported that at 09:09 hours yesterday, the shares of GS Retail were traded at WON25,050, up 6.60 percent (WON1,550) from the previous day’s closing price. BGF Retail shares were traded at WON66,700, up 3.73 percent (WON2,400) from WON64,300.

At the same time, KT&G shares rose by 1.67 percent (WON1,600) to WON97,300.

The newspaper quoted Hyundai Securities as saying that the major beneficiaries of the cigarette price hike would be convenience stores, given the share of tobacco sales revenue in total convenience store revenue was very high.

Protection sought for child farm workers

| September 4, 2014

Fifty US-based organizations have called on President Obama to protect children working on US tobacco farms.

The letter, issued last week by the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) and 15 other groups, expressed alarm that children were risking acute nicotine poisoning, pesticide poisoning, and other health and safety hazards in US tobacco fields.

They asked the president to take narrowly-tailored regulatory action to protect child workers, who are ‘allowed’ under labor law to work in tobacco fields at the age of 12.

The letter, signed by organizations representing millions of teachers, healthcare professionals, workers, farm workers, and advocates concerned about the safety, education, and welfare of children, also asked the president to call on the Department of Labor to conduct targeted field investigations to ensure that no children under 12 are working in the fields illegally.

“Child tobacco workers reported working long hours, often in extreme heat and without protective gear,” said Dr. Lorretta Johnson, co-chair of the CLC and the secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers.

“Unfortunately, child labor is a common practice in the United States, and it’s legal.

“We stand with Human Rights Watch, the CLC, and many others to call attention to the great dangers faced by children working on tobacco farms.

“We urge the administration to take measures to end hazardous child labor in tobacco farming.”

Lorillard and Zippo battle over blu brand

| September 4, 2014

Lorillard said yesterday that two of its electronic cigarette subsidiary companies, Cygnet UK Trading Ltd and Lorillard Technologies, Inc. d/b/a blu eCigs, had filed for an injunction and declarations with the High Court of Justice in London, England, to protect their BLU ECIGS® trademarks in the UK and throughout the rest of Europe.

In a note posted on its website (, Lorillard said the injunction ‘seeks to restrain Zippo Manufacturing Company (“Zippo”) from threatening Lorillard and others with proceedings in the UK for alleged infringements of Zippo’s trademarks and the declarations seek to validate Lorillard’s rights to market and sell their products throughout Europe under the BLU ECIGS® brands’.

As was reported here on August 20, last month Zippo said that it has been granted a preliminary injunction in Germany against Cygnet, preventing Cygnet from using the blu brand name for e-cigarettes sold in that country.

The Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main was said to have agreed with Zippo that the blu e-cigarette brand created a likelihood of confusion with Zippo’s EU trademark BLU, used in connection with its line of high performance, precision butane lighters and fuel.

The court found the confusion was due to the high degree of similarity between the marks, an existing similarity between the parties’ respective goods and the Zippo BLU mark’s ‘at least’ average degree of distinctiveness.

Zippo’s action in Germany and the resulting preliminary injunction against Cygnet was said to have been part of Zippo’s ongoing, global effort to protect its worldwide portfolio of its BLU trademarks.

Zippo had commenced proceedings to oppose applications to register, or to cancel trademark registrations, for the blu electronic cigarette brand in the US, Canada, Mexico and the EU.

Sweden was said to have already rejected outright Lorillard’s application to register a trademark for blu.

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