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Time to make views known on menthol

| October 22, 2013

Lorillard is appealing to people to write to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in support of the legal sale of menthol cigarettes.

In a press note, the company said the FDA was seeking information to help it determine whether or how to regulate menthol in cigarettes beyond the existing regulations that applied to all cigarettes.

“Lorillard believes that the best available scientific evidence does not show that menthol cigarettes are more harmful than non-menthol cigarettes and that Americans have a right to make a personal choice to use any legal product,” the company said.

“If [the] FDA imposed a ban or any severe regulations affecting menthol cigarettes, it would impact 30 percent of the U.S. cigarette market with serious unintended consequences.

“Many thousands of working Americans rely on menthol sales for their jobs, including those who manufacture them. Overall, nearly 500,000 U.S. jobs depend in whole or in part on the sale of menthol through existing legal channels.

“A ban on menthol in cigarettes risks giving rise to an entire industry of unregulated cigarettes sold illegally on the underground market and worsening the already widespread illicit sale of cigarettes.

“Criminal activity resulting from the illicit sale of cigarettes will add even more burdens to already constrained law enforcement efforts.

“Illicit markets carry public health costs by:

* Undermining laws to prevent sales of cigarettes to minors since cigarettes will not be sold in retail stores that check purchasers for legal age.

* Exposing smokers to more dangerous ingredients and constituents in cigarettes made by illegal manufacturers that are not under the scrutiny of FDA.”

Comments on the menthol-in-cigarettes debate, which must be received by the FDA by Nov. 22, can be made at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2013-N-0521-0079.

And there is more information on Lorillard’s views at www.understandingmenthol.com, and at http://www.lorillard.com/support-menthol-cigarettes/#sthash.ZibEGmaC.dpuf.

Czech president has doctors fuming

| October 22, 2013

Doctors have challenged a statement by Milos Zeman, the president of the Czech Republic, who reportedly said that tobacco smoking posed no health risk if smokers took up the habit after the age of 27, as he did, according to a story in the Prague Daily Monitor.

Zeman was said to have made the statement during a visit to the Philip Morris cigarette facility at Kutna Hora, central Bohemia.

A chain smoker, Zeman suffers from diabetes, and doctors have recommended that he should at least limit his smoking if he is unable to give it up completely.

Doctors were described as feeling indignant at his words. “This is definitely not a recommendation a sane person should give,” said Eva Kralikova, a specialist in smoking addiction treatment. “It is as if the president said that putting one’s nose in a car exhaust after the age of 27 is harmless.”

Meanwhile, Vitezslav Kolek, head of the lung specialists’ association, was quoted as saying that public comments on the consequences of smoking should be in harmony with scientifically founded facts.

He said expert studies proved that smoking was harmful and cut human life short, and that it paid to stop smoking. The people who stopped smoking aged 25–35 prolonged their lives by up to 10 years. The later one gave up smoking, the shorter the prolongation was, because some changes in the organism were irreversible, he added.

Hardly any of India’s 275 million tobacco users intent on quitting their habit

| October 22, 2013

At least 94 percent of tobacco users in India have no intention of quitting, according to a Times of India story quoting a recent report by the Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project India (TCP India project).

The TCP India project is part of the International Tobacco Control Project, a multicountry initiative to evaluate the impact of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The report’s researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with 8,000 tobacco users and 2,400 non-tobacco users across four states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra), focusing upon one city and its surrounding rural district in each state.

It found that current tobacco use among adults aged 15 years and older ranged from 23 percent to 47 percent.

Smokeless tobacco was the most common form of tobacco product used in all four states, with at least two out of five adults using smokeless tobacco.

According to the report, there are about 275 million tobacco users in India.

Iggesund’s parent company in top 100 sustainable businesses index

| October 22, 2013

Holmen, the forest industry group to which Iggesund Paperboard belongs, has been rated as one of 100 world leaders in business sustainability.

The United Nation’s Global Compact has set up a new global stock index (Global Compact 100 – GC 100) that takes into account the sustainability of a business and its financial performance.

Holmen is one of five Swedish companies, and the only forest industry company based in Sweden, to be included in the list of top 100 companies best at creating good returns through sustainable business practices.

“Naturally we’re delighted and proud to be included in the new GC 100 index,” said Lars Strömberg, Holmen’s director of sustainable and environmental affairs.

“The UN Global Compact is an important platform for companies committed to sustainable development, and the GC 100 index is a welcome addition.”

Since 2007 Holmen has been a member of the UN Global Compact, in which companies report their operations under 10 principles covering human rights, social conditions, the environment and anti-corruption. The GC 100 combines these results with a profitability requirement.

Ten-fold hike in tobacco retailer fees

| October 21, 2013

Most retailers in Ireland are to be forced to pay fees increased by ten-fold if they want to keep selling tobacco products, according to a story in The Irish Examiner.

As part of budget 2014, Finance Minister Michael Noonan will tell shop owners he is increasing the fee from €50 to €500, though slightly lower rates will apply to small stores.

The increase, which is due to be brought in next year, is expected to deliver an additional €5 million a year into government coffers.

The new fees will require specific legislation, but that is expected to be in place by the start of next year.

Scots to go it alone on standard packs

| October 21, 2013

The Scottish government has said that it will press ahead with plans to require that cigarettes are sold in unattractive packs, according to a story in The Times.

It is understood that Scottish ministers want cigarettes to be sold in standardized packs along the lines of those found in Australia.

Since Dec. 1, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous government to be as ugly as is possible. Packs are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, are otherwise a standard olive color, have no logos or other design features, and have brand and variant names in a standardized font and position.

Earlier this year the U.K. government decided to hold off on any similar moves, but the Scottish government has said it will do what it needs to do, regardless of the situation elsewhere in the U.K.

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