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Read this important Siegel blog—now

| April 17, 2014

In a hard-hitting blog published yesterday, Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, has shone a little light into some of the murky corners of U.S. tobacco control legislation.

He is at times scathing about the road that led to regulations on “lights” descriptors and flavors—regulations that have not achieved what the public might reasonably have expected them to have achieved.

Reading the blog it seems as though the public would have been better served if the regulatory process had been removed from the smoke-filled rooms in which it was apparently concocted, and then infused with the sort of candor that Siegel brings to these matters.

His blog is at http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/anti-smoking-researchers-attack-tobacco.html.

Flue-cured prices rising steeply in Andhra

| April 17, 2014

Flue-cured tobacco prices have been rising steeply on the auction floors of Andhra Pradesh, India, and recently hit a new high of INR172 per kg at the Koyyalagudem floors in the West Godavari district of the state, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The story said that tobacco prices had been strong in Andhra this year, from the beginning of the auctions and across all regions.

Even the lowest-quality tobacco has fetched an average of INR88.81 per kg this year, against the INR88.38 per kg fetched last year.

Thirty-five days into the selling season, 26.20 million kg of flue-cured had been sold, of which 18.94 million kg comprised bright grades.

Former RAI CEO returns to the helm

| April 17, 2014

The board of directors of Reynolds American Inc. has elected Susan M. Cameron president and CEO, effective May 1. She will remain a member of the RAI board of directors.

Cameron—or Ivey as she was then known—served as president, CEO and a member of the RAI board from 2004 to 2011. She also served as chairman of the board of RAI between 2006 and 2010. In 2011, she retired from the company and the board. She rejoined RAI’s board of directors in December 2013.

Cameron replaces Daniel M. Delen, who is retiring and resigning from the RAI board. Delen has served as president and CEO of RAI since 2011.

According to a press note posted on RAI’s website, Delen will continue to consult with the company for two years to ensure a smooth transition and provide strategic insights and other services to management.

“Susan’s 30 years of experience with our companies and her previous service in this role make her an exemplary choice for this key leadership position,” said Thomas C. Wajnert, non-executive chairman of RAI’s board. “Susan was the architect of RAI’s ‘total tobacco’ strategic direction more than 10 years ago, and we’re pleased to have her back with the company to further our vision of transforming tobacco.”

Imperial helps fight illicit trade in Mali

| April 17, 2014

Imperial Tobacco is supporting a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the illicit trade in Mali.

As part of the campaign, the National Directorate of Trade & Competition recently organized an anti-illicit trade (AIT) information and awareness forum in the capital, Bamako, for retailers and wholesalers.

Key government and law enforcement authorities took part in the event to launch the “Stop Fraud” campaign following the implementation of new health warnings on cigarette packs.

The campaign was communicated through the media, including leading newspapers, national TV and radio. Posters were displayed at more than 5,000 points of sale and on billboards.

“It’s a major priority for us to cooperate with all those involved in combating illicit trade, and we want the trade to be aware of its impact,” said Issouf Traoré, general manager, Mali.

“We recently signed an AIT partnership agreement with BAT, and we’ll continue to support government and law enforcement agencies in their efforts to tackle illicit trade in Mali, which costs the government more than XOF10 billion in revenue each year.”

Imperial preparing for factory closures

| April 16, 2014

The Imperial Tobacco Group is proposing to close its cigarette factories at Nottingham, U.K., and Nantes, France.

The proposed closures are part of a number of “European restructuring projects” that could see 900 jobs axed.

In a note posted on its website, Imperial said the projects, which are planned to be “implemented progressively” during the next two years, were aimed at strengthening its competitive position.

The proposed closures reflected declining industry volumes in Europe, impacted by tough economic conditions, increasing regulation and excise and the growth in illicit trade, the note said.

Production had been affected at the Nottingham and Nantes sites, which now utilized less than half their manufacturing capacity.

The projects could reduce the group’s workforce by 900. Employees, works councils and trade unions had been informed and consultation processes were now underway, the note said. A comprehensive range of measures to support employees would be discussed as part of the consultations.

“These projects are an essential part of securing the sustainable future of the business,” said Alison Cooper, chief executive. “The prospect of job losses is always regrettable, and we will be doing all we can to support employees and ensure that they are treated in a fair and responsible manner.”

The proposed projects were said to support the group’s cost optimization program, which is expected to deliver savings of £300 million a year from September 2018.

PM USA pays $3.3 billion to U.S. states

| April 16, 2014

Philip Morris USA yesterday made its annual Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payment, which, this year, amounts to about $3.3 billion, net of various items related to the non-participating manufacturer adjustment disputes.

In a statement posted on its website, the company said that, since signing the tobacco settlement agreements, PM USA had paid U.S. states more than $66 billion.

“MSA payments provide states valuable resources to fund tobacco cessation and underage tobacco use prevention programs,” the statement said. “For years, PM USA has encouraged the states to use MSA payments to fund these programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. PM USA continues to support using these funds for these purposes.”

A portion of PM USA’s MSA payment is being deposited into the Disputed Payments Account, in accordance with the terms of the MSA and calculations made by the independent auditor.

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