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Three new Seven Stars in the firmament

| March 13, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. is due to launch three new versions of its Seven Stars brand, one of the most popular in Japan.

The company says that from mid-April Seven Stars Menthol 12 Box, Seven Stars Menthol 8 Box and Seven Stars Menthol 5 Box (the numbers indicate tar deliveries), will offer consumers the choice of cigarettes with a “deep aroma and rich taste,” achieved by using a blend that includes “ripened tobacco leaves.”

The ripened leaves are said to be characterized by their “deep roasted aroma, sharp flavor and rich smoke sensation,” adding depth to the product’s flavor and aroma as well as enhancing its menthol taste.

JTI recognized as Top Employer

| March 13, 2014

Japan Tobacco International was recognized as the third Top Employer in Europe during an awards ceremony held in London on Tuesday.

According to a note posted on the company’s website, 25 JTI offices “across Europe and beyond” were certified by the Top Employers Institute for their excellence in people management. The survey results were confirmed by an independent audit conducted by Grant Thornton.

“The number of JTI offices certified as Top Employers has more than doubled since last year,” said Jörg Schappei, human resources senior vice president at JTI. “We are proud to have received this recognition in an unrivalled number of countries. It is a testimony to the continuous efforts undertaken by our HR leads throughout the world to successfully attract, retain and engage our employees.”

PMI declares regular quarterly dividend

| March 13, 2014

The board of directors of Philip Morris International yesterday declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.94 per common share, payable on April 11 to shareholders of record as of March 27.

The ex-dividend date is March 25.

At the same time, PMI said that Mathis Cabiallavetta and J. Dudley Fishburn would retire from the board at the annual meeting of shareholders in May.

“Mathis and Dudley have served on the board since our spin-off, and for many years prior to that ably served on the board of our former parent company,” said Chairman Louis C. Camilleri. “We have benefited tremendously from their dedicated service and invaluable advice. They leave with our most heartfelt gratitude.”

KT&G invests heavily in slim cigarettes

| March 11, 2014

KT&G’s manufacturing plant at Sintanjin, north of Daejeon, is now the world’s biggest manufacturer of slim cigarettes, according to the Korea Joongang Daily quoting company sources.

An expansion of the production facility, which, with the installation of automatic machinery, took three years and five months, was completed yesterday.

The Daily’s story said the plant’s “production” of slim cigarettes would now rise from 35 billion to 85 billion a year.

The plant is said to be equipped so as to be able to produce 25 different types of cigarettes simultaneously.

Public smoking crackdown in Shenzhen

| March 11, 2014

A police crackdown on public-places tobacco smoking in a major Chinese city on Saturday resulted in just 37 people being fined, according to an report quoting the Guangzhou Daily.

The raids came exactly a week after authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, introduced new anti-smoking regulations.

Most of the offenders were discovered in restaurants and hospitals.

They were each fined CNY50 (US$8.16), the minimum fine.

The maximum fine for an individual is CNY500, while venue owners face fines of up to CNY30,000.

Under the new regulations, also, people who publish advertisements for tobacco products or entice others to smoke can be fined up to CNY100,000.

The new regulations are said to ban smoking in 16 types of places, including kindergartens, health facilities and parks.

But entertainment venues are exempt until the end of 2016.

Taiwan to impose retailer registration

| March 11, 2014

In an effort to help curb the sale of illicit cigarettes, Taiwan’s government is planning to introduce a registration system for cigarette vendors around the country, according to a story in the Taipei Times.

At the moment, cigarettes can be purchased at convenience stores and roadside stalls nationwide. Anybody can set up a table anywhere and sell them.

“There is hardly any other country in which it is easier to get cigarettes than in Taiwan,” said National Treasury Administration Director-General Joanne Ling.

However, all that is expected to change now that the Ministry of Finance—following an agreement with local governments—is drafting regulations that will make registration a requirement for cigarette vendors.

The proposed regulations would prohibit unregistered stalls—set up primarily to sell betel nuts to passing motorists—from also selling cigarettes.

Once the measures take effect, only shops with a business registration certificate and approval to sell cigarettes will be allowed to engage in the business.

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