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Time needed to comply with EU directive

| February 27, 2014

The Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM) wants EU member states and the tobacco industry at large to be given reasonable time to adjust to the numerous and complex requirements included in the new Tobacco Products Directive.

The new TPD was adopted by the European Parliament yesterday.

The chairman of the CECCM, Michiel Reerink, said in a statement that the CECCM and its member companies had openly contributed to the TPD debate during the past two years. “We have raised our concerns on the effectiveness of measures that will impact the whole tobacco sector and thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses who work with us,” he said. “Many of these concerns were shared by member states, members of the European Parliament and key parliament committees. Despite their expertise and accountability to European voters, many of them [the concerns] have not been heard.”

Reerink went on to say that, throughout the process, the CECCM and its members had clearly stated that the member companies did not market their products to children. “We have repeated that we support the European Commission’s right to regulate tobacco products, as long as legitimate health objectives are achieved,” he said. “Unfortunately, many of the TPD measures are disproportionate and are unlikely to meet these goals. They will more likely lead to a rise in profits for criminal gangs, who sell much cheaper, unregulated products.

“As the TPD approaches Council adoption, we expect diligence to be taken in allowing realistic transition periods for member states and the industry. Due to the complexity of the numerous measures, tobacco companies, packaging manufacturers, machinery suppliers, wholesalers and retailers must imperatively be given sufficient time to comply with the directive.”

TPD a ‘gift’ for black market criminals

| February 27, 2014

Philip Morris International has expressed concern about the implications of some aspects of the new EU Tobacco Products Directive.

“The Tobacco Products Directive adopted by the European Parliament today represents a worrying departure from the EU’s basic standards of proportionate, evidenced-based policymaking, which will further erode intellectual property rights and undermine the EU Charter where these rights are protected,” said the company’s  EU region president, Drago Azinovic, speaking yesterday.

“Instead of further harmonizing the internal market, a stated objective of the directive, measures in the TPD will make the EU less competitive and be a gift for the criminals profiting from the black market in tobacco.

“This will be a blow to the hundreds of thousands of people working in the legal industry and member state governments now faced with filling budget gaps.”

Directive negates need for plain packs

| February 27, 2014

The U.K. smokers’ group Forest, which campaigned against revisions to the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, has questioned the need for standardized packaging of tobacco after the European Parliament voted yesterday to adopt the revised directive.

The directive will force EU member states to increase the size of health warnings to cover 65 percent of the front and back of the pack.

“If health warnings are going to be even more prominent, dominating both sides of the pack, why on earth do we need plain packaging?” said Simon Clark, director of Forest, which ran the No Thank EU campaign.

“At the very least the government should wait and see what impact the larger warnings have before introducing standardized packs which are opposed by so many people.”

Clark attacked also other aspects of the directive.

“Banning menthol cigarettes and 10-packs is a serious attack on consumer choice that will do little to stop children smoking,” he said.

“The revised directive is typical of the nanny-state mentality that is prevalent not just in Brussels but also in Westminster.”

Altria declares quarterly dividend

| February 27, 2014

The Altria Group’s board of directors yesterday declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.48 per common share, payable on April 10 to shareholders of record as of March 14.

The ex-dividend date is March 12.

EU Parliament passes TPD

| February 26, 2014

The European Parliament endorsed the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) on Feb. 26, solidifying an agreement reached with the council last December. The council will now have to approve the TPD for it to take force.

The endorsement of the new TPD strengthens the current European regulation on tobacco in several ways. Among other measures, it increases the size of pictorial and text health warnings to cover 65 percent of tobacco packages and bans flavored cigarettes and features on packaging that play down the health risks of smoking.

The new TPD also aims to make tobacco packages less attractive to women and children. In addition, the directive will also ensure the product safety and quality of nicotine-containing products, including e-cigarettes. It attempts to ensure that they remain accessible to smokers while ensuring that they are unappealing and inaccessible to minors.

EU member states will retain the possibility to adopt more stringent measures to regulate tobacco products, such as standardized packaging.

Lorillard seeks to end animal testing

| February 26, 2014

Lorillard is banning all animal testing unless it is necessary to meet future regulatory requirements.

The introduction of the new policy follows several years of discussions between Lorillard and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and a shareholder resolution submitted by PETA in December 2013 requesting the policy and highlighting the effectiveness of non-animal testing methods. PETA withdrew its resolution last week after reaching the agreement with Lorillard.

Lorillard’s new policy, which was posted on its website on Friday reads, in part: “It is the policy of Lorillard Inc. not to conduct or commission research involving animals and will in good faith otherwise not use animals unless necessary to meet regulatory requirements. In order to eliminate animal testing, Lorillard R&D will use scientifically accepted or validated alternative test methods and technologies that avoid the use of live animals. Such methods and tests may include in vitro cell culture tests, advanced chemistry tests and computer modeling programs.”

“Lorillard’s progressive new policy banning tests on animals establishes it as an industry leader that is embracing modern science instead of traditional animal testing,” says PETA director Justin Goodman. “PETA is actively urging other tobacco companies to follow Lorillard’s lead.”

In introducing its new policy, PETA said that Lorillard had become the biggest tobacco company in the U.S. to have ended tests on animals and the second largest in the world, after Imperial Tobacco.

“PETA also filed resolutions this winter with R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris International and Altria (the parent company of Philip Morris USA), which have conducted tests in recent years in which animals were forced to inhale cigarette smoke, eat tobacco and have cigarette tar painted on their bare skin,” PETA added.

“These tests have continued, despite not being required by federal regulations, their inapplicability to human smokers, and the existence of superior non-animal testing methods.”

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