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Australian smokers unfazed by warnings

| November 28, 2013

The smoking rate in Australia has remained unchanged since the introduction of standardized packaging a year ago according to a report by London Economics, one of Europe’s leading policy and economics consultancies.

“The research is one of the first comprehensive surveys of smoking prevalence since the introduction of plain packaging in Australia one year ago,” London Economics said in a press note. “This analysis concentrates on actual smoking behaviour, as reported by study participants both before and after the implementation of the new tobacco packaging requirements, which more than doubled the size of the health warning on the front of the pack and removed all brand imagery from tobacco packaging, requiring tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging.”

“Over the timeframe of the analysis, the data does not demonstrate that there has been a change in smoking prevalence following the introduction of plain packaging despite an increase in the noticeability of the new health warnings,” Dr. Gavan Conlon, lead researcher and London Economics partner, was quoted as saying.

London Economics was commissioned by Philip Morris International to undertake the analysis.

The full report can be found at www.londecon.co.uk.

Meanwhile, the Cancer Council Victoria was quick to respond to the London Economics report, providing notes that it said highlighted “conceptual errors in the report” and outlined “a series of major scientific limitations of the Philip Morris-funded study.”

Cancer Council Victoria said that the notes were provided to assist interpretation of the claims made in the London Economics report.

The Cancer Council Victoria notes are at http://www.cancervic.org.au/downloads/tobacco_control/2013/Critique_by_Cancer_Council_Victoria_on_report_by_PMI_26.11.13.pdf.

JT to launch Ploom on domestic market

| November 28, 2013

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it intended to launch the tobacco vaporizer Ploom on to its domestic market on Dec. 12. It will be sold by JT Creative Service, a subsidiary of JT, and made available at http://ploom.jp/.

The Ploom vaporizer is a pocket-sized smoking alternative device that heats tobacco contained in pods to a constant temperature, vaporizing nicotine and flavors without burning the materials or producing smoke. Each pod can be used for about 10–15 minutes.

In December 2011, Japan Tobacco International and the San Francisco-based Ploom announced that they had entered into an exclusive, long-term co-operation agreement under which JTI would commercialize Ploom’s new generation of “smoking alternative products” outside the U.S.

Ploom was launched—outside the U.S.—in Austria in May; since then JT International has introduced it also in Korea and Italy.

The product will be available in Japan in two colors, slate (black) and pearl (white), while pods, which are categorized as pipe tobacco by Japan’s Ministry of Finance, will be available in six blends: Gold, Orchard, Cooler, Lugano, Mevius and Pianissimo. Also available will be the multipack with a 12-piece assortment of two pods of each blend.

 

Karnataka farmers attack “excessive” penalties for unauthorized tobacco

| November 28, 2013

Farmers in the state of Karnataka, India, are appealing to the Tobacco Board of India to withdraw what they see as the excessive penalties levied on unlicensed flue-cured tobacco growers, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

They want the unlicensed growers to be able to produce and sell their crops.

The board, as always, is in a difficult position. If it tries to enforce its crop targets by penalizing unauthorized production, it is accused of being unfair to impoverished farmers simply trying to make a living, and it risks fueling off-auction sales of flue-cured.

If it does not penalize unauthorized sales or turns a blind eye to them, prices might be depressed, and the board leaves itself open to claims that it has allowed uncertainty and, therefore, instability into the market.

European Commission’s proposals would ban e-cigarettes

| November 27, 2013

New European Commission proposals, if adopted, would ban every e-cigarette on the EU market and would severely limit or make unviable the development of new products, according to Clive Bates, the director of Counterfactual, a public interest consulting and advocacy group.

“Late last week the European Commission circulated a confidential new proposal for regulating e-cigarettes,” Bates wrote on The Counterfactual website.

“The document was sent only to those negotiating the future of e-cigarettes behind closed doors in Brussels—representatives of the European Parliament and European Council.

“This isn’t a final proposal, but it provides the negotiators with something to discuss.”

Bates said that a copy of the document had been obtained by the Nicotine Science and Policy website and was at http://nicotinepolicy.net/documents/policy/Article%2018%20-%20Electronic%20cigarettes%20-%20Commission%20proposal%2022%20Nov%202013.pdf.

“It is quite frankly appalling—lacking any legitimacy in public health or internal market policy-making …,” Bates continued. “Make no mistake, if implemented this proposal bans every product on the market today and would severely limit options for future products—and may make it commercially unviable to develop in future.”

In a long piece, Bates goes on to list the main troubling features of the document; how the proposals should be scrutinized; and how to respond to the proposals.

His piece is at http://www.clivebates.com/?p=1655.

Karnataka flue-cured prices increased

| November 27, 2013

Tobacco growers in the Indian state of Karnataka sold more than 44.74 million kg of flue-cured at an average price of INR140.46 during the first 62 days of the 2013–2014 selling season, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter quoting figures from the Tobacco Board of India.

Average leaf prices this season have been running about INR18.90 per kg ahead of those of last season, while prices for bright grades, which are generally preferred by the major tobacco companies, have been selling at INR165 per kg, INR24 per kg higher.

The prices of medium-quality tobacco have averaged INR147.86 per kg this season, up by INR19.38 per kg on those of last season.

Karnataka is thought to have produced about 100 million kg of flue-cured this year; an amount that could be sold by the end of January.

The board is reportedly contemplating speeding up flue-cured auctions in Karnataka, which usually finish in February.

Shisha cafés on the move in Abu Dhabi

| November 27, 2013

Many shisha cafés in Abu Dhabi face closure because of anti-smoking regulations due to come into force at the end of January, according to a story in The National.

The new regulations will come in backed by massive penalties for those who don’t conform, which for most will mean moving their premises.

About 90 percent of the cafés are in densely populated areas, while the regulations state that they must be at least 150 meters from residential areas, schools and mosques.

The Department of Economic Development was quoted as saying that café owners were told in July about the new regulations, which, in the department’s view, gave them time to make the changes needed.

“No leniency will be exercised this time, due to a Cabinet decision on July 21,” said Ahmed Al Qubaisi, acting commercial protection director at the department. “The authority takes all measures to ensure a healthy life to residents and children and protect them from shisha’s harmful effects.”

Those measures include threatening shisha café owners with fines of up to AED1 million, two years in jail and the closure of their businesses.

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