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VUSE electronic cigarettes to be shown at Consumer Electronics Show in US

| December 17, 2013

R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co is due to showcase its VUSE® digital vapor cigarette to a global audience at the 2014 international Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The CES will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, from January 7 to January 10.

‘Designed and assembled in the U.S. using state-of-the-art automated equipment, VUSE is the world’s first and only digital vapor cigarette (e-cigarette),’ according to a press note posted on RJR Vapor’s website.

‘VUSE provides a consistent and superior experience for adult tobacco consumers because it contains Smart Technology™ – a digital microprocessor that works in conjunction with a smart memory chip to control major aspects of product performance, from vapor delivery to battery management.’

Meanwhile, Stephanie Cordisco, president of RJR Vapor, said that VUSE, with its cutting-edge design, was a game changer for adult tobacco consumers and the vapor industry as a whole. “We are excited to be at CES to showcase the innovative technology that enables VUSE to provide the perfect puff, first time, every time,” he said.

VUSE has been available in Colorado since July, where it quickly became the best-selling vapor product.

Cordisco said that following the positive results in Colorado, the company would expand the VUSE line to Utah in January, before planned national distribution by mid-2014.

Trees felled to feed tobacco production

| December 17, 2013

Tobacco remains a very important revenue earner for Zimbabwe, but the crop is an environmental menace, according to a story by Jeffrey Gogo for the Zimbabwe Herald.

The tobacco production process has involved taking 7.5 million trees from national forests each year in recent years.

That’s 15 per cent of the total and, Gogo says, a monumental environmental catastrophe by any measure since Zimbabwe plants only 2.5 million trees each year under the management of the Forestry Commission.

The costs of replacing the 7.5 million trees used by the tobacco industry each year is said to top US$22.5 million, excluding items such as transport and labor, if those trees are indigenous.

The magnet of the foreign currency that tobacco growers can earn encouraged 28,000 new-to-tobacco farmers to plant the crop in 2013, according to latest data from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.

Tobacco’s allure, wrote Gogo, had been pulling farmers even from previously unsuitable non-tobacco growing regions such as Matabeleland.

NZ takes first step towards imposing standardized packs on tobacco

| December 17, 2013

Legislation requiring that tobacco products are sold in standardized packs in New Zealand will start making its way through parliament in 2014, but won’t pass into law until legal action in Australia has been settled, according to a Radio New Zealand story.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia introduced the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Products and Packaging) Amendment Bill to parliament today.

The law change would require tobacco products to be sold in packs of standardised design with large health warnings.

Turia said Australia’s plain packaging regime was still subject to World Trade Organization challenges.

However, she said she wanted to get the NZ legislative process underway.

Meanwhile, Turia said she would be extremely annoyed if the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which is still under negotiation, made it harder to fight off legal challenges to standardized pack legislation.

Some critics of the deal believe this to be the case, but Turia said she hadn’t been given any information to suggest that the final deal would compromise the ability to defend standardized packaging.

EU illicit trade partly home-grown

| December 16, 2013

Significant amounts of cigarettes are probably produced illegally inside the EU, according to an EU Commission answer to a question posed by MEP Georgios Papanikolaou.

In 2010, five illicit factories were discovered and, in 2011, member states discovered nine illicit factories estimated to have a combined production capacity of more than nine million cigarettes per day, the Commission advised.

Papanikolaou had asked whether the Commission had estimates of illicit tobacco products produced and distributed within the EU.

And he had asked what were the main countries of origin of contraband cigarettes and their main destinations in the EU.

According to available data, the main sources of smuggled tobacco products were, in order of importance: China, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Belarus and Ukraine, the Commission said.

China continued to be the source country for the majority of seized cigarettes.

And Greece appeared to be a major target for entries of shipments from China and UAE.

‘The EU Eastern Border Anti-Smuggling Action Plan has had already some positive impacts; the share of illicit trade and inflows of illicit cigarettes in this region has decreased,’ the Commission said. ‘However, the EU Eastern border continues to be a target for illicit trade, particularly the Baltic region. The main countries of provenance there are Russia, Ukraine and, increasingly, Belarus.’

The Commission said that almost all member states could be considered final destinations for contraband cigarettes, in particular Ireland and the UK. Other countries, especially Greece, Spain, Italy and Poland were both transit countries and final destinations.

Illicit trade is still increasing in the EU, something the Commission addresses in its communication: Stepping-up the fight against cigarette smuggling and other forms of illicit trade in tobacco products – A comprehensive EU strategy.

Parliament rejects proposed easing of tobacco smoking ban in Bulgaria

| December 16, 2013

Bulgaria’s parliament has rejected a proposal that the country’s public-places tobacco-smoking ban should be relaxed, according to a Bulgarian News Agency story.

MPs last week rejected two bills seeking to amend the Health Act, with 107 voting against, 64 voting for and 17 abstaining.

The easing of restrictions would have seen the establishment of designated, separate smoking and non-smoking areas in large restaurants and coffee shops, while the owners of smaller establishments, with floor areas of less than 70 square meters, would have been able to decide if their establishments should or should not allow smoking.

Smoking would have been allowed in bars and night clubs.

Talking at cross purposes on tobacco bill

| December 16, 2013

The House of Representative’s legislative body (Baleg) in Indonesia has rejected the Health Ministry’s demand that it halt deliberations on a tobacco bill, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

But it is not clear whether the bill exists, at least not in the form that the ministry has seen.

During a hearing in the House last week, Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi urged the Baleg to reject the bill.

Having read the draft legislation, she said, it was clear that the bill was written to protect the tobacco industry.

“The bill should be scrapped as it contradicts the basic human right of having the highest standard of healthy living,” Nafsiah said.

“If the bill was indeed proposed to protect farmers from imports, then why does it only deal with tobacco?”

But one Baleg member said the minister was jumping the gun.

“The draft that was received by the Health Ministry was not created by the House’s legislative body,” he said.

“Frankly, we haven’t even decided on the name of the bill, let alone written a draft. We want to gather as much as information from government officials as well as the public before drafting the bill.”

In December last year, Baleg announced that a tobacco bill aimed at improving the welfare of tobacco farmers would be one of 12 new pieces of legislation to be deliberated in the 2013 national legislative program.

Some lawmakers, health experts and activists have said that the hurried inclusion of the bill on the House’s backlogged agenda might have been a result of lobbying from major cigarette companies.

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