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Call to fast-track graphic warnings

| August 28, 2014

A health advocacy group in the Philippines is thinking of asking the government to shorten the period that tobacco companies have been granted before they have to include graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, according to a story on GMA News, Quezon City.

In a statement yesterday, the New Vois Association said the 20-month grace period for tobacco companies was too long given the periods that had been granted for adjustment in other countries that had introduced similar policies.

The law, signed in July, gave tobacco companies 12 months to comply with the graphic warning requirements, but, at the request of those companies, the period was extended by eight months so as to allow the clearance of stocks not bearing the new warnings.

“Legislators should be aware how life-saving this law is for young Filipinos,” said Emer Rojas, president of New Vois, an advocacy group comprising mainly throat cancer victims and those who speak through alternative means after having lost their vocal cords.

“With 10 Filipinos dying from smoking-related diseases every hour, this law should be implemented at the soonest time.”

PMI to webcast conference presentation

| August 28, 2014

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at of CFO Jacek Olczak’s remarks and question-and-answer session at the Barclays Back-To-School Consumer Conference, starting about 10.30 hours Eastern Time on September 3.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will cover the entire PMI session.

An archive copy of the webcast will be available at until 17.00 hours on October 2.

Remarks and the script will be available at

‘Experts’ suggest electronic cigarettes could help smokers quit: WHO report

| August 27, 2014

The World Health Organization conceded in a report released yesterday that ‘experts’ suggest that electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) could have a role to play in helping some smokers quit their habit.

But overall, the report is cautious to the point of negativity and one informed observer said that though WHO’s mission was to save lives and prevent disease, once again it was exaggerating the risks of electronic cigarettes while downplaying the huge potential of these non-combustible low-risk nicotine products to end the epidemic of tobacco related disease.

‘WHO claims e-cigarettes are a threat to public health, but this statement has no evidence to support it, and ignores the large number of people who are using them to cut down or quit smoking completely,’ said Professor Gerry Stimson, Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London and co-director of Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC), in a statement issued shortly after the release of the report.

‘The WHO recommendations will do more harm than good, ironically protect cigarette sales, and do little to decrease the avoidable burden of non-communicable diseases.’

What was needed was light touch regulation derived from an appreciation of the trade-offs needed between protecting consumers and not destroying the value that electronic cigarettes offered to smokers who wanted to quit smoking, said Stimson, who was a signatory to a letter addressed to WHO director general Dr. Margaret Chan by 53 leading scientists in May urging the WHO not to treat electronic cigarette regulation in the same manner as traditional tobacco regulation.

‘The WHO position paper appears to have cherry-picked the science, used unnecessary scaremongering and misleading language about the effects of nicotine,’ Stimson added.

‘WHO want to regulate these products as either tobacco products or medicines, but in reality they are neither. They do not contain tobacco and they aren’t used for treating or preventing disease. They are consumer products, and should be governed by consumer protection legislation with specific standards for liquids devices and packaging, and proportionate controls on marketing.’

The report is due to be discussed at the sixth Conference of the Parties to WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at Moscow on October 13-18, and Stimson made the point that trying to apply to electronic cigarettes a treaty designed to reduce tobacco consumption was completely inappropriate.

The report could – depending on the response of COP6 – make life difficult for the electronic cigarette industry. It says that the main responsibility for proving scientifically claims about ENDS should fall on the shoulders of the industry, but it expresses concern about the involvement in the industry of the major tobacco companies, which are the companies best able to carry out or commission such science. Under the heading, ‘Protection from vested commercial interests’, the report says, in part, that ‘[n]o matter what role the tobacco industry plays in the production, distribution and sale of ENDS, this industry, its allies and front-groups can never be considered to be a legitimate public health partner or stakeholder while it continues to profit from tobacco and its products or represents the interests of the industry’. ‘Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC should be respected when developing and implementing ENDS legislation and regulations,’ it adds.

China looks to extend advertising bans

| August 27, 2014

China’s top legislature has begun reviewing a draft amendment that would extend the country’s current tobacco advertising restrictions, according to a China Daily story.

‘Tobacco advertisements directly or indirectly transmitted via radio, film, television, newspapers, magazines, books, audio and visual products, electronic publications, telecommunication networks and the Internet are banned,’ says a copy of the draft amendment obtained by the Xinhua news agency.

The draft includes a ban on all outdoor tobacco advertisements and provides information about the specific public venues where such advertisements would be banned, such as libraries, cultural centers, museums, parks, waiting rooms, theaters, meeting halls, sports auditoriums, and near hospitals and schools.

The bill, which was submitted to lawmakers on Monday, reflects what the China Daily described as a heated anti-smoking battle in the country.

In June, the paper reported, scholars, health and legal professionals, and tobacco control experts jointly signed a letter to the national legislative body urging it to outlaw tobacco advertising completely.

Management changes at BAT

| August 27, 2014

Andrew Gray has been appointed group marketing director at British American Tobacco, effective September 1.

Gray, who is currently regional director, EEMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa), has been with the company for 27 years and has been a member of the management board for the past seven years. Previously, he held various senior management positions including as president of Souza Cruz and general manager at BAT Malaysia.

Gray will replace the current group marketing director, Jean-Marc Levy, who, on September 1, will become director, special projects, before, on December 31, stepping down from the management board and leaving the company, for which he has worked for 21 years.

Gray will be succeeded on September 1 as regional director, EEMEA, by Johan Vandermeulen, who is currently general manager, Russia. Vandermeulen has been with BAT for 21 years, where, prior to running the Russian business, he was general manager, Turkey, and global brand director, Kent.

In another move, Tadeu Marroco, currently head of strategy and planning, and mergers and acquisitions, will join the management board on September 1 as business development director. In addition to his current role, Marroco will assume responsibility for IT, including the roll-out of the TaO Programme. Marroco joined BAT in Brazil 22 years ago, since which time he has held various senior finance positions, including regional finance controller, EEMEA, and group finance controller.

Altria employee fund awards grants

| August 27, 2014

The Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF) has awarded $3.1 million in grants to 142 non-profit organizations based in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky.

‘The fund is the only employee-managed workplace-giving program that is publicly reported among U.S. companies, according to the Changing Our World organization.’ Altria said in a note posted on its website.

‘ACECF represents the power of giving together, rather than individually. By giving through the fund, employee donations have a greater impact in helping to address the most pressing community needs where Altria’s companies have operations.’

About 3,500, or two-thirds of eligible employees, gave an average donation of more than $450 to ACECF this year.

“We are proud of these accomplishments, and the collective impact that our employees are making in the communities where we live and work,” said Jennifer Hunter, chairperson, ACECF board of directors and senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, Altria Client Services.

Altria makes an annual contribution to the ACECF and pays for its administrative costs, which ensures that every employee dollar raised goes directly to support non-profit organizations in the communities where the company operates.

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