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Punch Rare Corojo returns with two new frontmarks

| January 29, 2015

General Cigar’s Punch Rare Corojo will make its annual return to retail on Feb. 16. The seasonal collection will welcome a new frontmark and a limited-edition size available exclusively this year.

The 2015 release of Punch Rare Corojo marks the addition of El Diablo, a 6.5” x 66 cigar, as a permanent new item in the collection. El Diablo will be packaged in the brand’s traditional wooden cabinet-style box and will sell for $8.25 per cigar.

In addition, the brand will launch a limited-edition cigar called Rare Lapiz. The 6.75” x 56 tapered smoke will come in a sleek, 10-count box. Rare Lapiz will only be available to retailers through a special trade deal and will be sold until May 15, or whenever the allotment is depleted.

Punch Rare Corojo is made with a Sumatra wrapper cultivated in the mountains of Ecuador. Grown only in limited quantity, these rare, reddish leaves give Punch Rare Corojo its uniquely smooth taste. Bound with hearty Connecticut broadleaf, the cigar features a spicy blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Dominican tobaccos for a uniquely-flavored, complex smoking experience.

“Punch Rare Corojo started the trend of seasonal cigars, and each year, we’re pleased with the response to this annual collection,” says Ed McKenna, senior brand manager for General Cigar’s Punch brand. “Given the range of frontmarks and the addition of Rare Lapiz to this year’s lineup, we are confident that Punch Rare Corojo will sell out quickly.”

Birch to head sales at Parkside

| January 29, 2015

Paula Birch has been promoted to head of sales at Parkside Flexibles ( Europe and Asia).

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Parkside Flexibles is an innovative flexographic printing, specialized laminating and packaging manufacturer.

Chinese video more effective than plain pack images

| January 29, 2015

A story in The Independent has suggested that China could show the rest of the world how to do anti-tobacco campaigns.

The newspaper made the point that smoking was still an ever present habit despite numerous campaigns such as public smoking bans.

And it cited the differences of opinion currently being aired in the UK over the proposed introduction of standardized cigarette and fine-cut tobacco packaging.

But the writer was clearly horrified and impressed in equal measure at a video aired on the Chinese television channel CCTV last week.

The video apparently showed a series of images of damaged lungs, ‘highlighting the long-term damage smokers and passive smokers face from tobacco smoke’.

‘One particularly frightening sight shows a pair of lungs with black spots dotted all over them, almost like they are covered in tiny chocolate chips, a grim reminder of the horrible effect of the habit,’ the writer said. ‘It certainly puts many of the health warning images that adorn cigarette packages in the UK to shame: the abnormal look of one’s lungs is sure to be more effective than a picture of a sagging cigarette representing the danger of impotence.’

It wasn’t mentioned in the story whether the writer was a smoker or a non-smoker, a factor that would have affected her or his reaction to the images.

Was UK’s plain pack consultation just a sham?

| January 29, 2015

Opponents of standardized tobacco packaging have urged the UK government to publish the report on its 2014 consultation ‘without further delay’, according to a press note by Forest, the pro-smoker group.

“If the consultation process is not to be dismissed as a sham then the government must publish the responses promptly,” said MP Nick de Bois, who, as a Conservative, is a member of the senior partner in the current coalition government

“Now that ministers have confirmed they wish to press ahead with standardized packaging it’s frankly ludicrous not to publish their own report on the consultation, however inconvenient that may be for them.”

Simon Clark, the director of Forest, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, said Forest had submitted 53,000 letters and 97,000 petition responses to the consultation.

“That was almost six months ago,” he said. “The closing date was in August yet the government still hasn’t published a report, nor has it revealed how many consultation responses were received in total.

“It’s incomprehensible that the government would press ahead with legislation without allowing parliament, the public and other interested parties [to] see the responses.

“For the sake of transparency we urge the government to publish that information without further delay.”

Imperial puts a toe in the caffeine-product market

| January 29, 2015

Imperial Tobacco is moving into caffeine products with the launch of a melt-in-the-mouth strip designed to give an energy boost in seconds, according to a story by Martinne Geller for Reuters.

Reon, which was developed by Imperial’s Fontem Ventures subsidiary, is available in flavors such as ‘grapefruit & zing’ and ‘black currant & fresh.

It comes in packs of eight strips each with 20 mg of caffeine; or less than a third of the amount in a shot of Starbucks espresso.

Initially it is being sold only in the English city of Manchester and online for £2.50 pounds ($4) a pack.

Like other caffeinated products, Reon is not recommended for children, though currently there are no restrictions on sales to minors.

Similar products are said to have prompted concern among some health experts in Australia about the risks of overdose.

The full story is at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/01/25/us-imperial-tobacco-caffeine-launch-idUKKBN0KY0K820150125.

Imperial shareholders approve US assets acquisition

| January 29, 2015

Imperial Tobacco shareholders yesterday approved the acquisition by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, ITG Brands, of a portfolio of US cigarette brands, the electronic cigarette brand blu, and the national sales force, offices and production facilities currently owned by Lorillard. These assets are currently owned by Reynolds American Inc and Lorillard.

Yesterday, too, Reynolds and Lorillard shareholders voted in favor of the acquisition of Lorillard by Reynolds.

The deals are still subject to regulatory approval and other conditions, but they are expected to be completed during the first half of this year.

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