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China pressurized by anti-tobacco lobby

| February 21, 2014

China could prevent nearly 13 million tobacco-related deaths by 2050 by fully implementing a set of neglected anti-smoking policies it had already agreed to, researchers said on Wednesday.

The estimated number of lives saved would result from a smoking rate 40 per cent lower than that projected on current trends, according to a story in the Intern Daily quoting a paper published in the British Medical Journal.

Without any change, it said, China risked suffering more than 50 million deaths attributed to tobacco between 2012 and 2050.

But the toll could be reduced by more than a fifth through measures that included higher tobacco taxes, legislating for smoke-free areas and stricter advertising bans.

‘The consequences of inaction are considerable,’ warned the researchers, who used computer modelling to predict the potential health benefits of a set of policies China had agreed to when it joined the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003.

Lagos’ smoking ban seen as balanced

| February 21, 2014

A law banning tobacco smoking within enclosed public places in the Nigerian state of Lagos has been commended by British American Tobacco Nigeria.

The law, which was passed by the Lagos State House Assembly in January and signed by the state governor on Monday, prohibits tobacco smoking in public places such as libraries, museum, public toilets, schools, hospitals, day-care centres, public transportation and restaurants.

But the law requires that the owners of such public places provide smoking areas, though presumably this requirement does not extend to at least some forms of transport.

BAT’s director of corporate and regulatory affairs in West Africa, Freddy Messanvi, said the state government had provided a good example of how to create a balanced and effective law.

According to Messanvi, the process leading to the signing of the bill into law was a transparent one that gave consideration to all relevant views.

He described the new law as “neither excessive nor discriminatory”.

Zimbabwe sales season off to good start

| February 21, 2014

Zimbabwe’s 2014 flue-cured tobacco selling season opened on Wednesday with the first bale selling for US$4.85 per kg, up from the $4.50 offered at the start of last season, according to a story in The Herald.

The paper said that at least 185 million kg of flue-cured were expected to be sold this season, up from the 166.6 million kg that was sold last year.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Wonder Chabikwa said the season had started well and that prices should go above US$5 per kg.

Premier Tobacco Floor managing director, Philemon Mangena, described the opening prices as fair, while Boka Tobacco Auction Floors operations manager, Moses Bias, said the auction floors needed to lift their efficiencies because of the increase in the crop this season.

The acting minister for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Ignatius Chombo, who opened the marketing season at the Tobacco Sales Floor, said the government commended the tobacco industry for the orderly funding and marketing of the crop.

RAI and employees support non-profits

| February 21, 2014

Reynolds American Inc. and its affiliates, related private charitable foundations and employees donated about $11.6 million to a wide range of non-profit organizations in 2013.

“So many communities continued to face economic challenges last year, and we were happy to be able to offer support,” said Alan Caldwell, director of corporate and civic engagement at RAI’s services company.

“As always, our commitment to transformation extends to the communities where our employees live and work, and that means financial donations for organizations serving those in need, as well as our time and active involvement in areas where we can make a difference.”

Lorillard declares quarterly dividend

| February 21, 2014

Lorillard’s board of directors has approved a 12 per cent increase in the quarterly dividend on its common stock from $0.55 per share to $0.615 per share.

The dividend is payable on March 10 to stockholders of record as of February 28.

‘This step marks the sixth dividend increase and a doubling of the quarterly dividend rate since Lorillard became an independent publicly traded company in June 2008,’ the company said in announcing the dividend.

“We are very pleased to take this action as it underscores our confidence in Lorillard’s business model and our commitment of returning cash to our shareholders as evidenced by our targeted dividend payout ratio of 70-75 per cent of earnings as well as our current $1 billion share repurchase program,” said executive vice president and CFO, David H. Taylor.

Spain looks at e-cigarette ad bans

| February 20, 2014

The Spanish government is looking to approve draft legislation that will control the advertising of e-cigarettes and require information displays concerning the “risks to health” posed by these products, according to a story in The Leader.

Under new consumer protection guidelines, television advertising will be largely banned before 8 p.m., though some concessions will be made for daytime television.

The legislation will dictate where advertisements for e-cigarettes may be placed, and it will control cinema advertising.

In particular, the legislation is said to aim at eliminating advertising from where and when it might be seen by those less than 18 years of age.

The packaging of the products will have to warn of the dangers (not specified in the story) e-cigarettes pose to adults, and will have to clearly state that they contain nicotine and are “highly addictive.”

While requiring health warnings, the legislation seems to tacitly admit that e-cigarettes might in fact have health benefits.

The Leader story says that no claims of health benefits may be included in advertising, unless and until a competent public authority declares them to be of such benefit.

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