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Imperial drives teamwork in Taiwan

| September 30, 2013

Imperial Tobacco’s office-based people in Taiwan have been learning more about the work of the field force sales team in an initiative to build business understanding and teamwork spirit.

As part of the One-Day Sales Programme, Imperial Tobacco employees from non-sales functions shadow a trade marketing executive, assisting them on their retailer visits.

“By learning about availability and visibility management, as well as the implementation of the local trade loyalty scheme, those taking part increase their awareness of products, trade customer needs and the market as a whole,” according to a note posted on Imperial’s website.

“Following the day-long visit, learning reports are submitted to gather feedback and suggestions from delegates.”

“We’re glad that non-sales staff have been making the effort to understand the field force’s daily sales operations, and they’ve provided insightful feedback for improvement,” said Eric Lim, head of sales and trade marketing in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Doris Chang, head of human resources in Taiwan, said that the program had really helped to elevate mutual understanding between the field force and office-based staff. It was a great mechanism to drive people engagement in the workplace, she added.

Tobacco and whiskey shop expands

| September 30, 2013
Part of the expanded shop in Glasgow.

Part of the expanded shop in Glasgow

In the face of Scotland’s hostile smoking climate, the country’s oldest cigar shop, Robert Graham, has had to move into larger premises in the heart of Glasgow, former home of the Tobacco Lords, 18th century tobacco merchants who became hugely wealthy plying their trade.

Robert Graham, which was established in 1874 and is one of Scotland’s oldest and most renowned whiskey suppliers, is an associate company of C.Gars, which was launched in 1997 and is now one of the world’s largest specialist cigar merchants.

“Our original shop was only 200 square feet and a well-known oasis for Glasgow’s smokers,” said Mitchell Orchant, managing director of C.Gars.

“Since Scotland’s smoking ban was introduced, our business has grown to such an extent we’ve had to move to brand new premises in West George Street.

“At just over 2,000 square feet, our new tobacco shop is now Scotland’s largest, and one of the largest in the U.K.

“One of the reasons for its continued success is that Scotland’s smokers and tobacco-tolerant visitors like to enjoy the finer things of life. This has long been the case in Glasgow, which owes part of its architectural heritage to the 18th century Tobacco Lords.

“Unlike the Tobacco Lords, Glasgow’s cigar smokers are now forced to light up in their own homes rather than in public. But it hasn’t stopped 21st century cigar smokers—rather, the reverse …”

Indonesia criticized over pack challenge

| September 25, 2013

Tobacco control activists have criticized the Indonesian government for challenging Australia’s decision to impose standardized cigarette packaging, according to a story in The Jakarta Globe.

It was reported here yesterday that Indonesia had made a formal request to the World Trade Organization for consultations on Australia’s regulations, which could be the first step toward a trade dispute. It is the fifth country—behind Ukraine, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Cuba—to challenge Australia at the WTO.

Tara Singh Bam, the technical advisor at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, was quoted as describing the government’s decision as “unfortunate.”

Indonesia was notorious as being the only country in the Asia Pacific that had not signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), he said, and this decision would “only make things worse.”

Meanwhile, Kartono Muhammad, an anti-tobacco campaigner, said the government’s challenge through the WTO was a questionable move, both from a health and financial perspective.

“It’s funny: Why bother challenging Australia’s decision to protect its people when the policy itself does not affect us directly?” he said.

“Since 2011, Indonesian cigarettes are practically no longer sold in Australia, so economically, Australia’s policy on the plain packaging will not affect us.”

Court finds for PM USA in ‘lights’ case

| September 25, 2013

A California Superior Court judge yesterday issued his final decision in favor of Philip Morris USA in a 16-year-old class-action “lights” cigarette case (Willard R. Brown, et al. v. The American Tobacco Co., Inc. et al.).

According to a note posted on the Altria website, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ efforts to impose as much as a billion dollars in liability against PM USA and ruled that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any relief.

“The plaintiffs failed to prove they suffered any loss by purchasing ‘lights’ cigarettes,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president and associate general counsel, speaking on behalf of PM USA. “In fact, the court concluded that Marlboro Lights were worth what consumers paid for them,” Garnick added. “We have had substantial success in defending these cases on a variety of legal grounds.”

“The plaintiffs claimed in this lawsuit, originally filed in June 1997, that PM USA violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law by using the terms ‘lights’ and ‘lowered tar and nicotine’ on cigarette packages,” the Altria note said. “Plaintiffs sought to recover a portion of the money paid by California smokers who purchased Marlboro Lights between 1998 and 2001.

“In his decision, Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager said that, “based [on] the totality of the evidence including real world market data and the extensive absent class member testimony, this court concludes that the restitution value is zero.”

“In rejecting plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, the court stated: ‘Plaintiffs failed to present any specific evidence entitling them to injunctive relief. To the contrary, the evidence established that the descriptors on which the plaintiffs base their case have been removed and, because of changes in the law, these descriptors can never be used again. Since there is little likelihood that the conduct giving rise to this case will reoccur, the claim for injunctive relief is moot.’”

Hasty electronic cigarette regulation would be problem, not solution

| September 25, 2013

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is urging President Barack Obama to advise the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take the time needed to develop science-based regulations that will serve the interests of public health. CASAA is concerned that last week several organizations wrote to the president asking him to order the FDA promptly to assert authority over all tobacco products not currently under its jurisdiction.

CASAA is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure the availability of low-risk alternatives to smoking and to provide smokers and nonsmokers alike with truthful information about such alternatives.

“In 2009, four of the organizations that signed last week’s letter—the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Heart Association—jointly pressured the FDA to remove electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from the market,” CASAA said in a press note. “The FDA tried to do so until a federal court judge ruled that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated (and thus banned) as a drug unless therapeutic claims are made.”

“Had these organizations succeeded in their efforts to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes in the U.S.,” said CASAA President Elaine Keller, “hundreds of thousands of former smokers would still be lighting up. Almost all e-cigarette consumers are former smokers who tried to quit by using some or all of the products and methods these organizations tout and kept relapsing. The option to switch to a low-risk product that is a satisfying substitute for smoking has made a smoke-free life possible for those who had almost given up all hope of ever being able to quit smoking.”

In their letter to the president last week, the organizations cited the recent report on youth use of e-cigarettes by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as proof that students in grades six through 12 were taking up use of e-cigarettes at an alarming rate. But CASAA said this misrepresented the findings.

“Only 2.1 percent of the youth had taken so much as one puff from an e-cigarette recently,” said the CASAA note. “As far as we know from that survey, none of them are using e-cigarettes daily, in contrast with the millions of youth who are known to smoke. The CDC did not report the daily use statistics for e-cigarettes, or even whether the e-cigarettes being tried contain nicotine.

“How do these statistics compare to recent smoking of conventional cigarettes? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Finding. According to the SAMHSA report, past month cigarette use among youths aged 12 to 17 fell from 9.1 percent in 2009 to 6.8 percent by 2012 for males and from 9.3 percent to 6.3 percent for females. Furthermore, the rate of initiation of smoking among youths in the same age group fell from 6.3 percent to 4.7 percent for males and from 6.2 percent to 4.8 percent for females.

“Those who want to ban e-cigarettes make up any claim they can think of, regardless of whether there is evidence to support it,” said CASAA’s scientific director, Dr. Carl V. Phillips. “If e-cigarette use really caused kids to start smoking and there really was an alarming use of e-cigarettes by youth, we would see an increase in kids smoking, the opposite of the actual trend.

“Someone who would try an e-cigarette but would avoid smoking presumably is motivated by avoiding the risk of smoking. The only reason I can see for someone to make the unfortunate transition from e-cigarette use to smoking would be if e-cigarettes were to become less accessible or deliberately made less attractive, which, ironically, could be the result if the type of excessive regulations urged by these organizations is enacted.”

NDC appoints regional sales manager

| September 25, 2013

David Paprocki (pictured) NDC Dave Paprocki 08-2013has joined NDC Infrared Engineering as regional sales manager for the Asia Pacific region.

Paprocki will be working from NDC’s Singapore office and will be responsible for sales of NDC on-line gauges and at-line NIR analyzers into the region’s tobacco industry.

Paprocki has lived for more than 20 years in Asia, where he has been involved in the management of distribution channels/direct sales for the process control/instrumentation and consumer product industries.

He previously worked in international sales, marketing and distribution from the U.S. and Canada.

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