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European WHO members to make ‘tobacco a thing of the past’

| September 17, 2015

Health ministers from the 53 European member nations of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sept. 16 agreed to a plan to make “tobacco a thing of the past” within the next decade.

The member nations—who convened at the WHO’s 65th session of the Regional Committee for Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania—intend to realize this goal by enforcing a series of smoke-free laws and bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and by implementing new educational initiatives. In addition, the roadmap calls for an end to portrayals of smoking in the entertainment industry as well as training to teach health care and family support workers to deliver smoking-cessation interventions.

The WHO has urged European governments to set national targets for significant reductions in tobacco use by 2025. Ireland, Scotland and Finland aim to have smoke-free populations by 2015, 2034 and 2040, respectively.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said, “The generation growing up now cannot comprehend that people used to smoke on airplanes, buses, in restaurants or in offices,” and that “the dream of a Europe where tobacco control has succeeded is not unrealistic.”

Disposable shisha pipes mandatory in Dubai

| September 17, 2015

The Dubai Municipality has implemented a new hygiene rule making it mandatory for shisha outlets in Dubai to use disposable pipes in place of traditional shisha hoses. The rule, which was issued in accordance with the articles of the federal law number 15 of 2009 on tobacco control, is aimed at protecting shisha smokers from coming into contact with infectious diseases.

The municipality’s Public Health and Safety Department has issued a circular to cafes and restaurants that serve shishas, asking them to replace traditional shisha pipes with disposable ones for one-time use by Oct. 15.

According to the department’s director, Marwan Al Mohammed, recent studies have found that shared use of shisha pipes can lead to a spread of several fungal, viral and bacterial infections, including herpes simplex virus-1, hepatitis B, bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases.

FDA orders R.J. Reynolds to pull major brand off the market

| September 16, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds to pull their Camel Crush Bold cigarette brand off the market. The FDA acted under a key provision of the 2009 law that requires prior FDA review and authorization before tobacco companies are permitted to market new or changed products.

The decision, which was announced on Sept. 15, marks the first time the agency has ordered a tobacco company to remove a major cigarette brand from the market since it was granted regulatory authority over tobacco products by the 2009 law. This move sets an important precedent that could apply to other brands as the FDA works to prevent the introduction of tobacco products to the market that may be more appealing to youth, more addictive or more harmful.

The 2009 law prohibits the introduction of a new or changed tobacco product unless the manufacturer proves to the FDA that the product is either “appropriate for the protection of public health” or “substantially equivalent” to a product already on the market. Manufacturers must also prove that the product “does not pose different questions of public health.”

In addition to Camel Crush Bold, the FDA also issued orders that will stop the further sale and distribution of three other cigarette products currently marketed by R.J. Reynolds: Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13 cigarettes. The FDA determined that these products were not substantially equivalent to existing products.

The FDA found that R.J. Reynolds failed to demonstrate that these products do not “raise different questions of public health,” particularly because of the higher levels of menthol, the addition of sugars and other sweeteners, a new method of delivering menthol, and increased levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents.

Camel is one of the three most popular cigarette brands among youth smokers, with 15.1 percent preferring Camel, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Camel Crush is an extension of the brand with a capsule in the filter that releases menthol when crushed.

Pax Labs expands vaporizer line to U.K., Germany

| September 15, 2015

Pax Labs, leaders in vaporization technology, announced Sept. 15 that the company’s Pax vaporizers are now available in the U.K. and Germany. The devices are available at and local retailers.

Since introducing its portable, loose-leaf Pax vaporizer three years ago, sales have grown by 200 percent. In March, Pax Labs introduced Pax 2, an enhanced version of the original Pax vaporizer that offers a more intelligent, high-performance smoking experience. The release of Pax vaporizers in the U.K. and Germany follows the company’s recent $46.7 million Series C funding round and is part of Pax Labs’ aggressive global expansion plan to bring its best-selling vaporizers to customers around the world.

“With the growing demand in the vaporization category, consumers have high interest in innovative products,” says James Monsees, CEO and co-founder of Pax Labs. “The timing is perfect for us to introduce Pax in the UK and Germany.”

According to Pax Labs CMO Richard Mumby, “Both London and Berlin are cultural hubs for technology innovation, cutting-edge fashion, global contemporary art and music. With our Silicon Valley approach to innovation, best-in-class technology and thoughtful design, we’re confident consumers across Europe will receive the product as favorably as we’ve experienced in the United States and Canada. Our connection with the fashion, art and music worlds will help us connect with consumers in these diverse and cultural markets. Forward-thinking, trendsetting and socially active consumers continue to be drawn to the PAX products across geographies.”

Pax has distinguished itself as a premium vaporizer brand through its collaboration with fashion, music and art. This year, Pax secured its first fashion retail partnerships with lifestyle boutiques, including Opening Ceremony New York and American Rag Los Angeles. The company also participated in Fashion Week events, collaborating with designer Richard Chai at “New York Fashion Week: Men’s” and the 2015 New York Fashion Week with Opening Ceremony and 11 by BBS. Pax has integrated its brand and products into the prolific art and music scene through artist showcases, event sponsorships and consumer engagements.

“We know that consumers connect with Pax through not only our product design but also our distinct brand identity,” says Mumby. “We’ve redefined our category, and we’re always challenging ourselves to find resonant ways to connect with our fans, often through experiential partnerships and collaborations. From speakeasies, warehouse parties and music festivals, to prolific street art, galleries and fashion shows, the U.K. and Germany are two vibrant and influential European markets. London and Berlin are two cities at the leading edge of innovation, creativity and style.”

Pax 2 is an evolved product building on the original Pax. Pax Labs further integrated new hardware and software into Pax 2, making it smaller, faster, smarter, more robust, longer lasting on a single charge, and more straightforward to use. Pax 2 is the most pocketable and premium loose-leaf vaporizer available. The device heats loose-leaf material, instead of burning it, releasing active ingredients and natural oils into a subtle vapor. This process produces no combustion and no smoke, making it optimal for social settings.

Pax 2 retails for 199 pounds in the U.K. and 259 euros in Germany. The company now has distribution in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Germany from its online store,, and at select retail locations.

South Korea’s tobacco tax revenue expected to soar next year

| September 15, 2015

Tax revenue from cigarette sales in Korea is expected to reach more than 12.68 trillion won ($10.72 billion) next year, nearly double the increase from 2014, according to a report shown Monday by the independent Korea Federation of Taxpayers.

The Korea Federation of Taxpayers said in its report that the increase is attributable mainly to the sharp tax hike early this year but little reduction in sales volume. The tobacco tax hike was introduced as part of the government’s strategy to reduce the smoking rate in Korea.

The government raised a total of 6.74 trillion won in tobacco tax revenue in 2014 before the tax hike took effect on Jan. 1. This year, it is estimated that the government will collect 11.17 trillion won, up 4.42 trillion won from the previous year. The government had predicted that the tax revenue would increase only by about 2.78 trillion won this and next year, respectively, as sales were expected to drop due to the price hike.

Once the new cigarette pricing went into effect, the price of cigarettes increased to 4,500 won, up 80 percent from the previous 2,500 won. From January to June, the government collected approximately 4.3 trillion won in tax revenue from tobacco sales, up 1.2 trillion won from the year before. During the same period, cigarette sales decreased by 28.3 percent due to the tobacco tax hike.

Although tobacco sales plunged early this year as a result of the sharp price hike, sales have begun to show signs of recovery.

Zimbabwe: $585 million tobacco sold during 2015 season

| September 15, 2015

Nearly 200 million kg of flue-cured tobacco worth $585 million was sold during the 2015 season, which ended on Sept. 9, according to a story in The Herald.

“Tobacco growers sold 198.7 million kg of flue-cured tobacco worth $586 million during the 2015 marketing season,” said Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) public relations manager Ishemunyoro Moyo. “Earnings declined by 14 percent from the 215.8 million kg worth $684 million that had been sold during a corresponding period last year.”

According to latest TIMB statistics, the seasonal average price was $2.95 per kg compared to $3.17 per kg last year.

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