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Concerns raised over secretive TPPA negotiations

| March 4, 2015

Raising concerns about the potential impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTPA) on public health and access to medicines is essential for creating awareness among policymakers about the implications of trade policy decisions, according to a story in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The authors, Anne Marie T Thow, Deborah H Gleeson and Sharon Friel, said that the Australian Medical Association and the Public Health Association of Australia had already raised such concerns.

Now, doctors could help protect public health by highlighting the effects of proposed provisions on patients, opposing health-damaging provisions, arguing for the agreement to be worded in ways that protect public health and seeking greater transparency in the TPPA negotiations.

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam are involved in the TPPA negotiations.

The authors said that while the Australian government had stated it would not enter into an agreement that compromised public health, independent assessment of the implications for public health was severely limited by lack of transparency in the negotiations.

It pointed out that the agreement would not be made public until after it is signed.

Nevertheless, leaked documents had shown that an investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism was being negotiated for the TPPA. This enabled foreign investors – including companies that manufactured, marketed and distributed health-damaging products – to seek compensation from governments for policies that negatively affected them. A similar mechanism in another treaty had enabled Philip Morris Asia to sue the Australian government over plain tobacco packaging.

Later, the authors mentioned the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly that was currently using an ISDS mechanism to sue the Canadian government for invalidating patents for two drugs that were allegedly found not to deliver the promised benefits.

The story is at:

Public places bans alone do little to reduce smoking

| March 4, 2015

Banning smoking in enclosed public places has no significant impact on smoking at home, according to a story by Marc Weisblott for Concordia University, citing research recently published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

“What distinguishes people who restrict smoking at home is the presence of a non-smoker,” says Sylvia Kairouz, an associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “The social network seems to be more of a factor than the law.”

With advance knowledge of a smoking ban in Quebec, Canada, which took effect in May 2006, researchers were able to collect data from a representative cross-section of the population a month ahead of time. They then followed up a year and a half later.

Kairouz believes that there needs to be an integrated approach to encourage people to quit smoking; one that includes “ecological measures along with taxation, prevention and information”.

“But one of the most important components is to have public health services available for people who are trying to quit,” she said.

The research carried out by Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, was supported by an operating grant from the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative and a contribution from the Ministère de santé et services sociaux.

Abundant evidence vaping is safer than smoking

| March 4, 2015

vaperA US health expert has said that a study in the journal, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, ‘adds to the abundant and growing body of evidence that electronic cigarettes are orders of magnitude safer than tobacco cigarettes and suggests that brands of e-cigarettes that do not overheat the e-liquid may be associated with very minor absolute health risks’.

Writing on his blog, Dr. Michael Siegel, who is a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, said these findings should put an end to the assertions of many e-cigarette opponents that electronic cigarettes are not any safer than tobacco cigarettes. It exposed those public statements as being lies.

‘This research also demonstrates how misguided the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] is in its scientific judgment,’ Siegel wrote. ‘Despite all of the evidence, with numerous studies demonstrating results similar to those above, with studies showing rapid clinical improvement in smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, and with studies showing that the acute cardiovascular and pulmonary effects of smoking due not occur with vaping, the FDA is not sure that smoking is not any more hazardous than vaping.’

Siegel’s blog is at:

BAT submits proposed offer for Souza Cruz

| March 4, 2015
Going to Hollywood

Aiming for Hollywood

British American Tobacco has submitted a proposed offer for Souza Cruz.

In a note posted on its website yesterday, BAT said that, through its Brazilian controlled company British American Tobacco Prestação de Serviços, it had filed with the Brazilian securities regulator, the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM), a request to register a public tender offer to acquire up to all of the 24.7 percent of Souza Cruz shares that are not currently owned by BAT and to delist the company.

‘The offer for Souza Cruz’s shares is at a price per share of R$26.75, to be paid in cash, in Brazilian Reais, and to be reduced by any dividend paid by Souza Cruz,’ the note said. ‘A price of R$26.75 per share would represent a premium of 30.0 percent to Souza Cruz’s volume weighted average closing share price over the three months to Friday 20 February 2015 (being the last trading day before BAT’s possible offer for Souza Cruz was announced).

‘In accordance with the relevant Brazilian rules, N M Rothschild & Sons (Brasil) Limitada (Rothschild) was appointed as independent evaluator and has carried out an independent valuation of Souza Cruz as part of the offer process which has been filed with the CVM. On a discounted cashflow basis the Rothschild report gives a range of R$22.09 to R$24.54 per Souza Cruz share.

‘The offer is still subject to prior approval by the CVM. Upon approval, a formal offer can be made by BAT which will remain subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent, including acceptance of the offer by two-thirds of the holders of free float shares that qualify for the auction. The terms and conditions of the offer are described in further detail in the form of notice of the offer (Edital) which will be available to view on the CVM’s website.’

Sicignano named CEO at 22nd Century Group

| March 3, 2015

Henry Sicignano III has been named CEO of 22nd Century Group. He will continue to serve as the company’s president and will remain on the board of directors.

“The board of directors has had the opportunity to work directly with Henry over the past few months and is convinced that there is no better person to lead the company forward,” said James W. Cornell, chairman of 22nd Century Group’s board of directors.

“Henry is a proven leader with outstanding business development skills, strategic vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how 22nd Century will monetize the company’s proprietary technologies is exactly what 22nd Century needs at this exciting stage in the company’s growth.”

Since joining the company as president in 2010, Sicignano has spearheaded major initiatives across a range of business areas, recently establishing a strategic partnership with Smoker Friendly International, the largest U.S. dealer network of cigarette stores, and securing contract manufacturing and distribution agreements to launch the company’s Magic brand of cigarettes in Europe.

Going forward, Sicignano has defined 22nd Century’s top priorities as: establishing multi-year international sales contracts for the company’s proprietary tobacco products (with immediate focus on Asia); submitting to the Food and Drug Administration a modified-risk application for the company’s Brand A very-low-nicotine cigarettes; and identifying a joint venture partner to fund Phase III clinical trials for X-22, the company’s smoking cessation aid in development.

“22nd Century is in the rare position of having a virtual monopoly around the nicotine biosynthetic pathway in the tobacco plant; I am honored and tremendously excited to have been chosen to lead the company as we begin to commercialize our extraordinary IP portfolio,” Sicignano said.


Universal to supply PMI with Mexico-grown tobacco

| March 3, 2015

Universal Corp. says that its subsidiary, Tabacos del Pacifico Norte (TPN), will be increasing its leaf tobacco purchases in Mexico as part of a new leaf supply arrangement for Mexico with Philip Morris International Management (PMIM).

Previously, the purchase and processing of these tobaccos was handled directly by a subsidiary of Philip Morris International, Universal said in a press note. But starting with the 2015 crop, PMIM would buy processed grades of tobacco from TPN.

The new arrangement was expected to provide important supply chain efficiencies and was indicative of PMIM and Universal’s strong commitment to the grower communities in Mexico, and PMIM’s intent to remain a major purchaser of Mexican-grown leaf tobacco.

Universal has managed operations in Mexico since the 1960s.

“This new arrangement is a meaningful example of our efforts to implement tailored solutions that benefit our company, our longstanding global business partners, and our grower communities,” said George C. Freeman, III, chairman, president and CEO of Universal. “We are very excited to be a part of this undertaking and welcome the opportunity to more efficiently support the tobacco supply chain in Mexico.

“We believe that global leaf suppliers add efficiencies to the markets through economies of scale as well as through the vital role we play in finding buyers for all styles and leaf grades of tobacco.

“As a global leader in the supply of leaf tobacco, we are committed to the sustainability of our grower communities.  The strength, efficiency, and security of the supply chain is vital to our success and to the success of our customers. We work diligently to preserve the quality and integrity of our tobacco from the time it is planted, through processing and delivery to our customers.

“We will continue to employ the high standards of Good Agricultural Practices, including our commitment to the Agricultural Labor Practices code (ALP). ALP is designed to further our corporate goals and the goals of our customers of progressively addressing and eliminating concerns found in agriculture with child and other labor issues, and achieving safe and fair working conditions on all farms from which we source tobacco.

“As a result of PMIMSA’s changes to their leaf acquisition models in both the United States, as announced in November 2014, and now in Mexico, we expect financial benefits for our North America segment beginning in fiscal year 2016.”

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