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Tobacco fights Ebola

| October 20, 2014

Tobacco and tobacco manufacturers are in the vanguard of efforts to fight Ebola.

According to a NASDAQ story, US-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical has been working on an Ebola vaccine that is being produced in tobacco leaves at Kentucky Bioprocessing, which is owned by Reynolds American.

Until recently, Mapp’s production of its ZMapp Ebola vaccine has been limited and, prior to the latest Ebola outbreak, output totaled what was needed for pre-clinical and early stage human trials. That meant that only a handful of ZMapp doses were available when healthcare providers came knocking on Mapp’s door asking for an emergency supply.

So Mapp, policymakers and non-profits such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are hard at work on ways to ramp up that production. For example, the US Department of Health and Human Services has put up $25 million this year to help Mapp move forward and, according to the New York Times, the department is talking to Caliber Biotherapeutics, a company that operates the biggest tobacco vaccine facility in the US and that has demonstrated success on monoclonal antibodies for dengue fever and influenza with partner United Therapeutics.

The full story is at: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/should-ebola-fear-tobacco-cm403618.

Tobacco money to help fight cancer

| October 20, 2014

More tobacco money could be used to help fight all cancers in England from next year.

The UK’s Labour Party is pledging that, if it wins the next election on May 7, 2015, by 2020 no-one in England will wait more than a week for cancer tests and results, according to a BBC News story on Saturday.

There is currently a recommended six-week limit for diagnostic tests in England, including tests to diagnose cancer.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the £750 million cost of improving cancer test waiting times would be covered by a levy on tobacco firms.

Labour’s proposal to levy an additional tax on the UK’s tobacco companies was initially announced towards the end of last month.

Miliband told delegates at Labour’s annual party conference in Manchester that it was fair to impose additional costs on an industry that made “soaring profits on the back of ill health”.

At that time, Imperial Tobacco reacted by saying that Labour’s plans to tax companies according to their market shares amounted to an attack on a legitimate business sector.

A spokesman for the company said the idea was totally unwarranted and unjust, and should be dismissed immediately.

Fight over tobacco’s trade pact rights

| October 20, 2014

US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, is pressing the Obama administration to protect the interests of his state’s tobacco industry, which he believes could be threatened by a trade deal, according to a story by Vicki Needham for The Hill.

McConnell is pressuring US negotiators to ensure that tobacco companies can take part in the dispute settlement portion of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact with several countries in Asia and Latin America.

Talks on the trade pact are scheduled for this week.

Malaysia, backed by other TPP partners and some health groups, wants to exclude tobacco companies from the dispute settlement system to keep them from filing suits that would seek to prevent tax hikes on tobacco products, or regulations requiring bigger health warning labels.

Tobacco companies say removing tobacco from the dispute settlement system would prevent the companies from suing governments over regulations that they consider damaging to their businesses, including regulations to remove their brands from packaging.

Cigarette volumes down but reduced risk products offer PMI new opportunities

| October 17, 2014

Philip Morris International’s cigarette shipment volume during the third quarter (July-September), at 222,300 million, was down by 0.4 percent on that of the third quarter of 2013, 223,124.

Shipments were increased in the EU by 0.5 percent to 49,209 million and in the company’s Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMA) region, also by 0.5 percent, to 77,252 million.

But they were down by 1.3 percent to 72,352 in Asia and by 2.0 percent to 23,487 in its Latin America and Canada region.

In reporting its third quarter results, PMI said the fall in cigarette shipment volume in Asia had been due mainly to developments on the Japanese market, partially offset by those in Indonesia and Pakistan. The fall in Latin America & Canada was due largely to developments on the markets of Canada and Mexico.

These regional falls, it added, had been partially offset by a solid performance in the EU, driven notably by developments on the Italian market; and by an increase in the EEMA, driven mainly by developments on the markets of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, partly offset by developments on the markets of Kazakhstan, Serbia and Ukraine.

By brand, overall shipments declined in the case of Marlboro (down by 3.5 percent to 72.6 billion); L&M (down by 0.6 percent to 24.0 billion); and Philip Morris (down by 9.4 percent to 8.0 billion), which, in Japan, ‘morphed’ into Lark.

Overall shipments increased in the case of Bond Street (up by 0.3 percent to 12.0 billion); Parliament (up by 9.3 percent to 12.9 billion); Chesterfield (up by 25.2 percent to 11.6 billion); and Lark (up by 25.2 percent to 9.0 billion).

The shipment volume of OTP, in cigarette equivalents, increased by 7.6 percent between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014, which meant that the total shipment volume for cigarettes and OTP in cigarette equivalent units decreased by 0.1 percent.

PMI reported that its market share had increased in a number of key markets, including those of Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, PMI’s reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) during the third quarter of 2014, at $1.38, was down by $0.06 or 4.2 percent on that of the third quarter of 2013. And adjusted diluted EPS, at $1.39, was down by $0.05 or 3.5 per cent.

Reported net revenues, excluding excise taxes, at $7.9 billion, were down by 0.9 percent.

Reported operating companies’ income, at $3.5 billion, was down by 5.5 percent, while adjusted operating companies’ income, at $3.4 billion, was down by 5.8 percent.

Reported operating income, at $3.3 billion, was down by 7.1 percent.

“Our results in the third quarter were slightly better than we expected, underpinned by a modest decline in volume, continued robust pricing and solid market share gains in each of our four regions,” said André Calantzopoulos, CEO.

“While currency headwinds have stiffened, our underlying business momentum is such that we remain confident we are on course to achieve currency-neutral adjusted diluted EPS growth for the full year 2014 of approximately 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent. This confidence was further reflected in the announced increase of our regular quarterly dividend of 6.4 percent.

“We are particularly excited by the commercialization, next month, of iQOS, our first product within our innovative portfolio of potentially Reduced-Risk Products that, we believe, represent one of our greatest growth opportunities. I am immensely proud of our talented employees whose exceptional work has opened this significant new chapter in our history.”

State sued over alleged FCTC failures

| October 17, 2014

The Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation (YSPF) is taking the Kingdom of the Netherlands to court to end what it alleges is the structural and excessive influence exerted by tobacco lobbyists on government anti-smoking policies, according to a story in the Tobacco Control Journal that was originally published by the YSPF.

The YSPF is calling on the Dutch government to comply fully with the anti-smoking convention of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The foundation claims that one of the most important articles in the convention states that every form of influence by the tobacco industry on policies to deter smoking must be avoided.

‘In the court summons issued, the Foundation offers dozens of examples that show how the government has systematically violated this provision, and even invites the tobacco industry to clarify its position on matters of policy development,’ the story said.

The story is at: http://blogs.bmj.com/tc/2014/09/15/the-netherlands-dutch-government-sued-over-who-fctc-violations/.

Altria to host 3Q results webcast

| October 17, 2014

Altria Group is due to host a live audio webcast starting at 09.00 Eastern Time on October 30 to discuss its 2014 third-quarter business results, which will be the subject of a press note issued at 07.00 on the same day.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, can be accessed at altria.com or through the Altria Investor App.

During the webcast, chairman and CEO, Marty Barrington, and executive vice president and CFO, Howard Willard, will discuss the company’s results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

Pre-event registration is necessary and directions are posted at www.altria.com.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available on altria.com or through the Altria Investor App.

The free app is available for download at www.altria.com/irapp or through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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