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Nine object to Ireland’s plain packs plan

| September 22, 2014

Nine countries had objected to Ireland’s plain tobacco packaging proposals by Thursday, the deadline for lodging such objections with the European Commission, according to a story in The Irish Times.

The nine countries, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, have a total population of 201.7 million or 40 percent of the EU’s population.

The Times’ story explained that countries filed so-called detailed opinions when they believed regulations in one country ‘may create obstacles to the free movement of goods, the freedom to provide services or the freedom of establishment of services operators within the internal market’.

The Irish Department of Health has said it is considering all of the opinions lodged and that it would respond to the Commission in due course.

Government tries to prevent hoarding

| September 22, 2014

Despite the government’s efforts to crack down on cigarette hoarding, large numbers of smokers across Korea are managing to stock up ahead of a major price hike next year, according to a story in The Korea Times.

The government has threatened fines of up to WON50 million ($48,000) for cigarette hoarding following its decision to raise tobacco prices next year by WON2,000 per pack – from about WON2,500 to WON4,500 per pack.

The measure, however, seems to have had only a limited impact, partly because it does not target consumers, but only tobacco manufactures, importers and retailers. In addition, news of the fines was not widely disseminated, especially among small and mid-sized stores.

The Times said that many owners of convenience stores and supermarkets had seen big spikes in cigarette sales since the price hike announcement on September 11, and that thousands of smokers were managing to stockpile cigarettes.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said that it would co-operate with other relevant authorities, including the National Tax Service and the Fair Trade Commission, if it were necessary to stabilize the tobacco market.

Yet some people are skeptical about whether the government can limit cigarette stocking.

“Rumors are that big retailers and convenience chains are also hoarding cigarettes, since they do not have an expiration date,” said a convenience store owner, who refused to be named.

Illicit trade calculator is eye-opener

| September 22, 2014

Imperial Tobacco says that it is demonstrating to Irish retailers the cost to their own businesses of the trade in illicit products – a strategy that is resulting in more reports being made to the authorities from the areas where this trade is occurring.

‘John Player’s “illicit trade calculator” aims to encourage retailers to report illegal sales by showing the financial impact on individual shops,’ the company said in a note posted on its website.

‘It tracks any reduction in the number of packs sold compared to the same period last year and calculates how much of this can be attributed to illicit trade.’

Carl Phillips, AIT executive in Ireland, said the calculator “really demonstrates to our retail partners the cost to them of illicit trade locally”.

“For example, one store in the Dublin area showed a 2,254 pack loss compared to the same month in 2013 because of illicit trade – that equates to a cash loss of €1,405,” he said.

“I’m delighted to say we’re now seeing a rise in reports to the authorities of illicit trade activity in those areas where we’ve deployed this tool.”

New Reynolds Tobacco president named

| September 22, 2014

Debra A. Crew has been named president and chief commercial officer (CCO) of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, effective October 1.

Crew is currently the president and general manager of PepsiCo North America Nutrition. She joined PepsiCo in 2010 as president of the Western Europe region of PepsiCo Europe. In 2012, she was named president of PepsiCo Americas Beverage. She assumed her current role earlier in 2014.

Andrew D. Gilchrist, the current president and CCO of R.J. Reynolds, will become executive vice president of Reynolds American Inc. effective October 1.

Malawi exploring tobacco options

| September 19, 2014

Malawi’s Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) says its tobacco industry is set for a major boost following the visit of a group of 16 Egyptian tobacco investors, according to a Ventures Africa story

Speaking before the visit, TCC CEO, Bruce Munthali, said the delegation would hold discussions with “the private sector as well as government officials and other sector stakeholders”.

“As a primary producer of tobacco, it is high time we started adding value to our tobacco,” he said. “The areas of investment to be explored include primary processing, removal of stems from the tobacco leaf as well as manufacturing of cigarettes,” he added.

As was reported here yesterday, tobacco growers in Malawi were paid 10 percent less for their tobacco during the 2014 selling season than they were paid during the 2013 season.

And this fall in prices occurred at a time of high inflation and in respect of a crop whose quality was improved.

Little e-cigarette use among UK’s young

| September 19, 2014

New data from the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) indicates that while electronic cigarette use by young people increased between 2013 and 2014, only 1.8 percent of children are regular users.

And it shows that 90 percent of regular or occasional users are young people who were already smokers or ex-smokers.

Meanwhile, 91 percent of young people have not tried an electronic cigarette, and this is despite the fact that more than 80 percent of young people are aware of electronic cigarettes (up from under 70 percent in 2013)

The ASH Smokefree Youth survey, which was conducted by YouGov, analysed by Public Health England and presented at a Public Health England Conference on Wednesday, questioned more than 2,000 11-18 year olds in 2013 and a further 2,000 in 2014 about their smoking and vaping behaviour.

It found also that 98 percent of young people who had never smoked had never tried an electronic cigarette.

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