Breaking News petition lights up smoking ban violations

| September 1, 2015

The Jakarta Environmental Management Agency has disclosed that 90 percent of malls and shopping centers that it inspected in the Indonesian capital were in violation of a gubernatorial regulation banning tobacco smoking in public places, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

“Ninety percent of malls and shopping centers we inspected violated the bylaw,” the agency head Gamal Sinurat said on Friday.

He indicated that these establishments were being monitored by the agency and that they would be the subject of harsher sanctions if they continued to act in breach of the bylaw.

The story came to light after Jakarta resident Elysabeth Ongkojoyo took to on Wednesday to start a petition against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, Lippo Malls Indonesia and the management of coffee-shop chain J.Co demanding that tenants who allowed their customers to smoke in malls and other public places be seriously sanctioned.

The petition had attracted more than 16,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

Opposition to minimum price in Philippines

| September 1, 2015

A number of Indonesian groups are opposing a bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to set a minimum price for cigarettes, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

The groups described the move as being more of a profit strategy for the tobacco industry than a tobacco control measure.

The Action for Economic Reforms, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines, the New Voice Association of the Philippines, the Philippine College of Physicians Foundation, the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine, Woman Health Philippines and the Youth For Sin Tax Coalition issued a joint statement opposing the minimum cigarette price (MCP) bill.

While the MCP bill looked similar to the sin tax law in making cigarettes less affordable, the groups said it would ‘accrue the profits to tobacco companies instead of the public’.

The proposed MCP bill would prohibit the sale of cigarettes at a price below P44 per pack next year, with the supposed intention of preventing young people from smoking.

The proposed measure sets a P38 per pack minimum price this year, a price that would increase to P44 a pack next year and to P51 by 2017.

The measure is supported by Japan Tobacco International Philippines (JTI) and Bulgartabac Philippines, which submitted separate position papers to Congress. They said the bill would curb the sale of illicit cigarettes and would help improve the government’s fiscal position.

The cigarette firm Mighty Corp. had sought more time to study the measure but said that it “fully subscribed to the noble intention of the subject bill”.

Antonio Dans of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine said the proliferation of cheap cigarettes would be addressed by the ‘sin tax’ law’s provision of the unitary tax system by 2017.

Meanwhile, Tony Leachon of the Philippine College of Physicians Foundation said the new measure was misleading.

“Why are they using the language of public health?,” he asked. “Unlike what they imply, their objective has nothing to do with youth smoking,” he said.

Leachon said the move would result in bigger profits for tobacco firms.

War of attrition in parks ban on tobacco smoking

| September 1, 2015

The Seoul Metropolitan Government is preparing to make more Han River parks no-tobacco-smoking zones, according to a story in The Korea Times.

Currently, of the 12 parks along the river, only Sunyudo Park in western Seoul is a no-smoking zone.

The city government had considered banning smoking at all of the parks but, since it thought that such a policy would create a backlash from smokers, it dropped the plan, at least temporarily.

Now, it is considering a battle of attrition under which it would implement bans at selected parks and then gradually expand those bans to other parks.

To sweeten the pill for smokers, the city government has apparently said that if all the parks were to be designated no-smoking areas, the city might build smoking booths in them.

Benson named marketing director at NDC

| August 28, 2015
Ian Benson

Ian Benson

NDC Technologies, a leading global provider of precision measurement and control solutions, has appointed Ian B. Benson as marketing director. Previously global sales and marketing director for the company’s food and bulk business, Benson brings a wealth of international marketing and business development experience to his new position.

Benson will be responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy for its measurement and control solutions serving the food, bulk, packaging, cable, metals and tubing industries. He will lead the company’s marketing communications and product management teams, oversee the company brand and market intelligence programs, and drive customer engagement to increase demand of NDC’s products and services. Benson takes up his role with immediate effect, reporting to Drew Cheshire, President of NDC Technologies.

“I am very excited about being offered this role and having the opportunity to play an integral part in the development, business strategy and market direction of the company,” says Benson. “I look forward to expanding my knowledge of other industries and applications, and building upon what has been truly an exemplary pattern of growth and market leadership. With greater market focus and deeper interaction with our customers and partners, and through strategic acquisitions, we will continue to expand our business through the delivery of new and unique measurement and control solutions.”

Benson holds an honors degree and doctorate in chemistry from Bristol University in the U.K. and is based at NDC’s European manufacturing, sales and service center in Maldon, England.


ITG to respond to additive-free warning

| August 28, 2015

ITG Brands is to respond to a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration about its use of the term ‘additive free’ in relation to its Winston brand of cigarettes, according to a story by Toni Clarke for Reuters, relayed by the TMA.

The FDA has warned Santa Fe Natural Tobacco (Reynolds American), ITG Brands and Nat Sherman that advertising traditional cigarette products as ‘additive free’ or ‘natural’ is in violation of federal regulations.

ITG reportedly said that it believed its products complied with all US federal and state regulations and disagreed with the FDA’s position on the issue.

But it said it would respond to the agency’s warning letter in the coming days.

The wording that the FDA objects to is said to appear only on Winston’s cartons, and not on packs or advertisements.

ITG said that Winston, which had been owned by ITG for only 76 days (Winston was one of the brands sold off when Reynolds American acquired Lorillard), had been marketed with its current packaging for more than 15 years in compliance with an agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission.

In an August 24 letter, about 30 health organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Heart Association and the American Thoracic Society, urged the FDA to take action against Reynolds American Inc and its subsidiary Santa Fe Natural Tobacco for the marketing of Natural American Spirit cigarettes.

The brand’s sales had risen by 86 percent between 2009 and 2014 while cigarette sales nationally declined 17 percent, the letter said.

In announcing its results for the second quarter of this year, Reynolds said that Natural American Spirit’s market share had risen by 0.3 of a percentage point to 1.8 percent.

Imperial joins battle against Latvian illegal trade

| August 28, 2015

Imperial Tobacco has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Latvian State Revenue Service jointly to tackle the illegal trade in tobacco.

In a note posted on its website, Imperial said that KPMG’s latest Project Sun report had revealed that Latvia had the highest proportion of illegal cigarette trade in the EU last year.

The illegal trade was said to have accounted for more than 29 percent of total consumption and to have deprived Latvia’s treasury of €80 million in tax revenues.

Imperial said the agreement, which was the first to be signed between the Latvian authorities and a tobacco company, created a framework for sharing intelligence and driving effective action against the criminals involved in the trade.

Latvia is a major transit country for illicit tobacco, with significant numbers of Russian and Belarusian products passing through on their way to countries such as the UK and Ireland.

“This Agreement demonstrates Imperial’s continuing commitment to co-operating with global authorities to prevent illegal tobacco products from finding their way onto the legitimate market,” Reimund Ameskamp, Imperial’s general manager Northern Europe, was quoted as saying.

Inara Petersone, director general of the Latvian State Revenue Service and Fedor Zhavaronkov, senior anti-illicit trade manager, Imperial Tobacco, at the signing ceremony.

Inara Petersone, director general of the Latvian State Revenue Service and Fedor Zhavaronkov, senior anti-illicit trade manager, Imperial Tobacco, at the signing ceremony.

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