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Quitting rates could mushroom

| September 15, 2014

A small-scale study has indicated that just two or three experiences with ‘magic mushrooms’ can help long-term tobacco smokers quit their habit, according to a story by Michelle Fay Cortez for Bloomberg News.

The study’s 15 volunteers were given pills containing psilocybin, the active hallucinogenic ingredient in magic mushrooms, as part of a cognitive behavior therapy program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, US.

Six months later, 12 of the 15 participants remained smoke-free, according to the study results published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Existing medicines such as Pfizer’s Chantix, the most potent aid for smoking cessation, had a success rate of about 35 percent at six months, while nicotine patches and gums were less successful, said Matthew Johnson, a study researcher and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins.

The results had shown unique promise in the first study ever of psilocybin for treating smoking addiction and might lead to new approaches to treat other types of addiction, Johnson said.

The full story is at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/magic-mushrooms-help-long-time-smokers-kick-habit-study/article20529006/

BAT science report iPad app available

| September 15, 2014

British American Tobacco has announced the launch of an iPad app of its Science and Technology Report 2014.

‘The report – the first of its kind in the tobacco industry – provides an overview of not only BAT’s ongoing research work in tobacco harm reduction but also its aims in leveraging world-class science to develop and assess novel technologies that will lead to the creation of safer tobacco and nicotine products, the company said in a press note issued on Thursday.

‘The new app, available free in the iTunes store, contains the entire 26-page report with additional multimedia content, including zoomable images and video interviews with key BAT scientists.’

BAT’s Group Research & Development division says it is working towards a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of smoking-related disease and the development of reduced toxicant products.

“Given the enormous negative impact that cigarette smoking has on public health, we have long believed that there is an urgent need to develop products that reduce this impact, and that the building of the emerging science base needed to evaluate these products should be world-class and non-competitive,” said David O’Reilly, group scientific director.

“The time has come for tobacco and nicotine research to become mainstream, and fundamental for progress is transparency in all areas.”

The Science and Technology report has been downloaded more than 90,000 times from www.bat-science.com (where a responsive web design formatted for other tablets is available) since it was published online in January.

‘It details BAT’s continuing areas of harm reduction research, such as aerosol science, clinical research, plant breeding and 21st century toxicology,’ the press note said.

‘It also points to opportunities for collaborative research aimed at identifying the most important toxicants and their dose–response relationship to various diseases.

‘These include developing technologies to selectively reduce toxicant levels in tobacco and volatile toxicants in smoke, and progressing next-generation heat-not-burn prototypes, as well as e-cigarette technologies.’

BAT said it was hoped that the new app would broaden the reach of the Science and Technology report, facilitating further dialogue and co-operation on tobacco regulatory science.

“It’s a call for more collaborative research between all interested parties, in an area of scientific endeavour that could become one of the most important public health initiatives of the 21st Century – tobacco harm reduction,” said Chris Proctor, BAT’s chief scientific officer.

PM celebrates 50 years in Switzerland

| September 15, 2014

Philip Morris International on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of Philip Morris Products (PMP) at its factory in Serrières, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, during an event attended by cantonal and local officials from Neuchâtel and Vaud.

“We are extremely happy to celebrate 50 years in Switzerland, notably here in Neuchâtel, where the PMP SA factory was founded in 1964,” said André Calantzopoulos, CEO of PMI.

“I am particularly grateful to our employees, business partners and the communities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne, who have always been an integral part of our success.

“We are proud of this track record which we look forward to continuing in the future. “Few companies can take pride in such a history, growing from the family-owned Fabriques de Tabac Reunies founded in 1925, to a manufacturing facility at the forefront of technology, production quality, industrial development and innovation, now standing next to our global R&D Center.”

With manufacturing and innovation in Neuchâtel, and at its global Operations Center in Lausanne, PMI in Switzerland employs more than 3,000 people representing roughly 50 nationalities.

Since 2008, the company has invested about CHF700 million in Switzerland, primarily in its global R&D Center.

On an annual basis, PMI’s activities in Switzerland represent an economic impact of more than CHF1.4 billion in terms of human resources expenditures and the purchase of goods and services, in addition to CHF1 billion in excise tax on tobacco.

“The 50th anniversary of Philip Morris in Neuchâtel highlights the heritage of one of the largest international companies in our region – proof that Switzerland and, particularly, Neuchâtel offers a positive environment for economic development,” said Alain Ribaux, president of the State Council of Neuchâtel.

“I would also like to commend the company for its excellent integration and economic, social and cultural participation in our Canton.”

General Cigar acquires Toraño Brands

| September 12, 2014

General Cigar Co. has acquired the Toraño Family Cigar Co. brands. The company says the acquisition will strengthen its market position and enhance its product mix to deliver greater value and innovation. It will also allow General Cigar to expand its portfolio.

Spanning almost 100 years, Toraño Cigars has a long history that encompasses every area of the cigar industry, from growing though manufacturing to brand creation. Toraño’s portfolio, including the popular Exodus, Reserva, Casa Toraño, Vault and Master Collections will remain unchanged under the new owners.

“The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio,” says Dan Carr, president of General Cigar. “Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years and I look forward to working with Charlie Toraño on plans to celebrate the upcoming centennial and to carry forward the vision, passion and innovation that is synonymous with the Toraño name while also leveraging our resources to bring even greater excitement and reach to our trade partners and consumers.”

“There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba,” says Toraño president Charlie Toraño. “There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise.”

 

RAI in sustainability index

| September 12, 2014

Reynolds American has been awarded membership in the 2014-2015 Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, effective Sept. 22, 2014.

Reynolds American is one of only 149 North American companies on the index, which is used by many investment portfolio managers when making investment decisions. Previously, the company was a member of the index from 2009 through 2013.

Companies are selected based on an extensive evaluation of many criteria, including corporate governance, risk management, energy consumption, climate change strategies, supply chain standards and human resources development.

 

Korean smokers brace for price hike

| September 12, 2014

The South Korean government wants to increase cigarette prices by 80 percent next year. Under the proposal, a KRW2,500 ($2.42) pack would cost KRW4,500 come Jan. 1. The government would also start adjusting cigarette prices to inflation rates, which would result in more frequent cigarette price rises in the future. Cigarette prices in Korea have been flat since 2004.

The government hopes its proposal will increase revenue and reduce smoking. At 44 percent in 2013, South Korea’s male smoking rateis the highest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. The government wants to reduce that figure to 29 percent by 2020.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance expects the price hike to cause a 34 percent drop in overall sales of tobacco products and generate an additional KRW2.8 trillion in tax revenues.

Korea’s cigarette prices are currently among the lowest in the world, while its tobacco tax rates are below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 70 percent.

Tobacco companies cautioned that the measure would encourage smuggling from countries such as China, where tobacco prices are much lower. It also warned of an increase in consumption of illegally produced, low-quality cigarettes, which may be more harmful to health than higher-quality varieties.

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