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Buyers want only flavor tobacco from Zimbabwe

| January 27, 2015

Preparations for Zimbabwe’s 2015 flue-cured marketing season have started with merchants indicating they will not be buying low-grade tobacco this season, according to a story by Elita Chikwati for the Zimbabwe Herald.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairperson, Monica Chinamasa, was quoted as saying that buyers wanted good cured leaf and would not accept scrap and primings because this sort of tobacco could be obtained cheaper elsewhere.

“Farmers are aware of this position and they should present a high quality crop to get good prices,” she was quoted as saying.

“Merchants want the Zimbabwean tobacco for its unique flavor. We produce a good flavor because of the good climatic conditions.”

Chinamasa said the TIMB had yet to decide on an opening date for sales, but added that the auction floors had already registered to operate this year.

KT&G profit soars ahead of tax hike

| January 26, 2015

KT&G Corp. reported net income of KRW813.8 billion ($751.9 million) in 2014, up from KRW559.3 billion in 2013, reports The Korea Times.

Operating profit went up 15.6 percent on-year to KRW1.17 trillion last year, and sales gained 7.6 percent to KRW4.11 trillion.

The solid performance was attributable to increased sales in the local market ahead of a sharp rise in the tobacco tax, which nearly doubled the average price of cigarettes to KRW4,500 won per pack starting Jan. 1.

KT&G’s net profit soared 121.3 percent to KRW174.4 billion in the October-December period from a year ago, the company said.

Operating income gained 28.9 percent on-year to KRW287.2 trillion in the last three months, and sales rose 6.4 percent to KRW1.05 trillion, it said.

Health fears voiced over loss of EU leaf from blends

| January 26, 2015

In asking a number of questions about the state of leaf tobacco production in the EU, the Hungarian member of the European parliament, Norbert Erdős, has again raised the issue of whether certain types of cigarettes are less harmful than are others. Such issues are more usually raised in respect of genuine as opposed to counterfeit cigarettes.

In a preamble to three written questions for the European Commission, Erdős said that it was well-known that EU producing countries grew smaller quantities of better quality tobacco than did the major exporting countries of the developing world. He said that production in the EU was more stable and the tobacco more easily traceable. And he said that these characteristics mitigated the health consequences of smoking.

‘As part of the reform of the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy], contrary to the opinion of the European Parliament, the Commission has brought about a total halt to EU support for tobacco production from 2015,’ Erdős wrote. ‘European tobacco production, which takes place under controlled conditions, will fall significantly, and so imports of tobacco products from outside the EU, produced with fewer controls, as well as illegal imports, may increase significantly.

‘I therefore have the following questions for the Commission:

  1. ‘What effect will the halting of EU subsidies for tobacco production have on smoking and on public health? How does the Commission propose to prevent imports of less tightly controlled or illegally imported tobacco from gaining ground?
  2. ‘How will the Commission guarantee that generic (neutral) packaging does not lead to a price war between processers, who will do anything to maintain their market position, pushing down procurement prices for raw materials, thus squeezing out better quality tobacco?
  3. ‘How does the Commission propose to resolve the issue of employing the (mostly unskilled) people who have lost their jobs thanks to the phasing out of tobacco production?’

According to Erdős, tobacco production provides a livelihood to 80,000 growers and employs 350,000 seasonal workers every year, most of them in poor regions of Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain.

NZ tax hike lifts interest in home-grown tobacco

| January 26, 2015

In the city of Tauranga, New Zealand, smokers who grow their own leaf tobacco are making money by using websites and social media pages to sell tobacco plant seeds to others looking to reduce their costs of smoking following a recent 10 percent tax hike.

According to a story by Rebecca Savory for the Bay of Plenty Times; while it is illegal in New Zealand to sell or gift home-grown tobacco plants, people can legally grow tobacco for their own use and sell and buy the seeds.

Individuals may process up to 15 kg of home-grown tobacco per adult per year for personal use. This equates to between 50 and 100 cigarettes per person per day, depending on tobacco content.

Savory reported that searches for tobacco seeds on Trade Me had recently increased by 10 percent on those of a year ago and that tobacco seeds comprised the top tobacco-related search during the past 12 months.

Commercial tobacco manufacturers are unlikely to take fright, however. Searches for tobacco seeds in New Zealand routinely increase through December and peak in the middle of January.

And interest in growing tobacco at home regularly increases with tobacco price hikes.

The main problem is that it is difficult to process a palatable tobacco product from home grown plants.

Whether or not home grown tobacco offers a health benefit or deficit is another story.

Second FDA e-cigarette workshop date announced

| January 26, 2015

The US Food and Drug Administration says that its second public workshop on electronic cigarettes is due to be held on March 9-10.

The first of a series of three planned workshops was held last year.

The agenda for the March 2015 workshop is said to focus on the impact of electronic cigarettes on a person’s ‘individual health’.

The specific topics to be discussed include:

(1) ‘exposure to nicotine, and toxicological considerations;

(2) ‘pharmacokinetics (the movement of drugs within the body) and pharmacodynamics (the effects of drugs) regarding nicotine exposure in users;

(3) ‘abuse and dependence;

(4) ‘short- and long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes;

(5) ‘considerations for high-risk or vulnerable populations; and

(6) ‘human factors.’

The FDA said the information obtained through this series of workshops would not impact its pending deeming regulations. However, if the deeming rule were finalized as proposed, then electronic cigarettes would be subject to FDA regulations and the agency could use the scientific information obtained from the series of workshops to propose additional regulations on electronic cigarettes.

Registration for in-person or by-webcast participation in the March workshop is open until February 20 at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CTP-March-Workshop.

Online vintage cigar auction under way

| January 26, 2015

Cigar aficionados are now bidding in C.Gars’ online vintage cigar auction, which is due to end on February 1.

The auction includes 270 lots of vintage, mature and limited-edition Cuban and Dominican cigars and is expected to realize more than £300,000.

‘In 2014, 1,000 boxes of vintage cigars were auctioned by us, online and offline, achieving a 99.5 percent auction sales rate that is almost as rare as some of the cigars that were sold,’ said managing director Mitchell Orchant.

‘Our current auction, the UK’s first for 2015, includes some of the rarest and most magnificent pre-Embargo Havanas we have ever had the privilege of offering.

‘There is particular interest in the cabinet of 100 pre-Embargo Romeo y Julieta Coronations Deluxe (estimated £10,000-£12,000), and the box of 100 pre-Embargo Punch Double Coronas (estimated £9,000-£12,000).’

C.Gars’ online auction catalogue is available at: http://www.onlinecigarauctions.com/catalog/feb-2015/Online_vintage_cigar_auction_2015.pdf

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