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US leaf production set to fall by 18 percent

| August 20, 2015

Leaf tobacco production in the US this year is forecast to reach 717 million pounds, down by 18 percent on last year’s production, according to United States Department of Agriculture figures published by Christopher Bickers in his Tobacco Farmer Newsletter.

Flue-cured production is estimated to be down by 17 percent to 473 million pounds and Burley production is expected to be down by 26 percent to 157 million pounds.

Estimates of other-types production are: fire-cured, down by four percent to 56.6 million pounds; dark air-cured, down by five percent to 16.6 million pounds; cigar types, unchanged at nine million pounds; and Southern Maryland, down six percent to 4.4 million pounds.

The full story can be accessed by contacting Bickers at

Ireland to continue monitoring e-cigarettes

| August 20, 2015

Ireland’s Department of Health has said it will continue to monitor evidence on the harms and benefits associated with the use of electronic cigarettes, according to a story by Elaine Edwards for the Irish Times.

The department was responding to the results of a study published yesterday by Public Health England that said electronic-cigarette vapor was 95 percent safer than was traditional-tobacco-cigarette smoke.

The Department of Health and Children said that though electronic cigarettes did not contain tobacco, they did contain nicotine, which it described as ‘a highly addictive substance which is the driver for cigarette smoking’.

‘Hence, there are legitimate concerns about the public health benefits of allowing such products to exist without regulation,’ the department said in a statement.

‘Because they are a relatively recent product there is limited scientific information available to balance the potential harms and benefits that might arise from more widespread public use.

‘Against that background, and whilst more research is awaited on the harms and benefits, there is a need to ensure that there is some regulation of e-cigarettes.’

E-cigarette study suggests ‘gateway’ effect

| August 19, 2015

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that use of e-cigarettes by youth who had not previously smoked could lead to use of combustible cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.

The JAMA study examined whether teens who reported ever using e-cigarettes were more likely to initiate use of combustible (smoked) tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars and hookah.

The study involved 2,530 students from 10 public high schools in Los Angeles who reported never using combustible tobacco at the start of the study (when the students were in the nineth grade) and were re-assessed six months and 12 months later.

The researchers found that students who had ever used e-cigarettes (222 students at the start of the study) were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year. These students were also more likely to initiate use of each individual combustible product, including cigarettes, cigars and hookah.

In April, the CDC reported that current (past-month) e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. (It was 1.5 percent in 2011).

Current e-cigarette use now exceeds current use of regular cigarettes (9.2 percent of high school students smoked cigarettes in 2014).

The researchers did not evaluate the likelihood of e-cigarettes helping smokers quit their habit.

The study is available here.


Imperial’s stick equivalent volumes down

| August 19, 2015

Imperial Tobacco’s total tobacco volume during the nine months to the end of June, at 207.4 billion stick equivalents, was down by three percent on that of the nine months to the end of June 2014, 213.3 billion, according to an interim management statement issued today.

Underlying volume was down by six percent.

Growth Brands volume was up by 15 percent, from 91.7 billion to 105.4 billion; or by 10 percent on an underlying basis.

Meanwhile, tobacco net revenue was down by four percent from £4,632 million to £4,435 million; or flat on an underlying basis.

Specialist Brands net revenue was said to have been up by three per cent, supported by growth in modern variants of Golden Virginia (hand-rolling tobacco) in the UK, Skruf (snus) in Scandinavia and premium cigars in both the US and Europe. Specialist Brands accounted for 12 per cent of reported tobacco net revenue, up 30 basis points.

In announcing the results, chief executive Alison Cooper said Imperial had enjoyed a good third quarter that had built on the progress made in the first half.

“Our continued focus on improving the consistency and quality of our performance has delivered excellent results from our Growth Brands which continue to grow net revenue, volume and market share,” she said.

“We’ve strengthened our performance in Returns Markets and maintained positive momentum in Growth Markets.

“We completed the US acquisition towards the end of the quarter and I am pleased with the successful start we’ve made in implementing our commercial and integration plans for ITG Brands.”

Meanwhile, Imperial reported that its stand-alone subsidiary Fontem Ventures was continuing to develop well, with blu electronic cigarettes growing encouragingly in the UK and an enhanced strategic approach starting to be rolled out in the US.

The development and licensing of a range of patented technologies was ongoing at Fontem.

Vaping 95 percent less harmful than smoking

| August 19, 2015

Vaping electronic cigarettes is 95 percent less harmful than is smoking tobacco, according to a story by Adam Brimelow for BBC News, citing a recent expert review.

One of the report’s authors, Professor Ann McNeill of King’s College London said electronic cigarettes could be a game-changer in public health.

“At the moment, 80,000 people [in England] die every year as a result of cigarette smoking,” she said. “If everybody who was smoking switched to e-cigarettes that would reduce to about 4,000 deaths a year. That’s the best estimate at the moment. It may well be much, much lower than that.”

The experts who compiled the report for Public Health England (PHE) said also that there was no evidence that electronic cigarettes provided children with a gateway into smoking.

The report said that though general practitioners and stop-smoking services were currently not able to prescribe electronic cigarettes because none of the products on the market were licensed for medicinal purposes, it was hoped that hurdle would be removed in the future.

PHE said it was committed to ensure that smokers had a range of evidence-based, effective tools to help them to quit, and that it looked forward to the arrival on the market of a choice of medicinally-regulated products that could be made available to smokers by the NHS on prescription.

The review also highlighted evidence that growing numbers of people have doubts over the safety of electronic cigarettes. It said that nearly 45 percent of the population did not realise that vaping electronic cigarettes was much less harmful than was smoking.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said it was important to tackle what he called “harmful myths”.

/**/ if (window.bbcdotcom && bbcdotcom.slot) { bbcdotcom.slot(‘mpu’, [1,2,3]); } /**/ /**/ if (window.bbcdotcom && { } /**/ Electronic cigarettes are now used by 2.6 million adults in Britain.

The full story is at:

Proposal for smoking and non-smoking patio areas

| August 19, 2015

The Quebec Bar Owners Association has said that a proposed ban on smoking on bar and restaurant patios would be too restrictive and would not have any effect on public health, according to a Canadian Television report.

Public consultations are currently underway in respect of Quebec’s proposed anti-tobacco legislation, Bill 44, which includes provisions for a number of bans and restrictions.

The association, which has conducted tests of second-hand smoke levels at outdoor locations, said that its results showed no significant trace of tobacco smoke just 150 cm away from a person smoking.

Their research suggested that car exhaust was more harmful to a person’s health than was second-hand smoke.

Peter Sergakis of the bar owners’ group said that smokers spent more money than non-smokers did while in bars and restaurants; so establishments lost money when smoking was banned indoors in 2006, a loss that they never recovered.

He expects a further loss of business of 10-15 percent if smoking on patios is banned.

Sergakis has proposed that instead of banning smoking outright, Quebec should create smoking and non-smoking zones for people eating and drinking outdoors.

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