Breaking News

Smoking among young: “still much more to be done”

| August 5, 2015

A survey of more than 125,000 15-year-olds in England conducted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre has found that 24 percent have tried smoking at least once, according to a story in The Guardian relayed by the TMA.

Twenty eight percent of 15-year-old females and 21 percent of 15-year-old males were found to have tried smoking.

And eight percent of all 15-year-olds were current smokers.

Eighteen percent of 15-year-olds were found to have tried electronic cigarettes at least once and three percent currently use them.

Fifteen percent have tried other tobacco products.

Those in the most deprived areas had a higher rate of ever smoking, 27 percent, than those in the least deprived areas, 21 percent.

Electronic cigarette use, too, tended to be higher in more deprived parts of England.

And whites were more likely than were minority ethnic teens to try or regularly use cigarettes or electronic cigarettes.

The use of other tobacco products, including hookah, was higher among minority ethnic teenagers.

Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health was quoted as saying that since one in 12 young people were smoking by the time they are 15, “there is still much more to be done”.

Artist uses paperboard to shine light in dark places

| August 5, 2015

Asylum, an installation by the artist Nils Olof Hedenskog has gone on display at the Industrial museum – the Old Iron Mill – of Iggesund, Sweden.

As was described here on June 9 (Exploring visions of security through paperboard), Hedenskog worked during the spring using Invercote paperboard from Iggesund, which had offered him the opportunity to be artist in residence.

“For me there exists a tension between the limitlessness of art and the fact that I am in a strict, production-oriented environment where everything is based on rationality,” he said earlier this year. “I have six months to create something that represents this tension.”

Hedenskog’s installation comprises six paperboard towers enclosing a space. Viewers can look into the space but not enter it. On the outside the towers are not coloured; their structure together with the lighting creates nuances of grey. On the inside they are painted in fluorescent and non-fluorescent colours, which create light that radiates out between the towers and through peepholes.

“I’m creating a reflection of the current situation in Europe – with hundreds of thousands of refugees who want to get inside but who most often only get a glimpse of what is inside Europe’s walls,” Hedenskog said.

Hedenskog used 7.2 tonnes of Invercote and six months of his time to finalise the project.

Asylum, the installation by Nils Olof Hedenskog. Photo: Joakim Brolin, Kulturbild

Asylum, the installation by Nils Olof Hedenskog.
Photo: Joakim Brolin, Kulturbild

Universal declares dividends

| August 5, 2015

Universal Corporation’s board of directors yesterday declared a quarterly dividend of $0.52 per common share, payable on November 9 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 13.

In addition, the board declared a quarterly dividend of $16.875 per share on the Series B 6.75% Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock (Series B Preferred Stock) payable on September 15 to shareholders of record as of 17.00 Eastern Time on September 1.

‘Effective with the payment of the company’s common stock dividend on August 10, 2015, the company will adjust the conversion rate on its Series B Preferred Stock,’ Universal said in announcing the dividends. ‘The adjusted conversion rate on the Series B Preferred Stock will be 22.1952 common shares per $1,000 of liquidation preference of Series B Preferred Stock. ‘The new rate is equivalent to a conversion price of approximately $45.05 per common share.’

Kovacevic joins Nicopure Labs

| August 4, 2015

Patricia Kovacevic

Patricia I. Kovacevic has joined Nicopure Labs as general counsel and chief compliance officer.

With extensive U.S. and international e-cigarette and tobacco experience, Kovacevic has held senior legal and compliance positions at Philip Morris International, Lorillard and ITG Brands. Kovacevic was instrumental in securing the first ever premarket approvals for newly regulated tobacco products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Reporting to Nicopure Labs founders, Jeffrey Stamler and Jason Del Giudice, Kovacevic will assume responsibilities for the company’s global legal affairs, regulatory and compliance matters, as well as public policy engagement.

“Patricia is a world-renowned expert in regulatory compliance and experienced leader in managing legal teams and issues across different jurisdictions,” the company wrote in a press release. “Her professional expertise and personal commitment to the unique harm reduction opportunities presented by vaping products is the ideal match for our company’s and the industry’s relentless expansion and our commitment to product standards and compliance. We are excited to have Patricia join our management team.”

Kovacevic holds a law degree from Columbia Law School and is admitted to practice in New York and before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Based in Tampa, Florida, USA, Nicopure Labs is a leading e-liquid and vaporizer device manufacturer with operations in the U.S. and Europe.


Pacific Rim ministers fail to agree secret trade deal

| August 4, 2015

Trade ministers from12 Pacific Rim nations failed to finalize the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on the weekend, as they had been expected to do.

Quite what went wrong – or right – is difficult to know because the negotiations have been held in secret and what little has come to light has been courtesy of Wikileaks.

One sticking point seems to have come from grassroots resistance over the Investor-state Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions within the agreement. These provisions would, it is believed, allow companies investing in a country to sue the government of that country if the company deemed the government had passed laws that would negatively affect the company’s business.

It seems, too, that under the provisions the disputes would be held before secret, extrajudicial tribunals whose deliberations would never be made public, despite the fact that the public, in the guise of taxpayers, would be liable to any costs awarded against governments.

Some have brushed aside the ISDS issue as being overblown because such provisions have formed part of many international trade agreements in the past and have led to relatively few disputes. But others counter that the rate of increase in respect of such disputes is becoming exponential.

The tobacco industry is a focus of attention at the moment because the bête noire of ISDS opponents is currently Philip Morris Asia, which is understood to be fighting the Australian government over standardized tobacco packaging in a secretive tribunal being held in Singapore. The dispute is said already to have cost Australian taxpayers A$50 million.

One thing that does not seem to be aired is why the ISDS tribunals have to be extrajudicial and held in secret.

It is believed that other disputes have arisen over patent rights and so-called intellectual property rights.

The trade ministers from the 12 countries involved said on Friday that they had made significant progress on the agreement and would continue to work on resolving a ‘limited number of remaining issues’, according to a TMA note citing the US Trade Representative.

The statement apparently said the negotiators would remain in ‘close contact’ and continue their intensive engagement to find common ground and also continue to work to formalize the agreements reached so far.

They added that they were more confident than ever that the TPPA was within reach and would support jobs and economic growth across the Asia Pacific region.

Two extensive backgrounds to what is known about the TPPA are at:; and:

Russia posts another 30,000 cigarette outlets

| August 4, 2015

Cigarettes are due to go on sale in Russian post offices, according to a story in the Moscow Times quoting the pro-government daily Izvestia.

In line with an agreement reached between Russia’s national mail service, Russian Post, and four tobacco companies, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco, cigarettes will be sold through 30,000 post offices across the country. Russian Post has 42,000 outlets throughout the country, and many of them are in small villages.

‘This [the agreement] will provide easier access to the high-quality essential commodities for those living in rural areas,’ Russian Post was quoted as saying in a statement.

But Anti-tobacco Coalition chairperson Daria Khalturina sees more harm than good in the deal.

Khalturina told Izvestia that such an expansion of tobacco distribution ran counter to the state’s policy of reducing the number of smokers in the country.

white cloud cigarettes

pattyn banner

itm banner