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China looks to extend advertising bans

| August 27, 2014

China’s top legislature has begun reviewing a draft amendment that would extend the country’s current tobacco advertising restrictions, according to a China Daily story.

‘Tobacco advertisements directly or indirectly transmitted via radio, film, television, newspapers, magazines, books, audio and visual products, electronic publications, telecommunication networks and the Internet are banned,’ says a copy of the draft amendment obtained by the Xinhua news agency.

The draft includes a ban on all outdoor tobacco advertisements and provides information about the specific public venues where such advertisements would be banned, such as libraries, cultural centers, museums, parks, waiting rooms, theaters, meeting halls, sports auditoriums, and near hospitals and schools.

The bill, which was submitted to lawmakers on Monday, reflects what the China Daily described as a heated anti-smoking battle in the country.

In June, the paper reported, scholars, health and legal professionals, and tobacco control experts jointly signed a letter to the national legislative body urging it to outlaw tobacco advertising completely.

Management changes at BAT

| August 27, 2014

Andrew Gray has been appointed group marketing director at British American Tobacco, effective September 1.

Gray, who is currently regional director, EEMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa), has been with the company for 27 years and has been a member of the management board for the past seven years. Previously, he held various senior management positions including as president of Souza Cruz and general manager at BAT Malaysia.

Gray will replace the current group marketing director, Jean-Marc Levy, who, on September 1, will become director, special projects, before, on December 31, stepping down from the management board and leaving the company, for which he has worked for 21 years.

Gray will be succeeded on September 1 as regional director, EEMEA, by Johan Vandermeulen, who is currently general manager, Russia. Vandermeulen has been with BAT for 21 years, where, prior to running the Russian business, he was general manager, Turkey, and global brand director, Kent.

In another move, Tadeu Marroco, currently head of strategy and planning, and mergers and acquisitions, will join the management board on September 1 as business development director. In addition to his current role, Marroco will assume responsibility for IT, including the roll-out of the TaO Programme. Marroco joined BAT in Brazil 22 years ago, since which time he has held various senior finance positions, including regional finance controller, EEMEA, and group finance controller.

Altria employee fund awards grants

| August 27, 2014

The Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF) has awarded $3.1 million in grants to 142 non-profit organizations based in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky.

‘The fund is the only employee-managed workplace-giving program that is publicly reported among U.S. companies, according to the Changing Our World organization.’ Altria said in a note posted on its website.

‘ACECF represents the power of giving together, rather than individually. By giving through the fund, employee donations have a greater impact in helping to address the most pressing community needs where Altria’s companies have operations.’

About 3,500, or two-thirds of eligible employees, gave an average donation of more than $450 to ACECF this year.

“We are proud of these accomplishments, and the collective impact that our employees are making in the communities where we live and work,” said Jennifer Hunter, chairperson, ACECF board of directors and senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, Altria Client Services.

Altria makes an annual contribution to the ACECF and pays for its administrative costs, which ensures that every employee dollar raised goes directly to support non-profit organizations in the communities where the company operates.

Vapers ask WHO to think risk reduction

| August 26, 2014

The vaper organization, European Vapers United Network (EVUN), has added its voice to the growing call for the World Health Organization to be guided by the principle of risk reduction when considering electronic cigarettes.

According to a story on the Nicotine Science and Policy website, vaping organizations from 13 countries have written to WHO’s director general, Dr. Margaret Chan, ahead of the organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control meeting in October.

They have appealed to the WHO not to succumb to unjustified fear or do anything that would obstruct the opportunities for risk reduction provided by electronic cigarettes.

Their letter follows one penned by 53 scientists in May asking WHO to recognize the harm reduction opportunities of electronic-cigarettes and other safer nicotine products. It said that WHO should see these products as part of the smoking solution, not as part of the problem.

National vaping organizations have sent copies of the EVUN letter also to their national governments and health ministers.

A copy of the EVUN letter is at: http://nicotinepolicy.net/documents/letters/july2014-to-miss-chan-and-annex.pdf.

Contact details of the vaping organizations are at: http://nicotinepolicy.net/who-is-who/consumers.

India considers raising legal age to 25

| August 26, 2014

India’s national government is considering raising the legal age for tobacco use from18 to 25, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The Minister of Health, Harsh Vardhan, constituted a committee last month to suggest changes to the country’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003, and the committee’s report is due by the end of this month.

Other measures believed to be under consideration are a hike in the penalties for smoking in public places where such activity is banned, eliminating branding from cigarette packs, increasing the size of health warnings and banning tobacco advertisements at point of sale.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to the Indian government and all states and union territories calling for a complete ban on cigarettes and bidis.

Following the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation, a bench including the Chief Justice of India, R.M. Lodha, directed the government to respond to the petition that indicated the country was spending about Rs300 billion annually on treating tobacco diseases in both the public and private health sectors.

The tobacco-related health costs accounted for 25 per cent of total public spending on health and much more than the revenue earned from tobacco.

Spain’s sales almost halved in five years

| August 26, 2014

Cigarette sales have dropped dramatically in Spain during the past five years, according to an El Pais story quoting Finance Ministry and cigarette industry figures. More than 90 billion cigarettes were sold legally in Spain half a decade ago, but last year those sales were down to 47.5 billion, a drop of 47 percent.

The trend was attributed to tougher anti-smoking legislation, tax hikes and a loss of consumer purchasing power as a result of the economic crisis.

The downturn in sales of licit products has led to a spike in tobacco smuggling and a search by consumers for cheaper alternatives, such as roll-your-own cigarettes and pipe tobacco.

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