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Republican control of US Congress might slow advance of tobacco regulation

| November 14, 2014

Having a Republican-controlled US Congress might not lead to a winding back of Food and Drug Administration oversight of tobacco products, according to a story by Richard Craver for the Winston-Salem Journal quoting analysts and industry observers.

But it might mean a push for fewer new regulations at a time when the FDA is deliberating on what to do with ‘alternative tobacco products’, including snus, electronic cigarettes and other vapor products, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, water-pipe tobacco and dissolvable products.

In mid-term elections earlier this month, Republicans, who traditionally have favored less regulation on corporations, won a majority in the Senate and, in doing so, took full control of Congress.

Some Democratic senators have dominated recent congressional hearings on tobacco products with demonstrative demands for FDA action to curtail most marketing of electronic cigarettes and an end to the use of most flavorings. They label electronic cigarettes as a ‘gateway to addiction’ for young people.

A key to the future could come to light in January when the FDA expects to receive a report from the Institutes of Health on tobacco products, particularly on whether to raise the national age restriction for sales from 18 to 21.

“I have to think that if a process is in hand, and a decision is on schedule to be made in January, then the FDA process should go ahead,” said Stephen Pope, managing partner of Spotlight Ideas in London.

“That said, given that the decision will be reached so close to the new Senate being called to order, appeals are likely in the expectation that a GOP-led [Republican (Grand Old Party)-led] Senate and Congress would advocate less, not more, legislation and regulation.”

Craver’s story is at: http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/gop-senate-may-cool-fda-tobacco-regulations/article_13aba07d-ef3d-5025-a3c4-d7b781284845.html

President parries minimum price plan

| November 14, 2014

The Philippines’ President, Benigno Aquino, seems to have rejected a proposal for the government to adopt a minimum price for cigarettes, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

Even though at least some of his economic managers have supported the proposal, Aquino says he prefers a deregulated tobacco industry.

“I just heard it now,” he was reported as telling reporters in an interview at the Horizon Lake View Resort in Myanmar, where he was attending the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit. “Can it be done? I think that’s not allowed.

“I find the concept really strange,” Aquino added, noting that the government could ‘put a cap on’ prices only during emergencies.

A senior pro-administration lawmaker has filed a measure seeking to stop the dumping of very cheap tobacco products on the market by adopting a minimum price for cigarettes.

Eleandro Madrona, chairman of the House committee on accounts, was quoted as saying that a minimum price would prevent unscrupulous tobacco firms and their agents such as wholesalers and retailers – even smugglers – from offering very cheap cigarettes to young people.

Finger of suspicion points at tobacco

| November 14, 2014

Tobacco smokers are more vulnerable than are non-smokers to Raynaud’s phenomenon, a discoloration of the fingers and toes because of excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold weather or emotional stress, according to a story in The Korea Herald, quoting neurologist Park Gi-deok of the Ewha Women’s University Mokdong Hospital.

“The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood vessels,” the doctor said. “Smoking can really worsen the condition if you have Raynaud’s phenomenon.”

When a person develops Raynaud’s phenomenon, her fingers at first go white and cool. They then turn blue, purple or black in severe cases. They might also go numb.

In South Korea, 31 percent of those who have cold hands and feet suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon, which tends to become more severe during the winter. It occurs most frequently among women in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

There are two kinds of Raynaud’s phenomenon. Primary Raynaud’s, which accounts for 70 percent of cases in Korea, has no apparent cause.

Secondary Raynaud’s, which can be more serious, is usually associated with an underlying disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or eating disorders and physical traumas, including car accident injuries.

VUSE views to be webcast from forum

| November 14, 2014

Reynolds American Inc. is due to host a webcast of remarks about R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company’s VUSE digital vapor cigarette at the Wells Fargo 2nd Annual E-Cig Conference in New York on November 20, starting about 13.55 Eastern Time.

Registration is now available at www.reynoldsamerican.com; and the webcast, on a listen-only basis, and a replay of the webcast, will be made available at the same website.

Linx launches entry-level laser coder

| November 14, 2014

Linx picLinx Printing Technologies is launching an entry-level laser coder that, it says, will enable more companies to use such technology than is currently the case. The Linx SL1 will enable more companies to apply high-quality codes and thereby add value to their packaging, says Linx.

‘The Linx SL1 laser coder has the speed, reliability, ease of use and low cost of ownership synonymous with the Linx scribing laser range, but is tailored particularly to customers who may have thought laser’s benefits were out of reach,’ Linx said in a press note issued yesterday.

‘The Linx SL1 delivers class-leading coding speeds thanks to the use of lightweight and ultra-fast mirrors. It offers 20 per cent more power than other products in its class, but at the same time uses much less laser energy in the coding process…’

A robust design and stainless steel construction are said to provide for reliability and longevity in this compact, one-box, any-orientation unit, which weighs only 12.5 kg and is said to be simple to position on line and to fit into tight spaces.

‘The new laser coder also offers greater coding versatility than comparable models, with the ability to produce multiple lines of text and logos in one message, as well as machine readable codes such as QR, and Data Matrix codes, including DotCode for the tobacco industry,’ the note said. ‘This versatility enables the Linx SL1 to apply decorative codes capable of matching the look and feel of the packaging design.’

Set up and code changes are said to be easy using LinxDraw® software, which provides intuitive operation, secure message creation on- and off-line and tamper-proof coding.

The technology uses no fluids and consumables, which means low running costs, no messy spills, and no stored inks and solvents.

Linx made the point that lasers create a permanent mark on a product that can’t be rubbed off, which is a benefit for an industry involved in traceability and anti-counterfeiting activities.

Meeting to discuss US small-town tobacco-sales ban ends in chaos

| November 13, 2014

A meeting called to discuss a proposal that would see a ban imposed on the sale of tobacco in a small US town was ended prematurely after shouting broke out over a no-clapping rule, according to a story by George Barnes for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

If the proposal is accepted, Westminster (population 7,277 in 2010 according to Wikipedia), in Worcester County, Massachusetts, would become the first community in the US to ban all tobacco sales.

The list of banned items would include cigarettes, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Barnes reported that at the start of the meeting the Board of Health chairperson, Andrea Crete, had laid down rules that had included treating people with respect and banning clapping for speakers.

Even so, one person had been removed before the meeting started, and Crete warned that others would be removed if they were disrespectful.

After a few people spoke and clapping occurred, the participants were warned. Crete warned those attending again after a few more spoke.

Then shouting broke out over her warning and she took action. “This hearing is ended,” she said, and the crowd erupted, with one man shouting over and over, “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

Some people began singing ‘God Bless America’.

Police escorted Crete and other Board of Health members out of the building, but not before she told reporters she was disappointed at having to end the hearing.

The hearing drew dozens of national and regional media representatives, including a news team from Norway.

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