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Growers threaten boycott over leaf prices

| August 6, 2014

The Kisan Board of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, has rejected a price of Rs150 per kg for leaf tobacco and threatened to stop growing the crop if farmers are not paid Rs200 per kg, according to a story in The Express Tribune.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa grows the bulk of Pakistan’s tobacco crop. It produced 83 million kg in 2012-13, of which 80 percent was grown in the Swabi district.

The Kisan Board’s provincial president, Rizwanullah, was quoted as saying that the price of Rs150 per kg was not enough because it did not allow farmers to break even.

Those who attended a Kisan Board meeting in Shergarh on Sunday demanded tobacco companies and the Pakistan Tobacco Board increase the price, saying that they would otherwise boycott production in 2015.

Total makeover for JT menthol cigarette

| August 6, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. is redesigning its Pianissimo Precia Dia’s Menthol cigarette; an all-new version of which is due to be rolled out nationwide in Japan from mid-September.

In announcing its plans, JT said that Pianissimo was one of the most popular menthol brands on the market and that the Pianissimo Precia series offered ‘an elegantly designed super slim (5 mm in diameter) menthol cigarette’.

JT is hoping to give Pianissimo Precia Dia’s Menthol an even broader appeal than it currently has, and, to that end, it is giving the product a complete makeover: changing the flavor, aroma, tar and nicotine delivery levels, and packaging.

‘While Pianissimo will keep its smooth and unassertive traits, it will feature a new flavor, one marked by a menthol sensation that is neither too weak nor too strong, and an aroma that is luxurious but characterized by a graceful restraint,’ said a note posted on JT’s website. ‘The amount of tar will be reduced from 6 mg to 5 mg, and the nicotine from 0.4 mg to 0.3 mg.

‘The new package design will be more elegant, featuring a graceful and calm royal blue background, with a motif of gold accessories underscoring the fact that it is a premium product.

‘In addition, JT aims to enhance the presence of the Precia series by adopting a common design scheme across the Precia Menthol line-up.’

American earns top sustainability award

| August 6, 2014

The American Snuff Company (ASC) has been awarded the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) highest award for sustainable business practices, the Tennessee Green Star Partnership Three-Star Certification.

ASC, an indirect subsidiary of Reynolds American (RAI), is the first Memphis-based company and the 13th in Tennessee to hold this award.

“ASC-Memphis is very pleased and proud to be recognized by the state of Tennessee Green Star Partnership,” said Mick Spach, president of ASC, in a note posted on RAI’s website. “Our employees have actively implemented responsible conservational programs and are continually striving to improve our environmental performance. Our commitment to environmental sustainability is consistent with our commitment to leading the transformation of the tobacco industry.”

The Tennessee Green Star Partnership is TDEC’s environmental leadership program that seeks to recognize organizations that are committed to sustainable practices and continuous improvement throughout their entire operation.

“We are honored that American Snuff Company has joined the Tennessee Green Star Partnership at the Three-Star Partner level,” said Curtis Hopper, Office of Sustainable Practices with the TDEC. “It is a great accomplishment for a new member to enter the partnership at the highest level, which attests to the quality of American Snuff’s environmental management system.”

ASC Memphis is the second RAI subsidiary to receive state-level recognition for their outstanding sustainability efforts. Earlier this year, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company was awarded the highest level of recognition in North Carolina’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative.

ASC is the US’ second-largest manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products. Its leading brands are Grizzly and Kodiak.

Universal declares quarterly dividends

| August 6, 2014

Universal Corporation’s board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.51 per share on the company’s common shares, payable on November 10 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 14.

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

Multinationals picketed in Russia

| August 5, 2014

A series of pickets against multinational tobacco companies were staged yesterday in a number of Russian cities stretching from the south to the northwest of the country, according to an ITAR-TASS story.

The picketers seemed to have had a number of grievances, not all of which could be laid at the door of the multinationals. Some were protesting about multinational companies controlling more than 90 percent of the Russian tobacco market.

But others complained that the Russian budget was missing out on about 500 billion rubles annually because of what they described as low excise duties on tobacco.

And those at Saratov, on the Volga, were demanding that the BAT-STF tobacco factory, owned by British American Tobacco, be relocated beyond the city boundaries.

Roman Plyuta, head of the Orthodox Union, which set up a picket in front of the Philip Morris Kuban factory in the southern city of Krasnodar, was said to have told ITAR-TASS that transnational corporations made “cigarettes of such quality that they would never be allowed in the United States or other Western countries.”

The smoking of these cigarettes “doubles and even triples [health] risks,” he added.

Plyuta said he believed that Western manufacturers added special ingredients to their cigarettes so that smokers became strongly addicted to them, even after a short period of smoking.

Andhra tops COPTA prosecution table

| August 5, 2014

Andhra Pradesh, the volume leader in flue-cured tobacco production in India, is also the top state in prosecutions relating to violations of anti-tobacco laws.

According to an Indian Television report, between April 2012 and September 2013, 71,705 people were prosecuted in Andhra and fined INR5,283,948 for having broken the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA).

Of the 21 states for which data was available, six had not reported any prosecutions for COTPA violations during the period in question, and only four states had exceeded the “prosecution challenge” of more than 10,000 persons.

In Tamil Nadu, 26,081 persons were prosecuted and fines of INR2,773,750 were levied; Karnataka, the second most important state for volume flue-cured tobacco production, recorded 19,030 prosecutions and fines of INR1,958,724; and Rajasthan prosecuted 12,891 people, who were fined INR1,351,314.

Based upon a request by the Health & Family Welfare Ministry, the then home secretary in May this year advised the director generals of police in states and union territories to incorporate COTPA as one of the agenda items in the monthly crime review meetings at district level.

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