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‘Tobacco’ bill lumps together different products

| July 22, 2015

Quebec’s latest ‘tobacco’ bill has been criticized for conflating very different products into a single category, giving draconian powers to governments and prohibiting individuals from freely choosing for themselves.

In an opinion piece in the Montreal Gazette, Ian Irvine, a professor of economics at Concordia University and an associate researcher with the Montreal Economic Institute, said that the arrival of electronic cigarettes had changed the market for nicotine consumption and related non-nicotine consumption dramatically.

But the central problem with Bill 44 was that it treated several distinct products as if they were identical, he said. The second paragraph of the bill stated that tobacco would now be defined to include ‘electronic cigarettes and any other devices of that nature that are put in one’s mouth to inhale any substance that may or may not contain nicotine, including their components and accessories’.

Irvine pointed out the enormous fines that, in theory, could, under the provisions of the bill, be imposed on those who sold e-liquids at a discount based on quantity.

‘Bill 44 also proposes to extend the prohibition on smoking in bars to outdoor terraces,’ Irvine said. ‘And since vaping is now as serious as inhaling conventional tobacco, vapers will be limited to inhaling the fumes from passing motor vehicles, without having the right to inhale peaches-and-cream or toffee-and-hazelnut e-liquid.’

Irvine proposed that venue operators could be allowed to permit or ban smoking and vaping on their terraces, and to advertise their facilities accordingly. ‘Customers could then gravitate to bars with terraces polluted only by automobiles, or bars with terraces where they could also produce and inhale smoke or vapour.

Such a flexible system might provide a model for further modifying tobacco control in such a way that the rights of all individuals in society are respected. ‘In contrast, Bill 44, with its misguided definition of what constitutes tobacco, combined with ruinous penalties, models a paternalistic lack of respect for individual rights,’ Irvine said.
The full piece is at:

Russia’s market falls sharply, suffers down-trading

| July 22, 2015

Russia’s cigarette volume declined by 4.2 percent during the second quarter of this year, meaning that, during the first six months, volume was down by 6.5 percent, according to a story by Bob Bryan for Business Insider.

Bryan quoted Philip Morris International’s CFO, Jacek Olczak, as saying that his company now expected a full-year market decline toward the lower end of its 8-10 percent forecast range.

Russia has introduced some anti-tobacco measures in recent times but the fall in consumption is likely to have been boosted by the country’s economic woes.

This seems to be borne out by the fact that some consumers are down-trading to cheaper products.

“The economic environment remains fragile and we are witnessing some signs of down-tradings to the low price segment,” Olczak was quoted as saying. “I mean, the super low-price segments are losing, the low-price is gaining, and the premium is slightly losing. So yes you have a down-trading.”

New facilities will enhance Iggesund’s Asia service

| July 22, 2015

Iggesund Paperboard expects that its new sheeting and warehousing facilities in Taiwan will be operational by the end of this month.

The new facilities are aimed at enhancing Iggesund’s distribution service in Asia, with the main aim being to shorten lead times.

But the company said that it was not just establishing a distribution channel in Asia. ‘The company will also keep Invercote in stock and offer local sheeting from a service point in Taiwan in order to minimise lead times,’ it said in a press note.

Iggesund’s enhanced service in Asia is part of its efforts to become more global by strengthening its delivery service outside Europe. It says it is recruiting staff to reinforce its sales efforts and launching a broader service concept to inform its customers of the many resources and support functions available to them.
‘“Care by Iggesund” includes the quick and easy ordering of samples and inspirational material, the provision of product safety information and certificates, and access to the analytical services of Iggesund’s accredited Laboratory of Sensory and Chemical Analyses,’ the press note said. ‘Iggesund’s extensive environmental documentation is also part of the service offering, not least as a guarantee that customers will not encounter any unpleasant surprises due to the origin of the forest raw material used in their paperboard.’

Iggesund’s service offering also includes everything associated with the company’s products, Invercote and Incada: from technical support in local markets to Iggesund’s own paperboard expertise in the form of various reference works.

“We don’t just want our customers to buy our paperboard – we also want them to get the most out of it,” said Arvid Sundblad, vice president sales and marketing, in charge of global sales. “All our documentation, together with our team of technicians, who are out in the local markets and who have experience from projects and operations similar to those of our customers, exists to ensure this. Some of this support we have had for a long time but we haven’t been clear enough to our customers in general that all this service exists.”

10 countries discuss ‘a world without tobacco’

| July 21, 2015

The French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, yesterday hosted in Paris ‘a world without tobacco’ conference attended by ministers from nine other countries, according to an Agence France Presse story relayed by the TMA.

Touraine and ministers from Australia, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and Uruguay issued a joint statement claiming the existence of ‘significant scientific proof’ that justified the imposition of standardized cigarette packaging.

They said standardized packaging had been shown to ‘reduce the attractiveness of the product for consumers, especially amongst women and young people’.

And they said such packaging increased the effectiveness of the health warnings printed on the packs.

Meanwhile, Touraine said that “the generation that is born today should be a generation without tobacco”.

Her goal, she said, was to prevent young people from starting to smoke, and “for these people the plain packaging has an impact”.

Indian state of Punjab ups its anti-tobacco crusade

| July 21, 2015

The government of the Indian state of Punjab has constituted an empowered committee to carry forward its crusade against tobacco and ensure implementation of India’s Tobacco Control Act across the state, according to a Press Trust of India story.

But the principal secretary of health, Vini Mahajan, was quoted as saying that the committee would mainly focus on implementation across the state of Section 5.3 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which stated that ‘in setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law’.

Mahajan said that when any move was made by the state or central government to implement tobacco control legislation, the tobacco industry tried to scuttle the process by making representations or by otherwise using its influence.

The implementation of regulations requiring pictorial warnings on 85 per cent of both of the main surfaces of tobacco packs had been delayed, allegedly because of such influence.

Speed is the essence in plain packaging protest

| July 21, 2015

Protesting against a bill that would require all cigarettes in France to be sold in standardized packaging from May next year, tobacconists in the Midi-Pyrénées and Corrèze regions recently covered speed cameras with black trash bags, according to a France 24 story relayed by the TMA.

Frédéric Vergnes, president of Corrèze’s tobacconist union, was quoted as saying that “[b]y attacking speed cameras, we want to have an impact on the state’s tax revenues”.

Meanwhile, Joaquim Rompante, president of the tobacconist union in the Gironde region, said that tobacconists in Bordeaux had covered cameras along the city’s ring road with plastic with signs saying: “Getting rid of my tobacconists will not reduce smoking. No to plain packaging, no to €10 packs”.

Rompante said standardized packaging would be “the death of tobacconists”.

He said France’s 26,000 tobacconists employed 100,000 people and that standardized packaging would create unemployment.

The standardized packaging bill was approved by the National Assembly on April 3 and will go before the Senate on July 22.

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