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Economist seeks tobacco tax changes in Bangladesh

| June 24, 2015

An economist has called on Bangladesh to introduce a tobacco taxation policy that would effectively control the use of tobacco products in the country, according to a story in The Financial Express citing a United News of Bangladesh report.

“Bangladesh is a signatory to the [World Health Organization’s] Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which asks its member states to cut tobacco use by raising tax on tobacco products,” Professor Abul Barkat told a press conference on Monday. “But it’s a matter of regret that Bangladesh is yet to announce a policy related to tobacco taxation.”

The post-budget press conference at the Jatiya Press Club was jointly organized by the Human Development Research Centre, Progga, the Anti Tobacco Media Alliance and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Barkat said that it was clear that if the prices of tobacco products declined, consumption went up, but if prices increased, consumption went down.

He went on to propose a number of changes to the tobacco tax regime specifically targeting cigarettes, bidis and smokeless tobacco.

Leaf buyers reminded of purchase commitments

| June 24, 2015

The Chief Minister of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu, has warned tobacco companies that stringent action will be taken if they fail to purchase leaf tobacco as per the agreements they reached with the Tobacco Board of India, according to a story in the Indian Express relayed by the TMA.

The warning was issued at a June 19 meeting of board officials and representatives of tobacco farmers and companies.

At the same time, the chief minister directed the board “to take up the responsibility of solving their [growers’] problems”.

His intervention followed a petition filed by the Federation of Virginia Tobacco Farmers Associations urging the government to intervene following a decline in leaf prices.

The farmers complained that they were not receiving attractive prices for their crop because just one tobacco company had bought 90 percent of the crop so far.

Hines to retire from AOI board

| June 24, 2015

John M. Hines is to retire from the board of directors of Alliance One International on August 13, the date of the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank John for his 23 years of outstanding service to the company and its shareholders, as an executive vice president of the company and a predecessor entity from 1992 through June 1996, and as a member of the board of directors since 1995,” said Mark Kehaya, chairman of the board. “The Company has benefitted tremendously from John’s sound and thoughtful guidance.”

Meanwhile, CEO and president Pieter Sikkel, said Hines’ experience and insights had helped shape Alliance One’s strategy and vision, and had played a key role in preparing the company to respond to the ever-changing economic and market conditions facing the industry. “We wish John all the best in the years to come,” he said.

Imperial employees in the saddle for charity event

| June 24, 2015

A group of 27 Imperial Tobacco employees from five countries cycled from Paris France, to the company’s global headquarters in Bristol, the UK, to raise funds for a French charity that helps feed disadvantaged families.

Employees from Seita, Imperial’s French business, joined those from the UK and the Benelux countries for the four-day ride.

“It was a tough challenge for us all but we came together as a group and kept each other going to ensure we raised money for a great cause,” said Paul Davis, Seita’s finance director, who was one of cyclists.

“We received such a warm reception from the people in our head office in Bristol when we cycled across the finishing line which was much appreciated.”

In making their 420 km journey, the cyclists raised €20,000 for Les Restos du Coeur charity.

Aviation organization advises ban on e-cigs in checked luggage

| June 23, 2015

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has amended its 2015-2016 Technical Instruction for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods By Air to prohibit passengers and crew from carrying e-cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices in checked luggage, and from charging such devices in aircraft cabins.

Although these standards are not legally binding, they are used as references by the 191 countries that follow ICAO guidance when developing legally-enforceable domestic regulations. Passengers will still be permitted to carry e-cigarettes in cabin baggage, and rules on usage will continue to be determined by individual airlines.

The ICAO initially issued advice regarding e-cigarettes in December 2014. The organization recommended that airlines require passengers to pack these devices in carry-on luggage stored inside the cabin rather than in baggage checked and stored in the cargo hold, so that any incidents—such as potential fires—would be noticed immediately by passengers or crew and dealt with promptly.

“Several incidents have been reported involving e-cigarette heating elements being accidentally activated and resulting in fires in checked baggage,” said ICAO council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “We had already recommended that our member states take actions on these concerns late last year but, after a further review by our Dangerous Goods Panel, it was determined that a formal amendment to the ICAO Technical Instructions should also be undertaken.”

Nepal: Cigarettes in short supply as result of wholesaler hoarding

| June 23, 2015

Several popular brands of cigarettes are in short supply in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley due to hoarding and black-marketing by some wholesalers, according to Republica. Some wholesalers have begun to hoard cigarettes following media reports that the government was planning to hike excise duty on cigarettes through the budget for fiscal year 2015-2016. In addition to reducing supply, some wholesalers are also accused of raising prices in an arbitrary manner.

“It is very difficult to get [cigarettes] as per our demand,” retailer Ram Kumar Rai told Republica. “Not only are wholesalers reducing supply, they are also overcharging us for cigarettes.”

Rai said he was charged npr50 ($0.44) more for a box of Surya cigarettes containing 10 packets. “The wholesaler asked me to pay npr1,450 for a box of cigarettes which cost only npr1,400,” he said.

Retailer Madhav Timalsina, of Sundhara, paid npr1,500 for the same pack. “Wholesalers have been overcharging us, citing short supply,” he told Republica. “We are not getting cigarettes as per our demand, as wholesalers are hoarding them anticipating duty hike in upcoming budget.”

Meanwhile, manufacturers maintain that they have not reduced the supply of cigarettes.

“We have increased supply by around 10 percent recently,” Ravi KC, vice president of Surya Nepal, told Republica. “Our authorized dealers and cycle-boys have not reported us about shortage and hoarding of cigarettes.”

Department of Commerce and Supply Management officials have vowed to intensify market monitoring and to take action against anyone found guilty of hoarding cigarettes or participating in black-marketing.

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