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Imperial employees in Taiwan beach clean-up

| July 2, 2015
Eighty people took part in the clean-up.

Eighty people took part in the clean-up.

Eighty Imperial employees and their families gave up a weekend to remove litter from a beach near the company’s Jhunan factory in Taiwan.

The volunteers collected 120 kg of waste, which mainly comprised drinks cans and plastic bags.

The waste collection at Zhang Qing Zhi Sen was part of an environmental clean-up operation to tackle marine pollution and preserve coastal areas of natural beauty.

The Imperial team was co-ordinated by Wei-Chieh Lin, a packing machine operator at the Jhunan factory.

“It was great to see so many colleagues and their families give up their free-time to participate and it was very rewarding to see a clean beach after our efforts,” he said.

FDA seeks further information on liquid nicotine

| July 1, 2015

The US Food and Drug Administration is looking for further information to help it decide what action it might take in respect of nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine and nicotine-containing e-liquids.

The FDA said that recent increases in calls and visits to both poison control centers and emergency rooms in the US involving liquid nicotine poisonings and exposures had increased the public health concerns of these exposure risks.

In an ‘advance notice of proposed rulemaking’ (ANPRM) issued today, the FDA said it was ‘…seeking comments, data, research results, or other information that may inform regulatory actions FDA might take with respect to nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine and nicotine-containing e-liquid(s) that are made or derived from tobacco and intended for human consumption, and potentially for other tobacco products including, but not limited to, novel tobacco products such as dissolvables, lotions, gels, and drinks’.

The FDA said it had evaluated data and science related to the risks, especially to infants and children, from accidental exposure to nicotine, including exposure to liquid nicotine and nicotine-containing e-liquids primarily used with electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as electronic cigarettes.

And it said that it was considering whether, based on the acute toxicity of nicotine (up to and including nicotine poisoning), it would be appropriate for the protection of the public health to warn the public about the dangers of nicotine exposure, especially due to inadvertent nicotine exposure in infants and children, and/or require that some tobacco products be sold in child-resistant packaging.

In its ANPRM, the FDA poses 16 questions under the heading, Nicotine exposure warnings; nine questions under the heading, Child-resistant packaging; and five under the heading Other actions and considerations.

The FDA’s ANPRM with details of how to respond is at:

Proposed Trans Pacific Partnership takes a battering

| July 1, 2015

An Australian parliamentary committee has issued a damning verdict on what it knows about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal currently being negotiated by 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the US, according to a Sputnik (Russia) story.

The Blind Agreement report by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee denounces the ‘all-or-nothing choice’ that parliament would be given to approve or reject a deal, the detail of which parliamentarians cannot examine until after the deal is finalized.

‘This does not provide an adequate level of oversight and scrutiny,’ the report said. ‘Parliament should play a constructive role during negotiations and not merely rubber-stamp agreements that have been negotiated behind closed doors.’

The only parts of the TPP drafts that have been made public so far have come to light via WikiLeaks.

The Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, a member of the committee that wrote the report and an outspoken critic of the TPP, was reported as saying that it was known from leaks that the TPP covered everything from giving the US the right to put Australian Internet users under surveillance, to giving multinational companies the rights to sue governments over the laws they make.

But it is specifically the provisions of the ‘investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, under which a corporation can sue democratically-elected governments over regulations they enact that form the basis of some of the strongest criticism of the TPP.

Ludlam said the ISDS provisions comprised a “Trojan horse” and cited the example of Philip Morris using ISDS clauses in a Hong Kong-Australia investment agreement to sue the Australian government over its introduction of plain packaging legislation.

China’s Sept 1 advert ban already causing concern

| July 1, 2015

Tobacco advertising in China is still visible in nearly half of all tobacco stores two months before a new law takes effect that bans such advertising in public places, according to a story in the China Daily.

The Advertisement Law, which was adopted in April by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, bans tobacco advertisements on all mass media and in public places – indoor and outdoor – as of September 1. Some people in the tobacco industry have said that there should be an exemption for tobacco advertisements at tobacco sales points.

The Daily said that the situation, whereby many retail outlets were still displaying tobacco advertising, pointed to the challenge that could await enforcement of the comprehensive tobacco advertising ban.

But the Daily report did not suggest that there was anything wrong with the tobacco industry’s taking advantage of the last weeks of advertising, nor that it would be anything other than a fairly simple task to remove point-of-sale materials when the time to do so arrived.

Tobacco advertisements were found at more than 45 percent of tobacco sale points, according to the results of a survey released by the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC).

The survey, organized by the CATC and conducted in June, covered 507 tobacco sales points, including convenience stores and tobacco shops in supermarkets, in five areas in China, including Shanghai, Beijing and Henan province.

Posters and product showcasing were two of the major types of advertisements identified during the survey.

Huang Jiefu, director of the CATC and a former vice-health minister, said tobacco control was an arduous task. China’s monopoly tobacco industry had long been one of the most important sources of tax revenue for the government.

“It is a duel between those who consider the health of the millions of people as the priority and those who get interests from the powerful tobacco industry,” he said.

Hong Kong urged to scrap plan for huge warnings

| July 1, 2015

Cigarette companies are urging the Hong Kong government to scrap its plans to increase the size of graphic tobacco health warnings to 85 percent of pack surfaces, according to a story in the South China Morning Post relayed by the TMA.

The companies are opposed also to a requirement that packs carry a warning that ‘tobacco kills up to half its users’.

They noted that a study by Dr. Kevin Tsui Ka-kin of Clemson University in South Carolina, US, found that there wasn’t a correlation between enlarging warnings and the reduction in the number of smokers.

Tsui Ka-kin said there had been little impact on smoking prevalence after the government first introduced health warnings on tobacco packaging in 1994 or when the pictures were enlarged in 2000 and 2007.

Currently, health warnings must cover at least 50 percent of the surface of cigarette packs in Hong Kong.

The Food and Health Bureau is recommending increasing the size of the warnings from early next year.

Proposals for the imposition of 85 percent warnings have triggered serious industry challenges in other countries.

Zimbabwe’s grower prices down, export prices up

| June 30, 2015

So far this year, Zimbabwe has earned more than US$270 million from the export of 49.4 million kg of leaf tobacco, according to a story by Oliver Kazunga for the Chronicle, citing figures from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board up to June 26.

During the equivalent period of last year, Zimbabwe was said to have earned US$141.2 million from the export of 38.8 million kg of tobacco.

China has been Zimbabwe’s main customer this year, buying 20 million kg of tobacco for US$170.8 – for an average price of US$8.54 per kg.

South Africa was the second biggest customer buying 6.7 million kg of tobacco for US$19.9 million, an average price of US$2.97 per kg; and Indonesia was in third place buying 3.2 million kg for US$13.4 million, an average price of US$4.19 per kg.

But while the overall average export price for Zimbabwe’s tobacco has gone up, year on year, from US$3.64 per kg to US$5.46 per kg, grower prices have gone in the opposite direction.

The Chronicle story said that contract grower sales had been depressed in respect of both volume (down by 14.3 percent) and average price (down by 6.3 percent).

Auction volume sales were said to be down by 8.1 percent but the average auction price was not mentioned.

However, according to a story in The Herald earlier this month, prices have remained below those of last season.

The Herald story said that growers had so far this season sold 160 million kg of flue-cured for US$473.983 million – for an average price of US$2.96 per kg.

At the same point of last season, 177 million kg of flue-cured had been sold for $564 million – for an average price of $3.18 per kg. That represents a reduction in grower prices of 6.9 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, according to the Chronicle story, 97,452 growers have registered to produce tobacco next season, down nine percent on the 106326 growers who had registered during the same period of 2014.

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