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Anti-tobacco propaganda too scary

| June 12, 2014

Television stations in South Korea have rejected government anti-smoking propaganda as being too graphic, according to a story in The Korea Times.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare had wanted to use what the paper called an “unprecedentedly realistic anti-smoking ad,” similar to those used in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

But when the advertising agency hired to produce the propaganda contacted broadcasters with sample propaganda from Australia in order to check whether they would accept such a level of negativity and fear, the broadcasters were said to have been not very enthusiastic.

The Australian propaganda shows a severed artery that oozes fat when squeezed.

“The advertisement would last 40 seconds, and the broadcasters said it would be difficult to show body parts for as long as the Australian ad does,” said an official at the health ministry.

Reflecting feedback from the broadcasters, the agency filmed propaganda that features a softened message. It will be aired, beginning June 26.

The ministry official said that the propaganda would still be “threatening and negative” enough.

But Choi You-jin, a professor at Dongguk University, said that a “public service advertisement” should be “pre-tested” by members of the public rather than by broadcasters.

Cheers, Brazil!

| June 12, 2014

This story, provided by Iggesund Paperboard, has only a paper-thin connection to tobacco, but it provides TR with an opportunity to show support for that great tobacco-producing nation, Brazil, as it kicks off the World Cup finals today.

Apparently, the Taittinger champagne house is supplying the official champagne for this year’s World Cup. The company has developed a limited-edition Brut Réserve NV and a gift carton especially for the competition.

“The gift carton is a version of the packaging that won Carton of the Year award in 2012 at the Europe-wide ProCarton/ECMA packaging awards,” said an Iggesund press note. “The winning carton was decorated with round holographic effects representing champagne bubbles. In the new World Cup version, these bubbles have been transformed into beautiful holographic footballs.

“The World Cup gift carton is made of Iggesund Paperboard’s Incada 235 g/m2 paperboard, and the conversion is by Le Sanglier, which specializes in gift cartons for champagne. The foil lamination is by API. Even the bottle is specially produced for the event, with the World Cup trophy depicted on a gold label.

“Taittinger is one of only a few champagne producers still being run by the family whose name is on the label. Their champagnes are characterized by a dominant note of chardonnay, which contributes to the elegance and sophistication.”

“It’s a momentous occasion for us to be associated with such a major event as the football World Cup,” said Clovis Taittinger, who is the company’s export director. “We’ve used the latest in both printing technology and 3D printing to create both the unique bottle and the carton.”

When the final is played at Maracanã Stadium on July 13, president, Pierre Emanuel Taittinger, will be present to ensure that,Champagne picture2 when the victors are crowned, the bubbles really flow.

JT acquires e-cigarette brand E-Lites

| June 11, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it had concluded an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of the U.K.-based e-cigarette supplier Zandera, known for its E-Lites brand.

Founded in 2009, Zandera sells what JT described as the most recognized range of high-quality rechargeable and ready-to-use e-cigarettes in the U.K.

“Our investment in Zandera provides the JT Group with an excellent entry-point into the fast-growing e-cigarette category,” commented Masamichi Terabatake, Japan Tobacco International’s executive vice president and deputy CEO.

“With E-Lites’ well-established brand and product portfolio, we are able to offer adult consumers another important extension to our growing range of emerging and innovative products, such as tobacco vapor pods (Ploom).”

JT said the executive management team of Zandera would remain with the JT Group post-acquisition to allow the group to leverage the team’s extensive knowledge and experience of the e-cigarette industry, their understanding of the product, technology and regulatory landscape.

“With access to the JT Group’s global distribution muscle as well as their research and development expertise, proven commitment to quality assurance and vision for emerging products, we look forward to growing the business and further enhancing E-Lites’ product offering,” said Adrian Everett, Zandera’s co-founder and CEO.

The transaction will be funded by the group’s existing cash and loan facilities and is expected to have a minor effect on its consolidated performance and cash flows for the fiscal year 2014.

JT expects to complete the acquisition during the second quarter of the fiscal year 2014, following regulatory clearance.

 

SM makes modified risk filing in U.S.

| June 11, 2014

Swedish Match said today that it had submitted a modified-risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for eight sub-brands of its General snus product line.

“The MRTP application seeks a risk-modification order permitting the use of warning label statements on the company’s snus tobacco products that differ from those carried by other commercially marketed smokeless tobacco products,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.

The company went on to say that it had cited “an abundance” of Swedish and international evidence on the health effects of snus—evidence that stretched over three decades and included governmental cohort studies and clinical trial results.

“Swedish snus is very well scientifically documented, and our application consists of more than 100,000 pages,” professor Lars-Erik Rutqvist, M.D., Ph.D., the company’s senior vice president scientific affairs, was quoted as saying. “As an industry leader, we must properly apply the evidence to demonstrate the potential public health benefit of our snus tobacco products.”

Swedish Match said it had engaged with the FDA on its submission, meeting with FDA representatives on several occasions regarding the format and data requirements for the MRTP application.

“In 2013, the company also established an MRTP Advisory Panel, which has and will continue to provide independent advice and guidance to Swedish Match as it moves forward with the MRTP application,” the statement said.

Swedish snus is said to be available in more than 20,000 stores in the U.S.

Ireland to follow Australia’s lead

| June 11, 2014

Ireland looks set to implement standardized packaging for tobacco products following approval by the Cabinet of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2014, according to a story in the Irish Examiner.

If enacted, the new law will ban from packs logos and trademarks, along with brand colors, designs and graphics. Product names will be included but in a uniform typeface on a plain background, and packs will be dominated by graphic health warnings.

According to the Examiner story, the Department of Health said the objective was to make packs look less attractive, to make health warnings more prominent and to reduce the risk that people, especially children, would be misled about the harmful effects of smoking.

“The introduction of standardized packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland,” said Health Minister James Reilly. “Cigarette packets will no longer be a mobile advertisement for the tobacco industry.”

Court rejects tobacco companies’ appeal

| June 11, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected efforts by the tobacco industry to derail thousands of Florida smoker lawsuits and left intact 11 awards totaling more than $70 million, according to a story by Greg Stohr for Business Week/Bloomberg.

Units of Altria Group, Reynolds American and Lorillard had asked the Supreme Court to intervene, saying they weren’t being afforded an adequate chance to mount a defense.

The justices, without comment, turned away 10 appeals affecting 11 cases.

The tobacco companies had said in court papers that they faced the prospect of billions of dollars in damages in more than 4,000 pending lawsuits.

The cases had already produced more than $450 million in liability, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco told the high court.

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