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Cambodia to get tough on tobacco firms

| September 22, 2014

Phnom Penh’s City Hall warned tobacco companies at a meeting last week to stop flouting a sub-decree that is supposed to prohibit all forms of tobacco advertising, or else face fines or closure, according to a story in The Phnom Penh Post.

The municipality said some companies were skirting the 2011 sub-decree by using creative ways to sell their products.

While the companies had stopped using overt forms of advertising, such as those on television, radio and billboards, a municipal investigation had revealed that some companies were still advertising using restaurants, female promoters, tuk-tuks and lucky draws, said Chan Sokun Thea, director of the Inter-Sector office of the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Meanwhile, according to Dr. Yel Daravuth, a national officer with the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative, the companies continued violating the order because no fine was imposed on them if they did so.

But Daravuth said an upcoming law to curb smoking in Cambodia was under discussion at the ministerial level, and might be passed as soon as next year.

The law would prohibit all tobacco advertisements across the nation, and ban smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants.

“I think this time it will be better – this time it’s not a sub-decree, it’s a law,” said Daravuth.

Peruvians smoking fewer cigarettes

| September 22, 2014

Volume sales of cigarettes in Peru declined moderately last year, according to a story by the Andina news agency quoting Euromonitor International.

No figures were given but the report attributed the decline to the usual factors: rising prices, smoking bans in public-places and a rising awareness of the health impacts associated with tobacco smoking.

The story suggested, too, that a growing demand for more-expensive, innovative products, such as those with flavour capsules, meant that the value of cigarette sales was increasing.

Nine object to Ireland’s plain packs plan

| September 22, 2014

Nine countries had objected to Ireland’s plain tobacco packaging proposals by Thursday, the deadline for lodging such objections with the European Commission, according to a story in The Irish Times.

The nine countries, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, have a total population of 201.7 million or 40 percent of the EU’s population.

The Times’ story explained that countries filed so-called detailed opinions when they believed regulations in one country ‘may create obstacles to the free movement of goods, the freedom to provide services or the freedom of establishment of services operators within the internal market’.

The Irish Department of Health has said it is considering all of the opinions lodged and that it would respond to the Commission in due course.

Government tries to prevent hoarding

| September 22, 2014

Despite the government’s efforts to crack down on cigarette hoarding, large numbers of smokers across Korea are managing to stock up ahead of a major price hike next year, according to a story in The Korea Times.

The government has threatened fines of up to WON50 million ($48,000) for cigarette hoarding following its decision to raise tobacco prices next year by WON2,000 per pack – from about WON2,500 to WON4,500 per pack.

The measure, however, seems to have had only a limited impact, partly because it does not target consumers, but only tobacco manufactures, importers and retailers. In addition, news of the fines was not widely disseminated, especially among small and mid-sized stores.

The Times said that many owners of convenience stores and supermarkets had seen big spikes in cigarette sales since the price hike announcement on September 11, and that thousands of smokers were managing to stockpile cigarettes.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said that it would co-operate with other relevant authorities, including the National Tax Service and the Fair Trade Commission, if it were necessary to stabilize the tobacco market.

Yet some people are skeptical about whether the government can limit cigarette stocking.

“Rumors are that big retailers and convenience chains are also hoarding cigarettes, since they do not have an expiration date,” said a convenience store owner, who refused to be named.

Illicit trade calculator is eye-opener

| September 22, 2014

Imperial Tobacco says that it is demonstrating to Irish retailers the cost to their own businesses of the trade in illicit products – a strategy that is resulting in more reports being made to the authorities from the areas where this trade is occurring.

‘John Player’s “illicit trade calculator” aims to encourage retailers to report illegal sales by showing the financial impact on individual shops,’ the company said in a note posted on its website.

‘It tracks any reduction in the number of packs sold compared to the same period last year and calculates how much of this can be attributed to illicit trade.’

Carl Phillips, AIT executive in Ireland, said the calculator “really demonstrates to our retail partners the cost to them of illicit trade locally”.

“For example, one store in the Dublin area showed a 2,254 pack loss compared to the same month in 2013 because of illicit trade – that equates to a cash loss of €1,405,” he said.

“I’m delighted to say we’re now seeing a rise in reports to the authorities of illicit trade activity in those areas where we’ve deployed this tool.”

New Reynolds Tobacco president named

| September 22, 2014

Debra A. Crew has been named president and chief commercial officer (CCO) of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, effective October 1.

Crew is currently the president and general manager of PepsiCo North America Nutrition. She joined PepsiCo in 2010 as president of the Western Europe region of PepsiCo Europe. In 2012, she was named president of PepsiCo Americas Beverage. She assumed her current role earlier in 2014.

Andrew D. Gilchrist, the current president and CCO of R.J. Reynolds, will become executive vice president of Reynolds American Inc. effective October 1.

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