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Vapor Corp. opens four new stores in Florida

| April 20, 2015

Vapor Corp.—a leading U.S.-based distributor and retailer of vaporizers, e-liquids, e-cigarettes and e-hookahs—has opened three additional locations of the company’s “The Vape Store” chain in Orlando, Florida, and acquired an existing store in Port Charlotte, Florida, which has been converted to a “The Vape Store.”

The addition of these four new stores is part of the company’s planned expansion strategy for “The Vape Store” retail chain, which was recently acquired through a merger with Vaporin, Inc.

“The opening of these four new stores under ‘The Vape Store’ brand is just the beginning of our expansion strategy to establish a national retail footprint, making us one of the largest operators in the rapidly developing vape shop retail market. We are poised to open another 20 to 30 of our branded retail Vape Stores before the end of fiscal [year] 2015,” said Vapor Corp. CEO Jeff Holman. “The vape shop retail market is highly fragmented, providing our ‘The Vape Store’ brand with an opportunity to serve customers as the retailer that they can trust, with the convenience of multiple locations to buy their favorite brands of vaporizers, e-liquids and accessories.”

ITM USA and TAM join forces to provide service support

| April 20, 2015

ITM USA, part of ITMGroup, and Thomas Automation Management (TAM) have joined forces to establish cooperation in the fields of engineering and support services in both the USA and abroad. With many years of experience and expertise in the national and international tobacco industries, the companies will work together to create common synergies and to develop and utilize their individual strengths and infrastructure.

A team of 17 engineers and technicians will support customers on major PLC and automation platforms, including Siemens, Allen Bradley, Beckhoff and Mitsubishi. Other services that will be provided to customers include equipment layout and footprint preparation, installations, maintenance support, troubleshooting, contractor management, data system maintenance and automation IT support, as well as locally-stored original spare parts.

ITM and TAM will utilize their Continuous Improvement framework to improve customers’ efficiency-flexibility ratios, and their combined technical knowledge and measurement tools will allow them to further enhance or refine existing equipment.

“The relationship between ITM and TAM continues to be a great opportunity to leverage our technical knowledge and experience with such a well respected and technically innovative company such as ITM,” said TAM’s managing director, Ricky Thomas.

According to ITM’s regional sales director Jason Carr, the collaboration between companies makes perfect sense. “We complement each other perfectly as a partner in the tobacco industry,” he said. “Our customers will also benefit from the synergies being developed because we will bring experience, consistency and valuable support in the region.”

Polish e-cigarette distributer opens manufacturing plant

| April 20, 2015

ESmoking WORLD, a leading distributor of e-cigarettes throughout the European market, has opened a manufacturing plant that will begin developing liquid nicotine for use in e-cigarettes by the end of April. The Polish company’s investment of approximately 5 million euros led to the construction of a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to produce 4 million liquid nicotine packages per month.

In addition to manufacturing products for its network of over 900 eSmoking WORLD stores, the new plant will also manufacture nicotine liquids for OEM brands of other European e-cigarette distributors who stop purchasing products from Chinese liquid nicotine suppliers as a result of the implementation of Tobacco Products Directive regulations.

The manufacturing plant is one of the most modern technological plants of its type and includes original technical solutions and quality-control systems designed by a team of Polish experts from the eSmoking Institute in Poznan, which has researched the content of liquid nicotine and aerosols manufactured in e-cigarettes since 2013.

E-cigarettes are currently used by 1.8 million people in Poland, where the company is the largest supplier of the country’s e-cigarettes for the fast-moving consumer goods sales network and convenience stores.

E-cigarette use among students triples from 2013-2014

| April 20, 2015

Current use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. The findings were gathered by the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey and published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Results from the survey indicate that current e-cigarette use—defined as use on a least one day in the past 30 days—among high school students increased to 13.4 percent 2014 from 4.5 percent in 2013. This marks an increase to 2 million students using e-cigarettes in 2014 from approximately 660,000 students using the devices just one year prior.

Current e-cigarette use among middle school students increased to 3.9 percent in 2014 from 1.1 percent in 2013, an increase to approximately 450,000 students from 120,000 students. The 2014 survey results mark the first time that current e-cigarette use has surpassed the use of other tobacco products overall—including combustible cigarettes—since the National Youth Tobacco Survey began collecting data on e-cigarette use in 2011.

Current hookah use among high school students nearly doubled during this same time period, increasing to 9.4 percent in 2014 from 5.2 percent in 2013—an increase from approximately 770,000 students to approximately 1.3 million students. Meanwhile, current hookah use increased among middle school students to 2.5 percent in 2014 (280,000 students) from 1.1 percent (120,000 students) in 2013.

No decline in the overall use of tobacco products was seen between 2011 in 2014. According to survey results, the overall rates of tobacco product use in 2014 were 7.7 percent for middle school students and 24.6 percent for high school students. The products most commonly used by high school students in 2014 were e-cigarettes, at 13.4 percent; hookah, at 9.4 percent; combustible cigarettes, at 9.2 percent; cigars, at 8.2 percent; smokeless tobacco, at 5.5 percent; snus, at 1.9 percent; and pipes, at 1.5 percent. The products most commonly used in 2014 by middle school students were e-cigarettes, at 3.9 percent; hookah, at 2.5 percent; cigarettes, at 2.5 percent; cigars, at 1.9 percent; smokeless tobacco, 1.6 percent; and pipes, at 0.6 percent. The use of multiple tobacco products was common, with nearly half of all middle and high school students who were classified as current tobacco users using two or more types of tobacco products.

PMI reports cigarette volume growth in first quarter

| April 17, 2015

Philip Morris International’s cigarette shipment volume during the first quarter of 2015, at 198,757 million, was increased by 1.4 percent on that of the first quarter of last year, 195,961 million.

Volume was increased by 4.4 percent to 64,721 million in the company’s Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia (EEMA) region and by 2.4 percent to 42,721 million in the EU. But it was down by 1.0 percent to 70,125 million in Asia and by 1.2 percent to 21,190 million in its Latin America and Canada region.

Marlboro shipments of 67.2 billion were up by 2.1 percent, driven mainly by its performances in the EU, notably in France, Italy and Spain; and in the EEMA, notably in Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, partly offset by shipments in Egypt and Ukraine. Marlboro shipments declined in Asia, mainly due to the brand’s performance in Japan and Korea, partly offset by its results in the Philippines, and they declined slightly in Latin America and Canada mainly due to the brand’s performance in Argentina, partially offset by sales in Brazil and Mexico.

L&M shipments of 22.7 billion were up by 8.2 percent; Parliament shipments of 9.6 billion were down by 3.5 percent; Bond Street shipments of 9.2 billion were down by 1.1 percent; Chesterfield shipments of 9.5 billion were increased by 8.6 percent; Philip Morris shipments of 7.8 billion were down by 3.3 percent; and Lark shipments of 6.4 billion were down by 5.6 percent.

PMI’s shipment volume of other tobacco products (OTP), in cigarette equivalent units, was up by 2.1 percent, mainly due to growth in the fine-cut category, notably in the Czech Republic and Italy, partly offset by its performances in Germany and Portugal.

The total volume of cigarettes and OTP was up by 1.4 percent.

PMI’s market share was said to have increased in a number of key markets, including Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland.

PMI said that its reported diluted earnings per share, at $1.16, were down by $0.02 or 1.7 percent on those of the first quarter of 2014; or, excluding the effects of currency factors, were up by $0.29 or 24.6 percent.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share, at $1.16, were down by $0.03 or 2.5 percent from $1.19, though excluding currency factors, adjusted diluted earnings were up by $0.28, or 23.5 percent.

Reported net revenues, excluding excise taxes, were down by 4.4 percent to $6.6 billion; or, excluding currency factors and the impact of acquisitions, reported net revenues were up by 9.1 percent.

Reported operating companies’ income was down by 2.2 percent to $3.0 billion; or, excluding currency factors and the impact of acquisitions, reported operating companies’ income was up by 17.2 percent.

Adjusted operating companies’ income was down by 2.9 percent to $3.0 billion; or, excluding currency factors and the impact of acquisitions, adjusted operating income was up by 16.3 per cent.

Reported operating income was down by 2.7 percent to $2.9 billion.

“Our strong first-quarter results are an excellent start to the year,” said CEO André Calantzopoulos.

“Our organic volume and market share performance was better than we originally forecast, underpinned by the investments we made in 2014 and an improving operating environment this year.

“Our robust business momentum is such that we are raising our guidance for the year and now forecast, at prevailing exchange rates, constant-currency adjusted diluted EPS growth of 9 percent-11 percent.

“While currency volatility persists, we remain focused on managing our cash flow prudently and are steadfast in our aim to return around 100 percent of our free cash flow to our shareholders.”

Smoking gun in Jordan’s toy story

| April 17, 2015

Jordanian authorities closed three coffee shops during the first quarter of this year for violating the Public Health Law, which bans smoking in public places, according to a story in The Jordan Times quoting the Petra news agency.

Fatima Khalifah, head of the Health Ministry’s tobacco control department, said that, in addition, liaison officers had issued fines against the owners or operators of 21 premises during field visits to ensure the enforcement of the law.

The premises included restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, tobacco stores, car rental offices and toy shops.

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