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Cigarette sales down sharply in New Zealand

| April 7, 2015

Sales of licit tobacco products in New Zealand fell by 23 percent between 2009 and 2013 according to a story in The New Zealand Herald quoting researchers from Action on Smoking and Health (Ash).

And while sales of illicit cigarettes increased during part of that period; they did so only modestly.

Again according to Ash, illicit tobacco products accounted for 0.7-2.0 percent of the New Zealand market in 2010, but 1.8-3.9 percent in 2013.

The government increased the excise tax on cigarettes by 10 percent and on fine-cut by 24 percent in 2010, and embarked on a series of annual increases of 10 percent on both that is due to run until next year.

France edges closer to standardized packaging

| April 7, 2015

The French National Assembly on April 3 passed the first reading of draft legislation to require cigarette manufacturers to sell their products in standardized packaging, according to a Radio France Internationale story relayed by the TMA.

The vote came after a heated debate during which some MPs claimed that the measure would encourage smuggling and accused the government of “assaulting” tobacconists.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine defended the proposal by saying that Australia, which introduced the world’s first standardized packaging law, had seen “encouraging results,” with the number of smokers in that country reportedly falling by three percent annually.

MPs passed too other anti-smoking proposals; one of which would ban smoking in cars carrying anyone aged below 18, a higher limit than the below-12 limit proposed in the original draft.

They voted in favor of prohibiting tobacconists from opening shops near schools; imposing an extra tax on cigarette manufacturers if their sales revenue increases or fails to fall by less than three percent in any year; requiring more transparency on industry lobbying; and imposing tighter limits on industry sponsorship activities.

Call for more discussions on electronic cigarettes

| April 7, 2015

Health authorities in South Korea have concluded that vaping electronic cigarettes is not safe, according to a story in The Korea Times.

The National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, which is under the wing of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said Monday that electronic cigarettes contained carcinogenic substances, though it conceded that the amounts of those substances might be lower than those in traditional cigarettes.

‘Some studies also show e-cigarettes can contain harmful materials that do not exist in ordinary cigarettes, such as phthalate,’ it said.

‘Also, when the users control the amount of nicotine solution, it is difficult to predict how much nicotine the people consume. So we can’t say that e-cigarettes are safe from nicotine exposure.’

The agency said it had received help from 11 ‘experts’ who took part in an agency discussion in February.

The agency further said that there were not enough medical grounds to claim that electronic cigarettes were able to help people to quit smoking, and that it was ‘improper’ to advertise the devices as quit-smoking aids.

There was a call for more discussions so as to prepare regulations on electronic cigarettes: such as on the level of a nicotine solution’s concentration and on the kinds of permitted additives.

“The nation needs more studies about the reality of e-cigarette use, its safety and effect in quitting or reducing smoking,’ the agency reportedly said.

“But such studies will have to exclude commercially interested parties.”

AOI complying with stock exchange listing standards

| April 7, 2015

Alliance One International said on Thursday that it had received notice on April 1 from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that it had regained compliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standards.

AOI had come back into compliance because the average closing share price of its common stock for the 30 trading days ended March 31 and the closing price of its common stock on March 31 had exceeded $1.00.

AOI said it would continue to monitor its ongoing compliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standards.

Hentschke succeeds Brewer as senior VP and COO at Universal

| April 2, 2015

Universal Corp.’s board of directors has elected Airton L. Hentschke as senior vice president and chief operating officer, replacing W. Keith Brewer, who recently retired as executive vice president and COO.

Hentschke has more than 24 years of experience in leaf operations with Universal, and has served since 2013 as executive vice president of Universal Leaf Tobacco Co. In this role, he supported Universal’s global tobacco operations. Prior to that, Hentschke served as regional director for the company’s operations in South America, and president of Universal Leaf Tabacos Limitada in Brazil, where he began his employment in 1991.

Brewer worked at Universal for more than 38 years and led the company’s global tobacco operations since 2006. Prior to that time, he served as the president of Universal Leaf North America U.S. He has been employed with the company since 1977.

“We thank Keith for his countless contributions and his many years of loyal, dedicated service,” said George C. Freeman, III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Universal Corp.

“He leaves behind a strong and well-prepared team that includes Airton Hentschke. Airton brings a wealth of operational expertise to this role, and we are pleased that he will continue the strong leadership that he has demonstrated in South America and more recently here in Richmond, as the next Chief Operating Officer.”



Jim Schneeberger to retire from AOI

| April 2, 2015

Jim Schneeberger, global business relationship director of Alliance One International and its predecessor companies, will retire on April 3, after 27 years of service. Schneeberger has served in several business relationship management positions throughout his career, most recently leading the Philip Morris International Global BRM team. Graham Kayes will take over the Philip Morris International Global responsibility in the interim.

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