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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.

Crude animal studies should cede to in vitro methods

| April 2, 2015

The tobacco industry and regulatory authorities should support more-relevant and less-costly in vitro toxicology testing methods over unreliable animal testing, according to a review of research advances published this week in the comment pages of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals.

The article by researchers with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) comes as the US Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee prepares to evaluate the US’ first application to market a group of tobacco products with reduced risk claims. The products will be evaluated on April 9 and 10 at the FDA’s White Oak campus in Silver Spring, Maryland.

PETA and PCRM examined more than 50 technologically advanced tobacco toxicology studies that had been reported since 2009, when the last comprehensive review of such methods was conducted. In the 2009 review, non-animal methods were deemed not to be quantitatively reliable enough to allow ‘valid comparisons of substantially different tobacco products’.

But things have moved on and the PETA and PCRM researchers found that the 2009 observations ‘no longer accurately describe the study of tobacco product toxicology in vitro’.

‘Since 2009, when the Tobacco Control Act became law, the field of tobacco toxicology has shifted toward the use of predictive methods based on human cell culture and away from poisoning animals,’ said PETA researcher and author Joseph Manuppello. For example, scientists could now expose reconstituted human bronchial tissue to whole smoke and measure perturbations in toxicity pathways.

PETA is concerned about the use of animals in tests supporting marketing applications. ‘The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA authority to regulate the marketing of tobacco products,’ PETA said in a press note. ‘The FDA lists animal studies among those that it recommends for assessing the toxicity of tobacco products. PETA is concerned that large numbers of animals may be used in studies to support tobacco product marketing applications.

‘Because of this concern, last December, PETA and PCRM participated in a workshop with representatives from the FDA, industry, and academia, as well as other NGOs, to discuss modern and humane in vitro models available to replace crude and inaccurate animal tests for evaluating the role of tobacco exposure in causing lung disease, specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

‘Workshop participants agreed that guidance from the FDA, specifically on in vitro test methods, would likely reduce animal testing conducted in support of tobacco product applications.’

A report from the workshop was presented on March 23 at a Society of Toxicology ancillary meeting in San Diego, California.

BAT arms itself for UK standardized packaging battle

| April 2, 2015

British American Tobacco has appointed a legal team led by Andrew Lidbetter of London-based international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to fight the UK government’s legislation requiring standardized packaging for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco sold in England, according to a City AM story relayed by the TMA.

BAT has enlisted also Nigel Pleming QC and Geoffrey Hobbs QC, who work on intellectual property issues.

Tobacco companies have said that standardized packaging will infringe on their intellectual property rights and one well-placed observer has estimated that UK taxpayers could be hit with a bill for £12 billion if the government loses.

BAT failed when it challenged Australia’s standardized packaging legislation, which came into effect in December 2012.

But in March, the company said that that failure was due to a ‘unique requirement in the Australian constitution that meant it would only win the case if it could prove the Australian government had received a benefit by removing its brands’. ‘That requirement does not exist in the UK,’ BAT said.

Meanwhile, a senior lecturer in law at City University London has said that the tobacco industry’s argument that standardized packaging legislation violates their trademark rights is not convincing.

Writing in The Conversation, Enrico Bonadio said manufacturers would still be able to distinguish their products from those of competitors because they would be allowed to display the brand name on the packs, albeit in a standardized font.

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