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Smokers priced out of duty-paid market

| May 20, 2014

The consumption in the U.K. of tobacco products that have not had U.K. duty paid on them is said to be on the rise again, according to a story by Guy Bentley for City A.M, quoting figures from HM Revenue and Customs.

Non-U.K.-duty-paid (NUKDP) products accounted for 16 percent of the cigarette market during the financial year 2012–2013, while NUKDP products accounted for 48 percent of the roll-your-own tobacco market.

These figures were said to represent the first increase in the consumption of NUKDP products in recent years, though the story did not indicate what the previous consumption levels were.

The story suggested that the increase had been caused by tax increases since 2010 and said that a significant proportion of the increase was down to black market activity.

Counterfeit hand-rolling tobacco is said to be a growing problem.

Call for more hotels to go smoke-free

| May 20, 2014

More hotels in Malaysia should be declared smoke-free in a bid to reduce the amount of secondhand smoke in public places, according to a story in The Star quoting the Health Ministry’s deputy director-general, Dr. Lokman Hakim Sulaiman.

“There are a number of hotels where smoking is banned in the entire premises, and this is encouraged,” he said.

“I am also confident that the people are receptive towards such an initiative and we have to push forward this agenda.

The deputy director-general was speaking during an operation to curb smoking in public vehicles at the Sungai Besi toll plaza in Kuala Lumpur.

The operation, which was conducted simultaneously in every state, was aimed also at ensuring that no-smoking signs were displayed in public vehicles.

Warning over high-voltage e-cigarettes

| May 20, 2014

High-voltage e-cigarettes might expose users to increased levels of toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, according to research led by Maciej Goniewicz, Ph.D., Pharm.D., a researcher in the Department of Health Behavior at the U.S.’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI).

The study was published online by Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Some e-cigarettes allow the user to change the voltage of the device to increase vapor production and nicotine delivery; so Goniewicz and colleagues examined the various chemicals in vapors generated from the same e-cigarette but at variable voltages.

They found that when an e-cigarette was operated at lower voltage, the vapors generated contained only traces of some toxic chemicals.

These compounds included formaldehyde, a known carcinogen; acetaldehyde, which is considered a possible carcinogen to humans; and two chemicals known to irritate nasal, lung and/or mucous tissues, acrolein and acetone.

But when the voltage was increased, the levels of toxicants increased significantly.

“These results suggest that some types of e-cigarettes might expose their users to the same or even higher levels of carcinogenic formaldehyde than [does] tobacco smoke,” said Goniewicz.

“Users of high-voltage e-cigarettes need to be warned about this increased risk of harmful effects.”

White Cloud demonstrates U.S. credentials

| May 20, 2014

U.S.-based White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes has launched ClearDraw2, “a radical reinvention of the traditional e-cigarette cartridge.”

According to a press note issued through PRNewswire, the proprietary new design “eliminates the industry-standard cotton filler and narrow airflow chambers, giving users more e-liquid per cartridge, and more flavor and vapor with every puff.”

The design of ClearDraw2 will mean that White Cloud will be able to fill its cartridges at its new manufacturing facility in Tampa, Florida.

This in turn will mean that White Cloud will be one of the only—if not the only—e-cigarette companies both to offer 100 percent USA-made flavored e-liquid and to fill its cartridges entirely in the U.S.

About 4,900 jobs to go as Sampoerna looks to axe two hand-rolling plants

| May 19, 2014

Sampoerna said on Friday that it planned to restructure its hand-rolled kretek cigarette (SKT) manufacturing operations in Indonesia, a development that would “impact” about 4,900 employees.

“The company has decided to discontinue the production in its SKT manufacturing facilities in Jember and Lumajang as of 31 May 2014, while at the same time continue to focus its SKT production at the five remaining production facilities, namely Surabaya (Rungkut I, Rungkut II and Taman Sampoerna), Malang and Probolinggo,” said a note posted on the website of Philip Morris International, which acquired Sampoerna in May 2005.

“Regretfully, this restructuring means that approximately 4,900 employees at [the] Jember and Lumajang manufacturing facilities will be impacted by the shutdown.”

Maharani Subandhi, corporate secretary at Sampoerna, said the decision to close the two facilities had been “extremely difficult” to take.

“We understand that this is unfortunate news for all of our employees, particularly those who are directly impacted in Jember and Lumajang SKT manufacturing facilities.

“Our priority today is to provide them with the best possible support and assistance during this difficult time. Those affected by this decision will receive severance package[s] above legal requirements, including Idul Fitri (THR) bonus. In addition, we will provide them with [the] opportunity to participate in the entrepreneurship training program to assist them in finding new source[s] of income.”

In April, PMI said Philip Morris Holland (PMH) had announced that it planned to end cigarette production at its factory at Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, with the loss of about 1,230 jobs.

And the announcement of the proposed Bergen op Zoom closure, which is due to happen by October, followed hard on the heels of Philip Morris Limited’s decision to stop cigarette manufacturing in Australia by the end of this year, with the loss of about 180 jobs at its factory at Moorabbin, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.

The full text of the Indonesian announcement is at http://www.pmi.com/eng/media_center/press_releases/Pages/pt_hm_sampoerna_tbk.aspx.

Petition calls for more relaxed attitude to public-places smoking in Russia

| May 19, 2014

About 100,000 signatures have been collected on a petition calling for Russian lawmakers to backpedal on the country’s smoking ban, according to a RT TV/TV Novosti report.

An anti-tobacco law was approved in February 2013 and came into effect on June 1 last year.

However, restrictions are being introduced gradually, so that, since last summer, smoking has been outlawed in certain public places, including educational, health-care and sports facilities, airports, railway stations and bus stops.

The strictest part of the law comes into force on June 1, when smoking cigarettes will be banned in hotels, cafés, restaurants, marketplaces and on passenger trains and ships.

The Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia that unites more than 3,000 food and beverage establishments is demanding that the ban on smoking in restaurants, cafés and bars be postponed, amended or dropped.

The association and the all-Russia movement “For the rights of smokers” have drafted a list of amendments as well as launching the petition.

“In our country, for the majority of the year, the temperatures stand at below zero; making the guests go outside to smoke in the cold is just inhuman,” the association’s lawyer, Maria Orlova, was quoted as having told the Izvestia newspaper.

But Elena Mazur, the corporate communication director of the Rosinter Restaurants network, believes that customers won’t stay away for too long.

“We haven’t increased the number of places on the summer terraces, and haven’t resorted to any special measures,” she said.

Mazur said she believed that customers would have got used to the smoking ban by September and would return to restaurants.

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