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U.K. MPs back health experts urging WHO to adopt tobacco harm-reduction policies

| June 6, 2014

U.K. MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of the stance taken by 53 health specialists in encouraging the World Health Organization to adopt tobacco harm reduction policies.

A story based on the specialists’ views was included here on May 30.

A summary of the EDM published on the U.K. parliament’s website said: ‘That this House [House of Commons] notes the opinion of leading world public health experts, including Professor Robert West of University College, London, that e-cigarettes have the potential to save hundreds of millions of lives across the world; believes that, if regulators treat low-risk nicotine products as traditional tobacco products, they are improperly defining them; regrets the decision of the EU to regulate e-cigarettes in strange and contradictory ways and believes that such inappropriate constraints upon the labelling and sale of e-cigarettes will have the perverse effect of reducing the rate at which cigarette use is declining; further notes the potentially enormous health benefits that e-cigarettes could bring to developing nations; accepts the health and economic benefits which e-cigarettes can bring to the least well-off; urges public authorities to regard e-cigarettes as a positive and not as an equivalent to cigarettes; and further urges the Government to impress upon the World Heath Organisation that encouraging, rather than discouraging, e-cigarette manufacture, sale and use will bring great health benefits across the world.

EDMs are used by MPs to express their opinion on something or to draw the attention of the Commons to a particular issue or campaign. Other MPs can show their support for a particular EDM by adding their signature to it.

While they are not normally debated, an EDM that attracts hundreds of signatures from MPs of all parties is likely to result in some kind of response from the government.

Small cigars, big exports

| June 6, 2014

Cuba exported 64.7 million machine-made small cigars between January and May, according to an EFE News Service story quoting a Monday statement by the state-controlled Internacional Cubana de Tabacos (ICT).

Meanwhile, sales of such small cigars so far this year were valued at about $10 million, according to the official AIN news agency, citing ICT president Vladimir Rodriguez.

These products are sold in Spain, France, Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Greece, Canada, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and some countries in Africa and the Middle East.

ICT manufactures seven types of cigars under the brand names of Cohiba, Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, Punch, Guantanamera, Quintero, Belinda and Troya.

Tobacco is the fourth-largest contributor to Cuba’s gross domestic product.

You can lead a politician to ban smoking, but you cannot stop him from smoking

| June 6, 2014

The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) has named Indonesia’s House of Representatives’ building as one of the smokiest in Jakarta, according to a BERNAMA (Malaysian National News Agency) story.

The naming—and shaming—came about in a recent report on the effectiveness of the city administration’s 2010 ban on tobacco smoking inside public buildings.

Of 225 government offices examined in the report, 11 percent had not properly enforced the smoking ban, the study found.

However, the lobbies and breezeways in the House of Representatives were among the most unhealthy public places, YLKI manager Tulus Abadi apparently told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

“Forty-two percent of [smoking ban] violations happened at urban ward offices and 17 percent in the House of Representatives’ building,” he added.

Some 57 percent of survey respondents said they were reluctant to report smoking in non-smoking areas and that there was no clear avenue for making such complaints.

Tulus said YLKI planned to measure secondhand smoke levels inside the legislature’s headquarters.

Alliance volumes improved slightly

| June 6, 2014

Alliance One’s sales and other operating revenues during the year to the end of March, at $2,354.9 million, were up by 5 percent on those of the financial year that ended on March 31, 2013.

The tobacco sales revenue and tobacco cost increases were said by Alliance to be mainly the result of larger crop sizes, higher prices and shipments delayed from the prior fiscal year.

“Volumes improved slightly with increased levels of South American byproducts and larger crop sizes in Africa offset by the change in sales from the investee operation in Thailand and the timing of Asian shipments, said Alliance in announcing its results.

“Reduced customer processing volumes in Brazil as a result of increasing green prices required by farmers throughout the buying season, delay in purchasing and processing the current Brazilian crop and smaller weather-related crop sizes in the United States led to reduced processing revenues and cost of services.”

Gross profit fell by 15.8 percent to $240.0 million and gross profit as a percentage of sales decreased from 12.7 percent to 10.2 percent, mainly due to the impact of higher green costs in multiple origins that were not fully recovered from customers, reduced processing and unrecovered farmer advances primarily in Zambia.

“Partially offsetting increased costs were lower derivative losses in Brazil net of increased exchange losses due to appreciating currencies in Africa this year, when compared to last year,” said Alliance.

“Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 8 percent to $134.1 million when compared to the prior year, driven by lower incentive compensation and amortization related to internally developed software as well as reduced professional fees driven by lower monitor costs that will no longer recur.”

Other income decreased by 12.1 percent to $18.2 million primarily due to the net effect of the gain recorded on the sale of a Turkish warehouse, gain on the closing of the joint venture in Brazil, other asset sale gains, various costs and reduced loss on sale of accounts receivable.

“In comparison, last year, other income was $20.7 million related mainly to a non-cash benefit of $24.1 million recorded for Brazilian excise taxes based on a court ruling and higher loss on sale of accounts receivable,” Alliance said.

Tobacco tax up and down in Philippines

| June 6, 2014

The Philippines’ government “lost” an estimated PHP15.6 billion in taxes last year due to the trade in illicit tobacco products, according to a story in The Philippine Star quoting a report by the U.K.-based Oxford Economics and the U.S.-based International Tax and Investment Center.

The report, commissioned by Philip Morris International, was designed to measure the consumption of illicit cigarettes—those products sold on the domestic market without the correct taxes having been paid on them—in the Philippines and its impact on revenue losses for the government.

“Because of illicit tobacco trade, the government is losing over PHP15 billion it should have been collecting from tobacco excise tax,” Adrian Cooper, chief executive officer at Oxford Economics, said in a briefing yesterday in Makati.

“While the administration can be pleased they have achieved a 114 percent increase in tobacco excise revenue in 2013 as a result of the new tax regime, one cannot ignore the tax foregone as a result of this very rapid growth in the illicit cigarette trade, with domestic illicit cigarettes making up the lion’s share of this.”

The report found that 19.1 billion illicit cigarettes were consumed in the country last year, almost three times the estimated 6.4 billion consumed in 2012.

Essentra expands its offering to include smokeless nicotine products service

| June 5, 2014
Essentra is offering the full package.

Essentra is offering the full package.

Essentra PLC is offering to supply to its customers tailor-made smokeless nicotine products based on Essentra “proofs of concept.”

“The e-cigarette market is growing extremely rapidly, and it is therefore essential that Essentra—not only as a trusted partner to the tobacco industry through its Filter Products and Packaging businesses, but more broadly as an innovator—identifies and responds to the evolving market trends which face our customers in a way that enables us to continue to add value to them,” said Malcolm Waugh, group commercial director.

“We believe that Essentra is well-positioned as a B2B supplier to assist its customers with their requirements in the growing non-tobacco space, and that our ‘proofs of concept’—which can then be tailored to meet individual customer requirements—demonstrate the broad range of solutions which the overall Essentra Group can deliver.”

In a press note, Essentra said that, following extensive research and development, it had developed a number of fully functional and packaged prototypes to showcase to customers. Mainly, these products, which included e-cigarettes, aimed to provide end users with the same smoking experience they would obtain from traditional cigarettes, though they included, too, nicotine-free products.

“… through its range of businesses, Essentra is ideally placed to offer a full-service proposition to customers,” the press note said. “Essentra Extrusion can provide the plastic for the barrel of the product, with the company’s Components business having the capacity either to manufacture or source ancillary components.

“In addition, Essentra Porous Technologies is able to supply the material for the transfer of nicotine (or other liquids or vapors) to the end user while, with its proven abilities in folding carton, tear tape, labels, leaflets and security features, Essentra’s Packaging business can provide an extensive range of solutions.

“Meanwhile, as a trusted partner to the tobacco industry, Essentra Filter Products will continue to make the most of its strong and long-standing customer relationships.”

The Scientific Services division also has played an important role in the new venture.

“With the backing of analytical results from its accredited Scientific Services testing laboratory, Essentra identified a lack of consistency in performance as an issue in the e-cigarette market,” the press note said.

“As a result, one of the company’s critical propositions to customers is that its e-cigarette solutions are not only innovative, but also reliable, and deliver the traditional cigarette equivalent stated on the pack.”

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