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Old man jailed over illicit cigarettes

| May 12, 2014

A 78-year-old man has been sentenced in Singapore to a year in jail and a $217,000 fine after pleading guilty to possessing untaxed cigarettes, according to an AsiaOne story.

The man, along with others, was caught in a customs sting as they unloaded untaxed cigarettes from a taxi.

Later, untaxed cigarettes were found at his home.

Court documents showed that the man had bought the cigarettes for $25 a carton and kept them in his flat, intending to sell them for between $28 and $30 a carton.

A carton of duty-paid premium cigarettes retails for about $130.

Bahrain to mull 100 percent import duty

| May 12, 2014

Bahrain could soon charge 100 percent import duty on all tobacco products, according to a Trade Arabia story quoting a report in the Akhbar Al Khaleej newspaper.

A proposal to amend the current anti-tobacco law is expected to be on parliament’s agenda on Tuesday.

The proposed amendments include also curbs on public places smoking.

Value of SM’s sales increased slightly

| May 9, 2014

Swedish Match’s sales during the three months to the end of March, at SEK3,014 million, were up by 1.1 percent on those of the three months to the end of March 2013, SEK2,982 million.

Operating profit was down by 16.8 percent to SEK858 million, while operating profit from product areas, which excludes SM’s share of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s net profit and larger one-off items, was down by 2.8 percent to SEK809 million.

Profit before income tax was down by 18.2 percent to SEK732 million, while profit for the period was down by 21.7 percent to SEK580 million.

Earnings per share (EPS) were down by 21.8 percent to SEK2.91; EPS excluding larger one-off items was down by three-tenths of a percent to SEK2.91

“In the first quarter, Swedish Match reported increased sales and stable operating profit when adjusted for currency effects and investments in international snus expansion,” said CEO Lars Dahlgren in reporting the results.

“For snus in Scandinavia, it is positive to note the continued strong market growth in both Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, the growth was driven by value-priced products, and relative to the last quarter of 2013, Swedish Match gained share in this growing segment of the market in line with our ambitions. Swedish Match underlying snus volumes in Scandinavia in the quarter are estimated to have increased by 1 percent, and sales were flat in local currencies.

“In the U.S. moist snuff market, our pouch and tub offerings continued their strong performance in the quarter. For General snus in the U.S., we continued our focused efforts to grow the brand and the snus category with a high level of consumer engagement activities and to a lesser extent expanded distribution.

“Within other tobacco products, we once again saw a solid development for our chewing tobacco business, in part due to timing effects, but also due to strong performance for our premium Red Man brand as well as increased contract manufacturing deliveries.

“For cigars, a strong performance for our Game natural wrapper cigars contributed to a 5 percent overall volume growth, while revenues remained flat and operating profit declined somewhat as the category has become more promotional.

“Our lights business continued its solid performance during the quarter, with growth in sales and profits for lighters, and sales growth for matches in local currencies.”

Spending on cigarettes falling steadily

| May 9, 2014

Household spending on cigarettes fell in South Korea for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, but more money was spent on alcohol, according to a Yonhap News Agency story.

A household comprising two people or more spent an average of KRW17,263 (US$16.9) per month on tobacco last year, or 0.7 percent of the average income of about KRW2.48 million, according to data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The proportion of income spent on tobacco has been declining steadily. It dropped from 0.96 percent in 2008, to 0.85 percent in 2009, to 0.81 percent in 2010, to 0.77 percent in 2011, and to 0.75 percent in 2012.

The Statistics Korea data showed also that the country’s smoking prevalence dropped from 28.8 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2011.

E-cigarettes enjoy massive growth

| May 9, 2014

E-cigarettes have enjoyed massive growth in the U.S. during the past two years, with sales increasing from $283 million in 2012 to $537 million in 2013, according to new research by Mintel.

In 2013, the market for e-cigarettes was on par with the market for smoking cessation gum, the largest segment of the smoking cessation market.

E-cigarette sales were in sharp contrast to those of the smoking cessation category, which went up by $95 million, or 10 percent, between 2008 and 2013. Between 2013 and 2018, Mintel forecasts growth of only $7 million.

“The sharp falloff in growth of the smoking cessation category between 2012 and 2013 and the forecasted decline over the next five years are largely due to the explosive popularity of e-cigarettes,” said Molly Maier, category manager, health, household, beauty and personal care, Mintel.

Researchers want cigarette filters banned

| May 9, 2014

Banning cigarette filters is one of a number of policies recently put forward by U.S.-based researchers as a way of reducing or eliminating the environmental problems caused by carelessly discarded butts.

Such a policy might seem extreme, but those proposing it describe filtered cigarettes as a “farce” in terms of consumer safety. And they cite as evidence a recent National Cancer Institute review that apparently showed filtered cigarettes were “not healthier or safer than nonfiltered ones.”

The policy suggestions are those of Thomas Novotny of San Diego State University and Elli Slaughter, an advocate seeking to curb the environmental harm caused by the large-scale littering of cigarette butts, packaging and matches. The suggestions appeared in a review article published in Springer’s journal, Current Environmental Health Reports.

Novotny and Slaughter also suggest that filters/butts might be the subject of a deposit/return scheme, that cigarette manufacturers might be held responsible for cleanups, and that warnings about the impact of carelessly discarded butts might be placed on packs.

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