The US’ biggest tobacco companies have asked a federal appeals court to set aside a series of court-ordered ‘advertisements’ saying they lied about the dangers of smoking, according to an Associated Press story.
The companies told a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals in Washington that they are ready and willing to pass along factual public health information about cigarettes, but said they would not go along with being forced to underwrite an ‘advertising’ campaign that would have the companies brand themselves as liars.
The statements imply “that we’re still engaged in aspects of wrongdoing … (and) that we do things that we don’t do,” Miguel Estrada, an attorney representing the tobacco companies, told the panel.
The requirement that the companies issue a mea culpa stems from a civil case the government brought in 1999 under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
In 2006, US District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the largest cigarette manufacturers to publicly admit that they had lied for decades about the dangers of smoking.
The companies in the case include the Altria Group, owner of Philip Morris USA; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, which is owned by Reynolds American, and Lorillard.
The ‘advertisements’ would be in all cigarette packs sold for 12 weeks over the course of two years, in TV spots once per week for a year, in a separate newspaper ‘advertisement’ by each company, on company websites indefinitely and at certain retail outlets.
The full story is at: http://www.dailynews724.com/new-mexico/tobacco-companies-fighting-over-claims-on-smoking8217s-effects-h407804.html.
The member of the European Parliament representing North West England, Paul Nuttall, has spoken out against news that the European Commission is ‘considering hiking up tax on healthier electronic cigarettes,’ according to a note posted on the website of the UKIP party, of which Nuttall is deputy leader.
The Commission is said to have asked excise duty experts from across the EU to consider the ‘best way to achieve fiscal equal treatment’ of electronic and tobacco cigarettes.
“I am a great fan of e-cigs and UKIP has been very supportive of the practice because it is healthier and a source of jobs for innovative British companies,” said Nuttall, who is described as a new e-cig convert. ‘The British government must stand up against these measures and UKIP undertakes to oppose any legislation from the EU to put tax on electronic cigarettes.
“I have never seen a private pleasure that the EU does not want to tax. Of course this move will hike up the cost of vaping e-cigarettes, and thus push more people back to ordinary and less healthy cigarettes.
“This move unmasks the EU’s real intent of its Tobacco Directive which was to tax all cigarettes more and help governments make more money. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, ‘The EU’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
In the face of widespread opposition, a senior politician in South Korea on Monday took a step back from his efforts to introduce low-price cigarettes, according to a story in The Korea Times.
Ruling Saenuri Party floor leader, Representative Yoo Seong-min, had instructed the party’s policy committee on February 17 to review ways to introduce cheap, low-quality tobacco products to soothe low-earners’ discontent over January’s WON2,000 (about 80 percent) cigarette price hike.
But the move attracted widespread criticism in political circles, including from members of his own party.
“We don’t have an immediate plan either to introduce or cancel the plan,” Yoo told reporters. “We are now reviewing it at an idea level.”
Lawmaker Chung Woo-taik argued that such an inconsistent policy would only arouse public mistrust toward the government.
He said the government had justified the increase in tobacco prices as a way of protecting people’s health, while critics had claimed that it had been designed to secure the revenue needed to implement President Park Geun-hye’s welfare pledges.
“Introduction of low-price cigarettes would only prove that the government raised the price to actually boost taxes,” he said.
British American Tobacco is evaluating a possible public tender offer to acquire up to all of the 24.7 percent of Souza Cruz shares that are not owned by BAT, and to delist the company.
In a press note posted on its website yesterday, BAT said any offer for Souza Cruz’s shares would be at a price per share of R$26.75, to be paid in cash, in Brazilian reals, and to be reduced by any dividend paid by Souza Cruz.
‘A price of R$26.75 per share would represent a premium of 30.0 percent to Souza Cruz’s volume weighted average closing share price over the three months to Friday 20 February 2015 (being the last trading day before the date of announcement)’, the press note said.
‘The consummation of the offer is still subject to, inter alia, BAT’s board approval and the finalization of an appraisal report by an independent evaluator which is required in accordance with the relevant Brazilian rules.
‘There can be no certainty that any offer will be made, the related terms of any such offer nor that any delisting will occur.’
Erik Bloomquist, a senior analyst, consumer staples, at Berenberg, said the timing of BAT’s proposal was compelling for four reasons:
1) ‘the real is near a 10-year low relative to sterling;
2) ‘interest rates are near five-year lows with attractive rates available for highly rated corporates;
3) ‘tax headwinds in the SC business could dissipate substantially in 2016; and
4) ‘in our opinion, SC is one of the jewel businesses in BAT.’
A nicotine metabolite once thought to be inactive, cotinine, in fact supports learning and memory by amplifying the action of a primary chemical messenger involved in both, according to a piece in science20.com quoting a new study.
The new findings apparently indicate cotinine makes brain receptors more sensitive to lower levels of the messenger acetylcholine, which are typical in Alzheimer’s, and may boost effectiveness, at least for a time, of existing therapies for Alzheimer’s and possibly other memory and psychiatric disorders.
“This is the first hint of what the mechanism of the metabolite cotinine might be,” said Dr. Alvin V. Terry, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University and corresponding author of the study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
The full story is at: http://www.science20.com/news_articles/nicotine_supports_learning_and_memory-153308.
A ‘windfall tax’ on tobacco companies would lead to the loss of millions of pounds for the UK taxman, according to a report in The Times quoting research by the consultancy, Oxford Economics.
Volumes of UK duty-paid cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco could decline, leading to a net loss of £167 million if the levy were set at £1 billion, and £28 million if it were introduced at £100 million, Oxford Economics was quoted as saying.
These suggestions came ahead of last week’s deadline for submissions to the government’s public consultation on the introduction of a levy on tobacco manufacturers and importers.
Ministers, who unveiled the proposal in the autumn statement, were said to believe that because smoking imposed costs on society; it was fair to ask the tobacco industry to make a greater contribution.
The Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement followed a declaration by the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, that, should it come to power following the general election in May, his government would introduce a levy, based on companies’ market share, to raise at least £150 million a year.