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Cracking down on cigarette smuggling

| May 2, 2014

China’s customs and tobacco authorities destroyed 375,890 cartons of smuggled cigarettes said to be “worth” CNY22 million (US$3.6 million) in Zhanjiang City, Guangdong, on Tuesday, according to a China Radio International report.

The cigarettes were said to have included more than 30 brands, including Marlboro, 555 and Double Happiness.

They were shredded and then burned at a local power plant.

Unnamed officials were quoted as saying the destruction of the cigarettes illustrated China’s firm stance in abiding by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

It also showed the country’s achievements in cracking down on the illegal trade in tobacco, they said.

Meanwhile, the vice minister of the General Administration of Customs, Lv Bin, said China had stepped up its fight against tobacco smuggling. Nationwide last year, 34 cases of smuggling involving 1.84 billion cigarettes “worth” CNY2.33 billion had been cracked.

He warned that cigarette smuggling would continue because it offered high levels of profit, but said that Chinese authorities would continue their crackdown on the trade.

After the beast comes the reckoning

| May 2, 2014

The EU’s new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which was published on April 29, has come in for some criticism, and could come in for more.

Ewald Stadler, an Austrian member of the European Parliament, has asked the European Commission for information about what were the costs incurred by the TPD trilogue negotiations.

In a preamble to four questions, Stadler said that the TPD had been debated and amended in seven committees in the European Parliament during 2013. The parliament had adopted its position in October last year and had then embarked on the trilogue negotiations—informal meetings convened between a select number of representatives from the European Council, the parliament and the commission.

Stadler went on to ask:

1.    “What was the total amount of human and material resources required during the trilogue negotiations?

2.    “What were the costs for translation?

3.    “What were the costs for meeting rooms?

4.    “What were the costs for the staff present and services provided by technicians and third parties, such as drinks during the negotiations?”

Andhra flue-cured selling fast

| May 2, 2014

Flue-cured seems to be selling fast at auctions in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

According to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter, at the same stage of the 2013 and 2014 selling seasons, 22.58 million kg and 43.56 million kg had been sold respectively, so volume sales were up by more than 92 percent.

Almost 65 percent of the flue-cured sold so far this season has comprised bright grades, and the average price for all grades stands at INR121.0 per kg.

Auctions for the authorized Andhra crop of 172 million kg began on Feb. 17.

France primed for public vaping ban

| May 2, 2014

E-cigarettes could be banned from enclosed public places in France after the country’s health minister recently reiterated her desire to tighten the laws around the use of these devices, according to a story in The Local.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine has previously given hints that she intended to introduce a law to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, but now she has made her intentions clear.

“I am favorable to the banning [of e-cigarettes] in a certain number of public places where there are many people or where there are children or young people present,” Touraine said.

The minister said also she wanted certain outdoor public spaces to be declared completely tobacco-free by local mayors.

Her proposals will become clear when they are included as part of the next public health bill, set to be published this summer.

Currently people can use e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants, where traditional smoking is banned.

And employers have discretion as to whether or not to allow the use of e-cigarettes by employees in the workplace.

England seeks safe use of e-cigarettes

| May 2, 2014

Health officials have considered banning the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places in England, according to a story in The Independent quoting “documents from a recent board meeting.”

The suggestion, said to have been one of a number of options raised at a Public Health England (PHE) meeting in February, proposed prohibiting e-cigarette use in “workplaces, educational and public places to ensure their use did not undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing and normalising smoking.”

But PHE says that it has not called for a ban, and is still considering options.

“We have not called for a ban on e-cigarette use in public spaces,” said professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s national director health and well-being.

“PHE is working with our partners to consider the options for supporting safe use of e-cigarettes to reduce harm and support smokers to quit, some of which were discussed by our board in February.”

BAT Philippines wants more competition

| May 2, 2014

British American Tobacco Philippines has joined calls for the passage of a competition law that would curb monopolies and unfair trade practices in the country, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

“We support the call recently aired by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and other business groups urging Congress to give priority to the enactment of these laws, which have been pushed in previous congresses, but unfortunately have not been approved,” BAT general manager James Lafferty was quoted as saying.

“As a relatively new entrant and currently still small player in the tobacco industry, we recognize the importance of a robust competition law that can protect the interest of small players. This is true not only for tobacco but across all industries,” he added.

Lafferty concurred with the PCCI’s position that the proposed law, when implemented, would spur further growth in the local economy and attract more foreign investment into the country.

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