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JTI calls for transparency on plain-packaging report

| October 6, 2015

The Australian government has not yet published its Post-Implementation Review (PIR) regarding plain-packaging six months after the conclusion of the consultation period.

This delay in publishing has raised concerns about the integrity of the report and caused concerns that its authors could be misrepresenting data or omitting evidence in order to ensure the country’s plain-packaging policy is viewed as a success.

Plain packaging was introduced in Australia in 2012 with an end goal of reducing the nation’s smoking rates. According to the Australian government, the objectives of the plain packaging measure are to reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products to consumers; increase the noticeability and effectiveness of mandated health warnings; reduce the ability of the retail packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking; and to ultimately reduce smoking rates.

In the three years since plain packaging was introduced in Australia, no change to the decline in smoking rates has been shown, according to the latest official data from the Australian government. Without evidence of a decline in smoking rates, supporters of plain packaging are finding it difficult to claim the measures have achieved their goals.

“The Department of Health [DoH] knows that this policy has failed,” said Michiel Reerink, Japan Tobacco International’s (JTI) regulatory strategy vice president. “The objective of the ban on brands was to improve public health by discouraging people from using tobacco products, and reducing their exposure to tobacco smoke. The government’s own data shows that these objectives have not been met.”

The DoH began its review of Australia’s plain packaging earlier this year, at which time it requested information detailing the impact the policy has had since its implementation. The consultation period ended in March. Although government guidelines suggest that PIRs should be published within three to six months after information is gathered, the Australian government has yet to publish this information.

“Tobacco control lobbyists are traveling around the world on taxpayers’ money to convince regulators that plain packaging has been a success in Australia,” said Reerink. “But anyone who looks at the official data can see for themselves: There is no proof that this ban on brands has worked.”

JTI has called for transparency from the Australian government regarding publication of the PIR.

“We urge the Department of Health to publish a complete and transparent review of this policy, without further delay,” says Reerink. “The PIR should be based on all of the evidence, in line with the requirements of the Australian Government’s Office of Best Practice Regulation. Crucially, the results of the plain packaging policy should be measured against its original objectives. Without this report being published soon, people risk being misled by biased reports and analysis on a measure that has done nothing to improve public health.”

Japan Tobacco International introduces new Camel

| June 5, 2015

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Korea has launched Camel Evolution Super Slims, the first low-tar super-slim brand within its Camel lineup.

Camel Evolution Super Slims—which became available for purchase June 4—are a locally customized blend for the Korean market. The product is packaged in a stylish urban design that targets smokers between the ages of 25 and 35, according to JTI Korea.

“Camel Evolution Super Slims provides smokers an opportunity to experience international quality super slims from a global brand at the attractive price of 4,000 won,” JTI Korea said in a press release.

Camel Evolution Super Slims are available in two types: Camel Evolution Super Slims 3 mg, which contains 3 mg of tar and 0.30 mg of nicotine, and Camel Evolution Super Slims 1 mg, which contain 1 mg of tar and 0.10 mg of nicotine.

April sales of the Camel brand increased dramatically, quintupling from the prior year, according to data from market researcher Nielsen.

De Labouchere’s JTI departure unsung

| December 24, 2013

Pierre de Labouchere last week resigned with immediate effect as president and CEO of Japan Tobacco International, according to a story by Mark Kleinman for Sky News.

Kleinman quoted a statement issued on Friday by a JTI spokesman as saying that de Labouchere had decided to resign as of December 18.

The statement said that de Labouchere had been replaced by Thomas A. McCoy.

‘JTI declined to comment on the reasons behind Mr de Labouchere’s sudden departure but insiders said that another senior executive responsible for the company’s mergers and acquisitions activity had also quit in recent days, suggesting some kind of strategic disagreement,’ said Kleinman.

PMI and JTI acquire stakes in Russian distribution firm

| December 4, 2013

Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International are acquiring equity stakes of 20 percent each in Megapolis Distribution, the holding company of CJSC TK Megapolis, a major distributor in Russia.

The companies are paying $750 million each for their stakes. If Megapolis’ operational performance meets certain benchmarks during the four fiscal years following the closing of the agreement, PMI and JTI will each pay an additional $100 million.

Megapolis is one of Russia’s leading consumer goods distributors focusing principally on tobacco and beverages. It employs almost 15,000 employees and commands a direct store delivery system that reaches more than 150,000 points of sale. Megapolis handles approximately 70 percent of the cigarettes sold in Russia through its distribution agreements with PMI, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Group.

“We are delighted to reach this agreement with Megapolis, our proven distribution partner, which will support our business expansion in this profitable market,” said Miroslaw Zielinski, PMI’s president, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa Region and PMI Duty Free.

“Megapolis has been our partner since 2007 and has contributed to JTI’s success in the important Russian market,” commented Kevin Tomlinson, JTI’s regional president, commonwealth of independent states. “This acquisition will strengthen their distribution platform allowing us to implement our growth strategy in the region more efficiently and effectively.”

JTI to challenge Scottish plain-packaging plans

| April 8, 2013

The tobacco giant Japan Tobacco International is preparing to challenge the Scottish Government’s plain cigarette packets plans in an advertising campaign this week, according to an article in The Scotsman.

It will reveal correspondence, obtained through Freedom of Information, from the Department of Health in which officials state there is no hard evidence to suggest the change will cut smoking levels.

SNP health minister Michael Matheson announced two weeks ago that Scotland would be the first part of the UK to introduce plain packaging and insisted this was based on “available evidence.” Scottish Government officials say the Public Health Research Consortium has found the plans will reduce attractiveness and stop youngsters taking up the habit.

The FOI correspondence, which has been seen by The Scotsman, but cannot yet be published, will be part of an advertising campaign and dates from 2011.

In December, Australia became the first country to use plain packaging for cigarettes.

The tobacco firm says that the Scottish public should be made aware of the full facts.

JTI UK managing director Jorge da Motta said: “We hope common sense will prevail and that the Scottish Government will disregard this proposal.”