Clampdown on vaping could send users back to cigarettes

Only two years ago, electronic cigarettes were viewed as a small industry with big potential to improve public health by offering a path to steer millions of smokers away from deadly cigarettes.

That promise led U.S. regulators to take a hands-off approach to e-cigarette makers, including a Silicon Valley startup named Juul Labs, which was being praised for creating “the iPhone of e-cigarettes.”

Today Juul and hundreds of smaller companies are at the center of a political backlash that threatens to sweep e-cigarettes from store shelves nationwide as politicians scramble to address two separate public health crises tied to vaping: underage use among teenagers and a mysterious and sometimes fatal lung ailment that has affected more than 1,000 people.

New restrictions at the local, state and federal level are poised to wipe out thousands of fruit-, candy- and dessert-flavored vapes that have attracted teens. But experts who study tobacco policy fear the scattershot approach of the clampdown could have damaging, unintended consequences, including driving adults who vape back to cigarette smoking, which remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death.

“This could take us from potentially the single biggest improvement in public health in the United States toward a public health disaster in which cigarettes continue to be the dominant nicotine product,” said Jonathan Foulds, an addiction researcher and tobacco specialist at Penn State University.

Foulds and many other experts continue to view e-cigarettes as a potential “off-ramp” for smokers, allowing them to continue using nicotine — the addictive chemical in cigarettes — without inhaling all the toxic byproducts of burning tobacco.

But they warn the vaping backlash could do irreparable harm to the public perception of e-cigarettes, while ignoring the riskiest products that are most likely to blame for the recent outbreak.

Federal investigators say that nearly 80 percent of people who have come down with the vaping illness reported using products containing THC, the high-inducing chemical found in marijuana. They have not traced the problem to any single product or ingredient. But investigators are increasingly focused on thickeners and additives found in illegal THC cartridges sold on the black market.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration specifically warned the public not to vape THC or purchase any vaping products off the street.

THC vapes are separate from the legal, nicotine-filled e-cigarettes being targeted by President Donald Trump and politicians across the country.

Democratic governors in New York, Michigan, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon have followed the president’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes nationally with their own state-level flavor restrictions. Massachusetts’ Republican governor has gone even further, placing a four-month moratorium on sales of vaping products of any kind.

“The problem here is we have convinced adult America that vaping is as dangerous as smoking — and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Kenneth Warner, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s school of public health.

E-cigarettes generally heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable aerosol. There is little research on the long-term effects of inhaling the chemicals in vaping, such as vegetable glycerin. Despite those unknowns, most experts agree e-cigarettes pose a much smaller risk than cigarettes, which cause cancer, lung disease and stroke and account for some 480,000 U.S. deaths each year.

Even before the current uproar over vaping, most adults considered e-cigarettes dangerous. A 2017 government survey found 55 percent of Americans considered e-cigarettes as harmful as regular cigarettes.

And while the flavor bans are likely to curb teen vaping, Warner and others point out that those policies won’t prohibit flavors in traditional tobacco products. That means both teens and adults could wind up switching to deadlier menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars, which come in coffee, raspberry, chocolate and hundreds of other varieties.

Walking a policy tightrope

The policy debate underscores the challenge of finding the right regulatory scheme for e-cigarettes, products for which there is little high-quality research.

More than 30 countries prohibit vaping products. In contrast, the United Kingdom has fully embraced them as a public health tool, urging doctors to promote them to help smokers quit.

The U.S. FDA has been struggling to find the right approach since it gained authority over e-cigarettes in 2016.

The agency repeatedly delayed its deadline to begin reviewing e-cigarettes, a step that critics say allowed products like Juul to catch on with teenagers. At the same time, e-cigarette companies and proponents say the agency’s new review deadline of next May is too aggressive and will force most companies out of business.

Now the agency is trying to walk a tightrope between keeping e-cigarettes away from teens but preserving them for an estimated 10 million adults who use them, most of whom also smoke.

Further complicating the picture is the fact that no e-cigarette brand has yet been shown to help smokers quit in rigorous studies. But large-scale surveys suggest smokers who use e-cigarettes daily are up to six times more likely to quit than those who don’t use them.

Risk of smoking relapse

The statistics favoring e-cigarettes are bolstered by the experiences of people like Laura Adams, 52, of Battle Creek, Michigan.

A smoker since age 16, Adams was rushed to the hospital in April when a coughing fit left her struggling to breathe. Doctors diagnosed her with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD, and told her she needed to quit cigarettes.

For more than 25 years previously, Adams had smoked clove-flavored cigarettes. When the government banned those in 2009, she switched to flavored cigars.

“I always liked the flavors better than regular tobacco,” Adams said.

After her medical emergency, Adams tried a series of e-cigarettes at a local vape shop before settling on a large, refillable device that allowed her to switch between flavors like blueberry, watermelon and peach.

“As far as I’m concerned, flavored vaping juice saved my life,” Adams said. “It gave me the option of continuing with my nicotine but without destroying my lungs.”

As Michigan stores pull their flavored products to comply with the state ban, Adams has been researching out-of-state suppliers and even do-it-yourself kits for mixing flavors.

But some public health advocates fear less motivated ex-smokers will simply return to cigarettes. Even with the success of Juul, e-cigarettes remain a tiny slice of the U.S. tobacco market, accounting for $8.6 billion in sales compared to $95 billion for cigarettes, according to Euromonitor.

Industry analysts point to early indicators that e-cigarette sales are beginning to flag amid the bans and negative headlines. E-cigarette sales slowed by 11 percent over the four weeks ended Sept. 22, according to retail data tracked by Nielsen.

The trend “could result in improved combustible cigarette” sales “as vapers potentially return” to smoking, Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog told investors in a recent note.

That’s exactly the opposite of what public health officials have been trying to achieve, noted former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down in April.

As FDA chief, Gottlieb outlined an ambitious anti-smoking plan intended to shift most of the nation’s 34 million smokers away from cigarettes and toward less risky products. The unprecedented plan involved a two-step process: cutting nicotine in traditional cigarettes to make them virtually nonaddictive and then promoting FDA-sanctioned, lower-risk alternatives, such as e-cigarettes.

But the agency has yet to unveil its proposal for cutting nicotine. And a separate proposal to ban menthol cigarettes is still in regulatory limbo.

So as the agency begins sweeping flavored e-cigarettes off the market in coming months, Gottlieb fears smokers may revert to regular cigarettes and cigars, which will still have nicotine levels and flavors designed to addict users.

“This was always a package deal, and it’s become even more critical than ever to advance that entire policy agenda,” he said.

The FDA says it remains committed to Gottlieb’s vision of lower-nicotine cigarettes and less-harmful alternative products. The agency’s regulatory calendar lists this month as the target date to release its proposal for regulating nicotine. But that effort will take years to implement and will almost certainly face lawsuits from tobacco companies.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear which e-cigarettes — if any — will survive the FDA review process set to begin in May.

Under agency standards, only vaping products that represent a net benefit to the nation’s public health are supposed to be permitted. Proving that standard will require companies to submit detailed analysis of their ingredients and population-level estimates of how their products will impact both adult and underage users.

Industry observers say few, if any, of the thousands of vape shops that mix their own custom flavors and solutions will be able to meet the threshold.

“It’s ironic that the vape shops, who really championed e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, are going to be out of business,” said Dr. Neal Benowitz, a nicotine and tobacco researcher at the University of California San Francisco.

That leaves a handful of industry heavyweights such as Juul, which could benefit from billions in research funding from Marlboro-maker Altria, the tobacco company that owns a 35 percent stake in the vaping firm.

But Juul has been besieged by lawsuits and investigations into its alleged role in triggering the explosion of teen vaping. That history could block the company from ever winning FDA approval for its current device, according to former FDA officials.

A third way

The uncertainty swirling around vaping could clear the path for another product that is neither a traditional cigarette nor an e-cigarette. Earlier this year, the FDA authorized the sale of a first-of-a-kind device, IQOS, that heats tobacco without burning it. The approach is designed to mimic the experience of smoking while producing fewer toxic chemicals than paper-and-tobacco cigarettes.

The battery-powered device is getting a preliminary launch this month in Atlanta ahead of a wider rollout. But IQOS’s pedigree underscores the persistence of Big Tobacco companies, even in a world increasingly focused on vaping and other alternative products.

IQOS was developed by Philip Morris International, the global tobacco giant that sells Marlboro cigarettes overseas. It will be sold in the U.S. by the biggest American cigarette maker, Altria, which is also Juul’s biggest investor.

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October 7th, 2019

Stays of legal proceedings put damper on province

New Brunswick's bid to recover billions of dollars in smoking-related health-care costs from the world's largest tobacco companies has been stayed until March 12 of next year.

The lawsuit, launched in the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton in 2008, claims corporate giants, such as Rothmans and Imperial Tobacco, knowingly inflicted harm on adults and youth by making and selling cigarettes for profit and in disregard of public health.

However, all Canadian litigation against the defendants has been on hold since they were granted insolvency protection in March. That protection also shields the defendants from starting to pay out billions of dollars in damages to smokers in Quebec, after an appeal court upheld two historic class-action rulings. On Wednesday, the companies were back before Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas McEwan, seeking to have their protection extended again.

Industry sees 'existential threat'

They claimed they face an "existential threat" from tobacco-related litigation across Canada from plaintiffs "collectively seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in damages which exceed the applicants' total assets by many orders of magnitude," according to court documents.

The judge granted the stay but has yet to release his reasons. The Canadian Cancer Society says it had been hoping New Brunswick would be the first province to hold the industry accountable for its alleged wrongful behaviour.Instead, it seems to be getting a pass, says senior policy analyst Rob Cunningham.

The litigation stay also protects the defendants against any legal claims about their vaping products in Canada.Meanwhile, the list of vaping lawsuits filed in the United States continues to grow, including some that claim the devices caused debilitating strokes and seizures. "We're very concerned about a new generation of teenagers being hooked on e-cigarettes," said Cunningham.  "The tobacco companies have indicated publicly that they want a global settlement of all the lawsuits and then to carry on with business." "The problem with business as normal is that there are 45,000 Canadians who die each year from smoking."

New Brunswick was out front

New Brunswick had been set to go to trial Nov. 4, which would have made it the first province to have its case heard in court. "We were all geared up to come and watch another historical trial take place," said Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada.

In preparation, the province's expert, Dr. Glenn Harrison, submitted five different reports on what it cost the publicly funded health-care system to treat smoking-related diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and various cancers. In 2008, he pegged expenditures at $12.5 billion (in 2007 dollars) for smoking-related health-care costs between 1954 and 2007. That figure ballooned to $67 billion (in 2015 dollars) in Harrison's fourth report, released in February 2018. Then it shrank to $23.2 billion in his fifth report, released nine months later.

What comes next

The tobacco companies say they'll use the stay period to explore a negotiated settlement with the help of a court-appointed mediator. According to court documents filed in Ontario, the applicants are also in the process of negotiating non-disclosure agreements with the provinces.

Imperial Tobacco, 2 smoke shops launch suit against province

Tobacco stocks stay, despite lawsuit, Alward says

"It's essentially a backroom deal," said Callard.

She said New Brunswick's attorney general and the health minister should have been talking to the public about what happened and what comes next. "This is going to be a penny on the dollar settlement in which most of that penny goes to American lawyers," she said.

History of legal bid

Before New Brunswick could launch its lawsuit against big tobacco, the government had to pass legislation giving it the authority to do so. The New Brunswick Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act was first introduced in 2005 and went into force in 2006. The following year, the province announced it had retained a consortium of lawyers, including two from New Brunswick:  Philippe J. Eddie of Moncton and Chris Correia in Saint John. The government said it would not pay any legal costs up front. Instead, the lawyers would recover their legal fees and disbursements as a percentage of the actual amounts recovered in litigation. The fee schedule was broken into four stages:

Stage 1: If a settlement is reached during the initial stage after their retainer, the lawyers will be paid 12 per cent of any settlement reached.

Stage 2: If a settlement is reached after issuance of the statement of claim, the consortium's percentage increases to 18 per cent.

Stage 3: If a settlement is awarded after trial, the percentage rises to 20 per cent.

Stage 4: If a settlement is awarded on appeal, the consortium will receive 22 per cent.

That contingency fee agreement was challenged by the tobacco industry, whose lawyers argued there was a conflict of interest between the government lawyers' potential private financial gain and their duty to act impartially in the public interest when the province hired them. The court rejected those arguments and ruled in the province's favour. None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.


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October 5th, 2019

The Political History Of Tobacco In The US Means For E Cigarettes

The recent controversy around the health risks of vaping is but a small piece in a long history of the tobacco industry in the United States.

The history of regulatory fights over tobacco products goes back to the earliest days of the U.S., University of Virginia assistant professor Sarah Milov writes in her new book "The Cigarette: A Political History."

Like traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes weren’t regulated when they hit the market. Plus, vaping is much more inconspicuous than smoking.

E-cigarette companies benefit from the contradictory definitions of the product — and whether their intended purpose is reducing harm or recreation. These companies argue that they’re “responsible corporate citizens” while selling cotton candy-flavored e-liquid at the same time, she says.

In the late ‘60s, after years of successful anti-smoking advertising, major tobacco companies agreed to a ban on television ads, Milov writes. But companies saved all of the money they would have spent on TV ads and spent it on billboards, magazines and corporate sponsorships.

Milov says she sees a similar willingness to give in to certain regulations when it’s clear public opinion has flipped on a product from e-cigarette companies.

“They agreed to a certain kind of ban in a way that showed their corporate respectability, that they were doing the right thing,” she says, “There might be something to learn from that when we see, for example, Juul agreeing to certain kinds of marketing bans.”

Big Tobacco’s rise in power starts decades earlier following World War I, when farmers in the U.S. found themselves drowning in surplus during a period of agricultural depression, she writes. During the New Deal, the government instituted a program to manage the surplus that included strict rules for growing tobacco.

Following World War II, tobacco farmers who again feared a post-war depression started a trade association called Tobacco Associates.

State legislators allowed Tobacco Associates to require farmers to tax themselves, Milov says. Their tax dollars went into a fund that was used to promote U.S.-grown tobacco around the world.

“Tobacco Associates promotes the virtues of American cigarette tobacco in all the countries that receive Marshall Plan aid,” she says.

Roughly a third of the plan’s total food aid — $2 billion of the $13 billion plan for European reconstruction — went to the procurement of tobacco, she writes.

The group also successfully promoted American flue-cured tobacco under the Food for Peace program during the 1950s and 1960s with notable success, Milov says, particularly in Japan.

At the time of the Marshall Plan, powerful Southern Democrats in Congress gave growers political influence.

American tobacco played a role in the financial reconstruction in Europe and other countries that were hungry to restart their own tobacco industries so they could collect tax revenue on selling cigarettes, she writes.

In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general released its first Smoking and Health report recognizing the link between smoking and lung cancer as well as cardiovascular disease. The report seemed to lead some people to quit, but smoking rates were back up in 1965.

This report wasn’t enough to turn Americans against smoking, Milov says.

“It wasn't science alone that convinced Americans to stop smoking,” she says. “It was the activism of organized nonsmokers that made it very difficult to smoke in public places.”

Activists who believed nonsmokers shouldn’t be forced to inhale tobacco smoke convinced companies to condemn smoking to protect profit margins. They argued that smoke breaks detract from productivity using “compelling” cost estimates, she says.

Businesses also instituted smoking restrictions in the workplace in fear nonsmokers could sue them for fostering an unsafe work environment.

Smoking regulations began by separating smokers and nonsmokers but such rules are harder to enforce than banning smoking altogether, Milov says.

“Complete smoking bans end up being pretty effective in helping people stop smoking,” she says, “which is something many smokers wanted to do anyway.”

By making a business case for banning smoking, activists “made smokers unacceptable as well,” she says. The class bias of the nonsmokers' rights movement is still present today: Nonsmokers tend to be more educated, wealthier and more likely to work than smokers.

Nonsmokers activists succeeded at what they called “making smoking socially unacceptable,” she says, but one thing they didn’t see coming was the technological advancements of the 21st century — e-cigarettes.

A study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine compares vaping-related lung injuries to severe chemical burns, based on lung tissue samples from 17 patients with illnesses linked to the use of electronic cigarettes.

More than 1,000 such cases are being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments across the country. The Trump administration has moved to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, but vaping is still largely unregulated.

The ties between e-cigarette companies and the tobacco industry are clear: The new CEO of Juul, the vaping company targeted in several federal investigations, has two decades of experience in Big Tobacco.

Milov calls the rise of e-cigarettes “a predictable result of the quest to make smoking socially unacceptable.”

“I think for people in public health, what is so troubling about the rise of vaping is that vaping has created a new culture of acceptability, particularly for young people, that they'd worked so hard to eradicate with cigarettes,” Milov says.

For three days in June 1975, hundreds of public-health experts, doctors, civil servants, and activists from around the world converged in New York City for the Third World Conference on Smoking and Health. This conference was larger and more diverse than the previous two, in New York (1967) and London (1971). Most importantly, it included a new, decisive figure: the nonsmoker. During the 1970s, it was in his or her name that the most significant regulation of tobacco would occur. At a panel dedicated to the subject of “Non-Smokers’ Rights,” Glenn Goldberg, a lawyer for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), placed the legal and social movement for non-smokers’ rights in the context of the rights revolutions reshaping Americans’ sense of self, citizenship, and the obligations of the state.

“Black Americans, Spanish-surnamed Americans, American Indians, American women, American homosexuals have all utilized legal action and legal process to obtain and preserve their fair share of government protection and largess,” he explained. “At long last, and most encouragingly, America’s nonsmoking majority is using the law to protect their lungs, to preserve their health, to save their very lives, from the forced inhalation of other people’s tobacco smoke.”

But rights-based liberalism of the 1970s was a tangle of paradoxes, and rights for nonsmokers were no exception. Once nonsmokers had laid claim to a set of inviolable rights, smokers insisted that their own rights were under threat. Even as activists spoke movingly of their pain and discomfort in smoky situations, rights were a language open to nonsmokers and smokers alike as they jostled for control of public space. White middle-class activists had learned from the civil rights movement’s democratization of public space. “Everyone has the right to attend to daily business, to participate in public affairs, and to seek recreation and entertainment without being subjected to constant, unnecessary health hazards and discomfort,” explained a 1976 pamphlet produced by the California Group Against Smoking Pollution (GASP) Legal Fund.

Yet nonsmokers’ rights activists rarely considered the ways in which public-smoking restrictions fell unevenly upon Americans who were more likely to find themselves reliant upon public facilities: racial minorities and the poor. Like other middle-class citizen movements of the decade, GASP argued from a position of victimhood without reckoning with the ways in which its advocacy reflected its members own racial and class privileges. Despite its pretense toward universalism (“everyone has a right to breathe air unpolluted by tobacco smoke”), nonsmokers’ rights talk reflected a thin vision of collective life. Of course, tobacco interests represented an even thinner slice of America. Woman-led, aspirationally universalistic, and insistent upon the democratization of public space, the nonsmokers’ rights movement was a foil to the patriarchal, particularistic, and opaque regime that had dominated tobacco politics.


Two complimentary movements succeeded in portraying the nonsmoker as a figure in need of protection and endowed with rights: ASH, which pursued an elite strategy of legal change, and GASP, which was a decentralized, chapter-based, citizen-led social movement. Although their strategies were not centrally coordinated, each picked up where the other left off. To invent the nonsmoker, ASH relied on the efforts of lawyers in specific legal forums. But GASP insisted nonsmokers were everywhere—they just needed to make themselves known. Despite a shared penchant for irreverent acronyms, GASP and ASH embodied two different organizing traditions. Where ASH thrived in the courtroom, GASP came to life in library meeting rooms, church basements, and family rooms across the country. GASP was a grassroots effort led largely by women, not staffed by elite operators from the Washington legal scene.

GASP was formed in Clara Gouin’s living room in College Park, Maryland, in January 1971. Gouin was a housewife and the mother of two daughters, the youngest of whom had an allergy to smoke. The child’s reaction to cigarettes was so severe that it prevented the family from going out to eat. Even worse than being restricted in public was the expectation that nonsmokers had to accommodate smoking guests in their own homes. Ashtrays in the homes of nonsmokers were monuments to smokers’ supremacy. “What doormats we nonsmokers were!” Gouin recalled thinking as she lay awake one night contemplating nonsmokers’ powerlessness. The friends with whom she commiserated—about the burn marks on furniture and carpets, the added chore of airing out one’s coats and washing one’s hair immediately after returning from a night out—agreed. And Gouin also knew the gravest costs of smoking. She was mourning the loss of her father, a longtime smoker, to lung cancer.

The origins of the College Park GASP were humble. Using $50 of her allotted “grocery money,” Gouin procured the first batch of buttons that would become a standard symbol in the national nonsmokers’ movement: “GASP—Nonsmokers Have Rights Too.” Six of Gouin’s nonsmoking friends—“mostly mothers, and a few working secretaries”—met in her living room and launched their first action: banishing smoking from their own homes by removing ashtrays and putting up no-smoking signs. Several weeks later the first issue of GASP’s newsletter, The Ventilator, was published thanks to the Prince George’s Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (TB&RD), which allowed Gouin to use its mimeograph machine. The Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (later known as the Lung Association) would prove instrumental in another crucial way: it mailed The Ventilator to members in surrounding counties and shared it with 200 state and local affiliates across the United States. Piggybacking on the association’s national scope and reputation, Gouin’s GASP quickly reached an enormous and diverse audience.

Although GASP’s earliest chapters thrived in college towns and liberal enclaves like College Park, Berkeley, and the Bay Area, nonsmoker activism was embraced beyond circles of bohemians, lefties, and university professors. GASP chapters were fully decentralized: there was no central institutional presence in College Park or Washington, D.C. GASP chapters thrived in Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Kansas, and New York. A GASP member in Flint, Michigan, threated to sue the Pontiac General Hospital for assigning her husband, who was recovering from a heart attack, to a hospital room shared with two smokers. Her husband was eventually given a private room—at “no extra $,” the Berkeley GASP News happily relayed. Newsletters kept nonsmoking activists abreast of innovative activities all over the country, inspiring activism closer to home. For example, in 1974, readers of The Ventilator learned that Willi’s Wunderland Restaurant in Davenport, New York, and Harrah’s Theater Restaurants in Lake Tahoe had begun offering nonsmoking sections to patrons. This was not a nonsmokers’ version of the Negro Motorist Green Book. It was intended to inspire Maryland’s nonsmokers to become more visible, to “voice their opinions” to local restaurant owners, to demand more nonsmoking accommodations. Adorned with hand-drawn cartoons (Gouin was a talented cartoonist), newsletters conveyed usable local information (“Smokefree Chinese Cuisine in Cambridge!”), a sense of the nonsmokers’ national presence, and the righteousness and camaraderie of the cause.


Legal and grassroots movements worked synergistically to produce a nonsmoker identity. What we might call identity politics was understood in the vocabulary of “liberation”—a term that at once suggested a history of oppression and the world-historical significance of group expression. GASP’s 1973 Nonsmokers’ Liberation Guide—“a manual of revolutionary tactics and strategies to secure the breathing rights of nonsmokers everywhere”—exemplified the tendency of the movement to deploy the rhetoric of revolution within the safe confines of suburban liberalism. In ten pages, the pamphlet elaborated the personal, community, and legal tactics available to nonsmokers, as well as the “grand strategy” of their cause. Nonsmokers were encouraged to make their presence known through signs at work, by making requests of private businesses and municipal buildings, and by lodging complaints when requests went unheeded. GASP suggested that individuals whose work or standing in the community required that they speak publicly—an indication of the professional backgrounds of many nonsmoking activists—“request no-smoking whenever you give a presentation,” “propose a no-smoking policy or resolution,” or pass around a “polite and reasonable request” to attendees.

While these actions may have brought relief for nonsmokers, a middle class professional announcing a code of conduct in a meeting was hardly the stuff of revolution. Suggestions for legal and community action, while focused on policy change, sprang from the fundamental belief that education, reflection, and the proper administration of pressure on political officials would yield smoking restrictions. The liberation guide possessed no analysis of power—no indictment of the political system that produced and subsidized tobacco, no meditation on the cigarette as metaphor for the poisons and pleasures of consumerism, no reflection on the possibility that sanctions for indoor smoking might fall unevenly on the racially and economically marginal. With buoyant middle-class entitlement, GASP seized the sound and symbolism of liberation. The Liberation Guide was a mirror image of the contemporaneous Virginia Slims “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” advertisements. As Philip Morris conquered cool, GASP liberated the bourgeoisie.

Many GASP activists were Democrats, but Nixon’s metaphor of the silent majority spoke to the sense of long-suffering resentment on the part of respectable citizens. “Approximately two-thirds of adults are non- smokers!” proclaimed a 1973 pamphlet produced by the College Park GASP. “It is time for the silent majority to voice their objections to being made the involuntary victims of tobacco smoke.” To overcome nonsmokers’ silence, GASP encouraged members to “become visual”—to adorn themselves, their property, and, if possible, other people’s belongings. One of the first actions of Gouin’s GASP chapter was a letter-writing campaign to 700 physicians in southern Maryland with a request to put up no- smoking signs in their waiting rooms. Most doctors did not reply, but fifty offices proclaimed themselves smoke-free. GASP chapters in places as distinct as Berkeley and Wichita sold buttons, bumper stickers, and posters with slogans like “Your Cigarette is Killing Me,” “Yes, I Mind if You Smoke,” and “Kissing a Smoker is Like Licking an Ashtray.” These items were less valuable as a source of revenue (prices ranged from 25¢ to $1) than as a definitive declaration of nonsmokers’ prerogative.

Consciousness-raising was another tool for increasing nonsmokers’ sense of grievance. As powerfully expressed by contemporary feminists, consciousness-raising brought the hidden indignities of private experience out into the open, where they could be located in a structural critique of power and patriarchy. In the words of feminist historian Sarah Evans, the practice was premised on the belief that “people change…through a process of talking together, discovering common problems, and thereby understanding the need for collective action.” It was a tool admirably suited to the needs of the nonsmokers’ movement—and not only because many of its earliest participants were women. “For a long time many nonsmokers have felt individually annoyed by smoking, but suffered in silence,” Gouin explained in a 1972 profile. “People are more likely to speak out when they know others feel the same way.” The fact that nonsmokers comprised a majority of the population made speaking out a lower-risk proposition than other activism. But suffering itself ennobled the nonsmokers’ cause, opening up avenues for analogy to the liberation struggles of other op- pressed peoples.

GASP sought to catalyze a transformation in consciousness—to help nonsmokers see themselves as an oppressed category of people. For the middle-class whites who comprised GASP’s ranks, there was surely a romance in understanding anti-tobacco activism as their own freedom struggle. At a freezing rally at the U.S. Capitol held on the occasion of Lincoln’s birthday in February 1975, a tall, gangly nonsmoker dressed as the president proclaimed the event “a nonsmokers’ liberation ceremony.” “We are gathered here today to proclaim the emancipation of a large number of Americans who have been held in involuntary servitude,” the ersatz Abe announced. “They are the millions of nonsmokers, persons who choose not to smoke, but who are, nevertheless, made slaves of the smoke of other people.”72 Presidential impersonation provided an unwittingly apt metaphor for the group’s constituency. Though they perceived smoke as the yoke of slavery, activists for nonsmokers’ rights also sought to occupy a special place of power reserved in American political culture for the organized, educated, and white.

At times, activists spoke the heady language of civil rights and emancipation, drawing comparisons between the nonsmokers’ rights movement and the African-American freedom struggle. Nonsmoking activists “reasoned from race,” to borrow legal historian Serena Mayeri’s evocative phrase, drawing analogies between civil rights for African Americans and civil rights for nonsmokers. Though they were quick to hedge their comparisons, nonsmokers’ rights activists’ use of analogical reasoning frequently flattened the difference between the structural discrimination that African Americans faced and the crimped choices that nonsmokers contended with as consumers. “Although I would not suggest that non- smokers’ rights are trampled on to the same extent as have been the rights of minority groups,” Peter Hanauer, the co-founder of Berkeley’s GASP, told an audience of anti-smoking activists in 1976, “I would suggest certain parallels.” After all, he wondered, “Is there any real difference . . . between saying to a person ‘You can’t eat at this lunch counter’ and saying ‘You can’t eat at this lunch counter if you are concerned about your health or if you want to enjoy your lunch?” For Hanauer, nonsmokers—like African Americans denied public accommodation under Jim Crow—were victims of oppression.

All over the country, men and women like Gouin were forming little platoons to assert control over their environments—and to intervene in the political processes that drew the permissible limits of development, pollution, and noise.76 An ethos of participatory democracy as well as the imperative to keep property values afloat spurred such suburban environ- mentalists to clean up rivers and green spaces, oppose aerial pesticide application, and insist on zoning standards to control development. In the suburbs, the environmentalism of the 1970s was frequently articulated in the language of “quality of life” and with reference to access to amenities such as parks and bike paths. Nonsmoking activists were part of this quality of life constituency. After all, smoky environments prevented thou- sands of families from accessing the kinds of places considered the birth- right of the middle class—restaurants, cafes, and movie theaters. Suburban environmentalists and nonsmoking crusaders shared a consumerist approach to public space: it was theirs to enjoy.


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October 4th, 2019

PCA Launches Campaign to Oppose Cigar Tax Increase

Two bills have recently been introduced in Washington D.C. to help curtail the national youth vaping epidemic. Unfortunately for cigar enthusiasts, both measures would also increase the federal tax rate on premium cigars. To help prevent a tax hike, the Premium Cigar Association has launched a nationwide email and social media campaign to garner support from the premium cigar community and make it simple to contact elected officials.

Senate bill 2517, The Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2019, was introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) last week, and seeks to establish the first federal e-cigarette tax and boost the tax rate on other tobacco products such as cigars and pipe tobacco. Currently, the tax rate levied on most premium cigars is 52.75 percent of the cigar’s price.

The bill would replace that tax with a new taxed based on weight, rather than value, and it would end up costing much more for cigars. The new large cigar tax rate would be “$49.56 per pound and a proportionate tax at the like rate on all fractional parts of a pound, but not less than 10.066 cents per cigar for large cigars.”

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) also introduced legislation that would increase the tax on premium cigars. Called the Quell Underage Inhaling of Toxic Substances (QUITS) Act, Suozzi’s bill amends the current tax rate to “$73.85 per pound and a proportionate tax at the like rate on all fractional parts of a pound but not less than 15 cents per cigar.”

The new proposed taxes don’t make for an easy comparison to the old, but according to Joshua Habursky, director of federal affairs for the Premium Cigar Association, these new rates would, at the very least, triple the tax rate on premium cigars. To help fight that tax hike, the PCA has created a portal on its website that streamlines the process for contacting elected officials.

"We are not going to sit idly by when Congress gives speeches against vaping, but their actual policies attack premium cigars and pipe tobacco, which are not part of the youth access problem, " said Joshua Habursky, director of federal affairs for the Premium Cigar Association, in a press release. "These are cringeworthy tax increases that hurt retailer small business owners, employees, manufacturers, and ultimately every cigar enthusiast.”


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October 3rd, 2019

Anti-tobacco summit in Bogor eyes ban on vaping

Representatives attending the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Alliance for Tobacco Control (AP-CAT) Summit have agreed to strengthen tobacco control among countries Asia Pacific and raise awareness on the impact of smoking.

The meeting, held in Bogor city in West Java on Wednesday and Thursday gathered representatives of 12 countries who discussed strategies for tobacco control in the region. The summit resulted in 12 points of agreement that aim to strengthen the enforcement of regulations to control the health, economic, environmental and social consequences of tobacco consumption, including the spread of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Bogor Mayor Bima Arya Sugiarto said the event was aimed at campaigning for tobacco control and designing scenarios in controlling tobacco consumption at the Asia Pacific level.

“Overall, NCDs are preventable. Therefore, we commit to accelerating [efforts] to end tobacco consumption and production and prevent NCDs,” Bima said last week as reported by Antara news agency.Among the 12 points in the agreement are establishing 100 percent smoking-free areas in public places and banning tobacco advertisements, promotions and sponsorships, including displaying cigarettes at local stores.

Another important point in the agreement is a pledge among country members to find local parties that can conduct research on and monitor tobacco use and NCDs to find scientific evidence on the public health benefits and cost-saving of tobacco control. In response to the growing use of e-cigarettes, AP-CAT participants also agreed to urge their respective governments to ban the pervasive use of these devices, alongside other kinds of smoking products such as vaporizers and shisha. E-cigarettes, which were previously touted as safe alternatives to conventional cigarettes, have recently been in the spotlight following deaths and lung-related illnesses attributed to them in the United States.

AP-CAT — which is organized by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), an NGO that spearheads campaigns promoting tobacco control and is dedicated to fighting the tobacco epidemic — was attended by representatives of 27 city mayors from 12 country members. Besides Indonesia, there were representatives from Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao, Timor Leste, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Nepal. As stated on The Union’s official website, AP-CAT is aimed at building stronger political commitments and strengthening networks among cities in the region to enhance tobacco control and improve public health.

There are three main objectives of AP-CAT: to implement comprehensive tobacco control policies, create local innovations and solutions to prevent non-communicable diseases and prevent the tobacco industry’s interference in policy development.It was the first time the summit was held in Bogor, Bima said last week, adding that the previous three conferences were held in Singapore. He proudly stated that Bogor had been chosen to host the 2019 AP-CAT because it was among the Indonesian cities that implemented strict regulations on tobacco consumption and circulation.

Through the issuance of a 2009 bylaw on smoke-free areas, Bima said the city had expanded areas in which people are prohibited to smoke.The bylaw stipulates eight areas that should be free from cigarette smoke at all times. In addition to schools, medical centers and places where children most likely gather, the list also includes houses of worship, office buildings, public transportation facilities, sports facilities and public places in general.

The bylaw also bans the advertisement of tobacco products in outdoor spaces and tobacco company-sponsored events.“In Bogor, you will not see cigarette advertisements. We will expand the bylaw’s implementation; this is our commitment to campaigning for tobacco control,” he said.He added that contrary to popular belief that banning cigarette ads would decrease the city’s income, Bogor instead experienced a surge in tax income in 2017.

The city also issued a mayoral decree in 2013 on the prohibition of cigarette advertisement. In 2015, another bylaw was issued to regulate specific regulations on the matter and was strengthened by another mayoral decree issued in 2016.When the city administration started to ban cigarette advertisements, Bogor earned Rp 12.4 billion (US$875,000) in revenue from billboards out of a total revenue of Rp 398.3 billion, up from Rp 11.5 billion and Rp 376.4 billion earned in previous years.In 2016, the city earned Rp 13 billion in billboard taxes and a total revenue of Rp 492 billion.

That time, Bima said the city was persistent in banning any kind of outdoor advertisements for cigarette products. “It’s okay if we don’t get sponsored by cigarette companies. I will not back down, given that cigarette brings more harm [than good]. I will never choose money over the health of children in Bogor and let them become addicted to cigarettes,” he said. Article 16 of the 2009 bylaw stipulates that individuals and/or institutions that sell cigarettes within smoke-free areas are not allowed to clearly display the products; they should instead display a sign informing customers that they sell them. Anyone caught violating the policy could be punished with up to three days in jail or be fined up to Rp 1 million.

If the violation is made by an institution or agency, their leader could be charged with up to one week and three weeks’ detention, respectively, and face a fine of Rp 5 million or Rp 15 million.

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October 2nd, 2019

Helping tobacco plants save water

Research in the Electronic Plants group at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Campus Norrköping, follows two main avenues. In one, scientists incorporate electronic circuits into plants, such as roses, in a method of storing energy. In the other, they are seeking ways to influence plant functions with bioelectronic devices, aiming, for example, to give plants greater resistance to environmental stress.

"We can implant electronic devices into plants without damaging the plant. This research field is new, but we are starting to be able to influence plant physiology, and we hope that this will become an effective tool to study how plants function, but even find applications in agriculture and forestry," says Eleni Stavrinidou, who leads the research group in Electronic Plants at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University.

Scientists Iwona Bernacka-Wojcik and Miriam Huerta have managed to electronically deliver a common stress hormone known as ABA into a tobacco plant. The plant normally secretes this hormone when subjected to stress, for example, during drought or other extreme weather conditions. A solution containing the hormone is also sometimes sprayed onto plants in shops, to keep them fresh longer.

The researchers showed that after the hormone was delivered it spread through the leaf tissue, and that the small pores, the stomata, on the leaf surface closed, to prevent the release of water. The plant must optimize the opening and closing of the pores because when they are open it carries out photosynthesis, but at the same time it loses water.

"Using the new generation of ion pump, with a capillary form whose diameter is no thicker than a hair, we could electronically deliver ABA molecules into the leaves of tobacco plants without harming the plant. If the moisture remains in the plant, it becomes more resistant to, for example, drought," says Eleni Stavrinidou.

The lack of any damage to the leaf and the plant is an important part of the success, since plants do not repair damaged tissue as animals and humans do. Instead, the plant discards the damaged leaf or branch, and replaces it, in the optimal case, with a new leaf or shoot.

The tiny ion pump was developed a couple of years ago at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics. It consists of an electrode made from a conducting polymer inside a tiny container connected to a channel based on a polymer electrolyte. Ions are led through the thin channel out to exactly the correct position—inside a root fiber or leaf vein of a plant. The container in this case is filled with ABA. When a voltage is applied across the electrodes, one in the container and one external, the charged substance is transported out of the channel into the tissue. The rate of delivery of the substance is directly proportional to the current. Only the active substance is pumped out, nothing else, and there is no return flow to the pump.

"We can give the plant the exact dose it needs, with high precision," Iwona Bernacka-Wojcik says.


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October 1st, 2019

New tobacco sales age minimum starts Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, Maryland will join 17 other states and more than 485 cities and counties across the nation in increasing the minimum legal sales age to 21 for all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes, vapes, pod-based devices and e-liquids.

The law change comes as Maryland and other states deal with an outbreak of severe lung illnesses associated with vaping. As of Sept. 24, there were 20 such cases reported in Maryland, according to a news release.

The Maryland Department of Health is reaching out to more than 4,000 randomly selected licensed tobacco retailers across the state to help them prepare for a change in the legal sales age for tobacco products, according to the release.

The department will provide educational materials and survey retailers on what additional resources they need to adapt to changes in tobacco sales.

Earlier this month, the department launched the statewide campaign “21 or none.” New materials — including “minimum age of sale” signs and a toolkit to train staff members on new procedures for checking ID — are available for download on the Responsible Tobacco Retailer website at NoTobaccoSales

Retailers selected for participation in the survey were recently sent letters and reminder postcards with a web address to complete the short online questionnaire. Responses are anonymous, and more than 200 retailers have already participated as of Wednesday. The survey will close Monday and a follow-up survey is planned for spring 2020.

Nationally, from 2017 to 2018 alone, use of electronic smoking devices increased by 78%, according to the release.

Approximately 865,000 Marylanders use tobacco and electronic smoking devices, most of them starting before age 21 and the new law aims to protect more than a quarter of a million residents between ages 18 and 20 from developing a nicotine addiction, according to the release.


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September 30th, 2019

Why flavored vaping products are this era’s Big Tobacco menthol cigarettes

Why flavored vaping products are this era's Big Tobacco menthol cigarettes

High schoolers rallying in downtown Los Angeles this week chanted “Fight the flavor” as they showed their support for banning the flavored tobacco products that health experts say are fueling an epidemic of nicotine addiction among youths.

Among the demonstrators was Jennyfer Cortez, 16, who said she tried an e-cigarette for the first time five years ago because it tasted like blueberries, her favorite fruit. She didn’t like vaping because it made her cough, but she has seen her peers vape at their lockers, in the school bathroom and sometimes even in class.

“These kids are so addicted to nicotine, they can’t go one class period without vaping,” said Cortez, a junior at Ánimo Jackie Robinson Charter High School in South L.A.

Governments around the nation are considering banning flavored tobacco products amid burgeoning e-cigarette use among youths and a mysterious outbreak of a serious lung disease that appears to be linked to vaping. The legislative efforts would eliminate the fruity e-cigarette pods with flavors such as mango, strawberry and mint, which public health experts say are giving nicotine a foothold among youths.

Many of the regulations, including the one being considered by Los Angeles County officials that drew demonstrators to downtown L.A. on Tuesday, would also outlaw menthol cigarettes. Public health experts say the marketing and sustained popularity of menthol cigarettes provide a window into the playbook that e-cigarette companies could be using when it comes to selling flavored nicotine products.

Menthol cigarettes, which were invented in the 1920s, were promoted as healthier than regular cigarettes, despite being more dangerous, experts say.

Aggressive marketing of menthol cigarettes to African Americans worked — approximately 85% of African American smokers now prefer menthols, said Phillip Gardiner, a researcher with the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.

Over the last century, attempts to ban menthols have failed, because of lobbying by the tobacco industry as well as the cigarettes’ ubiquity, experts say. The Trump administration announced a proposal last year to take them off the market, but the effort appears to have stalled.

“Menthol is the ultimate candy flavor — it helps the poison go down easier,” Gardiner said.

Youths are experimenting with flavored e-cigarettes; from 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette usage among high schoolers jumped 78%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cigarette devices work by heating a liquid cartridge containing nicotine, and perhaps an added flavor, and turning it into a vapor the user can inhale.

This month, Michigan became the first state in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes. The Trump administration said this month that it is also considering outlawing the products.

The concerns about flavored tobacco products mirror those about menthol cigarettes, which are flavored with a mint extract and have served as a gateway to addiction for almost a century, experts say.

“Tobacco companies have known this for a very long time…. Nicotine on its own is really bitter tasting, it does not taste good at all,” said Thomas Ylioja, a tobacco cessation expert at National Jewish Health, a research hospital in Denver. “As a former youth smoker myself, menthol was how I got started.”

Legend has it that in 1925, a man named Lloyd “Spud” Hughes placed his tobacco in a baking powder tin along with menthol crystals, which he was using to treat a cold. The next day, he rolled his tobacco and accidentally created a menthol cigarette.

Over the following decades, many companies began selling menthols, marketing them as a less harsh alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Tobacco executives noticed a slight preference for menthols among African Americans and began targeting them with advertising. Popular menthol brand Kool hired Elston Howard, an African American catcher for the New York Yankees, as a spokesman, and cigarette companies bought ads in Ebony magazine. Predictably, the percentage of black people smoking menthols skyrocketed, according to a paper Gardiner wrote detailing what he calls the “African Americanization of menthol cigarette use.”

“Unfortunately, the tobacco industry efforts have been very successful,” Gardiner said in an interview.

Menthol not only makes tobacco taste better, it also numbs the throat so people can smoke more cigarettes, he said. Worse, menthol allows for deeper inhalation of the smoke, which lets more nicotine into the body, which makes people more addicted, he said.

In 2009, a federal law outlawed many flavored cigarettes, such as chocolate and vanilla, but not menthol. The long-term success of menthols paved the way for flavored e-cigarettes, said Bill Novelli, former president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“It seems pretty clear that these flavors were basically created to seduce and entice kids into smoking,” he said.

The results of a survey conducted by the American Heart Assn. of 1,500 adult e-cigarette users published this month found that nearly a third of adults who use e-cigarettes said a primary reason they started was because of the flavors. That percentage was even higher among young adults, according to the survey.

“The flavoring in these nicotine products attracts younger people at a time when they are most likely to become addicted if they try it,” said Dr. Jessica Sims with the American Heart Assn.

However, those opposed to banning flavored e-cigarettes say they offer a way for smokers to switch to a safer alternative. Experts agree that despite the risks of e-cigarettes, they remain less dangerous than traditional cigarettes.

At the rally outside the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, people shouted “Save our vapes” over the high schoolers.

Alan Ngo, 32, held a sign that said, “I Vote, I Vape.” Four years ago, he switched from smoking to vaping, the only thing that helped him quit traditional cigarettes, he said. He said his lungs feel better than they did before. He is able to run farther and he coughs less, he said.

“I think the flavors save lives,” said Ngo, who lives in Rosemead.

At the meeting Tuesday, county supervisors advanced the ban on flavored tobacco, which would make illegal not only the fruity pods of liquid nicotine and traditional menthol cigarettes, but also mint chewing tobacco and cream cigars, among other products. The ban will affect only unincorporated areas, which include about 1 million people.

Also on Tuesday, Kevin Burns, the chief executive of e-cigarette giant Juul, stepped down. His replacement, K.C. Crosthwaite, said the company would suspend all advertising in the United States and would refrain from lobbying the Trump administration on its proposed ban of flavored e-cigarette products.

In a statement, Crosthwaite acknowledged the company must work with policymakers and regulators because its “future is at risk due to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence in our industry.”


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September 27th, 2019

Big Tobacco survived a crackdown So can e-cigarettes

Altria's big investment in Juul isn't looking so hot now amid growing concerns about health risks tied to vaping and a broad regulatory crackdown on e-cigarettes. But the tobacco giant is unlikely to give up on Juul anytime soon.

If anything, the decision by Juul to replace CEO Kevin Burns with former Altria (MO) executive K.C. Crosthwaite is a sign that the US-based seller of Marlboro still considers vaping a growth market that will help offset the decline in traditional tobacco cigarettes. The data supports that. According to figures from market research firm Nielsen, electronic cigarette sales in the US nearly doubled to $4.5 billion in the 52 weeks ending August 24. Tobacco cigarette sales fell 3% to $59.3 billion during the same time period.

Nielsen doesn't break down sales by specific company. But Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog estimates that with about 75% market share, Juul is the clear leader. That puts it well ahead of Vuse, owned by British American Tobacco (BTAFF) subsidiary Reynolds American, and Imperial Brands (IMBBF)-owned blu.

Altria is expected to continue focusing on Juul as a way to generate more sales.

Experts said Altria is also savvy enough to realize that working with the government makes more sense than fighting it. The Food and Drug Administration is looking to crack down on underage vaping by banning flavored e-cigarettes.

New Juul CEO has more experience with regulators

Because Altria has decades of expertise dealing with the FDA and other federal as well as state regulators, the company may take further steps to ease any concerns about addiction and targeting younger customers. "We expect Mr. Crosthwaite to focus on damage control immediately -- adopting a more conciliatory tone around the risks of the product and controlling the message in the media about the product and brand," said Stifel analyst Christopher Growe in a report. That's a skill set that Burns, who previously was chief operating officer at yogurt maker Chobani and worked for more than a dozen years as a partner at private equity firm TPG Capital, may not have possessed. Altria CEO Howard Willard admitted as much in a speech at The Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum conference in Washington on Wednesday. "This is a pivotal moment for the industry and strong leadership and action are urgently needed," Willard said, adding that "I've worked closely with K.C. at Altria for many years and am confident in his leadership and integrity and that he will help Juul urgently confront and reduce underage vaping." Willard said. Along those lines, Juul also agreed this week to halt "all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the US." But Altria has other non-traditional products in store even if there is a further crackdown on Juul and vaping.

Altria to remain focused on heated tobacco and cannabis

The company still intends to go ahead with plans to market the iQOS e-cigarette from Philip Morris (PM) in the US despite the fact that Altria and Philip Morris called off merger talks Wednesday. (iQOS cigarettes, unlike vaping pens, still contain tobacco but they heat it instead of burning it.)

Altria also spent $1.8 billion for a 45% stake in Canadian cannabis company Cronos (CRON) last year.

Stifel's Growe added that regardless of what happens in the US with Juul, he thinks Juul still has the potential to gain share overseas, even though India recently banned vaping and China is looking to put more regulations on it.

"We believe [Crosthwaite] will focus intently on international growth which looks muddy at this time, but remains a strong growth potential for the brand," Growe said.

A lawyer that is suing Juul, Altria and Philip Morris for false advertising said he thinks Altria isn't going to throw in the towel on Juul just yet either -- even if the value of the company's 35% stake in Juul, originally worth nearly $13 billion, may have to be reduced.

"Juul claims that it's not Big Tobacco. But they are the same thing. Getting rid of Burns and hiring someone from Altria is not surprising. It was inevitable," said Jonathan Gdanski, an attorney at Fort Lauderdale-based Schlesinger Law Offices.


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September 26th, 2019

We will Continue to Invest in Tobacco Production in Croatia

Tobacco is an important crop for Croatian agriculture with stable production conditions and constant growth in terms of value, and tobacco worth a massive 124 million kuna is produced annually in Croatian fields.

Statistics show that a mere 400 tobacco farmers account for as much as 62 percent of the total value of Croatian potato production, as well as fruits, with it accounting for as much as 55 percent of the value of grapes and 48 percent of the value of Croatian olive oil production.

Most domestic tobacco production is concentrated through the system of the company Hrvatske duhani, which is within the system of the British American Tobacco Corporation (BAT), which took over the domestic TDR a year ago. Poslovni Dnevnik sat down and spoke with Helio Moura, BAT's tobacco development manager, about the trends in tobacco production and what Croatian farmers can expect in the coming period.

How important is Croatian tobacco production in the context of its total production in Europe, of course for BAT?

Tobacco production exists in many European countries, but as far as BAT is concerned, Croatia is the only country in Europe where we're developing our tobacco production. Production in Croatia is very important to us in this context, because from here we deal with our supply from the factory in Kanfanar, as well as our other factories in Europe.

How much does your factory in Kanfanar satisfy the tobacco raw material needs from domestic sources, ie from Croatian tobacco?

Tobacco from Croatia is used not only in the factory in Kanfanar but in many of our other factories in Europe. It is important to know that tobacco products consist of special blends of tobacco, a blend of various types of tobacco that give the characteristic aroma of the product.

This means that different tobacco from many countries is mixed to produce the final product. As regards the use of tobacco produced in Croatia at the Kanfanar plant, it is estimated that between one third and 40 percent of local tobacco is processed in Kanfanar and the rest is exported.

To how many European countries does BAT export its raw material from Croatia?

Tobacco from Croatia is exported to six of our factories in Europe.

If you use about 40 percent of your home-made tobacco in your Croatian factory, how many countries, or how many other types of tobacco do you supply in Kanfanar?

We want to give all our consumers the same quality, the same taste so that all of our final products are blends of tobacco from a number of sources but standard quality. In the blends, as a rule, we use European tobacco, but just as we do with Brazilian and Oriental. There are almost no finished products which are made from only one type of tobacco.

How profitable is tobacco leaf production for farmers?

Tobacco is one of, if not the most profitable, agricultural crops in Croatia as well as in any other country in the world.

I can say with certainty that growing tobacco is at least three or four times, and somewhere around five or six times, is a more profitable agricultural crop than any other. However, it is our rule that we ask the farmers we cooperate with to engage in other crops, with the aim of optimising their overall agricultural production, with tobacco being just a kind of ''cash flow'' to their total agricultural business.

How many farmers do you have under contract in Croatia and what is your cooperation with them?

We have more than 400 subcontractors in Virovitica-Podravina County and the area around Kutjevo. Tobacco cultivation takes place on approximately 3,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Does the popularisation of new smoking technologies, such as e-cigarettes, threaten agricultural tobacco production?

The fact is that the use of such ''new generation'' products globally reduces the use of classic tobacco products. However, these new products are focused on the elimination of tar and most other harmful substances generated by the burning process, but many of them still use nicotine. And nicotine is obtained from the tobacco leaf. So we don't really expect production to fall in that part.

What are your specific plans for tobacco production in the future in Croatia?

We plan further investments in tobacco production in Croatia. Tobacco production is one of the best organised [types of production] in Croatian agriculture, and we support our subcontractors financially, also through the continued support of our agronomists, but also by transferring a lot of know-how and practices that we have in our global centres of excellence.

Croatian Tobacco financing subcontractors finance more than two-thirds of the total value of production each year in advance, amounting to more than 60 million kuna, they grant favourable long-term loans for investments in various equipment and irrigation systems, and last year, they opened new long-term credit lines for the procurement of mechanical pickers.

29 tobacco harvesting machines have already been invested in, and the plan is to continue at the same time pace in the forthcoming period. Machine harvesting will certainly help our subcontractors to address the problem of labour shortages, which have been the biggest impediments to increasing tobacco production.

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September 25th, 2019

Tobacco vendors to face strict action in Punjab

Acting against illagal sale of flavoured chewing tobacco with pan masala in punjab, principal secretary health Anurag aggarwal has directed food safety department to crackdown on vendors flouting the norms.

There is a complete ban on sale and distribution of flavoured chewable tobacco. Anggarwal expressed displeasure over some manufacturers selling pan masala with flavoured chewing tobacco in separate sachets, often conjoint and sold together by the same vendors from the same premises intentionally.

He said notification had been issued regarding prohibition on manufacturing gutkha and pan masala processed or flavoured chewing tobacco and any other food products containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients. He instructed the concerned departments to intensify the cheking of vendors to stop the sale of tobacco under the food safety and standart ( Prohibition and Restriction on Sales ) Regulations. He said it could also lead to cancellation of food license of premises if there is any storage or sale illegal tobacco products. FDA assistant commisioner Amit Joshi said 54 samples of tobacco and masalas were collected between January and August of which 20 samples were found non-conforming to standards.

Stating that cigarette packet sale without 85% pictorial warning is violation of the norms, he ordered strict action against the offenders


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September 25th, 2019

Sale of tobacco products from vending machines to be banned

The Government is to ban the sale of tobacco products from vending machines, the Minister for Health Simon Harris has said.

The Minister said the Government also plans to prohibit vaping for those under 18 under new legislation to be brought to Cabinet in the next few weeks.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Harris said he is extremely concerned at the number of children who are starting to vape.

He criticised “unethical and disingenuous ways” in which companies were targeting children in terms of colours and flavours.

Mr Harris said he would bring legislation to Cabinet this month to ban vaping for under 18s as well as outlaw the sake of tobacco in vending machines.

“I do not believe you should be able to buy tobacco from a vending machine. We know this can make it easier for children and others to buy tobacco.”

He said he did not believe the new initiative would be controversial.

“Tobacco kills you. It is very bad for you. It causes cancer. We have a policy called a tobacco- free Ireland. ”


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September 24th, 2019

Indonesia finance minister defends plan to raise cigarette prices

Indonesia’s finance minister defended on Monday a plan to raise cigarette prices by more than a third from next year to reduce smoking rates, after some in the tobacco industry said it would encourage illegal manufacturing and threaten jobs.

Highlighting the fact the excise tax for 2019 had been flat, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told reporters the government had tried to find “a balance” between rising numbers of “young smokers, especially young female smokers” and cigarettes’ popularity among Indonesia’s poorest, with the possible impact on the livelihoods of tobacco farmers.

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest tobacco market, after China. “On the one hand, we are concerned about health, while on the other we have to pay attention to farmers and cigarette workers ... and also guard against a rise in illegal cigarettes,” the minister said.

The tax increase, which will take effect from Jan. 1 and was announced on Friday, will see the government raise the minimum price of cigarettes across categories by an average of 35% and increase the excise tax on tobacco products by 23%.

Nearly 70% of adult men smoke in Indonesia, according to the World Health Organization - one of the highest rates in the world - and tobacco kills 225,720 people each year in the country, or 14.7% of all deaths, mostly through cardiovascular diseases, the WHO said in a 2018 report.

The Indonesian government has been raising taxes on tobacco products almost every year since 2014, but that has not had a significant impact on smoking rates.

The sharp excise hike was criticized by some companies and industry lobby groups on Monday.

Hananto Wibisono, spokesman for Indonesia Tobacco Community Alliance, said in a statement that the increase risked increasing the spread of illegal cigarettes.

“If illegal cigarettes become widespread, then all parties are disadvantaged, from legal cigarette manufacturers, their workers, to tobacco and clove farmers. The government will also be at disadvantage because illegal cigarette producers don’t pay excise taxes,” he said.

Philip Morris-controlled HM Sampoerna, one of Indonesia’s biggest cigarette companies, said they had received no warning for the increase.

“It will definitely disrupt the tobacco ecosystem,” HM Sampoerna director Troy Modlin said in a statement.

Gudang Garam and the unlisted Djarum, Indonesia’s two of the country’s other largest tobacco companies, did not respond to requests for comment.

Both Gudang Garam and HM Sampoerna saw their shares tumble by more than 20 percent on Monday, with analysts warning the increase could hurt the Indonesian tobacco giants’ 2020 earnings.

Indrawati told reporters the excise hike would only result in a 10% increase on the labour-intensive, domestic handrolled cigarette industry.

“But for companies whose turnover is over 50 billion rupiah, the increase is relatively higher,” she said.

Indonesia aims to collect 172 trillion rupiah ($12.32 billion) of revenue from tobacco excises in 2020, according to government proposals for next year’s state budget that is awaiting parliamentary approval.


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September 23rd, 2019

Owatonna votes to raise tobacco buying age to 21 effective Oct 4

It has been almost a year since the first study session brought Tobacco 21 to the Owatonna City Council, but as of Tuesday night the conversation is over.Owatonna council members approved the adoption of a Tobacco 21-style ordinance — which prohibits persons under the age of 21 from purchasing, possessing or using tobacco and other tobacco-related products — in a 6-1 vote with council member Nate Dotson opposing.

“I won’t dispute that smoking is bad in all its forms,” Dotson had said during the first reading of the ordinance in August. “I have one question, which I have asked previously of the council: how many of you would be OK with banning the sale of tobacco products from city limits? I think if we’re concerned about public health, that’s the way to do it.”

That makes Owatonna the 44th Minnesota city to end the sale of tobacco-related products in their municipalities, including Waseca, St. Peter, Mankato and North Mankato . Eight counties have also approved ordinances.

Little to no comments were made by the board on Tuesday as the second reading passed, though council member Kevin Raney thanked City Attorney Mark Walbran and Owatonna Police Chief Keith Hiller for all the hard work they put into “finding an ordinance that works” for Owatonna.

The second reading had been tabled for a month in August per request of Walbran who wanted to take the time to clean up some of the language.

“We have deleted administrative fines for persons under the age of 21, monetary fines,” Walbran said. “Instead, the persons under the age of 21 that violate the ordinance are going to be referred to the County Attorney’s Office for diversion or prosecution if the case warrants it.”

Walbran said that in discussions with the Steele County Attorney’s Office, it was decided that those violating the new ordinance and are under 21 will be referred to a diversion program that includes participation in a Nicotine Awareness Class. This is part of a program that is already in existence for those under the age of 18 – the current legal limit to purchase tobacco and other tobacco products.

“Of course if you have the young entrepreneur who is a repeat offender making money selling cigarettes to people under the age of 21, that person will probably have exhausted his diversion opportunities and may need to be prosecuted, which would be a misdemeanor,” Walbran gave as an example of what type of violation may warrant prosecution. “In talking to the County Attorney’s Office, the prosecutors are more interested in a diversion plan for the young.”

<&firstgraph>The provisions also include a minimum age of 18 for persons who may sell tobacco products are a retail location. Currently, the ordinance has a minimum age of 14 for clerks selling tobacco products. Walbran said they believed it made the most sense to bring that age up to the same age required by law to sell alcohol.

“The more significant things are that we’re joining along with many, many communities in Minnesota as well as throughout the nation in prohibiting sales to persons under age 21,” Walbran said to the council. “The second important thing is it broadens the scope of regulation to vaping and vaping products.”

“We really didn’t know and didn’t understand what was going on,” Raney said about all the information the council has learned while looking at the Tobacco 21 model. “It is a change in our community, no doubt, but I personally think it’s going to be a positive change in community both in the short and long term.”

The new ordinance is expected go into effect Friday, Oct. 4.

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September 20th, 2019

A Material derived from tobacco is a strong as wood or plastics

Humanity's reliance on plastic is a significant problem. This material is derived from petroleum and generally ends its life as landfill and or in an incinerator. Either way , that's unsustainable. So why not develop biocomposites that are mroe enviromentally friendly ?

That’s not as simple as it sounds. Most biodegradable plastics rely on a matrix structure derived from petroleum. That’s because biological matrixes generally lack the strength for most engineering and structural applications.

Then there is natural wood, which can be processed to give it properties that rival steel and ceramics. But this processing requires harsh chemical treatments that are not environmentally friendly.

So there is intense interest in finding ways to turn ordinary plants into biocomposites that are sustainable and comparable in mechanical performance to processed wood and to conventional plastics.

Enter Eleftheria Roumeli and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology. This team has found a way to turn cells from tobacco plants into a hugely strong material with wood-like mechanical properties. “We have developed a new method to create natural biocomposite materials based on plant cells,” they say. “[The materials’] stiffness and strength surpass that of commercial plastics of similar density, like polystyrene, and low-density polyethylene, while being entirely biodegradable.

”The manufacturing method is straightforward. The team start with cells from the herbaceous plant Nicotiana tabacum, which they culture in liquid suspension in the lab. This widely grown plant produces leaves that are processed into tobacco.

These cells are well-studied and easily available to researchers. Some cell lines, such as the BY-2 line, can multiply 100-fold within a week when grown in suspension. Roumeli and co do not say what kind of cell they use, although BY-2 cells seem a reasonable choice, given the paper’s references.

Each cell has a cell wall strengthened by microfibrils made of proteins and cellulose, which effectively knot the wall together. The cell wall encloses the cell nucleus, various kinds of biomolecular machinery for processing energy and so on, and the cytoplasm, much of which is water. (BY-2 cell lines do not photosynthesize and so do not contain chlorophyll).

Having cultured the cells, the team harvest and compress them in a mold. The mold is permeable to allow water to escape. “During compression, water diffuses through the plant cell wall and the cell volume is gradually reduced,” they say.Indeed, the cells lose 98% of their weight during this process. Most of this is due to water evaporation, but there are other processes at work, such as the degradation of complex biomolecules including pectins, hemicellulose, and phenolic compounds.

The team then heat the dehydrated material. This causes the microfibrils to undergo a phase transitions and form crystalline structures. “The obtained material is a biocomposite, comprised of a heterogeneous mixture of naturally synthesized biopolymers,” say Roumeli and co.

And it is remarkably tough. The team measured its mechanical properties and compared it to softwoods such as pine; hardwoods like poplar, oak, and walnut; and commercial plywood and MDF. They also compared it to synthetic plastics of similar density, such as polystyrene, polypropylene, and low-density polyethylene.

The results reveal how good this material is. “The mechanical performance of our biocomposites is comparable to that of commercial engineered woods and plastics,” say Roumeli and co. “They surpass all literature-reported values for materials composed of plant cells, mycelium, or yeast matrixes.

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September 20th, 2019

Will tobacco friendly Switzerland change its tune on smoking laws

Switzerland is one of a handful of countries that has not ratified a major global tobacco control treaty. Why has it dragged its feet, and is change in the air? 

Switzerland signed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)external link 15 years ago but has yet to ratify it, as do a handful of tobacco-producing countries such as the United States, Argentina, Malawi and Cuba. 

Controlling tobacco use to protect the population’s health has been a long, complicated balancing act in the Alpine country, which is an arch-defender of economic and individual freedoms and home to tobacco companies like Philip Morris. 

Almost one in three Swiss adultsexternal link (27.1%) regularly smokes or consumes tobacco in some form – a stable rate, almost 8% above the global average.

The WHOexternal link says that while Switzerland is strong when it comes to anti-smoking campaigns on TV and radio, it lacks a total ban on smoking in public places (i.e. 100% smoke-free with no designated smoking rooms or smoking areas). Although tobacco ads have been banned on the airways, they are allowed in other media, and there are no bans on tobacco promotion and sponsorship.

The FCTC lays down minimum requirementsexternal link for ratification, such as health warnings accompanying all tobacco advertising and, as appropriate, promotion and sponsorship. 

Ultimately, though, it’s up to each state to decide if it can comply with the treaty. Vinayak Prasad, who leads the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI), says that Switzerland could ratify the FCTC now if it wanted to, without additional legislation. But Switzerland generally only ratifies a global treaty after having adapted national laws to bring them in line with the agreement.

Parliament is currently considering a revised draft law on tobaccoexternal link, which may lead to FCTC ratification and is due to be discussed by the Senate on Tuesday. The main points in the original draft include a nationwide ban on the sale of tobacco products to people under 18 and regulations on electronic cigarettes and tobacco products for heating. 

Previous attempts by parliament to tighten the tobacco law and bring Swiss law into line with the WHO treaty have come up against a bloc of right-of-centre parliamentarians fearful of the economic consequences. 

The Federal Office of Public Healthexternal link holds sway over the ratification decision. Earlier this year, it outlined five measures it wants introduced into the tobacco law to comply with WHO’s minimum requirements. 

These include: health warnings to accompany any tobacco promotion or sponsorship; fewer purchase incentives on cigarettes; forcing the tobacco industry to report how much it spends on advertising, promotion and sponsorship; limitations on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco in newspapers, magazines and on the internet; and banning tobacco firms from sponsoring international events or activities in Switzerland. 

+ A graphic look at global smoking trends. The issue of tobacco sponsorship made waves in July when Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis was forced to dump Philip Morris as a sponsor of the Swiss pavilion at the 2020 Expo in Dubai, after negative headlines and criticism from health organisations.  

This incident may have influenced Senate committee members, who ended deliberations on the draft bill last month by calling for amendments to tighten the law, including restrictions on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to “better protect young people”, as well as a tax on electronic cigarettes. 

“The conditions for Switzerland's ratification of the FCTC are thus met,” the committee said in a statementexternal link. 

While welcoming this “step in the right directionexternal link”, an alliance of NGOs said the commission’s minimalist proposal was not enough and that a total ban on tobacco advertising, as supported by 58% of the Swiss population in a 2016 pollexternal link, was still necessary. 

Other campaigners have been pushing hard on this issue. Last week the organisers of a people’s initiative handed in 113,000 signatures to try to force a national vote on a complete ban on tobacco advertising in order to protect youngsters. 

It remains unclear whether this groundswell of support will be enough to tighten Swiss law and eventually lead to ratification of the FCTC, or how soon that will happen. After this week’s Senate debate, the law will move to the House of Representatives, but a final vote is not expected before next spring or summer.

Ratification of the FCTC will only be clear “once the legislative process is over”, declared health office spokesman Adrien Kay. And if Swiss law is compatible, ratification probably won’t happen before 2022.

“The situation has been slowly changing in Switzerland, like with the law on passive smoking,” said Addiction Switzerland spokesperson Monique Portner-Helfer. “In Switzerland norms have changed. It's now more normal for people not to smoke. But the politicians are slow to catch up. We hope that little by little things will change.”

Financial impact of tobacco

Smoking is responsible for almost 4% of the country’s medical bill and 14% of deaths, according to a Swiss study.  This amounts to a total of CHF5 billion a year, it estimated. 

A KPMG report from October 2017 said Swiss-based tobacco firms – including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International – contribute CHF6.3 billion ($6.4 billion) a year to the Swiss economy, employing 11,500 people. 

A 2015 government studyexternal link estimated that if Switzerland ratified the FCTC, it could reduce annual tax revenues by CHF111-170 million a year between 2018-2060 and result in 340-540 job losses in the tobacco sector. It would also lower tobacco consumption by 5.4-9.9%.

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September 19th, 2019

Scandinavian Tobacco Group A or S to acquire Royal Agio Cigars a leading European cigar company

Scandinavian Tobacco Group has today agreed on the terms and conditions for the acquisition of all of the shares of Agio Beheer B.V. from Highlands Beheer B.V. Agio Beheer B.V. is the holding company of the Royal Agio Cigars group of companies (“Royal Agio”). On a debt and cash free basis (the enterprise value), the transaction is valued at EUR 210 million. The acquisition will be financed by cash at hand and debt. The transaction is subject to satisfactory conclusion of a statutory employee consultation process in The Netherlands and subsequent completion will require approval from competition authorities in certain European jurisdictions. Completion of the transaction depends on the above-mentioned processes but is currently expected to occur in the first half of 2020. Details of the expected financial impact of the acquisition will be communicated after the consultation of the works councils and approval by competition authorities.

Royal Agio is a leading European cigar company with a strong cigar portfolio including key brands such as Mehari´s, Panter and Balmoral. The company is based in Duizel, The Netherlands and has approximately 3,200 full-time employees. Royal Agio’s reported annual net sales full year 2018 were EUR 133 million (DKK 995 million) with an EBITDA of EUR 18 million.

Royal Agio can provide Scandinavian Tobacco Group access to a strong product portfolio and important market positions in key European machine-made cigar markets. The acquisition can secure leading positions in France, Belgium and The Netherlands and significantly improve the position in key cigar markets such as Spain and Italy. If the transaction is completed, the proforma combined group net sales for 2018 would be approximately DKK 7.7 billion with a combined workforce of more than 10,000 employees.

CEO of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, Niels Frederiksen says: “I am very pleased and proud that we have taken this important step towards an acquisition of Royal Agio. If completed, the acquisition will be an important step in our ambition of becoming the global leader in cigars, as it significantly strengthens our position in several key machine-made cigar markets in Europe and enables us to deliver an attractive range of cigars of the highest standards to our consumers.”

The transaction is expected to be EPS accretive no later than in year 2 after completion. The Group leverage ratio  (net interest-bearing debt/EBITDA) will, if the transaction proceeds to completion, temporarily exceed the target of 2.5x.

Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s full-year financial guidance for 2019 is unchanged:

>5% organic growth in EBITDA

Free cash flow before acquisitions >DKK 750 million

Special items, excluding costs related to the acquisition of Royal Agio, are unchanged and are expected to be DKK 85 million. Acquisition costs regarding due diligence, advisors etc. in 2019 are expected to be at the level of DKK 20 million and expensed as special items in 2019.

The ambition of delivering an annual growth in ordinary dividend payments is unchanged, including for the financial year 2019.


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September 18th, 2019

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia plunges nearly 2 percent on tobacco stocks

Indonesian shares slumped nearly 2% on Monday, dragged by tobacco stocks after the government announced a steep price hike, while most other Southeast Asian markets traded in a

thin range as weak China data and a surge in oil prices stoked slowdown worries.


The Indonesian government said late on Friday it would raise the minimum price of cigarettes across categories by an average of 35% from Jan. 1 next year and increase the excise tax on

tobacco products by 23%, as part of its efforts to reduce smoking rates. Top cigarette maker Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk PT plunged over 18%, its sharpest in two decades, while

Gudang Garam Tbk PT dived more than 20.5%, its biggest since 1994.

The benchmark Jakarta stock index ended 1.8% lower,posting its lowest close in over one month and extending losses into a third session. A bigger-than-expected drop in August exports and sharp decline in imports also weighed on the market.

Meanwhile, other Southeast Asian markets were subdued as fresh economic data out of China signalled increasing weakness in an economy lashed by trade headwinds and soft domestic

demand. Industrial production grew at the weakest pace in 17-1/2 years, while retail sales growth came in below expectations.

Crude oil prices surged as a drone attack on Saudi Arabia's key oil facilities fanned supply shortage concerns and chances of long-term geopolitical tensions amid a global economic slump.

Singapore stocks, which are heavily exposed to the Chinese economy, fell 0.2%, dragged by financial and industrial sectors. Index heavyweights Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd

and DBS Group Holdings Ltd shed 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively.

Philippine stocks reversed course to close slightly higher as investors made some market-on-close orders, said Rachel Cruz, a research analyst with AP Securities. "People at this point are tentative and would rather increase their exposure to defensive stocks," Cruz said. International Container Terminal Services Inc jumped 4.4%, while electricity retailer Aboitiz Power Corp rose 3.6%.

Thai stocks ended largely flat, with state-run oil and gas giant PTT PCL rising 3.3% to an over six-week high. Malaysian equity markets were closed for a holiday.For Asian Companies click;  


 Change on the day                                

Previous close
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Ho Chi Minh989.86
Change so far in 2019

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By Anuskha Trivedi

(Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)


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September 18th, 2019

Apartment and condo dwellers report smelling cannabis more than tobacco smoke, researchers say

More people in apartment buildings and condominiums reported exposure to cannabis smoke than tobacco one year before legalization, a new University of Toronto study says.

The U of T public-health researchers based their findings on a telephone survey of Ontario adults by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2017. Extrapolating from the CAMH results, the researchers suggest about 827,000 people in multi-unit dwellings were exposed to cannabis smoke from hallways, other units or elsewhere in their building—as opposed to about 728,000 who smelled tobacco smoke.

"I was surprised there were more reports of cannabis than tobacco," says co-author Michael Chaiton (pictured left), an associate professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. "We've known anecdotally there had been increasing calls and complaints about cannabis smoke, but we hadn't been able to quantify it until now."

Chaiton hopes the results will contribute to the debate over whether to regulate cannabis like alcohol, by forbidding its consumption in public spaces, or like tobacco, by prohibiting its use in indoor public spaces or near buildings.

He and his co-authors Alanna Chu and Pamela Kaufman, an assistant professor at Dalla Lana, published their study on Sept. 10 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The team has been tracking exposure to tobacco smoke in residential buildings for many years, and recently they have become increasingly concerned about cannabis second-hand smoke.

Despite the surprising results, Chaiton says it's very possible that the study underreported cannabis exposure, since the authors found people who consume cannabis themselves were more likely to report smelling it—suggesting that not everybody can identify cannabis by its pungent scent. The study, the first to examine the prevalence of involuntary cannabis exposure in residential buildings, also showed that people of lower income, who more often live in multi-unit buildings, are at higher risk of exposure to second-hand smoke and any related health effects from other people's cannabis use.

But those health effects are not yet fully clear. Third-hand smoke, the residue from smoke that clings to walls and furniture or settles in dust, is a particular concern for tobacco because nicotine is sticky and accumulates easily on surfaces like drapery, clothing and furniture.

But Chaiton says researchers don't yet know whether cannabis travels the same way through apartment buildings, including ventilation systems, or how it contributes to third-hand smoke contamination.

The next step is to determine whether exposure reports have increased since the legalization of cannabis in October 2018.

"If there are more people smoking cannabis or smoking more freely, indoor use in buildings may increase," Chaiton says. "But, on the other hand, people may be more willing to go outside, lessening second-hand exposure indoors. As well, people may be less likely to report it to surveyors because it's legal—or they may be more likely to complain if they have less fear of repercussions."


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September 18th, 2019

Legal action likely over ban on tobacco vending machines

Ireland’s largest supplier of cigarette vending machines has said it will go to court over proposed legislation banning them from dispensing tobacco products. Minister for Health Simon Harris said on Monday he would bring draft legislation before Cabinet in the coming weeks that would outlaw machine sales and the sale of vaping products to anyone under 18.

“I do not believe you should be able to buy tobacco from a vending machine,” Mr Harris said, confirming the arrival of legislation. “We know this can make it easier for children and others to buy tobacco.”

He said he did not believe the new initiative would be controversial. “Tobacco kills you. It is very bad for you. It causes cancer. We have a policy called a tobacco- free Ireland, ” he said.

As regards placing an age limit on vaping sales, Mr Harris said he was extremely concerned at the number of children who were starting to use the products and criticised the “unethical and disingenuous ways” in which companies were marketing them, notably with the use of appealing colours and flavours. Companies involved in the supply and restocking of cigarette vending machines have expressed alarm at the threat posed by the forthcoming laws.

Limerick-based Tobaccoland, which supplies and restocks 2,300 outlets, said it would challenge the legislation in court. Separately, the Irish Cigarette Machine Operators Association said it would consider a legal response once it had seen the proposals.

Tobaccoland owner James Walsh, whose family business has been operating for 30 years, said he had no choice but to mount a legal challenge.

“What can we do? We will challenge it all the way to the Supreme Court, ” he said, adding that he employs 30 people and that the legislation could close it down “overnight, like switching off a light”.

He said Mr Harris “will give us a certain amount of years’ grace [but] we can’t get into anything else. I’m 76 years of age.”

The company invested €1.5 million in upgrading its machines in the past two years and, like others on the supply end, Mr Walsh believes the token system used in bars and hotels is sufficient to limit cigarette sales to those over 18. Under the system, people buying cigarettes must get a special token to use in the machine from a member of staff who can ask for identification.

John O’Brien of the Irish Cigarette Machine Operators Association said it would consider its legal options, adding that his organisation’s 40 members were mainly small businesses.

“We are the only country that has a token system and the vendors were at the forefront of putting that in,” he said. “My own company, we employ 12 people and there is probably a workforce in the country of 160-200 people. Jobs will be affected.”

The association previously estimated there were about 6,000 vending machines in Ireland, although that number is likely to have fallen in recent years, particularly given a decline in the pub trade. Vincent Jennings, chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, said it welcomed the introduction of a minimum age on vaping sales, something it had itself lobbied for. However, he said there was disquiet about the “aggressive pursuit” of a smoke-free policy for Ireland, particularly regarding the lack of consultation with stakeholders.

A licensing system for tobacco sales, which he believes will be included in the legislation, would not be acceptable to the sector if it included a fee, Mr Jennings said.


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September 17th, 2019

British American Tobacco Cuts 2,300 Jobs in Shift Towards Vaping

British American Tobacco (BAT) has announced plans to cut 2,300 jobs by 2020 in readiness for a shift towards non-tobacco products, a day after Donald Trump said he was considering a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes.

The vast majority of BAT’s £24.5bn revenue in 2018 came from traditional cigarettes – its brands include Rothmans, Dunhill and Lucky Strike – but the company said it could save money to invest in alternative products such as vaping and heated tobacco by stripping out layers of management around the world.

The company declined to say how many of the job cuts would fall in the UK, where 2,500 of its 55,000 staff are based, including at its London headquarters.The chief executive, Jack Bowles, who took over this year after the eight-year tenure of Nicandro Durante, said he wanted to make BAT “a stronger, simpler and faster organisation” that was ready for a future in which people moved away from cigarettes.

He said BAT aimed to derive £5bn of its revenue from what it called “new category” or “potentially reduced-risk products” by the 2023-24 financial year.

That would mean more than doubling the £1.8bn it made last year from vaping, tobacco-heated products and oral tobacco, which includes pouches such as Snus, popular in Scandinavia. On Wednesday, Trump unveiled proposals to ban certain flavoured e-cigarettes in the US to limit their use by teens, amid concern about a mysterious lung illness that has killed at least five people and hospitalised others.

The US is a large and growing market for BAT’s vaping products, led by its flagship brand Vype. Of the £1.8bn it already makes from products other than cigarettes, £318m comes from vaping.

BAT declined to comment on whether Trump’s plans could punch a hole in its £5bn revenue target for “potentially reduced-risk products”.

The company said: “We welcome the Trump administration and the FDA shining a spotlight on the important issue of youth access to vapour products. We have always been clear that youth should not use vapour products and have had stringent measures in place to address this for some time.

“We share President Trump’s concern that some flavours, such as those resembling ‘kid-friendly’ food products, may play a role in increasing youth appeal and that marketing activities should not be directed to youth.

“It is important to note that we do not market such vapour flavours and in fact we have supported measures to remove vapour products intended to mimic children’s food products or otherwise designed to target youth, and have procedures in place to ensure our products are only marketed to adult tobacco consumers.”

BAT said it would continue to work with the FDA but made no mention of concern among US health professionals about potential links between vaping and lung disease.


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September 17th, 2019

Indonesia to raise cigarette prices by more than a third at start of 2020

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia will raise the minimum price of cigarettes by more than a third from January next year, a finance ministry spokesman said on Friday, as part of the government’s efforts to reduce smoking rates.

Nearly 70% of adult men smoke in Indonesia, according to the World Health Organization – one of the highest rates in the world. The Indonesian government has been raising taxes on tobacco products almost every year since 2014 to cut consumption, but that has not had a significant impact on smoking rates.

From Jan. 1 next year, the government will raise the minimum price of cigarettes across categories by an average of 35% and increase the excise tax on tobacco products by 23%, finance ministry spokesman Nufransa Wira Sakti said.

The largest cigarette companies in Indonesia include HM Sampoerna, Gudang Garam and unlisted Djarum Group. Sampoerna, Gudang Garam and Djarum did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jakarta kept tobacco taxes flat this year, after raising them by 10%-11% per year in the past five years. Currently, taxes on popular machine-rolled clove cigarettes range from 370 rupiah to 590 rupiah a stick, while the floor retail prices range from 715 rupiah ($0.0512) to 1,120 rupiah a stick.

The rates for filtered cigarettes, popular among younger Indonesians who dubbed them “white cigarettes”, range from 355 rupiah to 625 rupiah a stick, while floor retail prices range from 640 rupiah to 1,130 rupiah a stick.

Rules on tobacco taxes are often controversial in Indonesia, where big tobacco companies often say a decline in sales hurt the livelihood of farmers. Indonesia aims to collect 172 trillion rupiah ($12.32 billion) of revenue from tobacco excises in 2020, according to government proposals for next year’s state budget which is awaiting parliamentary approval. (This story corrects para 2 to clarify that 70% of adult men in Indonesia, not 70% of all adults, smoke)

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo and Maikel Jefriando; Additional reporting by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Susan Fenton)


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September 16th, 2019

Donald Trump Ban Vaping Where Will This Leave Tobacco Stock Investors

Donald Trump has threatened to ban vape cigarettes at the same time as London-listed British American Tobacco announced over 2,000 job cuts as it shifts its business towards alternative-tobacco products.

The juxtaposition of finding new sales amid tighter rules has hampered tobacco stocks and their investors – so is now the time to make a change? British American Tobacco and its London-listed rival Imperial Brands have been mainstay investments for fund managers and private investors alike. he duo have driven returns for the likes of Neil Woodford but more recent performance – much like the fund manager – has left a lot to be desired. 

Dwindling cigarette consumption, greater focus on health policy and the increasing amount of ethics-based investing has meant investors have ditched the stocks in their droves. Imperial Brands' and British American's share prices have fallen 32pc and 26pc respectively as the FTSE All Share index – a broad measure of the London stock market – has risen 23pc. Both have turned towards alternative cigarettes to help drive new business and have focused on "e-cigarettes" rather than "vape-cigarettes".

E-cigarettes are targeted at former smokers while their vape equivalent has found a place among the younger population, many of who never smoked traditional cigarettes, according to NHS data. The difference between the two products may seem nuanced but it is fundamental to the investment case for both companies, according to Charles Somers of asset manager Schroders. He said: "Vape products have not been through the required safety process, but will soon be forced to and many are unlikely to reach the standards but e-cigarette products have a properly documented safety profile." Although the growth may take time to come through – at present companies investing in e-cigarettes appear in a better position than their vape rivals.

In its latest results, British American Tobacco reported cigarette sales were down 3.5pc.

Its loss-making alternative cigarette division also struggled but it promised more investment in the area and announced thousands of job cuts to manage this restructure. The investment case remains heavily reliant on dividends. Both generate huge amounts of cash and given the share price falls offer attractive yields: 6.7pc for British American and 8.6pc for Imperial Brands. However, Alan Custis at Lazard Asset Management, said investors should be wary and the sustainability of dividends should be “called into question”.

He added: "Contrary to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape products have lower barriers to entry, little product differentiation, limited tax structures supporting pricing and as yet unproven health claims. 

"With the traditional business declining faster and considerable questions over the future growth element of the industry, this is an industry under considerable difficulty."

Both London-listed tobacco stocks are cheap relative to the FTSE All Share average and other tobacco rivals. British American is currently valued at 9x its future earnings and Imperial Brands 7.8x. American rivals Altria and Philip Morris are valued at 10.2x and 14x respectively. Mark Barnett of fund house Invesco Perpetual – who owns both stocks either individually or together in a number of his portfolios – said the stocks were simply too cheap not to own. In a note to investors in May, he said despite the concerns about regulation, growth and disruption, the stocks were “significantly undervalued”.

Mr Barnett said: “To my mind, these threats are overplayed, and current share price valuations offer too bleak an outlook of the industry’s future." With such high dividends, investors are arguably being rewarded for taking on this business risks. Mr Trump threat also meant companies able spend on research and development – like the London listed giants – stay ahead of regulations and come out on top.


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September 16th, 2019

Tobacco season under threat

ZIMBABWE’S prospects for a successful 2019/20 tobacco season have been dealt a massive blow after tobacco seedlings and horticultural crops were affected by frost which hit most parts of the country last week, businessdigest has learnt. The sector is also reeling from unexpected weather patterns, high price of inputs and excessive taxation. Tobacco is one of the biggest foreign currency earners and these challenges could spell further doom to a country that is already facing serious forex shortages.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that production increased in 2018 to 240 million kg, up from 189 million kg the previous year. Zimbabwe National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) chief executive Edward Dune said the unexpected changes in weather affected tobacco seedlings and that the total production will be less this season.

“It’s also very funny indeed that we have the brutal brunt of weather vagaries. Imagine having frost hitting in mid-September. We have had lots of tobacco
seedlings and horticultural crops hard hit by frost this week.

“We have generally reduced tobacco hectarages with a view to improving on quality due to the anticipated level of producer concentration,” he said.

Dune said the high costs of inputs and excessive taxation have affected the viability of farming in the country.

“Inputs costs have indeed skyrocketed to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. This renders farming to be unviable and the farming fraternity is
uncomfortable and cannot afford to continue accept this scenario which has made it very difficult to plan in farming businesses,” Dune said.

“Farmers’ incomes are also eroded by excessive taxation. These include land rentals payable to Ministry of Lands and development levy payable to Local Government through Rural District Council (RDC), 11% RDC levy on cattle sales, 10 % withholding tax and the recent 2% tax through mobile transactions. This list goes on and we are in the process to lobby Government to exempt farmers from some of these taxes and levies.”

Dune added that the ZNFU was also embarking on an exercise to educate its members to produce exportable commodities with the aim of increasing its visibility
on the market and facilitating foreign currency generation to improve the standards of living of its members this coming season.

The union has of late been addressing the issues brought about by the volatility of the economy due to inflation through scouting markets for exportable commodities. Year-on-year inflation is estimated to have reached 230,41% as of July 2019.

Zimbabwe has an agro-based an economy and the erratic rainfall witnessed this past farming season worsened the already paralysed economy.


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September 13th, 2019

Tobacco rakes in US$526m

Zimbabwe has so far generated US$526 million from this year’s tobacco crop, whose output has surpassed the record set last year.

The figure is expected to rise as mop-up sales have begun.

This year, farmers delivered 758,18 million kilogrammes of tobacco, shattering last year’s record of 753 million kgs, as new farmers continue to grasp the concept of producing top quality tobacco.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive officer Dr Andrew Matibiri told The Herald that farmers have continued to produce quality tobacco as they amass more experience. “For the year, we are now on 758,18 million kgs of tobacco,” he said. “This means we have set another record now and we are still getting more tobacco as some of the contract sales are still continuing. “The tobacco delivered has generated US$526 million so far, compared to about US$737 million last year.”

Asked why tobacco deliveries had increased, but revenue declined, Dr Matibiri said this year’s crop was affected by the drought occasioned by the El Nino phenomenon which resulted in most crops suffering from moisture stress.

The bulk of the crops failed to recover, while some pulled through, but produced low yields.

Dr Matibiri said small-scale farmers, who are the A1 and communal area farmers, contributed 64 percent to this year’s tobacco output, with the balance coming from A2 and commercial farmers. Dr Matibiri believes that as farmers continue to grow tobacco, they are gaining valuable experience which, in turn, helps them to boost yields.

“I think farmers are now very experienced and know how to produce tobacco as required by the market,” he said. “Also they like the tobacco system because they get their payments quickly, so a lot of farmers are opting for tobacco growing.”

Tobacco growing, and even maize output, was subdued in the early years of the land redistribution programme as some beneficiaries didn’t have the resources to undertake crop growing on a commercial basis.

However, output for most crops has been on an upward trajectory with the 753 million kgs delivered last year surpassing the 1990 record of 239 million kgs. Going forward, Dr Matibiri advised farmers to continue aiming to “produce what the market requires”.

“Our market is predominantly China, so they must produce what the Chinese like,” he said. “If they produce that, they get the quality.”

Dr Matibiri warned farmers to be wary of climate change, which he said was real.

“They must do whatever is possible, in other words, by doing things like establishing irrigation systems to support agricultural production (due to shifting rainfall patterns),” he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign currency inflow from cotton shot to US$85 million after the 2017-2018 farming season, from a low of US$4,5 million in 2015/16 season when Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme was introduced writes Patrick Chitumba.

While seed cotton deliveries for 2018/19 season are still in progress, the national crop is expected to decline by 50 percent because of drought.

The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe managing director, Mr Pios Manamike, said there had been a marked increase in foreign currency earnings for the country from cotton since the introduction of the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme from the 2015/16 season to the 2018/19.

“The 2015/16 season saw the country earning US$4,5 million which increased to US$22,5 million in the 2016/17 agricultural season,” he said. “In the 2017/18 season, foreign currency inflows rose to US$85 million, an indication of the importance of the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme to the country.”

Mr Manamike said Cottco and national cotton production was also rising — a positive development linked to the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme.

“Seed cotton production during the 2015/16 season was 10 800 tonnes for Cottco and 28 000 tonnes for national cotton production. During the 2016/17 season Cottco recorded 54 000 tonnes and 74 000 tonnes for national cotton production. During the 2017/18 season Cottco recorded 127 500 tonnes whole national cotton production was 143 000 tonnes. Seed cotton deliveries for 2018/19 season are still in progress, however, the national crop is expected to decline by 50 percent because of drought,” he said.

Mr Manamike said employment levels peaked at 4 500 during the 2018/19 season, while US$80 million was generated from exports and $17 million saved through the use of local seed.

“The scheme is benefiting at least 400 000 households and touching the livelihoods of at least 200 000 people in support of the Government’s poverty alleviation strategy.”


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September 13th, 2019

Tobacco farmers frantically trying to salvage Dorian-damaged crop

Hurricane Dorian's winds and rains ravaged farm fields across eastern North Carolina, and tobacco farmers are now working to salvage what they can of this year's crop.State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured farms this week to assess the damage, and he called it extensive.

"[Farmers] are working night and day, but the probability is we're going to have a substantial loss to the tobacco crop this year," Troxler said Wednesday.

The size of the loss won't be known until all of the tobacco is harvested, he said. Brandon Trevathan, who works for Vick Family Farms near Macclesfield, said tractors and trucks are running almost nonstop to try to finish that harvest as quickly as possible.

"It's got wind damage," Trevathan said of the tobacco. "This is one of the prettiest crops we've had. There are a bunch of stalks that are just leaned over." Dorian's winds whipped up the aging process of the plants, he said, noting that, when tobacco is battered, it creates a ripening chemical called ethelyne.

"We're seeing a very quick maturing of the tobacco," he said. "If we don't go ahead and get it out now, it's going to be worse."

Before the storm, farmers had until the end of the month to get the tobacco leaves from the fields to the flue-curing barns. Now, it's down to a few days, and with such mature leaves, they're poised to fall off before they're bundled up.

"The question is, do we have enough barns to get it in before it gets on the ground?" Troxler said. "I think the answer is no."

Wilson County farmer Kevin Gardner, who had most of his leaves harvested before Dorian, said 25 percent or more of the local crop could be ruined.

"We're helping our neighbors get theirs out as fast as we can. If not, they're going to lose it," Gardner said.

Troxler said the situation isn't as dire for farmers as it was after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 or Hurricane Florence last year, noting most of the damaged soybeans and cotton crops can be salvaged. Still, he wonders how much more North Carolina farmers can withstand.

"They've about had enough, and the financial losses that they're accruing year after year are really adding up," Troxler said.


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September 12th, 2019

New Legal Age For Tobacco in Texas

A new law in Texas raised the minimum age requirement to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 on Sept. 1. According to, about 10,400 kids under the age of 18 become daily smokers each year. Six states have already implemented 21-and-over laws, and Texas will be one of 8 states to be implementing the law in 2019.

Is this going to change anything? Nope. If kids want to try tobacco, they are going to find ways to get it. Parents who are smokers are just going to buy it for their kids. Other people who don’t agree with the law might also be willing to buy it for them. It’s the same with alcohol. Kids will always find ways to purchase or consume alcohol while underage.  

Tobacco laws are not the same as alcohol laws. You need to be 21 or older to purchase and consume alcohol. Only five of the 14 states that have the purchase age of 21 also apply that to the consumption age. Over half of those states also have no age limit when it comes to the consumption of tobacco products. Texas will be one of the five states where consumption and purchase of tobacco will be the same age. 

There are also plenty of states where you must be  21 or older to purchase tobacco in select cities — making it just like alcohol in the 40s and 50s, and why 21 became the national drinking age. Kids would drive to states that had a younger drinking age, get drunk, drive back and get into an accident. Kids in states where certain cities have the 21-year-old age restriction to purchase tobacco law will drive to different parts of the state to purchase it. They may even drive to a whole other state to buy tobacco where it’s legal. 

Laws like this don’t do much to stop underage smoking. It takes everyone to say that smoking tobacco is bad, and as a culture, we need to stop using it. According to the Truth Initiative, more than a quarter of people living below the poverty line smoke. That is twice than that of those above the poverty line. Low-income communities also have denser concentrations of tobacco retailers and are more likely to have tobacco retailers near schools than other neighborhoods. Even 35 to 45% of children living below the poverty line live with a smoker. 

As much as I would love this law to work and be implemented nationwide, more needs to be done to regulate the tobacco industry in low-income neighborhoods. There are more tobacco retailers near schools in low-income communities than any other area — laws like this work when the industry works to better all communities. Low-income communities make up a large part of the tobacco company’s profit margins. A law to curb underage smoking will not work when tobacco ads and retailers advertise and market around low-income schools.


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September 12th, 2019

International Cigar Expo Coming To Shenzhen

The city of Shenzhen, China will host the 2019 China International Cigar Expo (ICE) 20-22 November, 2019 at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center.
Hosted by China Cigarette Sales Company and Shenzhen Municipal Tobacco Company, and undertaken by Shenzhen Tobacco Import & Export Company, ICE will be a trade and media event and closed to the general public.

According to a press release, Habanos S.A. and Davidoff Cigars will be participating along with more than 100 other domestic and international exhibitors including China Tobacco Anhui Industrial Co. Ltd, China Tobacco Shandong Industrial Co. Ltd., China Tobacco Hubei Industrial Co. Ltd., China Tobacco Sichuan Industrial Co. Ltd.
As the first comprehensive exhibition of the cigar industry that is hosted by China Tobacco, ICE will focus on exhibiting domestic and international cigar products, accessories, and packaging along with exchanging industry information.

The event schedule includes cigar dinners, cigar pairing sessions, industry forums, and charity according to the event’s website.
ICE Website:

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September 11th, 2019

Record High Marijuana Use and Vaping

Despite nearly nationwide smoking bans on college campuses, a new study found that students use of marijuana "was at the highest level seen" in more than three decades. According to the University of Michigan's annual, national Monitoring the Future Panel study, marijuana use skyrocketed nationally in 2018 and reached "historic highs" not seen since 1983.

The study also found that the use of vaping products, or e-cigarettes, to vape marijuana as well as nicotine, doubled between 2017 and 2018.

"This doubling in vaping marijuana among college students is one of the greatest one-year proportional increases we have seen among the multitude of substances we measure since the study began over 40 years ago," John Schulenberg, principal investigator of the study, said in a written statement. While the researchers are worried about the increased marijuana use, the vaping trend is particularly concerning because students often perceive vaping to be a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid filled with certain chemicals and flavors, which is then aerosolized and inhaled.

"There's this sense this it's culturally approved," Schulenberg, who is also a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, said in an interview. "There's this question of -- 'how bad can it really be?'". While the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are generally unknown, health professionals say users' respiratory systems can be harmed by inhaling vapors from flavored water, which also contains nicotine, the powerful stimulant found in tobacco products. Vaping nicotine can still lead to addiction, as certain devices, such as the popular Juul e-cigarette, deliver a particularly high dose of nicotine.

At least 450 patients in 33 states have been treated for a life-threatening illness linked to vaping as of last week. And three people have died from severe lung infections believed to be caused by vaping in Oregon, Illinois and Indiana. The victim in Oregon was otherwise healthy but became ill quickly, according to reports from physicians who treated this person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discouraged the use of e-cigarettes while the vaping-related illness is investigated. The annual report -- which the university's Institute for Social Research has compiled for more than 40 years -- is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal government research center.

The study follows the drug use habits of youth, college students and adults. Schulenberg said researchers have tracked a group of 19- to 22-year-olds since their senior year of high school. About 1,000 of them attended either a two- or four-year institution, and 500 or so did not, he said.

Among the college students, roughly 11 percent reported that in 2018, they had vaped marijuana within 30 days of taking the survey. This was nearly a 6 percentage point increase from 2017.

More than 15 percent of the students indicated they had vaped nicotine in the last month, a jump of more than 9 percentage points from 2017, when only 6 percent of students had vaped nicotine in a month period.

The American College Health Association is writing an article for its member institutions on how college officials are combating e-cigarette use on campus, said spokeswoman Rachel Mack. The association is reaching out to universities now to figure out what programs exist, she said.

College administrators often include e-cigarettes in their campus smoking prohibitions, but vaping can be harder to monitor. Unlike cigarettes, vaping doesn't generate a smell.

Not every institution is banning the practice. Duke University, for instance, will allow e-cigarette use after a smoking ban on campus goes into effect next year.

Just banishing e-cigarettes from campus isn't likely to solve the vaping problem, Schulenberg said. A campaign to address vaping would probably need to both remove e-cigarettes and make them less appealing to students, he said.

"Because there's kind of opportunity and desire -- supply and demand -- any effective campaign will take on both of those domains," Schulenberg said. About 43 percent of students surveyed said they had used pot sometime in the last year. A quarter of the students said they had used marijuana within the past month. This is the highest reported use since the '80s, when about 45 percent of students indicated they had used marijuana in the past year. About 6 percent of students said they used marijuana daily, which was defined in the survey as having used it 20 or more times in the last 30 days. Schulenberg said this was particularly concerning because heavy use of marijuana has been linked to poor grades and potentially dropping out of college. He noted binge drinking among college students has dipped, and cocaine use is far less than it once when it was popular in the 1980s and '90s.

Marijuana use could be replacing students drinking alcohol in some cases, Schulenberg said, noting that he was optimistic because abuse of other substances has dwindled in recent years.

"We have gotten the message out, and we are making a difference," he said.


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September 11th, 2019

Big tobacco’s stake in the NZ dating scene

Global tobacco corporations are running immense marketing campaigns to grow their shares of New Zealand’s market for cigarette alternatives. To do so, they’re exploiting a regulatory grey zone to advertise to young Kiwis - including through previously unreported advertising on Tinder, the youth-focused dating app.

Local subsidiaries of the world’s largest tobacco corporations, Philip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco (BAT), are peddling new products which they say are less harmful than cigarettes. PMI is pushing IQOS, which heats tobacco sticks to release flavour and nicotine but not smoke. BAT is pushing its range of Vype e-cigarettes, which allow consumers to inhale nicotine and flavour through water vapour. Both companies assert that these are harm-reduction products, and that they are only marketing to current smokers or vapers.

But their marketing strategy tells a different story.

The IQOS device’s sleek curves and buffed metallic surface more closely resemble an iPhone or novel fashion accessory than the cigarette which it allegedly replaces. PMI’s marketing leans into that impression. A set of advertisements placed on Tinder, regularly appearing to the dating site’s disproportionately young users, laud the device as, “A perfect match for 7.3 million users and counting”. The warning that “This product is not risk-free and is addictive” only comes at the bottom, in almost imperceptible grey font.

At first glance, this type of advertising would appear to be in breach of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, which bans the publication of any “tobacco product advertisement”. But according to Brendon Baker, senior advisor for tobacco control at the Ministry of Health, “On the one hand, you have what they call ‘heat sticks’, which are tobacco products. They’re little tobacco sticks which go in the IQOS device and are heated. Then you have the actual IQOS device, which is a heating system. And if you look at their advertising, they never have the actual tobacco products in the advertisements. It’s only the IQOS device, which isn’t a tobacco product per se.”

If that legal distinction seems artificially fine, that’s because it is. According to Baker, on a practical level, “One could argue that the IQOS device can only be used for tobacco products, therefore it’s basically a proxy for a tobacco product. There’s no use for it other than for tobacco products, therefore it’s advertising a tobacco product.”

Nevertheless, it’s a legal distinction which big tobacco is taking advantage of. RNZ has extensively reported on PMI’s targeting of M?ori communities, but less attention has been paid to big tobacco’s focus on winning over young Kiwis who may not be current smokers. PMI’s use of Tinder in New Zealand comes on the heels of its global social media marketing campaign earlier this year to market IQOS. That campaign was cancelled after Reuters revealed PMI was contracting with Instagram influencers as young as 21 - wildly popular among younger people - which breached PMI’s own advertising guidelines.

PMI did not respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson interviewed on TVNZ1’s Q+A expressed shock at reports that high schoolers were using e-cigarettes at record numbers. “I mean, again, we don't promote to youth. We don't want youth to come anywhere near these products. We don't want non-smokers to come anywhere near these products. It is not for them. It is for people who just can't give up cigarettes.”

That is directly contradicted by Richard Edwards, co-director of the ASPIRE 2025 Research Group on tobacco control at Otago University. According to Edwards, “tobacco marketing does impact on kids and adolescents (e.g they smoke the most advertised brands) and that the advertising subtly or not subtly (think Joe Camel) reaches kids. I suspect the same will be true of [PMI’s] IQOS advertising. The sleek design and chic IQOS stores certainly make it an alluring product.”

PMI is not the only company taking advantage of the currently unregulated advertising environment for cigarette alternatives. In order to develop long-term customers for its Vype e-cigarettes, British American Tobacco (BAT) has been singularly focused on young consumers.

Vype sponsored the Christmas parties of two media organisations prominent among young Kiwis - Vice NZ and Remix. Vype’s sponsorship was acknowledged extensively on the promotional material for both events. High-profile young musicians and designers who attended, including Marc Moore, Annabel Liddell and Blink Boys, posted apparently sponsored images of Vype products to their Instagram pages afterwards, reaching thousands of young Kiwis. In 2018 Vype also sponsored a lounge at Rythm & Alps, a popular music festival. A branded photo frame they provided there was used by countless festival-goers, organically expanding Vype’s marketing reach.

When contacted, BAT refused to comment specifically and merely insisted: “Our communications about Vype are aimed at existing adult smokers and vapers and designed to give them awareness of, and information about, these products.”

That assertion isn’t credible, according to Janet Hoek, New Zealand’s leading expert on tobacco advertising and the other co-director of ASPIRE 2025. Hoek says PMI and BAT’s marketing “targets young people and it is hard to see it as anything other than an attempt to recruit a new generation of people addicted to nicotine. Tobacco companies need new nicotine users to survive, so focusing on 'helping' older addicted smokers to quit will eventually see their market disappear.”

Hoek is equally dismissive of PMI and BAT’s protestations they are advocating e-cigarette use as a harm-reduction strategy for current smokers. “I think the commercial activity undertaken by the large tobacco companies to support their new ... products is designed entirely to further their profits and returns to shareholders - that's what their primary responsibility is. To me, trying to disguise that responsibility as a public health initiative is as fallacious as their arguments that filters, and 'light' and 'mild' cigarettes were safer options for smokers. Tobacco companies have a history of sustained deceit and I have not seen any reason to believe they have changed their ways.”  

Edwards, the ASPIRE 2025 co-director, explained that the results for young Kiwis could be dire, particularly with IQOS. At best: “The tobacco industry recruits a new cohort of addicted young people, creating an ongoing market and income stream for Philip Morris. The long-term health effects of IQOS and other heat-not-burn products are completely unknown, but given the emission profile, I expect it to be intermediate between smoked tobacco products (high risk) and vaping products (much lower risk). So adverse health impacts will follow. Some users addicted to nicotine through IQOS may later relapse to smoking ... If conversion to smoking is substantial, this will perpetuate smoking in the population, and cause a great deal more avoidable illness and death due to IQOS use.”

According to Baker, the senior advisor at the Ministry of Health, the Government is aware of that risk and is taking steps to reform the law in order to prevent big tobacco corporations from continuing their youth-centric marketing strategy. “We’ve got this grey area now ... I think these companies are making hay while the sun shines, because they will be aware of Cabinet’s decision in late 2018 that all advertising, promotion and sponsorship will be prohibited [following law reform.”

The timing of that law reform process is still uncertain, and it may take until well into 2020 before an amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act is passed to prohibit PMI and BAT’s behaviour. And while these tobacco companies are “making hay”, according to a current BAT contractor who was granted anonymity in order to speak frankly: “We might be giving a whole generation of kids cancer. We just don’t know.”


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September 10th, 2019

Eagle County Looks For Public Comment on Tobacco Tax

Eagle County is proposing to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products. And citizen pro and con opinions on the tax increase could end up in the hands of every Eagle county voter.  

Starting in 2020, the county wants to impose a 4 dollar a pack tax increase on cigarettes and a new 40 per cent tax on all other tobacco and nicotine products. That would raise 4 million, 500 thousand dollars to be used in public health programs to decrease smoking and vape use and to treat substance abuse. The issue will be on the November 5th ballot.

Eagle County registered voters can share their thoughts on the proposed tax increase and a summary will be included in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights ballot issue notice which will be mailed to all registered voters.

Email your comments by noon September 20th to

 Pro and con statements can also be delivered by hand to the Clerk and Recorder's Office in Eagle at 500 Broadway; or mailed to P.O. Box 537, Eagle, CO 81631. 


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September 10th, 2019

Keith Richards switches to “smokeless” ashtray to avoid upsetting Mick Jagger

Keith Richards may find drugs boring these days, and has cut back on his drinking, but don’t expect the music legend to ditch his cigarettes any time soon. The Rolling Stones rocker, however, is making an effort to not burden those around him with his habit: Richards has reportedly purchased a “smokeless” ashtray.

The new motorized gizmo works by sucking in any stray smoke, and according to The Telegraph, was bought so as “not to bother” Mick Jagger. The health-conscious, yoga-loving frontman recently underwent heart valve replacement surgery.

Richards’ rampant smoking has gotten the guitarist in trouble in the past. Per BBC America, Richards’ secondhand smoke was blamed for killing a prized flower at the New York Public Library in 2010.

Although quitting smoking is not on his agenda (yet), his newfound mission to stay away from alcohol has already yielded positive results. Fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood said the 75-year-old Richards is “much more mellow,” adding, “He’s open to more ideas, whereas before I’d kind of grit my teeth and go, ‘He’s gonna give me some shit for saying this.’ Now, he’ll say, ‘That’s cool, man.’?” Richards and (a smokeless) Rolling Stones will wrap up their “No Filter Tour” this weekend in Florida. 


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September 9th, 2019

Tips and Etiquette For Visiting A Cigar Lounge

Often in dining, the final complement to a meal is a cigar. A digestif of sorts so intertwined with fine wine and spirits that cigar basics used to be required knowledge for those in pursuit of an MS from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

As far as trends go, consumers are becoming more interested in individual producers as well as where tobacco is sourced. Cigars with an increased ring size known as jawbreakers were hot for minute, too. Women continue to stake out a small but increasing slice of the market and after all, the elegant pull from a limited edition Sans Pareil lancero vitola was built for all to enjoy.

And are Cubans the best? Well, that’s personal. These days, several enthusiasts would put top tier Dominican Republic and Nicaraguan producers on par with the archetypal Cuban.  FYI, they are legal now if purchased outside of the country.  Upon entry into the United States, each person is allowed 100 Cuban cigars or up to $800 in purchases every 31 days without paying a duty tax.

From casual tobacco shops like The Briar Shoppe in the Village and Heights Cigar Lounge to chic outlets like Davidoff of Geneva and Embajadores, there are several spots in Houston to score a quality smoke. Though memberships are often available which include varying perks, it isn’t necessary for walk-in clientele aiming to enjoy in the moment. Because the cigar lounge, in essence, is a relaxing environment, many come and light up to get a little work done, wind down from the day, or engage in a bit of conversation.

Here are a few tips and etiquette when visiting a cigar lounge:

1. Quality:

Quality is measured by how well a cigar burns, its aroma, and flavor. There are so many different factors in the production of cigars, it’s as intricate as the world of wine — earth, climate, seed, roller, the list goes on. Many hands touch this artisanal, organic product, and price doesn’t always dictate quality. Take advantage of the knowledgeable staff on hand; they're there for a reason.

2. Beginners start with something light:

Roberto Eduardo, a Cuban native who has been rolling cigars for 30 years and now works at Havana Classic in Little Havana, recommends, “first smoke light cigar.” Others will likely agree, like Austin Schwartz, pipe and tobacco specialist at The Briar Shoppe who recommends these medium bodied cigars in particular: E.P. Carrillo, Davidoff White Label, and La Palina bronze label. Medium to lighter bodied cigars are classified as “Colorado” or “Claro” respectively and come in all different shapes and sizes. Maduro and Oscuro (double Maduro), which will appear darker due to longer sun-contact and therefore maturation, are fuller bodied options worth working up too.

3. Buy a cigar at the shop:

Some places like Heights Cigar Lounge, will charge a small fee for BYO, however, each time you visit it’s courteous to purchase one at the shop. You wouldn’t BYO chips and salsa to a Mexican restaurant, now would you?

4. Cut it properly: 

And when borrowing a cutter from the shop, don’t lick the tip of the head beforehand. There are three types of cigar cutting devices all with different desired effects; the guillotine, the wedge cutter, and the punch cutter. While the punch inserts a hole at the tip of the head, the guillotine and wedge yield more definitive cuts. Either way, to eliminate the risk of the cigar unraveling, it’s best not to cut past the shoulder, which is where the head of the cigar tapers up. Oh, and the head is the end you put your mouth on.

5. Ditch the crack torch:

 When lighting a cigar, it’s important to do so gently. Often times it takes three to four matches. The first match to warm the end, and the second and third to see it lit. When the cigar is evenly lit, the quality of the assembly of the cigar is shown in a perfect ring of fire that slowly descends as it’s smoked. Too much flame however, and the flavors turn bitter.

6. Enjoy your smoke:

There is such a thing as smoking it too fast or too slow. Too fast and the cigar will overheat and become bitter, too slow and poof it’s out. Cigar Aficionado recommends a few draws every minute.

8. Try not to ash:

As the filler for the best cigars are typically whole tobacco leaves, a long ash shows expert craftsmanship. Also, the ash serves as a temperature regulator. Oh, and another pitfall: If the cigar gets too hot from oversmoking or the opposite— it is constantly being re-lit, the flavorsome oils from the tobacco can be disrupted.


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September 9th, 2019

First Vaping Injury

The Minnesota case involved a patient older than 65 who died in August after a prolonged hospitalization, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Friday. While the person suffered from an underlying lung disease, further review determined that the hospitalization was due to a lung injury associated with vaping an illicit THC product, officials said.

The age of the patient is unusual; the majority of people hospitalized in Minnesota for vaping-related lung injuries have been in their teens and early 20s. "One death from this outbreak is one death too many," Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. "We are working with our partners around the state and the nation to find out everything we can as quickly as we can to prevent additional illnesses and deaths."

Minnesota's announcement came as federal health authorities declared that they are discouraging all vaping and e-cigarette usage until they identify the specific chemicals or components that have been associated with 215 confirmed and an additional 235 suspected respiratory injuries. Other deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana and Oregon.

"As of now, [refraining from vaping] is the primary means of preventing this severe lung disease," said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, who is leading the lung-injury response for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State health authorities in Illinois and Wisconsin published findings from their first 53 cases in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most had used vaping products containing THC, but others had also used nicotine-based products, and a few had used only nicotine-based products.

These diverse circumstances added to the mystery of what exactly has caused healthy teenagers and young adults to suffer such severe injuries that they needed hospitalization and often intensive care. A third of the patients in those two states have needed mechanical ventilation to maintain adequate breathing.

The reports match the experiences in Minnesota, where health authorities have reported 17 confirmed or probable vaping-related injuries, and are investigating another 15. In Minnesota, interviews with eight of the patients showed that all had vaped THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that creates a high sensation.

The Minnesota death involved a person who had been taking illicit THC for pain relief from other medical problems and went to a hospital because of shortness of breath and chest pain, said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist.

Both are common symptoms of vaping-associated lung injuries, but other patients have sustained fevers, stomach problems, fatigue and weight loss. Many reported symptoms for six days on average before seeking hospital attention.

Malcolm said none of the cases have been associated with inhaled THC compounds that are legally available through Minnesota's medical cannabis program. While investigators can't rule out a risk, the state is maintaining that program and its products. Patients with concerns should talk with their doctors about switching from inhaled to pill forms of THC, Malcolm said.

"We still don't have enough information to identify a specific harmful agent," she said. "Until we have determined the exact cause or causes, we have to be open to a broader range of possibilities."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has amassed 120 samples of vaping products used by lung-injured patients. The agency is at a "critical fact-gathering stage" in its efforts to identify the injury-causing chemicals, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

He encouraged state agencies to continue to send in samples and asked the public to report injury-causing or defective tobacco products to

Some state health investigators are looking closely at vitamin E acetates found in vaping products some of the injured young adults used, but those compounds have not been found in all cases, federal health officials said.

Zeller encouraged people to "think twice" before vaping, particularly any cartridges that they buy off the street or that contain mixtures of ­compounds.

Many of the injured teens and young adults in Minnesota and across the country have suffered a noninfectious form of pneumonia — lipoid pneumonia — that occurs when the lungs are invaded by oils or lipoid-containing substances.

Federal officials released the first agreed-upon definition of a vaping-associated lung injury in an effort to standardize the search for and detection of cases. Infectious causes must first be ruled out, and dense "pulmonary infiltrates" must be found in the lungs via X-rays or CT scans. Cases require people to have vaped within 90 days of their first symptoms.

Doctors aren't really sure how to treat the injuries, other than with intensive care and oxygen support as necessary, said Dr. Daniel Fox of WakeMed Health & Hospitals in North Carolina. Most patients have received antibiotics — before infections are ruled out as causes — and also steroids. Patients at his hospital who needed intensive care remained in that unit for two to seven days before stabilizing, he added. Whether the injuries cause long-term damage to the lungs is unknown.


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September 7th, 2019

Dutch News : ban on displaying tobacco products in shops, minister says

There will be no delay to the ban on displaying cigarettes in shops for small tobacconists, despite calls for change by some VVD parliamentarians, junior health minister Paul Blokhuis has told MPs.

MPs from the ruling coalition party VVD want a year extension to the ban on shops displaying cigarettes in public view to give small shopkeepers more time to prepare. The ban will come into force in July 2021. The government presented its plans to further reduce smoking nine months ago and talks on how to put the proposals into practice have been ongoing since then.

Blokhuis told MPs during Tuesday’s debate that shopkeepers can ‘hang up a curtain or make a cupboard with doors’ to conceal their tobacco stocks after the ban comes in.  ‘This rule has been on the cards since 2017 and it cannot come as a surprise,’ the minister said.

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September 6th, 2019

No New Tobacco tax for Garfield Country

Garfield County may follow Pitkin and Eagle counties in raising minimum age for tobacco purchases, and will likely implement so-called flavor bans on nicotine products later this fall.

The board of commissioners Tuesday declined to move forward with putting a tobacco sales tax on the ballot this November, mainly because of the cost of administering the tax. Garfield County receives about $30,000 in annual revenue from the current tobacco tax. To set up the tax system would require a new employee, county staff told the commissioners Tuesday, which could eat into any additional revenues from the higher tax.

“That’s a losing deal,” Commissioner Mike Samson said at a Tuesday meeting.

Glenwood Springs and Carbondale have approved aggressive rules against flavored nicotine products and implemented licensing requirements for retailers.

Eagle, Summit and Pitkin counties have proposed a maximum $4 sales tax on cigarettes and 40 percent tax on other nicotine products that will go to voters in November. Glenwood Springs and New Castle are also considering implementing the tax, and Aspen passed a similar tax in 2017.

A new law signed by democratic Gov. Jared Polis in March authorizes counties and municipalities to impose special sales taxes on tobacco, but the county has to collect the tax themselves and forgo the state sales tax revenue. Still, two of the three commissioners voiced their support for a flavored nicotine ban, creating a licensing system for retailers, and increasing the tobacco purchasing age to 21.

“We need to raise the age to 21, and we need to regulate flavors,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.

Board chair John Martin was less excited about banning the sale of flavored nicotine and increasing the purchasing age, though he is concerned about youth nicotine use. Martin said he doesn’t want the county to “become the cigarette police,” and said it’s the job of state and federal lawmakers to set the restrictions.

The Roaring Fork Valley has the highest youth vaping rate in Colorado, according to public health officials.

Martin said he’s seen teenagers use nicotine products at area schools, but doesn’t see law enforcement stepping in, as they do with underage alcohol use.

Banning flavored tobacco products and raising the minimum age to 21 won’t reduce teen use as much as people hope, Martin said. “Where they (teenagers) are getting it now, they will be able to get it one way or another. I don’t think it’s our duty to go ahead and regulate it,” Martin said.The most important thing governments can do is educate youth on the dangers of using vape products, Martin said, comparing it to efforts to combat smokeless and other forms of tobacco.“We’re going to create a bunch of violators, and the black market is going to profit from it,” Martin added.

Other counties and cities in Colorado are pursuing stricter tobacco laws, but the Roaring Fork Valley so far has the most aggressive policies, according to Jodi Radke, regional director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Changing the rate of tobacco use requires a suite of policies, like the ones being passed in the region, that include the higher purchasing age, licensing, flavor ban and sales tax.

“Any tobacco control efforts takes a combination of policies to be comprehensive, in terms of their approach and producing outcomes, which is why the actions taken in the Roaring Fork Valley are probably the strongest we’ve seen, and probably will yield the strongest outcomes,” Radke said.

Garfield County commissioners will discuss the details of the flavor ban, minimum purchasing age increase and retailer licensing in November. There are around nine stores in unincorporated Garfield County that sell tobacco products, many located in Battlement Mesa.


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September 6th, 2019

Opinion Tobaccoland : Canadian physicians ill-prepared to discuss tobacco alternatives

Canadian physicians appear to be ill-prepared when it comes to discussing the variety of alternatives available to help smokers quit according to a survey conducted for the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) by Research Co. Only 25 per cent of the 456 physicians surveyed recommended electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS), such as vaping devices and electronic cigarettes, within the past year even though 63 per cent believe them to be less harmful than cigarettes.

Only 37 per cent have read research on electronic nicotine-delivery systems within the past six months and discussed it with patients (42 per cent in Western Canada and 32 per cent in Eastern Canada), 29 per cent more than six months ago (18 per cent in the West and 40 per cent in the East), while 34 per cent have not read research (40 per cent in the West and 28 per cent in the East). It’s a troubling statistic when we consider the number of people who credit these products for helping them to become smoke-free.

Over the course of the past year, only 25 per cent (29 per cent in Western Canada and 21 per cent in Eastern Canada) of physicians surveyed have recommended that patients who currently smoke tobacco products use electronic nicotine-delivery systems to help them reduce or quit their tobacco consumption while 75 per cent have not (71 per cent in the West and 79 per cent in the East).

And 63 per cent of the physicians (63 per cent in the West and 61 per cent in the East) believe that electronic nicotine-delivery systems represent a harm-reduction approach for patients who currently smoke traditional cigarettes, 26 per cent do not (21 per cent in Western Canada and 32 per cent in Eastern Canada), while 11 per cent of the physicians are not sure (15 per cent in the West and eight per cent in the East).

Vaping products are the most common type of ENDS and are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead heat up to vaporize a solution the user then inhales. The number of smokers interested in ENDS has likely increased since vaping products were legalized in 2018, but Canadian physicians are not up to speed on these products nor given any formal guidance by governments or medical associations that would help them to confidently recommend vaping as a real alternative to smoking.

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September 5th, 2019

Zimbabwe bid to expand tobacco growing faces challenges

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - When a local research institute in southwest Zimbabwe launched a training programme to teach farmers how to grow tobacco, Winston Babbage jumped at the opportunity to boost his business and cash in on what many in the country call the "golden leaf".

Babbage, who lives in the Umguza district of Matabeleland province in the southwest of the country, was given free seedlings and soil-testing services, as well as equipment to build a barn and mentoring to get the crop going. But his dreams of cashing in big on tobacco never materialised. 

"It was promising at first and we were all excited, but I soon realised it was unviable," Babbage told Al Jazeera.

Dozens of farmers like Babbage underwent training as part of the country's Tobacco Improved Productivity Sites (TIPS) initiative, a programme launched in 2013 by Zimbabwe's government and the Kutsaga Research Station. It aimed to geographically spread tobacco production to non-traditional growing areas of Zimbabwe and increase the number of farmers cultivating the lucrative crop.

Zimbabwe is Africa's biggest tobacco producer and the fifth-largest in the world, according to a study published in the Journal of Agrarian Change.

The crop is also one of Zimbabwe's top foreign-currency earners, accounting for about 12 percent of the nation's economic output. In 2018, tobacco production reached 252 million kilogrammes, the highest in Zimbabwe's 121-year history of commercial growing, according to the country's Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).

But while tobacco production has risen overall in Zimbabwe, in the southwest, there's been a significant decline, thanks to a combination of extreme weather, lack of market infrastructure and skilled labour.

Babbage stuck with tobacco growing for three seasons, but the cost of transporting his crop to the auction floor in Harare, about 400km away, cut into his profits. The government had promised to build an auction floor in nearby Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, Babbage said, but never followed through.

Babbage said Matabeleland North's provincial governor at the time, former Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, had been supportive of the new tobacco farmers - but couldn't convince investors it was worth having an auction floor in Bulawayo.

Mpofu, a tobacco grower himself, acknowledged that getting crops to market is a challenge for farmers.

"I had 15 hectares of premium tobacco and fetched five dollars per kilogram at the auction floors," he told Al Jazeera. "I encourage farmers from the region to try it, as it is life-transforming, but they have to find a way around the logistical challenges of taking the crop to the market."

Goodson Khuddu, the training manager at Kutsaga Research Station who trained Babbage and others in tobacco-growing, points to the absence of volume as a reason for the lack of a local auction market. 

"There is not enough tobacco to justify the establishment of sales points," Khuddu told Al Jazeera. "It's not cost-effective to bring floors to Matabeleland given the small tonnage. Doing so would outweigh the effort of wanting to do business."

Indigenous people in Zimbabwe grew Nyoka tobacco, which is native to the country, before the arrival of Europeans, but it was a Jesuit priest who claimed to be the first to commercially cultivate tobacco in the 1890s, according to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, a group representing growers.

Today, flue-cured Virginia tobacco - a type of cigarette tobacco- is grown extensively in four provinces in northern Zimbabwe. The crop provides the highest economic return for each hectare among all the major annual crops grown in the country, says the association.

But tobacco curing is not a simple process. It involves a series of physical and chemical changes that begin when the plant is cut and ends when it is dried - a process that takes up to eight weeks.

Much like Umguza, the four regions have sandy loam soil that is suitable for tobacco growing, and receives an annual rainfall of between 600mm and 800mm, according to the ZTA.

Babbage said the three seasons he grew tobacco coincided with erratic, late-onset rains. This meant that his crop ripened for processing after marketing season had already started. The delay also meant he couldn't meet a government-imposed deadline for clearing land and destroying crop residue, which must be done before the next crop is planted.

Penalties for missing the deadline are steep. Zimbabwe's Plant Pests and Diseases Act allows TIMB officials to destroy crops before they're harvested or to fine farmers.

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September 5th, 2019

Thailand Plain Tobacco Packaging

All cigarettes sold in Thailand will come in standardised, plain packaging starting on Sept 12 as part of the continuing campaign to reduce tobacco consumption. Thailand will become the first country in Asia to enforce the plain-packaging rule and the 16th to do so worldwide, according to the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance. 

The new packaging will be drab brown in colour with cigarette brand names printed in a standardised font type, size, colour and location, without brand colours or logos. Pictorial health warnings will occupy the upper 85% of the front and back panels of packs, the largest in Asean.  While the plain packages will be available on Sept 12, distributors and retailers have until Dec 12 to phase out all stocks of older cigarette packages.

“We congratulate the Thai government for this important public health milestone and urge the Ministry of Public Health to strictly monitor compliance and impose penalties on tobacco companies that do not abide by the new law,” said Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, executive director of the Alliance.

Standardised packaging is intended to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, eliminate tobacco packaging as a form of advertising, and increase the visibility and effectiveness of pictorial health warnings.

More importantly, the Alliance says, by restricting the tobacco industry’s ability to market to young people, it reduces smoking by youth.

Fifteen other countries already require standardised tobacco packaging: Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Norway, Ireland, Hungary, New Zealand, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Canada, Uruguay, Slovenia, Belgium and Israel. At least 13 others are in varying stages of introducing standardised packaging laws, the Alliance says. 

Singapore intends to make standardised tobacco packaging mandatory from July 1 next year. “Singapore and Thailand have blazed a path that neighbouring Asean countries must follow,” said Dr Dorotheo. 

The prevalence of tobacco use is high in Thailand, with over 11 million smokers, or an estimated one out of every five adults. Nearly 50% of men between 35 and 54 years old smoke, public health data shows.

Of particular concern is the persistently high rate of tobacco use among young people — one out of every six Thais between the ages of 13 and 17 uses tobacco.

Those who violate the law can be tried in either the juvenile or criminal courts. While no penalty has been fixed yet, the court can order violators to stop smoking in the house and/or undertake a course to quit smoking.


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September 4th, 2019

Tobacco 21 to take effect

Vermont’s more than 900 tobacco retailers will stop selling tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21, after the passage of “Tobacco 21” legislation by lawmakers earlier this year. The new law was signed into effect by Gov. Phil Scott in May, making Vermont the 14th state in the nation to change its legal smoking age from 18 to 21.

Skyler Genest, director of compliance and enforcement at the Department of Liquor Control, said that means the department will be hiring 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds to purchase tobacco products across the state, in an effort to ensure that the law is being properly followed.

“And if retailers aren’t doing that, we’re going to apply more education and resources to help them better understand the law, and better sell their products responsibly,” Genest said.

He said their data shows that most teenagers who use tobacco products and e-cigarettes get them from older friends, which isn’t that hard to do, since many 18-year-olds are still in high school. The hope, he said, is that by upping the threshold to 21, that option might become much more difficult.

“One of the strongest elements of Tobacco 21 is that is removes the social source from high school,” Genest said. “The theory is that the social circles of high schoolers are a little separate from the college-age crowd, so it will be more difficult for them to access the products.”

The Tobacco 21 legislation did not come on its own. It was accompanied by two other bills this year that share the intent of trying to reduce vaping rates among young people. The first, H.26, prohibits the online sale of e-cigarettes to Vermont customers, while the second, H.47, ensures that e-cigarettes are subject to the same 92% tax rate as other tobacco-related products.

Genest said they’ve heard some anecdotes about 18-t0-20-year-olds buying in bulk over the past several weeks before Tobacco 21 goes into effect, which he said there isn’t much anyone can do to stop. He noted that there was actually a similar spike in sales earlier this summer before the tax increase went into effect July 1.

“Between those two changes, we’ve seen a high volume of sales this summer,” he said.

Although vaping giants like Juul and Altria supported the move to Tobacco 21, both in Vermont and across the country, that was in part to head off efforts to increase taxes and regulations, like the measures that ultimately passed in Vermont. Although a few Republicans opposed the age-raising measure, citing concerns about personal liberty, given that 18-year-olds can vote and serve in the military, it ultimately passed both chambers with overwhelming support.

Tobacco 21 is expected to decrease the rate of tobacco use among teens by 12%, according to a 2015 report by the National Academy of Medicine. That comes as vaping and electronic cigarette use is on the rise, with the percentage of high schoolers reporting e-cigarette use rising by more than 75% between 2017 and 2018, alongside a 50% increase in use by middle-schoolers.

Theresa Barrows, director of marketing for the department, said there has been a multi-pronged approach in marketing the change to retailers and consumers. She said the Department of Liquor Control has been in contact with the state’s liquor stores, while the Department of Education has led a more general informational campaign; the Department of Health has educated about the health aspects of the rule change.

But Genest said since having a law go into effect on Sept. 1 is far less common than July 1, a number of businesses have already made the switch. He said even after they cleared up the confusion, many retailers stuck with 21 to get their cashiers ready.

“I think that’s somewhat of a smart move,” he said. “It just gets the ball rolling earlier and helps prepare retailers.”


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September 4th, 2019

Tackling Indonesian Smoking Addiction a Double Edged Sword

Indonesia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and a tobacco industry that continues to thrive as the number of smokers decreases globally. While the legal minimum age for smoking in Indonesia is 18 years old, the industry remains largely unregulated, particularly in more remote parts of the country.

In those areas, children can buy a single cigarette from road-side kiosks for as little as few cents. Indonesia's national addiction to tobacco is not only fuelled by its availability and affordability, but also because of the key role it plays in the country's economy. So while smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the country, analysts say cracking down on the industry is a "double-edged sword".

It's just one part of an epidemic in a country where nearly 70 per cent of all men and one in five children aged between 13 and 15 smoke, according to official data.Mohammed Faisal, executive director of think tank Centre of Reform on Economics Indonesia, told the ABC tobacco has historically been one of Indonesia's largest national industries, with the hand-rolled kretek clove cigarettes ingrained in Indonesian culture. Excise duties on cigarettes brought in 153 trillion rupiah ($15.8 billion) last year, nearly 96 per cent of the national excise total, and equivalent to 10 per cent of total government revenue, according to the Ministry of Industry.

"There are incredibly wealthy tobacco conglomerates who have the capability of influencing the political systems, particularly in regions which are dependent on the industry," he said. However, the revenue generated pales in comparison to the massive cost of the public health crisis caused by smoking. National losses due to cigarette consumption in 2015 reached almost 600 trillion rupiah ($62.2 billion), or four times more than the amount of cigarette excise in the same year, according to the Ministry of Health.

However, Mr Faisal said a collapse of the industry would have damaging consequences and a knock-on effect on many levels of Indonesian society.

"It's a double-edged sword … despite its massive [public health] costs, it is a huge contributor to the national revenue through taxes," he said

The Indonesian Government has taken a different approach to electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes or vape, applying a high 57 per cent tax on liquid tobacco essences.Vaping has become a popular alternative for Indonesia's younger generation, with vaping cafes popping up all over major cities like Jakarta, Denpasar and Bandung.

Indonesia's Customs and Excise Office estimates there are 300 liquid makers in Indonesia, producing various liquid products for more than 4,000 vape stores and 900,000 smokers.

While the numbers may seem significant, they are dwarfed by the approximately 60 million regular cigarette smokers in the country, and critics are questioning why the cigarette industry doesn't receive the same treatment.

Abdillah Ahsan, a tobacco economics and politics expert from the University of Indonesia, told the ABC increasing cigarette taxes has been a contentious issue in the country due to the economic, cultural and political costs.

"The Indonesian political cycle has made it difficult to see the long-term effects and economic cost of cigarettes, instead it prioritises the yearly economic gains," Mr Ahsan said.

To put it in perspective, the revenue of Philip Morris Indonesia last year was 107 trillion rupiah ($11.1 billion), equivalent to the country's total health budget, he adds.

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September 3rd, 2019

Barn Filled with Tobacco Destroyed

Tobaccoland - A large barn filled with acres of tobacco was destroyed in a fire Monday in Robertson County.According to Smokey Barn News, the tobacco farm was in the process of fire-curing the crop when the fire broke out Monday night just before 6 p.m.

The barn and an attached stripping room were completely destroyed in the fire, but firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to any of the nearby structures.

The blaze also destroyed eight acres worth of tobacco inside the barn at the time of the fire.

While tobacco was being fire-cured in the barn, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. No one was injured.


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September 3rd, 2019

TobaccoLand E Cigarettes Can Now Land You in Jail

It was earlier reported that the Modi Government is planning to introduce an ordinance soon to ban the manufacture, sale, and import of ENDS devices, including e-cigarettes.

Now, more details of the Union Health Ministry's proposal has emerged. Reuters which accessed an internal note reported that Health officials are proposing jail terms of up to three years, with a penalty of up to 500,000 rupees for repeat offenders against the new rules.

First-time offenders would face a prison term of up to one year and a fine of 100,000 rupees. 

“E-cigarettes and similar technologies that encourage tobacco use or adversely impact public health are hazardous for an active as well as passive user,”

the draft proposal of the health ministry said. The health ministry also argued that e-cigarettes can also be used as delivery devices for other substances such as cannabis, and could promote dual-use with conventional cigarettes.

“These devices are injurious to health and proliferation of these products has a negative impact on public health,” the draft said.

“These devices are injurious to health and proliferation of these products has a negative impact on public health,” the draft said.Earlier, it was reported that the government is mulling to bring an ordinance to ban ENDS devices if it fails to get a reprieve from the Delhi High Court, which had earlier stayed its order to ban such products, sources said.Banning such alternative smoking devices like e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, and e-nicotine flavoured hookah, among others is one of the priorities of the Health Ministry as part of the first 100 days agenda of the second term of the Modi government.

The ministry’s plans would deal a blow to U.S.-based Juul Labs Inc, which is hoping to launch its e-cigarette in India and has hired several senior executives in recent months.Philip Morris also has plans to launch its heat-not-burn smoking device in India, Reuters has reported.Advocates for the devices say e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking tobacco because users do not inhale the same dangerous matter.But many tobacco-control activists are opposed to e-cigarettes, saying they could lead to nicotine addiction and push people to consume tobacco.

"There is evidence that these products are a gateway to tobacco products and induce adolescents and young adults to nicotine use leading to addiction,” the health ministry said in the document.

India has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China in the world, making it a lucrative market for firms such as Juul and Philip Morris. More than 900,000 people die each year in the country due to tobacco-related illnesses.


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September 2nd, 2019

Tobacco farmers frantically trying to salvage Dorian-damaged crop

Hurricane Dorian's winds and rains ravaged farm fields across eastern North Carolina, and tobacco farmers are now working to salvage what they can of this year's crop.State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured farms this week to assess the damage, and he called it extensive.

"[Farmers] are working night and day, but the probability is we're going to have a substantial loss to the tobacco crop this year," Troxler said Wednesday.

The size of the loss won't be known until all of the tobacco is harvested, he said. Brandon Trevathan, who works for Vick Family Farms near Macclesfield, said tractors and trucks are running almost nonstop to try to finish that harvest as quickly as possible.

"It's got wind damage," Trevathan said of the tobacco. "This is one of the prettiest crops we've had. There are a bunch of stalks that are just leaned over." Dorian's winds whipped up the aging process of the plants, he said, noting that, when tobacco is battered, it creates a ripening chemical called ethelyne.

"We're seeing a very quick maturing of the tobacco," he said. "If we don't go ahead and get it out now, it's going to be worse."

Before the storm, farmers had until the end of the month to get the tobacco leaves from the fields to the flue-curing barns. Now, it's down to a few days, and with such mature leaves, they're poised to fall off before they're bundled up.

"The question is, do we have enough barns to get it in before it gets on the ground?" Troxler said. "I think the answer is no."

Wilson County farmer Kevin Gardner, who had most of his leaves harvested before Dorian, said 25 percent or more of the local crop could be ruined.

"We're helping our neighbors get theirs out as fast as we can. If not, they're going to lose it," Gardner said.

Troxler said the situation isn't as dire for farmers as it was after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 or Hurricane Florence last year, noting most of the damaged soybeans and cotton crops can be salvaged. Still, he wonders how much more North Carolina farmers can withstand.

"They've about had enough, and the financial losses that they're accruing year after year are really adding up," Troxler said.

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September 1st, 2019

Bill would increase legal age to buy nicotine, tobacco products

In Wisconsin, people who are 18 years old can legally buy tobacco or nicotine products. A new bill would raise the legal age to 21. The lawmakers behind the bill, led by Republican state Sen. Howard Marklein, are hoping to limit access to these products for high school students, whom they said are contributing to a public health crisis. 

Brandon Sanchez, who manages Vapor Wireless on South Park Street, said while he supports the changes, he doesn't think it will solve the public health crisis associated with it. "More and more, especially lately, we're seeing older. The average age is going up, I think," Sanchez said. Sanchez estimated that only about 10% of his customers are under the age of 20. Knucklehead's Tobacco and Vapes manager Landon Meske said the number of people under 21 years old he sells to now is 30%. National data shows most smokers started smoking when they were teenagers and that the younger people start smoking, the more likely they became addicted. 

"I don't think it's a bad idea to make people wait a little bit longer," Sanchez said. Sanchez acknowledged that while he could lose customers if the bill passes, the majority of his business and those who use tobacco or nicotine products wouldn't be impacted. Health departments say raising the minimum age would help solve the health issues related to vaping by keeping vaping devices out of the hands of people who are underage. 

"It's not going to solve the problem," Meske said. "They will find ways to do it just like they find ways to buy alcohol."

Sanchez agreed and said, "I don't think changing the law is necessarily going to stop every single 18 to 20-year-old from vaping but I think it does make it that much more difficult."

Sanchez said he often has customers come in who are older and have already been smoking cigarettes for a while that are interested in vaping. He said while he does see the occasional 18-to-20-year-old, he believes most of the health risks are stemming from the population of those who are over 21 years old. 

Meske said he sees similar customers at his store, even being close to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Meske said educating young people on the risks of tobacco and nicotine would be more effective than changing the minimum age requirement. He said the young people aren't the majority of the people he sees purchasing tobacco or nicotine products to begin with. 

"If you're looking at purely health reasons, I think there's still not even close to enough long-term research," Meske said. Currently, 18 states have adopted laws that require people to be 21 years old to buy nicotine or tobacco products.


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August 30th, 2019

Modern Oral Products are Starting to Break Into The Smokeless Market.

Chewing tobacco doesn’t enjoy the most refined reputation, a sticky black mess tucked into a corner of the mouth, the steady stream of spit making bystanders queasy. And yet, cigarette companies are rushing into the category to escape a growing smoking malaise.

To resonate with a young and fashion-forward audience, the humble oral nicotine has undergone a makeover, in some cases removing tobacco altogether. British American Tobacco Plc is pushing a brand called Lyft—slender white pouches, infused with eucalyptus and pine tree fibers, that release mint or berry flavor once discreetly tucked under the upper lip. The tobacco-laced sister brand Epok promises hints of tropical fruit or peppermint.

“For some of us, coming from a geography where there’s a bit less of a history of oral tobacco use, the ritual can look a bit alien,” said Vincent Duhem, BAT’s global director for the modern oral category. “There’s a widespread ritual in the U.S. and Scandinavia, but we’re starting to see that spreading in many places, like in Europe and Russia.”

The renewed interest in an established—albeit niche—product reflects the strains on an industry that’s woken up to the fact that its future may not lie in cigarettes. Volumes have declined by about a third since 2004 in Western Europe, and are expected to drop further through 2022, according to Euromonitor. That has set off a race to become a leader in next-generation alternatives. While vaping and heat-not-burn devices have become a popular and widespread means to wean people off cigarettes, the modern oral tobacco remains a fringe phenomenon, accounting for just 2% of BAT’s cigarette-alternative sales.

Marketing a product that’s not commonly used outside Scandinavia and the U.S. poses challenges, as consumers often confuse different variants of smokeless tobacco. What cigarettes, vaping and oral products all have in common is that they contain nicotine, and that health authorities consider all of them harmful, to different degrees. But like with vaping, there is no uniform regulatory approach, meaning the oral products are available in some markets but banned in others, making life harder for companies trying to sell them.

Modern oral products, wrapped in a white pouch, often contain less tobacco than traditional chewing tobacco or the Scandinavian snus variant, which is confined to Sweden and Norway but banned in most of the European Union. Snus is moist powder or ground tobacco administered the same way as the modern versions. Traditional chewing tobacco can still come in brown, loose form that can require spitting.

The slogans that seek to give the hesitant consumer an encouraging nudge towards modern oral tobacco highlight heritage and hipsterdom. Lyft trumpets its provenance as “straight from Sweden,” and targets “a generation on-the-go.” That’s a far cry from the redneck stigma attached to traditional chewing tobacco, or the grisly photos on cigarette packages warning of cancer and amputated limbs as a possible outcome of smoking.

Oral tobacco nevertheless comes with health risks, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It requires packaging to warn of the range of possible hazards, such as mouth cancer, gum disease or tooth loss, and that it shouldn’t be seen as a safe alternative to cigarettes. Across the Atlantic, the European Commission concluded that smokeless tobacco products in all its forms can cause cancer and is addictive.

“These products, along with e-cigarettes and heat-not burn, are uniquely designed to sustain addiction,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “There’s no reason to think it’s a meaningful pathway to cessation or long-term switching.”


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August 29th, 2019

Dutch fine sellers of super strength nicotine e-cigarette

Dutch health and safety watchdog NVWA has fined seven Amsterdam-based companies for selling illegal e-cigarettes, the Parool reports. Juul is an American brand e-cigarette which contains three times the permitted amount of nicotine, making it illegal in the Netherlands.

Its popularity among teens is growing, however, and Juul has now appeared on the Dutch market as well, both online and in physical shops. The fines range from €450 to €4,500 for repeated infringements. All seven sellers, whose names have not been published for privacy reasons, are based in Amsterdam because the product is popular among American tourists, the paper said. Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis said the sale of the illegal product is ‘unacceptable’.

‘I think the trend among teens to try e-cigarettes or shisha pens is a worrying one. That is the reason why the national prevention plan contains measures to limit the use and visibility of e-cigarettes,’ he told the paper. The Parool cites the owner of a tobacco shop in The Hague who said Juul is very easy to buy online, especially via a foreign sites. The American owner of Juul, Altria (formerly Philip Morris Companies), is rumoured to want to introduce the product in Europe, the paper writes, but that means the amount of nicotine would have to be reduced to a maximum of 20mg per ml.


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August 29th, 2019

Drug Companies Could Look to Tobacco Industry for Solutions as Opioid Crisis Lawsuits Mount

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million to Oklahoma for its role in the state’s opioid epidemic. While there are certainly more suits and settlements to come, companies’ aversion to financial accountability may result in the American public seeing a repeat of the tobacco industry's addiction-related accord in the late 1990s.

On Monday, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman declared that "the opioid crisis has ravaged the state of Oklahoma” and ruled that Johnson & Johnson should pay $572 million for its role in fueling the epidemic. Though the pharmaceutical giant was not ordered to pay the $17 billion the Oklahoma attorney general was seeking, the company maintains that its business practices were ethical, according to a statement published after the verdict. Johnson and Johnson is expected to appeal Balkman’s decision in the state’s supreme court.

NBC reported Tuesday that drugmaker Purdue Pharma was in months-long talks with local and state government lawyers to settle roughly 2,000 lawsuits concerning its role in supplying opioids - a deal that would see it declare bankruptcy and pay out as much as $12 billion.

Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and director of the Albert Gore Research Center, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Tuesday to discuss the ruling and draw comparisons between the opioid epidemic settlements versus those of the late ‘90s involving tobacco.

According to “A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 20 Years Later” by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, states reaped $27.5 billion from the MSA and tobacco taxes in Fiscal Year 2018, but spent less than 3% of it on programs to stop children from picking up the habit or helping chronic smokers quit.


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August 28th, 2019

Policy on vaping is in contrast to the policy on cigarette

While a UK government health agency has been advising people to substitute cigarettes with vaping, the Indian government is mulling a law to ban the latter. Public Health England—an executive agency under the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom maintains that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

But the Indian health ministry has proposed a ban on the vaping and e-cigarettes. To be sure, many Indian states already have such a ban in place. But, there is no central law banning e-cigarettes and vapes. The proposed ban would entail a three-year jail term and a `5 lakh fine for repeat offenders, and comes at a time when industry majors like Juul Labs and Philip Morris International were thinking about expanding their e-cigarette and vape markets in India. At the same time, there is no proposal to ban cigarettes/beedis and chewing tobacco.

Although the ministry and the states have cited health concerns for banning e-cigarettes, the problem is the government’s unbalanced approach to the tobacco industry. For one, e-cigarettes being an expensive proposition—cheapest ones cost `500, with pods or liquids costing more—were only expected to replace cigarettes. More important, India’s tobacco problem is largely beedi-linked. While successive governments keep hiking cigarette duties—they pay an excise duty of around 50% right now—beedis get taxed at around 2-3%, and chewing tobacco pays around 5-6%. Moreover, while VAT rates differ from state to state, they are roughly 26% for cigarettes and 8-10% for beedis and chewing tobacco.

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August 27th, 2019

Tobacco Gives Way To Lucrative Horticulture

Kuria East has for a long time be known for the production of tobacco. But one farmer is making a killing by growing horticultural crops in the area, which is in Migori County. The vegetable farm in the area, which is located a few kilometres from Kehancha town stands out in an area once dominated by tobacco.

The five-acre leased farm owned by Chacha Mwita hosts a variety of crops that include cabbages, tomatoes, indigenous vegetables such as Kunde (cowpeas), collard greens (sukuma wiki) and capsicum. The farmer started growing vegetables in 2015 in search of better returns.

“I used to grow maize and tobacco and although they were labour intensive, the returns were little. A visit to a friend in Molo changed my agribusiness,” he says, noting that his friend convinced him to switch to cabbages. During a visit to the 39-year old farmer’s farm, he was as busy as a bee; harvesting cabbages from three-and-half acres.

“I planted about 4,000 heads of the crop. This is the fourth time I am growing cabbages and it’s because of their good returns,” reveals Mwita, adding that he sells each at between Sh30 and Sh70, depending on the size.

The farmer’s main markets are Isibania, Kehancha and Migori. He further transports the produce to Nairobi on buses plying the Migori-Nairobi route. He starts growing the crop by planting his seeds in a nursery before he transplants to the field. “The seeds take five to seven weeks in the nursery before they are moved. I then plant the seedlings half-inch deep with a spacing of 50 by 50cm,” explains Mwita. But before transplanting, the land should be ploughed thrice and be weed-free. Besides DAP, he also uses rabbit urine and droppings as fertiliser.

Given that cabbages, which grow in well-drained soils with a PH of 6-7, are known to be heavy feeders, the farmer irrigates the crops when rains are erratic and mulches them. He grows the Gloria F1 variety that takes 80 days to mature and has bigger heads. To keep off caterpillars and aphids, the farmer uses traditional methods that include applying wood ash on the heads of the cabbages.

Mwita has tomatoes on an acre-and-a-half. On average, he harvests 15 crates after five to seven days, selling each at Sh2,000 to traders from Migori and Kisii markets. The farmer supplies Sukuma wiki to three secondary schools in the area raking in close to Sh60,000 per month.

“I grow the crop traditionally by planting shoots I get from mature plants, which enables me to harvest faster,” says the farmer.

His efforts have been acknowledged by Migori County Government and World Vision. The former has appointed him an agriculture ambassador, a position he uses to encourage the youth to engage themselves in farming activities. He also works as a trainer of farmers in workshops organised by World Vision.


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August 27th, 2019

In Indonesia, big tobacco is king

Beyond the holiday hotspot of Bali, Indonesia is not a place many of us think about much. But it’s an interesting country. Around 270 million people live there, scattered across the 18,000 plus islands that make up the country. It is also the world’s largest Muslim nation and is steadily becoming more conservative.  The median age is just over 28 years. Average annual income is about USD$3,360.

Lots of facts. Let’s add one more. Indonesia has the highest rate of male smokers on the planet. It’s one of the last great unregulated, anything goes markets for the tobacco industry.

Smoking rates are usually higher in developing countries such as Indonesia than in developed countries such as the USA. Overall, smokers in developing nations comprise 73% of the world’s smokers.

But in China, where smoking rates are also high, there is a concerted campaign by the government and health authorities to reduce smoking rates. There is evidence of some success with this. In neighbouring Malaysia, the smoking rate amongst adult males is nearly 40% less than it is in Indonesia and is in long term decline.

But the smoking rate in Indonesia remains stubbornly high. 75% of all adult males smoke in Indonesia.  Whereas smoking rates tend to be in decline in most countries, in Indonesia it is increasing. Only 56% of Indonesian adult males smoked in 2000


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August 26th, 2019

Taxing Tobacco

Smokers pay for their habit in more ways than one. There’s the toll smoking takes on their health and then there’s the toll it takes on their wallets.

Starting Jan. 2, electronic cigarette users in Maine will be feeling the pain when the excise tax on non-cigarette tobacco products, including vaping devices and liquids, will more than double — from 20 to 43 percent of the wholesale price. The increase brings the tax on vaping products, pipe tobacco and cigars inline with that on cigarettes. Proponents say the legislation closes a loophole; opponents say it’s a tax increase — something Governor Mills vowed to avoid her first two years in office. She signed the bill into law earlier this summer.

We’ll call it a draw. Yes, it’s a tax increase, but it’s reasonable to tax all tobacco products at the same rate.

Much of the revenue generated will be allocated for tobacco-use prevention and cessation programs. Coupling sticker shock with education is a smart strategy. Lawmakers in favor of the legislation see it as a way to help curb an increase in youth vaping. But it begs the question: Can you tax people into good behavior? If you can, should you?

The World Health Organization cites increased taxes and prices as “the most cost-effective measure to reduce tobacco use.” The organization says higher prices encourage users to quit and discourage potential users from starting. It remains to be seen whether the tax increase will have this effect in Maine.

Smoking drives up health care costs and decreases worker productivity. The physical toll can diminish a person’s quality of life and sometimes end it. Some would argue vaping is the lesser evil when compared with traditional cigarettes and can be a tool for smokers to wean themselves off their daily pack. But both are means of delivering addictive nicotine to the body.

When it comes to teen users, e-cigarettes are the opposite of a cessation tool; they’re a gateway. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has described youth vaping as an “epidemic.” Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among American youth. The 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey of 1,919 Hancock County high school students showed that 31 percent of students had tried a vape product at some point. Last fall, the head of school at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill estimated up to 25 percent of GSA students were involved with vaping. Mainers can’t legally buy tobacco products until they’re 21, but teens still get their hands on it. Many electronic smoking products are designed to be trendy and discreet.


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August 24th, 2019

L.A. County Could Soon Become Nation’s Largest Jurisdiction to Ban Flavored Tobacco

Los Angeles County could soon become the nation’s largest jurisdiction to ban the sales of flavored tobacco — a move aimed at fighting what public health officials increasingly call an epidemic of e-cigarette use among teenagers.

Under a proposed ordinance that the Board of Supervisors is expected to consider next month, stores in unincorporated areas would no longer be able to offer any tobacco products with a flavor in any form. That includes e-cigarettes with fruity pods of liquid nicotine, traditional menthol cigarettes, mint chewing tobacco and cream cigars, among other products.

The plan also would require new or existing tobacco shops to get business licenses, according to a draft of the ordinance viewed by The Times.

The new rules would be enforced starting in February 2020. Businesses that don’t comply could have their licenses suspended. Public health advocates praised the county’s plan, saying it could help cut the alarming amount of e-cigarette vaping by young people.

“It’s a tremendous undertaking to make such a sweeping change in legislation,” said Jessica Sims, a healthcare administrator who is on the board of the American Heart Assn. in Los Angeles. “It’s the right thing to do. It will protect kids and reverse a trend.” While less harmful for adults than regular cigarettes, the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes remain unclear, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read the full story on here

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August 23rd, 2019

‘Sin tax’ on alcohol, tobacco lauded, slammed

Sen. Pia Cayetano on Wednesday said she was more inclined to support the Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposed measure on higher excise taxes on alcoholic drinks, rather than the bill approved this week by the House of Representatives. The House on Tuesday approved on third reading a bill imposing a higher “sin tax” on alcohol products and e-cigarettes. Cayetano said she was supporting the DOF version because it would generate more funds for social services.

“Technically, I haven’t adopted anything yet, but I have an open mind to go towards the version of the DOF because I’m with the administration,”  the chair of the Senate ways and means committee told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

But Cayetano said she was open to adjusting her stand if she would be presented with information that the DOF position was extreme. The House version would net additional revenues of P15 billion in the first year, much lower than the DOF’s projected revenue of P33 billion, officials said. Under House Bill No. 1026, the ad valorem tax imposed on distilled spirits shall be increased from 20 percent to 22 percent. Specific tax rates per proof liter shall be imposed with P5 increments every year until 2022—from P30 per proof liter in 2019 to P45 in 2022. From 2023 onward, the rate shall be increased by 7 percent annually.

The bill would also  impose a 15-percent ad valorem and a single specific tax of P650 per liter on sparkling wines. Still wines and carbonated wines containing 14-percent alcohol or less will have a P40 tax, while those with 25-percent alcohol content or less will be taxed P80.The tax on beer and other fermented liquors shall be raised from P23.50 per liter to P28 per liter starting January. It will be incrementally increased to P32 in 2020, P34 in 2021 and P36 in 2022. For heated tobacco products, the tax shall be P45 per pack of 20 units or packaging combinations of not more than 20 units, beginning 2020. The specific tax per 20 units of heated tobacco products will rise to P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022 and P60 in 2023.

Also by 2020, vapor products with nicotine salt shall have a P30 tax per milliliter. This will increase to P35 per milliliter in 2021 with P5 increments per year until 2023. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and the Sin Tax Coalition, meanwhile, lauded the passage of the bill, saying the higher tax on alcohol products would help reduce alcohol consumption among Filipinos.

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August 22nd, 2019

Tobacco deliveries to break record

Tobacco deliveries are set to surpass last season’s record-breaking delivery of 252 million kilogrammes as deliveries continue at the auction and contract floors. A record 252 million kilogramme was delivered to the market during the 2018 marketing season.

In an interview at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show yesterday, Tobacco Industry and Marketing board communications manager Mr Isheunesu Moyo said deliveries have continued and indications are that they could surpass last year’s volumes.

He said farmers were bringing an average of 400 000 kilogrammes of the tobacco to the floors every day, and closing dates will only be announced after consultations with the industry. “By day 102, farmers had delivered 251,3 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$ 507 million. This is an increase from the 249, 6 million kilogrammes worth US$730 million that was delivered by growers during the same period last year. “We are still receiving tobacco from the farmers and we except to surpass the 2018 volumes because the season is still on and farmers are still bringing their crop for sale,” he said. In general, the prices this year are lower by about 31 percent to those of last year at US$2,92 per kg compared to US$2,02 per kg.

The Government’s Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report for 2018/2019 shows that 132 040 hectares were put under tobacco during the 2018/2019 season, up from the 104 395 hectares that were planted during the 2017/2018 season. The 2018/2019 season has been described by many farmers as a difficult one due to the late rains that affected production and quality of the crop in some areas. Farmers also complained of depressed prices this season compared to the previous prices, while others raised concern over the payment modalities of having 50 percent of their money deposited into the RTGS and the remaining 50 percent into their FCA accounts.

The TIMB said it will make evaluations at the end of the season and make recommendations to the responsible authorities to ensure the challenges are solved.


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August 21st, 2019

Tobacco suppliers target holidaymakers in anti-resale campaign

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association is targeting holidaymakers who might want to resell cheap tobacco they have bought overseas when they return home. Such tobacco is untaxed and its resale carries with it risk of prosecution and a criminal record. No limits are currently imposed when returning from another EU country, but anyone bringing excessive quantities of tobacco in their baggage might need to prove to law enforcement authorities that it is for their personal use. 

HMRC tobacco tax gap figures show smuggled tobacco cost UK taxpayers £1.8bn in 2017-18.

The campaign, which runs until the end of September, targets tourist hubs that include Manchester, East Midlands, Glasgow Prestwick, Glasgow International and London Luton airports, the port of Dover and central city locations in London and Edinburgh. For those holidaying outside the EU, the allowance is 200 cigarettes or 250g of rolling tobacco. HMRC says more than £45bn of tax revenue has been lost through tobacco smuggling since the 2000/2001 tax year. The TMA said research showed the ways people sold illegal tobacco was getting ever more sophisticated, including through social media channels and community websites.  “It’s easy for people to forget when they’re travelling abroad, especially in the EU. They may decide that they want to buy more tobacco for their personal use as the prices are cheaper,” said TMA director Rupert Lewis.

“The issue arises when people decide that they are going to sell on this tobacco when they are back in the UK, or they specifically buy it for the purpose of reselling in the UK. This is illegal and a criminal offence. Law enforcement agencies will take action against anybody caught and prosecute them.”  Lewis said reselling tobacco bought overseas was not a victimless crime. It directly impacted smaller independent shopkeepers who were forced to compete against illegal tobacco sales and it badly harmed their businesses.

He also pointed out the growing influence of organised crime, which he said was increasingly behind the purchase, trade and supply of illegal tobacco in the UK.


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August 20th, 2019

Warnings on tobacco products actually work ?

WHEN “MAD MEN’S” Betty Draper puffed on a cigarette while pregnant, modern audiences cringed. Public awareness of smoking’s toll on people’s lungs and on their children has come far since the 1960s. But lung cancer and birth defects are only a couple of the severe health problems associated with tobacco use. New warning labels the Food and Drug Administration rolled out last Thursday aim to make other potential health consequences better known — with large, graphic depictions of what else long-term smokers should expect from their habit.

One of the new labels shows a man with a heart surgery scar running up his chest, warning that smoking clogs arteries and causes heart disease and strokes. Another depicts diseased feet with amputated toes, warning that smoking reduces blood flow to the limbs and can lead to amputations. Yet another shows a vial of bloody urine, warning that smoking causes bladder cancer. The labels would have to take up at least the top half of cigarette packages and at least the top 20 percent of tobacco advertisements.

These would be far more forceful than the tiny, text-only warnings carried on tobacco products now, which have changed little since “Mad Men” days. Acting FDA commissioner Norman “Ned” Sharpless told reporters on a Thursday conference call that the administration’s research shows the public is “surprisingly unaware of many of the risks of smoking.” FDA tobacco chief Mitch Zeller also said the old surgeon general’s warnings “have become virtually invisible.” Indeed, other countries have surpassed the United States in the severity and graphic nature of the warnings they require on tobacco packaging. Extensive FDA consumer research found that the information on the proposed warning labels was new to smokers and nonsmokers alike. The experiences of other nations suggest that large, graphic warning labels help deter smoking and discourage tobacco users from smoking around others. The images on the FDA’s new labels would quickly convey to English and non-English speakers alike the real-world effects of their habit.

New warnings are a long time coming. The 2009?Tobacco Control Act required them. But the FDA’s first attempt got mired in litigation. Now the FDA is trying again with new warning labels backed by substantial new consumer research. By tying these labels’ content closely to its mission of educating the public about the various harms of tobacco use, the FDA should prevail in any further court challenges, in light of jurisprudence that allows the government to require disclosures on products and in advertising.


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August 20th, 2019

Vaping Firms Sue Seeking to Further Delay FDA Review of e-Cigarettes

A vaping industry group sued the U.S. government last week to delay an upcoming review of thousands of e-cigarettes on the market. The legal challenge by the Vapor Technology Association is the latest hurdle in the Food and Drug Administration’s years long effort to regulate the multibillion-dollar vaping industry, which includes makers and retailers of e-cigarette devices and flavored solutions. The vaping group argued that the latest deadline of next May to submit products for review could wipe out many of the smaller companies. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown in popularity despite little research on their long-term effects, including whether they can help smokers quit cigarettes.

In recent years, health authorities have warned of an epidemic of vaping by underage teenagers, particularly the leading brand Juul, known for its high nicotine content and easy-to-conceal device, which resembles a flash drive. Nicotine is what makes both cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive, and health experts say the chemical is harmful to developing brains.

The 2009 law that gave the FDA power over the traditional tobacco products did not mention e-cigarettes. And it wasn’t until 2016 that the agency expanded its own regulations to include the devices. But since then FDA regulators have repeatedly pushed back the timeline, at one point until 2022, to begin review the legions of vaping products that have come to market. Frustrated by the delays, anti-tobacco groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids sued the FDA to speed up the process. In June, a federal judge sided with the groups and set a deadline of next May for all companies to submit their products for federal review. The FDA has until next month to appeal the decision.


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August 19th, 2019

Tobacco industry anti-smoking ads reached less than half of US adults

Court-ordered anti-smoking ads sponsored by the tobacco industry reached only around 40per cent of adults and about half of all smokers in the U.S., a recent study suggests. Past research has shown that anti-smoking mass media campaigns are an effective public health intervention and work to reverse misconceptions, researchers write in JAMA Network Open.

In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in favor of the Department of Justice in a lawsuit against the tobacco industry, requiring cigarette companies to sponsor anti-smoking advertisements in major newspapers, television, retail displays, cigarette packages and their corporate websites in order to "correct" misleading messages the industry had been putting out for decades. After years of further litigation and appeals, the industry began running newspaper and television ads in November 2017. To assess the reach of these ads, researchers led by Sanjay Shete of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston surveyed a nationally-representative sample of 3,484 adults between January and May 2018, during which time the ads were running.

Participants were asked whether they recalled seeing ads specifically mentioning that a federal court had ordered tobacco companies to make statements about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. The survey also asked if people remembered seeing ads focused on one of five specific dangers of smoking: the harms of smoking; of inhaling second-hand smoke; addictiveness; cigarette design that enhances nicotine delivery; and the lack of harm-reduction with light or low-tar cigarettes. Only 40.6per cent of adults recalled seeing the advertisements. Exposure was even lower among certain ethnic and socioeconomic groups historically targeted by tobacco industry marketing.

Just 37per cent of people aged 18-34, about 35per cent of those with no more than a high school diploma, and 38per cent of those with household income under US$35,000 a year reported having seen any of the ads. Around half of current smokers had seen one or more of the ads, but in this group, just 42per cent of Hispanic smokers had seen them. The study authors note that a three-month antismoking media campaign entitled Tips from Former Smokers, which was run by the federal government, reached 80per cent of current smokers despite its much shorter duration compared to the tobacco industry's campaign.

"Anti-smoking campaigns run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other government organizations in the past seem to have had a much greater reach," Shete noted in a phone interview.

"It is possible that young people are no longer watching TV or reading newspapers, and are getting their news on social media," he noted.

Yale University neuroscientist Marina Picciotto said it wasn't surprising that the tobacco-industry designed and sponsored ad campaigns did not reach the "most vulnerable" users.

"The tobacco industry has been several steps ahead of regulation since the first Surgeon General's report showing that smoking is responsible for large-scale death of its users," said Picciotto, who is former president of Yale's Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

"Compliance with a court-ordered advertising campaign could be designed with an eye to keeping the message away from the eyes of their most valuable consumers." Because the survey data was elicited in batches, researchers were also able to determine that people who responded several months after the campaign was run were more likely to have seen the advertisements.

"Two takeaways from the data are that advertisements need to run over long periods in order to reach more people and that the media used to broadcast them needs to be selected carefully to reach the most relevant target audiences," Shete said.


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August 18th, 2019

FDA reveals proposed graphic warnings for cigarette packs and ads

Warning labels on cigarette packages could soon be more graphic, warning that "Smoking reduces blood flow to the limbs, which can require amputation," and "Smoking causes bladder cancer, which can lead to bloody urine." The US Food and Drug Administration on

Thursday issued a proposed rule that requires tobacco companies to place new graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and in advertisements. The proposed warnings feature color images and describe the health risks of smoking. The new cigarette health warnings, once finalized, would appear on cigarette packages and in advertisements, occupying the top 50% of the area of the front and back panels of packages and at least 20% of the area at the top of cigarette ads, according to the FDA.

This draft version of the rule comes after a judge ordered last year that the FDA has “ delayed” issuing a rule mandating such graphic warnings. The final version of the rule is due to be issued by March 15,2020. The warnings then would appear on products and in advertisements 15 months after the final rule is issued.There are 13 proposed warnings , which feature text statements accompanied by color images, and they represent the most significant change to cigarette labels in the United States in 35 years, according to the FDA.

"While most people assume the public knows all they need to understand about the harms of cigarette smoking, there's a surprising number of lesser-known risks that both youth and adult smokers and nonsmokers may simply not be aware of, such as bladder cancer, diabetes and conditions that can cause blindness," Dr. Ned Sharpless, acting FDA commissioner, said in a written statement on Thursday.

"With these new proposed cigarette health warnings, we have an enormous public health opportunity to fulfill our statutory mandate and increase the public's understanding of the full scope of serious negative health consequences of cigarette smoking," he said. "Given that tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., there's a lot at stake to ensure the public understands these risks."


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August 17th, 2019

Malawi realises US$200 million from tobacco sales in 16 wks

Malawi has US$200 million from tobacco sales, Tobacco Commission (TC) figures show. The revenue has been realised from 131,083,157 kilogrammes (kg) of all types of tobacco sold at an average of US$1.48 per kg. During the same time last year, average prices were seen at US$1.74.

The earnings are 28 percent lower than the US$271,355,270.10 realised within first 16 weeks of sales last year. The volume traded has also gone down by 16 percent from 155,928,982 kg. The trend poses a threat of a possible drop of value of the leaf this year.

In its Monetary Policy Report, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) recently projected this year’s tobacco revenue to be 11 percent lower than last year. RBM projects the revenue at US$303.5 million this year from US$337.5 million. This also comes as third-round crop estimates projected that tobacco output would drop to 193 million kg from an earlier 205 million kg estimate. Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama), a growers’ representative body, said market prices are subdued this season Tama Chief Executive Officer, Felix Thole told the Daily Times that farmers might not reap the most of their effort this season due to low prices. “Prices have remained stagnant.

Reasons for this could basically be two; one the over buying of the crop last season and the envisaged bigger volume than demanded this year,” Thole said. Last year, the country realised US$336 million from the sale of 202 million kg of all types of tobacco.

The tobacco industry plays a critical role in the country’s economy.


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August 16th, 2019

Montenegro Bans Smoking in Public Indoor Spaces

Montenegro, which has one of the highest tobacco-usage rates in Europe, has banned smoking in indoor public places.

Under the law taking effect on August 14, smoking is banned in all closed public places, including restaurants and cafes, although casinos have received an exception to the new rules.

The law passed parliament in a unanimous vote on July 31 after Health Minister Kenan Hrapovic said an anti-tobacco law adopted in 2004 did not bring the expected results.

Hrapovic said his office will "persevere in its efforts to enforce every section of the law to the letter."

A World Bank study put Montenegro's smoking rate in 2016 at nearly 46 percent of people above age 15, while the country's Health Ministry estimates that some 400 Montenegrins are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.

Fines for violating the law -- which also regulates cigarette sales and mandates warnings on packages -- range from $560 to $22,370.

Under the law, businesses will be allowed to set up separate rooms to accommodate smokers.

Some leaders in the restaurant and tourist industries have expressed concerns that the new law could adversely affect revenue at their establishments.

Smoking indoors continues to be widespread in the Balkan region, although Croatia and North Macedonia have similar bans on closed public places.


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August 15th, 2019

Austria and Slovenia E-Cigarette Regulatory Reports Package 2019

Austria regulatory report: Smoking ban reach to extend

Austria, which has a smoking prevalence rate of 26 %, currently has legislation that regulates both nicotine-free and nicotine-containing products, going further than the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). This report examines the regulation of e-cigarettes regarding advertising, public vaping, sales and the requirement for federal states (Bundeslnder) to raise purchasing ages. Find all this information and more in this in-depth report.

Slovenia regulatory report: E-cigs exempt from tax rise

Slovenia, which shares much of its northern border with Austria, was one of the last countries to transpose the EU's Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). As of March 2017, all types of e-cigarettes, both with and without nicotine, are regulated. In this report the author explores the complex regulations for sales, licensing, advertising, notification, tax and public place usage.

For more information about this report visit

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August 14th, 2019

Smoke Without Fire ? ( set of debates )

Presented with a choice they had to make, most people would choose the lesser of two evils. Alternatively, they can view the lesser of two evils as being evil still and therefore do everything possible to avoid both.

These contrary choices seem to define the stances taken by the principal stakeholders who are party to the government's plan to impose a nationwide ban on e-cigarettes. Earlier last month, the health ministry proposed to crack down on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which include e-cigarettes, and list them as drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to prevent their manufacture, sale, distribution and import.

E-cigarettes are by and large considered less harmful than conventional cigarettes but their long-term health impacts aren't clear.

Essentially a handheld battery-powered vaporiser, an e-cigarette simulates smoking and uses an electric charge to vaporise nicotine instead of burning tobacco.

Apart from nicotine, flavourings, additives and contaminants, the e-liquid in e-cigarettes usually contains propylene glycol and glycerol, which are mostly considered harmless when inhaled.

E-cigarettes contain far fewer chemical compounds compared to cigarettes.

Cigarette smokers are addicted to the nicotine the cigarettes contain, while the tar produced from burning tobacco has most of the carcinogenic and other harmful chemicals found in the smoke.

But the nicotine addiction triggered by e-cigarettes also has harmful effects, warn health experts.

E-cigarettes are designed with the promise of offering a similar high to smokers.

But while weaning smokers off tobacco, they remain addicted to nicotine, points out Shyam Aggarwal, oncologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi.


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August 13th, 2019

Chewing Tobacco Market 2019

Chewing Tobacco Industry 2019 Market Research Report analyzed in detail with all the vital data to frame tactical business judgments and propose strategic growth plans. This report offers a comprehensive insight into the development policies and plans in addition to manufacturing processes and cost structures.

Global “Chewing Tobacco Market” 2019 Industry Research Report is a professional and in-depth study on the current state of the Global Chewing Tobacco industry. This study presents the Chewing Tobacco sales volume, revenue, market share and growth rate for each key company, and also covers the breakdown data (sales, revenue and market share) by regions, type and applications. history breakdown data from 2014 to 2019, and forecast to 2025. This report studies the global market size of Chewing Tobacco, especially focuses on the key regions like United States, European Union, China, and other regions (Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia).


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August 12th, 2019

€9000 fine for duty free cigarettes,

Two men aged 63 and 54 were handed down a €9000 fine after police discovered a large amount of duty free tobacco at a Limassol home. Police said that at around 10 am on Sunday morning they had searched the 54 year old’s home and found 107 cartons containing 1,070 packets of cigarettes and five kilos of tobacco for which duty had not been paid.

The man was arrested. Testimony then led police to the second man who said he owned the tobacco.

Customs officials took over, fined the two men and confiscated the tobacco.


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August 10th, 2019

Bulgarian cigarette pack collector considers opening museum

Many think collecting is a hobby for rich or famous people who collect artwork, weapons, expensive old cars, and more. This passion, of course, requires big spending. But the truth is that not every collector needs a lot of money. Most often collections have sentimental value and consists of favorite items that people started collecting when they were children. Valuable exhibits in a child's collection can be glass beads, plastic soldiers, packs of various goodies, photographs of athletes, or characters from different films. But some discover the passion of collecting certain items when they grow up.

The possibilities for choosing what to collect are endless – beer cans, glasses, bottles, hats, phones, lighters. An interesting and popular hobby around the world is collecting cigarette packets, which also has fans in this country. Dimitar Georgiev form Silistra is one of these people. His collection includes nearly 700 packets of Bulgarian cigarettes produced in the period 1904-1989. The oldest one, dating from 1904, is “Assen II” pack of cigarettes, produced by the “Dimitar Mardas” tobacco factory in Plovdiv. The collection is very impressive, keeping in mind the fact that Dimitar has been engaged in this hobby for just six years.

"It all started by accident while browsing one of the trading sites. I saw some old packs of cigarettes and I was curious because I had never seen them before. I think they were from the 40's. The first box was from a factory in Plovdiv that produced ‘President’ cigarettes. The packet is unopened with the cigarettes still in it. I think it is from 1943. They were manufactured at the Tyutyundzhiyan Tobacco Factory. The Garabedyan – Tyutyundzhiyan family was one of the first, together with Tomasyans, to open factories in Plovdiv. Initially, they cut tobacco by hand, but then bought gasoline cutters and gradually became one of the largest cigarette manufacturers in the city in the 1920s and 1930s."


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August 9th, 2019

Malaysia Tobacco Control Bill to be finalised by month’s end

The health ministry is expected to submit the draft of the Tobacco Control Bill to the Attorney-General’s Chambers by the end of this month.Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said he was hoping he would be able to table the bill in Parliament early next year.

“Our aim is to tackle any tobacco-related issue seriously. This is our commitment and we are studying this new Act comprehensively,” he told reporters after launching the 17th Urological Association of Asia Congress here at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Recently, tobacco company JTI Malaysia had highlighted the continued sale of illegal tobacco and nicotine products, questioning the government’s enforcement of laws.

JTI managing director Cormac O’Rourke cited the latest findings of the Illicit Cigarette Study (ICS) by The Nielsen Company, which saw 153,000 discarded cigarette packs collected from streets and rubbish bins throughout the year and which were analysed for local tax stamps and authentic packaging, among others.

He said the ICS found a 1.7% increase in the consumption of illegal cigarettes from March to May this year, compared with the same period in 2018. He said JTI estimates that 10% of smokers in the country use vape products. Based on current laws, he added, all vape products containing nicotine are illegal.

While the sale of nicotine products is regulated by the Poisons Act 1952, O’Rourke said JTI had been informed by the government that no licence has been issued by the health ministry for vaping products.


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August 8th, 2019

Zimbabwe Growing of industrial hemp

Zimbabwe will change its laws to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp for export, cabinet ministers said on Tuesday, adding that the government saw the plant as a future substitute for tobacco, the country’s biggest export earning crop.

Industrial hemp is a strain of a cannabis species that is grown specifically for industrial uses of its derived products. Its fiber is used in textiles and paper, and it also produces edible seeds.

The southern African nation’s laws only allow cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific uses.

Authorities said last year in April that Zimbabweans could apply for licenses to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, but the process has been slow as authorities try to put in place laws to ensure cannabis farms are secure.

“But with hemp, it’s not toxic as cannabis,” acting industry and commerce minister July Moyo told a post-cabinet media conference.


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August 7th, 2019

Govt loses RM6 billion

The government lost RM6 billion in tax revenue from the sale of illegal cigarettes and the e-cigarette market, according to Japan Tobacco International Bhd (JTI Malaysia).

An Illicit Cigarettes Study (ICS) by the tobacco manufacturing firm said Malaysia’s illegal e-cigarette market is estimated at RM2 billion, with the other RM4 billion in the illegal trade of traditional cigarettes.

JTI managing director Cormac O’Rourke also revealed that the e-cigarette market has doubled in the past one year.


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August 6th, 2019

E-Cigarette Market Size Soaring

Global E-Cigarette Market by Manufacturers, Countries, Type and Application, Forecast to 2024" new report to its research database. The report spread across 127 pages with table and figures in it. The report provides information on Industry Trends, Demand, Top Manufacturers, Countries, Material and Application.

The analysts forecast the Global e-cigarette Market to exhibit a CAGR of 20.61% during the period 2019-2024. The report covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global e-cigarette for 2019-2024. To calculate the market size, the report considers the e-cigarette sales volume and revenue.

The projections featured in the report have been derived using proven research methodologies and assumptions. By doing so, the research report serves as a repository of analysis and information for every facet of the market, including but not limited to: regional markets, types, and applications.


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August 5th, 2019

Tobacco Seed Sales Drops

Zimbabwe, Poor prices (at the auction floors) are said to have affected the preparation of seedbeds for the coming crop.

These seedbeds should have been planted in June, but many growers were not in a good enough financial position to start the process. So, more bad news might be on the way We sincerely hope seed sales and farmers crop preparations improve in the next month,” Zimbabwe Tobacco Association chief executive Rodney Ambrose said.

Tobacco seeds, which were selling at US$25 per 100 grammes last year before the multi-currency system was scrapped, are now at ZW$170.

An official from Tobacco Research Board said the $170 factors in costs of producing tobacco varieties as it is in line with the interbank rate. “Seed sales for the 2019/20 season remain depressed as growers struggle to retool due to exchange rate variances between average selling rates of five against re-tooling rates at 9-11. Restrictions on the use of nostro funds are also a concern,” Robertson said. Poor prices have also posed serious viability challenges for the over 200 000 farmers who grew the crop this season.


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August 3rd, 2019

Chemicals Found in E-cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration for the first time is seeking public input on proposed additions of potentially harmful chemicals found in e-cigarettes and vaping liquids.The agency on Monday began accepting comments on adding 19 toxicants to an established list of harmful ingredients found in tobacco products. “As our oversight and scientific knowledge of tobacco products has evolved, so too should our requirements for manufacturers and importers to provide information about the chemicals or chemical compounds in their products that cause or could cause harm to users and nonusers,” Acting FDACommissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement. The agency’s 60-day period for accepting comment ends Oct. 4.Some of the FDA’s proposed toxicants include compounds that Yale and Duke university researchers found in Juul e-cigarette products that could irritate and damage the lungs.

Their study, published late last month, found that compounds in the liquid for e-cigarettes and vaporizers create irritating chemicals called acetals when heated, NPR reported.

Acetals are formed from alcohol and aldehydes, and are used to flavor foods and other commercial products. Hanno Erythropel, the study’s lead author and an associate research scientist for Yale University, told NPR little is known about the effects of aldehydes and acetals when inhaled through e-cigarettes and vaporizers, but some research has shown acetals can irritate airways and prompt an inflammatory response.


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August 2nd, 2019

Demand boosts sales for British American Tobacco

Lucky Strike and Pall Mall owner said profit from operations slumped 1.3 per cent to £4.38bn but basic earnings per share increased 4.6 per cent to 123.2p. Net cash generated from operating activities was down 41 per cent to £2.28m. Categories products, which includes its Vype e-cigarette, reported adjusted revenue growth of 27 per cent to £531m.

Tobacco heating product revenue was up four per cent to £301m as customers select heating rather than burning products, which could potentially be safer. 

BAT said there is “much more to be done” and said growth would accelerate in the second half due to new product launches and the impact of a full year of additional investment. 

However, US authorities are planning to crack down on sales of e-cigarettes which could damage BAT’s performance..

HL Select funds manager Steve Clayton said: “This was a solid half year for BAT.  “Their focus on key global brands and next generation products is sustaining the group’s earnings power at a time when the regulatory pressure on the industry is stepping upwards. 

He added: “If the group can succeed in transforming itself into a leading global producer of lower risk products, that could secure the dividend for the longer term. In the near term however, investors will remain nervous about what the next move from the US regulatory authorities will be. ”BAT chief executive Jack Bowles said: “We continue to deliver on our financial objectives with adjusted revenue and adjusted profit from operations in line with our guidance, driven by a continued strong financial performance in combustibles.

“Our New Categories portfolio continued to deliver encouraging growth. While there is much more to be done, with new product launches planned for the second half of the year and the impact of a full year of additional investment, we expect revenue growth to accelerate in the second half of the year. 

“In 2019, we are on track to be around the middle of our guidance range of 30-50 per cent New Categories revenue growth per annum, excluding the impact of translational foreign exchange.”


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August 1st, 2019

Scientific Health Benefits of Organic Tobacco

Organic tobacco has a Latin name, Nicotiana tabacum. This plant comes from North America and South America. Organic tobacco is better than the artificial one because it grows without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, and other substances. The leaves of this tree are often used as raw materials of cigarettes, either by a pipe or rolled in the form of cigarettes or cigars. People always see tobacco as a negative plant because of this use as the ingredient of cigarette. 

Here are some surprising health benefits of organic tobacco

Reduce The Risk of Obesity

Nicotine in organic tobacco suppresses appetite. According to a study published in July 2011 in the Journal of Physiology & Behavior, nicotine can make us not want to eat for a long time. So, it is good for losing some weights and diet.As an appetite-suppressant, nicotine appears to affect the work of a brain element called the hypothalamus, at least as evident in the studied rats, a study by University of Yale researchers published June 10 in the journal Science found. It is the main reason why organic tobacco can reduce the risk of obesity.


According to the research by Professor Mario Pezzoti who is a scientist from the University of Verona Europe, organic tobacco has an important role as an inflammatory medicine. Substances produced from it is a type of cytokine that is a protein that is able to stimulate or activate the immune cells. This is made with the treatment and strict supervision using modern technology.

Much Safer For The Body

Organic tobacco is safer than artificial tobacco. It contains more nutrients because it is freshly picked from the plant and not added more ingredients that can be dangerous for the body. In addition, the soil, fertilizer, and the water that are used to grow this plant make it more nutritious and healthy.

Make Body More Relaxed

We already know that when we use organic tobacco, it will make the body and brain more relaxed. It contains dopamine (throughout the body, including the brain), acetylcholine and norepinephrine that are also stimulated directly. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, those that suffer from mental disorders such as ADHD/ADD, schizophrenia, and other disorders may get positive effects from the organic tobacco.

Prevent Parkinson and Alzheimer Disease

Organic tobacco contains nicotine that will accelerate the movement of the muscle that can prevent Parkinson disease. In addition, it can up-regulate telomerase and suppress apoptosis which is the main cause of Alzheimer disease. The dose of nicotine has a short-term normalization effect on electrical activity in the brain which is good for preventing Parkinson and Alzheimer disease.

Improve The Immune of Body

Organic tobacco contains anti-inflammatory effects at multiple levels, from T-cells through CNS vagus/’cholinergic anti-inflammatory’ pathway. In addition, it can fight against some diseases, such as asthma, allergies, ulcerative colitis, IBD, colon cancer, aphthous ulcers, arthritis, pre-eclampsia, endotoxemia, polymicrobial sepsis that happen because of the bad immune in the body.

Maintain Skin Health

Based on the research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, organic tobacco has compounds that can give some benefits for the beauty treatment, especially skin. In this research, organic tobacco is used to rejuvenate the skin. According to the result, tobacco has a content that can produce collagen that is like human collagen. Collagen has some functions that are very important for the skin because collagen is the main protein in the skin.

In addition, it turns out tobacco can overcome skin diseases such as rancid, scabies, yaws (framboesia), eczema, and so forth.

To use organic tobacco for maintaining skin health, we should take a tobacco leaf and chop it, then let it dry for a while. After that, take a bucket of water to make it wet. Then, stick the wet tobacco leaf to the skin that has a problem in order to kill the bacteria in that skin.

Protect Body From Free Radicals

Organic tobacco contains numerous compounds emitted as gases and condensed tar particles, many of them being oxidants and prooxidants, capable of producing free radicals thus enhancing lipid peroxidation in biological membranes. Vitamin E, vitamin C, B-carotene, and selenium are involved in the overall cellular anti-oxidant defense against deleterious effects of reactive oxygen species.

Anticancer Protein

Tobacco is not always a negative connotation as a cause of cancer, it can also produce the anti-cancer protein that is useful for cancer patients. This is based on the result of the research from Dr. Arief Budi Witarto Meng. He is a researcher at the Center for Research Biotechnology Institute of Sciences Indonesia (LIPI). Thus, we can found the health benefits of organic tobacco now.

In addition, according to the research from Dr. Khalid El Sayed, the Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at ULM, the leaf, and flower of organic tobacco give some benefits. They contain high amounts of the key flavor ingredient called cembranoids. Surprisingly, cembranoid ingredients of tobacco show a good result as anticancer agents. It can also prevent the high incidence and death rate of breast and prostate cancer types.

Prevent Tuberculosis (TBC)

According to Saleh Naser, a professor of microbiology and molecular biology who has been in the research for organic tobacco and nicotine from the University of Central Florida (UCF), nicotine in organic tobacco gives better results than other compounds in order to stop tuberculosis (TBC).

It is not possible in a follow-up study, a person suffering from tuberculosis will use nicotine in a blood vessel or swallow a nicotine capsule to prevent future tuberculosis.


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July 29th, 2019

2019 Tobacco Quality Is Expected To Be Better

The quality of tobacco plants on the mountain slopes of Mount Sindoro, Sumbing, Perahu, in Temanggung Regency, Central Java, this year is better than in 2018, said Secretary of the Temanggung Regency Tobacco Farmers Association (APTI) Noer Ahsan.

"In general, the quality of tobacco yields this year is better than last year. Farmers hope that the weather will stay as good as this until the end of harvesting season", said the man in Temanggung, Central Java.

He explained that in the upper area surrounding Sumbing Mountain, the the tobacco plants is already ripe and ready to be harvested; while in the lower area of the mountain the plantation suffered water shortage so the farmers need to manually watering the tobacco plants.

Then in Perahu Mountain region, where the tobacco were planted early, the plantation are in remarkable condition and expected to yields more than last year.

He said that the tobacco varieties that planted in lower area or farms consist of Kemloko 3, 4, and 6; while for the mountainous region, most of them are Kemloko 2 and 5.

"For Kemloko 1, only a few of farmers that already accustomed to them managed to plant this variety, because Kemloko 1 has a unique aroma, but the leaf counts are very low", said the man 

He explained that if the dry season prolonged, the tobacco quality will be good and expected to be sold with high price as well.

"Based on the quality of the plantation this season, we hope that the tobacco price will be better than 2018", he said.


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July 28th, 2019

As The Tobacco Harvest Season Come

As the tobacco harvest season come near in Pamekasan, Madura -one of the region in Indonesia that produce an indigenous type of Madura Leaf; The Chamber of Trade and Industry in Pamekasan has collected the data on how many Madura Leaf successfully harvested and sold during the first half of year 2019, especially in their own region. According to the data collected, the current amount of leaf sold has reached 18,800 tonnes  and potentially increased in the second half of the year.

The Chamber predicted that tobacco production in Madura during 2019 will be around 20.000 tonnes.

Based on the previous records, the Madura tobacco (especially those came from Pamekasan) always sold out every single year. The Head of Customer Protection and Metrology of Chamber of Trade and Industry in Pamekasan is optimistic that this trend would continue, and all of the Madura Leaf harvested during year 2019 will be entirely sold out as well.


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July 26th, 2019

Facebook and Instagram to restrict content related tobacco

Facebook will unveil a new policy to restrict sales and limit content related to alcohol and tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, a company spokeswoman tells CNN.

The new policy will prohibit all private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of alcohol and tobacco products on Facebook and Instagram, the spokeswoman said. Any brands that post content related to the sale or transfer of these products will have to restrict that content to adults 18 or older.

The new policy will go into effect Wednesday and will also apply to any Facebook groups created to sell alcohol or tobacco products, the spokeswoman said. The social network is reaching out to group administrators to alert them of the changes.

The company is enforcing the new rules, the spokeswoman said, and may remove any groups that do not make necessary changes. While the company's policies already prohibit the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Facebook Marketplace, the platform is extending its ban to "organic content" -- regular posts from private users. The company will "use a combination of technology, human review and reports from our community to find and remove any content that violates these policies," the spokeswoman said.

Facebook and Instagram users, including those under 18, are still free to post other content related to tobacco and vape products. Under the new policy, so-called influencers who are paid to promote nicotine-containing products will also be allowed to post content related to tobacco and vape products. Those posts will not have to be age restricted, the spokeswoman said.

She emphasized, however, that the company is considering possible changes to its influencer policy and is working with industry and regulatory bodies on potential revisions.


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July 25th, 2019

Government actions balance cigarette tax

Had to address two concerns before issuing a regulation on cigarette excise: its impacts on health and the industry.Sri Mulyani said that the use of tobacco by smokers, especially children, would badly affect their health in the future; so the Government imposed excise on tobacco products in a bid to lessen its consumption.

The tobacco industry employed a large number of workers, including tobacco and clove farmers.Speaking before millennials at a Youth Engagement event at Balai Sarbini, Jakarta, Sri Mulyani implied that, given these circumstances, it was difficult for the Government to decide whether to prioritize individual physical health or economic health.

Therefore, she said, the Government planned to gradually increase taxes based on the roadmap of tobacco excise, which would provide “a signal to the tobacco industry and regional administrations”.

At the same time, Sri Mulyani said, the Finance Ministry, through the Customs and Excise Directorate General, would strive to reduce the illegal trade in cigarettes. In 2017, the illegal trade was said to have accounted for 10.9 percent of the cigarette market, a figure that fell in 2018 to 7.03 percent. Indonesia is to follow a policy of foreshadowing cigarette excise increases in such a way as to limit smoking while lessening the impact of any cigarette-sales reduction on tobacco-industry jobs, according to a story at Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the Government had to address two concerns before issuing a regulation on cigarette excise: its impacts on health and the industry.

Sri Mulyani said that the use of tobacco by smokers, especially children, would badly affect their health in the future; so the Government imposed excise on tobacco products in a bid to lessen its consumption. However, on the other side of the coin, the tobacco industry employed a large number of workers, including tobacco and clove farmers. Speaking before millennials at a Youth Engagement event at Balai Sarbini, Jakarta, Sri Mulyani implied that, given these circumstances, it was difficult for the Government to decide whether to prioritize individual physical health or economic health. Therefore, she said, the Government planned to gradually increase taxes based on the roadmap of tobacco excise, which would provide “a signal to the tobacco industry and regional administrations”.

At the same time, Sri Mulyani said, the Finance Ministry, through the Customs and Excise Directorate General, would strive to reduce the illegal trade in cigarettes. In 2017, the illegal trade was said to have accounted for 10.9 percent of the cigarette market, a figure that fell in 2018 to 7.03 percent.


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July 24th, 2019

Tobacco Are Cashing In On The Surprising Trend

According to the independent Royal Society for Public Health, nicotine on its own is no more harmful than caffeine. E-cigarettes are promoted by Public Health England as aids for giving up smoking.However, BAT's research found just 18 per cent of those who used its vaping devices were smokers who had quit.

In a briefing to financial analysts late last year, chief executive Nicandro Durante revealed that a study found 5 per cent of vapers had never smoked before, 8 per cent were relapsed smokers and 70 per cent both smoked and vaped. Concern has also been raised that vaping is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and other young people, creating a new market for tobacco companies.

According to the independent Royal Society for Public Health, nicotine on its own is no more harmful than caffeine. E-cigarettes are promoted by Public Health England as aids for giving up smoking.However, BAT's research found just 18 per cent of those who used its vaping devices were smokers who had quit.

In a briefing to financial analysts late last year, chief executive Nicandro Durante revealed that a study found 5 per cent of vapers had never smoked before, 8 per cent were relapsed smokers and 70 per cent both smoked and vaped.

Concern has also been raised that vaping is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and other young people, creating a new market for tobacco companies.

In documents unearthed by The Mail on Sunday, both BAT and rival Imperial Brands stated that vaping is 'additive' for their businesses. This indicates that e-cigarettes are helping tobacco firms to boost revenues

BAT has already seen a significant rise in sales from its non-cigarette lines. The tobacco giant's so-called 'Potentially Reduced Risk Products' business has grown to pull in annual revenues of £2 billion in just three years.

The Mail on Sunday has previously reported that vaping and tobacco heating devices generate higher profit margins than cigarette sales. A spokesman for Imperial Brands said: 'The risks to smokers' health are caused by the toxicants released from burning tobacco, not by the naturally occurring nicotine.


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July 23rd, 2019

E- Cigarette Helping Smokers Quit , a Study Says

A yearlong, randomized trial in England showed that e-cigarettes were almost twice as successful as products like patches or gum for smoking cessation. It has been one of the most pressing unanswered questions in public health: Do e-cigarettes actually help smokers quit? Now, the first, large rigorous assessment offers an unequivocal answer: yes.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that e-cigarettes were nearly twice as effective as conventional nicotine replacement products, like patches and gum, for quitting smoking.

The success rate was still low — 18 percent among the e-cigarette group, compared to 9.9 percent among those using traditional nicotine replacement therapy — but many researchers who study tobacco and nicotine said it gave them the clear evidence they had been looking for.

“This is a seminal study,” said Dr. Neal L. Benowitz, chief of clinical pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, an expert in nicotine absorption and tobacco-related illnesses, who was not involved in the project. “It is so important to the field.”


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July 22nd, 2019

HIV drug made from tobacco plant

A monoclonal antibody produced in the leaves of tobacco plants entered phase I clinical trials in the United Kingdom.The antibody, known as P2G12, recognizes an HIV surface protein and is expected to help stop the transmission of the virus, although it has never been tested in humans. The phase I trial, underway at the University of Surrey, will test the safety of vaginally applying the antibody to 11 healthy women.

This is the first plant-produced antibody to be cleared for clinical trials by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency (the UK equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration). Producing the antibody using tobacco plants grown in a greenhouse in Germany is 10 to 100 times cheaper than using conventional methods employing bacteria or mammalian cells, Smart Planet Report 

“Monoclonal antibodies can be made in plants to the same quality as those made using existing conventional production systems," Professor Julian Ma from St George's University, London and joint co-ordinator of the project, told The Guardian. “That is something many people did not believe could be achieved.”

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July 21st, 2019

The Benefits of Tobacco That Many People Don't Know

Tobacco is an agricultural product that is processed from the leaves of plants of the genus Nicotiana. Tobacco can be consumed, used as a pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate can be used as medicine. If consumed, tobacco is generally made into cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc. In a cigarette, there are various benefits contained in it. One of the benefits of smoking activities that had been examined by the community allowed smoking in several sub-districts in Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta, they said that smoking helped in the relaxation process after work. According to them, smoking can help calm down and eliminate the fatigue that is being suffered after work.

Unfortunately the benefits of smoking, as well as other benefits of tobacco leaves, seem to be ignored and underestimated by the various forms of campaigns that corner tobacco. Ragan's campaign form ended in a terrible campaign written on each pack of cigarettes sold on the market: Cigarettes Killing You!

Is it really like that? Is it true that tobacco does have to be so hated and feared that it is campaigned as such. Here are some of the benefits of tobacco as well as cigarette products.

1. Expel Pests In gardening activities,

Tobacco leaves can be used as anti-pest. Lice that attack the leaves, stem rod pests, and spiders that nest in plants that are planted, can be evicted using tobacco leaves mixed with water. Farmers in several places have used the properties of tobacco leaves for a long time.

2. Medication for skin rashes, eczema and rheumatism

In the treatment of skin rashes, eczema and rheumatism, tobacco leaves are used as medicine by compressing them into the parts released by the disease. Tobacco leaves are crushed to a rather fine, then distributed to the injured body part. This treatment has long been used for traditional medicine in the India.

3. Toothache

Treatment of tobacco leaf bales can also be used to relieve pain caused by toothache. Tobacco which is ground until smooth and then distributed to the swollen part due to toothache.

4. Flu

A mixture of tobacco leaves and leptotaenia multifida are used to help treat colds and coughs. In addition, this mixture plus Indian balsam root is believed to also cure asthma and tuberculosis.

5. Mental Medicine

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who suffer from mental disorders such as ADHD / ADD, schizophrenia, and other disorders may experience the positive effects of smoking. Apparently, the dose of nicotine has the effect of short-term normalization on electrical activity in the brain. For Alzheimer's disease also benefits from nicotine doses. According to the study, the patient's cognitive abilities improved slightly.

6. Produces anticancer proteins

The Biotechnology Research Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has conducted research by replicating proteins from the human body into tobacco leaves. This tobacco leaf can be used for stem cell and cervical cancer.

7. Anti Inflammation

Scientists from several European research institutions participated in a project titled "Pharma-Planta" led by Professor Mario Pezzotti of the University of Verona. They make transgenic tobacco that produces interleukin-10 (IL-10), which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that is capable of producing proteins that stimulate immune cells to be active

8. HIV / AIDS drugs

Still based on research conducted by Professor Mario Pezzoti, tobacco can also produce the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug protein that causes AIDS, called griffithsin. The difference is not the tobacco that produces protein, but the tobacco virus.

9. Rabies medicine

Reporting from St George's University of London said, research on tobacco that can treat rabies,genetically engineered tobacco plants can be used to produce protective antibodies that are safe against the deadly rabies virus.

This makes it possible to provide relatively inexpensive drugs for rabies that will benefit patients in developing countries. Scientists have succeeded in producing antibodies in transgenic tobacco plants (genetically altered plants) that have been proven to neutralize the rabies virus.

This new monoclonal antibody works by preventing the virus from attaching to the nerve endings around the site of the bite and making the virus not spread to the brain. Monoclonal antibodies are complex proteins, originally derived from the immune system, but in this case they are made in plants to fight disease. The antibodies are also proven to be active in neutralizing various rabies viruses.

That is a bit of the many benefits of tobacco plants that can be used in addition to being the main ingredient in making cigarette products.

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July 19th, 2019

White Burley Tobacco

White Burley Tobacco was develop in Jember in 1998, to meet the cigarette production of long white stick needs. To fullfill the demand it was imported from America. White Burley planted by farmers through partnership with company.The planting seasson can be done in May-July and it requiress no rain condition, The planting period in garden are 60 days and leaves picking session is taken periodically for 30 days. White Burley leaves picking are done in two ways reguler picking the leaves alone, while the stalk cutting is done by cutting is done by cutting the leaves steam off at the base of the steam.

Drying is done for 45 days, taken either with the leaves only or included with the stem, in accordance with the previous process of picking. It has three processes during drying there is an aging process, color degradation and drying process.

Drying is done in the wards of curing, with the type of draining water cured method, until it looks full dried leaves. White Burley tobacco is used primarily for American-style cigarette and a main component of chewing tobacco.

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July 18th, 2019

Na Oogst World-recognized Tobacco

At first tobacco develop in Jember called tobacco Besuki Na Oogst (Bes NO), it means the leaves were planted after paddy harvest. in Bes NO, tobacco observance commonly planted in May or entering dry season, where planting paddy is no longer productive at this season. Bes NO usage for raw cigar materials, commonly named : Besuki Na Oogst Early Planting (BesNOTA) were planted around May and harvested in July, The Shade Grown Tobacco planted almost along with BesNOTA, TBN.The management of those three tobaccos are basically the same,which differ only in the land treatment,such as watering because it involves different planting season.The final result of these three kinds of tobaccos are : Dekblad ( Wrapping ), Omblad ( Bandage ), Filler.

Tobacco processing relatively complicated and requires leghthy time;ranging from the field, to the processing barn and up to the sorting and fermenting process. An appropriate management determine the grade of leaves as described on flavor ( taste ), elasticity, colour and burning quality. Shade grown tobacco (TBN) is a result of developed tobacco cultivation technique by using shade of nets. The usefulness of shading is to reduce the sun exposure by 30% and protect it from pets and disease. NO tobacco is widely grown in Ajung,Jenggawah, Ambulu, Wuluhan and Rambipuji.

Jember Regency is famous for producing one of the best Tobacco in the world. Through the potential of this tobacco plant, Kabupaten Jember has long been famous and legendary as a "city of tobacco". And one of the largest tobacco producer and producer regions with quality products. Not only in the national market, the city of Jember has long been known in several European countries such as Bremen.The flagship production of Jember mainstay is tobacco. Cigar enthusiasts know exactly that cigars made in Cuba, America, Switzerland and Germany are expensive and classy. Kabupaten Jember through Besuki tobacco is one of the cigar suppliers.

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July 17th, 2019

Kasturi Tobacco

Kasturi tobacco is a typical tobacco grown in Jember, Known as Voor Oogst (VO) category. It is well known also as a people's tobacco because of it is generally grown by farmers. Which spread out from Jember to Bondowoso. The planting season begin at the end of the rainy season (May-June) and is going to be harvested in dry season (August-September).

The leaves varietes including Jepon, Roses, Jimamut. The demand is used as raw ingredient of clove cigarettes. There are 2 kinds of drying treatment, namely Talap System and Pendulum system. Talap system is drying handling by expose them under the direct sun and it is required completely. It has the advantage that the leaves dry  faster and evenly. Ripening on the talap system performed during 6-7 days, and then drying the lamina in sun curing for 3 or 4 days. Pendulum system which is a process of drying tobacco leaves by hanging spuned tobacco on two bamboo slats.

Both system are much performed by farmers because it does not take a large area. Next there is an aging process, then followed by hanging it under the sun. The finished dried tobacco would be stranded on bamboo then packed with bamboo mats or plastic cover.

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July 7th, 2019

Tobacco Of Jember History

Tobacco plantation in Jember started before 1850,together with the other developed plantation areas in the Dutch East Indies eg. Coffee , sugar cane, rubber and indigo.

The Dutch figures named George Birnie was the initiator of the tobacco industry in Jember, on October 21st 1859 with Mathiesen and van Gennep, they established NV Landbouw Oud Djember Maatschappij (LMOD)

After the reformation of Dutch goverment and economy policies change, there was an open opportunity for private investors to establish plantation sectorals,so the tobacco companies grew rapidly.Moreover,it was also supported by the enactment Agrarian Law ( Wet Agrarische ) the enterpreneurs to the land usage within a period of 75 years (erfpacht authority/ Long-term land lease) .

When the selected plantation commodities had high sales value in the market world, tobacco for cigars had high demand, known to be perfect leaves,especially the leaves came from Deli - North Sumatra,Klaten, Central Java and East Java.This made the tobacco business grow by the advantage of exporting chanel, and as a result the economics growth increase very rapidly in the areas.

In addition to a fast economic growth,these industries also have an impact on demographic development and culture.In Jember, as it was previously a part of the into a part of the Bondowoso district, Regentschap developed into a part from bondowoso in 1883 Various facilities and infrastructure built in Jember for business tobacco, so Jember became the most advanced development and later in convert to the capital city of Besuki, include : Jember, Banyuwangi,Bondowoso and Situbondo.

After Indonesia's independence, DUtch companies were nationalized, based on Act no 86 of 1958. Furthermore, based on Goverment Regulation no. 4 of 1959 it was determined that the Dutch owned tobacco company further taken for nasionalized.

These companies were

  1. NV. Landbouw Maatschappij Oud Djember in Adjong, Gambirono,Kertosari, West Djember,Oost Djember, Nangkaan
  2. Besoeki Tabaks Maatschappij ( BTM ) at Mojo, Sumber Jeruk and Tamanan
  3. NV. Cultivation Maatschappij Djelboek in Jelbuk and Soekokerto Jember
  4. NV. Landbouw Maatschappij (SKM) Ex Dutch firms This turned into Plantation Company State (VAT)

A few years later those companies got improvement, up to 1972 became PTP XXVII and in 1966 became PT PTPN X ( PTPN X ) until now.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the year 1960s, the development of the tobacco business Jember was very good, so the tobacco atmosphere trade was prospering, many companies are not strong to survive and brought them into bankcruptcy. After their ups and down, now there are on 18 exporters exist

The presence of the tobacco business is not just a business and cultivation plants, it is matter of land managment and of a large number of workers involvement.In addition,it also multiply the economic effect include the contribution of people's mobility , such as transportation, street vendors mobility and sale of bamboo.

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July 5th, 2019

Heated Tobacco Products Replaced Cigarette Sales – New American Cancer Society Study

Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) are rapidly expanding into new markets around the world, and in Japan and South Korea, they have gained a substantial share of the tobacco market. Unlike e-cigarettes, which contain a liquid nicotine solution called e-liquid, HTPs contain heat sticks or pellets made from a tobacco leaf paste that is treated with a mix of chemicals that includes propylene glycol, a e-cigarette liquid solvent. The IQOS HTP device made by Philip Morris International consists of a paper tube tipped with a foam filter. Instead of being lit on fire like a cigarette, however, a battery powered heating device heats the tobacco paste to a point before it burns, called pyrolysis. With this heat, the tobacco then releases nicotine and other chemicals into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user.

Unlike the e-cigarette market, the HTP market has been the exclusive domain of tobacco cigarette manufacturers. As a result, the HTP products are branded in a similar manner to tobacco cigarettes. Unquestionably, we can see that declines in per-capita cigarette sales have accelerated as HTP sales have increased. In terms of tobacco control policy progress, Japan has lagged behind other very-high-HDI countries. For example, they have been unable to pass a smoke-free policy for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, something that most host countries or cities going back decades have been able to accomplish. Despite this, since Japan has seen its rate of decline in cigarette sales quintuple from a 2% decline per year from 2011 through 2015 to a 10% decline per year from 2015 through 2018, all without a major change in national tobacco control policy. Can all or part of this acceleration in the decline of tobacco sales be attributed to the introduction of IQOS? A team of American Cancer Society researchers, who are also Tobacco Atlas authors, examined this question using market data from Japan.

In 2014, Philip Morris International introduced the IQOS heated tobacco system into Nagoya, Japan. Then the product was given a phased introduction to 12 of Japan’s 47 prefectures in September of 2015, and the remaining 35 in April of 2016. The IQOS system’s Marlboro Heatsticks rapidly grew, comprising a 17.4 percent share of the combined cigarette/heated-tobacco-stick market by 2019.

The ACS researchers exploited the externally manipulated introduction dates across prefectures to assess the likely impact of IQOS introduction. Comparing the timing of IQOS introduction with the timing of decline in per-capita smoking, they found that cigarettes sales tended to decline in the months after IQOS introduction. The decline in cigarette sales happened later in the regions where IQOS was introduced later. The researchers further determined that this pattern was not explicable by a national-level factor other than IQOS and that it was unlikely to be attributable to random chance.

The piece fits into a narrative that is developing around HTPs and the business case that is being made for them by their proponents. Tobacco companies are pressing regulatory agencies, treasuries, and legislatures for favorable tax treatment as a concession to their purportedly lower health hazards. In some cases, they are being granted tax rate concessions, but overall, the products seem to be more profitable per unit than the cigarettes they are replacing. They are also consistently more expensive to use than cigarettes in every market except those with the highest cigarette prices. This new article makes the case that HTPs are likely to be replacing cigarette sales. If the products do have higher profit margins than cigarettes and have the potential to replace declining cigarette sales, then it is little wonder that tobacco companies are so eager to get into this product category.

We want to add two notes for further consideration before we conclude.  First, dropping cigarettes sales might not necessarily translate to dropping cigarette smoking prevalence. From what we see in other data sources, many smokers are now dual users of both cigarettes and HTPs and the number of exclusive HTP users is relatively low. Dual use is not desired from the public health perspective because continuing to smoke cigarettes, even at a low intensity, will cause a level of harm to the smoker that is far out of proportion to the amount smoked. Second, it is not currently possible to reach confident conclusions about the level of direct harm users will experience from HTP use, and how this compares to the harms of smoking. Therefore, unless smokers are successfully using HTPs as a short-term cessation device, there are uncertain and potentially substantial risks associated with prolonged use of HTPs.

Read more about regulating novel products here.

Read full article: Michal Stoklosa, Zachary Cahn, Alex C. Liber, Nigar Nargis, Jeffrey Drope (2019) “The effect of IQOS introduction on cigarette sales: evidence of decline and replacement” Tobacco Control Published online first on 17 June 2019.


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July 5th, 2019

Tobacco Potential as Renewable Energy Resources

A group of scientists from School of Biological Sciences, United Kingdom, found that one of tobacco species, i.e. Nicotiana glauca, produced a compound which could be utilized as biodiesel fuel. The compound could be directly utilized as fuel or processed to be other oil products. What is interesting from this species is that it can grow well in hot and barren condition. It does not need fertile area in order to reach its maximum size. In addition, it can grow in an area with the amount of rainfall of 200 mm per year or temperature of above 40 Celcius degrees.

“This is an important factor. It means that to propagate this species, we do not need to use fields which are for food plants,” Paul Fraser said, one of researchers from School of Biological Sciences. “Now, many farmers are afraid of losing some parts of their field used to cultivate biofuel-source plants. Our finding can overcome this issue,” he continued. From the preliminary study, it is known that Nicotiana glauca can grow in the condition of desert climate which is commonly around in United Arab Emirates, Northern Africa and several dry areas all over the globe. It is also ensured that Nicotiana glauca can become the source of bioethanol and biodiesel, which can be utilized as fuel in its native form. However, these kind of fuel are more commonly utilized as addictive substance to reduce particulation level, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon in diesel-machine vehicle.

According to the data from International Energy Agency, biofuel has great potential to meet the need of fuel, up to more than a quarter of world fuel demand for transportation industry in 2050. European Union has prepared budget of 5,77 million Euro (about 71,8 billion Rupiah) to undertake an advanced study through MultiBioPro project, involving industrialist and academician partners. The project aims to explore the knowledge dealing with biological processes and increase the use of renewable energy resources. They hope that through this project, there will be such technology that can significantly reduce the consumption of fossil-based fuel, which can eventually reduce the emission of green-house gases.


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July 5th, 2019

The visit of China Tobacco National Corp to PT. Mangli Djaya Raya

The visit of China Tobacco National Corp to PT. Mangli Djaya Raya took place at July 13th, 2012. This visit aimed to carry out comparative study and identify further about the tobacco processing, begun from the fresh raw material until the ready-exported tobacco leave.

Arriving at around 8 a.m, the delegation of CNTC straightaway headed up to The Central Office of PT. Mangli Djaya Raya located at Bangsalsari, Jember. The delegation were welcomed by Vice President, Mr Christian Adi Njoto Njoo and Sales Manager Mr. Leo Mardjuki. Having introduced the company profile of PT. Mangli Djaya Raya, they afterwards accompanied the delegation to take company tour so as to know more closely each part of production facility.

All delegation members seemed to be enthusiastic in observing every explanation delivered by Mr. Christian and team about the stages of tobacco processing in PT. Mangli Djaya Raya. According to those explanation, there are five stages required to process fresh tobacco to be ready-marketed product. These stages are as follows: Sorting and blending, Reconditioning and redrying, Picking, Moisture testing and chemical analyzing, Packaging

CNTC delegations also see the process of making a cigar and variety of tobacco produced by MDR. After the introduction of tobacco production process had been done, the visit agenda was concluded by lunch. At the end of this visit, all delegation members were quite content for entirely valuable information and new insight they got during the visit.

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July 3rd, 2019

Awarding of ISO 9001:2008

Mangli Djaya Raya has been awarded ISO 9001:2008 on April 5th, 2011. The award, which was submitted by Governor of East Java Sukarwo, is intended for companies that have fulfilled the criteria of award receiver.

Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2008) is documented procedures and standard practices for system management, with the objective of assuring compatibility of process and product (good and service) towards particular necessity or requirement. These particular necessity or requirement are determined or specified by customer and organization.  

The benefits of ISO 9001:2008 implementation are as follows:

- Improving costumer trust

- As the guarantee of process and product quality

- Increasing company productivity and market share

- Strengthening employee motivation, innovation, and performance

- As the analysis instrument for company’s competitors

- Improving mutual relationship with suppliers

- Improving cost efficiency and product safety

- Improving means of internal communication

- Building the positive image of company

- Establishing the documented system of work

- As the medium of training and education

 Through the implementation of ISO 9001:2008, MDR is bent on producing the best qualified East Java/VO tobacco for the satisfaction of our customers.

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June 6th, 2019

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