Category Archives: Tobacco Articles

End military’s discount on tobacco products

The Pentagon has carved out a new front – one that pits it against Big Tobacco and those in Congress who do its bidding.

Many military leaders recognize that smoking negatively affects military members’ health and finances, and they hope to slash tobacco use by 2020. The Navy has been the most aggressive of the branches, having already ended discounted prices that undercut civilian sales by about 25 percent. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wants to go even further by banning tobacco sales at the service’s retail stores and aboard vessels.

The Pentagon’s concern about the effect of cheap tobacco products is justified. The discounted prices likely contribute to the fact that service members use tobacco at higher rates than civilians; 24 percent of troops smoke compared to 20 percent of civilians of the same age. Soldiers prefer to smoke strong cigarettes and most poluar brand among them is Camel.

But Big Tobacco has a long reach in Congress, which has blocked the military’s efforts to get tough on smoking. Apparently tobacco profits are more important than service members’ health or mission readiness; the House defense-authorization bill currently includes language that would require all branches of the military to continue selling cheap smokes.

It’s one thing for service members and retirees to be able to buy discounted food and products at military stores, undercutting nearby civilian merchants. But cigarettes and other tobacco products should be in a different category because of the serious damaging they can have on users’ health. The price for that damage is paid not only by smokers but by nonsmokers as well, who have to subsidize their health care when they develop lung and heart problems.

The military leaders who want to kick tobacco to the curb need help from health advocates, who have been hesitant to strongly support anti-tobacco efforts that affect service members. Perhaps they think that would come off as being anti-troops. In the long run, however, that advocacy would be very pro-troops.

Groups including the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association should offer strong support for military leaders’ anti-tobacco efforts. And the Senate should block the House’s attempt to carry water for tobacco companies.

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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EU States to Export 1,600 Tons of Cigarettes to Serbia Each Year

As of July 1, EU member-states will be able to export 1,600 tons of cigarettes to Serbia annually, at a reduced customs rate of 15%, which has resulted from the months-long Belgrade-Brussels talks following Croatia’s admission to the EU and the agreed quota equals the quantity of annual exports of Croatian cigarettes to Serbia. Although local tobacco industry representatives support Serbia’s EU course, they are concerned about the influence of that agreement on their own business.

The Serbian Parliament’s EU Integrations Committee has adopted a report on the supplementary protocol to the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, which enables privileged import of cigarettes at a reduced customs rate. That means that as of July 1, EU member-states will be able to export 1,600 tons of cigarettes to Serbia annually, at a reduced customs rate of 15%. For higher quotas, the rate shall amount to 53.6%, as it is now.

The protocol has resulted from the months-long Belgrade-Brussels talks following Croatia’s admission to the EU. Croatia wanted to retain a privileged position for export of cigarettes to the Serbian market, which it acquired as a CEFTA region member-state. Upon admission to the EU, Croatia received the same treatment as other member-states, which implies higher customs rate for exports to Serbia. As it is official Brussels that represents Croatia’s interests, the talks commenced and the proposed quota equalled the quantity of exports of Croatian cigarettes to Serbia at the time.

Belgrade entered the negotiations with the position that, should it accept the request, Serbia should be approved aditional quantities for export of other products to the EU market. Serbia has obtained increased quotas, so it will be able to export by 4,300 more hectoliters of wine, while fish export quotas have been increased by 26 tons and sugar export quotas by 1,000 tons.

According to the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Željko Sertić, the reached agreemetn forms part of Serbia’s EU and common market accession process. He said that the state should apply some benefits to help the local tobacco industry and reduced negative effects on its business activities. Serbia has three large cigarette manufactures, which have invested more than one billion euros in the tobacco industry. Those are multinational companies „Philip Morris“, „British American Tobacco“ and „Japan Tobacco International“, which are interested in continuing their business in Serbia.

In 2013, they produced a total of seven thousand tons of cheapest cigarettes and tripled their exports, especially to the Asian market, above all, to Japan and China. They also contribute to the Serbian budget by paying tax, contributions and excise tax. What interestd them most is on the basis of which criteria the quota is to be distributed. They are interested in taking part in the privileged export of cigarettes to Serbia from their European affiliates.

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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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Smoking in a public place? Your pic may appear on FB

Police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar has appealed to the public to upload photos of smokers on the Bangalore city police Facebook page for immediate action. The public can also call 100 and inform them about smokers in public places, so that the nearest patrol police can reach the spot and nab them. The identity of the informant would be kept confidential.

The measures are part of an intensified drive against smoking in public places under the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade of commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.

Auradkar told Bangalore Mirror, “We have started looking for those who smoke cheapest cigarettes in public places and booking cases against such smokers under the COPTA Act.”

Smoking in public places like bus stands, railway station, metro, malls and eateries causes inconvenience to the public, he pointed out. “It leads to passive smoking. Young girls and women will suffer because of the smokers. Sometimes women have to walk away from those places because of these mischievous smokers,” he contended.

A senior officer said, the plan of appealing to people to upload the photos in Facebook will work because many youths smoke without the knowledge of their parents, family members and relatives.

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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Philip Morris Earnings Preview

Philip Morris International is set to report its 2014 first quarter earnings on April 17. We expect the company’s deteriorating market share in the Philippines, where a sharp hike in indirect taxes implemented last year disrupted an otherwise flourishing tobacco industry, to negatively impact its results. We also expect Philip Morris’ weak performance in the European Union to continue, primarily because of the growing prevalence of illegal trading of cigarettes in the region. Furthermore, the company’s performance in the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region is not expected to be great either because of the tightening of anti-tobacco regulations in Russia, one of the biggest tobacco markets in the region.

Philip Morris International is a leading international tobacco company with its products sold in more than 180 countries worldwide. Until its spin-off in March 2008, Philip Morris International was an operating company of Altria Group. Excluding the U.S. and China, the company holds more than 28% of the total international cigarette market, led by its cheap Marlboro.

We currently have a $80 price estimate for Philip Morris International, which is almost in line with its current market price.

Almost 47% of the total volume decline reported by Philip Morris International last year can be attributed to its operations in the Philippines. Following a sharp hike in indirect taxes in the country, the company raised the prices of its Marlboro and Fortune brands by around 60% and 70% respectively. However, a local competitor, Mighty Corp., held back its pricing in the lower price segment, which allowed it to gain significant market share during the year. From mid-single digits in 2012, Mighty’s market share zoomed to over 20% last year.

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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Islamabad holds its first smoke-free gala

The two-day family gala at F-9 Park organised by Islamabad Traffic Police was the first mega social event which remained tobacco-smoke free throughout.

The success was a result of the joint efforts of district administration, Islamabad Traffic Police, Capital Administration and Development Division and other law enforcement agencies of the capital.

Awareness messages for tobacco control laws were displayed on all the 120 stalls at the event.

The district administration Thursday had imposed the condition that social events in Islamabad would be tobacco-smoke free in line with the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002.

Secretary of CADD Faridullah Khan appreciated the organisers for keeping the event tobacco smoke-free. He remarked that the fire and rescue department shall strengthen its infrastructure and equipment to simultaneously cater for any eventuality with multiple disasters. He went around the stalls and was keenly interested in the articles and paintings made by children with disabilities. He assured his support for the welfare and integration of these children.

The gala was attended by a large number of people from different walks of life; they enjoyed interacting with Islamabad Traffic Police under the command of Ilyas Hashmi, SP Traffic. The officials the engaged general public in informative and entertainment activities throughout the day.

Earlier, the chief commissioner of Islamabad and IG police Khalid Khattak went around the stalls and highlighted the citizen-friendly and helping attitude of the police department. Ilyas Hashmi later presented shields were to major partners of the gala.

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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Navy move to ban tobacco sales would include Marine Corps

The Navy is pushing ahead toward eliminating tobacco sales on all its bases and ships, as well as all Marine Corps facilities, according to sources inside and outside the Pentagon. Officials are reportedly considering removing tobacco from all sales venues, to include any exchange-operated retail outlets, as well as MWR-operated retail outlets where is possible to buy cheap cigarettes. Six commissaries on Navy bases currently sell tobacco products.

Changes may be coming to the other services, too. A Defense Department memo dated March 14 that was obtained by Military Times encourages the services to eliminate tobacco sales — and even tobacco use — on military bases, although it stops short of ordering specific actions.

“Structural reforms in how and where we allow tobacco purchases to be made, as well as the need to consider tobacco-free installations, are all matters that require our near-term attention,” stated the memo, signed by Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

DoD spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson said the department “is in the initial stages of reviewing its tobacco policies” and emphasized that “no decisions on any possible or potential changes have been made.” However, in a Thursday interview with Military Times, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he and his senior staff are taking a “deliberate approach” in considering a “whole range” of initiatives regarding tobacco, although he did not offer specifics.

“We demand that sailors and Marines be incredibly fit,” Mabus said. “We know tobacco hurts that fitness. We know the cost of health care far exceeds any profits we could possibly make selling that.”

The effort is part of a broader campaign to increase resiliency, he said. “We’re taking steps to up the fitness across the board and looking at what those next steps will be.” The Navy’s plan is already drawing opposition from at least one lawmaker on Capitol Hill.

“While I recognize the Navy believes removing tobacco products would help in ‘maximizing the readiness’ of sailors and Marines, it’s my belief that the Navy should worry less about intruding on the personal decision-making of these same sailors and Marines, while creating added burdens in the process,” Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine Corps veteran who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, wrote in a letter to Mabus Friday.

Banning on-base sales of tobacco “limit — and in some cases restrict — access to legal products that service men and women choose to purchase on their own,” Hunter wrote. “Overall, removing tobacco sales is perceived more as a political decision, intended to make a point, than it is a decision that supports our sailors and Marines — regardless of personal feelings on the individual and legal use of tobacco products. “Having spent time around Marines and sailors through multiple deployments, I believe there are far more immediate priorities for the Navy and the Marine Corps, all of which require your leadership and attention,” Hunter told Mabus.

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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Hong Kong fights smoking

The most drastic tobacco-tax increase in Hong Kong’s history came in 1983, when duty went up 300 per cent. The proportion of smokers fell from 23.3 per cent of Hongkongers aged 15 or over the year before, to 19.9 per cent afterwards. When the tax was doubled in 1991, the proportion fell from 15.7 per cent to 14.9 per cent.

“The two major tax increases in the past were important factors in reaching our low smoking population today,” he said. About 10.7 per cent of adult Hongkongers smoke, some 650,000 people, one of the lowest rates in the developed world. The rate on the mainland is more than three times as high.

The success is such that the city’s Tobacco Control Centre was appointed by the WHO to train professionals from around the region in fighting smoking. But Lam sees no grounds for complacency. “We’re worried that if the scope of the tax increase is not enough, people will look at the outcome and say the effects are not big,” he said.

The charity Lok Sin Tong interviewed 100 smokers who refused to accept its smoking cessation services when offered in an outreach programme. Some 15 per cent said a rise of 24 per cent would make them quit, while 20 per cent would not quit no matter how high taxes went. Lam said the findings were in line with his experience. Audera-Lopez says a tax increase would have the biggest effect on young smokers.

“Children and adolescents are also more sensitive to price increases than adults,” she said. Some 2 per cent of Hongkongers aged 15 to 19 smoked in 2012, a household survey by the Census and Statistics Department found, down from 2.4 per cent in 2007.

But even a modest tax increase is expected to face opposition in the Legislative Council. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has already come out against it, and the League of Social Democrats’ “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung cast doubt on the government’s claims of success against smoking.

“When you’re asking about something that’s taboo in society, people won’t tell you they’re doing it,” said Leung, a smoker for 40 years. He believes a tax increase will push smokers towards illicit cigarettes. The number of smuggled cigarettes seized by customs was up 41 per cent year on year in 2013, to more than 38 million.

The Coalition on Tobacco Affairs, an industry-funded lobby group, urged the government to tackle the illicit trade before raising tax, and to keep duty increases moderate to avoid a “shock effect” that drove smokers to the black market.

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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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