Thursday, November 26, 2015
The Labor Party has announced a plan which would see a packet of 25 cigarettes cost more than $40 by 2020.
The price rise would stem from gradual increases in the tax on cigarettes continuing beyond 2017, if Labor is elected.
The Opposition said the policy would generate savings of almost $50 billion over the medium term and almost double the rate at which people quit smoking.
"Money that we want to put towards budget consolidation but also towards very important health initiatives," Labor's health spokeswoman, Catherine King, said.
A packet of 25 cigarettes currently costs between $25 and $30.
Ms King said the increase would correspond with advice from the World Health Organisation.
"We have some 2.5 million Australians who continue to smoke and we lose about 15,000 people a year from smoking-related diseases," she said.
"The World Health Organisation will tell us, as our own national tobacco strategy does, that you do need to continue to ramp up the excise on cigarettes if you are going to continue to drive smoking rates down."
Ms King said the increase would bring Australia into line with the excise rates of about 33 other countries.
She acknowledged heavy smokers were some of the poorest people in society and promised more policies to help prevent and deal with smoking addiction.
"We want people to stop, we want more people to give up, we want more people who are in difficult circumstances to give up as well because we know that smoking kills people," she said.
"We'll be making some further announcements about what we might do to assist people, particularly those areas of the population who find it very difficult to give up smoking."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the policy showed the "stark" difference between Labor and the Government.
"Labor wants to reduce the number of people who smoke; Malcolm Turnbull's Liberals want to increase the GST and the cost of everything, including fresh food, school fees and going to the doctor," he said.
Ms King said increasing taxes on fresh food was "regressive from a health point of view".
"When you look at it from a health point of view, it is a retrograde step and it would predominantly hit those on poorer incomes as well."
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015
A new study shows that nicotine dependence on cigarettes can be trimmed off in some extent. The researchers show that users that switch to using low nicotine content cigarettes tend to smoke less and may actually stop their smoking habit in the future.
Neal Benowitz, MD stated in his published commentary that by varying the amount of nicotine present in cigarettes or minimizing its content will give the smokers a lesser habit as well as newcomers will be prevented from becoming addicted to smoking. This same principle was applied to the latest study published just this month by Dr Eric Donny. He suggested a strategy to wean off smokers is by decreasing the amount of nicotine in the cigarette.
The study was conducted for 840 participants and all are heavy smokers. The researchers asked them to report the number of cigarettes they finished a day and compare it to the number that they normally have before the test.
Modified cigarettes were used in the experiment to really assess if the hypothesis is true. The participants were also assessed about their withdrawal syndrome issues and behaviour while the experiment is ongoing. After the experiment, the researchers observed the pattern created by the varying nicotine level showed positive results. The researchers have found out that the difference between those who smoke cigarettes with higher nicotine level and those who smoke low-nicotine cigarettes have gone down by 25 percent.
The participants who consumed lower levels of nicotine has reported lower symptoms of nicotine dependence, which makes a good case in proving that lower level of nicotine would help weaning off addiction to smoking. The group is looking forward into greater studies on the matter. They also stated that the study is not pointed out in putting a stop in cigarette smoking, rather it's just to show that minimizing the consumption of nicotine is actually healthy for the body.
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Friday, September 25, 2015
The speculation this time, as first reported by Bloomberg News, is that Japan Tobacco is willing to offer $5 billion to buy certain assets of Reynolds subsidiary Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., which likely includes top-10 cigarette brand Natural American Spirit.
Reynolds declined to comment on the speculation, while Japan Tobacco could not be reached for comment.
Part of the basis for the speculation comes from Reynolds spending $29.25 billion to buy Lorillard Inc., essentially to gain ownership of Newport, the top-selling U.S. menthol brand and No. 2 traditional cigarette.
As part of the megadeal that closed June 12, Reynolds received $7.1 billion from Imperial Tobacco Group Plc for its purchase of four cigarette brands and blu eCigs, as well as $4.7 billion from British American Tobacco Ltd. from buying new Reynolds shares to maintain its 42 percent ownership stake.
During an investors presentation Aug. 3, Andrew Gilchrist, Reynolds’ chief financial officer, said the company’s $17.6 billion on overall long-term debt “is manageable” not only because the company added Newport revenue, but its loans have an average interest rate of 4.5 percent and an average maturity of 12.4 years.
That said, Gilchrist said Reynolds will remain focused on de-leveraging the debt as quickly as possible.
What makes Japan Tobacco an intriguing choice is that the company already has played a key role in Reynolds remaining in existence.
The $25 billion leveraged buyout of Reynolds in 1988-89 left Reynolds with billions in corporate debt that threatened to crush the company. The corporate historic event was detailed in the bestseller “Barbarians at the Gate” and in “Lost Empire: The Fall of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.” by a team of reporters from the Winston-Salem Journal.
Reynolds officials, dealing with that reality, decided in 1998-99 to sell the international rights to its cigarette brands to Japan Tobacco for $8 billion. That deal significantly eased Reynolds’ debt burden from $6.5 billion to $1 billion and provided better cash flow.
However, with that move, Reynolds essentially conceded any global foothold.
Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog said that if Reynolds were to sell some of its Santa Fe assets, it would be “a win-win scenario” for the company.
“Based on our sum-of-the-parts analysis, we believe Santa Fe is worth $7.6 billion,” Herzog said. Herzog suggested in 2014 that Reynolds might consider selling Santa Fe to help pay for the Lorillard deal.
On Aug. 27, the Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to Santa Fe, saying that advertising traditional cigarette products as “additive free” or “natural” is in violation of federal regulations.
Santa Fe emphasized the additive-free element of Natural American when it launched the cigarette in 1982, well before Reynolds bought the company for $340 million in December 2001.
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Friday, July 17, 2015
A Reynolds American Inc. subsidiary has launched a new national magazine advertising campaign for its premium Natural American Spirit cigarette brand.
The full-page ads will appear in such magazines as Sports Illustrated, Time, Field and Stream, Southern Living, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair and US Weekly.
“The aim is to drive brand awareness, highlight Natural American Spirit’s 100 percent additive-free natural tobacco proposition, and generate trial among adult smokers,” Seth Moskowitz, spokesman for Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., said Monday.
Natural American Spirit has climbed into the top-10 U.S. brands with a 1.8 percent market share, benefiting in part from its national advertising not being put on hiatus in recent years.
In May 2013, Reynolds ended a 5½-year voluntary advertising moratorium on its major cigarette brands with its Camel Crush style. It also has run national ads for Camel snus, which are pitched for use in places where smoking is prohibited.
Those national ads with the iconic Camel drew criticism from five anti-tobacco advocacy groups, which asked the attorneys general of Missouri and South Dakota to investigate whether Reynolds was in violation of the 1998 landmark Master Settlement Agreement. Part of the agreement prohibits or limits the ability of tobacco manufacturers to advertise their products in publications that target a teenage audience.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids declined comment Monday on the Natural American Spirit campaign.
Reynolds has said the company believes the cigarette and snus ads “are in full compliance” with the MSA.
“We review readership data and analyze the editorial content of the publications over time to be sure the topics covered have a predominant adult appeal and focus, and only advertise in magazines that have adult readership of 85 percent or higher,” Reynolds said in a statement,.
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Friday, June 26, 2015
Costco’s Dartmouth Crossing location has announced it is quitting tobacco products.
The store posted a notice to customers saying it will stop selling tobacco products after August 31.
The news is getting a mixed reaction from Costco customers, some of whom didn’t know the measure had been announced.
Costco declined to comment after its Dartmouth Crossing location announced it will no longer sell tobacco products.
“I didn't even know they had cigarettes, to tell you the truth,” said shopper Lewis MacDonald.
“I never did buy them with Costco anyways,” remarked shopper Colleen Boudreau.
The announcement is welcome news to the Nova Scotia Lung Association.
“Anything we can do to decrease the access to tobacco in this province is positive as far as the Lung Association is concerned,” said Louis Brill, the association’s CEO.
“The reason is irrelevant to me. It’s just the decrease in access,” he said.
Costco is not revealing the reason for the decision.
A spokesperson at Costco’s Ottawa headquarters declined to comment, saying the company does not do interviews.
In its notice to customers, the Dartmouth Crossing location did say it’s not quitting cold turkey.
Cigarette orders will still be available for pickup at Costco’s Bayers Lake store.
Jennifer Heatley, tobacco control co-ordinator with the province’s Department of Health and Wellness, says anything to reduce access to tobacco is a positive step.
“Reduced access and availability is a key contributor to reducing smoking,” Heatley said.
She said Nova Scotians have been finding reasons to quit.
“Right now we're at about 19 per cent smoking rate, which is down from around 30 per cent in 1999,” she said.
That puts Nova Scotia roughly in the middle of the pack nationally, she said.
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Friday, June 5, 2015
“Out of 15 to 19 year olds in Saskatchewan, 20 per cent smoke,” said Saskatchewan Lung Association health promotion vice-president Jennifer Miller.
That’s one of the highest smoking rates among youth in the country.
“If we look at the last three years the Canadian numbers have gone down about three per cent but in Saskatchewan we’ve only gone down just over one per cent,” said Miller.
Sunday marked World No Tobacco Day and the day Alberta became the latest province to take menthol tobacco products off the shelves, snuffing them out at the end of September. This comes as most flavoured tobacco products are also being pulled.
“The most important thing is that we help protect the health of Albertans and particular our youth, the research was really clear that this step needed to be taken to do so,” said Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman in Edmonton on Sunday.
“There’s a misperception that youth don’t use menthol products but what we know is that it’s actually the flavour of choice for youth,” said Miller.
Nova Scotia set the bar removing flavoured tobacco and menthol Sunday. Other provinces are moving in that same direction.
The Saskatchewan Lung Association feels the Saskatchewan government should also ‘butt out.’
“We don’t have to open up legislation for this … it’s a simple regulation, they have the regulatory authority to make this change and they need to step up, we’re really being tired of being the last province to be doing this,” said Miller.
The provincial government says it is committed to reducing tobacco use in Saskatchewan, especially when it comes to youth and is working on a provincial reduction strategy. It’s also monitoring Health Canada’s approach to the federal government’s Tobacco Control Act.
A bill was passed in Manitoba Monday to regulate electronic cigarettes and in Quebec, three tobacco companies have been ordered to pay $15 billion in damages an historic class action lawsuit.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Two of the largest cigarette producers in Armenia are Grand Tobacco and International Masis Tabac.
In the first quarter of this year Grand Tobacco paid 2.528 billion (US$ 5.261 million) in taxes, up from 1.733 billion AMD in the same period last year.
International Masis paid 1.374 billion AMD (US$2.859 million) in the first quarter of this year, up from 1.287 billion AMD last year.
Masis Tobacco, another cigarette producer owned by Grand Holding, paid 120.8 million AMD in taxes, 320 million less than last year.
Cigarette production in Armenia is taking off. According to the National Statistical Service, 2,891,000 cigarettes were produced in Armenia in the first quarter of 2015 – up 28.4% over the same period last year.
Since the above companies export 80% of their product, it’s safe to assume that their exports have also grown. But we still have no raw data from the customs service in Armenia.
Of the three companies, Grand Tobacco enjoys the lion share of the cigarette market - 50.8% of filter cigarette production and 92.3% of non-filtered varieties.
Cigarette imports have dropped. In 2014, Armenia imported US$44.6 million worth of cigarettes; down $16.8 million from 2013.
Overall, five companies in the cigarette business were ranked in the top 20 taxpayers in Armenia for the 1st quarter of 2015: Grand Tobacco (7th), JTI Armenia (11th), International Masis Tabac (13th), Avers (14th), and Philip Morris (15th). However, today many people prefer to buy cigarettes online at lowest prices in order to receive cigarettes right at their home.