Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 1

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22 tobaccoasia PRODUCT NEWS 产品新闻 WHO SAID WHAT? Switzerland Oettinger Buys Bluebell Cigars Oettinger Davidoff AG recently acquired a majority interest in Bluebell Cigars (Asia) Ltd., its Asia distributor, going into effect as of January 1. As part of the acquisition, Bluebell Cigars (Asia) Ltd. will be renamed Davidoff of Geneva (Asia) Ltd. It will continue to be led by Laurent de Rougemont as managing director. In his new role as senior vice president Asia, he will now report directly to Oettinger Davidoff c.e.o. Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, and will also be a member of Oettinger Davidoff's global management group. Additionally, Gerhard Anderlohr, Oettinger Davidoff's current head of Asia, will enter a new role as vice president business development, with what the company says will be a particular focus on China and the Chinese consumer. Bluebell Cigars (Asia) Ltd. has been in business since 1954 as a distributor of luxury and lifestyle brands in Asia. It currently represents over 50 luxury and lifestyle brands in 10 countries, with a product portfolio that includes fra- grance and beauty, fashion apparel and accessories, jewelry and watches, homeware, digital concepts, gourmet food, and cigars. Additionally, it operates 500 retail stores and employs over 2,500 dedicated staff. Australia Pub in Trouble Over Antique Signs West Leederville Irish pub J.B. O'Reilly's owner Paul North was in danger of facing prosecution or hefty fines after the Australian health department conducted a routine inspection. Health Department inspectors discovered a display of tobacco advertis- ing, which is now banned in the country. Almost every inch of North's popular watering hole in Cambridge Street is littered with antique signs and memora- bilia, including a number of collectable tobacco signs dating back more than 120 years, although "most of the brands [are no longer] on the market and J.B. O'Reilly's [does not sell] any tobacco products." North said the health department was being ridiculous because most of the tobacco featured on signs in the pub were no longer available, and after a public outcry, Premier Colin Barnett announced he would overrule the Health Department directive that the Irish pub remove its memorabilia tobacco signs. Under the Tobacco Control Legisla- tion Act, tobacco advertising and promotion is illegal. The maximum fine for a business is $40,000 and repeat offenders could be slugged with a fine up to $80,000. UK Imperial Re-Branding Imperial Tobacco Group PLC recently confirmed it had changed its name to Imperial Brands PLC ditching its main product from the company's title after more than a century upon receiving shareholder approval at its annual general meeting. Imperial, the maker of Davidoff and Lambert & Butler cigarettes, announced plans to change its name in December 2015, saying in a statement that the new name "better reflects the dynamic, brand-focused business that we are now." "Re-branding a parent company name signals a clear shift," said Rebecca Robins, a director at brand consultancy Interbrand, as quoted by Bloomberg. The name is "sufficiently future-proof for any acquisitions to come," she added. Imperial said it would retain its five corporate brands, which include Imperial Tobacco and the US unit ITG Brands. Changes will be largely confined to the Bristol, England head office and corporate website, it said. The com- pany's tobacco brands will continue to be divided into mass-market "growth" products and more niche "specialist" brands. The company also said that its new web address, www.imperialbrandsplc. com, will go live from next Monday. Japan Imperial Re-Branding Japan's Finance Ministry will consider requiring tobacco packaging to display more prominent warnings on possible negative health impacts caused by smoking. The ministry's advisory panel will start discussions to explore possibility of imposing stricter rules on tobacco firms such as expanding the area on tobacco packaging carrying warning messages. The ministry plans to have the related law revised as early as this year following a study by the panel, which will compile an interim report in May or June after hearing opinions from experts and the tobacco industry. The move comes as other countries adopt stricter rules on tobacco warnings, with Australia requiring tobacco packaging to show confronting images of the effects of smoking on the body, along with verbal warnings and no branding. The Japanese government currently requires tobacco packaging to display warnings using 30% or more space of their main surface. "Of course, I agree with the CDC that youth should not use e-cigarettes. But it is not OK to just make up evidence to support your position. To state that the CDC is being hyperbolic […] is an understatement. Hyperbolic implies an exaggeration. But here, it may well be that precisely the opposite is true. So this is not hyperbole. It is fabrication." - Dr. Siegel is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health

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