Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 5

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74 tobaccoasia CLOSING PAGES 卷尾新闻 Phillipines Minimum price proposed A bill calling for a minimum price of ₱38 (US$0.85) has been filed with the country's Congress, saying that it would help curb the smuggling of cheap cigarettes and tax evasion as well as serve as a way to discourage minors from smoking. Filed as House Bill 513, the bill sets a minimum price of ₱38 (US$0.85) per pack starting on January 1, 2015. The minimum price would then be raised to ₱44 and ₱51 in 2016 and 2017, respec- tively. Then, from 2018 onwards, the price would increase by 4% each year. This measure aims to stop marketing companies from launching marketing campaigns such as discounted prices or buy-one-get-one promotions. However, the proposed minimum prices do not include excise tax and the country's 12% value added tax (VAT). Thus, under the new bill, starting on January 1, 2015, the tax on cigarettes will be ₱21 per pack if the net retail price, excluding excise tax and VAT, is ₱11.50 or less, and ₱28 if the net retail price is higher than ₱11.50. The number of Filipino smokers has remained at 20 million, according to a recent Social Weather Station survey commissioned by the Department of Health. The survey also showed that 45% of smokers just switched to cheaper brands rather than quit smoking when higher taxes came into effect two years ago. USA E-cigs go Hollywood E-cigarette companies are the latest to seize product placement opportunities in Hollywood films. In a deal that is predicted to have far-reaching implica- tions, Canadian company SmokeStik's e-cigarettes will be seen in a new film adaption of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" starring Ethan Hawke and Milla Jovov- ich. The movie will show the main female character, played by Jovovich, smoking a SmokeStik throughout the movie, and, in one scene, signing for the brand hang in a convenience store. Product placement in Hollywood seems to be the latest marketing trend for e-cigarette companies, similar to what tobacco companies had been enjoying up until 1998, when an agreement between state governments and tobacco compa- nies banned cigarette brands from paying to place their products in movies and TV shows. However, even though the ban prohibited tobacco companies from paid product placement in movies or having celebrity spokespeople, cigarettes were still allowed on camera, albeit at a dropping rate. E-cigarettes do not fall under the ban since e-cigarettes are considered to be a safe alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Hollywood celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have also been spotted vaping. Jenny McCarthy is bluCigs' official spokesperson while Courtney Love is the new face of NJOY. UK "Smoking" TV ad In November, a TV commercial for VIP brand e-cigarettes aired during primetime on ITV, becoming the first TV ad in nearly 50 years to show someone "smoking" since cigarette commercials were banned in 1965. The ban was extended to include cigars and rolling tobacco in 1991. The VIP commercial, which showed a woman vaping, was allowed on TV following a change to the country's advertising code by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and first appeared on TV in November. Two versions of the commercial were slated to run for five weeks. Even though e-ciga- rette commercials have been allowed to advertise on TV in the UK for some time, this is the first time a commercial was showing someone vaping. ASA's new marketing rules for e-cigarettes, released in October, say that ads must not be associated with youth culture, feature those under 25, or be likely to appeal to those less than 18 years old. They are also not allowed to encourage non-smokers to use e-ciga- rettes, claim e-cigarettes are safer or healthier than smoking tobacco, nor make any health claims without approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The ASA outlined its new e-cigarette marketing rules in October which said that ads must not be associated with youth culture, feature under-25s, or be likely to appeal to those under 18 years old. USA Legal age for cigs A grassroots movement that started in Needham, MA which resulted in a regulation in 2005 barring anyone under 21 from buying tobacco products has inspired a growing number of towns and cities to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 years to 21. Thirty communities in Massachusetts have passed similar regulations in the past year, raising the tobacco age to 21. So have Evanston, IL and New York City. States like New Jersey and Colo- rado are expected to vote on the legislature next year. A report from the Institute of Medicine predicting the likely public health outcomes of raising the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products to 21 years or 25 years is expected to be submitted to the FDA who will review the issue in early 2015. If the change is made nationally, it is estimated the tobacco industry will lose US$2 billion of sales. France Tough new regulations France is the latest country to take a tougher stance on smoking with its plans to introduce new regulations, which, if passed, will force tobacco companies to adopt neutral packaging as well as restrict the use of e-cigarettes.

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