Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 5

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8 tobaccoasia / Issue 5, 2015December/January) From the Publisher EDITORIAL MASTHEAD Publisher Glenn Anthony John Associate Editor Andrey Medvedev Features Writers Thomas Schmid Nattira Medvedeva Correspondents Chris Bickers (US Leaf) Allen Liao (China) Eric Piras (Cigars) Art Director Somjet Thitasomboon Translations Liao Tian Liang Subscriptions/Administration Malisa Kongkatitum Editorial/Circulation Offices Tobacco Asia c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Interchange 21 Bldg., Room 3225, 32nd Fl. 399 Sukhumvit Road North Klong Toey, Wattana Bangkok, 10110, Thailand Tel +66 2 660 3789 Fax +66 2 660 3881 © 2015 October Multimedia Co Ltd., TOBACCO ASIA is a quinterly magazine published by October Multimedia Co Ltd in March, May, July, September, and December. Printing and distribution of TOBACCO ASIA is overseen by October Inter Co. Ltd., Interchange 21 Bldg., Room 3225, 32nd Fl., 399 Sukhumvit Road, North Klong Toey, Wattana, Bangkok, 10110 THAILAND. Tel +66 2 660 3789. Fax +66 2 660 3881. E-mail: web: Australia goes plain in vain? Is the Australian government delaying a "post-implementation review" on its introduction of plain packaging because, truth be told, there has been no effect on consumption whatsoever? It has been six months after the consultation period ended and the report had been expected some time ago. "The delay has prompted concerns that the authors of the report could be misrepresenting the data and even omitting evidence to ensure that the policy is perceived as a success," accord- ing to a JTI press release issued from its international headquarters in Geneva. Reports indicate also that since plain packaging has been introduced, smoking levels of young people have gone up, while high- er prices have simply made smokers find cheaper cigarettes rather than quit. UK and France to join the dance? Nevertheless, the UK government is moving forward on its own plain packaging initiative. From May 2016, companies are banned from using any logos or branding on cigarette packs. Recently, four of the world's biggest tobacco firms filed a legal challenge to the UK government's planned regulations claim- ing the move will destroy their highly valuable property rights while rendering all products indistinguish- able from each other. On the manufacturer's side would be to cite the alleged failure of plain packaging in Australia, the only other country to institute such measures… if that report is ever released. Trying to corroborate, but it seems France will also introduce plain packaging in 2016. No more display in Singapore Currently losing in the anti-tobacco, state-of-the-art sweepstakes to Thailand, Australia, and many other countries, former tobacco regulatory leader Singapore hopes to catch up by banning all display of tobacco products in shops by 2017. This type of regulation was passed in Thailand back in 2008, which had retailers scrambling to jerry-rig cabinetry with awnings to block cigarette packets from view. Retail- ers were also not allowed to "sell" or "market" brands so customers has to guess brands and configura- tions until they hit the jackpot and a packet was retrieved from behind the veils and money exchanged. This initiative was quietly abandoned a year or so later. Singapore's regulations for 2017 demand that all cigarettes must be hidden inside closed storage units. The law allows retailers a plain typed-out list of available brands/configurations. The ministry of health even dictates that the storage units must be drab in color so as not to attract attention of customers. This is all in an effort to dissuade "impulse buying" of cigarettes… as in "if only the retailers had the cigarettes hidden behind counters, I would not forget that I had quit smoking" or as in " milk, cheese, butter, ooooh, let's try some of those delicious cigarettes over there because they are in full view and I was looking for a new habit to start up." E-cigs slow uptake in Asia Let's face it… e-cigarettes have been slow to grow in Asia. However it's now official that a good num- ber of Chinese manufacturers, where the vast bulk of e-cigarettes are manufactured, are now looking toward their own home market for sales. There are already scheduled three e-cigarette exhibitions in mainland China in 2016, of course with the ubiquitous "international" attached to their titles (is there any show held anywhere ever in the world anymore that doesn't claim to be 100% "international"?). And in China, where there are three, certainly scores more will join. Throughout Asia, e-cigarettes have faced bans or are frowned upon by governments such as Thailand, United Arab Emirates, et al. Malaysia it seems is Asia's largest market for e-cigarettes (outside China) especially in the state Johor Bahru, closest to Singapore… but the government there is going to try to forcibly change that. E-cigarette sales will be banned with the sultan telling The Star newspaper in an interview: "I want the outlets to close down by Jan 1, 2016, and I do not want to hear any excuses." Although Singapore theoretically already banned e-cigarettes, this did not become official until November.

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