Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 1

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14 tobaccoasia FRONT PAGE NEWS 卷首新闻 per day to 7.6 over the study period. At 30 days, 11 out of 67 (17%) reported abstinence from cigarettes. "These pilot data suggest that ENDS use is feasible and well-accepted in surgical patients, and worthy of explora- tion as a harm reduction strategy in these patients. The major finding of this feasibility study was that when cigarette smokers scheduled for elective surgery were offered free ENDS at the time of pre-anesthesia evaluation, a high proportion utilized them in the periop- erative period, with an associated reduction in cigarette consumption." The study will add weight to the arguments made by some public health professionals that e-cigarettes, while not 100 percent safe, can serve as a critical tool to reduce the harms and hazards associated with regular smoking, particularly after Public Health Eng- land's report concluded e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes. Australia No Upping Smoking Age Anti-tobacco campaign group Smoke- Free Tasmania has rejected the State Government's proposal to raise the minimum legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Instead, the group says it supports a less complex and punitive option in the Tobacco Free Generation Bill presented to the Australian parliament. SmokeFree Tasmania spokesman prof. Haydn Walters said lifting the minimum legal smoking age to 21 would criminalize smokers. Raising the age is part of health minister Michael Ferguson's Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, which drew fire from the Tasmanian Hospitality Association. "We have some sympathy for the Tasmanian Hotels Association in not wanting to enforce [minimum legal smoking age] legislation, they are not police officers, and we agree with them that the Government proposal is flawed," Walters said. Independent Windermere MLC Ivan Dean's Health Amendment (Tobacco- Free Generation) Bill 2014 is a world- first Private Member's Bill that would, from 2018, ban the sale of tobacco in the state to anyone born after 2000. Russia JT's Profits Drop Steep declines in the Russian ruble have dealt a blow to Japan Tobacco's (JT) earnings, as the global cigarette company does a brisk business in the country and surrounding region. With its overseas operating profit falling nearly 10%, the company's vulnerability to the ups and downs in emerging economies is clearly visible in its latest results. "A weaker ruble and other foreign exchange-related issues brought a negative impact worth about ¥100 billion (US$841 million)," said president Mitsuomi Koizumi during an earnings briefing. JT reported ¥565.2 billion in operating profit for the year through December 2015. Straightforward comparison with the year-earlier results is not possible because the company's previous fiscal year had only nine months due to a change in its fiscal-year end. JT's tobacco business in Japan delivered a 37% profit increase, but the dramatic depreciation of the ruble caused significant damage, as the Russian currency's average exchange rate against the US dollar fell nearly 40% on the year to ₽61 to the dollar. Helped by a series of large-scale acquisitions, JT now holds the position of No. 1 cigarette seller in Russia, controlling a little more than 30% of the market. With its mainstay brands, such as Winston and LD, enjoying strong popularity, the company generates about 30% of its worldwide tobacco sales in the "CIS-plus" region, which includes Russia, former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe. Capitalizing on its dominant market position, JT raised prices four times in Russia last year. This led to a drop in sales volume, but operating profits in the CIS-plus region would have recorded a 14% rise, had the ruble's exchange rate remained unchanged. "Russia will continue to be a growth engine, since we still have much room ITSA to Provide a Collective Voice for the International Tobacco Tax Stamps Sector Growing global recognition of the critical role of tobacco excise tax stamps has prompted the sector to come together with the formation of a new trade association. The newly established International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA) has been founded by a number of leading industry companies and stakeholders* to ensure the better understand- ing of the benefits of tax stamp technology and to promote the highest professional standards within the sector. Over 250 revenue agencies (national and state governments) around the world use tax stamps to collect valuable tax duties and excise payments, involving the worldwide production of some 140 billion stamps annually. As well as providing visible proof of tax payment and revenue collection, tax stamps have also taken on product authentication and anti-tampering applications. Against this background, the new organization will promote the benefits of tax stamps for excise duty collection, educate customs and revenue agencies on how they can better secure excise revenues (mainly from tobacco and alcohol products), and share best practice among those involved in the industry. More specifically, by providing a collective voice for those involved in the design, manufacture, and use of tax stamps, ITSA will also seek to engage and actively contribute to the drafting pro- cess associated with the proposed ISO19998 standard. The new standard is currently under development with the aim of improving the overall qual- ity of tax stamps. This includes such factors as establishing the type of security characteristics required, clarifying the primary functions of tax stamps, and improving their effectiveness as a tax collection and criminal-fighting tool. Membership of ITSA is open to legally incorporated companies and businesses that supply tax stamp components and features, as well as finished tax stamps, equipment for stamp design, man- ufacture, application and authentication, and systems for coding and marking stamps. _________________________________________________ * The 10 founder companies, global leaders in document and product authentication and traceability, are: Advanced Track and Trace, Ashton Potter Security Printers, Chanwanich Security Printing, Holoflex, Holostik India, Manipal Technologies, OpSec Security, SICPA, Surys (formerly Hologram Industries), Thomas Greg & Sons de Colombia

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