Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 5

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60 tobaccoasia CLOSING NEWS 卷尾新闻 US FDA Ban Stops Cigars for Troops The FDA's deeming rule has had another profound effect – it is blocking sending cigars to US troops. "Support the Troops" in Tampa sends much appreciated shipments of goodies, which include cookies, chips, coffee, and cigars, to troops overseas. Forty cigars go in each box, which sometimes comes with a humidor, too. In fact, the second-most requested item from the troops is cigars. However, their supply of cigars are dwindling after Thompson Cigars sent four final pallets on August 7, one day before new FDA regulations banned the providing of samples of all tobacco products. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa), who is introducing a bill that would carve out an exception for donations to troops, said the FDA should be targeting tobacco companies that market to kids, not cigars, which are generally only popular with adults. ""FDA has overreached here. We have got to send them a message and turn back this law." No Anti-Smoking Funds Despite US$700M in Tobacco Taxes New Jersey currently spends nothing, except for close to $3 million in federal funds, on anti-smoking programs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that New Jersey spend more than US$103 million a year on anti-smoking programs, or almost $73 million as a bare minimum. This is the fifth straight year the state has spent none of its own money. A new bill may change that, though only slightly. A proposal to commit 5% of cigarette tax revenues to smoking programs is advancing, but it was scaled back to just 1% to gain the support of New Jersey governor, Chris Christie's administration and avoid a veto. This would mean that the state would spend around $6.7 million. New Jersey's cigarette tax is currently the nation's ninth-highest at $2.70 a pack. This year the state expects to collect around $700 million in tobacco taxes, including a wholesale tax, and an additional amount of more than $200 mil- lion a year from the state's share of a 1998 settlement with tobacco companies. Close to $400 million in revenue from the cigarette tax is directed to hospitals for charity care for the uninsured, and more than $100 million goes to repay past borrowing. Only about $150 million goes into the state's general fund. New Jersey has been steadily reducing its spending on anti-smoking efforts for more than a decade. After 2001-2003, when it would spend $30 million a year, it has spent around $75 million total in the last 14 years com- bined – including nothing since fiscal year 2012. Premier Manufacturing Relocates Office and Warehouse The consumer products division of US Tobacco Cooperative Inc. (USTC), Premier Manufacturing of Chesterfield, MO, has just completed a move to new office and warehouse space located at 629 Cepi Drive in Chesterfield. The new modern and enhanced office space is in addition to a larger and more efficient warehouse and shipping operations at the same location. The consolidation of customer service functions, marketing, compli- ance, accounting, logistics and ware- house operations under one roof is another step in the company's commit- ment to deliver exceptional service and products to distributor and retail partners. Telephone and fax information have remained the same. INDIA New Board at ITGA The International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA) held its 31st annual general meeting (AGM) on September 20-21in New Delhi. The meeting had a presentation by the president of the Tobacco Board of India and others on the world market for tobacco products and the main threats from the coming COP7 of the FCTC on tobacco production. In the second day, ITGA held its general assembly in which the members debated the main problems affecting them in their countries. Among these, they highlighted the difficulty of thousands of growers to cover their costs of production with the prices currently being paid; the rates of bale rejection in some auctions; the increas- ing level of compliance requirements very difficult to meet with their present level of income; the consequences of consumption decline to the demand of their production in some important markets without a correspondent effort to control production by the directly contracting buyers; the need for multi-annual contracts to ensure the sustainability of tobacco production; the threats of extreme regulation like plain packaging and nicotine reduction for the future of their businesses. The members approved a strategy paper considering these concerns and asked the ITGA secretariat to contact the main buyers to debate those concerns. AGM elected with immediate effect, a new board of directors: Daniel Green of the Burley Stabilization Corporation(US) as president; Reuben Maigwa of TAMA, Malawi as vice president; and Tsvetan Filev, NAT Bulgaria, as treasurer. Anthony Neill Ford from the Tobacco Association of Zambia was also elected as the new chairman of ITGA for the African region. UK BAT Top Corporate Governance Performer UK's Institute of Directors (IoD), Cass Business School, and the Chartered Quality Institute, have named British American Tobacco, Unilever, and Diageo as top performers in an annual review of corporate governance among members of the FTSE 100. The assessment was based on several factors including board effectiveness, accountability, and shareholder relations, as well as how the company was perceived by investors and customers. BAT was placed first in the IoD governance rankings. Simon Cleverly, BAT's group head of corporate affairs, said, "For us, high standards of corporate governance are a fundamental element that underpins the sustainable, long-term growth of our business, and we are very pleased to see this commitment being recognized in the IoD report."

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