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Imperial Tobacco

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Maori MP walks off set during TV tobacco debate

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox called Imperial Tobacco a peddler of death and destruction.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox called Imperial Tobacco a peddler of death and destruction.

A fiery exchange on TV3’s The Nation this morning.

Imperial Tobacco’s Axel Gietz announced the company wouldn’t rule out a fight with the New Zealand government if plain packaging went ahead, before being attacked by Maori co-leader Marama Fox.

Fox joined Dr Gietz on the show and the MP became angry during the discussion, accusing the tobacco spokesman of “peddling death and destruction and misery on our people”.

She also compared Dr Gietz to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

After 17 minutes, Fox took off her mic and walked off set.

Dr Gietz didn’t react or rise to Fox’s comments.

As Fox made her departing remarks, The Nation host Lisa Owen pleaded for civility, reminding the MP that Dr Gietz was an invited guest.

Earlier on the show. Dr Gietz said a lawsuit against the Kiwi government would be a last resort, but they would defend the right to use their brands.

Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco linked to child labour in Indonesia

HRW claims that tobacco companies should do more to eliminate child labour within they supply

Children reported working long hours in extreme heat and without wearing any type of protective equipment while handling tobacco Human Rights Watch

Children reported working long hours in extreme heat and without wearing any type of protective equipment while handling tobacco Human Rights Watch

Tobacco companies are not doing enough to prevent child labour in tobacco farming, according to Human Rights Watch.

Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco, two of the largest tobacco firms in the UK, both purchase tobacco from Indonesia. Both firms can’t guarantee that their tobacco is not made using child labour, according to a new report by the rights group.

Philip Morris International and four other multinational companies were also named in the research.

“Most companies do some monitoring and report on their results, but it is not enough. The industry should get to the farm level and inspect how exactly their tobacco is made and where it is coming from. Tobacco companies should not be profiting from child labour,” Margaret Wurth, children’s right researcher at Human Rights Watch told The Independent.

Human Rights Watch conducted research between September 2014 and 2015 in tobacco farming in four provinces in Indonesia and interviewed more than 100 children under 18.

HRW claims that tobacco companies should do more to eliminate child labour within they supply chain through meticulous investigation as well as adequate monitoring and external audit.


Indonesia is the world’s fifth-largest tobacco producer, home to more than 500,000 tobacco farms nationwide.

Hundreds of children as young as eight are endangering their health by participating in a range of tasks including planting applying pesticides or harvesting tobacco leaves by hand, HMW said.

Many suffered from nausea, vomiting and dizziness. These are all symptoms consistent with acute nicotine poisoning or ‘green tobacco sickness’, the group claims.

“After too long working in tobacco, I get a stomach ache and feel like vomiting. It’s from when I’m near the tobacco for too long,” Rio, a 13-year-old boy, working on tobacco farms in Central Java, told HRW in 2014.


He likened the feeling to motion sickness, saying: “It’s just like when you’re on a trip, and you’re in a car swerving back and forth.”

Children also reported working long hours in extreme heat and without wearing any type of protective equipment while handling tobacco.

Wurth said it is the companies’ responsibility to ensure no child under 18 is working in direct contact with tobacco in any form.

All the multinational companies mentioned in the report are committed to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) human rights conventions.

Under these conventions, the general minimum age for admission to employment or work is 15 years old (13 for light work) and the minimum age for hazardous work is 18 (16 under certain strict conditions).

Philip Morris International (PMI), which has six of the world’s top 15 international brands including Marlboro, has the best practices when it comes to transparency and monitoring procedures, HRW said.


“We are encouraged to be recognized for the transparency of our efforts to address hazardous farm working conditions for children on tobacco farms in Indonesia. Our Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) programme is showing tangible progress to eliminate child labor on all farms where we source tobacco, yet we agree with HRW that there is much work still be to done,” Miguel Coleta, PMI sustainability officer said.

Imperial Tobacco told The Independent that the company takes its responsibilities in the purchasing and cultivating of tobacco leaf very seriously and expect its suppliers’ work practices to reflect the high standards set by the company. But it admitted child labour is a risk in agricultural supply chains.

“Given the complexity of this problem of course it not possible to provide this guarantee. We source tobacco from more than 40 countries worldwide, and as just one of the many stakeholders involved, we cannot be everywhere at once” it said.

“That does not stop us from continuing to work with all out stakeholders, including HRW, to acknowledge and address concerns. Child labour is totally unacceptable,” the company added.

British American Tobacco said the company and its Indonesian subsidiary Bentoel, take the issue of child labour extremely seriously.

“We do not employ children in any of our operations worldwide and make it clear to all of our contracted farmers and suppliers that exploitative child labour will not be tolerated. In Indonesia, however, children often participate in agriculture to help their families, and to learn farming methods and skills from their elders,” BAT said.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also recognises that in poor communities, often on small family farms, low risk work that doesn’t interfere with schooling and leisure time can be a normal part of growing up in a rural environment.

British American Tobacco said it is working with the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco growing foundation (ECLT) and other stakeholders in Indonesia to tackle exploitative child labour in leaf growing areas, and are conducting research in to identify existing efforts, and current and ongoing needs.

“The insights gained from this research will allow for a new approach to be developed to tackle child labour in the region,” the company said.

Wurth said companies have the responsibility to create alternative opportunities for children in the region but not in jobs that put their health at risk.

“Businesses are encouraged not only to adopt child labour policies but also to work with government and social partners to promote education and programs to support youth employment and job opportunities for young workers,” Wurth said.

Top tobacco companies lose plain packaging appeal

Britain’s High Court has rejected a legal challenge brought by the world’s top four tobacco companies against making plain packaging compulsory on cigarettes.

Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands had argued the law, due to come into force on Friday, unlawfully took away their intellectual property.

“It is wrong to view this issue purely in monetised terms alone,” the ruling said on Thursday.

“There is a significant moral angle which is embedded in the regulations which is about saving children from a lifetime of addiction, and children and adults from premature death and related suffering and disease.”

Plain packaging means a ban on all marketing on tobacco packages — including colours, logos and distinctive fonts — to try to make smoking less attractive, especially to young people.

Governments around the world are cracking down on the deadly habit that kills about 6 million people a year.

Australia became the first country to mandate cigarettes must be sold in plain packages when it passed a law in 2012.


Cigarette firms lose appeal on UK packs

TOBACCO giants have lost a legal challenge in London against imposing new rules for standardized packaging due to come into force today, meaning Britain will join a growing list of countries to do so.

Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International had challenged the legality of the new regulations, which mean all new cigarette packs sold in Britain will have to be olive green.

Shops will have 12 months to sell existing packets.

“The regulations were lawful when they were promulgated by parliament and they are lawful now in the light of the most up-to-date evidence,” judge Nicholas Green said in yesterday’s ruling.

Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive Harpal Kumar said: “This is an important milestone in our efforts to reduce the devastating toll that tobacco exerts on so many families every day.

“It’s the beginning of the end for packaging that masks a deadly and addictive product,” he said.

The European Court of Justice earlier this month ruled that the Tobacco Product Directive is lawful.

Under the directive, health warnings must cover 65 percent of the front and back of every pack of cigarettes, with extra warnings on the top.

The directive also allowed Britain to go further and introduce its own regulations requiring all packaging to be olive green.

A British health ministry spokesman said: “Smoking … kills over 100,000 people every year in the UK.”

Tobacco firms vow to fight on against plain packaging following High Court defeat

Two of the world’s biggest tobacco companies have vowed to continue to fight plain packaging in the UK, after the High Court today rejected a bid by the cigarette industry to prevent the introduction of the new law.

Plain packets of cigarettes will be officially imposed tomorrow after Mr Justice Green dismissed a challenge against the measure by four industry giants: British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International (JTI), Imperial Tobacco, and Philip Morris International (PMI).

BAT and JTI immediately said they would seek to appeal the ruling, which means that brands and logos will be banned and packets must be a standardised green-brown, with graphic health warnings. Tobacco companies have a year to sell through their old stock.

The cigarette-makers had argued that the controversial law deprived them of their intellectual property without receiving compensation. They also said the evidence from Australia, the first country in the world to impose plain packaging in December 2012, showed it had been ineffective in discouraging people from smoking.

However, in a ruling that ran to 386 pages, Mr Justice Green decided in favour of the Government, which seeks to cut smoking rates and stop children from picking up the habit.

“The regulations were lawful when they were promulgated by Parliament and they are lawful now in the light of the most uptodate evidence,” he said. “There is a significant moral angle which is embedded in the regulations which is about saving children from a lifetime of addiction, and children and adults from premature death and related suffering and disease.”

Deborah Arnott, the head of anti-smoking charity Ash, described the ruling as a “crushing defeat for the tobacco industry”.

But a spokesman for Dunhill manufacturer BAT claimed it was “by no means the final word on the lawfulness of plain packaging”, claiming the judgement “contains a number of fundamental errors of law”.

JTI, the other company that plans to appeal, said: “This decision sets a dangerous precedent for intellectual property rights and investment. Other consumer goods industries must now worry that their branding is under threat from political opportunism, rather than examining the evidence.”

Both Imperial and PMI said they were “disappointed” with the ruling.

It is a blow to the cigarette industry, which earlier this month also failed in an attempt to block new European Union rules that bans 10-packs and forces manufacturers to put health warnings on 65pc of packaging. The EU regulations also come into force tomorrow.

Debt rating agency Moody’s said tobacco companies should be able to mitigate plain packaging, but warned that measure “could reduce cigarette volumes and brand value over time, and there is also the risk that consumers could trade down to cheaper brands.”

Shares in BAT and Imperial, which are both listed in London, fell 1.9pc and 0.6pc respectively, although the latter was trading exdividend.

EU’s highest court upholds new restrictive law on cigarettes

Europe’s highest court on Wednesday upheld a tough EU law on standardizing cigarette packaging and banning advertising of e-cigarettes, paving the way for its adoption later this month.

The court rejected a legal challenge brought by Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, with Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands acting as interested parties.

“The court finds that, in providing that each unit packet and the outside packaging must carry health warnings…. the EU legislature did not go beyond the limits of what is appropriate and necessary,” the court said.

Tobacco company ‘furious’ over more taxes–furious–over-more-taxes.html

Cigarette makers are ‘furious’ the federal government opted to hike taxes on tobacco.

The tobacco excise will rise 12.5 per cent in each year to 2020 which is likely to lift the cost of a packet of cigarettes to $40 or more.

Imperial Tobacco Australia has now accused Treasurer Scott Morrison of going back on his word after he smacked Labor for considering a similar plan.

‘They’ve now contradicted their own statements entirely. We justifiably furious,’ Imperial head of corporate and legal affairs Andrew Gregson said.

Mr Morrison’s budget change will deliver the coalition government an extra $4.7 billion over four years.

Imperial argues the only group that will be happy about it will be organised crime, which already reaps more than $1 billion a year in excise from taxpayers through the sale of under-the-counter tobacco products.

‘The government needs to stop treating Australia’s three million plus smokers like second-class citizens and respect their right to make informed choices about what is a legal product,’ Mr Gregson said in a statement on Tuesday.

‘This will infuriate them.’

Australia is one of the most regulated countries in the world in which to smoke.

Imperial Tobacco Australia’s ultimate parent is the UK-headquartered Imperial Brands which sells tobacco products across the world and has interests in logistics.

Marlborough Man 2016: Smoking icon has swapped his horse for a helicopter and become a Stetson-wearing WOMAN in new e-cigarette ad campaign

The old fashioned Marlboro Man has been replaced by a woman

The new face of e-cigarettes is shown using a helicopter to round up cattle

Imperial Tobacco campaign received a boost after a report released by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) backed E-cigarettes

After using a helicopter to round up a large herd of cattle in the wild west, the Stetson-wearing herder pulls down her bandana and takes a puff from her blue-tipped e-cigarette.

The old fashioned Marlboro Man has been replaced by a woman for the face of the new e-cigarette ad campaign.

However her career was facing an uncertain future with television adverts promoting e-cigarettes set to be banned next month under an EU directive on tobacco.

The World Health Organisation had warned in 2014 that vaping was dangerous but now Imperial Tobacco’s blu e-Cigs campaign received a boost after a report released by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) backed E-cigarettes.

The RCP’s new report concluded that e-cigarettesbring benefits for public health and said they should be widely promoted to smokers to help them quit tobacco.

In a report likely to further fuel a debate over electronic cigarettes, the influential British doctors group also stressed that tobacco smoking is both addictive and lethal but concluded that e-cigarettes are ‘much safer than smoking’.

E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking, the RCP said, and do not lead to the normalisation of the habit – two issues often cited by critics who fear the devices can lure children and young people into smoking habits.

‘None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people,’ the RCP’s 200-page report said.

E-cigarettes, which heat nicotine-laced liquid into vapour, have rapidly grown into a global market for ‘vaping’ products that was estimated at around $7 billion in 2015.

Tobacco smoking kills half of all smokers, plus at least another 600,000 people a year non-smokers via second-hand smoke.

This makes it the world’s biggest preventable killer, with apredicted death toll of a billion by the end of the century,according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Many public health experts think e-cigarettes, or vapes,which do not contain tobacco, are a lower-risk alternative to smoking, but some questions remain about their long-term safety.

Linda Bauld, a professor at Stirling University, deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and aco-author of the RCP report, said that unlike tobacco, nicotine does not cause cancer, heart and lung diseases.

‘The ideal is for people to use nothing,’ she said, but when the alternative is smoking, people should be encouraged to use nicotine ‘delivered in a cleaner form than in deadly cigarettes’.

‘This is what tobacco harm reduction is – it reduces the harm from tobacco while recognising that some people will still use nicotine in other safer forms.’

John Britton, chair of the RCP Tobacco Advisory Group which published the report, acknowledged that e-cigarettes were ‘a topic of great controversy’ but said his group’s analysis ‘laysto rest almost all of the concerns over these products’.

The anti-smoking group ASH UK welcomed the report, saying it showed ‘that switching to vaping is a positive and sensible life choice’ for smokers.

‘Electronic cigarette vapour does not contain smoke, which is why vaping is much less harmful,’ said Deborah Arnott, ASH’s chief executive.


With his rugged looks and cool cowboy image, the Marlboro Man was the star of the smoking advertisements until they were scrapped in the late Nineties.

Several actors and models have been the face of Marlboro including David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995.

Another who pushed the product, Wayne McLaren, died before his 52nd birthday in 1992 and Dick Hammer – better known for his role as Captain Hammer in the TV show Emergency! – passed away from lung cancer in 1999, aged 69.

It wasn’t until state governments banned the use of humans or cartoons to promote tobacco advertisements in the UK that the role was axed.

Eric Lawson who played the iconic cigarette-puffing cowboy during the late 1970s passed away aged 72 from respiratory failure in January 2014.

Last year Darrell Winfield became the sixth Marlboro man to pass away from an unspecified ‘lengthy illness’ at his ranch in Riverton, Wyoming, while in hospice care.

Winfield was a real-life rancher who worked on a cattle farm in 1968 when he was first discovered by the Leo Burnett advertising agency and transformed into a world-recognized model.

Can e-cigarette makers stub out addiction concerns?

As vaping culture grows and big tobacco piles in with huge ad budgets, worry over nicotine use lingers

The medical report published this week which finds that vaping could save millions of lives and should be encouraged could be read as a victory for the Marlboro Man of our times, who has swapped his horse for a helicopter and become a woman.

Perhaps you’ve seen the glossy new TV ad, below, and its evocation of an age when cowboys sold a deadly lifestyle. In summary: helicopter corrals cows under big skies, lands next to massive rock; pilot wearing stetson gets out, pulls down bandana and puts an electronic cigarette in her mouth. Its tip glows blue before the setting sun catches the vapour cloud as she exhales.

It’s big-budget and kind of beautiful. But the ad, for Blu eCigs, part of Imperial Tobacco, comes at a tricky time in the rise of an awkward object. Conceived as a nicotine vehicle to deliver the physical, social and chemical appeal of smoking without the aftertaste of death, the electronic cigarette, used by an estimated 2.6 million people in Britain, has rapidly spawned a sub-industry and vaping culture.

But like a curious teenager clutching an Embassy behind a bike shed, we don’t quite seem to know what to do with these new sticks, or what the risks might be. Just as the the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) called on Thursday for the promotion of vaping in the biggest report of its kind, new rules are about to make e-cigarettes harder to buy – and kill off the Blu Woman before she’s even got going.

The EU Tobacco Products Directive, which comes into force on 20 May, will, among other things, outlaw the advertising of electronic cigarettes on TV, radio and in newspapers. It will also set a limit on the nicotine content of the liquid used in the devices, which use a small, battery powered heating element to create the inhalable vapour (the “e-liquid” or “juice” is a blend of organic compounds, natural or synthetic flavourings and nicotine).

The directive follows years of conflicting advice and regulation. There is no public ban on e-cigarettes but local policy varies. You can vape to your lungs’ content inside a Westfield shopping centre, but stray over the carpet into a Starbucks and you’re banned. Doctors haven’t been able to agree either. In 2014, the World Health Organisation said vaping could be dangerous. A year later, Public Health England said it was 95% less harmful than smoking, but its evidence was subsequently doubted in the Lancet.

Perhaps Prof John Britton, chair of the RCP’s tobacco advisory group, which produced the new report, can help navigate this fug of confusion. “A lot of it is psychological,” he says. “There are people who feel sustaining nicotine addiction is wrong. I’ve had those conversations at conferences over coffee, and nobody has seen the irony in it.”

Nicotine isn’t something to seek out but “like caffeine, if it is used in the doses in which smokers use it, it is not significantly hazardous,” Britton adds. “The important thing is to separate it from the smoke, which is what electronic cigarettes do.”

The RCP report “lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products”, including any suggestion that secondhand vapour can be harmful. But it will be harder to stub out the connotations of smoking. Almost 10 years after the public smoking ban, and more than half a century after the RCP’s pivotal 1962 report, Smoking and Health, which changed our relationship with cigarettes for ever, we are bound to doubt a solution that looks like the problem. Moreover, as the tobacco multinationals catch up with a runaway trend, and sell that solution as a lifestyle, we are understandably wary of the motivations of an industry which has not always welcomed the advice of doctors.

“There’s a suspicion of a commercial, consumer-led rather than medical response,” Britton accepts. “And there are arguments that these products are being used to promote smoking subconsciously … and that the tobacco industry will exploit them to sell more tobacco, particularly in countries with poorer governance.” The professor of epidemiology welcomes proportionate regulation, including the ad ban, as well as theforthcoming move to allow doctors to prescribe licensed vape kits. But while 200,000 children still take up smoking every year in Britain, he believes the participation even of public health villains is a price worth paying if it reduces illness and about 100,000 deaths a year (that’s about one every five minutes).

“We still have nearly 9 million people smoking tobacco every day when we’ve known what to do about it pretty much since 1962,” Britton says. “That’s a reflection of an abject failure of health policy. We’re reducing the number of young people taking up smoking, but we’re not that much better at helping them quit. That’s why the e-cigarette is such a powerful new tool.”

Marc Michelsen is, unsurprisingly, inclined to agree. “We have had an issue with public trust,” admits the public affairs executive at Fontem Ventures, the Dutch firm which owns Blu, and is an “arms-length subsidiary” of Imperial, the British tobacco company. “But a lot of that comes from a lack of scientific understanding.” Blu is delighted with the RCP report, but less keen on the advertising ban. “If you inhibit advertising, fewer people will buy the product and that can’t be good,” adds Michelsen, who denies that Blu’s commerical is a barely veiled Marlboro reboot. “I think it’s pure Mad Max,” he suggests (I must have missed the pastoral scenes in Fury Road). “This campaign is not about the past, we’re looking forward.”

What do vapers think, and who are they anyway? The majority of electronic smokers buy mass-produced products in supermarkets or online, and don’t think a great deal about them beyond their health and financial savings (£200 a month for a 20-a-day smoker, according to vape sites). But a vaping scene has unexpectedly mushroomed to the extent that, for many vapers, nicotine has become a secondary interest.

At the Vape Emporium, a London-based online store with boutiques at Hampstead and Richmond, a vape consultant will talk you through a menu of handcrafted e-pipes and more than 200 flavoured e-liquids. Perhaps you’d like to try the VG by Simple Chocolaccino, which “blends caramel, chocolate, coffee and biscuit for a divine morning vape”. “We now have juices that only contain 1.5mg of nicotine, which is tiny,” says Andy Logan, the emporium’s co-founder. A 24mg/ml mix compares to a strong cigarette, he explains (the new rules will set the maximum at 20mg). “And some people are taking zero nicotine now because they just don’t need it but still enjoy vaping.”

Logan, who set up as an online store in 2013 and is looking for new shopfronts, says vapers follow a familiar path. “At the start they’re adamant they don’t want any funny flavoured rubbish and go for a strong, tobacco-style vape. But after a few weeks they’re trying some crazy flavours and dropping the nicotine because they’ve got their tastebuds back.” Flavour seekers tend to favour fruit, pudding (doughnuts and cakes are popular) or mint and vanilla perfumes, he adds. Some go further, vaping socially in cafes and clubs and discussing equipment and blends. Logan has just exhibited at the second Vape Jam UK, a three-day expo at London’s ExCel centre attended by 300 companies and clubs. “I took my fiancee on the Sunday,” he says. “She had no idea this subculture exists. It’s quite amazing.”

Logan says his customers range from an insanely knowledgable 94-year-old woman to a businessman who comes in for a puff while his driver idles outside in a Bentley.

Vaping is increasingly popular among young people (it is illegal to sell to under-18s), he adds. Meanwhile, the public response to vaping – while still generally somewhere between curious and hostile – is catching up with its rise in popularity. “I still can’t go to a party without facing a barrage of questions, but it is changing,” Logan says.

As a culture emerges and big tobacco piles in with huge advertising budgets, do we risk discouraging nicotine quitting, or even drawing non-smokers into addiction? “Our annual survey of 12,000 adults suggests the level of vaping among non-smokers is steady at about 0.2%, says Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Ash, the smoking health charity.

“It’s extremely rare and I don’t think that will ever change,” Logan adds, rejecting the gateway hypothesis. And he doesn’t need it to. “If there are nearly 10 million smokers and only 2 million vapers, we’ve still got a massive, long journey to convert the rest,” he says.