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Born in Russia after 2014? You might never be able to buy cigarettes.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/born-russia-2014-might-never-able-buy-cigarettes-195105247.html

If Russia’s Ministry of Health gets its way, the country’s youngest citizens will never be able to buy cigarettes. On Monday, Russian media reported that the agency’s 2017-2022 antitobacco plan includes a ban on cigarette sales to any Russian born in 2015 or later, according to Radio Free Europe, a US government-funded publication.

Currently, Russians may legally purchase cigarettes at the age of 18. The Ministry of Health’s proposal – which still requires government approval – would take away this option beginning in 2033, when those Russians born in 2015 will turn 18.

This proposal comes on the heels of a report from the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization, which found that 33.8 percent of adult Russians smoke daily. Smokingrelated mortality cost the country’s economy $24.7 billion in 2006.

Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia?

Russia’s Ministry of Health clearly views this situation as a problem. But its proposal to ban future generations from buying cigarettes breaks with conventional wisdom on how to reduce smoking.

“Government efforts to reduce cigarette consumption by restricting supplies have been largely unsuccessful,” researchers wrote in a 2001 report published on behalf of the World Bank, World Health Organization, and the Human Development Network. “Banning tobacco is unrealistic and unlikely to work.”

Sixteen years later, most policymakers still aren’t talking about bans. Instead, US experts credit a “winning combination” of policies, including cigarette taxes and graphic warning labels, with bringing the number of smokers to a record low. Similar techniques have also been used in Russia. A 2009 anti-smoking campaign plastered graphic anti-smoking ads around Moscow, and the country declared the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics “smoke free.” The Ministry of Health’s most recent proposal would also increase restrictions on where Russian smokers may light up, banning smoking in cars with children. Public health measures like these may already be showing results:

According to the World Bank, the percentage of Russian men who smoke dropped from 67 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2012.

But some want those numbers to drop faster, and see a birth-year ban like Russia’s as the best path forward. Barring those born after a certain date from buying cigarettes was first proposed by Jon Berrick, an Australian-born mathematician who teaches at the National University of Singapore.

In a 2013 article published in the journal Tobacco Control, Berrick noted that “More than 80% of smokers start by age 18, and virtually all by 26. Therefore, preventing youth initiation may be the key to ending the tobacco epidemic.” He argued that simply restricting cigarettes to 18 – and-up consumers undermined this goal. Instead, this practice created a “rite-of-passage effect” that linked smoking with adulthood in the eyes of teenagers, and encouraged those near the age of 18 to light up.

Citing evidence that “smoking initiation predominantly occurs in the company of same-age peers,” Professor Berrick proposed that governments take cigarettes off the table for all those born after a certain date, a plan he calls “Tobacco-Free Generation.” Activists have pressed for this policy in Singapore, Britain, and the Australian state of Tasmania – all cited by the a Russian Ministry of Health representative in explaining their proposal. In January 2016, Balanga City in the Philippines became the first – and, so far, the only – jurisdiction to implement the policy.

Could a tobacco-free generation emerge in Russia? Matthew Meyers, the president of the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Kids, thinks so.

“Russia faces one of the most serious tobacco problems in the world and is to be commended for the strong steps it has taken in recent years,” he writes in an emailed statement to The Christian Science Monitor. “We believe it is appropriate for countries like Russia, which are facing a crushing burden from tobacco use, to explore innovative and multifaceted approaches to rapidly reduce tobacco use like the current set of proposals now being considered in Russia.”

But others see challenges ahead. Smokers’-rights activist Olga Beklemishcheva told Russian media that “there will be a black market” for cigarettes if the ban goes through, pointing to the trade in currently banned drugs.

Berrick, the first proponent of such a ban, has previously downplayed the possibility that a ban would fuel illegal trade.

“By avoiding forced cessation among existing users,” he wrote in 2013, “the measure creates no new denied addicts needed to fuel a black market.” Officials in Russia’s Ministry of Health seem to agree.

Vladimir Putin announces plan to ban smoking in Russia by stopping anybody born after 2015 from EVER buying cigarettes

New smokers face being cuffed by police simply for buying a packet of fags

VLADIMIR Putin wants to kick smokers’ butts by introducing the most harshest cigarette laws ever conceived by a government.

The clean living fitness freak loathes people smoking around him and wants everyone in his country to snub out their filthy habit.

Under plans to rid Russia of the demon weed once and for all, anyone born after 2015 would be banned from buying cigarettes.

In fact it will be deemed as bad as buying illegal drugs.

But while Putin‘s measures seem harsh, desperate measures are perhaps called for.

About 43% of the Russian population lights up – down from 60% last year – compared to 19% people smoking in the UK.

Despite tax rises, fags are cheap compared to Western Europe, with a packet of Marlboro Reds costing just £1.10.

Nikolai Gerasimenko, a member of the Russian parliament’s health committee, said: “This goal is absolutely ideologically correct.”

But Mr Gerasimenko also admitted he was uncertain whether such a ban would be enforceable.

Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told The Times the proposed ban would require serious discussion.

He said that other ministries would need to be consulted before it was approved.

Although Putin is a non-smoker known for his love of judo and topless horseback riding, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, is a chain smoker.

The top diplomat once opposed an attempt to introduce a ban on smoking at the UN headquarters in New York.

The smoking ban has sparked debate in Russia, with warnings that the move could lead to a rise in black market cigarettes.

“Counterfeit tobacco could lead to even more harm to people’s health,” said Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, a member of the Russian public chamber, which advises the government on social policy.

3 Key Markets for Philip Morris International

The tobacco company does business around the world, but some of its markets are more important than others.

http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/09/26/3-key-markets-for-philip-morris-international.aspx

Cigarette maker Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) has built a truly global business, serving customers on six continents. Yet some of the nations in which Philip Morris sells its cigarettes and other tobacco products are more important to the company’s overall success than others, and investors need to watch those markets particularly closely to make sure that they catch any potential changes that could help or hurt the company. Below, we’ll look at three key markets for Philip Morris to see how they’ve fared recently.

1. Indonesia

Indonesia has one of the largest overall cigarette markets of any country that Philip Morris serves, and unlike many areas of the world, that market is growing. In the second quarter of 2016, Philip Morris estimated the size of the total cigarette market at 83.6 billion units, up 5 billion in just the past year. For its part, Philip Morris shipped more than 28.5 billion units to Indonesia during the quarter, claiming about a third of the overall market with brands like Sampoerna and Dji Sam Soe. In particular, Philip Morris has had success with what it calls the Whites segment, claiming four-fifths of the market in that category. The key Machine-Made Kretek market, which makes up about three-fourths of Indonesia’s total market, has been less successful for Philip Morris, but the company still claims about 30% of that segment.

Indonesia has suffered from a sluggish economic environment lately, and Philip Morris has seen its market share fall by a full percentage point over the past year. Gains in the size of the market were largely due to the timing of the Ramadan period compared to last year’s second quarter, and Philip Morris expects long-term trends to be closer to flat. Nevertheless, Indonesia’s sheer size will make it an important market for Philip Morris to target going forward.

2. Russia

Russia also has a strong culture of smoking, and its size makes it an essential element of Philip Morris International’s overall strategic vision. The Russian cigarette market sold about 72.1 billion units in the second quarter, and Philip Morris was responsible for 20.5 billion of them, climbing market share of 27%.

Oddly enough, though, Russia is one area in which the Marlboro brand has been almost inconsequential. Marlboro has a market share of just 1.4%, compared to 8% for Bond Street and 3.9% for Parliament. Other brands, which include L&M, Chesterfield, Optima, and Next/Dubliss, were collectively responsible for more than half of Philip Morris sales in Russia.

Troubling for Philip Morris is that the Russian cigarette market is shrinking quickly, posting a nearly 7% year-over-year drop compared to last year’s second quarter. The price increases that Philip Morris has implemented to try to offset falling volume have resulted in a hit to market share, and the company will have to balance competitive pressure against its desire for higher profit in order to get the most from the nation.

3. Italy

By contrast, Philip Morris’ markets in the European Union are relatively small. Yet the EU is an essential component of Philip Morris’ success because of the company’s ability to squeeze higher profit margin from many countries there.
As an example, in the second quarter, Philip Morris’ sales in the EU and in Asia were roughly the same, but EU operating company income of $1.07 billion was more than $320 million higher than the corresponding figure in Asia.

Within the EU, Italy stands out. The Italian cigarette market sold only about 18.7 billion units in the second quarter, but Philip Morris was responsible for more than half of them, at 10.1 billion. Marlboro had market share of nearly a fourth all by itself, and the Chesterfield and Philip Morris brands were responsible for another 20 percentage points of share.

The good news for Philip Morris in Italy is that efforts to reduce the level of illegal trade in cigarettes has paid off somewhat. With the new PMI Impact campaign, Philip Morris hopes to engage a broader set of interested parties to fight smuggling, and the likely result is potential further gains in legitimate sales volumes of its tobacco products. Investors should watch results in Italy closely for additional signs of success on the illicit trade front.

Philip Morris wants to serve the whole world, and it will continue to reach out to customers everywhere it can find them. These three countries will be especially important for Philip Morris in its efforts to capture as much growth as possible going forward.

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Kenya: Lighting Up

http://www.westfieldtimes.com/world/kenya-lighting-up/16702/

Last year, the British parliament, despite fierce lobbying from tobacco companies, decided that from May 2016 cigarettes would be sold only in plain packaging in the UK.

Anti-smoking campaigners in that country were quick to declare it as the latest nail in the coffin of an industry that has seen consumption of its products shrink inexorably in the West over the past three decades.

But while it is true that health concerns, public education, and increasingly stringent controls on the advertising, sale and use of tobacco have brought about that decline in North America and Europe, anyone thinking to write the obituary of Big Tobacco had better think again, because elsewhere in the world, especially in the developing world, smoking is increasing dramatically.

Nearly 80 percent of the world’s one billion smokers now live in low- and middle-income countries, a figure that continues to rise year on year. In China, for example, an estimated 350 million adults are hooked on tobacco; smoking in Indonesia has more than quadrupled in the past four decades; and in Russia around a third of all teenagers will have tried their first cigarette by age 12.

But it is Africa that is probably most critical to the long-term future of the multinational tobacco firms, because it is relatively unexploited. For all the continent’s other woes, Africa has traditionally had some of the lowest smoking rates in the world, largely because most people can’t afford it. That, though, is now changing as parts of the continent become more prosperous, disposable incomes increase and populations mushroom.

It has become an enticing target for a profit-hungry industry as other routes to growth have been closed off by rules, directives and worries about life-threatening diseases.

With the most smokers in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is one of the biggest prizes on offer.

The problem for the industry is that Kenyan health officials are as aware as anyone else about the dreadful menace smoking poses to their nation’s health. Kenya was the first African nation to ratify the World Health Organization’s Convention on Tobacco Control. One of its key sections, Article 5.3, says that countries must “protect their tobacco control and public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry”.

It gave officials the impetus to work with legislators on drafting strict regulations. These include putting graphic images on cigarette packets, banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco and the imposition of a 2 percent health tax on every packet.

Professor Peter Odhiambo, chairman of the Tobacco Control Board, said: “We are already sitting on an epidemic of the cancers from tobacco. The tobacco problem is the most silent undeclared disaster in Kenya and therefore the more we delay the more we will see Kenyans dying.”

But as investigative journalist Purity Mwambia and filmmaker Giovanni Ulleri have been finding out, the industry hasn’t been slow to fight back, going to court in Kenya to argue about the legality of the rules and the proposed timetable for their introduction.

And now, most recently, disturbing allegations about the bribery of government figures have begun to emerge.

FILMMAKER’S VIEW

By Giovanni Ulleri

Around the town of Migori, beside the dusty country roads, you’ll find them: groups of farmers sharing a social moment away from their football pitch-sized plots of tobacco. Here, in one of the most important agricultural regions in Kenya, tobacco is king but, as I discovered in making Lighting Up, this is a crop that demands a high price from those who grow it and those who smoke it.

When I got a phone call from my former boss over the summer about me directing a film on tobacco in Kenya, I hesitated before saying yes. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because of a potential conflict of interest; I was a former smoker – and in my eyes, once a smoker, always a smoker.

I was fully aware of all the known cancer risks of smoking and I had tried to quit many times over the years, but like most addicts I kept falling off the wagon and stealing a cigarette from friends. I had starting smoking as a stupid act of rebellion as a teenager behind the bike sheds at school and here I was heading off to Kenya to see how they have been trying to prevent other youngsters from doing what I did – lighting their first cigarette and starting down a path that could eventually lead to an untimely death.

On arriving in Nairobi and meeting up with my colleague Purity Mwambia, the first thing I noticed walking around the streets was how few people smoked in public.

Unlike any high street in the UK, where you see smokers huddled up in doorways of offices and in the cold and rain trying to light up, here in Kenya you are allowed to smoke only in designated smoking zones which, I imagine, makes the city centre of Nairobi one of the largest no-smoking zones in the world.

There’s even a 50,000 Kenyan shilling ($490) fine if you are caught smoking outside these zones. But despite this, eight billion cigarettes are smoked in Kenya every year and the government is trying to introduce new regulations to try to prevent what it fears is just around the corner: a veritable host of tobacco-related diseases.

However tobacco companies view Africa as one of their largest growing markets.

They are eager to keep their market share and to persuade policymakers, not to penalise them. We spoke to a young MP, Stephen Mule, who sits on the Kenyan parliamentary health committee. He told us that he was offered an expenses-paid fact-finding trip to the UK from Kenya’s largest tobacco manufacturer, British American Tobacco. What BAT didn’t know was that Mule’s father had died of a tobacco-related disease and nothing would ever weaken his resolve to introduce strict tobacco control regulations back home.

I also met his mother, who told me how she looked after her dying husband and how she tried to get him to stop smoking. She is rightly proud of her son, whose aim is to stop other Kenyan families from suffering the way his family did caring for a smoker.

But everyone involved in tobacco regulation in Kenya knows they have a fight on their hands. They are up against a rich and powerful industry, battle-scarred from years of similar confrontations in Europe and the US and determined to protect its burgeoning African businesses from government interference.

The more we began to look into this story, the more we began to realise exactly what that determination meant in practice.

Russian upper house approves bill banning snus

http://www.rapsinews.com/legislation_news/20151225/275119865.html

MOSCOW, December 25 (RAPSI) – The Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, on Friday approved a bill that prohibits the retail and wholesale trade of sucking tobacco (snus), RIA Novosti reports.

The bill drafted by the State Council of Tatarstan would introduce fines of between 2,000 and 4,000 rubles ($29-$58) for individuals, 7,000 to 12,000 rubles ($101-$173) for officials, and 40,000 to 60,000 rubles ($575-$863) for legal entities.

The regional authorities would have the right to introduce additional restrictions on trade in smokeless tobacco products, including a ban on retail sales.

The bill was drafted to further reduce smoking and to prevent the proliferation of new smokeless tobacco products in Russia.

Snus is a form of smokeless tobacco product. It is placed under the upper lip for extended periods. Snus is not fermented and contains no added sugar, but tobacco content in one portion of snus is approximately five times greater than in a cigarette.

The production and sale of smokeless tobacco in the EU was prohibited in 2001. India prohibited the sale of smokeless tobacco in 2003, although using smokeless tobacco is a longtime tradition. In 2004, serious restrictions were placed on the sale and use of naswar (a moist, powdered tobacco snuff similar to dipping tobacco or snus) in Turkmenistan. In January 2010, the sale of naswar, snus and other chewing products that include tobacco, lime or other non-tobacco products was prohibited in Belarus.

Chief of Ukraine Presidential Administration backs Russian tobacco monopoly

http://www.examiner.com/article/chief-of-ukraine-presidential-administration-backs-russian-tobacco-monopoly

The chief of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration Boris Lozhkin is backing a Russian tobacco monopolist.

Lozhkin openly supports the Russian tobacco company Megapolis, which monopolized 90 percent of tobacco product sales in Ukraine under former President Viktor Yanukovych. Megapolis under Yanukovych managed to monopolize cigarette sales on the Ukrainian market. The company signed longterm contracts for almost all products produced in Ukraine by the so-called “Big Four” – British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Inc., Imperial Tobacco Group and Philip Morris.

Megapolis sells to large and small retailers, taking a large part of the profit. Megapolis behaves in the same way monopolistic companies in the United States did during the 20th century before anti-trust laws were passed. Retail chains which do not agree with its draconian terms are shut out of the market altogether. It’s not possible on the Ukrainian market to purchase cigarettes directly from producers, according to contracts which grant Megapolis exclusive sales rights.

The Ukrainian distributor Megapolis is a subsidiary of the Russian distributor Megapolis, which controls 70 percent of the Russian tobacco market. According to Forbes, the principal owners of the group are Igor and Sergei Kesaev.

In 2013 they sold a 40 percent share in the international cigarette companies Japan Tobacco, Inc. and Philip Morris International for 1.5 billion USD. According to Forbes, a portion of the sale receipts were invested in weapons production companies and notes that this includes the “principle owner” of the Degtyarev factory which produces automatic Kalashnikov firearms (AK-47 through AK-103).

“The tobacco market is the fourth largest taxpayer and its influence on the country’s economy and domestic market is enormous.”

At the same time, when the entire world is imposing sanctions against Russia, a Russian company is exacting monopolist rent on the Ukrainian market. In addition, proceeds are directly funneled to a weapons producing Russian company, which directly supports pro-Russian separatists in an armed conflict in east Ukraine.

The interests of Megapolis in Ukraine’s political world are represented by Boris Kaufman, who has on numerous occasions been linked to the Ukraine’s Presidential Administration chief Boris Lozhkin.

Ukrainian media on several occasions earlier reported on ties between Megapolis and Yanukovych family members.

It is worth noting that the Austrian bank account of Boris Lozhkin was frozen last month. Some 130 million USD had been deposited in the account from fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko.

Many people in Ukraine connect the fact that even after the victory of the democratic revolution in Ukraine two years ago there continues to exist a monopoly created by Russian traders of weapons with the Ukrainian partner Megapolis represented by businessman Boris Kaufman. It was namely Kaufman who was able under the previous administration to arrange protection from the family of the former president Yanukovych and with Lozhkin when he became the head of the new Presidential Administration.

Hopefully the monopolist control of the Russian company on the Ukrainian tobacco market will serve as the basis for a serious investigation by the Ukrainian Anti-Monopoly Committee and that top Ukrainian bureaucrats supporting the scheme are punished

Customs busts own agents in biggest-ever haul of black-market smokes

http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/economics/economy/customs-busts-own-agents-in-biggest-ever-haul-of-black-market-smokes.a133262/

The State Revenue Service’s (VID) Customs Police nabbed the largest catch of illegal cigarettes ever this month – amounting to 32 million cigarettes and involving three of its own customs officers and a border guard officer, VID informed the media Wednesday.

Altogether six persons were detained on June 2 on suspicion of smuggling in from Russia 32,760,800 contraband smokes, including the three workers from customs, one from the border guard service and two vehicle drivers.

An estimated five million euros would have been kept out of state coffers had the shipment made it to the black market, being the largest-ever busted in a single VID Customs Service raid.

Tobacco Still Rules the World and Kills People

http://english.pravda.ru/health/01-05-2015/113583-tobacco-0/

If you are a smoker who wants to get rid of the nasty habit, you can bid farewell to cigarettes on May 31, the World No Tobacco Day. This day appeared in 1988 when the World Health Organization set a goal to the international community to root out the problem of tobacco smoking in the 21st century. Needless to say that the noble initiative has not brought any results: tobacco still rules the world and kills people.

In Russia, smoking remains the most widely-spread ill habit. Up to 65 percent of Russian males and up to 30 percent of females are smokers. The number of smokers in Russia has increased by 440,000 people during the recent two decades. The growth is based on the involvement of new social groups – women and young people. The share of smoking women in the age group of 20-29 is ten times as much as in the group of women over 60.

“This year all those who want to quit smoking will have a wonderful opportunity to quit with thousands of other people who care about their own health. You won’t be alone here – you will quit with thousands of other people,” a message from Russia’s Healthcare Ministry said.

Russia celebrates the World No Tobacco Day on May 31 under the slogan: “May 31st – The Day To Quit Smoking. Forever.”

The results of the “Healthy Russia” campaign launched in 2009 showed that there are a lot of smokers in Russia who want to quit smoking.

“The analysis of hotline phone calls showed that about 95 percent of calls are related to the issue of tobacco smoking. Many of those people who called the hotline inquired about the techniques which they could use to quit smoking,” the ministry said.

Nicotine affects practically every organ of a smoking individual. It starts with the respiratory system and then proceeds to the cardiovascular and other systems of the human body. Smoking may trigger the development of malignant tumors, cause irreparable damage to reproductive and immune functions of the organism.

Addiction to nicotine is one of the most popular epidemics in the history of mankind, which comes very close to alcoholism and narcomania.

There is a saying that “a drop of nicotine kills a horse.” Scientists say that one drop of nicotine can kill not one, but three horses at once. As for human beings, a lethal dose of nicotine for a human measures 50-100 mg. If smoking 20-25 cigarettes a day, the lungs of a smoker filter 150-160 kilos of nicotine in 30 years. Such a smoker does not die only because they intake small doses of nicotine.

Tobacco smoke triggers the development of dangerous diseases and affects practically all organs. When smoking a pack of cigarettes, a person receives a dose of radiation seven times stronger than the norm. A combination of tobacco radiation and other carcinogenic substances is the main reason for developing cancer.

Smoking kills one person every six seconds. Tobacco takes five millions lives on the globe every year. If smoking becomes more and more popular, the death toll will grow to 10 million by 2020. By 2030, smoking can become one of the strongest premature death factors.

Young children’s perceptions of health warning labels on cigarette packages: a study in six countries

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24683296

Abstract

AIM:

Health warning labels on cigarette packages are one way to reach youth thinking about initiating tobacco use. The purpose of this study was to examine awareness and understanding of current health warning labels among 5 and 6 year old children.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Researchers conducted one-on-one interviews with urban and rural 5 and 6 year olds from Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Russia.

RESULTS:

Among the 2,423 participating children, 62 % were unaware of the health warnings currently featured on cigarette packages, with the lowest levels of awareness in India and the highest levels in Brazil. When shown the messages, the same percentage of participating children (62 %) showed no level of message understanding.

CONCLUSION:

While youth are receiving social and informational messages promoting tobacco use, health warning labels featured on cigarette packages are not effectively reaching young children with anti-smoking messages.