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Excise Tax and Illicit Trade Issues Workshop

On 28-29 September, at the invitation of the Mexican Revenue Authority (SAT), ITIC delivered a two-day workshop on excise tax and illicit trade issues for more than 50 officials from the SAT and the Mexican Finance Ministry, similar to offerings ITIC has developed for the WCO Knowledge Academy in Brussels. The workshop covered excise policy theory, excise administration and enforcement, risk-based compliance management, stakeholder engagement/partnerships, and illegal trade in spirits beverages and tobacco products.

The workshop was led by ITIC Program Advisor Liz Allen, who also delivered a presentation on change management theories and practical experience. Representatives from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Interpol led discussions on international partnerships between Revenue/Customs authorities in tackling global illegal trade and capacity building on legal tools and legislative drafting.

Feedback from the Mexican Finance Ministry and SAT was very positive, with many senior officials commenting on the quality of the information and exchanges and the professional development benefits derived.

Cigarette brands with flavour capsules in the filter: trends in use and brand perceptions among smokers in the USA, Mexico and Australia

Cigarette brands with flavour capsules in the filter: trends in use and brand perceptions among smokers in the USA, Mexico and Australia, 2012–2014



To describe trends, correlates of use and consumer perceptions related to the product design innovation of flavour capsules in cigarette filters.


Quarterly surveys from 2012 to 2014 were analysed from an online consumer panel of adult smokers aged 18–64, living in the USA (n=6865 observations; 4154 individuals); Mexico (n=5723 observations; 3366 individuals); and Australia (n=5864 observations; 2710 individuals). Preferred brand varieties were classified by price (ie, premium; discount) and flavour (ie, regular; flavoured without capsule; flavoured with capsule). Participants reported their preferred brand variety’s appeal (ie, satisfaction; stylishness), taste (ie, smoothness, intensity), and harm relative to other brands and varieties. GEE models were used to determine time trends and correlates of flavour capsule use, as well as associations between preferred brand characteristics (ie, price stratum, flavour) and perceptions of relative appeal, taste and harm.


Preference for flavour capsules increased significantly in Mexico (6% to 14%) and Australia (1% to 3%), but not in the USA (4% to 5%). 18–24 year olds were most likely to prefer capsules in the USA (10%) and Australia (4%), but not Mexico. When compared to smokers who preferred regular brands, smokers who preferred brands with capsules viewed their variety of cigarettes as having more positive appeal (all countries), better taste (all countries), and lesser risk (Mexico, USA) than other brand varieties.


Results indicate that use of cigarettes with flavour capsules is growing, is associated with misperceptions of relative harm, and differentiates brands in ways that justify regulatory action.

Promoting cessation resources through cigarette package warning labels: a longitudinal survey with adult smokers in Canada, Australia and Mexico



Health warning labels (HWLs) on tobacco packaging can be used to provide smoking cessation information, but the impact of this information is not well understood.


Online consumer panels of adult smokers from Canada, Australia and Mexico were surveyed in September 2012, January 2013 and May 2013; replenishment was used to maintain sample sizes of 1000 participants in each country at each wave. Country-stratified logistic Generalised Estimating Equation (GEE) models were estimated to assess correlates of citing HWLs as a source of information on quitlines and cessation websites. GEE models also regressed having called the quitline, and having visited a cessation website, on awareness of these resources because of HWLs.


At baseline, citing HWLs as a source of information about quitlines was highest in Canada, followed by Australia and Mexico (33%, 19% and 16%, respectively). Significant increases over time were only evident in Australia and Mexico. In all countries, citing HWLs as a source of quitline information was significantly associated with self-report of having called a quitline. At baseline, citing HWLs as a source of information about cessation websites was higher in Canada than in Australia (14% and 6%, respectively; Mexico was excluded because HWLs do not include website information), but no significant changes over time were found for either country. Citing HWLs as a source of information about cessation websites was significantly associated with having visited a website in both Canada and Australia.


HWLs are an important source of cessation information.

Pictorial health warning label content and smokers’ understanding of smoking-related risks-a cross-country comparison


The aim of the present study was to assess smokers’ level of agreement with smoking-related risks and toxic tobacco constituents relative to inclusion of these topics on health warning labels (HWLs). 1000 adult smokers were interviewed between 2012 and 2013 from online consumer panels of adult smokers from each of the three countries: Australia (AU), Canada (CA) and Mexico (MX). Generalized estimating equation models were estimated to compare agreement with smoking-related risks and toxic tobacco constituents. For disease outcomes described on HWLs across all three countries, there were few statistical differences in agreement with health outcomes (e.g. emphysema and heart attack). By contrast, increases in agreement where the HWLs were revised or introduced on HWLs for the first time (e.g. blindness in AU and CA, bladder cancer in CA). Similarly, samples from countries that have specific health content or toxic constituents on HWLs showed higher agreement for that particular disease or toxin than countries without (e.g. higher agreement for gangrene and blindness in AU, higher agreement for bladder cancer and all toxic constituents except nitrosamines and radioactive polonium in CA). Pictorial HWL content is associated with greater awareness of smoking-related risks and toxic tobacco constituents.