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April, 2012:

Australian duty-free operators prepare for arrivals tobacco abolition decision

19 April 2012

Federal Budget to be announced May 8 will reveal whether industry anti-ban lobbying was successful

Duty-free operations in Australia are waiting to find out whether industry lobbying efforts have succeeded in preventing the government form pressing ahead with a proposed ban on arrivals duty-free tobacco.

The measure is intended as a measure to help balance the budget by raising domestic tax levels in Australia but independent reports suggest it will not have any noticeable effect. The decision whether to press ahead with the ban will be unveiled when details of the 2012 Federal Budget are unveiled on May 8.

A delegation from European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) visited the country last month to lobby the Australian government in conjunction with the Australian Duty Free Association (ADFA).

Nuance Australia CEO Derek Larsen told DFNIonline: “ADFA has worked very hard to support the case against arrivals tobacco abolition in conjunction with its global counterparts including the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC), and with ourselves as the dominant duty-free player in Australia, along with JR Duty Free, we have been very active in lobbying both sides of government.”

He added: “We will fight to the end on this and we are hoping that we will get a decision that is favourable in terms of tobacco on arrivals.”

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Tobacco industry’s legal challenge stumbles as death tops agenda

19 April, 2012

THE tobacco industry’s constitutional challenge to enforced plain packaging has hit a central problem: smoking kills.

After six hours of legal argument by the tobacco multinationals in the High Court yesterday, the Chief Justice, Robert French, raised the question of whether previous cases cited by legal counsel to support the companies’ case dealt with a product comparable to cigarettes.

Justice French put it to leading counsel Bret Walker, SC, who had referred to cases dating back to the 1870s in the United States, that none related to a product on the market that carried the risk of serious or fatal disease to all who used it.

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”Doesn’t this put it into a different category?” Justice French asked.

Mr Walker said there was no case dealing with public health in the context of this constitutional challenge that he could produce.

He is appearing for two of the five tobacco companies challenging the constitutional right of the federal government to introduce plain packaging at the end of this year. This measure would require the removal of all trademarks and logos from cigarette packets which would have to be coloured a uniform brown and carry prominent health warnings and images.

The companies, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco, Van Nelle Tabak Nederland and JT International SA, have argued the measure breaches the constitutional requirement that the acquisition of property by the government be on just terms.

To make the case that the government’s measures involve an acquisition, the companies have to show that the government gains a measurable benefit as a consequence, that is apart from the claimed benefits to the public’s health.

The Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Stephen Gageler, SC, later yesterday opened the defence case declaring there could be no acquisition of property unless it could be shown that property had been taken.

Mr Gageler said it would be “incongruous” for the government to compensate a company for requiring a measure that had as its purpose the prevention of harm to the public.

He took up the example of Ratsak rat poison, previously raised in the hearing, as a product where the company was required to print a warning on the pack to keep it away from children.

To liken it to the aim of the plain packaging measures, Mr Gageler said it would be inconceivable for rat poison companies to be paid compensation if they were prohibited from making the product package appealing to children.

The steady increase in regulation of tobacco over the past 30 years might prompt the view that the companies were to be likened to ”frogs slowly boiling”, gradually having their property taken away, he said.

But Mr Gageler said that the increasing restrictions on the tobacco companies and the use of their trademark had not been associated with any diminution of their property

Read more:

High Court reserves decision on tobacco

19 April 2012

A TOBACCO company’s lawyer has brandished a packet of rat poison in the High Court to draw attention to the product’s lack of health warnings compared with planned requirements for cigarette packets.

After more than two days of hearings, Chief Justice Robert French today announced the court would reserve its decision on an appeal by tobacco companies against the federal government’s plain-packaging laws.

Earlier, Gavan Griffith QC, representing Japan Tobacco International, revealed he had ventured to Canberra’s Kingston shops to purchase a packet of Ratsak which he displayed to the court.

His action was a response to Commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler, who argued that what the Commonwealth proposed was a regulation of a trade in the same manner that other products harmful to human health, such as rat poison, required warnings about safe handling.

Mr Griffith pointed to the poison warning on the Ratsak pack, saying it was very modest compared with what was required for cigarettes under the government’s plain-packaging legislation.

He offered to tender his Ratsak to the court, adding: “I do not invite your honours to open the pack.”

Four big tobacco companies are challenging the plain-packaging laws, which will require all cigarettes and tobacco products to be sold in drab olive-brown packs from December.

They are arguing the laws effectively mean the acquisition of their property, in the form of trademarks and logos, and would be unconstitutional unless just compensation was paid.

The case, which has drawn international attention, is being heard by the full bench of the High Court before a packed public gallery and an army of some 40 lawyers.

The lawyers represent British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International, Philp Morris and Imperial Tobacco Australia, the Commonwealth, as well as state and territory government and groups such as the Cancer Council of Australia.

Mr Griffith said the Commonwealth through the plain-packaging and health warnings was attempting to appropriate 100 per cent of the back of each packet and 70 per cent of the front.

“We say our trademarks are extinguished,” he told the court.

e-Cigarette Exploded in Man’s Face, Suit Charges

Victim was hospitalized for eight days after the incident

A man was hospitalized for eight days after an electronic cigarette exploded in his face, sending “burning debris and battery acid into his mouth, face, and eyes,” the e-smoker claims in a federal lawsuit.

In the suit, Phillip and Theresa Hahn of Greeley, Colo., say that in November 2011, they bought a Prodigy V3.1 electronic cigarette device from Pure Enterprises’ online store, at the website address of He purchased an Enercell battery from Radio Shack to power the device.

Hahn said that on January 12, he was using the device when the Enercell battery exploded, injuring Hahn and damaging his home. He was hospitalized for eight days.

The suit charges that Pure Enerprises Inc., failed to adequately warn purchasers of the dangers of using the electronic cigarette

Hahn seeks economic and non-economic damages for past, present and future medical care and treatment, caretaking expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, property damages for fire damage and loss of use of his residence.

Nicotine caused cancer in mice

Muscle sarcomas and alopecia in A/J mice chronically treated with nicotine

  • ·        Valentin Galitovskiya,
  • ·        Alexander I. Chernyavskya,
  • ·        Robert A. Edwardsb,
  • ·        a Department of Dermatology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • ·        b Department of Pathology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • ·        c Cancer Center and Research Institute, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • ·        Received 1 December 2011. Accepted 24 March 2012. Available online 12 April 2012.
  • ·        Abstract
  • ·        Aims
  • ·        To evaluate the pathobiologic effects of long-term treatment with nicotine of A/J mice susceptible to tobacco-induced lung carcinogenesis.
    • ·        Main methods
    • ·        Experimental group of mice received subcutaneous injections of the LD50 dose of (−)nicotine hydrogen tartrate of 3 mg/kg/day, 5 days per week for 24 months, and control group received the vehicle phosphate-buffered saline.
      • ·        Key findings
      • ·        Nicotine treated mice, 78.6%, but none of control of mice, developed neoplasms originating from uterus or skeletal muscle. Examination of the uterine neoplasms revealed leiomyosarcomas, composed of whorled bundles of smooth-muscle like cells with large and hyperchromatic nuclei. Sections of the thigh neoplasms revealed densely cellular tumors composed of plump spindle cells, with occasional formation of ‘strap’ cells, containing distorted striations. Both neoplasms were positive for desmin staining. A solitary pulmonary adenoma with papillary architecture also occurred in one nicotine treated mouse. Experimental mice also developed transient balding starting as small patches of alopecia that progressed to distinct circumscribed areas of complete hair loss or large areas of diffuse hair loss.


We demonstrate for the first time that chronic nicotine treatment can induce the development of muscle sarcomas as well as transient hair loss. These findings may help explain the association of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma with parental smoking and earlier onset of balding in smokers. It remains to be determined whether the pathobiologic effects of nicotine result from its receptor mediated action and/or its tissue metabolites cotinine and N’-nitrosonornicotine, or toxic effects of reactive oxygen species activated due to possible intracellular accumulation of nicotine.


  • ·        A/J mice;
  • ·        nicotine;
  • ·        leiomyosarcoma;
  • ·        rhabdomyosarcoma;
  • ·        alopecia
  • ·        Figures and tables from this article:
    • ·
    • ·        Fig. 1. Nicotine-induced muscle sarcomas in A/J mice.A, B: Uterine leiomyosarcoma. C, D:Rhabdomyosarcoma of the quadriceps muscle. E. Immunofluorescent analysis of rhabdomyosarcoma with anti-desmin antibody showing intense punctate cytoplasmic staining in the neoplastic cells (at left) and diffuse subsarcolemmal staining in the adjacent normal striated muscle (at right), serving as an internal positive control.
    • ·
    • ·        Fig. 2. Hair loss in A/J mice. Patchy (A, B) and diffuse (C) areas of alopecia observed at 10 months of treatment with nicotine. D: The representative differences of hair follicle numbers in the areas of diffuse alopecia, compared to the same cutaneous region of control mouse. Results were computed in 10 microscopic fields of horizontal sections of trunkal skin at magnification x4, and presented as mean ± SD per 1 mm ²; p = 0.003.

Corresponding author at: University of California Irvine, 134 Sprague Hall, Irvine, CA 92697, USA. Tel.: + 1 949 824 2713; fax: + 1 949 824 2993.

38m contraband cigarettes seized

Description: Contraband cigarettes worth almost 15 million euro have been found in Dublin Port

Contraband cigarettes worth almost 15 million euro have been found in Dublin Port

  • ·        

More than 38 million contraband cigarettes worth almost 15 million euro have been seized by Customs officials.

The haul – the largest in Europe so far this year – was discovered in four 40ft (12m) maritime containers imported into Dublin Port.

A premises was also searched after legal documentation linked the consignment with an Irish-based company. No arrests have been made.

Revenue Commissioner Liam Irwin said the seizure, which was the result of profiling by the Revenue’s Customs Service, was a significant blow to the criminals involved in the illicit trade.

“Tobacco smuggling is organised fraud on a global scale – it brings criminality into our communities and robs millions of euro from the State each year,” he said.

The Golden Eagiie brand cigarettes, which originated in Vietnam, arrived in Ireland via Rotterdam specifically for the black market. Revenue officials believe the haul had a potential loss to the Exchequer of 13.1 million euro.

A Customs spokeswoman said several individuals were interviewed and a premises was searched under warrant after it had been identified in the documentation.

“Documents seized as part of the investigation are currently being examined,” she said. “Investigations are ongoing nationally and internationally.”

Retailers Against Smuggling said the seizure highlights the scale of the smuggling problem.

Spokesman Benny Gilsenan said: “We have been calling on the Government for some time to introduce a minimum fine for cigarette smugglers. Our message is clear: it is time to get tough with these criminals and impose heavier fines.”

Read more:

Cigarette packaging: an invitation to addiction

The health secretary’s campaign against tobacco advertising is more radical than it might at first appear

Editorial, Monday 16 April 2012 22.37 BST

“We are our choices,” said Jean-Paul Sartre. But in a culture saturated by advertising, how are our choices our own? In a recent broadside against the advertising industry, the graffiti artist Banksy insisted that advertisers “are taking the piss out of you every day” by encouraging in us a feeling of inadequacy that can only be met by purchasing the product they are promoting. “They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.”

Banksy and Andrew Lansley may have little in common, but the health secretary’s campaign against cigarette advertising is more radical than may first appear. Yesterday the government began a consultation on forcing cigarette companies to sell fags in plain, unbranded packets. This follows the ban on larger shops displaying cigarettes behind the counter. All of which has generated a predictable cry of “nanny state” from the justice secretary, Ken Clarke: “I am surprised that people think that young boys and others take up smoking because they are attracted by the packet.” As well as being a former health secretary himself, Mr Clarke was also the deputy chairman of British American Tobacco. Enough said.

The case against smoking no longer needs to be made. Half of long-term smokers will die prematurely from their habit. Although the tobacco companies insist cigarette advertising is designed to generate brand loyalty and to increase market share, it is inconceivable that they do not also want to recruit new customers for their poisonous product. The super-cool Marlboro Man has been replaced by photographs of hospitalised patients with disgusting growths, but the look of a cigarette packet can still subtly suggest a longed-for sophistication. Banksy is right that our susceptibility to “lifestyle choice” advertising can make us vulnerable to sophistical techniques of manipulation. And when backed by the addictive qualities of nicotine, the libertarian case in favour of unrestricted advertising becomes an invitation to dependence, not freedom.

The only question is whether plain packaging would make matters worse. Naomi Klein’s No Logo made unbranded material counter-cultural. Unbranded fags could do the same, possibly feeling just a little bit too much like exciting contraband. Addiction to the dreaded weed may be chemical, but it’s also about the powerful cultural meanings that get associated with smoking. Disrupting these associations through further regulation is a worthwhile experiment. So why won’t the health secretary contemplate similar measures against the fast-food industry?

Cigarette packaging: an invitation to addiction | Editorial

This article was published on at 22.37 BST on Monday 16 April 2012. A version appeared on p30 of theMain section section of the Guardian on Tuesday 17 April 2012. It was last modified at 00.06 BST on Tuesday 17 April 2012.

Splashing the ash: Top Tory MPs wined and dined by tobacco giant

Politicians given tickets to cricket, the opera and more

Big money: Tobacco makers are giving politicians jollies


Tory MPs have been treated to lavish hospitality from a tobacco giant as the industry fights new curbs on selling cigarettes.

Plans to ban branding and make firms sell cigs in plain packs are being fiercely resisted by the companies.

And leading Tory Philip Hammond was one of 21 MPs – 19 of them Conservative – entertained by Benson & Hedges maker JapanTobacco International.

They have enjoyed trips to cricket Test matches, the opera, Chelsea Flower Show and even a pop concert at the firm’s expense in the past year, Parliament’s register of MPs’ interests shows.

Defence Secretary Mr Hammond and wife Susan took flower show tickets worth £1,132.80 and fellow Tory minister Crispin Blunt went to a Test match in a treat valued at £694.80.

In all, the firm shelled out more than £23,000 wining and dining politicians and their friends or family at premier events.

Campaign group Action on Smoking Health said the jaunts were an opportunity for the tobacco industry to lobby MPs against proposed new laws.

A spokesman said: “The tobacco industry uses these jollies as a way to have a quiet word in the ear of sympathetic MPs.”

Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans was treated to the flower show and with tickets for a Paul McCartney gig. Tory Brian Binley, of the Commons Business committee, took tickets to Glyndebourne opera festival and the flower show.

Those given cricket tickets were Nazi stag do scandal MP Adain Burley, fellow Tories Oliver Colvile and Andrew Rosinnity dell, and Labour’s Simon Danczuk.

Other Tory MPs with flower show tickets were Solicitor General Edward Garnier, Alun Cairns, Michael Ellis, Mark Garnier, James Gray, Karl McCartney, Stephen Metcalfe, Richard Ottaway, Chris Pincher, Laurence Robertson, Mark Spencer, Angela Watkinson, and Labour’s Jim Dowd.

– More than 60% of the public support proposals for cigs to be sold in plain packaging, a YouGov survey found

New Tobacco Legislation Catches On

Namibia: New Tobacco Legislation Catches On
By Desie Heita, 16 April 2012Comment

Windhoek – The legislation that seeks to force tobacco companies to sell
cigarettes in plain packaging is slowly catching on with Britain
considering implementing the law, following in Australia’s footsteps.

This is the same legislation that had the world’s biggest and Namibian
market leader in tobacco products, British American Tobacco (BAT),
threatening Namibian lawmakers with a legal challenge if they promulgated
such amendments into Namibian law.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, wants to add
restrictions to a part of the section in the Tobacco Products Control Act
No. 1 of 2010. Once in force, the Act would black out marketing and
promotion of tobacco products in the country and restrict tobacco vending
machines to controlled areas with an 18-year age limit.

The amendments were gazetted in November last year with subsequent public

The Act also prohibits sponsorship of any Namibian event, however
charitable, by tobacco companies or distributors of tobacco products.

BAT threatened to take lawmakers to court unless changes were made,
saying the proposed restrictions would allow government to expropriate
its trademark properties while robbing the company of freely
communicating to consumers the nature of the lawful products on offer.

According to the proposed regulations, the display of wordings “mild, low
tar or light” would never appear on cigarette boxes or any other tobacco
products because they create the impression to consumers that such a
specific tobacco product is less harmful than others.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services motivated its stance by saying
there is a notable increase in the number of young smokers, most of whom
are women.

Figures provided by the ministry in mid-2010 singled out Hardap Region as
the region where most women smoke with an average percentage higher than
the estimated global women percentage.

The ministry is scared that the number of young smokers could increase as
tobacco companies capitalise on marketing opportunities that become
available to entice new smokers.

In Hardap, the average is 24 percent, which the health ministry says,
“tops the list of women smokers countrywide”.

Interestingly, that average percentage also exceeds the estimated number
of women smokers worldwide, at 20 percent of the total number of smokers.

In Omaheke, women smokers are estimated at 5 percent. “The number could
increase as the industry sees opportunities for business, especially
among women and the youth,” the Ministry of Health and Social Services
had warned.

In addition, the Act mandates the establishment of a fund from levies on
sales of tobacco and other sources.

The fund would partly use the money to pay for treatment of
tobacco-related illnesses.

A mandatory restriction on packaging methods is also being proposed – and
packaging would include graphic pictures depicting the ill health
associated with smoking.

These range from stained teeth, throat cancer to damaged lungs and breast
cancer with appropriate warnings underneath the picture.

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Tobacco bureau chief held over graft

Police have detained the head of Henan’s tobacco authority as part of an ongoing corruption probe.

Zheng Jianmin, director of the provincial tobacco monopoly bureau, has been at the center of an investigation since mid-March due to “economic problems”, a source inside the bureau told China Daily.

A special supervision team from the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration has arrived to lead the investigation, and all officials above county level are required to keep their cell phones switched on for 24 hours a day, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Zheng, who was scheduled to retire around the time of his detention, has held his post since 2003.

Insiders say he has a reputation as a shrewd businessman, and is credited with turning around the struggling tobacco industry in Xinzheng, a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Zhengzhou, where he was appointed tobacco bureau chief in the late 1980s.

By 1992, the city was making a profit of more than 1.5 million yuan ($238,000) from the sector, according to official statistics.

Zheng’s detention follows the mysterious death of Zhang Mingxian, director of the tobacco monopoly bureau of Shangqiu city in Henan.

The official, who received a promotion in September that made him responsible for the supervision of Henan’s tobacco industry, was found lying on a staircase in front of his office building on the morning of March 30.

Police issued a statement that same day on their verified Sina Weibo micro blog that said Zhang had committed suicide by jumping from the ninth floor.

The reason remains unclear, and a publicity official with Shangqiu tobacco bureau told China Daily that the case is under investigation.

Sun Yongjun, a tobacco official in Xiangcheng county and one of Zhang’s college classmates, said his friend’s body was cremated immediately without an autopsy.

“He was buried the next day in his native village in Jiaxian county. None of his colleagues went to his funeral for fear of being involved,” Sun said, adding that he and some classmates went.

Li Zhongkai, director of the Henan tobacco monopoly bureau’s planning office, was also detained on Feb 14 on suspicion of taking bribes, China Times reported.

Li’s wife was also detained but was bailed soon after, the report added.

Shi Pu, a professor of business management research at Henan University of Economics and Law, said the monopoly status has left the tobacco industry lacking in supervision.

Many growers and retailers agreed, including Wang Weiqin, a retailer in his 40s in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan.

One of his complaints is that he is made to buy unpopular brands of cigarettes whenever he orders best-selling ones from the local bureau.

“If I buy a pack of Zhonghua (high-end cigarettes sold for 60 yuan a pack), at the same time I have to buy at least four packs of Jinqu (a local brand costing 9 yuan a pack),” he said. “I have no choice but to accept it because there is nowhere else where I can purchase cigarettes other than the tobacco monopoly bureau.”

Wang Ya’nan contributed to this story.