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November 29th, 2012:

Making a killing out of tobacco crackdown

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EXCISE DUTY TABLES Part III – Manufactured Tobacco

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Mugabe Threatens British American Tobacco Company

Mugabe Threatens British American Tobacco Company

Harare, November 29, 2012 – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday threatened with unspecified action the British American Tobacco (BAT) after accusing the cigarette manufacturer of blocking products of their competitor, Savanna from getting into the market.

Mugabe,88, who was speaking at the indigenisation conference where BAT handed over 26 % of its shares to employees and locals to comply with indigenisation laws alleged that BAT was behind the disappearance of Savanna Tobacco cigarettes trucks in neighbouring South Africa in a move to continue controlling the market.

“I am dismayed by the information we have received over the week that BAT operating with groups in South Africa have been taking action, illicit action against another group called Savanna and lots of things have been happening, trucks with cigarettes from Savanna being stolen,” Mugabe told the conference.

“And these are briefings from the security over the week. I hope all will be well but in fact those are the things that have been happening in order to kill competition and you try to undo a competitor in that ugly way that’s not acceptable, some people will have to answer for it. Let’s hope the management is unaware of this, but I don’t think you are unaware because it’s quite a huge case.”

He said BAT management must desist from engaging in those activities, without giving what action he might take. The veteran leader said information on the allegations on BAT was gathered by the country’s intelligence agency and the security sector.

“I want you to straighten yourselves, it will be sad if some of you have been taking action or engaging in activities detrimental to Savanna. That information we have and it appears to be authentic,” said Mugabe who accused police and soldiers involvement in the sabotage without naming from which side of the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe were the security details involved in the sabotage.

Zimbabwe is currently forcing foreign owned companies to cede 51 % stake to locals without the locals funding the stake being taken.

Health groups breathe easy after tobacco ban

“Take billions away from an industry and you take away their power and influence to expand” chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health Australia Anne Jones believes this is the government’s first step in the right direction. Photo: Supplied

TOBACCO investment by the government and public sector will be banned in NSW, in a move applauded by health groups.

The withdrawal of up to $224 million could be the single biggest blow to tobacco investment ever seen in Australia, but will need the support of the independent State Super to be fully implemented.

The chief executive of action on smoking and health Australia, Anne Jones, said the NSW decision could lead to other governments and super funds taking similar action.

”It’s possible that billions of dollars are invested in tobacco companies by Australian Governments and individuals through their super funds,” she said. “Take billions away from an industry and you take away their power and influence to expand”.

The health director of the Heart Foundation, Julie Anne Mitchell, said smoking was still the No.1 cause of early death in NSW. “Actions like this help us in our daily fight against tobacco companies,” she said.

The NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association also welcomed the move.

The chief executive of State Super, John Livanas, said the organisation’s $158m investment in tobacco was only a fraction of its $35 billion portfolio. He said State Super was an independent trustee corporation that would make its own decision after receiving a formal request from government.

”The moment we receive that note I will initiate the review process straight away,” he said.

The Greens MP John Kaye, who has campaigned against government tobacco investment, said if State Super did not agree the Greens would put forward legislation in February to force it to.

“If Jillian Skinner and Mike Baird are serious about their commitment and getting the state out of tobacco they will support our legislation,” he said.

The NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, said the government would immediately begin the process of removing tobacco investments from the portfolio of the NSW Treasury Corporation and other public sector agencies.

“The O’Farrell Government is leading the way in tobacco control measures and it’s entirely appropriate for us to divest the State of all tobacco investments and to ban them going forward,” he said.

This month Fairfax Media revealed the treasury corporation had nearly $29m indirectly invested by fund managers in tobacco companies, a figure since revised to $27m due to fluctuations in the market. Mr Baird said WorkCover also had about $39m invested.

The Federal Government’s Future Fund, currently invests about $210m in tobacco companies and is reviewing its policies

Read more:

Indonesia hikes tax on tobacco

Anti-tobacco campaigners have given their approval to the Indonesian government’s decision to raise tobacco taxes.

Jakarta announced an increase in tobacco excise by an average of 8.5% on Tuesday, effective next year.

It is hoped that higher taxes, which will boost government revenue, will encourage smokers to quit in a nation where 67% of men aged 15 ormore smoke and about a quarter of boys aged 13 to 15 are also hooked on nicotine.

“We welcome the government’s plan,” Tubagus Haryo Karbyanto, chief campaigner for the National Commission on Tobacco Control (Komnas PT), told the Jakarta Globe.

“Our cigarette prices are so low that even children can afford to buy them. That’s why the smoking epidemic is so massive.”

Cigarettes cost about US$1 a pack in Indonesia, far less than in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, where a pack costs US$3 to US$4. Indonesia’s excise on cigarettes, currently less than 40%, is also low by regional standards.

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest cigarette-producing countries. The tobacco industry employs millions of Indonesians and about 6% of government revenue is raised from tobacco taxes. Indonesia also has a powerful tobacco lobby that actively campaigns against regulations that could reduce sales.

Tobacco ‘trying to disrupt’ plain packs

Tobacco ‘trying to disrupt’ plain packs

  • From: AAP
  • November 29, 20123:53PM

FEDERAL Health Minister Tanya Plibersek says big tobacco is trying to disrupt plain packaging, which comes into force this weekend.

Under Labor’s world-first laws all cigarettes must be sold in drab olive-brown packs from Saturday.

Large graphic health warnings will dominate the packs and brand names will be written in a small, generic font.

But small retailers have complained that some manufacturers are refusing to swap left-over branded stock for plain packs.

“This is a deliberate tactic to disrupt plain packaging,” Ms Plibersek said in a statement on Thursday.

“We call on all manufacturers to work with small business and take back non-compliant stock.”

Ms Plibersek said big tobacco had been given a year to get ready for plain packaging and the government wouldn’t let them “cause chaos” at the last minute.

Any small retailers caught selling branded packs from Saturday wouldn’t face heavy fines straight away.

“In the first instance we will take an educative approach to help them comply with the new legislation,” the minister said.

The federal health department also has raised concerns about manufacturers putting travel destination codes such as AUS, LDN and NYC, as well as ringed watermarks, on cigarettes to make them look more sophisticated.

A spokesman for Ms Plibersek on Thursday said the companies had now “agreed to change the alphanumeric codes and remove the watermarking”.

The High Court backed the government’s plain-packaging legislation earlier this year saying it involved regulating, not acquiring, big tobacco’s brands and logos.