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April 22nd, 2013:

Smoking just a few cigarettes a day can DOUBLE a woman’s risk of arthritis

Smoking just a few cigarettes a day can DOUBLE a woman’s risk of

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Daily Mail22 Apr 2013

Smoking just a few cigarettes a day more than doubles a woman’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new research.

Regulators to request information about chemicals in tobacco products

By Megan R. Wilson 04/22/13 04:08 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration has been given the green light to collect information from cigarette and tobacco companies about the chemicals they use.

Last year, the FDA issued guidance that asked tobacco companies to list the amount of more than 90 “harmful and potentially harmful constituents” in their products. In addition to nicotine, the HPHCs include acetaldehyde, ammonia, arsenic and formaldehyde.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week gave the FDA permission to ask companies about the substances. OMB also suggested that the Department of Health and Human Services delegate the information collection to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Congress ordered the collection of the information in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


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TCI Trumpets Investment in Japan Tobacco

Oscar Veldhuijzen of TCI Fund Management kicked off today’s Active-Passive Investor Summit in Manhattan with a discussion of the London-based firm’s investment in Japan Tobacco . TCI, which manages more than $9 billion, invested in the tobacco company in summer 2011. It has since more than doubled.

“It is one of our most successful investments in recent years, a turnaround investment,” said Veldhuijzen, a partner and analyst at the roughly 50-person firm. In the beginning there were “virtually no believers.”

Japan Tobacco is one of the top three international tobacco companies in the world and includes flagship brands Benson & Hedges, Camel and Silk Cut, he said. Two-thirds of its profits are generated in Japan and Russia.

In the three years prior to TCI’s investment, Japan Tobacco had delivered poor shareholder returns, when compared to British American Tobacco and Philip Morris international, which returned 70% and 120% respectively to shareholders over that period, Veldhuijzen said. Yet Japan Tobacco had low levels of debt, a free cash flow yield and a low cost of borrowing that made share buybacks extremely accretive.

“We love the tobacco sector because it has very strong pricing power,” he said.

When TCI began its investment, the government held more than 50% of Japan Tobacco’s shares. It aligned with the government and pushed for more corporate governance and shareholder returns.

TCI “demanded” Japan Tobacco replace its chief executive, set clear profit targets and add independent board members in order to narrow the discount versus its global peers.

Veldhuijzen initially said Japan Tobacco’s share price would at least double if management increased its shareholder returns in line with global peers. He said the firm expects profits to increase by double digits in an industry that has shrunk volumes.

Separately, Veldhuijzen discussed his firm’s investment in Coal India , the largest coal miner in the world. He said he expects it to grow 20% in coming years, especially since coal is sold at a “massive” discount.

The firm “often invests in unconventional and unloved stocks…that trade at low multiples,” he said. “We have a bias for out of favor investments.”

Paraguayans Elect Tobacco Magnate as President

(ASUNCION, Paraguay) — Paraguayans elected a tobacco magnate as their new leader Sunday, returning the conservative Colorado Party to the presidency that it held for 61 years before former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo won the office in 2008.

Horacio Cartes won a five-year term with 46 percent of the vote over 37 percent for Efrain Alegre of the Radical Liberal party, the Electoral Court announced after most votes were counted. Five other candidates trailed far behind.

“I’ll need help from all the Paraguayans to govern in the next five years. Poverty, the lack of jobs for young people and international issues await us,” Cartes said Sunday night.

Poverty is widespread in Paraguay, which is an agrarian nation that is South America‘s No. 3 producer of soy, corn and sunflowers. About 1 percent of the population controls 77 percent of the arable land. The U.N. estimates more than half of Paraguayans live in poverty, while the country’s census bureau puts the number at 39 percent.

Alegre recognized his defeat despite saying earlier that he might challenge the outcome. “The Paraguayan people have spoken. There’s nothing more to say,” he said in a brief concession speech.

(MORE: Paraguay: President’s Forced Exit Wasn’t a Coup, but Still Deserves Scorn)

Cartes, 58, is part of the tiny elite that controls just about everything in Paraguay. His father represented the Cessna airplane company in Paraguay, which enabled Cartes to get schooling in the U.S. state of Oklahoma.

The president-elect owns controlling shares in banks, investment funds, agricultural estates, a soda maker and tobacco plantations. Most pre-election polls predicted his victory, despite this being his first run for public office. Cartes has been well-known in Paraguay as president of Libertad, the club that won last year’s national soccer championship.

Many Paraguayans hope this election will encourage other countries to restore full relations that were suspended after last year’s impeachment of Lugo, which neighboring nations saw as a threat to democracy in the region.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias led an observer mission from the Organization of American States, and said Sunday that he had complete confidence in the Electoral Court because it had spent months observing and supporting the process. There were 515 observers from the OAS, European Union, the Union of South American Nations regional bloc known as UNASUR and the Union of Latin American Electoral Organizations.

International election observer Martin Sequeira said voting proceeded calmly with a high turnout. He said there were some unconfirmed reports of election fraud complaining that some ballots had been pre-marked.

But Arias said those were only “some small incidents, which you see even in the most consolidated democracies.”

The Colorados held the presidency during and after Alfredo Stroessner’s 35-year-dictatorship, until Lugo, a leftist, sandal-wearing former bishop, joined up with the Radical Liberals and was swept into office on promises of land reform. But Lugo lacked even a handful of supporters in congress, made political missteps within his own coalition and was stymied at every turn.

The Radical Liberals finally joined with the Colorados to vote Lugo out of office for “poor performance” last year. The impeachment process is well defined under the constitution, but Paraguay’s neighbors criticized the ouster of a popularly elected president as anti-democratic and suspended the country’s membership in UNASUR, the Mercosur trade bloc and CELAC, which brings together Caribbean, Latin American and European Union countries.

Lugo’s vice president, Federico Franco, a Radical Liberal politician who took over as caretaker president, said he expects Paraguay’s status to be swiftly normalized after the new head of state takes office Aug. 15.

Turnout was more than 68 percent among the estimated 3.5 million of Paraguay’s 6.2 million citizens who are registered to vote. They elected 45 senators, 80 deputies, 17 governors and 18 delegates to the Mercosur parliament based in Uruguay.

Millions more eligible voters live outside Paraguay, but after a poorly funded registration process, fewer than 22,000 people were registered, most in Argentina, Spain and the United States.

MORE: Impeachment of Paraguay’s President Still Doesn’t Solve Underlying Injustice

Ethics first as super investors get tough on tobacco

Ethics first as super investors get tough on tobacco


April 22, 2013

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Dan Harrison

Dan Harrison

Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent

Standing firm: Australian Ethical has put the pressure on Norwegian company TOMRA to stop selling tobacco sorting machines.

An Australian superannuation and investment fund is leading an international effort to pressure a Norwegian machinery maker to leave the tobacco industry.

In what amounts to a new front in the war against tobacco, Australian Ethical will put forward a resolution on Monday at the annual general meeting of Norwegian company TOMRA, demanding it stop selling tobacco sorting machines.

Australian Ethical, which manages more than $600 million on behalf of about 18,000 investors, has long invested in TOMRA, which makes machinery used in recycling.

Last year, when TOMRA bought a company that makes tobacco sorting machines, Australian Ethical wrote to the company, asking it to get out of the area. When it refused, Australian Ethical approached other investors in the company for support.

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”We’ve got a very strong position on tobacco,” Australian Ethical managing director Phil Vernon said. ”Any exposure to tobacco we treat pretty seriously.”

The resolution calls on the company to stop selling tobacco sorting machines to the tobacco industry within six months. Australian Ethical focused its lobbying efforts on TOMRA’s top 20 shareholders, and has received two strong indications of support, and informal assurances from other investors. While some investors were not aware of TOMRA’s exposure to tobacco and were alarmed, others were not concerned, either because they do not screen out tobacco, or they were not worried by the size of the tobacco business, which provides about 3 per cent of TOMRA’s revenue.

”To be honest, we’re probably realistic about whether the resolution will succeed but we’re hopeful obviously that it will,” Mr Vernon said.

”At the very least, what we’re interested in is sending a fairly strong message to the company.”

Mr Vernon said if the resolution received majority support, it would be binding on the company. If it fails, Australian Ethical will sell its stake in TOMRA.

In February the Future Fund announced it would sell its tobacco investments – valued then at about $222 million – citing the damaging health effects and addictive properties of tobacco.

Superannuation funds including HESTA, UniSuper and First State Super have previously dumped their investments in tobacco.

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High Court Rejects Tobacco Marketing Appeal

The Wall Street Journal

Updated April 22, 2013, 3:14 p.m. ET

High Court Rejects Tobacco Marketing Appeal


The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a tobacco industry challenge to a 2009 federal law that requires graphic warning labels on cigarettes and expanded marketing restrictions on tobacco products.

The challengers argued that parts of the law, which gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco, violated their constitutional free-speech rights. The companies challenging it include R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co.

The law mandated that tobacco manufacturers allow half of the space on the front and back of cigarette packages for graphic health warnings. It also barred marketing practices …