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February 2nd, 2016:

Italy cracks down on smokers as tough law takes effect

Health officials and consumer groups estimate that smoking causes some 80,000 deaths a year in Italy.

Tough anti-smoking laws came into effect in Italy on Tuesday, imposing large fines for several offences and making it illegal to smoke in a car carrying children or pregnant women.

The laws require cigarette packs to carry stark pictures of people who suffered from the effects of smoking, including one of a woman coughing up blood and another of a man who died of a heart attack being zipped up in a body bag.

Those caught smoking in cars with children or pregnant women risk fines of up to 500 euros ($546). Smoking will also be prohibited outdoors near schools and hospitals. Tobacconists caught selling cigarettes to minors risk fines of up to 3,000 euros or losing their license.

Throwing cigarette butts on the pavement could cost an offender up to 300 euros.

The laws were passed in 2015 in response to an EU directive requiring member states to toughen smoking laws. Health officials and consumer groups estimate that smoking causes some 80,000 deaths a year in Italy.

E-Cigarette Market In The U.K. Part 2: Big Tobacco Enters The Fray

Big tobacco companies were relatively slow to enter the U.K. e-cigarettes market; but they have made up for lost time by using their size and financial power. The unexpected rise in e-cigarette’s popularity took the tobacco companies by surprise. Every one of the big four companies — RJ Reynolds, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International, and Imperial Tobacco — now has e-cigarettes, either already in the market or in development. However, most of the innovation has not been in-house, but through the acquisition of smaller private companies.

Acquisitions Help To Get Direct Access To The Market

Since 2013, a flurry of deals in the e-cigarette industry has been witnessed in the U.K. and the world over. Lorillard, the third largest cigarette manufacturer in the U.S., acquired premium e-cigarette maker Skycig to enter the U.K. market; however it was later sold to Imperial. BAT launched an e-cigarette Vype, through the purchase of a start-up, CN Creative. Philip Morris International teamed up with Altria to sell the latter’s electronic cigarettes outside the United States. It also acquired U.K.-based Nicocigs to gain an immediate entry to the market. Many other such deals have taken place; such as Japan Tobacco International’s take-over of E-lites, and the purchase of Dragonite by Fontem Venture, Imperial’s electronic cigarette arm.



While some smaller companies see the presence of big tobacco manufacturers as a lucrative opportunity to be bought out, others find their tactics highly aggressive. Due to the relatively recent entry into the market, many consider the big tobacco products to be less advanced and inefficient. However, they have access to massive advertising and marketing budgets for their products, as well as the ability to buy smaller companies with existing products in this industry. Further take-over activity can be expected in the industry, as the e-cigarette market continues to grow. On the other hand, tobacco companies can also undertake sizeable investment into developing their own brands or wait till sufficient research is done regarding the safety of such products.

Boon Or Bane For The Tobacco Industry

The sales of conventional tobacco products are on the wane in U.K., and market experts believe this decline to continue over the next few years. Until the widespread prevalence of e-cigarettes, there had not been any direct competition to traditional cigarettes as such, with nicotine replacement therapies not providing any significant rivalry. The growth in U.K. cigarette sales was less than 1% in 2014, and that too was because of a rise in prices. Anti-smoking campaigns, a ban on smoking in public places, and increasing health consciousness have been the major factors for this trend, which are considered as the greatest threat to the tobacco industry currently. Alternatively, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes can be regarded as a golden opportunity for the industry to diversify into this market. Consequently, the revenues from this segment are poised to witness a sharp growth in the coming years.

According to many experts, the sales of e-cigarettes will surpass that of conventional tobacco cigarettes in the next decade. This seems like an obvious change given the increasing regulations on the tobacco industry. However, the key question here is if such products can actually be turned into an opportunity for tobacco manufacturers, as many may need to revamp their entire business model. The e-cigarette market has been in rapid expansion mode for the last couple of years, forcing big tobacco companies to enter this segment and meet the swelling demand. While such products only form a tiny percentage of the revenues currently for big tobacco companies, their sales have increased swiftly, with those of tobacco declining. There has been a marked decline in the prevalence of people smoking cigarettes in the country; however, the rate of decline has been slowing recently.

Smokers in Italy Hit With New Fines to Protect the Young

ROME (AP) — Smokers in Italy are now facing fines of up to 500 euros ($600) if they light up in a car with a child or pregnant woman — or if they toss a cigarette butt on the street — after new health and environmental laws went into effect Tuesday.

The smoking prohibitions extend bans on smoking in offices, restaurants, cinemas and other public places to the more private sphere of a car. They also specifically target pediatric hospitals and other medical facilities catering to pregnant women and newborns in a bid to cut the estimated 70,000-83,000 deaths a year the government attributes to tobacco smoke.

The measures are contained in a new law conforming to EU regulations aimed at dissuading young people from taking up the habit. They impose hefty fines on shopkeepers who sell to minors and cigarette producers who market to them, and include new requirements for warnings on cigarette packages.

The separate law against tossing cigarette butts is part of an anti-littler regulation that also punishes spitting out gum or tossing shopping receipts on the street.

Piergiorgio Benvenuti, president of EcoItalia Solidale, said about 11 million cigarettes are smoked every day in Rome, half of them squished on the street, where they often get trapped between cobblestones.

“This has an enormous environmental impact,” he said, noting that it takes between five to 12 years for a cigarette to break down. “Aside from how it looks is how much it costs Rome to clean this up.”

Roberta Pacifici, director of the smoking, drug and alcohol department of the Superior Institute of Health, said she expected the new measures would lead to a new drop in smoking rates across Italy, as occurred when the first bans were introduced.

The smoking bans in cars will “have a great educational value” for young people, she said.

Stefan Mihailovic, a 21-year-old student at Rome’s John Cabot University, praised the initiative though he acknowledged the fines will hurt.

“I think it can only be good because it can only clean up the city, which is quite dirty. It can only be good.”