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July 7th, 2016:

E Cigarettes & Vapourizer Market to Reach $28.57 billion with 21.1% CAGR to 2022

E Cigarettes & Vapourizer Market 2016 Global Trends, Market Share, Industry Size, Growth, Opportunities, and Market Forecast to 2020

PUNE, INDIA, July 7, 2016 / — According to researcher, the Global E-Cigarettes & Vapourizer Market accounted for $7.47 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to reach $28.57 billion by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 21.1% from 2015 to 2022. Growing demand for distribution channels of e-cigarettes and accessories is the primary factor favouring the market growth. Furthermore, increasing number of brands, innovative product launches and product customizations are some of the drivers favouring the market growth. However, uncertain regulatory framework, increasing incidents of e-liquid poisoning and compatibility issues are some of the restraints hampering the market growth. New taxes on e-cigs in cities like Washington, D.C., are damping sales, as are new regulations, like measures passed this year in Indiana that require manufacturers to secure permits and list ingredients. The industry also is awaiting final rules from the Food and Drug Administration, which could require federal approval for nearly all flavored liquid nicotine juices and e-cig devices.

Complete report details @

Disposable E-Cigarette segment commanded the largest share in 2015, while Rechargeable E-Cigarettes is growing at the highest CAGR durig the forecast period. North America is expected to witness highest growth rate over the forecast period. Europe being one of the largest markets in the e-cigarette industry it is hub to provide conflicting regulatory regimes.
Some of the key players in this market include Japan Tobacco, Inc., First Union, International Vapor Group, Inc., Marlboro, Lorillard, Inc., Pacific Smoke International, British American Tobacco Plc (Bat), Cloudcig, Steamlite, Smokefree, Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation, Altria Group, Inc., Reynolds American Inc., Puff Ecig, Bull Smoke, Feellife Bioscience International Co. Ltd, Fontem Ventures, Philip Morris International, Inc., Ballantyne Brands, Llc and Nice Vapor.

Op-Ed Response to “Shoddy Research on E-cigarettes Harms Public Health “

From: Bareham David (LCHS)
Sent: 07 July 2016
Subject: Op-Ed Response to “Shoddy Research on E-cigarettes Harms Public Health ” by Lindsay Stroud: Muddle-Headedness on Electronic Cigarettes.
Importance: High

To the Editor,

The recent Inside Sources piece by Lindsay Stroud on E-Cigarettes lacks sound insight into this issue, and the science related. For example, it is highlighted that Ann McNeill argued, regarding the cited Pediatrics piece that:

“Ann McNeill, a professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, says the study erred by examining teens who had just “tried” e-cigarettes, rather than studying consumers who use the product frequently”

Lindsay Stroud appears unaware that McNeill and colleagues have previously stated, with regard to adolescent nicotine dependence, that:

“There does not appear to be a minimum nicotine dose or duration of use as a prerequisite for symptoms to appear.”

McNeill’s previous work and subsequent opinion appears to justify the utilisation of “ever use” in the Pediatrics paper. It further appears, therefore, that at certain times, it suits Professor McNeill to minimise the risks of very low level exposures to nicotine, but at others, to highlight and magnify them. This somewhat “schizophrenic” relationship with nicotine likely emanates from the Professor’s long-standing affinity to the theory of “Tobacco Harm Reduction”, and a tendency to therefore believe that “all-things e-cigarette” can and will only lead to good, and to oppose the application of Precautionary Principle. These cognitive biases appear to have transitioned to some “muddle-headedness” related to nicotine.

Lindsay Stroud also states: “One of the criticisms of the study is the small sample size. The study relied on only 300 students who identified themselves as “nonsmokers.”

If one is familiar with the evidence base for electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation, then it is widely accepted that the “highest quality” data available currently is the randomized controlled trial by Bullen et al, where the sample size of the experimental group was only: 289. Of these, only 21 were tobacco abstinent at 6 months. These authors themselves state with regard to the scientific robustness of their research:

“Achievement of abstinence was substantially lower than we anticipated for the power calculation, thus we had insufficient statistical power to conclude superiority of nicotine e-cigarettes to patches or to placebo e-cigarettes.”

Therefore, it would certainly be “shoddy” – the descriptor used by Stroud – to read too much, currently at least, into the efficacy of e-cigarettes in assisting adult smokers to quit tobacco on such profoundly weak evidence. It is certainly worth the reader knowing, moreover, that participants in the patches group had to collect a voucher from a chemist before they could obtain their medication: a potentially significant confounder that may have reduced the efficacy data found here.

It is troublesome, moreover, that while Peter Hajek, who is cited in the Inside Sources piece as suggesting that the rate of decline in numbers of children smoking tobacco has never been as great subsequent to E-cigarettes becoming popular on the market, Action on Smoking and Health data for the U.K. demonstrates this to be an erroneous conclusion. The percentage of 15 year old boys and girls regularly smoking tobacco fell from 20% in 2006 to 12% in 2010: before the surge in “interest” in E-Cigarettes.

Stroud also promotes: “the fact these products that are 95% less harmful . . . than normal cigarettes.” This presumption, based on weak methodology and virtually no bioassay data, has very recently been challenged by toxicologists in New Zealand, who argue that long term users of e-cigarettes expose, potentially, to “a substantial level of exposure” of toxicants and subsequent disease, although less than for cigarettes. Other expert toxicologists, Robert Combes and Michael Balls, have therefore argued that the “95% safer” figure, based on current scientific data, is “reckless” to promote.

It is very early days indeed for anyone claiming to advocate an “evidence-based approach” on e-cigarettes to be making sweeping judgements about them: that really would be “shoddy”.

Yours sincerely

David Bareham.

David W Bareham BSc Hons (Physiotherapy) MSc (Pain Management).
Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist
Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust
Locality Office
Louth County Hospital

Removal of tobacco displays helps reduce smoking, says study

Removal of point-of-sale (POS) tobacco displays from shops including convenience stores and gas stations has helped reduce smoking among New Zealand school students to record low levels, according to a recent University of Otago study.

The research, published in the international journal Tobacco Control, used an annual classroom-based survey of around 25,000 Year 10 students in the country and compared findings from an earlier study conducted before the tobacco display ban took effect in the country in 2012.

“The proportion of children who had tried smoking but were not regular smokers fell, from 23-24% in 2011 and 2012 before the changes, to 17% in 2014. The proportion of smoking students who were buying or trying to buy cigarettes from stores also declined,” stated the research.

The reductions both in experimental and regular smoking considered at their lowest level for two decades were attributed to “the removal of point-of-sale (POS) tobacco displays, accompanied by increased enforcement measures and penalties for selling tobacco to minors.”

Will 2Q16 Fare Reasonably Well for Tobacco Companies?

Tobacco Companies Saw Mixed Revenue Results in 1Q16

Highlights of 1Q16 results

Tobacco companies’ results for 1Q16 sent mixed signals to investors. While Philip Morris International (PM) started the earnings season on a disappointing note with lower sales, Altria Group (MO) and Vector Group (VGR) exceeded Wall Street analysts’ revenue expectations in the quarter.

Reynolds American (RAI) missed analysts’ 1Q16 sales estimates, reporting lower-than-expected sales growth.


Factors that impacted 1Q16 revenue

Philip Morris’s reported revenue excluding excise taxes fell by 8.1% to $6.1 billion in 1Q16. Its reported revenue was negatively impacted by $0.7 billion worth of unfavorable foreign currency. However, excluding the adverse impact of foreign currency, PM’s net revenue rose by 2.4% in 1Q16.

Altria’s reported revenue net of excise taxes rose by 6.0% to $4.5 billion in 1Q16. The rise was primarily due to a rise in the revenues of all Altria’s business segments, including smokeable products, smokeless products, and the wine business.

Though Reynolds American missed analysts’ estimates in 1Q16, its reported revenue rose by 41.8% to $2.9 billion in 1Q16 compared to $2.1 billion in 1Q15. This rise was primarily due to Reynolds’s increased cigarette volume of 34.2% in 1Q16, largely driven by its addition of the Newport brand.

Vector Group’s pro forma adjusted revenue rose by 5.4% to $0.38 billion in 1Q16 compared to $0.36 billion in 1Q15. This was primarily due to a rise of $27 million in revenue in its real estate segment.

Innovative e-cigarettes

The tobacco industry’s concentration increased following RAI’s acquisition of Lorillard and RAI’s asset sale of Santa Fe to Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) (JAPAY). Companies are now capitalizing on innovative e-cigarettes to increase their revenues, causing them to shift away from traditional cigarettes.

In the next part of the series, we’ll discuss how acquisitions have highly concentrated the tobacco industry.

MO, PM, and RAI together make up 2.2% of the iShares Core U.S. Growth ETF (IUSG).1

Updated as of July 5, 2016

Could Acquisitions Mean Opportunities for the Tobacco Industry?

As we discussed earlier, the US tobacco industry is highly concentrated Its three leading players accounted for a combined retail (XRT) volume share of 86% in 2014.

The industry’s concentration further increased after Reynolds American (RAI) completed its acquisition of Lorillard and related divestitures to Imperial Tobacco (ITYBY) in July 2015.


Pre-merger, Reynolds and Lorillard were the second- and third-largest US cigarette makers after industry leader Altria Group (MO), which sells the Marlboro brand in the United States. With its acquisition of Lorillard, RAI’s brands broadened their audience.

Divestiture resulted in market opportunities

Reynolds American’s brand divestitures and other developments in 2015 also resulted in new market opportunities for Vector Group’s (VGR) Liggett.

According to an FTC (Federal Trade Commission) complaint, without RAI’s divestiture to ITYBY, its proposed merger with Lorillard would have raised significant competitive concerns, eliminating current and emergent head-to-head competition between Reynolds and Lorillard in the US market for traditional combustible cigarettes.

It would have been difficult for any new entrants to counter the anticompetitive effects of the merger in an already concentrated industry, given players such as Philip Morris International (PM) and Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) (JAPAY), who have presences outside the United States.

Rapidly evolving marketplace

British American Tobacco (BTI) signed a vapor products technology-sharing agreement with RAI on December 1, 2015, to efficiently meet the preferences of adult tobacco consumers in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

On September 29, 2015, Japan Tobacco bought Natural American Spirit’s international assets from Reynolds American in an all-cash transaction valued at ~$5 billion. Santa Fe’s Natural American Spirit, backed by Japan Tobacco Group’s international distribution, sales force, and manufacturing facilities, will accelerate RAI’s growth trajectory and help JAPAF to increase its international portfolio.

PM and RAI together make up 1.4% of the iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF (IVW).1

Updated as of July 5, 2016

Why Tobacco Companies Are Shifting to Innovative Products

Negative CAGR of 3%

Due to increased health consciousness, most of the tobacco companies’ 1Q16 cigarette shipment volumes have seen falls. As developing countries mature, smokers within these countries tend to become more aware of the health risks related to cigarette smoking.

Retail (XRT) volume sales of cigarettes are projected to see a negative CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3% throughout the remainder of 2016.


Smokers shift to innovative products

The rise in health consciousness poses a growing threat to the tobacco industry as a whole. Many smokers have turned to cigarette alternatives that they perceive to be cheaper and less harmful to health. Hence, companies are heavily investing in moist snuff, e-cigarettes, and other innovative products to meet consumer expectations, shifting the trend away from traditional cigarettes.

For example, according to Philip Morris International’s (PM) chief financial officer Jacek Olczak, after conducting the clinical tests for iQOS, the company determined that the average reductions in biomarkers of exposure for adult smokers who switched to iQOS reached over 60% in February.

Vuse ranked at the top

Reynolds American’s (RAI) Vuse Digital Vapor Cigarette continued to deliver robust results in 1Q16. According to CEO Susan Cameron, Vuse was ranked at the top of 2015’s most successful new products in convenience stores by IRI. Also, Reynolds rolled out two more variants of Vuse online: VUSE Connect and VUSE FOB.

Altria Group (MO), Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) (JAPAY), and Imperial Tobacco Group (ITYBY) also have presences in smokeless tobacco products. Marlboro Snus (MO), Skruf Snus (JAPAF), and Zerostyle Mint (ITYBY) are some of their smokeless tobacco product brands.

MO and PM together make up 1.3% of the iShares Russell 3000 ETF (IWV).1

Updated as of July 5, 2016

Analyzing Tobacco Companies’ 1Q16 Inventory Levels

Distribution channels

Reynolds American (RAI) and Altria Group (MO) distribute cigarettes through a combination of direct wholesale deliveries from local distribution centers and public warehouses located throughout the United States.

In comparison, peers Philip Morris International (PM), British American Tobacco (BTI), and Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) (JAPAY) distribute their products in many diverse geographies.


Lower inventory levels

1Q16 inventory levels were lower for tobacco companies due to falling cigarette shipment volumes. The inventory turnover ratio for Philip Morris International fell by 10.2% to 1.1x in 1Q16 compared to 1.3x in 1Q15. The ratio was heavily impacted by Indonesia’s soft economy and price increases in Asia. PM’s total market share in Asia fell by 1.3 points to 34.1%, primarily due to a share loss in machine-made kretek cigarettes.

Altria Group’s 1Q16 ended with a 3.5% fall in inventory levels. Its 1Q16 inventory turnover metric came in at 3.7x. However, Altria’s subsidiary Philip Morris USA reported a rise of 1.2% in shipment volumes in 1Q16. This was due to an extra shipping day, trade inventory movements, and retail share gains, which more than offset industry volume decline.

Japan Tobacco’s 1Q16 inventory level fell by ~12% to 1.7x. However, its global flagship brands’ shipment volumes rose by 10.7% to 66.4 billion, driven by European demand and the addition of Reynolds American’s (RAI) Natural American Spirit brand.

Improved economic factors

In comparison, the inventory turnover ratio for Reynolds American rose by 2.5% to 3.4x. This was partly driven by improved economic factors and lower gas prices, which benefited tobacco consumers’ disposable income. In terms of inventory management, Vector Group (VGR) outperformed its peers with a higher inventory turnover ratio of 7.1x in 1Q16.

The iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV) gives exposure to established, high-quality US companies including MO and PM. Together, these two stocks make up 8.5% of the total weight of HDV’s portfolio.1

Updated as of July 5, 2016

How Did Tobacco Companies’ Operating Margins Perform in 1Q16?

Mixed margin signals

The 1Q16 margins of tobacco companies indicated mixed signals. Tobacco companies have been investing heavily in innovative products and other growth initiatives. This investment has impacted their margins.


Gross and operating margin comparison

Philip Morris’s (PM) gross margin fell by 0.7 points to 65.5% in 1Q16. Its reported operating income also fell by 13.9% to $2.5 billion in 1Q16. As a result, its operating margin fell by 2.8% to 41.9%. The fall was primarily due to the negative impact of $0.4 billion in foreign currency and an unfavorable volume mix of $0.2 million.

Altria Group’s (MO) 1Q16 gross margin rose to 58.6% compared to 57.9% in 1Q15. Despite a rise in its operating income, MO’s operating margin fell by two basis points to 43.6% in 1Q16.

Similarly, Vector Group’s (VGR) gross margin rose by 10.5% to 49.8% in 1Q16. It operating income rose by 26.5% to $0.06 billion in 1Q16, driven by Liggett’s year-over-year growth despite the competitive cigarette marketplace. However, its operating margin fell to 6.5% in 1Q16 compared to 7.8% in 1Q15.

Reynolds American’s (RAI) gross margin rose to 60.1% in 1Q16 compared to 58.7% in 1Q15. Its reported operating income rose by 786.3% to ~$6.1 billion. This included transaction-related and financing costs for its Lorillard acquisition and its related divestitures to Imperial Tobacco Group (ITYBY) as well as other litigation and exit costs.

Higher pricing variance

Tobacco companies aim to protect their margins through higher pricing, which may lead to lower shipment volumes. For example, Philip Morris expects a pricing variance of ~6% in 2016, which could help the company to achieve a full year of pricing broadly in line with its historical annual average.

MO and RAI together make up ~8.0% of the iShares US Consumer Goods ETF (IYK).1

Updated as of July 5, 2016

Tobacco Companies’ Stock Prices Hold Up despite Brexit

Tobacco stocks trade at their two-year peak

As of July 6, 2016, the stock prices of all tobacco companies have risen compared to January 2, 2015.

Despite global economic conditions and the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union, British American Tobacco’s (BTI) stock price has risen by 20.4% since January 2015. The stock was trading at its two-year peak of $130.99 on July 5, 2016.


Philip Morris International’s (PM) stock has seen volatility since January 2015. However, the stock’s price has risen by 26.3% since last year and is trading at its two-year peak of $102.36. PM’s stock price fell by 1.3% to $99.28 after it released its 1Q16 earnings.

Consistent upward moving stocks

Reynolds American (RAI) has consistently seen upward movement, with an exceptional rise of 68.0% to $53.61 compared to January 2, 2015. However, RAI’s stock price fell by 0.2% to $48.31 after it released its 1Q16 earnings.

RAI’s stock gained momentum due to its recent collaboration with British American Tobacco (BTI) and its asset sale of Natural American Spirit to Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) (JAPAY) for $5 billion. To learn more about the deal, you can read Japan Tobacco Buys Natural American Spirit’s International Assets.

In comparison, Altria’s (MO) stock price rose by 1.0% to $62.19 after it released its 1Q16 earnings. It’s risen by 42.4% to $69.72 compared to January 2015. The stock has consistently seen upward movement. Also, Anheuser-Busch’s (BUS) acquisition of SABMiller (SBMRY) has impacted MO’s stock price, as MO owns ~27% of SABMiller.

Future outlook

Japan Tobacco’s (JAPAF) (JAPAY) and Vector Group’s (VGR) stock prices have also risen by ~51% and 10.0%, respectively, compared to January 2015. The benchmark S&P 500 Index (SPY) (IVV) (VOO) has risen by 2.0%.

Following Brexit, trade barriers will hurt exporters and companies with supply chains that rely on imports, such as the food and beverage sector. According to Moody’s, the average tariff for imports into the European Union is about 21% for beverages and tobacco. Declining cigarette volumes could also adversely impact stock prices.

Exploring Tobacco Companies’ Valuation Drivers

Relative valuation

Tobacco companies are trading at higher valuations compared to the S&P 500 Index (SPY) (IVV) (VOO) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA). Philip Morris International (PM) and Reynolds American (RAI) are trading at forward PE (price-to-earnings) multiples of 22.1x and 22.0x, respectively.

In comparison, the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are trading at forward PE multiples of 17.8x and 16.7x, respectively. All valuations are as of July 6, 2016.


Despite adverse foreign currency impacts faced by Philip Morris in 1Q16, its valuation has risen exceptionally by 29.3% compared to the start of 2015. This rise has primarily been due to reduced gaps following price increases, leading adult smokers to upgrade to Marlboro and Fortune. Marlboro’s shipment volume increased by 1.4% in 1Q16, reflecting growth in Italy, Spain, Korea, and Mexico.

RAI’s stock price has spiked by 48.9% since June 12, 2015, when it completed the acquisition of Lorillard. RAI’s 1Q16 reported earnings rose by 591.7% to $2.5 billion and reported a 72.4% rise in adjusted operating income to $0.72 billion. As a result, its valuation has risen by 25.3% compared to the start of 2015.

Other companies

Altria Group’s (MO) valuation has also risen by ~25% to 22.4x compared to the start of 2015, majorly due to its SABMiller transaction.

British American Tobacco (BTI) and Japan Tobacco (JAPAY) (JAPAF) are also trading at higher forward PE multiples of 21.0x and 17.6x, respectively, compared to the S&P 500 Index.

Developing economies

As the industry struggles with falling smoking rates, higher sales taxes, and strict regulations in mature markets, developing economies have offered relatively better prospects.

Following Brexit, tobacco companies will also face import barriers which could push UK-based tobacco retailers to source more locally. Growing populations and rising disposable incomes in emerging markets act as top-down growth catalysts for this industry.

Exploring Tobacco Companies Growth Initiatives for 2Q16

2016 EPS guidance

Companies such as Philip Morris International (PM), British American Tobacco (BTI), and Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) (JAPAY) have presences outside the United States, making them vulnerable to foreign exchange translations.

In its 1Q16 earnings report, PM increased its 2016 reported earnings per share (or EPS) by $0.15 to a range of $4.40–$4.50. Also, the company expects its 2016 adjusted diluted EPS to be skewed toward 2H16 and 4Q16 in particular.


Reynolds American (RAI) expects its adjusted EPS to be in the range of $2.25–$2.35 for the rest of 2016. This represents a rise of 13.6%–18.7% compared to last year’s adjusted EPS.

Altria Group (MO) expects 2016 adjusted diluted EPS to be in the range of $3.00–$3.05. This range represents a growth rate of 7%–9% compared to an adjusted diluted EPS base of $2.80 in 2015, excluding NPM (non-participating manufacturer) charges, SABMiller (SBMRY) special items, asset impairment, exit and implementation costs, tobacco claims, and health litigation charges.

Innovation and distribution initiatives
Despite weak results, PM’s growth comes notwithstanding the significant incremental investments the company will make in 2016 to support the expansion of iQOS. iQOS is currently present in six cities of Switzerland, representing approximately one-third of total cigarette industry volume.

Altria also continues to expand Nu Mark’s distribution of MarkTen XL, for which results have been robust in leading markets. Additionally, SABMiller’s (SBMRY) merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) will benefit Altria in its growth trajectory, as Altria has an economic interest in SABMiller.

Apart from creating RAI’s Innovations Company, Reynolds continues to focus on retail (XRT) distribution. For example, Reynolds has increased retail contracts by 50,000, growing its contract coverage to ~90% of total cigarette industry volumes.

To learn more about Reynolds American’s business, you can read An Essential Guide to Leading Tobacco Giant Reynolds American: Investor Must-Knows.

For more industry updates and analysis please visit our Consumer Products page.

Has New Zealand lost its way in tobacco control?

The New Zealand government has decided to reorient its priorities in tobacco control. It has announced it will be pulling 73% of its previous funding support for tobacco control advocacy. The only money allocated for tobacco control to do the vital work of building and sustaining community and multi-party support for tobacco control will go to an Auckland-based Māori health agency Hāpai te Hauora.

Instead, New Zealand will be ploughing nearly all funding into “frontline cessation services with improved training to get better quit results”. Decoded, this means sinking money into efforts focused on smokers in clinical or small group settings and defunding efforts focused on advocacy for policies that will motivate smokers across the community to quit.

This policy shift risks stalling or even starting to reverse the decline in smoking prevalence that New Zealand has experienced. Here’s why.

Five assumptions have almost certainly driven this worrying shift in policy.

First, there is likely to be a myopic preoccupation with lifting smoking cessation success rates rather than a priority focus on increasing the number of people who quit.

Advocates for encouraging what they amusingly call “evidence based” smoking cessation always highlight the generally better success rates obtained by smokers who use assistance compared to those who try to quit alone. From this they reason that the main game should therefore be convincing as many smokers as possible to use assistance.

But over 30 years of efforts in several nations to boost attendance at smoking cessation services have failed to lift attendance beyond fringe proportions of all smokers interested in quitting. Very few smokers are willing to seek anything more than brief assistance.

The number of people who quit is a function of the reach of a method and its rate of success. Consider this: in a million smokers, if 3% quit and stay quit unaided in a year, 30,000 ex-smokers result. But if 15% of 10,000 smokers convinced to attend professional smoking cessation services quit – five times the success rate – the yield is only 1,500 ex-smokers. Clearly, a lower success rate in a much larger number of people should always trump a much higher success rate in a much smaller number.

So the second problem is that intensive smoking cessation services usually requiring repeated contact have always failed to attract anything but tiny proportions of smokers.

In New Zealand, some 88% of smokers appear uninterested in even communicating via the quitline, by far the least demanding of all “interventions”. The number who would be willing to attend or engage with multiple session professional support services would be far, far less.

If you want to get smoking down across a whole population, there is no substitute for policies and campaigns that have mass reach potential, reaching nearly all smokers.

Tobacco tax, mass reach motivational media campaigns, smoke-free policies, and packaging controls all tick that box. Intensive smoking cessation services don’t.

Third, the cessation method that has delivered by far the most number of ex-smokers (unassisted cessation or cold turkey) is routinely neglected and often openly denigrated by smoking cessation specialists.

The conversation stopper here is that if you ask 100 ex-smokers how they stopped smoking, volumes of studies stretching back more than 40 years have shown that between two-thirds and three-quarters of ex-smokers used no pharmacological or professional assistance on their final successful quit attempt. Before the availability of nicotine replacement therapy, hundreds of millions of smokers globally quit smoking unassisted, including many heavily addicted smokers. So often denigrated by cessation specialists whose interests lie in providing assistance, the evidence shows unassisted cessation has the population cessation runs on the board.

The lesson from this is that ongoing, hard-hitting campaigns and evidence-based policies like tobacco tax to encourage quit attempts are of vital importance.

Fourth, those making the decisions are likely to have been mesmerised by clinical trial results, rather than real world data on how various smoking cessation strategies perform. Nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) used with on-going support has better success than unassisted cessation. But again, we need to ask how many New Zealand smokers will realistically be interested in receiving that sort of support. Most will collect their subsidised NRT and not participate further.

New Zealand reportedly spends $NZ61m on tobacco control, with the great majority of this going to subsidised NRT. There is increasing evidence that handing out NRT to smokers away from ongoing professional support and over-the-counter use is all but useless. Evidence from England shows that the use of NRT bought over the counter is associated with a lower rate of abstinence than quitting unassisted.

Fifth, the seductive power of the so-called “hardening” hypothesis is likely to have tightened its grip on New Zealand policymakers. This hypothesis proposes that as smoking prevalence falls in a country, the proportion of “hard core” smokers rises.

True believers in this hypothesis then argue that the suite of comprehensive policies and campaigns that has caused smoking to fall over the past decades has seen nearly all the low-hanging fruit quit smoking and is now producing diminishing returns. Calls are then made to focus efforts on the burgeoning hard core smokers by labour and pharmacologically intensive cessation methods.

The problem with all this is that it is simply not true. New Zealand research just published found “no statistically significant changes in indicators of hardening including the proportion of smokers who were unmotivated or unable to quit despite repeat attempts” between 2008-2014. Similar findings have been reported in other studies internationally.

New Zealand could do with more commitment to the sort of large scale tough, motivating mass media campaigns that have contributed so much to motivating Australian smokers to quit and children not to start. Funding boosts to campaigns such as Stop before you start are likely to reach and influence far more people than giving extra support to low-demand services.

Advocacy groups have provided invaluable assistance to New Zealand governments over the years by making and defending the case for policies such as tobacco tax and plain packaging that can make a difference to the whole population of current and potential smokers. Former Australian health minister Nicola Roxon, the political architect of plain packaging (which is now spreading globally), told me that the call to legislate for plain packaging and very large tax increases was made politically and popularly palatable by the years of policy advocacy undertaken by NGOs and advocates for tough policy.

By all but removing advocacy funding in New Zealand, and filling the vacuum with funding for strategies simply incapable of reaching large numbers of smokers, the government is likely to be doing something it will regret.

New Zealand has some of the world’s most mature, astute and advanced strategic policy researchers. Together, they have punched well above their national weight in stimulating original thinking about pathways toward an endgame for tobacco use. The government would do well to provide support to harness their expertise to bring their analytic and research skills together rather than putting so many eggs in the individualistic smoking cessation basket.

New tobacco advertising laws underway for Jakarta

The Jakarta Legislative Council (DPRD) is planning to pass yet another law on tobacco advertising, read an earlier report by The Jakarta Post.

Under the law, stores that sell cigarettes can no longer display them openly. The act of showing the name or logo of any brand of cigarettes will be prohibited. Once it takes effect, stores will sell cigarettes by only displaying a sign with a message, which reads “cigarettes are available here,” reported Tribune news.

Simultaneously, the Jakarta Legislative Council is looking to pass a law to implement and create no smoking zones across the city.

The council has reportedly handed the draft bylaw to the city administration in a plenary meeting on March 11 attended by Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok.

The law aims to prohibit people from smoking and prevent the up-take of smoking to protect people from secondhand smoke exposure. This move is the latest measure taken by the Jakarta administration, after a series of regulations on tobacco control imposed in the city over the past few years, to curb cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The law also targets to free Jakarta from outdoor and indoor cigarette ads before the end of this year. This despite the sharp criticisms from tobacco manufactures over the tougher restrictions on outdoor and indoor cigarette advertising.

Cigarette advertising laws tightened in Jakarta last year following the signing of the Gubernatorial Decree (Pergub) No.244/2015 on advertising guidelines that prohibits indoor cigarette advertising. The city has already been banning outdoor cigarette and tobacco product advertising since mid-January 2015 that saw the removal of all cigarette billboards from roadsides in areas across the city.

Earlier in 2012, the government issued tighter tobacco controls that put more limitations on cigarette advertising in all media. It only allowed cigarette commercial up to 72sqm in size and restricted the broadcasting of smoking ads on television to between 9.30 pm and 5 am. This came after former governor Fauzi Bowo imposed a bylaw banning smoking from all government buildings in 2010, where smoking in public buildings is prohibited.

In response to a potential drop on the city’s tax revenue amid the slowdown in economic activities- Balegda, which is the City Council’€™s Legislation Body, revealed that Jakarta has generated revenue from taxes on cigarette ads totaling around Rp 14 billion per year. This is much lesser than the amount spent on medical treatments for cigarette-related health problems.

According to the 2011 Global Adults Tobacco Survey, the prevalence of smoking among adults in Indonesia stands at 34.8% , including 40% of 13- to 15-year-old adolescents.

Mixing pot and tobacco increases dependence risk

Many people mix dagga and tobacco to save money and make inhalation more efficient. This practice, however, may increase the likelihood of users becoming dependent.

People who mix marijuana with tobacco are at greater risk for dependency and less motivated to find support to quit these drugs, researchers report.

Cannabis less addictive

One billion people around the globe use tobacco and 182 million people smoke pot, making these two of the world’s most popular drugs, according to the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Many people mix the two drugs together to save money. Tobacco also makes pot inhalation more efficient. This practice, however, may increase the likelihood that users become dependent, the researchers found.

“Cannabis dependence and tobacco dependence manifest in similar ways, so it is often difficult to separate these out in people who use both drugs,” said study lead author Chandni Hindocha.

“Cannabis is less addictive than tobacco, but we show here that mixing tobacco with cannabis lowers the motivation to quit using these drugs,” added Hindocha, a doctoral student at University College London’s clinical psychopharmacology unit.

For the study, researchers examined survey responses from nearly 34,000 marijuana users from 18 different countries in Europe, North and South America, and Australasia who participated in the anonymous online 2014 Global Drug Survey.

Marijuana vaporisers

Marijuana is consumed in different ways around the world, the study authors said. Mixing marijuana with tobacco is much more popular in Europe than in other parts of the world, the researchers reported in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Mixing pot with tobacco is popular with up to 91 percent of European marijuana users, compared to 52 percent of Australian pot users and just 21 percent of New Zealand users.

Tobacco-mixing methods are even less popular in the Americas, where they are used by only 16 percent of Canadian marijuana users, 4 percent of those in the United States, and about 7 percent of Mexican and Brazilian users, the researchers reported.

Use of marijuana vaporisers, which don’t use tobacco, was reported by 13 percent of survey respondents in Canada and 11 percent of those in the United States. This method is less popular in other parts of the world, the researchers said.

But, the study authors added, the way in which people use marijuana can affect their motivation to quit or seek professional help to do so.

Negative health effects

People who preferred non-tobacco methods of using pot were 62 percent more likely to want professional help to use less marijuana. And they were 81 percent more likely to want professional help to use less tobacco, the findings showed.

“Our results highlight the importance of routes of administration when considering the health effects of cannabis,” Michael Lynskey, an addiction specialist at King’s College London, said in a journal news release.

“Given a changing legislative environment surrounding access to cannabis in many jurisdictions, increased research focus should be given to reducing the use of routes of administration that involve the co-administration of tobacco,” Lynskey added.

The negative health effects of tobacco use are well known. The short-term effects of marijuana use include temporary loss of motor, working memory and decision-making skills. Long-term pot use also may lead to dependence, permanent reductions in brain function as well as heart and lung disease and some forms of cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

Tobacco firms’ tax bill nears €500m ahead of plain packaging ban – report

Tobacco companies have seen their tax bill surge in the opening five months of the year as the industry has been accused of stocking up on branded cigarettes.

According to a report in the Irish Daily Mail, tobacco firms have shelled out almost €500m in tax in the opening months of the year, which represents an 81pc increase on the same period last year.

The increased tax spend comes ahead of the imminent plain packaging ban. However, companies will be allowed to sell off whatever remaining stock they have left – branded or otherwise up until May 2017.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show a major spike in the volume of cigarettes that are being imported into the country too.

During the opening quarter of the year 600 extra tonnes of tobacco were brought in.

Legislation that will see plain packaging introduced is being used as a method to deter smokers and children from being enticed by branding.

Anti-smoking groups have accused the industry of stockpiling branded cigarettes to get children hooked on them ahead of the looming ban.

Revenue has been contacted for comment by