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November 8th, 2016:

Tobacco firm Imperial Brands to step up spending plans

Imperial Brands (IMB.L), the world’s fourth-biggest tobacco company, is accelerating its cost-savings drive and pouring some of the benefits into marketing key brands as it faces the prospect of a greatly enlarged competitor.

The maker of Winston, Gauloises and other cigarettes said it plans to spend 750 million pounds over the next three years to make the business more streamlined and efficient. The effort should result in additional savings of 300 million pounds each year by 2020.

Imperial also said it would spend 300 million this year on growth opportunities in some of its top markets.

But spending more will dent its profit, taking 2017 earnings growth below its medium-term target of 4 to 8 percent. It should return to growth in that range from 2018, it said.

The increased investment comes as larger rival British American Tobacco (BATS.L) has proposed a $47 billion buyout of Reynolds American (RAI.N), which would make it the biggest international tobacco company and could spark further deals in an industry that is shrinking as more people quit smoking.

Imperial got a boost last year from its $7 billion purchase of some Reynolds brands. The move sharply increased its exposure to the lucrative U.S. market.

“We’re building a stronger high-quality business,” Chief Executive Alison Cooper said.

The weak British pound should benefit earnings by around 14 percent in the 2017 financial year, the UK-based company said, since the vast majority of its profits come from overseas.

The company said it remains committed to raising its dividend by at least 10 percent.

Imperial shares were down 2.9 percent at 0949 GMT.

For the just-ended financial year, Imperial reported higher adjusted sales and profit, helped by the acquisition of brands in the United States and a weaker British currency.

The company said net revenue of its tobacco business rose 9.7 percent to 7.17 billion pounds. Adjusted operating profit rose 10.4 percent to 3.5 billion pounds.

Part of the company’s simplification strategy involves reducing the number of brands it sells. It is aiming to have around 125 brands or less, down from 184 now.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, Editing by Mark Potter and Louise Heavens)

Association of e-Cigarette Vaping and Progression to Heavier Patterns of Cigarette Smoking

E-cigarette vaping is reported by 37% of US 10th-grade adolescents1 and is associated with subsequent initiation of combustible cigarette smoking.2 Whether individuals who vape and transition to combustible cigarettes are experimenting or progress to more frequent and heavy smoking is unknown. In addition, because some adolescents use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid,3 adolescent smokers who vape could be more likely to reduce their smoking levels over time. Therefore, associations of vaping with subsequent smoking frequency and heaviness pattern among adolescents were examined.

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Developing countries to be supported on FCTC policies

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) on Tuesday said developing countries will receive dedicated support to implement its policies.

The WHO FCTC called it (the policies) best instrument to ensure tobacco control worldwide that has 179 countries plus the European Union as its parties.

In the new project, to be delivered by the WHO FCTC Secretariat in collaboration with UNDP and other partners, a number of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be eligible to receive direct support to implement tobacco control strategies and policies.

“The project will bring together support from across the UN to accelerate the implementation of the Convention,” said a statement issued by the FCTC on the second day of the Convention.

According to WHO, if current tobacco use patterns persist, it would kill about 1 billion people in the 21st century.

By 2030, over 80 per cent of the world’s tobacco-related mortality will be in Low and Middle Income Countries(LMIC).

“The treaty is an evidence-based “blueprint” for tobacco control policies. Tobacco use will be reduced if a country has a high level of WHO FCTC implementation,” said the statement.

Under the project, the countries will be offered support to create and strengthen coordination mechanisms and action across sectors to implement the WHO FCTC, including treaty obligations to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, ensure tobacco packaging has health warnings, end smoking in enclosed public and workplaces, increase tobacco taxes and protect public health policies from tobacco industry interference.

“The five-year project will open call for expressions of interest inviting LMIC governments wishing to join implementation from 2017,” said the statement.

The project will be delivered with the generous development funding from Britain.

FCTC on Monday had said Britain is ready to fund $90 million to the FCTC to curb smokeless tobacco consumption.

Promoting the project, Head of the FCTC Secretariat Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva said: “The implementation of the WHO FCTC is critical in advancing sustainable development. Through the new project, we will take implementation of the WHO FCTC to a new level by providing support and guidance to developing country parties.”

The significant harms of tobacco use on developing countries are usually understood primarily as health issue. This overlooks the extensive impact of tobacco on social, economic and environmental progress.

Tobacco control is a development issue and its success relies on the work of other sectors such as commerce, trade, finance, justice and education. This is why the international community agreed to include the implementation of the WHO FCTC in the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“There is a growing recognition that current tobacco trends and sustainable development cannot coexist. As a committed partner, UNDP welcomes this opportunity to advance tobacco control through better support to national planning, good governance and protection against tobacco industry interference in policy making,” Douglas Webb, Team Leader on Health and Innovative Financing at the UN Development Programme.

Flavoring Compounds Dominate Toxic Aldehyde Production during E-Cigarette Vaping

The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) raises concerns about the possibility of adverse health effects to primary users and people exposed to e-cigarette vapors. E-Cigarettes offer a very wide variety of flavors, which is one of the main factors that attract new, especially young, users. How flavoring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of e-cigarette vapors is practically unknown. Although e-cigarettes are marketed as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, several studies have demonstrated formation of toxic aldehydes in e-cigarette vapors during vaping. So far, aldehyde formation has been attributed to thermal decomposition of the main components of e-cigarette e-liquids (propylene glycol and glycerol), while the role of flavoring compounds has been ignored. In this study, we have measured several toxic aldehydes produced by three popular brands of e-cigarettes with flavored and unflavored e-liquids. We show that, within the tested e-cigarette brands, thermal decomposition of flavoring compounds dominates formation of aldehydes during vaping, producing levels that exceed occupational safety standards. Production of aldehydes was found to be exponentially dependent on concentration of flavoring compounds. These findings stress the need for a further, thorough investigation of the effect of flavoring compounds on the toxicity of e-cigarettes.

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BMJ WHO Rapid Response

WHO urges restrictions on e-cigarettes
BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 08 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5991

Teen vaping is linked to higher odds of heavy cigarette smoking
BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 09 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6025

BMJ WHO Rapid Response.

Anne Gulland’s BMJ article on electronic cigarettes (1), initially, merely confirms detail that academic advocates of the potential benefits of e-cigarettes have postulated, for example, those at the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT: 2). Moreover, the issues related to flavourings, and appreciable health risk, are also highlighted by the NCSCT. As they currently state:

“There are some flavours where a degree of risk is established and so these flavours should be avoided. For example, chronic exposure to diacetyl which gives a buttery flavour (butterscotch flavour has already been voluntarily withdrawn by some manufacturers), caused irreversible bronchiolitis in workers at a microwave popcorn plant.

There is also some evidence that cinnamon flavours are cytotoxic.”

The presence of diacetyl has been confirmed in many brands, and its risks are established (3; 4), as is the presence of benzaldehyde in cherry flavoured fluids (5; 6) and cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon flavours. Moreover, levels of aldehydes (e.g. formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein), significantly above those deemed to be “safe”, have further very recently been identified, although, these findings need to be confirmed via replication. What is true is that testing of e-cigarette fluids (and subsequent aerosol), that have, potentially at least, been available consumers for some considerable time, is incomplete, but on-going. As one toxicological testing organisation (“bibra”) involved in this have stated:

“A wide array of flavouring substances are added to electronic cigarette formulations and these might be inhaled (along with nicotine and other excipients) by the consumer. The toxicological acceptability of such substances has historically been assessed for food and cosmetics applications, and their safety for use in electronic cigarettes (as inhaled flavourings) now needs to be substantiated.”

This issue is important for all users, and potential users of e-cigarettes, to appreciate, if they are to be allowed to make as fully an informed choice as possible. The evidence on flavours currently available is incomplete, for, as Gulland identifies, there are many thousands of flavours available.

The WHO correctly confirm that e-cigarettes are “likely” to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes and tobacco, and their statement that:

“No specific figure about how much ‘safer’ the use of these products is compared to smoking can be given any scientific credibility at this time,” is, indeed, substantiated by expert toxicological opinion (11; 12).

The WHO’s interpretation of the currently available evidence base related to cessation being “scant and of low certainty, making it difficult to draw credible inferences” is accurate. Although Gulland cites the Cochrane Review (13) for finding that e-cigarettes do help smokers to quit, the Review, itself, states that, regarding the only two suitable randomised controlled trials currently available: “under GRADE system we rated overall quality of the evidence for our outcomes as ‘low’ or ‘very low’.”

The results are, further, clearly short term, and therefore, no long term data relating to serious side effects is currently available. However, the Lead for the Royal College of Physician’s Tobacco Advisory Group John Britton and colleagues (14) has stated that: “e-cigarettes are unlikely to be harmless . . . long term use is likely to be associated with long term sequelae, including an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, possibly cardiovascular disease, and some other long term conditions associated with smoking.”

It, therefore, appears appropriate and proportionate, considering the points above related to these potentially addictive devices, that, as Gulland articulates it: “WHO said that countries should consider banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes to minors and should ban or restrict the use of flavours that might appeal to minors.”

Moreover, the WHO position on the highly suspicious strategy of the tobacco industry, and its involvement in the manufacture and marketing of e-cigarettes, is fully supported: firstly, by the Royal College of Physicians, in their “Nicotine without smoke” document (15); plus secondly, by the very recent publication of a review of the tobacco industry’s own history of “developments” of “safer cigarettes” since 1990, but as a complement to, as opposed to competitor with, cigarettes (16).

David Bareham

All views are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.

DB has delivered 3 presentations to local clinicians in Lincolnshire within the last 18 months entitled: “E-cigarettes: update on evidence”, organised by GlaxoSmithKline. No payment was requested nor provided for this work.

1) Gulland, A. WHO urges restrictions on e-cigarettes. British Medical Journal. Available at:
2) National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training. Electronic cigarettes: A briefing for stop smoking services. Available at:
3) Allen et al. Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes. Environ Health Perspect. 124; 6. 733 – 739. DOI:10.1289/ehp.1510185 (2016)
4) Kreiss, K. et al. Clinical bronchiolitis obliterans in workers at a microwave-popcorn plant. N. Engl. J. Med. 347, 330–338 (2002).
5) Kosmider et al. Cherry-flavoured electronic cigarettes expose users to the inhalation irritant, benzaldehyde. Thorax. 0:1–2. DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2015-207895 (2016)
6) Bahl, V. et al. Comparison of electronic cigarette refill fluid cytotoxicity using embryonic and adult models. Reprod. Toxicol. 34, 529–537 (2012).
7) Behar, R. et al. Tob Control. Distribution, quantification and toxicity of cinnamaldehyde in electronic cigarette refill fluids and aerosols0:1–9. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053224 (2016).
8) Khlystov, A and Samburova, V. Flavoring Compounds Dominate Toxic Aldehyde Production During E-cigarette Vaping. Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b05145 (2016).
9) Electronic Cigarette Industry trade Association. 2016. The Toxicology Collaboration Project: FAQs. Available at:
10) bibra Toxicology Advice and Consulting. Provision of Hazard and Risk Assessments for Several Flavourings in Electronic Cigarettes. A:
11) Wilson, N., Gartner, C., and Edwards, R. Available at:
12) Combes, R. and Balls, M. Available at:
13) Cochrane Review of Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010216.pub3
14) Britton, J., Arnott, D., McNeill, A., Hopkinson, N. Nicotine without smoke—putting electronic cigarettes in context. BMJ 2016; 353
15) Royal College of Physicians. (2016) Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction. London: RCP
16) Dutra LM, Grana R, Glantz SA. Philip Morris research on precursors to the modern e-cigarette since 1990. Tob Control Published Online First: 2016; DOI:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053406

British American Tobacco to test e-cigarette in Japan

British American Tobacco PLC (BAT) plans to test a new tobacco-based cigarette alternative in Japan next month, it said on Tuesday, taking aim at Philip Morris International Inc’s popular iQOS and Japan Tobacco Inc’s Ploom Tech.

BAT said it plans to launch its new product, called “glo”, on Dec. 12 in the northeastern city of Sendai. It will then use learning from that launch to expand the product nationwide.

Glo electronically heats tobacco enough to create an inhalable vapour. That vapour, according to BAT, has about 90 percent less toxicant than smoke. The temperature of glo and the Kent Neostiks that go with it, is about 240 degrees Celsius, whereas combustion in traditional cigarettes takes place at over 800 degrees.

BAT has invested more than $1 billion over the past five years in the development, scale up and launch of cigarette alternatives.

It sells Vype e-cigarettes, which use nicotine liquid, in several European markets and is testing iFuse, a liquid-based e-cigarette that also uses tobacco, in Romania.

BAT has also developed a nicotine inhaler called Voke that can be licensed as a medical product in Britain, but it is not yet on the market.

The glo device will cost 8,000 yen ($76.61) with packs of twenty Kent Neostiks, which come in three flavours, costing 420 yen ($4.02).

BAT is also in the process of buying U.S. peer Reynolds American Inc in a $47 billion takeover that would create the world’s biggest listed tobacco company.


All big tobacco companies are investing in tobacco alternatives, as the cigarette market in most Western countries declines with more people giving up the habit. Some analysts think tobacco-based vapour products will be more successful at attracting cigarette smokers since they use tobacco and might therefore be more satisfying for smokers who cannot quit.

Philip Morris chose Japan as a test market for its “heat not burn” product due in part to regulations around nicotine liquid. Its iQOS, introduced nationwide in Japan in April, has turned out so popular that supplies are short.

“At this moment, we are seeing far greater demand than our expectations and iQOS devices sell out as soon as they hit stores,” said a Philip Morris Japan spokeswoman.

Japan Tobacco has also said production of its Ploom Tech has not caught up with demand. It has suspended taking orders on its online store and is limiting supply to stores in the city of Fukuoka, where it is test sold.

‘Stop tobacco industry interference in health legislation’

“We have an ethical responsibility to prioritize people’s health over the industry’s interests.”

“The tobacco industry is the single-largest threat to public health in the world,” says Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, Principal Medical Officer, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Control/ Tobacco Control, for the Ugandan Ministry of Health.

Ndyanabangi is one of the delegates from up for 179 countries convening at the seventh session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in India.

The high-level meeting seeks to stop tobacco industry interference in public health policymaking.

“As delegates to the global tobacco treaty, we have an ethical responsibility to prioritize people’s health over the industry’s interests. Today, we recognize that the most urgent task before us is to protect policymaking from the corrosive influence of big tobacco,” said Ndyanabangi.

A 2012 study from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) showed that the prevalence rate of smoking among Ugandan adults aged 15-54 stood at about 25%.

The 2010 Tobacco Atlas also estimated that every year, more than 5, 000 Ugandans are killed by tobacco-caused disease such as include lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis among others.

Against this background, Uganda passed the Tobacco Control Bill on July 28, 2015.

The law among other requirements prohibits smoking in public places including hotels, bars, taxi parks, public transportation vehicles and other outdoor spaces within 50 metres of a public place.

Despite the legal steps to control tobacco use, there have been reports that the industry is still aggressively marketing its products, putting millions of lives at risk.
A November 2015 BCC investigation revealed that the industry was exploiting loopholes to infiltrate treaty meetings and block, weaken and delay outcomes of public health legislation.

“This is decision time. Tobacco industry intimidation of champions of tobacco control in Uganda is just an example of how far the industry will go to thwart life-saving policies in developing countries. At the international level the industry is doing same,” says Hellen Neima, a tobacco control activist from Uganda.

At the ongoing FCTC negotiations in India, governments seek to advance life-saving tobacco control measures such as plain packaging and graphic health warnings on tobacco control products.

“With recent wins against Big Tobacco’s legal bullying in Uruguay and Australia, we stand at a tipping point for public health,” said John Stewart, deputy director with Corporate Accountability International and an accredited observer to the global tobacco treaty proceedings.

“Given the industry’s widespread lying, cheating, and outright bribery, governments are ready to act. The global tobacco control community is poised to protect decisions about people’s health from narrow corporate interests, and pave the way for a future where Big Tobacco and its bullying are a thing of the past.”

Delegates also plan to advance tools to hold the tobacco industry liable such that governments to, among other recommendations, can utilize legal systems to recoup the enormous costs of tobacco-related healthcare coverage.

The global tobacco treaty, known formally as the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) entered into force in 2005. Uganda ratified the WHO FCTC on 20th June 2007 becoming a party to the convention.

To-date, 179 countries and the European Union have become Parties to the treaty. It contains the world’s most effective tobacco control and corporate accountability measures—estimated to save more than 200 million lives by 2050 if fully implemented.

NGOs with tobacco linkages rejected entry in WHO negotiations

Doubtful ‘NGOs’ rejected entry in WHO negotiations

Despite repeated lobbying to be included in international negotiations led by World Health Organization (WHO) involving 180 countries, upto twelve non-governmental organisations that had applied for ‘observer’ status, were disallowed from participating in week-long talks at Greater Noida starting Monday.

Of the twelve NGOs cited to have linkages to tobacco industry, two—All India Bidi Industry Federation (AIBIF) and Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) are India-based.

Aman Saulyk, NGO from Kazakhastan was denied entry. The NGO came under the Kazakh government scanner in 2015, after the financial police seized equipments from it’s office in connection with a criminal investigation into allegations of “use of funds obtained through illegal means.” Dr Arun Panda, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “Farmers supposedly brought by the industry are protesting outside the venue at being denied entry.”

Adam Cleave who handles corporate affairs for Imperial Tobacco, in a tweet said the protesting farmers were rounded up by Uttar Pradesh Police and dropped off in a police escort vehicle. The security around the venue had been heavily beefed up to ward off any protest.

Phillipine Tobacco Institute Inc. which claims to be an ngo has members that form the largest tobacco lobby in Asia. The members include some of the largest cigarette manufacturers in the world—Sterling Tobacco Company, Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc., British American Tobacco etc.

NGOs have been rejected if they have national or sub-national geographical scope, a conflict of interest as in tied to tobacco industry or their front groups, have no tobacco control activities or have deliberately amended declaration of interest in the application form. “WHO is against tobacco growers industry. They exploit the farmers and do not let them out of cultivation as farmers are share-croppers. These NGOs have not been given ‘observer’ status due to conflict of interest,” said Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat.

Curiously, the array of NGOs include those involved in packaging businesses like Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance from the UK, farmers’groups like US-based Virginia Tobacco Farmers Associations, AIBIF, FAIFA and Pakistan-based Sarhad Chamber of Agriculture. One NGO from Netherlands championing the cause of e-cigarettes—Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, was also rejected permission to attend the negotiations. Also, Italian-based Liga Italiana Anti Fumo are advocates of E-cigarettes and were denied entry.

“We have working groups to assess the impact of E-cigarettes on harm/risk reduction to the users. We have yet not reached a global consensus on if they are safe for use,” said Dr Silva.