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May, 2013:

ASH Daily News for 29 May 2013

29 May 2013

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Irish government backs ban on cigarette pack branding

Ireland is to become the first country in the European Union to ban branding on cigarette packages by using plain packaging and uniform labeling, the government said.

All trademarks, logos, colors and graphics will be removed from tobacco products sold in Ireland under the new rules, the Health Ministry said, after the proposal secured backing from the government which plans to prepare legislation this autumn with a view to enact the new law next year.

See also:
– Plain cigarette packaging law planned by Irish government, BBC News
– Irish view on tobacco packaging made plain, The Times (£)
– Ireland to introduce plain cigarette packets, The Guardian
– Plain packs only for Irish smokers: Ireland follows Australia’s example to remove advertising, Daily Mail
– Ireland plans to adopt plain packaging of cigarettes, Financial Times (£)
– Plain cigarette packets to be introduced, Irish Times
– Republic becomes only second country to use plain cigarette packets, Belfast Telegraph
– New laws to enforce non branding cigarette packaging,
– Govt passes ‘plain packet’ cigarettes, ‘doesn’t give a damn’ about small retailers, Evening Echo
– Minister reveals smoking heartache, Belfast Telegraph
– Reilly expects cigarette pack challenge, Irish Times
– Plain package cigarettes will not make smuggling easier, says Reilly, Irish Examiner
– Cigarette packaging to be plain from next year, 98 FM
– Great day for Irish Criminals as Tobacco Smuggling receives huge boost, Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee

Source: Reuters – 28 May 2013

Plain cigarette packs not a problem for small shops

A new study by Cancer Research UK contradicts research from the tobacco industry which claimed it would take longer to serve standard packs of cigarettes, confuse shop keepers, cause queues and disrupt shops.

Directly after the introduction of the new standardised packaging in Australia, there was an average increase in the serving time of two to three seconds to around 12.5 seconds.

Retailers quickly adapted to standard packaging and the transaction time returned to normal levels during the second week of implementation and remained there several months later. The average time to serve tobacco at the end of the study in February was 10.37 seconds.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “The tobacco industry says wait for the evidence from Australia. Well, here it is and it kills the industry argument that it will harm small retailers stone dead. Standardised packaging is popular with the public, with politicians and with the experts: there’s no excuse for putting it off. Every day the Government dithers the equivalent of over two jumbo jets full of children start smoking and many will go on to die as a result.”

See also:
Plain, standardised cigarette packs not a problem for small shops, Cancer Research UK

Source: Health Newstrack – 28 May 2013

E-cigarette company survery on cigarette breaks

Four in ten smokers admit they deliberately skive from work by hanging around outside on cigarette breaks, a study by e-cigarette company E-Lites, has found.

Researchers found six in ten smokers take extra breaks throughout the day to have a cigarette, on top of their usual lunch and coffee breaks, without making the time up.

And 42% admitted to ‘lingering’ outside almost five minutes longer than they need to so they can avoid going back to their desk.

According to E-Lites, 83% of non-smokers simply see smoking breaks as an excuse for their smoking colleagues to catch up and chat outside of their lunch hour.

Source: Daily Mail – 28 May 2013

Cornwall: Smokers flout rules at hospital six years after smoking ban introduced

Smokers are ignoring attempts to ban tobacco use from the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro.

The hospital said the problem was highlighted by smokers stubbing out their cigarette ends in a new floral display.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) sites should have been smoke-free since 2007 but hard-core smokers ignore the rules.

Source: This is Cornwall – 28 May 2013

Winchester: Inquest told that Swanmore man died from smoking cigarettes, not asbestos exposure

A court heard that a man was exposed to asbestos during the time he worked in Portsmouth Dockyard, but Dr Adnan Al-Badri, consultant pathologist at the RHCH, told the hearing he did not believe this to be the cause of death.

He said that Mr Cutting’s small cell carcinoma was a particularly aggressive form of cancer, the result of smoking cigarettes when he was younger.

He said there was a tumour on Mr Cutting’s lung that was in the wrong position to be the result of asbestos exposure.

Source: Romsey Advertiser – 28 May 2013

French report calls for ban on e-cigarettes in public places

French medical experts are recommending that e-cigarettes should be subject to the same restrictions as tobacco smoking.

Source: The Guardian – 28 May 2013

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BBC News – Plain cigarette packaging law planned by Irish government


28 May 2013 Last updated at 16:08 GMT

Plain cigarette packaging law planned by Irish government

Cigarettes The aim of plain packaging is to make tobacco cartons less attractive to consumers Continue reading the main story

Related Stories’No smuggle risk from plain packs’ [/news/uk-politics-21920464] Australia court backs tobacco law [/news/business-19264245] Plain cigarette packs review ends [/news/health-19198934]

Tobacco companies may soon be forced to use plain packaging when selling cigarettes in the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish government is planning new regulations on tobacco packaging, aimed at reducing the level of smoking.

Health Minister James Reilly brought the matter before the Irish cabinet on Tuesday.

His cabinet colleagues gave the go-ahead for the drafting of legislation and Mr Reilly said he hoped the new law would be in force by early next year.

The aim is to make tobacco packets look less attractive to consumers and to make health warnings more prominent.

Banned logos

In 2012, Australia was the first country in the world to introduce plain pack cigarettes.

All tobacco company logos and colour themes were banned.

Instead, the cartons had to be produced in one uniform colour, with graphic anti-smoking photographs and messages.

However, tobacco companies have argued against the move, citing that plain packs could easily be copied by illegal manufacturers.

They have claimed it could lead to an increase in smuggling.

Last year, the UK government ran a public consultation on the introduction of mandatory, standardised packaging

Generic packaging will mean fewer child smokers, say leading health charities

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Final chapter in tobacco display

Final chapter in tobacco display

May 27, 2013, 12:04 p.m.

The Cancer Council has marked World No Tobacco Day, May 31, by encouraging more than 750 NSW tobacconists to start removing cigarette and tobacco displays in their shops ahead of changes in the coming months.

From July 1, tobacconists and specialised tobacco shops will no longer be able to visually display tobacco products to the public except on occasions for instance when staff are serving customers or they are restocking their shelves.

“The start of July will mark the final chapter of tobacco companies being able to use display cabinets to openly showcase their dangerous and highly addictive products,” Justin Cantelo at Cancer Council Western region said.

“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Australia and having cigarettes on display makes them seem like a normal, everyday product rather than a deadly and addictive drug.

“The end of  open cigarette displays will remove one more barrier for people who are trying to quit smoking. Ending this exemption sends an important reminder that cigarettes are a dangerous and deadly product.

“This final chapter to cigarette displays will help change attitudes and social norms around smoking and play a key role in preventing future generations from taking up the habit.”

Tobacconists in NSW have had more than three years to comply with a ban on point of sale displays, and Cancer Council believes there should be no reason for stores to delay removing tobacco from their shelves.

“We know the tobacco industry can be notoriously good at finding loopholes in the system but we would encourage tobacconists to proactively prepare their shelves and customers for the new changes over the coming weeks,” Mr Cantelo said.

“Smoking kills about 15,000 people in Australia each year – making it one of the biggest preventable causes of premature death.

“In the western region our rates remain above the state average and the further out west you go the higher the rates are.”

Tobacco tactics hinder public health efforts in smoking reduction – The case of the UK

Tobacco tactics hinder public health efforts in smoking reduction – The case of the UK

UK tobacco companies absorb the taxes on their cheapest products to obstruct public-health efforts in smoking reduction

A research report by the University of Bath in the UK concludes that British tobacco firms have been using pricing strategies with the objective of undermining tobacco tax policy.


Every year the British Government raises taxes on tobacco with the main objective of increasing the price of tobacco products and as a result, discouraging smoking. Yet the research report “Understanding tobacco industry pricing strategy and whether it undermines tobacco tax policy: the example of the UK cigarette market” recently published by the University of Bath’s Department for Health concludes that tobacco companies have been absorbing the taxes on their ultra-low-price products so their price remains constant and affordable to smokers on a low income,” undermining efforts by London to reduce smoking in the UK.

Tobacco firms classify their cigarette brands into four price categories: premium, mid-price, economy and ultra-low-price (ULP) . The University of Bath’s report shows that the first three have experienced a gradual price rise over the years, while the ULP cigarettes average price has barely changed since 2006. This means that tobacco companies are absorbing the ULP taxes themselves instead of passing them on to the consumers of those products, who might be deterred from smoking should the price rise. As a consequence, the market share of ULPs doubled from 2006 to 2009 and decreased for the other three categories, as many smokers change to cheaper cigarettes to afford continuing smoking. However, this has not translated into a decrease of the companies’ revenues as the price of the premium brands, purchased by high income customers who are not likely to stop smoking due to price fluctuations, have been boosted.

According to Anna Gilmore, Professor at the University of Bath, a member of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies and the paper’s lead author, this research report, which has been developed using consumer and market research from 1999 to 2009, is the first detailed analysis of the price structure of cigarettes in UK. She said that “tobacco companies use their price changes to win two ways in the UK” as “revenues increase and fewer smoking quit” and suspects that these results may be applicable to other countries. To stop taxes manipulation, Ms Gilmore proposes the UK government to create a public agency to ensure that tobacco companies impose the tax increases to all the products and to “find ways to narrow the price gap between the cheapest and the most expensive cigarettes and prevent them from discounting their cheapest brands.

- Research report “Understanding tobacco industry pricing strategy and whether it undermines tobacco tax policy: the example of the UK cigarette market

EPHA related articles

Last modified on May 28 2013.

Customs seizes illicit cigarettes and tobacco from transshipment container

Customs seizes illicit cigarettes and tobacco from transshipment container

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs yesterday (April 29) smashed a transshipment smuggling case at Kwai Chung Customshouse Cargo Examination Compound, resulting in the seizure of about 9.3 million sticks of illicit cigarettes and 90 kilogrammes of illicit tobacco. The total value of the seizure was about $24 million,with a duty potential of about $16 million.

Customs intelligence analysis has revealed that some smuggling syndicates deliberately make use of the transnational sea network to smuggle illicit cigarettes and tobacco by means of the “merry-go-round” mode. The contraband is transshipped through different ports before being smuggled to the final destination in order to evade Customs detection.

Through exchange of intelligence with the related overseas law enforcement agencies and in-depth investigation, Customs identified and selected a 40-foot transshipment container from Malaysia which was declared as containing “toilet paper”, for examination.

Upon inspection, a total of 9.3 million sticks of illicit cigarettes and 90 kilogrammes of illicit tobacco were found. According to the packing of the seized cigarettes and tobacco, it is believed they were destined for Australia.

The unmanifested cigarettes and tobacco were seized and the responsible local shipping agent was invited for assistance in the investigation. Customs will also conduct a follow-up investigation with the related overseas law enforcement agencies.

The Divisional Commander (Anti-Illicit-Cigarette Investigation) of the Revenue and General Investigation Bureau, Mr Wan Hing-chuen, said today (April 30) at a press conference, “Hong Kong Customs will spare no effort in closely monitoring illicit cigarette and tobacco smuggling activities using the transnational sea network and exchange intelligence with overseas law enforcement agencies to trace and track smuggling activities.”

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Members of the public are urged to report suspected illicit cigarette activities by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline on 2545 6182 2545 6182 FREE

Source: HKSAR Government

Study examines placement of tobacco and alcohol brands in movies rated for youth audiences

Contact: Robin Dutcher
603-653-9056 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 603-653-9056 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
The JAMA Network Journals

Study examines placement of tobacco and alcohol brands in movies rated for youth audiences

An analysis of top box-office movies released in the United States indicated tobacco brand producer placements in movies have declined since implementation of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), but alcohol placements, which are subject only to industry self-regulation, have increased in movies rated acceptable for youth audiences, according to a study published Online First by JAMA Pediatrics, a JAMA Network publication.

There is growing evidence that movies influence substance use behaviors during adolescence. Children’s exposure to movie imagery of tobacco and alcohol has been associated with not only smoking but also early onset of drinking, heavier drinking and abuse of alcohol, according to the study background.

Elaina Bergamini, M.S., of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University, New Hampshire, and colleagues examined recent trends for tobacco and alcohol use in movies. The study analyzed the top 100 box-office movie hits released in the United States from 1996 through 2009 (N=1400).

After implementation of the MSA in 1998, tobacco brand product appearances decreased by 7 percent each year, then held at a level of 22 per year after 2006. The MSA also resulted in a decrease in tobacco screen time for youth and adult rated movies (42.3 percent and 85.4 percent, respectively). Alcohol brand product appearances in youth-rated movies trended upward during the period from 80 to 145 per year, an increase of 5.2 appearances per year.

“In summary, this study found dramatic declines in brand appearances for tobacco after such placements were prohibited by an externally monitored and enforced regulatory structure, even though such activity had already been prohibited in the self-regulatory structure a decade before. During the same period, alcohol brand placements, subject only to self-regulation, increased significantly in movies rated acceptable for youth audiences, a trend that could have implications for teen drinking,” the study concludes.


(JAMA Pediatr. Published online May 27, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.393. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor’s Note: The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Damning verdict on the ‘sweetheart deal’ taxman who switched sides

Clear The Air says: Interesting that since our complaint to ACOBA, Hartnett’s listed approvals below, shown on the ACOBA site has grown to 6 jobs instead of the original 4.

It shows Hartnett clearly knows the rules placed on his employment after retirement.

However there is of course no mention of the ITIC – International Tax and Investment Center, directorship employment.

A greedy man with no sense of what is right: Damning verdict on the ‘sweetheart deal’ taxman who switched sides

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Authority: The former top tax official in the country, Dave Hartnett, has accepted a job with major accountancy firm Deloitte

The former taxman whose ‘sweetheart deals’ allowed Starbucks and Vodafone to avoid billions in payments sparked fury yesterday by switching sides to work for the firms’ accountants.

Dave Hartnett was attacked over his lucrative contract with City giant Deloitte, which he has accepted just ten months after retiring from his post as head of HM Revenue and Customs.

Experts said the move raises serious questions about the ‘cosy’ relationship between the Revenue and big companies accused of tax avoidance. Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, accused Mr Hartnett of ‘greed’ and ‘losing all sense of what is right’. Critics said it was little surprise that the 62-year-old had been ‘welcomed with open arms’ by the same firm which had helped big business avoid huge amounts of tax every year. Deloitte dismissed any suggestion that Mr Hartnett had been hired to reveal insider secrets of how to beat the taxman and insisted there was no conflict of interest in the appointment.

Mr Hartnett’s tenure at HMRC, which ended last July, was dogged by claims that he helped multinational companies shave millions of pounds off their tax bills.

He was severely criticised for brokering a deal that saved Goldman Sachs £20million in interest payments. The deal was described by a judge last month as lawful, but ‘not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue’.

Another time, Mr Hartnett allowed Vodafone – a Deloitte client – to pay £1.25billion of an alleged £6billion tax bill – figures which are disputed by the telecoms company.

After being accused of lying to MPs last year, Mr Hartnett left HMRC and joined HSBC as an adviser on honesty.

Sick: Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge condemned the move by Mr Hartnett to join Deloitte

Sick: Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge condemned the move by Mr Hartnett to join Deloitte

He has now accepted a one-day-a-week post with Deloitte – the firm that signed off the accounts for coffee chain Starbucks which, entirely legally, paid no corporation tax for three years by channelling its revenues through Luxembourg and Switzerland.

During his time as HMRC boss, Mr Hartnett met Deloitte’s senior British partner David Cruickshank 48 times between 2007 and 2011, including meetings about Vodafone.

Mr Hartnett’s appointment with Deloitte was approved by David Cameron and the advisory committee set up to monitor the ‘revolving door’ between Whitehall and money-spinning jobs in the private sector.

It is subject to six caveats, including a requirement to ensure Mr Hartnett does not ‘draw on privileged information’ from his time at HMRC.

But Mrs Hodge said: ‘Doesn’t it make you sick? It is terrible when people’s individual greed means they lose all sense of what’s right.

‘He better than most knows this isn’t about paying a fair share of tax and playing by the rules. It is about manipulating the rules and aggressively avoiding tax.

‘We always called the deals he reached sweetheart deals. Maybe now we understand why.’

Fellow Labour MP John Mann added: ‘It shouldn’t be allowed.’

Murray Wood, spokesman for the group UK Uncut, which campaigns against corporate tax avoidance, said: ‘It is no surprise Dave Hartnett has been welcomed with open arms by a company which has helped firms like Starbucks avoid huge amounts of tax every year.

‘Governments have for years had a far too cosy relationship with giant corporate tax dodgers and the tax avoidance industry. It means the UK is losing out on millions of pounds of revenue which could be spent on public services.’

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘David Hartnett’s appointment doesn’t look good given how the Revenue appeared to reach decisions in a number of controversial cases, especially while many others were left to struggle under the weight of Britain’s hideously complex tax code.’

Deloitte pledged that Mr Hartnett ‘will not work with UK companies or with HMRC’ in his new role.

A spokesman said: ‘He will work as a consultant to Deloitte advising foreign governments and tax administrations, primarily in the developing world.

‘He has significant experience in advising such countries on the development of effective tax regimes.’

Yesterday the Cabinet Office said Mr Hartnett had ‘complied with the rules’.

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: ‘The recommendation was made by the entirely independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, and the Prime Minister follows their advice.’

It approved the appointment subject to conditions stipulating Mr Hartnett must not advise ‘any taxpayer that he has been involved with whilst at HMRC’, nor have ‘involvement in discussions with other fiscal authorities of UK’s confidential tax policy’. However, critics pointed out that a condition banning him from ‘lobbying Government’ on behalf of Deloitte expires in July 2014.

Paul Flynn, a Labour member of the Commons public administration committee, branded the advisory body ‘a pussy cat without teeth or claws’ and ‘virtually completely useless’.

He said: ‘It’s not what people do when they retire that is the problem, it’s what they did when they were in office. They may well take a soft line on the commercial companies that they hope to be employed by post-retirement.

‘The revolving door is more corrupt than the financial scandals we’ve had.’ There was no answer at Mr Hartnett’s £800,000 home near St Albans last night.

Product retrieval time in small tobacco retail outlets before and after the Australian plain packaging policy: real-world study



We aimed to assess change in cigarette pack retrieval time in small retail outlets following the introduction of plain packaging in Australia in 1 December 2012.


A sample of 303 milk bars, convenience stores, petrol stations and newsagents was selected in four capital cities, stratified by area socioeconomic status. In June and September (baseline months), the first 2 weeks of December 2012, and February 2013, stores were visited by trained fieldworkers who requested a cigarette pack of a pre-determined brand, variant and pack size, unobtrusively recording the time from the end of the request to when the pack was scanned or placed on the counter.


In multivariate analysis, December retrieval time (12.43 s) did not differ from June (10.91 s; p=0.410) or February (10.37 s; p=0.382), but was slower than September (9.84 s; p=0.024). In December, retrieval time declined as days after plain packaging implementation increased (β=-0.21, p=0.011), returning to the baseline range by the second week of implementation. This pattern was not observed in baseline months or in February. Sensitivity analyses showed that results were robust to the variability in purchasing circumstances in tobacco retail outlets.


Retailers quickly gained experience with the new plain packaging legislation, evidenced by retrieval time having returned to the baseline range by the second week of implementation and remaining so several months later. The long retrieval times predicted by tobacco industry-funded retailer groups and the consequent costs they predicted would fall upon small retailers from plain packaging are unlikely to eventuate.

16 Accused of Smuggling Cigarettes Worth Millions

16 Accused of Smuggling Cigarettes Worth Millions


Published: May 16, 2013

One of the men had once lived in the same Brooklyn building as the personal secretary of a senior Hamas member, the authorities said. Another was something of a father figure to the terrorist who fatally shot at a van full of yeshiva students on the Brooklyn Bridge. And a third is said to have once received an investment from Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called blind sheik, who is now serving a life sentence for a terrorism plot.

Over the years, these three men each came under the scrutiny of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division, which runs counterterrorism investigations. On Thursday, they were charged along with 13 other men — not on terrorism-related charges, but as defendants in a more commonplace conspiracy: trafficking in untaxed cigarettes.

At a news conference, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said that what had begun as counterterrorism police work uncovered a smuggling ring that was generating tens of millions of dollars by buying cigarettes in Virginia, where the state tax is 30 cents a pack, and selling them across New York, where they are far more expensive as a result of taxes as high as $5.85 a pack.

One defendant was overheard on a wiretap telling another, “This business is better than selling drugs,” said Mr. Schneiderman, who estimated the smuggling ring’s revenue to be at least $55 million. At its top, prosecutors say, was Basel Ramadan, a businessman in Ocean City, Md., who was arrested on Wednesday.

Beyond illuminating the economics of the black-market cigarette trade, the case also opened a window into the operations of the Intelligence Division, where investigators keep files on suspects for many, many years, slowly adding information from confidential informers and waiting to see whether a criminal case ever materializes. Several of the men arrested in the cigarette case first drew the division’s notice in 2006 or earlier.

“This case started because we were being vigilant about terrorism,” Mr. Kelly said. “We discovered that individuals who were on our radar for links to known terrorists were engaged in a massive raid on the New York State treasury.”

At the news conference, he focused his remarks on the links of several of the men to known terrorists, although he stopped short of saying that they themselves had any involvement in terrorism. But Mr. Kelly said much of the suspected profit from the cigarette smuggling ring had not been recovered, and he raised the possibility that it might have ended up with terrorist organizations overseas.

Of the 16 defendants named in the indictment, 11 were arraigned on Thursday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on charges of enterprise corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. They pleaded not guilty, the authorities said.

Most of the men are from Brooklyn and Staten Island. Messages left for them or their lawyers were not immediately returned.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 17, 2013, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: 16 Accused of Smuggling Cigarettes Worth Millions.