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February, 2009
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US Enacts HUGE Tobacco Tax. Is this the end of RYO in the US?

Washington DC - Recently, the United States House of Representatives passed the Senate’s version off the bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the bill was signed by President Obama. The new final federal tax rates are as follows: cigarette tax changes from 39¢ to $1.006; large cigar tax changes from 20.719% of price, 4.875¢ cap to 52.75% of price, 40.26¢ cap; little cigar tax changes from 4¢ per pack to $1.006 per pack; pipe tobacco taxes change from $1.0969 per pound to $2.8311 per pound; chewing tobacco taxes change from 19.5¢ per pound to 50.33¢ per pound; snuff taxes change from 58.5¢ per pound to $1.51 per pound; RYO and cigar wrapper taxes change from approximately $1.097 per pound to $24.78 per pound; cigarette paper taxes change from 1.22¢ per 50 papers to 3.15¢ per 50 papers; and cigarette tube taxes change from 2.44¢ per 50 tubes to 6.30¢ per 50 tubes.

While many feared what this bill might do to premium cigars, the end product is workable. the real knock-out will likely be to RYO with an increased tax of 2,400%. Tax increases are slated to go into effect on April 1, 2009. It also requires manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to pay a floor stocks tax on all tobacco products except for large cigars, also on April 1, 2009.

Victoria bans electronic cigarettes
Canberra - The State of Victoria has banned the manufacture, sale, purchase, and use of electronic cigarettes as of January 1, 2009. “E-cigarettes” are battery-powered inhalers that produce nicotine without the use of tobacco or smoke.

Victorian Health Minister, Daniel Andrews, cited the fact that long-term exposure to nicotine was associated with cardiovascular disease as the reason for the ban.

Japanese researchers envisage nicotine-free tobacco
Tokyo - Researchers in Japan have recently announced that they have identified the gene in tobacco that transports nicotine throughout the plant, and it is believed that this discovery could pave the way for carcinogen-free cigarettes.

Experts at Kyoto University's Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere found that the gene in question, Nt-JAT1, transports nicotine, and confirmed that yeast carrying this gene is what transports the nicotine.

According to the team led by Professor Kazufumi Yazaki, the finding “raised the possibility of developing a variety of tobacco that does not store nicotine in its leaves"

Assistant professor Nobukazu Shitan said that the transport gene could also be used for medicinal and agricultural purposes.

Banned in Taiwan
Taipei - Effective January 11, 2009, store owners in Taiwan are forbidden to display or advertise tobacco products in their stores. This means no posters, neon signs, electronic billboards, storefront displays or even placing products within reach of customers.

Retailers will have no hand in selling their own products, and will instead be limited to “letting the customer know the cigarette brand and price.” Violators of the new ban can be fined up to NT$500,000.

United States
Santa Fe Book on the ins and outs of organic tobacco
Santa Fe - Published by Sunstone Press, Organic Tobacco Growing in America and Other Earth Friendly Farming chronicles a 20-year effort to establish and develop organic tobacco farming in the United States.

“This is a story about the rebirth of a lifestyle…sustainable, earth-friendly framing,” says author and Oxford, NC-based Mike Little, a master leaf blender for Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.

The book includes a history of organic tobacco growing, and details about what’s required to be a certified grower, processor, and/or manufacturer of organic tobacco. Proceeds from the book are being contributed to

the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, in recognition of the work its members have performed to promote organic farming.

Tobacco International - February, 2009

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