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May, 2008

U.S. Tobacco Cooperative

Canada
Farmers want to sue government for industry collapse
Ottawa - Tobacco farmers have been given a final opportunity to join the New Tobacco Alliance Committee (NTAC) in a lawsuit against Ottawa and Queen’s Park for the so-called downfall of tobacco farming in Canada. This follows Ottawa announcing that the province will no longer organize or contribute to tobacco buyouts.

The NTAC was born out of the desire to pursue legal means against Queens Park and Ottawa with respect to tobacco farming, saying that additional taxation along with anti-smoking legislation devastated the industry, without compensating those whose livelihoods it has damaged.


North Korea
China-North Korea tobacco joint venture
Pyongyang - A joint tobacco venture by China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) has been made with an investment of about $6.36 mn. The venture has been called Pyongyang Paeksan Tobacco Ltd., and it comes from the increasing economic cooperation and friendship between China and North Korea.

More than $3 mn of the investment comes from China's Jilin Provincial Tobacco Co., Ltd. in cigarette production and supporting equipment, and $3.12 mn from North Korea, in land, workshop buildings, and supporting facilities.

Pyongyang Paeksan Tobacco Ltd. expects its annual production capabilities to reach 500,000 cases, focusing mainly on brands including Pyongyang and Paeksan.

These products will be sold mainly in North Korea, and the joint venture is expected to last 10 years.


United Kingdom
Allegations of cigarette price fixing by tobacco companies
London - Supermarkets and tobacco companies are facing hefty fines following allegations by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) of collusion over the price of cigarettes. Two companies included in the probe are Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher. The OFT has suggested that these two tobacco companies were passing competitor’s price information to retailers. Using this information, these brands were kept at comparable price levels to their rivals at locations ranging from gas stations to supermarkets.

According to campaigners, the price of cigarettes rose more quickly compared to general inflation rate when the alleged collusion occurred; from 2000 to 2003, the Retail Price Index rose approximately 6.46% while the price of cigarettes rose approximately 12.5%. A guilty verdict could result in fines topping out at £140 mn.

Imperial Tobacco has said it rejects “any suggestion that it has acted in any way contrary to the interests of consumers,” and Gallaher said it’s still reviewing the OFT’s statement.


United States
More casinos ban smoking
Atlantic City - After over a year of back and forth bickering, the City Council of Atlantic City, New Jersey unanimously voted to ban smoking on the gambling floors of all 11 casinos. Despite this ban, smoking will still be allowed in the casinos, but only in “smoking lounges” built away from the gambling halls and slot machines - if and only if the casinos decide, on their own, to build them.

Over 24 states across the nation now regulate smoking in casinos; eight have banned smoking entirely, and two more will join them in 2009 when a total ban will start.

The passing of this legislation was hindered when it first got off the ground in 2007, by casinos claiming 20% of their business, as well as nearly 3,500 jobs, would be lost were this measure to be put into action. In an attempt to accommodate both the casinos and the anti-smoking movement; a law was put into place saying that only 25% of the casino floor could allow public smoking.


A win for tobacco
New York - Tobacco companies including Philip Morris USA and RJ Reynolds have won a round in an ongoing legal battle with smokers who claim they were “misled about the health effects of light cigarettes.” This verdict was handed down from a US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, overturning class-action status for this $200 bn lawsuit.
Nevada City parks go tobacco-free
Nevada City - The Nevada City Council has endorsed a plan to make the Nevada City park system tobacco-free. This policy was based loosely on a similar policy enacted by Iowa Department of Public Heath in the city of Indianola. According to this policy, tobacco use is completely prohibited in city owned and operated outdoor facilities and parks.

Tobacco International - May, 2008
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