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June, 2007

U.S. Tobacco Cooperative

Japan tobacco unit to face trial
Ottawa — Japan Tobacco’s Canadian unit was ordered by an Ontario judge to stand trial on charges it defrauded the Canadian government out of about 1 bn Canadian dollars (US$931 mn) in the 1990s by shipping cigarettes to the US to avoid paying taxes. The judge, David Fairgrieve of Ontario Provincial Court, said in a 29-page ruling that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to warrant a trial of the unit, JTI-MacDonald. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

Olympic games to be smoke-free?
Beijing — The 2008 Beijing Olympics are under pressure to be smoke-free, falling into line with previous Olympic venues.

Vice Mayor Liu Jingmin said Beijing Organizing Committee officials have talked with Health Ministry officials “about setting aside special smoking areas in game venues so as to ensure most parts of these venues are free of tobacco smog,” the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Enforcing such a ban will be difficult in China, where about 350 mn people - about one-quarter of the population - are smokers.

Beijing cigarette factory develops women’s cigarettes

Beijing — Beijing Cigarette Factory — a subsidiary to Shanghai Tobacco Group—has developed a new low-tar-level blend-type cigarette product specifically for women. The product, known as I Times 5mg Zhongnanhai brand cigarettes went on the market in early May.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the debut of I Times 5mg Zhongnanhai in Beijing, Dong Xiuming, deputy general manager of Shanghai Tobacco Group, said that top leaders of the tobacco monopoly administrative authorities in Beijing City had attached great importance to the development of the brand.

Radiation, not nicotine and tar, may be the cause of cancer-related illnesses
Athens — The radiation dose from radium and polonium found naturally in tobacco leaves can be 1,000 times more than that from the cesium-137 soaked up by the leaves from the Chernobyl nuclear accident area, a Greek researcher has said.

Constantin Papastefanou from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece measured radioactivity in tobacco leaves from across the country and calculated the average radiation dose that would be received by people smoking 30 cigarettes a day.

He found that the dose from natural radionuclides was 251 microsieverts a year, compared with 0.199 from Chernobyl fallout in the leaves.

According to Papastefanou, though the radiation dose from smoking is only 10% of the average dose anyone would receive from all natural sources, it is an increased risk.

“Many scientists believe that cancer deaths among smokers are due to the radioactive content of tobacco leaves and not to nicotine and tar,” noted Papastefanou. The findings appear in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry, reports New Scientist.

CEFTA entry will mean market liberalization
Belgrade — Serbia, the only country in the region that hasn’t ratified the Central European Free Trade Agreement, will do so in September, according to The Southeast European Times.

Serbia will equalize the excise duty on domestic and foreign cigarettes starting January 1, 2008, and increase the customs duty from 15% to 57.6%. Discriminatory excise taxation will be abolished, so that domestic and foreign cigarettes are treated equally. Serbia will also ease its domestic content requirements, allowing cigarette companies to purchase up to 20% of their tobacco from abroad.

“The aim is to earn a considerable excise revenue profit by 2012, as there should be an increase of the export in the tobacco industry, and encourage farmers to grow larger tobacco quantities and manufacture better tobacco leaves,” said Milan Parivodic, minister for economic affairs.

Tobacco factories in Serbia expressed satisfaction with the move, saying it would encourage continued investment in Serbia.

South Korea
Tobacco imports increase sharply
Seoul — South Korea’s tobacco imports rose sharply in the first five months of this year, from the same period last year, the country’s customs office recently reported. Imports rose 31.3% to $91 mn. Meanwhile South Korea’s tobacco exports increased 11.8% to $136 mn.

Tobacco International - June, 2007
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