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November, 2006

A New Outlook on Tobacco

This page is usually reserved for the thoughts of Tobacco International's editor, Emerson Leonard, but for this issue Emerson has turned the space over to me as a way of introducing myself. "Me," by the way, is Mike Browne, and I joined the staff of TI as managing editor in October.

After spending 14 years at Convenience Store News magazine, most recently as executive editor, I'm excited to be taking on this new challenge. The tobacco industry which we covered extensively from the retailer point of view at CSNews is a dynamic and always interesting business to report on and write about, with its far-reaching implications for economics, society, politics, agriculture...the list goes on and on. And to cover this important global commodity for Tobacco International, which has been the authority on the industry since 1886, is an added bonus.

During my tenure at CSNews I had the opportunity to be involved with reporting on some of the biggest stories in the U.S. tobacco industry, including the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, ongoing tax hikes and price increases, innovations in the category (such as flavors), the growth of cigars and smokeless, the constant shadow of litigation, the challenges of marketing in a "tobacco-unfriendly" environment, and so on. Now, working with TI, I'll have the chance to go even deeper into these topics and much more and on a global scale, which is also pretty exciting for me.

I look forward to working closely with Emerson and the staff at TI to bring our readers all the latest tobacco news and trends, as well as getting to know the industry players themselves. Although I'm based in our downtown New York headquarters, I'll be hitting the road frequently and hopefully will get the chance to meet many of you in person. In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions about Tobacco International or news that you'd like to share with us, feel free to drop me a line at m.browne@tobaccointernational.com.

- Michael Browne


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