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November, 2007

SMOKE Magazine - Cigars, Pipes, and life's other desires

Cigarette prices to rise in 2008 amid fears in a liberalized market
Sofia — If government raises excise taxes on tobacco for 2008 as planned, prices for Bulgarian cigarettes could go up by as much as 1.05 to 1.20 leva per package, says Yulii Manoilov, representative of the National Union of Tobacco Producers.

A package of cigarettes produced by Bulgartabak would cost between 2.75 and 3.90 leva. This price level would increase tobacco smuggling from the current 25–30% to 45–50% and the losses for the treasury would be 750 to 800 mn leva, mediapool.bg quoted Manoilov as saying.

The union of tobacco workers, part of the KNSB labor union, said it feared government had no plan for the future of Bulgartabak.

The two unions announced that in two weeks time, the workers from the four Bulgartabac Holding factories would start protests against the raise in excise taxes, as they fear import cigarettes would be sold more than locally produced cigarettes. Since the opening up of the market in 2007, Bulgartabac’s marketshare has dropped to 85%, and workers fear a greater slide.

Smoking population down slightly
Tokyo — Smokers make up 26% of the adult population in Japan, down from 26.3% last year, according to the results of a recent survey.

The Japan Smoking Rate Survey has been carried out annually by Japan Tobacco Inc (JT) since 1965. This year’s survey was conducted this past May using a stratified two-stage sampling method, mailed to 32,000 adult men and women nationwide. JT collected 19,205 (60%) valid responses.

The survey found 40.2% of men were found to be smokers this year, down from 41.3% last year; while the smoking rate for women had moved up slightly, from 12.4% last year to 12.7% this year.

Using figures from the survey and April 1 figures from the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showing an adult population made up of 50.14 mn men and 53.88 mn women, Japan’s smoking population stands at 27 mn, made up of 20.16 mn men and 6.84 mn women. Last year, it was estimated that the total smoking population was 27.33 mn, made up of 20.66 mn men and 6.67 mn women.

Philip Morris to help curb cigarette smuggling in Lebanon
Beirut — Lebanon recently signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Philip Morris to help end tobacco and cigarette smuggling into the country.

Philip Morris plans to train the Lebanese Regie company—a government controlled entity, which holds a monopoly in the production of tobacco and import of cigarettes—to detect counterfeited cigarettes. Officials say the smuggling is depriving the treasury with millions of dollars in revenues.

Regie and Philip Morris will also exchange information on cigarette smuggling and disclose the names of the smugglers. Regie imports raw tobacco and cigarettes into Lebanon from international manufacturers.

Small island nation plans to buy off smokers
Alofi — The Pacific nation of Niue, population 1,500, plans to become tobacco-smoke free by paying its 200 smokers to quit, according to an Australian Associated Press report.

Young Vivian, the Premier of Niue, which is a self-governing territory of New Zealand, says that it would be cheaper to pay the island’s smokers up to $1,700 each to quit than it was to continue to pay for their health-care costs.

In the meantime, a bill is due to be tabled in parliament banning smoking in all public places, worksites, government departments, and tourist areas.

More than 3,000 buyers of contraband cigarettes nabbed
Singapore City — Singapore Customs is clamping down on the demand for contraband cigarettes at the street level in order to curb smuggling.

Some 3,000 buyers who had bought contraband cigarettes from street peddlers were booked in the first half of this year. This number is a four-fold increase over the same period last year.

Singapore Customs said the number of peddlers caught also went up by 20% from 381 in the first six months of last year to 456 in the first half of this year.

From January to June this year, 2.5 mn duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized, up from 2.3 mn over the same period last year.

Tobacco International - November, 2007
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