ASH Daily News 2 August 2017



UK

  • Serious Fraud Office opens investigation into BAT bribery claims
  • Tobacco Industry launches new campaign to crackdown on cigarette smuggling

International

  • Indonesia: Tobacco Companies’ veiled marketing tactics
  • New Zealand: New pathway for smokeless tobacco products
  • New Zealand: Stop smoking services producing good results

 

UK

Serious Fraud Office opens investigation into BAT bribery claims

Allegations that British American Tobacco (BAT) was involved in bribery and corruption in Africa are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, despite the cigarette company’s attempts to downplay the significance of a whistleblower who handed over a dossier of evidence.

BAT, now the largest tobacco company in the world after its recent merger with Reynolds, has consistently denied the allegations of Paul Hopkins, whom it employed in Africa for 13 years. When Hopkins handed over a large number of documents to the SFO in December 2015, BAT dismissed him as “a rogue former employee”.

The company later toned down its criticism, stating that it had appointed a team of external legal advisers to investigate the charges. The SFO’s inquiries have now become a formal investigation. In a statement it said it was “investigating suspicions of corruption in the conduct of business by BAT, its subsidiaries and associated persons”. It invited members of the public to come forward with any evidence they might have.

Source: The Guardian, 2 August 2017
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Tobacco Industry launches new campaign to crackdown on cigarette smuggling

A tobacco anti-smuggling campaign has been launched at Glasgow & Edinburgh airports to tackle illicit cigarette smuggling.

The Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA), the trade association representing the UK tobacco industry, is looking to crack down on the sale of non-UK duty paid tobacco from high-risk routes into the UK which is then sold on illegally.

The campaign over the summer, which has run in previous years, will feature adverts at the Scottish airport hubs, as well as other international ports and airports and online

Editorial Note: The tobacco industry routinely both exaggerates the extent of illicit trade and misrepresents the nature of the illicit market. More information can be found on the ASH website.

Source: The Herald, 1 August 2017
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International

Indonesia: Tobacco Companies’ veiled marketing tactics

Anti-smoking groups in Indonesia have denounced tobacco companies for promoting sales by giving retailers cash rewards, shopping vouchers and even money for renovations. Authorities have been urged to enforce advertising curbs to safeguard public health.

Indonesia has laws to restrict cigarette advertisements, including a ban on tobacco firms promoting their products while acting as a sponsor, but this is inconsistently enforced. Cigarette makers are making the most of this.

A shop-owner in Tangerang, said as a Sampoerna (owned by Phillip Morris International) partner he has to follow the company’s display requirements for its products and is not allowed to sell other cigarette brands. In return, Sampoerna has given him free cigarette packs, shopping vouchers, banners and even a million rupiah ($75) to paint his shop.

Source: Reuters, 2 August 2017
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New Zealand: New pathway for smokeless tobacco products

The New Zealand Government will establish a pre-market approval system for smokeless tobacco and nicotine-delivery products other than e-cigarettes, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.

This follows a decision in March to legalise the sale of e-cigarettes. An amendment to the Smokefree Environments Act will be introduced into Parliament in early 2018.

Source: Scoop, 2 August 2017
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New Zealand: Stop smoking services producing good results

An overhaul of smoking cessation services has had a significant impact on quit rates, New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.

Sixteen new regional smoking cessation services began operating in July last year with the aim of better supporting smokers who need help to quit, especially Māori, Pacific and pregnant women.
“What’s really telling is the significant improvement in the overall quit rate,” Ms Wagner says. “The rate has jumped from 34% in 2014/15 to 44% for the year to date.”

Source: Scoop, 1 August 2017
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