Sheffield: Shop landed with £777,600 tax bill for selling black market tobacco
As part of a new HM Revenue and Customs crackdown on illicit tobacco, HMRC has sent tax bills to businesses which have repeatedly been caught selling illicit tobacco. A total of 51 tax bills totalling £11.5 million have been issued across the country.
As part of this recent uptick in HMRC activity, a Sheffield store has been landed with a £777,600 fine for selling tobacco on the black market. The huge tax bill came after investigations revealed illegal income from the sale of illicit tobacco was equal to 89% of this particular business’ declared turnover.
Source: The Star (Sheffield), 25 September 2018
New Asean tobacco atlas reveals extent of tobacco addiction in South East Asia
The fourth edition of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Tobacco Control Atlas was released yesterday (26 September), by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) at the 3rd UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases. Among more than 7 million people killed by tobacco-related diseases globally each year, more than 500,000 occur in Southeast Asia, according to the latest data. Among Asean countries, male adult smoking prevalence is highest in Indonesia at 66% and lowest in Singapore at 21.1%.
All 10 Asean countries have implemented pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs, four of which are among the biggest in the world – Thailand (85% front and back of the pack), Brunei, Laos and Myanmar (75%), while Singapore and Thailand are in advanced preparatory stages to require plain packaging. Tobacco tax policies have been strengthened in Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and have helped to reduce affordability of tobacco products. However cigarette prices remain affordable and low (less than $1 per pack) in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Source: The Nation (Thailand), 27 September 2018
British American Tobacco’s use of social media influencers to sell cigarettes faces legal complaint in Brazil
British American Tobacco (BAT) faces a new legal complaint in Brazil for the company’s use of social media influencers to advertise cigarettes on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Brazil is the second country in which legal action has been initiated as the result of big tobacco’s clandestine use of social media to advertise cigarettes.
Filed with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Sao Paulo and Brazil’s Consumer Protection Agency, the complaint details how social media campaigns for Kent, Lucky Strike and Dunhill cigarettes have violated Brazilian laws designed to curb smoking rates. The complaint was filed by ACT Brazil, a leading Brazilian advocacy group, and was supported by several Brazilian and international public health groups. The social media campaigns identified in Brazil featured industry-driven hashtags with social media influencers hired to promote cigarette brands, making it difficult for consumers to identify this tactic as paid advertisements for cigarettes.
Source: PR Newswire, 26 September 2018
Industry groups call on World Health Organisation to change stance on vaping
An international coalition of vaping industry groups has called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reform its stance on vaping regulations. Vaping advocacy groups from sixteen countries have called on the agency to reverse its stance that members states can ban vaping products outright as part of their tobacco control plans.
Lead by the UK Vaping Industry Association (which includes tobacco industry members), the group is demanding the WHO aligns its guidance with states such as the UK and New Zealand, which advocate smokers switching to vaping to wean smokers off conventional tobacco products, as part of harm-reduction policy.
Source: City A.M. 26 September 2018