Tag Archives: cigarette sales

BAT eyes 3-fold hike in PH cigarette sales

BAT Cigarettes

London-based British American Tobacco (BAT) is looking at a three-fold increase in the number of sticks it will sell in the Philippines this year compared to 2009 when it decided to pull out of the country.

BAT Philippines head for corporate and regulatory affais Roberto Eugenio said the company is looking at selling 150 million sticks after relaunching the Lucky Strike brand in the Philippines last February.

BAT Cigarettes

BAT's cigarette brands: Lucky Strike and Pall Mall

This is three times the 50 million sticks sold in 2009 before the company decided to pull out its Lucky Strike and Dunhill brands in the Philippines.

Eugenio said the company is looking at launching the Lucky Strike brand that is currently being sold in 7-11 convenence stores by the middle of the year.

He added that BAT is currently negotiating with other retailers including Puregold to carry the Lucky Strike brand.

According to Eugenio, BAT is supporting House Bill 5727 Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya of Cavite that seeks to change the current multi-rate specific structure of the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products by adopting a unitary rate and raise additional P60 billion for the government coffers.

The proposal seeks to shift to a much simpler structure by adopting a unitary rate which would address problems attendant to the current multi-rate specific structure of the excise tax like unfair tax treatment between and among tobacco and alcohol products.

The bill proposes a three-year transition period in unifying the tax rates on cigarettes and distilled spirits. The tax structure for fermented liquor will be immediately unified on the first year of the reform.

An essential feature of the bill, Abaya said, is the automatic adjustment of the tax rates using the relevant National Statistics Office-established tobacco and alcohol indexes. The adjustment would allow the specific rates to track inflation and maintain the buoyancy of the revenues from this source.

“It doesn’t mean imported products will get cheaper but it means that everything will be taxed. We just want it to be fair and level playing field and there should be no distinction between old brands and new brands,” he explained.

The country’s 100 billion stick cigarette market is dominated by the joint venture between Swiss-owned Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco of tycoon Lucio Tan.

Kentucky Cigarette Retailer Evaded Paying about $2 Million in Taxes

A cigarette wholesaler being under the observation of federal agents for a decade has been fined in Kentucky for using false invoices in order to avoid paying charges on millions of dollar’s worth of tobacco products that he sold in several US states.

For instance in 2002, prosecutors in Texas secretly tapped the line of a 41-year-old Pedro “Peter” Bello of Miami, Fla. He was involved in several investigations related to untaxed tobacco products, but has never charged until now.

cigarette retailers evaded taxes

Kentucky Cigarette Retailer Evaded Paying about $2 Million in Taxes

Bello was arrested recently on conspiracy charge for wire fraud. According to police officers he bought a great number of cigarettes in Kentucky and used invoices written by a company he owned in Missouri in order to escape from paying sales taxes. Then he sold these cigarettes and gained big profits.

The official accusation against him states that his Louisville-based company eluded to pay about $2 million in taxes on $12 million worth of smokes it sold. But as states a police officer the main aim of his actions was much larger.

The federal government took sever measures against contraband cigarettes sold by people through various people and businesses through illegal ways in order to avoid paying taxes. The Department of Justice declared that the state lose about $5 billion annually in tax revenue from the illegal cigarette sale.

Federal case materials from Kentucky, New York and Texas represent Bello as a man implicated in selling millions of cigarettes all around the country without paying taxes to particular states.

Bello was investigated by Texas officials in 2002. Thousand of people suspected in illegal cigarette sale were secretly listened on cell phones. He avoided formal accusation of crime in a remarkable manner, but 15 others were accused, with 13 people pleading guilty.

For such a crime the law stipulates a punishment from a year to six years behind bars.

The present case against Bello is also related to an ongoing case in Kentucky against Chavez Inc., who sold tobacco products online before federal investigators stopped it 2009.

Bello is often mentioned in search warrants released for Chavez Inc., written by John Black, a representative for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The company is suspected of selling $132 million in smoking products online while evading paying taxes to states and including $2.3 million in excise taxes owned to Kentucky.

Black declared that Chavez shipped untaxed tobacco products to Indiana, Michigan, Montana, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Chavez and Bello are both subjected to a civil suit for illegally shipping cigarettes, which then were sold untaxed on the black market. The suit seeks $6.5 million in unpaid taxes from Chavez and its main New York customers.

Be happy, no butts, Bhutan’s smokers told

THIMPHU, Bhutan – In the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, a street vendor offering snacks and drinks is secretly selling cigarettes to two customers – a transaction that could put him in jail for five years.

In hushed tones, the young men ask for a packet of 10 and the contraband is handed over wrapped in paper and hastily shoved inside the large pouch at the front of their traditional tunics.

“You can find them all over, but you need to know someone,” one of the buyers said as he scuttled away. “It’s dangerous though. He (the seller) could land in jail.”

Bhutan, an insular and isolated Himalayan kingdom sandwiched between India and China, brought in the strictest anti-smoking laws in the world this year in a bid to stub out the damaging habit.

BE HAPPY, NO BUTTS, BHUTAN’S SMOKERS TOLD

BE HAPPY, NO BUTTS, BHUTAN’S SMOKERS TOLD

The sale of tobacco in Buddhist-majority Bhutan was already banned, as was smoking in public places, but the new law sought to crack down on smuggling by introducing a prison term for offenders.

Known as the Tobacco Control Act, the legislation does not make smoking illegal, but it restricts smokers to private use of a maximum of 200 grams of tobacco and 200 cigarettes per month that can be legally imported.

Users have to keep the customs receipts to prove that duties of up to 200 percent have been paid.

In March, a 23-year-old monk became the first person convicted and sentenced to three years in prison after he was caught with just 2.50-dollars (S$3) worth of undeclared chewing tobacco.

Since then, more than 50 people have been arrested, including an 81-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy.

“We are doing this for the good health and well-being of our people,” explains Kinley Dorji, the executive director of the Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency, which has overseen the implementation of the law.

“People in the world are full of habits and addictions and sometimes they are not easy to give up,” he told AFP.

But sending small-time users to jail, particularly those in apparent ignorance of the law, has caused an outcry and proved a test for Bhutan’s fledgling democracy.

“We don’t question the good intention. Tobacco kills people, but smoking has been there for centuries. Overnight people cannot stop,” says 39-year-old Tashi Gyeltshen, who has spearheaded protests on Facebook.

“Everyone agrees that the prison term is a mistake,” he told AFP.

Parliamentary opposition leader Tshering Tobgay has also been a vociferous critic.

Faced with hostile media coverage and public dissent – unheard of in Bhutan during the days of absolute monarchy which came to an end in 2008 – new guidelines have been brought in recommending fines for small-time users.

Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley admitted to AFP in an interview that the law imposed “excessive punishment” on those caught in possession of small quantities of tobacco and this would be reviewed later this year.

“I don’t think we have the right balance,” he said in his office. “I am hoping that we will be able to make amendments… The kind of punishment is something that I think needs to be looked at.”

The government argues, however, that the law will ease the tobacco-related burden on the country’s free healthcare system and ultimately help users, many of whom confess to wanting to give up anyway.

Supporters point to World Health Organisation data that show six million people die annually from tobacco, with 80 percent of those deaths in developing countries like Bhutan.

So has the country famed for seeking “Gross National Happiness” for its citizens instead of pure economic development, been successful in restricting tobacco use?

A survey in 2009 funded by international anti-tobacco groups found that just 2.8 percent of people smoked in Bhutan, compared to 31.4 percent in China.

But after dark in the capital, Bhutanese of all ages can be found defying “No Smoking” signs in the back-street bars of the capital.

Glowing red embers are a frequent sight down the alleyways leading from the main streets, and smokers can be seen indulging at nightclubs and at the city’s only bowling alley.

Most say they buy their cigarettes off black market vendors.

“I can go anywhere and get cigarettes, but the cost has really gone up,” says Gyeltshen, who jointly set up the “Amend the Tobacco Control Act” Facebook group which has more than 2,600 members.

In some areas, however, the law appears to be having an effect.

The Bhutan Today newspaper reported that construction companies have complained to the government because their Indian labourers are deserting because they can’t live without tobacco.

Dorji from the Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency says that his organisation, working with the police and customs, has been “very successful” in controlling tobacco use.

“There may be a black market, but the fact is that it has been reduced a lot,” he says.

The agency’s legal officer Sonam Tshering defends restricting a habit seen as “un-Bhutanese” in this fiercely proud country, but he admits they will never be able to completely stop contraband.

“In Singapore, for example, they have the death sentence for drug trafficking, but there are still cases there. People still take the risk.”

A smokin’ holiday in Fiji as shopkeepers encouraged to push cigs

The tobacco company offered 100 holidays on the Coral Coast, Fiji’s most exclusive enclave, to IGA stores and other retailers to sell more cigarettes.

To be eligible, the shopkeepers had to sell at least 10,000 cigarettes between 11 April and 5 June – or lift sales by five per cent.

To win, retailers also had to promise never to run out of stock of BATA cigarettes. With pictures of sandy beaches, golf courses and exotic Fijian dancers, the BATA competition promises winners “guest speakers and industry experts from the world of retail, themed dinners, a range of great activities, five-star luxury accommodation plus opportunities to win other amazing prizes.”

The tobacco company offered 100 holidays on the Coral Coast to retailers to sell more cigarettes.

The tobacco company offered 100 holidays on the Coral Coast to retailers to sell more cigarettes.

The holiday was taking place from 22-25 July.

It is illegal for tobacco companies to advertise directly to consumers or run consumer competitions – but they can run promotions for retailers, in what anti-smoking groups say is a “loophole” that must be closed.

BATA are the makers of Winfield, Dunhill, Benson & Hedges, Pall Mall and Holiday cigarettes. Anti-smoking group Ash Australia described the promotion as exploitation of retailers by the tobacco industry. Ash chief Anne Jones said: “The retailers are being used as the front line for the tobacco industry. These are incentives for retailers to sell products that cause disease, and they should be banned.”

However, BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre said the promotion was legal. He added: “BATA values the relationships we have with our retailers – which is why we have organised a number of industry experts and guest speakers to engage with them about best-practice retailing, improving customer service and growing their business.

“The program applies to 100 of the 30,000 plus retailers in Australia.”

The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal rival tobacco giant Imperial has given retailers a “cheat sheet” on campaigning against the federal gov- ernment’s proposed plain-pack laws, due to be voted upon in August.

The Imperial Tobacco pamphlet urges retailers to claim they are afraid of the plain-pack laws being extended to other products.

“Next could be food and drink. Where will it stop?” the Imperial pamphlet asks in a series of pointers for retailers to include in their submissions to a House of Representatives committee presently considering the plain-pack laws.

“When sending your submission, you may choose to include views such as: There is no evidence anywhere in the world that plain packs will work (and) if cigarettes are not on display, plain packaging does not make sense and is bureaucracy gone mad,” the pamphlet said.

Imperial did not respond or comment on The Sunday Telegraph’s questions.

R.J. Reynolds employees come to Tallahassee to support Citizens for Fairness in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – April 5, 2011 – Almost 100 Florida-based employees of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company arrived in Tallahassee today in support of Citizens for Fairness in Florida (CFF). CFF is a coalition of individuals, retailers, manufacturers, health care advocates and statewide organizations, working to ensure that all cigarette companies are treated equally in the state. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is a member of the coalition.

R.J. Reynolds, head of Reynolds Tobacco Company

R.J. Reynolds, head of Reynolds Tobacco Company

CFF held a rally and march to the capitol in support of HB 1207, sponsored by Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne. HB 1207 would close a loophole in Florida law that has created an unfair pricing advantage for some Florida cigarette makers. The loophole is a result of the 1997 tobacco settlement. Tobacco companies that signed the settlement pay more than $350 million a year to the state totaling more than $6 billion since 1998. Tobacco companies that were not part of the agreement pay nothing in the form of settlement payments to the state.

“It’s an issue of fairness,” said Andrea Garrison of Orlando and an employee of R.J. Reynolds. “Our employees live, work and pay taxes in Florida, too. Our jobs matter just as much as others’.”

HB 1207 would place an assessment of $0.52 per pack on cigarettes sold by tobacco companies that were not part of the 1997 agreement. The assessment would generate around $50 million annually for the state. Opponents of the legislation – namely Dosal Tobacco Company of Opa-Locka – argue that such an assessment would cause job loss and potentially put them out of business. Dosal has about 150 full-time employees in the state, while R.J. Reynolds has about 130 Florida-based employees.

“Dosal is the third-largest tobacco company in Florida,” said Garrison. “Why should the state be subsidizing their cigarette sales?” Dosal currently sells cigarettes in 14 other states. In each of those states the company pays into funds set up as a result of the settlement. “If they can pay in the other states, they can pay here in Florida. All cigarette companies should be treated the same,” added Garrison.

“We want to send a clear message to the legislature,” said Garrison. “We’re Floridians too. All we want is a level playing field.”

Kentucky Smoking Ban

A bill to enact a statewide ban on smoking in Kentucky workplaces should be as simple as ABC. Instead, evidently, it will face a steep, and probably insuperable, intense battles.

kentucky-tobacco-ban

The cost that smoking-related diseases extort is scaring. In accordance with the Federal Centers for Disease Control, the annual mortality ratio constitutes 443,000 Americans, thus making smoking the largest preventable cause of death. Approximately 49,000 people die because of dangerous influences of secondhand smoke. In the mean, deceased smokers are losing between 13 and 14 years of life. For every death caused by tobacco smoke, there are about 20 Americans having a smoking-related disease.

The financial expenses are as well surprising. Each year, only medical costs amount for $96 billion, and the price tag of lost productivity constitutes nearly $97 billion. In Kentucky, the statistics are inferior to that of national averages. The state is occupying the same place as West Virginia for their nation’s highest adult smoking rate- 25.6% in comparison to 20.6% national rate.

Thus Kentucky rates among the top states for lung and cardiovascular disease.

33 states and the District of Columbia have particular forms of statewide smoke-free laws. Support on the part of population is increasing even in Indiana, tied with Missouri for the nation’s growing adult smoking rate at 23.1%. And namely this national trend Kentucky should affiliate with.

As the tobacco production has dropped in Kentucky, the state’s politicians are no longer as blindly opposed to anti-smoking actions as they were in the past years. But there is still a powerful historical and emotional link to tobacco growing and cigarette production in the state, and that is why smoke-free policies continue to be debatable and unpopular in many quarters.

Probably the most common argument against the ban is that intervenes with personal freedom, which can be quickly dismissed. Secondhand smoke causes very dangerous harm to many people besides smokers themselves, especially children, people with respiratory diseases and workers in restaurants and bars. It should not be any freedom to endanger them.

One more objection is that smoking bans should be put into practice by local governments and it has some merit. 28 Kentucky communities in 2007 have really adopted various public smoking bans, and some of the proposers of a statewide ban admit that local measures and enforcement are practically effective smoking restrictions. Though, a state ban would fill in gaps where bans didn’t come into force, fix minimum standards for anti-smoking policies and be a protection against backsliding.

Government Plans to Ban Cigarette Vending Machines

Government wants to prohibit cigarette vending machines in order to stop minority smoking.

The National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators (NACHO) declared that there was no need to implement a ban as it had created and introduced a secure radio frequency system which blocked machines and prohibited minors to make any purchase.

cigarette-vending-machines

But a judge was against operators.

“It was well known from the start that Government legislative policy is aimed at discouraging people from smoking tobacco products and to undertake progressive measures in order to decrease its dangerous consequences. As regards the given case, the ban was just the best one to achieve the legislative objectives which I have determined, and didn’t overstep what was necessary, presenting the Parliamentary judgment that the system for age restriction technology was inappropriate,” stated Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

The judge declined a petition by Sinclair Collis Ltd, an affiliated of Imperial Tobacco Ltd, trying to abrogate the proposed ban, which is planned to be implemented in October, 1 2011.

The given petition was also supported by the member of NACHO.

Sinclair Collis went against the legality of provisions of the Health Act 2009 and the Protection from Tobacco Regulations 2010.

“The Act and regulations contradict EU law,” declared, Dinah Rose Quality Controller of the company.

“It was evident that measures designated for smoking reduction were likely to hart business or individuals who coined their money thanks to production or sale of tobacco products,” declared judge, Sir Anthony May.

The given ban would negatively influence more than 50,000 vending machines in the UK and some 550 people who work in this industry, with several hundreds employed by providers. Only Sinclair Lewis has at its disposition more than 20,000 machines and rest are owned by the independent operators. According to the judge tobacco products from vending machines cost essentially more than those sold in shops, and vending machine in a pub might ensure the publican with an annual rental payments of £300-£700.

The given machines also assure a sales location in hotels, nightclubs and bars.

According to the estimated data, commodity circulation of the industry in 2004 constituted £434 million, even though there was clear evidence that it had decreased since then.

NACHO had calculated that the annual gross profit of the given industry constituted approximately £102 million.

But the judge pronounced the general interest in local and EU law in the protection of human health declaring that the ban was neither baseless nor inappropriate.

A New Decline of Tobacco Sales to Minors

Tobacco sales to minors fell in Santa Barbara. The new smoking decline is attributed to a variety of factors involving the increased price of cigarettes, powerful local tobacco retailers’ licensing laws, state and local pressure plus continually public education via media ads placed on television and on major motion picture DVDs.

Minor tobacco sales decline

But cigarettes sales continue to be increased significantly in other areas of the county.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said that Guadalupe was the only city in the county that didn’t sell any tobacco to a minor during secret buy actions last year.

For example illegal sales increased in Goleta, Buellton, Lompoc, Solvang and not unified areas of the county compared with 2008’s rates, while sales decreased in Carpinteria and Santa Maria.

Researchers showed in a recent study that in 2008, 18 percent of tobacco retailers in Santa Barbara sold to minors, vs. 2 percent in 2009. But in Goleta, the cigarettes sales rate increased from 13 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2009. However, Carpinteria reported a 4 percent drop, to 20 percent.

The Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department studied annual illegal tobacco sales in which youths try to buy tobacco products.

“I have been working on an overture that I will be bringing to the Board shortly, which will set measures on tobacco retailing near schools throughout the county,” First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal explained.

Licensing laws in Santa Barbara County require that businesses selling tobacco products get an annual permission and abide by all tobacco-related laws, including especially those concerning sales to minors. Default to fulfill results in a successive series of punishments, with the possible for license intermission and a ruin of their ability to sell tobacco products.

“Despite the fact that tobacco licensing laws at present exist in the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta and in the unincorporated areas of the county, the existing laws are almost a decade old. A modification of these laws would help because strong tobacco retail licensing laws are proven to have a explicit and stable effect in decreasing illegal sales to minors,” Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program administrator Dawn Dunn said.

Researchers concluded that however underage use of tobacco remains a serious problem and decreasing illegal sales to minors remained an important component of state tobacco control efforts.

Unlawful Cigarette Contrabands Continue their Business

Over the past several years, the illicit tobacco trade has reemerged as one of the most lucrative smuggling operations in the United States and around the Globe. The World Health Organization has estimated that illicit cigarettes account for 10.7 percent, or approximately 600 billion cigarettes, of the more than 5.7 trillion cigarettes sold globally each year.

Contraband cigarettes

The sales of illegal cigarettes will never end. Almost all scientists declared that even the smoking ban increased the unlawful cigarettes sales. For example, a recent study showed that more than 60,000 illegal smoking products and almost 160 kilos of tobacco, including a haul hided in boxing punch bags, have been seized in south Wales.

This week as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) continues its severe measures on those who import and sell non duty paid tobacco products.

Officers visiting Swansea and Carmarthenshire seized more than 32,000 cigarettes, 83 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, 60 cigars and a vehicle. The biggest haul was in Llanelli, where 80 kilos of tobacco and 8,100 cigarettes were found after an investigation of a garage and a car parked outside a domestic property.

Officers reported that they also worked in the south Wales valleys where they seized over 22,000 illicit cigarettes and 16 kilos of hand rolling tobacco. In Pontypridd, officers seized 7,600 cigarettes and almost 5 kilos of tobacco from a commercial property, along with 9060 cigarettes and almost 10 kilos of tobacco from a house in the town.

Keith Morgan, Specialist Investigations for HMRC said: “Our teams continue to use information to identify, examine and follow those whose benefits come from avoiding tax. These criminals act at an advantage over law permanent businesses and customers who pay the right amount of duty on their tobacco products. By buying cigarettes at cheap prices, customers unwillingly start trading with criminals who often use their ill gotten gains to fund other, more serious criminal activity.”

Morgan added: “I would urge people tempted by cheap tobacco to think twice before handing over their cash – you could be helping to finance drug smuggling and more.”

In general, in its operations, the contraband and counterfeit tobacco trade is very similar to other types or illicit activities.