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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tobacco monopoly looks to raise market share

The state-owned Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) remains the single largest buyer of tobacco produced locally.

Thailand Tobacco
Thailand-Tobacco-Monopoly building
The agency bought 21,970 tonnes of leaf in 2010, 36% of an estimated 60,500 tonnes of leaf grown that year.

TTM also imported 3,470 tonnes of leaf to make 28.9 billion cigarettes for domestic sale and export.
Domestic brands control a 75% share of the market, with the balance imported brands.

But sales in recent years have been decreasing due to an amendment to the excise tariff in 2009 that raised cigarette prices.

In addition, some consumers have switched to low-priced imports or roll-your-own tobacco.

Anti-smoking campaigns launched by government agencies and the private sector have also affected sales volume.

These developments have prompted the state enterprise to outline its strategic plans to improve performance and stay competitive.

Based on TTM's five-year plan, it vows to increase its market share by 0.25 percentage points each year to 77.5% by 2015, with sales revenue of 60 billion baht for a net profit of 5 billion over the period.

A total of 63 projects have been planned to improve operational efficiency and marketing, allow research and development to produce better-quality products, and support more tobacco farmers qualifying for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) criteria.

TTM received cabinet approval in 2007 to build a second tobacco production plant for 16.2 billion baht.
To be located in an industrial estate for more effective control of its environment, TTM decided on Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya.

However, last year's massive flooding made the government nervous, and Chiang Mai has emerged as a new choice.

PMI
Philip Morris International Cooperation
Besides TTM, there are several other suppliers that purchase tobacco for export. Many of them supply tobacco to Philip Morris International Co (PMI), which purchased one billion baht worth of tobacco from Thailand in 2010 or 30% of total Thai tobacco exports.

Like other makers, PMI buys all types of tobacco grown locally - Virginia, Oriental and Burley are mixed for its American blend, the most popular of blended cigarettes.

Philip Morris (Thailand) works closely with growers to promote GAP standards.
The Thai subsidiary commands a 20% share of the domestic market.

Altria reports cigarette sales down but smokeless up

Philip Morris USA’s reported domestic cigarette shipment volume for the whole of 2011, at 135.1 billion, was down by four per cent on that of 2010, primarily due to retail share losses and one less shipping day, partially offset by changes in trade inventories.

Marlboro’s volume, at 117.2 billion, was down by 3.8 per cent, while the volume of the company’s other premium brands fell by 9.1 per cent to 9.4 billion and its discount brands volume fell by 0.9 per cent to 8.5 billion.

Philip Morris
Philip Morris USA, a property of Altria Group.
PM USA’s fourth quarter volume, at 33.7 billion, was up by 0.2 per cent on that of the last quarter of 2010, primarily due to trade inventory dynamics, partially offset by retail share losses and one less shipping day.

Marlboro’s volume during the fourth quarter of 2011 was down by 0.6 per cent to 29.0 billion and the volume of the company’s other premium brands was down by 7.2 per cent to 2.3 billion, but its discount brands volume was increased by 19.7 per cent to 2.4 billion.

After adjusting for changes in trade inventories and one less shipping day, PM USA’s 2011 fourth-quarter and full-year volumes were estimated to be down about three per cent and four per cent respectively.

Total cigarette market volume for the fourth quarter and full year of 2011 was estimated to be down about 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively, when adjusted primarily for changes in trade inventories and one less shipping day.

PM USA’s retail share of the cigarette market during 2011 was down by 0.8 of a percentage point to 49.0 per cent.

Marlboro’s share was down by 0.6 of a percentage point to 42.0 per cent, while the share of its other premium brands was down by 0.2 of a percentage point to 3.7 per cent and its discount brands’ share was unchanged at 3.3 per cent.

Altria reported its fourth quarter and full-year results on Friday. The tobacco company’s 2011 reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) were down by 6.8 per cent to $0.41 for the fourth quarter and down by 12.3 per cent to $1.64 for the full year, primarily due to the impact of special items, including a 2011 second-quarter charge related to certain leveraged lease transactions, 2011 fourth-quarter restructuring charges related to a cost reduction program announced in October 2011, and charges related to tobacco and health judgments.

Marlboro Filter Plus
Marlboro Filter Plus cigarettes
Altria’s 2011 adjusted diluted EPS, which excludes the impact of special items, including charges related to tobacco and health judgments, were up by 13.6 per cent to $0.50 for the fourth quarter and up by 7.9 per cent to $2.05 for the full year.

Meanwhile, smokeless tobacco volume during the full year 2011, at 734.6 million (cans and packs), was up by 1.4 per cent on that of the full year 2010.

Copenhagen’s volume rose by 8.2 per cent to 354.2 million and Skoal’s volume was up by 4.5 per cent to 286.8 million, but the volume of other brands taken together was down by 23.6 per cent to 93.6 million.

During the fourth quarter of 2011, total smokeless product volume was up by 9.7 per cent to 189.3 million.
Copenhagen’s volume was increased by 15.9 per cent to 95.7 million, Skoal’s volume was up by 9.4 per cent to 71.9 million, but the volume of other products was down by 10.4 per cent to 21.7 million.

During the full year 2011, the company’s share of the smokeless market fell by 0.1 of a percentage point to 55.1 per cent.

Copenhagen’s share was up by 1.5 percentage points to 26.2 per cent, while Skoal’s share was down by 0.5 of a percentage point to 22.8 per cent and the share of the company’s other smokeless products fell by 1.1 percentage points to 6.1 per cent.

Cigar volume during the full year 2011 was unchanged at 1,246 million, though the volume of Black & Mild cigars, at 1,226 million, was up by 0.3 per cent.

The fourth quarter saw cigar volume down by 5.6 per cent to 286 million, with Black & Mild’s volume down 5.5 per cent to 281 million.

The company’s cigar share during the full year was up by 0.4 of a percentage point to 29.8 per cent, with Black & Mild’s share up by 0.5of a percentage point to 29.5 per cent.

“Altria delivered strong returns for its shareholders in 2011 in a challenging business environment while taking steps to continue creating shareholder value into the future,” said Michael E. Szymanczyk, chairman and CEO of Altria. “Altria grew its redefined adjusted diluted EPS by 7.9 per cent behind the strength of our tobacco and wine businesses.

“Altria outperformed the S&P 500 Index for the twelfth consecutive year and delivered total shareholder return of 26.9 per cent. In 2011, Altria created shareholder value by increasing its dividend by 7.9 per cent, repurchasing $1.3 billion of its shares, completing a $1.5 billion 2007 to 2011 cost reduction program and announcing a new cost reduction program for its tobacco and services companies in October.”

Szymanczyk then turned to lower risk products. “Altria continues to focus on developing lower risk products that appeal to adult tobacco consumers,” he said. “To support this goal, I am pleased to announce that Altria Client Services has entered into an agreement with Okono A/S, an affiliate of Fertin Pharma A/S, to develop innovative, non-combustible nicotine-containing products for adult tobacco consumers. This new product initiative combines the expertise of the Altria family of companies with Okono and its affiliates' product development and manufacturing capabilities.”

Szymanczyk is to retire after 23 years with the company, including four years as chairman and CEO of Altria.
The board has elected Martin J. Barrington to serve as chairman and CEO, effective upon Szymanczyk’s retirement following the annual meeting of shareholders on May 17. The board has elected Barrington to Altria’s board, effective immediately.

Additionally, the board elected David R. Beran, to serve as president and COO, effective May 17, and approved a consulting agreement with Szymanczyk for an initial period ending January 31, 2014.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Earnings Preview: Altria Group Inc.

Altria Group Inc., parent of the biggest U.S. cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, is expected to report higher fourth-quarter profit and revenue when it releases its results before the stock market opens Friday.

Altria
Tobacco company Altria Group Inc.
As Americans buy fewer cigarettes amid increasing health concerns and rising tobacco taxes, Altria's volumes have fallen markedly, but the company has managed to maintain its profit by raising its prices.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Whether Marlboro, the top-selling U.S. cigarette brand, can retain its command of the market. Richmond-based Altria said its top-selling Marlboro brand lost almost 1 percentage point of market share in the third quarter to end up with 41.7 percent of the U.S. market. Its Virginia Slims, Parliament and Basic brands also lost retail market share.

Volume declines for Marlboro drove down the total number of cigarettes Altria sold by 9 percent to 33.3 billion cigarettes for the quarter compared with a year earlier, even though volume for its discount cigarette brands increased 9.5 percent.

Altria has introduced several new products with the Marlboro brand, often with lower promotional pricing. They include special blends of both menthol and non-menthol cigarettes to try to keep the brand growing and steal smokers from its competitors.

But the company still faces pressure in the current economy from less-expensive brands like Pall Mall from Reynolds American Inc. and Maverick from Lorillard Inc. Even so, Altria has raised prices on some brands and maintained its profit per pack. Marlboro sold for an average of $5.74 per pack during the third quarter, compared with an average of $4.22 per pack for the cheapest brand, Altria said.

Marlboro Gold Touch
Marlboro Gold Touch and Marlboro Gold Fine Touch cigarettes
Altria and other tobacco companies also are looking to cigarette alternatives — such as cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco — for growth. So analysts will want to see how Altria's Black & Mild cigars and Copenhagen and Skoal smokeless tobacco products, as well as Marlboro Snus, perform. It also owns a wine business, which saw gains in the quarter, holds a voting stake in brewer SABMiller, and has a financial services division.

Smokeless tobacco volumes were essentially flat in the third quarter and had 55.2 percent of the market, which is tiny compared with cigarettes. Volume for cigars grew about 4 percent during the period.

Altria, the first of the nation's largest tobacco companies to report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings, continues to work on cutting general and manufacturing costs. Last quarter the company announced plans for an additional $400 million in cost savings by the end of 2013 in advance of anticipated cigarette volume declines industrywide. It said the restructuring charges will total 11 cents per share in the fourth quarter.

WHY IT MATTERS: Increased spending on premium brands like Marlboro could signal consumers are adjusting to paying more for cigarettes following federal and state tax increases. Consumer spending continues to be critical to a strong rebound from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts expect Altria to earn 49 cents per share on sales of $4.23 billion, according to FactSet.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Altria reported net income of 44 cents per share on revenue of $4.14 billion. Figures for both periods exclude excise taxes the company passes through to the government.

Workplaces ban not only smoking, but smokers themselves

As bans on smoking sweep the USA, an increasing number of employers — primarily hospitals — are also imposing bans on smokers. They won't hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches.

Such tobacco-free hiring policies, designed to promote health and reduce insurance premiums, took effect this month at the Baylor Health Care System in Texas and will apply at the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio, when it opens this year.

"We have to walk the walk if we talk the talk," says Dave Fotsch of Idaho's Central District Health Department, which voted last month to stop hiring smokers.

Smokers' Rights Map
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect smokers' rights (in blue).
Each year, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 premature deaths and costs the nation $193 billion in health bills and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says 19.3% of U.S. adults smoked last year, down from 42.4% in 1965.

"We're trying to promote a complete culture of wellness," says Marcy Marshall of the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., which begins its nicotine-free hiring next month. "We're not denying smokers their right to tobacco products. We're just choosing not to hire them."

The policies stir outrage, even in the public health community.

"These policies represent employment discrimination. It's a very dangerous precedent," says Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University's School of Public Health. He says the restrictions punish smokers rather than helping them quit.

"What's next? Are you not going to hire overly-caffeinated people?" asks Nate Shelman, a smoker and Boise's KBOI radio talk show host whose listeners debated the topic last month. "I'm tired of people seeing smokers as an easy piñata."

After several companies, including Alaska Airlines, adopted smoker-hiring bans a couple of decades ago, the tobacco industry and the American Civil Liberties Union lobbied for smoker rights. As a result, 29 states and the District of Columbia passed smoker-protection laws.

Some laws exempt non-profit groups and the health care industry, and 21 states have no rules against nicotine-free hiring.

Federal laws allow nicotine-free hiring because they don't recognize smokers as a protected class, says Chris Kuzynski with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

There's no data on how many U.S. businesses won't hire smokers, but the trend appears strongest with hospitals, says Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a non-profit offshoot of the ACLU that opposes the hiring bans.

Many of the new policies expand on smoke-free workplace rules. At Bon Secours Virginia Health System, more than 300 employees have kicked the habit since its campuses went smoke-free in 2009, and one applicant did so since it began nicotine-free hiring Nov. 30, says administrative director Kim Coleman.

The bottom line will benefit because health care costs for tobacco users are $3,000 to $4,000 more each year than for non-smokers, says Bon Secours' Cindy Stutts. "There's also an impact on productivity," she says, because smokers take more breaks.

Paul Billings of the American Lung Association says he's seen no data that prove nicotine-free hiring gets people to quit. He says smoking cessation programs are a better bet. Still, his group won't hire smokers: "We're non-smoking exemplars."

Philip Morris International Is Still Looking Like A Good Investment

Shareholders of Philip Morris International (PM) have had a lot to be happy about over the last year. In the latest reported quarter, Q3 2011, the company's net income surged by 30.5% from the prior-year quarter. The company's operating income and free cash flow showed similar increases, climbing 29.7% and 25.6% respectively. Free cash flow for the first nine months of the year surged by 22.1% over the prior year period. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 20.3% to an annualized rate of $3.08 per share.

Philip Morris International
Philip Morris International logo
Philip Morris stock has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 (SPY) index over the last year. The S&P 500 has been relatively flat over the period but Philip Morris International has returned approximately 30% over the 52-week period.

The chart above shows only capital gains and excludes the returns generated in the form of dividends. Philip Morris International has proven itself to be an excellent holding for dividend growth investors in addition to delivering capital gains. Since the company was spun-off from Altria Group (MO) in March 2008, Philip Morris International has raised its dividend by a total of 67.4%. At the time of the spin-off, Philip Morris International paid an annualized dividend of $1.84. The company has raised its dividend every year since then until it reached today's rate of $3.08 per share annualized.

The company's comparatively low yield (relative to its peers) is not a bad thing in this case. As the chart above shows, Philip Morris International has a lower dividend payout ratio than its peers. This means that the company is paying out a lower percentage of its net income than its peers. This could indicate that the dividend is more sustainable. It is certainly safer. For example, if Philip Morris suffered a 30% decline in net income (unlikely, but this is only an example) then the company could still afford to pay its dividend. Contrast this with Altria Group, which would not have the income to pay the dividend in the same situation. A lower dividend payout also provides the company with increased flexibility. This is because the company keeps the money that it does not spend on dividends. This money can be used for other purposes and is preferable to funding projects with debt or equity issuance.

Despite the company's and the stock's very strong performance over the last year, the stock still appears to be priced at a level that could prove profitable for new investors. To reiterate, the stock has substantially outperformed the Standard and Poor's 500 index over the last year but it still does not appear to be overbought. The company actually appears to be undervalued relative to its peers.

Zack's Investment Research estimates that Philip Morris International will earn $4.85 in 2011 (the company will announce its fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 results on February 9) and $5.18 per share in 2012. This would imply that it expects the company to grow earnings by 6.80% year over year. There is some discrepancy over this number though since the site also predicts 10% earnings growth on the same page. The 10% earnings estimate is more in line with the company's historical growth. This tells us that the tobacco company's growth rate is expected to slow but Philip Morris is continuing to show growth potential. This compares favorably with some other tobacco companies such as Altria, which are expected to have declining sales (but still show earnings growth.

Philip Morris International has a PEG ratio of 1.44, which is one of the lowest of its peers.
Philip Morris International looks to be undervalued relative to its peers. The company has already been richly rewarding long-term investors but it looks like it could be poised to continue to deliver strong returns for years to come.

Behind Cigarettes' Brands

Newport Non-Menthol continues to hang in, Marlboro's promotions will keep building share and Pall Mall's performance is increasing, according to retailers in the latest UBS-CSP Tobacco Survey.

Marlboro Cigarettes
Packs of Marlboro cigarettes
As revealed in last week's CSP/Tobacco E-News, retailers in the survey, representing 50 chains and nearly 8,000 stores, expect Philip Morris USA's Marlboro to take the lead in gaining market share in the upcoming year.
When asked, however, if they thought the company's Marlboro Leadership Price (MLP) promotion helped the brand's share trends in 2011, there was a pretty even mix of yes (48%) and no (51%) answers. (The program, implemented last year, in essence, asks operators to forgo part of their typical markup in exchange for incentives).
Retailer responses included:
"I'm in a fair trade state and was already selling at state minimum. Made zero impact on my numbers."
"The price strategy of closing the gap of the premium to discount encourages trade-up by consumers."
Nik Modi, UBS analyst, pointed out that not everyone signed on to the program, estimating about 60% to 70% participation. So, he said, the 48% means "that almost anyone who has signed it is seeing some kind of market share progress."
For Lorillard Inc.'s Newport Non-Menthol, retailers were also evenly split, with 50% on each side of whether the brand has shown year-over-year growth. "What's interesting to me," Modi said, "is the price increase and reductions in the buydown, and the brand is still kind of hanging in there. … It looks like it has more staying power than maybe some people predicted."
Responses included:
"Newport N/M is being retailed as a fourth-tier product with a premium tier name badge. As we all know in this business, price sells."
"It was growing steadily since launch. When they took pricing it dropped down two straight months. Since then it has gradually been increasing, but has not again reached its highest pre-increase level."

Camel Cigarettes
Camel cigarettes packs
For R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 25% of the retailers expect Camel to gain more market share than Marlboro or Newport. Meanwhile, the majority of the retailers (55%) said the company's Pall Mall brand has shown an increase.
Modi said the Pall Mall responses were better than he expected, but added that he sensed the brand is "still under pressure," as it makes most of its volume gains in lower-income regions, where PM USA has stepped up promotion of its L&M brands. To his point, one retailer said "L&M discounts have eaten into Pall Mall sales in the last quarter." Meanwhile, another said RJRT is increasing share because "they are deep discounting Pall Mall and this brand has more awareness than L&M."
Another retailer pointed out an additional reason for growth in the brand. "Due to the large decline in jobs in this area, there has been a large increase in lower price tobacco product sales. I expect this will continue until the economy improves."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ITC’s cigarette biz drives margin improvement

ITC Ltd’s December quarter results show a company in fine form, extracting the most out of its cigarettes’ franchise, with its other businesses providing able support. But it would be natural for shareholders to keep an eye on the national budget.

ITC Logo
ITC Ltd Logo
The government’s desire to increase revenue may see it hike duties on cigarettes. Cigarette companies argue that undue duty hikes only pushes users to illegally sell cigarettes. While the likelihood of a duty hike is higher this year, ITC has proven that it has the capability to ultimately overcome such obstacles in its cigarettes business.

In the December quarter, ITC’s sales rose by 14.2% year-on-year to Rs6,195 crore while net profit rose by 22.5% to Rs1,701 crore.

The cigarettes segment remains a key contributor, with sales growth of 16.6%, while its segment profit margin improved by 180 basis points year-on-year. This segment contributes to about 80% of the profit before interest and tax. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Among other segments, its consumer products division is seen as the business of the future and sales rose by 24.4%, though the segment continues to make a loss. But the positive sign is that the loss keeps getting smaller, even as the business keeps growing. ITC’s chief objective in this business is to use the cash flows from the cigarette business to grow a very large consumer business.

Cigarette prices could rise

ABU DHABI // An increase in the price of cigarettes came one step closer yesterday as the federal government finished its discussions about raising tobacco taxes.

Cigarette Ash
Burning cigarettes in an ashtray
The Ministerial Legislative Committee examined imposing tax on imports of tobacco and its derivatives, according to Wam, the state news agency.

No details of the law were released and it was not clear whether the consumer or other parties would shoulder the cost. A packet of 20 cigarettes costs from Dh7 to Dh8.

Health authorities have been speaking about raising the cost of cigarettes for at least four years but only an increase of around 50 fils has been noticed.

The Wam statement did not give any indication of when the law might come into effect or who attended the meeting. It said the change in tax would mean an amendment to a 2003 law which set up the Federal Customs Authority.

In July the head of the country's National Tobacco Control Committee Dr Wedad Al Maidoor said they hoped to raise the price by 29 per cent. The previous year the Ministry of Health threatened to double the cost of cigarettes, but has not taken any action.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Goldman Sachs (GS) Analysts Downgrade Philip Morris (PM) Shares to “Neutral”

Philip Morris (NYSE: PM)was downgraded by Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to a “neutral” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

Philip Morris
Philip Morris logo
Separately, analysts at Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) raised their price target on shares of Philip Morris to $85.00 in a research note to investors on Wednesday, January 11st. Analysts at Davenport downgraded shares of Philip Morris from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note to investors on Friday, January 6th. Also, analysts at Nomura (NYSE: NMR) downgraded shares of Philip Morris from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note to investors on Thursday, December 8th.
Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products through its subsidiaries and affiliates. The Company’s products are sold in approximately 160 countries. PMI’s portfolio comprises both international and local brands. Its portfolio comprises both international and local brands, which include Marlboro, Merit, Parliament, Virginia Slims, L&M, Chesterfield, Bond Street, Lark, Muratti, Next, Philip Morris and Red & White. The Company divides its markets into four geographic regions: The European Union (EU); The Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMA); The Asia Region, and The Latin America and Canada Region. As of December 31, 2009, PMI operated and owned 58 manufacturing facilities, operated two leased manufacturing facilities, one in Korea and one in Mexico, and maintained 30 contract manufacturing relationships with third parties. In September 2009, PMI acquired Swedish Match South Africa (Proprietary) Limited.
Philip Morris opened at 77.32 on Tuesday. Philip Morris has a 52-week low of $55.98 and a 52-week of $79.96. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $76.62 and a 200-day moving average of $70.40. The company has a market cap of $134.3 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.40.

Japan Tobacco Introduces 'The Peace' Luxury Canned Cigarettes

Smokers seeking a more luxurious and relaxing smoking experience need look no further than “The Peace”, an all-new, top of the line canned cigarette from Japan Tobacco. Sold by a selected number of Japanese retailers at a premium price and packaged in sleek metal cans, The Peace is the ultimate expression of an iconic cigarette brand first introduced in 1946.
Times were tough in post-war Japan, as were smokers and the cigarettes they smoked. One of the latter was “Peace” from Japan Tobacco, a cigarette boasting almost three times the tar and more than twice the nicotine as JT's current smokes. Over the past 66 years, the Peace brand has built on its early acceptance by war-weary smokers to become one of the country's most popular cigarettes.
Faced with mounting restrictions on smoking in Japan and a steadily shrinking customer base, Japan Tobacco is reaching out to deep-pocketed smokers with “The Peace”: the ultimate expression of the iconic Peace brand. The main selling points of The Peace are “the ultimate experience of aroma” along with a unique metal can exemplifying the timeless look and feel of luxury.
JT raises the aroma bar by taking a page from the master tea makers' handbook: top quality ingredients enhanced by meticulous preparation. Only 100 percent select Virginia tobacco goes into The Peace, and its mellow, rich aroma is the result of skillful blending by tobacco experts. JT then employs (for the first time in Japan) “new trimming” - a process via which flash heats the fine cut tobacco to banish any unpleasant notes.
Last and certainly not least, each package of 20 cigarettes comes in a flat steel can painted Navy Blue with gold text. The brand's classic “dove grasping an olive branch” logo, created by noted Franco-American industrial designer Raymond Loewy, is prominently displayed along with a small “The” prefacing the brand name.
The Peace goes on sale February 1st at any of 3,500 retail outlets priced at 1,000 yen (about $13), over twice the cost of Peace Infinity, the brand's former premium iteration.
If that sounds a bit rich, Japan Tobacco likes it that way... according to a company spokesman, “We are responding to the needs of consumers who are not concerned with prices when it comes to high-quality products.” Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Collections of Camel Lighters

Every smoker of the cigarettes brand Camel is aware of the Camel lighters collection from Zippo. Over the years there have been various Camel lighters designs meant to advertise the brand of cigarettes. Throughout time some people have shown interest in collecting each of these designs to have the whole collection of Zippo Camel lighters in one place. Today, some of those designs are pretty hard to find. However, having a collection of Camel lighters means a lot to some people, and they are ready to pay for the pleasure of owning it.

Camel Zippo Lighter
Promo replica 1932 Camel Zippo given away to people who smoke ungodly amounts of Camel cigarettes.
Over the years, Zippo has manufactured a lot of Camel lighters i.e. lighter with the Camel logo on them. This trend has been extended from US only to a global scale. As their popularity grew, they started appearing in magazines and catalogues such as “Camel Cash”. Also they have been included in various Camel events such as the “Camel Trophy Competition” among others. Now they can be found in shops all around the world.
The designs for the Camel lighters came from Camel inc. itself. The first time all of these designs appeared in one place was back in the 90s in a catalogue named “The Brian Sipes Camel Guides”. From this point on, there have been a lot of publications based on this one to summarize each of the Camel lighters by their production date.

The enthusiasts for this cigarettes brand have shown quite an interest in using smoking accessories that relate to their favorite brand. The opportunity was first discovered by Zippo, and they started their first campaign in creating the Camel lighters. Later on, this venture turned into a timeless classic, and each of their designs never got old. As their limited edition Camel lighters gain age, their price always goes up. They’ve made most of their success because of the interest in people to collect them. Although it might not be understandable for people who aren’t smokers or just not smoking the Camel cigarettes, this is an everlasting passion that shows how much these collectors are loyal to their favorite brand.

In the lighters market, it’s pretty hard to find something no one else has found before you, because almost everything that was needed from the market was invented long ago. Only the best have succeeded in locating smaller markets which are really passionate about their lighters, and Zippo had quite a success discovering them with the Camel lighters. Because of this success, they’ve put themselves before everyone else for as long as the market survives.

If you are one of those people who are a loyal and passionate Camel smoker, you would understand why collecting the designs released over the years are of such a great significance. After all, these are the people that have encouraged Camel and Zippo to keep coming up with new designs and keep this department alive for so long. Almost all of their past designs can still be found online. If you want your own personal collection of Camel lighters there is still time to make it.

The Peace to offer ultimate aroma

Japan Tobacco Inc. will next month launch The Peace, a cigarette that the company is describing as ‘the masterpiece in the history of the Peace brand’.

The Peace brand
The Peace brand of cigarettes
The Peace will sell at ¥1,000 for a pack of 20 against ¥440 for 20 in the case of Peace.

It will be available from early February across Japan but only through a limited number – about 3,500 – of retailers.

Peace, which was launched in 1946 in packs of 10, is said to have become immensely popular with consumers because of its aroma.

And now, The Peace is going to offer the ultimate experience in aroma.

The Peace was developed out of a desire to give consumers a more luxurious and relaxing smoking experience, JT said in a note posted on its website.

It is said to be a product for which nothing was spared to make it the best: ‘from the selection of ingredients to the blending, processing, flavors, and even the packaging’.

The Peace, which uses only flue-cured tobacco, is the first product in Japan to use a process called ‘new trimming’ whereby unpleasant aroma and taste are eliminated by flash heating the fine cut tobacco.

The new product is sold in metallic navy blue flat tins.

Kiss Tobacco Goodbye in 2012

The first days of the New Year are upon us and today is the day you have been thinking about being tobacco free in 2012. What an amazing gift to give to yourself, your family and friends.

Smoking Ban Sign
No smoking sign
Approximately 550,000 British Columbians smoke and over 70 percent of those people say they wish they could quit. Many British Columbians will be thinking about quitting this year.

January 15 to 21 is National Non-Smoking Week in Canada. For over 30 years, this special week has encouraged living a smoke free life. This year’s theme is “Breaking up is hard to do”.

Is today the day you can kiss tobacco goodbye? Did you know that making a plan to quit can increase your chances of success? The most important person to quit for is you, and making a quit plan that includes a quit date will help you get started on your tobacco free journey. Recognizing that you are not alone and that support and resources are available to you may also bolster your success. If you have tried to quit before, think about what worked, what did not work and how you might use that information to make your next quit attempt your last one. Past attempts are real learning opportunities so stay positive and plan one step at a time.

QuitNow Services at 1-877-455-2233 offers free personalized support to British Columbians 24 hours a day. They can provide the tools and support to help increase your chances of quitting.

British Columbia is working hard to improve the health of families and communities by supporting living well choices.

The B.C. smoking cessation program offers British Columbians access to nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches or gum to help reduce withdrawal symptoms.

As well, Pharmacare has announced coverage of two prescription medications for smokers who wish to quit. You can call Health Link BC at 8-1-1 to find out more information, or talk to your health care provider; doctor, nurse, dentist, or pharmacist about how they can support your choice to become tobacco free.
You may choose to quit cold turkey or cut back on your daily use. You might even try putting off your first cigarette a half hour later each day until you are no longer smoking.

In addition to many health benefits, quitting can save a person $3000 in the first year if they have smoked a pack a day. Remember to be kind to yourself and reward yourself for being tobacco free. Today is the day you can decide to kiss tobacco goodbye.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Time to give up smoking – or not

Public health officials in Norway have launched what is being described as an aggressive campaign aimed at stamping out smoking.


According to a story by Michael Sandelson for The Foreigner, the campaign, ‘Time to quit?’, is costing NOK19 million.

An Australian film containing vivid scenes of some of the consequences of smoking, including the doubled risk of strokes, will be screened on national television as part of the drive.

According to health officials, the footage, dubbed into Norwegian, has been thoroughly tested and shown to have been extremely effective in the US, Australia, and several European countries.

One seeming problem with the campaign, however, is its title.

The question mark at the end seems to indicate that even the people who devised the campaign cannot make their minds up.

South Korea looking to expose cigarette ingredients

The government of South Korea is planning to introduce an anti-tobacco law that would require tobacco manufacturers to make all of their cigarette ingredients and additives public, according to a story in The Korea Times.


The Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday that it would be forwarding the ‘Tobacco Safety Management and Smoking Prevention Law’ to the National Assembly this year for approval.

Later in the story it was stated that, under the planned law, tobacco product makers would be required to release only a list of all harmful substances and additives included in cigarettes, and their quantities.

Under the current tobacco law, cigarette manufacturers are obliged to make public only information on nicotine and tar.

The new law will place more restrictions on how manufacturers produce, sell and advertise their products, and require them to include graphic health warnings on packs.