Big Tobacco in bed with SA law enforcement agencies

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A probe into the tobacco industry can show how two companies have used their resources to influence SA state agencies to protect their interests.

An amaBhungane investigation into the R5-billion-a-year illicit tobacco industry can reveal how two major multinational companies used their considerable resources to influence South African state security agencies to protect their commercial interests.

In one case, controversial African conglomerate Lonrho was able to sidetrack a criminal investigation of its logistics subsidiary, Rollex, which ...

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Gov’t tricked into promoting tobacco

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Botswana government departments are being tricked into deals that promote the tobacco industry, violating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Protocol to which Botswana is a signatory – it emerged this week. Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) much to the chagrin of the local anti-tobacco lobby. BURS were earlier this year forced to cancel their MoU with TISA following intervention by the Ministry of Health. This ...

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Tobacco – the R12.5bn question

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Johannesburg – A study released this month has sparked debate on whether smoking is decreasing or increasing, reported City Press on Sunday.

Depending on who you ask, smoking in South Africa is either radically decreasing due to two decades of successful tobacco control laws and taxes, or massively increasing again because those laws and taxes have opened the door to a colossal black market.

Based on tax figures, legal cigarette sales are now at their lowest level since 1976.

A study also estimated that ...

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Anti-tobacco law ‘undemocratic’

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The Minister of health has made it clear that regulations to be gazetted later this week are merely interim measures pending a total prohibition on tobacco.

The Minister has made it clear that regulations to be gazetted later this week are merely interim measures pending a total prohibition on tobacco. A spokesperson for the Law Review Project (LRP)* asks: “Will liquor follow? And then junk food and ‘dangerous’ activities?”

“Once the principle of freedom of choice is breached, there is no basis for limiting the ...

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GTNF 2013

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Commentators have already the dubbed Global Tobacco Networking Forum (GTNF) the “Davos” of tobacco, after the prestigious World Economic Forum meetings in Switzerland—and for a good reason.

From a humble experiment in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, the GTNF has grown into a force to be reckoned with on the international stage of tobacco events. The most recent edition, held in June in Antwerp, Belgium, attracted a record number of delegates from around the world, including tobacco executives, financial analysts and ...

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TAX TALK: It makes tax sense to hit smokers hard

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The inevitable sin tax increase to be announced in the national budget speech on
February 27 will probably take the sin tax component to R11 a pack or 55c a cigarette.

THERE is an old lady sitting on a bench outside the retirement home holding an unlit half-smoked cigarette.
“Please give me a light,” she asks. I oblige. “They don’t make cigarettes like they used to,” she moans. “They go dead
all the time and I have to ask the nursing ...

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Noose to tighten on contraband cigarettes

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THE Ministry of Finance is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) before the end of this month to curb illegal imports and trading in contraband cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The MoU will forge greater collaboration between the ministry’s directorate of customs and excise and TISA to facilitate legal trade in tobacco products while combating illicit activities through information sharing, investigations and curbing of illegal trade in cigarettes and other tobacco products ...

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How cigarette smuggling fuels Africa’s Islamist violence

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Contrabrand tobacco is a $1bn trade in north Africa, run by extremists including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who masterminded the attack on the Algerian gas plant. The trade is highly profitable – and very low risk.

For many years Mokhtar Belmokhtar was little more than a footnote in the intelligence reports analysing the increasingly muscular presence of Islamist groups in Saharan Africa.

The man whose al-Qaida-inspired Signed in Blood Battalion led the ...

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Government aims to stub out tobacco branding

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South Africa is aiming to follow Australia’s lead and compel tobacco companies to use plain packaging for their tobacco products. “We will… be testing plain packaging which means there will be no branding on tobacco products,” the Health Department’s director for health promotion, Vimla Moodley said.

Briefing members of Parliament’s Health Portfolio Committee on proposed new smoking regulations, she said the department was also testing the use of “pictorials” on tobacco packaging.

These were pictures of the “health consequences” of smoking. “Up ...

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