SS June 2016

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14 SMOKESHOP June 2016 Industry NEWS >>>PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, REGULATION, TRADE Bits&Pieces > The California chap- ters of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, the largest trade group represent- ing the vapor industry, denounced the signing of SBX2-5, a California measure that defines vapor products as "tobacco" and made related changes to existing law, calling the move "a step backwards" and "counterproductive to public health" for penaliz- ing smokers attempting to switch to a "far less harm- ful alternative to combusti- ble cigaretes." > ITG Brands announced it is laying off approxi- mately 375 employees at its manufacturing facility in Greensboro, N.C. this month, in conjunction with the planned reduction in production—approximately 50 percent of its volume due—due to the end of a reciprocal manufacturing arrangement with Reynolds American (RAI), in place to transition the production of former Lorillard products to RAI and former RAI prod- ucts to ITG Brands' facility. > Many government websites are misleading or under-informing the public about the differenc- es in risks among certain types of nicotine products including snus, smokeless tobacco, and vaping prod- ucts, according to a new paper in the International Journal of Drug Policy. minneapolis, mn—Only two weeks before the 2016 NATO Show was held, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) announced it would now be focusing its resources exclusively on public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels, and would end the NATO Show, its annual trade conference of retailers, wholesal- ers, and other industry partners, as well as high-level government officials, after this year's event. "After reviewing the asso- ciation's purpose and mission, the NATO board of directors decided to focus all of the orga- nization's staff and resources on legislative and regulatory issues which are critical to the success of our member retailers whose livelihoods depend on the legal sale of tobacco products," said NATO president Frank Armstrong. NATO is the only national retail trade association that works exclusively on tobac- co issues and the association will now concentrate all of its expertise in helping retail members respond to onerous tobacco restrictions which are being proposed by government officials across the country on a seemingly daily basis. The recent action by the Chicago City Council to impose a new tax on tobacco products (which is pre-empted by state law), raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21, ban tobacco product coupon redemption, and mandate minimum product prices and minimum package sizes, highlights the need for NATO to concentrate all of the associ- ation's efforts to protect tobacco retailers from unreasonable, unfair, and even unlawful tobacco regulations, Armstrong said. "We believe the alarming trend among governments to propose punitive rules and regulations aimed at our members and to restrict the rights of adult consumers will continue," Armstrong said. NATO's advocacy efforts will include aligning with other national, state and regional trade organizations to respond to local and state tobacco legislative proposals, reaching out to retailers across the country to expand NATO's current membership of 51,000 retail stores, planning new educational seminar opportunities for NATO members, offering tobacco legislative and FDA regula- tory seminars to other trade associations, and urging the FDA and state and local lawmak- ers to work with NATO and the industry to educate adults so they are not a social source of tobacco products for underage youth. As the NATO board considered the asso- ciation's future work, it also made a critical business decision that the 2016 NATO Show, which was held April 19–21 at the Paris Las Vegas, would be the association's last. "While we [were] eagerly anticipating this year's show, there was a consensus among board members that given the many trade shows available to tobacco retailers, this is the right time to focus on NATO's core expertise in battling oppressive tobacco restrictions," Armstrong said. NATO has produced the NATO Show since 2011, bringing together a total of 841 exhibitors, 3,481 retail and wholesale attendees, and offering 36 educational seminars, three of which featured keynote addresses by the Director of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products, setting a high standard for proac- tive industry engagement with regulators. National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) to Focus Exclusively on Public Policy Matters, Ends Show > The 2016 NATO Show was the final edition of the association's annual convention and trade show.

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