Mong Kok newspaper vendors last night decided to postpone a planned boycott against Winner brand cigarettes in protest against a reduced share of profits.

It came after a 2 1/2 hour meeting between about 10 vendors and a representative of the maker of Winner, mainland firm Nanyang Brothers Tobacco. The vendors agreed to delay the boycott for a week to give Nanyang time to consider their demand not to raise the wholesale price.

Nanyang raised the cigarette brand’s wholesale price by 60 HK cents per pack to HK$40 shortly after the budget last month imposed a HK$4 rise in tobacco duties with immediate effect. But it kept the sale price at HK$43.

In doing so, vendors said, the company shifted part of the tax burden to them, cutting their profit per pack from HK$3.60 to HK$3. Newsstands across the city are not allowed to set their own prices. They must sell cigarettes at uniform prices set by the respective tobacco companies.

Earlier yesterday, most newsstands in the area had cleared their shelves of the brand. Some in Central, Sham Shui Po and Tsuen Wan, who had planned to follow suit, last night said they would also delay the boycott.

“For every 10 packs of cigarettes we sold before the ‘HK$10 tax’ in 2009 , we used to earn one pack’s worth of profit in terms of wholesale price ,” said May Tse, a vendor outside Langham Place. “Now, the profit is only about 70 per cent of a pack for most major brands.” Tse was referring to a tobacco tax rise in 2009, with an extra HK$8 to HK$12 charged per pack. In the February 26 budget, the tobacco duty was raised by HK$4 per pack.

Vendors who initiated the boycott said although Winner was not a popular brand, they aimed to send a message to other tobacco firms not to follow suit. Another vendor, Li Wing pak, said cigarette sales accounted for about one third of his income. He feared more tobacco firms would follow Nanyang’s lead.

“If the tax continues to go up driving up the price of a pack of cigarettes to HK$84 eventually as some anti smoking groups have suggested we will end up making almost no profit,” he said. “Our demand is simple we just want the wholesale price to stay the same as before the tax increase.”

Earlier yesterday, Newspaper Hawker Association chairman Bacon Liu Sair ching voiced support for the Mong Kok vendors.

The association said it was in talks with three major tobacco companies that dominated the local market about reducing wholesale prices. Nanyang did not respond to media inquiries by press time.

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Market information – philip morris usa

In Winston Salem, North Carolina, Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is charged with guarding the life of Dr. James Scobie, a former researcher who is testifying against his former employer, the Morley tobacco corporation. Prior to his trial, Scobie develops a cough, but shrugs it off. In the morning, Skinner and Scobie’s wife find his body on the bathroom floor, with his face ripped away.

Morley has created a form of “super tobacco”, which is inhabited by a genetically engineered tobacco beetle whose eggs can survive the process of cigarette manufacturing and are released in the smoke of the cigarettes. The cigarettes were tested on a range of subjects by Scobie and his colleague, Dr. Peter Voss. Of the four human test subjects, chain smoker Darryl Weaver is the only surviving participant. Prior to his death, Scobie agreed to give Weaver an unlimited supply of cigarettes in exchange for his silence he subsequently pressures Voss into honoring his “arrangement” with Scobie.

A chain of victims soon succumb to the eggs contained in the toxic smoke, all of whom are found with their bodies covered in the tobacco beetles. While interviewing Weaver, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is exposed to the smoke, later coughing up blood and needing his lungs invasively cleared as the beetles begin to hatch.

Voss, who had until now been hiding behind his legal advisor, has a change of heart upon hearing of Mulder s condition and tells Skinner of the aforementioned testing. Skinner goes to Weaver s apartment after getting his name from Dr. Voss and finds a man tied to a chair with a gag in his mouth. When Skinner removes the gauze wrapper around the man s mouth, the man chokes and beetles begin crawling from his mouth. At the hospital, Mulder is in grave danger due to the beetle eggs now hatching in his lungs, and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) attempts to find a way to save him, because he is now “too weak for thoracic surgery.”

Meanwhile, Darryl Weaver attempts to browbeat Skinner, threatening to light one of the toxic cigarettes. As Weaver attempts to leave the building, Skinner shoots Weaver’s shoulder and the pane of glass behind him, leaving him injured and covered in glass. He drops his cigarette to the floor and Skinner dramatically snuffs it out with his shoe. Back at the hospital, Scully realizes that nicotine might save Mulder s life. She is correct in her solution, noting that Weaver s nicotine tolerance didn t allow the tobacco beetles to develop in his lungs. Scully administers nicotine to Mulder, who in turn recovers, albeit with a sore throat, as well as a minor addiction to nicotine, which drove him to buy a pack of Morley cigarettes for himself. However, upon some chiding by Scully, he throws them out, but then stares at them pensively after she leaves. 1

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