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JT completes Zyn pouchesGallaher takeover



Japan Tobacco finished the takeover of Britain’s Gallaher Group for $ 15 billion Wednesday, both sides said, in the biggest Japanese overseas acquisition ever.


The move also allows Japan Tobacco Inc., the world’s third-largest cigarette company, to expand outside of Japan, which has seen declining smoking rates.


The takeover of Gallaher, the maker of Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges cigarettes, also takes Japan Tobacco into Western Europe, where it now has little presence, creating a tobacco empire with annual global output of 600 billion cigarettes.


Japan Tobacco, the overseas distributor for Winston, Camel and Salem cigarettes, and Gallaher Group PLC had been expected to complete the deal, announced in December.


JT acquired the shares at £11.40 each, for a total of £7.5 billion, or $ 15 billion, and assumed an additional debt of about $ 4 billion under the deal, the company said.


Ban cigarettes from school campuses


Everyone claims they believe school children shouldn’t smoke. Everyone claims adults should set good examples for school children. But not everyone wants to back up their words with action.


On Wednesday, April 18, something inexplicable happened in the Education Committee of the Tennessee Senate – two local senators, Bill Ketron and Jim Tracy, voted to kill a ban on smoking on school grounds. (Tracy passed on the vote)


Current law allows adults, defined as anyone 18 years old or older, to smoke on school property after hours. In addition to the obvious bad example that seeing adults smoke sets for impressionable young people, ask yourself how many high school seniors are 18. Should they be allowed to smoke at school? They are now. Furthermore, current law bars local education authorities from completely banning smoking on school grounds. Should the state be allowed to so arrogantly bar these authorities from taking such action if they see fit? Sens. Ketron and Tracy apparently believe high school seniors should smoke and that state government should interject itself into the business of local school systems.


In committee, Ketron and Tracy both offered excuses for their votes, but, to be quite frank, their arguments don’t hold water.


Tracy said he opposes the ban because it would be difficult to enforce. By this line of thinking, there are any number of laws we should remove from the books. To use the most obvious example, we should do away with all laws concerning illegal immigration. How many agents do we have on the U.S.-Mexico border? How many immigrants cross that border illegally each year? My point is this: The difficulty of enforcement should not deter us from trying to solve societal ills.


For his part, Ketron claimed he opposes smoking on school grounds because the ban might hurt attendance at school sporting events. To be blunt, that argument is utter nonsense. Current law bans smoking in school stadiums and gymnasiums. The proposed bill would simply mean they have to make sure they are off school property before they light up. Are parents truly going to skip watching their children perform just because they might have to walk a few hundred extra yards to smoke? I highly doubt it.


Sen. Roy Herron, the bill’s sponsor, got to the crux of this argument in committee when he said, “We don’t let people bring alcohol, Zyn pouchesandillegal drugs or guns on the school grounds. We shouldn’t let them bring the leading preventable cause of death in the state.”


The positions are clear: Either you think adults should smoke on school grounds or you don’t. Most Tennesseans believe the latter. It’s a shame that Ketron and Tracy don’t agree. Contrary to their beliefs, as evidenced by their actions in committee, smoking has no place on our school property. Sens. Ketron and Tracy should rethink their positions and do the responsible thing: support a complete ban of smoking on school grounds. After all, our young people deserve more than hollow words – they deserve substantive action to protect their health.