New tobacco regulationsPublic Health Minister Volda Lawrence on Wednesday revealed a meeting between the Demerara Tobacco Company (DEMTOCO) and her Ministry is scheduled for today to discuss the new regulations expected to come out of the new Tobacco Control Act.“They did request to meet with me and I had since written to them and asked for them to send their agenda items and that meeting is set for tomorrow (today) at nine am. Most of the things (on the agenda) were like when the Act comes into being, like how much time they will have to make their change over. Also, what would be the time line in terms of the display, how they can display their products in the supermarkets and shops… not anything heavy. But most of those things are catered for in the Act or will be catered for in the regulations,” Lawrence said in a comment to the media.DEMTOCO’s Managing Director, Maurlain Kirton, had earlier said that the meeting with the Minister is to address some of the issues they have as it relates to the legislation.“There are six key areas which concern us; one of which is the ban on vending or in trays, the issue of the ban on 10s, the issue on the ban on sponsorship and promotion, the issue of the ban on corporate branding because the legislation extends itself beyond product branding but our corporate brand that has been around for 84 years is also threatened,” she had noted.The Managing Director said the intention of that meeting is to ensure that DEMTOCO continues to exist and adapt to the legislation but stressed the need for enforcement.In response to those, the issues of adaptability and the future of the DEMTOCO, and by extension the industry, the Minister noted that it is the right of every Government to protect its people and that is what they are embarking on.The Tobacco Control Act became law back in August 2017 after passage by the National Assembly and subsequent assent by the President.DEMTOCO’s Chairman, Marcus Steele, at the Company’s Annual General Meeting said 2017 was a challenging year for the company due to a number of factors, inclusive of volatility in the foreign exchange market, which affected foreign currency transactions and the performance of the company. Steele had explained that 2017 represented a fundamental change in the local regulatory landscape of the tobacco industry with the passage and promulgation of the Tobacco Control Act. He noted that while the measures under the Tobacco Control Act will come into effect later in 2018, they have already begun experiencing some market fluctuations.