ASH Daily News 10 January 2018



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UK

  • Study shows that most people who try cigarettes go on to become daily smokers
  • TMA director general on how the industry is trying to market itself and new alternative products
  • Leaving the EU could lead to changes within the UK vaping market

International

  • USA: British American Tobacco could stand to benefit from changes to US tax rules

UK

Study shows that most people who try cigarettes go on to become daily smokers

A meta-analysis published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research has suggested that at least two-thirds of people who try cigarettes go on to become daily smokers, even if only temporarily.

Data from the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand found that 60.3% of people had tried smoking and an estimated 68.9% of those progressed to a daily habit. This data was based on 215,000 respondents to eight surveys between 2000 and 2016 contained in the Global Health Data Exchange.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, called for the greater government regulation of tobacco sales, saying: “The government is refusing to introduce licensing for tobacco retailers, even though there is strong support for this both from the public and retailers”.

Lead researcher Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, said it was the first time the link between trying a first cigarette and becoming a regular smoker had been documented in such a large set of data.

“We’ve found that the conversion rate from first-time smoker to daily smoker is surprisingly high, which helps confirm the importance of preventing cigarette experimentation in the first place,” he said.

However, the study’s authors said there were limitations to the research. One was that the surveys had yielded different results for the proportions who had progressed to becoming daily smokers – from 52% in one in the US to 82% in one in the UK – which meant the 68.9% figure was an estimate, as a weighted average of the figures.

Steve Brine, the Minister for Public Health and Primary Care, said: “Britain is a world leader in tobacco control, and thanks to our tough action smoking rates in England are at an all-time low. We recently launched a new tobacco control plan to map the path to a smoke-free generation and are working to educate people about the risks and support them to quit for good.”

See more:

Nicotine & Tobacco Research: What Proportion of People Who Try One Cigarette Become Daily Smokers? A Meta-Analysis of Representative Surveys
The Daily Mail: Two-thirds of people who try tobacco for the first time become daily smokers
The Independent: Trying just one cigarette turns most people into daily smokers, study warns

Source: BBC News, 10 January 2018

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TMA director general on how the industry is trying to market itself and new alternative products

PR Week has conducted an interview with Giles Roca, the director-general of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA), a group which is jointly funded by three of the world’s biggest tobacco firms: British American Tobacco, Japan Tob¬acco International and Imperial Tobacco.

Roca is currently seeking a PR boost for the industry that would set it on the “front foot” in talking about alternative products. He notes that these alternative products are likely to become a massive market, eclipsing their current annual £1billion worth, and thus thinks that it is a “great time to join the industry”.

However, Mark MacGregor, UK corporate affairs director of Philip Morris International, moved to distance himself and PMI from the TMA, stating that: “They are essentially the defenders of the tobacco industry – any time Government suggests any changes, they say no”.

Roca’s views on the EU-mandated Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) are also similar to those of the UK Vaping Industry Association. The association, whose members include BAT, JTI, PMI and Imperial-owned Fortem Ventures, has looked into the possibility of abandoning the TPD post-Brexit as recently as the Conservative Party Conference in October.

Roca comments that leaving the EU could be an opportunity to progress beyond the framework.

Source: PR Week, 10 January 2018

Editorial Note:
In a Westminster Hall debate in November 2017, Steve Brine MP, the Minister for Public Health and Primary Care, said:

My Department will continue to work closely with the vaping sector through the Independent British Vape Trade Association. The Department does not work with the UK Vaping Industry Association because of its links to the tobacco industry. Her Majesty’s Government take their duties seriously, as they should as a signatory to the World Health Organisation framework convention on tobacco control.

I feel that I should put on the record that, under article 5.3 of that convention, we have committed to protect our public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. The guidelines for the implementation of article 5.3 permit parties to engage with ‘the tobacco industry only when and to the extent strictly necessary to enable them to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products.'”

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Tobacco industry funded trade body believes leaving the EU could lead to changes in the UK vaping market

Christian Mulcahy, the head of the UK Vaping Industry Association, whose members include major tobacco companies BAT, PMI, JTI and Imperial-owned Fortem Ventures, has said that he thinks leaving the EU could lead to some changes within the UK vaping market.

He claimed that Brexit could provide an opportunity to abandon regulations that dictate the size of e-cigarette tanks and the strength of nicotine containing e-liquid set out by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which he claims deters some smokers from switching to e-cigarettes.

Mr Mulcahy also called for the rules to be relaxed so that vaping firms could sell larger e-liquid bottles, which are currently limited to 10ml.

However, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, stated that little could be gained from regulatory divergence on e-cigarettes, saying:

“The TPD has not been disastrous, and though there are potentially opportunities [to reform it], it is not going to be one of the main priorities of Brexit.”

She also pointed to a recent study carried out by YouGov for ASH which found that before the TPD was implemented, only 6% of vapers used e-liquid stronger than 20mg/ml.

Source: The Daily Telegraph, 9 January 2018

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International

USA: British American Tobacco could stand to benefit from changes to US tax rules

British American Tobacco (BAT) has claimed that new US tax rules could lead to a 6% boost to its earnings per share in 2018.

Analysts from Jefferies estimated the 6% benefit equates to around £400million, or about 2% of sales, and suggested that the investment would go towards helping BAT to compete against Philip Morris International in the growing market for next generation products.

Source: Reuters, 9 January 2018

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