ASH Daily News 13 July 2017



  • The Guardian view on big tobacco: stop the spread
  • Nations that cannot fight tobacco industry should raise taxes, says WHO
  • Tobacco companies tighten hold on Washington under Trump
  • Petrol stations worst in proof of age tests
  • Scotland: Environmental campaign targets smokers who dump cigarette butts on ground
  • USA: House panel seeks to block FDA ‘vaping’ rules
  • Tunisia to ban smoking in public places
  • Nairobi’s smoking culture in pictures

 

The Guardian view on big tobacco: stop the spread

A generation of campaigners in western Europe and north America are familiar with the devious tactics that are now in play in Africa and Asia.

Take the increasingly prosperous East African country of Kenya: its government signed the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004, before it was officially adopted. Yet nearly 15 years later, multinational tobacco firms are still fighting to delay the introduction of anti-smoking laws. As one recent study found, the slower the process of legislation, the greater the scope for tobacco company influence. The WHO reports how companies sponsor sporting events for children, for example, and hand out cigarettes in shopping centres regardless of people’s age. Already, proportionately more Kenyan children are smoking than adults.

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The Independent: The tobacco industry’s tactics in Africa are deeply troubling

Source: The Guardian, 12 July 2017
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Nations that cannot fight tobacco industry should raise taxes, says WHO

African nations whose attempts to regulate cigarettes are increasingly bogged down in the courts by wealthy tobacco companies should impose high taxes to deter people from developing a smoking habit, the World Health Organization says.

Vinayak Prasad of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative said many African governments were at a disadvantage in the fight against the industry over regulatory controls, like graphic health warnings on packs, which are the norm in the west. They have neither the funds nor enough expertise to deal with the big tobacco companies’ threats, intimidatory letters and law suits.

His comments follow the exposure by the Guardian of the attempts by multinational tobacco companies to delay and dilute regulatory controls in Africa through litigation and threats. At least eight African governments have been pressured by the industry.

Source: The Guardian, 12 July 2017
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Tobacco companies tighten hold on Washington under Trump

Tobacco companies have moved swiftly to strengthen their grip on Washington politics, ramping up lobbying efforts and securing significant regulatory wins in the first six months of the Trump era.

Day one of Donald Trump’s presidency started with tobacco donations, senior figures have been put in place within the Trump administration who have deep ties to tobacco, and lobbying activity has increased significantly.

“Tobacco industry influence in Washington is pervasive, in many different ways,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who supported anti-tobacco legislation and was one of the US attorneys general to broker a hundred-billion-dollar settlement with tobacco companies in the 1990s. “They have an active presence on the Hill, they meet frequently with administrative agencies, on hugely significant issues such as regulation of e-cigarettes, tobacco packaging and warnings.”

Source: The Guardian, 13 July 2017
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Petrol stations worst in proof of age tests

Petrol stations were the least likely retail category to ask for proof of age in a test purchasing operation for alcohol and tobacco, according to new data from retail age check auditors Serve Legal.

Tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping products, were also sold to one in four Serve Legal mystery shoppers in 2016, with age ID requested in 76% of visits.

Proof of ID for was more likely to be requested for sales of traditional cigarettes than e-cigarettes, with retailers passing 77% of age check tests for traditional cigarettes compared to 72% for e-cigarettes. In 7% of tobacco sale visits by mystery shoppers, products were retrieved from the cabinet before ID was requested. Retailers in south central England achieved the UK’s highest tobacco sale test pass rate in 2016, passing 82% of age check tests. The poorest performer was Northern Ireland where retailers passed just 71% of tests.

Source: Forecourt Trader, 7 July 2017
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Scotland: Environmental campaign targets smokers who dump cigarette butts on ground

A new campaign aims to clean up the streets of Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire by encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their litter.

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful is particularly targeting smokers who cause a mess by dumping cigarette butts instead of disposing of them properly.

Georgina Massouraki, roadside litter campaign officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Our campaign is a unique opportunity for industry, the public sector, charity and government to all work in partnership and raise awareness of this blight on our environment.

Source: The Gazette, 12 July 2017
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USA: House panel seeks to block FDA ‘vaping’ rules

A House of Representatives panel is again trying to exempt increasingly popular e-cigarettes from new Food and Drug Administration rules.

The legislation approved Wednesday by the Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee would prevent the FDA from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market. It would exempt some premium and large cigars from those same regulations. E-cigarette products introduced in the future would face the safety reviews.

The development comes as the Trump administration has delayed enforcement of the new FDA rule and the e-cigarette industry is hopeful that efforts to roll back the Obama regulations will advance both as legislation and through several pending lawsuits.

Source: Medical Xpress, 12 July 2017
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Tunisia to ban smoking in public places

Tunisians will no longer be able to smoke in public spaces, according to Health Minister Samira Merai.

A new bill on tobacco control will be proposed at a ministerial council that will take place in the next few days in line with new international guidelines. This will include a smoking ban in public spaces and limits placed on advertising tobacco.

Source: Middle East Monitor, 12 July 2017
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Nairobi’s smoking culture in pictures

In east Africa, the tobacco industry, including British American Tobacco, has been putting pressure on local governments over some of the regulations attempting to curb smoking.

BAT says it is not against all regulation, but from ‘time to time’ needs to challenge it. BAT Kenya is currently taking a legal case to the country’s supreme court over some regulations.

Every year, more than 6,000 Kenyans are killed by tobacco-linked diseases, part of what the WHO calls the ‘biggest public health threats the world has ever faced’. Campaigners say the industry is developing its African market and sees new potential customers as populations and prosperity grow there.

David Levene spent some time documenting the country’s smoking culture in Nairobi, noticing the prevalence of cigarette brands in daily life. This collection of photos is gathered from his walks through the city.

Source: The Guardian, 12 July 2017
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