ASH Daily News 13 October 2017



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UK

  • The Lancet’s take on PMI-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World”
  • New Tobacco Control Plan for Lancashire unveiled by county council

International

  • The Tax Benefits of Big Tobacco’s New Technology May Flame Out
  • USA: New York state schools to hold first ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day’
  • Bulgaria: Economic damage to Bulgaria from smoking could equal as much as 10% of GDP

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

Link of the Week

  • Soap star Kym Marsh supports Stoptober

UK

The Lancet’s take on PMI-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World”

Today The Lancet has published three articles on the PMI-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World”: a Viewpoint, by Derek Yach, Founder and President-elect of the Foundation; a Comment by Mike Daube, Rob Moodie, and Martin McKee; and an Editorial, entitled “Tobacco control: a Foundation too far?” See below for quotes from each of the articles.

Viewpoint: Foundation for a smoke-free world
“Our intent is to fund and support outstanding scientists and research, and then convene and support consensus-building on the policy implications of the science. The Foundation will not—and is not allowed to by law—engage in lobbying activities.”

“We know that trust is earned not announced, and that we will have to work hard to earn it. We know that we have to establish the Foundation’s independence from commercial interests both in fact and in the eyes of all fair-minded observers.”

Comment: Towards a smoke-free world? Philip Morris International’s new Foundation is not credible
“PMI, like other tobacco companies, may well want to sell a range of products, but anybody who believes that they really do want to see a smoke-free world is, we argue, living in a fantasy world.”

“Governments should continue to pursue evidence-based measures that have been shown to reduce smoking. They must exclude tobacco companies from any policy involvement. Health organisations should continue to press for action and expose the aims and activities of the tobacco industry. Scientists should reject the siren songs of involvement in tobacco industry promotions. And the public should be aware that Big Tobacco remains as it was, the main cause of premature death and disability from the world’s most preventable pandemic.”

Editorial: Tobacco control: a Foundation too far?
“Simply boycotting the Foundation, as WHO suggests, is a mistake. As unpalatable as it may seem to engage with the tobacco industry, the public health community should be open to dialogue and debate with all parties, including holding Yach and the Foundation accountable for their promises and commitments.”

“Every piece of evidence available so far about the role of the tobacco industry in the tobacco control movement suggests that this initiative will fail—and will fail badly.”

“But, in truth, it is premature to judge the Foundation before its work has begun. Yach is a respected public health leader. If anyone can achieve the objectives of the Foundation, it is him. But the odds of success are poor. And the costs of failure will not only be to Yach’s reputation. They will represent another victory for an industry that sells death and disability.”

Source: The Lancet, 13 October 2017

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New Tobacco Control Plan for Lancashire unveiled by county council

Lancashire County Council has unveiled its Tobacco Control Plan, which will run until 2022.
The plan seeks to instigate partnership between the council and the NHS and wider public sector.

It also aligns with Public Health England in stating that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoked tobacco, and can be a valuable harm reduction tool.

Cllr Shaun Turner, lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We want a healthy Lancashire basically. It’s not only good for individuals, it’s good going forward for pressure on the National Health Service. It has a value for every one of us, not just the smokers.”

See also
Lancashire County Council: Towards a smoke free generation: A Tobacco Control Plan for Lancashire 2017-2022

Source: Lancashire Evening Post, 10 October 2017

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International

The Tax Benefits of Big Tobacco’s New Technology May Flame Out

In many countries, one of the potential benefits for companies of selling novel tobacco products is that they could incur different taxes from combustible cigarettes.

However in some countries this advantage may disappear. According to Exane BNP Paribas, Japan and South Korea – both key markets for emerging tobacco technologies – are considering raising taxes on novel tobacco products.

Source: Bloomberg, 12 October 2017

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USA: New York state schools to hold first ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day’

Across New York on 13th October, schools will be observing the inaugural ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day’, which seeks to raise awareness of youth smoking. The date of the 13th has been chosen in recognition of the fact that in New York the average age of a new smoker is 13 years old.

Schools will be adorned with black pinwheels, each one representing a loss of life due to smoking-related disease in the past year.

Source: Syracuse, 12 October 2017

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Bulgaria: Economic damage to Bulgaria from smoking could equal as much as 10% of GDP

According to the tobacco control coalition, “For Life Without Smoke”, the economic effects of smoking in Bulgaria could amount to as much as 10% of GDP.

This damage resulted from a combination of smoking-related illness and loss of productivity, according to the organisation.

The coalition said that over 28% of adolescents in Bulgaria regularly smoked, and that tobacco products were sold and advertised near around 96% of schools in the country.

Source: Sofia Globe, 12 October 2017

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Smoking on reality TV shows
Lord Storey, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to strengthen the broadcasting code in relation to smoking on reality TV shows, particularly those aimed at young people.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
My Lords, as the independent regulator, decisions on amending the Broadcasting Code are rightly a matter for Ofcom. Ofcom takes the protection of children and young people very seriously, and that is why there are already specific restrictions on the portrayal of smoking on television

Lord Storey, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)
I thank the Minister for his reply. I do not know whether he is a regular watcher of “Love Island”, but the ITV website describes that programme as an, “emotional feast of lust and passion in the sun”.

The same website says that the programme captures, “56% share of 16-34 viewers”. On this programme, those contestants are regularly smoking. What message does that send to young people—that I can live a glamorous life if I smoke as well? I am surprised that the Ofcom Broadcasting Code says that smoking must not be, “glamorised in … programmes likely to be widely seen, heard or accessed by under-eighteens unless there is editorial justification”. Does the Minister think that Ofcom should take action on this matter?

Lord Ashton of Hyde
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
My Lords, I am not a regular watcher of “Love Island”, but I cannot help noticing that the House is unusually full today. Obviously, as I said, it is a matter for Ofcom. The Broadcasting Code is there to be regulated by Ofcom, and that is what Ofcom is there for. Any complaints about a programme will be investigated by Ofcom, and it is up to anyone who has concerns about smoking in this programme to complain to Ofcom. Incidentally, to put this into perspective, Ofcom had just under 15,000 complaints last year and 75 related to smoking on “Love Island”.

Source: TheyWorkForYou
PQ2: Effects of tax and packaging legislation
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Independent Ulster Unionist
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of any positive impact in the overall health of under 35 year old smokers arising from tax and packaging measures that they have imposed.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
Tobacco taxation is a proven and effective means to reduce smoking and a disincentive for young people to take up smoking in the first place. The Government consulted on the introduction of standardised packaging and published an impact assessment, which included benefits to public health. For the purposes of this impact assessment, the conservative assumption was made that no harm is incurred by smoking under the age of 35, due to the lack of precise data to quantify benefits from not smoking under this age. That said, the impact assessment notes that for every young person who no longer starts smoking for example, life expectancy improves by 2.1 years. The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 came into force on 20 May 2016; the Government has a commitment to review these regulations by 2020.

Citation: HL Deb, 12 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ3: Illicit tobacco
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Independent Ulster Unionist
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there has been any assessment made of the health hazards from illicit tobacco products compared with those that are legally produced; and if so, what future impact such hazards are likely to have on the health of smokers under 25 years old.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
There are no separate assessments made by the Government on the health hazards of illicit tobacco as all tobacco products are harmful. Considerable progress has been made in addressing tobacco smuggling and the reductions we have seen have been achieved through regulatory changes, new sanctions, detection technology and partnership working across government and internationally. The Tobacco Control Plan for England, published in July 2017, set out the continued government commitment to tackle illicit tobacco, including the United Kingdom international obligation to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Protocol on Illicit Tobacco as soon as the required legislation has been approved by Parliament.

Citation: HL Deb, 12 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ4: Daily smoking levels
Philip Davies, Conservative, Shipley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate his Department has made of daily smoking levels in the UK each year for the next 15 years.

Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
The Department does not collect data on daily smoking levels, and has made no estimate of daily smoking rates on an annual basis going forward. The Tobacco Control Plan for England, published in July, set out the Government’s ambition to reduce adult smoking prevalence to 12% by 2022, and to achieve a smokefree generation (5% adult prevalence or less) in the longer-term.

Citation: HC Deb, 12 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ5: Evidence on snus
Philip Davies, Conservative, Shipley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will publish the scientific evidence upon which the Government based its ban on snus.

Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
Snus is classed as an oral tobacco product. Snus was banned in the United Kingdom under The Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations 1992, which implemented EU Directive 92/41. This ban has been confirmed by subsequent regulations, most recently by EU Tobacco Products Directive 14/40, which has been transposed into UK law. The Commission has set out the evidence underpinning the ban. The impact assessment for the 2014 Directive can be found at:
https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/tobacco/docs/com_2012_788_ia_en.pdf

Citation: HC Deb, 12 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ6: Chewed tobacco products
Barry Sheerman, Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to introduce product standards for chewed tobacco in order to reduce the health effect.

Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
There are no plans to introduce specific product standards for chewed tobacco.

Citation: HC Deb, 12 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou
Soap star Kym Marsh supports Stoptober

Actress Kym Marsh, famous for appearing in Coronation Street, has come out in support of Stoptober.

In this video, she outlines her own journey towards quitting smoking, describing what motivated her, the difficulties she faced, and the benefits she has found from quitting.

Source: YouTube, 12 October 2017

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