ASH Daily News 17 October 2017



UK

  • Alert over smoking link to bladder cancer

International

  • Pressure on ILO to stop taking funds from the tobacco industry
  • Canada: Study finds smoking costs 45,400 lives and C$16.2bn in a year
  • Canada: Integration of smoking cessation within CT lung cancer screenings shows life-saving results

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

 

UK

Alert over smoking link to bladder cancer

Bladder cancer experts have argued that more needs to be done to highlight the link between bladder cancer and smoking. Last week the World Congress on Bladder Cancer was held in Edinburgh, with researchers seeking to emphasise the harmful effect of smoking, which is estimated to cause 42% of baldder cancers.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert, based at the University of Stirling, said that smoking was “by far” the biggest preventable cause of bladder cancer in Scotland. Robert Jones, Professor at the Glasgow Institute of Cancer Sciences explained that “the function of the bladder is to store urine and one of the purposes of urine is to expel the poisons that are extracted from the body. If you smoke then the carcinogens that are absorbed into the blood get filtered out into the urine and sit there in the bladder. Thereby they can cause bladder cancer.”

Source: The Scotsman, 14 October 2017
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International

Pressure on ILO to stop taking funds from the tobacco industry

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the labour agency of the United Nations, has been urged to sever all links to the tobacco industry by a group of almost 200 organisations – including ASH, UKCTAS, and the Smokefree Partnership – alongside individuals from across the world.

The letter to the ILO insisted that the organization risks “tarnishing its reputation and the effectiveness of its work”. The letter comes following news that the ILO has received over $15m from Japan Tobacco International. The ILO has so far defended this, saying that the funding assists with its efforts to reduce child labour in the cultivation of tobacco.

See also
Letter to the ILO Governing Body

Source: Yahoo, 16 October 2017
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Canada: Study finds smoking costs 45,400 lives and C$16.2bn in a year

In 2012, 45,000 lives were lost in Canada due to smoking, according to a new study analysing data from that year. Meanwhile, costs to the economy reached over C$16bn.

Though the smoking rate in Canada has fallen over recent years, with 18% of the population smoking in 2015, the long-term health effects of smoking mean that smoking-related mortality remains high. This study found that, in 2012, 18% of all deaths were caused by smoking or secondhand smoke.

The economic costs resulted from a combination of factors that included health care, lost years of life, and lost productivity. Health care needed to remedy the effects of tobacco use cost C$6.5bn.

See more
Conference Board of Canada: The Costs of Tobacco Use in Canada, 2012

Source: CBC, 16 October 2017
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Canada: Integration of smoking cessation within CT lung cancer screenings shows life-saving results

A new study from researchers at the University of Canada has found that incorporating smoking cessation into a lung cancer screening programme could decrease mortality rates at a low cost. The findings were presented on the 16th October at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in Yokohama, Japan.

According to the researchers involved in the study, further research is required to determine what these joint programmes would look like in practice, as well as what costs would be required.

Source: EurekAlert, 16 October 2017
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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Training for diplomatic posts on tobacco industry engagement
Bob Blackman, Conservative, Harrow East
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what training or information has been provided to UK diplomatic posts on the revised guidelines for overseas posts on support to the tobacco industry since those guidelines were published in December 2013.

Mark Field, Minister of State
The Government has standing instructions to all diplomatic staff to follow the revised December 2013 guidelines on interactions with tobacco companies. We remind staff at diplomatic posts of these guidelines and their implications for our work overseas annually, most recently in May 2017.

Citation: HC Deb, 16 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ2: Assistance given to British American Tobacco
Bob Blackman, Conservative, Harrow East
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government has given assistance to British American Tobacco in its challenge to the claim for unpaid VAT brought against it by the Government of Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement.

Mark Field, Minister of State
Her Majesty’s Government continues to engage with the Government of Bangladesh over what is, in our view, discriminatory action against a British company. Guidance was issued in December 2013 to assist compliance with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and we have observed the guidelines for support to the tobacco industry at all times.

Citation: HC Deb, 16 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ3: Illicit tobacco
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Independent Ulster Unionist
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Tobacco Manufacturing Association’s recent survey finding that over 70 per cent of tobacco used in the UK is obtained from illicit sources abroad; and what is their assessment of the impact of that finding on health and tax revenues.

Lord Bates, The Minister of State, Department for International Development
The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association survey reports that 72.5% of smokers purchased tobacco from non-UK duty paid sources. This included legitimate cross-border shopping, which provided it is for personal use, is not subject to UK duty. Therefore, this is not a direct measurement of the illicit market or tax gap.

HMRC publishes annual estimates of the tobacco illicit market on the GOV.UK website. Its latest estimate of revenue losses associated with illicit tobacco was £2.4 billion in 2015-16.

Tackling illicit tobacco, which undermines government taxation and public health policy is a government priority. Since 2000, when the government launched its first strategy to tackle illicit tobacco, the percentage tax gap for cigarettes has reduced in 2015-16 from 22% to 13% and for hand-rolling tobacco from 61% to 32%.

Citation: HL Deb, 16 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou

PQ4: Tobacco smuggling penalties
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Independent Ulster Unionist
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many cases of illegal tobacco trading, and illegal tobacco purchase and use, have been brought before the courts in each of the past three years; what was the maximum, and the mean, penalty imposed; and what was the total gross cost of those prosecutions.

Lord Bates, The Minister of State, Department for International Development
Prosecutions for illegal tobacco can be brought for a range of offences from dealing in illicit product, on which UK duty has not been paid, to breaches of the Department of Health’s regulations for tobacco control. Prosecutions can also be brought by a range of organisations including the Crown Prosecution Service and Local Authorities.

HMRC is unable to provide specific data relating to ‘illegal tobacco trading’ and ‘illegal tobacco purchase and use’, as this split is not recorded in our data. The table below shows the total number of tobacco cases dealt with by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service over the past three financial years.

Citation: HL Deb, 16 October 2017, cW
Source: TheyWorkForYou