ASH Daily News 19 December 2017



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UK

  • Supreme Court rules that smoking ban cannot be enforced in jails
  • Rates of smoking during pregnancy rise on the the Isle of Wight
  • North East: Man arrested after £20,000 illegal tobacco raid
  • Northern Ireland: Portadown council trials new method of combating smoking litter

International

  • USA: Study shows that smoking rate has risen among Americans with substance misuse problems
  • Ireland: Fears that tobacco tax rise could push smokers towards the illicit trade

UK
Supreme Court rules that smoking ban cannot be enforced in jails

A prisoner suffering from poor health has lost his attempt to enforce the smoking ban in English and Welsh jails after the supreme court ruled that crown premises are effectively exempt from the enforcement of health regulations.

The unanimous judgment from the UK’s highest court will prevent the inmate, Paul Black, from calling the NHS’s smoke-free compliance line to report breaches of the ban.

Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, said she was driven with “considerable reluctance” to conclude that when parliament passed the 2006 Health Act, prohibiting smoking in offices, bars and enclosed areas, it did not mean to extend it to government or crown sites.

“It might well be thought desirable, especially by and for civil servants and others working in or visiting government departments, if the smoking ban did bind the crown,” she added.

Source: The Guardian, 19 December 2017

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Rates of smoking during pregnancy rise on the the Isle of Wight

Recent NHS figures have shown that more than one in ten women are smoking during pregnancy on the Isle of Wight.

The figures have shown that there has been a rise on the same period last year. During the second quarter of 2017, there were 295 pregnancies and of these, 47 mothers smoked throughout. This represented a figure of 15.9% and was thus an increase on 11.7% from the same period a year previous, despite an overall steady decrease from 18.4% four years ago.

Children who grow up with a smoking parent are more likely to become smokers themselves and smoking is also more common among pregnant women from disadvantaged groups. Working to reduce smoking during pregnancy has thus become a cornerstone of the government’s tobacco strategy for a smokefree generation, with the target of a reduction in smoking during pregnancy of 6%.

More resources, data and useful links on the issue of smoking in pregnancy can be found on the Smokefree Action website.

Source: On the Wight, 18 December 2017

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North East: Man arrested after £20,000 illegal tobacco raid

77,480 cigarettes, 28.55kg of hand rolling tobacco and money have been seized and a man has been arrested in raids by officials in the North East.

The retail value of the tobacco seized was estimated at between £20,000 and £25,000. The raids were carried out by a joint effort from Durham County Council’s trading standards officers, Durham Constabulary officers and immigration officials.

Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s consumer protection manager, said: “Supplies of illegal tobacco make it easier for children to get hold of cigarettes and to start smoking. Cheap tobacco also encourages people to keep smoking and to smoke more.”

Source: The Northern Echo, 17 December 2017

 

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Northern Ireland: Portadown council trials new method of combating smoking litter

Councillors in Northern Ireland have introduced several measures to combat smoking litter in the town centres of Armagh, Banbridge and Lurgan, including an innovative ‘ballot bin’ tactic

The measures include large fines and the new ballot bins, which are ashtrays that can be customised so that people can use their cigarette butts to vote for favourite films or music, with a window displaying the winners.

Surveys have shown that smoking litter isthe most common type of litter across Northern Ireland, being present on more than 80% of its streets. Its hoped that the ballot bins can play a part in the council’s new Clean Neighbourhoods Action Plan and encourage smokers to dispose their cigarette butts properly, thus reducing litter dramatically in the long term.

Source: Portadown Times, 18 December 2017

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International
USA: Study shows that smoking rate has risen among Americans with substance misuse problems

A new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York has shown that the prevalence of smoking among Americans with substance misuse problems has increased significantly since 2002.

The findings, published online in the journal Addiction, run counter to the general trend of decline in smoking rates in the wider US population over the past two decades. Analysing data from 725,010 Americans surveyed in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2002 to 2014, the researchers found that 56% of individuals with a substance misuse problem has smoked a cigarette within the past month, compared to just 18% of those without a problem.

Senior researcher Renee Goodwin, commented on the findings, saying: “Given the extremely elevated rates of smoking among persons with substance use disorders, it seems that neither population-based tobacco control efforts nor clinical smoking cessation strategies have reached or been as effective among persons with substance use disorders.”

“New and innovative public health strategies are needed if we are to reach those with substance use disorders and bring down the smoking rates among this vulnerable group of individuals.”

Source: Medical Xpress, December 19 2017

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Ireland: Fears that tobacco tax rise could push smokers towards the illicit trade

The Irish government has been warned that a 50 cent increase on tobacco duty may not show an increase in revenue and could instead drive smokers to purchase tobacco abroad or from the illicit trade.

Despite the warnings from the Department of Finance, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe pressed ahead with a 50 cent rise, the third increase in three years, increasing the price of a box of cigarettes from about €11.50 to €12 and keeping Ireland’s duty rate on cigarettes the highest in the EU.

The Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society urged a 50 cent increase along with a levy on the profits of tobacco manufacturers. ASH Ireland suggested a €1.50 increase per packet made up of a €1 hike in duty and an additional 50 cent “litter levy” for every pack sold.

Source: The Times, 18 December 2017 (paywall)

 

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