ASH Daily News 2 June 2017



  • Tobacco use more than twice as likely to cause death in HIV patients than HIV
  • Studies show benefits of tobacco taxes in developing world
  • City AM asks, following the decision by a group of investors to quit the tobacco industry, should others follow suit?
  • Indonesia: Tobacco bill would enable cigarette advertising to be aimed at children, health official says
  • Japan: Health Ministry forced to drop efforts to stop smoking in restaurants
  • Ireland shuns smoking and lands award for tobacco control

 

Tobacco use more than twice as likely to cause death in HIV patients than HIV

Researchers at the University of York have shown that tobacco use is more common among HIV positive individuals than HIV negative individuals.

The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, aims to raise further awareness of the dangers associated with tobacco use among people living with HIV, particularly following recent research which showed that young people on HIV drugs have a near-normal life expectancy due to improved treatments for the disease.

Medical advances in HIV mean that HIV patients may only lose about five years of life due to HIV. However, if they smoke, they may lose as much as 12 years of life. This means that tobacco use is more than twice as likely to cause death in HIV patients as the HIV infection itself.

See also:

The Lancet: Tobacco use among people living with HIV: analysis of data from Demographic and Health Surveys from 28 low-income and middle-income countries.

Source: York University, 1 June 2017
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Studies show benefits of tobacco taxes in developing world

In poor countries the tax rate on cigarettes is typically below 50%—and in some zero. These rates may not curb smoking much, because tobacco companies, which are sometimes monopolies, can cut their profit margins on cheaper brands and raise them on luxury ones to offset their losses.

Poorer countries could raise taxes, but they don’t because they have relied on market studies paid for by tobacco companies. These suggest that high taxes on cigarettes cause a surge in smuggling and, perversely, reduce overall tax revenues. Now, independent studies by the World Bank and others have shown that this conclusion is wrong. The black market is not as menacing as it seems and the revenues raised by higher cigarette taxes can help suppress it.

A growing number of countries, including the Philippines, Brazil, Turkey and Uruguay, are showing the way. The Philippines, for example, raised the tax on all types of cigarettes more than fourfold in 2012. As a result, prices of the cheapest brands, accounting for about two-thirds of all cigarettes, rose by more than 50%. In 2011-15 tobacco-tax revenues more than doubled, and the share of adults who smoked fell from 30% to 25%.

Source: Economist, 1 June 2017
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City AM asks, following the decision by a group of investors to quit the tobacco industry, should others follow suit?

In favour was Adam Tindall, chief executive of AMP Capital: ‘Investors are increasingly – and quite rightly – being asked to justify their actions. Clients question whether investors should support an activity that, while commercially convenient and legal, is inherently wrong. We’re not prepared to deliver investment returns at any cost to society. Tobacco products are highly addictive, cannot be consumed safely and impact non users via second-hand smoke.’

Against the suggestion was Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute: ‘Since the emergence of e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco poachers have turned gamekeepers. That’s where the tobacco industry can be useful: it has plowed money into products like Phillip Morris’s iQos which heat the tobacco but do not burn it, producing an experience closer to smoking without the actual smoke.’

Source: City AM, 2 June 2017
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Indonesia: Tobacco bill would enable cigarette advertising to be aimed at children, health official says

A proposed Indonesian tobacco law will roll back regulations to discourage smoking in a country that already has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and open the floodgates to advertising aimed at teenagers, a health ministry official said.

If the bill initiated by the parliament is passed, companies will no longer have to put grim pictures on cigarette packs of lung cancer or other diseases linked to smoking, said Mohammad Subuh, director-general of disease prevention and control at the health ministry.

Source: Reuters, 1 June 2017
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Japan: Health Ministry forced to drop efforts to stop smoking in restaurants

The health ministry has decided to abandon its plan to completely ban smoking in restaurants as part of measures to lower cancer risks, sources said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will still aim to fully eliminate passive smoking risks at government offices and medical institutions, and reduce the portion of the population exposed to that risk to 15% or lower by fiscal year 2022, in line with the current target of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they said.

Based on the recommendations of an expert panel, the ministry earlier sought to ban smoking in restaurants by 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, facing pressure from the tobacco and restaurant industries, has proposed that smoking be allowed as long as smoking and non-smoking areas are clearly separated.

Source: Japan Times, 2 June 2017
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Ireland shuns smoking and lands award for tobacco control

Ireland has had one of the largest falls in the number of daily smokers. The new figure of 19 per cent is a drop of ten percentage points since 2006.

The results were published as the Department of Health announced that the World Health Organisation had given it the 2017 World No Tobacco Day award for its achievements in the area of tobacco control.

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, health promotion minister, welcomed the award but said that complacency should not be allowed to set in.

Source: Times, 1 June 2017
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