ASH Daily News 21 July 2017

  • The death of smoking: how tobacco will be eradicated for good
  • Vaping Industry lead discusses Tobacco Control Plan
  • Midlands: Millions of illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco seized
  • Wales: Prison report on effects of going smokefree released
  • Measures to discourage smoking are spreading, but loopholes are all too common
  • China: Tougher laws have deterred smoking


The death of smoking: how tobacco will be eradicated for good

Smoking rates have been slowly falling, year on year, in most Western countries for decades. This month saw the 10-year anniversary of England’s ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces – including bars and restaurants – a change that once would have seemed inconceivable.

The decline of smoking is emboldening some public health officials to plan for what is sometimes called the tobacco endgame – stubbing out smoking completely. But several strategies to reach this goal have potential pitfalls, and some could even be counterproductive. So is a smokefree future ever going to happen, and what could we do to bring it about?

History tells us that prohibition fuels criminal suppliers. This happened in the 1920s when alcohol sales were banned in the US, and still goes on today with illegal recreational drugs such as heroin. “There are all sorts of scary unintended consequences that could come along with prohibition,” says Martin Dockrell, of Public Health England. Use could even increase, he says, as illicit cigarettes would be much cheaper and lack health warnings. “You’re much more effective at regulating products if they’re legal,” says Deborah Arnott of UK campaigning public health charity Action on Smoking and Health.

Source: New Scientist, 18 July 2017

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Vaping Industry lead discusses Tobacco Control Plan

Christian Mulcahy, Board Member of the UK Vaping Industry Association, discusses the vaping industry view of the new Tobacco Control Plan.

“This week, the government released its Tobacco Control Plan.

This has been long awaited by the vaping industry – until now, we did not really know in what light it would cast our products, or if vaping would even feature in it at all.

My industry colleagues and I absolutely welcome the inclusion of vaping in the Plan, and the surprisingly constructive approach the government seems to be taking to smoking cessation.”

Editorial Note: The UK Vaping Industry Association’s membership includes BAT, PMI, and JTI.

Source: City AM, 21 July 2017

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Midlands: Illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco seized

Illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco worth over £2.5 million were seized by trading standards officers in the midlands during the past 12 months.

The haul included more than 5.5 million cigarettes and 645kg of hand rolling tobacco. The loss to the tax payer was estimated at over £2 million.

Source: Coventry Observer, 20 July 2017

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Wales: Prison report on effects of going smokefree released

A rise in the number of violent and self-harm incidents at Parc Prison could be linked to the smoking ban, a review has found. The prison’s director Janet Wallsgrove said the number of violent incidents increased but were now dropping.

The report said the ban at the Bridgend site had been well-managed and some prisoners had since stopped smoking. But it said tobacco and other contraband was still getting in and it was concerned about drones being used.

The 2016-17 report by the prison’s independent monitoring board said despite initial resistance to the April 2016 ban, some prisoners had “seized the opportunity to stop smoking” and said they felt fitter as a result.

Source: BBC, 20 July 2017

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Measures to discourage smoking are spreading, but loopholes are all too common

Every two years the World Health Organisation (WHO) takes stock of the efforts of governments around the globe to curb smoking. The latest report, published today, shows that only a single country, Turkey, has implemented to the fullest degree all of the measures recommended by the WHO. These include smoking bans, high cigarette taxes, warnings about the dangers of smoking, bans on tobacco advertising and publicly subsidised services that help smokers to quit.

Although the number of countries adopting such measures has steadily grown, loopholes remain common. Outside Europe, taxes on cigarettes tend to be low. As a result, smoking in the rest of the world was just as affordable in 2016 as it was in 2008—and in many places it became even cheaper. Only a tenth of the world’s population lives in countries where taxes make up at least three-quarters of the price of cigarettes, the level that has been shown to be effective in discouraging smoking.

See also: WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2017

Source: The Economist, 19 July 2017

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China: Tougher laws have deterred smoking

China, the world’s largest cigarette market, is to some degree kicking the habit. While figures from Euromonitor International showed 2.4 trillion cigarettes were smoked last year, that marks the second straight annual decline.

China has been raising taxes and toughening anti-smoking laws, and Euromonitor expects the numbers to keep dropping – at an average rate of 2.3% annually – through 2021.

Source: Bloomberg, 21 July 2017

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