ASH Daily News 23 May 2019



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UK 

  • E-cigarettes three times more effective than NRT
  • More than 12,600 illicit cigarettes seized in Great Yarmouth
  • Costs of smoking related illness in the UK

International 

  • Brazil: Tobacco firms sued to recover public health costs
  • USA: Worries that new smoking bill will be exploited by tobacco companies
  • Japan: Mitsubishi Chemical bans employees from smoking

UK

E-cigarettes three times more effective than NRT

New research published in Addiction today suggests that e-cigarettes are three times more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches and gum, at helping smokers to quit. The UCL survey of almost 20,000 smokers found that those using e-cigarettes as a quitting aid were 95% more likely to have succeeded at 12 months after their quit date, compared to 34% using NRT such as gums, patches and lozenges, and 82% using prescribed NRT such as Champix (varenicline).

Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead at PHE, said: “This is yet more evidence, adding to a major recent UK trial, that vaping offers some of the most effective help for smokers to quit smoking, especially when combined with expert support. All we need for an e-cigarette to be available on prescription is for one to be licensed as a medicine.”

Source: Daily Mail, 23 May 2019

See study: Moderators of real-world effectiveness of smoking cessation aids: a population study

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More than 12,600 illicit cigarettes seized in Great Yarmouth

More than 12,600 illicit cigarettes and 5kg of tobacco hidden in fruit boxes has been seized from 3 different shops in Great Yarmouth in a joint operation between Norfolk Country Council Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary. The successful raid took place as a result of intelligence provided by members of the public.

Over the past year, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards officers have been involved in the seizure of more than 881kg of illicit tobacco and more than 1.2m illicit cigarettes.

Source: Eastern Daily Press, 22 May 2019

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Costs of smoking related illness in the UK

An article published in The Sun today, which appears to be based on a press release from “vaping specialists” Vapourcore, has quoted inaccurate figures about the current numbers of smokers (it says 9 million) and the cost of smoking to various regions. The article states that ASH data was used to calculate the figures on the cost of smoking, but the figures quoted are not in line with the ASH Ready Reckoner.

See article: Smoking-related illnesses and fag breaks cost the UK £12 billion a year, research shows

See also: ASH Ready Reckoner for correct figures.

International

Brazil: Tobacco firms sued to recover public health costs

The Brazilian solicitors general’s office has announced that it is suing British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI) with the aim of recovering the public health treatment costs incurred by tobacco-related diseases over the last 5 years.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Brazil, killing over 156,000 each year from related diseases and costing the healthcare system around US$14.1 billion. The value of the costs the government will seek to recover will be calculated if it wins the case.

Prosecutor Davi Bressler said: “Since the profit from this business is sent abroad, it is fair that these multinational companies pay for this responsibility they have left to Brazilian society.”

A spokesperson from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said: “The suit is the first of its kind for Brazil and a significant step toward holding the two major tobacco companies who do business in Brazil and their parent companies responsible for the enormous financial and health burdens caused by tobacco use.”

Source: Reuters, 22 May 2019

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USA: Worries that new smoking bill will be exploited by tobacco companies

Concerns have been raised by anti-smoking groups that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s new bill to raise the purchase age of tobacco to 21, is drafted in such a way that it could damage tobacco control measures put in place by local governments.

Concerns centre around the requirement for states to develop their own laws which could be manipulated by the tobacco industry. US based tobacco company Altria and e-cigarette manufacturer Juul have repeatedly deployed lobbyists at the state level to push for state laws that can carve out protections for the industry or even block cities from passing stricter reforms. For example, when Arkansas raised its legal limit for purchasing tobacco to 21, the legislation contained a clause blocking any county, municipality, or other level of government from passing regulations on “the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of tobacco products” that are more restrictive than the state law.

The worry is that McConnell’s legislation will set up a series of state level battles which could end in laws preventing the development of local stop smoking initiatives. McConnell’s office has responded saying that the bill has been designed to allow states to decide what measures they will put in place, which can be even more restrictive than federal law.

Source: Buzzfeed News, 22 May 2019

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Japan: Mitsubishi Chemical bans employees from smoking

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has announced that it plans to ban employees from smoking during working hours with the aim of protecting others from the effects of secondhand smoke. All employees will be required to refrain from smoking during working hours, including when working from home or on business trips.

The company will also remove smoking spaces from its officers and plants and request that employees visiting from external companies refrain from smoking in the premises.
The move comes after an in-house survey found that 60% of employees who smoked responded saying they “need to quit smoking”.

Source: The Japan Times, 23 May 2019

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