ASH Daily News 24 July 2017



  • Love Island: stars’ on-screen smoking angers health charity
  • NHS units consider imposing surgery ban on obese and smokers
  • Tobacco Control Plan could be hindered by public health cuts
  • Scotland: Researchers to lead £3.4m tobacco control project in Africa and Asia
  • East of England: St Albans City hospital going smokefree
  • USA: ‘No Smoking’ also applies to e-cigarettes on flights, court says
  • Indian Government to quiz Philip Morris on marketing of Marlboro

 

Love Island: stars’ on-screen smoking angers health charity

Amid growing concerns about the rise of smoking on screens and its influence on the young, the media regulator Ofcom has been asked by a leading health charity to investigate whether the show is in breach of strict codes governing lighting up on television. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is questioning why the contestants’ cigarettes are contained in plain white packs which hide the highly visible health warnings.

ASH points out that the Broadcasting Code states that smoking “must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in … programmes likely to be widely seen or heard by under-18s, unless there is editorial justification”. ITV acknowledges the show is “proving a massive success with young audiences, regularly capturing a 56% share of 16 to 34-year-old viewers”, but since the show is broadcast past the 9 o’clock watershed, it is therefore considered an adult programme.

In its letter to Ofcom, seen by the Observer, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “I consider it reasonable to require programme-makers to have very strong justifications for showing smoking in a programme likely to be seen by young people, particularly if it depicts smoking by glamorous and attractive characters or people. I have seen no such justification in this case.”

Source: The Guardian, 23 July 2017

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NHS units consider imposing surgery ban on obese and smokers

The NHS in Hertfordshire is proposing that smokers must have quit for at least eight weeks before being referred for non-urgent surgery. Patients will be tested for their carbon monoxide levels.

Source: The Sunday Times, 23 July 2017

Editorial Note
The NHS in Hertfordshire is consulting on this proposal, which includes the stipulation that exceptions would be made in cases where waiting for surgery would be more harmful for the patient. The consultation will last until 14 September.

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Tobacco Control Plan could be hindered by public health cuts

The government has pledged to cut the smoking rate among adults in England by almost a quarter, nearly halve the smoking in pregnancy rate and cut the proportion of teens who smoke regularly even more dramatically within just five years under its new Tobacco Control Plan.

But the Plan does not come with any promise of additional funding. The government says it wants to see “local areas working together to explore if regional and cross-regional approaches could offer a greater return on investment”.

The public health budget in England is held by local authorities, and the Local Government Association’s chair, Izzi Seccombe, said financial cuts will make the plan difficult to implement. “This is made all the more difficult by the Government’s reductions to the public health budget, which councils use to fund smoking cessation services,” she said.

Source: Pharmaceutical Journal, 21 July 2017

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Scotland: Researchers to lead £3.4m tobacco control project in Africa and Asia

A team of researchers led by the University of Stirling has been awarded £3.4 million to reduce tobacco-related harm in low and middle income countries in Asia and Africa.

The four-year, multi-disciplinary project – funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Research Councils UK Collective Fund – involves six UK universities from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, eight overseas partners in seven countries and Cancer Research UK. The project will be led by Professor Linda Bauld, director of Stirling University’s Institute for Social Marketing and Cancer Research UK Cancer Prevention Champion.

Experts will work with researchers from the South Asian and Sub-Saharan African countries of India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Uganda, Gambia and Ghana to offer training and research support. They will also partner with local academics to develop and implement approaches to tackling Asian and African nations’ tobacco consumption – which the World Health Organisation says kills more than 7 million people each year.

Source: The National, 22 July 2017

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East of England: St Albans City hospital going smokefree

West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust (WHHT), which runs St Albans City Hospital, has announced smoking will no longer be allowed on the grounds.

Director for Human Resources at WHHT, Paul de Gama, said: “It’s completely wrong that so many people continue to openly smoke on hospital grounds.

“Not only does it send out all the wrong messages regarding smoking, it creates mess and is bad for the health of our patients and local population. That’s why our aim is to become a completely smokefree environment.”

Source: The Herts Advertiser, 21 July 2017

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USA: ‘No Smoking’ also applies to e-cigarettes on flights, court says

Vaping is smoking, a federal appeals court ruled, upholding regulation that adds e-cigarettes to an existing ban on the use of traditional tobacco-burning products on commercial flights in the U.S.

The decision on Friday by the Washington-based court leaves in place the Department of Transportation’s new rule barring e-cigarettes in flight to protect people from the devices’ second-hand vapor. The prohibition announced last year applies to scheduled airlines, charter operators and foreign carriers flying to or from the U.S.

The court’s decision came with a degree of uncertainty as the two-judge majority struggled to reconcile regulations dating back decades with the modern-day technology. The lone dissenting judge accused his colleagues of manufacturing ambiguity about what it means to smoke.

Source: Bloomberg, 21 July 2017

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Indian Government to quiz Philip Morris on marketing of Marlboro

India plans to seek an explanation from Philip Morris International Inc about its marketing practices after Reuters reported that the tobacco giant used tactics that government officials say flout the country’s law, a health ministry official said on Friday.

Philip Morris advertises Marlboro cigarettes, the world’s best-selling brand, at tobacco shops in India and distributes free cigarettes at nightclubs and bars frequented by young people to promote the brand, Reuters reported earlier this week.

Indian government officials previously have said these marketing activities violate the country’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act and its accompanying rules, but companies get away with it because enforcement is weak. The government now plans to write letters to Philip Morris’ India unit as well as other tobacco companies and take “action as per law”, said Arun Kumar Jha, a federal health ministry official who oversees tobacco control in the country.

Source: Reuters, 21 July 2017

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