ASH Daily News 28 March 2018



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UK

  • MP’s told that licensing e-cigarettes as medical products would reassure doctors and consumers on their safety

International

  • New Zealand: Wellington court gives Philip Morris nod to sell heated tobacco product
  • USA: Lawsuit challenges FDA delay of e-cigarette review
  • USA: Study finds smoking in pregnancy is strongly associated with poor lung function amongst asthmatic children
  • Australia: MP’s split on e-cigarettes

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions
  • Science and Technology Committee: Action on Smoking and Health evidence on e-cigarettes

 

UK
MP’s told that licensing e-cigarettes as medical products would reassure doctors and consumers on their safety

Making e-cigarettes available on prescription would reassure doctors and patients that they are less harmful than smoking, a leading health expert has told MPs.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said there are still misconceptions about vaping despite evidence it is “substantially less harmful” than using cigarettes. Mrs Arnott told the Commons Science and Technology Committee yesterday that e-cigarettes would be effective on prescription and that they should be licensed as medical quitting aids, which would reassure consumers and medical professionals of their benefits over smoking.

See also:
The Sun: Doctors should prescribe e-cigs on the NHS to show they are less harmful than cigarettes, charity says

Source: The Gazette, 27 March 2018

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International
New Zealand: Wellington court gives Philip Morris nod to sell heated tobacco product

A Wellington court has ruled that Philip Morris International can sell its new heated tobacco product in New Zealand. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health had argued that HEETS, tobacco sticks used in Philip Morris IQOS devices (heat not burn) fall under the country’s “Smokefree Environment Act’s” ban on tobacco products for chewing or any other oral use. Despite this, a court in Wellington has given Philip Morris New Zealand the green light to sell its heated tobacco product, dismissing the case by the country’s health authorities.

Source: Reuters, March 27 2018

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USA: Lawsuit challenges FDA delay of e-cigarette review

Several anti-smoking groups have filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration over a decision by Trump administration officials to delay the review of e-cigarettes.

Some US health advocates are worried about the popularity of vaping products among kids and the potential impact on adult smoking rates in the future. The FDA gained the power to regulate e-cigarettes in 2016 and under previous regulations manufacturers were meant to submit their products for review by August 2017. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb delayed the deadline to 2022.

Source: Medical Express, 27 March 2018

 

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USA: Study finds smoking in pregnancy is strongly associated with poor lung function amongst asthmatic children

A US study analysed data on more than 2000 US children aged 6-11 and found that out of those children with asthma, those whose mother smoked during pregnancy were 2.5 times more likely to have obstructed breathing.

Researcher Stacey Whittaker Brown stated that “maternal smoking in pregnancy may set children with asthma on a trajectory of poor lung function in later childhood, and other studies suggest this effect may be lifelong”.

See also:
Chest Journal: The relationship between tobacco smoke exposure and airflow obstruction in US children

Source: US News, 27 March 2018

 

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Australia: MP’s split on e-cigarettes

Federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said that e-cigarettes could save thousands of lives if long-term smokers turn to them as an alternative to tobacco. Mr. Zimmerman said that whilst the evidence base regarding e-cigarettes is still emerging there are clear indications that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to human health than smoking tobacco cigarettes.

However he was one of just three dissenting voices against a parliamentary health committee majority who oppose legalising nicotine e-cigarettes. Labor MP Steve Georganas, who presented the committee’s majority report to parliament on Wednesday, said better evidence is needed before taking that step.

Source: The Australian, 28 March 2018

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Parliamentary Activity
Parliamentary Question

PQ1. Promotion of E-Cigarettes

Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage smokers to give up by promoting the use of e-cigarettes.

Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care

The Department has been clear that for smokers, quitting smoking completely is the best way to improve health. E-cigarettes are not risk free. However, the evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than cigarettes and can help smokers to quit, particularly when combined with support from stop smoking services.

The Government committed Public Health England (PHE), through the Tobacco Control Plan, published in 2017, to include messages about the relative safety of e-cigarettes in their quit smoking campaigns. PHE’s 2017 Stoptober campaign included e-cigarettes among the array of tools that smokers can use to help them quit and, in their New Year smoking health harms campaign, PHE reprised these messages. It is through this consistent messaging that the Government hopes to reverse the harmful, mistaken – and increasingly widespread – belief that vaping is no safer than smoking.

Source: Hansard HC, 27 March 2018

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Parliamentary Question

PQ2. Financial impact of E-Cigarettes

Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential savings to the public purse from the health service encouraging the uptake of e-cigarettes among smokers.

Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care

The potential financial impacts of e-cigarettes on the public purse are not yet fully understood. The evidence base is still evolving on these products, largely because vaping is still relatively new and the health effects may be very long term. Significant savings to the public purse are likely to arise only if smokers switch completely from smoked tobacco. The Government’s Tobacco Control Plan, published in July 2017, estimates that the National Health Service currently spends £2.5 billion on treating smoking-related diseases and Public Health England assess e-cigarettes to be at least 95% less harmful than smoked tobacco. Reduced harm may not translate exactly into proportional costs savings, but superficially this implies that vaping, as an alternative to smoking, may contribute to significant savings.

Source: Hansard HC, 27 March 2018

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Science and Technology Committee: Action on Smoking and Health evidence on e-cigarettes

On 27 March ASH presented evidence to the Science and Technology Select Committee on the relative safety of E-cigarettes compared to tobacco. ASH also gave evidence on the trends in uptake of E-cigarettes amongst UK adults and young people.

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