ASH Daily News 28 November 2017



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UK

  • Southend: Man jailed for the sale of illegal tobacco
  • How should we deal with alarmist health reporting?

International

  • Southeast Asia: Report finds tobacco industry is thwarting global treaty
  • Australia: Ban on nicotine could do more harm than good
  • Japan Tobacco continues management shake-up

 

UK

Southend: Man jailed for the sale of illegal tobacco

A Southend businessman has been jailed for the sale of illicit, unsafe tobacco after a raid by Southend Council’s Trading Standards officers.

The business was raided by officers from Southend Borough Council’s Trading Standards team, assisted by local police officers, leading to the seizure of more than 5,000 cigarettes and nearly 4kg of hand-rolling tobacco.

Testing revealed that many of the cigarettes failed to have a “reduced ignition propensity”- a safety feature built into all genuine cigarettes to prevent or reduce the risk of house fires when a cigarette is left alight on furniture.

Mr Mashoudi was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, followed, on release, by a 12 month supervision order.

Source: Basildon, Canvey, Southend Echo, 27 November 2017
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How should we deal with alarmist health reporting?

Health reporting can often be confusing and scary, highlighting how everyday things could actually be dangerous.

The key when we’re reading headlines appears to be being sceptical. James Carney, a Wellcome Trust fellow in the medical humanities points out that the number 1 killer of children in the US is cars, yet people still love cars. When it comes to assessing risk, we need to be less subjective and more statistically savvy.

Gerard Blair who works on the Behind the Headlines section of the NHS Choices website, notes that: “Increases in risk can sound scary, but to understand the real-life effect of a rise, you first have to know what your baseline risk is. There can be a statistically significant increase in the risk of developing a condition, yet that might only equate to a tiny fraction of a rise in actual cases.”

Blair goes on to highlight that: “core public health advice has remained unchanged for many years: exercise regularly, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious and balanced diet, avoid overexposure to sunlight, stick to the alcohol guidelines and quit smoking to maximise your chances of a long and healthy life”.

Source: The Guardian, 27 November 2017
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International

Southeast Asia: Report finds tobacco industry is thwarting global treaty

Implementation of the world’s only global health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has suffered substantial setbacks in Southeast Asia according to a new report.

The report published by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, notes that over the last year the industry has thwarted implementation of higher tobacco taxation in Malaysia and Indonesia, while Vietnam waived all duties on dried tobacco imports from Cambodia.

While tobacco taxes are the “most cost-effective way to reduce tobacco use”, WHO coordinator for tobacco and economics Jeremias Paul notes that only a few, mostly European, countries have imposed the ideal rate – equivalent to 75% of the retail price.

“One of the reasons why it’s underutilised or not being implemented globally is what I term as the scare tactic of the tobacco industry,” he told reporters.

The Alliance report also found that new rules for plain packaging in Malaysia and pictorial warnings on cigarette packs Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia were either stopped or delayed last year.

See also:
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance: Tobacco Industry Interference Index

Source: The Guardian, 28 November 2017
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Australia: Ban on nicotine could do more harm than good

Economics editor Adam Creighton has written an opinion piece in The Australian on tobacco harm reduction.

“You don’t have to be a medical insider to understand that smoking a substance that causes cancer is a lot more damaging than smoking one that doesn’t.

“Yet health authorities here [Australia], by threatening to put people in prison for possessing nicotine, have in effect banned electronic cigarettes, which offer a much safer way for addicted smokers to get their nicotine hit. It’s the nicotine that’s addictive, apparently (I wouldn’t know having never smoked), not the tobacco, which can kill you. This is a shameful stain on Australia’s otherwise excellent reputation for public health policies. Sure, we may find in 20 years that e-cigarettes have a horrible side-effect but so may mobile phones and we’re not banning them.

“It’s all about children, apparently, or at least the teenagers. “The Australian Medical Association is concerned that e-cigarettes are promoted and marketed in a way that is clearly very appealing to young people,” AMA president Michael Gannon wrote in a recent letter seen by The Australian. The evidence is patchy but increasingly shows that if teenagers try e-cigarettes, few turn into regular tobacco smokers.

“If people want to smoke nicotine then the government should at least permit options that are less likely to kill them.”

Source: The Australian, 26 November 2017
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Japan Tobacco continues management shake-up

Since appointing their youngest ever company president Japan Tobacco has continued its management shake-up with the appointment of two new executives.

JT announced yesterday Naohiro Minami and Kiyohide Hirowatari will both be elevated to the role of executive vice president to “further support the development of the Company’s business and expansion plans”.

Source: The Financial Times, 27 November 2017
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