ASH Daily News 29 December 2017



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UK

  • New advert from Public Health England urges smokers to quit by showing how toxic chemicals spread through the body
  • Conservative and DUP MPs criticised for hosting receptions, lunches and dinners for tobacco companies in Parliament
  • Local stop smoking services are suffering from budget cuts at the same time as councils invest in tobacco companies
  • Analyst calls attention to the unprofitability of tobacco stocks as smoking rates decline
  • North East: South Tyneside supporting New Year quit attempts as it aims for 16,000 fewer smokers

International

  • USA: Florida judge orders R.J. Reynolds to continue paying tobacco harm settlements
  • USA: Food & Drug Administration launches new ‘Every Try Counts’ campaign to encourage smoking cessation

 

UK

New advert from Public Health England urges smokers to quit by showing how toxic chemicals spread through the body

Public Health England (PHE) has released a new 20-second advertisement that highlights the rapid spread of toxic chemicals throughout the body caused by smoking tobacco.

The advert, which forms part of PHE’s Health Harms campaign, features a man smoking on his own outside a building. The blood vessels in his arms, face and hands quickly turn black as chemicals from the cigarette tar enter his body.

The campaign is aimed at emphasising the dangers posed by tar, the name given for all the solid matter inhaled when smoking tobacco. It has been released alongside other media which focus on the damage caused by chemicals such as carbon monoxide, cadmium and cancer-causing nitrosamines.

Martin Dockrell, head of tobacco control at Public Health England, said: “Our campaign is to add to that motivation and give extra support to people who want to quit in the new year.”

He said that smokers who want to quit would benefit most from attending a local stop smoking service, where both medicines and behavioural support are available. He added that there are numerous resources at the NHS Smokefree Website, including an app which helps smokers see how much money they save as they quit.

See also:

Public Health England: Health Harms campaign and resources
NHS: Smokefree
The Metro: Public Health England’s hard-hitting new anti-smoking ad
Sky News: Battery metal among smoking cancer compounds, Public Health England warns

Source: The Guardian, 29 December 2017
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Conservative and DUP MPs criticised for hosting receptions, lunches and dinners for tobacco companies in Parliament

Conservative and DUP MPs have been criticised for ‘wining and dining’ tobacco companies in Parliament over the past 18 months.

The MPs who have courted the tobacco industry include former cabinet minister John Whittingdale and former deputy speaker Nigel Evans, who both held receptions for Philip Morris International in November 2016 and March 2017 respectively.

Conservative MPs also held a reception with British American Tobacco in a parliamentary dining room in November last year and hosted a roundtable for the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association in October last year. Ian Paisley, a DUP MP, held a reception with Japan Tobacco International in July.

The hospitality is revealed in data from the House of Commons authorities, which shows hundreds of events that MPs hosted on behalf of private companies and their lobbyists between July 2016 and July 2017.

Justin Madders, Labour’s health spokesman, said: “Members of parliament ought to be setting a lead on public health issues and, with such a well-established link between tobacco and poor health, it seems incongruous and unsettling for so many tobacco companies to be hosting events here in parliament.”

Alexandra Runswick, the director of Unlock Democracy, said: “Big corporations in the arms, gambling and tobacco industries are already perceived as having an undue sway over public policy. When they are allowed to roam free in the corridors of power it is hardly surprising that the the public loses faith in our democracy. To tackle public distrust in politics MPs should consider spending less time being courted by corporations, and more time serving their constituents”

Source: The Guardian, 29 December 2017
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Local stop smoking services are suffering from budget cuts at the same time as councils invest in tobacco companies

An investigation by The Independent has shown that investment managers are investing local council pension funds into tobacco companies at the same time as funding for local stop smoking services is being cut.

Over the past five years, total investments in tobacco companies increased by more than £300m, which equates to an overall rise from £1 billion in 2012-13 to £1.3 billion in 2016-17. The direction of these pension funds is controlled by investment managers rather than council employees, but there is growing pressure on national and local government to be given the power to oversee responsible investment.

At the same time, underfunded councils have lost almost half of the money available to help smokers beat their addiction. In several areas, locally run stop smoking services, which are widely regarded as an effective aid to smoking cessation, are being stopped entirely. Many others will see a dramatic scaling back of the services, with only pregnant women or those with long-term health conditions being offered vital support.

Source: The Independent, 25 December 2017
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Analyst calls attention to the unprofitability of tobacco stocks as smoking rates decline

Ian Kelly, an analyst at the asset management company Schroders, has labelled tobacco industry stocks as too expensive and too risky for investors, citing the steady decline in smoking rates and campaigns such as plain packaging and advertisement bans.

In the article he draws attention to the decline in volume of cigarette sales and the potential for it to fall even more if current smoking cessation rates continue or increase.

He was also pessimistic about the ability of established tobacco companies such as Philip Morris to thrive outside of their currently “limited competition” environments. He called the competition and relatively low profit margins in comparison to tobacco which are characteristic of e-cigarette markets “deeply unappealing” to these established companies.

Source: City A.M. 28 December 2017
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North East: South Tyneside supporting New Year quit attempts as it aims for 16,000 fewer smokers

Smokers in South Tyneside are being encouraged to get help in quitting smoking as part of a New Year push towards the ambition of a smokefree generation.

Recent YouGov data has shown that 88 percent of people across the North East want to make smoking a thing of the past for future generations.

Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said: “We have pledged to reduce smoking rates to five per cent by 2025. This would be around 16,000 fewer smokers in the borough, which would help to protect future generation. Whilst it is good news that 65 per cent of children live in smokefree homes in South Tyneside and 80 per cent of mums-to-be do not smoke, we want to improve quit rates still further.”

She added: “Stopping smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health. Although smoking rates have decreased in the last five years, almost 400 people die in South Tyneside every year as a result of smoking.”

Source: The Shields Gazette, 27 December 2017
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International

USA: Florida judge orders R.J. Reynolds to continue paying tobacco harm settlements

A judge in Florida has ordered tobacco company R.J. Reynolds to continue paying the state millions of dollars in tobacco harm settlements despite selling off major brands.

R.J. Reynolds and other large tobacco companies were part of a 1997 multibillion-dollar settlement with Florida to compensate the state for treating harm caused to smokers by tobacco. However, the company sold the cigarette brands Kool, Winston, Salem and Maverick to Imperial Tobacco Group in 2015 and neither company continued to make payments to the state.

The presiding judge, Jeffrey Dana Gillen, declared that until R.J. Reynolds has its obligation to pay Florida transferred to Imperial Tobacco Group, it must continue to pay.

The initial settlement in 1997 sought reimbursement for medical costs in the past and the future, contending that tobacco companies had engaged in unlawful actions and misleading advertising.

Last year, the state was projected to receive more than $350 million from the settlement.

Source: The Daily Mail, 28 December 2017
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USA: Food & Drug Administration launches new ‘Every Try Counts’ campaign to encourage smoking cessation

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new campaign to encourage smoking cessation that will centre on adverts displaying the health benefits and supportive messages.

The adverts will be placed primarily at petrol stations and local stores, locations that are common points of sale for tobacco. The two-year campaign launches next month and also features print, digital, radio, and ‘out-of-home’ adverts, such as those displayed at stores and on billboards.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for an estimated 480,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Despite declining rates of use among adults, 15 percent (36.5 million) of adults in the U.S. were cigarette smokers in 2015. Of those adult smokers, about 2 out of 3 (more than 22 million) say they’d like to quit. While more than 55 percent of adult smokers made a quit attempt in 2015, only about 7 percent were successful.

As such, the new adverts will focus mainly on people aged 25-54 who have tried to quit in the past year but were unsuccessful.

Source: FDA, 22 December 2017
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