ASH Daily News 29 January 2018


  • UK accused of hypocrisy on overseas tobacco control
  • PMI pressed further on new year claims that it wants to stop selling cigarettes
  • British man reveals how he became the face of health warnings about the risk of smoking


  • USA: Ohio University study suggests that vaping is less harmful to lung fluids than smoking

UK accused of hypocrisy on overseas tobacco control

Freedom of information requests have revealed that the Foreign Office (FO) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have been lobbying on behalf of UK-based tobacco giants operating overseas, despite spending millions of pounds trying to curb smoking rates.

Amongst other things, the requests have revealed that in the past four years FO and DIT staff met with British American Tobacco nine times to discuss a long-running tax dispute with the Bangladesh government and that in Panama there were six meetings between BAT and embassy staff, including two BAT “receptions”. They also revealed that BAT had sought to influence the regulatory framework for effective excise tax collection for e-cigarettes in Poland.

The released information raises questions about the government’s approach to tobacco control. The UK has invested £15m in funding the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which promotes raising taxes on cigarettes in low- and middle-income countries that are now targeted by big tobacco because smoking rates are declining in developed states.

An FO spokesman claimed that it took its approach and responsibilities seriously, stating: “Interactions with the tobacco industry are only permitted where necessary, and we do not allow our staff to encourage investment in the tobacco industry, or provide any assistance in helping tobacco companies influence local business policies like taxation to their advantage.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “Britain is a world leader in implementing tough and effective measures to regulate and control the tobacco industry, and as a result our smoking rates have plummeted. The government has publicly committed support to help poorer countries to follow our example. But behind the scenes our embassies are still helping UK-based tobacco manufacturers to promote their lethal business and to resist government regulation. The word hypocrisy hardly does it justice. We are saving lives at home and promoting death abroad.”

Source: The Guardian, 27 January 2018

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PMI pressed further on claims that it wants to stop selling cigarettes

Having been pressed on PMI’s supposed New Year ambition to “stop selling cigarettes in the UK”, the company’s director of corporate affairs for the UK and Ireland, Mark MacGregor, has stated that 2030 “feels like a realistic timeframe”.

Although the campaign, which consisted of advertisements placed in some newspapers. was widely condemned as a PR stunt by anti-smoking campaigners.

Smoking campaign groups are skeptical that PMI wishes to achieve its supposed ambitions. Pointing to its track record, such as the 565.6 billion units of cigarettes it shipped in 2017, the Truth Initiative said that PMI’s claims are simply “inconsistent with its current behavior”.

Recent investigations by Reuters have found irregularities in the clinical trials of IQOS and on 25 January, FDA health experts suggested that PMI should not be allowed to claim its iQOS electronic tobacco product is less risky than cigarettes.

Souce: The Daily Star, 29 January 2018

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British man reveals how he became the face of health warnings about the risk of smoking

A British man has revealed the bizarre story of how he became the face of EU health warnings about the risk of smoking after participating in photoshoots in Berlin in 2012.

During a year-long sabbatical, Tom Fraine found himself at two separate photoshoots in Berlin to earn some money and was paid €300 for his time. He did not know then that some of the photos would be used for EU health warnings on packs about the dangers of smoking.

Detailing one of the shoots, he related how at a disused hospital on the outskirts of Berlin, the photographers painted his face grey, put him in a body bag and took him to a morgue.

After returning to London, Mr Fraine began to see himself on cigarette packs and found out that his photo was being used across the entire EU and was on millions of packs.

Although somewhat relieved that the photo has now been phased out in favour of newer ones, Mr Fraine said he hoped that the warnings had worked, put some people off smoking and saved lives.

Souce: The Guardian, 29 January 2018

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USA: Ohio University animal study suggests that vaping is less harmful to lung fluids than smoking

A new Ohio University study has shown that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

Amir Farnoud, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, lead the study which looked at how e-cigarettes affect lung surfactant. Lung surfactant is a mixture of lipids and proteins that reduces the surface tension of the alveolar fluid in the lungs and plays a crucial role in lung stability.

The researchers exposed both conventional cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor to calf lung surfactant extract, which is used to treat preterm infants who have yet to form surfactant of their own.

They found that tar was specifically damaging for pulmonary surfactant, as they significantly inhibited the ability of surfactant to reduce surface tension, but that particles in e-cigarette vapor do not affect the normal functioning.

See also:
Respiatory Research: Electronic cigarette vapor alters the lateral structure but not tensiometric properties of calf lung surfactant

Souce: Medical Xpress, 26 January 2018

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