ASH Daily News 30 January 2018


  • Mouse study suggests e-cigarette vapour may be linked to rise in cancer and heart disease risk
  • Scotland: Charity states that buying children cigarettes is not a favour and keeps the industry in business
  • Scotland: Ban on smoking in mental health hospitals declared lawful


  • India moves to curtail tobacco industry’s rights
  • Japan to restrict use of ‘heat-not-burn’ products but abandons indoor smoking ban



Mouse study suggests e-cigarette vapour may be linked to rise in cancer and heart disease risk

Reseachers have suggested that nicotine inhaled from e-cigarette vapour could raise the risk of cancer and heart disease after conducting a study on mice and human cells.

They found evidence that the nicotine could be converted into chemicals that damage DNA in the heart, lungs and bladder, as well as hampering the body’s genetic repair mechanisms.

Researchers exposed the mice to e-cigarette vapour for three hours a day, five days a week over three months. The amount of nicotine in the vapour was 10 milligrams per millilitre, making it as concentrated as the e-cigarette vapour that humans inhale. This amounted to “extremely large doses of nicotine” according to Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London.

Critics of the study and the researchers themselves have stated that the results were far from conclusive and that more research into the topic is needed, citing the fact that the mice were exposed for a prolonged period to high levels of e-cigarette smoke.

Professor Hajek went on to say: “This study shows nothing at all about the dangers of vaping. It doesn’t show that vaping causes cancer. This is one in a long line of false alarms which may be putting people off the switch from smoking to vaping, which would undoubtedly be of great benefit to them. The best current estimate is that vaping poses, at worst, some 5% of risks of smoking.”

See also:
PNAS: E-cigarette smoke damages DNA and reduces repair activity in mouse lung, heart, and bladder as well as in human lung and bladder cells

Source: The Guardian, 29 January 2018
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Scotland: Charity states that buying children cigarettes is not a favour and keeps the industry in business

Echoing ASH Scotland’s recent ‘Not A Favour’ campaign, the children’s health charity Fast Forward has warned that buying cigarettes for children sets them up for a lifetime of health and financial problems.

The charity has launched a new campaign against proxy purchasing and its chief executive Alastair MacKinnon has pledged to support Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-Free Generation – six principles laid down by ASH Scotland in accordance with the Scottish government’s ambition for a smokefree nation by 2034.

Mr MacKinnon stated: “We know from talking to teachers that in schools where smoking rates are high in the local community, cigarettes are sold to younger children by teen smokers in order to maintain their own smoking. Adults willing to buy tobacco for young people are really just carrying out the work of Big Tobacco. They’re leading young people into addiction, long-term health problems and huge financial cost. It has to stop.”

ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy added: “The tobacco industry uses every trick in the book to snare new young people into becoming smokers, with the result that 36 children start smoking every day in Scotland. We mustn’t do their job for them.”

Source: BBC, 30 January 2018
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Scotland: Ban on smoking in mental health hospitals declared lawful

Two patients detained at psychiatric units in Scotland who claimed that the blanket ban on smoking in the grounds of the mental health hospitals breached their human rights have had their actions dismissed.

Lady Carmichael, the judge in the Court of Session ruled that the complete ban on smoking was lawful and did not breach the petitioners’ rights to respect for a private life.

She heard that the petitioners, who are detained in the Rowanbank Clinic and Leverndale Hospital respectively, raised a case against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. They were contending that the comprehensive prohibition on smoking contravened their rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and was unlawful because it was “not proportionate”.

Lady Carmichael concluded: “A partial ban on smoking would not protect patients or staff from the adverse effects of smoking as effectively as would a complete ban. The serious nature of the adverse effects of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are such that I am satisfied that the impact of the prohibition is not disproportionate to its likely benefit. I have determined that the comprehensive ban on smoking is lawful and does not breach the petitioners’ rights”.

Source: Scottish Legal News, 29 January 2018
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India moves to curtail tobacco industry’s rights

The Indian government is pushing the Supreme Court to apply a doctrine that would remove the tobacco industry’s legal right to trade, an effort aimed at deterring tobacco companies from challenging new packaging regulations.

The Ministry of Health has sought to classify tobacco as “res extra commercium”, a Latin phrase meaning “a matter beyond commerce,” according to a court filing.

If applied, it would have far reaching implications. By denying an industry’s legal standing to trade, authorities would have more scope to impose and enforce the new regulations. The Supreme Court’s application of the doctrine to alcohol in the 1970s paved the way for multiple Indian states to ban it completely and allowed courts to take a stricter stance while regulating liquor, which constitutional law experts say could happen with tobacco if a similar ruling was made.

Government lawyer R. Balasubramanian, acting on behalf of the Ministry of Health, stated: “The effects of tobacco are much more than even alcohol. It will be a fillip to this drive against tobacco”.

Balasubramanian, however, also said the government is not planning to ban tobacco and that the goal was only to curtail the industry’s legal rights.

Source: Reuters, 29 January 2018
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Japan to restrict use of ‘heat-not-burn’ products but abandons comprehensive indoor smoking ban

The Japanese government has stated that it plans to restrict the indoor use of ‘heat-not-burn’ tobacco products but has abandoned efforts to impose a total ban on indoor smoking amid resistance from industry.

The indoor use of ‘heat-not-burn’ tobacco products will be allowed only in specially designated rooms at restaurants where customers will still be able to eat and drink, according to the latest government plan. Under the plan, drawn up by the health ministry, smoking will be completely banned in hospitals, schools, universities and government offices to protect children and others from secondhand smoke. Additionally, children will be prohibited from entering smoking spaces.

The ministry will not submit a bill to “tighten” tobacco controls and implement legislation in stages during the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The restrictions on the use of ‘heat-not-burn’ products will be less stringent than those on combustible cigarettes because the risk to health posed by secondhand smoke from such products remains unclear, officials said.

Souce: The Japan Times, 30 January 2018
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