ASH Daily News 4 July 2017

  • Letter from North East Directors of Public Health – smokefree law 10 years on
  • Healthcare professionals urged to report side effects of e-cigarettes
  • After a decade of the smoking ban, the tobacco industry’s real fight begins now
  • Statistics for age check with Northern Ireland retailers show improvements with tobacco
  • Lancashire: 200,000 illicit cigarettes seized last year


Letter from North East Directors of Public Health – smokefree law 10 years on

A letter from the North East Directors of Public Health highlights effective tobacco control work over the last 10 years.

“A decade ago, millions would be coming home from work or from a night out having breathed in second hand tobacco smoke. Here in the North East around 35 workers were dying each year from breathing in smoke whilst at work. Decades of evidence has proven beyond doubt that passive smoking increases the risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease among adults, and worsens conditions such as asthma among children, who are particularly vulnerable.

Over the last decade the North East has seen the largest regional fall in smoking in England with around 218,000 fewer adults smoking; a phenomenal positive change. We’ve also seen a welcome decline in smoking related diseases and have our lowest youth smoking rate on record.”

Source: Fresh, 1 July 2017
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Healthcare professionals urged to report side effects of e-cigarettes

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published how members of the public and healthcare professionals can report any suspected side effects or safety concerns with e-cigarettes and the e-liquids used for vaping.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, says: “There are currently 2.9 million e-cigarette users in Great Britain, over half of whom have quit smoking. E-cigarettes are playing an important role in supporting smokers to switch from tobacco smoking. The new regulations which require notification to the MHRA about the products should give people further confidence in the e-cigarette market. As the market continues to develop we hope to see products go through the more stringent licensing process and become licensed as medicines and available on prescription.”

Source: Pharmaceutical Journal, 3 July 2017
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After a decade of the smoking ban, the tobacco industry’s real fight begins now

The battle over public smoking appears lost. Support for the smoking ban has risen since it was introduced, according to surveys by the charity ASH.

The industry is increasingly resigned to dwindling cigarette sales volumes as a result. Philip Morris International (PMI) held an event last week entitled Can Britain Go Smoke Free in the Next 10 Years, an acknowledgement that alternatives to smoking are required. New technologies are also a major factor in BAT splashing out $49bn for Camel maker Reynolds American, which has valuable patents in “heat not burn” tobacco products.

The University of Bath’s Dr Branston agreed the success of new smoking products would be a major deciding factor for the future profitability of the tobacco industry and pointed to its billions of pounds in investment as evidence of their bet on future trends.

But he raised the prospect of the potential for more onerous legislation to come the tobacco industry’s way, such as the revival of a proposed levy which was previously mulled by Government and the potential for a price cap, which he thought could more easily be instigated after Brexit.

Dr Branston said the smoking charity ASH had funded a preliminary investigation into whether a price cap would be compatible with EU law but found it would be problematic under the Tobacco Tax Directive and other European legislation.

Source: Telegraph, 2 July 2017
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Statistics for age check with Northern Ireland retailers show improvements with tobacco

Retailers showed improvements in tobacco sale age checks in 2016, passing 71% of tests compared to 60% the previous year. Test numbers also rose by 31% in 2016.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) reports that two thirds of smokers start smoking before the age of 18. Of those who try smoking, between one third and one half will become regular smokers.

Ed Heaver, director of Serve Legal, said: “Retailers and operators of licensed premises in Northern Ireland have been extremely slow to adopt age-check testing for underage sales, with testing levels dwarfed by the rest of the UK.

“In 10 years of working with retailers, we have found that those that introduce regular independent testing programmes see compliance levels improve dramatically which reduces the risk of alcohol, tobacco and other harmful products getting into the hands of children.

“Age-check testing should be an integral part of retail training and operational best practice, not a panic purchase after a sting by trading standards or the police.”

Source: Belfast Telegraph, 3 July 2017
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Lancashire: 200,000 illicit cigarettes seized last year

Almost 200,000 illicit cigarettes were seized by Trading Standards officers across Lancashire last year, almost five times the number confiscated six years ago. The number of people prosecuted for selling counterfeit and non-duty tobacco products has also rocketed

Councillor Albert Atkinson, the deputy leader of Lancashire County Council and responsible for Trading Standards, said: “Combating illegal tobacco has become an increasing priority for Trading Standards in recent years, and we’ve secured a number of successful prosecutions following our own inspections, and intelligence received from members of the public.

“A survey carried out in 2015 by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute showed that, nationally, there had been a 26 per cent increase in people reporting illegal tobacco dealers to councils. Amounts of tobacco seized in Lancashire have increased year on year, despite seeing a rise in elaborate attempts on the part of traders to conceal products on the premises, or in the locality, to prevent detection.”

Although the cost of cigarettes have risen, illicit cigarette sales have dropped slightly.

Source: Lancashire Post, 3 July 2017
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