ASH Daily News for 01 February 2019



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UK

  • World Bank report concludes higher tobacco taxes improve health, increase state revenue and reduce illicit tobacco trade
  • Five-year GP contract worth £2.8bn paves way to ‘rebuild general practice’
  • Financial incentive scheme helps pregnant women in South Tyneside to quit smoking
  • Northern Ireland: Almost five million illegal cigarettes seized

Parliamentary Activity

  • House of Lords debate on the NHS Long Term Plan

Links of the week

  • Public Health England: Smoking prevalence in young adults aged 18-34 years old
  • NHS Digital: Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England July 2018 to September 2018

UK

World Bank report concludes higher tobacco taxes improve health, increase state revenue and reduce illicit tobacco trade

A World Bank report into the global illicit tobacco trade outlines the benefits of high tobacco taxes, which it states improve public health, increase revenues and reduce the economic burden related to tobacco use. The World Bank also refutes the claim that hikes in so-called sin taxes drive customers to the illegal tobacco market, which hits tax revenue without reducing smoking.

The report states that “countries as different in levels of economic and institutional development as the United Kingdom, Kenya and Georgia have all successfully improved the effectiveness of their tobacco tax administration and, by doing so, reduced tobacco illicit trade while increasing tobacco taxes…in every case study where there was a significant tax or price increase, there was a resultant increase in government revenue, and (where data was available) a decline in smoking prevalence.” the report states.

ASH welcomed the report, saying it “puts paid” to arguments that higher taxes boost the black market, yet the Institute of Economic Affairs and lobby group Forest disagreed with the World Bank, claiming that higher taxes fuel illicit trade in tobacco.

Source: City AM, 01 January 2019

World Bank Group – Confronting illicit tobacco trade: A global review of country experiences

Editorial note: The Institute of Economic Affairs and Forest have long had close ties to the tobacco industry. Both organisations receive significant amounts of funding from the tobacco industry and both are vocal opponents of tobacco control measures.

See also:
ASH – World Bank cites UK as example of how tobacco taxes can be used to increase government revenues and improve public health
TobaccoTactics – The Institute of Economic Affairs
TobaccoTactics – Forest

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Five-year GP contract worth £2.8bn paves way to ‘rebuild general practice’

GP funding in England will rise by £405m in 2019/20 as part of a groundbreaking £2.8bn five-year contract deal hailed as “the biggest boost to primary care in 15 years” by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

British Medical Association (BMA) leaders confirmed the deal will increase practice funding by almost £1bn over five years, with a further £1.8bn to support the formation of primary care networks, which all GP practices will be expected to join this year. Each network will cover around 30,000 to 50,000 patients, with a ‘local GP’ expected to take on a clinical director role in each area.

The five-year contract will deliver a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs, funding for 20,000 additional non-medical staff to work alongside general practice, and to allow practices to provide online and video consultations, online booking of some GP appointments and direct bookings by NHS111.

Source: GP Online, 31 January 2019

See also: The King’s Fund – A significant moment for general practice

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Financial incentive scheme helps pregnant women in South Tyneside to quit smoking

A scheme offering pregnant women up to £300 to stop smoking has helped to almost half numbers in South Tyneside since it was introduced. Between the scheme’s start in March 2017 and the end of December 2018, 249 women signed-up. Of these, at least 137 have managed to maintain abstinence four weeks after their quit date.

Under the incentive scheme, expectant mothers can claim a £25 gift card for attending an initial appointment and setting a quit date. Following this, women enrolled in the scheme can be eligible for up to three further installments – one of £75 and two of £100 – which can be spent at stores such as Mothercare, Halfords and Boots if they can go 35 weeks without a cigarette.

“We’ve seen continued strong improvement around smoking in pregnancy,” Tom Hall, South Tyneside Council’s Director of Public Health said last week. “We started in 2014/15 with a [smoking in pregnancy] rate of about 25%…That has now dropped to around 13%, which is a really positive improvement and one we hope to see continued.”

Source: Chronicle Live, 31 January 2019

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Northern Ireland: Almost five million illegal cigarettes seized

Almost five million cigarettes have been seized by police in an operation targeting loyalist paramilitaries. Police estimate the tobacco represents a potential revenue loss of nearly £2m. The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) Paramilitary Crime Task Force seized the cigarettes and other goods.

PSNI Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said: “This is a really significant seizure for the Paramilitary Crime Task Force and a significant blow to the organised criminals behind it.”

Source: BBC, 30 January 2019

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Parliamentary Activity

House of Lords debate on the NHS Long Term Plan

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath proposed a debate in the House of Lords yesterday, 31st January 2019, to take note of the recent NHS Long Term Plan. Lord Hunt raised the importance of public health and the contribution of local government quoting the Chief Medical Officer in saying “you’ve got to take this seriously.”

Contributions specifically on smoking cessation were made by Lord Rennard and Lord Ribeiro, with both asking the Government for clarification on what funding would be available over the lifetime of the Plan to support the commitments on smoking cessation.

Source: Hansard, 31 January 2019

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Links of the week

Public Health England: Smoking prevalence in young adults aged 18-34 years old

Public Health England has published detailed ad-hoc smoking prevalence analysis for 18-34 year olds, calculated from the Annual Population Survey. The publication shows trends in smoking prevalence for young adults by sex and region.

Further breakdowns of smoking prevalence by deprivation decile (England only) and socio-economic status (for England and each region) are included for the White ethnic group.

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NHS Digital: Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England July 2018 to September 2018

This quarterly report presents provisional results from the monitoring of the NHS Stop Smoking Services in England during the period 1 April 2018 to 30 June 2018.

It includes information on the number of people setting a quit date and the number who successfully quit at the 4 week follow-up. It includes key information on pregnant women and breakdowns by age group, gender, ethnic group and type of pharmacotherapy received and analyses at regional and local authority levels.

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