ASH Daily news for 01 June 2015
June 1, 2015
- Tobacco industry accused of fueling cigarette smuggling to boost profits
- Fewer adults dying because of smoking, figures for England suggest
- Minister worked as spin doctor for tobacco giant that paid workers £15 a month
- Hull: Boy taken into care over parents’ smoking
- EU: Tobacco use continues downward trend
- Plain packaging battle escalates as WTO prepares for hearings on challenges to Australian regime
- China: Beijing public smoking ban begins
- France bans smoking in childrens playgrounds
- Canada: Menthol tobacco ban announced by Alberta government
- No Tobacco Day: UN launches fight against illicit tobacco trade to save lives
Tobacco industry accused of fueling cigarette smuggling to boost profits
The tobacco industry has been accused of “appalling hypocrisy”, amid claims that it is fuelling the illicit trade in cigarette smuggling to bolster its arguments against tax increases and other anti-smoking measures.
In a report published to coincide with World No Tobacco Day, ASH states that some tobacco companies are flooding foreign markets with more products than there is demand.
The report said that when some of this tobacco is subsequently smuggled back to the UK, it enables the companies to point to the dangers of a burgeoning contraband trade and to say that measures such as increasing tax would only serve to make legitimate cigarettes more expensive.
– The Two Faces of the Tobacco Industry Shouting about Illicit Trade While Still Complicit in it, ASH press release
– Big tobacco firms accused of flooding foreign markets to encourage smuggling into UK to help their fight against tax rises, Daily Mail
– How do you sell death? The tangled world of illicit tobacco, Cancer Research UK
– End European agreements with tobacco industry designed to curb smuggling, urge experts, Science Daily
– Assessment of the European Union’s illicit trade agreements with the four major Transnational Tobacco Companies, BMJSource: The Independent – 30 May 2015
Fewer adults dying because of smoking, figures for England suggest
Fewer people aged 35 and over are dying in England because of their smoking habit, figures suggest, although hospital admissions linked to tobacco usage are rising slightly.
From 2003-13 – a decade which saw the introduction of a ban on smoking in public places and a rise in cigarette prices – the proportion of all deaths in the 35+ age group estimated to be caused by smoking fell from 19% to 17%.
But the figures, published by the government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), were greeted cautiously by anti-tobacco campaigners.
ASH said tobacco-related deaths were still unacceptably high. The campaign group also expressed concern that the help to quit provided by the NHS was being reduced.Source: The Guardian – 29 May 2015
Minister worked as spin doctor for tobacco giant that paid workers £15 a month
The employment minister, Priti Patel, was part of a team of spin doctors paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to help a tobacco giant counter negative publicity, including that surrounding its joint venture with one of the world’s most brutal military regimes.
Documents unearthed by the Observer shine new light on Patel’s work for Shandwick, a lobbying and PR firm that worked for British American Tobacco (BAT) in the early years of this century.
The documents, released by BAT following a legal action, show that Patel was one of seven employees used by Shandwick on the account. One of her jobs was to lobby MEPs against the introduction of the EU tobacco control directive, which was introduced shortly after the new millennium. She was charged with ensuring that a letter from the BAT chairman at the time, Martin Broughton, outlining his objection to the directive, was faxed to every MEP.
But internal BAT documents show that in addition to her work lobbying MEPs, Patel’s team played a key role in fashioning the company’s public profile.Source: The Observer – 31 May 2015
Hull: Boy taken into care over parents’ smoking
A two-year-old boy has been taken from his parents after a health visitor raised concerns about cigarette smoke in the family home.
Health visitor Julie Allen told a family court judge that she had not come across such a “smoky house” in her 10-year career.
She said the child and his father had been surrounded by a “visible cloud of smoke” when she visited, making it difficult for her to breathe.
At the time, the boy had recently had an inhaler prescribed because of breathing problems.
Another social worker described how the child’s toys and clothes “smelt heavily of smoke”.
Judge Louise Pemberton, who was also told of other concerns about the way the youngster was being cared for, decided he should be placed for adoption.
Details of the case emerged in a written ruling by the judge following a family court hearing in Hull.Source: Sky News – 01 June 2015
EU: Tobacco use continues downward trend
The European Commission has published a Eurobarometer survey on European attitudes towards tobacco ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May.
According to the survey, there is a downward trend in tobacco use across Europe, down 2% compared to 2012. The majority of smokers (59%) have tried to quit, with 19% having attempted to do so in the past year. The results also show that 12% of Europeans have tried e-cigarettes. Of those, 67% said they tried them in order to reduce or quit smoking; and 14% were able to quit.
– Irish smoking rates falling fastest in EU, says survey, Irish TimesSource: Pan European Networks – 29 May 2015
Plain packaging battle escalates as WTO prepares for hearings on challenges to Australian regime
The WTO has confirmed that a meeting between the parties in the challenge against Australia’s plain packaging regime and WTO panellists will take place on June 1, 3, 4 and 5. The meetings will not be open to the public and the decision is still some way off.
– WTO panel to hear oral arguments on Australia tobacco plain packaging case from June 1-5, 2015, ASH press releaseSource: World Trademark Review – 26 May 2015
China: Beijing public smoking ban begins
Public smoking in China’s capital, Beijing, is now banned after the introduction of a new law.
China has over 300 million smokers and over a million Chinese people die from smoking-related illnesses every year.
Smoking bans already existed in China, but have largely failed to crack down on the habit.
These tougher regulations ban lighting up in restaurants, offices and on public transport in Beijing. Thousands of inspectors will enforce the rules.
– In country of smokers, Beijing bans lighting up indoors, AP
– Will China make the great leap in tobacco control in 2015?, The Lancet
– Beijing bans smoking in restaurants and offices and on public transport, The Telegraph
– Beijing now the forbidden city for 4 million smokers, The Times (£)
– Who you gonna call? Beijing smokebusters to go on patrol, The Gulf Times
– Beijing bans smoking in public, but will the city respond this time?, The Independent
– Last cigarette: Beijing brings in smoking bans from Monday, The Guardian
– Beijing residents on the city’s smoking ban, BBC News [includes video]Source: BBC News – 01 June 2015
France bans smoking in childrens playgrounds
France’s crackdown on tobacco will continue this summer as the government announced this week smokers will no longer be allowed to light up in playgrounds.
After it passed a law forcing cigarette companies to introduce plain packaging on all boxes the country’s health minister Marisol Touraine has now said smoking in playgrounds will be banned from July.
The government will publish a decree at the end of June and the ban will become effective immediately, so in time for the summer holidays, when the playgrounds will be packed with children.
– France bans smoking in playgrounds, The TelegraphSource: The Local – 29 May 2015
Canada: Menthol tobacco ban announced by Alberta government
Alberta will ban all menthol tobacco products later in the year, as part of a larger effort to eliminate flavoured products that the province says are designed to get youth hooked on smoking.
Menthol was specifically excluded from a ban on flavoured-tobacco products that is set to take effect in the province on 01 June. When the previous Progressive Conservative government announced the ban, they said eliminating menthol products would unfairly impact older smokers who use them in greater numbers.
At the time, the NDP criticized the exclusion. Now that the party is in power, it was able to include it in the ban.
– Flavoured tobacco ban in Nova Scotia comes into effect, CBC News
– Flavoured tobacco ban planned in New Brunswick, Yahoo!/CBC News
– Imperial Tobacco challenges Nova Scotia’s ban on flavoured cigarettes, Easy 101Source: CBC News – 31 May 2015
No Tobacco Day: UN launches fight against illicit tobacco trade to save lives
The elimination of the world’s illicit tobacco trade will not only save millions of lives but also generate billions of dollars in windfall for governments, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Sunday as it marked the 2015 edition of World No Tobacco Day.
– Ten questions to consider on World No Tobacco Day 2015, Euronews
– World No Tobacco Day not just about health, Daily Mail/AAPSource: New Kerala – 31 May 2015