ASH Daily news for 02 October 2015
- George Osborne ignored doctors’ advice about tobacco levy
- Another fall in smoking with under-25s now amongst the least likely to light up
- Northern Ireland: Stormont uncertainty could delay child car smoking ban
- Shocking new figures reveal the extent of damage to children exposed to smoking in cars
- US: Low-nicotine cigarettes cut use, dependence, study finds
- US pushes anti-tobacco compromise in Pacific trade deal
- US tobacco companies revive challenge to FDA over labeling
George Osborne ignored doctors’ advice about tobacco levy
George Osborne disregarded the advice of doctors, cancer charities and the Government’s public health experts to rule out a tax on Big Tobacco, official documents show.
Organisations including the Royal College of Physicians, Public Heath England and Cancer Research UK backed proposals for a tobacco levy, which was first proposed by ministers in December.
But after the election the Chancellor rejected his plan and sided with Big Tobacco companies who said it would undermine their contribution to the “recovery of the UK corporate sector” and would set a “dangerous precedent” that would have a “poisonous effect” on confidence.
The advice given to the Government is revealed in Treasury documents released on Wednesday.
Results from the consultation, analysed by The Independent, reveal that the plan for a levy was supported by the Government’s own health experts and academics.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, condemned the u-turn: “If the recommendation of 120 health organisations for a levy is ignored, how do ministers intend to promote public health, help people stop smoking and ensure that the NHS has a sustainable future?”
– Editorial – Smoke without fire: Osborne’s flirtation with a tobacco tax looks opportunistic, The IndependentSource: The Independent – 01 October 2015
Another fall in smoking with under-25s now amongst the least likely to light up
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the proportion of UK adults who smoked cigarettes fell markedly between 2010 and 2014, from 21% to 18.3% – a drop of 2.7 points.
The fall was even sharper among 18-24-year-olds, down 3.6% to 22.8%. It means that fewer people in this age bracket smoke than among 25-34-year-olds and ends the historic trend that smoking was highest among the young.
Fewer than one in 10 over-65s – just 9.5% – described themselves as smokers.
[includes graphs and video]Source: Mail Online – 01 October 2015
Northern Ireland: Stormont uncertainty could delay child car smoking ban
Uncertainty at the Northern Ireland Assembly could delay the introduction of a ban on smoking in cars with child passengers.
The landmark legislation, which is designed to protect children from the effects of tobacco smoke, came into force in England and Wales this week.
Neil Johnston, public affairs officer for the Chest Heart and Stroke charity, said constant flux at Stormont risks derailing attempts to bring the same law to Northern Ireland.Source: Dromore Leader – 30 September 2015
Shocking new figures reveal the extent of damage to children exposed to smoking in cars
“Shocking” new figures show the harm secondhand smoke in cars poses to youngsters – even with the windows down.
Dr Anil Namdeo, of Newcastle University’s Transport Operations Research Group, has carried out experiments on secondhand smoke in vehicles to test levels of dangerous chemicals – fine particles 100 times thinner than a human hair known as PM2.5 – which children sitting in the back of a car would breathe in. His team tested having the windows open or closed, fans on or off and with the air recirculating or not.
Drivers tested 20 minute routes around Newcastle, replicating a school run, using volunteer smokers. Dummies were used in the back as no children were involved.
Despite common misconception, even driving with the windows open while smoking exposed those in the back to dangerous levels of chemicals.
The test found even with the window open, levels were more than 100 times higher than recommended safety guidelines. With windows closed and the fans on, levels were more than 200 times the safe limits.
Levels of poisonous carbon monoxide were two to three times worse than on a busy road at rush hour.
– Even an open window won’t protect children from smoke in cars, say North-East researchers, Northern Echo
– Croydon North MP ‘proud’ as ban on smoking in cars with children comes into force, Croydon AdvertiserSource: Western Daily Press – 01 October 2015
US: Low-nicotine cigarettes cut use, dependence, study finds
A new study might help the push for regulations to limit nicotine in cigarettes in the US. Smokers who switched to special low-nicotine cigarettes smoked less and were more likely to try to quit, researchers found.
The study only lasted six weeks, and researchers call the evidence preliminary. But they say it’s the first large study to show that slashing nicotine, perhaps below an addiction threshold, is safe and leads to less smoking.
The Food and Drug Administration was given the power in 2009 to mandate lower nicotine levels if it would help public health, but has not yet done so.
– Research Shows Low-Nicotine Cigarettes Help Smokers Cut Back, Yahoo! News
– Could making cigarettes less addictive help people stop smoking?, Cancer Research UKSource: NBC News – 30 September 2015
US pushes anti-tobacco compromise in Pacific trade deal
Governments will be allowed to block tobacco companies from suing over anti-smoking measures under a U.S. proposal being considered by Pacific trading partners as part of a free trade deal involving a dozen countries.
The exemption proposed in Atlanta, Georgia, where ministers are trying to close the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, would allow any of the 12 member countries to opt out of rules aimed at protecting foreign investors from harmful government policies with regard to tobacco control measures.
The TPP seeks to cut trade barriers and set common standards for 40 percent of the world economy.
If governments trigger the exception, they would have free rein on tobacco regulation without being challenged in a trade tribunal.
The U.S. proposal could prevent companies like Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco Inc. from using rules, which aims to protect foreign investors, to push back.
– GOP senators warn Obama on tobacco carve-out, The HillSource: Reuters – 01 October 2015
US tobacco companies revive challenge to FDA over labeling
U.S. tobacco companies have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hoping to stop the agency from enforcing a directive on changes to a tobacco product’s labeling or quantity.
The lawsuit brought by subsidiaries of Imperial Tobacco Group, Reynolds American Inc and Altria against the FDA in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is the second this year over the directive. Tobacco companies withdrew an earlier lawsuit in June after the FDA said it would hold off on enforcement actions while it considered additional input on the policy.
The FDA released a new version of the directive on Sept. 8, but plaintiffs said it had not meaningfully changed from the original. The companies claim that even with the revisions the guidance unlawfully imposes on their commercial speech rights under the First Amendment and exposes them to civil or criminal penalties, according to the lawsuit.Source: Reuters – 30 September 2015