ASH Daily news for 03 March 2015



  • The spread of western disease: ‘The poor are dying more and more like the rich’
  • NFRN say plain cigarettes a ‘disaster’ for shops
  • Study: Cigarettes don’t keep you slim
  • British American Tobacco drops and sues PwC over pollution scandal
  • Kenya: Tobacco Industry accused of “imitation and interference”
  • New Zealand: Pressure to bring in tobacco standard packaging
  • Parliamentary Questions

    The spread of western disease: ‘The poor are dying more and more like the rich’

    Bjorn Lomborg, the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre writes that, for the first time, more people in developing countries die from strokes and heart attacks than infectious diseases.

    He argues that the solutions to these Non Communicable Diseases are often effective and very cheap, for example, reducing smoking rates or curbing salt intake.

    While tobacco will cause 10 million deaths by 2030, rich countries have shown tax increases are the most effective way to cut smoking. A tax in low- and middle-income countries to increase the cost of cigarettes by 125% would still leave cigarettes cheaper than in the west.

    [This is based on a paper written by Rachel Nugent of the University of Washington, one of a series commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre.]

    Source: The Guardian, 02 March 2015

    NFRN say plain cigarettes a ‘disaster’ for shops

    The Sun reports that some newsagents and corner shops may be forced to close if standardised packaging is introduced.

    The National Federation of Retail Newsagents, said the move “could be the final blow”.

    Source: The Sun, 01 March 2015

    Study: Cigarettes don’t keep you slim

    A study carried out by researchers at Oregon Research Institute and published in the journal Appetite, found that, despite the common belief that smoking curbs appetite, young women who smoke actually gain three times as much weight as non-smokers.

    The researchers said their results challenged the belief that smoking is an effective weight-control strategy, but added a larger trial was needed to understand why the smokers gained more.

    Source: Daily Mail, 03 March 2015

    British American Tobacco drops and sues PwC over pollution scandal

    British American Tobacco has ended its relationship with its auditors PwC and taken them to court over a potential $1bn US environmental damages bill.

    BAT has invited other firms to tender for the auditing contract.

    Source: The Independent, 03 March 2015

    Kenya: Tobacco Industry accused of “imitation and interference”

    Rachel Rose Jackson from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, explores the influence of British American Tobacco in Kenya, a country which has the highest recorded smoking prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, and where 10% of 13- to 15-year-olds smoke.

    She highlights Kenya’s efforts to introduce tobacco control legislation, which have been fiercely resisted by BAT and other tobacco companies. Kenya’s Tobacco Control Act 2007, for example, took more than 13 years to be passed, largely due to what has been labelled by the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation as “intimidation” and “interference” from the tobacco industry.

    [Further research on the tobacco industry can be found on]


    Source: The Guardian, 02 March 2015

    New Zealand: Pressure to bring in tobacco standard packaging

    Anti-smoking groups are calling on the Government to move faster on standard packaging legislation.

    Although New Zealand was one of the earliest proponents of standard packs, the legislation has languished after its first reading, amid fears of an expensive legal battle with the tobacco industry.

    The Government has said it continued to support standard packaging, but further progress depends on Australia successfully defending its law against legal challenges.

    Source: New Zealand Herald, 02 March 2015

    Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1: Illicit Tobacco

    Lord Stoddart of Swindon, Independent Labour
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they take into account the volume of smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products when calculating the percentage of the United Kingdom’s population who smoke.

    Earl Howe, Conservative
    The Government’s national ambition to reduce smoking prevalence among adults in England is measured using data from the Office for National Statistics “Integrated Household Survey”.

    This survey asks the following two questions relating to smoking: “Have you ever smoked a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe?” and “Do you smoke cigarettes at all nowadays?”

    Background, methodology and other information relevant to this survey is available online at:

    Source: HL Deb, 25 February 2015, cW

    PQ2: Standardised Packaging

    Philip Davies, Conservative
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will delay the commencement of regulations on the standardised packaging of tobacco products for 12 months or until any legal challenges have been concluded.

    Jane Ellison, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    Certain parts of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations implement the European Tobacco Products Directive are required to be brought into force in May 2016. For those regulations that introduce further requirements, it is clear that there are benefits for business if the requirements of the Directive and the further standardised packaging requirements are implemented at the same time.

    The Government will keep under close review all legal challenges that are relevant to standardised packaging of tobacco products. If legal challenges are made to the regulations, then it will promote certainty, and be better for all affected parties, that such challenges are determined in courts or tribunals as soon as possible.

    Source: HC Deb, 27 February 2015, cW