ASH Daily News for 04 April 2017



Northumbria health trust starts countdown to smokefree status
65,000 cigarettes found dumped in a field in Cheshire East
Belfast home’s smoking rules not enforced when fire that killed woman started
France: Is smoking in a TV programme unauthorised tobacco advertising?
USA: Trump Team financial disclosures reveal tobacco investments
Kenya: Five advocacy groups oppose proposal to lower tax on plain cigarettes
Parliamentary Question

 
Northumbria health trust starts countdown to smokefree status

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has launched its one-year countdown to becoming smokefree. In order to help reduce the number of people who smoke and the serious illnesses associated with smoking, the trust has made public its pledge for all of its hospitals and community sites to be completely ‘smokefree’ from 31st March 2018.

Dr Gbenga Afolabi, medical director and respiratory consultant who is leading the smokefree project at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Having spent my 20-year career caring for people with the deep-rooted ill-effects of smoking I am extremely proud that Northumbria has taken this bold step to go smokefree.”

Despite declines in smoking prevalence over recent decades, 18.7% of adults in the North East still smoke and tobacco use remains the single largest cause of health inequalities and premature death. Supported by Fresh North East and Public Health England, Northumbria’s announcement of its commitment to becoming ‘smokefree’ follows the region’s two mental health trusts which did so in March 2016.

Source: Berwick Advertiser, 3rd April 2017
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65,000 cigarettes found dumped in a field in Cheshire East

65,000 illegal cigarettes have been found dumped in a field off Clay Lane in Crewe, Cheshire East.

The cigarettes – estimated to have a street value of £24,000 – are known as ‘cheap whites’, foreign imports brought into the UK, which are illegal due to the non-payment of duty.

Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for health and communities, said: “We are an enforcing council and work hard to keep harmful products off the streets. (…) There is far more to this than the non-payment of duty. The sale of illicit tobacco often has links to serious and organised crime and we also know that people who deal in illegal tobacco are more likely to encourage others, especially children and young adults to smoke.”

Source: Signal 1, 4th April 2017
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Belfast home’s smoking rules not enforced when fire that killed woman started

A care home’s smoking rules were not being properly enforced when a fire broke out in the bedroom of an 81-year-old woman with dementia, an inquest was told yesterday. The fire resulted in the woman’s death.

It is believed that the woman had been smoking in her room despite a policy supposed to prevent her from having unsupervised access to lighters and cigarettes. Before her death, concerns were raised about Mrs Fegan’s smoking on at least three previous occasions, including incidents where she burnt her fingers with a lighter and burn marks were found on her clothes.

Rosemary Gilbey, who worked as a senior care assistant at the care home, claimed that while the smoking policy designed to protect residents from hurting themselves was acceptable, it was not being enforced. While staff verbally warned Mrs Fegan about the danger of smoking in her room, Ms Gilbey said this was insufficient protection for a dementia patient.

Source: Belfast Telegraph, 4th April 2017
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France: Is smoking in a TV programme unauthorised tobacco advertising?

A legal case was introduced in France following the broadcast of a TV programme consisting of filming, during a dinner, several guests from various backgrounds, which showed three famous persons smoking. Both the broadcaster, the company managing the channel’s website and their directors were sued on the grounds that the French public health code prohibits the direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products.

The Court of appeal in Paris had found that the broadcast of the sequences showing the guests smoking was a form of promotion of tobacco. The court argued that the sequences could have been deleted during the editing of the TV program, and that such deletion would not have affected the comprehensibility of the debates nor would it have violated freedom of expression.

However, this decision was overturned by the Cour de cassation in February. It considered that the mere fact that persons were shown smoking during a TV programme did not constitute tobacco advertising.

Source: Lexology, 3rd April 2017
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USA: Trump Team financial disclosures reveal tobacco investments

The White House has published the financial disclosure forms of about 180 members of staff, providing a picture of their incomes, holdings and liabilities.

This revealed that Trump’s National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, who played a leading role in the White House’s attempt to repeal Obamacare, has a number of financial ties to the medical field and tobacco companies. His stock holdings include tobacco companies Philip Morris and Reynolds American, valued at approximately $500,000 to $1 million each.

Likewise, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and now counsellor to the president, lists holdings in tobacco companies Altria Group and Philip Morris International.

See also:
Trump says repeal isn’t dead, Politico

Source: Yahoo Finance, 3rd April 2017
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Kenya: Five advocacy groups oppose proposal to lower tax on unfiltered cigarettes

At least five advocacy groups have written to the Kenyan Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, expressing their disagreement with the proposal to lower taxes on unfiltered cigarettes.

If the proposal is implemented, prices of unfiltered cigarettes could decline by 28 per cent, making them more affordable to poor Kenyans, Samuel Ochieng from the Consumer Information Network (CIN) said. “This means cigarettes will become more available to children, youths and vulnerable members of our society who are already adversely affected by the economic and health effects of tobacco use,” CIN said in a letter to the Cabinet Secretary.

Separately, the head of the International Institute for Legislative Affairs, Emma Wanyonyi, said the proposal could be illegal, as it contravenes the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Kenya signed and ratified in 2004. The treaty bans preferential treatment for certain tobacco products.

Source: The Star, 4th April 2017
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Parliamentary Question

PQ: Tobacco Smuggling
Martyn Day SNP, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the announcement in the Spring Budget 2017 on the use and ownership of tobacco manufacturing machinery, whether the Government will ratify the World Health Organisation Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary HM Treasury
A Command Paper setting out the UK’s plans to ratify the World Health Organisation Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products can be laid before Parliament once all the Primary legislation to fully implement the Protocol has been approved by Parliament.

While the UK already has many of the Protocol’s requirements in place, the requirement to license tobacco manufacturing machinery has not yet been implemented. Legislation to accomplish this is included in the Finance (No.2) Bill.

Source: HC Deb, 3 April 2017, cW
Link: http://bit.ly/2nErX11