ASH Daily News for 04 February 2019



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UK

  • Open letter: NHS Long Term Plan at risk from public health cuts
  • More than 800 packets of illicit cigarettes seized from shop in Kent

International

  • Hawaii considers ban on cigarette sales
  • Tobacco companies accused of targeting children with advertisements and sales around schools in India

 

UK

Open letter: NHS Long Term Plan at risk from public health cuts

An open letter organised by The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) published in The Times and signed by 55 health leaders, including ASH, warns that NHS England’s recent Long Term Plan is at risk of failing due to ongoing cuts to public health budgets.

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said the plan would involve a fundamental shift towards the prevention of ill health. However, in the open letter health leaders point out that public health budgets, held by councils, have been reduced by £700 million since 2014. A further £85 million of cuts are planned in April to services such as sexual-health clinics, stop-smoking advisers, drug and alcohol treatment and measures to combat obesity and air pollution. Public health budgets were not part of the £20 billion boost Theresa May promised for the NHS and will be set separately by a review this year.

Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the ADPH, said: “Health is about much more than the NHS. Tackling the root causes of ill health and creating places in which we can all be healthy is the mission of local government. If we undervalue this public health expertise within local government, the NHS long-term plan simply cannot be delivered.”

Source: The Times, 04 February 2019

See also:
The Times – Times letters: NHS long-term plan and the role of social care
ADPH – Public health should be a priority in the spending review

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More than 800 packets of illicit cigarettes seized from shop in Kent

A man has been prosecuted following the seizure of 813 packets of illicit cigarettes and 1.9kg of hand rolling tobacco from a local shop in Dartford, Kent.

On two occasions Kent County Council Trading Standards officers visited the shop as part of an illegal tobacco operation with the assistance of a sniffer dog and handler. On both occasions concealed tobacco was seized. A test purchase was also arranged, with a volunteer purchasing a pack of 20 cigarettes for £5.

Steve Rock, Kent County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “We take the sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco very seriously.”

Source: News Shopper, 03 February 2019

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International

Hawaii considers ban on cigarette sales

In 2016 Hawaii became the first US state to raise the age of sale for cigarettes to 21. Now, under a proposal before the state legislature, cigarette sales may be effectively banned outright by 2024.

The proposal would see a progressive increase in the age of sale, starting with raising the minimum age for buying cigarettes to 30 in 2020, up to 50 by 2022 and up to 100 by 2024. The proposal, authored by three representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties, passed its first reading and has been assigned to committees but does not yet have a hearing.

Hawaii also has one of the nation’s highest cigarette taxes, at $3.20 per pack and more than a decade ago, the Hawaii Legislature significantly expanded ‘No Smoking’ zones, with e-cigarettes included in prohibitions three years ago. The proposal now before lawmakers effectively banning cigarette sales would not include e-cigarettes.

Source: WDBJ7, 03 February 2019

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Tobacco companies accused of targeting children with advertisements and sales around schools in India

Tobacco companies are advertising products around educational institutions and intentionally targeting children in India, according to a recent study. The Tiny Targets study involved a sample of 243 schools and 487 points of sale across 20 states in India and found tobacco products being advertised and sold at vendors close to schools.

The study found clear breaches of laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 and within 100 yards of an educational institution. State Governments also provide licenses to tobacco shops under the condition “that the shops authorized for selling tobacco products cannot sell any non-tobacco product such as toffees, candies, chips, biscuits, soft drinks, etc., which are essentially meant for children,” said Ashwini Choubey, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. However, poor enforcement of laws and a lack of checks in place has enabled the illegal sale of tobacco near schools, experts say.

“Vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth. 91% of displays were at 1 meter – a child’s eye level. An estimated 54% of the points of sale had no visible health warning; and 90% of displays were beside candy, sweets and toys – items marketed to children,” the Tiny Targets report states. The report also found the sale of single cigarettes and offering of free samples and discounted prices on tobacco products.

Source: CNN, 01 February 2019

See also: Consumer Voice – Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets

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