ASH Daily News for 05 July 2016



  • West Midlands shopkeeper sentenced after illegal cigarettes found

    A former Stourbridge shopkeeper who admitted possessing illegal cigarettes for sale has been given a suspended prison term and ordered to carry out unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and an £80 victim surcharge.

    Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “While all smoking kills, illegal tobacco is sold at low prices which makes it easier for children and young smokers to get hooked on smoking. Cheap cigarettes also make it harder for people to quit and remain smoke free. It also deprives legitimate businesses of revenue and robs the tax payer of money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.”

    Source: Express and Star 4 July 2016

  • New Zealand: Ban on cigarette displays cuts teenage smoking rates

    New research shows that removing cigarette and tobacco displays from shops has helped cut smoking among New Zealand school students to record low levels.

    The study, led by researchers from the University of Otago, suggests that 2012 legislation banning all point-of-sale (POS) tobacco displays from shops selling cigarettes had helped reduce smoking among students aged 14 and 15 at schools across New Zealand.

    Examining annual surveys of more than 25,000 14-15 years olds the researchers found the removal of POS tobacco displays, accompanied by increased enforcement and penalties for selling tobacco to minors, was followed by significant reductions both in experimental and regular smoking.

    For example, the proportion of children who had tried smoking, but were not regular smokers fell from roughly 24% in 2011 and 2012 to 17% in 2014. The proportion of smoking students who were buying or trying to buy cigarettes from stores also declined.

    See also:
    The full research can be accessed here.
    Maori Television: Removal of tobacco displays working – study
    News Hub: Hiding cigarettes reduces smoking – study
    Foreign Affairs: Removal of point-of-sale tobacco displays working 

    Source: Sina English 5 July 2016

  • Lords debate 4th July: Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016

    Opening a debate on the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, Conservative peer Lord Callanan moved a motion to regret the regulations, which was later withdrawn. Lord Callanan expressed concern that these regulations would push vapers who use higher strength e-liquids back to smoking and restrict the promotion of these products.

    Responding for the Opposition, Shadow Health Spokesperson Lord Hunt of Kings Heath moved an amendment to the motion, which was rejected at division. The amendment rejected the call for the Government to withdraw the regulations, replacing this with further regretting that the “Regulations are not to be accompanied by a public information campaign to reassure smokers that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than normal smoking; that smoking cessation services are being cut back at the same time as the Regulations are being introduced; and that the Regulations are due for implementation before the Government have published their tobacco strategy.” Labour accepted the need for some regulation but expressed concerns at the style of regulation being brought into effect, and the public lack of awareness at the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to smoking.

    Baroness Walmsley speaking for the Liberal Democrats proposed an alternative motion which stated: “this House regrets that the advertising ban would hinder e-cigarettes from being promoted as a way of assisting smokers to stop smoking tobacco, and that concerns regarding the restriction of the nicotine concentration of the vapour have not been properly addressed.” Baroness Walmsley emphasised the potential benefits of electronic cigarettes to public health, whilst arguing that the regulations should not be withdrawn due to the other important tobacco control measure they contain. This motion was not voted upon.

    Speaking on behalf of the Government, NHS Productivity Minister Lord Prior of Brampton emphasised the point that using e-cigarettes is considerably safer than smoking, but that vaping is not without its risks. Lord Prior stated that: Moving forwards, the Government are committed to a full review of the functioning of the regulations … I also commit, here and now, to commissioning Public Health England to update its evidence report on e-cigarettes annually until the end of this Parliament and to include within its quit-smoking campaigns consistent messaging about the safety of e-cigarettes.”



  • Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1 Tobacco Smuggling

    Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley
    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products.

    James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)
    Border Force routinely searches for illicit tobacco at the border, acting as one element of a comprehensive cross-government Tobacco Strategy. Border Force targets and seizes illicit tobacco products, referring seizures on tonHM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for prosecution. In the Budget 2016, it was announced that Border Force would receive an additional £31 million of funding over four years to increase tobacco detection capability by the equivalent of 150 extra officers. HMRC also received additional resources in the summer Budget 2015 to tackle illicit tobacco.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 4 July 2016, cW)

    PQ2: WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

    Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 24th May 2016 to Question 37256, on the WHO framework convention on tobacco control, when he expects to take a decision on whether the delegation will be led by Ministers in his Department.

    Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The next meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be held in India from 7 to 12 November 2016. The composition of the United Kingdom’s delegation has not yet been decided.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 1 July 2016, cW)