ASH Daily news for 07 December 2015



HEADLINES

  • Tobacco giants and Government in plain packaging showdown
  • EU court ruling over plain packaging will be later this month
  • Reports that first e-cigarettes to be prescribed on the NHS in the New Year
  • BAT accuser to hand evidence of ‘bribery’ to SFO
  • Staffordshire: Royal Stoke accused of ignoring NHS smoking ban
  • Scotland: Bid to ban smoking in street cafes thrown out by councillors
  • Norfolk: Breckland to introduce smoke free zones next year
  • Scotland: Man mistakes e-cigarette for bomb – police called and bus evacuated
  • EU assessing PMI anti-illegal trade agreement
  • Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco settle patent infringement
  • India: HP health minister admits pressure from tobacco industry to reduce VAT

    Tobacco giants and Government in plain packaging showdown

    The world’s biggest tobacco companies will this week start their High Court battle with the Government over plans to sell cigarettes in plain packets, a law that the manufacturers argue deprives them of their property rights.

    FTSE 100 companies British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, along with Marlboro maker Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco, will line up against the Government on Thursday, when a six-day hearing will start.

    See also:
    – Big tobacco to fight in court against plain packaging, City AM

    Source: The Telegraph – 05 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1R4FdHx

    EU court ruling over plain packaging will be later this month

    Tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco (BAT) have brought proceedings in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over an EU directive which will make health warnings cover 65% of cigarette packets.

    On December 23, the ECJ will give a preliminary judgement in the case Philip Morris and BAT have against the EU Directive. In most cases, the court’s final decision follows few months after the opinion published by the advocate general.

    Source: Irish Examiner – 07 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1TShh8Y

    Reports that first e-cigarettes to be prescribed on the NHS in the New Year

    Following on a licence being awarded by the MHRA, e-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS for the first time in the New Year.

    Editorial note: The media seems to have confused two different products in their reporting over the weekend. A product called Voke received a licence from the MHRA in September 2014. It is not an e-cigarette but uses different technology more akin to an inhaler. It is not yet on sale, once it is it could be prescribed but the decision will be down to local prescribing practice. Separately in the last month an e-cigarette has been licenced by the MHRA, however it is likely to take some time before it will be on sale as a licenced medicine. We can find no source for the prices cited in reports.  

    Source: Daily Mail – 06 December 2015
    Link: http://dailym.ai/1R4FDxQ

    BAT accuser to hand evidence of ‘bribery’ to SFO

    A former British American Tobacco employee who has accused the cigarette company over bribery of officials in east Africa will on Wednesday meet the Serious Fraud Office in the UK to submit evidence under whistleblowing legislation.

    Paul Hopkins, who appeared on the BBC’s Panorama programme on Monday alleging that he paid bribes on behalf of BAT to undermine anti-smoking laws and to gain share in the fast-growing African market, will provide a tranche of documents to the SFO implicating officials and local politicians in bribery and corruption.

    Anti-corruption officials in Kenya and Rwanda said they had not yet received formal complaints related to BAT so were not investigating the company, which is the world’s third-largest tobacco group by market share.

    See also:
    – Kenya: Moses Wetang’ula demands apology from BBC over bribery claims, In2EastAfrica
    – Botswana: Anti-smoking group warns against British America Tobacco, Mmegi

    Source: Financial Times – 01 December 2015
    Link: http://on.ft.com/1TSixJo

    Staffordshire: Royal Stoke accused of ignoring NHS smoking ban

    Three extra smoking shelters have been installed for workers at Staffordshire’s biggest hospital – despite the UK’s health regulator calling for them to be banned.

    The Royal Stoke already has two ‘tolerance’ zones for staff after complaints about doctors and nurses lighting up on the roads outside the site. There are also four separate smoking areas for patients and visitors.

    Source: The Stoke Sentinel – 05 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1OdnJ5M

    Scotland: Bid to ban smoking in street cafes thrown out by councillors

    Ayr councillors have voted against a bid to ban smoking from street cafes.

    The bid sparked uproar when it came before South Ayrshire Council’s leadership panel last week.

    The proposal was contained in a paper from the Ayrshire Roads Alliance, which said: “No smoking will be permitted within the confines of a street cafe where food is served. This is in line with the national strategy to denormalise smoking.

    “As it is likely that street cafes may attract families with young children this will reduce their exposure to passive smoking.”

    In the end politicians extinguished the regulation by one vote.

    Source: Daily Record – 06 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1TSeKLV

    Norfolk: Breckland to introduce smoke free zones next year

    A council will be introducing smoke free zones around schools and play areas in an effort to reduce children’s exposure to harmful tobacco smoke.

    The voluntary code, which was approved by Breckland Council’s cabinet last week, will aim to encourage people to act more responsibly by smoking away from areas where children are most likely to be affected.

    The first phase of the scheme is due to launch in March next year, targeting play areas across Breckland.

    The second phase, to follow in April, will focus on areas outside the district’s school entrances and children’s nurseries.

    Breckland plans to involve school children in the project by running a competition to design the smoke-free signs.

    Source: Bury Free Press – 05 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1TSfzVa

    Scotland: Man mistakes e-cigarette for bomb – police called and bus evacuated

    Police were called to reports of a bomb on a bus recently – but the ‘suspect’ turned out to be cleaning an e-cigarette.

    The bus, which was on the A77 close to Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire, Scotland, was evacuated.

    Passenger Calum McGregor explained to STV: ‘My partner and I became aware of a passenger behaving suspiciously with a device in his lap.

    ‘I got up under the pretence of looking for the toilet and saw he appeared to be attaching pipe-cleaner wire to a large oblong battery. It turned out that the passenger, a tourist, had been cleaning out a large e-cigarette device with no thought to what that looked like to others on the bus.”

    Police later confirmed it was a false alarm.

    Source: Metro – 05 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1TSgmW4

    EU assessing PMI anti-illegal trade agreement

    The European Commission is expected to decide before the end of the year whether or not to renew the agreement concluded with Philip Morris International in 2004 on tackling contraband and counterfeiting.

    The EU has agreements with PMI, Japan Tobacco International, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco under which these companies make annual payments to EU member states and the Commission (through the European anti-fraud office, Olaf) to help in the fight against the illegal trade in tobacco products.

    Each of these companies makes additional payments when more than 50,000 of its genuine (not counterfeit) branded cigarettes are found to have fallen into the illegal trade.

    The Commission is currently considering whether it should extend the co-operation agreement with PMI, which is due to expire in July next year. (The JTI agreement is not due to expire until 2022 and those with BAT and ITL are set to run until 2030.)

    See also:
    EU admits parts of tobacco deal too bureaucratic, EU Observer

    Source: Tobacco Reporter – 04 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1TShV6h

    Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco settle patent infringement

    Fontem Ventures, a unit of Imperial Tobacco Group, said on Friday that it entered into a licence agreement with Japan Tobacco International that settles patent infringement lawsuits concerning e-cigarette technology.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Fontem has granted Japan Tobacco a global licence to certain patents for e-cigarettes, which are metal tubes that heat nicotine-laced liquid into an inhalable vapour.

    The deal with Japan Tobacco follows two similar agreements Fontem announced last month, with the companies behind the NJOY, 21st Century Smoke and Vapin Plus brand e-cigarettes.

    Together, these deals settle three of eight patent infringement cases Imperial filed in the United States in March 2014.

    Source: Yahoo! Finance/Reuters – 04 December 2015
    Link: http://yhoo.it/1TSibCp

    India: HP health minister admits pressure from tobacco industry to reduce VAT

    Himachal Pradesh health minister Kaul Singh Thakur said that there was pressure from the industry to roll back VAT on tobacco products but state government did not succumb to it.

    Similarly, he said, the state government recently imposed ban on sale of single cigarettes, which was a public health concern particularly with regard to youngsters and involved tax evasion, and there was pressure from different corners to reverse it. The government, however, went ahead with its decision.

    Source: Times of India – 07 December 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1TSiQUk