ASH Daily News for 07 March 2019



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UK

  • Scotland: Discussions over increasing legal age of smoking to 21 to be held later this year
  • A quarter of smokers would not try vaping, according to Yorkshire Cancer Research survey
  • West Midlands: Burton shop owner found with 37,000 illicit cigarettes
  • Retailers reassured over Track and Trace implications

International

  • US: Federal judge sets timeline for FDA to produce graphic cigarette warnings

UK

Scotland: Discussions over increasing legal age of smoking to 21 to be held later this year

The legal age for buying tobacco products could be increased to 21 under new proposals being considered in Scotland. The Scottish Government is to host a conference later this year to discuss, among other items, the proposal as a further step towards its goal of creating a ‘tobacco-free generation’ by 2034.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have committed to facilitating a conference later this year where the permissible smoking age will be among the issues discussed. We will continue to consider what more can be done to reach 16-24 year olds more effectively, either through youth engagement or employment settings.”

The development comes a matter of days after the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health recommended the legal age for buying tobacco products should be increased to 21, alongside a range of other measures such as a charge on the tobacco industry to help fund tobacco control.

Source: The Herald, 6 March 2019

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Half of smokers and ex-smokers would not try vaping, according to Yorkshire Cancer Research survey

According to a survey conducted by Yorkshire Cancer Research, half of smokers and ex-smokers would not try vaping — with many believing it is just as bad for you as cigarettes. Researchers found tobacco users are ‘suspicious’ of e-cigarettes and some are reluctant to give vapes a go – despite health professionals urging them to do so.

According to the survey of 844 smokers and 1,156 ex-smokers, 48% believe quitting by going ‘cold turkey’ is the best method. The survey also found cost to be the biggest incentive to quit, with health concerns ranking second.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Vaping is a great tool to help people quit – and it’s 95% less harmful than cigarettes.”

Source: Metro, 6 March 2019

Editorial note: Whilst the Metro’s coverage of this story states that a quarter of smokers would not try vaping, the press release states half of smokers and ex-smokers would not try vaping. There are other discrepancies between the Metro’s story and the press release, where these occur we have reported the results as stated in the press release.

See also: Yorkshire Cancer Research – Half of Yorkshire smokers and ex-smokers would NOT try vaping, new research shows

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West Midlands: Burton shop owner found with 37,000 illicit cigarettes

37,000 illicit cigarettes and 9kg of hand rolling tobacco, some of which did not display the required health warnings, have been seized from a shop in Burton by Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards Teams. Consequently, the shop owners have been ordered to pay over £1,600 in fines and complete 180 hours of community service.

Gill Heath, Cabiner Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council, said: “Our trading standards officers work hard to disrupt the supply of illegal tobacco through intelligence-led inspections and test purchases…[illicit cigarettes and tobacco] evade tax which ultimately affects public services, their sale can fund criminal gangs and in particular encourages tobacco use among young people due to cheaper prices.

Source: Derbyshire Live, 6 March 2019

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Retailers reassured over Track and Trace implications

Tobacco retailers have been reassured that they will not face sanctions for transferring tobacco products between their stores, or trading with each other, once new Track and Trace laws come into force on 20th May 2020, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.

Concerns had been raised that it would be illegal for retailers to move tobacco between their stores, or to buy from or lend stock to other store owners. However, an HMRC spokesperson said that a retailer with multiple sites “would not face penalties for transferring stock between their stores in order to manage availability…where a responsible retailed has unexpectedly run of of tobacco products, they will still be able to buy tobacco products off another retailer without haing to report the transfer of tobacco products between the two businesses and facilities.”

Last week HMRC revealed that it had appointed De La Rue – the world’s largest designer and commerical printer of banknotes and passports – to implement the new Track and Trace system. Key details of how and when retailers will be able to apply for their codes will be provided shortly, and codes will be issues to retailers within two days of application a spokesperson said.

Source: Convenience Store, 4 March 2019

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International

US: Federal judge sets timeline for FDA to produce graphic cigarette warnings

A federal judge, Indira Talwani, has ordered the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create mandated graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and advertising products by mid-March 2020. The order is the latest development in a 2016 lawsuit that aimed to force the FDA to require cigarette packages to display images starkly depicting what tobacco can do to the body. The suit was brought by 8 public health and medical groups and several individual pediatricians.

In September 2018, Judge Talwani ruled that the FDA “unreasonably” delayed compliance with a 2009 law that required the graphic warnings. The federal law in question required tobacco companies to display images showing the hazards of tobacco use and occupying more than half of tobacco packaging and 20% of any advertisement. In response to the September ruling, the FDA proposed issuing the final graphic warnings rule by May 2021, but the order this week pushes that deadline up.

Current US cigarette warnings are printed on the side of the packs and haven’t been updated in more than 30 years, according to advocates. According to the groups behind the suit, studies show that graphic warnings are “most effective at informing consumers about the health risks of smoking, preventing children and other nonsmokers from starting to smoke, and motivating smokers to quit.”

Source: The Boston Globe, 7 March 2019

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