ASH Daily news for 09 February 2016
9 February 2016
- Civil servants “wined and dined” by bankers and tobacco giants
- Northern Ireland: Smoking ban for all hospital grounds
- Newcastle: shisha cafes raided in crackdown on indoor smoking
- EU watchdog warns Commission on tobacco lobbying
- Cheap cigarettes are burning Greece’s finances
- Makers of Marlboro laying off workers to invest in more vaping
Civil servants “wined and dined” by bankers and tobacco giants
The Daily Mail reports that public officials have been wined, dined and showered with gifts by big business, including the tobacco industry – raising the risk of serious conflicts of interest.
A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) concluded that Cabinet Office rules on the hospitality that civil servants can receive are even less stringent than the European Commission’s rules – opening up government to the risk of ‘substantial reputational damage’.
Looking at only three departments in depth, the report found that more than £150,000 of gifts and hospitality were given to officials in one year.
The report revealed that officials from HM Revenue & Customs were entertained by firms including Unilever, Sky and Imperial Tobacco.
Link to the NAO report can be found here.Source: Daily Mail, 9th February 2016
Northern Ireland: Smoking ban for all hospital grounds
A Smoking ban on all hospital grounds in Northern Ireland will be introduced next month (March 2016).
Staff, patients and visitors will no longer be allowed to smoke at the entrance of buildings, in car parks or inside cars on trust premises.
Health officials hope the move will pave the way for a cultural change and help prevent thousands of premature deaths.Source: Bally Money Times, 9th February 2016
Newcastle: shisha cafes raided in crackdown on indoor smoking
Operation Hookah Two was launched after Northumbria Police received tip-offs about illegal smoking using shisha pipes.
Operation Hookah Two is the second set of raids in seven weeks and forms part of an operation to stop smoking in enclosed rooms.
Newcastle Commercial Services joined with Northumbria Police and immigration officers from the UK Border Force to visit five premises in Newcastle suspected of not adhering to smokefree laws.Source: Chronicle Live, 8th February 2016
EU watchdog warns Commission on tobacco lobbying
The EU’s public watchdog has strongly criticised the European Commission for not allowing more public scrutiny of its interactions with tobacco lobbyists.
European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has been pushing the Commission to disclose the minutes of meetings its officials have with tobacco industry representatives, but the EU’s executive body has said its transparency regulations are already sufficient.
“This is a missed opportunity by the Juncker Commission to show global leadership in the vital area of tobacco lobbying,” O’Reilly said in a statement.Source: Politico, 8th February 2016
Cheap cigarettes are burning Greece’s finances
The sale of cheap illicit tobacco in Greece is extremely common and is financially harming the Greek economy.
More than 4 billion illegal cigarettes are being sold in Greece each year, according to the latest data from Papastratos. Based on the roughly 85 percent tax on a pack of 20, the duty alone would have brought in 670 million euros of annual revenue.
The illicit cigarettes appear to originate from China, but others come from Egypt and Pakistan, reaching Greece by sea on “ghost ships” and making the country a major hub for the illegal trade.Source: Bloomberg, 8th February 2016
Makers of Marlboro laying off workers to invest in more vaping
Altria Group, America’s biggest tobacco company and makers of Marlboro, is laying off workers to save $300 million per year in order to invest more money into electronic cigarettes.
Today Altria, formerly known as Philip Morris, controls just over half of the traditional cigarette market in the US.Source: Gizmodo, 9th February 2016