ASH Daily News for 1 October 2018



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UK

  • Scotland: Pressure on Highland council to ‘stub out’ unethical investments

International

  • Daily Bulletin 1: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties
  • Tobacco plain packaging momentum growing worldwide with 25 countries and territories moving forward with regulations
  • Study: Childhood secondhand smoke exposure tied to arthritis in women

UK

Scotland: Pressure on Highland council to ‘stub out’ unethical investments

The Highland council, the largest local government area in the UK, is under pressure to review its holdings in tobacco companies. Independent fund managers are employed by Highland council to oversee a fund worth more than £2 billion. The mix of investments change regularly, but recent examples of contentious choices include shares in British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

A small band of Highland councillors has registered opposition to “unethical” investments and wants to see change. Councillor MacLean has called for a review of investment strategy: “Some people are not happy with some of the investments and feel that perhaps if it’s invested in tobacco or arms or things like that, it’s not ethically responsible”.

According to current policy, the fund “recognises that social, environmental and ethical considerations are among factors investment managers will take into account, where relevant, when selecting investments for purchase, retention or sale”. However, it stresses that “the overriding consideration for pension committee members is their fiduciary duty to the scheme employers and scheme members”.

Source: Inverness Courier, 30 September 2018

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International

Daily Bulletin 1: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties

The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is now underway. It will run from today (1st October) to the 6th October. There will be a Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) bulletin released each day of the COP.

The first bulletin asks: ‘Are we doing enough to stop one billion deaths?’, referring to the prediction from epidemiologists that there will be one billon deaths from tobacco in the course of the 21st century. It reads:

“While no one expects COP8, by itself, to put an immediate end to the epidemic of tobacco-caused death, we should all be aware of the heavy responsibility on our collective shoulders. This is not a week for sterile debates or lengthy diplomatic niceties. It is a week to focus on action, and the slow-motion scandal that is our collective failure to implement the FCTC with the speed and urgency it deserves.

As Geoff Fong explains in this issue, the FCTC works well when implemented – but most Parties have substantial gaps. A key item on the COP’s agenda this week is a proposed Global Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control. This is our best hope to tackle the problems Parties face with implementation.”

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Tobacco plain packaging momentum growing worldwide with 25 countries and territories moving forward with regulations

A new report released by the Canadian Cancer Society shows that there is a great deal of momentum worldwide around the adoption of plain packaging. Currently, there are 25 countries and territories which have either fully adopted the measure or are working towards it.

Additionally, there has been much progress made with implementing pictorial health warnings on cigarette packaging. There are now 118 countries and territories which require picture health warnings on cigarette packages, an increase from 100 in 2016. This represents countries representing 58% of the world’s population.

Guidelines under the international tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), recommend that countries consider implementing plain packaging.

See also: Canadian Cancer Society, Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report

Source: Cision PR Newswire, 1 October 2018

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Study: Childhood secondhand smoke exposure tied to arthritis in women

Women exposed to secondhand smoke as children may be more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those raised in smokefree environments, a new study suggests. Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder that causes debilitating swelling and pain in the joints. Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, but the new study suggests that secondhand smoke may also increase this risk.

The prospective cohort study involved 71,248 women, including 371 who eventually developed rheumatoid arthritis. Current and former smokers who were not exposed to smoke as children were 38% more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who had never smoked. When current or former smokers were also exposed to secondhand smoke during childhood, they were 67% more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

See also: Rheumatology, Passive smoking in childhood increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis

Source: Reuters, 28 September 2018

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