ASH Daily News for 10 October 2018



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UK

  • Scotland: Shoe box cigarette smuggler gets community payback order
  • South West: Premises visited in illegal alcohol and tobacco search

International

  • Daily Bulletin 3: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC Meeting of the Parties
  • Opinion: Nicotine is a healthier habit than tobacco
  • Hong Kong to impose full ban on e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products

UK

Scotland: Shoe box cigarette smuggler gets community payback order

A woman who smuggled cigarettes into Scotland disguised as shoes to avoid paying duty has been ordered to do 190 hours of community work.

Xiao Guo was due to receive almost 20,000 cigarettes from contacts in China, but her parcels were intercepted by HMRC after they received a tip-off. Guo, 32, from Glasgow, evaded £6,390 in cigarette duty between 14 February and 2 March last year. She was given a community payback order at Glasgow Sheriff Court

Source: BBC, 9th October 2018

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South West: Premises visited in illegal alcohol and tobacco search

Officers from North Somerset and Bristol City Councils’ trading standards teams, and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) visited 45 retail and self-storage units across the district and city last week, with illegal tobacco and alcohol seized from seven locations.

In total, more than 250,000 cigarettes, 200kg of hand-rolling tobacco and 50 litres of alcohol – all believed to be illicit – were taken by HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce.

Tracey Noon, assistant director at the HMRC fraud investigation service, said: “Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clamp down on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5billion a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1.3billion per year.”

Source: Western, Worle & Somerset Mercury, 8th October 2018

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International

Daily Bulletin 3: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC Meeting of the Parties

The Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP) is now onto its third day.

Today’s bulletin largely focuses on issues of tobacco taxation, with highlights including articles on the success of ‘secure tax stamps’ in the Philippines and how “higher tobacco taxes reduce tobacco use”.

The bulletin also articulates hopes that following a decision to maximise transparency at COP8, which represents “a historic milestone in the evolution of the FCTC”, transparency will also be ensured in MOP in order to “counter tobacco industry interference”. Discussions regarding this issue began yesterday and it is hoped the decision to ensure transparency at MOP will be fully adopted “in line with the important precedent set at COP.”

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Opinion: Nicotine is a healthier habit than tobacco

Writing in the Financial Times, John Gapper claims regulators are in danger of doing more harm than good by curbing e-cigarettes:

“Juul Labs is in trouble with the US Food and Drug Administration, which does not want to get fooled by the industry again. Tobacco companies hid the harmful effects of smoking for decades and the FDA is under intense pressure not to let e-cigarette use turn into a similar scandal. It has threatened to curb adults’ freedom to vape if companies such as Juul cannot keep e-cigarettes away from under-18s.

“The FDA should chill out and take a lesson from the more relaxed attitudes to vaping in countries such as Germany and the UK. Tobacco causes cancer, lung problems and heart disease, killing 480,000 Americans a year, and nicotine is the addictive alkaloid in tobacco. But these two facts do not prove that nicotine is a dangerous drug that needs to be treated as an equal menace.

“Worse than a category error, this would be stupid. Getting a nicotine habit is a waste of money, and puffing from what looks like a USB drive may lead others to question your sanity. But it is nothing like as dangerous as smoking — the best estimates are that e-cigarettes convey about 0.5 per cent of the cancer risk and 5 per cent of the overall health risk of cigarettes.”

Source: Financial Times, 10th October 2018

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Hong Kong to impose full ban on e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products

Hong Kong is set to impose a complete ban on e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products in an unexpected U-turn by the government, which had previously proposed only to restrict their sale to minors.

Until now, the government had committed only to regulating e-cigarettes in the same way as conventional tobacco products, but health minister Sophia Chan Siu-chee had left the door open for “more stringent measures”.

A source familiar with the Food and Health Bureau expressed shock at the move, saying the previous administration had listed many technical problems with implementing a full ban. Former health chief Dr Ko Wing-man had intended to introduce a total ban in 2016, but studies by related departments suggested that such a move would be “quite problematic”.

Source: South China Morning Post, 9th October 2018

See also: Hong Kong Bans E-Cigarettes in Latest Blow for Big Tobacco

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