ASH Daily news for 11 February 2015



HEADLINES

  • Smoking shrinks critical part of the brain – leading to memory loss
  • New study suggests smokers put off by cigarettes in standardised packaging
  • China: Brother of China’s Prime Minister removed as deputy head of tobacco monopoly
  • Norway: Government to consult on standardised packaging of tobacco products
  • US: Health experts in Minnesota react to the local government’s proposal to repeal the annual increase on the tax on cigarettes
  • Parliamentary Questions

    Smoking shrinks critical part of the brain – leading to memory loss

    A study published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry has found that long-term smoking causes a thinning of the brain’s cortex, which can lead to memory loss.

    Dr Sherif Karama, assistant professor of psychiatry at McGill University and lead author of the study said: “We found that current and ex-smokers had, at age 73, many areas of thinner brain cortex than those that never smoked. Subjects who stopped smoking seem to partially recover their cortical thickness for each year without smoking.”

    Source
    Molecular Psychiatry:  Cigarette smoking and thinning of the brains cortex

    Source: Mirror, 10 February 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1E7Nkt1

    New study suggests smokers put off by cigarettes in standardised packaging

    A study carried out by researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol suggests that standardised tobacco packaging may reduce the likelihood of smokers seeking to obtain cigarettes by almost 10% compared to branded packs. It implies that standardised packaging might influence tobacco-seeking behaviour.

    Associate Professor Hogarth lead author of the study said: “Our study demonstrated that, under some circumstances, plain packaging can reduce cigarette-seeking behaviour.

    “Policy makers must consider how much weight to place on this observation when considering the potential pros and cons of introducing plain packing as a national policy.”

    Source: Express & Echo, 11 February 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1CU6XId

    China: Brother of China’s Prime Minister removed as deputy head of tobacco monopoly

    China has removed the Prime Minister’s brother as deputy head of the State Tobacco Monopoly. This reduces a potential conflict of interest as China, as the world’s largest consumer of tobacco, battles a major health crisis.

    His position had become a target for accusations from anti-smoking activists who suggested the government was too close to the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, which controls 98 percent of China’s cigarette market.

    Source: Reuters, 11 February 2015
    Link: http://tmsnrt.rs/17eGwQA

    Norway: Government to consult on standardised packaging of tobacco products

    The Norwegian Government is to consult on a proposal for the standardised packaging of all tobacco products sold in the country. The proposal would standardise all tobacco packaging by specifying mandatory colours (dark or dull green) and other package design elements.

    Source: Pan European Networks, 10 February 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/16QVtar

    US: Health experts in Minnesota react to the local government’s proposal to repeal the annual increase on the tax on cigarettes

    A group of Minnesota’s leading health and non-profit organizations have criticised the introduction of House File 700, which would repeal an annual increase on the tax on cigarettes.

    In 2013 the Governor signed price increases on tobacco products into law and two recent surveys – the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) and the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS) – have revealed great progress in reducing smoking since that time.

    Janelle Waldock, Director of the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, criticised the move saying: “They should reject any attempt to weaken that progress. Now is not the time to protect tobacco industry profits.”

    Source: Express & Echo, 11 February 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1CggK8K

    Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1: Standardised Packaging 

    Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)
    To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment the Intellectual Property Office has made of the potential effect of the introduction of standardised tobacco products on intellectual property rights.

    Edward Vaizey (Minister of State (Culture Media and Sport) (Digital Industries) (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State (Business, Innovation and Skills) (Digital Industries) (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport); Wantage, Conservative)
    The Government believes that standardised packaging is a proportionate and justified response to the considerable public health harm from smoking tobacco. We continue to consider carefully all issues relevant to the policy, including the impact on intellectual property rights.

    Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 10 February 2015, cW)
    http://bit.ly/1Cgp2gK

    PQ2 Standardised packaging

    Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)
    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations from external organisations her Department has received on the effects of the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging on the illicit tobacco market in the UK; and what issues were raised in each of those representations.

    Lynne Featherstone (The Minister of State, Home Department; Hornsey and Wood Green, Liberal Democrat)
    The Home Office has not received representations from any external organisations on the impact of the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products on the illicit tobacco market in the UK.
    Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 10 February 2015, cW)
    Link: http://bit.ly/1CUiCXo

    PQ3: Action on Smoking and Health

    Lord Palmer (Crossbench)
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many meetings the Department of Health has had at ministerial and official level with Action on Smoking and Health between 1 January 2012 and 27 January 2015; and, for each meeting, what were the titles of those attending and the topics discussed.

    Earl Howe (Conservative)
    The Department of Health holds regular meetings with ASH to monitor delivery according to the terms of the grant awarded under Section 64 of the Health and Social Care Act.

    Ministers and officials meet a range of organisations on a regular basis to discuss tobacco control.
    Details of Ministerial meetings with external stakeholders are published quarterly in arrears on the Gov.UK website:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ministerial-gifts-hospitality-overseas-travel-and-meetings
    Copies have been placed in the Library.

    Searching for and preparing the correspondence requested for release could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

    Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 10 February 2015, cW)
    http://bit.ly/16Rfspc