ASH Daily News for 11 July 2016



  • Phillip Morris loses tough-on-tobacco lawsuit in Uruguay

    The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ruled in favour of Uruguay in a suit filed by Philip Morris International seeking compensation for economic damages caused by the nation’s anti-tobacco measures.

    Uruguay imposed a ban on smoking in public spaces in 2006, as it raised taxes on tobacco products and forced firms to include large warnings and graphic images on cigarette packages. It also banned the use of the words “light” and “mild” from cigarette packs to try to dispel smokers’ misguided beliefs that these products are safer.

    In a decision published on Friday (8 July), the ICSID said it had ruled to dismiss Philip Morris’ demand that the regulations be withdrawn, or not applied to the company, or that it be paid $22 million in damages instead. Instead the ICSID ordered Philip Morris to pay Uruguay $7 million and to cover “all the fees and expenses of the Tribunal and ICSID’s administrative fees and expenses”.

    “The Uruguayan state has emerged victorious and the tobacco company’s claims have been roundly rejected,” President Tabara Vasquez said in a televised address.

    See also:
    Mail Online: Uruguay wins dispute with tobacco giant Philip Morris
    Nam News Network: PAHO/WHO congratulates Uruguay for defending tobacco control policies  

    Source: Reuters 9 July 2016

  • USA: E-cigarettes might be reversing fall in teenage smoking, study finds

    Experimenting with electronic cigarettes may be reversing the previous long term decline in teenage smoking, a US study has shown.

    Adolescent vaping has increased rapidly in recent years, but it is unclear whether e-cigarettes are merely replacing cigarettes or whether they are being used by people who would not otherwise have smoked.

    The study investigated tobacco use in five groups of teenagers who left high school in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2014. Each group included between 600 and 1,100 teenagers aged 17 to 18 who were asked about their history of tobacco use through questionnaires.

    Results showed that the number of teenagers who had smoked in the previous 30 days had decreased steadily from 19.1% in 1995 to 9.0% in 2004 but then levelled off to just under 8.0% in 2014. When asked about use of conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, 13.7% of high school students in 2014 said that they had smoked or vaped in the previous 30 days.

    “If teenagers who vape are using e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes, we would have expected to see the decline in smoking rates continue through 2014,” said the lead author, Jessica Barrington-Trimis, from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “What we’ve seen is a downward trend in cigarette use from 1995 to 2004 but no further decrease in cigarette smoking rates in 2014.”

    See also:
    The full research published in Paediatrics can be accessed here.
    The Mail Online: E-cigarettes ‘encourage teenagers to try tobacco’: Warning that vaping is a ‘gateway’ after growing numbers try who have never smoked before 

    Source: BMJ 11 July 2016

  • Mozambique plans to ratify WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

    The Mozambican government has approved three resolutions ratifying the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), but the document has not yet been submitted to parliament.

    The FCTC mandates strict limits on tobacco advertising, sponsorship, production, sale, distribution and taxation in order to protect people from the negative health, social, environmental and economic consequences of cigarette consumption or exposure to cigarette smoke.

    However, some within the country have concerns about the impact of the measures on tobacco production. In 2015, the state collected about US$250 million from the export of tobacco.

    Source: Club of Mozambique 8 July 2016

  • USA: Lawsuits mount against FDA regs on e-cigarettes

    Legal challenges are mounting against the Food and Drug Administration’s move to regulate cigars and e-cigarettes, which for the first time would be treated just like traditional tobacco products under new rules.

    As many as five lawsuits have been filed against the agency over the rules finalized in May. The groups filing lawsuits, which include the American Vaping Association and the Electronic Vaping Coalition, have made a number of arguments including that the FDA’s rule violates the First Amendment because it bans companies from passing out free samples, which it claims is a protected form of non-misleading speech.

    Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave FDA until 16 August to respond to the lawsuits and scheduled a hearing for 19 October 2016.

    In a separate lawsuit in the D.C. district court, Altria Group Inc. is fighting back against the rule’s ban on the use of words like “low,” “light” or “mild” on product labels for both cigars and e-cigarettes. Altria is the parent company of John Middleton, which makes Black & Mild cigars, as well as the parent company of Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro and Parliament cigarettes.

    Source: TVN News 10 July 2016