ASH Daily News for 11 July 2019



print
UK

  • Leeds gang leader must repay £150,000 after being caught with eight million illegal cigarettes
  • Springer spaniel wins national award for sniffing out illegal cigarettes

International

  • Commentary: In Indonesia, big tobacco is king

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions

UK

Leeds gang leader must repay £150,000 after being caught with eight million illegal cigarettes

A Leeds gang leader must repay £150,000 after being caught with eight million illegal cigarettes. Discount furniture store owner, Geoffrey David Moon, was the ringleader of a criminal gang which smuggled tobacco products worth more than £2 million in unpaid duty into the UK.

The 54-year-old, who used his furniture business as a front for the fraud, used the money to fund a house by a canal, fully equipped with a five-a-side football pitch and a canal boat, according to HMRC. He was jailed for seven years on Friday, May 11 2018 for the fraud. Moon was ordered to pay back £148,306 within three months at Leeds Crown Court on Friday, July 5.

Diccon Wood, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Moon was the leader of a tobacco smuggling gang that deprived the UK of money which should be used to fund our public services. His crimes landed him behind bars and now he must pay back his ill-gotten gains.”

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post, 8 July 2019

Read Article

Springer spaniel wins national award for sniffing out illegal cigarettes

A springer spaniel who has sniffed out over half a million illegal cigarettes in Wolverhampton has won a national award. Scamp has been named the ‘Institutes Hero’ in the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Hero Awards 2019, nominated by the City of Wolverhampton Council.

The award celebrates a trading standards professional who has gone above and beyond their duty and whose commitment has ensured vital work has been completed or whose perseverance has served their community.

Scamp and his dog handler, Stuart Phillips from BWY Canine, collected the award today: “I’m so proud of Scamp – the fact he has been recognised for a national trading standards award is amazing. He’s an absolute honour to work with.”

Source: ITV News, 8 July 2019

Read Article

International

Commentary: In Indonesia, big tobacco is king

This comment piece discusses the methods used by big tobacco to promote cigarettes in Indonesia:

“Indonesia has the highest rate of male smokers on the planet. It’s one of the last great unregulated, anything goes markets for the tobacco industry. 75% of all adult males smoke in Indonesia [compared to] 56%…in 2000. Cigarettes are cheap in Indonesia. In downtown Jakarta you can buy them in singles for about USD$0.06 each or $1.50 a packet…

The perils of smoking are well enough known in Indonesia but smoking is tightly allied to the concept of masculinity… When the Indonesian Government opened the country to foreign tobacco companies in the 1990s, they brought with them [the] Malboro Man strategy, turbo charged it, and struck a chord with Indonesian males.

In 2011, Phillip Morris ran an advertising campaign for its Sampoerna brand, rather adroitly acknowledging that while cigarettes are bad for you, ‘Dying is better than leaving a friend. Sampoerna is a cool friend.’ Which is way more macho than the Malboro Man.

In addition to TV and online, there is extensive billboard, radio and sponsorship advertising by tobacco companies that is largely unregulated. And big tobacco in Indonesia isn’t shy about taking advantage of this. Between watching Dad and the older brothers all smoke, combined with saturation mainstream and online advertising, it isn’t surprising that the rate of smoking for Indonesian kids aged between 10 and 14 years has doubled in the last 20 years. For their little brothers, the boys aged between 5 and 9 years, the rate has tripled.

Smoking currently kills more than 200,000 Indonesians a year. With the uptake in smoking since 2000, we can expect that figure to rise significantly in the future as smoking related health issues begin to impact on an ageing population. Already tobacco related health costs are more than double the tax revenue from tobacco. By 2030, it is estimated the cost of tobacco related diseases to the Indonesian economy will be USD$4.5 trillion.

For economic reasons alone, the Indonesian Government needs to take a stand on cigarette smoking. That’s before the human cost is counted.”

Source: Global Comment, 10 July 2019

Read Article

Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: Tobacco industry engagement with health services

Asked by Dr Sarah Wollaston, Totnes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that tobacco companies have no involvement in (a) smoking cessation services and (b) public health campaigns.

Answered by Seema Kennedy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The United Kingdom is a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Government takes very seriously its treaty obligations, including the commitment under Article 5.3 to protect public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. It expects all public bodies to comply with the FCTC Secretariat’s guidance on this Article.

To remind the National Health Service of this commitment, NHS England issued a note to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the CCG bulletin dated 26 July 2018. Public Health England (PHE) has also written to local authorities and Directors of Public Health advising against such partnerships, a message reiterated in the PHE blog. The blog is available to view at the following link:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/05/duncan-selbies-friday-message-5-january-2018/

Source: Hansard, 9 July 2019

Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-07-04/273384/

PQ2: Achieving a smokefree generation

Asked by Dr Sarah Wollaston, Totnes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the July 2017 tobacco control plan for England, when the Government plans to announce a date for achieving its smokefree generation target of smoking prevalence at 5 per cent or below.

Answered by Seema Kennedy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Government’s vision, as set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England published in 2017, is to create a smokefree generation by reducing adult smoking prevalence to 5% or below. The current smoking rates for England are 14.4%, the lowest on record. The Government has not yet committed to a date by which to achieve a smokefree generation but continues to keep progress on reducing prevalence under close review.

Source: Hansard, 9 July 2019

Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-07-04/273383/