ASH Daily News for 13 May 2019



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UK

  • Hertfordshire: Food banks could provide free e-cigarettes under new proposals
  • Doncaster hospitals to go smokefree on World No Tobacco Day

International

  • Philip Morris suspends social media campaign after Reuters exposes young ‘influencers’
  • Philip Morris offers 25% life insurance discount if smokers switch to its heated tobacco device – but not if they vape
  • Tobacco firms accused of using Formula One to flout ads ban on e-cigarettes
  • Commission: EU tobacco track and trace will be fully functional in a year

 

UK

Hertfordshire: Food banks could provide free e-cigarettes under new proposals

Smokers could receive free e-cigarettes from food banks in Hertfordshire, as part of a ground-breaking research project to be designed, run and evaluated by a UK university. As part of the proposed project, any smoker accessing the support of the food bank would be routinely offered a free e-cigarette starter kit.

In addition to benefiting smokers’ health, it is estimated that switching to an e-cigarette could save a smoker with a 20-a-day addiction more than £70 a week.

Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, is helping to drive the project forward and says that several food banks in the county have already stepped forward to take part and he hopes the programme could be up and running by the end of the year.

Source: i News, May 2019

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Doncaster hospitals to go smokefree on World No Tobacco Day

Starting on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World No Tobacco Day on 31st May, Doncaster and Basstelaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is set to go smokefree.

Staff, patients and visitors will be prohibited from smoking on any of the Trust’s grounds and any smokers will be offered advice and guidance on how to stop smoking. All smokers who are admitted as patients will be advised that the site is smokefree and as part of their hospital care and treatment they will be offered nicotine replacement therapy and referred to local stop smoking services.

Cindy Storer, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at the Trust, said “This is more than just having a smokefree site. For the first time we will see a cultural shift in the hospital‘s role in proactively supporting patients to quit smoking. Research shows that up to 25% of patients in our hospitals smoke and they actually expect health professionals to raise the issue with them.’’

Source: Doncaster Free Press, 10 May 2019

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International

Philip Morris suspends social media campaign after Reuters exposes young ‘influencers’

Philip Morris International (PMI) has suspended a global social media marketing campaign in response to a Reuters inquiry into the company’s use of young online personalities to sell its new IQOS “heated tobacco” device, including Alina Tapilina, a 21-year-old woman in Russia.

The company’s internal “marketing standards” prohibit it from promoting tobacco products with youth-oriented celebrities or “models who are or appear to be under the age of 25.” The company told Reuters “We have taken the decision to suspend all of our product-related digital influencer actions globally…Whilst the influencer in question [Ms Tapilina] is a legal age adult smoker, she is under 25 and our guidance called for influencers to be 25+ years of age. This was a clear breach of that guidance.”

While most of the social media influencers hired by PMI overseas did not list their ages on Instagram, a Reuters review of the firm’s social media marketing of IQOS in Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Russia and Romania shows that the 21 year-old Russian influencer’s online image was typical of what the company called its social media “ambassadors” for the device.

Matthew Myers, president of The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids who collected some of the IQOS marketing images reviewed by Reuters, said that PMI “is changing their behavior only when caught red-handed.” He added that the company has historically been “the single most successful across the globe in making cigarettes fashionable to young people.”

Source: Reuters, May 11 2019

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Philip Morris offers 25% life insurance discount if smokers switch to its heated tobacco device – but not if they vape

Philip Morris International (PMI) has been accused of using a life insurance scheme to attract smokers to its highly profitable heated tobacco product IQOS – rather than switch to potentially less harmful e-cigarette alternatives.

PMI’s insurance brand Reviti, which launched last month, offers smokers a 25% discount on premiums for life cover if they switch to its IQOS device for three months. However, this discount is slashed to 2.5% if the customer uses any brand of heated tobacco device other than IQOS or if they switch to an e-cigarette. A spokesperson for PMI, said the discounts were based on “robust scientific data”.

Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said: “From a health perspective, it doesn’t make sense to offer a greater discount to clients who use heated tobacco than those who use e-cigarettes. We know vaping is far less harmful than smoking, [but] for heated tobacco we are far less sure.”

Professor Anna Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, said: “The idea that science underpins the far greater reduction in insurance premiums on heated tobacco products than on e-cigarettes is laughable. Despite the lack of evidence on long-term safety, the consensus is e-cigarettes will be considerably safer than heated tobacco products. Most of the science on heated tobacco products has been produced by tobacco companies – one would be foolish to trust it.”

Source: Mail on Sunday, 11 May 2019

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Tobacco firms accused of using Formula One to flout ads ban on e-cigarettes

British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI) are under fire for signing multimillion-pound sponsorship deals with Formula One teams that health campaigners claim are being used to promote their next generation of products – such as heated tobacco and e-cigarettes – which face advertising restrictions.

The two firms had to remove their slogans from F1 cars for the Melbourne grand prix in March amid investigations by Australian health officials into whether they were in breach of advertising bans. However, PMI has pledged that the branding will be on display for future races, starting from the Spanish grand prix in Barcelona (12th May).

Phil Chamberlain, Managing Editor of Tobacco Tactics, part of the Tobacco Research Control Group at the University of Bath, said: “They’re trying to associate the new technology in cars and innovation with their move into e-cigarettes and making out that’s new technology. We see it as another front being opened up in the way tobacco companies are looking to legitimise their products and get out to as many audiences as possible.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive at ASH, said: “Make no mistake, Big Tobacco’s vast profits still come from its lethal products. Tobacco kills around 7 million people a year, and 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in poor countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest, far from the glamour of Formula One.”

Source: The Observer, 11 May 2019

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Commission: EU tobacco track and trace will be fully functional in a year

The EU tobacco track and trace system will be fully functional in a “maximum one year” after its official launch due on 20th May 2019, a European Commission official has said. “Obviously the full potential of the traceability system will be achieved once the retail outlets are properly registered and the supply chain cleaned from any legacy products introduced before the system’s launch date. The latter will take place in maximum one year from the launch when the provision on exhaustion of stocks ends,” the EU official said.

According to the tobacco product directive (TPD), member states should appoint an “ID issuer” responsible for generating and issuing unique identifier codes to be applied to unit packets, and “ensure the ID issuer’s independence from the tobacco industry.” In order for the new track and trace system to be fully operational across Europe, all member states should be compliant; otherwise, tobacco products will not be able to move in the EU single market.

However, not all member states are ready regarding the appointment of ID issuers. For this reason, the EU executive issued an “Authorisation Decision”, authorising economic operators in the tobacco supply chain to use the services of a functioning operator in another member state on a temporary basis.

Source: Euractiv, 13 May 2019

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