ASH Daily News for 14 July 2016


  • The problem with selling a lethal product: you just can’t get the staff

    Opinion: Professors Simon Chapman and Mark Daube note the problems the tobacco industry is facing in recruiting staff.

    “Tobacco causes six million deaths a year, and big tobacco was recently described in a British high court judgment as an industry “which facilitates and furthers, quite deliberately, a health epidemic”.

    Is it any wonder then that the companies are starting to notice problems with their staffing? Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris, recently reported that: “Altria Group, Inc. may be unable to attract and retain the best talent due to the impact of decreasing social acceptance of tobacco usage and tobacco control actions … our strategy of attracting and retaining the best talent may be impaired by the impact of decreasing social acceptance of tobacco usage …”

    The global campaign to reduce tobacco’s massive death toll is gaining momentum, and the industry is losing crucial battles. It must be good news that fewer than ever executives with good intellects and decent values want to sell their souls for the glistening salary packages at big tobacco – and that those who work for big tobacco know their own employers worry that they are second-rate.”

    Source: The Guardian 12 July 2016

  • Warrington sets out 15 year plan for healthier future

    Warrington’s Public Health team has set out its priorities for improving local people’s health over the next 15 years through the annual report of the director of Public Health.

    A key feature of the plan is continuing to tackle smoking rates within the borough focusing on initiatives such as ‘stop them young’, improving awareness among workers, and increasing the smoke-free areas in the town centre. Meanwhile one of the key achievements listed for the last 15 years was a decrease in smoking prevalence, from over 21% in 2001 to 13% in 2013.

    Executive board member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “This is an important document, which reflects on the changing picture of public health over the past 15 years, and sets out our plans for building a healthier future for Warrington. It is clear that a huge amount of progress has been made here, but there is still much more to do.”

    Source: Cheshire Today 14 July 2016

  • Burma: Tobacco giant accused of tricks to hook children

    Anti-smoking campaigners have urged the government of Aung San Suu Kyi to crack down on British American Tobacco in Burma, where it is allegedly enticing children into smoking.

    The company is accused of offering “kiddie packs” of four cigarettes, promoting and selling its cigarettes near schools, sponsoring music events aimed at the young and including free lighters with packs.

    Lawyers, public health experts and an official from Burma’s department of health told The Times that BAT’s alleged conduct may have breached several sections of the country’s 2006 tobacco control law.

    Deborah Arnott, chief executive of  Action on Smoking and Health, described the allegations as deplorable and urged Ms Suu Kyi’s newly elected government to investigate and penalise any breaches of the law. Burma’s tobacco law was designed to help it to fulfil its obligations under the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It includes a comprehensive ban on the promotion of cigarettes and forbids the sale of tobacco within 100 yards of schools.

    Source: The Times 14 July 2016

  • The tide is turning towards e-cigarettes in France

    France has become the latest country to issue official guidance in favour of e-cigarettes, suggesting they are an effective tool for smokers who are looking to reduce or replace tobacco.

    Tabac Info Service, run by the government body Public Health France, said this week “according to the latest work of the High Council on Public Health (Haut Conseil de la Santé Publique), electronic cigarettes can constitute a tool to help stop or reduce consumption of tobacco“ and also “reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses such as cancer”.

    Tabac Info Service’s conclusions echo those reached by Public Health England last August, which concluded e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than tobacco, and the Royal College of Physicians in a landmark report in April.

    E-cigarettes supply the nicotine smokers are addicted to without the harmful and carcinogenic components of tobacco smoke, meaning they prevent most of the harm smoking causes.

    Source: City AM 13 July 2016

  • All chewed out: Chicago ballparks ban smokeless tobacco

    A new law banning smokeless tobacco from Chicago ballparks came into effect on Tuesday (12 July).

    The City Council approved the ban back in March making the use of smokeless tobacco products illegal at both ballparks, along with all “professional and amateur” sporting events in Chicago.

    The law is a result of lobbying by Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has targeted MLB because of the game’s historic relationship with chewing tobacco.

    “Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

    Chicago becomes the fifth Major League city to implement the tobacco ban, joining Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

    Source: Chicago Sun Times 13 July 2016

  • Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1: Standardised Packaging

    Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of plain packaging on rates of (a) smoking and (b) lung cancer.

    Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The Department published a final Impact Assessment on 10 February 2015 which estimates that standardised packaging will result in around 390,000 additional adult quitters and 5,500 fewer child smokers.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 13 July 2016, cW)

    PQ2: Harm Reduction

    Craig Tracey Conservative, North Warwickshire
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to ensure people who smoke have access to (a) heat-not-burn tobacco and e-cigarettes and (b) other smoking cessation products.

    Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The Government’s advice remains that the best thing a smoker can do is to quit and quit for good. Any smokers wanting to quit, with or without the help of products available on the market, are further advised to seek expert support and advice from their local stop smoking service. Smokers using the personalised support offered by stop smoking services are four times more likely to stop smoking and quit for good.

    We recognise that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) help some smokers quit and the evidence indicates that they are considerably less harmful to health than cigarettes. Public Health England has been working with Local Stop Smoking Services encouraging them to be open to the use of e-cigarettes, where clients choose to use them to support their quit attempts, alone or alongside other nicotine replacement therapies and the behavioural therapy that the services offer.

    The forthcoming tobacco control plan will consider the role of e-cigarettes and other harm reduction products in further reducing the prevalence of smoking in England.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 13 July 2016, cW)