ASH Daily News for 14 March 2019



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UK

  • How a no-deal Brexit could affect cigarette packaging
  • Study: Smoking costs society dear – so why isn’t Big Tobacco paying its way?
  • Birmingham smokers hit record low
  • Warwickshire: Smokefree zones introduced outside school gates

International

  • British American Tobacco wins reprieve in Quebec lawsuit
  • McLaren to race without BAT branding in Australia

 

UK

How a no-deal Brexit could affect cigarette packaging

UK standardised packaging for tobacco products uses EU owned photos on packs, which show the effects of smoking through images depicting disease, emotional distress and other long-term complications. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it will lose access to these images, and the Government has confirmed that Australia will provide the UK with warning images free of charge, instead. Tobacco giants have spoken out about the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on cigarette packaging, with some claiming it will boost black market sales.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said: “Prior to the introduction of plain packaging, the industry always regularly updated its packaging. Picture warnings save tobacco companies money because they’re much cheaper to produce than the glitzy packaging they replaced, which often had holograms and other expensive branding elements that are now prohibited.”

She adds that there will be “little change” in how tobacco products are presented visually in the case of a no-deal. “Like the European Commission, Australia’s picture warnings are developed based on evidence of what works, are effective in reducing smoking and are regularly reviewed and updated.”

But she adds that, going forward, the Government should commit to “regularly changing” the images, whichever library they are taken from. “In the longer term, it is essential that [the Government] commissions a range of new images, so they can be rotated and updated to maintain their effectiveness,” she said.

Source: Design Week, 13 March 2019

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Study: Smoking costs society dear – so why isn’t Big Tobacco paying its way?

Writing in the Conversation Anna Gilmore and Robert Branston from the University of Bath discuss their study into corporation tax avoidance by transnational tobacco companies.

“It is well known that some of the world’s biggest technical companies pay pitiful amounts of corporate tax. Now our new research has placed the tax returns of tobacco firms under the spotlight. Despite the enormous harm they cause, and the massive profits they earn, it turns out that multinational tobacco companies pay almost no corporation tax in the UK. Given the deficit in NHS funding, this should spur the government into action.

No doubt they ensure this is legal, but it cannot be right. These are some of the world’s most profitable companies. They sell a highly addictive product that kills two out of three long-term users, imposing enormous suffering and costs on smokers, their families and society as a whole.

The public must make it clear it no longer wants to pay for the harms that these companies cause, and the government must urgently grasp this issue. This will require them to reject the self-interested overtures of the think-tanks promoting tax cuts and claims about their impacts, including that high excise duties are the primary driver of tobacco smuggling.

It is entirely unacceptable that enormously profitable companies are not paying for the harm they cause. Until they are, they remain incentivised to keep selling and promoting their health damaging products to the detriment of individual and global health.”

Source: The Conversation, 13 March 2019

Journal of Public Health: The failure of the UK to tax adequately tobacco company profits

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Birmingham smokers hit record low

According to the latest figures 14% of adults in Birmingham said they were smokers in 2017, down from 19% in 2011. That’s the equivalent of nearly one in every four smokers quitting between 2011 and 2017.

Experts say that the drop is thanks to ongoing government strategies, but warn that some parts of society are being left behind – particularly the most disadvantaged.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Smoking in England has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded as a result of the comprehensive strategies to tackle tobacco introduced by successive governments over the last two decades.

However, in recent years there’s been an increase in inequalities in smoking and a decline in the proportion of smokers trying to quit, which are associated with cuts in public health funding and in the spend on mass media driven social marketing campaigns highlighting the harms caused by tobacco.

More investment combined with tougher regulation is needed if we are to achieve the vision, set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England 2017, of a smokefree generation. Smoking must become history for all of society, not just for the wealthy.”

Source: Birmingham Live, 10 March 2019

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Warwickshire: Smokefree zones introduced outside school gates

Schools in Warwickshire have introduced smokefree zones to encourage parents not to smoke when they drop off and pick up their children. The move coincided with national ‘No Smoking Day’ yesterday, 13th March, and aims to help prevent youngsters being tempted to try smoking. Two posters designed by pupils have been chosen to be displayed on school railings throughout the county.

Warwickshire County Council health spokesman Cllr Les Caborn said: “We all know that quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health. What we want to achieve through installing these signs is to prevent every child from having that first cigarette, to help protect their health. By stopping smoking near school gates, it helps to make smoking invisible to children and reduces their chance of trying it for themselves.”

Source: Leamington Observer, 13 March 2019

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International

British American Tobacco wins reprieve in Quebec lawsuit

British American Tobacco’s Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Tobacco Canada, has been granted creditor protection, giving the company a temporary reprieve after a Quebec court judgment had held tobacco companies liable for a maximum of C$13.6bn ($10.2bn).

Imperial Tobacco Canada, which the Quebec court judged on 1 March was liable for a maximum of C$9.2bn, follows JTI-Macdonald, another Canadian tobacco company, in seeking and gaining protection from the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. If it had not obtained court protection, it may have had to pay for all or part of JTI-Macdonald’s share of the Quebec judgment, as well as its own, BAT said. An organisation that files for court protection under Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act continues to operate and maintain ‘business as usual’.

The class action lawsuits in Quebec are the first in Canada in which damages have been ordered against the industry to compensate smokers for health problems.

Source: Financial Times, 13 March 2019

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McLaren to race without BAT branding in Australia

McLaren will race in Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix this week without British American Tobacco (BAT) branding on their cars amid concerns about Australia’s strict anti-tobacco advertising regulation. The British team’s decision follows that of Ferrari to drop Philip Morris “Mission Winnow” branding at Albert Park.

McLaren announced a “global partnership” with BAT last month, which included having BAT’s “A Better Tomorrow” branding on cars and drivers’ overalls.

Australian media reported last month that government health departments were looking into whether Ferrari’s original Philip Morris livery had broken the ban on tobacco advertising.

Source: Reuters, 14 March 2019

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