ASH Daily News for 14 May 2019



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UK

  • Tobacco display ban ‘safeguards young people’

International

  • Imperial blames Juul for slowdown in e-cigarette market
  • US: Big Tobacco has donated $3 million to Florida lawmakers since 2017
  • US: Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21

UK

Tobacco display ban ‘safeguards young people’

The ban on point of sale displays for cigarettes and tobacco in shops has reduced the risk of young people taking up smoking, according to a new study. Displays of tobacco products at the point of sale were first banned in larger stores in England in April 2012. Similar laws came into effect in Wales and Northern Ireland later that year, and in Scotland in April 2013. A full ban, which also affected small shops, came into force across the UK in April 2015.

Researchers at the University of Stirling examined the impact of the policy on 11-16-year-olds who had never smoked. They interviewed a total of 3,791 young people, including 2,953 who had never smoked, before, during and after the law was introduced.

Lead author, Dr Allison Ford, said: “Prior to the display ban, we found that young ‘never smokers’ who noticed cigarettes displayed at point-of-sale, and those who were aware of more cigarette brands, were more likely to indicate being susceptible to smoking. Both partial and full implementation of the display ban were followed by statistically significant reductions in youth smoking susceptibility and noticing cigarettes at point-of-sale.”

Kruti Shrotri, tobacco control manager at Cancer Research UK, who funded the study, said the findings proved the laws had made a difference to public health. “Glitzy displays and glamorous packaging helped the tobacco industry to lure the next generation of smokers into taking up a deadly addiction. But contrary to Big Tobacco’s belief that banning displays would make no difference this study shows that by putting cigarettes out of sight and out of mind far fewer youngsters are taking up the deathly habit.”

Source: BBC News, 14 May 2019

Ford A, MacKintosh AM, Moodie C, et al Impact of a ban on the open display of tobacco products in retail outlets on never smoking youth in the UK: findings from a repeat cross-sectional survey before, during and after implementation. Tobacco Control. 14 May 2019

See also
ITV News: Tobacco display ban cuts risk of children smoking – study

Daily Mail: Smoking among children has plummeted by 35% since cigarettes were banned from till points and almost nine in 10 say smoking seems ‘unacceptable’

The Scotsman: Smoking is now seen as ‘unacceptable’ to most young people

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International

Imperial blames Juul for slowdown in US e-cigarette market

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands has criticised rival e-cigarette maker Juul, comparing its nicotine products to “legal highs” and accusing it of attracting younger customers to vaping using high concentrations of nicotine in its products. Matthew Phillips, Imperial’s chief development officer, said Juul’s success in the US had led to increased scrutiny of vaping by regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Imperial, which owns Blu e-cigarettes as well as Lambert & Butler and Rizla, blamed increased scrutiny for a slowdown in US sales in the first half of its financial year, which dragged its shares down to a five-year low. Juul, which launched in the UK last year, received $13bn (£10bn) of investment from Philip Morris USA owner Altria in December for a 35% stake.

In the UK, nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are restricted by EU regulations. A survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) found that e-cigarette use among young people remains low, with only 2% of 11-18 year olds using e-cigarettes regularly in the UK.

Source: The Telegraph, 12 May 2019

See also
Action on Smoking and Health. Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain. August 2018

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US: Big Tobacco has donated $3 million to Florida lawmakers since 2017

Following a failed attempt to raise the state smoking age to 21 in Florida, questions have been raised about the impact of tobacco industry donations to lawmakers in the state.

Major tobacco companies donated about $3 million in campaign contributions to lawmakers, political parties and other state officials since 2017, state election records show. This includes $752,000 from Altria, the parent company for Philip Morris USA, and $1.95 million from RAI Services, a subsidiary of the Reynolds American tobacco company.

Bills relaxing regulations on tobacco have also been proposed but failed to pass the legislature. This included bill that would have eliminated the ability of cities and counties to impose tougher tobacco regulations than the state. Tobacco control advocates say allowing Florida cities and counties to retain the ability to regulate cigarettes and vaping is important because historically some of the strongest tobacco regulations in the country have originated with local governments.

Source: Florida Phoenix, 13 May 2019

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US: Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21

The legal purchasing age for tobacco and nicotine products in Maryland will be raised from 18 to 21 under new legislation. The law will require retailers to post warning signs stating that tobacco products can only be sold to people age 21 or older. The law will apply to all types of tobacco products and some nicotine products, including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

According to the American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the law makes Maryland the 13th state to pass some version of “tobacco 21” legislation. Similar bills are moving through legislatures in Arizona and in Florida. While such laws have been shown to be effective, advocates say the public health response to ending youth smoking needs to include further action, such as bans on the sale of flavoured tobacco.

Some concerns have been raised about tobacco industry support for raising the age of sale. Tobacco companies have been pushing for “tobacco 21” legislation at the federal and state levels recently, mainly in an effort to stave off stronger regulations that could have disastrous effects on the industry.

Source: The Hill, 13 May 2019

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