ASH Daily News for 15 December 2016



  • Number of smokers at 20-year low
  • Smokers struggle to identify imminent tobacco changes
  • Shisha tobacco smoking is increasing amongst university students – but many unaware of its harms
  • UK e-cigarette market set to more than quadruple by 2021
  • US: FDA opens door to reduced risk claim for Swedish Match snus tobacco
  • US: A huge public pension fund faces an agonizing decision: Should it reinvest in tobacco?
  • ASH Public Reputation Survey

Number of smokers at 20-year low

The newly published 2015 Health Survey for England (HSE) shows that levels of smoking have fallen from 28% down to 18% from 1998. The fall is mostly due to a fall in smoking rates for men.

The HSE survey showed 19% of men and 17% of women still smoke. Among men 19% in 2015 was the lowest level for 15 years while for women the 17% level has remained the same since 2013.

The proportion of adults who reported they were e-cigarette users was 5% in 2015. This was up from 2013 when it was 3%.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “These results are encouraging and show the importance of having a clear strategy in place to tackle smoking.

“We have made great progress in reducing smoking, the leading cause of premature death and disability in this country. But we can’t rest on our laurels if we are to continue to drive down smoking rates.

“We need the Government to implement the promised new tobacco control strategy without further delay.”

See also:
Clean-living generation of children snub cigarettes and alcohol, The Times (£)
‘Clean cut’ generation is least likely to have ever had an alcoholic drink, The Telegraph

Source: Daily Mirror – 14 December 2016
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Smokers struggle to identify imminent tobacco changes

Fewer than half of UK smokers can name a specific feature of tobacco regulations coming into force next year, despite 80% of them being generally aware of imminent changes to packs, a study has revealed.

An online survey of adult smokers conducted by HIM Research & Consulting showed that while only 20% were completely unaware of any new tobacco legislation, most struggled to identify a specific part of it. For example, only 28% of smokers knew that 10-packs would be disappearing from the market, a similar proportion recognised that pictorial health warnings will cover 65% of pack designs, and only 17% knew that price-marked packs would no longer be legal.

Half of those questioned in the survey believe that retailers will increase tobacco prices once price-marked packs disappear, with only 18% saying they will stay the same. The abolition of smaller packs will lead to people smoking more say 21% of cigarette smokers, compared with 18% who say less, and RYO smokers (20% vs 16%).

When asked if their shopping habits will change when price-marked packs are no longer available, 32% of smokers said they would continue to use their usual outlet, while 22% said they would shop around more for the best price. One in seven (14%) also said they would be more likely to switch brands.

Source: Convenience Store – 14 December 2016
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Shisha tobacco smoking is increasing amongst university students – but many unaware of its harms

Shisha tobacco smoking is increasing among university students in the UK and worldwide with many feeling it’s more socially acceptable and less harmful than cigarette smoking – according to a study presented at the British Thoracic Society (BTS) Winter Meeting.

According to a study across six UK universities, two thirds (66%) of students had smoked shisha tobacco. And amongst medical students at one London University, when asked if they had ever used shisha tobacco, 51.7% admitted they had, compared to 16.8% who had ever used a cigarette.

Source: Medical News Today – 14 December 2016
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UK e-cigarette market set to more than quadruple by 2021

The global electronic cigarette market is set to be worth $32bn (£25bn) by the year 2021, while the UK market grows to $5.67bn (£4.46bn), a new report by Beige Market Intelligence suggests.

Beige valued the vapour market in the UK at $1.16bn (£913m) in 2015 but predicted its growth rate would slow and it would reach $5.67bn (£4.46bn) by 2021.

Source: City AM – 14 December 2016
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US: FDA opens door to reduced risk claim for Swedish Match snus tobacco

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration left open the door on Wednesday for Swedish Match AB to claim its snus smokeless tobacco products represent a substantially lower risk to health than cigarettes.

The agency said the company could not remove a warning that the products may cause gum disease and tooth loss. But it deferred a decision on whether to allow the company to claim the products cause less harm than cigarettes.

It also deferred a decision on whether to allow removal of a warning that the products may cause mouth cancer. Snus is a moist tobacco product placed under the upper lip that does not involve spitting or chewing.

The FDA said evidence showed the products could cause gum disease and tooth loss. But it deferred action on the other requests, saying it believed the applications “could be amended to support issuance of modified risk orders.”

Source: Mail on Sunday – 14 December 2016
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US: A huge public pension fund faces an agonizing decision: Should it reinvest in tobacco?

Sixteen years ago, CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the US, vaulted to the forefront of the social investing movement by voting to dump its $671 million in tobacco stocks.

Judged strictly by investment return, the decision turned out to be a loser. Now the California Public Employees’ Retirement System is considering jumping back into tobacco. Next to the question of whether that’s morally the right thing to do, the biggest issue may be: Would its timing be even worse now?

Source: LA Times – 14 December 2016
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