ASH Daily news for 15 February 2016
February 15, 2016
- Leaked report reveals scale of crisis in England’s mental health services
- Boycotting unethical companies could become criminal offence for public bodies and student unions
- Right-wing think-tank secured change in Government policy after £15,000 gift from mystery donor
- JTI helps retailers navigate incoming new legislation
- Durham: Big Doctor is watching you – message targets hospital smokers
- Call the Midwife’s Stephen McGann: GPs often ask me to stop Doctor Turner smoking
- Pro-smoking group calls on chancellor George Osborne to avoid raising tobacco duty in next month’s Budget
- Scotland: MSP praise for ASH Scotland
- Industry incentives ‘could lead to rapid end for cigarettes’
Leaked report reveals scale of crisis in England’s mental health services
A leaked report by a government taskforce has painted a devastating picture of England’s mental health services, revealing that the number of people killing themselves is soaring, that three-quarters of those with psychiatric conditions are not being helped, and that sick children are being sent “almost anywhere in the country” for treatment.
Details of the damning assessment have come to light just as the prime minister is planning to herald a transformation of mental health services.
The taskforce’s study, A Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, publication of which was delayed for months by ministers, concludes among other things that the physical needs of those with mental health issues are also ignored. It suggests a 15% reduction in smoking should be achieved by 2020 by offering targeted support for smokers and ensuring all mental health inpatient units are smoke-free by 2018.
– Five Year Forward View for Mental Health for the NHS in England, NHS England (pdf)Source: The Observer – 13 February 2016
Boycotting unethical companies could become criminal offence for public bodies and student unions
Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions could be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies, as part of a controversial crackdown being announced by the Government.
Under the plan all publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said.Source: The Independent – 14 February 2016
Right-wing think-tank secured change in Government policy after £15,000 gift from mystery donor
A right-wing think-tank secured a dramatic shift in government policy, to ban charities from using public funds to lobby, after receiving a ring-fenced donation to promote the change according to The Independent.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Britain’s oldest neoliberal think-tank, accepted £15,000 from an unnamed source to “develop” its controversial proposals to prevent charities from using public grants to lobby ministers, civil servants or MPs.
Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock last week announced that the Government was implementing the change and cited the IEA’s “extensive research” on the issue as a principal influence on the decision. The ban has been described by charities as a “gagging clause” designed to restrict their ability to inform Whitehall decisions.
The IEA, which has previously accepted donations from tobacco companies while publicly raising tobacco-related issues such as plain cigarette packaging, declined to name the source of the donation, made in 2013. It insisted the money had come from an individual rather than a company and was not used to “commission” research.
But the existence of the donation and the IEA’s success in persuading ministers to adopt its proposals, set out in a series of policy papers between 2012 and 2014, will raise questions about the links between the Government and think-tanks, as well as the transparency of the policymaking process.Source: The Independent – 12 February 2016
JTI helps retailers navigate incoming new legislation
JTI is launching a new initiative to support retailers through the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) which will ban the production of cigarettes in packs of less than 20, and rolling tobacco in pouches of less than 30g, from May.
JTI will provide online training modules, educational videos and information packs through JTI Advance in the run up to the ban.
The tobacco manufacturer has also invested in “upskilling” its sales force so that reps can give business advice to retailers during store visits.Source: Convenience Store – 12 February 2016
Durham: Big Doctor is watching you – message targets hospital smokers
“Loud and clear” recorded messages asking smokers to put out their cigarettes are now being broadcast outside Darlington Memorial Hospital (DMH) and the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND), in Durham City.
The messages say: “Attention please: This is a no smoking hospital. Please extinguish your cigarette. Thank you for your co-operation.”
The crackdown, ordered by the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both hospitals, comes after a no smoking policy across all of the Trust’s sites was introduced back in 2007.
The Trust says ‘No smoking’ signs put up across its estate do not deter all smokers from lighting up around hospital and accident and emergency entrances – including areas where ambulances are dropping off patients.Source: The Northern Echo – 12 February 2016
Call the Midwife’s Stephen McGann: GPs often ask me to stop Doctor Turner smoking
Doctor Turner, a character in the BBC’s 1950s drama Call the Midwife, is never far from a fug of cigarettes smoke, but that’s all about to change. This weekend’s episode saw the Poplar GP face some home truths about the consequences of his constant smoking.
Turner’s smoking days “could be numbered,” teases Stephen McGann, who plays the doctor. And it’s a storyline which will please a lot of viewers, particularly those who are part of the medical community.Source: Radio Times – 14 February 2016
Pro-smoking group calls on chancellor George Osborne to avoid raising tobacco duty in next month’s Budget
Tobacco-industry-funded campaigners have called on the Chancellor not to raise tobacco taxes in next month’s Budget.
Forest has urged the chancellor to abandon the “escalator” system, which increases the tobacco duty – a surcharge on cigarettes and other tobacco products – faster than inflation every year. If Osborne sticks to his plans, the price of a pack of cigarettes will rise by around three per cent in March.Source: City AM – 15 February 2016
Scotland: MSP praise for ASH Scotland
Stewart Maxwell MSP visited the headquarters of ASH Scotland to hear about the charity’s on-going efforts to stub out smoking.
Mr Maxwell, who introduced a Bill in parliament that paved the way for the ban on smoking in public places, presented a cheque for £75 to chief executive Sheila Ms Duffy and praised the actions taken by ASH Scotland to reduce tobacco-related harm.Source: Barrhead News – 14 February 2016
Industry incentives ‘could lead to rapid end for cigarettes’
Public health measures to reduce smoking will founder unless policymakers take steps to curb the profitability of the big tobacco manufacturers, according to a report.
Researchers at the universities of Bath and Ottawa argue that progress on cutting smoking levels is being held back by the aggressive way in which a few large public companies fight to protect their profits.
They suggest that governments should take a lead from the way other industries have been persuaded to shift towards less harmful products, citing the example of the switch from leaded to unleaded petrol. Their report suggests “a range of carrot-and-stick incentives” to encourage manufacturers to put more resources behind the development of lower-risk products, including duty differentials, tax credits and price controls.
By curbing profits on combustible cigarettes and creating incentives for companies to develop and market less harmful alternatives, such as e-cigarettes, manufacturers would not have to fight so hard and introducing smoking-related health measures would be easier.
[subscription required]Source: The Times – 15 February 2016