ASH Daily News for 16 December 2016



  • Cuts to public health funding a tragic folly, public health leader warns
  • BAT lab test reveals no DNA damage on exposure to e-cig vapour
  • Australia: Tobacco companies use mystery shoppers to exploit cigarette loophole
  • China: Anti-smoking volunteers enforce Beijing ban
  • Australia: ACCC proposes to deny tobacco companies over illicit tobacco
  • US: American Lung Association report shows increased tobacco risk in LGBT individuals
  • ASH Public Reputation Survey

Cuts to public health funding a tragic folly, public health leader warns

Cuts to public health funding are a false economy of the worst kind, the Faculty of Public Health’s Vice President has warned.

Responding to the announcement of the local government funding settlement by the Department of Communities and Local Government, Professor Simon Capewell said: “It is tragic that the government has failed to heed warnings that cuts to public health funding are a false economy of the worst kind. This settlement fails to undo that damage. […] These cuts are not just cruel, they are folly.”

Source: Faculty of Public Health – 15 December 2016
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BAT lab test reveals no DNA damage on exposure to e-cig vapour

E-cigarette vapour does not appear to damage DNA, even at doses 28 times that of equivalent smoke exposure according to research published in Toxicology Letters.

Scientists at British American Tobacco used lab-based cellular tests to examine the impact of cigarette smoke and Vype e-cigarette vapour on human lung cells.

Dr James Murphy, Head of Risk Substantiation at British American Tobacco said that his team has been able to show that there is significant DNA damage in human lung cells exposed to smoke, but that this is not the case with e-cigarette vapour.

Source: Scienmag – 15 December 2016
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Australia: Tobacco companies use mystery shoppers to exploit cigarette loophole

Tobacco companies are offering gift cards, flights and hotel stays to retailers to try and encourage them to push their brands to customers.

Marketing reps are sent to hotels, supermarkets, petrol stations, tobacconists and newsagents to train sales assistants in how to promote their brands to customers.

If they do as they are instructed, staff can win points and prizes such as gift cards, flights, hotel stays and vouchers for spa and beauty packages.

Mystery shoppers are then used to keep tabs on staff, awarding points to those who recommend one cigarette brand over another.

The technique, called “trade marketing”, is one of the only legal ways cigarette makers can promote their wares under the highly restrictive regime that governs the sale and use of tobacco.

Health advocates say the scheme threatens to undermine the government’s plan to cut the rate of smoking to 10% of the population by 2018 but the loophole may soon be closed, with NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner vowing to clamp down on the practice.

Source: NZ Herald – 16 December 2016
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China: Anti-smoking volunteers enforce Beijing ban

A group of anti-smoking volunteers and enjoying police and building management support are enforcing the smoking ban in Beijing’s office buildings, often following denunciation.

A network of volunteers has been trained by the government-funded Beijing Tobacco Control Association to monitor complaints and catch smokers.

In a meeting with reporters, association director Zhang Jianshu (張建樞) showed off an interactive map of Beijing on a flat-screen TV in his office that was dotted with small blue sirens marking the spot of a complaint submitted by a tipster.

Volunteers must pledge never to have smoked before, said Liu Li, the volunteer who led the pursuit of smokers in stairwells. Anyone caught smoking is expelled from the group.

Source: Taipei Times – 16 December 2016
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Australia: ACCC proposes to deny tobacco companies over illicit tobacco

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to deny authorisation to British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, and Philip Morris to jointly stop supply to retailers or wholesalers they believe are supplying illicit tobacco.

The ACCC said that it considers having three dominant tobacco companies working together, sharing information, and making decisions about whether or not to supply particular retailers raises competition concerns.

Source: The Shout – 16 December 2016
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US: American Lung Association report shows increased tobacco risk in LGBT individuals

The American Lung Association has just released a report highlighting the higher tobacco risk in the Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans (LGBT) community.

The risk report says that LGBT youth and young adults are specifically at risk, as they frequent bars and clubs to socialise — places that are usually coupled with tobacco products.

LGBT youth are also exposed to stress and stigma not shared by their heterosexual peers, and therefore rely on stress-relief outlets such as cigarettes and alcohol, according to the report.

Source: South Florida Gay News – 15 December 2016
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