ASH Daily News for 16 January 2017



  • Imperial Brands shareholders protest against CEO’s bonus
  • Prison smoking ban and rise in use of former legal highs
  • Is smoking in public becoming the new taboo?
  • Scotland:  NHS staff accuse smoking colleagues of compromising patient safety with cigarette breaks
  • India: PMI fights Government plans to ban foreign tobacco investment
  • France: Presidential candidate criticised for remarks on smoking & alcoholism

Imperial Brands shareholders protest against CEO’s bonus

Tobacco company Imperial Brands is facing a shareholder rebellion over plans to award its chief executive a pay packet worth as much as £8.5m a year.

Under the new proposals, Alison Cooper, who was paid £5.5m last year, would earn a significantly higher bonus if she hits certain performance targets.  According to The Sunday Times, at least one of the company’s top 10 investors will vote against the plan at the annual meeting next month, while two more are considering rebelling.

It is understood that a number of smaller investors have also raised concerns over the package, which could boost Cooper’s annual long-term bonus by more than £1m.

Source: The Sunday Times – 15 January 2017
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Prison smoking ban and rise in use of former legal highs

The prohibition of smoking in Dartmoor prison has coincided with an increase in the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS), according to an official report.

“After a somewhat hesitant start, smoke-free seems to have benefitted many prisoners and staff,” The Independent Monitoring Board said in a report.  “However the downside was a sharp ­increase in the usage of NPS and seemingly also its potency, resulting in near fatal casualties, frequent and costly hospitalisations, increased disturbance and some violent disorder on the wings.”

Source: Daily Star – 15 January 2017
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Is smoking in public becoming the new taboo?

As Hull celebrates its city of culture status, which is drawing crowds to numerous events, the local paper asks whether it is time to consider banning smoking in some outdoor locations.  Various viewpoints are aired.

Wendy Samuels, operational lead service manager at Hull’s public health department said:  “All I would say is that avoiding passive smoking is the best thing people can do for their health.  I would hope smokers are respectful if they are in an environment where they are in contact with lots of people.”

The article concludes that while a change in the law is unlikely, with the passing of time cultural change may make outdoor smoking in crowded places unacceptable.

Source: Hull Daily Mail – 14 January 2017
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Scotland:  NHS staff accuse smoking colleagues of compromising patient safety with cigarette breaks

NHS staff have accused smoking colleagues of compromising patient safety by leaving already understaffed wards without adequate cover to have a cigarette.

While NHS guidance states that smoking should be confined to designated breaks, employees claim some staff are leaving Glasgow’s new hospital more frequently to smoke, leaving wards dangerously understaffed.

Due to the size of the hospital and smoking regulations, which require staff to leave the grounds, they say staff are away from the ward for longer than before.

Source: Evening Times – 14 January 2017
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India: PMI fights Government plans to ban foreign tobacco investment

Reuters reports that Philip Morris International is fighting to keep a share of India’s $11 billion tobacco market, as the government considers further tightening foreign investment rules in the sector.

In previously unreported letters from Philip Morris to the trade minister and an influential government think-tank, the US-based company said the “discriminatory” and “protectionist” proposals would represent a blow to its plans to launch new products and make further investments in India.

The two letters dated May and October last year followed local media reports of a possible change in government policy. While the warnings may be part of the firm’s negotiations, they show the level of concern the proposals are causing

India banned foreign investment in cigarette manufacturing in 2010, but it still allowed tobacco companies to invest through technology collaboration and licensing agreements. Investments could also be made by forming a trading company.

Over the past year, the government has been considering whether to stop these, in a bid to safeguard public health interests, according to the documents and a senior government official.

Source: Reuters – 15 January 2017
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France: Presidential candidate criticised for remarks on smoking & alcoholism

Emmanuel Macron who heads the ‘En Marche’ (Forward) Movement and is standing for the French Presidency, has been criticised for comments he made about the health of people in the north of the country.  He said that the social and health problems of the former mining areas of northern France included “high rates of smoking and alcoholism”.  A local Front National mayor said this was an example of Parisian stereotyping against the northern working class.

Source: The Guardian – 16 January 2017
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