ASH Daily News for 16 March 2017



  • New report reveals costs of lung disease to the UK
  • UN agency shelves vote on ties with big tobacco
  • Fewer Scots are choosing to smoke but the costs of the habit remain high
  • Cambridgeshire: Council aims to lead by example with new anti-smoking policy
  • Lincolnshire: Daughter calls for licensing after mum dies in fire caused by illegal cigarette
  • Indonesia: tobacco bill could increase output despite health concerns

New report reveals costs of lung disease to the UK

A new report by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) shows that lung disease is costing the UK approximately £11 billion a year, yet there has been little change in mortality rates over the last 10 years.

BLF say that 115,000 people die from lung disease every year, the equivalent of one person every 5 minutes, while a further 12 million people in the UK are living with a lung condition. The new report has prompted calls for the governments and NHS in both England and Scotland to create special taskforces for lung health, and produce new five-year strategies for tackling lung disease.

Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, Medical Adviser for the British Lung Foundation, told Sky News air pollution is a major part of the problem. He said: “In this country, the estimate from the Royal College of Physicians is that there are about 40,000 excess deaths per year caused by air pollution and one of the things in parallel with a respiratory task-force would be a new Clean Air Act. We need for the Government to be setting strong binding targets and actions to reduce this air quality problem.”

A Department of Health spokesperson told Sky News: “It is plainly wrong to suggest that tackling lung disease is not a priority – government research funding has risen to over £25 million, our policies have helped reduce smoking rates to a record low and Public Health England has extended its successful ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms.”

See also:
Estimating the economic burden of respiratory illness in the UK, British Lung Foundation

Source: Yahoo News – 15 March 2017
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UN agency shelves vote on ties with big tobacco

The governing body of the International Labour Organization, which has taken millions of dollars in funding from tobacco companies, has shelved a vote on whether to cut ties with the industry.

The ILO decided to delay until November, the decision on whether they should follow other UN agencies which have pledged to fight against the tobacco industry’s influence in policy making. The ILO has previously received $15 million in funding for two partnerships which aim to fight against the use of child labour within the tobacco industry.

Source: The Sentinel – 15 March 2017
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Fewer Scots are choosing to smoke but the costs of the habit remain high

No Smoking Day which took place on 8th March, came with the welcome announcement that fewer Scots are smoking than ever before, but the costs of the habit remain high to individuals and society.

Smoking remains the primary cause of preventable illness, disability and premature death in Scotland, and is linked to an estimated 128,000 hospital admissions each year. The average smoker in Scotland spends £1500 a year on tobacco, and more people in the least affluent communities spend at this level than in the most affluent communities.

“We’ve had ten years of decisive action which has undoubtedly improved our nation’s health – but there is still more to be done,” said Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell. “As a result of our Take it Right Outside campaigns, reported exposure to second-hand smoke in the home among children under 16 has halved between 2013 and 2015 from over 11 per cent to six per cent. “In December 2016 it became ­illegal to smoke in cars where children are present – and later this year, we will restrict the sale and availability of e-cigarettes to under-18s and introduce an offence for smoking near hospital buildings.”

Source: The Scotsman – 15 March 2017
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Cambridgeshire: Council aims to lead by example with new anti-smoking policy

East Cambridgeshire District Council is set to implement a new anti-smoking policy which will include a ban on e-cigarettes and ensuring employees get their managers’ permission to take a smoking break.

Two people a week die from smoking related disease in the District and the Council is determined to lead by example with its new ‘smoking at work’ policy. All premises owned or occupied by the Council will now come under a smoking ban, including council owned car parks and buildings with multi-tenant offices. Employees will therefore have to go off site to smoke and must have permission from their manager before taking a smoking break.

The policy also asks employees who conduct home visits to request smokers refrain from smoking during the visits. Managers may also be asked to complete risk assessments before visits to protect employees from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Source: Ely Standard – 15 March 2017
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Lincolnshire: Daughter calls for licensing after mum dies in fire caused by illegal cigarette

The daughter of a 71 year old woman who died in a house fire started by an illegal cigarette is campaigning for retailers selling tobacco products to be licensed.

Julie Grant has been working with Lincolnshire Trading Standards to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal cigarettes. She has now started a petition to see retailers who sell tobacco products licenced in a similar way to alcohol retailers.

In 2015 Mrs Grant earned a Hero Award from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute after campaigning against unlawful tobacco and is encouraging Lincolnshire County Council to translate the campaign into different languages.

Source: Boston Standard – 15 March 2017
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Indonesia: tobacco bill could increase output despite health concerns

Indonesia’s Parliament has proposed a draft bill which could lead to a sharp increase in tobacco output in a country which is already a leading tobacco producer and which has one of the world’s highest smoking rates.

The bill which covers production and distribution of tobacco along with taxation will be presented to President Widodo within the next week to determine whether it will move forwards. It has already provoked strong opposition from health campaigners with the potential to remove many existing regulations like the requirement to put pictorial health warnings on packs. Health Minister Nila Moeloek says her ministry “definitely” opposes the tobacco bill as it has the responsibility to “safeguard the health of the people”.

Indonesia was the world’s fourth-biggest cigarette producer with an output of 269.2 billion sticks in 2015, according to the latest data from Euromonitor International. The market was valued at 231.3 trillion rupiah (£14.20 billion).

See also:
Indonesia’s child tobacco workers in peril, Human Rights Watch

Source: Reuters – 15 March 2017
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