ASH Daily News for 16 May 2018



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UK

  • Retail age checks show high pass rate for tobacco sale tests but falling pass rates for e-cigs
  • Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association argues plain packaging has failed to reduce smoking rates

International

  • Philip Morris iQOS patents reveal that the company could harvest users’ data
  • More US adults say they’ve tried vaping, but regular use is down
  • Qatar: Ministry of Public Health launches national anti-tobacco campaign

 

UK

Retail age checks show high pass rate for tobacco sale tests but falling pass rates for e-cigs

New data from Serve Legal, a UK retail age check company, shows that most retailers are strict about age checks for cigarettes. In tobacco sale tests, retailers achieved an 80 per cent pass rate in 2017. Pass rates have improved year on year since 2015. Retailers in the South West achieved the highest pass rate (79 per cent) and London the lowest (60 per cent).

There is less positive news from the e-cigarette age test data. Pass rates have fallen from 91 per cent in 2015 to 70 per cent in 2017. This suggests that there may still be confusion amongst retailers about e-cigarettes being an 18+ product.

Source: Retail Times, 16 May 2018

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Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association argues plain packaging has failed to reduce smoking rates

Plain packaging on cigarettes has been branded a failure by pro-smoking campaigners. Drawing on numbers from the Smoking Toolkit Study, campaigners have compared the smoking rate of 17.1 per cent in March 2018 with March last year’s rate of 16.5 per cent – an increase of 0.7 per cent.

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) said if the same effect was seen across the UK with the same population, there would be approximately 350,000 more adult smokers in March 2018 than a year before the plain packaging was brought in.

Source: The Sun, 15 May 2018

Editorial comment:

Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and University College London, said: “The TMA report using our data on smoking is nonsense and their claims are completely unwarranted. The analysis of data from our Smoking Toolkit surveys does not support the TMA’s contention about the impact of plain packaging. Plain packaging was introduced in May 2016, with the first packs appearing in shops shortly after, since then our surveys show an overall decline in adult smoking prevalence. Cherry picking specific months out of the variation shown within our surveys is an inappropriate analysis of the data.”

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International

Philip Morris iQOS patents reveal that the company could harvest users’ data

There are new concerns that Philip Morris could be able to collect massive amounts of data from individual iQOS products.

Ottawa-based TechInsights Inc have studied the device and say the iQOS is equipped with technology which could facilitate the storing of device information that could then be transmitted back to Philip Morris. The data could include details like the number of puffs by a user and how many times a person used the device in a given day.

The initiative, if allowed by regulators, could extract information about a user’s smoking routine from the device and use it for marketing purposes, said a former project manager at Philip Morris.

Gregory Connolly, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who has studied iQOS technology and patents, said Philip Morris’ ability to gather user data could give the device remarkable power. “What they’re going to have is a mega database of how Americans smoke,” he said. “Then they’ll be able to reprogram the current puffing delivery pattern of the iQOS to one that may be more reinforcing and with a higher addiction potential.”

Source: Reuters, 16 May 2018

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More US adults say they’ve tried vaping, but regular use is down

New research shows 1 in 7 U.S. adults have tried electronic cigarettes. This is an increase but it’s offset by a small decline in the number currently using the devices. About 3 percent of adults were current users in 2016, down from almost 4 percent in 2014. Adults who have tried them at least once reached just over 15 percent in 2016.

See also: Journal of the American Medical Association, Changes in Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adults in the United States, 2014-2016

Business Insider UK, 15 May 2018

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Qatar: Ministry of Public Health launches national anti-tobacco campaign

The Ministry of Public Health has launched a national campaign to curb the impacts of smoking and tobacco use.

The three-phase, multi-year campaign aims to encourage residents to follow the existing tobacco control laws and to understand the risks associated with tobacco use. It also aims to discourage youth from starting the habit and to direct people to useful resources to help them quit.

Minister of Public Health, H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, said: “Smoking is a significant public health issue in Qatar. Around 37 percent of the population over the age of 15 say they currently smoke tobacco and we continue to see more young people take up the habit. The National Health Strategy 2018-2022 sets a target of reducing the prevalence of smoking, and to achieve this, it is important that we redouble our efforts to combat tobacco use.”

Source: The Peninsula, 16 May 2018

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