ASH Daily news for 17 February 2015



  • Standardised cigarette packaging can deter the take-up of smoking, studies suggest
  • Comedian John Oliver’s takes on the tobacco industry
  • Talking cigarette pack discourages smoking
  • Nottinghamshire: Smoking ban at three parks
  • Ireland: Tobacco giant issues legal threat over plain packaging
  • Parliamentary Questions

    Standardised cigarette packaging can deter the take-up of smoking, studies suggest

    A series of scientific papers published in the journal Addiction, suggest that “plain” or standardised cigarette packaging may deter non-smokers from taking up the habit and may cut the number of cigarettes that smokers get through.

    The research shows, that although standardised packs are still too new to provide substantial evidence, the measure is likely to reduce smoking rates.

    Robert West, editor-in-chief of the journal, said plain packaging’s effect on young potential smokers was likely to be the most important initial impact. He added: “Even if standardised packaging had no effect at all on current smokers and only stopped one in 20 young people from being lured into smoking (in the UK), it would save about 2,000 lives a year.”

    Addiction: Plain packaging of cigarettes encourages young smokers to heed health warnings

    BBC News: Cigarette packet law ‘would save lives’
    Financial Times: Cigarette research backs plain packaging

    Source: The Guardian, 17 February 2014

    Comedian John Oliver’s takes on the tobacco industry

    Last Week Tonight host John Oliver examines the global battle being fought over tobacco.

    Oliver considers the lengths tobacco companies go to. Examples include a Marlboro-sponsored kiosk outside an Indonesian school where teens can purchase single cigarettes and threats in Togo against government plans to introduce graphic imagery on cigarette packaging.
    [Editorial note: UK viewers can watch the clip here

    Source: Rolling Stone, February 16 2015

    Talking cigarette pack discourages smoking

    Scientists at Edith Cowan University have developed a cigarette packet that records the voice of a smoker (or that of their loved ones) reminding them of the reason they want to quit which plays every time the packet is opened.

    Associate Professor Paul Chang from ECU’s School of Psychology and Social Science said the idea was to tap into the smoker’s own motivations for quitting.

    Source: Medical Xpress, 16 February 2015

    Nottinghamshire: Smoking ban at three parks

    Three parks in Nottinghamshire have been designated smoke-free zones.

    The bans which are voluntary and as such won’t be policed, come after the local authority signed a countywide declaration to support reducing the harmful effects of smoking.

    Source: Nottingham Post, 17 February 2015

    Ireland: Tobacco giant issues legal threat over plain packaging

    Japan Tobacco International has threatened legal action against the Irish government unless it halts moves to introduce standardised packaging.

    Dr Reilly introduced the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill last year when he was minister for health.

    Source: The Irish Times, 17 February 2015

    Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1: Smokefree areas

    Lord Laird, UUP
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they have to eliminate smoking from public areas outside any buildings.

    Earl Howe, Conservative
    The Government has no plans to extend smokefree legislation to outside public areas.

    Source: HL Deb, 13 February 2015, cW

    PQ2: Illicit tobacco

    Lord Palmer, Crossbench
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of links between terrorist organisations and the illicit tobacco market in the United Kingdom.

    Lord Deighton, Conservative
    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) currently has no direct evidence that profits from tobacco fraud fund any specific terrorist groups.

    The joint HMRC/Border Force strategy to tackle tobacco smuggling has been successful in driving a consistent and sustained reduction in the illicit market in the UK, reducing the market share for illicit cigarettes by more than half and hand-rolling tobacco by one-third since 2000.

    The latest tobacco anti-fraud strategy ‘Tackling Tobacco Smuggling – building on our successes’ was launched in April 2011. Its objective is to achieve further sustainable downward pressure on the illicit market in cigarettes through to 2015. A copy was placed in the House of Commons library at that time.

    In 2013/14, HMRC referred 328 cases for prosecution and seized 1,437 million cigarettes and 330 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco.

    Source: HL Deb, 16 February 2015, cW