ASH Daily News for 17 January 2019


  • Calls for Illicit Tobacco Taskforce in Wales


  • Europe: Concerns over EU tobacco track and trace plans
  • USA: Study finds smoking increases aging
  • Japan: Smoking rates down 50% since 1989
  • Iran: Use of tobacco increased over last decade


Calls for Illicit Tobacco Taskforce in Wales

Trading standards officers in Wales are calling for a dedicated government taskforce to tackle the issue of illicit tobacco. Currently, Wales has the highest rate of sales of illegal tobacco which accounts for 15% of all tobacco sales. ASH Wales has supported these calls after being the first highlight the prevalence of illicit tobacco in Wales when it found that 59% of users purchased products monthly.

CEO, Suzanne Cass, said: “There is an urgent need to establish a dedicated government department to tackle the growing illegal tobacco trade in Wales. A co-ordinated approach is also needed between local authorities, the police and Welsh Government to stamp out what is becoming a wider problem. Illegal tobacco is easily available in our most deprived communities where smoking prevalence is highest and plays a big part in perpetuating the stark health inequalities that exist across Wales.”

Source: Shropshire Star, 11 January 2019

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Europe: Concerns over EU tobacco track and trace plans

Concerns have been raised over the EUs proposed system to track the tobacco and cigarettes in Europe. Recent investigation shows that companies controlling and developing key parts of the system are intrinsically linked to the tobacco industry.

Part of the track and track system, which was announced as part of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (May 2016), is now controlled by Dentsu Aegis Network, a company intrinsically linked to another tobacco associated firm Blue Infinity. Blue Infinity is connected to PMI, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco and uses aspects of data handling and storage systems from tobacco owned track and trace system Codentify.

With the EU playing a major role in the World Health Organisations global initiative in tack and trace, calls have been made to reverse the decision to appoint tobacco connected companies to develop and operate integral parts of the system.

Source: EU Reporter, 15 January 2019

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USA: Study finds smoking increases aging

A new study has found that smokers bodies and biological processes aged faster compared to nonsmokers. Using blood samples and age prediction models, the study analysed several biochemical markers, including fasting glucose and hemoglobin levels to develop an ‘aging ratio’.

The results showed smokers demonstrated a higher smoking ratio than nonsmokers, meaning smokers key biological processes will show signs of ageing sooner than nonsmokers. Further, male smokers were predicted to show signs of biological aging 1 ½ times their chronological age and female smokers 2 times their chronological age.

Senior researcher and author of the paper Polina Mamoshina commented “this research study provides fascinating scientific evidence that smoking is likely to accelerate aging. Smoking is a real problem that destroys people’s health, causes premature deaths, and is often the cause of many serious diseases. We applied artificial intelligence to prove that smoking significantly increases your biological age.”

Source: EurekAlert, 16 January 2019

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See also: Blood Biochemistry Analysis to Detect Smoking Status and Quantify Accelerated Aging in Smokers

Japan: Smoking rates down 50% since 1989

The number of smokers in Japan in 2018 has decreased by 50% since 1989 (the start of the Heisei Era). Anti-smoking movements or stop smoking campaigns have been credited as one of the major reasons for the drop. Fumisato Watanbe, head of the Centre for Information on Tobacco Issues, has stated that regulations that prevent smoking in public places and on public transport have significantly helped decrease smoking prevalence.

Next year, Japan plans to tighten regulations further by “prohibiting smoking in principle” in facilities which most of the public use. This means that smoking in places such as offices, restaurants and hotels, schools and hospitals will be banned except for in designated smoking rooms. Food and drink cannot be served in these rooms which can only be used by smokers.

Tax increases have also been attributed to the reduced rates, with the price of a packet of cigarettes more than doubling since 1989.

Source: Japan Times, 15 January 2019

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Iran: Use of tobacco increased over last decade

According to the latest data from Tehran University of Medical Science, the use of tobacco has increased sevenfold in the last decade. In June 2018, the Medical Science Branch of Islamic Azad University said smoking accounts for 11,000 deaths annually in Iran.

Tehran University’s vice chancellor for social affairs Abdolrahman Rostamian has called for divisive plans to control the use of tobacco across Iran. He noted that Iran was one of the few countries to fail to raise tobacco duty by more than 20% despite price increases being one of the most effective forms of tobacco control.

He has also stated that polices that raise the legal age of tobacco purchase to 18 and require tobacco supplies to apply for a special license would help in reducing the prevalence of smoking.

Source: Tehran Times, January 17 2019

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