ASH Daily News for 18 March 2016



HEADLINES

E-cigarettes – authors reply to critique of PHE review
Wales: Reaction to failed public health bill
Vice Media attacked for making tobacco adverts for Philip Morris
USA: Major defeat for tobacco industry in Florida ‘Engle’ lawsuits
USA: Tobacco giant gave $250,000 to group representing black-owned newspapers
BAT Malaysia to close factory
PQ: Impact of standardised tobacco packaging

E-cigarettes – authors reply to critique of PHE review
The authors of one of the key papers contained in Public Health England’s evidence review of e-cigarettes have responded to a Lancet editorial which had criticised the report. In a letter to the journal, the authors argue that the criticisms over-generalised the evidence issue, did not respect the knowledge and experience of the experts selected, and did not take into account the many measures used to minimise potential bias.

E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking. Nutt D et al. The Lancet 2016; 387: 1160-62

Source: The Lancet 19 March 2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1Z8f1wY

Wales: Reaction to failed public health bill
ASH Wales has expressed disappointment at the failure of the Public Health Bill. The charity is concerned that the tobacco control measures contained in the proposed legislation might be lost. The Bill would have led to the creation of a national register of retailers of tobacco products and it would have restricted smoking in public playgrounds, school grounds and hospital grounds.

Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales said: “The retail register would have been a fantastic opportunity to give enforcement agencies a clear idea of where tobacco is being sold legally and illegally.”

Source: ITV.com 17 March 2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1pPUxgk

Vice Media attacked for making tobacco adverts for Philip Morris
Vice Media has been criticised as “irresponsible” by campaigners for using its expertise targeting young people to make ads for tobacco company Phillip Morris. The ads for brands including Marlboro cannot be shown in the UK or US but could be used in some developing countries.

Caroline Renzulli from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said the company should not be using its experience targeting young people to help the tobacco industry sell cigarettes.

“It is highly irresponsible for Vice to use its expertise to help Philip Morris find new ways to reach young people and sell more of its deadly products, especially in low and middle income countries,” she said, adding: “Tactics like this show why countries need to ban all forms of tobacco marketing, as called for by the international tobacco control treaty.”

Source: The Guardian, 17 March 2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1TTji7U

USA: Major defeat for tobacco industry in Florida ‘Engle’ lawsuits
In a defeat for the tobacco industry, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday opened cigarette makers to more potential punitive damages in lawsuits stemming from smokers’ illnesses or deaths.
The ruling came in an Alachua County case that involved the 1992 death of a smoker, but it also would apply to other tobacco lawsuits that have flooded the legal system during the past decade. Those lawsuits are known in the legal world as “Engle progeny” cases and are an outgrowth of a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision that established crucial findings about the dangers of smoking and misrepresentation by cigarette makers.

The Supreme Court found that plaintiffs in the cases can seek punitive damages against tobacco companies based on legal claims of negligence and strict liability. In doing so, the court rejected the arguments of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which said punitive damages should be limited to issues involving concealment and conspiracy.

Source: The Ledger.com 17 March 2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1UG1dcp

USA: Tobacco giant gave $250,000 to group representing black-owned newspapers

In 2015 the National Newspaper Publishers Association which represents the interests of more than 200 African-American-owned community newspapers across the nation received a $250,000 donation from Reynolds American.

The donation — listed in a new Reynolds American corporate governance document reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity — represented the largest contribution Reynolds American made in 2015 to nearly three-dozen nonprofit organizations, many of which are politically active and typically do not disclose their funders.

Source: Health Medicine Network, March 2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1ViIQel

BAT Malaysia to close factory
BAT is to close its factory in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. In a statement the company said the closure would be completed in 2017. BAT said the reason for the closure was falling sales due to high duties and an increase of illegal cigarettes in the market.

Source: Free Malaysia Today, 18 March 2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1WvlFvF

PQ: Impact of standardised tobacco packaging
Parliamentary Question: Standardised tobacco packaging

Asked by Ian Paisley (North Antrim) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of (a) minimum pack-size requirements and (b) other elements of the new Tobacco Products Directive.

Jane Ellison Answered on: 17 March 2016
An assessment estimating the impact of the provisions introduced by the revised Tobacco Products Directive on business, including minimum pack size requirements, was published alongside a public consultation on transposition of the Directive in summer last year. A final impact assessment, reflecting the outcome of the consultation, will be published alongside the implementing Regulations.

Source: HoC Hansard, WA 17/3/2016
Link: http://bit.ly/1SXDLHM