ASH Daily News for 19 December 2018



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UK

  • Plain packaging for tobacco: What other countries can learn from the UK’s experience
  • Salisbury district hospital to become smokefree from January
  • Norfolk council issues smoking warning after increase in house fires
  • Middlesborough pub owner fined after allowing customers to smoke inside

International

  • US: Surgeon General wants tougher action in response to teenage vaping
  • Thailand set to be first country in Asia to enforce plain cigarette packs

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions

 

UK

Plain packaging for tobacco: What other countries can learn from the UK’s experience

PhD student Danielle Mitchell and Researcher Nathan Critchlow from the University of Sterling write about the tactics used by the tobacco industry during the UK’s implementation of plain cigarette packaging, and what other countries should look out for when pursuing the evidence-based policy themselves:

“The policy [plain packaging] was first introduced in May 2016 and, after a transition period, became compulsory in May 2017. But research has shown that tobacco companies appeared to delay introducing plain packs, continued to explore ways to promote products and did not follow through with their predictions that prices would decline.

“…it is important to raise awareness of tactics that may undermine the policy and encourage other governments to take steps to limit any disruption. Shortening the time to implement plain packs, greater transparency and monitoring pricing strategies, and standardising all aspects of the pack design are important first steps.”

Source: The Conversation, 18 December 2018

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Salisbury district hospital to become smokefree from January

From January 1st 2019 staff, patients, and visitors will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust’s grounds, including its gardens and car parks. Smoking shelters will also be removed.

Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive of the Trust, said “As a health organisation we’re very clear that this is the right thing to do and we’re proud to be going smokefree.
Breathing someone else’s smoke increases your risks of heart disease, cancer and respiratory problems. Clean air is better for everyone.”

Source: Spire FM, 19 December 2018

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Norfolk council issues smoking warning after increase in house fires

Smokers are being warned to take extra care extinguishing cigarettes, which have been linked to serious fires in Norfolk homes this year.

With smoking being the third biggest cause of domestic property fires in the county, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has dealt with an increased number of house fires this year.

A smouldering cigarette can lay dormant for up to six hours before sparking a flame, which means house fires can start in the middle of the night when people are asleep in bed. This year, four people have died in house fires in Norfolk. In 2017 there were two fatalities.

Source: North Norfolk News, 19 December 2018

See also: Norfolk County Council – Smoking warning after Norfolk house fires

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Middlesborough pub owner fined after allowing customers to smoke inside

A pub owner has been fined £1,000 for letting customers smoke indoors. Environmental Health Officers called unannounced at the Springfield Hotel pub in Middlesbrough and found evidence of smoking throughout the building, including multiple cigarette ends and used ashtrays.

Customers were also seen smoking inside the pub during a visit by officers from Middlesbrough Council and Cleveland Police in November last year, and in February and March this year. The pub owner was found guilty of failing to prevent customers from smoking in a smoke-free place at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “The dangers of breathing other people’s tobacco smoke are well known – these laws were brought in ten years ago to protect public health.”

Source: Teeside Live, 18 December 2018

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International

US: Surgeon General wants tougher action in response to teenage vaping

The US Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a rare advisory on Tuesday 18th December, calling for further steps against e-cigarette use among teens, which he said has become an “epidemic”.

This marks the second time the US Surgeon General has taken such action. The first was in April, when an advisory was issued to get more Americans to carry the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Source: CNN, 18 December 2018

See also:
Surgeon General’s advisory on e-cigarette use among youth
Reuters – U.S. Surgeon General wants tougher action to tackle teen vaping epidemic

Editorial Note: The latest evidence from Great Britain shows that only 2% of under-18s use an e-cigarette once a month or less, with use almost exclusively confined to current or former smokers. Furthermore, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) regulates e-cigarettes more heavily than in the US, including a ban on all cross-border advertising, such as TV, print and radio.

See also: ASH Factsheet – Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain

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Thailand set to be first country in Asia to enforce plain cigarette packs

Thailand is to become the first country in Asia to adopt plain packaging for tobacco products. The new legislation restricts the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging, and requires such specifications to be met by September 2019. Thailand has also mandated graphic health warnings covering 85% of tobacco product packaging.

The new law adds to Thailand’s Tobacco Control Act 2017 that enforces an age of sale of 20 years. The act bans single-stick sales, tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship across the country.

Commenting on the announcement, WHO South-East Asia regional director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: “Thailand’s bold steps against tobacco, the single most important cause of preventable deaths worldwide, is commendable and reflects the country’s earnest efforts in promoting health and well-being of its people.”

Source: Packaging Gateway, 18 December 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: Tobacco labelling

Asked by Damian Green, Ashford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the agreed cost is of the image licensing agreement reached with the Australian Government on the use of that country’s picture warnings on tobacco products in the event the UK leaves the EU without an agreement; on what date his Department first discussed the potential for a future image licensing agreement with the Australian Government; and if he will publish relevant correspondence on that matter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether the UK can continue to use the EU library for picture warnings on tobacco products in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal; on what date his Department discussed the potential for a future image licensing agreement with the EU; how much such a proposal will cost; and if he will publish relevant correspondence on that matter.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The United Kingdom would be unable to continue to use the European Union library for picture warnings in tobacco products in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Securing the continued use of these pictures is a subject which can only be discussed as part of the future relationships phase of the EU exit negotiations. The Department holds no cost information or correspondence on this matter.

However, the UK Government has reached an agreement with the Australian Government to license the latter’s picture warnings for tobacco products at no cost, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The Department first discussed a potential agreement relating to picture warnings with the Australian Government on 19 April 2018.

We are unable to provide copies of the relevant correspondence as this is confidential information between the United Kingdom and another State.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 13 December 2018
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2018-12-05.199264.h

PQ2: Tobacco labelling business cost

Asked by Damian Green, Ashford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the analysis his Department undertook to determine the cost to business of changing the picture warnings on tobacco products in the event of the UK’s departure from the EU without an agreement.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Department has no plans to publish its analysis of the cost to business of changing the picture warnings as the data is unvalidated.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 13 December 2018
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2018-12-05.199263.h