ASH Daily news for 19 June 2015



HEADLINES

  • Which English town has the most pregnant smokers? Stats show where expectant mums are still lighting up
  • Worcester at heart of scheme to stub out underage tobacco sales
  • Quebec: Tobacco law violates rights and freedoms, companies argue
  • Hungary: Three tobacco firms threaten legal action over sales reforms
  • Japan: Government to retain Japan Tobacco shares for time being
  • Iraq: Village takes radical stand against national woes
  • China: Beijing residents are outing smokers online

    Which English town has the most pregnant smokers? Stats show where expectant mums are still lighting up

    Latest figures reveal that in one town, more than a quarter of babies are born to mothers who smoke.

    In Blackpool, 27.2% of women were recorded as smoking at the time of birth in 2014/15, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said.

    This contrasted with central London at the other end of the spectrum, where just 2.1% of women did.

    Overall, the figures are the lowest since records began in 2006/07, with 11.4% of pregnant women smoking when they gave birth, representing 70,880 out of 622,640 maternities last year.

    A year earlier the figure was 12%, continuing the steady decline since 2006/7, which saw a high of 15.1%.

    Since 2006/07, the number of maternities has risen by 3.6% at the same time as the number of women who smoke at the time of giving birth has fallen by 22%, the HSCIC said.

    See also:
    – The town where a QUARTER of pregnant women light up: Blackpool has highest rates of smoking mothers, while London has the lowest, Daily Mail
    – North East has highest proportion of women who smoke during pregnancy, Northern Echo
    – Bradford: Much work needed to reduce numbers of district’s smoking mums-to-be, health chiefs admit, Telegraph and Argus
    – Smoking in Pregnancy – Government on track to meet ambition, ASH press release

    Source: Daily Mirror – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1CgL3uh

    Worcester at heart of scheme to stub out underage tobacco sales

    Worcester will be visited by mystery shoppers to check if stores are at risk of selling tobacco products to under 18s as part of a national initiative to stub out underage smoking.

    Independent retailers in the Midlands, including Worcestershire, are to receive training support on age restricted products as three major UK tobacco manufacturers invest in a proof-of-age compliance scheme for independent retailers.

    A compliance programme to reduce youth access to tobacco was launched in March 2015 by Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris Limited, and Imperial Tobacco Limited, who collectively cover the majority of the UK tobacco market.

    Source: Worcester News – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1CgLN2K

    Quebec: Tobacco law violates rights and freedoms, companies argue

    Major tobacco firms returned to court on Thursday to attack a law being used by the Quebec government to help recoup $60 billion from them.

    After losing their bid in March 2014 to have the law ruled unconstitutional, counsel for Imperial Tobacco, JTI-Macdonald and Rothmans Benson & Hedges told the Quebec Court of Appeal the legislation “handcuffs” them.

    In 2009 the Quebec government passed a bill aimed at making it easier for the province to argue its case against tobacco companies.

    The law states the government does not have to categorically prove a direct link between patients’ illnesses and exposure to tobacco products.

    Quebec sued the companies in 2012 for $60 billion to recoup the health-care costs of citizens it says are a result of smoking.

    Lawyers for the three firms told the appeals court the law prevents them from having access to a fair trial.

    Source: CTV News – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1CgM31J

    Hungary: Three tobacco firms threaten legal action over sales reforms

    Three tobacco companies have threatened legal action against Hungary’s government unless it revises what they say is a “discriminatory” decision to award a 20-year retail tobacco supplier contract to two rival companies.

    Earlier this month British American Tobacco and Taban Trafik were awarded a concession to supply retail tobacco shops from November for an initial annual fee of 10 million forints ($36,500) this year, rising to 600 million by 2021.

    The two companies will act as intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers, supplying all tobacco shops in the central European country of 10 million people in the next years.

    Rival firms Imperial Tobacco, JTI Hungary and Philip Morris say the selection process for the winners was “untransparent and discriminatory” and the step amounts to a nationalisation of the tobacco wholesale business.

    See also:
    – Award of Hungary wholesale license hits tender spot, Tobacco Reporter
    – Hungary tobacco producers challenge gov’t over supply monopoly, Portfolio

    Source: Reuters – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://reut.rs/1CgM71q

    Japan: Government to retain Japan Tobacco shares for time being

    The Japanese Ministry of Finance plans to put off selling its stake in Japan Tobacco, apparently out of deference to growers.

    The government sold some shares in the company in 2013 to help fund rebuilding in the northeastern Tohoku region, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This reduced its ownership to one-third.

    With some 6 trillion yen ($48.2 billion) worth of reconstruction spending planned for the fiscal 2016-2020 period, it has been thinking about another sale. But producer groups fear privatization would doom a government policy that ensures all domestic leaf tobacco is purchased.

    A ministry subcommittee on the tobacco business is to discuss the matter and issue recommendations by the end of this month.

    Source: Nikkei Asian Review – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://s.nikkei.com/1CgMrgo

    Iraq: Village takes radical stand against national woes

    Smoking, horn honking and political debating — these may sound like a few of Iraq’s favourite things, but one village has banned them all to beat the national doom and gloom.

    “Smoking just isn’t good for you,” said Kadhim Hassoon, standing proudly by a red-and-white crossed out cigarette sign marking the entrance of Albu Nahadh, a hamlet nestled along a river bank in the fertile heart of Iraq’s south.

    The ban is a bold step in a country where smoking in hospitals and lifts or at petrol stations is not uncommon.

    Source: Yahoo! News/AFP – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://yhoo.it/1CgMAR4

    China: Beijing residents are outing smokers online

    From 1 June, a ban on smoking has been in effect in the Chinese capital’s indoor public spaces.

    Beijing city authorities have sought to involve the public in their efforts to enforce the ban – a hotline has been set up to report those flouting the rules and the government has even suggested hand gestures that others should use to signal people to stop smoking. The campaign has also been taken online by the Beijing municipal government with accounts called “Smoke-free Beijing” on the Twitter-like Weibo network and messaging app WeChat.

    But hundreds of residents are using its message board – “Exposure Table” – to post pictures of smokers allegedly violating the ban. The photographs posted on the board show people smoking on stairwells and in shopping malls – some even show policemen appearing to break the law.

    It is not entirely clear what, if anything, has happened to the individuals visibly seen smoking in prohibited areas in the photos, but a report on Chinese national radio said that action will be taken against establishments which are the subject of multiple complaints on WeChat.

    Source: BBC Trending – 18 June 2015
    Link: http://bbc.in/1CgN0Hk