ASH Daily News for 19 September 2016

  • Portsmouth: Solent NHS Trust to ban smoking on its sites
  • What happened to Moto GP’s cigarette money?
  • WHO warns of intensified tobacco industry interference
  • Brunei and the Philippines curb tobacco industry interference
  • USA: Canny marketing makes cigarettes hot property
  • USA: Tobacco money is fuelling Louisiana’s political campaigns
  • New Zealand: E-cigarettes fail to get Health Ministry support

Portsmouth: Solent NHS Trust to ban smoking on its sites

Solent NHS Trust is introducing a smoking ban on its sites on the 1st October 2016, to coincide with the start of the national Stoptober campaign.

Andrew Smith, manager of the Trust’s Stop Smoking Service said: “This is a decision we have taken deliberately to help all our patients and staff have healthier lives – and protect everyone else from the harmful effects of secondhand tobacco smoke.”

The Trust will be providing additional support to patients, visitors and staff to help them quit.

Source: The News – 19 September 2016
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What happened to Moto GP’s cigarette money?

MSC looks at the history of tobacco sponsorship in Moto GP and the impact it had on the sport.

When tobacco sponsorship was banned in 2005, it removed a major source of income from the sport.

However, the sport is not free from tobacco interests. While they cannot openly sponsor teams with their brands and logos displayed, tobacco companies such as Philip Morris still sponsor individual teams utilising their position to wine and dine corporate guests, reward employees and so forth.

Source: MCN – 17 September 2016
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WHO warns of intensified tobacco industry interference

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned member states against the intensified efforts of the tobacco industry to interfere in the implementation of tobacco control policies saying succumbing to it may weaken public health programs.

In a statement, the WHO said there is a need for member-states to be more vigilant against efforts of the tobacco industry to water down tobacco control programs. “This is a busy time and a challenging moment. The tobacco industry is intensifying its effort to interfere with public health policies. More than ever, we must be vigilant and act to protect what we have achieved by developing and implementing the WHO-FCTC,” said the WHO.

Citing the 2016 Tobacco Industry Interference Index Report, the WHO said it is objectionable how the tobacco industry continues to interfere through both “overt and covert means”.

The WHO gave a series of recommendations for action including full implementation of FCTC Article 5.3 across government and urged collaboration between parties.

Source: Sun Star Manila – 16 September 2016
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Brunei and the Philippines curb tobacco industry interference

The Philippines and Brunei are leading their ASEAN peers in efforts to put a check on tobacco industry interference in health governance matters. According to the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance’s (SEATCA) Tobacco Industry Interference Index, the Philippines and Brunei scored the lowest on several indicators of governance and policy making.

Brunei scored 29 points, while the Philippines, 38. The highest scores were for Indonesia (84), Vietnam (76) and Lao PDR (67). The index ranks countries based on several indicators ranging from industry donations to partnership in policy-making.

Source: Customs Today – 17 September 2016
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USA: Canny marketing makes cigarettes hot property

In an opinion piece, Philip Delves Broughton notes the resilience of the tobacco industry.

Logic says that the tobacco industry should be dead by now. Billions of dollars in lawsuits, public health campaigns, heavy restrictions on advertising, none have succeed in killing it.

Public health measures designed to reduce smoking rates and deter young people from taking up the habit have become common place, yet the industry remains resilient.

So what’s the secret? At one level, it’s simple. Cigarettes are cheap to make and highly addictive, which allows for large margins. And customers are loyal to their brands. Once an individual has chosen a brand they usually remain with that brand for life, or at least until they quit.

But tobacco companies have also proved remarkably innovative in the face of apparently existential threats. Chewing tobacco is on the rise and companies have begun investing heavily in e-cigarettes. These companies have ridden the organic wave, producing cigarettes marketed as ‘lite’, ‘natural’ and containing organic tobacco. Tobacco companies also benefit from rising incomes in emerging economies.

Health campaigners have rightly taken up this battle against tobacco companies, but the question of what will kill the industry remains unclear.

Source: Financial Times – 17 September 2016
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USA: Tobacco money is fuelling Louisiana’s political campaigns

With three physicians in the U.S. House of Representatives and one in the Senate, Louisiana has twice as many doctors in Congress as California. They’re all Republicans and three of the four have taken campaign money from cigarette manufacturers.

When challenged on these donations cardiothoracic surgeon and Congressman Charles Boustany’s spokesman said: “Dr Boustany is supported by a wide variety of industries because of his work to lower overall tax rates, simplify the tax code, reduce burdensome regulations, and put Americans back to work.”

However, federal candidates are not the only ones in receipt of tobacco dollars. Over the past decade Altria Group, the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer, has donated $589,984 to Louisiana legislators. In the last election, 44 of the sitting 105 state lawmakers received money.

Meanwhile, Louisiana is considered the least healthy state according to America’s Health Rankings, and the annual survey says smoking is the number one reason for early death in Louisiana. For health campaigners the reasoning for this is plain: it’s a lack of a strong anti-smoking stance from the state’s legislators.

Source: The Advocate – 18 September 2016
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New Zealand: E-cigarettes fail to get Health Ministry support

A cabinet paper, released by Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-liga, states that while the Ministry of Health believed vaping was less harmful than smoking, it advised against the legalisation of e-cigarettes.

“There is not yet enough evidence to be able to recommend e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking,” the paper said. People seeking to quit were advised to contact the Quitline or use approved medicines such as nicotine patches, it said.

E-cigarettes can gain a medicinal licence as a stop smoking product from Medsafe. Once licenced manufactures can make smoking cessation and other health claims.

Source: Radio New Zealand – 17 September 2016
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