ASH Daily News for 20 January 2017

  • Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust goes smokefree
  • Southampton: BAT unveils £4m investment
  • Comment: NHS must keep stop smoking services
  • Czechs a step away from smoking ban in bars, restaurants
  • US: Vape companies try to galvanize Trump administration to ease FDA rules
  • Finland looks set to become completely cigarette free
  • Florida: Attorney general goes to court for tobacco payments
  • Is India kicking out Philip Morris?

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust goes smokefree

Mental health services in Barnet are making their premises smoke-free to reduce the number of patients dependent on nicotine for stress relief.

People with mental health problems die between 10 and 20 years earlier than the national average, usually because they tend to smoke more heavily and develop smoking-related diseases.

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust (BEH) launched its ‘SmokeFree’ project on Tuesday (January 17), meaning smoking is not permitted anywhere on BEH premises or grounds.

All inpatients will be offered a range of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) within 30 minutes of admission, and they will be allowed to use e-cigarette alternatives.

Source: Times Series – 19 January 2017
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Southampton: BAT unveils £4m investment

On the same week it agreed to a £40.8bn takeover of Reynolds, BAT is due to unveil a £4m investment in its Southampton site which will become the home of its Global Supply Network Operation.

See also:
A merger is the latest sign of Big Tobacco’s resilience, The Economist
How Will Philip Morris Respond to the BAT-Reynolds Merger?, The Motley Fool

Source: Daily Echo – 18 January 2017
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Comment: NHS must keep stop smoking services

Amanda Sandford, Information Manager at ASH, writes about the importance of stop smoking services.

We can be justly proud of the specialist stop smoking services which were set up in England in 2000. At their peak in 2010/11, almost 800,000 ‘quit dates’ were set by users, resulting in an estimated 20,000 people achieving long-term abstinence. Although the number of people attending the services has fallen in recent years, the successful four-week quit rate has remained fairly consistent at 51%.

Despite the proven success of the services, there is growing concern that cuts to local tobacco control and smoking cessation budgets will have a negative impact on both further reductions in smoking prevalence and on the sustainability of the NHS.

Source: Independent Nurse – 19 January 2017
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Czechs a step away from smoking ban in bars, restaurants

The Czech Republic is one step away from losing its status of one of the last havens for tobacco smokers in Europe.

The Senate, the upper house of Parliament, voted 45-12 on Thursday to approve a smoking ban in bars, restaurants and cafes. The lower house gave its green light on Dec. 9.

To become effective on May 31, which is World No Tobacco Day, it needs final approval: a signature from President Milos Zeman, who is a chain smoker.

Movie theaters, concert venues, exhibition halls and indoor sports settings would be banned from having separate rooms for smokers.

Source: Daily Mail – 19 January 2017
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US: Vape companies try to galvanize Trump administration to ease FDA rules

As tobacco and vaping companies focus on new smoking products that are potentially less harmful, the industry sees an opening for rolling back rules on these products under the Trump administration.

Donald Trump’s surprise election victory in November, and his pledges to reduce federal regulations on business, led tobacco lobby groups to draft a new plan of action, according to company executives, lobbyists and consultants.

The immediate goal is to delay implementation of new regulations on the latest generation of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, which produce a vapour from liquid nicotine rather than burning tobacco.

Longer-term, they are setting their sights on repealing the 2016 law that treats these devices like cigarettes.

Lobbyists describe a cautious optimism as they approach lawmakers with their plans for products that they say can help traditional smokers quit and avoid the known dangers of tobacco.

Source: Reuters – 18 January 2017
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Finland looks set to become completely cigarette free

Finland could be the first country in the world to become completely cigarette-free. The country originally proposed a goal of being smoke-free by 2040 but new legislation today says the goal can be achieved by 2030.

Housing associations can now enforce a smoking ban on balconies and yards belonging to the housing complex. Capsule cigarettes that activate a taste such as menthol or blackcurrant when squeezed are getting banned outright. Retailers are charged fees for selling nicotine products and the hike in costs means selling smokes is verging on non-profitable.

Finland is the first country in the world to enforce such stringent legislation on smokers. It has been committed to reducing smoking since 1978 when it first banned the advertising of nicotine products. Smoking at the workplace has been banned since 1995 and in bars and restaurants since 2007.

Source: – 19 January 2017
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Florida: Attorney general goes to court for tobacco payments

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has asked a Palm Beach County circuit court to resolve a dispute about whether two tobacco companies have improperly avoided paying tens of millions of dollars to the state under a landmark 1997 settlement with the tobacco industry.

Bondi’s office filed a motion to enforce the settlement in a dispute that stems from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. selling the Winston, Kool and Salem cigarette brands to the tobacco company ITG Brands. The dispute also includes Maverick cigarettes, which were transferred to ITG amid a merger between R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard Tobacco Co.

The 1997 settlement required certain major tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds, to make annual payments to the state in exchange for legal protections.

Bondi’s office contends payments based on Winston, Salem, Kool and Maverick cigarettes improperly stopped after the brands became part of ITG. The motion said the state is owed more than $45 million.

Source: Financial News and Daily Record – 19 January 2017
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Is India kicking out Philip Morris?

Philip Morris International may be completely blocked from India’s cigarette market if the government’s proposals to end foreign investment in the industry are approved.

According to Reuters, although India banned foreign companies from manufacturing cigarettes there in 2010, it still allowed them to collaborate on technology and invest through licensing agreements.

Philip Morris has a small but growing base of operations in India through a wholesale trading company it created ahead of the ban that partners with Godfrey Phillips India, a company that the tobacco giant acquired a stake in back in the 1960s. Philip Morris also created an investment firm. Today, Godfrey Phillips manufactures the cigarettes while the wholesale trader markets them.

Over the past five years, Philip Morris spent $460 million on tobacco leaf and more than $200,000 on charitable donations each year.

Reuters revealed previously unreported letters Philip Morris sent to India’s trade minister and a government think tank lobbying against the proposed restrictions. In the letters, the cigarette company says the ban would “dent India’s credibility as a reliable investment destination” and the prohibition would be “discriminatory in its application since it will provide undue leverage to the domestic industry at the expense of international products.”

Apparently India’s health ministry disagrees, as it maintains it is in the interest of public health to ban foreign companies as they would only serve to expand the market.

See also:
Philip Morris jolted by Indian proposal to ban foreign tobacco investment, Reuters

Source: Investopia – 17 January 2017
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