ASH Daily News for 24 August 2016



  • Menthol cigarettes ban could be overturned after Brexit

    Plans to ban menthol cigarettes could be overturned after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The ban on the flavoured cigarettes is set to come in by 2020 as part of the European Commission’s latest Tobacco Products Directive.

    The planned restrictions were agreed because evidence suggests that menthol cigarettes are easier to smoke and popular with young people, and that they can cause worse respiratory problems than other cigarettes.

    Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said the ban should go ahead regardless of whether Britain was in the EU or not: “Banning menthol cigarettes is recommended by the WHO because they’re easier to inhale and make it more likely children will become addicted. In the UK there is strong support, from the public, parliament and the government, for policies to stop children starting to smoke. Whether we’re in the EU is neither here nor there.”

    Source: The Independent 23 August 2016

  • Research: E-cigarette tax should be zero according to IEA think tank

    Excise taxes for e-cigarettes and other healthier alternatives should be set to zero, according to a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, arguing that a lower tax on e-cigarettes would improve public health and consumer welfare.

    Currently e-cigarettes are subject to 20 per cent VAT with a cartridge costing between £1.50 and £5 and roughly equivalent to a £10 packet of 20 cigarettes.

    The report author, economist Carl Philips, said: “Just because a choice has health implications does not eliminate the value of economic analysis. The concept of addiction only makes sense in the context of economics, so it is obviously not a reason for ignoring economic science.”

    Source: City AM 23 August 2016

  • Bexley: Smoking rates fall below national and London average

    The number of smokers in Bexley has fallen below the average rate for London and England, according to new figures from the London Tobacco Control Profile, revealing that the borough has the lowest smoking rate in south east London, at 14%.

    But 8% of pregnant women are continuing to smoke through their pregnancy.

    Bexley Stop Smoking Team provides midwives with machines to measure carbon monoxide levels in both the mother’s and the developing baby’s bloodstream, which is now recommended as part of the routine care pregnant women receive.

    Source: Bexley Times 23 August 2016

  • New Zealand: Tobacco plain packaging law takes another step towards reality

    The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill is heading to its third and final reading at Parliament, after passing the committee stage by 108 votes to 13 on Wednesday morning.

    The law would make it illegal for tobacco companies to print any branding on cigarette boxes, only allowing the name in small plain type with graphic warnings about the risks of smoking.

    MP Barbara Stewart accused the Government of rushing through the change, while Labour health spokesman Chris Hipkins argued that businesses had known about the law change since 2013 and “had plenty of time to prepare”.

    Source: The Timaru Herald 24 August 2016

  • Research: Indonesia: A survey on the ideal price for a pack of cigarettes

    According to a survey, the ideal price for a pack of cigarettes should be 50,000 rupiah (US$3.80) instead of the current price of up to 20,000 rupiah ($1.50).

    Around three-quarters of 1000 respondents – including smokers – surveyed by the University of Indonesia’s Centre for Health Economics and Policy Studies agreed that the price of cigarettes should be doubled, and the taxes raised used to fund the National Health Insurance (JKN) programme.

    The survey has emerged at a time when Indonesia is pushing efforts to reduce smoking, such as requiring pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs.

    Source: Asia News Network 24 August 2016