ASH Daily News for 24 January 2019



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UK

  • How diplomatic missions became entangled with the tobacco industry
  • Lincolnshire: The amazing and elaborate lengths used to hide illegal cigarettes revealed in Freeman Street raids

International

  • US: More people in recovery from substance use problems are quitting smoking than ever before
  • Smoking linked to higher risk of peripheral artery disease in African-Americans

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

UK

How diplomatic missions became entangled with the tobacco industry

The British High Commission in Malaysia gave tens of thousands of pounds to a local thinktank while it argued against tobacco controls already enacted in the UK. At the same time it was funded by the British foreign office, the thinktank received substantial funding from three multinational tobacco companies.

The actions of the High Commission raise questions about whether diplomats went against guidelines to “limit interactions” with the tobacco industry, following previous criticism of diplomatic support for the tobacco industry abroad. Both British and American diplomatic missions funded the thinktank, the Kuala Lumpur-based Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), while it argued against tobacco taxes and plain packaging. The UK enacted plain packaging in 2014.

Mary Assunta, senior policy adviser at the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca), said: “Ideas jumped into tobacco control only recently and was making policy statements that echoed the tobacco industry’s position. When a group or a consultant uses certain familiar buzz words and pushes anti-health proposals, look deeper, and you will find the link to the tobacco industry.”

Source: The Guardian, 24 January 2019

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Lincolnshire: The amazing and elaborate lengths used to hide illegal cigarettes revealed in Freeman Street raids

The sophisticated steps taken to smuggle illegal cigarettes onto the streets of North East Lincolnshire have been revealed in a series of raids on shops selling illicit tobacco. One shop had an underground cavern, operated by an electric jack which is believed to have been used to conceal illicit tobacco.

Trading standards officers also found holdalls in a large walk-in fridge, containing up to 6,000 smuggled and fake cigarettes. Many of the products found had been smuggled in from China and Russia.

North East Lincolnshire Council portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, Councillor Dave Bolton, said: “This is about stopping the sale of counterfeit cigarettes. They are being sold, with the proceeds going to organised criminal gangs and we are working together to stop them.”

Source: GrimsbyLive, 23 January 2019

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International

US: More people in recovery from substance use problems are quitting smoking than ever before

A new study has found that those who entered drug or alcohol recovery in the US from 2006 to 2015 quit smoking sooner than those entering recovery 20 years earlier. Smoking rates among people recovering from an alcohol or drug disorder are more than double that of the general population. But a study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute) found that those entering recovery in the past 10 years are quitting in greater numbers than their cohorts in the 1980s and 90s.

While smoking is a major cause of premature death among individuals with a history of alcohol or drug use, there was scarce data on how many people quit before or after treatment and after entering recovery.

Lead author, John F. Kelly, said: “Smoking cessation is a well-known challenge among people in recovery from alcohol and drug use disorders, but very little was known previously about smoking prevalence in this population or when after entering recovery people were able to quit smoking. Our findings suggest more recovering people are quitting cigarettes and quitting sooner.”

Source: Scienmag, 23 January 2019

Drug and Alcohol Dependence: Smoking cessation in the context of recovery from drug and alcohol problems: Prevalence, predictors, and cohort effects in a national U.S. sample

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Smoking linked to higher risk of peripheral artery disease in African-Americans

A new study has found that African-Americans who smoke appear to be at greater risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD) compared to African-American non-smokers. Additionally, the findings suggest that smoking intensity also affects the likelihood of getting the disease. PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States and 202 million worldwide, especially those age 50 and older, and increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.

The impact of cigarette smoking on PAD has been understudied in African-Americans, even though PAD is nearly three times more prevalent in African-Americans than in whites. Researchers divided the 5,258 participants into smokers, past smokers and never smokers. After taking into account other risk factors, they assessed smoking intensity and found a dose-dependent link between cigarette smoking and PAD. Those smoking more than a pack a day had significantly higher risk than those smoking fewer than 19 cigarettes daily. Similarly, those with a longer history of smoking had an increased likelihood of the disease.

Lead researcher Donald Clark said: “Current and past smokers had higher odds of peripheral artery disease than never smokers; although the odds were lower among past smokers. Our findings add to the mountain of evidence of the negative effects of smoking and highlight the importance of smoking cessation, as well as prevention of smoking initiation.”

Source: Bioengineer, 23 January 2019

Journal of the American Heart Association: Cigarette Smoking and Subclinical Peripheral Arterial Disease in Blacks of the Jackson Heart Study

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International

Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Smoking

Asked by Jim Shannon, Strangford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the fall in smoking rates continues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce smoking and (b) encourage smokers to transition to vaping.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Government published its five-year tobacco control plan for England in July 2017. This set out a vision of a smoke-free generation and detailed ambitions to reduce smoking prevalence amongst adults, pregnant women and young people, as well as to reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population. The plan also outlined a commitment to support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.

The Government published ‘The Tobacco Control Delivery Plan 2017-2022’ in June 2018, setting out the steps the Government and key delivery partners will take to help deliver those ambitions, including ongoing review of safety, uptake, impact and effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a means of quitting.

Source: Hansard, 22 January 2019
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-01-15/208858/

PQ2: Electronic Cigarettes

Asked by Jim Shannon, Strangford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has met with vape product manufacturers in the last 12 months.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
I met with the Independent British Vape Trade Association on 12 March 2018 to discuss United Kingdom vaping and regulations.

Source: Hansard, 22 January 2019
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-01-15/208855/

PQ3: Electronic Cigarettes

Asked by Jim Shannon, Strangford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue guidance to businesses and local authorities on vaping in public places and workplaces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue further guidance to (a) businesses and (b) local authorities in line with Public Health England’s advice on vaping in public places and workspaces.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
There are no plans to do so. Public Health England published advice on the use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces in 2016 which is available to access publicly at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-e-cigarettes-in-public-places-and-workplaces

Source: Hansard, 22 January 2019
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-01-15/208838/