ASH Daily News for 26 July 2016



  • Scotland: Health boards urged to stop people smoking outside hospitals

    Public health campaigners are calling for stricter measures to be introduced in response to complaints about staff, patients and visitors smoking beside hospital entrances despite a ban coming into force in April 2015.

    The Scottish Government’s Health Bill made it an offence to smoke within a designated no-smoking area around buildings in NHS hospital grounds. However, policing the restrictions has proved extremely problematic for health boards across Scotland, prompting new calls for action.

    Shiela Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “There is free expert advice and support through the NHS to help smokers who are thinking about quitting or who want advice about managing their smoking when in hospital, and the Scottish Parliament has passed legislation that will create an area around hospital buildings to be covered by the same law as indoor spaces. The main message in all this is that tobacco and health don’t mix.”

    Source: The Courier 25 July 2016

  • China: Shops are openly flouting tobacco sales ban near schools

    Retailers are openly flouting the ban on tobacco sales near schools in Changsha, South-Central China, new research has revealed.

    Researchers recorded the prevalence of tobacco outlets within 200 m of 36 schools and in 36 residential areas in Changsha between December 2014 and January 2015.

    On average, they found three retail outlets selling tobacco within 100 m of each of the schools and nearly seven within 100-200 metres. Almost all the schools (98%) had at least one shop selling tobacco within a 100 m radius.

    Marketing strategies targeting children were also “pervasive” the audit showed, with 83% of shops displaying tobacco products within 1 metre of the floor, while 60% displayed them within 30 cm of toys, confectionery, and gum. These strategies were more common in stores within a 100 m radius of a school.

    Only around one in five retail outlets selling tobacco had a ‘no smoking’ sign prominently displayed, and this was particularly true of shops near schools. However, few outlets displayed a ‘no sales to minors’ sign, also required by law.

    The full research, published in Tobacco Control, can be accessed here.

    Source: Medical X Press 25 July 2016

  • USA: Cigarette butts added to new Illinois litter law

    A new Illinois House Bill 3243, titled the Litter Control Act, adds the term cigarette butts to the current litter definition.

    When the law goes into effect on 1st January 2017, flicking the end of your cigarette out of your car window or down onto the pavement will be punishable by a fine of up to $1,500 and a jail term of up to six months. Three or more offences could be punishable by a $25,000 fine.

    Source: Portsmouth Daily Times 25 July 2016

  • USA: Big tobacco raises $17 million to oppose California cigarette tax increase

    Tobacco companies have raised $17 million to oppose Proposition 56 which, if passed, would increase the tax on cigarettes by two dollars a pack.

    Proponents of the tax rise, such as Jim Knox of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, said: “This is classic tobacco industry strategy and deception. They will spend tens of millions of dollars to confuse and deceive the voters about the deadly nature of their product, as they have been doing for decades.”

    Similar measures to increase the cigarette tax failed in 2006 and 2012. This initiative would also raise the tax on electronic cigarettes.

    “We’re confident that this time, unlike the last two measures, which were very narrowly defeated, that we will have the financial resources to be able to fight back against the lies of the tobacco industry,” Knox said.

    Source: Capital Public Radio 25 July 2016

  • Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1: Health Inequalities

    Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what data exists about the proportion of excess mortality in lower socioeconomic status groups due to smoking-related diseases; whether the forthcoming tobacco control strategy for England will contain measures to address that issue; and when he expects to publish the next tobacco control strategy for England.

    Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The independent review into health inequalities in England undertaken by Professor Sir Michael Marmot culminated in the publication in 2010 of Fair Society, Healthy Lives. The review identified the most effective evidence-based strategies for reducing health inequalities in England and made the following recommendation: “Tobacco control is central to any strategy to tackle health inequalities as smoking accounts for approximately half of the difference in life expectancy between the lowest and highest income groups. Smoking-related death rates are two to three times higher in low-income groups than in wealthier social groups.”

    The new tobacco control plan is currently being developed and Ministers will decide on an appropriate publication date in due course.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 25 July 2016, cW)

    PQ2: Tobacco Control Plan

    Julian Knight Conservative, Solihull
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2016to Question 37407, when he plans to publish the new Tobacco Control Plan.

    Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The Government remains committed to publishing a new tobacco control plan and Ministers will decide on a publication date shortly.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 25 July 2016, cW)

    PQ3: Regulation

    Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure different regulatory regimes for heated tobacco devices and other new tobacco-based products, electronic vaping products and other proven reduced risk alternatives that do not contain tobacco.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that regulatory obligations and excise rates will be applied to tobacco rolls sold in the UK.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure tobacco-based products such as factory made cigarettes and heated tobacco are subject to identical regulatory obligations.

    Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The Government introduced the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 in April this year. These Regulations strengthen the regulation of tobacco products in relation to their manufacture, production and presentation and include a new regulatory framework for electronic cigarettes and herbal products for smoking.

    The Government will consult on the duty treatment of heated tobacco products later in 2016.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 21 July 2016, cW)