ASH Daily News for 30 April 2018



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UK

  • Vapers receive same life insurance rates as cigarette smokers as insurers falsely believe it’s just as dangerous as the tobacco product
  • Smoking costs over £150m to Oxfordshire
  • Bath residents back a ban on smoking in the city’s parks

International

  • Tonga: Sharp drop in tobacco sales
  • Parliamentary Activity
  • Parliamentary Questions

UK

Vapers receive same life insurance rates as cigarette smokers as insurers falsely believe it’s just as dangerous as the tobacco product

No major insurance firm in Britain is prepared to downgrade the risk for vapers, an industry conference heard. Doubts over the safety of vaping mean people who use e-cigarettes containing nicotine receive the same premiums as smokers. It means choosing to use the devices, rather than quitting entirely, can double the cost of life insurance.

Insurance expert Andrew Wibberley said high street firms calculating health risks over a lifetime draw no distinction between vapers and smokers.

Source: The Daily Mail, 28 April 2018

Editorial Note: The 2018 Public Health England review of the evidence on e-cigarettes found that they are substantially less harmful than smoking tobacco, noting that: “Based on current knowledge, stating that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking remains a good way to communicate the large difference in relative risk unambiguously so that more smokers are encouraged to make the switch from smoking to vaping.”

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Smoking costs over £150m to Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire councillors will hear about action being taken to tackle smoking in the region, with the habit estimated to cost the county almost £150m a year. Aside from the obvious health implications, smoking is hitting the county coffers hard.

Figures to be presented at a health meeting tomorrow suggest lost productivity through smoking breaks alone costs the local economy £57.4m. According to a report prepared ahead of the meeting, smoking is estimated to cost the economy £42.3m in lost productivity owing to early deaths, while treating smoking-related diseases are hitting local NHS services to the tune of £17.4m.

The report uses figures estimated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and puts the overall cost of smoking in Oxfordshire at £147.22m.

Source: The Oxford Times, 30 April 2018

Editorial note: ASH is updating its local costs of smoking tool (Ready Reckoner) which will be published on World no Tobacco Day (31st May)

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Bath residents back a ban on smoking in the city’s parks

An online poll found that over 66% backed a smoking ban in Bath’s parks. The question was posed on Bath Live’s Facebook page and over 900 people responded to the Facebook vote.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at health charity ASH told Bath Live: “People should have the right to use public areas such as parks without being exposed to unpleasant tobacco smoke. Smoking bans in parks help to ensure that they are a pleasant and safe environment suitable for everyone to use.”

Source: Somerset Live, 28 April 2018

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International

Tonga: Sharp drop in tobacco sales

Tobacco sales have been hit by new import duties in Tonga, making many lower income smokers give up or cut back on consumption.

A partnership between the Tongan government and the World Bank aimed at fighting the food, alcohol and tobacco wars at the import level got its first regional update to Pacific heads of health in Nadi last week.

Currently, around 47% of Tongan males and 13% of females smoke.

Source: Papua New Guinea Industry News, 30 April 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

Graham Brady Chair, Conservative Party 1922 Committee

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department’s consultation on the tax treatment of heated tobacco products, published on 20 March 2017, whether he is taking steps to introduce a new category for heat-no-burn tobacco products; and if he will make a statement.

Robert Jenrick, The Exchequer Secretary

The Government published its response to the consultation on the tax treatment of heated tobacco products on 13 March 2018, setting out its intention to create a new category for these type of tobacco products within the duty regime.

Source: Hansard, HC, 27 April 2018

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