ASH Daily News for 31 May 2019



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UK 

  • Required to smoke whilst working at Rothmans
  • Pregnant smokers told ok to use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking during pregnancy
  • NHS trusts making progress to becoming smokefree
  • Welsh residents support extending smoking ban

International 

  • Italy: Tobacco farm workers report abuse
  • USA: Massachusetts sues e-cigarette maker for targeted advertising at children and teens
  • Australia: Push to raise smoking age from 18 to 21

Link of the Week 

  • World No Tobacco Day: Julie’s Story

UK

Required to smoke whilst working at Rothmans

Julie Wilson, of Wolsingham, has come forward to share her story about how smoking was a requirement of her job when she worked for Rothmans in the late 1970s and 80s. She was required to smoke as part of her job as a laboratory technician testing moisture levels and checking that cigarettes met quality standards. She was also able to buy 200 tax free cigarettes a week, which further incentivised her to smoke.

Julie said: “I smoked 20 cigarettes a day and would’ve smoked more if I could afford it. I was definitely addicted, I would panic if there weren’t cigarettes around… Rothmans encouraged smoking, it wasn’t right how they supplied free cigarettes, I was expected to smoke as part of my job and cigarettes were available at every turn. I didn’t think anything of it, as nothing was said about the health risks.”

Action on Smoking and Health, who launched the initial call for smokers who had been given free cigarettes to come forward following the case of Simon Neale, has challenged all four major tobacco manufactures in the UK about these practices and what they did to warn people of the risk of smoking. ASH and Fresh are calling for the industry to pay for the damage it does through a “polluter pays” levy.

Source: The Northern Echo, 31 May 2019

See also: ASH press release – On World No Tobacco Day more people sick from smoking having been given free fags come forward

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Pregnant smokers told ok to use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking during pregnancy

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said that pregnant smokers should be encouraged to use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking during pregnancy. They warn that the devices do contain some toxins but that these are at far lower levels than tobacco smoke. Their new position statement adds that there is no evidence that vaping has adverse effects on breastfeeding. Currently, one in ten pregnant smokers in England are still smoking at the time they give birth.

The RCM statement, published today, says: “Quitting smoking is one of the best things a woman and her partner can do to protect their baby’s health through pregnancy and beyond. If a pregnant woman who has been smoking chooses to use an e-cigarette (vaping) and it helps her to quit smoking and stay smokefree, she should be supported to do so”.

Source: The Sun, 31 May 2019

See RCM position statement: Support to Quit Smoking in Pregnancy

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NHS trusts making progress to becoming smokefree

A survey by Public Health England has found two–thirds of NHS acute trusts in England now prohibit smoking on site as part of their journey to becoming smokefree. However, results show that 31% of NHS acute hospital trusts in England still permit smoking on their premises. Public health minister, Seema Kennedy, said she is determined’ to see a smokefree NHS by 2020.

PHE’s Chief Executive Duncan Selbie said “One in four hospital beds are occupied by a smoker and most of them want to quit…It is time for the NHS to stop smoking within its hospital grounds, everywhere. It cannot be right that it is more acceptable in some hospitals to smoke at the front door than it is outside a pub.”

Source: The Daily Mail, 31 May 2019

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Welsh residents support extending smoking ban

ASH Wales Cymru has released the results of the Smokefree GB survey for Wales, which found that more that half of Welsh adults would back a smoking ban in outdoor public areas as well as in cars.

Of those who took part in the survey, 59% said they would support a ban on smoking in town centres, while 63% supported smoking being banned in outdoor eating areas of cafes and restaurants and in all cars. In addition, 47% reported that they didn’t feel the government was doing enough to reduce smoking in Wales, and 8% increase from 2018.

Suzanne Cass, CEO of ASH Wales Cymru said: “Thanks to a combination of tobacco control measures and campaigns to raise awareness of the impact of smoking on people’s lives, it is gradually become de-normalised, particularly among the all-important younger generation”.

Source: South Wales Argus, 31 May 2019

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International 

Italy: Tobacco farm workers report abuse

Workers on tobacco plantations in Campania, Southern Italy, have reported being subjected to abusive working conditions. The workers, including children, say that are forced to work up to 12 hours a day, without contracts or sufficient health and safety equipment. Some report that they are paid as little as €3 an hour, have no access to clean water and suffered verbal and racial abuse from bosses.

The region produces more than a third of the country’s tobacco and supplies tobacco to Philip Morris International (PMI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial brands.

Source: The Guardian, 31 May 2019

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WHO raises concerns PMI’s attempt to reclaim World No Tobacco Day

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised concerns over Philip Morris Internationals (PMI) attempt to rebrand up coming World No Tobacco Day as World No Smoking Day. PMI launched its own campaign this week to coincide with World No Tobacco Day calling for smokers to give up smoking in favour of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco.

Vinayak Prasad, head of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative said “We regard the PMI campaign as little more than a cynical attempt by the company to promote its deadly products”.

Source: Medical Xpress, 29 May 2019

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USA: Massachusetts sues e-cigarette maker for targeted advertising at children and teens

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that it is suing e-cigarette maker Eonsmoke for targeting children with advertising and failing to verify online buyers ages.

The company’s products were found being marketed on social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube with flavours such as “gummy bear” and “cereal loops”. The company stopped selling its products online after the attorney general’s office sent a cease and desist letter in 2018. The office has also sent a cease and desist letter to California-based Kilo E-Liquids also claiming the company violated Massachusetts laws regulating the sale and advertisement of tobacco products.

Source: Mail Online, 30 May 2019

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Australia: Push to raise smoking age from 18 to 21

Billionaire Andrew Forrest, who funds the Eliminate Cancer initiative, has launched a national campaign to raise the legal age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. The campaign was launched in Tasmania after it was found that the state had the highest smoking prevalence in the country. The Tobacco 21 proposed legislation will be read for the second time in parliament in August.

Mr Forrest said: “Nearly 90 per cent of adult smokers start as children, by the time they reach 21, they are hooked and become lifelong customers of big tobacco”.

Source: Mail Online, 31 May 2019

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Link of the Week

World No Tobacco Day: Julies Story 

Today, World No Tobacco Day, ASH has renewed its call for smokers now sick from smoking who were given free cigarettes while working for the tobacco industry to come forward and share their story. Julie Wilson shared her story of how she was required to smoke as part of her job at Rothmans with Fresh. Check out her recording below.

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