ASH Daily News for 30 November 2016



  • Philip Morris says they could stop making conventional cigarettes in light of their new product
  • NHS patients told to lose weight and quit smoking or face operation delays
  • It’s never too late to quit smoking
  • Imperial Brands to shut Russian tobacco factory
  • Parliamentary Questions

Philip Morris says they could stop making conventional cigarettes in light of new product

Philip Morris has launched a new product in the UK which it claims is less harmful than conventional cigarettes and which it says could mean halting sales of its conventional products.

IQOS is an innovative device which uses a battery to heat tobacco rather than burn it. The company claims this means that smokers get the same nicotine hit but with 90% less toxins than come from burning tobacco. Phillip Morris says that trials, not externally verified, have found the new product had the same health impact as quitting smoking

But health campaigners said products such as IQOS, like tobacco, need tough regulation. Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), told the Today Programme: “We still need to be very cautious about what the industry is up to.”

“Philip Morris is a tobacco company. They are still making most of their profits from selling cigarettes,” she said: “On current trends, smoking will kill one billion people in the 21st century, most in poor countries. If Philip Morris really want to see the end of smoking they have to stop promoting smoking to new young smokers around the world.”

See also:
– The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4
Deborah Arnott was interviewed at 6:15 with the story covered again at 7:15 and John Britton interviewed at 7:50, The Today Programme

Source: BBC News – 30 November 2016
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NHS patients told to lose weight and quit smoking or face operation delays

NHS England has approved plans from a Yorkshire health trust to restrict access to routine procedures for smokers and those who are obese.

Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 will be asked to lose weight or face a 12-month delay for elective surgery while smokers will be asked to quit for two months or face a six-month postponement, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced.

The CCG has ruled out a blanket ban and said that each patient would be dealt with on a case by case basis, when the new plans come into effect in January.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group has been very clear that there is no ban and no blanket policy. People who fail to meet certain criteria will not be denied their operation. Clinicians will give advice to patients and it is right that they do so.”

However, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has spoken out strongly against the policy saying it would prolong suffering for patients.

The RCS’s statements came after comments from Downing Street making it clear that the government had no objections to the plan. The apparent U-turn comes weeks after the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, reiterated to MPs that he opposed rationing and would step in if local NHS organisations made the “wrong choices” in the provision of care.

See also:
Surgeons attack plans to delay treatment to obese patients and smokers, The Guardian

Source: The Guardian – 29 November 2016
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It’s never too late to quit smoking

New research has emphasised the idea that the sooner you quit smoking the less likely you are to die from smoking related disease, even after the age of 60.

The National Cancer Institute in Maryland, US, followed 160,000 over-70s for six years and compared never-smokers, ex-smokers and smokers.

The researchers found that quitting smoking substantially reduced risk of mortality after age 70 even among those who had quit smoking during their 60s.

Of those who quit smoking in their 30s, 16.2% died. The death rate rose to 19.7% for those who gave up tobacco in their 40s and to 23.9% for people in their 50s. Among the participants who quit in their 60s, the death rate was 27.9% which was still 5.2% less than smokers.

Lead researcher, Dr Sarah Nash from the National Cancer Institute said: “In the NIH-AARP study population, younger age at initiation was associated with increased risk of mortality, highlighting the importance of youth and early-adult smoking on lifetime mortality risk, even among people who live to age 70 years.”

“In addition, former smokers were at substantially reduced risk of mortality after age 70 years relative to current smokers, even those who quit in their 60s. These findings show that smoking cessation should be emphasised to all smokers, regardless of age.”

See also:
Cigarette Smoking and Mortality in Adults Aged 70 Years and Older: Results From the NIH-AARP Cohort, AJPM
NEVER TOO LATE: Smokers in their 60s CAN still extend their lives by quitting, The Express
Quitting smoking at any age reduces the risk of death after 70, Medical Xpress

Source: The Sun – 30 November 2016
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Imperial Brands to shut Russian tobacco factory

Imperial Brands, the world’s fourth largest tobacco company, is due to close one of its two Russian factories following increases in taxation and the impact of changes to sales regulations.

The Yaroslavl factory operated by the group’s Imperial Tobacco subsidiary, is working at 40% of capacity and will be shut on the 1st January with the loss of 284 jobs.

Source: Reuters – 29 November 2016
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Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: EU Tobacco Products Directive
Gerald Howarth Conservative, Aldershot
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effect on small retailers of the introduction of those bans on small and flavoured tobacco packs prescribed in the EU Tobacco Products Directive that was not part of the original impact assessment for that Directive.

Gerald Howarth Conservative, Aldershot
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects of the introduction of the EU Tobacco Products Directive; and whether he has made an assessment of the removal of small and flavoured packs that was not part of the original impact assessment for that Directive.

Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
The Impact Assessment published alongside the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 at: www.legislation.gov.uk sets out the Government’s view on the likely impact of the Directive, including an assessment of the removal of small and flavoured packs.

The Department is committed to a full statutory review of the functioning of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, which implement the European Union Tobacco Products Directive, within five years of entering into force. The statutory review must be accompanied by an Impact Assessment.

Source Hansard – 22 November 2016
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PQ2: EU Tobacco Products Directive
Gerald Howarth Conservative, Aldershot
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the (a) process and (b) timetable is for reviewing the implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
The Department is committed to a full statutory review of the functioning of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, which implement the European Union Tobacco Products Directive, within five years of entering into force. The statutory review must be accompanied by an Impact Assessment.

This is one of the many areas that the Government is considering carefully as part of the process of leaving the EU. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force.

Source: Hansard – 22 November 2016
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