ASH Daily news for 31May 2016



  • World No Tobacco Day 2016: Get ready for plain packaging

    Today, 31st May 2016, the World Health Organisation celebrates World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) with this year’s theme: Get ready for plain packaging.

    With Australia and the UK the first countries worldwide to implement standardised tobacco packaging more countries are expected to announce draft proposals and legislation today.

    New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has announced draft regulations and a consultation document for standardised cigarette packaging. It is expected that the Smokefree Environments Amendment Bill (Tobacco Plain Packaging) will be passed this year, with Prime Minister John Key indicating that implementation would start early next year.

    Other countries expected to announce new regulations include Norway and Canada. The Norwegian health minister is expected to present new research and provide an update on legislation to require the sale of cigarettes in packages without logos on WNTD, following a U.K. court decision to dismiss the tobacco industry’s case against plain packaging.

    In Canada Health Minister Jane Philpott is set to make an announcement on the proposal, which involves standardizing box sizes and prohibiting colours, logos and graphics on tobacco packages.

    See also:
    Bloomberg: Norway to Detail Progress on Plain Packaging of Tobacco May 31
    National Newswatch: Liberal government plans plain tobacco packages; legal battle looming
    Voxy: ASH NZ welcomes cigarette plain packs announcement

    Source: World Health Organisation 31 May 2016

  • Smoking causes nearly 5,000 hospital admissions a day in England

    Hospital admissions linked to smoking have increased 5% in the last decade – but the number of deaths has fallen, new figures have revealed.

    According to new figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, there were an average of 4,700 hospital admissions a day related to smoking, a total of 1.7 million over 12 months.
    This was despite a reduction in smoking, with just 19% of adults smoking in 2014, down from its peak of nearly half the population in 1974. However, the number of deaths from smoking fell to 78,000 compared to 89,000 in 2004.

    Commenting on the figures, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH said: “It is good news that the number of people dying from smoking continues to fall, however, smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable ill-health and death in the UK and the number admitted to hospital with smoking-related diseases is still going up. If we are to reduce the burden of smoking-related disease on the over-stretched NHS it is essential that smokers are given the best possible support to quit. Yet funding for stop smoking services, which can increase success in quitting up to four times, is being cut.”

    Source: The Daily Mail 27 May 2016

  • Scientists’ pensions are invested in tobacco firms

    Scientists funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are among thousands of academics whose pensions are invested in the tobacco industry.

    The latest annual report shows the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) had £211m invested in British American Tobacco (BAT) in the year to 31 March 2015.

    CRUK, some of whose money indirectly ends up in BAT, said the university pension arrangements were not under its control.

    George Butterworth, CRUK’s tobacco policy manager, said: “The tobacco industry’s deadly products are responsible for one in four cancer deaths. Many people would be shocked to learn that their pensions are invested in tobacco company shares – especially those striving to develop cures for diseases caused by this lethal industry. Cancer Research UK’s own pension funds are tobacco-free, but many of our researchers are based at institutions where that is not the case. To help make it easier for organisations’ pension schemes to opt out of tobacco shares, we’re now funding the UK arm of Tobacco Free Portfolios to encourage investment funds to divest from tobacco stocks. AXA’s move earlier this week to withdraw billions in investment from the tobacco industry shows what can be done.”

    Source: The Guardian 30 May 2016

  • Anti-smoking campaign seemingly unsuccessful according to pilot study

    The NHS has received criticism for the apparent failure of a new interactive learning project designed to discourage children from smoking.

    Operation Smoke Storm sought to copy a successful American campaign by teaching children about the “unethical and manipulative tactics used by the tobacco industry in persuading young people to use an addictive yet deadly product”.

    However, a review of a pilot project, published in the Lancet, found there was “no significant difference” in smoking uptake between children who had or had not been through the programme. The Lancet said that said more research was ongoing for “potential reasons to explain the apparent lack of effectiveness”.

    The full study published in the Lancet can be accessed here.

    Source: The Sun 31 May 2016

  • More women are taking up smoking worldwide

    Gory pictures on cigarette packets depicting the dangers of smoking have helped people kick the habit. But despite all the images of the diseased lungs and heart, the number of girls taking to the habit is on the rise.

    According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco smoking currently kills five million people a year worldwide and, according to estimates, will probably kill eight million people a year between now and 2030 and one billion over the course of the 21st century.

    Public health professionals are being urged o address this problem and prioritise preventing a rise in smoking among women.

    See also:
    Peking Press: Every cigarette rots you, inside out
    English Manorama: ‘Number of female smokers are on the rise’
    Hindustan Times: Girls! In case you had no clue, every cigarette is rotting your insides

    Source: First Post 31 May 2016

  • India: Educate women on dangers of smoking during pregnancy

    According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-10, two out of 10 women in India above the age of 15 years are tobacco users. This translates to approximately 78 million women, out of which 64 million women use tobacco daily. Further studies on the consumption of tobacco in 187 countries revealed that India now has the highest number of female smokers after the United States.

    Health campaigners are using World No Tobacco Day to call for greater awareness and education around the dangers of smoking during pregnancy, both to the mother and her unborn child.

    Anti-smoking advocates argue India needs to provide support to women who want to quit, increase taxes on all tobacco products and implement interventions specifically targeted to prevent youth from taking up smoking.

    Source: Deccan Herald 31 May 2016