ASH Daily News for 5 July 2019



print
UK

  • Gang caught with nine million illegal cigarettes
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust goes smokefree

International

  • Austria passes smoking ban, snuffing out fallen government’s flagship policy

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions

Link of the week

  • Regional public opinion briefings 2019

 

UK

Gang caught with nine million illegal cigarettes

The ringleader of a gang caught with more than nine million illegal cigarettes at a Northamptonshire industrial estate has been jailed. The man was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after £356,185 in cash and the cigarettes were discovered during a search of a unit at the industrial estate in September 2018.

HMRC officers seized the money and 9,510,360 mixed branded cigarettes worth £3.4 million in unpaid duty from the unit. The money made from the illegal operation was enough to fund the salaries of 167 trainee firefighters in the East Midlands.

The man, along with 3 others, admitted to the crimes at Northampton Crown Court earlier this month. He was sentenced to 38 months in prison, with the other 3 receiving sentences ranging between 15 and 32 months.

Source: Northamptonshire Telegraph, 28 June 2019

Read Article

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust goes smokefree

The smokefree policy has been introduced as “a public health necessity” because “smoking kills,” said Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. “Given that simple truth we can no longer support smoking on our sites, even in shelters or cars,” said medical director Dr David Carruthers.

The trust is encouraging smokers to seek alternatives and patients will be offered nicotine replacement products. Vaping will be allowed on site and two vape shops will open at City and Sandwell hospitals, with a small number of shelters in place for vapers. Staff will face formal action if caught smoking three times at Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals. Enforcement officers can issue a £50 penalty to any visitors ignoring the rules.

Whilst smoking has been prohibited on some hospital grounds for years, a Public Health England (PHE) survey in May 2019 found more than forty acute hospital trusts had not yet gone smokefree. Nigel Smith from PHE West Midlands said the NHS had a “pivotal role” to ensure smoking was “not allowed anywhere on its premises.”

Source: BBC, 5 July 2019

Read Article

 

International

Austria passes smoking ban, snuffing out fallen government’s flagship policy

The Austrian parliament passed a ban on smoking in Austria’s bars and restaurants on Tuesday 2nd July, extinguishing a flagship policy of the recently collapsed right-wing government which had scrapped the measure after it was already on the statute books.

The government had thrown out the impending ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, passed under the previous centrist government. “After many setbacks and 18 months of political ignorance it was finally possible to set a law in motion that will improve Austrians’ lives,” Social Democratic leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner said after the bill was passed.

Health campaigners also cheered the passing of the ban, which is due to come into force in November 2019. “A good day for the health of Austrians,” the Don’t Smoke initiative, which launched a petition for a ban that was signed by roughly one in 10 Austrians last year, said on its Facebook page.

Source: Reuters, 2 July 2019

Read Article

 

Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: Health Education

Asked by Bob Blackman, Harrow East
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department has committed to spend on campaigns to promote the cessation of smoking in 2019-20.

Answered by Seema Kennedy, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
Detailed funding planning is underway for 2019-20 smoking cessation campaigns. Audited spend will be available at the end of the financial year.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 4 July 2019
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-06-27.270346.h

PQ2: Smoking bans in bus shelters

Asked by Luke Pollard, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implementation of the smoking ban in bus shelters.

Answered by Seema Kennedy, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
No such assessment has been made.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 4 July 2019
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-06-27.270404.h

PQ3: British American Tobacco

Asked by Anneliese Dodds, Oxford East
To ask the Attorney General, what the status is of the Serious Fraud Officeinvestigation into British American Tobacco that was opened in 2017.

Answered by Lucy Frazer, the Solicitor-General
Progress is being made on the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into allegations of corruption in the conduct of business by British American Tobacco Plc, its subsidiaries and associated persons. It would not be appropriate to comment on the status of a live criminal investigation further at this stage.

When it is appropriate to do so, the SFO will publish updates on the status of the investigation on their website. The most recent information can be found at:

https://www.sfo.gov.uk/cases/british-american-tobacco/

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 4 July 2019
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-07-01.271596.h

 

Link of the week

Regional public opinion briefings 2019

ASH has updated regional public opinion briefings with the latest data from the 2019 Smokefree GB Survey.

Each briefing details the ongoing support for tobacco control broadly, support for specific policy measures such as raising the legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 and introducing a “polluter pays” levy on tobacco manufacturers as well as outlining the continued public mistrust of the tobacco industry.

The briefings were published alongside national and regional press releases, which can be found here:
• 12 years on from England going smokefree, support for the Government to do more to tackle smoking is continuing to grow
• Regional press releases: support for government action to reduce smoking

See briefings