ASH Daily News for 5 September 2018



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UK

  • Doncaster: Man sentenced for smuggling illegal tobacco
  • What are the health risks of hookah smoking?

International

  • Tobacco control is ‘major component’ of environmental protection efforts
  • US: Chain pharmacies sell tobacco to minors
  • US: Kentucky expands efforts to help people give up tobacco
  • Macau: Resort approved for smoking lounges

UK

Doncaster: Man sentenced for smuggling illegal tobacco

A man from Doncaster has been sentenced after 850kg of illegal tobacco was discovered in the back of a hired van when officers visited a rented storage unit. The tobacco represented £153,300 in unpaid duty.

Eden Noblett, Assistant Director at the Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC said: “Brennan aimed to put this illegal tobacco on the UK streets and pocket the profit, which was enough money to pay the salaries for six trainee firefighters for a year. He thought he could get away with it, but he was wrong. The black market trade in illegal tobacco…is stealing money from taxpayers that is needed for public services we rely on. I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to report it to HMRC online, or contact our Fraud Hotline.”

Source: The Star, 4 September 2018

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What are the health risks of hookah smoking?

Using a hookah pipe (also known as a water pipe or shisha) exposes a person to tobacco smoke, which contains harmful components, such as carbon monoxide. The water in the hookah does not filter out these components. Even if a person does not smoke directly from the hookah, they can still inhale secondhand smoke.

As with all tobacco smoking, hookah smoking increases the risk of lung and heart conditions, as well as cancer.

Source: Medical News Today, 4 September 2018

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International

Tobacco control is ‘major component’ of environmental protection efforts

The head of the UN tobacco control watchdog has said that tobacco production and its use by consumers is “tremendously destructive” for the environment, although control measures could curb its effects.

According to a report by the FCTC Secretariat and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), tobacco crops require large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which pollute the ground and nearby waterways. The production process also presents serious health hazards for farmers and their families. Growing tobacco leads to accelerated soil degradation, and is a major cause of pollution. Moreover, cigarette butts have become the most discarded waste item worldwide, with some 4.5 trillion thrown away each year. This represents 1.69 billion pounds of toxic rubbish annually.

The Secretariat of the WHO FCTC is therefore calling on governments to better regulate tobacco agriculture and to work on helping tobacco farmers worldwide, switch to environmentally-friendly alternative crop production. This is being encouraged through the use of incentives such as access to credit, and by providing training on environmentally-friendly practices, among other measures.

See also:
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, An accelerator for sustainable development

Source: Government World, 4 September 2018

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US: Chain pharmacies sell tobacco to minors

A new study has found that over the past six years, the US Food and Drug Administration has caught several chain pharmacies selling tobacco products to minors. The biggest offender, Walgreens, sold products to minors 1,296 times, representing about once in every 10 inspections between 2012 and 2017.

Arnold Levinson from the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, who wasn’t involved in the research, said “The FDA data are the best we have available, but they only measure how often the pharmacies got caught selling tobacco to minors during undercover enforcement tests…The problem is much bigger than these results suggest. If pharmacies are serious about being in the health business, they need to stop selling this deadly product – and not just to kids.”

See also:
JAMA Pediatrics, US Food and Drug Administration inspection of tobacco sales to minors at top pharmacies, 2012-2017

Source: Reuters, 4 September 2018

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US: Kentucky expands efforts to help people give up tobacco

Kentucky has the the US’ second-highest smoking rate, with 24.6 percent of the state’s residents reporting daily tobacco use. The state’s public health department says more than 8,000 Kentuckians die each year due to tobacco-related diseases, including lung cancer.

A new public information campaign by the Department for Public Health is therefore attempting to help people quit. The campaign includes broadcast, print and digital ads, and also features outreach to medical providers and community engagement initiatives aimed at boosting public awareness.

The program offers a free tobacco quit line — 1-800-QUIT NOW. The statewide telephone service provides free counselling and support for people wanting to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.

Source: Associated Press, 4 September 2018

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Macau: Resort approved for smoking lounges

‘Studio City’ resort has become the second casino in Macau to receive authorisation to provide smoking lounges. Smoking on casino floors was banned by the Macau government in October 2014. However, an exception for smoking lounges that didn’t offer gaming activity was made.

Now, all casinos that want to continue to offer on-site smoking in the new year must apply to the city’s Health Bureau for authorisation. Out of the 47 casinos and slot parlors in Macau, 13 have already applied for authorisation to operate smoking lounges.

Source: Calvin Ayre, 31 August 2018

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