ASH Daily News for 6 August 2018


  • London: Vape, don’t smoke, warn fire brigade after fire at flat
  • Scotland: The reality of the prison smoking ban
  • Opinion: A tax on vaping would lead to more smoking deaths
  • Cigarettes could cost £20 in 2020
  • Heatwave sees golf courses ban smoking while playing


  • US: Vaping draws strong support from robots
  • US: Smoking ban in public housing might make quitting easier


London: Vape, don’t smoke, warn fire brigade after fire at flat

A “carelessly” discarded cigarette may have started a blaze that destroyed a flat in Finsbury Park. Fire investigators believe a bed ignited when smoking materials, such as a cigarette or match, were carelessly disposed of. No one was injured in the fire.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “We would rather people didn’t smoke at all but if they do, vaping is a safer option. If you do choose to smoke cigarettes, it is absolutely vital you ensure your cigarette is completely out when you’ve finished smoking it. If you don’t, you risk causing a fire which could not only destroy your home, but also cost you your life.”

Source: Islington Tribune, 3 August 2018

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Scotland: The reality of the prison smoking ban

Smoking will be banned in all Scottish prisons on the 30th of November 2018. Tobacco products will no longer be sold to prisoners and they will be prohibited from smoking in either the buildings or the grounds. The Scottish Government says the ban is a further step towards its goal of creating a “tobacco-free generation” by 2034, and that it will improve the air quality for prisoners and the working conditions of wardens.

Phil Fairlie, chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association Scotland, welcomed the positive contribution the ban could make towards a healthy workplace. However he also said, “To suddenly…remove one of the most highly addictive substances out there, to do that without any proper consideration or thought as to how you do that without providing smoking cessation programmes and the opportunity to come off cigarettes, could simply add to what is already a very difficult working environment for the staff, so it needs to be managed carefully.”

Source: The Herald, 5 August 2018

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Opinion: A tax on vaping would lead to more smoking deaths

Daniel Pryor, Head of Programmes at the Adam Smith Institute, which has accepted money from the tobacco industry, discusses rumours of tax on e-cigarettes.

“If rumours are to be believed, the Treasury is planning to raise money for the NHS by giving people cancer. This would be the effect of a tax on vaping: raising the cost of switching from cigarettes to a popular alternative that is at least 95% safer, according to Public Health England.

If you tax something, you get less of it and people stick to alternatives. In this case, it will be more people continuing to smoke. Funding the NHS by taxing vaping is like funding the fire service by taxing smoke alarms. The government is putting lives at risk for a pittance.”

See also:
The Times, Chancellor warned off duty on vaping
Talking Retail, Vaping industry hits back at reports of new tax on e-cigs
The Sun, Taxing e-cigarettes makes ‘no sense’ as they help people quit smoking, experts warn
Conservative Home, A vaping tax would kill people

Source: The Times, 6th August 2018

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Cigarettes could cost £20 in 2020

Cigarettes could double in price to £20 a packet in 2020. A 100% price increase to cigarettes has been mooted by health experts in an attempt to help smokers quit.

These experts say current prices around £10 for 20 cigarettes is not high enough to force people to quit. They claim the addiction is still “too affordable”, and that the issue is not just with cigarettes, but roll-ups too.

Dr Rob Branston, from University of Bath, said: “Smokers can currently offset tax rises by adjusting their smoking behaviour so they don’t get a strong enough push to quit the deadly habit. Larger tax rises are needed to make smokers realise it is unaffordable. We would suggest that the UK government follow the lead of the Australian government. They have announced large yearly price rises up to 2020 which will result in the price in the shops exceeding the equivalent of £20 a packet.”

See also:
Edinburgh evening news, Experts call for cigarette prices to rise to £20 by 2020 to deter smokers
This is Lancashire, Call for larger tax rises to ‘make smoking unaffordable’

Source: Daily Star, 4 August 2018

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Heatwave sees golf courses ban smoking while playing

Hundreds of golf clubs have banned smoking in an “unprecedented” move to reduce the risk of fires starting on dried out courses. Sustained hot weather has prompted them to tell golfers they can no longer light up while playing.

The Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA) found 60% of clubs in the UK have temporarily banned smoking because of the heatwave conditions this summer. They said courses should “urgently consider the measure”. Many golfers who smoke will lay cigarettes down on the grass to keep their hands free while playing shots, increasing the potential risk for fires starting.

Source: 2018 BBC News, 4 August 2018

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US: Vaping draws strong support from robots

Social media accounts run by internet robots may be driving much of the discussion around the health threats posed by e-cigarettes, according to a study led by San Diego State University researchers, who also found that most of the automated messages were positive toward vaping.

More than 70% of the tweets analysed in the study appeared to have been put out by robots, whose use to influence public opinion and sell products while posing as real people is coming under increased scrutiny.

The discovery of the apparent robot promotion of vaping was unexpected. The team originally set out to use Twitter data to study the use and perceptions of e-cigarettes in the United States and to understand characteristics of users discussing e-cigarettes.

Source: MedicalXpress, 6 August 2018

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US: Smoking ban in public housing might make quitting easier

A new US ban on smoking in public housing may make it easier for low-income smokers to quit, a new study suggests. Last week, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implemented a ban on cigarettes, cigars, and pipes inside apartments, common areas and outdoor spaces within 25 feet of public housing properties. This ban doesn’t cover e-cigarettes.

While the primary goal of the ban is to improve indoor air quality and reduce residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke, new research suggests it may also help low-income smokers be more successful at quitting. People with smokefree homes were 60% more likely to quit smoking for at least 30 days than people without this prohibition, the study also found. However, the prevalence of smokefree homes was 33% lower among low-income people than among more affluent individuals.

See also:
PLOS 1, Income disparities in smoking cessation and the diffusion of smoke-free homes among U.S. smokers: Results from two longitudinal surveys

Source: Reuters, 3 August 2018

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