ASH Daily News for 7 May 2019



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UK

  • Scotland: Second-hand smoke levels in prisons ‘drastically reduced’ after smokefree implementation

International

  • European Commission scrambles as EU countries miss tobacco tracking deadline

Parliamentary activity

  • Parliamentary question

UK

Scotland: Second-hand smoke levels in prisons ‘drastically reduced’ after smokefree implementation

A new study published in Tobacco Control has found that second-hand smoke levels in Scottish prisons fell by more than 80% in the week after smoking was banned. Despite fears prisoners may have stockpiled cigarettes before the ban on smoking in cells, the concentration of second-hand smoke was “drastically reduced”.

Dr Sean Semple, who led the study, said: “Our study shows improvements in the levels of second-hand smoke in every prison in Scotland, with an average fall of 81% [compared with 2016]. This is similar to the scale of change observed when pubs became smoke-free in 2006 – and the concentrations of fine particles in prison air has now reduced to levels similar to those measured in outdoor air in Scotland.

This research confirms that exposure to second-hand smoke has been drastically reduced and, ultimately, this will have a positive impact on the health of prison staff and prisoners.”

Source: The Herald, 7 May 2019

Semple S, Dobson R, Sweeting H, et al ‘The impact of implementation of a national smoke-free prisons policy on indoor air quality: results from the Tobacco in Prisons study‘ Tobacco Control. May 2019

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International

European Commission scrambles as EU countries miss tobacco tracking deadline

The European Commission is trying to salvage a new EU-wide system for tracking cigarette packs only two weeks before the system goes live, after acknowledging some countries are not ready to participate.

The new system, which is planned to launch on 20 May, aims to cut down on the sale of illicit products by allowing public authorities to monitor when and how cigarettes are diverted to the black market. Every EU country was required to set up a national body to issue unique barcodes for tobacco products by Monday 29th April, but the Commission on Friday said this hasn’t happened.

The plans were agreed in 2014 under the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, with the implementing regulation signed off in 2017. In a March communication, the Commission warned that nine countries were at “high risk” of failing to get their national ID issuer up and running on time. These are: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.

The Commission said Friday that tobacco companies and other suppliers can register their products in another country if they’re selling in markets where a national authority has not yet been set up. But companies, retail associations and health campaigners said at Monday’s briefing it’s not clear how that will work, particularly when it comes to switching registrations at a later date.

There is a one-year grace period for retailers to keep selling products that don’t have the new security features until May 2020, meaning there’s no expectation of major stock issues beyond 20 May.

Source: POLITICO, 6 May 2019 [Paywall restricted]

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Parliamentary activity

Parliamentary question

PQ: Electronic Cigarettes

Asked by Andrew Rosindell, Romford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of changing the maximum nicotine content of 20 mg/ml currently allowed in vaping products in the event that the UK leaves the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

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

Source: Hansard, 3 May 2019

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