Tobacco sales reps using ‘illegal’ tactics to sell their products in pubs
Salesmen for Philip Morris, one of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, have been caught offering potentially illegal incentives to smokers in bars to get them hooked on new “heat-not-burn” tobacco products.
Undercover reporters were approached in a bar at London’s Canary Wharf and offered free tobacco to try on the spot, free alcoholic cocktails and free tobacco accessories, all of which Trading Standards say could be in breach of the Tobacco Advertising and Sales Act 2002. Documents seen by the Telegraph show that sales of IQOS devices have been remunerated through a pyramid-style structure, achieving top commissions when customers “activate” their membership and sign their friends up. If those customers do sign up successfully, they receive a £20 Amazon voucher as a reward.
Commenting on the findings, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, urged the government to take action saying: “After the Telegraph’s previous article exposing illegal advertising of IQOS by Philip Morris, the company promised the Government this would stop. Yet over a month later IQOS ads are still all plastered all over vape shops and tobacconists. Not only that, but now we find out Philip Morris is also plying smokers with free drinks in a desperate attempt to promote IQOS and sign up new customers.”
Source: The Telegraph, 15 October 2018
SNP in row over conference fees from tobacco giants
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has been criticised after it emerged that tobacco companies had paid thousands of pounds to attend their party conference.
Despite the Scottish Government’s tough stance on smoking, cigarette makers Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial were present after buying “business day” passes. According to the event’s commercial brochure, organisations could attend one of the days by purchasing a pass for which had a £1,750 price tag. The blurb stated: “The day starts with a business breakfast and includes panel discussions and Q&A, lunch with a high-profile guest, and culminating with networking at a drinks reception…Business Day offers the opportunity to meet SNP policy-makers in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.”
Source: The Herald, 14 October 2018
Claims e-cigarette packaging ‘targets children’
A Sunday Times investigation reveals that vaping manufacturers describe e-liquids as “sweet treats”, using cartoon characters and images of sweets, popcorn and ice cream as part of their packaging.
The e-liquid products were sold on www.vipelectroniccigarette.co.uk which is owned by British American Tobacco (BAT). BAT said yesterday evening they have now removed e-liquids manufactured by third parties from the website pending a review.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are committed to protecting young people from the harmful effects of tobacco products . . . we have laws in place preventing the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.”
Source: The Sunday Times, 14 October 2018
Tobacco groups drag on the FTSE
Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco were the FTSE 100’s sharpest fallers on renewed concerns about a US regulatory crackdown.
The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday it had sent letters to companies — including BAT — that threatened to pull e-cigarettes from the market as they may have violated a legal exemption for the products by introducing new flavours.
News of the warnings followed an FDA presentation on Thursday where its tobacco committee head put forward studies in support of cutting the nicotine levels of cigarettes.
Source: The Financial Times, 12 October 2018
Study: E-cigarette flavours could increase lung inflammation in mice
Flavouring and additive ingredients used in e-cigarettes could increase inflammation and impair lung function compared to non-flavour e-liquids, according to new research. Researchers from the University of Athens found that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes was enough to cause lung inflammation. However, lung injury was observed only amongst mice exposed to cigarette smoke.
The study’s authors also noted that their data is “aligned with the evidence of the less toxic effect of e-cigarette vapour compared to tobacco smoke, especially regarding the loss of lung integrity in mice.”
Source: Independent Online, 14 October 2018
Study: Tobacco heating products and e-cigarettes cause less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes
A study by scientists at British American Tobacco (BAT) found that e-cigarettes and tobacco heating products cause significantly less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes. Scientists assessed and compared a novel e-cigarette, a tobacco heating product and a conventional cigarette for their impact on teeth enamel staining. The results are published today in the American Journal of Dentistry.
Source: News Medical Life Sciences, 15 October 2018
Stoke on Trent: illegal cigarettes seized
A haul of illegal tobacco and cigarettes with a street value of more than £30,000 has been seized following raids in the city centre.
Nearly 2,800 packs – 50,000 cigarettes – and 21kg of hand-rolling tobacco were found after trading standards swooped on a shop and a storage facility in Hanley on the back of information received from the public.
10 October 2018
Malaysia to ban smoking in all restaurants and hawker stalls from Jan 1 2019
Malaysia is to enforce a nationwide smoking ban on restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls from 1 January 2019. The ban will cover all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, open and covered street stalls.
Those caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined up to RM10,000 (£1,800) and eateries found not enforcing the ban will be fined RM2,500.
Source: The Straits Times, 11 October 2018
Makers of Marlboro to buy a stake in Canadian cannabis producer Aphria
Shares of Aphria, a Canadian-based cannabis producer, rallied more than 16% Wednesday after a report said that Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, was in talks to buy a minority stake in the company.
Wednesday’s report is the latest in a series of moves the tobacco industry is making in an effort to enter the cannabis market. In June, Imperial Brands, one of the world’s largest tobacco giants teamed up with the rapper Snoop Dogg’s cannabis-focused venture firm, Casa Verde Capital, to invest in medical cannabis research.
On 17 October 2018, Canada is to become the second nation in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalise cannabis.
Source: Business Insider, 10 October 2018
E-cigarette market is estimated to reach $44.6 billion by 2023
According to new market research, the global e-cigarette market is estimated to reach $44.6 billion by 2023. The growth in the market is likely to be led by factors such as increasing health concerns among smokers and an increase in the number of vape shops.
The market was classified into vape shops, supermarkets, online, and tobacconists. Among these channels, vape shops generated the highest revenue in the e-cigarette market in 2017.
The e-cigarette market has potential growth opportunities in the relatively untapped emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa. Tobacco companies and e-cigarette manufacturers in these regions are expanding their business to achieve greater reach for their products through various channels, including e-commerce, retail partners, and grocery stores.
Source: Spi News, 11 October 2018
Brexit: How ‘no deal’ could change tobacco warnings
The government has announced that the current graphic warnings on cigarette packets will be replaced by Australian versions in the event that the UK leaves the EU with ‘no-deal’. The current set of images will potentially need to be replaced after Brexit because the copyright is owned by the European Commission.
According to the Department of Health and Social care: [In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit] “manufacturers will need to ensure that tobacco products produced from exit day onwards feature new picture warnings, which have been secured by agreement with the Australian government. Tobacco products featuring pictures from the EU library, produced before exit day, may be sold for 12 months after exit day.”
Source: BBC, 9 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 2: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC Meeting of the Parties
Today is Day 2 of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP). Today’s bulleting discusses the involvement of the tobacco industry in the illicit trade of tobacco and the challenge of implementing Article 12 of the FCTC in ‘Free Zones’.
The bulletin also includes a story on the success of the UK’s anti-smuggling strategy:
“The UK Government held its nerve and continued to increase taxes, while implementing a tough anti-smuggling strategy, which included strict supply chain controls and financial sanctions very much along the lines of the Protocol. Between 2000 and 2016, the last year for which there are figures, the size of the illicit market for cigarettes fell by nearly 60 per cent from 17 to 7 billion sticks, with revenue losses down from US$3.67 billion to US$2.36 billion (at current exchange rates). Illicit trade is a major and growing global problem but the lesson from the UK is clear. The Illicit Trade Protocol can help countries raise taxes, increase revenues and drive down smoking prevalence.”
Ireland: Tax rise on cigarettes in budget
The Irish government has published their Budget for 2019 which includes a €0.50 increase in the excise tax on cigarettes.
This follows a recent survey showing high levels of public support for higher taxes on cigarettes. Amarách Research surveyed over 1000 adults and found that 71% of people want the cost of cigarettes to be increased by €5 in the 2019 budget and the extra money to be ring-fenced for cancer treatment.
Source: Irish Times, 9 October 2018
Cost of cigarettes must rise to reflect environmental damage from tobacco industry, WHO says
A new report published by the WHO has recommended that the cost of cigarettes should rise to reflect the wide-ranging environmental damage caused by the tobacco industry, and compares the industry’s carbon footprint to that of an entire country. In the UK, which has very little domestic tobacco production, smoking cigarettes “is done entirely at the expense of other nations’ resources and environmental health”, the report said.
Cigarette production and consumption has risen in recent decades with around 6 trillion cigarettes manufactured annually for an estimated 1 billion smokers. Tobacco farms take up more than 20,000 square miles of land globally and use over 22 billion tonnes of water. This is in addition to a range of environmental and social costs including high levels of pesticide use, soil depletion and child labour.
Professor Nick Voulvoulis, co-author of the report, said: “The environmental impacts of cigarette smoking, from cradle to grave, add significant pressures to the planet’s increasingly scarce resources and fragile ecosystems.” Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, co-author of the report, added: “Tobacco transnationals based in high income countries are literally and metaphorically burning the resources and the future of the most vulnerable people on our planet.”
Source: Independent, 2 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 3: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties
Highlights from today’s agenda include implementing the ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship – in the digital age; Switzerland’s relationship with the tobacco industry; PMI’s Foundation for a Smoke-Free World; the financial case for investment in tobacco control; the WHO’s new report on the environmental impact of the tobacco industry (see above); and tobacco price fixing in Sri Lanka.
Article 13 – A comprehensive ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) – is key to reducing the uptake of tobacco and reducing tobacco-related harm. Changing patterns of media consumption present challenges to effectively banning TAPS, particularly cross-border TAPS.
US: FDA seizes documents from Juul in latest e-cigarette crackdown
On Tuesday the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized over 1,000 pages of documents from e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, as part of its ongoing investigation into the company’s sales and marketing practices.
Last month the regulator announced that it was considering a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes due to concerns around youth uptake.
Juul makes up around 72% of the US e-cigarette market and has come under increasing scrutiny for its marketing practices, having released over 50,000 pages of documents to the FDA since April.
Source: Reuters, 2 October 2018
Philip Morris lobbying on e-cigarettes hidden from Australian public
Philip Morris International (PMI) has been lobbying Australian MPs to overturn the ban on vaping. This has been effectively hidden from the public due to a loophole in the Australian lobbying oversight system which allows companies to avoid signing up to the country’s lobbying register if they use lobbyists from within their own company rather than hiring a third party lobbyist.
PMI has been seeking meetings with MPs to discuss the vaping ban and engages a number of former government officials, including one registered lobbyist. The company argues that these merely provide advice and do not lobby on PMI’s behalf.
PMI has also taken advantage of an exemption in Australia’s tobacco advertising ban by placing prominent job ads in two major newspapers calling for staff to help it achieve a “future without cigarettes” and a “smoke-free Australia”.
Source: The Guardian, 2 October 2018
Study: US teenagers’ use of e-cigarettes and tobacco linked
A new study by the Rand Corporation has suggested that use of e-cigarettes among teenagers is linked with increased regular cigarette use, and vice versa. Youths who reported vaping at 17 years of age (8%) had a cigarette smoking rate of 6%. By the time they reached 19 years of age the proportion of young people who vaped increased to 9%, whereas the proportion who smoked cigarettes increased to 12%.
The study surveyed over 2,000 youths in California from when they were teenagers continuing until they were young adults.
Study author, Michael Dunbar said: “This highlights the importance of taking steps to prevent youth from vaping in the first place.”
The UK currently bans all forms of tobacco advertising and restricts advertising for e-cigarettes. Age of sale of both tobacco and e-cigarettes is 18.
Source: The Guardian, 2 October 2018
Editorial note: The researchers found that use of e-cigarettes increases the likelihood of youth smoking and vice versa and that there are common risk factors for both.
A recent survey conducted by ASH found that 0.3% of 11-18 year olds who had never smoked were currently using e-cigarettes.
Smoking rates among young people in the UK continue to fall.
See also: ASH survey on youth e-cigarette use
New UK eye health map
A new eye health map of the UK has highlighted that poor lifestyle habits and inadequate health screening are putting people at ‘serious risk’ of sight loss. The map details the towns and cities in the UK with the highest risk of avoidable sight loss due to low uptake of eye tests and high prevalence of poor lifestyle.
London boroughs have the highest concentration of ‘very high’ risk, as well as Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, while the risk across Scotland is mostly ‘very low.’ The map correlates factors associated with avoidable sight loss, such as smoking.
Chairman of Eye Health UK, David Cartwright, said: “We are seeing a worrying number of people failing to take up their entitlement to free NHS sight tests and displaying high levels of smoking and obesity – two lifestyle factors linked to sight loss.”
Source: Optometry Today, 25 September 2018
Life expectancy progress in UK ‘stops for first time’
Life expectancy in the UK has stopped improving for the first time since 1982, when figures began. Women’s life expectancy from birth remains 82.9 years and for men it is 79.2, the figures from the Office for National Statistics, for 2015-17, show. In some parts of the UK, life expectancy has even decreased. For men and women in Scotland and Wales, it declined by more than a month. Men in Northern Ireland have seen a similar fall. For women in Northern Ireland, and for men and women in England, life expectancy at birth is unchanged.
It is not clear what is driving the trend, but some academics have argued that government austerity policies, such as cuts to social care budgets in England, must have played a part. Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said “We still do not know how much this is a result of … a failure to go on improving smoking cessation or other preventive measures.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “As part of our long-term plan for the health service, we are taking action to help people live longer and healthier lives – cancer survival is at a record high while smoking rates are at an all-time low – backed by our additional funding of an extra £20.5bn a year by 2023-24, which will transform care for cancer and other chronic diseases.”
Source: BBC, 25 September 2018
NICE talks: How do we help people quit smoking?
In this episode, Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Programme Lead from Public Health England, talks about the best interventions to help people quit smoking and the truth about e-cigarettes.
North East: Newcastle shopkeeper fined for selling knock-off cigarettes
A Newcastle shopkeeper who was caught selling knock-off cigarettes has been fined £1 million. This was part of an HMRC crackdown which has seen penalties amounting to £11,550,060 being issued around the country.
Source: Chronicle Live, 24 September 2018
Australia: North Sydney smoking ban
North Sydney councillors this week unanimously passed a motion to ban smoking in all public places in Sydney’s second-largest central business district (CBD). The proposal now goes to community consultation, but Mayor Jilly Gibson reckons the community will back what may be the nation’s first CBD-wide smoking ban in a capital city.
The Mayor hopes to eventually make North Sydney the first smokefree municipality. “Why not try these big ideas?” she said. “Even if we reduce people’s smoking in the CBD by, let’s say, 50%, that would be a huge result.”
She said the latest move was not about punishing smokers but about improving the amenity of the area for residents, workers, visitors and school children. Since behaviour change is at the heart of the proposal, the Mayor said she expected the ban would be enforced through encouragement rather than fines.
Mail on Sunday, North Sydney to ban lighting up on the street – becoming the country’s first smoke-free district
Source: This Is Money, 25 September 2018
Australia: Unhealthy lifestyle responsible for 45,000 predicted cases of bowel cancer in next decade
A new study has shown that adopting a healthy lifestyle could prevent a large proportion of bowel cancers in Australia – particularly for men.
It found that current rates of smoking, being overweight, and excessive alcohol consumption could lead to 45,000 cases of bowel cancer over the next 10 years. The researchers found that 11% of the future bowel cancer burden can be attributed to ever-smoking, and 4% to current smoking.
The researchers also found an interesting interplay between smoking and alcohol: the bowel cancer burden attributable to smoking was significantly exacerbated by excessive alcohol consumption, and vice-versa.
Cancer Spectrum, The Future Colorectal Cancer Burden Attributable to Modifiable Behaviors: A Pooled Cohort Study
Source: Medical Xpress, 25 September 2018
US: FDA considers ban on online e-cigarette sales
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning online e-cigarette sales, according to Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
It’s “on the table” and is something the agency is “very clearly looking at it,” Gottlieb said in Washington, during a panel discussion on vaping hosted by Axios. This comes just weeks after Gottlieb dubbed youth use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic” and announced a historic crackdown.
Under Gottlieb, the FDA has taken the position that e-cigarettes are a less harmful alternative for adult smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. However, Gottlieb has said that can’t come at the expense of addicting an entire new generation to nicotine as vaping rises in popularity with teens.
Source: CNBC, 25 September 2018
Warning on link between multiple sclerosis and smoking
The link between smoking and multiple sclerosis (MS) is “clearer than ever”, with those who smoke more likely to develop the condition and become disabled more quickly, a charity has warned.
The MS Society said it has completed a major evidence review into the connection between smoking and the chronic lifelong and disabling condition, which affects the brain and spinal cord and has no cure. One study found that quitting smoking could delay the onset of secondary progressive MS – a form of the condition that has no treatment – by as much as eight years.
Ahead of October’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign, the MS society is warning that smoking can make MS more active and speed up the accumulation of disability.
Source: Evening Express (Aberdeen), 24 September 2018
Obesity to overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women by 2043
A report by Cancer Research UK has concluded that by 2043, excess weight could cause more cancers in women in the UK than smoking. Being overweight/obese is currently the second biggest cause of cancer in the UK, accounting for 6% of cases in 2015.
Currently for UK females, 12% of cancer cases are caused by smoking and 7% caused by obesity – only a 5-percentage point gap between the causes. A ‘takeover’ of obesity as the principle risk factor for male cancers is likely to happen much later; smoking is currently estimated to cause almost twice as many cancers as excess weight in men.
A spokesman for NHS England said: “Obesity is… one of the greatest public health challenges of our generation, placing people at much greater risk of cancers, heart attacks and other killer conditions as well as Type 2 diabetes.”
Source: Metro, 24 September 2018
Opinion: RIP smoking, a lethal pastime. But strangely, some of us will mourn it
Stuart Evers, author of Ten Stories About Smoking, writes about smoking.
“According to Public Health England, smokers will soon be “eradicated”: the last smoker in the country quitting by the year 2030.
Despite less than 15% of adults admitting to being smokers, to me, 12 years to full abstinence seems rather fleet for a community not known for its speed. The cultural pull of tobacco, its hardiness in the face of hostility, may be weaker than it once was – those who would have smoked until they dropped are mostly now fogged in clouds of vape – but its survival instincts are those of a cockroach in the aftermath of an atomic strike. Eleven years ago, I watched as pubs erected smoking shelters for the incoming smoking ban; I don’t see them pulling them down in the near future.
For cigarettes are the grand delusion. Smoke one and you think you’re Audrey, Marlon, Winona; but more likely you are Farage – wheezing, gusting into smokefree zones with your sweet-sour stink, gazed at pityingly by the given-up and never smoked. But it doesn’t matter, you keep on. Keep up the ghost of your youth, show off your streak of non-conformity. Though they become mundane, a part of a routine, cigarettes still have that magic, that transformative power. It’s why people daily, gladly, inch themselves closer to the grave.
We will not mourn the passing of so lethal a pastime; an activity that has killed so many friends, family and lovers. And yet some of us will miss it so. The contradictions of the smoker!”
Source: The Guardian, 24 September 2018
Global treaty against illicit tobacco trade kicks in this week
A global treaty to tackle the illegal tobacco trade kicks in this week, with the World Health Organization hailing it as “game-changing” in eliminating widespread health-hazardous and criminal activity.
The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products achieved the 40 ratifications needed for it to take effect in June and will come into force on Tuesday 25 September. About 10% of the global cigarette market is estimated to go through illicit trade, according to Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, who heads the FCTC secretariat.
Source: New Vision, 24 September 2018
Study: ‘Heat-not-burn’ devices still damage lungs
Researchers have analysed data submitted by Philip Morris International to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The data was submitted when the company was trying to win regulatory approval to market its I-Quit-Ordinary Smoking (IQOS) product as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
The data shows that when smokers switched from traditional cigarettes to “heat-not-burn” devices, there was no evidence of improvements in lung function or reductions in inflammation that can signal tobacco-related blood vessel damage.
“Even if a patient could switch completely from regular cigarettes to heat-not-burn products, Philip Morris International’s own data shows that there will continue to be significant health risks associated with these products,” said lead study author Dr. Farzad Moazed of the University of California, San Francisco.
See also: BMJ Tobacco Control, Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS
Source: Reuters, 21 September 2018
Just one in 10 of us will be smokers in 2023, say health officials
Health officials have estimated that just 1 in 10 people will be smokers in five years’ time. Public Health England (PHE) said that smoking rates among adults in England are expected to fall from the current level of 14.9% to around 10% by 2023. The number of smokers in England has already fallen by more than a million since 2014, it added.
The estimate comes as PHE launched its annual Stoptober campaign, encouraging smokers to quit in October. The campaign will see the introduction of a free online personal quit plan service, which provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously. It will be available from Thursday ahead of the official start of the campaign on the 1st of October. PHE estimates that of the 6.1 million smokers in England, around six in 10 want to quit.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “There are almost as many different ways of quitting as there are smokers, but to succeed smokers need motivation. ASH is delighted to see Stoptober is back on TV with a new ad campaign, which will raise awareness and provide valuable additional encouragement for smokers trying to quit with Stoptober.”
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils remain committed to helping smokers quit, however this is made all the more difficult by the Government’s reductions to the public health budget, which councils use to fund stop-smoking services. We have long argued that this is a short-term approach which will only compound acute pressures for NHS services further down the line.”
Stoptober, Personal Quit Plan
The Telegraph, Smoking will be ‘eradicated in England by 2030’
BBC, ‘Don’t go cold turkey’ to quit smoking
Rye & Battle Observer, Smokers in East Sussex urged to kick the habit during Stoptober
Viking FM, Stoptober returns to Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire
Downs Mail, Increase your chances of quitting smoking with national campaign
Hartlepool Mail, Smoking-related hospital admissions in Hartlepool hit eight year high
Source: Free Press, 20 September 2018
Public health campaigns “incredibly good value for money”
Investing money in the Stoptober campaign leads to better results, says Professor Robert West, who was involved in the evaluation of the campaign in its first year. The review into the first Stoptober campaign estimated that it generated an additional 350,000 quit attempts, and led to a “significant increase in the quit attempt rate in that specific month compared to other months of the year,” according to Professor West.
Professor West said that public health campaigns are “incredibly good value for money in terms of public health benefit.” However, he also stated “it’s always a battle for the people in Public Health England (PHE) to get agreements for funding to do it.”
An official report evaluating the 2016 Stoptober campaign sets out a significant drop in media spend for the campaign. The PHE document found “In 2016, competing priorities led to a significant budget reduction for Stoptober. Most notably, media spend was reduced from £3.1 million in 2015 to £390,000 in 2016.”
Source: Basingstoke Gazette, 20 September 2018
North East: Quitting smoking saves thousands of pounds
With the help of an e-cigarette, South Shields mum Deborah Davison gave up cigarettes in January after 40 years of smoking. Deborah says she has noticed significant improvements to her health and has already saved over £2,000.
Deborah said, “Generally, I feel much better and a number of people have noticed a difference in me. With the money I’ve saved I’ve been able to buy things for my grandchildren without waiting for pay day to come around and when my son started a new job and needed a new bus pass, I was able to buy it for him. I have helped my daughter purchase school uniforms for her children and it’s great to be able to support them. I’m planning to treat myself next year and go on holiday to somewhere hot and exotic.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said, “The number of people smoking in the Borough has reduced in the last five years but it is a sad statistic that almost 400 people still die in South Tyneside each year as a result of smoking. Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health and Stoptober is the perfect time to make that resolution to quit. While we would urge people to seek out the support of stop smoking services, vaping can also be an effective tool in helping people to kick the habit.”
Source: The Shields Gazette, 20 September 2018
US: Most citizens are still misinformed about e-cigarettes
A recent poll from Rasmussen found that 50% of Americans believe vaping is no safer than smoking cigarettes; 13% believe vaping is less safe than tobacco smoking; and 17% are unsure which is safer. Similarly, data compiled by the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), indicated that in 2017, the number of smokers believing e-cigarettes to be more harmful than regular cigarettes had increased since 2013.
Rasmussen, Most Say E-Cigarettes No Healthier Than Traditional Ones
Source: Vaping Post, 19 September 2018
Australia: Health Minister agrees to study health effects of e-cigarettes
Australian health minister Greg Hunt has agreed to an independent inquiry into the health impacts of nicotine e-cigarettes. This comes after several MPs raised the issue in a party meeting, saying there was widespread support within the government for making nicotine e-cigarettes legally available. Australia’s drug regulator has banned e-cigarettes, putting Australia at odds with several comparable countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Source: The Guardian, 18 September 2018
Study: Chemical in cigarette smoke may damage important aspect of vision
Exposure to cadmium, a chemical found in tobacco smoke, could make it more difficult for people to see in low-contrast conditions, such as low light, fog or glare, a new study suggests. Even those with 20-20 vision can experience problems with daily living if their contrast sensitivity is impaired.
“This particular aspect of vision is really important because it affects your ability to see the end of a curb or put a key into a lock in low light,” said lead author Adam Paulson of the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine. “It’s something that at this point in time there’s no way to correct, unlike visual acuity, which you can easily correct with glasses or contact lenses.”
See also: JAMA Ophthalmology, Association of Cadmium and Lead Exposure With the Incidence of Contrast Sensitivity Impairment Among Middle-aged Adults
Source: Reuters, 18 September 2018
Japan: Smoking cost the country $18.5 billion in 2015
Smoking caused 2.05 trillion yen ($18.44 billion) in damage to Japanese society in the fiscal year of 2015, a health ministry survey has shown. The damage mainly comes from medical costs, this includes treating cancer and other tobacco-related conditions.
“Tobacco has various effects not only on people’s health but also all aspects of society,” said Ataru Igarashi, an associate professor of medical policies at the University of Tokyo. “Health-care costs are expected to drop due to the shrinking smoking population, but tobacco is still causing significant damage. Further countermeasures are required.”
Source: Asahi, 19 September 2018
USA: E-cigarette warnings to appear in high school toilets nationwide
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will stage a massive education campaign aimed at the nearly 10.7 million teens it says are at risk of e-cigarette use and potential addiction, the agency said yesterday. In addition to placing posters in school toilets, the FDA is launching anti-vaping videos, targeted at youths, on social media.
The FDA calls e-cigarette use by minors ‘an epidemic’. The trend was flagged in a 2016 report from the US surgeon general, which cited a 900% increase in e-cigarette use by high school students between 2011 to 2015.
The new campaign is an extension of ‘The Real Cost Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign’, which the FDA says is a nearly $60 million effort funded by fees from the tobacco industry.
Editorial note: The FDA’s concerns strongly contrast with the latest ASH survey on youth use of e-cigarettes in Great Britain, which found that just 2% of GB 11-18 year olds use the devices ‘at least weekly’ and that use is almost exclusively found in current or ex-tobacco smokers. You can access the ASH factsheet on GB youth use of e-cigarettes here.
Source: CNN, 19 September 2018
Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s proposal for a worldwide ban on advertising, promoting and sponsoring e-cigarettes on the Government’s tobacco control plan; and if he will make a statement.
Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care answered:
The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is not proposing a worldwide ban on advertising, promoting and sponsoring of e-cigarettes. The Government supports proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes to ensure non-smokers and children are protected from accessing these products, and has implemented the European Union Tobacco Products Directive which ensures such proportionate regulation.
A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database has identified two items of correspondence received in the last six months about his Department’s participation in the 8th Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the WHO FCTC in October 2018. This figure represents correspondence received by the Department’s Ministerial correspondence unit only. The Department has also answered five Parliamentary Questions related to CoP in the last six months.
As a global leader on tobacco control, the Department will engage constructively at the CoP, working closely with fellow members of the European Union and with other partners to continue to support measures proposed to reduce global harms from tobacco and ensure WHO FCTC Secretariat work proposals offer value for money.
Source: Hansard, 17 September 2018
Link of the week
New ASH survey: Number of vapers rises ‘to more than three million’ in Britain
The number of vapers in Great Britain has topped three million for the first time – four times the number in 2012, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health. Most use e-cigarettes because they have quit smoking and 40% are smokers who are trying to give up. The estimations are based on a survey of 12,000 British adults.
A “worrying” belief that vaping is as bad as smoking still exists, particularly among smokers who haven’t yet tried e-cigarettes. Earlier this year, Public Health England said e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription because of how successful they were in helping people give up smoking.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “UK policy is on the right track, with thousands of smokers making the switch to vaping and improving their health and little sign of non-smokers taking up vaping. But even more smokers could benefit if e-cigarettes were licensed as medicines and available on prescription.”
Dr Leonie Brose, King’s College London, said:
“The continued false belief among some smokers that vaping is as bad as smoking is worrying. Campaigns from Public Health England and others to challenge these views are important and must continue.”
See also: ASH Factsheet, Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain, 2018
Source: BBC News, 14 September 2018
Concerns flavoured e-cigarettes could be banned in UK
The US Food and Drug Administration recently warned some of America’s largest flavoured e-cigarette brands that their products could be banned, unless the companies can prove ‘within 60 days’ that they have effective plans to stop sales to children. This had led to concerns in the UK that a similar move could occur here.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, told The Sun Online that banning flavours would make it less likely smokers would quit. “Banning flavours would undermine the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping adult smokers quit, and there’s no sign it’s needed in Britain,” she said.
“Only a tiny proportion of teens vape, smoking rates have continued to go down, and there’s no evidence e-cigs are a gateway into smoking.
“The danger is that a flavour ban will benefit the tobacco industry not public health, as it will discourage smokers from switching to vaping. Certainly the market thinks so as tobacco company stocks gained around $20 billion in value on the FDA announcement.”
See also: ASH Factsheet, Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain, 2018
Source: The Sun Online, 13 September 2018
Lancashire: Smokers encouraged to join ‘Smoke Free Homes Month’ in September
Smokers in Lancashire are being encouraged to protect children and young people from second-hand smoke, by keeping their surrounding environment smokefree.
Gareth Beck from the ‘Quit Squad’ said: “It’s important for parents and grandparents who smoke to realise the harms that second hand smoke does to children.
“Over 80% of second hand smoke is invisible and odourless; every time a child breathes in second hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals that put them at risk of serious health conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.
“The best way to protect children is to give up smoking and make the Smoke Free Pledge, which is a commitment to make your home smoke free to protect your family from second hand smoke.”
Source: Lancaster Guardian, 13 September 2018
Cheshire: Cigarettes and tobacco seized in crackdown on illegal trade
Cheshire East Council trading standards officers have seized cigarettes and tobacco worth more than £9,000 during a raid. Chester Crown Court was told 30,679 cigarettes and 24.3kg of rolling tobacco were uncovered during a raid on a property in Macclesfield on April 7, 2017, by Cheshire East Council’s trading standards investigations team.
Officers found cigarettes and tobacco at the premises with further products found in the shop owner’s vehicle.
Source: The Business Desk, 13 September 2018
Link of the week
ASH Article 5.3 toolkit
In recent weeks the Tobacco Manufacturers have been discovered to have been contacting NHS Trusts and local authorities trying to engage them in joint working. Any such collaboration or partnership with the tobacco industry would be in contravention of the obligations the UK has to protect public health policy from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry (see link for Guardian and Observer articles about this). ASH and iPiP created a toolkit to help those interested in protecting local health policies from the tobacco industry which you may find helpful.
See also: The Observer, Council’s vaping project with British American Tobacco labelled ‘a disgrace’
Study: Cancers rising around the world
Researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have predicted that there will be 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths from the disease this year worldwide, up from 14.1 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012.
Lung cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for women in 28 countries, with the USA, Hungary, China and New Zealand being the worst affected.
George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Tobacco is the single biggest reason why more women across the world are getting lung cancer than ever before. In the UK smoking among women became more prolific later than it did for men, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing increasing lung cancer rates now. Similarly, cigarettes are now increasingly popular among women in low and middle income countries and the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing to them is influencing this.”
Source: BBC News, 12 September 2018
See also: IARC Press Release
Public Health England urged to end tie-up with alcohol industry
Over 40 public health experts have written to Public Health England (PHE) to oppose its affiliation with alcohol industry funded charity, Drinkaware.
The letter argues that working with the industry will “significantly damage” PHE’s credibility.
Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the 46 signatories to the letter, said: “The tie-up with Public Health England does give the alcohol industry a lot of credibility. It says we are part of the solution when clearly they are not… [PHE] are creating a climate where other people feel encouraged to do this. Look at the potential tie up between British American Tobacco and Public Health in Birmingham recently, which again produced incredulity. This takes us into an area which we refer to as corporate or commercial determinants of health – the role of large corporations in shaping the agenda and in influencing policy.”
Source: The Guardian, 13 September 2018
US threatens to ban flavoured e-cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the country’s five largest e-cigarette makers — Juul, Blu, MarkTen, Vuse and Logic — that their products could be banned unless the companies can prove within 60 days that they have effective plans to stop sales to children.
“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth and the resulting path to addiction must end,” said Scott Gottlieb, head of the FDA. “It’s simply not tolerable.”
The five brands account for 97% of e-cigarette sales in the United States. The value of all sales reached $2.35 billion in 2016. The announcement marks a shift in the agency’s policy on e-cigarettes, which until recently were seen as a potential tool to wean adult smokers off cigarettes.
Source: The Times, 13 September 2018
Saudi Arabia tells WTO it plans to adopt plain tobacco packaging
Saudi Arabia has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it plans to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products, a public health measure strongly opposed by major tobacco firms.
The move by Saudi Arabia follows a WTO ruling in June in favour of Australian packaging laws in what was seen as a test case for tobacco control. Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic challenged the Australian law on the grounds that the ban on colourful logos and the implementation of standardised packets were a breach of intellectual property rules and unduly restricted trade.
The Australian government described the ruling as a “resounding victory” for the laws it introduced in 2010. The World Health Organization said it expected the WTO ruling to create a domino effect as more and more countries moved towards tough Australian-style tobacco laws.
Source: Reuters News, 12 September 2018
Tobacco firms used to pay Suffolk council pensions
Tobacco firms are sill being used to grow Suffolk County Council’s pension fund, despite figures that show smoking costs Suffolk almost £160 million a year. Specifically, ASH estimates smoking costs Suffolk £98 million a year in lost working days (through smoking-related illness or dying under retirement age); £20.7 million in social care annually for those living with chronic conditions; and it costs the NHS £40 million in smoking-related admissions.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said, “As a county councillor I led a debate on which the county council overwhelmingly voted to disinvest from tobacco companies – they have not done so. Either they are missing the point or choosing to ignore it. It’s very frustrating that people are not making the changes they need to be – if they had more integrity they would disinvest willingly.”
Source: East Anglian Daily Times, 11 September 2018
Shisha smoke warning campaign
The dangers of smoking Shisha will be highlighted in a new public health campaign in Liverpool.
Shisha smoking is traditionally used by people from Middle Eastern or Asian community groups, but it is becoming increasingly popular in cities such as Liverpool, particularly among young people aged 18-25. Also known as hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking, Shisha is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube. The tube ends in a mouthpiece from which the smoker inhales the smoke deep into their lungs. Studies show an hour’s smoking is the equivalent of having between 100-200 cigarettes.
Dr Sandra Davies, Director of Public Health, said “We have had huge success in reducing the smoking rate in Liverpool… however, we risk some of this great work being undone as a result of people smoking Shisha, which has the potential to be far more harmful due to the intensity of deep inhalation of chemicals and poisons.”
Source: ITV, 12 September 2018
Nigeria: Online stores flout country’s tobacco control law
Tobacco control advocates continue to criticise the Nigerian government for their lack of resolve in the fight against tobacco. More than 17,500 tobacco-related deaths have occurred in Nigeria, at least 20 billion sticks of cigarettes are consumed annually in the country, and 4.5 million adults currently use tobacco products.
In the latest hurdle, an investigation by Premium Times suggests online retailers in Nigeria are defying the Tobacco Control Law by marketing tobacco products to the public through their websites and failing to ensure prospective buyers are 18 and above.
Jumia, a retailer contacted as part of the investigation, insisted the company had not violated any law in the country, claiming it operates an online marketplace that allows vendors to sell their products through its platform while also ensuring that they abide by the provisions of relevant laws and regulations.
Source: Premium Times, 12 September 2018
US: Montana is voting on whether the tobacco industry should pay for Medicaid expansion
In November Montana voters will get to choose whether to increase taxes on all tobacco products to fund Medicaid expansion, and the tobacco industry has spent more than $9 million to persuade them to vote “no.”
Earlier this year, a number of health organisations, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Montana Hospital Association, collected enough signatures to secure the ballot initiative to allows voters to determine the future of the Medicaid program. Advocates of the ballot initiative, which would raise the taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $2, say that the Medicaid expansion has helped provide health coverage to many Montanans who otherwise would not have it. “It’s one of the best things to happen to Montanans and the only way to sustain that is through a source of revenue,” said Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project.
The groups’ decision to make the tobacco industry pay for permanent expansion put them up against a powerful adversary. The opposition campaign, Montanans Against Tax Hikes, is almost entirely funded by tobacco companies like Altria, Inc., which is the parent company for Phillip Morris. In its most recent state campaign finance filing, which covers the period from July 28 to August 27, Altria had given the PAC more than $7 million.
Source: Washington Post, 11 September 2018
US: Study finds high levels of nicotine in popular e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes contain fewer toxins than conventional cigarettes. Dr Andrew Hyland, principal investigator of the national Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, stated “Studies show that the overall number and levels of toxins are much lower in vaping products compared with conventional cigarettes, which, in comparison, are incredibly toxic, with thousands of chemicals and dozens of carcinogens that cause harm to every organ system in the body.”
He went on to say, “We know that many e-cigarette users are trying to quit cigarette smoking, and some cigarette smokers report that flavored e-cigarettes offer an appealing alternative when they are looking for a way to quit smoking cigarettes,” says Dr. Hyland. “Getting off of cigarettes first is much more important than what voltage or flavor people choose in an e-cigarette.”
However, with new research reporting adolescent users of Juul are absorbing nicotine at levels approaching nicotine exposure from traditional combustible cigarettes, there is concern that e-cigarettes may promote nicotine addiction in younger people. Unlike conventional cigarette advertising, which is restricted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), e-cigarettes in the US are legally marketed and promoted. With this concern in mind, the FDA is investigating the company behind the leading e-cigarette brand Juul.
Tobacco control, High exposure to nicotine among adolescents who use Juul and other vape pod systems (‘pods’)
Source: MedicalXpress, 11 September 2018
Asked by Mr Philip Hollobone, Kettering
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made in tendering for the grant scheme relating to external stakeholder support for the tobacco control plan.
Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The grant scheme to secure additional support to assist in the delivery of commitments made in the tobacco control plan was advertised in May and June 2018. Ten eligible organisations applied for this funding.
The Department reviewed these applications as per Cabinet Office guidelines in July and finalised this in August. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in a partnership application with FRESH North East scored the highest. All applicants have been informed of the results and paperwork is currently being finalised in order to award the grant to ASH and FRESH North East.
Source: Hansard, 11 September 2018
Asked by Mr Philip Hollobone, Kettering
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the strategic objectives of his departmental delegation will be at the eighth conference of the parties to the World Health Organisation framework convention on tobacco control in October 2018.
Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The United Kingdom Government will be represented at the eighth Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on tobacco control (FCTC) by three officials from the Department and the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union. The delegation will be led by Tim Baxter, Deputy Director of Healthy Behaviours at the Department.
A figure for the costs associated with attendance at the CoP is not yet available. Every effort has been made to keep costs to a minimum to ensure value for money.
As a world leader in tobacco control the UK has been, and will continue to be, a highly active participant in the FCTC. The UK will participate in the CoP as a member state of the European Union. The UK will continue to support measures to reduce global harms from tobacco, building on its strong domestic record in reducing smoking, and will work to ensure that the work of the FCTC secretariat is both effective and provides value for money.
Source: Hansard, 11 September 2018
Asked by Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the availability of a reliable body of independent research on heat-not-burn products.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what gaps his Department has identified in the available independent research into the safety of heat-not-burn products.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with health departments of governments overseas on the development of research into heat-not-burn products.
Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Government has committed Public Health England (PHE) to annually reviewing the evidence on e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products, until the end of Parliament in 2022. PHE’s current review was published in February 2018. The review looked at the latest available evidence on heated tobacco products and, based on that evidence, concluded that these products were less harmful than cigarettes, but more harmful than e-cigarettes. This is in agreement with the Committee on Toxicity (CoT), who concluded in December 2017 that there is a likely reduction in risk for smokers switching to heated tobacco products.
Both PHE and CoT identified shortcomings in the current evidence base: there are no long term studies as these products are relatively new, and a majority of the research is carried out by the tobacco industry. The Department will review and consider where there are gaps in evidence for further independent research, and continues to collaborate and share knowledge both in the United Kingdom and internationally to help develop the research base and understanding of these products. The UK Government is also represented on the Global Tobacco Regulators’ Forum, which brings together a number of countries, as well as the European Union and World Health Organization, to discuss regulatory issues of common interest, including research into heated tobacco products.
Source: Hansard, 11 September 2018
Link of the week
NHS smoking in pregnancy data shows 10.4% of pregnant mothers still smoke in England
New NHS figures have revealed the number of women who said they were smokers at the time of giving birth between April and June this year. The numbers relate to 147,770 births during this three-month period. In total 15,151 of those babies – 10.4% – were born to mothers who continued to smoke tobacco while they were pregnant.
Nationally there is a Government ambition to reduce the number of pregnant mothers smoking to 6% or less by 2022. However, only 33 out of 195 areas met this target in the first quarter of this year, and a tenth of women across England were smoking at the time of delivery.
Smoking during pregnancy has been proven to worsen babies’ health as they grow older and to increase the risk of a premature birth or cot death.
Vicky Salt, policy manager at Action on Smoking and Health, said:
“Smoking during pregnancy is a leading cause of still birth and miscarriage as well as premature birth and low birth weight. The data released today shows a welcome decline in women smoking during pregnancy. However, this is only across three months and while a few areas are already reaching the Government’s 6% target, many more are nowhere near. We must ensure fewer women are smoking when they become pregnant and that midwives are properly trained to help those who are smoking quit as soon as possible.”
Source: Daily Mail, 6 September 2018
Opinion: It’s time to stop tarring e-cigarettes and tobacco with the same brush
Rt Hon Norman Lamb, chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, writes about the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco cigarettes.
“You might have seen some huffing and puffing over the Science and Technology Committee supposedly recommending that e-cigarettes should be allowed on public transport. Yesterday, I made a statement to the House of Commons about our recent report on e-cigarettes to clarify what we actually said. The evidence is clear: e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to a smoker’s health than conventional cigarettes.
Public Health England estimates that e-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful. They’re not the only ones — NICE, the British Medical Association, Cancer Research UK, the Royal Society for Public Health, and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh are just some of the organisations that agree.
A growing number of people are turning to e-cigarettes as a useful tool to stop smoking. Yet many misconceptions about e-cigarettes persist, with some people demanding that e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes should be treated in the same way.”
Source: The Times, 7 September 2018
Don’t send vapers to use smoking shelters, MPs suggest
About 2.9 million people in the UK are currently using e-cigarettes. On Thursday, MPs debated a report on e-cigarettes, by the science and technology select committee, which suggested that e-cigarettes were too often overlooked by the NHS as a tool to help people stop smoking.
Organisations should consider having a separate vaping room or area instead of vapers having to use smoking shelters. Putting vapers and smokers together had been likened to “an alcoholic being put in a pub situation and expected to refrain”, SNP MP Carol Monaghan said.
Ms Monaghan, a member of the committee, said that the evidence they heard suggested e-cigarette users were “having to go out and use smoking shelters outside buildings” and urged a “more realistic view of the use of e-cigarettes”.
Source: BBC News, 6 September 2018
Prevention must be the heart of the NHS long-term plan
Chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, has said he wants a “smoke-free society” by the year 2030. He told the NHS England Expo in Manchester: “Smoking should no longer be seen as a lifestyle choice. It is an addiction that warrants medical treatment. Everyone who smokes must be offered the support they need to quit. With the right long-term plan in place, we can remove smoking from England. This is the single biggest thing we can do to improve the nation’s health.”
He said the move would save thousands of lives and free up almost £900million a year; funds that the NHS currently spends on treating illnesses caused by tobacco.
See also: Public Health England: Prevention must be the heart of the NHS long-term plan
Source: The Sun, 7 September 2018
Most U.S. colleges are not tobacco- and smokefree
Most U.S. universities and community colleges don’t have tobacco-free or smokefree policies on campus, a new study has found. About 35% have tobacco-free policies that prohibit all tobacco use, 10% have smokefree policies that prohibit cigarettes but not all tobacco and 54% don’t have any policy, researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health.
“Despite years of public health effort, only 59% of the U.S. population is covered by smoke-free non-hospitality workplace, restaurant and bar laws in 2018,” said senior study author Kelvin Choi, a researcher with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in Bethesda, Maryland.
See also: American Public Health Association, Adoption of Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Policies in a US National Sample of Postsecondary Educational Institutions
Source: Reuters, 6 September 2018
Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK tobacco product track and trace system will be compliant with the requirements of the (a) EU Tobacco Products Directive and (b) WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a tax stamp, label-based track and trace system.
Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary
The government published an invitation to tender for the issuing of unique identifiers for the tobacco product track and trace system on 31 August. It is a key condition of securing this contract that the system proposed meets all the requirements of both the EU Tobacco Products Directive and WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
The government has no plans to introduce tax stamps for tobacco products. If a label-based track and trace system is proposed by any of the bidders for the contract, this will be assessed against the requirements for the system alongside any other bids made.
Source: Hansard, 6 September 2018
Link of the week
Keep Britain Tidy video
Keep Britain Tidy have launched a new national campaign – #BinTheButt – to stamp out cigarette litter, which causes significant damage to marine life.
They’re calling on smokers across the UK to rethink how they dispose of their cigarettes, as research reveals that only half (53%) of Brits think that cigarette butts get washed into the sea if they get dropped, blown or washed down the drain.
Smokefree zones to be introduced near Barnsley primary schools
Smokefree zones are set to be introduced outside 80 primary schools in Barnsley. The move is an extension of a council scheme which has already been implemented in the town. Each of the schools will be given signs, letters to send to parents and “tool kits” to help staff set up the zones around the premises. Kaye Mann, senior health improvement officer, said: “The aim is to make smoking invisible to children.”
Source: BBC News, 2 September 2018
Cardiff shisha bars prosecuted for public health offences
Two Cardiff shisha bars have been prosecuted for public health offences following council investigations. Concerns around the safety of shisha bars were raised in a council meeting in March and since then the authority has been inspecting premises across the city.
There were fears that many young people are smoking the shisha pipes, which contain tobacco, without knowing the health risks. Under the law, shisha pipes can be smoked in the open air or in structures where at least 50% of the walls are permanently open. It is not allowed within substantially or fully enclosed public spaces.
A council spokesman said: “The council is currently inspecting premises where shisha smoking takes place in the city and has a range of powers that can be used to ensure that these businesses are complying with all relevant legislation.”
Source: Wales Online, 31 August 2018
Australia: Cigarettes hit $40 AUD a pack
A tax increase of 12.5% has pushed up the price of a cigarette pack to almost $40 AUD (over £22). The Australian Government announced back in May 2016 that it would implement annual increases in tobacco excise of 12.5% up to and including 2020.
The tax rise came into force on Saturday 1st September, the same day as in 2017 and 2016. It means that Australia now has the most expensive cigarettes in the world. The smoking rate among adults in Australia was 12.8% in 2016.
Source: Mail on Sunday, 1 September 2018
United Arab Emirates considering lifting ban on e-cigarettes
The UAE could be set to lift its ban on e-cigarettes and heat not burn products. Authorities have begun a preliminary project to assess whether electronic nicotine devices should be allowed to be used legally in the country. Currently, e-cigarettes are banned in the Emirates due to concerns over their impact on user health.
But that stance could be softening, with the Government consumer watchdog – the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology now reviewing data on alternative tobacco products, with the ban potentially being lifted in the future.
Source: The National UAE, 3 September 2018
Link of the week
Norfolk man jailed after being caught with more than 1.5 million illegal cigarettes
A Norfolk man who was caught with more than 1.5 million illegal cigarettes disguised as road surfacing material in a warehouse has been jailed. Three men were found hiding at the back of a unit at an industrial estate in South Shields, near Newcastle when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers swooped.
They uncovered an illegal haul, worth £526,397 in unpaid duty, during the raid when they discovered 24 pallets loaded with packages containing a total of 1,508,300 non-paid UK duty-paid cigarettes. The cigarettes were hidden in wooden containers coated in bitumen, which is often used for road surfaces, and then wrapped in packaging.
Source: Eastern Daily Press, 24 August 2018
USA: Study finds vapers who use e-cigarettes every day are at higher risk of heart attack
Researchers analysed the 2014 and 2016 results of The National Health Interview Survey, which includes interviews from adults living in the US. Some 69,452 participants were asked: ‘Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had a heart attack (also called myocardial infarction)?’. The analysis of the increased risk of heart attacks was based on answers to this question.
The researchers found that people who smoke tobacco and use e-cigarettes were most likely to have had a heart attack.
Editorial note: This study does not establish a causal relationship between heart attacks and the use of e-cigarettes. Rather it shows that at the point they were surveyed people who smoked and/or vaped were more likely to have had a heart attack in their lifetime. The study was not able to determine when the heart attack took place, whether it followed or preceded use of an e-cigarette. It is therefore inaccurate to say this research shows that vaping leads to an increased risk of a heart attack. The link between tobacco smoking and heart attacks is well established. See our fact sheet for more information. ASH fact sheet: Smoking, the Heart and Circulation.
Source: Daily Mail, 23 August 2018
USA: FDA bans e-cig liquid products that look like snacks, candies
After warnings sent to a number of e-liquid manufacturers in May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned a number of products which come in packaging that strongly resembles that for candies, cookies and other snacks popular with kids.
The agency told the companies that labels and ads for the nicotine-containing e-liquids were false or misleading, and potentially dangerous. In addition, several of the companies were previously cited for illegally selling the products to minors, the FDA said.
Examples of the products targeted in the warning letters included: “One Mad Hit Juice Box”, which resembled children’s apple juice boxes; “Whip’d Strawberry”, which resembled a dairy whipped topping; “Twirly Pop”, which resembled a Unicorn Pop lollipop and was shipped with one; and “Unicorn Cakes”, which included images of a strawberry beverage and unicorns eating pancakes, similar to those used by the My Little Pony television and toy franchise.
Source: Medical Xpress, 23 August 2018
Link of the week
Labour Communities & Local Government report: Trading Standards
Labour’s latest Local Government ‘Health Check’ report has highlighted deep cuts to England’s Trading Standards where spending has been halved since 2010 (£213m to £105m).
A time to quit: supporting smoking cessation in general practice
Following evidence released by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) showing a 75% decline in the number of stop smoking aids dispensed between 2005 and 2017, Practice Business has highlighted what GP practices can do to support cessation and help reduce smoking rates.
Practices play a key role in providing information and advice about smoking cessation services and motivating smokers to quit. Health professionals should identify smokers and offer advice and cessation support, particularly when the patient has a health condition which is caused or exacerbated by smoking.
National risk assessments should be used to identify people aged between 40 and 74 who are at risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of dementia, so that they can receive advice on achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and be referred to stop smoking support where relevant.
Source: Practice Business, 20 August 2018
Lancashire County Council health lead backs MPs e-cigarette report
Lancashire County Council’s health lead, Councillor Shaun Turner, has backed the Science and Technology Select Committee’s recommendation that vaping be encouraged as an alternative to smoking.
The Committee highlighted evidence showing that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and could help to accelerate already declining smoking rates.
Councillor Turner said: “E-cigarettes can also help as an alternative way to quit. Cancer Research UK highlight that all the evidence so far points to e-cigarettes being far less harmful than tobacco products and that they can help people stop smoking. We would only recommend them as a tool to help people stop smoking. We’d never recommend people to take up vaping if they don’t currently vape or smoke.”
Source: Lancashire and Morecambe Citizen, 20 August 2018
Scotland: NHS Highland joins campaign to stop adults buying tobacco for under-18s
NHS Highland’s improvement team and Highland Council’s trading standards team have been working with ASH Scotland to support the charity’s #notafavour initiative.
The initiative consists of a series of videos, produced with the help of students at Inverness College UHI, highlighting the problem of adults buying cigarettes for under-18s.
Inverness College UHI’s wellbeing officer Claire Killburn-Young said: “Inverness College UHI is also a member of ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation, so it’s an issue we are really passionate about. We hope these videos have the desired effect and discourage adults form purchasing tobacco for young people.”
Source: The Press and Journal, 20 August 2018
US: Child passive smoking increases chronic lung risk
A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (AJPM) shows that non-smoking adults have a higher risk of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if they grew up with parents who smoked.
The researchers found that secondhand smoke exposure in both childhood and adulthood was associated with a higher risk of mortality from COPD and vascular disease, and warn that childhood passive smoking was “likely to add seven deaths to every 100,000 non-smoking adults dying annually”.
Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy at ASH, said: “This latest study adds to the compelling case to take smoke outside to protect children from harm. The best way to do this is for parents to quit.”
Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation, agreed, saying: “Passive smoking has a lasting impact well beyond childhood. Unfortunately, stop smoking services in the UK are being cut. We need to make sure that everyone, especially parents of young children and pregnant women who smoke, get the help they need to quit.”
Source: BBC, 19 August 2018
American Journal of Preventative Medicine: Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Childhood and Adulthood in Relation to Adult Mortality Among Never Smokers
Australian tobacco taxes set to rise again
Australia—which has the world’s highest tax rate on cigarettes—is set to raise its tobacco tax rate by 12.5% from 1 September.
However, tobacco can be purchased at a lower price from black market sellers and discount tobacco websites that charge up to 70% less than retailers.
The Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Home Affairs estimates that illicit tobacco costs the government $600 million every year.
Source: Mail on Sunday, 20 August 2018
Japan: British American Tobacco to raise prices alongside October tax rise
British American Tobacco Japan (BATJ) is set to raise its tobacco product prices alongside the planned tobacco tax increase on 1 October.
This would see BATJ product prices rising by ¥30 to ¥40 per 20 pack, in addition to the ¥1 per cigarette tax increase.
In addition, Philip Morris plans to file for a price increase of ¥40 which would see the cost of Marlboro cigarettes rise from ¥470 to ¥510.
Source: Japan Times, 20 August 2018
US: Small study finds potential link between e-cigarette use and DNA damage
A small study at the University of Minnesota has found a potential link between regular e-cigarette use and DNA damage which could contribute to cancer.
The researchers analysed saliva samples from five e-cigarette users for traces of chemical compounds which are known to damage DNA. Compared with people who don’t vape, four of the five e-cigarette users showed increased DNA damage. The study does not show how this compares to the damage caused by smoking cigarettes.
Source: ecancer News, 20 August 2018