Smoking ban in prisons has led to tobacco becoming part of the prison ‘illicit economy’
Banning smoking in prisons has led to tobacco being smuggled in and becoming part of the illicit economy. In a letter to Bob Neill MP, chair of the Justice Select Committee, Rory Stewart MP, Prisons Minister, wrote: “With regards to the impact on the illicit economy; tobacco has become an additional currency to the current currencies relating to drug use and mobile phones within the illicit economy.”
The smoking ban was fully implemented in prisons this year after being introduced across the prison estate over the previous two years.
Mr Stewart also noted that there appeared to have been a sharp rise in the use of new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, related to the smoking ban but that this did not occur in all prisons. The relationship should be considered a correlation rather than causation, he said. He added: “My initial conclusions are that some of the worst fears about the possible consequences of smoke-free prisons have not been realised.”
Source: The Times, 23 July 2018
Stop smoking: e-cigarette users are still paying higher insurance premiums
Despite being considered a safer alternative, e-cigarette users are paying the same life insurance premiums as smokers. Along with nicotine patches and other nicotine products, e-cigarettes are placed in the same band as regular cigarettes, meaning users still need to pay higher life insurance rates.
The average non-smoker pays an estimated £13.83 a month for life insurance, according to a new analysis, while a smoker could expect to pay almost double at £22.70 a month.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket which conducted the analysis, said: “Using nicotine in any form, including patches and gum, means you’ll be regarded as a smoker; you have to be nicotine free for 12 months to get the lower premiums.”
Source: Express, 22 July 2018
PMI’s iQOS device being blamed for poor stock-market performance
Philip Morris International (PMI) recently delivered a ‘disappointing’ earnings report which showed a significant slowdown in their heat-not-burn primary market: Japan. The shares of PMI are down 30% in the past year, a substantial reduction. The relatively poor performance of iQOS is largely what is behind PMI’s large stock market falls.
iQOS is PMI’s flagship heat-not-burn product and it was first introduced in selected Japanese sites in 2014 and rolled out across the country last year. Initially iQOS did well, with unit shipments soon surpassing those of traditional cigarettes. However, the Japanese market is an anomaly in that competition for iQOS is effectively banned. The e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes are regulated as a pharmaceutical ingredient, which effectively prevents sales of e-cigarettes. This has allowed the heat-not-burn iQOS device to be sold with little competition.
The popularity of iQOS in Japan has since waned; PMI said they have reached all the ‘early adopters’ of the new technology and now has to try and convince ‘more conservative’ smokers to switch to the product.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 July 2018
Honduras appeals WTO landmark ruling on Australia’s plain tobacco packaging
Honduras has appealed against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling won last month by Australia on its plain packaging requirements for tobacco, a WTO spokesman said on Friday. In a landmark ruling officially passed on the 29th June 2018, the WTO panel said Australia’s law improved public health by reducing the use of tobacco products, rebuffing claims that alternative measures would be equally effective.
It also rejected the argument that Australia had unjustifiably infringed tobacco trademarks and violated intellectual property rights.
Source: Reuters, 20 July 2018
Opinion: Why don’t more young women vape?
Sophie Jarvis from the Adam Smith Institute comments on vaping trends
When it comes to tackling the harms of smoking we still seem to stick to an abstinence-only approach. It should be made easier for adults to switch to safer (but not risk-free) alternatives.
Public Health England have to their credit highlighted the relative benefits of vaping by pointing out that it’s at least 95% safer than smoking. In other words, it would take 20 non-smokers to take up vaping to outweigh the good of one smoker switching the other way.
British vaping laws aren’t that Victorian, but there’s room for improvement. While we allow vape shops and vaping in public places, e-cigarette manufacturers face stiff regulation and are prevented from talking about the relative risks of vaping compared with smoking.
The EU’s Tobacco Products Directive limits tank sizes, regulates nicotine content, and restricts the ability for e-cigarette sellers to market their products effectively. We know from other countries that heavy-handed e-cigarette laws don’t help smokers: in Australia, where e-cigarettes are banned, smokers as a proportion of the population dropped by just 0.6% between 2013-2016. By contrast, the UK’s relatively liberal approach to vaping lead to smoking rates falling by 2.9%. Japan also banned e-cigarettes, but they allow heat-not-burn products which has resulted in a significant decline in cigarette sales.
Source: Spectator, 25 June 2018
Note: The Adam Smith Institute has received money from the tobacco industry in the past
Scotland: Smokers outside Larbert hospital to be fined
Larbet hospital in Falkirk will soon be fining those who smoke too near the hospital premises. The Scottish Government aims to make it an offence to smoke within 15 metres of hospitals, as part of a tobacco control action plan which includes 44 specific actions.
The NHS in Scotland has spent years trying to persuade smokers not to smoke in hospital grounds, and now intends to tackle the issue by bringing in new legislation.
However no final decision has been made on whether vaping should continue to be allowed around NHS facilities – the Scottish Government aims to work with health boards and integration boards to “try and reach a consensus” on the issue.
The move is part of tobacco control action plan aimed at addressing health inequalities and cutting smoking rates, particularly in deprived areas.
Source: Falkirk Herald, 22 June 2018
USA: Study finds large increase in number of college campuses going smokefree
Smoking continues to fall out of favour at colleges and universities across America, a new study has found. As of November 2017, over 2,000 U.S. college campuses were smokefree or tobacco-free (no smokeless tobacco use or smoking), compared with only 774 campuses in 2012, the report found.
In 2017, 84% of smokefree campuses were tobacco-free, compared with 73% of smokefree campuses in 2012, according to the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
“Colleges and universities are ideal places to promote healthy behaviours that can continue for a lifetime, including being tobacco-free,” Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release.
Source: Health Day, 22 June 2018
See also: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policies in Colleges and Universities – United States and Territories, 2017 (page 10 of PDF download)
Signs that Philip Morris’s iQOS heat-not-burn product might not be a big hit
Philip Morris International’s (PMI) lacklustre first-quarter earnings report has weighed heavily on the tobacco industry, after the company experienced a dramatic drop off in sales of its next-generation heat-not-burn tobacco devices in Japan. Their concern is that the device won’t be able to offset the secular decline in traditional cigarette sales.
The rollout of the iQOS heat-not-burn device marked a significant change in how Philip Morris presented itself to the public and investors. The future, Philip Morris said, was going to be smokefree, and the company took out full-page ads in newspapers calling on smokers to quit and switch to alternative products.
Japan was a seminal point for iQOS, and after rolling it out nationwide, it captured 80% of the heat-not-burn market in the country. However, PMI’s earnings report indicated it has burned through all of the early adopters of the new technology and now faced the prospect of convincing older, more conservative smokers to switch, a more difficult and costly task. It has since cut the cost of iQOS devices to try and boost sales.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 June 2018
China: On-screen smoking scenes in Chinese media declining
The number of scenes depicting tobacco smoking in Chinese movies and TV series have declined overall in the last decade, according to the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control. However the figures for 2017 were worse than in 2016, according to the public health charity.
This is the 10th consecutive year the association has surveyed Chinese movies and television shows. Twenty of the top thirty movie blockbusters had at least one smoking scene last year, down 23% from 2007. The declining trend in TV series was even more apparent; 17 of the 30 most-watched shows had smoking scenes in 2017, down by 37% from 10 years ago.
Under regulations issued in 2009 and 2011 by the former State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, smoking scenes are “strictly controlled” rather than banned.
Source: China Daily, 25 June 2018
Link of the week
Smokers trying to quit should use stronger e-cigarettes, to protect their health, experts say
Researchers from London South Bank University have found that smokers who want to switch to vaping may be better to start with higher, rather than lower, nicotine levels to reduce compensatory behaviour and the amount of e-liquid used.
Dr Lynne Dawkins, from London South Bank University, said: “Some vapers might believe that starting out on a low nicotine strength is a good thing. But they should be aware that reducing their nicotine concentration is likely to result in the use of more e-liquid”. This is because when trying get the same hit as a high-nicotine e-cigarette, you have to puff harder, and for longer which exposes people to higher levels of toxins, including formaldehyde – which is formed when the e-cigarette is heated.
Source: The Sun, 8 June 2018
Minister announces smoking ban in prisons has not caused unrest among prisoners
A smokefree ban is now in place in all 102 high and medium secure prisons across England and Wales with open prisons only allowing smoking in designated outside areas.
Rory Stewart, Prisons Minister said there was no evidence of a decline in safety to prisoners or staff, and that it had only contributed to some low level disorder and a small number of more serious incidents. Stewart said as smokefree prisons were rolled out the number of inmates using e-cigarettes have gone up, with 50,000 vaping products, including re-fill packs being bought every week.
Source: The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, 8 June 2018
Starting time: 4 minutes 50 seconds
North East: Sustained efforts to go smokefree by Mental Health Trusts reap rewards for patients and staff
Research by Teesside University and Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, shows that the number of patients in mental health hospitals who smoke in the North East is falling thanks to a sustained approach by partner organisations.
In March 2016 two mental health trusts in the region; Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, went fully smoke free.
The report outlines figures from Public Health England which found there was a considerable drop in smoking prevalence recorded across both organisations. In one of the Trusts, clinical audit showed that the proportion of inpatients that smoked fell from 43% in 2015 to 21% in 2018.
The report also highlights the preliminary work undertaken to prepare for the smoke free policy and noted that both Trusts had prepared 18 months in advance and introduced a range of measures to aid successful implementation. This included training staff to give advice on quitting, appointing stop smoking advisers on every unit and providing patients with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) within 30 minutes of admission.
Source: North East Connected, 8 June 2018
USA: Huge drop in teens smoking tobacco: Centre for Disease Control report reveals 20% drop in under-18s lighting up since 2011
Tobacco use is continuing to fall among children and teenagers in the US, an encouraging sign that the leading cause of preventable death in the US is finally falling out of fashion, a new report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.
According to the report the number of middle and high school students that use tobacco products has fallen by 20% since 2011.
In the last five years, e-cigarette use, or vaping, has overtaken smoking as the favourite nicotine delivery system for students.
Source: Daily Mail, 7 June 2018
US: E-cigarette sellers turn to scholarships to promote brands
A growing number of e-cigarette sellers have started offering college scholarships as a way to get their brands listed on university websites.
The scholarships, ranging from $250 to $5,000, mostly involve essay contests that ask students to write about the dangers of tobacco or whether vaping could be a safer alternative. At least one company asks applicants to write about different types of e-cigarettes and which one they recommend.
Although some of the scholarships are limited to students 18 and older (the nation’s legal age to buy vaping products), many are open to younger teens or have no age limit.
Source: Mail Online, 8 June 2018
India: Philip Morris plans to target Indian smokers with IQOS device
Philip Morris International is planning to launch its iQOS (Heat not burn) smoking device in India, as the tobacco giant seeks a foothold in a country with the world’s second-biggest smoker population.
India has stringent laws to deter tobacco use, which the government says kills more than 900,000 people every year. But the country still has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), making it a lucrative market for Philip Morris to target.
If Philip Morris are to persuade officials, it would need to convince a government that has in recent years raised cigarette taxes, ordered companies to print bigger health warnings on tobacco packs and launched a quit-smoking helpline.
Source: Reuters, 8 June 2018
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Department of Health and Social Care publish ‘Delivery Plan’ for the Tobacco Control Plan for England
On the 7th June 2018, the Department for Health and Social Care released a ‘Delivery Plan’, setting out how the Tobacco Control Plan for England is to be delivered.
The delivery plan will monitor how the aims of the tobacco control plan for England are being met, setting out specific milestones and what is expected at national and local levels.
Retail age checks show high pass rate for tobacco sale tests but falling pass rates for e-cigs
New data from Serve Legal, a UK retail age check company, shows that most retailers are strict about age checks for cigarettes. In tobacco sale tests, retailers achieved an 80 per cent pass rate in 2017. Pass rates have improved year on year since 2015. Retailers in the South West achieved the highest pass rate (79 per cent) and London the lowest (60 per cent).
There is less positive news from the e-cigarette age test data. Pass rates have fallen from 91 per cent in 2015 to 70 per cent in 2017. This suggests that there may still be confusion amongst retailers about e-cigarettes being an 18+ product.
Source: Retail Times, 16 May 2018
Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association argues plain packaging has failed to reduce smoking rates
Plain packaging on cigarettes has been branded a failure by pro-smoking campaigners. Drawing on numbers from the Smoking Toolkit Study, campaigners have compared the smoking rate of 17.1 per cent in March 2018 with March last year’s rate of 16.5 per cent – an increase of 0.7 per cent.
The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) said if the same effect was seen across the UK with the same population, there would be approximately 350,000 more adult smokers in March 2018 than a year before the plain packaging was brought in.
Source: The Sun, 15 May 2018
Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and University College London, said: “The TMA report using our data on smoking is nonsense and their claims are completely unwarranted. The analysis of data from our Smoking Toolkit surveys does not support the TMA’s contention about the impact of plain packaging. Plain packaging was introduced in May 2016, with the first packs appearing in shops shortly after, since then our surveys show an overall decline in adult smoking prevalence. Cherry picking specific months out of the variation shown within our surveys is an inappropriate analysis of the data.”
Philip Morris iQOS patents reveal that the company could harvest users’ data
There are new concerns that Philip Morris could be able to collect massive amounts of data from individual iQOS products.
Ottawa-based TechInsights Inc have studied the device and say the iQOS is equipped with technology which could facilitate the storing of device information that could then be transmitted back to Philip Morris. The data could include details like the number of puffs by a user and how many times a person used the device in a given day.
The initiative, if allowed by regulators, could extract information about a user’s smoking routine from the device and use it for marketing purposes, said a former project manager at Philip Morris.
Gregory Connolly, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who has studied iQOS technology and patents, said Philip Morris’ ability to gather user data could give the device remarkable power. “What they’re going to have is a mega database of how Americans smoke,” he said. “Then they’ll be able to reprogram the current puffing delivery pattern of the iQOS to one that may be more reinforcing and with a higher addiction potential.”
Source: Reuters, 16 May 2018
More US adults say they’ve tried vaping, but regular use is down
New research shows 1 in 7 U.S. adults have tried electronic cigarettes. This is an increase but it’s offset by a small decline in the number currently using the devices. About 3 percent of adults were current users in 2016, down from almost 4 percent in 2014. Adults who have tried them at least once reached just over 15 percent in 2016.
See also: Journal of the American Medical Association, Changes in Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adults in the United States, 2014-2016
Business Insider UK, 15 May 2018
Qatar: Ministry of Public Health launches national anti-tobacco campaign
The Ministry of Public Health has launched a national campaign to curb the impacts of smoking and tobacco use.
The three-phase, multi-year campaign aims to encourage residents to follow the existing tobacco control laws and to understand the risks associated with tobacco use. It also aims to discourage youth from starting the habit and to direct people to useful resources to help them quit.
Minister of Public Health, H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, said: “Smoking is a significant public health issue in Qatar. Around 37 percent of the population over the age of 15 say they currently smoke tobacco and we continue to see more young people take up the habit. The National Health Strategy 2018-2022 sets a target of reducing the prevalence of smoking, and to achieve this, it is important that we redouble our efforts to combat tobacco use.”
Source: The Peninsula, 16 May 2018