Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: policy


ASH presents new data on e-cigarettes to Science and Technology Select Committee

Tuesday 27th March

Action on Smoking and Health today appeared before Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee to provide evidence for the Committee’s inquiry into e-cigarettes. New data from the charity, published today, was presented to the committee providing the most recent figures on the level of use and attitudes towards e-cigarettes.

The latest figures come from the annual ASH Smokefree GB survey completed in March by polling agency YouGov [1].

The new figures show that:

  • Use of e-cigarettes continues to increase among ex-smokers and smokers with 23% of ex-smokers now reporting that they currently use or used to use an e-cigarette.
  • Use among young people remains low at 4% and almost exclusively among those who smoke with 0.4% of young people who don’t smoke saying they currently use an e-cigarette
  • The accuracy of people’s understanding about the relative harm from vaping compared to smoking has improved between 2017 and 2018 among adults with 50% of adults correctly identifying that vaping is less harmful than smoking in 2018 compared with 43% in 2017. Although the proportion who believe vaping is as or more harmful than smoking remains similar to 2017 at 25%
  • However, the accuracy of young people’s perceptions of the harms from e-cigarettes compared with smoking appear to have got less accurate over the same period with 31% in 2018 stating they believe vaping to be as or more harmful than smoking compared to 28% in 2017.

Appearing in front of the Committee were ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott and Director of Policy Hazel Cheeseman. They also represented the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group [2] and the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership [3].

Key issues they raised with the committee included:

  • The public health opportunity represented by e-cigarettes. The popularity of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking has been unprecedented, contributing to the number of people who have quit smoking.
  • The regulatory process in the UK has been a success in protecting young people while facilitating uptake among adult smokers, but there is room for improvement. There is potential to further increase uptake of e-cigarettes among smokers through reviewing the process for medicinal licencing and ensuring products can be made available as licenced medications on prescription.
  • There continues to be a pressing need to improve public understanding of the relative risk from vaping compared to smoking. Health professionals must provide accurate and consistent advice to smokers.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“We are pleased to be sharing this evidence with the Science and Technology Committee. It is important that policymakers and the public understand the potential benefits of e-cigarettes in reducing the harm caused by tobacco. Good evidence should continue to inform the approach we take to regulation in this country as we seek to maximise the benefit to public health from e-cigarettes.”

ENDS

Notes and Links

 Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash. ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line.

For more information contact ASH: 020 7404 0242, or out of hours, Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.
References

[1] ASH supplementary evidence to the Science & Technology Committee. The adult survey is conducted by YouGov for ASH Fieldwork for 2018 survey was undertaken between 8th February and 6th March. The survey was carried out online. Total sample size was 12767 GB adults and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The youth survey is also conducted by YouGov for ASH The survey is conducted online via parents for 11-15 year olds and directly with 16-18 year olds. The 2018 survey had a sample of 2291 and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB 11-18 year olds. The fieldwork was carried out between 28th February and 17th March.

The full evidence provided by ASH is here: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/ecigarettes/written/75354.html

[2] The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group is a coalition of voluntary sector, academia and professional groups. For more information and full membership see here: http://smokefreeaction.org.uk/smokefree-nhs/smoking-in-pregnancy-challenge-group/

The full evidence provided by the Group is here: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/ecigarettes/written/75321.html

[3] The Mental Health and Smoking Partnership is a coalition of voluntary sector, academia and professional groups. For more information and full membership see here: http://smokefreeaction.org.uk/smokefree-nhs/smoking-and-mental-health/

The full evidence provided by the Partnership is here:

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/ecigarettes/written/75317.html

ASH response to Science and Technology Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes

In December 2017 ASH made a submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes. You can read the submission by following the link below.

ASH response to Science and Technology Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes

Action on Smoking and Health welcomes inquiry into electronic cigarettes

25 October 2017

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has today (25 October) announced an inquiry into electronic cigarettes.

Public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) welcomed the news. ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said:

“ASH is pleased that the Committee has launched this timely inquiry, and we look forward to submitting evidence in response. This is a fast moving market and it is crucial that any policies on e-cigarettes are based on the best available evidence. While e-cigarettes are helping smokers quit they are not a stand-alone solution to the tobacco epidemic and it’s important that the evidence is considered in the context of tried and tested policies such as taxation and regulating tobacco marketing, that have been driving down rates of smoking for many decades.” [1]

ENDS

References

[1] Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction. A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. April 2016.

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

In advance of the Budget, Treasury urged to do more to support the Government ambition for a “smokefree generation”

24 October 2017

The Government received a timely reminder of the importance of effective taxation and regulation of tobacco products from public health experts in a meeting yesterday with the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. The meeting was ahead of the Budget on November 22nd.

Representatives from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the UK Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco Studies, and Cancer Research UK met with the Minister to outline their priorities and recommendations for the 2017 Budget, as endorsed by 35 other public health organisations.[1] These include a continued commitment to the tobacco tax escalator to raise tax on tobacco above inflation every year during this parliament.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of public health charity Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“Raising taxes on tobacco to reduce affordability is the most effective way to reduce smoking. [2] We call on the Government to renew the tobacco tax escalator which increases taxes above inflation for this parliament. This will demonstrate that the Government’s stated commitment to a smokefree generation is genuine.” [3]

New research on tobacco industry pricing by the University of Bath and Kings College London, and funded by NIHR, has just been published [4] and shows that the tobacco industry has undermined tobacco tax policy to keep tobacco cheap. The Government is urged to take action to prevent this in future.

Professor Anna Gilmore, senior author on the study and Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, said:

“The tobacco industry uses cheap products to hook children into a deadly habit and keep smokers who would otherwise quit, smoking. The government has closed some loopholes enabling it to do this, but more needs to be done. It should increase the tax on roll your own tobacco which is much lower than that of factory made cigarettes and ensure minimum excise taxes are uprated at every budget.”

Also on the agenda for the meeting was the sale of illicit tobacco. One of the most effective ways to reduce this illicit trade, which harms the public purse as well as consumers, is to implement a tobacco supply chain licensing system which should be independent of, but paid for by the tobacco manufacturers, as required by the terms of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Illicit Trade Protocol.

Professor John Britton, Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, said:

“The tobacco industry has a history of fuelling the trade in illicit tobacco. [5] It is only right that they should meet the costs of a new system to prevent such skulduggery in the future.”

The Department of Health published its Tobacco Control Plan for England in July, called “Towards a Smokefree Generation”. [3] The plan sets out several ambitious targets for reducing smoking prevalence. These ambitions will only be realised by ensuring that tobacco products continue to be made less affordable and by providing adequate funding for stop smoking services and initiatives that limit smoking initiation, especially among young people.

ENDS

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

References

[1] ASH/UKCTAS budget submission endorsed by 36 other public health organisations and accompanying letter to the minister.

[2] WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015. Raising taxes on tobacco.

[3] Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England. Department of Health, July 2017

[4] Hiscock R. Branston JR. McNeill A. Hitchman SC. Partos TR. Gilmore AB. Tobacco industry strategies undermine government tax policy: evidence from commercial data. Tobacco Control 2017.

NB The study was funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Programme (project number 13/43/58).

[5] See evidence set out in ASH/UKCTAS budget submission page 8 points 36-38

 

Note to editors

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

  • funds high quality research to improve health
  • trains and supports health researchers
  • provides world-class research facilities
  • works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • involves patients and the public at every step

 

For further information, visit the NIHR website www.nihr.ac.uk

Implementation of smokefree policies in mental health inpatient settings – webinar

This Mental Health and Smoking Partnership webinar examines implementation of smokefree policies in mental health settings, including case studies from trusts, an overview of NICE Guidance PH48 and recommendations from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

 

Other resources

New Tobacco Control Plan for England Published

18 July 2017

The All Party Group on Smoking and Health has welcomed the new Tobacco Control Plan for England, “Towards a Smokefree Generation”, which was published today by the Department of Health. [1]

The APPG is delighted that the Government has responded to its calls for a new Tobacco Control Plan [2] and strongly supports the Government’s aim to create a “smokefree generation”. The Plan also has specific targets to cut smoking rates among under 15 year olds, among adults, and pregnant women. Smoking remains a serious public health epidemic and remains the single largest cause of preventable deaths, with about 79,000 people dying every year from smoking related illness in England alone.

Commenting Bob Blackman MP (Chair of the APPG, Harrow West, Conservative) said:
“I very much welcome the Government’s new Tobacco Control Plan with its ambitious vision of a smokefree future. As long as sufficient funding can be found to pay for its implementation, this Plan should ensure the UK remains a global leader in tobacco control”.

The Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP (Vice Chair of the APPG, Rother Valley, Labour) said:
“The clear targets and comprehensive commitments set out in the new Tobacco Plan are welcome. We will be working with colleagues across Parliament to make sure that these commitments are turned into effective action.”

The previous five year Plan expired at the end of 2015. The latest Plan has targets from now until 2022, and the All Party Group believes that this and future Plans should not be allowed to expire until a new one has been put in place.

ENDS

Notes and Links

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health is chaired by Bob Blackman MP. The secretariat is provided by ASH. The purpose of the APPG is to monitor and discuss the health and social effects of smoking; to review potential changes in existing legislation to reduce levels of smoking; to assess the latest medical techniques to assist in smoking cessation; and to act as a resource for the group’s members on all issues relating to smoking and public health. You can learn more about the APPG here.

References

[1] Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England. Department of Health. July 2017.
[2] All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health. Burning Injustice: Reducing tobacco-driven harm and inequality. January 2017.

Political bulletin – June 2017

You can read the June 2017 political bulletin from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health here.

Smokefree: The First Ten Years

Produced to mark the tenth anniversary of smokefree legislation in England, this report looks at the shifting public attitudes towards smoking and tobacco control measures over the past decade. The report is based on ten years of data from the ASH / YouGov Smokefree England survey.

Smokefree: the first ten years

England a decade after the smoking ban – heading for a smokefree future

1st July 2017

Since the introduction of smokefree legislation in England ten years ago, there has been significant growth in support for this and other legislation introduced by government, particularly among smokers themselves, reports public health charity ASH.

The last decade has also seen the UK become a world leader in implementation of the World Health Organisation’s tobacco treaty. [1] [2] Our smoking prevalence rates for adults 18+ are now neck and neck with Australia (15.5% in England and 15.6% in Australia) [3] [4], the first country in the world to put cigarettes in standardised ‘plain’ packaging. This is due to a faster decline in smoking in England over the last five years. (Smoking rates in England fell by 0.88 percentage points per annum in compared to 0.57 percentage points per annum in Australia between 2010 and 2016).[5] [6]

The ASH report released today, Smokefree: The First Ten Years, also notes increasing public support for further measures such as a licensing scheme for tobacco retailers and a levy on the tobacco industry to pay for measures to reduce smoking prevalence. The data comes from ten years of the data for England in the ASH Smokefree GB survey carried out by YouGov. [7]

Back in 2007 when smokefree laws in England came into effect, 78% of all respondents to the survey were in favour. In the ten years since, support has grown to 83%, primarily due to an increase in support from smokers from 40% to 55%. The overall change is entirely due to changing attitudes among smokers – support among non-smokers has been stable.

This pattern is repeated elsewhere. In 2008, 48% of smokers supported a ban on smoking in cars with children. Prior to the implementation of the new law in October 2015, 74% of smokers expressed support, rising to 82% in 2017. The same trend applies to a potential ban on smoking in outdoor children’s play areas. While support for this from non-smokers has grown slightly from 83% of non-smokers in 2009 to 85% this year, support from smokers has strengthened significantly – from 52% of smokers in 2009 to 64% this year.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said:
“Over the last decade the ASH YouGov survey is evidence of high, and growing, public appetite for government action to reduce smoking prevalence. It’s especially telling that one of the most important factors in this growth is support by smokers – and this is happening at the same time as the numbers of people smoking have fallen to the lowest on record.”

The public also recognises the need for further action by government, support for which has grown over the last decade. Despite the many measures that have been introduced during this period, the proportion of respondents who think the government is not doing enough to tackle smoking has risen from 29% in 2009 to 39% in 2017. In total in 2017 over three quarters (76%) of adults surveyed support the government’s activities to limit smoking or think they could do more, while only 11% believe that the government is doing too much.

Specifically, there is strong support for:

  • Licensing the sale of tobacco products – supported by 76% of respondents in 2017
  • Banning smoking in all cars – supported by 62% of respondents in 2017
  • Charging tobacco companies a levy to fund measures to reduce smoking prevalence – supported by 71% of respondents in 2017.

Public appetite for further action by government is supported by the evidence. Despite the decline in smoking it remains the leading cause of preventable premature death, responsible for half the difference in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. [8] If current rates of decline are sustained in the general population fewer than one in 20 people will smoke by 2030, but much more needs to be done to reduce health inequalities so that no-one is left behind. The average population smoking rate of 15.5% masks wide differences across the population; for example 40% of those with mental health conditions smoke [9] and 26.5% of those in routine and manual occupations. [10] Every day since the last Tobacco Control Plan for England expired on 31st December 2015, hundreds of under 16s have started smoking. [11]

The evidence of the last decade is that tobacco control policies are popular and effective, when they are part of a comprehensive strategy and are properly funded. ASH is calling on the Government to publish the new Tobacco Control Plan with tough new targets and a commitment to reducing inequalities without further delay.

ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said:
“On 1 July 2007 it will be the 10th anniversary of the implementation of smokefree legislation in England – a worthy date for publication of the next Tobacco Control Plan, with a commitment to delivering a smokefree future for our children.”

ENDS

Notes and Links

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

The data on public opinion in this press release are taken from Smokefree: The First Ten Years. ASH. June 2017. The full report is available here.

A more detailed briefing on the tenth anniversary of the introduction of smokefree legislation in England is available here on the ASH website

ASH staff are available for interview and for more information and an ISDN line available for interviews. Please contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

References

[1] The UK is top of the European Tobacco Control Scale which quantifies the implementation of tobacco control policies at country level, and is based on six policies described by the World Bank.
[2] The UK was given the American Cancer Society tri-annual Luther Terry award in 2015 for exemplary leadership by a government ministry.
[3] Statistics on smoking in England: NHS Digital 2017
[4] National Drug Strategy Household Survey for Australia 2016 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016
[5] Selbie D. It’s time for a truly tobacco free NHS. Public Health England 6 December 2016.
[6] National Drug Strategy Household Survey for Australia 2010 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016
[7] Smokefree: The First Ten Years. ASH. June 2017. Full report available on request from ASH and online from 1 July 2017
ASH Smokefree Survey. These surveys were carried out online by YouGov for ASH
 2007 Total sample size was 1,562 adults in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th – 19th April 2007. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all English adults (aged 18+).
 2008 Total sample size was 1,054 adults in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th – 25th February 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all English adults (aged 18+).
 2009 Total sample size was 10,895 adults in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th – 30th March 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all English adults (aged 18+)
 2015 Total sample size was 10,017 adults in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th February to 12th March 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all English adults (aged 18+).
 2017 Total sample size was 10,488 adults in England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th February 2017 and 19th March 2017. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all English adults (aged 18+).
[8] Fair Society, Healthier Lives (The Marmot Review), University College London, 2010
[9] ASH. The Stolen Years. London 2016.
[10] Statistics on smoking in England: NHS England 2017
[11] Hopkinson, NS., Lester-George, A., Ormiston-Smith, N., Cox, A. & Arnott, D. Child uptake of smoking by area across the UK. Thorax 2013. doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204379

10 years of smokefree legislation: the facts

It’s ten years since smokefree legislation came into force in England. This briefing outlines some of the key facts.

10 years of smokefree legislation: the facts

Political bulletin – Spring 2015

This is the Spring 2015 political bulletin from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

Political bulletin - Spring 2015

Political bulletin – Autumn 2014

This is the Autumn 2014 political bulletin from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

Political bulletin - Autumn 2014

Political bulletin – Spring 2014

This is the Spring 2014 political bulletin from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

Political bulletin - Spring 2014

Political bulletin – Autumn 2013

This is the Autumn 2013 political bulletin from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

Political bulletin - Autumn 2013

Political bulletin – Spring 2013

This is the Spring 2013 political bulletin from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

Political bulletin - Spring 2013
X