Barnsley: Council warned market smoke ban might be ‘unlawful’
Barnsley Council intends to prevent the sale of smoking related goods in a new shopping complex that will fully open later this year. However, solicitors acting on the behalf of market traders have challenged the upcoming ban and have written to the council arguing that the ban would be in conflict with traders’ legal rights.
The council is planning a range of measures for new developments, with an aim to improve the town’s health. This includes encouraging healthy eating food outlets and extending its work to reduce smoking, putting tobacco use out of the sight of children, so they have no ‘role model’ to follow in future.
Source: Barnsley Chronicle, 18 September 2018
Sheffield: Council targets shisha users in health campaign
Sheffield council has launched a health campaign aimed at shisha users, saying that smoking shisha for an hour is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. Since June, Sheffield City Council has prosecuted a number of bars across the city, issuing £15,000 in fines for breaking the ban on smoking in work places.
The authority is now targeting users in a campaign on social media.
Greg Fell, director of public health in the city, said some people believe it is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. “We want people to know shisha is not safe and to inform them about the risks”, he added.
Source: BBC News, 18 September 2018
World Health Organisation calls on Pakistan to introduce uniform tobacco taxation structure
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called upon the government of Pakistan to simplify its tobacco taxation. Its core suggestions are to implement a uniform tax structure, increase tobacco taxation to 70% of the retail price and immediately withdraw the ‘third tier’ of taxation introduced by the previous government. Cigarette brands sold in Pakistan are placed into three tiers of tax, with most in the ‘third tier’ which applies the lowest taxes.
The prevalence of tobacco product use in Pakistan is very high (19.1%), particularly among men (31.8%). Moreover, 70% people in Pakistan are exposed to secondhand smoke at indoor workplaces which is also damaging.
Pakistan has signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and there are many measures it is yet to enforce. Stricter implementation of existing laws on tobacco control, a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and increase in tobacco taxation have the potential for visible impact.
Source: The News, 18 September 2018
Finns accused of smuggling tonnes of Swedish snus across the border
Snus, moist oral tobacco snuff, has been banned from being sold anywhere in the EU since 1992, apart from in Sweden which negotiated an exemption to the ban when it joined the Union in 1995. Eight people are now suspected of having smuggled more than 12 tonnes of snus from Sweden to neighbouring Finland between 2016 and 2018, the Finnish customs authority said on Monday. The eight suspects are accused of smuggling and aggravated tax fraud.
Source: The Local Sweden, 18 September 2018
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
Scotland: New life breathed into Dumfries and Galloway smoking strategy
NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Smoking Matters service is looking at new ways to improve its smoking cessation strategy, including using social media and virtual clinics to engage with smokers.
The service was tasked with helping at least 232 people in deprived areas quit smoking over the last twelve months. However, after nine months the service has only managed to help 126 people quit, prompting a review of its strategy.
It is estimated that £15-20 million is spent in the region each year treating tobacco-related illnesses.
Source: BBC, 3 August 2018
US: Juul reveals plans for smart Bluetooth e-cigarettes that prevent use among teenagers
US e-cigarette company, Juul, is planning to launch a Bluetooth enabled e-cigarette with an age verification system, to prevent teenagers from using its products.
The company has publicly acknowledged that schoolchildren in the US are using Juul e-cigarettes and is proposing a range of measures to ensure that future products cannot be used by anyone under the age of 18. The new e-cigarettes will use biometric data to prove a smoker’s age and won’t work near schools.
A Juul spokesperson said: “We are actively evaluating new technologies and features to help keep Juul out of the hands of young people.”
Source: Mail on Sunday, 2 August 2018
E-Cigarette Sales Have Surged Immensely in the US
New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that sales of e-cigarettes in the US have risen significantly over the last few years, increasing by 126% between 2012 and 2016.
Rechargeable e-cigarettes such as the Juul brand were the most popular type with sales increasing by 154% and average prices nearly halving between 2012 and 2016.
Brian King, senior author of the study and a deputy director in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said: “It’s ultimately reflective of the changing landscape, and we’re seeing more of these pod mod devices such as Juul that are now entering the marketplace. It just reinforces the importance [for] us as a public health community to ensure that we’re considering the diversity of different e-cigarette products … so we can implement evidence-based strategies to ensure we’re preventing public health harm.”
Source: US News, 2 August 2018
Chinese tobacco regulators call for control on e-cigarettes
Chinese tobacco regulators are calling for more education and control on e-cigarettes, following several high profile examples of people using them in places where they are prohibited, including in the cockpit of an airoplane.
There are currently no national regulations applying to e-cigarettes but authorities in some Chinese cities, including Hangzhou City in east China’s Zhejiang Province, have ceased to make any distinction between vaping and smoking.
Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said: “We are currently calling for relevant departments to look into regulation for standardized control on e-cigarettes.”
Source: CGTN, 2 August 2018
Netherlands: Plans to ban smoking on multiple Rotterdam streets
Officials in Rotterdam are considering banning smoking on multiple streets in the area around a local hospital and two educational institutions. The ban would make Rotterdam the first municipality in the Netherlands to ban smoking for entire streets.
Erasmus MC, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Erasmiaans Gymnasium – which are all based in the same part of the city – sent a letter to Rotterdam Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, asking him to implement the ban to prevent smokers just moving onto neighbouring streets.
A spokesperson for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences said: “We have trouble with dumped cigarette butts and are thinking about the health of the 30 thousand students, pupils, patients and employees who are here on a daily basis.”
Source: Nl Times, 3 August 2018
US: Hookah smoking raises cardiovascular risk comparable to traditional cigarette smoking, study finds
A new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology has found that just a half-hour of hookah smoking resulted in the development of cardiovascular risk factors similar to what has been seen with traditional cigarette smoking.
Hookah is exempt from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which prohibits the use of artificial or natural flavours in cigarettes. This is thought to contribute to hookah’s popularity among young people and college students.
Mary Rezk-Hanna, lead author of the study, said: “We know that flavoured tobacco products are frequently the first kind of tobacco product used by youth. One of the major issues with hookah is the fact that the tobacco is flavoured with fruit, candy and alcohol flavours, making hookah the most popular flavoured tobacco product among this audience. Our findings challenge the concept that fruit-flavoured hookah tobacco smoking is a healthier tobacco alternative. It is not.”
Source: Medical Xpress, 3 August 2018
American Journal of Cardiology: Acute Effect of Hookah Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Wave Reflections in Adults Aged 18 to 34 Years of Age
How likely is your e-cigarette to explode?
In the UK, e-cigarettes have caused burns and fires, however these cases are rare.
Fire services have reported being called out to a small number of fires caused by exploding e-cigarettes usually as a result of people using the wrong charger, over-charging the battery, or incorrectly storing it.
Gary Asquith, station commander at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “It’s not the e-cigarettes that are unsafe in themselves, but the misuse of the lithium-ion batteries that they use. If you buy an e-cigarette and it doesn’t come with a charger, and then you buy a cheap one online, that is when you might see the lithium-ion battery overcharging and catching fire”
Source: BBC News, 18 May 2018
Oldham: Shisha bar fined for flouting smokefree laws
Two Apples shisha bar has been prosecuted after a visit to the premises found customers were openly smoking tobacco shisha pipes in a smokefree room, a contravention of the Health Act 2006.
Oldham Council has now successfully prosecuted Two Apples Oldham Limited, trading as Two Apples and manager Mohammed Kayali, 49, of Rochdale Road, Oldham.
Source: The Oldham Times, 18 May 2018
Italy: Prospective coalition Government pledge to reduce tax on e-cigarettes
A prospective Italian coalition government involving political parties ‘Five Star Movement’ and ‘The League’ have written a 57-page “contract”, which would underpin a new coalition government. The contract includes two lines promising to lower levies on smokeless cigarettes to the benefit of Italy’s 2 million e-cigarette users.
Current taxation has doubled the cost of liquid refills for vape pens to as much as 9 euros, an industry source told Reuters, this new contract seeks to counter this.
“Out with the tax on electronic cigarettes!” League leader Matteo Salvini said earlier this week in a video streamed on Facebook.
Source: Reuters, 18 May 2018
Turkey: App to help enforce smokefree zones
A mobile phone app has been developed to help enforce smokefree policies, ‘the Green Detector’, or ‘Yeşil Dedektör’ in Turkish. The app allows users to alert authorities about violations of the smoking ban in restaurants, cafes and even bus stops.
Şavaş Yılmaz, head of ‘The Green Crescent’ charity who founded the app said relevant authorities need to take immediate action for an effective anti-smoking strategy. Cafes and restaurants that are repeat offenders can be shut down.
Source: Daily Sabah, 20 May 2018
China investment cuts tobacco giant’s cigarette dependence
British American Tobacco has backed a Chinese investment fund called ‘China Materialia Venture Capital’ that seeks out early-stage technology firms in a bid to help them develop products which could subsequently be sold to larger companies.
BAT hopes the fund will identify a company or technology it will be able to use to help develop its range of so-called “next generation” products, the latest gadgets that the tobacco giants are developing amid a persistent decline in cigarette sales.
Source: The Telegraph, 20 May 2018
Link of the week
Efforts to cut number of smokers across North East by half are praised in parliament
Work across the North East to almost half the number of smokers has been recognised in Parliament. Public Health Minister Steve Brine and Shadow Public Health Minister Sharon Hodgson discussed the work of Fresh Smokefree North East during a debate to reflect on 70 years of the NHS.
Smoking has fallen in the North East from 29% in 2005 to 17.2% in 2016, with the region also having the highest quit success rates over the past decade and the largest fall in smoking during pregnancy, from 22.2% in 2009/10 down to 16% in 2016.
Source: Sunderland Echo, 18 May 2018
Most women find smokers unattractive and are slightly more likely to date an e-cigarette user, survey finds
Women are more likely to find smoking unattractive than men are, a new survey has found. Around 56 percent of women said they would not date someone who smokes with nearly 70 percent saying they find it unattractive. There was a lesser degree of unwillingness to date someone who vapes, often marketed as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Among the participants, 46 percent of women said they would not date a vaper with around 55 percent saying it was unattractive.
The survey, conducted by Inogen, a supplemental oxygen company, looked at 1,006 single people between the ages of 18 and 76.
Source: Mail on Sunday, 17 May 2018
Hull: Smoking puts 10 people in hospital every day
The latest figures from Public Health England have revealed that in the year 2016 to 2017, there were 3,731 occasions in Hull where people were admitted to hospital for smoking-related diseases. That’s up from 3,650 similar cases seen in the year before, which was the highest number on record.
In total, these cost the NHS nearly £6m to treat people in Hull for these diseases in hospital last year, which works out at £22 for every man, woman and child living here. Across the country, 244,470 people died from smoking between 2014 and 2016-1,681 of those were from Hull.
Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “These figures demonstrate that the NHS is not doing enough to support smokers to quit. A recent audit found that three out of four hospital patients who smoke are not offered help to stop. If they were, hospitals would not only see fewer smoking related deaths and admissions but also an improvement in the effectiveness of many treatments including chemotherapy and surgery.”
Source: Hull Daily Mail, 17 May 2018
USA: Vast majority of heavy smokers not screened for lung cancer despite USPSTF recommendations
An analysis of 1,800 lung cancer screening sites nationwide found that only 1.9% of more than 7 million current and former heavy smokers were screened for lung cancer in 2016, despite United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and ASCO screening recommendations. This study, the first assessment of lung cancer screening rates since those recommendations were issued in 2013, will be presented at the upcoming 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
“Lung cancer screening rates are much lower than screening rates for breast and colorectal cancers, which is unfortunate,” said lead study author Danh Pham, MD, a medical oncologist at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Kentucky. “It is unclear if the screening deficit is due to low provider referral or perhaps patient psychological barriers from fear of diagnosis. Lung cancer is unique in that there may be stigma associated with screening, as some smokers think that if cancer is detected, it would confirm they’ve made a bad lifestyle choice.”
Source: Medical Xpress, 17 May 2018
European Commission prioritises tobacco and sacrifices global health in trade negotiations with Latin America
The European Public Health Alliance, along with Latin American and global partners, has written to the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to put health ahead of the interests of the tobacco industry in the EU’s trade negotiations with Mexico, Chile and the Mercosur trade bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
The EU is being called to publicly change its stance and to drop tobacco as an EU “Offensive Interest” in its negotiations with Mercosur. Another change being pushed by activists is for the EU to commit to completely exclude tobacco lobbyists from influencing policy positions on international trade.
Source: European Public Health Alliance, 18 May 2018
USA: Shisha responsible for over half of tobacco smoke inhaled by young smokers
Smoking tobacco from a waterpipe, also known as a shisha pipe, accounted for over half of the tobacco smoke volume consumed by young adult shisha and cigarette smokers in the U.S., a new University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analysis has discovered.
Toxicant exposures – such as tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine – were lower, yet substantial, for those young adults who just smoked shisha pipes, compared to those who smoked both wateripes and cigarettes. The research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is published today in the journal Tobacco Control.
In the U.S., waterpipe tobacco smoking rates are increasing and cigarette smoking rates are decreasing, especially among young adults.
Source: Science Newsline, 17 May 2018
See also: BMJ Tobacco Control, Waterpipe tobacco use in college and non-college young adults in the USA
Dutch insurer NN group quits tobacco investments
Dutch insurer NN Group will no longer invest in the tobacco industry and said on Thursday it aims to divest all tobacco-related holdings on its own accounts and in the funds of its asset manager within a year.
NN’s step follows similar moves by BNP Paribas Asset Management and insurers AXA, Aviva and Scor, which all decided to sell out of the industry because of the health, social and environmental costs linked to tobacco smoking.
“Tobacco no longer fits with our responsible investment approach,” NN Chief Investment Officer Jelle van der Giessen said. “It is not possible to use tobacco products responsibly.”
Source: Insurance Journal, 17 May 2018
Nigeria: Tobacco consumption contributes to 12% of deaths from heart diseases
The chairman of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Dr. Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal, recently addressed journalists in Lagos to discuss tobacco control in the run-up to World No-Tobacco Day. He lamented the low levels of implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) across African countries. Journalists were told that tobacco consumption contributes to around 12% of heart disease deaths in Nigeria.
Source: All Africa, 17 May 2018
Link of the week
Big Tobacco is desperate to prevent ‘plain packaging’ spreading around the world
Coming up to a year after standardised ‘plain packaging’ was fully implemented in the UK on 20 May 2017, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) and now Japan Tobacco International (JTI) have claimed that it’s a failure.
Why is Big Tobacco bothering, when it’s clear the UK is tough on tobacco, won its case in the courts and is not going to reverse the legislation? The reason is obvious, this is a last ditch and desperate attempt to delay and discourage the many other governments coming down the same track. Three countries have fully implemented plain packs to date (France, Australia and the United Kingdom), by the end of this year it will be six, with seven more having passed legislation and more following on behind. The dominoes are falling, markets around the world are going dark, and Big Tobacco is running scared. The WTO decision on the legality of plain packs is expected shortly, and the outcome, a defeat for the tobacco industry, has already been leaked.
Source: ASH (on Medium), 18 May 2018