ASH Daily News 25 April 2017



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  • British American Tobacco urged to respect human rights
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: Hull council could soon ban smoking in children’s play areas
  • Lancashire: Blackburn store caught selling fake tobacco
  • USA: Disney, the Gap, and Pepsi urged to quit US lobbying group that promotes tobacco industry
  • Intellectual Property sector fighting losing battle against plain packaging

 

British American Tobacco urged to respect human rights

British American Tobacco (BAT) should strengthen its processes for identifying and addressing human rights risks in its global supply chain, Human Rights Watch and Swedwatch said today in an open letter to shareholders. At the company’s annual shareholder meeting on April 26, 2017, shareholders will have an opportunity to press the company to take action and to increase the transparency of its efforts.

In the letter, Human Rights Watch and Swedwatch described the human rights concerns they identified in their research on farms supplying BAT in Indonesia and Bangladesh, respectively.

In a May 2016 report, Human Rights Watch found that thousands of children in Indonesia, some as young as 8, are exposed to serious hazards while working on tobacco farms, including some that supply BAT. The Stockholm-based Swedwatch, in a June 2016 report, found widespread and hazardous child labour, health problems suffered by families involved in tobacco production, and other serious human rights problems in Bangladesh.

Source: Public Now, 25th April 2017
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Yorkshire and the Humber: Hull council could soon ban smoking in children’s play areas

Smoking could be banned in children’s play areas across Hull. The move has been agreed by senior councillors as part of a new strategy covering the management and operation of open spaces in the city.

Hull currently has the highest numbers of adult smokers in England. Around 63,000 people in the city smoke and 40 people die every month because of smoking.

As yet, no decision has been made on how the new policy will be implemented. One option is to promote a voluntary code of conduct aimed at smokers. Similar powers are already in place to tackle antisocial behaviour by street drinkers in and around the city centre.

Source: Hull Daily Mail, 25th April 2017
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Lancashire: Blackburn store caught selling fake tobacco

A shopkeeper in Blackburn has been given a suspended prison sentence after masterminding a £25,000 fake tobacco scam. Customs investigators initially raided an industrial unit on the Carlinghurst Business Park, in George Street West, in late March 2016 and uncovered more than 50,000 counterfeit cigarettes and 59.3 kilos of under-the-counter hand-rolling tobacco.

Customs estimate the trader dodged £24,921 in excise duty, as a result of the first seizure and £387 from a later raid. He was given a 42-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. The shopkeeper must also complete 100 hours community service and pay £750 court costs.

Source: This is Lancashire, 24th April 2017
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USA: Disney, the Gap, and Pepsi urged to quit US lobbying group that promotes tobacco industry

Disney, the Gap and Pepsi are being pressured to quit the US Chamber of Commerce, America’s largest lobby group, amid criticism of its efforts to fight climate change legislation and promote tobacco products. A coalition of pressure groups including Action on Smoking and Health [USA], Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club have written to the CEOs of the three companies asking them to stop funding the powerful business group.

The US Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization and represents more than 3 million businesses. Last year alone it spent $104m on lobbying, the most of any lobby group. It has used its influence to fight anti-tobacco legislation across the world.

The pressure group’s lobbying has already led to a number of high-profile, and public, departures. In 2015, the pharmacy giant CVS quit, citing the lobby group’s pro-tobacco work.

Source: The Guardian, 24th April 2017
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Intellectual Property sector fighting losing battle against plain packaging

The Intellectual Property sector is fighting a losing battle against plain packaging, according to 93% of readers responding to a World IP Review survey. Last week, WIPR had asked: ‘The UK Supreme Court refused to allow an appeal from the tobacco industry, in a final domestic decision on plain packaging. Is the IP sector fighting a losing battle against standardised packaging?’

One reader claimed that the tobacco industry, rather than the IP sector, was losing the battle. Other respondents raised the idea of the growing awareness of health and efforts to discourage the use of dangerous products.

‘This is excellent news.’ said one reader. ‘Public health considerations should always trump private profit considerations.’

Source: World IP Review, 24th April 2017
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